DayBreaks for 4/23/18 – Something Evil This Way Comes

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DayBreaks for 4/23/18: Something Evil This Way Comes   

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2008:

Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of The Science of Good and Evil, wrote on 3/18/04:

“I once had the opportunity to ask Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s List, what he thought was the difference between Oskar Schindler, rescuer of Jews and hero of his story, and Amon Goeth, the Nazi commandant of the Plaszow concentration camp.  His answer was revealing.  Not much, he said.  Had there been no war, Mr. Schindler and Mr. Goeth might have been drinking buddies and business partners, morally obtuse, perhaps, but relatively harmless.  What a difference a war makes, especially to the moral choices that lead to good and evil.”

Shermer goes on to quote Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.  But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.  And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

This reminds me of the parable Jesus spoke about the Pharisee and that tax collector.  The Pharisee saw himself in rather glowing terms: “Thank you, God, that I am not like others – like this tax collector!”  The tax collector, meanwhile, was downcast and pleaded, “God, have mercy on me a sinner!”

Who do you most closely identify with – the Pharisee or the tax collector?  I hope it is the latter, for we all have the “line dividing good and evil” that cuts right through our own heart.  The sin we do in private goes unseen except by God, giving us all the temptation to sound and act like the Pharisee, but God knows better.  When we approach one another, we’d be wise to recognize that something evil this way comes.

We can’t cut out a piece of our own heart.  We can desperately plead with God to create within us a new heart to replace our diseased one.

PRAYER:  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me!  Cast me not away from Thy Presence, O Lord, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and renew a right spirit within me!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 1/26/17 – The Upright Heart

DayBreaks for 1/26/17: The Upright Heart

Psalm 97:10-12 (NLT) – You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. Light shines on the godly, and joy on those who do right. May all who are godly be happy in the LORD and praise his holy name!

How I fear we have missed much of the wonder and blessing of the Psalms!  Sure, there are the all-time favorites: Psalm 19, Psalm 90, Psalm 132, and of course, Psalm 23.  But there is so much that we miss by rapidly reading the Psalms! 

There is so much to consider in this Psalm.  Verse 10 gives a command to those who love the Lord (notice, it isn’t just for those who say they love the Lord, but for those who really do love Him!), and it consists of two words: “hate evil.”  Part of being faithful is to hate evil.  I ask myself: how much do I hate evil, instead of dabble with it because I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame?  If I truly love the Lord, I am to hate evil – not because evil isn’t fun, but because of what evil does to God, others and myself.  I may think that evil might be fun, but it isn’t – not really.  In the final analysis, it is painful – and deadly. 

God protects the lives of the godly, the faithful, and delivers them from the power of the wicked.  This verse doesn’t say that we won’t still struggle, but it is He who protects and rescues us from the power of the wicked (Satan and humans!)  It is not our own resolve, strength or determination that delivers us.  My will power isn’t up to that task – and neither is yours.  I can’t see all the stratagems of the wicked nor see all their plots.  God can – and He alone has the ability to deliver us.

Verse 11 says that light and joy are shed on those who do right.  The NIV says that they are shed on “the upright in heart.”  What is an upright heart?  Think of a glass of water.  An upright glass is not tipped, slanted or crooked – it is straight up vertical!  A crooked heart is one that wanders back and forth in allegiance and whose love waxes and wanes.  A slanted heart may be too earthly – or too heavenly.  Someone once said that we can be too earthly to be of any heavenly value, and to heavenly to be of any earthly good.  Wise observation, if you ask me.  But an upright – or “right side up” heart is directed to God.

But there’s more for us here.  Verses 10-11 talk about what God does for the upright and godly.  Then comes verse 12 with its instructions on our proper response:  we are to not just be intellectually or emotionally grateful for what God has done, but we need to rejoice and praise His name.  We need to take our response and faith beyond just hearing about His protection, deliverance, light and joy into taking actions of praise for those and all other things that come from His hand. 

We, if we are godly (vs. 12), are to be happy in the Lord.  And why shouldn’t we be – once we get our hearts and minds around verses 10-11!

Far too few who are Christians hate evil – we’re much more comfortable with loving good than hating evil.  But we need to be outraged by it and hate what it does to God’s creation!

PRAYER: Almighty Father, may we truly love you with all our heart, mind, strength and soul.  May we learn to hate evil as you hate evil.  May we rest in the wonderful protection you give us, exulting in your deliverance!  Fill us with light, joy and happiness that we may praise you forever!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/05/17 – Doing Good in a Broken World

DayBreaks for 1/05/17: Doing Good in a Broken World

The late newspaper columnist Mike Royko once shared the other side of the Christmas Story in one of his columns. He told about a stranger who put $1,600 in gold coins in a Salvation Army kettle. The person placed the gift there quietly and anonymously. This is exactly the kind of story the print media is looking for to demonstrate the spirit of caring that Christmas brings about.

Unfortunately there was a follow up story. The local Salvation Army office began getting phone calls about the gold coins. The coins were stolen. The thief had dropped them in the kettle to get rid of them.

So then, Royko told another story about a man driving home from work on Christmas Eve who saw a young boy fall through the ice in a nearby lake. The man stopped his car, jumped out, tore off his jacket and crawled out onto the ice. He managed somehow to save the drowning boy. Happy ending, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately the man discovered that while he was risking his life saving the boy, somebody in the crowd of onlookers stole his jacket and the envelope containing his Christmas bonus.

Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. And even at Christmas, with the promise of peace and hope on our lips and in our hearts, that sinfulness is still present. That sinfulness was personified in the first Christmas story by Herod. “Go and search diligently for the child,” Herod said to the wise men. “And when you have found him, come and bring me word, that I may worship him, too.”

It doesn’t take much to get discouraged when you try to do good in a fallen world, does it? Your deeds seem to go unappreciated. Your sacrifices are taken for granted. The things that cost you so much in time and effort and perhaps money may not even be visible to others. And to top it off, people often take advantage of those with big, Christ-shaped hearts.

Does it matter? Sure, it matters. But we must not think that any of the good we do while living in a broken world isn’t worth doing – it is worth doing. And there is always Someone who notices and loves you for what good you are trying to do.

As we are encouraged, …let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. (Gal. 6:9, AMP)

Hang in there! Fight the fight for the good and let the end result and reward be up to God to determine.

PRAYER: We lose heart easily and we crave recognition for what good we do. Let us never forget we labor for You and on behalf of those You love! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 08/15/13 – For Better Or Worse

DayBreaks for 08/15/13 – For Better or Worse

betterOrWorseFrom the DayBreaks Archive, dated 8/14/2003:

One of the promises that most of us made during our wedding vows was to love our beloved “for better or worse”.  This implies a simple recognition of the truth that life isn’t a bed of roses – but that those roses often have thorns attached, and even if the rose itself doesn’t have thorns, someone or something is bound to cause pain at some point or another in our worldly sojourn.  There is a “better” and there is a “worse”.  Life has taught us all that simple lesson. 

Romans 9:22-24 indicates that same principle – In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who were made for destruction. 23  He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. 24  And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.   These verses indicate that there are two types of vessels: those which are objects of mercy and ultimate glory, and others which are only destined for destruction. 

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis put it this way: “The higher a thing is, the lower it can descend…The better stuff a creature is made of – the cleverer and stronger and freer it is – then the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong.  A cow cannot be very good or very bad; a dog can be either better and worse; a child better and worse still; an ordinary man, still more so; a man of genius, still more so; a superhuman spirit best – or worst – of all.” 

As humans, God has imbued us with tremendous power – power for either good or evil.  The more opportunity, the greater the blessings of opportunity, intellect, resources and skill that we have – the greater the good or evil that can be done by activity or inactivity.  The degradation of Hitler in the Third Reich and the Holocaust was horrible…but was it really that much worse than the inactivity of those who knew what was happening and who stood silently by and did nothing?  What if one particular man or woman had stood up and decried what Hitler was doing?  Could the tide of history have been changed?  Could the bloody river of abortion have been forestalled if more of us stood up and rose to be the “better” rather than sink to become the “worse”? 

You have the choice today – for better or worse – what you will do with your opportunities and giftedness.  What will you decide?

PRAYER: Lord, we want to be objects for glory, for the “better” and not the worse.  Give us wisdom to choose the right path!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/08/13 – What Then About Junk?

DayBreaks for 08/08/13 – What Then About Junk?

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From the DayBreaks archive, dated 08/08/2003:

Genesis 1:31 – “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day.”  (NIV)

It has always been interesting to me that after all the first 5 days of creation when God created plants, animals, rocks, planets, stars and such, that God took time at the end of each day to examine His work.  Scripture says that when He did this, he saw “that it was good”.  There is great satisfaction to be taken in doing a job well – and God does things superlatively!  But there is a slight difference after day six when God creates man.  It says that God saw what He’d done and it was “very good”.  The only difference between the first 5 days and the end of the 6th day was the creation of man – and God proclaims it to be “very good”!

There is a popular saying in some Christian circles: “I’m OK.  God doesn’t make junk!”  And that is very, very true.  One of our former ministers, Dr. James Haddix, commented on this in a message and pointed out how easy it is to believe than when we see it on the little pink t-shirt of a beautiful little girl with flowing tresses.  But, as he went on, what are we to make of it when we take that t-shirt and put it on the kidnapper-rapist-killer who takes that little girl from her home and family, brutalizes her and takes her life?  It makes us begin to wonder if God made a mistake with that person, and it makes us wonder if perhaps sometimes, God does make junk.

He doesn’t.  God is no more responsible for the heinous deeds of the rapist-killer than I am for a star running out of fuel in a galaxy far distant.  The simple fact is that God created us – each and every one of us – as free, moral agents who can determine by our choices what we will become.  As Dr. Gregory Boyd argues in his book, Satan and the Problem of Evil, evil had to exist if good was to exist.  Hatred had to exist if love was to exist.  Love cannot exist without a free choice – otherwise it is not love.  Good cannot exist unless there is an opposite that makes good a choice available to humans.  So the rapist-killer is not “junk” from God’s hand.  He may have become devoid of any apparent redeeming qualities, but if he did, it happened as a result of his own choices and their consequences.

No, God doesn’t make junk.  But I can make myself “junky”.  So can you.  We do it each day in a thousand little decisions – some of which happen without our ever really thinking about it.  I don’t want to be junk and I don’t think you do, either.  Let us seek His wisdom to recognize the right from wrong so we can choose wisely.  As Dr. Haddix put it: “The issue isn’t whether God creates junk, but the fact that He doesn’t desire junk.”  Neither should we.

2 Kings 18:32 – “…until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” (NIV)

1 Peter 4:3 – “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” (NIV) 

PRAYER: Lord, we are quick to pass the blame on to You for what exists and what doesn’t exist because we don’t and can’t understand the realities You understand nor the structure of the moral universe in its totality.  Forgive us for daring to sit in judgment of You!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is working as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. 

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DayBreaks for 01/10/13 – The Border Between Good and Evil

DayBreaks for 01/10/13 – The Border Between Good and Evil

bordercrossingFrom the DayBreaks archive, 1/10/2003:

I’m one of the lucky ones with heart trouble.  I can still have salt!  My blood pressure is just fine, thank you, and so I’m not on a restricted diet in THAT sense.  (I must say, however, I’d give up the salt for a few steaks now and then!)  I love salt as a seasoning.  It just seems to make food taste MUCH better.

In his book, C. S. Lewis for the Third Millennium, Peter Kreeft had an interesting insight about us “traditionalists” when he wrote: “…I want to interject a word of caution to my fellow traditionalists.  It is the fear that traditionalists run the same kind of risk in idealizing the past as both neo-conservatives and liberals (what strange bedfellows!) run in looking benignly at the present and the future.  Looking back is a posture that has been known to be very dangerous to one’s health, especially if one is on a salt-free diet: remember Lot’s wife.

“So let us look to the future.  Is it not time to be optimistic now that the Iron Curtain has fallen with an iron thud?  To answer this question, let us ask two other questions, one about us and one about ‘them’.

“The one about us: Were we more moved by the fear of God or the fear of Gorbachev?  Were we wrestling against principalities and powers in the Kremlin or in Hell?  Do we understand Solzhenitsyn’s line about the border between good and evil running not between nations but down the middle of our own souls?

“And the question about ‘them’ is: What kind of freedom was uppermost in the minds of most of the masses who poured through the newly opened Berlin Wall?  Was it spiritual freedom, or even intellectual freedom?  Did they, like the wise men from the East of old, come West seeking Christ?  Or condoms?  Did they pour into churches?  Or porno shops?  What excited them about the West?  Did they buy bibles or toilet paper?  What freedom was legislated in Romania as soon as it had killed its dictator, who was guilty of enormous crimes?  It was the freedom to kill those who are guilty of no crime at all except being in the way of someone who was bigger and already born.

“So let us look to the real battle, not to the fake one.  Now that that silly little temporary distraction called Communism is dead…we can get back to the battle that should have been bothering traditionalists all along…namely, the Western barbarianism within.”

Ouch.  I must confess that I probably worry more about Afghanistan and Iraq and the physical fates of my children and grandchildren than I do about the souls of the lost.  And that says a lot about me.  Kreeft’s message is a strong one, but one we all need to hear and think about.  The battle began millennia ago.  Now it is our turn to serve in the Lord’s army.  Will we heed his call to take up arms?

Copyright 2003 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER:  Feed the fire in our souls so we are more passionate about the lost! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.