DayBreaks for 11/08/18 – The Stone Elephant

Image result for stone elephant

DayBreaks for 11/08/18: The Stone Elephant

There is a story about a man who had a huge boulder in his front yard. He grew weary of this big, unattractive stone in the center of his lawn, so he decided to take advantage of it and turn it into an object of art. He went to work on it with hammer and chisel, and chipped away at the huge boulder until it became a beautiful stone elephant. When he finished, it was gorgeous, breath-taking.

A neighbor asked, “How did you ever carve such a marvelous likeness of an elephant?”

The man answered, “I just chipped away everything that didn’t look like an elephant!”

We have just come through another bitter election cycle in which everyone was slinging mud, patience was pushed to the breaking point, words were said that hurt and wounded. There is a lot of bitterness and anger in our country right now, no matter who your candidate was. It’s heartbreaking.

If you have anything in your life right now that doesn’t look like love, then, with the help of God, chip it away! If you have anything in your life that doesn’t look like compassion or mercy or empathy, then, with the help of God, chip it away! If you have hatred or prejudice or vengeance or envy in your heart, for God’s sake (literally!). for the other person’s sake, and for your sake, get rid of it! Let God chip everything out of your life that doesn’t look like tenderheartedness.

PRAYER: Create hearts in us that are so filled with love that we let go of grudges and the pain and frustration that we may feel – especially toward others with whom we disagree. Remind us that no matter the outcome of the election or anything else, you are still on the throne and in charge of it all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 3/03/16 – Christians Need to Hate More

DayBreaks for 3/03/16: Christians Need to Hate More

Christians are accused of being haters because of stands they take against what we believe are dangerous and harmful things in our culture. People think that Christians hate because they speak out against such things. In reality, if Christians are right in their understanding of Scripture and what it teaches, warning others about the dangers of certain actions could be seen as the most loving thing one could do. After all, isn’t it right to warn people about things that can destroy them and rob them of eternal life? (Assuming the warning is done in a loving, compassionate way, that is!)

Regardless, Christians are called haters. Can I say that most Christians I know don’t hate others – regardless of what others may be doing.  They really don’t. We all have sins that repel us more than others, but that doesn’t mean Christians do – or should – hate sinners. After all – we are sinners, too! Does Jesus hate sinners? No, he loves sinners…he loves you, doesn’t he?

But I am afraid that perhaps Christians don’t hate enough. Does that shock you? Consider these passages:

Psalm 97:10 (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.

Who is that verse directed to? “You who love the Lord.” And what are they do to? “…hate evil!” You know what I’m really concerned about? That we don’t know or recognize evil when we see it or hear it. But, those who love the Lord are here commanded to hate evil! (Again – there’s a huge difference between hating evil and hating evil-doers!!!!)

Proverbs 8:13 (NLT) – All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.

This verse makes a very simple statement and observation, stated as fact: those who fear God WILL hate evil. How true is that of you? Do you hate the evil in your own life? Do you hate the evil that tempts you in the darkness of your own heart, in the times of solitude when you are alone and no one can see you?

Confession time: I don’t hate evil enough. I’m far too fond of the evil in my own life and heart. Perhaps that’s related to the passage that describes the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom. It’s one of those A=B and B=C, therefore A=C propositions. If those who fear the Lord hate evil, and if it is also the beginning of wisdom, then hating evil is also related to wisdom, too.

One more: Amos 5:15 (NLT) – Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.

This one goes one step farther: it isn’t enough to hate evil, it has to be replaced with something, in this case, loving what is good.

All these things presume one thing: that we are able to discern what is good and what is evil. I fear that, at least in many American churches and American Christians, being able to discern those things has been lost. We let culture tell us what is good and what is evil. We let politicians and courts do our thinking and deciding for us. That is not the Biblical way.

Maybe we need to learn to hate the right things, and learn to love people more than we do.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, give us ears to listen to You and hearts that can discern good from evil. Create in us a hunger and desire to love what is good and to hate what is evil while still loving the evil-doer. And keep us humble, knowing that we are evil-doers, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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