DayBreaks for 12/21/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice, #4

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DayBreaks for 12/21/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #4

Finishing off the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday.

Our fourth, and final, sacrifice as Christian priests and priestesses is found in Philippians 4:18 (ESV) – I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

Paul says that the gifts which were sent to him from the church at Philippi weren’t just gifts, but sacrifices that pleased God.

The privilege we have as believers is that God supplies all our needs. Every good and perfect gift starts with him for our enjoyment, yes, but also to pass through our fingers into the hands of others in need.

The responsibility of such a privilege is that we are empowered by his generosity to meet kingdom needs and human need.

I was struck by the fact that the first gifts given to Jesus at his birth by the magi didn’t really come from the magi, but from the Father who provided it for the magi to bring to the stable. Yet, I believe that the myrrh and frankincense (and gold) the magi were sacrifices that were fragrant offerings that pleased the Father immensely as he stared down at the son in the manger – and also into the hearts of the magi.

God gave the most perfect gift of all time, the most urgently needed gift, in the person of Jesus. If you have the means at all this season, you’ll give gifts to family and friends. Question: what will you give to those who may be your enemies? After all, isn’t that what God did for us with the child in the manger?

PRAYER: Let us give freely, not only to those who are friends and family, but to our enemies and strangers as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 12/20/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice, #3

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DayBreaks for 12/20/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #3

Continuing with the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday. Though this is often a time when we receive gifts, it is also a time for sacrifices.

The third sacrifice that we are called upon as Christian priests and priestesses is this: Hebrews 13:16 (ESV) – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

It may be stretching a bit, but I think that this refers not only to the stuff we have (like money, clothes, etc.), but also to the exercise of our spiritual gifts. You have at least one gift given to you from the Spirit. Whatever your gifts are, they are a privilege given only to believers. It’s not for your enjoyment (though usually people do find joy when exercising their gift), but for kingdom work. You may have multiple spiritual gifts. The point is this: we are expected to use them all for those in need. It pleases God.

Why is it a sacrifice? Because your fleshly inclination will be not to exercise it for others – or maybe not at all. Again, as with any sacrifice, surrender is required.

Our responsibility, then, is to discover, exercise and develop your spiritual gift and then to use it to do good.

Questions: what are your spiritual gifts and how can you use your giftedness this holiday season to be a blessing? What are some good things you can do to share what you have, be it money, clothes, food, time or words?

PRAYER: Jesus, let us not neglect to do good during this season because we’re too wrapped up in tinsel, wrappings and boxes, or even by friends and family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/19/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice, #2

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DayBreaks for 12/19/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #2

Continuing with the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday. Though this is often a time when we receive gifts, it is also a time for sacrifices.

Not only are we as priests/priestesses supposed to present our bodies as living sacrifices (see 12/18/18 DayBreaks), we are instructed in Hebrews 13:15 (ESV) – Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

As priests and priestesses, we have a true privilege: access to God. Not everyone can call Him “Father” in the fullest sense of that word. Yes, he is the Creator of all and in that sense the one who we might call father, but only believers have been adopted into his family, giving us confidence that we can boldly come to his throne of grace in any time of need – or just because we want to cuddle up on his lap to rest.

Along with every privilege, though, comes responsibility. Because we have access to him, our responsibility is to give his praise and our adoration because of that access!

It started at the incarnation as the angels gave worship and praises rang through the night sky as the shepherds looked and listened wondering at what they beheld. The magi worshipped the child in the manger.

Question: what special praise will you give him this week? Try to find a new reason to give him praise, a new way to express his greatness and goodness to you as you acknowledge his name. Don’t rely on tired, old prayer phrases: struggle a bit in your prayer to adore him in a new and living way today!

PRAYER: Jesus, let our praises rise to you not only from our lips, but from true hearts! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/18/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice #1

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DayBreaks for 12/18/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #1

Continuing with the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday.

While Christians do not make sacrifices for sin (we believe that Jesus’ blood was the all-sufficient sacrifice for all time for all persons), that doesn’t mean we are exempt from making sacrifice. As pointed out yesterday, we are as believers, priests and priestesses. And what is the role of a priest? It was to do at least three things:

  1. To represent God to man;
  2. To represent man to God;
  3. To offer sacrifices.

So, what sacrifices are we to make as believers today? First let me suggest this one: we are to offer our lives as living sacrifices pleasing to God, which, by the way, is only reasonable. (Romans 12:1)

The privilege we have been given by the indwelling of the Spirit is that we have obtained moral ability. When we were dead in our sin, we had no other option. But being made alive, we now have the choice, the ability, to sacrifice the life of the flesh for a life lived in the Spirit, to choose obedience instead of to sin. Do we do it perfectly? Far from it. So if that is our privilege, what is our responsibility? To surrender our nature to be controlled by the Spirit.

Each day this week, let me ask you as priests and priestesses, what will you do this week to offer your life as a living sacrifice? You have the ability to choose obedience. What will you surrender? When?

Think today Jesus’ example of offering himself as a sacrifice – giving his life as a living sacrifice (that started with the incarnation and culminates in a resurrected eternal life in glory where his scars are still visible). How does his sacrifice as our great High Priest inform our understanding of our roles as priests and priestesses?

PRAYER: Father, as long as we dwell in the flesh, we will struggle to surrender our lives as offerings to you. Let us choose what is pleasing to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/17/18 – When the Sacrifice Began

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DayBreaks for 12/17/18: When the Sacrifice Began

If I were to start talking about sacrifice and how it related to the Jewish people, you’d probably garner up images of animal sacrifice in connection with the temple. Makes perfect sense.

If I were to ask you about sacrifice and how it relates to Christianity, my guess is that your instantaneous thought would turn to Calvary followed in short order by Easter, and that would not be wrong. As Christians, we do not believe that any more sacrifice for sin is needed because the New Testament makes it very clear that the blood of Jesus was the atonement for all sin – something the blood of bulls and goats could never do.

But as we enter this last week before Christmas arrives, I want to think about sacrifice. I believe that the sacrifice of Jesus began way before the crucifixion.

If we listen closely to these verses from Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT2) – You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

I believe this passage indicates that the sacrifice of Jesus began when he gave up his divine privileges. Think of it: eternal glory, never knowing pain or sickness, the temporary surrender of the adoration of the angels and four living creatures, the halls of glory were all surrendered for a manger and the brokenness of taking on human form.

We like to talk about how there is no longer need for sacrifice, and if we are speaking of sin, that’s true. We Christians are freed from the OT laws and rules that required sacrifice. But are we free from the need to make sacrifices? No, not at all.

In our teaching this past Sunday, our lead teacher talked about four sacrifices that we must offer. During the rest of this week, I’ll talk about one each day and figure out what they mean to us today and during this holiday season. But for today, look at this passage from 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Question: what does it mean to you as a believer that you are a priest or priestess?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice to accept the humiliation of human flesh and leave eternal glory behind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/11/18 – Life in the Blood

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DayBreaks for 12/11/18: Life in the Blood

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/8/98:

In Leviticus 17:11 and Deut. 12:23, the Israelites were told not to eat the blood of animals because “the blood is the life”. I’m sure that the Israelites didn’t understand exactly what God was getting at, especially as it relates to the life that we receive through the blood of Christ. Indeed, as this excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair shows, His blood is our life! Aslan, the Christ-figure in the story, is talking to some children as they stand beside a stream that contains the body of the dead King (the human ruler of Narnia).

“Son of Adam,” said Aslan, “Go into that thicket and pluck the thorn that you will find there, and bring it to me.”

Eustace obeyed. The thorn was a foot long and sharp as a rapier.

“Drive it into my paw, son of Adam,” said Aslan, holding up his right forepaw and spreading out the great pads towards Eustace.

“Must I?” said Eustace.

“Yes,” said Aslan.

“Then Eustace set his teeth and drove the thorn into the Lion’s pad. And there came out a great drop of blood, redder than all redness that you have ever seen or imagined. And it splashed into the stream over the dead body of the King. At the same moment the doleful music stopped. And the dead King began to be changed…His eyes opened, and his lips both laughed, and suddenly he leaped up and stood before them.”

Galen’s Thoughts: What a marvelous picture of the gospel story! The “son of Adam” (humanity) at one and the same time is the very one who pierces the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the one who needs His sacrifice (the dead king). It is only through the shedding of blood that sin is removed (Heb. 9:22).

Slowly, surely…as we have been drawn into contact with the blood of Christ, our lives begin to change. What was dead in us (our God-image) comes to life and what was alive in us (our sin-nature) dies!

Who would have thought on the night that he was born, that it would come to this kind of a shedding of blood? Only Jesus and the Father understood that what began that night in the stable would end on a blood-stained cross and that he’d be pierced by the very ones He had come to save.

Does it matter to you that He was pierced for your iniquities? Does it matter enough to keep you from piercing Him again tomorrow?

PRAYER: As we draw nearer to the celebration of your birth, may we not forget the reason for your coming to our rescue, Lord Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/29/18 – A Shocking Vision

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DayBreaks for 5/29/18: A Shocking Vision

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie, “The Green Mile,” starring Tom Hanks.  In that movie, Tom Hanks plays a prison guard who is in charge of the section reserved for death row inmates.  His staff cares for the inmates, and escorts them on the night of their execution to the electric chair.  The name of the movie comes from the color of the floor…and how long the walk must seem to those who are condemned to die.  The movie certainly gives one moments of pause as the inmates are taken, when their time has come, to the execution chamber.  The way different characters responded to their approaching fate was thought-provoking, and as I am prone to do, I tried to put myself in their place.

Perhaps that’s why I found Don Everts writing in The Smell of Sin so intriguing.  Here’s what he had to say: “Our sins are immense and we are guilty.  We are tried and convicted, and it’s a death sentence.  And our time has come and the guards are stiffly escorting us down the long hallway to the electric chair that rightfully awaits us.  Dead men and women walking.  And when we round the last corner, the guards simply have to let us go…because the chair is already in use.  Jesus is in it.  And he’s being electrocuted.”

God, have mercy on us.

PRAYER:  Jesus, what can we possibly say that will begin to express our thankfulness for what You have done for us by being executed in our stead.  We are amazed at such love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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