DayBreaks for 5/27/15 – No Hunting-Except for Peace

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DayBreaks for 5/27/15: No Hunting – Except for Peace

It strikes me that many, many people in the world today are lacking peace.  For some it is literal warfare that rages unchecked all around them.  For others it is an internal peace that is missing because of errant behavior or pressures that press down like a cement block.  We all experience a lack of peace – at least at times, don’t we?

Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. – John 14:27 (ESV)

Ah, therein lies the rub, right?  Jesus said he has given us peace and that peace is not like the world can give.  If the peace Jesus gives is not better than that which comes from the world, who needs it, right?  Yet so many Christians are devoid of peace, and perhaps that describes you.  The peace Jesus gives to us through the Holy Spirit is more than we can ever imagine:

Peace means the cessation of all warfare, but it also means much more.

Peace means a feeling of inner well-being, but it also means much more.

Peace means an end to psychological tensions, but it also means much more.

Peace means halting interpersonal conflicts, but it also means much more.

Peace means the settling of silence on the soul, but it also means much more.

In Valyermo, California , the Benedictines converted a 400-acre ranch into a religious community called St. Andrew’s Priory. As you enter the grounds, you find that the land is posted: “No Hunting Except for Peace.”

The world is hunting desperately for peace. If you haven’t found peace, it may be because you are not seeking it from the Prince of Peace.  You can’t help bring peace to the world unless you have first experienced it yourself.  Hunt for it.  Pray for it.  Experience it.  And then tell the world about what you’ve found.

PRAYER: Jesus, all of us need the peace you have promised us.  We turn to you asking your peace to abound in our hearts and fill us when we are tempted to fear and not to trust.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/11/14 – Disappointment #7 – the Struggle in the Storm

DayBreaks for 2/11/14 – Disappointment #7 – The Struggle in the Storm

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)  For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Yesterday, we looked at the story of the storm which was calmed by Jesus after it threatened to sink the boat in which he and his disciples were traveling. In that case, the lives of all aboard were saved. But that is not always the case and the storm sometimes claims lives.

We tend to think that if God really was actively engaged in guiding us that we would not find ourselves in the middle of a storm (especially we Christians think like this, though actually unbelievers are prone to this, too, witness how they are ready to quickly blame God and rail at him when a natural disaster occurs). So, when we are surrounded by the winds and waves and the ship is about to go down (or it has gone down!), we conclude that if God were truly guiding us then the storm would not have come upon us. And there’s our mistake: we think the storm means that God has forsaken us. We think that smooth sailing is no guarantee that we are navigating the right course.

We also think that getting what we want is always a blessing. It can be a curse. Helmut Thielicke contemplated God’s actions of judgment and said that God “by no means judges merely – or better, he hardly ever judges, by smiting the transgressor with a stroke of lightning or some other disaster: on the contrary He judges him by letting him go in silence.”

Disappointment rarely means that God has turned his back on us.  If, as we have posited, disappointment comes from not getting what we want or expect, we are in good company when we are disappointed. Abraham died before seeing God’s promises fulfilled. Moses was refused entry into the Promised Land. The prophets were nearly all frustrated in the refusal of the people to heed the word of God. Paul didn’t get the healing he wanted. Jesus didn’t what he wanted in the garden, but it was not wrong of him to ask for what he wanted.  The Father refused his request (as He has with many of our own requests), but the refusals are never, ever arbitrary decisions on His part. He notes our tears and stores them in a bottle.  He does not dismiss them.  And whenever He thwarts our desires, He does so for a very good reason.

But, it can be frustrating. St. Theresa of Avila expressed it well when she said to God, “If this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.” Still, in every disappointment, we must allow for and take into account God’s sovereign, all-knowing will.

What can we learn from these things? Simply this: that in our disappointment to receive, we need to remember that hope deferred is not the same thing as hope denied.

The fact that Jesus had charted the course across the lake didn’t make the disciples feel any better about their situation. And ask the disciples asked in Mark’s version, it wasn’t just that Jesus didn’t act, but that they felt he didn’t care.  So how should we interpret his lack of action? It wasn’t his absence or an indication that he didn’t care. It was perhaps simply a sign of his great peace.  When we talk about the peace of God, we usually think of it in terms of something He gives us.  But there’s something that comes before that: God/Jesus can’t give us something that He doesn’t possess Himself. God/Jesus live in absolute, perfect peace. Christ was neither anxious nor afraid in the boat. He was certain of the future. The disciples couldn’t see the future and they interpreted his inaction as a sign of not caring (how like us!), rather than his absolute certainty and knowledge of the future. 

Henry Drummond said this: “Christ’s life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that was ever lived: tempest and tumult, turmoil and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there.

It helps me to know that when we are in turmoil and tempest ourselves and we think that God doesn’t seem to care and He’s not joining us in our panic, that it isn’t because He is indifferent or MIA. He just isn’t ruffled because of His perfect peace…and indeed, perfect control of the outcome.

PRAYER: I rejoice in Your perfect peace and its implications for us in our struggles. What a comfort to know that you do care, you do not panic, and that you firmly hold the times and outcomes of our lives (even when lived in the storm) firmly in your hand! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/01/12 – In Perfect Peace

DayBreaks for 02/01/12 – In Perfect Peace

The RX for Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah 26:3

I was contemplating this verse this morning when I woke up.  Every night when I go to bed, if I let myself, I can worry myself sick.  I think about all that can go wrong.  I concoct scenarios that have little chance of happening, along with those that have some reasonable chance of happening.  I dream up other scenarios, tumble-down effect style things, that would compound already bad situations and make them even worse.  I worry about the future.  Sometimes I even worry about the past (isn’t THAT silly!)  I worry about health when I get a twinge in my chest.  I worry about my wife’s health.  I worry about my children and grandchildren.  I worry about the world and what’s happening or what’s not happening.  It doesn’t matter…all can be going well, and I’m creative enough to still find something to worry about.

I love Isaiah 26:3.  Just reading it brings a sense of peace, doesn’t it?  I think I will make that my life verse for a while until it sinks in through my thick skull.  What do I like about this verse?  So much!  Read on:

FIRST: the kind of peace that it describes isn’t just good peace and warm fuzzies, it is perfect peace.  Where else can one find perfect peace in this world except through trusting in “you” (God)?  There is nothing perfect in this world except Him, so it stands to reason that whatever we find in Him will be perfect, far better than anything we have ever experienced before.  How is your “peace meter” at the moment?  Are you in perfect peace?

SECOND: I don’t have to keep myself in that kind of peace.  Isaiah says that “You” (God again!) will be the one who keeps those in perfect peace who trust in Him.  I’m so thankful that my ability to experience perfect peace isn’t dependent on me creating it.  It is God who keeps us in perfect peace.

THIRD: the source of that peace is trust in Him, not in myself, my wife, the pastor, my friends, my abilities, my resources.  It comes from trusting Him.  And that, my friends, is a decision we can make.  We may need to make it over and over, moment by moment, as the pressures of the day and the world weigh upon us, but it is one thing we can do: decide to trust Him.  And why shouldn’t we?  If you look back at your life, can you see an instance where God really, truly failed you?  I can think of many situations I wish He’d handled differently or that had a different outcome, but I can’t say He’s ever failed me.  In hindsight I can see at least some of His good plan for me and how He is weaving the threads day by day, moment by moment, even when I am the least aware of it.  Has God ever failed…anyone?  No.  And He’s not about to start now because that would mean His nature has changed, and He doesn’t change!

FOURTH: what else can I do?  Fix my thoughts on Him.  Why is that important?  Because when I’m fixing my thoughts on me and my resources, abilities, problems, frailties, etc., I’m not trusting Him.  I’m looking for reasons to trust myself.  And they’re hard to come by these days.  I can choose to meditate on God, on His Word.  When I’m fearful, scared out of my wits, uncertain of the future…I have a God who knows all about the future and who has already promised me that He’ll take care of my needs just as He cares for the sparrows and the lilies of the field that worry about nothing!  Fix my thoughts on Him – on what He can, and has done…and then my heart and soul can rest in perfect peace.  When my thoughts are fixed on God, I see His greatness and my problems look so miniscule in relationship to His power!

FIFTH: Isaiah says God will keep all who trust in Him in perfect peace.  God is not limited to providing that perfect peace to only the most righteous people, or to a fixed number of people at a time, but to all who follow His prescription!  He won’t run out of the ability to provide that peace when He comes to me!

PRAYER: Thank You for this prescription for perfect peace, the peace that passes any human comprehension!  Help us to focus our minds on You, Your greatness, Your goodness, and let us sleep well tonight!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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