DayBreaks for 7/08/15 – The Heat Is On

DayBreaks for 7/08/15: The Heat Is On

Brett Blair shares the following story told by Lloyd J. Ogilve, in his book Life without Limits, a story of a pastor who in the space of one week heard the following comments from various people:

A woman said, “I’m under tremendous pressure from my son these days. I can’t seem to satisfy him, however hard I work. He really puts me under pressure.”

A young man said, “My parents have fantastic goals for me to take over the family business. It’s not what I want to do, but their pressure is unbearable.”

A college woman said, “I’m being pressured by my boyfriend to live with him before we are married. You know…sort of try it out…to see if we are right for each other.”

A husband said, “My wife is never satisfied. Whatever I do, however much I make, it’s never enough. Life with her is like living in a pressure cooker with the lid fastened down and the heat on high.”

A secretary said, pointing to her phone, “That little black thing is driving me silly. At the other end of the line are people who make impossible demands and think they are the only people alive.”

A middle-aged wife said, “My husband thinks my faith is silly. When I feel his resistance to Christ, I wonder if I’m wrong and confused. As a result, I’ve developed two lives; one with him and one when I’m with my Christian friends.”

An elderly woman said, “My sister thinks she has all the answers about the faith and tries to convince me of her point of view. I feel pressured to become her brand of Christian, but I keep thinking if it means being like her, I don’t want it at all. When she calls, I just put the phone on my shoulder and let her rant on while I do other things. A half-hour later, she’s still on the line blasting away, but I still feel pressure.”

A young pastor at a clergy conference said, “I hardly know who I am any more. There are so many points of view in my congregation, I can’t please them all. Everyone wants to capture me for his camp and get me to shape the church around his convictions. The pressure makes me want to leave the ministry.”

All of these persons have one thing in common. They are being pressured by other people. We all, at one time or another, experience people-pressure.

That is the question Herod faced in Mark chapter 6. After making an oath to a pretty young girl that she could have up to half of his kingdom, she surprised him and asked for the head of the Baptist. Mark 6:26 reveals that the King was thrown into distress, he knew it was wrong, but because of his oath and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.  He sent the executioner and on a platter was delivered the head of a holy man.   

The question today is: how will you deal with the pressure today? How will you let it affect your judgement and decisions?

PRAYER: Lord, I know that today we will all come under varying degrees of pressure – pressures to compromise and take the easy way out rather than doing what we deep down inside know is right.  Help us be strong through Your Spirit! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

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DayBreaks for 6/23/14 – Trying to See Him

DayBreaks for 6/23/14 – Trying to See Him          

Luke 9:7-9 (NLT) When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about everything Jesus was doing, he was puzzled. Some were saying that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. Others thought Jesus was Elijah or one of the other prophets risen from the dead. “I beheaded John,” Herod said, “so who is this man about whom I hear such stories?” And he kept trying to see him.

It is a common enough thing – this trying to see someone famous.  If you’ve ever gone to a live concert, or a professional sports event, or a revival meeting with Billy Graham, you know what I’m talking about.  You lean this way and that trying to see around those in front of you.  You stretch and stand on your tip-toes to try to see over those in front of you.  You might even get up and walk to another vantage point.  Why?  Because there is someone famous there and you want to catch a glimpse of them!

In some ways, it would see, Herod Antipas, though he was the tetrarch of Galilee, was also seeking to see someone famous so he was a lot like us (or we are a lot like him!)  He might, based on this passage, have had another motive: he had killed John the Baptist and had heard that perhaps John “was back” (in fact, in Matthew 14:2, Herod himself declares that this Jesus must be John!).  Herod may have had sleepless nights thinking about that – wondering if perhaps this Jesus was really John, back from the dead, come to seek revenge.  By seeing Jesus, Herod hoped to put his mind at rest.

But, Jesus wasn’t John, and Jesus didn’t appear before Herod Antipas – at least not at this time.  He would appear before him during the crucifixion week when Herod (who we are reminded was still desiring to see Jesus) was in town and Pilate shipped Jesus off to Herod when he learned Jesus was from Galilee, Herod’s jurisdiction).

Herod had a couple of problems.  He wanted to see Jesus (hoping, we’re told, to see a  miracle during Jesus’ trial) for all the wrong reasons.  He didn’t want to see or hear Jesus speak – he wanted Him to perform.  Perhaps that’s another way we’re like Herod – we often want Jesus to perform according to our wants and wishes.  He wanted to see Jesus to satisfy his curiosity, but not to follow Jesus.

There would be one more time when Herod and Jesus stood in front of one another.  The first time, in Jerusalem, was when Jesus was on trial for his life and he stood before Herod.  The second was in the afterlife when the tables were reversed and Herod stood before Jesus, on trial for his life.  We don’t have to wonder what transpired the second time: every knee bows and confessed before Jesus…including tetrarchs and kings.  When Herod saw Jesus for the second time, when he looked into His eyes – he knew.  He also knew it was too late.  How one wonders what went through the minds of the two individuals and what other words may have been exchanged!

There is one more way that we are like Herod and he is like us: we, too, shall someday stand before Jesus.  What will you say?  What do you think He will say to you?

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to seek you now – for all the right reasons, knowing that we shall someday see you clearly and plainly without distraction, and that we will gave an answer for our lives!  May we hear You declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 12/23/11 – What King Herod’s Know in Their Soul

DayBreaks for 12/23/11 – What Herod’s Know In Their Soul    

King Herod the Great

Every year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, there is displayed, beneath the great Christmas tree, a beautiful eighteenth century Neapolitan nativity scene. In many ways it is a very familiar scene. The usual characters are all there: shepherds roused from sleep by the voices of angels; the exotic wise men from the East seeking, as Auden once put it, “how to be human now”; Joseph; Mary; the babe — all are there, each figure an artistic marvel of wood, clay, and paint. There is, however, something surprising about this scene, something unexpected here, easily missed by the causal observer. What is strange here is that the stable, and the shepherds, and the cradle are set, not in the expected small town of Bethlehem, but among the ruins of mighty Roman columns. The fragile manger is surrounded by broken and decaying columns. The artists knew the meaning of this event: The gospel, the birth of God’s new age, was also the death of the old world.

Herods know in their souls what we perhaps have passed over too lightly: God’s presence in the world means finally the end of their own power. They seek not to preserve the birth of God’s new age, but to crush it. For Herod, the gospel is news too bad to be endured, for Mary, Joseph, and all the other characters it is news too good to miss. – Adapted from Thomas G. Long, Something Is About To Happen

I don’t know about you, but I’m not just skeptical, but a bit fearful of politicians and power-brokers who talk about the “new world” that they are vowing to bring to us.  I’m hugely skeptical.  To me, it sounds like someone trying to convince me that I will like the things they want to do, so sit down, open your mouth, and take your medicine!

Sometimes, however, the old must pass away so a better new can come.  Herod knew it – and he knew it meant the end of him and his despotic rule.  There was a new King coming to town and Herod wanted nothing to do with it, or with Him.  So he tried to introduce his own new world – one of killed babies and crying mothers, a voice of weeping and wailing.

In the midst of all that, there was another baby wailing.  He would have sounded to human ears like any other human infant who was hungry or dirty or who simply wanted to be held.  But to God it was a voice unlike any other, for a new world, a new age, had dawned with the birth of the little one in the stable.

Maybe this year you’ve held off on giving all you are to Jesus.  Maybe you’ve held back because you were skeptical of his claims to give you life and life more abundant.  Maybe you simply thought it all sounded too good to be true.  Maybe you’re wrong about all those things…and you may be like Herod, trying to squash the Baby Jesus before he can make any demands of you.  Herod lost.  Herod was wrong.  This year, don’t be wrong about your decision of what to do with Jesus.  Decide now that He will be as welcome in your heart as he is in the courts of heaven above.  Welcome the baby Jesus and the grown Christ, risen in glory!

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone!

PRAYER: Be born in us anew this day and may our hearts be glad to welcome you in!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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