DayBreaks for 3/04/19 – The Word Became Flesh

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DayBreaks for 3/04/19: The Word Became Flesh

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

One of the most amazing statements in Scripture is found in the gospel of John: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…  Here is a great mystery: that the Divine Word became flesh.  There are those who have puzzled over how this could be true, those who question the virgin birth and the fact that Jesus was begotten by the Spirit.  It is a rather remarkable fact.  But that’s not the most wonderful or amazing question that could be asked.  Instead of asking “How”, I believe we’d be better to ask the “Why?” question. 

John doesn’t leave us hanging on that point, either.  It was because the Word became flesh that we saw the glory of God in the person of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.  Surely, it was the kind of thing that mankind had longed for from the time of the creation – to see the glory of God.  Even those who saw Jesus saw only a bit of the glory that belongs to God because it would have been too much for humans to bear to be exposed, in our flesh, to the fullness of the glory of God Almighty.  But a portion of it was made visible to us, and it should be enough.

The great Christian scholar and theologian, Karl Barth, had an interesting observation regarding this passage, which brings us to the point I want to consider today.  Here’s what he had to say: “The Word became flesh – and then through theologians it became words again.” 

Yes, Jesus became flesh.  He’s not here any longer in a fleshly form, but he is here in those of us who have fleshly forms.  The Word took up residence in human flesh when Jesus came, and the Spirit has taken up residence in human flesh in all believers.  The question is: has the Word remained incarnated in us, or have we turned the truth of the Spirit and of God into just words once more?  Is the Spirit of the risen Lord dwelling actively in you?  Are you listening to His promptings, taking action as He directs?  Is He a personal acquaintance with whom you have a relationship?  Or, has your faith just become a matter of words once more, drained of the vitality of the One Who is Life itself?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

The Word still dwells in flesh.  Only this time it is our flesh.  Let it dwell in you RICHLY!!!!

Prayer: What an amazing thing, Jesus, that You became flesh!  How humbling that You still choose to live in our human flesh through Your Spirit.  May you dwell in us richly, Lord Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 12/24/18 – Searching for Hope

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DayBreaks for 12/24/18: Searching for Hope

(NOTE: This was written by a dear friend of mine, Janine Boyer, earlier in December. Used by permission.)

Our trip to Israel had already exceeded my expectations and then I saw them. “Look! Look! Those are real sheep and a real shepherd,” I said to Dave from inside our bus. As we passed the hills of Bethlehem, they were just like I had pictured in my mind, a mixture of grass and rocks, steep for those cute little sheep and windy for a donkey to have to travel. Tomorrow I would get to visit the place where Jesus Christ was born.

But in a matter of a day, the scene changed. There was some unrest in Bethlehem overnight, and it wasn’t safe to visit. I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip and experiencing what it must have felt like for Mary and Joseph over 2,000 years ago.

Things didn’t work out as I had expected; and almost a year later, I can still feel that disappointment. But as I thought about that, I also thought about how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Because of the census being taken, they had to leave behind everything that was familiar to them and start over in a new place. What did it feel like when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, desperately looking for a place to stay, only to be turned away?

I imagine Mary was not only searching for a place to deliver her baby, but also desperately searching for relief from that pain, searching for rest and searching for help. Who of us cannot relate to those feelings in one way or another? Our lives can change in a moment, often times leaving us feeling desperate and disappointed. But if we stop there, we miss the blessings of the unexpected.

Mary and Joseph continued searching for a place to stay. What did they find? A stable. Straw would become the blanket upon which Jesus Christ would be born. Not soft and comfy like the blankets on our beds, but itchy and scratchy for this tiny baby. Maybe that’s not what they were looking for, but that is what they found.

Often times what we are looking for is different than what we find too. Life’s circumstances can change the way we feel. But we can’t stop there. We desperately need to keep searching for God in the midst of all we feel. While Joseph and Mary searched, they never lost hope. As a result, what did they find? They found God turned that stable into a place of glory, a place that was lit up by a star in the sky, a place where people who were desperately searching, would find hope and peace. A place for all of us.

I don’t know what you are feeling this Christmas season. I don’t know your life events. But God does. That tiny little baby, God’s Son, felt everything we feel. “For unto us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for giving us a place to come and find hope and peace. Give us the courage to choose to make room for you no matter how we feel today, whether we be full of joy or full of sorrow. Help us to feel the amazing wonder of Your Son and His birth, His life and even His death. Help us to be like Mary and take the stable that was offered to her and turn it into a place where YOU, King of all Kings, would be born. In Your Hopeful name we pray, Amen.

DayBreaks for 12/21/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice, #4

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DayBreaks for 12/21/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #4

Finishing off the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday.

Our fourth, and final, sacrifice as Christian priests and priestesses is found in Philippians 4:18 (ESV) – I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

Paul says that the gifts which were sent to him from the church at Philippi weren’t just gifts, but sacrifices that pleased God.

The privilege we have as believers is that God supplies all our needs. Every good and perfect gift starts with him for our enjoyment, yes, but also to pass through our fingers into the hands of others in need.

The responsibility of such a privilege is that we are empowered by his generosity to meet kingdom needs and human need.

I was struck by the fact that the first gifts given to Jesus at his birth by the magi didn’t really come from the magi, but from the Father who provided it for the magi to bring to the stable. Yet, I believe that the myrrh and frankincense (and gold) the magi were sacrifices that were fragrant offerings that pleased the Father immensely as he stared down at the son in the manger – and also into the hearts of the magi.

God gave the most perfect gift of all time, the most urgently needed gift, in the person of Jesus. If you have the means at all this season, you’ll give gifts to family and friends. Question: what will you give to those who may be your enemies? After all, isn’t that what God did for us with the child in the manger?

PRAYER: Let us give freely, not only to those who are friends and family, but to our enemies and strangers as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/18/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice #1

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DayBreaks for 12/18/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #1

Continuing with the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday.

While Christians do not make sacrifices for sin (we believe that Jesus’ blood was the all-sufficient sacrifice for all time for all persons), that doesn’t mean we are exempt from making sacrifice. As pointed out yesterday, we are as believers, priests and priestesses. And what is the role of a priest? It was to do at least three things:

  1. To represent God to man;
  2. To represent man to God;
  3. To offer sacrifices.

So, what sacrifices are we to make as believers today? First let me suggest this one: we are to offer our lives as living sacrifices pleasing to God, which, by the way, is only reasonable. (Romans 12:1)

The privilege we have been given by the indwelling of the Spirit is that we have obtained moral ability. When we were dead in our sin, we had no other option. But being made alive, we now have the choice, the ability, to sacrifice the life of the flesh for a life lived in the Spirit, to choose obedience instead of to sin. Do we do it perfectly? Far from it. So if that is our privilege, what is our responsibility? To surrender our nature to be controlled by the Spirit.

Each day this week, let me ask you as priests and priestesses, what will you do this week to offer your life as a living sacrifice? You have the ability to choose obedience. What will you surrender? When?

Think today Jesus’ example of offering himself as a sacrifice – giving his life as a living sacrifice (that started with the incarnation and culminates in a resurrected eternal life in glory where his scars are still visible). How does his sacrifice as our great High Priest inform our understanding of our roles as priests and priestesses?

PRAYER: Father, as long as we dwell in the flesh, we will struggle to surrender our lives as offerings to you. Let us choose what is pleasing to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/17/18 – When the Sacrifice Began

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DayBreaks for 12/17/18: When the Sacrifice Began

If I were to start talking about sacrifice and how it related to the Jewish people, you’d probably garner up images of animal sacrifice in connection with the temple. Makes perfect sense.

If I were to ask you about sacrifice and how it relates to Christianity, my guess is that your instantaneous thought would turn to Calvary followed in short order by Easter, and that would not be wrong. As Christians, we do not believe that any more sacrifice for sin is needed because the New Testament makes it very clear that the blood of Jesus was the atonement for all sin – something the blood of bulls and goats could never do.

But as we enter this last week before Christmas arrives, I want to think about sacrifice. I believe that the sacrifice of Jesus began way before the crucifixion.

If we listen closely to these verses from Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT2) – 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.

I believe this passage indicates that the sacrifice of Jesus began when he gave up his divine privileges. Think of it: eternal glory, never knowing pain or sickness, the temporary surrender of the adoration of the angels and four living creatures, the halls of glory were all surrendered for a manger and the brokenness of taking on human form.

We like to talk about how there is no longer need for sacrifice, and if we are speaking of sin, that’s true. We Christians are freed from the OT laws and rules that required sacrifice. But are we free from the need to make sacrifices? No, not at all.

In our teaching this past Sunday, our lead teacher talked about four sacrifices that we must offer. During the rest of this week, I’ll talk about one each day and figure out what they mean to us today and during this holiday season. But for today, look at this passage from 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Question: what does it mean to you as a believer that you are a priest or priestess?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice to accept the humiliation of human flesh and leave eternal glory behind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/21/18 – An Other-worldly King

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DayBreaks for 11/21/18: An Other-worldly King

Perhaps you have heard this story. It’s a great story: Many years ago, when Hitler’s forces occupied Denmark, the order came that all Jews in Denmark were to identify themselves by wearing armbands with yellow stars of David. The Danes had seen the extermination of Jews in other countries and guessed that this was the first step in that process in their countries. The King did not defy the orders. He had every Jew wear the star and he himself wore the Star of David. He told his people that he expected every loyal Dane to do the same. The King said, “We are all Danes. One Danish person is the same as the next.” He wore his yellow star when going into Copenhagen every day in order to encourage his people. The King of Denmark identified with his people, even to the point of putting his own life on the line.

It’s a wonderful story with a powerful point. The only problem is it isn’t true. It’s an urban legend. It’s been around for a long time and told thousands of times over. And now with the internet we are getting a lot of these legendary stories retold. Too bad! What an image for a king, identifying with his people.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked. “Is that your idea,” Jesus said to him, “or did others talk to you about me?” That’s how these legends get started. Other people talking about what other people have said. Jesus was essentially crucified on gossip and rumor. An urban legend had developed around his ministry that he was going to lead a revolt against Rome.

In his conversation with Pilate, Jesus finally does imply that he is a king. “My kingdom,” he explains, “is not of this world.” Not of this world. That’s what it takes. That’s what it takes to find a King who identifies with his people. A King of heaven, a King of kings from some place other than this world.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for being a King who can identify with the common man and with our common struggles. Let that thought bring us comfort this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/08/18 – The Signature of His Presence

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DayBreaks for 8/08/18: The Signature of His Presence

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

It seems like America is fascinated with forensics.  There’s CSI spin-offs, NCIS spin-offs, and other mystery/detective shows that talk a lot about forensics. Much of the gist of those shows is trying to figure out who was the murderer, and that means that they’ve got to place the killer in the room or woods or on the boat with the victim at the time the murder was committed.  Often, the way that they make that link is through DNA evidence: a piece of hair, some bodily fluid that was left at the scene or on a cup that was left in the room.  It can be other small things, too, like dirt from a shoe, a tire tread left in the mud, some little bit of evidence that would be overlooked entirely if you weren’t looking for such details.

Perhaps you’ve known someone who wore a distinctive fragrance (or maybe they just had a strange smell, period).  If they’d just left the room, you could probably tell that they’d been there because of the scent in the air.  We leave clues everywhere we go.

What was the signature of Jesus’ presence?  If a forensic scientist were looking for clues to indicate if Jesus really had come to earth, where might they look, and what might they look for? 

Some might start looking at the temple in Jerusalem – after all, Jesus was Jewish, and that was the supreme place of worship for the Jews.  Some might want to look in the king’s palace.  But if they did that, they’d not find what they were looking for.  In his book, Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg suggests: “His raggedness became the very signature of his presence.  ‘And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’”  (Luke 2:12)

Jesus wasn’t afraid of raggedness.  To become like us, he had to become ragged, indeed.  We’re so full of concerns about how we look, how we’re perceived, what people think of us and what they might say about us behind our backs that we try to hide all the raggedness that surrounds us.  We want to appear properly groomed and turned out for the occasion.  We’re more concerned about appearances than substance.  Jesus wasn’t.  We shouldn’t be, either.

PRAYER: May we put away foolish notions of appearance and strive for true beauty in the inner soul.  May we not only accept our own raggedness, but revel in the raggedness of Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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