DayBreaks for 4/17/17 – Now You’ll See

DayBreaks for 4/18/17: Now You’ll See

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

I don’t have to tell you that life can get pretty hard.  If you are more than 24 hours old, you’ve probably discovered that fact for yourself (and come to think of it, getting into this world isn’t so easy, either)!  It is difficult, at times, to hold onto hope.  But it is very important that we do so!  Think about this example from Today In the Word, May 1990: A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope!  Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them.

It is sometimes easier to hope than others.  But as G. K. Chesterton put it: Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all…As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.  I think he makes a good point.  If we were the rats in the tank in the experiment and could see a way to get ourselves out of the tank, then what would we be relying on?  Ourselves.  And then it isn’t hope, is it? 

Of course, we aren’t rats in a tank.  We are of much greater value.  We weren’t put here be some crazed scientist for the purposes of experimentation.  God isn’t performing laboratory experiments on us.  We need to remember that it was our sin that put us in the tank – not some all-powerful cosmic scientist to watch creatures struggle to see what they would do!  We alone are responsible for the fact that we are drowning.  God alone is responsible for the fact that there is a way out of the tank.  God has spent thousands of years rescuing us from the cesspool of our sin and shame and He is still about the business of rescuing broken and drowning people today. 

Romans 5:5-6 reminds us: And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  You see, God didn’t just build a ramp out of the tank, He got in the tank with us and lifted us out. 

When you despair of ever seeing or feeling the joy of a sunrise again, look around you.  You will see the Son of God at your side.  He will not fail you.  He will not let you down.  You may have to reach the point where the situation is “hopeless” before you turn to Him so you can learn what hope really is. 

We all need to remember that “hopeless” is a human term – it doesn’t exist in God’s dictionary.

PRAYER:  This day, Lord, let us be filled with hope, for this may be the day of His return!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 2/16/17 – Rats in the Cellar and Slaps on the Cheek

DayBreaks for 2/16/17: Rats in the Cellar and Slaps on the Cheek

Matthew 5:39 (ESV) – But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

This text from Matthew leads one to ponder the words of C.S. Lewis, Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me ill-tempered; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.

Think about the reaction that Christ calls us to have if someone strikes us on the cheek. What kind of a person would that make us? To turn the other cheek and refuse to react with similar anger or malice shows the world we are Christian. After all, if someone walked up to you in the next 5 minutes without warning or provocation and slapped you hard across the cheek, what would your reaction be?

So if what we do when we are taken off guard is the best evidence of what sort of person we are, let us pray our reactions show that we are good Christians!

PRAYER: Lord, it is not natural for us to turn the other cheek when we’ve been smitten physically, verbally or emotionally. It is at moments like that when we most need your Spirit to dominate our response. Spirit, take up residence in us so that we might be like Jesus! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/21/13 – Of Rats and Hope

DayBreaks for 10/21/13 – Of Rats and Hope

Romans 5:5 (NIV)  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

I don’t know anyone who loves rats, but even rats can teach us something about hope.  I don’t know who did this experiment nor when it was done, but if you take a rat and put it into a bucket of water, it will swim for 15 minutes before it gives up and drowns.  But, if you lift the rat out so it can catch its breath for even a few moments just before it gives up, it will swim for another 15 minutes.  And then, if you lift it out again for a few moments and put it back, it will swim for another 15 minutes.  And it will do that for 5 days

Why?  It is believed to be motivated by being lifted out….it is given hope, so it will continue on and endure for an extraordinary period of time.  Once it loses hope, however, it dies.  And it can lost that hope after just 15 minutes if it doesn’t believe that there is a chance of its life continuing by getting out of the bucket.

Christian hope is believed by many to be just wishful thinking.  That’s not what Christian hope is about.  It’s not wishful thinking – it is confidence.  We don’t just hope that Jesus will come back some day – Christians are confident of it because Jesus promised us that he would be back.  We don’t just hope that we’ll “make it” into heaven – we’re confident of it because Jesus doesn’t lose even one of those whom God has given him.  We don’t just hope that things will work out – we are confident they will because we have a loving Father who has made us the apple of His eye and He has the power and ability to make good on that promise, too.

Hope.  Without it, we die.  With it, we can persevere, knowing that all shall be well!

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the hope that sustains us in even the darkest of hours in this life.  Thank you that YOU are the bedrock of our hope, our sure foundation and the keeper of promises!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks 02/15/11 – Rats in the Cellar

DayBreaks 02/15/11 – Rats in the Cellar

There are many moments in life that reveal our character.  On a few rare occasions, good times or blessing can reveal something about our personality.  But it is more often the tough times that truly show what we’re made of and what we harbor in our inner person.

Nearly anyone can plan and anticipate situations that may come to pass – and to some extent plan how they will respond to those situations.  Oftentimes, however, situations come upon us that we cannot anticipate, never in a million years.  How we react at those painful or embarrassing or difficult moments is the most revealing insight into our basic nature.

C.S. Lewis saw this and wrote the following: “Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me ill-tempered; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.”

 

Are there rats in your cellar?

When you are caught off guard, what is your first instinct?  When you’ve been unexpectedly hurt or slighted, where do your thoughts lead?  How many rats are there in YOUR cellar?  What does it take for them to get loose?

 

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19-20

PRAYER: May we learn to react like Jesus in both the good and the bad moments in our lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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