DayBreaks for 7/24/14 – Look Up and Be Re-sized!

DayBreaks for 7/24/14 – Look Up and Be Re-sized

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/23/2004:

We live in a culture that appreciates big, powerful things.  It wasn’t enough just to build a memorial at Ground Zero in New York City.  No, they had to come up with a design that resulted in another huge, massive building.  We look admiringly at powerful women and men – whether they are sports figures, actors/actresses, politicians or business folk.  We are captivated by greatness and grandeur.

Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT)  – When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?

You see, I think that our attraction to greatness is part of what God put in us that was intended to lead us to seek Him.  Sadly, as with all other God-given abilities, even this one can be perverted into something unrecognizable.  But as David, as a young shepherd laying in the fields at night, lifted his eyes to the heavens, he was struck with the incredible greatness of the Creator.  David had no idea how many stars there were, let alone how many galaxies.  He had no concept of the light-year, nor of the incredibly vast distances that had been traveled by the light of the stars that fell on his retina.  But that’s OK – he didn’t need to have that kind of understanding.  Just seeing the night sky was enough, and when David looked up, he was resized.

It may have been the day that David slew the lion that he looked up at the stars and wondered about why God should care for us.  He may have just had the most successful day of his life.  Or he may have had his worst.  Either way, when we look upward toward God, we are inevitably resized into a better perspective of ourselves.  We are not the almighty – only He is Almighty.  We are not even very good, let alone great.  But God! – well now, He’s something else! 

And why should He care for us?  Several reasons I should think:

1. He made us and is therefore responsible for us in a real moralistic sense;

2. He gave us a spirit, an eternal soul, that is unique among His creation (as far as we know), and that makes us special;

3. He made us to “look” like Himself – a huge compliment that was not paid to the stars or moon or sun;

4. He loves us beyond reason and beyond our ability to hope or understand.

But the key point of this DayBreaks isn’t what makes us special – except that God thinks we are special.  That we matter to Him, that He thinks about us and cares for us.

No matter what kind of day you have today, let me encourage you tonight to go outside with a blanket and lay down on the grass and look up at the stars and think about God.  Go ahead – don’t worry about what the neighbors will think!  Get lost in the wonder of His greatness.  You just may sleep better tonight as a result!

PRAYER: Fill our hearts with Your Spirit that we may have not only your mind, but also your heart!  Let glory come to You from what people see flowing forth from our hearts!.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 08/09/12 – Getting Over Yourself

DayBreaks for 08/09/12 – Getting Over Yourself

Psalm 23: 3 – “…for His name’s sake.

Ah, yes.  Our self-image.  We are prone to image problems!  It seems that most people are either despairing because they feel they have no worth to anyone (even God) or they think they’re pretty special (after all, they know their own thoughts like no one else does) and that everyone would do well to be as wonderful, smart, beautiful or talented as they are.   Then, there are some who understand what they are in-and-of-themselves, and how that has been counterbalanced by what they are in Christ.  These are the fortunate ones that understand that though we are sinners, we can wash our robes pure in the blood of the Lamb, that God loves them passionately, and that He has declared them worthy.

Jesus clearly taught how God feels about those who are prideful: “I tell you, when this man went home, he was right with God, but the Pharisee was not.  All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great.”  (Lk. 18:14)  God loves the humble, but hates the proud.  It is important to note that when humans take the initiative to make themselves great (“all who make themselves great…”) they will “be made” humble, but those who make themselves humble will “be made” great.  Is it not a much greater thing to be made something by God instead of by yourself?

How is humility cultivated?  Max Lucado in Traveling Light offered tips on how to get over yourself to learn humility:

  1. Assess yourself honestly: “Humility isn’t the same as low self-esteem.  Being humble doesn’t mean you think you have nothing to offer; it means you know exactly what you have to offer and no more.”
  2. Don’t take success too seriously:“Scripture gives this warning – ‘When your…silver and gold increase…your heart will become proud.’  Counteract this pride with reminders of the brevity of life and the frailty of wealth.   Ponder your success and count your money in a cemetery, and remember that neither of the two is buried with you.”
  3. Celebrate the significance of others: “In humility consider others better than yourselves.”
  4. Don’t demand your own parking place:“Go sit in a seat that is not important.  When the host comes to you, he may say, ‘Friend, move up here to a more important place.’  Then all the other guests will respect you.’  (Lk. 14:10)  Demanding respect is like chasing a butterfly.  Chase it, and you’ll never catch it.  Sit still, and it may light on your shoulder.”
  5. Don’t announce your success before it occurs:  “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.”  (1 Kings 20:11)  Simply put: don’t brag about defeating an enemy or conquering a mountain before you’ve actually conquered it.  It is easy to brag before going into battle, but who (besides God) knows if you will fall?  If you don’t, and you come out alive, remember it was by His grace that you live to see another day.
  6. Speak humbly: “Let no arrogance come from your mouth.”  (1 Sam. 2:3)
  7. Live at the foot of the cross: “Paul said, ‘The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is my only reason for bragging’ (Gal. 6:14)  Do you feel a need for affirmation?  Does your self-esteem need attention?  You need only pause at the base of the cross to be reminded of this: The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you.”

Have you been a bit puffed up lately?  Re-read Max’s list and pray about it.  Have you been feeling down on yourself lately?  Re-read Max’s list and pray about it.  Know who you are, what you are, what you have to offer – and most of all, where it all comes from!.

PRAYER: It amazes me, Jesus, how we can go from humble to proud in a heartbeat, and how we can even be proud of our humility!  Adjust our perspective and keep our self-image fully informed by Your Word.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/02/12 – Kingdom Perspective

DayBreaks for 08/02/12 – Kingdom Perspective

Perspective is everything…

Some number of years ago, J. B. Phillips wrote a book titled, Your God is too Small.  It is something that we need to be reminded of often.  But there’s a perhaps subtle extension of this which creeps into our Christian minds.  We feel outnumbered, outgunned and intimidated by our “small time” occupation as Christians.  We may even feel apologetic about it from time to time.  We may feel inclined, when in decidedly non-Christian circles, we are asked about what we do, why we do it and what we believe.  After all, it takes some gumption to stand in front of non-believers and boast in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Perhaps that’s why I liked what Russ Blowers, a minister in Indianapolis, had to say when he was asked to introduce himself and describe his profession at a Rotary Club meeting.  He could have just said, “I’m a preacher”, but he was led by the Spirit to have a kingdom perspective that we all would do well to share.

Hi, I’m Russ Blowers.  I’m with a global enterprise.  We have branches in every country in the world.  We have representatives in nearly every parliament and boardroom on earth.  We’re into motivation and behavior alteration.  We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis-pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes.  We care for your clients from birth to death.  We are into life insurance and fire insurance.  We perform spiritual heart transplants.  Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations.  He knows everything and lives everywhere.  Our product is free for the asking.  (There’s not enough money to buy it.)  Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn’t own a home, was misunderstood by his family and hated by his enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a trial, and arose from the dead.  I talk with him every day.”

Wow.   Is that good, or what?  A decidedly different perspective than I would have probably shared.  But is there a word in his description that isn’t true?  And aren’t we all a part of this incredible global enterprise?  We all know that there is nothing in the world more important than saving the lost from an eternity without God, without hope, without relief.  Yet when we are asked about our faith, when Christianity is attacked and slandered by the enemy, we meekly lower our voice and whisper, “Yes, I’m a believer” and then say something to derail the conversation into something about the weather or current events and hope the “religious’ conversation dies off.

Isaiah 24:15-16 – “15 Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea.  16 From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.”

No matter what you do, if you are a Christian, you can share Russ’ attitude.  You can talk with the CEO of the Universe every moment of every day.  You aren’t a nuisance to Him – His door is always open to you and He’s eager to have you drop by.  This Christianity thing isn’t something that is done behind closed church doors – it is meant to be exploded on the global stage and made visible for all the world to see – just like the crucifixion was visible.

What are you doing with your part of this global enterprise?

PRAYER: Take our perspective away from this world and its attractions and teach us to have Kingdom perspective!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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