DayBreaks for 8/22/19 – Drinking Your Own Kool-aid

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DayBreaks for 08/22/19: Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

Many of you will recall Jim Jones and the People’s Temple located in Guyana.  Jones was a charismatic leader by all accounts.  He had fanatically devoted followers who left behind families, homes, careers and jobs in America to follow him to a jungle “paradise” that was called Jonestown (that should have been a clue to the man’s ego.)  They moved after a magazine, New West, raised questions about the legality of some of their practices.  According to Wikipedia, after moving to Guyana, Jones developed a belief in something he called “Translation” – the idea that he and his followers would all die together and go to another planet to live in peace.  He even held mass suicide “practices” where followers would drink Kool-aid and fall to the ground as if they were dead in order to prepare for Translation. 

The day finally came when it wasn’t practice – it was for real.  A total of 914 people died in the mass poisoning – 638 adults and 276 children.  By the time that authorities arrived, many of the bodies were already in such a state of decay that there is some dispute about how many actually died.  It was not a pretty scene. 

I have often wondered about the mindset of those present in Jonestown on that fateful day.  It is hard for me to comprehend parents giving cups of poisoned Kool-aid to their little ones.  For me, it is almost as hard to understand how people could take the cup and drink it down themselves.

An old blog entry had a synopsis of an article from Vogue magazine by Jenny Sanford (the wife of the infamous Governor Sanford who was caught having an affair with an Argentine woman while lying about his whereabouts to his family and staff), where she was describing what it was like to watch her husband’s “addiction” to a woman with whom he was carrying on an affair.  The writer of the blog (my youngest son, Tim) noted this quote from Ms. Sanford: “Politicians become disconnected from the way everyone else lives in the world. I saw that from the very beginning. They’ll say they need something, and ten people want to give it to them. It’s an ego boost, and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid. As a wife, you do your best to keep them grounded, but it’s a real challenge.” 

What struck me was her comment: “…and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid” – a reference to what happened in Jonestown and how it was so deadly.  It isn’t just politicians who are quick to drink their own Kool-aid.  I fear we are all quick to believe our own deceptions and lies and to seek that which flatters and boosts our egos.  It is frequently said of sports teams or athletes that get too “fat” of a head that they “believe their own press,” i.e., they believe the things they say and think about themselves to an unhealthy and potentially fatal degree.

We do the same thing when we think we’re better than we really are, or when we think we can withstand a certain temptation that has always pulled at us – and we’ll get too close to it and wind up in the dirt like the families who died in Jonestown. 

God doesn’t give us poisoned Kool-Aid, nor does He want us to drink our own concoction.  Instead, He offers us the Living Water – water that is pure, sweet and gives us life. 

Maybe it’s time for us all to do some serious introspection to find out if we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3 (KJV)

PRAYER:  Our eyes are all too often blinded and our minds are dulled by our own press and impressions of ourselves, Lord.  Help us not to drink our own Kool-Aid, nor the Kool-Aid that anyone else would offer us.  Help us to seek and drink only Living Water!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 6/06/17 – Harmful Ingredients

DayBreaks for 6/06/17: Harmful Ingredients

Are you a label reader? As I’ve gotten older, I read food labels more closely. I do that because as our health conditions change, such matters become more important to my health. I won’t begin to say that I’m good at it, and at times, I don’t bother to read the labels partly because I may want to eat something regardless of what the label says!

One thing I have learned, though, is that food content lists always put the most important things in the list first and then they are listed in descending order of importance. That is how it should be! Think about it: if the things which had the most potential to do you harm were entered at the bottom of the list, would you ever get to that part of the label? I wouldn’t. We’ve become ever more concerned in modern times about what we put into our bodies – and that’s good, because our bodies, we are told, are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Here’s where it gets intriguing: when we describe things that are of importance, don’t we all tend to put the most important things at the top of the list as we start writing or talking about them? I don’t know if that was the case when Jude wrote his brief letter or not, but in his letter, he includes a list of offenses that he described this way: “…certain people…who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These were false teachers who led weak Christians astray. Then he starts to list what their offenses were: These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

Did you notice what is at the top of Jude’s list? It’s not murderers, rapists, thieves or terrorists (yes, they had them in the first century, too). It’s grumblers and fault finders who are out for what they can get.

Does that describe you and me? We are a nation of critics – some people even make a living that way (movie critics, theater critics, fashion critics, music, art, books, restaurants, etc., etc.) I don’t make my living that way, but do I grumble and complain about traffic, prices, weather, the government, taxes, sports teams, how I’m being treated by someone, what I’m being paid? It’s still grumbling, isn’t it?

Why is grumbling ingredient #1 on Jude’s list? It is a sign of inner discontent. Complaining about something makes it public and infects others. In essence, my complaints and grumblings are an indictment against God’s character and goodness, saying He hasn’t treated me well, or fairly, and calling into question His sovereignty and providence. Remember why God punished the Israelites in the wilderness? It was because of their grumblings (1 Cor. 10.10). In Philippians we are told to do everything without complaining or arguing (Phil. 2:14-16), and in 1 Timothy 6:6, Paul goes on to encourage us that godliness with contentement is great gain.

How interesting that grumbling and complaining are at the top of the list, but when you see them as what they really are – indictments of God’s character – it makes sense.

How many times today have you grumbled and complained already? Too many – that’s my guess, but I’m guilty, too.  

PRAYER: God, I’m sorry for the many times I grumble and complain. Forgive my arrogance to call Your character, wisdom and sovereignty into question!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/14/15 – Avoiding Snakebite

DayBreaks for 7/14/15: Avoiding Snakebite

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/14/2005:

For the record, I don’t like snakes.  I don’t like to touch them.  I don’t like to see them unless they are safely in a cage on the other side of solid glass that’s too strong for them to break through.  Then, and only then, do I enjoy seeing them.  We live in rattlesnake country and so I’m always wary when around brush, rock or wood piles.  I’d just as soon leave the snakes alone.

John Ortberg told a story about a man who worked in a zoo that housed a 13-foot king cobra.  The venom in his venom glands was powerful enough to kill 1000 adult males.  A single bite from such a large cobra has been known to kill a full-grown African elephant.  As it turns out, this particular cobra had a scar by one eye that prevented it from completely shedding its skin when it molted.  That meant that every time the snake shed its skin, the zoo handlers had to grab and hold the angry snake while the vet carefully cut the skin away from the scar.

As I thought about that story, I was certain that I wouldn’t want the job of grabbing the snake.  I wouldn’t have wanted to grab it even if it was a harmless garter snake, let alone a ticked-off 13-foot king cobra.  But the vet, and 4 others, managed to grab hold of the snake and immobilize it long enough for the vet to cut away the dead skin.  But before he finished, the vet cautioned everyone that the most dangerous part was yet to take place: the moment when they had to release the snake, to let it go.  He told them that more people are bitten by snakes when letting go of them than while grabbing them or holding onto them.  I think he should have told them this tidbit of news before they agreed to hold onto the nasty beast to start with.  I would have been very angry at him if he’d not told me that in advance!

Still, it made me think about temptation and sin.  We grab the snake of sin and we’re in trouble.  We don’t know how to let it go without getting hurt.  We find out that the sin was much more powerful and difficult to deal with than we thought it would be when we gave in to it the first time.  But by then, we’re in trouble.  We’ve got a deadly, spitting snake in our hands and it wants to bury its fangs deep into our souls.

Why is it that we don’t just let go and run away?  We’re afraid.  But if we are brutally honest, we don’t really want to let go of the snake of temptation too badly, do we?  We’d rather keep hanging on to it so that we know where it is, and if we decide that we want to indulge our sinful appetites again, we can do so without having to go through the trouble of catching the snake all over again.  We hold it close, afraid of it, but pretending all the while that it is harmless, or at least that it can’t hurt us as long as we hang on to it tightly enough (i.e., “have it under control”).  We’re crazy. 

Are you holding onto a deadly viper of sin in your life?  Let it go…and run!  Run like crazy to the Savior!

Eccl 10:11 – It does no good to charm a snake after it has bitten you.PRAYER: Lord, we delude ourselves thinking we can master our temptations and manage our sinfulness!  Save us from this foolishness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/12/14 – The Skeleton at the Feast

DayBreaks for 2/12/14 – The Skeleton at the Feast

Romans 12:17-18 (NLT) Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” What does that mean? Simply this: vengeance is more satisfying when exacted in cold blood.

Who among us has not at some time or another longed for, if not actively sought, revenge on another? It seems to be part of the human malady caused by sin. We are hurt – and we want to hurt back. We are injured and we want to injure in return. Quid pro quo as the Romans would have said. 

We know, deep inside of us, that it should not be this way. We know, somewhere down in the bottom of our hearts, that revenge isn’t right, but oh, how we long for it when the wound is raw!!!! 

But, revenge is not all it is cracked up to be. It carries its own poison. Consider these words from Frederick Beuchner: Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

Let’s be done with revenge. Let’s live honorably!

PRAYER: Lord, if we are angry with others today, keep us from striking out and seeking revenge! May we, as you did on the cross, pray for those who pound nails and mock us. May we live honorably, as you did! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 09/17/13 – The Poison Within

DayBreaks for 09/17/13 – The Poison Within

These days “organic” is the big thing.  I suppose that I can understand it, but I’m generally too cheap to spend that much extra money for something organic.  Perhaps I should, but I don’t. 

Organic simply means natural and without additives or preservatives.  In the case of meat, etc., it means that they were fed natural, organic food without sprays, etc. (I think).    

“Researchers now can accurately estimate a person’s economic status just by learning which environmental toxins are in his body, concluded a University of Exeter (England) research team recently, using U.S. data. Although “both rich and poor Americans are walking waste dumps,” wrote the website Quartz, reporting the conclusions, poorer people’s typical food leaves lead, cadmium, and the banned Bisphenol-A whereas richer people more likely accumulate heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, thallium) from aquatic lean protein (and acquire oxybenzone from the active ingredient in sunscreens). Previous research was thought to show that richer Americans ate healthier (for example, eating fruits and vegetables instead of canned foods), but the Exeter research shows they merely house different toxins.” (News of the Weird, Quartz, 8-5-2013]

What cheerful news for a Tuesday, right?  We think that organic is best…and physically speaking, that is probably true.  But it isn’t always the case when we talk about spiritual truths.  There are two ways to think about this:

ONE: we are human, made from the dust of the ground.  Our organic “chemistry” is that we are human, for better and worse.  The worse side has to do with our fleshly pre-disposition to sin – and sin grievously at that.  We have been endowed by our Creator with the gift of free-will, which we often use wrongly.  We choose poorly, to borrow a phrase from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  We are truly possessed of a poisonous nature within!

TWO: we are created in the image of God.  That’s not the same as saying we are gods or goddesses.  The idea of an “image” is that of an “icon” such as resides on the screen of your computer: it is not the program itself, just a representation of it.  We are a reflection of something, we are not that “thing” itself.  We are no more God than the image we see in a mirror of us is “us”.  We don’t have the Divine nature in us – at least not until we surrender to Christ and are indwelt by the Spirit.  Yet, even then, as Paul said, “It is no longer I, but the Spirit that lives within me.” 

What is the answer?  Are we good or bad?  Or both?  I think the answer is “Yes”!  Our organic nature is corruptible, prone to sin, destined for death.  Our organic nature has to be overcome and die to be replaced by a greater nature: Galatians 2:20 (NLT) – My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not trusting in organic foods for a longer life.  I’m trusting in Jesus for an eternal one!

PRAYER: We long to see the completion of Your work in us and to be freed from our sinful organic nature.  Until that day, let us all trust in the Son of God who not only loved us, but gave Himself for us all!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 03/14/11 – The Indian and the Snake

DayBreaks for 03/14/11 – The Indian and the Snake

Iron Eyes Cody was a Native American actor who in 1988 told an old Indian legend to Guideposts magazine. It goes like this: many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world.

He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke.

“I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

“No,” said the youth. “I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.”

“Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.”

The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg.

“But you promised…” cried the youth.

“You knew what I was when you picked me up.” said the snake as it slithered away.

 

You know what it is...

Galen’s Thoughts: How easily we give in to the voice of the serpent ourselves when he tells us that “you are special”, and that while others might be harmed if they did what we were doing, that by some magical means, we won’t be hurt by it.  We start to believe Satan’s “press” and to believe that we can carry sin around in our hearts and minds and souls and not be hurt – not really hurt – by it.  When will we learn that Satan is, and always has been, untrustworthy, breathing out lies and intent on killing us!!  We know what he is…let’s not pick him up!

 

They spit venom like deadly snakes; they are like cobras that refuse to listen, 5 ignoring the tunes of the snake charmers, no matter how skillfully they play. – Psalm 58:4-5

PRAYER: Keep us from foolishly thinking that we are strong enough to handle temptation and even to engage in sin without it really harming us!  Help us to see sin, and Satan, as it really is!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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