DayBreaks for 3/14/17 – The Conflict Wars

DayBreaks for 3/14/17: The Conflict Wars

Ephesians 4:32 (MSG) – Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

It’s a story that is repeated on every elementary school playground, nearly every day in our country. Two fourth-graders get into it during recess; something about “he did this, so I did that” and it kind of goes south from there. When they get back to class, Billy trips Joey. After lunch, Joey breaks Billy’s pencil on purpose. When nobody is looking, Billy writes on Joey’s desk, and later, Joey steals Billy’s folder. After school, Billy and his friends face Joey and his friends, and they call each other names. Somebody gets hurt. Somebody else gets hurt worse. And then there is no telling when or if these conflicts will ever end.

Sound familiar? Sadly, that kind of tit-for-tat doesn’t just take place on the playground of children. We have all experienced this sort of escalating pettiness many times in our lives and in our more lucid moments we all readily admit that it is silly, right?

But let me suggest to you that we can remove the names “Billy” and “Joey” and insert the words “husband” and “wife” and the story is much the same. Or we could insert the names of two rival high schools, or two rival companies, or “The Hatfields” and “The McCoys.” Or Republicans and Democrats, or “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” or Israel and Palestine, or America and almost any Arab nation you care to name. Conflict at any level is conflict. And if not preventable, most conflict is at least resolvable…but not until one side refuses to retaliate and instead decides to reconcile.

It isn’t right to give in to something that is clearly proscribed by God’s Word. But we need to make sure that we are on solid footing when we take our stance that we aren’t engaging in schoolyard pettiness just because of something I “feel” or “think”. And if we find ourselves engaged in a conflict war with someone, let us seek resolution that leads to reconciliation rather than black eyes all around. Consider how Jesus could have dealt with us – and then think about how he actually did deal with us and our pettiness. Maybe just maybe, we can learn something from his example.

PRAYER: Father, help us to be the sort of people who seek to prevent conflict when appropriate, but if not, help us be more interested in reconciliation than in proving our point. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/06/13 – Calvin and Hobbes on Forgiveness

DayBreaks for 03/06/13 – Calvin and Hobbes on Forgiveness                

Calvin---Hobbes-calvin--26-hobbes-254155_1024_768Matthew 6:14 (MSG) – In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.

One of my favorite cartoon strips was Calvin and Hobbes.  You may read them regularly.  If you are unfamiliar with them, Calvin is a little boy with a very active imagination with a stuffed tiger, Hobbes, who comes to life as his imaginary friend.  They share many ventures together which form the theme of the strip.  Calvin has a bit of the rebel in him, one might even say a bit of a mean streak at times, but one has the sense that deep down inside, he means well.

In one cartoon strip, Calvin turns to his friend Hobbes and says, “I feel bad I called Susie names and hurt her feelings. I’m sorry I did that.” Hobbes replies, “Maybe you should apologize to her.” Calvin pauses, thinking about Hobbes’ suggestion, then replies: “I keep hoping there’s a less obvious solution.”

Perhaps the reason that I like Calvin and Hobbes so much is that I have a streak of Calvin in me.  I suspect that to varying degrees, we all do!  A case in point: we have trouble accepting those whom God accepts because we take God’s acceptance for granted and God’s forgiveness as our right.

In the story of the prodigal son, we are much like the older brother who prefers justice to mercy.  As Lee Greiss put it: “We have worked for what we have (or so we think), and it’s unfair that everyone else should not have to do the same. We have earned God’s favor (or so we think) by “staying at home.” We have merited his acceptance by the good life that we live. So how dare God receive and accept our sinful brother who has returned home saying he’s sorry.”

You may look and look and think and ponder to find a way around apologizing to someone we’ve wronged, or even simply hurt with some misguided words or actions.  Simply put, there is no less obvious, or humbling of a solution than to just say a heartfelt “I’m sorry.” 

We are to say that to God when we hurt Him through our sin.  And we are to say it to one another, too.  Asking forgiveness is typically the first step on the road to reconciliation and restoration.  Will you take that step today with someone you need to ask to forgive you?

PRAYER: Our egos and pride are so huge, Lord, that it crushes us sometimes to have to admit our failings and to ask someone to forgive us.  Break down our pride.  Let us be honest with You about our sin against you and against others!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started work as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org).  He needs to raise his own support.  DayBreaks has always been free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation to Medical Ambassadors on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made online at http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Go to that link and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section and look for the link for Galen Dalrymple.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his account.  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 (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient in many ways for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 02/25/12 – The Ministry of Reconciliation

DayBreaks for 02/25/13 – The Ministry of Reconciliation                       

Reconciliation.gif

Romans 5:11 – “Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Reconciliation is a big topic in scripture.  In fact, it’s what the entire story of God’s interaction with mankind is all about.  Reconciliation is about the restoration of relationship.  We like the idea of reconciliation, whether it is with God or with our human acquaintances.  But perhaps we take reconciliation too lightly – we cheapen the cost of reconciliation.

Consider these words from a pastor by the name of Allan Boesak: “True reconciliation cannot take place without confrontation.  Reconciliation is not feeling good; it s coming to grips with evil.  In order to reconcile, Christ had to die.  We must not deceive ourselves.  Reconciliation does not mean holding hands and singing ‘black and white together.’  It means, rather, death and suffering, giving up one’s life for the sake of the other.  If white and black Christians fail to understand this, we shall not be truly reconciled.

“So it is with peace.  One is not at peace with God and one’s neighbor because one has succeeded in closing one’s eyes to the realities of evil.  Neither is peace a situation where terrorism of the defenseless is acceptable because it is being done under the guise of the law…Peace is not simply the absence of war or an uneasy quiet in the townships.  Peace is the active presence of justice.  It is shalom, the well-being of all.”

Reconciliation to God was extremely costly.  We hope for an easy and cheap reconciliation in our relationships.  Chances are if it is easy, it isn’t truly a reconciliation.   God has given us the ministry of reconciliation.  Just like our Lord, we may have to bleed for it.

2 Cor. 5:18-20 – “18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Copyright 2003 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Father, thank You for the gift of your reconciliation!  Please search our hearts and show us those to whom we need to be reconciled here on earth!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen has started work as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org).  He needs to raise his own support.  DayBreaks has always been free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation to Medical Ambassadors on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made online at http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Go to that link and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section and look for the link for Galen Dalrymple.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his account.  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 (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient in many ways for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 03/19/12 – Enough Positive Thinking

DayBreaks for 03/17/12 – Enough Positive Thinking

Positive thinking can't fix our deepest problems.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. – Psalm 139:23-24

A Sunday School class in a church once made an unusual request. They asked that when it came to the part of the worship where the congregation joined together for the prayer of confession that the prayer be omitted.  Here are the reasons that they gave for their request:

1. Confessions imply that we are bad people.

2. Our children will get a negative image of themselves.

3. Guilt is damaging; we need to think positively.

4. Worship should always be uplifting and make us feel good.

This sounds like the philosophy advocated by that book some years ago I’m OK, You’re OK.  So, if I’m OK and you’re OK then what are we doing here? The refusal to acknowledge that we are sinful people is damaging the church today, and it is damage that is coming from within, not from without. We have bought in to the modern culture that we should have a positive self-image through positive thinking.

Sin is very, very real, and it is too deadly and destructive to ignore. The cross stands as a constant reminder to us of just how serious our sin is. The failure to freely and openly express our sin before God and to one another cheapens God’s redemptive grace. Positive thinking has never removed the guilt from even one sin.  The only thing that will do that is God’s redemptive action.

PRAYER: Lord, of one thing I am positive: in me dwells no good thing, but your love and grace abound unto me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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DayBreaks for 09/07/11 – A Tree That Will Never Thrive

DayBreaks for 09/07/11 – A Tree That Will Never Thrive

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. – 1 Corinthians 1:10

A lot of people don’t like conflict.  They avoid it as if it were ten times deadlier than the plague.  I can understand the emotions that leads them to do that, but when we let our emotions get in the way of how God has said things should be done (in His infinite wisdom about how things work best!) and we don’t deal with issues in godly ways, we subject ourselves and those who may be in conflict with us, to all sorts of problems.

It is inevitable that from time to time there will be conflicts and disagreements within a church.  It comes from several sources, including disagreements about what Scripture says, mis-understandings, pre-conceptions, holding our own opinions in too high of regard and insisting that our opinions have the power of holy writ behind them, and just plain sinfulness.  You may be experiencing conflict or pain in your church right now.  If so, let me encourage you: don’t run away to another church. It’s usually better to stay put and at the very least make every effort, as painful as it may be, to work through it. That’s the advice from two early Christian sources, and from Scripture itself.

An anonymous 4th century Christian leader wrote: If a trial [with other people] comes upon you in the place where you live, do not leave that place when the trial comes. Wherever you go, you will find that what you are running from is ahead of you. So stay until the trial is over, so that if you end up leaving, no offense will be caused, and you will not bring distress to others who live in the same neighborhood.

In the 12th century, Anselm of Canterbury compared a restless believer to a tree that can’t thrive because it’s “frequently transplanted or often disturbed.” Anselm warns: “If he often moves from place to place at his own whim, or remaining in one place is frequently agitated by hatred of it, [he] never achieves stability with roots of love.”

There is wisdom in those words from wise Christians from years long ago.  And of course, Jesus was very clear that we are to make every effort to resolve conflicts and seek reconciliation.  What happens when people fail to even try to seek reconciliation?  Here’s what I think: when brothers and sisters in Christ do things in the ways God has prescribed, it opens the door to the flowing of God’s power to resolve problems and bring about reconciliation, but when we refuse to follow the very clear Biblical teaching (for whatever reason, including our pre-concluding that it won’t work if we try so we just as well spare ourselves the pain – which by the way is a very selfish and self-centered approach) on how to reconcile, we have closed off the door to God’s power.  And we have broken His heart.

PRAYER: Give us the courage to live up to Your ways and enable Your power to flow so that healing and reconciliation may abound!  Teach us to be more concerned about relationship than our own comfort or pain.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/17/11 – Recess and Marriages

DayBreaks 02/17/11 – Recess and Marriages

In case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you how it works in elementary school.  Picture two kids who are having some kind of dispute during recess.  When confronted by the yard monitor, Billy says, “Joey said I look funny, that my ears look like a pig – so I kicked him.”  That’s just the beginning.  After that, things get worse.  On the way back to class, Joey trips Billy for getting him in trouble with the yard monitor.  During lunch, Billy dumps milk into Joey’s desk.  Later, Joey steals Billy’s folder.  As the day progresses, tension mounts and the anger and rage get worse.  They meet on a back street and each gets egged on by their “friends.”  A punch is thrown, eyes will swell, blood flows.  This is the nature of conflict.

I said this was a scenario from elementary school.  It sounds tremendously childish, doesn’t it?  We think about it and say that Billy and Joey are being foolish, silly and immature.  And we would be right to say that.  We’re all much more mature and grown up now, right?

Are we really?  What if you took out the names of “Billy” and “Joey” and insert the words “husband” and “wife” (or your name and the name of your spouse) and the story could be much the same. Or, think about the political parties and how they snipe and take potshots at one another in such childish ways instead of working to resolve the problems.

Conflict at any level is still conflict, and more often than not, it can be prevented.  There are times when conflict can’t be avoided or prevented, but in most cases, conflict is resolvable, but for that to happen, it takes someone to take the first step…to refuse to retaliate, to turn the other cheek, and choose instead to seek the path of peace reconciliation.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to be peacemakers, especially in our families and marriages, that we can be mature and build each other up instead of trying to make others look foolish – and making ourselves foolish in the process.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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