DayBreaks for 9/25/17 – From Coward to Courage

DayBreaks for 9/25/17: From Coward to Courage

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

From In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado: “During the early days of the Civil War a Union soldier was arrested on charges of desertion.  Unable to prove his innocence, he was condemned and sentenced to die a deserter’s death. His appeal found its way to the desk of Abraham Lincoln.  The president felt mercy for the soldier and signed a pardon.  The soldier returned to service, fought the entirety of the war, and was killed in the last battle.  Found within his breast pocket was the signed letter of the president.”

Application:

What a poignant story.  A soldier running from duty, most likely because of fear.  Captured, caught, condemned to die, he pleads for mercy – an appeal of the sentence that would have caused him to be hanged and remembered as a coward.  The plea lands on the desk of the commander in chief.  And mercy flowed down to a man who didn’t deserve it. 

We’ve all needed a pardon from time to time.  Just as with the soldier who had exhausted every appeal, except to the commander in chief, we were out of appeals, too. Like him, if our Commander in Chief hadn’t granted mercy, death was certain.  The case had been heard already and sentence passed.  This was the only hope left. 

What touched the heart of president Lincoln?  I don’t know.  By offering a pardon, others might desert when the times got tough and hope for a similar pardon.  Some of the generals were no doubt angry about the president’s pardon – after all, discipline must be maintained in a military organization.  They probably felt he was soft, or too old, or just to tired to think straight and make a good decision.

Imagine the relief and happiness in the heart of the soldier when he heard the president’s decision!  He was free.  He could have gone home.  Who would want him in their unit when the chips were down?  But instead of running home, he ran back to the front lines and fought for the rest of the war, only to be killed in the last battle of that great conflict.  What happened?  He was touched by the president’s act of grace.  His pardon was so precious to him that it changed his life.  He carried his pardon with him the rest of his days.   

The grace of Christ has caused men and women to do strange and heroic things.  To die singing songs of praise, to willingly submit their necks to the noose, their bodies to the flames, or their heads to the sword.  The grace of Christ turned Peter from a denier and coward to a martyr.  The grace of Christ empowered Thomas the doubter to be skinned alive (according to tradition).  The grace of Christ empowered 160,000 Christians around the world last year to say “Jesus Christ is Lord!” before their lives were offered as martyrs.

Have you found courage in the grace of Christ?  Has it changed your life forever?  Tell someone about it.  Don’t run from the battle – run to it.  The cause of Christ will move forward.  He’s looking for good soldiers who will, if necessary, die knowing their pardon has been established by the Commander in Chief.  This IS the call of the Master to us.  What will your answer be?

PRAYER:  Father, make us bold because of our thankfulness of what You’ve done for us!  Thank You for pardoning us and calling us into Your service!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 07/11/13 – My Friend Douglass

DayBreaks for 07/11/13 – My Friend, Douglass    

lincoln.douglassRomans 8:31-34 (NLT) – What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.

Frederick Douglass approached the front door of the White House, seeking admission into Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Ball. Just as Douglass was about to knock on the door, two policemen seized him, barring the black man’s entrance. Douglass, a large, powerful man, brushed the officers aside and stepped into the foyer. Once inside, two more officers grabbed the uninvited guest, all the while uttering racial slurs.

As Douglass was being dragged from the hall, he cried to a nearby patron, “Just say to Mr. Lincoln that Fred Douglass is at the door!” Confusion ensued. Then suddenly the officers received orders to usher Douglass into the East Room. In that beautiful room, the great abolitionist stood in the presence of the esteemed President. The place quieted as Lincoln approached his newly arrived guest, hand outstretched in greeting, and speaking in a voice loud enough so none could mistake his intent, the President announced, “Here comes my friend Douglass.”

The President had called Frederick Douglass friend. Who dared demean Douglass if he was a friend of the President?  Can you imagine for a moment how those guards at the door must have felt? 

Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, has called us not just his friends, but much more: his brothers and his sisters. God the Father has also called us His own children.  We have an accuser, someone who would stand at the gateway to heaven and attempt to deny us entrance.  His name is Satan.  He will be shamed in his accusations against us as Jesus, with a voice like thunder that could shake the universe, will proclaim, “Here comes my sister/brother!  Welcome!” and will overrule him.  Satan will be silenced!

Let us not think that because we’re in His family that we can just sit back and forget about those who don’t have Him as a brother.  There are many persons who lie stripped and beaten by the side of the road (think the Good Samaritan story). He or she may not yet be our brother or sister in Christ, but they are our friend, our neighbor, and by God’s grace they may one day be family. So let us pause and help, because once there was a man who paused on a cross for us.

PRAYER:  Lord, we long to hear You silence the accuser and put him to shame in his accusations!    We long to enter into our family Home to be with You forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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