DayBreaks for 06/19/13 – Rooting Out Evil

DayBreaks for 06/19/13 – Rooting Out Evil

Jesus_Casts_Out_a_Legion_of_Demons_ezrMatthew 8:30-32 (KJV) – And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.  And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

It is interesting that in the English language the word evil is “live” spelled backwards. Truthfully, evil always destroys. Life is diminished if not obliterated where the demons rule. The death of the pigs recorded in Mark shows that. And, in the Ancient Near East, the sea represented one of the forces of chaos that people feared the most, especially among the Israelites. So it’s a double-threat: first there is death but to compound the matter there is death by drowning in the sea, thus increasing the sense of chaos and evil in this story.

The sad spectacle of those hapless pigs rushing headlong into the sea should serve to remind us that the expelling of evil from our world always involves sacrifice. Whatever His reasons, God does not simply wave a magic wand to eliminate evil. Rooting out evil takes time, takes effort, and takes above all sacrifice. This should hardly people who live their lives in the shadow of a cross.

One final point, however: Jesus was chased away by the townsfolk but the healed man remained and according to verse 39, he kept on talking about what Jesus had done. Something about his witness reminds us that this is also our role: lots of people in this world try to chase Jesus away. Our task is to hang around and just keep talking, just keep witnessing to Jesus’ work, and just keep hoping and praying that at the end of the day, that witness will bring people back to the very Jesus they once chased away. “Return home and tell how much God has done for you,” Jesus told this man.

He tells the rest of us the exact same thing.

PRAYER:  If we had our choice, Father, we would have You wave a magic wand and eliminate all evil now.  We’d rather not have to think about the sacrifice part of what it means to rid our corner of the world of evil.  And we’d rather not have to evangelize.  Change our hearts, give us courage to live engaged in the battle daily.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/26/12 – A Reason to Die, a Reason to Live

DayBreaks for 03/26/12 – A Reason to Die, A Reason to Live

Sometimes something to die for gives us a reason to live.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? – Matthew 16:26

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. – Luke 17:33

We cling to life, don’t we?  Just today in the news, it was revealed that Dick Cheney, at over 70 years of age, had a heart transplant.  He had been surviving with a LVAD (left-ventricular assist device) that is essentially a mechanical device that causes the left ventricle of the heart to contract and pump blood.  Without that happening, one dies.

Some medical ethicists are questioning whether Mr. Cheney should have been allowed, at his age and with his other health conditions, to have the transplanted organ or whether it should have been given to a younger person.  I have my own thoughts about that, but the point I want to make is that Mr. Cheney is clinging to this mortal life.  I don’t judge him for that one way or another, for if it is hard to know what we’d do if we’d been in his place.

But cling to life we do.  Why did Cheney do it?  The rest of his life (assuming he recovers from this surgery) will be complicated by the need for tens of thousands of dollars each year for medications.  There is pain and suffering with the surgery.  There is weakness and misery.  Yet we clutch life with both hands, choking every last moment out of it.

Christ challenges us to find something worth dying for in our faith. We’d rather not think about dying or what we’d be willing to die for.  As someone wrote: “The world today prefers to be inoffensively neutral. It does not like having to decide. Dorothy L. Sayers observed, ‘In the world it is called tolerance, but in hell it is called despair… the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.’”

One should pause here long enough to ask: if you don’t have something for which you are willing to die, do you have much to live for?

PRAYER: Help us find the true meaning for living by finding what is worth dying for!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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