DayBreaks for 4/16/19 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me…about Snakes

DSC06520DayBreaks for 08/16/19: Lessons My Dog Taught Me – About Snakes

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

(Written on August 10, 2009) – Well, what a day it has been.  Actually, what a 24 hours it has been.  Starting last night at about 9:30 p.m., Casper (our white boxer) discovered a rattlesnake about 6 feet up the hill behind our house.  At first I didn’t know what it was when I heard it – it sounded more like an electrical buzzing than the rattlesnakes you hear on TV.  Casper was jumping against a retaining wall at the edge of our patio that hold the hill in abeyance, and I eventually saw why: a rattler, about 2 feet long, that started slithering up the hillside toward some brush.  I immediately brought him back inside and blocked off the dog door so neither Casper nor Rainie (our other dog) could get outside and get bitten.  I then launched a frantic search for the ammunition for either the .22 or the shotgun. 

By the time I found the ammunition, the snake had crawled up under some brush, but I could still hear it, even though I couldn’t see it very well (it was dark, my eyes aren’t the best anymore, and the brush concealed most of it except for its tail.)  Since it was late, I used the .22 and not the shotgun.  I didn’t want to alarm the neighbors.  I thought I hit the snake…but perhaps it just jumped a couple of times.  Then it disappeared.  Laurel (my wife) was concerned about it, but I assured her that the snake wouldn’t come back during the night to bother the dogs.  As it turns out, I was wrong. 

We all passed a fairly sleepless night and every time the dogs got up to go outside, I listened…but heard nothing.  Nothing, that is, until about 5:30 a.m. when Casper went outside and I heard the very distinct sound that I’d heard the night before.  I raced out to the patio door, but before I got there, I heard Casper yelp.  As soon as it hit the door, I looked out and there was Casper, by then about 10 feet from the rattler that had curled up next to some flower pots on the deck.  I got him inside, but the snake was laying on concrete so I couldn’t shoot it with the rifle or shotgun for fear of ricochet.  I shut the dog door again to keep Casper and Rainie both inside, and that’s when I saw Casper bleeding from the nose.  He’d been bitten.  We hurried him to the emergency vet where they began anti-venom and we drove home, leaving him behind. 

When we got inside, we were stunned to see that Rainie had also been bitten and her snout was swelling.  We took her to the vet in town for treatment.  As of this writing, both dogs are still at the vet’s, in stable condition and expected to recover…we’re still praying about that at this moment.

This episode taught me a couple of things:

FIRST: Even a little snake can be horrifying deadly.  This wasn’t a large rattler by any means, but it is the little ones that are the most deadly because they are easily frightened and they’ve not learned to control their venomous injections – so they shoot the venom with, dare I say, venom!  A small snake can give you a bigger, more deadly dose of venom than a larger one would.  I would suppose that when Eve saw Satan, the serpent, in the garden, she wasn’t too alarmed.  I doubt that he looked like a hulking, menacing anaconda with fangs dripping with poison.  He probably presented himself in a beautiful, innocent, small looking form – she certainly didn’t seem to be alarmed by his appearance.  A little bit of Satan’s influence in our lives can destroy or disfigure.  It is often the seemingly innocent flirtation with something sinful that explodes into a full-blown affair, a pattern of theft, hatred, prejudice, etc.  Once the poison is in, it’s very hard to get it out.  And it always leaves a mark and causes great pain and distress.

SECOND: When you see something deadly, you better take deadly action yourself rather than playing around with it in a non-lethal fashion.  I was so wrong to be more worried about the possible noise of the shotgun going off and disturbing the neighbors than I was about the potentially deadly snake that was virtually on the doorstep.  Satan is out to KILL you…don’t be fooled.  Don’t think that just because you might have sent him packing the last time that he’ll stay gone.  He’ll be back.  He’ll be ruthless and he’ll be deadly…if you don’t cut his head off when you have the chance.  Don’t mess around with deadly things like sin in your life.  Kill it…NOW…before it might kill something you love!!!!

It looks at this time like our dogs will survive, yet they are paying a price for my reticence to kill the snake when I had a chance.  Don’t let your family or soul pay for your reluctance to take definitive action against the things that entice you!

PRAYER:  We need to be much more alert and savvy to Satan and his whereabouts in our lives, Lord!  Help us to be able to see him and recognize his poison early and to take effective action by the application of Your Spirit.  Lord, kill the sin-lust that rages in our heart and keep us pure and holy in Your eyes.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 7/11/19 – Elevator Music and Emergencies

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DayBreaks for 7/11/19: Elevator Music and Emergencies

Just this past week I was up in British Columbia doing some salmon fishing with my great friend, Ken.  As is the case with all good things (except God!), they must come to an end, and we found ourselves getting on a puddle-jumper plane to take us back to Vancouver from Campbell River, BC.  This plane look like a flying breadbox.  It wasn’t round – it was more square, and the wings looked about 3 sizes too small to be able to provide enough lift to get the beast off the ground. 

As we prepared to pull away from the gate, they started the familiar ritual of running through the emergency instructions.  As the flight attendant read the instructions (this wasn’t like a big jet that has a tape deck where they play the instructions from a cassette!!!), there was elevator music playing in the background – soothing, calming, almost loud enough to make one drift off to sleep.  And that’s when it struck me: this was a parallel for life and how Satan plays against the Word of God. 

God’s Word is full of instructions – emergency instructions, if you please – about how to avoid a coming firestorm, how to avoid self-inflicted catastrophies and injury in life, how to avoid burn-out, self-destruction, guilt, shame, divorce and a life lived in utter meaningless.  Many people (though fewer than in past decades) know what is in the Good Book because they’ve heard it so many times.  But in the background, subtle but ever present, is Satan’s elevator music.  His music is intended to make us think, “This kind of stuff won’t happen to me, so I don’t need to worry about it.  I’m safe.  All those warnings are just the fantasies of some God who simply likes to be in control and have His own way.”  The elevator music of Satan is designed to make us relax, to not listen as closely, or to think about the consequences of ignoring God’s instructions.  Let’s face it: no one likes to listen to scary warnings about crashing and burning or going down over water, but everyone likes music, right?

Don’t let Satan’s elevator music drown out the voice and wisdom of God.  Let His Word through to your heart and mind and soul, take it serious, for He knows whereof He speaks!

PRAYER: Awaken in us a sense of urgency to hear Your voice and alert us to the subtle lullabies Satan would sing to our hearts to make us dull and sleepy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/13/19 – It’s the Truth

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DayBreaks for 3/13/19: It’s the Truth

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  – Matthew 9:9-13 (NIV)

I recently received an email from a believer in which this person was a bit despairing about their Christ-walk.  On the one hand, I find that encouraging.  It says that the Spirit is still speaking to them – and that they are listening.  It is important that we listen to the Spirit and His take on our walk.  But, I have found in my own experience that the enemy can also attempt to convince me that because I’m not walking as close to Christ as I should and because that’s been true of nearly all my life, that I should just give up now and stop trying.  After all, if I stop trying, I’ll stop feeling guilty, right?  I’ll lose my shame, right?  No…those things are emotions that are planted deep within us.  We would just be in denial.

Then, I was thinking about this passage in Matthew.  I love what Jesus says, For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  Who, after all, would there have been for Jesus to call if he’d come to call the righteous?  No one!  His expectation for is that this: we are sinners.  We will be sinners until the day we die.  We will always be sinners as long as we breathe the atmosphere of this world.  He knows it, he expects it and isn’t shocked by it.  If you are a sinner, Jesus came to call you…and He calls you still, day in and day out through the loving voice of the Spirit.  The Spirit will never encourage you to give up your faith walk.  Only the enemy will do that.  The Spirit will point out to you and to me our need for greater righteousness, but He is a comforter, a friend, who encourages us to walk forward into greater holiness and obedience. 

So, if you’re feeling down about your sinfulness and poor Christian walk, determine if you’re hearing from the enemy who wants to defeat you in your walk with Christ because you are a sinner, or the Spirit who wants to encourage you in your walk with Christ even though you are a sinner.  There’s a world of difference…and that’s the truth.

Prayer:  What a comfort it is to know, Lord, that you know we’re sinners and you came for us and you come to us over and over through your Spirit to encourage us and lead us into greater obedience, love and holiness.  Give us the wisdom to discern the voice of the Spirit and to distinguish it from the voice of Satan!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 10/03/18 – No He Didn’t!

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DayBreaks for 10/03/08: No He Didn’t!

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

“The devil made me do it.”  Those words were a common phrase in comedy skits by Flip Wilson a good number of years ago.  Invariably, just after doing something that was bad, he’d utter those words in a meek way and the audience would break into laughter.  I remember laughing at it, too, at least until it got too familiar and lost its novelty.

There is even a biblical basis for the saying – sort of.  In Genesis 3:13, after Adam and Eve had sinned, Adam says (paraphrasing), “Eve made me do it.”  Eve (being a quick study and noticing that God didn’t strike Adam dead) noticed that God had turned his attention onto her, and said, “The serpent tricked me, that’s why I ate it.”  (NLT)

Nice try, Eve.  But there’s a subtle difference between what Eve and Flip Wilson had to say.  Eve said she was “tricked.”  Flip said, “The devil MADE me do it.”  In reality, Satan is a deceiver, and Eve had it right.  Yet, ever since the fall, we’ve been blaming our sinfulness on the devil making “me do it.”  Biblically speaking, if you are a Christian, Satan has no power over you.  Get this (and listen closely and pay attention): Satan cannot make you do anything.  He can’t make you lie, cheat, steal, get drunk, lust, envy or kill.  He can’t make you do one single sinful thing!  We simply can’t say, “The devil made me do it.”

So, where does the blame lie?  Square on our shoulders.  James 1:14 nails it: Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.  These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.  So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. (NLT)

We make excuses to “excuse” our bad behavior – a behavior that springs from within us.  No more “The devil made me do it.”  God’s never bought that line, and He isn’t about to start buying it now.

Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV) – Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

PRAYER: We’ve tried so many things to avoid having to admit that we are responsible for our own sin, Lord.  Help us to stop making excuses and admit that we are sinners desperately in need of Your grace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/20/18 – The Entrance of Evil

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DayBreaks for 7/20/18: The Entrance of Evil

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

AVONDALE, Ariz. – An Arizona man said his 3-year-old Labrador retriever was so excited for the Super Bowl that he devoured two very expensive tickets to the game.   Chris Gallagher, of Avondale, Ariz., said he asked that a courier slip the envelope containing two Super Bowl XLII tickets under his doormat but the envelope was instead inserted under the door — and into the waiting jaws of his dog, Buddy, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.  Gallagher said the tickets, which he purchased for friends, were valued at $900 apiece.  However, he said the seller assured him that the tickets can be replaced in time for game day.

The dog owner said the tickets were only the latest of Buddy’s many victims, which have included sunglasses, shoes and footballs.  “He’s a trouble-maker,” Gallagher told the Republic. “But he looks at you with those big eyes and you can’t be mad for long.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I have recently been utilizing John Eldredge’s Epic video series as part of the Sunday morning messages.  On this past Sunday, we were covering Act Two: The Entrance of Evil.  As an illustration slide, I showed an image of a fearsome looking creature – red-faced, possessed by rage, vicious teeth bared in a terrifying grimace.  It was, of course, representative of Satan. 

One of the members of the congregation came up to me after seeing the picture and made an excellent point: if that is how Satan really appeared to us, would any of us really fall for his deceptions?  She noted that Scripture speaks of Satan as able to appear as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) 

Here’s the point: Satan is pictured in Scripture as a roaring lion, and as if he were an angel of light.  Like the dog, Buddy, if we look into Satan’s eyes, he doesn’t look frightening and scary.  He looks like something that you cannot resist – or which you find no reason to avoid.  And therein is where he gets his great power – he appears so innocent.

Evil doesn’t usually come into our lives looking like evil.  Instead, it looks like fun, or it looks safe, or tame, or innocuous.  It doesn’t look like evil – it looks like anything but.  And that’s where we can’t let ourselves be deceived by the one who came to deceive, kill and destroy.  Don’t let him fool you.  Don’t look into his eyes and think he’s harmless.  He most definitely is not!

PRAYER:  Lord, I confess that I often don’t work hard enough to discern the lies and deceptions that Satan throws my way!  I pray that you will give us the wisdom to not be fooled by Satan’s “big brown eyes” into thinking he’s harmless.  Awaken us to the power and strength and true intent of our enemy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/13/18 – Of Dogs, Tickets and the Devil

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DayBreaks for 6/13/18: Of Dogs, Tickets and the Devil

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

AVONDALE, Ariz. – An Arizona man said his 3-year-old Labrador retriever was so excited for the Super Bowl that he devoured two very expensive tickets to the game.  

Chris Gallagher, of Avondale, Ariz., said he asked that a courier slip the envelope containing two Super Bowl XLII tickets under his doormat but the envelope was instead inserted under the door — and into the waiting jaws of his dog, Buddy, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Gallagher said the tickets, which he purchased for friends, were valued at $900 apiece. However, he said the seller assured him that the tickets can be replaced in time for game day. The dog owner said the tickets were only the latest of Buddy’s many victims, which have included sunglasses, shoes and footballs. “He’s a trouble-maker,” Gallagher told the Republic. “But he looks at you with those big eyes and you can’t be mad for long.”

If you’re a long-time DayBreaks reader, you’ll know I love dogs.  In fact, as I sit here writing this, my wife’s dog is sleeping at my feet, and mine is curled up on his favorite chair (he thinks of it as his “throne”) about 8 feet away.  So, don’t get me wrong – I love dogs.  And their big eyes can melt my heart and resistance in the tick of a clock!  And that, I’m quite convinced, is fine.

Sadly, in one way, Satan is a lot like my dog.  While Casper (my dog) can be full of mischief and playfulness, Satan can also appear as innocent as can be…looking at us with big eyes, tricking us into thinking he’s not dangerous.  “Aw, come on!  This’ll be fun!” 

Why is it that I can go from being furious at Satan one moment to falling for his stories and his big eyes the next?  Casper (my dog) wants nothing more than to be loved and to play.  Satan hates me.  He hates you.  He doesn’t want to bring us happiness or joy.  He’s great at the bait and switch – let us think something will bring us happiness – and then when we’re into it too far to easily get out, he lowers the hammer on us.  Satan doesn’t want to play.  He wants to kill.  Don’t fall for his “soulful eyes”!

PRAYER: God, we are so easily misled by the innocent look of temptation!  Let us see Satan as he truly is and not be fooled by his deceit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/30/18 – Satan’s Strategy

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DayBreaks for 5/30/18: Satan’s Stragegy

It pays to know your enemy.  Ask any soldier and they’ll tell you that it’s important to understand how the enemy thinks, what their strategy is in given circumstances, what kind of tools, equipment and weaponry they have at their disposal.  It is only a fool who goes into battle without having considered the capabilities of the enemy. 

We spend a lot of time as Christians contemplating Christ and what he has done.  It is only right that it should be so, for one cannot dwell on the subject and person of Jesus too much.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if we don’t gather too little “intelligence” on our enemy, Satan.  Fortunately, Scripture is full of information on how Satan works to draw us into sin.

What is the impression that most people have about Christianity?  They believe Christians are repressed, and repressive, because the critics of Christians believe God is repressive.  Do you know why?  It’s because of the very first lie that Satan told – his first deception.  When he approached Eve, he caused her to come to the conclusion that God was repressive because He’d said, “Thou shalt not eat.”    By drawing God into question by saying (paraphrased): “Did got really say you couldn’t eat anything at all that you wanted to?”, he put the concept of a repressive God into human minds.  And it’s been there ever since. 

Is God repressive?  Eve had it right originally in her response: “No, we can eat of any tree except one.”  Does that sound repressive?  There was only one prohibition, and it was so that they could remain free from guilt.  But Satan’s strategy is, as Don Everts put it, “subtle wooing,” not blatant aggression.  He wants to mislead us, not frighten us.  He wants us to think he is our friend, after all. 

But there’s only one friend who laid down his life for us…and it wasn’t Satan.  That speaks volumes.

PRAYER:  Steel our hearts against the enemy of our souls, Lord.  Help us to see that repression leads to slavery, but grace to forgiveness and freedom!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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