DayBreaks for 12/17/12 – When Jesus Became an Ant

DayBreaks for 12/17/12 – When Jesus Became an Ant

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Philippians 2:3-8 (NLT)– Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

This is an interesting telling of the Christmas story, one that you probably won’t hear preached about much this Advent season.  But it is perhaps an even more brutally honest telling of the story than the sentimentalized manger scene, animals, shepherds and singing angels.

The pastor on Sunday spoke from this passage.  He talked about how he hates ants and how their house had recent been infested by the rascals.  He considered preaching to them, asking them to repent for their “trespasses”, but realized it would be fruitless.  He thought about telling them how forgiving he could be if they’d just stop.  He thought about telling them about hell if they didn’t stop.  He knew that wouldn’t do any good, either.  They were crawling on his desk and he was smashing them with his thumb when he realized one that he’d smashed seem to have survived the ordeal but was writing in pain.  He faced the choice of letting it suffer or ending the suffering.  He chose the latter.

Then he talked about the spiritual application: God had been trying to speak to us for thousands of years, yet we didn’t stop going our own way.  He tried to show His long-suffering nature, but we continued to give Him plenty of reasons to bear with us.  He told about fearful judgment – but we ignored that, too.

What was God to do?  If He wanted the ants (us) to understand about Him, He would have to become an ant, too.  So that was what happened when Jesus emptied himself of eternal glory…and became an ant.

How would you have felt if you were given the choice of literally becoming an ant so you could communicate with them?  Who among us would do so?

Yet Jesus did more than that.  He became one of us (humans are even lower than ants to an infinite God – the distance in worth is far wider!).  Willingly.  And when he did, we ants abused him.  Then we killed him.

But here’s the real shocker: he became an ant knowing we would do that to him.  And therein lies the wonder of CHRISTmas.

PRAYER: How glorious you are for your self-abasing love for us!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/11/12 – Everyone Means Everyone

DayBreaks for 12/11/12 – Everyone Means Everyone

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Luke 6:17-19 (NLT)When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and Jesus also cast out many evil spirits. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

I think my favorite four words from this text are the last four: and he healed everyone.  He’s not in a rush.  He didn’t live by a wristwatch or smart phone alerting him to appointments, places he had to go, things he needed to do.  Jesus never seemed to be pressed for time, have you noticed?  He spent countless hours alone in prayer.  He fasted in the wilderness for 40 days, ignoring all the other things he could have been doing.   He waited 30 years to begin his ministry.  He lay in the tomb for 3 days when he could have risen up immediately.  But he didn’t.

The point is he came for us…to be Immanuel (God WITH us).  In ministry it is hard to find the time to be WITH those we are to minister to.  We find every other reason to be invested in the study, to go to the Christian supply store, to meet with other pastors, to go to conferences, to do everything except be present.  The same is true for every life – it is hard anymore to find time to BE with others.  Instead of talking, we text.  Instead of spending time with real people, we spend it with animated video games or staring at a television.  We find all sorts of ways to avoid being with others (perhaps as a self-defense mechanism).  Jesus didn’t.  He took the opposite approach.

But the best part of those last four words are this: he didn’t fail to heal a single person.  There is no one or nothing that Jesus can’t heal.  He can heal the pain of your divorce, of your sexual infidelity, of your addiction, of your rebellion.  He can render the disease of pride, anger, unforgiveness, lust, greed and envy null and void.  There is nothing that he cannot and will not do to bring us back into fullness as humans and into a personal relationship with him.  He proved that on the cross.

PRAYER: Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed!!!!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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