DayBreaks for 3/04/19 – The Word Became Flesh

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DayBreaks for 3/04/19: The Word Became Flesh

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

One of the most amazing statements in Scripture is found in the gospel of John: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…  Here is a great mystery: that the Divine Word became flesh.  There are those who have puzzled over how this could be true, those who question the virgin birth and the fact that Jesus was begotten by the Spirit.  It is a rather remarkable fact.  But that’s not the most wonderful or amazing question that could be asked.  Instead of asking “How”, I believe we’d be better to ask the “Why?” question. 

John doesn’t leave us hanging on that point, either.  It was because the Word became flesh that we saw the glory of God in the person of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.  Surely, it was the kind of thing that mankind had longed for from the time of the creation – to see the glory of God.  Even those who saw Jesus saw only a bit of the glory that belongs to God because it would have been too much for humans to bear to be exposed, in our flesh, to the fullness of the glory of God Almighty.  But a portion of it was made visible to us, and it should be enough.

The great Christian scholar and theologian, Karl Barth, had an interesting observation regarding this passage, which brings us to the point I want to consider today.  Here’s what he had to say: “The Word became flesh – and then through theologians it became words again.” 

Yes, Jesus became flesh.  He’s not here any longer in a fleshly form, but he is here in those of us who have fleshly forms.  The Word took up residence in human flesh when Jesus came, and the Spirit has taken up residence in human flesh in all believers.  The question is: has the Word remained incarnated in us, or have we turned the truth of the Spirit and of God into just words once more?  Is the Spirit of the risen Lord dwelling actively in you?  Are you listening to His promptings, taking action as He directs?  Is He a personal acquaintance with whom you have a relationship?  Or, has your faith just become a matter of words once more, drained of the vitality of the One Who is Life itself?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

The Word still dwells in flesh.  Only this time it is our flesh.  Let it dwell in you RICHLY!!!!

Prayer: What an amazing thing, Jesus, that You became flesh!  How humbling that You still choose to live in our human flesh through Your Spirit.  May you dwell in us richly, Lord Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 3/31/16 – Snuggling Up to the Old Man

DayBreaks for 3/31/16 – Snuggling Up to the Old Man

In rural China, the black market for female corpses—even already-buried corpses–thrives still (as mentioned years ago by News of the Weird). According to legend dating back 30 centuries, men who die as bachelors will spend eternity alone, and thus their families arrange “ghost weddings,” in which a corpse (presumably, freshly buried) is stolen and relocated alongside the man. (Perhaps more important to the surviving family is the other part of the legend–that any bachelor corpse will “return” to haunt the family.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 2-27-2016, News of the Weird blog]

Let’s face it: no one wants to face eternity alone, but this is pushing it a bit too much. Would you want to be “married” to a dead corpse?

Yet…doesn’t that sort of describe our fascination with the “old man” with its sinfulness? There is something about humans that attracts us to sin. Paul says it is our fleshly nature. But he also says that we have died to those things if we are disciples. That doesn’t mean, obviously, that such things no longer call out to us and that the allure of certain sins don’t still pull on us.

We are dead to the eternal consequences of those sins for we have accepted Christ’s work as being perfect and more than adequate to pay for our sinfulness. But how it still calls to us from time to time!

Would you want to be married to a dead corpse? Me neither. It just doesn’t sound attractive at all. And yet I need to realize that every time I yield to those old temptations it’s like snuggling up to a dead corpse…with all that such a thing implies. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Colossians 3:5 (ESV) -Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Romans 8:13 (ESV) – For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 7:5-6 (ESV) – For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, if there is one thing I’ve learned in my decades on this planet it is this: that I cannot overcome temptation on my own. I need you, we need you. Do your work in our hearts and minds and let us long to be part of the pure and spotless bride in the great day of Your revealing! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 12/18/14 – What Scandalized Jesus

DayBreaks for 12/18/14 – What Scandalized Jesus

 

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2004:

I’m afraid sometimes that we don’t see human sin and weakness in the same way that Christ did.  Let me say this first and get it out of the way so you won’t be worried by some of what I will say: Christ hates sin.  He hates all of it.  He doesn’t want us to commit sin of any kind.  In fact, he died so that it was possible for it to be forgiven.  So – just to be clear, I’m not condoning sin today, nor going soft on it, OK?

That being said, I’m pretty sure that we may be much more like the Pharisees than we are like Jesus.  Ouch, did that hurt?  (If your reaction was, “Not me!”, then you should pay special attention to what I’m going to say, because that’s a good indicator that you are very close to the heart of the Pharisees!)  Here’s what I mean: in the NT there are many stories that involve 3 classes of people: those who were guilty of “sins of the flesh”, those suffering from “sins of the spirit”, and Jesus.  What is amazing is what happens when these 3 groups are all present at the same time.  Consider the stories of the notorious woman who anointed Jesus feet/the self-righteous host of the feast, the tax collector and Pharisee, the prodigal son and his brother, the religious leaders and the woman taken in adultery as just a few.  In each of the cases, those who were guilty of the “sins of the flesh” (the lady of ill repute, the tax collector, the prodigal son, the adulterous woman) knew that they were in deep, deep trouble.  They knew they were sinners – and bad ones at that.  But in those same stories, it was their antagonists who were guilty of the “sins of the spirit”, they were blind to their own sin, which had made it impossible for them to love those guilty of the sins of the flesh.

Crunch time: What scandalizes you the most – sins of the flesh, or sins of the spirit?  Jesus seems to have been far more scandalized by those guilty of the sins of the spirit – the spiritually blind and haughty.  C.S. Lewis wrote: The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing…the pleasures of power, hatred.  For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become.  They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self.  The Diabolical self is the worse of the two.  That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be nearer to hell than a prostitute.

What is it that makes the sins of the spirit so insidious?  Simply this: those who are infected with this disease don’t have a clue that they’re sick.  Those with the sins of the flesh have a pretty good idea that they’re really messed up.

We let the sins of the flesh scandalize us.  And they should – they are sins after all.  But the fact that they scandalize us more than the sins of the spirit may be a telling symptom of where our own problems lie – in the spirit of haughtiness that so scandalized Christ.  At least those with sins of the flesh were more prone to confess, repent and be healed of their sin, but those who believe they are without sin have no such motivation.

What scandalizes you?  It is very possible that those who are the farthest from the kingdom are those who appear to be the closest.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT) – Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

PRAYER: Teach us to think about sin as You do – and know that no sin is good – but to be especially aware of our own tendency to spiritual sins! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 04/23/12 – We Still Don’t Believe It

DayBreaks for 04/23/12 – We Still Don’t Believe It

Our natures are at war...and they are real.

Sorry I missed some posts this last week, folks…I was sick!

Romans 7:18-19 (NLT)
18 (NLT) And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

One of the most prevalent beliefs we humans have about ourselves is that we are really pretty good.  Sure, we may talk humbly about ourselves (especially when we are in the church or around other Christians), but our actions belie our words.  When we are left alone in our own minds and no one can see what we think, we tend to compare ourselves favorably with others, to think that we’re pretty decent people, that surely God must be proud of us.

What we are struggling with is illustrated by a story about a professor of preaching who would take his students out every semester to the cemetery.  They would stand along the perimeter of the cemetery and the professor would ask his student to speak to the graves and call people to come forth.  Usually, the students would look at each other rather incredulously, maybe chuckle a bit, but the professor insisted, and so with obvious embarrassment, they would do as request.  They, of course, failed – miserably, every one of them.  It was after they’d failed and looked rather sheepish, that the professor reminded them of the core truth of the gospel: people, like those corpses in the cemetery, are spiritually dead…and that it is only the words of God Himself that can bring life to spiritually dead humans.

Paul said that his sinful nature, tied to his flesh, was “nothing good” alive in there.  We need to come to grips with the fact that we are NOT good people.  Our most righteous acts are like filthy rags.  There is not one of us who is good – for only God is good.

Our failure to grasp our inherent sinfulness, our dead and rotting spirit, is one of the reasons people find it hard to accept grace – they feel they don’t really need it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

PRAYER: Speak life into us, through Your Spirit put to death moment by moment our sinful natures that are contrary to the Spirit.  Remind us of our great need for grace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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