DayBreaks for 5/30/19 – Love or Hate?

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DayBreaks for 5/30/19: Love or Hate?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

How many times has someone spoken to you about a “loved one” that they are fearful are not believers?  Almost certainly, you have loved ones yourself that are not disciples of Jesus.  And it seems that when that is the case, many times the believers in their lives are afraid to say anything to their friends about their spiritual condition.  That may be just due to not really knowing how to tell someone about Jesus, but I think that more often than not, there’s another reason.  To tell someone about Jesus isn’t complex: just tell them what Jesus has done for you.  You don’t have to make erroneous claims such as “I’ve never been tempted by sin again after I became a disciple,” or “Everything has been great since I became a Christian.”  Please don’t say such things: they identify you right away as a liar.  Be honest about your sin, be honest about your present struggles and how hard it is to live a Christian life, but tell them about the peace and joy and love and hope that has taken over your heart because of HIS goodness, and HIS promises…not your goodness or perfection.

Sometimes God has used unbelievers to make some of the most significant statements about faith and people of faith that I’ve ever read.  Take Nebuchadnezzar, for one, Darius for another.  Even the demons make amazing statements: “I know who Jesus is, but who are you?”  They know, all right.  And even they call Jesus “Lord”.

I recently ran across this statement by Penn Jillette, who is not only an atheist, but a foul-mouthed comedian to boot.  But this is worth reading because perhaps it shows us that perhaps our fears of telling someone about Jesus need to be replaced by something else: a recognition that failure to tell them about Jesus shows that we really don’t love them very much at all. 

“Atheist Penn Jillette is one half of Penn and Teller, a duo that has been headlining Vegas shows for years with comedy and the art of illusion. Penn has never been shy about his disbelief in God, often writing about his conviction in articles and best-selling books. Yet in an on-line video blog that can be found on YouTube, Penn shares a story about the time a gracious Christian businessman gave him a Bible as a gift. Penn goes on to use the story as an opportunity to point out that Christians who don’t evangelize must really hate people. Here’s the direct quote from his video blog:

“I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who do not proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, uh, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize, [saying] “Just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself”—uh, how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize them? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond the shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming to hit you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”  – Bill White, Paramount, California; source: “Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible,” YouTube.com 

More important, indeed.  Let’s get our perspective right and start to tell people about Jesus!

Prayer: Oh, Father, we invite your Spirit to search our hearts and to convict us of our great need to share Jesus with those we know and love – in fact, with everyone we possibly can!  Let our hearts burn hot with enough love that we will tell the truth and entrust the results to You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18 – Preferring the 99

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18: Preferring the 99

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV) – What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

This is a painful passage for me. Sadly, while I think it should also be a challenging and painful passage for the church, I think in many cases we read it and fly right past it.

This passage gets to the very core of God’s heart. Who is it that owns the sheep in the passage? It is God, certainly. And while he has a sheep-fold full of sheep, he isn’t content with that. He knows there is still one out there that hasn’t come home with him, that is lost and in grave danger.

So what does he do? He goes out looking for it. There is no guarantee that he will be able to bring it home…for the passage says And if he finds it…. Some sheep don’t want to be found, and perhaps even more sadly, some perish before they are found.

Pay attention to the last sentence. He is not willing that ANY of these little ones should be lost. It’s not that he’s content if just a handful are lost…he’s not willing for even a single one to perish.

Which brings me to the painful part. Why does my heart not beat with the same passion for the lost sheep?

I fear that the church as a whole (I know there are many exceptions) prefers the ninety-nine. We prefer the comfort of the sheep-fold and seldom, if ever, venture out. We like to hang with other Christians (at least, I hope we do!) But if we lose sight of the heart of God from this passage, we may have missed God entirely. This is precisely why Jesus came: not to celebrate with the 99 but to “go out”. Does Jesus like it when Christians enjoy each other? Of course. But he will quickly leave us behind to find a single lost one.

When is the last time you brought someone to Christ – not just to church – but to saving knowledge of Christ? We should all have the urgency of Oskar Schindler who when the war was over, was heartbroken that he’d not done more, that he could have saved one more. Where is that passion in us?

Church, let us be challenged. Let us go out with the great Shepherd to find the lost so that not ANY should be lost!  

PRAYER: Jesus, I confess that it is far easier to sit in the pew than to leave the sheep-fold to find a lost lamb. I confess I have done far too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. Change us, give us your passion, fill us with your mission, let us hear your heartbeat clearly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/7/16 – Take it and Play It

DayBreaks for 4/07/16 – Take It and Play It

You may not know the name, but Fritz Kreisler was one of the world’s greatest violinists. His first violin was made from a board, strings and a cigar box. When he was four, he was given a child’s violin and he proceeded to stun those around him by playing the Austrian national anthem in perfect pitch and rhythm. His talent was a God-given gift – he rarely practiced after the age of twelve.

Kreisler was, by all accounts, a very generous man, and though he made a very good living, he gave a lot of money away to worthy causes, leaving himself with a much less comfortable living than he could have had.

Being a maestro on the violin, he knew a good instrument when he saw one. One day he was with a dealer of fine instruments when he was shown a truly extraordinary violin that Kreisler desperately wanted. Not having the funds with him, he went home and in some period of time managed to put together the funds necessary to buy the instrument.

He hurried back to the dealer with great anticipation and excitement, but when he arrived, he was dismayed to learn the violin had already been sold to a collector. Not willing to let the violin go, Kreisler got the name of the collector from the dealer and went to visit him in an attempt to convince him to sell Kreisler the instrument.

Much to his dismay, the collector refused, saying it was the prize possession of his collection. After multiple attempts to talk the collector into selling, Kreisler saw the resolve in the man and said that if the man wouldn’t sell the violin, would he be willing to let Kreisler play it once before he left. The collector agreed and Kreisler took the violin and began to play.

The music that flowed from the instrument and the musician was unlike anything the collector had ever heard before, and deeply touched, he said to Kreisler, “I have no right to keep it to myself – you take it and play it for the world.”

Do you see how this relates to our life as believers? Jesus has something that is precious to him…so precious that he died for it…and he has put it in our hands and said, “You have no right to keep this to yourself.  Go, give it to the world.” What is it that he has given us? It is the most beautiful music the world will ever hear – it is the love song of the Creator who became flesh, died for us and rose for us – so that anyone who believes can have eternal life.

It is a love song too good and too beautiful to keep to ourselves. Will we play the love song for the world?

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, let us carry the love song you died to write to the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/13/15 – Satan’s Strategy

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DayBreaks for 4/13/15: Satan’s Strategy

I shared recently about a book that I’d read, titled The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken, and promised I’d share some more from that book. One of the things that he shared that struck me was how simple Satan’s strategy really is. I’d never heard it put this way before…and I found it convicting…and convincing. Mr. Ripken’s book shares about his journeys and research into persecuted Christians and how they managed to not just survive, but become examples for all of us in what it means to grow as a Christian.  Part of what it takes to defeat an enemy is to understand his strategy and that is never more true than in this great battle for eternity.

“All over the world we encountered committed followers of Jesus who trust even His toughest teachings.  They understand that anyone who wishes to save his life must first be willing to lose it. 

“They are willing to take that risk because they believe that, ultimately, good will defeat evil.  Love will finally overcome hate.  And life will conquer death forever by the power of our resurrection faith.  They know that the final chapter of the greatest story ever told has already been written.  And they know that, in the end, and, for all eternity, God will have His way.

“In the meantime, in the here and now, a real battle continues.   This is the same spiritual battle that the apostle Paul talked about.  First-century believers understood Paul when he described and epic struggle that wsa “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in t he heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).  Followers of Jesus in persecution today understand this battle well.

“In fact, everyone in the world today who claims to be a follower of Jesus plays a part in this battle.  Faithful believers who are paying a personal rice in pain and persecution for the cause of Christ truly understand the crux and the cost of their faith.  Their witness, their lives and their examples should inspire and instruct us.  Their experience reveals what is at stake, and their experience also reveals much about evil and its power.

“Believers who know what it means to suffer for their faith help us recognize and understand the Enemy’s tactics and his ultimate goal.   Satan at his worst, evil at its core, and persecution in its essence does not overtly seek to starve, beat, imprison, torture, or kill followers of Jesus.  The strategy of Satan is simpler and more diabolical than that.  What is Satan’s paramount intent?  Quite simply, it is this: denying the world access to Jesus!

“Satan’s greatest desire is for the people of this planet to leave Jesus alone.  Satan desires that we turn away from Jesus – or that we never find Him in the first place. If Satan cannot be successful at that, he desires to keep believers quiet, to diminish or silence our witness, and to stop us from bringing others to Christ. 

“It’s that simple.”

PRAYER: Jesus, I do NOT want to fall victim to Satan’s strategy!  Forgive me for the many, many times I have not told others about Jesus, and make me bolder during whatever days I have left on this earth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 1/16/15 – Drinking With Jesus

DayBreaks for 01/16/15 – Drinking With Jesus

 

I have a friend of many years now.  Her name is Kim.  We actually met through DayBreaks, and much to my shock and surprise, she still reads them from time to time.  Our families became friends, and I even was blessed to officiate at her wedding!  For many years we lived on opposite sides of the country and didn’t see each other for years at a time, though we would communicate through emails.  As life goes, though, so goes relationships.  We get very busy with what is happening in our own world and tend to lose touch a bit.  Every now and then Kim would email and say, “Wouldn’t it be great to sit down over a Dr. Pepper (she liked Pepsi One) and visit?”  My reply was always “Sure would!”

Lots of people get together “over drinks”.  I’m not into alcohol, but I understand the motivation to spend time with a friend or two.  There I something that is a bit more personal about sharing a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a meal with someone you love/like.

When we do, we usually catch up on life.  We lose track of one another and what has been  happening in the life of our friends.  Life can be sweet or bitter, warm or cold…but being able to share it with a friend makes it all more enjoyable and palatable.

I wonder: what would it be like to sit down across the table from Jesus with a Dr. Pepper in hand?  What would he ask me?  What would I ask him?  What would our conversation focus on?

Life, as I said, can be good or bad.  Regardless, we need to respond properly.  I saw this quotation today and thought it was brilliant: “If the Lord fills your cup with sweetness, drink it with grace, If He fills it with bitterness, drink it in communion with Jesus.”

Maybe you need to sit down right now and have a drink with Jesus.  Isn’t it good to know that the Lord drinks in communion with us, even in our darkest hours?

PRAYER: Thank you for being an ever present friend who will sit, listen and commune with us in our joys and in our sorrows! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 11/20/12 – Sharing the Bone

DayBreaks for 11/20/12 – Sharing the Bone

From the DayBreaks archive for 11/20/02:

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

2 Cor. 8:2-5 – “2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.   5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

Scripture is abundant with God’s promises to meet our needs.  It is also abundant in its exhortations to us to be givers – just like our Father.  It even tells us that if we are generous, we will receive generously, too.  (That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll get money in return – but we will be blessed!)

In the passage above from 2 Corinthians, a beautiful example is given to us by the Macedonian churches.  These people in Macedonia were not rich.  They weren’t even of average income, it would appear.  Paul says that “Out of the most severe trial…their extreme poverty” these people GAVE.  They didn’t just give what they could…they gave “even beyond their ability”.

How could they do that?  How could parents give when their own children may have been hungry?  The key is in verse 5: “They gave themselves first to the Lord…”.  They had entrusted themselves, their livelihoods, their next meal and the next meal of their children perhaps, to the Lord.  They had faith.  They trusted God to be as good as His word.

Generosity.  Giving charitably.  In America we may consider it a sacrifice to give up an extra $100 while we take our big paychecks to the bank.  And for some, that $100 is a sacrifice, no doubt.  God knows and God sees whatever sacrifice His children make for one another – and for His kingdom.  But we can also fool ourselves about our charity, too.  I believe it was Jack London who put it something like this: “Charity isn’t giving a bone to the dog.  It is sharing the bone with the dog when you’re just as hungry as he is.”  Do you get it?  The Macedonians were as hungry, or perhaps even more hungry, than those they gave to.

An incredible story, and incredible example.  How is your giving?  Join me in searching our hearts – knowing that God searches them knows the truth about each of us – and He also knows the name of every hungry, starving family across the world that will go to bed hungry tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after that.  God asks us to give ourselves first to Him, and then to get busy following the example of the Macedonians.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: When we look into our pantries, closets, homes and bank accounts, help us to see how rich we are…and to share the “bone”! Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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