DayBreaks for 4/19/18 – Habakkuk’s Circumstances – Deja Vu

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DayBreaks for 4/19/18: Habakkuk’s Circumstances (Déjà vu)     

I will refer you to Habakkuk 1.2-4 as a background for this DayBreaks.

Here’s the scenario: Habakkuk, a prophet in Judea, looks around himself and sees that the “righteous” (in whose number he includes himself) are surrounded by the wicked. He sees so-called justice that is really injustice. He sees iniquity. He sees destruction and violence running rampant. Strife and contention are everywhere and the law seems paralyzed. As bad as that is, what really is bothering Habakkuk is that he has been crying out to the Lord for help – and not seeing any help coming to his rescue.

This is going to get a bit sensitive here because I’m going to delve into politics. Bear with me, please. Habakkuk mixed the two – righteousness and justice. As much as some would like to totally separate the two, we can’t. Why is it wrong to steal from someone, both morally and ethically? Because it results in injustice to the person who had things taken. Justice is both a moral and political issue methinks.

And here’s where it’s gonna get touchy: there are many in America today who are feeling a lot like Habakkuk. They are right – there is much to despair over because of what they see happening (or not happening). They can’t understand why God has let some things happen and why he hasn’t come down with an iron rod and set things straight. And as a result, they cry out – but not maybe so much to God as to their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and via email.

I think that Habakkuk had a far better approach to venting his frustration. Isn’t it better to cry out to God when we are despairing? We may not like the answer (or non-answer) we get from God, but it is HIS answer, so it is bound to be better than that which we get from our friends. Our dilemma is whether or not we believe his answers and ways are good or not. He is the God who raises up rulers and tears them down – not for our satisfaction, but for his immutable reasons. 

Indeed, God may yet come down with a rod of iron to fix what is wrong in this world (we know he will eventually, but he can fix things in the meantime, too, if in his infinite wisdom he knows that it is the right thing to do). There IS much injustice. There IS much violence, strife and contention. Those things need to be fixed – and they will.

But rather than crying out to everyone else around us, maybe like Habakkuk we should be crying out to God. Oh, and one more thing: maybe we need to be on our knees a whole lot more on behalf of our president, congresspersons, governors, magistrates, etc. than we have been. I wonder how often those who have railed the most against the political and moral state of affairs in our country are taking the command from Paul that we are to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2.2 – and bear in mind the leader Paul told people to pray for at that time as an utterly unjust, evil tyrant named Nero.) What, I wonder, would happen if Christians in the country and around the world truly started to pray for their leaders like we should? Not pray that they be smitten, but pray for their well-being, for righteousness to find a place to rule in their hearts, to seek God’s answers, to find salvation and God’s ways rather than the guidance of human advisors. Remember that prayer is offering our desires to God, but always with the attitude of “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” Might God just hear from heaven and heal our land?

PRAYER: Convict us of the need to pray for all of our leaders far more than we feel the need to criticize them, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 10/09/13 – Shutdowns, Politics and Saints

DayBreaks for 10/09/13 – Shutdowns, Politics and Saints

Matthew 5:47 (NLT)  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

I hate politics with a passion.  I very seldom write about such things because of my intense distaste of such matters.  But here’s the real truth: it’s not the topics so much that bother me, but the way people act and speak about those on the other side of the fence. And that gets to the heart of the matter for us Christians, for I fear we may be responding inappropriately to such things.

From a link I received: “During the government shutdown this October, there was only one major point both Democrats and Republicans could completely agree on. Both parties proudly and loudly declared “It was not our fault.” Not so much “taking a stand” as taking a “stand off.” 

“There are always two front lines going on during any conflict. There is the horrible physical conflict, the confrontation between persons and countries that results in blood and doom. The losses logged on that physical front line are devastating and deadly.

“But there is also a second “front line” – a front line of no-fault words and diplomatic pledges. A front line of absolute principles and unswerving passions. That second front line has no clear-cut battlefront or set battlefield.

“A front line of true faithfulness has no geographical latitude or ideological longitude that pushes it “over the line.” In keeping with Jesus’ “what-do-you-more-than-others” (Mt.5:47) directive to his disciples, there is a wholly different set of “rules of engagement” that dictate how those who follow the gospel of Jesus Christ stand up for truth. Christians follow different “rules of engagement” than warriors or politicians.”

Here’s the point: as much as we may hate political stands and think those on the “other side” are wrong, we must never be kind only to our friends.  We are to be kind, gentle, and even loving towards all.  Why?  Because we are supposed to be different.  Where other vilify we should bless; where other hit we should comfort; when other speak ill of us we should speak well of them or be silent; where others seek to kill either physically or socially we should distribute Living Water.

 When Jesus threw this challenge at his followers back in the day, he wasn’t just throwing it at them.  It is intended for us in the 21st century, too.  No matter how much we dislike someone’s stand, let us love the person who takes the stand and speak well of them.  Otherwise, as Jesus said, we are not different than pagans.

PRAYER: Forgive me for the ill I may have spoken of others, Lord, and change my heart to be like Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/06/12 – It Takes Two to Fight

DayBreaks for 11/06/12 – It Takes Two to Fight

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV)

I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the organ grinder who used to go around in the streets with a little monkey to collect pennies. When I was a small kid on Friday nights, we’d drive in to the big town of Jefferson, Iowa (maybe 2000 people in those days – it’s not much large now!).  Farmers from all over the countryside would come and park their cars around the main square that surrounded the county courthouse (Jefferson was the county seat) and just enjoy a Friday night.  My memory seems that we just sat there in the car and watched people walk by.  Exciting stuff for an Iowa farm boy.  But, there was a corner that had a popcorn stand that was run by Cad Williams.  Can must have been in her 70’s at the time, but I thought she must be at least 100.  She was a sweet, dear lady – and in fact she was my Sunday school teacher for my early years.  She made the best popcorn I’ve ever eaten…but sometimes there would be an organ grinder there with a small monkey.

This next scenario didn’t take place there, but it is a true story about one such organ grinder.  It seems he had an especially clever monkey. On one occasion, when a big dog would break away from some children with whom it had been playing and made a dash for the monkey, the bystanders were surprised to see that the monkey did not seem in the least afraid. He stood perfectly still in evident curiosity, waiting for the dog to come up to him. This disconcerted the dog, for it would have much preferred to chase something that would run and not stand its ground. As soon as the dog reached the monkey, the funny little scarlet-coated creature courteously doffed its cap. Instantly there was a laugh from the audience. The dog was nonplussed. Its head drooped and its tail dropped between its legs. It looked like a whipped cur and not at all like the fine dog it really was. It turned and ran back home, and the laughing children could not persuade it to return. As for the monkey, he wanted no disagreement, and he knew instinctively that it took two to make a quarrel. You can often avoid strife by being the one who refuses to fight with a brother in Christ, even if he is somewhat different from you or belongs to another group.

We have come through an especially contentious few years in our nation’s history.  I pray that today as Christians we will heed Paul’s counsel to Timothy and not quarrel let we ruin not just others, but ourselves as well.  It always takes two to fight!!!!  Let us be people of peace, remembering that Jesus didn’t fight over for…be only for the souls of men and women.  I pray that will be our main concern, too!

PRAYER: Lord, let peace descend on our land and in our hearts.  Let us bear no ill will to others.  Let the healing begin this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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