DayBreaks for 10/16/20 – The Scariest Verse in the Bible

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What do you think is the most frightening, scariest and terrifying verse in the Bible?  It could be about the fate that awaits liars, cheats and others: the lake of fire. That would be a good candidate because we all know we are liars, cheats, etc. It could be one about the very existence of hell itself. I suppose there are many possible candidates.

Perhaps, though, it is this one: Genesis 6:6 (ESV) – And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  

Think about that for a minute. Here’s a God who made man who is now wishing he hadn’t. The implications of that are frightening. With the kind of power God wields, he could do anything he chooses that doesn’t contradict his nature. And there – in those last five words is our only hope!

God’s nature was perhaps best said by the apostle John with three simple words: God is love. God cannot act against his love. It was his love that caused the hands to fashion the cross and then send his son there in our place. Rather than undoing the creation of man he chose to redeem mankind instead.

Perhaps there’s also a bit more to this verse than meets the eye: …the greatest of these is love. In context, it speaks of faith, hope and love…with love being the greatest. Is God’s justice greater than his love? I don’t think it can be or his justice would prevail and we’d all get what we deserve – eternal damnation. He is a God of justice – but found a different way to act against evil than obliterating us: he sacrificed himself because his love wouldn’t let him do the unthinkable to us. Bottom line: the scariest verse in scripture is more than tamed by those three words from John: God is love.

PRAYER: Father, I’m so grateful for your love and that love is what defines you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/15/20 – Two Natures

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Henri Nouwen told a parable about an old man who used to meditate each day be the Ganges River in India.

One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain. Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the mediator, “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save.”

This is, of course, a parable not so much about the nature of the scorpion, but the nature of the old man who was trying to save it.  And it is an apt reflection of our nature versus God’s nature.  To be quite honest, there isn’t a whole lot in our fleshly nature to commend us to anyone, let alone to God.  It is because of the awfulness of our fleshly nature that many despair of ever being recipients of God’s love and grace.   When we are focused on our own nature, we have plenty of good reason for despair.  Our focus, however, should not be on our nature nearly as much as God’s.  It is in God’s nature to save – because it is in God’s nature to love. God seeks the lost, heals the wounded, forgives the offender, and gives hope to those who are in despair, even though we have wounded Him again and again.

It is what God does. 

PRAYER: We love You, Lord, because You first loved us.  Help us to trust in Your goodness and loving nature!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/26/16 – Can You Believe It?

 

DayBreaks for 9/26/16 – Can You Believe It?     

There are verses in the bible that are not all that exciting. For example, you can find a lot of them in Numbers! But then there are verses that blow us away…or at least, they should. Here’s one such passage:

Romans 8:30-31 (NLT) – And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Please pay special attention to the last sentence and the first five words: If God is for us…  Paul isn’t really asking the question or posing a hypothetical. He is stating a fact based on the truth of the preceding verse where he declares what God has done for us through Jesus…and he’s calling those verses in context to witness to the fact that God IS for us…the “If” is only there to be juxtaposed against the last six word: ..who can ever be against us?

But here’s the question: do you believe God is for YOU? Can you believe that He is NOT against you? Far too many, even Christians, think of God as sitting upon the circle of heaven looking down at us with a cosmic flyswatter just waiting for us to make the slightest mistake so He can squash us like a fly. And then they picture God laughing over whatever remains of us. Or, they see Him as furiously angry with them – eager to destroy as the scent of souls in hell fill is nostrils.

But that is 180 degrees opposite of what Paul has proven. If God is against us, would He have given His Son to die in agony for us? Would God has put Himself through the torture of watching His only begotten Son writing in agony if God was not for us? No way! 

What does it mean that God is for you? It means several things:

FIRST: God is not your enemy. Not once you have come home to him.

SECOND: God is not working against you nor wishing/causing bad things to happen to you. He works FOR you…so powerfully that even the bad things that do happen He is working out for your good.

THIRD: God will not let any enemy stand against you successfully. Not even the ruler of hell.

Perhaps you’re feeling like God can’t possibly be for you…a horrible sinner full of evil acts and even more full of evil thoughts and inclinations. But He is for you. And because of that, you’ve got the best Friend in the universe and He is absolutely crazy about you!

If you struggle to believe this good news, repeat to yourself over and over, day after day, until you come to believe it: God is FOR me!

PRAYER: We struggle to believe You could possibly be for us, God, because we do see our sin and frequent failures. Give us the faith to believe these inspired words from Your Spirit and let us rejoice in the this incredible truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/05/14 – The Old Man and the Scorpion

DayBreaks for 9/05/14: The Old Man and the Scorpion

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 9/03/2004:

Henri Nouwen told a story about an old man who sat on the edge of the Ganges River in India, meditating every morning.  On one particular morning, after he was done with his meditation, the old man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion struggling for its life in the water nearby.  As the waves washed the scorpion closer to the shore, the old man reached out a withered old hand to save the scorpion.  As he touched the scorpion, the scorpion stung him painfully on the hand.  Pulling his hand back, the man watched the scorpion continue to struggle.  After about a minute, the old man felt compassion again on the struggling creature, and once again, he reached forward with his hand to save the animal.  This time, the scorpion stung him so badly that his bloody hand swelled grotesquely and the old man’s face was contorted in pain.

A passerby watched this with fascination, and shouted, “Old man, what’s wrong with you?  Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature.  Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man turned his head and looking into the stranger’s eyes, said “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”

What a tremendous parable to explain God’s action towards us.  How many times have we “stung” Him as He’s reached out to us!!!!  And yet, wasn’t Jesus’ response much like that of the old man: “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they’re doing.”  Praise God that it was His nature to save, regardless of our nature to hurt Him!

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

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for Your nature to save!  In Jesus’ name, Amen

DayBreaks for 02/04/13 – His Good Intentions

DayBreaks for 02/04/13 – His Good Intentions

Good IntentionsProverbs 3:5-8 (NLT) – Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.  8 Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

What does God want for you?  Does He want you to be a millionaire?  Probably not…certainly not if He knows it would be a blessing you cannot handle.  Does He want you to be president, or a pro athlete, or famous?  Most likely not. 

There are those who seem to think that the God of heaven is a Scrooge, a miser and sadist who enjoys watching people wiggle like worms as they are strung onto a hook.  There are many who think that God doesn’t want or enjoy people laughing – that He’d rather have us all be gloomy faced, down-cast and miserable.

Thankfully, those things are not true of God, but we often act as if we think they are.  The first eight verses of Proverbs 3 (with many other verses) clearly show that God wants to bless us – that He has good intentions for you!  But we’re always skeptical of what God is up to – always questioning Him and His motives and through our questioning, impugning His character.  When we spend so much time questioning Him about anything, we aren’t trusting Him or believing that He has good intentions for us.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Have you ever thought like this: “Things have been going too good for too long – I know God is up to something and something bad will happen soon.”  Or, you may think that He’s forgotten you. 

What does the verse say: “The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.”  Will we believe it? 

Jesus said that abundant life, not an intolerably miserable life, is what He’s come to give to us.  Let’s stop questioning God’s desires for us.  He wants good for us – not harm.  If He wanted anything other than good for us, He would not be true to His infallible and unchangeable character.

PRAYER: I am so glad that You want to bless us, to only do what is good and right for us!  Help me trust more in Who You are in your unchanging, forever-loving character!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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