DayBreaks for 4/10/19 – Loaded with Toxic Assets

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DayBreaks for 4/10/19: Loaded with Toxic Assets

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

I am not an economist – nor do I want to be.  Frankly, studying money and economies has always seemed like a huge waste of time given the fact that it’s all going to be burned up in the end and no one can take any worldly assets to the next world. 

Still, economic crises bring new economic terms and phrases into the headlines and our awareness, not the least of which is this one: toxic assets. While I don’t really understand it all too well, my take is that toxic assets are largely responsible for the trouble that banks are facing right now.  These toxic assets are loans, and it works like this: People owe the banks money.  Normally, banks like this.  Theywant people to owe them money and pay them interest because that’s how banks make a profit. But with the economy in its present condition, especially with the mortgage foreclosure crisis, many of the loans which should have been “assets” to the bank have actually become liabilities because the houses that secured the loans are now worth less than the amount of the loan itself.  So, a home that was purchased for $250,000 may now only be worth $150,000 – meaning that the bank has essentially lost $100,000 on the deal (not counting the interest they’d have made if the economy had held strong.)  So, instead of having several hundred thousands of dollars out of the loan in interest, the bank takes back the property after they’ve loaned out $250,000 – but the property is only worth $150,000 if they were to sell it!  This is a toxic asset, as I understand it.

And I know this much about accounting: when an asset hurts the bottom line of the financial statement, it is no longer an asset, but a liability – a loss or debt. And loss and debt are toxic to business.

I think we can make a spiritual application here: assets are not just a banking phenomenon.  There can be toxic spiritual assets, too. Anything we think is helpful to us in a spiritual way as individuals, but that actually is hurting us spiritually is a toxic asset.

The New Testament writers gave us lists of sins of the flesh.  We may think we aren’t doing the things listed, but in our modern world new and easier ways to sin have become very common.  The advent of computers and the Internet made lust much more easy (and seemingly more “innocent”), illegal drugs are everywhere, obesity is epidemic – these are all toxic assets.  People engage in these and other pleasures because they think that somehow, they will benefit us, not hurt us.  But the opposite is true.

Nearly anything can be a toxic asset, including homes, cars, IRA’s, 401K’s, boats, partying, etc., when they take over your life and push God into the shadows. Even something as seemingly innocent as a job can be a toxic asset. Money, education, family and friends, physical beauty – all these things can be great assets up unto the point where one allows them to take God’s place in their life, and start to live for them or trust in them.  Then, they have become toxic assets. 

Does this sound a lot like idolatry?  It is.  But most of us think we aren’t idolaters.  We have an image in our mind of a statue of some kind when we speak of idols.  That’s just what Satan wants us to think about when we think of idolatry.  He knows most of us aren’t going to fall for that one.  But an idol is nothing more or less than a toxic asset, and toxic assets are spiritual things that we think will help us but which are really just idols.

Banks are trying desperately to shed their financial toxic assets.  We would do well to work even harder at getting the toxic assets out of our own lives.

Prayer: Jesus, help us learn that not all that appears to be beneficial or which promises us pleasure or escape is good.  Give us new hearts and minds to understand how toxic our sin and dalliances are to our spirits.  Renew a clean heart within us, free from toxic things, a heart that longs for that which is pure and holy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 4/27/17 – The Real Danger

DayBreaks for 4/27/17 – The Real Danger

Note: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

As a child, I was fascinated by the story of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego.  My mind would swim with images and imaginings of what it looked like, of the sounds of the roaring furnace, of the great king Nebuchadnezzar in all his finery as the music blared and the masses bowed down.  That is, they bowed down with the exception of three people: the Hebrew boys otherwise known as Azariah, Mishael and Hananiah. 

I always thought that this was a story about idolatry.  I’d always thought that the temptation they faced was to worship the golden idol of the Babylonian king.  After all, that’s how I remember the story from the flannel graphs that my Sunday school teacher used to help us “see” the stories.  It is only recently that I believe God opened my eyes to a more significant truth.  The story is about idolatry, all right, but the idol that the young men were being tempted to worship wasn’t really the 90-foot tall golden sculpture. 

No, the real test was one about worship.  What would be worshipped?  They’d been taught as Jewish children that “the Lord our God is One” and that “No one is like the Lord our God.”  They knew full well that He was the only One who was worthy of worship.  The idol that these boys were confronted with – and which they were tempted to bow down and worship – was themselves, their earthly lives.  If they worshipped the idol, they’d save their lives – if they didn’t, they might lose their lives.

Would these three young men be wise enough to recognize which was the greater danger: to die in a fiery furnace, or to worship and esteem something else (even if it is your physical life) higher than the worship of God is idolatry?

We are our own greatest idol.  We need to cast aside the idol of self that leads us to hoard money, love, compassion, wisdom, possessions, pleasures.  Even if it comes to laying down our lives in order to worship God, doesn’t God have a right to ask that of us?  Of course He does. 

Do you recognize your own self-worship and idolatry?  Every time we choose our way, our dreams, our own joys rather than His, we are bowing down to the idol of self-worship.

PRAYER:  Father, help us to recognize our idolatry and our self worship.  Give us the wisdom to be able to discern the greatest danger – the danger of not giving you the worship and glory that you alone deserve.  Tear down our idols of self-interest that we may be true worshippers!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/24/16 – Another Ram in the Thicket

DayBreaks for 10/24/16 – Another Ram in the Thicket

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

The story of Abraham and Isaac has always intrigued and fascinated (and horrified) me.  There are obvious lessons to be learned from the story: the faith of Abraham, the obedience of Abraham, the trust of Isaac (even when it became apparent that he was the “sacrifice”), the importance of trusting God.  I’m not sure if Abraham or Isaac was the most relieved when the angel stopped Abraham’s hand and they saw the ram caught by its horns in the thicket.  And I have searched the haunted halls of my heart asking myself if I could have ever done what Abraham did – and I’m driven to my knees in humility by the answer.

But, perhaps instead of taking the extreme case of sacrificing a child, we need to look at other things that are much more close to home.  As Chuck Swindoll put it in Fascinating Lives of Forgotten People: “What it is that you are gripping so tightly?  A possession?  Your vocation?  A dream?  A consuming relationship?  The Lord may be in the process of taking it from you.  He’ll gently tug on it at first, giving you the opportunity to release your grip.  If you resist, He’ll eventually have to pry your fingers away…My advice?  Voluntarily release it.  Trust the Lord to provide.  He has another ram in the thicket.  You can’t see it right now, but He has it waiting.  Only after you have placed your sacrifice on the altar will you be ready to receive God’s provision.”

We all grip tightly to things in our world and in our lives.  I seriously doubt that God is asking any of us right now to sacrifice a child.  But I don’t doubt for a moment that He’s asking each of us to let go of something that has become a god in our life.  What do I mean?  Anything that we put our confidence and trust in is an idol, a god, if you will.  And we all have confidence in something in this world that pulls us away from trusting Him entirely and completely.  Do you know what those things are in your life?  I think that they’re probably the things that we fear happening the most: losing jobs, a stock market crash, losing our health, losing a friend that may not be a positive influence. 

What are you afraid of the most?  Is it possible that right now God is trying to teach you to surrender that to Him, trusting Him completely for all that you need today, tomorrow and forever?  As Chuck said, “He has another ram in the thicket.”  Do you believe that?

PRAYER:  Thank you, God, for all that You have entrusted to us.  Help us to recognize that You are the source of all good things and that we have been given all we have to benefit others.  May we hold our possessions with very loose hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

 

DayBreaks for 8/04/15 – A Kind of Child Sacrifice

DayBreaks for 8/04/15: A Kind of Child Sacrifice

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.– Jeremiah 7:31 (ESV)

Of all the sins of ancient Israel, it is hard to imagine anything that could compare to the sacrificing of children to pagan gods. Surrounded as pagan cultures as they were, those practices often infiltrated the national life of Israel. As I understand the worship of some of those gods, they were represented by metal images with their arms and hands outstretched in front of them. Fires could be lit beneath their arms and the arms would be heated until they glowed red-hot. And then the idolatrous worshipers would bring their children and place them into the super-heated arms of the pagan deities as sacrifices to placate the whim of those gods. Though it was acceptable culturally to the surrounding nations and many in Israel, It makes one shudder to even try to imagine such a thing!

On Sunday, the preacher was talking about worship and how we are innately worshiping beings: we all worship something – if not God, then idols. I fear he is right, and I also fear the extent of our idolatry even in the absence of physical images of metal or wood or stone.

In the name of financial gain, the pursuit of the perfect body, the head-long rush to climb the corporate ladder to dizzying heights, in the pursuit of our love of sports, fame or honor – we hold our children out and place them into the arms of those gods. Rather than holding our children and cherishing them, instead of making them the priority with our free time, we rush off and dump the children off on whoever is willing to watch them while we entertain ourselves.

I ask: is that not a kind of child sacrifice? It used to be that parents would selflessly sacrifice themselves in order to be there to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”. Consider God’s admonition to Israel: Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deut. 6:7 (NIV) You can’t possibly keep that command if you have sacrificed your children for the sake of convenience or expediency. 

It was culturally acceptable at times in the experience of Israel to sacrifice their children. That’s how they explained it away, I suppose. Even though we don’t literally sacrifice our children on a burning altar, it makes me wonder if we haven’t fallen for the same “culturally acceptable” seduction when it comes to our children and grand children. The altar of materialism and career and accumulation are leading to sacrifice of our children. 

I know not everyone has a choice – a single parent let to struggle raising children alone has a very difficult challenge to make ends me and yet be a parent. All I ask is that we think about our children as our most important “possession”. In making sacrifices “for” them, I can’t help but wonder if maybe we aren’t sometimes actually sacrificing them!

PRAYER: God, how desperately we need Your mind on this matter! We can make all sorts of excuses for why we are doing what we do but never let us forget that You have entrusted them to us and they are Yours and we will give an answer before Your throne for how we dealt with our children! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines

DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines

Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV) Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

We have heard this verse many, many times, especially the part about “choose this day whom you will serve.”  It is emblazoned on plaques, place settings and paintings.  I have absolutely no problem with that at all.

But look more closely at the context.  It is the end of Joshua’s long and distinguished career.  He had huge shoes to fill…and he filled them admirably.  I look forward to meeting him some day.  He must have been quite a man.

But what does he say?  He says, “Put away…”, not “You have put away…”  Do you get it?  The children of Israel that he’d led into Canaan were still carrying with them some of the gods that their fathers had worshipped in Egypt. This was a good number of years after they’d left Egypt and none of their ancestors (with the exceptions of Joshua and Caleb) who had tasted the whip and slavery in Egypt were alive any longer.  So the current generation had not worshiped those gods, but neither had they gotten rid of them.  They’d clung to them.  And, it would appear, they were still worshiping them.

This puts Joshua’s challenge to them in a new light.  These weren’t just polite, encouraging words.  Joshua was scolding them.  In effect, if you will, Joshua was telling them “Stop playing around with your faith! Get serious!  Make a decision!  If you want to keep worshiping those old gods, go ahead.  If you want to worship God, do so!  But whatever you do, make a decision and be done with your waffling!”

What would you have done if you’d been one of the Israelites?  Does Joshua’s challenge apply to you and me today?  You bet it does, perhaps more so in our country than ever before.  We must decide…and we must decide this day for we may not have another one!

PRAYER: We are prone to play with our faith and dabble with false idols.  May we take these words to heart, Lord, and with your help, resolve to be done playing games with our faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 7/14/14 – The Deadliest War

DayBreaks for 7/14/14 – The Deadliest War

2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

News flash: there is war in the Middle East.  There is fighting going on in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Israeli’s and Hamas are killing one another – Hamas launching rockets against Israel and Israel retaliating with bombs and tanks.  These things are nothing new to us.  We’re grown, sadly, rather accustomed to fighting in those places among the protagonists located there.  There is war and butchery taking place in numerous places in Africa and elsewhere in the world as Boko Haram and other organizations detonate bombs in their terrorist campaigns.  In the Ukraine, people are killing one another.  Sadly, tragically, there is a long list.

This is a world at war.  Almost on any given day the lead story on the evening news or the Internet feed is about fighting and killing.  And we think it is deadly for the simple reason that it is.  War, as someone once said, is hell.  (Though Biblically speaking, hell is much worse for hell is forever!)

What is the deadliest war ever fought?  I don’t honestly know.  Some think it was WW2 with as many as 72 million persons killed.  Others suggest that the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1800’s may have yielded as many as 100 million slain.  Staggering numbers, to be sure.

But is those really the deadliest war ever fought?  In his new book, gods at war, Kyle Idleman wrote: The deadliest war is the one most of us never realize is being fought.  His point, in context, is about the idols we have in our spiritual warfare.  His 8-year old daughter was reviewing the Ten Commandments one night and took great comfort in the fact that she’d never made an idol.  As he pondered her statement later, he thought: What if it’s not about statues?  What if the gods of here and now are not cosmic deities with strange names?  What if they take identities that are so ordinary that we don’t recognize them as gods at all?  What if we do our ‘kneeling’ and ‘bowing’ with our imaginations, our checkbooks, our search engines, our calendars?

What if I told you that every sin you are struggling with, every discouragement you are dealing with, even the lack of purpose you’re living with are because of idolatry?

You see, as Eugene Peterson put Paul’s point in The Message: Ephesians 6:12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

In a way Paul was right: we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against powers in the spiritual realm.  But in another way, we are fighting against flesh and blood – our own – for what will have ultimate rule over our life and will.  We are fighting against the idols that would lure us away from running whole-heartedly toward God.

Why is this the deadliest battle ever fought?  For at least two reasons: first, though not everyone fought in WW2 or the Taiping Rebellion, everyone is engaged in this warfare; and second, the consequences of losing the fight are not just temporal, but eternal.

“The deadliest war is the one most of us never realize is being fought.”  That’s why it’s so deadly.  We can lose this war and never even know we were in it.  “Let Him who has ears to hear, hear!”

PRAYER: Lord, set off alarm bells in our heads to alert us to the war that not only rages around us, but within us, and help us see the severity and deadly nature of this conflict!  Then, search our hearts and reveal our own idols to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and putS090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 2/28/14 – Recharging

DayBreaks for 2/28/14 – Recharging

What is the purpose of worship? Consider this intriguing story:

“An Italian newspaper recently carried a story about a young couple in Milan who seemed particularly devoted in their worship. The priest at a cathedral there reported that the pair spent an hour or more on a regular basis sitting before a statue of the Virgin Mary. Naturally, he assumed they were praying.

“Turns out, this young couple was recharging their cell phone. They had noticed a stray electric cable sticking out of the wall behind the statue of the Virgin Mary. Whenever their phone’s power supply dwindled, the young couple came to the church and re-charged it from the cable behind the Virgin Mary. The priest states that the young couple is welcome to use his church for this purpose.

“We talk about coming to church to “re-charge our batteries,” but this is ridiculous. What looked to the unobservant eye like an act of piety was actually a self-serving ploy to save money. This young couple was using the church for their own needs. And we’re shocked, shocked, I tell you–until we realize that we may be guilty of the same mistake.” – King Duncan

The story is humorous, isn’t it? But the concept of church as a place to go to “get” something is not. What is the purpose of going to church? Well, we are to encourage one another, exhort one another with the singing of songs and sharing of Scripture, so in a way, that could be called “re-charging”.  But worship isn’t about us. It is about the One who is deserving of worship. I wonder what the percentage of American Christians is that goes to worship on Sunday to receive a lift, rather than to give worship. My guess is that it is staggeringly high.

When Jesus said, as recorded in Mark 7:6 (NLT) You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, it didn’t just apply to worshippers in the first century, but to any worshipper of God in any time or place that goes through the motions at worship for any reason other than to give praise and glory to the great God, our Creator. Worship is about Him.  It is for Him.  It certainly isn’t about me or you or us.  When we worship to get something out of it ourselves, we have become idols and our hearts are far from Him even as our lips  mouth the right words and sing the right melodies and harmonies.

Why will you go to worship on Sunday? Invite the Spirit to reveal your motives – and to produce changes as needed.

PRAYER: Teach us to worship well…and worship rightly! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!