DayBreaks for 5/12/17 – The World’s Deadliest Illusion

DayBreaks for 5/12/17: The World’s Deadliest Illusion

John 19:10 (NIV) Do you refuse to speak to me? Pilate said. Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?

I’ve got to admit that I’m fascinated by the great illusionists.  To this day, I don’t understand how David Copperfield could make an airplane, the statue of Liberty, or even a nickel disappear like he does!  Fascinating. 

The greatest illusion of life may be the fact that we think we have power, that we put ourselves in a position of judging God.  Of course, there is some truth to this idea that we have power – God has given us the right to choose, but we must not mistake that for having power.  Our choosing is a God-given right and he gives us the power in our hearts and minds to choose many things.  One of those things we can choose to believe is truth – or we can believe lies.  Pilate found himself in a situation where he truly thought he had jurisdiction over Jesus, that he, Pilate, was in charge of the unfolding events and that he would determine the outcome.  He claims to have the power to either free Jesus or kill him.

Think about that a moment: recall how that when Jesus was being tempted to cast himself off a high place so Satan would yield to him, even Satan noted that Jesus had the power to summon angels to come and catch him so he wouldn’t even hit his foot against a stone.  Do you think for one moment that Jesus, as he stood before Pilate, could not have called a million angels to come and obliterate Pilate, the angry mobs, the hypocritical religionists, and the entire Roman army and empire?  In the OT, all it took was a single angel to kill 185,000 Assyrians!  If an angel is that powerful, how much more powerful is the One who created them?!!! 

Pilate had no idea what he was saying because he’d bought the lie of having power over Jesus, and by extension, over God.  We are not so very different.  We think that through our prayers we can manipulate God into doing what we want him to do – and we may even think that He’s obligated to give us what we pray for – but he’s not.  We think that we can lift a passage out of context and make it an absolutely binding promise on God – forgetting that God sets conditions (some of which we know and some of which we don’t), that involves our obedience, or our faith, or our motives.  James says we can ask but not receive because we’re asking for something driven by our own greed and selfishness – not so we can use if for God’s purposes.  So we can’t just take Jesus’ statement that we can ask for anything and that God is under our power to have to give it – we tend to forget the conditions: if you ask in my name, for the things that Jesus wants, that he approves of for us.

If we had power in any way, shape or form over God, He would no longer be God – we would be.  If in any way at any time, humans can force God to do something, God is no longer all-powerful, he would cease to be El Shaddai, The Lord God Almighty. 

The end result of our belief that we have power over Jesus is seen by our rebellion to God’s ways.  If we believe we are in control of our lives, that we have only ourselves to answer to, we will choose inevitably what we believe is in our own best interests.  And because we cannot see the future events before they unfold, we’re at best guessing blindly as to what will be in our best interests in the long run.  Only one who knows the consequence of every decision, the intricacies of every human interaction with absolute clarity, can know what will work out for the best for us in the long run. 

Because Pilate truly believed he had power over Christ, he made the decision to crucify him, not knowing that he was doing exactly what God had planned to have happen from eternity past.  God’s plan will not be thwarted by puny humans who have a god-complex about themselves. 

This calls for deep introspection – not by ourselves, but by the Spirit.  We can’t trust ourselves to be honest or to see the truth.  I need to take some quiet time aside and ask the Spirit to search my heart and show me where I seem to think that I’m God and that He is not.  And then I need to ask God to forgive me, humble me, change me so that instead of being like Pilate, I’m like Jesus, who constantly submitted himself to the will and power of the Father.

PRAYER: God, keep us from the foolishness of thinking that we have any control or power over you.  Help us to remember we are the clay – not the Potter, we are just sheep and You are the Shepherd.  Help us to yield our desire for control to the control of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

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DayBreaks for 5/24/16 – The Truth…and Dihydrogen Monoxide

DayBreaks for 5/24/16 – The Truth…and Dihydrogen Monoxide

Do you remember how eager you were as a school kid for summer break to finally get here? Summer’s here (or nearly so), and the kids have been counting down the days and weeks for a couple months now. All summer and nothing but swimming, riding bikes, sandlot baseball every day, endlessly playing video games, and vacations. How I loved summer as a kid! 

While our kids live in that world this summer we adults will be living in another. There is the economy and the struggle to keep Wall Street and Shady Lane happy and accountable at the same time. There are conflicts within our nation, not to mention the conflicts between nations. If there is one thing I have learned in life it’s that everybody has their own version of the truth.
And we have to try and find the truth among all the truths that present themselves to us. It is very hard these days to know who to believe. Everyone is trying to lead us to their version of truth. In 1997, Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student at Eagle Rock Junior High School in Idaho Falls won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair by showing how conditioned we have become to alarmists spreading fear of everything in our environment through junk science. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “Dihydrogen monoxide” because:
1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
2. It is a major component in acid rain.
3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
4. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
5. It contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape..
6. It decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes.
7. It is found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
He asked 50 people if they support a ban.  43 said yes, 6 were undecided and only one knew what dihydrogen monoxide is….water.
Truth. Pontius Pilate asked his wife: What is Truth? It’s a question that plagues everyone who tries to do the right thing. Pilate was on to something, but he ultimately asked the wrong question. Instead of “What is truth?”, he would have done better to ask “Who is truth?”, even as the Truth stood in front of him. 

Want to know what Truth is? Read about Jesus. Read what he said, learn how he felt about things. But then LIVE the truth…the world desperately needs Christians to do that one thing.

PRAYER:  Jesus, our nation and world desperately need to know truth and the One Who is Truth. Help us not to be deceived by our own interpretations, but to find the ultimate Truth in You, Your Word, and Your Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 3/14/14 – It Can’t Be Washed Away

DayBreaks for 3/14/14 – It Can’t Be Washed Away

NOTE: From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/08/2004. Galen is traveling this week.  New DayBreaks will resume next week.

Matthew 27:24 (NLT)  – Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!”

In the movie, THE PASSION OF CHRIST, Pilate is portrayed as struggling with the decision of what to do with Jesus.  It is a biblical part of the story, and Pilate indeed seems to have given in after having tried several times to let Jesus go because he could not find guilt in him.  When the Pharisees finally got clever enough to suggest that they had no king but Caesar (what a tragic rejection of the Kingship of God by the very ones one would think would know Him best!), Pilate got the not-too-veiled threat and gave up the fight.  Don’t get me wrong – Pilate was no saint – he had crucified many Jews due to rebellions and was so brutal that he was reported to Caesar by the Jewish leaders – but in this instance, for whatever reason, he seems to have wanted to do what was right.

But he couldn’t.  He didn’t have the courage to stay the course (this even sounds strange – it all worked out according to God’s plan, and Pilate couldn’t have stopped it if he had tried, I guess).  So he called for a bowl of water, and washes his hands, declaring his innocence of the blood of the Christ.  But for all his protestations, Pilate, like all of us, was indeed guilty of the blood of Christ.

I was struck by the thought that mankind has been trying to wash our hands of Jesus ever since.  Some people outright reject him – and in so doing they are really trying to wash their hands of him – to be done with him.  But they won’t be – they’ll have to deal with him sooner or later and on His terms, not theirs.  Some people may actually believe he is indeed the Son of God, but they don’t want to make a commitment to him – and by so doing, they, too, are washing their hands of Jesus.  But I have a strong conviction in my heart that Christians often try to wash their hands of Jesus, too.  How?  When we pick and choose which of his commands and demands on our life that we will accept and which ones we reject.  Another way that we wash our hands of Jesus is when we deny him verbally, or through our actions, and we hide our Christianity.  When there are things about Jesus that we don’t like and we ignore them, we’re washing our hands of Jesus.  And God cries.

Pilate tried to wash away the blood of Jesus.  He couldn’t.  I can’t wash away the blood of Jesus from my own hands.  But Jesus’ blood does what the bowl of water can’t do – it washes away my sins, putting me in touch with the forgiveness of Almighty God.

Let’s strive to live in such a way that we’ll never again try to wash away anything that would suggest we have a relationship with Jesus.  He deserves better than that from us.

PRAYER: We need courage for such a time as this, Lord! Let us be bold! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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