DayBreaks for 8/16/18 – The Word Subverted

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DayBreaks for 8/16/18: The Word Subverted

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I’ve ranted and raved before about the way language is used today.  In some cases, language riles folks up, while in other cases, it is purposely designed to salve our consciences and to try to do away with any sense of guilt or shame we may have about our actions.  Today, I want to share something with you that Eugene Peterson wrote in Reversed Thunder about how Satan uses the printed word to accomplish some of his purposes.  Certainly, the invention of the printing press and the ability to print the Word in many languages and by the millions of copies has been a great blessing.  But as is often the case with Satan, he will take a good thing and somehow find a way to twist it and make something dark out of it.  Listen:

“The subtlest and most common attack in the satanic assault on God’s ways among us is a subversion of the word.  This subversion unobtrusively disengages our imagination from God’s word and gets us to think of it as something wonderful in print, at the same time that it dulls any awareness that it is spoken by a living God.  It has been an enormously successful strategy: millions of people use the Bible in which they devoutly believe to condemn people they do not approve of; millions more read the word of God daily and within ten minutes are speaking words to spouses, neighbors, children, and colleagues that are contemptuous, irritable, manipulative, and misleading.  How does this happen?  How is it possible for people who give so much attention to the Word of God, to remain so unaffected by it?  Not, surely, through unbelief, but through lack of imagination: the enemy subverted the spoken word into an ink word…they go through the minds of the readers like water through a pipe.”

A couple of pages later, he continues to drive home the point: “If the Revelation is masterful in getting us involved in a living response to scripture, it is also unavoidable in its claim that scripture is God’s word to us, not human words about God.  Reading scripture as if it were the writings of various persons throughout history giving their ideas of experiences of God, is perhaps the commonest mistake that is made in reading scripture.  And the deadliest.”

What is your attitude towards the word?  Do you eagerly say, “Yes, I believe Scripture is God’s word and it’s inspired and the only sure and safe guide for faith”?  Do you still say the same thing when you find it says something you don’t agree with, or which you don’t like?  Does it, at those moments, become less than inspired for you?  It is precisely at those moments when we discover something in the word which makes us uncomfortable and which is convicting to us that we need to bow the knee before the Word, realizing it’s not just someone’s opinions or a gentle suggestion about what God wants – it is His very WORD!

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) – For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

PRAYER: Give us the wisdom to rightly divide Your word and to apply it to our lives.  Give us the courage to read it at face value, humbly, knowing we are reading the very words of God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/30/15 – Struggling With God’s Reliability

DayBreaks for 9/30/15: Struggling with God’s Reliability

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

From 2020 Vision, by Bill and Amy Stearns: “Why do we often worry about whether God will come through for us?  Why can’t we spend the ‘last’ 75 years of our lives in solid confidence of His working in our lives and feel deeply satisfied with life?  Perhaps because somehow we’ve gotten the idea that God is supposed to respond to our pleas, to what we feel are our needs.  And often He doesn’t.  We become disappointed with Him and – perhaps without ever hinting at such blasphemy – feel that He’s unreliable.  The prophet Jeremiah felt exactly that way in his life of troubles; he complained to God, Will you indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable? (Jer. 15:18)  The KJV of that passage puts it about as forcefully as a translator would dare when speaking to God: Wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?

“Many people who reject God, even when raised in a Christian environment, can point back to a specific event that convinced them that God – if God exists at all – is unreliable.  They’ve prayed that God would save the life of a loved one, and the person dies.  They experience a horrible personal trauma and God doesn’t rescue them; therefore they feel that God doesn’t care.  Even some Christians live the life of a practical atheist.  They know He exists and has saved the, but they frankly don’t trust Him because He has ‘let them down.’

“But maybe it’s time for us to get scriptural in our expectations of God’s reliability.  He won’t always do what we think He should do.  But He will always do exactly what He says He will do.  And on this we can base a whole new life of confident assurance, of encouraging hope.  God will do what He set out to do, and as we align with that, we have steadfastness and sureness like an anchor of the soul – even through tough times of doubt and tragedy.” 

Do you get the critical point here?  God won’t always do what we think He should, but He will always keep His word.  So when we think that God has promised to heal and He doesn’t, we must have misunderstood or misapplied that promise.  We must understand that God never fails to do what He said He would.  There is no force in the universe that is strong enough to make Him break His promise.  Let us pray for wisdom to better understand what God has said He will do – and not to put our expectations on Him as if we were the potter and He were the clay!

PRAYER: God, we need to be filled with understanding and to be reassured that You are absolutely, totally reliable and trustworthy. We know in our head that You are, but in our fear we sometimes doubt. Increase our trust! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 11/28/11 – The One Thing We Need, Part 1

FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT 2 WEEKS, I’LL BE POSTING DAYBREAKS FROM THE ARCHIVES WHILE WE PREPARE AND MOVE TO GEORGIA:

How desperately we need trust...

From the DayBreaks archive dated 11/06/01:

First, a word of explanation: I am on a new “kick”.  I suppose we all get on a kick from time to time, but this one has been especially meaningful for me in light of all that has happened in the past couple of months in our world, and in the past couple of years in my life.  As a result, there are lots of things I look forward to sharing with you in these DayBreaks in the next 30-45 days.  I will still try to mix it up a bit…but you’ve been forewarned, so sit down, strap in and hold on because we’re going on a journey together starting today!

In Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning told the following story: “When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at the ‘house of the dying’ in Calcutta, we was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life.  On the first morning there he met Mother Theresa.  She asked, ‘And what can I do for you?’  Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.

“What do you want me to pray for?” she asked.  He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States.  “Pray that I have clarity.”

“She said firmly, ‘No, I will not do that.’  When he asked her why, she said, ‘Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.’  When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, ‘I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.  So I will pray that you trust God.’”

I have become more and more convinced that the secret of the Christian life lies in trust.  Some may say this is a semantical argument, but I don’t think so.  Some would say it is faith or life in the Spirit.  Sure, but you can’t have faith in someone or something that you don’t trust.  Faith and trust both grow over time with experience, but is in the dark nights of the soul that trust rules the roost.

Trust has been a bit hard to come by in the past few months.  We used to trust in our safety in the workplace.  That’s gone.  We used to trust that our fellow-man was generally decent and law-abiding.  But we don’t trust that quite so much any more.  And where we once opened our mail without a second thought, we now look twice at postmarks and return addresses and suspicious bulges in envelopes, don’t we?  Where we once felt relatively secure in our economy and our jobs, who among us hasn’t at least wondered a bit about if (and when) the pink slip might come our way?

I wrote not long ago about some of my struggles over the past couple of years and how I’ve seemingly reached the end of that dark tunnel.  Many DayBreaks readers (perhaps more than for any other single DayBreaks) wrote in response to that message, sharing with me the depth of their own struggle and how (at times) it just doesn’t seem that God is there – that He is not holding up His end of the bargain.  Believe me, I understand.  I have felt exactly the same things.  But there’s a problem here – we trust God when he acts the way we want Him to and when He is acting the way that we would expect Him to act (based on our human “wisdom”), but it is much more difficult when He doesn’t act in the way we would prescribe.  I believe, however, that part of our problem is that we have a misconception about trust.  Once again, Brennan Manning (in the same book quoted above) suggested: “We often presume that trust will dispel the confusion, illuminate the darkness, vanquish the uncertainty and redeem the times.  But the crowd of witnesses in Hebrews 11 testifies that this is not the case.  Our trust does not bring final clarity on this earth.  It does not still the chaos or dull the pain or provide a crutch.  When all else is unclear, the heart of trust says, as Jesus did on the cross, ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit’ (Luke 23:46).

When some of you wrote me, you suggested you were having a hard time trusting God because things were still a mess in your lives – perhaps after spending years in the pain and anguish.  You’re in good company – the roll call of the faithful in Hebrews 11!!!  Hebrews 11:13-17 tells us: “13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Can we be really honest with each other for just a second?  All of our lives are a mess.  We have all languished in the darkness to varying degrees.  Even these heroes of the faith did.  Read Jeremiah and then tell me that you think his life was peaches and cream.  Or King David.  Or the apostle Paul.  Don’t miss what the passage from Hebrews is saying: “THEY DID NOT RECEIVE THE THINGS PROMISED; THEY ONLY SAW THEM AND WELCOMED THEM FROM A DISTANCE.”  They didn’t get clarity in their day-to-day life, other than to know that they longed for a “better country” and they trusted that if it existed, it would be God that held the key to getting there.  That is trust, and trust is what gave them the ability to endure the horrific things listed in the rest of Hebrews 11.  If trust worked for them, I have a hunch that if we understand it properly that it will work for us, too.  It’s not a magic elixir, it won’t likely bring daily clarity, and you can’t produce it on your own.  But trust happens!

Let’s take a journey together and explore this thing called trust.  I’m convinced it is the key to the Christian life – to our strength, our humility and our ability to persevere!

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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