DayBreaks for 7/24/17 – Enough, but not Enough

DayBreaks for 7/24/17: Enough…but Not Enough

I have never seen him, but today the preacher was talking about an insight by a comedian named Louis C.K. Apparently the comedian had gotten onto a plane to fly somewhere and the people next to him were complaining about the fact that they’d had a three-hour layover before the flight between the American coasts. Louis found himself a bit incredulous that the people could be complaining about that three-hour layover when in 4.5 hours they’d have traveled from Los Angeles to New York. He thought about how amazing it is that we can fly through the air like a bird, inside of a huge machine that is so heavy that it should never get off the ground, and that journey could be completed in about five hours – something that used to take between 4 to 6 months on a horse. And yet, they were grumbling about it. As Louis C.K. put it: It’s amazing, but it is never enough.

Have you ever grumbled about a layover or delay? Why is it that we grumble and complain so much? Perhaps it is because we, too, have forgotten the wonder of the situation in which we find ourselves.

Ephesians 2:1 says, Once you were dead because of your disobedience and many sins. (NLT) It’s important to get the reality of that verse firmly rooted into our minds – both conscious and unconscious. Paul says you were dead…not that you were sick, were injured, or even that you were dying, but that you WERE dead. It was a fait accompli. It wasn’t a potential possibility, it was accomplished fact.

But he goes on: Ephesians 2:4-5 (NLT) – But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

The point was simple enough. We grumble and complain because we forget the wonder of the work of Christ on the cross and the grace that has been extended to us. The Israelites grumbled and complained when they took their eyes off the grace of God that pulled them out of Egyptian slavery.

Grumbling and complaining is never pretty. Grace is beautiful. As the preacher put it today: In the presence of grace, grumbling ceases.

PRAYER: God, let me live consciously in the constant presence of grace that I may never again be a grumbler. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 6/06/17 – Harmful Ingredients

DayBreaks for 6/06/17: Harmful Ingredients

Are you a label reader? As I’ve gotten older, I read food labels more closely. I do that because as our health conditions change, such matters become more important to my health. I won’t begin to say that I’m good at it, and at times, I don’t bother to read the labels partly because I may want to eat something regardless of what the label says!

One thing I have learned, though, is that food content lists always put the most important things in the list first and then they are listed in descending order of importance. That is how it should be! Think about it: if the things which had the most potential to do you harm were entered at the bottom of the list, would you ever get to that part of the label? I wouldn’t. We’ve become ever more concerned in modern times about what we put into our bodies – and that’s good, because our bodies, we are told, are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Here’s where it gets intriguing: when we describe things that are of importance, don’t we all tend to put the most important things at the top of the list as we start writing or talking about them? I don’t know if that was the case when Jude wrote his brief letter or not, but in his letter, he includes a list of offenses that he described this way: “…certain people…who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These were false teachers who led weak Christians astray. Then he starts to list what their offenses were: These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

Did you notice what is at the top of Jude’s list? It’s not murderers, rapists, thieves or terrorists (yes, they had them in the first century, too). It’s grumblers and fault finders who are out for what they can get.

Does that describe you and me? We are a nation of critics – some people even make a living that way (movie critics, theater critics, fashion critics, music, art, books, restaurants, etc., etc.) I don’t make my living that way, but do I grumble and complain about traffic, prices, weather, the government, taxes, sports teams, how I’m being treated by someone, what I’m being paid? It’s still grumbling, isn’t it?

Why is grumbling ingredient #1 on Jude’s list? It is a sign of inner discontent. Complaining about something makes it public and infects others. In essence, my complaints and grumblings are an indictment against God’s character and goodness, saying He hasn’t treated me well, or fairly, and calling into question His sovereignty and providence. Remember why God punished the Israelites in the wilderness? It was because of their grumblings (1 Cor. 10.10). In Philippians we are told to do everything without complaining or arguing (Phil. 2:14-16), and in 1 Timothy 6:6, Paul goes on to encourage us that godliness with contentement is great gain.

How interesting that grumbling and complaining are at the top of the list, but when you see them as what they really are – indictments of God’s character – it makes sense.

How many times today have you grumbled and complained already? Too many – that’s my guess, but I’m guilty, too.  

PRAYER: God, I’m sorry for the many times I grumble and complain. Forgive my arrogance to call Your character, wisdom and sovereignty into question!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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