DayBreaks for 8/9/17 – ‘Tis Foolishness

DayBreaks for 8/09/17: ‘Tis Foolishness

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/7/2007:

I’ve been thinking about contentment lately.  Mind you, I’m not content with my thinking on the topic!  But I’m trying to learn to be more content in my station in life in various venues, but especially in the area of possessions.  It seems that much of what we struggle with in this world as far as contentment goes has to do with things – stuff – possessions. 

I recall when our kids were little.  They’d hear about a new toy in a Happy Meal, or a new video game, or some new action hero figure, and they would ask for it.  Sometimes I gave it to them, sometimes not.  My decision certainly wasn’t all based on “need” – they really didn’t need any of it.  Sometimes I withheld the gift solely to help them learn lessons related to happiness and contentment.  Sometimes, if they really wanted something, they’d say words to this effect: “If you get it for me, I promise I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever!!!!”  Yeah, right.

Of course, none of us adults would be so silly as to think that a change in circumstances or possessions would bring lasting contentment, would we?  Maybe not.  Someone once said that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.  There’s more truth to that than I want to admit.  In Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg observes: “All day long we are bombarded with messages that seek to persuade us of two things:

  1. That we are (or ought to be) discontented, and
  2. That contentment is only one step (or change or purchase) away.”

These two things are at the heart of all marketing.  They try to make us believe that the only thing that stands between us and the girl or guy of our dreams is our toothpaste (as if all our other problems were already fixed!) – and that if we buy a certain brand of toothpaste, we’ll get that girl or guy and live “happily ever after.”  We may have jobs that we’re competent at and that we love, but the promise and allure of “more money” makes us discontent and leads us to jump ship into a position that will mean we sacrifice family time or values.  That one new car may seem like a siren calling your name – and if you had it, you just know you’d be forever happy. 

It’s all a pack of lies.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Doesn’t even your own experience and life tell you that such marketing drivel is not true?  The pursuit of such things, indeed of happiness in this world, is trivial pursuit.  The pursuit of the Kingdom of God bears everlasting dividends, and the promise of happiness and joy that is not made by marketers who have something to gain, but by God, who can’t gain a single thing from us.  How much better for us to seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness…and in due time, all that He has will be ours!

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.  Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

Isaiah 55:2 (NLT) Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.

A preacher recently told a story about when his grandmother died.  Some time after her death, his mother received a notice from the bank that her grandmother had left not just one, but two, safe deposit boxes in their vault and that the contents would now be passed along to the preacher’s mom. 

The family was astounded by this and wondered what might be in the boxes?  The grandmother’s husband had died 20 years prior, and the family speculated that perhaps the grandmother had set aside cash or jewelry or other items such as stocks or bonds to help cover her own living expenses as she aged.  The mystery and excitement grew as time passed and the family was finally able to get to the bank.

After clearly everything legally and with all the paperwork done, the family was escorted into the vault where they first box was opened and much to their surprise it contained nothing but air.  Air is valuable, but it is not what they were hoping for.  Yet, one box still remained.  They moved to that box and opened it fingers crossed (mentally if not physically!) only to find that it, too, contained nothing but air!

Their hopes and dreams had been disappointed.  It is part of the human condition.

As people, we search for meaning and worth and love…often coming up with nothing but air as a result of the pursuit.  We keep thinking that “Surely, this is the one!” or “This is my ticket to wealth!” only to find that it turns out to be nothing but vapor. 

What is the cost?  The emotional toll is very high…and we can spend our entire life looking in the wrong places, opening one box after another after another, never finding anything that satisfies, nothing that was worth the effort.  Yet we persist opening boxes, looking everywhere but the one place we can truly find satisfaction and joy. 

God offers us the very best – He offers us Himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  Isn’t it about time to give Jesus a try?  Isn’t it time to stop running from box to box, place to place, lover to lover and to run to the only Lover who will never abandon you? 

He’s waiting for you!

PRAYER: Jesus, forgive our foolish pursuits! Open our hearts to Your love, to the riches that are hidden only in a relationship with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 04/27/12 – What Makes Us Vulnerable

DayBreaks for 04/27/12 – What Makes Us Vulnerable

Psalm 90:14 (NLT) – Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

What is it that makes us so vulnerable to sin?  I know what James says about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  Those things are undeniable.  I also know that we are led into sin when we are enticed by our own desires.  I’ve supplied plenty of evidence of that throughout my life.  It is the nature of the flesh to “fall.”

I read this from John Ortberg in Fighting the Good Fight, in the spring 2012 issue of Leadership Journal, and thought it worth contemplating.  He was talking about what makes us so prone and vulnerable to sin when he wrote:

“It is perhaps the inversion of one of the great observations of ancient Israel: the joy of the Lord is our strength. Those of us in church leadership read or hear with sad frequency of one of our sisters or brothers ending up in a moral ditch. A mentor of mine noted once that when that happens, as a general rule, the person has been living without a deep sense of soul satisfaction for a long time, which is what made them vulnerable. I asked him how often someone who does live with a deep sense of soul satisfaction in God and their life ends up in a moral ditch.

“Never, he said.  Always it is the unsatisfied soul that finds sin to look good.”

How is your soul satisfaction?

PRAYER: Satisfy us with Your good things that we don’t go looking for satisfaction elsewhere!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 is now engaged in a project to provide temporary shelter, food, water and adult care to 37 orphans in Migori, Kenya.  We are trying to raise up an army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us provide care for these children until our partner in the project, BrightPoint for Children, can secure sponsorships for these 37 kids.  If you want to contribute, follow this link and scroll down to find the “Donate” button: Help the 37 Migori Orphans

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