DayBreaks for 11/06/12 – It Takes Two to Fight

DayBreaks for 11/06/12 – It Takes Two to Fight

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV)

I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the organ grinder who used to go around in the streets with a little monkey to collect pennies. When I was a small kid on Friday nights, we’d drive in to the big town of Jefferson, Iowa (maybe 2000 people in those days – it’s not much large now!).  Farmers from all over the countryside would come and park their cars around the main square that surrounded the county courthouse (Jefferson was the county seat) and just enjoy a Friday night.  My memory seems that we just sat there in the car and watched people walk by.  Exciting stuff for an Iowa farm boy.  But, there was a corner that had a popcorn stand that was run by Cad Williams.  Can must have been in her 70’s at the time, but I thought she must be at least 100.  She was a sweet, dear lady – and in fact she was my Sunday school teacher for my early years.  She made the best popcorn I’ve ever eaten…but sometimes there would be an organ grinder there with a small monkey.

This next scenario didn’t take place there, but it is a true story about one such organ grinder.  It seems he had an especially clever monkey. On one occasion, when a big dog would break away from some children with whom it had been playing and made a dash for the monkey, the bystanders were surprised to see that the monkey did not seem in the least afraid. He stood perfectly still in evident curiosity, waiting for the dog to come up to him. This disconcerted the dog, for it would have much preferred to chase something that would run and not stand its ground. As soon as the dog reached the monkey, the funny little scarlet-coated creature courteously doffed its cap. Instantly there was a laugh from the audience. The dog was nonplussed. Its head drooped and its tail dropped between its legs. It looked like a whipped cur and not at all like the fine dog it really was. It turned and ran back home, and the laughing children could not persuade it to return. As for the monkey, he wanted no disagreement, and he knew instinctively that it took two to make a quarrel. You can often avoid strife by being the one who refuses to fight with a brother in Christ, even if he is somewhat different from you or belongs to another group.

We have come through an especially contentious few years in our nation’s history.  I pray that today as Christians we will heed Paul’s counsel to Timothy and not quarrel let we ruin not just others, but ourselves as well.  It always takes two to fight!!!!  Let us be people of peace, remembering that Jesus didn’t fight over for…be only for the souls of men and women.  I pray that will be our main concern, too!

PRAYER: Lord, let peace descend on our land and in our hearts.  Let us bear no ill will to others.  Let the healing begin this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/20/12 – It Makes a Difference

DayBreaks for 07/20/12 – It Makes a Difference

It makes a difference…

Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) – For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

There is a story that is told about a U.S. Army officer regarding his pupils during two different eras of teaching at the artillery training school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (Home of the Field Artillery). In 1958-60 the attitude was so lax that the instructors had a problem getting the men to stay awake to hear the lectures. During the 1965-67 classes, however, the men, hearing the same basic lectures, were alert and took copious notes. What made the difference in the class of 65? They knew that in less than six weeks they would be facing the enemy in Vietnam.

If we were to apply this to the Christian, it would go something like this: If you really believed that tomorrow you would be wrestling with the Devil himself, how would you spend today?   How would your worship be different?  How would your devotional life be different?  How about your prayer life?

How did you worship this past Sunday?  This week have you kept your quiet time with Him daily because you knew that every day when you woke that you would be facing all the wiles of the evil one?

Maybe our problem is simple: we don’t really believe we are in a battle.  We may think it’s a nice little analogy that is meant to manipulate us into awareness and action, but we don’t really believe there is an enemy that is just waiting to tear us to shreds like an angry grizzly mother defending her cubs.  Satan is that real, and more.

How will we prepare for the battle today?  If we believe Ephesian 6:12, we’ll be deadly serious and pay attention to the Manual and the Teacher!

PRAYER: Create in us the sense of seriousness that is appropriate for the real battle in which we are engaged!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/06/12 – Don’t Just Fight, Stand There!

DayBreaks for 03/06/12 – Don’t Just Fight, Stand There!

From the DayBreaks archive, 3/19/02:

One of the most important parts of doing battle is to have good “intelligence”.  By that, I mean knowledge about what the enemy is doing – where they are going, how fast they are traveling, where they are entrenched and when they will be there.  More often than not, good intelligence overcomes a more superior force.  One of the trickier aspects of intelligence gathering is to determine how much credibility to give to the source of the intelligence.  Sometimes, as we’ve seen recently in the news, a source is considered to be “unreliable”.

In 2 Chronicles 20:15-17, God gives some intelligence to His people regarding the advancing enemy (the Ammonites, Moabites and men from Mt. Seir) and their troop movements: “15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’  When God gives you intelligence, you know you can count on it!

Try now to put yourself in the position of King Jehoshaphat: God has told you where the enemy will be, and He has also given you explicit instructions that may see a bit contradictory:

FIRST: Don’t be afraid of them, in spite of the fact that they are a “vast army”.  I can hear myself now: “Well, I’m sorry, God, that’s easy for you to say.  These guys aren’t going to be handing out lollipops, and it’s me, not you, that they’ll be shooting at.  Don’t you understand that I could die?!?”

SECOND: The battle is God’s, not mine.  Again, I would be tempted on the day of battle to look to my left and then look to my right to try to see God standing in the battle line.  I wouldn’t be able to see Him.  But that doesn’t mean that He’s not there.  Sometimes the most ferocious and deadly enemy is one you cannot see…and God is the enemy of evil-doers like those who were attacking Judah.

THIRDLY: March down to do battle.  Take your positions, stand firm, don’t even bother to string your bows or sharpen your axes, because you won’t have to fight this battle.  As I stood in the battle line, I would be saying: “God?  Oh, God?  I know you said I wouldn’t need to fight this battle, but look over there – can’t you see the enemy?  They are almost uncountable!  Is it time yet to string up my bow?  Maybe I should do that – just in case?”  God was testing the faith of the men from Judah while at the same time extending amazing grace to them by fighting for them.  God was essentially telling them, “Go out to do battle.  Then, don’t fight – just stand there.”  Hard to do.

Are you facing some difficult battle today?  Don’t run!  Stand still: and refuse to retreat.  Look at it as God looks at it and draw on his power to hold up under the blast.  Sure, it’s tough.  Nobody ever said the Christian life was easy. He offers something better – His own sustaining presence through any trouble we may encounter: courage to just go where and when He sends us and trust God for the victory.

PRAYER: Thank you for fighting…and winning…for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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