DayBreaks for 4/12/19 – The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

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DayBreaks for 4/12/19: The King is Dead – Long Live the King!

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Isaiah 6 describes a visit of Isaiah to the temple in the year that King Uzziah died.  Uzziah had been king for 52 years – a good one, too.  He’d done wonderful things, and he had been able to hold the mighty Assyrian army, under the command of Tiglath-Pileser at bay on more than one occasion.  But now, now the king is dead. 

We don’t know why Isaiah went to the temple when he did, but perhaps it was because the young man was seeking some reassurance.  The king was dead, now who would protect Judah?  Who would keep them safe, if anyone could, from Assyria?  I don’t doubt that Isaiah had some of these thoughts running through his head as he entered the temple to pray – seeking some peace in the maelstrom with Uzziah’s death.

In two places in Scripture there are retellings of visions that holy men had of our great God.  One is found in Isaiah 6, and the other in Revelation, where John had a vision of God enthroned in glory above.  There are similarities and differences between their two visions that are instructive.  Isaiah’s vision took place first – by a span of about 800 years.  Isaiah describes seeing seraphs around the throne with their 6 wings, covering their eyes, constantly singing (all day and all night forever and ever!), “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!”  In John’s vision, 800 years later, are seraphim are still singing their never-ending song about God’s holiness, never tiring of giving Him glory.  But while there are many similarities, there are also two things that are radically different:

800 years before, only the angels were singing.  Heaven’s music was performed by a very select and elite company – a chamber choir of angels in God’s throne room.  But now, with John’s vision, that all has changed.  No longer is it just the angels who sing, but all living things in heaven and on earth join into the song! It is no longer an aria reserved for just a few chosen angelic tongues, but it has become the praise song of all creation.

Secondly – and this difference is more noteworthy and important than the first one – in Isaiah’s vision the seraphim around God’s throne use two of their wings to cover their eyes.  Even though these angels around the throne of God must be and are holy because otherwise they would not be permitted into His presence to offer their worship, they could not behold the perfection of God’s holiness.  They must cover their eyes, for His holiness is too much even for these heavenly beings to look upon.  BUT: in John’s vision, the creatures who surround the throne are “covered with eyes, in front and in back.”  Each has six wings still, but now they are covered with eyes all around, even under the wings, according to John.  They are ALL eyes.  They cannot help but to look full upon the Lord who is high and lifted up.

Why the change?  What happened in those 800 years?  John, the beloved disciple, answered the question in his apocalypse: Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne. This is the Lamb that John the Baptist had spoken of when he shouted: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The difference is simple, but profound.  While once man – even a man as upright as Isaiah – couldn’t look upon the Lord and even the heavenly host dared not look upon God, now, because of Jesus, the Lamb of God who has taken away the world’s sin, everyone and anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, can look.  All of us men and women of unclean lips, because of Jesus, can now look directly upon all that was once forbidden even to angels to see. 

And that alone, is the reason that not just the angels sing around the throne after Jesus, but that all creation – even the souls of the mighty prophets who at one time dared not join in that song – can join in and sing: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Prayer: You are Holy, Lord, and we join our song to that of the living creatures to say without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 6/22/18 – Do You Mortify?

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DayBreaks for 6/22/18: Do You Mortify?

Romans 8:12-13 (ESV) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

The Continental Divide runs up from South America all the way up into Canada. On the eastern side, all the water runs toward the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico, on the western side toward the Pacific. You can literally stand in the road and have one foot on the eastern side and one on the western side. It’s easy when there to move from one extreme to the other. But it’s far harder to move from unholiness to holiness.

Through the middle of our lives is a divide – far wider and far more significant that the Continental Divide.
Earlier in Romans 8:5-8, Paul describes that our minds must be changed, transformed. But that’s not enough. Verses 9-11 say our entire being must be transformed – not just our minds, but our bodies/fleshly nature, too.

The real application here comes in verses 12-13 where we are, by the Spirit (not by our own power!), to put to death the deeds of the body. The whole thing is predicated on verse 12 where Paul says we are not debtors to the flesh. The word debtors here would be better translated as “obligated.” We are not obligated any longer to live in the ways of the flesh. We have the Spirit of God in us.

John Owen, writing long ago, said that we must “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” What is called for is a continual rampage against sin in our lives. We are told to kill it, to mortify, to put it to death.

The billion dollar question though, is are you, am I, mortifying the flesh? Consider this analogy: if an intruder broke into your home and began firing bullets at your family trying to kill them, what would you do? We wouldn’t just invite them to sit down for a cup of coffee so we could discuss things. We would FIGHT – even to the point of killing that intruder in order to preserve the life and peace of our family.

How are we fighting sin? Are we fighting it with the same (or more!) passion as we would that intruder? Or, are we unwilling to kill sin because we want to be able to play with sin once every so often? Have we become so afraid of legalism that we’ve forgotten about the demand for holiness? Yes, God is gracious – far more gracious than we can imagine – but God is very clear: we are to kill sin in our lives by the Spirit. That means letting the Spirit do the killing, but that can only happen as we yield to Him and His control.

We can’t afford to be ho-hum about sin. The devil isn’t ho-hum in his attack on us. Our death is his intention! How could we be ho-hum about our sin when we see the price Jesus paid on Calvary to rescue us from it?

Let’s fight like our lives depend on it – and let Jesus’ holiness that has been credited to us take care of the times we fail.

PRAYER: Jesus, we aren’t very good at killing sin. We cannot do it on our own. Let us cry to you every single day and put our will and fleshly desire to death. Let your Spirit have that work in us that we so desperately need! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/09/17 – You ARE Holy

 

DayBreaks for 6/09/17: You Are Holy

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2007:

Holy ground. The Holiest of Holies. Terms from the Scripture that we are familiar with. We believe that the ground on which Moses stood was holy. We believe that the temple was made holy by the One who dwelt there. For sure, these things are true.

There was nothing special about the sand and rock on which Moses stood. They were made of the same chemicals and molecules that is the essence of the created world. Iron, magnesium, copper – whatever kind of rock and sand he stood on, was still made up of electrons, protons and neutrons spinning and twirling around one another in an atomic dance.

The gold and silver and wood and linen in the temple were the same chemical compounds that you can buy in the store today. They were the ordinary, routine stuff of existence with which we are so well acquainted. Nothing special there.

In both cases, however, they were holy for one and ONLY one reason: God was there. It was not a miracle of atomic transformation that made all these things holy, it was the miracle of His Presence. His Presence transforms where He is into a holy place  – the holiest of holy places.

Colossians 1:18-23 (NLT)  – Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. Â For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.

The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes a dazzling claim in the passage quoted above. Here it is: you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Wow.

Do you belong to Christ? Then you stand before Him – holy and blameless without a single fault! How can this be? When we became Christians, did the atoms of our flesh change to make us holy? No, no more than the atoms of the material of the wilderness floor or the temple walls. We are holy the same way they were holy: God is present with us. He now dwells in us as he did in the temple – and there His presence made the temple holy.

God sees us through the eyes of the Spirit. We see ourselves through the eyes of the flesh. We need to learn to see ourselves, and believe the truth about ourselves, as God sees us. Paul even stressed it: But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. What truth was he talking about? Our holiness and blamelessness even when we don’t feel holy or blameless. Paul continued: Don’t drift away from the assurance you received. It is believing the truth about who and what we are IN HIM that fills us with the motivation and love and wonder to live for him more fully, each and every day.

PRAYER: Jesus, how desperately we need to take this passage to heart! To believe that we ARE now, and not just at some point in the future, holy and blameless as we stand before you. Let this truth transform our lives for your praise and glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/28/17 – Visiting With Isaiah, #2

DayBreaks for 2/28/17: Visiting With Isaiah, #2

Isaiah 6:2-3 (ESV) – Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The seraphim are interesting creatures and they certainly caught Isaiah’s attention, but not because of their unearthly appearance (which sounds quite amazing!), but because of what they were doing.

It appears that they perhaps circle over the top of the throne as they fly, but even these incredible creatures shield their eyes from the glory of the one seated on the throne, and they cover their feet – often thought of as being a very lowly and humble part of the body – because of the worthiness of the Being on the throne.

But the most amazing thing about these beings is what they say to one another: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!

Stop and think about that for a moment. If you were standing (or hovering) over the throne of God, what might you be saying? Perhaps you’d say, Loving, loving, loving is the Lord or hosts, or perhaps Gracious, gracious, gracious or Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent. I could imagine saying all sorts of things, can’t you?

Not these creatures. The thing that so dominated their thinking and their speaking wasn’t the love of the one on the throne, or his grace, mercy, compassion or anything other than His holiness.

What is holiness? What does the word holy mean? It means different, other, set apart (especially for some purpose), special in some great way. What these amazing seraphim are captivated by is how unlike anything else this Lord is! This is intended to let us know that this is a One of a kind God, One who is not like us nor even like the seraphim themselves. He is completely Other.

So, what’s so special about that? Think about his holiness, his total otherness and then think about the Incarnation. This incredible one who is seated on the throne in Isaiah’s vision who is so Other is the one who made himself like us, removing his Otherness and taking on our Sameness – even sameness to the point of dying like King Uzziah did, and dying as we shall.

To echo the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 53:1a: Who has believed our report? Who would believe such a thing could ever happen, that the One whose glory fills the temple, leaving room for no other being to be glorified, would do such a thing?

One more note here: the seraphim are proclaiming his holiness not because of anything He has done, but simply because of who and what He is.

Ready for today’s challenge? Try this one on for size from 1 Peter 1:16 – we are told by God himself that we are to be holy, even as he is holy! Is that some kind of mean, sadistic joke? How can such a thing be? It can only be because He became like us, gave himself for us and even more – gives us His own holiness, the very same holiness that the seraphim talk about without ceasing – through the blood of Jesus.

Isaiah 61:10 (ESV) – I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

PRAYER: Lord, we can scarce believe that you have clothed us with your own righteousness and given us the holiness of Jesus that we may one day stand, unashamed in your holy presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 2/13/15 – Just Not Very Much

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DayBreaks for 2/13/15: Just Not Very Much   From the DayBreaks archive, February 2005:

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  (1 John 2:1)

John was a man of strong passions.  He is known by the nick-name of “Old Camel Knees” because he loved prayer so much that his knees were calloused and cracked from time spent on his knees.  He is also known as the apostle of love because of his tender letters and his focus on our need to love one another.  But John had another passion, and it was part of what prompted him to write his letter: that the recipients of his letter would STOP sinning.  Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that the apostle of love was so insistent about our not sinning.  Sin is sin because it is rebellion directed at a heart of Love, God’s heart. 

But while all that may be true, we’d miss the point of John’s writing if we don’t meditate on the verse quoted above.  We can argue all we want about whether or not it is possible for a Christian to not sin, but after all, we’re told that with every temptation there’s a way of escape, right?  Doesn’t that logically mean that we should be able to be without sin?  So, is the result of our sin our failure to appropriate the power of the Spirit to keep us from sinning?  Probably so.  But that’s not really what I want to focus on right now. 

Think about this: what is your goal for your own personal holiness?  Is it the same as John had for those who would read his letter: “…that you will not sin”?  In his wonderful book, the classic, The Practice of Holiness, Jerry Bridges asked himself that question and came up with this response: “…I realize that my personal life’s objective regarding holiness was less than that of John’s.  He was saying, in effect, ‘Make it your aim not to sin.’  As I thought about this, I realized that deep within my heart my real aim was not to sin very much.” 

Ouch, ouch, ouch!  I don’t know about you, but I’ve got those sins that I know I need to get rid of, but they continue to plague me.  Could it be because I really don’t want to stop them?  That I cherish them just a bit too much, so they are the exceptions to personal holiness that I allow in my life?  Perhaps I, like Jerry Bridges, haven’t had the right goal: to NOT sin, rather than to not sin very much, and certainly not in a public way!

Does the goal matter?  You bet.  Bridges goes on to use an illustration of a soldier going into battle, a life or death setting.  What’s his/her goal?  To not get hit?  Or, to not get hit very much?  You see the point.  We are in a battle.  It is a life or death situation.  Jonathan Edwards, one of the great preachers of early American history, made lots of resolutions, but perhaps this one was the best: “Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.”  Bridges concludes: “There is no point in praying for victory over temptation if we are not willing to make a commitment to say ‘no’ to it.”

What’s your personal holiness goal?

PRAYER: God, we need to take our sin more seriously…and to also rest in Your mercy and grace for the times we do yield to our temptation.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 1/13/15 – The Greatest Holiness

DayBreaks for 01/13/15 – The Greatest Holiness

 

Once upon a time long ago, a young man decided he wanted to become a saint. He left his home, family, and possessions and journeyed into the hot sands of the desert where he eventually found a dark cave. He thought, “I can find God here. I will be alone and nothing will disturb me.” He prayed day and night in the cave, but God sent him many temptations. He imagined all the good things in life and wanted them desperately, but he was determined to give up everything and be with God alone. After many months, the temptations stopped and the young man was finally alone with God. 

Then one day God called to him, “Leave your cave and go to a distant town. Look for the local shoemaker. Knock on his door and stay with his family for a few days.” The holy hermit was puzzled by God’s request, but nonetheless left the next morning. He walked far across the desert sands and by nightfall had reached the village. He found a small house, knocked on the door and was greeted with a smile and a welcome. The hermit inquired if the man was the local shoemaker. Hearing that he was, the hermit was pleased, but the shoemaker, seeing that the hermit was tired and hungry invited him in to stay. The hermit was given a hearty meal and a clean place to sleep. The hermit stayed with the shoemaker and his family for three days. The two men talked quite a bit and the hermit learned much about the shoemaker, but he revealed little about himself, even though the family was quite curious about him. 

Then after three days the hermit said good-bye to the shoemaker and his family and retraced his steps back across the desert to his cave, wondering all the while why God had sent him on this mission. When he arrived back at the cave, God questioned the hermit. “What was the shoemaker like?” The hermit answered, “He is a simple man; they have a small home. He has a wife and a baby. They seem to love each other greatly. He has a small shop where he makes shoes. He works very hard and makes very little, but he still gives money and food to those who are less fortunate. He and his wife pray each day; they have lots of friends.” God listened to the hermit and replied, “You will be a great saint, as you wish, but the shoemaker and his family will be great saints as well.” 

This legend of Saint Antony of the Desert describes what sainthood is all about.  According to Jesus’ description of the judgment found in Matthew 25:34-36, we learn what pleases Jesus.  In fact, the greatest saints amongst us may not be the ones with the ability to preach a convincing sermon or give the best apologetic defense of the gospel, but the one who is the most generous to those in need.  Perhaps we have been impressed by the wrong kind of things, but Jesus isn’t. 

Matthew 25:34 (NLT) – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 

PRAYER: Give us compassionate hearts and help us understand what it is that You truly value and want from us! In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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