DayBreaks for 3/11/19 – A Most Sobering Truth

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DayBreaks for 3/11/19: A Most Sobering Truth

On Sunday we recognized, remembered and honored the persecuted church around the world. I’m sure you know the stats: more Christians were martyred in the 1900’s than in all the other centuries combined. In fact, based on one source I consulted, 65% of all Christian martyrs ever were killed between 1901-2000. At one point at the height of communism and fascism, 330,000 annually were dying. Best guesses are that presently between 100-150,000 are being martyred each year – that’s over 410 martyrs each and every day, 365 days a year.

Yet, statistics only go so far. They tell neither the personal stories of those who suffer and die for their faith, nor the stories of their families. Putting a face to those who suffer is much more impactful than the numbers themselves.

On Sunday, we had some people with us from China and India who shared stories – and in the case of the brother from India – his own personal story of beatings and his struggle.

But, as harrowing as some of the stories are, what impacted me the most was this verse from 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) – Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…  Read that VERY CAREFULLY. It is part of inspired Scripture and is says that not just some, but ALL who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted. That brought me up short. Are you being persecuted for your faith, really? I am not. Part of that is living in America where we have some freedoms, but the verse didn’t say that only those living in countries without religious freedom would be persecuted…it says that ALL who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted.

The reason I’m not being persecuted isn’t because I live in America – but this verse tells me that it is because I don’t desire to live a godly life. All my life I more or less assumed I wasn’t persecuted because I lived in a free county. And all my life I’ve been wrong.

PRAYER: Forgive me, Lord, for wanting a persecution free life more than I desire to live a godly life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 6/28/17 – Held Captive

DayBreaks for 6/28/17: Held Captive

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007

Now I would like to stop the world for just one minute and ask you to think back. Think back with me to the first century. Think about those 50 years after Jesus’ death and what it must been like for Jesus’ disciples. Before the last one died their efforts had brought 500,000 men, women, and children into the ranks of the church. But what they had to suffer in order to accomplish this task is seldom discussed. We like the outcome of their discipleship but we don’t want to hear the cost of discipleship. So for the record here is the cost: History tells us…
1. John died of extreme old age exiled to the island of Patmos.
2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.
3. Peter was crucified; head downward, during the persecution of Nero.
4. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, a Grecian Colony.
5. James, the younger, son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.
6. Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.
7. James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem.
8. Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the East Indies.
9. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis.
10. Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.
11. Simon died on a cross in Persia (what we now call Iran.)
12. Matthew was first stoned and then beheaded.
What sacrifices! And I ask you why? Why did they choose to die this way? Why desert your father and mother, your wife and child, and your home? Why put up with the constant humiliation, and hunger, and persecution, and defeat town after town after town?
I’ll tell you why, because, in the words of Apostle Paul, they were held captive by the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is Paul’s way of saying they were slaves to Christ. But this wasn’t a begrudging slavery – they were so thankful that this master had set them free from their former captor – that they considered it a privilege and honor to be His slave.
1 Timothy 2:4-6a (MSG) – He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out.

Romans 1:1 (MSG) I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. I write this letter to all the Christians in Rome, God’s friends.

The question that haunts me is: how do I feel about being a slave of Jesus? Does it stir my soul as it did that of the first disciples? If not, why?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you freed us. Stir in our hearts the same passion that ignited the imaginations and actions of those you chose in the first century that we might be held captive by You and nothing else! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/16/15 – Why, Lord?

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DayBreaks for 4/16/15: Why, Lord?

I hate Satan.  I hate what he entices people to do in this world with is lies and deceit.  I cannot wait until he is crushed forever beneath the heel of the glorified Lord.  It cannot happen soon enough.

Last week I learned that a good friend and co-worker in Africa was deeply affected by the recent massacre that took place at the college in Kenya.  This person had worked with those students on many occasions.  So, when I heard that 22 of those this person had worked with were shot and killed in that terrorist event, I was stunned.   Then, more recently, I heard from another co-worker and friend that their niece was in the attack and was “missing”…and they feared the worst.  This morning I received an email that said their worst fears had been confirmed: her remains had been identified by fingerprint.  You see, the terrorists had shot her (and others) in such a way that their faces were destroyed.   I cannot imagine the grief and pain.  I cannot imagine the anger and the desire for revenge.  And while I know that God hates what happened, I also know that Jesus said:

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers…Mt. 5:11 (NLT)

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! [45] In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  Mt. 5:44 (NLT)

How are we to do that, Lord?  How is that humanly possible?  Perhaps it isn’t.  Perhaps it is only the indwelling Spirit that can enable humans to live up to Jesus’ statements.

I know that I should pray for the conversion of those who have done this.  But, right now, I can’t.  All I want to think of right now is that God also said: Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay…  And I find comfort in that, even as I know that I deserve nothing more from God than do these brutal murderers…apart from His grace.

Will you pray for my friends?  And for Christ’s return?  Thank you.

PRAYER: Father, be with my friends and give them the comfort that only comes from You, and protect them, I pray, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/19/11 – How Serious Are We?

DayBreaks for 07/19/11 – How Serious Are We?

I don’t know any Christian who wants to be a “bad Christian.”  We all want to be good Christians.  In fact, if the truth be told, most of us probably think we are pretty good Christians.  And what makes us think that?  We go to church every Sunday.  We give every Sunday.  We pray.  We read our Bibles from time to time.  We don’t swear.  We honor our marriage vows.  We take our responsibilities as mothers and dads serious.  We sing songs about how much we love Jesus.  And maybe, once in a while, we sing some of the old songs of the faith “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “Rock of Ages”, “Amazing Grace”, and “Just As I Am.”

It is very easy to do things and not really have the right attitude in our heart.  It is very easy to fool other people – and even easier to fool ourselves about our level of goodness and love for God.  And then the Bible pulls us up short.

In Psalm 63, the composer of that psalm put it this way: Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. (vs. 3)  Can you say that and mean it?  Really?  Have you thought about the implications of that verse and what the psalmist wrote?  He’s said that God’s love is better than life.  What does he mean by that?  I think he’s saying that if it came to one or the other of two alteratives – either keeping God’s love or letting the mortal body die – that his choice would be to die rather than lost the love of our God.

So, let us ask ourselves the question: do we love God?  Do we love Him enough that we’d rather die than be without His love?  Or, how many of us would choose to keep our mortal lives in the hope that we’ll eventually come to love God more – perhaps even enough that someday we would rather die than be without a relationship with Him.  That’s the choice the martyrs faced – it is what made them martyrs.  They didn’t die so they could have a home in heaven – they died because they know that life itself wasn’t as sweet as the love of God.

How serious are we when we tell God we love Him?

PRAYER: Keep us from frivolous proclamations of love!  Grow real love in us so that we can join with the Psalmist in his wild and reckless delight in Your love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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