DayBreaks for 10/31/18 – Pick and Choose Morality

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DayBreaks for 10/31/18: Pick and Choose Morality

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/09/98:

James 3:11-12: Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Our country is suffering a real trauma. For months, accusations against President Clinton were on the front pages, along with denials from the president himself. As events have sadly shown, they weren’t just accusations or rumors – they were true (by the president’s own admission). It is sad and heartbreaking. We need to pray for the president just as we would for anyone who has been overtaken by sin – pray for true repentance so forgiveness can be given. But I don’t really want to focus on the president or the political issue per se. In J. Budziszewski’s article in the August 22 issue of WORLD magazine, he was discussing the president’s situation and the fact that many Americans believed Mr. Clinton was lying, but many go on to say he was doing a good job as president. Budziszewski asked, “What could they be thinking?” and then went on: “Through diligent listening, I’ve compiled some possibilities: ‘Who am I to judge?’, ‘Everyone lies about sex’, ‘All I care about is the economy’, ‘The other politicians are just as bad’, ‘If his wife can put up with it, so can I,’, ‘I’m so disgusted I’ve stopped paying attention.’ “Have these thoughts any common thread? Yes: they all express the idea that character doesn’t count – that you can be a bad man and yet a good statesman. I doubt that many people would swallow that notion whole. But they do tend to swallow a big part of it – the belief that you can be a bad man in some ways, yet a good statesman.”

Budziszewski calls this the “Pick and Choose Delusion”. It is a disease I think we all suffer from. He says, “We believe that we can pick and choose our sins; persistent disobedience to God in one area of life leaves the others unaffected. This delusion is like thinking, ‘I’m not going to do anything about my cancer. After all, it’s only in my lymph glands!’ The truth is that we cannot pick and choose our sins. Untreated by repentance, disobedience to God spreads from organ to organ until it reaches the heart.”

We can’t pick the areas of our life that we are willing to let God clean. We can’t choose to be holy in some areas and unholy in others. In fact, it is precisely those areas that we might choose to be “unholy” that God most wants to clean in us. You can’t be a good Christian but a bad father or mother, or a faithful follower of God and be unfaithful to your husband or wife. Yes, we all sin and all need forgiveness, but we can’t pick and choose morality. “No man can pick and choose his sins, because sin is never satisfied. Like the fire, it spreads; like the leech, it devours.” And like the cancer, it kills. “Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve….

PRAYER: You know our secret sins and weaknesses even better than we do, Lord. We need your help to be clean! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/12/18 – Take Two Tablets

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DayBreaks for 4/12/18: Take Two Tablets

When there is something wrong with our bodies, often the doctor will prescribe some medicine: “Take two tablets and call me in the morning.” But what of spiritual sickness? Where can a nation, or even a person, go to find moral and ethical grounding? What is the basis for determining what is right and good?

Some would say that we can rely on public opinion – but think about that for a moment. How fickle is public opinion? It changes nearly every time someone posts something on social media or gets vocal enough that they get on the news about this cause or that cause. And people immediately leap onto the bandwagon until someone else comes along who is equally loud but espousing a different viewpoint. Allegiances and opinions change quickly.

Perhaps, some might suggest, we should trust our courts or legislators. ‘Nuff said about that!!! I think I’d rather trust a hungry crocodile than most legislators to decide what is good and right.

Let me suggest something a bit firmer than public opinion or court rulings. Do you remember something called the 10 Commandments?

They were written on two tablets made of stone (which suggests permanency, and I would suggest that if a nation or some individual is morally sick, they just need to take those two tablets to heart and they’ll soon feel better!

You might object that the old law was done away. Well, you’d be partly right. The ceremonial part was obliterated as there was no more need for the washings or slaughtering of animals after the Lamb’s blood cleansed us. But the moral part never has changed. Jesus himself said that he didn’t come to destroy the old law, but to fulfill it. He also said that not even one tiny dot of it would pass away. That means the moral part is as valid today as it ever was. It is still wrong to use God’s name in vain, or have idols, to give anything priority over God, or steal or murder or lie or commit adultery or envy. When Jesus claimed that if we kept the two greatest commandments that we have kept the entirety of the law, he essentially was breaking the 10 Commandments down into 2: the part that had to do with proper relationship toward God and the part that had to do with the relationship with other humans. Interestingly, all of the 10 Commandments deal with those two things!

The tablets on which the 10 Commandments were written were intended to be good medicine for us. Stuggling with your moral bearings? Take two tablets and call God in the morning!

PRAYER: Lord, let us be grounded in moral and ethical righteousness by paying attention to your immutable Word and law that never changes – because you never change! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 09/23/11 – The Stop Sign and Fire

DayBreaks for 09/23/11 – The Stop Sign and Fire

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer, was also a devoted Christian. Dorothy Sayers was attempting to explain the moral law of God. She pointed out that in our society there are two kinds of laws. There is the law of the stop sign, and there’s the law of the fire. The law of the stop sign is a law that says the traffic is heavy on a certain street, and as a result the police department or the city council decides to erect a stop sign. They also decide that if you run that stop sign, it will cost you $25 or $30 or $35. If the traffic changes, they can up the ante. That is if too many people are running the stop sign, they can make the fine $50 or $75, or if they build a highway around the city, they can take the stop sign down, or reduce the penalty, making it only $10 if you go through. The police department or city council controls the law of the stop sign.

But then she said there is also the law of the fire. And the law of the fire says if you put your hand in the fire, you’ll get burned. Now imagine that all of the legislatures of all the nations of the entire world gathered in one great assembly, and they voted unanimously that here on out that fire would no longer burn. The first man or woman who left that assembly and put his or her hand in the fire would discover that the law of the fire is different than the law of the stop sign. Bound up in the nature of fire itself is the penalty for abusing it. So, Dorothy Sayers says, the moral law of God is like the law of the fire. You never break God’s laws; you just break yourself on them. God can’t reduce the penalty, because the penalty for breaking the law is bound up in the law itself.

We would like to delude and comfort ourselves by thinking that God’s laws are all just like the law of the stop sign, and not like the law of fire.  They’re not.  We think that we may just bruise ourselves a bit when we violate one of His laws, but Romans 6:23 says it’s a far more serious thing to violate His law and put our hand into the fire of sin: the result of that is death.  And that’s a lot more serious than a bruise or two.

PRAYER: Father, give us the gift of discernment and wisdom to grasp the seriousness of our sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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