DayBreaks for 8/9/17 – ‘Tis Foolishness

DayBreaks for 8/09/17: ‘Tis Foolishness

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/7/2007:

I’ve been thinking about contentment lately.  Mind you, I’m not content with my thinking on the topic!  But I’m trying to learn to be more content in my station in life in various venues, but especially in the area of possessions.  It seems that much of what we struggle with in this world as far as contentment goes has to do with things – stuff – possessions. 

I recall when our kids were little.  They’d hear about a new toy in a Happy Meal, or a new video game, or some new action hero figure, and they would ask for it.  Sometimes I gave it to them, sometimes not.  My decision certainly wasn’t all based on “need” – they really didn’t need any of it.  Sometimes I withheld the gift solely to help them learn lessons related to happiness and contentment.  Sometimes, if they really wanted something, they’d say words to this effect: “If you get it for me, I promise I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever!!!!”  Yeah, right.

Of course, none of us adults would be so silly as to think that a change in circumstances or possessions would bring lasting contentment, would we?  Maybe not.  Someone once said that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.  There’s more truth to that than I want to admit.  In Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg observes: “All day long we are bombarded with messages that seek to persuade us of two things:

  1. That we are (or ought to be) discontented, and
  2. That contentment is only one step (or change or purchase) away.”

These two things are at the heart of all marketing.  They try to make us believe that the only thing that stands between us and the girl or guy of our dreams is our toothpaste (as if all our other problems were already fixed!) – and that if we buy a certain brand of toothpaste, we’ll get that girl or guy and live “happily ever after.”  We may have jobs that we’re competent at and that we love, but the promise and allure of “more money” makes us discontent and leads us to jump ship into a position that will mean we sacrifice family time or values.  That one new car may seem like a siren calling your name – and if you had it, you just know you’d be forever happy. 

It’s all a pack of lies.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Doesn’t even your own experience and life tell you that such marketing drivel is not true?  The pursuit of such things, indeed of happiness in this world, is trivial pursuit.  The pursuit of the Kingdom of God bears everlasting dividends, and the promise of happiness and joy that is not made by marketers who have something to gain, but by God, who can’t gain a single thing from us.  How much better for us to seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness…and in due time, all that He has will be ours!

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.  Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 2/15/16 – What Were You Thinking?

The Darwin Awards

DayBreaks for 2/15/16: What Were You Thinking?

Chances are good that if you have been around the internet and have had email for longer than a month, you know what the Darwin Awards are. It has been around since 1994 and they describe themselves (more correctly their winners, this way: Winners of the Darwin Award must die in such an idiotic manner that “their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive.”

I want to be respectful of those who die, and those who loved them, but some of the stories are totally ridiculous. Here’s a case in point: Double Darwin Award: Two men in Kenya were capturing selfies with a wild elephant when they were trampled to death by the irate pachyderm who proceeded to bury the corpses with brush. The two men were actually touching the elephant’s face while taking the photos. Charles Darwin cautions, “When taking sensational selfies, remember the Photoshop option.”

At the end of nearly every one of the Darwin Award stories, I find myself wondering: What were you thinking? How could you possibly have been so stupid?!?!

We sit around thinking we’d never do something so foolish, that we’d never act in such an ignorant or thoughtless way. But that’s where it gets interesting, isn’t it?

I would imagine that God looks at the things we do – at the voices and advice we listen to and act upon – and shakes His head and says to no one in particular: What were you thinking? I gave you so many warnings in the Word about the effect of sin on your life and you choose to do it anyway!

What are you doing these days that is spiritually foolhardy? Does not God give better advice than anyone else you could possibly ask?

While the Darwin Awards may make us wonder – and perhaps laugh at some of the stories – who is the greater fool: someone who does something that knowingly endangers their physical life, or someone who disregards the warnings of the Word and the offer of grace and forgiveness that can bring us from death to life eternal?

Ephesians 2:1-5 (MSG) – It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, you know our hearts. You know how we want to hear that which we want to hear rather than Truth. You know how quickly we run rashly to let the world tell us how to live instead of listening to You. Have mercy on us and give us wisdom that we can know and follow the Truth and live!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/03/15 – Believing the Impossible

DayBreaks for 7/03/15: Believing the Impossible

Today’s DayBreaks is from the 2001 DayBreaks archive:

You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing them.  The National Enquirer, the National Scandal, the Globe…and there are probably at least a few that I don’t even know by name.  There are right there in front of you as you stand at the checkout.  I don’t buy them – let’s be clear about that – but sometimes I can’t help but laugh at some of the headlines.  They boast stories like these: “Monkey-Boy Found in the Amazon”, “Doorway to Hell Found!”, “Titanic Survivor Skeleton Found 75 Years Later” (accompanied by a photo of a skeleton floating in the water inside of a Titanic life ring.  The list of headlines goes on and on and on.  You get the idea.  Rather incredible stuff.  And now it’s confession time: I don’t believe a bit of it! 

I’m a skeptic by nature, I guess.  Call me cautious, call me crazy – just don’t expect me to buy one of these trade rags.  Their claims are so far out that they are hilarious.  But people buy them left and right to read them.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I don’t know if it is because they believe this stuff, or because they want to believe in the incredible, or just because they are looking for a laugh.  (If you buy these magazines, I hope you aren’t offended by my comments – that is not my purpose!)

Perhaps I’m too judgmental.  Maybe I’m too harsh in my opinion about these magazines.  After all, stop and think about some of the things that I believe in: people used to live to be as old as 965 years (Methuselah), a slave boy came to be the vice president of Egypt, a man built a boat of gopher wood and saved humanity from a flood, three Hebrew children walked through a fiery metal furnace and didn’t even come out smelling of smoke, Daniel played fetch with the lions for an entire night and wasn’t on the menu, Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus walked on water, Jesus raised the dead (including himself), he fed 5000 with the equivalent of a child’s meal from Peter’s Fish and Chips.  Oh, and the list doesn’t stop there: he turned water into wine, he told the wind to go away and it did, he arose bodily into heaven, and he’s coming back again sometime. 

Now let me ask you: which is easier to believe?  That Jesus walked on water or a skeleton was found floating in a Titanic life ring?  Can you more easily believe that a human boy was found in the jungle my monkeys and raised to be one of them, or that the son of God was born via a virgin? 

1 Corinthians 3:18 says “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.”  In one of his songs, titled “God’s Fool”, Michael Card wrote about this concept when he penned these words: “And so we follow God’s own fool, for only the foolish can tell.  Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well.

Yes, many thought Jesus was a fool – or at best, a madman.  He didn’t have a home, a place to lay his head, no possessions except his clothing.  He shunned popularity.  He chose ordinary working men and women and challenged them to change the world (and they didn’t even know what the “world” meant). 

I may be foolish.  In fact, I hope I am – if you are talking about being a fool for God.  Christianity is all about faith in God and a Savior we’ve never seen, met or touched.  This is a religion for fools – at least from the world’s point of view we are all fools.  I have never been happier to be a fool.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/04/14 – Thou Shalt Not Be Ridiculous

DayBreaks for 11/04/14 – Thou Shalt Not Be Ridiculous

From the DayBreaks archive, 2004:

We tend to think of the 10 commandments as being the bedrock on which all laws and commands are based.  And I suppose, in a very real way, that’s true.  The everlasting principles of loving God, loving your fellow man, etc., are all encapsulated in those 10 little commands.  But there were many, many other specific commands that are given in the Old Testament, but also in the New.

Consider this passage from the quill of Paul, the apostle, from Eph. 5:15-18 (NLT) – So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

For all intents and purposes, Paul could have said, “Thou shalt not be ridiculous.”  I am always appalled by the way Christians are portrayed in the news media and the sound bites we see and hear over the airwaves.  Nearly every instance is less than flattering – not necessarily because of what the Christians are saying, but how they are saying it and how they are acting.  Just recently, I saw a news clip about a “Christian” in Korea (I think), who climbed into the lions enclosure to preach to them and save them.  He said he felt called by God to do it.  Well, suffice it to say, the lions didn’t convert and the man escaped with some mighty big fang marks in his leg.  It is a ridiculous thing for him to have done.  Anytime that well-meaning Christians don’t act in Christian ways, the message is lost in the ridiculousness of the behavior, and the cause of Christ is diminished in the eyes of the world.

But how can we reconcile the actions of those like Daniel, whose actions led him to the lions den?  And what of his buddies, Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego?  Were they being ridiculous, or courageous, in what they did?  As John Ortberg noted in his book about walking on water, “The line between ‘Thou shalt not be afraid’ and ‘Thou shalt not be ridiculous’ is often a fine one and not easily located.  Knowing when to get out of the boat and take a risk does not only demand courage; it also demands the wisdom to ask the right questions, the discernment to recognize the voice of the Master, and the patience to wait for His command.”

Much could be said on this subject, but I think Ortberg is right on track.  Consider your lifestyle.  Is the way you live and interact with others, the way you even hold out and defend your Christian beliefs – done in such a way as to make Christianity and it’s Christ attractive (in the right way – not in a compromising way), or are you just being ridiculous in how you attempt to take a stand for Christ?  The preaching of the cross is foolishness to the world, but even we foolish Christians need to be wise in how we live so we can capitalize on each and every opportunity for doing good in an evil world.

Copyright by 2004 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for being willing to be stricken so the “sheep” could be spared. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 01/02/12 – How Foolish We Are

DayBreaks for 01/02/12 – How Foolish We Are

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! – Luke 24:17-25

Yesterday, the preacher at church spoke about Luke 24.  It is a wonderful story – the discovery of the empty tomb by the women, Peter rushing to see for himself (they thought the women’s declaration was the product of feverish, nonsensical minds), saw the empty tomb, and went away wondering what it meant.  Then, the encounter of the risen Lord with the Emmaus disciples.

One of the interesting things about this passage is how we refuse to believe the evidence that is right before our eyes.  The two disciples recited amazing things about the recent events in Jerusalem – not just the women’s story, but that of their “companions” who corroborated the women’s account.  Then, in verse 25, Jesus says, “How foolish you are…”  Why does he say that?  He tells us: they were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.  In other words, they have all sorts of evidence, but still don’t know what to believe and what not to believe.

I must admit, the story of Jesus is an amazing one – one that is almost too good to believe…almost. Look at the evidence for the truth of the story.  We struggle to believe what is right before our eyes.  Yet if we ignore it, Jesus calls us “foolish”!

Let the Spirit speak truth into your heart.  Can you trust your life to this Jesus of Nazareth?  Look at the evidence.   It speaks for itself.  And believe!

PRAYER: Let us trust in the truth of the story of Jesus fully and sweep away our doubts, Father!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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