DayBreaks for 6/03/19 – Blameless and Guiltless

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DayBreaks for 6/03/19: Blameless and Guiltless

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

Psalm 32:2 – Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to have never committed a sin?  I can’t, either.  But, I can imagine that it would feel quite different from anything we’ve experienced before.  I’ve never flown by my own power before so I can’t imagine the freedom that an eagle feels, but I would have to think that it might be something like the exhilaration of being sinless and having no memory of anything from the past that wasn’t pleasing or honoring to God. 

That being said, it is important that we consider a Scriptural perspective on sin and the believer.  In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason noted that there is a difference between blamelessness and guiltlessness: “…blameless is not quite the same as being guiltless.  Objectively these two conditions are identical, but they are attained through different routes.  If someone is guiltless, it simply means that he has done nothing wrong.  If he is accused of wrong, then  he is accused falsely and that is all there is to it.  But if someone is blameless it means something far more mysterious: it means that no matter how horrible his offenses may have been, all the charges against him has been dropped.  Absolutely no blame attaches to him, because the very one he offended has exonerated him.”

I was pondering just today the dilemma of righteousness.  Goodness knows that I am a sinner!!!!  Yet God says that He has given me the “robe of righteousness” that is Christ’s righteousness.  Many are the times that I don’t feel righteous.  Many are the times that I don’t feel blameless, and deservedly so.  The challenge for me, and possibly for you, is to believe and accept with a full heart that when God draped the robe of Jesus’ righteousness over my shoulders and over yours, that when God sees me, He sees me as blameless, guiltless and righteous. 

I sometimes tend to think of degrees of blamelessness or righteousness.  What folly!  One is either blameless and righteous, or one is not.  There is no middle ground, no gray area.  The only way one can be blameless and righteous is for one to have no guilt – none at all.  When God looks at me or you, He isn’t seeing us in our efforts at being righteous.  He is seeing us as totally blameless and righteous – for He sees us in Christ, totally forgiven – so much so that no guilt or blame can attach itself to us. 

Hard to believe and accept isn’t it?  Doubt it?  Check out Jude 24, which assures us in his wonderful doxology, that it is the Lord who is “able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious Presence without fault.”  Glory be to God!

Prayer: Words fail me, Lord, as I struggle to grasp this glorious truth of a life in Your Son Jesus’ righteousness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 1/17/17 – The Body of Truth is Bleeding

DayBreaks for 1/17/17 – The Body of Truth is Bleeding

We like to think of the stories of Jesus when he welcomed the little children, where he forgave the woman taken in adultery, where he speaks of the lilies of the field and birds of the air while reminding us that we don’t need to worry, for he is on our side.  Those are not only good stories, but they are true and reveal to us a lot about the nature of God that was fully contained in Jesus.  But those are not the only stories of Jesus in the Scripture.  And some of the other stories are less comforting and far more disturbing.

The cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-22) is an excellent case in point.  We don’t see “Jesus, meek and mild” in that story.  We see an enraged Savior.  He’s not acted impulsively – he took the time to “fashion” a whip – before tearing through the tables and corridors of the temple, tossing around the tables and undoubtedly the “earnings” of those who were selling things in the temple of God for exorbitant prices. 

We don’t like to contemplate that image of Jesus, do we?  How many people have you ever known who said that the cleansing of the temple is their favorite Bible story?  I know of no one who loves that story for its own sake. 

Jesus was a passionate man, and is a passionate God.  He loves goodness – and is passionate about it.  He hates evil and anything associated with it.  Perhaps more than anything else, he loves truth and hates falsehood.  Jesus loved the truth so much that he said, “I am the truth.”  How important does Jesus think the truth is?  It is as important as Jesus himself, for he is truth!

In The Importance of Being Foolish, Brennan Manning wrote: “In our society, where money, power and pleasure are the name of the game, the body of truth is bleeding from a thousand wounds.”  Jesus is bleeding from a thousand wounds, for he has been misrepresented (perhaps unintentionally) by those who would claim to show others what Jesus is like.  They portray only the soft, tender, gentle Jesus, but not the Jesus who is incensed by injustice, by unholy lives, by dilution and twisting of the clear truth of Scripture. 

How do we go about trying to be discerning about truth?  Again, I think Manning had something worth considering: “The first step in the pursuit of truth is not the moral resolution to avoid the habit of petty lying – however unattractive a character disfigurement that may be.   It is not the decision to stop deceiving others.  It is the decision to stop deceiving ourselves.”  We need to have the same passion for truth that Jesus held in his heart.  If we don’t, we are not true disciples and are only deceiving ourselves.

PRAYER:  God, open our eyes to truth and to our own self-deceptions.  Help us to love truth and hate deceitfulness and dishonesty.  Give us the discernment to recognize truth when we read it, see it or hear it – and to recognize falsehood in all its forms as the tool of evil.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  All Rights Reserved.

DayBreaks for 1/5/16 – Put Me On Trial, Lord!

DayBreaks for 1/5/16: Put Me On Trial, Lord!

Galen is out of the country. While he is gone, you will be receiving DayBreaks from the DayBreaks archive from January, 2006.

Ps 26:1-3 – Declare me innocent, O LORD, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.  2 Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.  Test my motives and affections.   3 For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth.

I must confess that when I read the third verse of Psalm 26, I am stunned by the seeming haughty attitude of the Psalmist about his uprightness.  I can’t comprehend how someone could be so bold before the Lord about their righteousness.  It is almost the same as Job’s defense of himself to his friends.  Why is this so shocking to me?  Is it just because I’m so far from being a righteous person that I would quake with fear to utter such statements in the Presence of the Almighty, Holy God?  Or was David just having a mountain-top experience when this was written?  Could my heart withstand a true testing by the Lord of my motives AND my affections?  What would he see?  I need to remember that he constantly tests my motives and affections, not so that He knows what they are, but so that they will be revealed to me.

Perhaps the key is in the first verse: David isn’t really claiming that he is innocent – he’s asking the Lord to declare him as innocent, not because he IS innocent, but because David has acted with integrity.  This seems to indicate that David was acknowledging the deep heart’s desire to do right and to realize that this is what God was truly interested in.  The third verse and the statement about being constantly aware of God’s unfailing love is not tied grammatically to the last statement (I have lived according to your truth), but is simply a statement that perhaps allowed David to make the statements of verse 1, knowing that regardless, he was loved by God and that God loved him too much to pronounce him guilty and hopeless.

I need to apply my heart to letting God change it so that I could, possibly, someday be in such a relationship with God that I could utter such words with the kind of confidence and feeling that David does.  But it seems that it would be boastful – perhaps because I realize it would also be hypocritical of me.  I really have a hard time identifying with David’s words for I see my own heart is so “other” than David’s heart.  Perhaps this is why David was called a man after God’s own heart.  I pray that someday, I may be such a man.  Of course, the simple truth is that not one of us could ever stand before God in our own righteousness, but only in that which comes from the Light of the World.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, in the deepest recesses of our souls, we do want to please You.  We want to walk in obedience and friendship with You.  But Lord, our sins are ever before us and we are clothed in the filthy rags of even our best righteous deeds.  I believe in the cleansing of the blood of Jesus in my life, but how I struggle with my motives and affections, that seem to run hither, thither and yon after every temptation.  Help us to become people of one mind and heart that is fully locked in pursuit of You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 12/28/15 – In HIS Name, Not Mine

DayBreaks for 12/28/15: In His Name, Not Mine

“In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

That’s how Christians have ended their prayers for nearly two thousand years now.

Shakespeare once asked the question: “What’s in a name?”

Christmas is over, but my guess is that during Christmas you heard and/or read the name of Jesus many, many times. I think that’s a good thing. The name of Jesus isn’t a magical talisman, but it is important. Why? Because there is power in His name!

Jesus said: You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:13-14 (NLT)

Let me suggest two illustrations that talk about what it means to as for something in the name of Jesus:

  • A pastor once shared about how he’d had one of those weeks when he lacked spiritual discipline. He’d prayed very little, didn’t read his Bible, didn’t talk to anyone about Jesus. At the end of the week he prayed, “I know I don’t have any right to come before you.” He then was stricken with the powerful sense that God was replying, “Well son, let’ suppose you prayed and read your Bible hours a day, served and led many to me. Would you feel like praying then?” The pastor thought to himself: I sure would! Then God said, “Son, you’re praying in your own name. If you had done all those things and more, you would have no more right to come to me than you do right now. You come in the name of my Son, you don’t come in your own name.”

Do you feel that if this past week you’d been more devout or disciplined, you’d have a “right” to pray, give, serve, etc.? If that’s how you feel, that’s self-righteousness. And, on the other hand, if you haven’t prayed because you’ve not been as devout or disciplined as you wish you had been, that’s self-righteousness, too.  The reason in both cases is you’re depending on your own merit to approach God, rather than the merit of righteousness of Christ.

  • Aaron Shust was recently describing how things work at his concerts. If his children are there, his little son likes to come back stage to see his daddy. He explained it this way: if his son comes with his own name tag on, he will be prohibited from coming back stage. But if he comes with his daddy’s name tag that says “ALL ACCESS” on it, he is let right through. Why? The difference is explained by understanding in whose name he comes.

The same is true with praying in Jesus’ name. We have no right to access the throne room of God if we come in our own righteousness or in our own name, but when we come to the Father with the ALL ACCESS pass that bears Jesus’ name, we are more than welcome!

It bothers me when I hear Christians pray but they never in the entire prayer say that they are coming or asking in Jesus’ name. There is power in a name – just ask Shakespeare.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for giving us the access pass to the Father. Guard our hearts against self-righteousness that thinks we can either come on the basis of our own goodness, or that we are too unworthy to come, but think we could have been if we’d been more devoted. Thank you, Lord, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 9/24/13 – The Restored Soul

DayBreaks for 9/24/14 – The Restored Soul

Psalm 23:3 (NKJV) – He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Why do we go to sleep every night?  Because our bodies need to be restored from the labors and focus of the day. Our bodies, as amazing as they are, are not just machines (and even machines break down after a while!)  They are amazing creations of God, electro-chemical factories of tremendous complexity, animated by an eternal soul.  And as long as we are in this ragged world, our souls need restoring, too.

There are many things that wear down our souls: doubt, guilt, fear, anguish, sorrow, heartache and lest we forget, sin.  Our souls, you see, were neither meant nor created to carry those burdens.  So our souls, like our backs, are bent under the weight of our heavy, earthly load.  We need constant restoration!

How does it happen?  Through the blood of the Shepherd, more than anything else.  When the flocks that David cared for were terrified by the lions and bears, David spilled blood to kill those beasts, and when he slew the enemy of the sheep, their hearts beat more slowly and they were restored.  The terror left as peace settled in once again.

Our sin, when we are confronted with it, should terrify us.  If it hasn’t, we need a heart check-up.  To stand before the Holy God of the Universe covered in sin would be the most terrifying thing that will ever happen!

But if the Shepherd has spilled His blood for us, and if we have been covered with that blood and follow Him into right paths rather than the paths that have created the fear and terror in the first place, our souls are restored. And they are restored over and over again as we confess to him our sin and fear and begin again to walk in paths of righteousness.

What wears down your soul?  Are you walking in the path of righteousness?

PRAYER: Lord, our souls are heavy and our memories full of guilt, shame and all that goes along with being sinners.  We ask for you to restore us yet again…and we thank you for your willingness to restore us over and over.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to 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.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 6/24/14 – The Great Exchange

DayBreaks for 6/24/14 – The Great Exchange     

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Every day we make deals, often time without even thinking about it.  We exchange our time for a certain amount of money, or education, or play.  We go to a store and exchange money for a coffee or groceries, or a restaurant where we exchange money for someone else’s time to cook food and serve it to us.  We swap good and services, do favors for one another (sometimes hoping for favors in return).

Generally, both parties to an exchange must feel that there is something of interest in it for themselves or the exchange won’t be made.

Perhaps the most amazing exchange ever is the one described in today’s verse.  This exchange was “life for life” – the life of a sinless God in exchange for the life of sinful mortals.  Who would have ever believed that a God would make such an exchange?  Mortals might only dream of such a thing in their wildest imaginings.  It is too preposterous to be true, right?

But it is true.

Here’s the real mind blowing thing about this passage: how much righteousness does God have?  He’s got it all, right!?!?!  And yet this verse says we can become “the righteousness of God” Himself!  How does it happen?  By our efforts and diligent labor?  No, never!  God forbid that any human should feel that God is indebted to him for how good s/he is!  As Isaiah put it: our most righteous deeds are like the filthiest rags to God (Isaiah 64:6).

Are you a follower of Jesus?  If so, are you always down on yourself about your sin?  Memorize this verse.  Put it in your heart.  We’ve all heard that old saying about when God sees you, he doesn’t see you but Jesus, right?  Well, he sees you, but sees you clothed in the robe of His very own righteousness!

Hard to believe, right?  I know, I struggle with believing it at times, too…but God doesn’t make mistakes and He has declared it to be so!  Perhaps realizing this can help you face this day with a bit lighter step!

PRAYER: God, Your truth is incomprehensible, as is Your love, that caused You to exchange our filth for Your righteousness!  Thank You for this incomprehensible, amazing gift!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to 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.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeplyy appreciated!

DayBreaks for 10/01/12 – Repenting of Righteousness

DayBreaks for 10/01/12 – Repenting of Righteousness

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Mt. 5:20

How righteous are you?  Let me reword that: how righteous do you feel you are?  Most Christians I know would give one of two responses to that question.  If they are trying to give the proper, honest answer to how righteous they felt, most would be quick to admit that they often don’t feel very righteous at all.  It is the answer that is expected from us if we can truly let our guard down and be honest about who – and what – we are.  Sinners…with a capital S.

Yet, isn’t it also true that we still have within us a certain pride about our righteousness.  If we do something good for someone, we feel pretty good about ourselves for a while.  Maybe we sacrificed something personally to do a good turn for another person.  And when we do, if we are to be honest about this, we have a bit of pride well up within us and we like it.

Timothy Keller, the author/pastor, put it this way: “You need to repent of your righteousness.”  What was he getting at?  I think there are several things he might have meant:

FIRST: as long as we feel we are righteous on our own, we will not feel that we need Jesus’ righteousness…instead, we’ll think we can do it on our own.

SECOND: we need to guard against the pride that stalks us and causes us to puff up when we do something good for another person.  For all our protestations that we feel so unworthy and unrighteous, we do tend to think, in moments of our largesse, that we’re pretty good!!!  Pride is such a dangerous thing – and so insidious.  Even doing something good can cause something evil (pride) to spring forth in our hearts.

May we all repent of our righteousness…and rejoice only in His righteousness!

PRAYER: Father, forgive us of our seemingly endless pride.  Let us hold to no other righteous other than that of Your Son, Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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