DayBreaks for 10/18/18 – The Web of My Sin

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DayBreaks for 10/18/18: The Web of My Sin

I love photography – every kind of photography whether it is landscapes, macro photography, HDR, portraits, still-life, pet photography – you name it, it fascinates me. Time-lapse photography compresses a series of images and events into one picture. Such a photo appeared in an issue of National Geographic. It was shot from a mountain peak in the Rocy Mountains during a heavy thunderstorm. The picture captured the brilliant lightning display that had taken place throughout the storm’s duration. The time-lapse technique created a fascinating, spaghetti-like web out of the individual bolts.

In much the same way, our sin presents itself before the eyes of God. Where we see only isolated or individual acts, God sees the overall web of our sinning. What may seem insignificant — even sporadic — to us because we tend to think of specific instances so those sins pass with hardly a notice in our mind’s eye, is seen quite differently by God. To God’s view of the panorama of our life, my sin creates a much more dramatic display as he sees them as a huge, entangling web that can snuff the life out of me if not dealt with.

The psalmist was right when he wrote, Who can discern his [one’s own] errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Psalm 19:12-13

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for cutting through the web of sin that tries to enshroud me. Help keep me from willful disobedience and sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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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 10/02/18 – Mosquito Musings

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DayBreaks for 10/02/18 – Mosquito Musings        

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

Earl Wilson, from the Field Newspaper Syndicate, reported on film director Elliot Silverstein, on location in Louisiana, who said he found two kinds of mosquitoes there: “Those small enough to get through screen doors – and those big enough to open them.”

Isn’t it amazing how something as small as mosquitoes can cause us so much discomfort? Just be quiet for a minute and listen: can’t you hear one buzzing in your ear?! Fortunately, where we live in California, there really aren’t many mosquitoes. That’s fine by me. I’ve heard similar claims about the size of mosquitoes in Alaska – how they’re reputed to be so big that they carry away polar bear cubs!

Which do you fear most – a polar bear, or a mosquito? Does it seem like a silly question? When you think about it in a physical sense, it is, of course, silly. But when you stop to think about it a little more deeply, both of them can draw blood. Enough mosquitoes could, I suppose, drain you dry!

I recently had a woman call me in the office who wanted to know what the worst sin was that you could possibly commit (from her speech I think she was more than just a little inebriated). I explained to her that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the only sin that bible says is unforgivable. She said, “OK, what’s the next worst one after that?” I told her that from God’s standpoint, there wasn’t a “next worst”. That all sins were equally bad because all it takes is one to make you a sinner. She didn’t like that answer, but I didn’t know what else to tell her except that some sins have more severe consequences in the here and now than others do. But sin is sin – and one unforgiven sin is enough to condemn.

What’s the point? We think about how terrible “big sins” are and when we think about someone like Pol Pot or Adolph Hitler, we figure that they are terrible sinners destined for hell. And when we do that, we forget the mosquito of “sin” that is buzzing in our own ear and we think that it’s just one of the little ones – it isn’t a “big” sin, so it’s not so bad. Mosquitoes, by spreading malaria and other diseases, have been responsible for the loss of more human lives than all the wars of history. Pretty amazing for such a small creature, huh?

Wrong. Jesus had to pay the same price to redeem the little sins as he did the big ones. There is no bargain-basement price for “little” sinners. If you only told one little white lie in your life, the price for your salvation was just as great as the price Jesus paid for the worst sinner in history.

That’s what makes His forgiveness and our salvation so amazing. Don’t think that the little sins in your life are like little mosquitoes that aren’t a threat. Enough little mosquitoes can kill you!

PRAYER: Lord, grant us humble hearts that recognize the depravity of our own souls and sinful hearts.  Awaken in us a realization of how deadly our sins are, and how great Your forgiveness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/31/18 – When Paul Got It Wrong

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DayBreaks for 8/31/18: When Paul Got It Wrong

First, let me say that I have the utmost respect for the apostle Paul. It is quite possible that more people will be in heaven because of his work than any other mere mortal who has ever lived. But that doesn’t mean he was perfect. In fact, I have found one place in Scripture where I’m convinced that Paul got it dead wrong. It’s here in 1 Timothy 1:15 (CSBBible) – This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” — and I am the worst of them.

Paul was right about why Jesus came, but Paul couldn’t possibly have been the worst of sinners because I am. Here I am, 66 years old, still struggling with sin! The things that should have died in my long ago are still struggles and it seems they shouldn’t be alive and kicking, not now, not this far along in the journey. What is wrong with me!?!? Why am I this way???

I am this way, I reckon, because I still carry about with me a fleshly body and a human nature that are by definition corrupt. There is nothing, we are told, that is within us and our earthly composition that is anything other than dead – and the dead smell bad, just like my sin smells bad – even and especially to me. 

My guess is that unless you are a total neophyte to the concept of sin that you either feel like I do or have felt this way when the enormity of your own sin sits on your shoulders like a great, immense anchor. And that, my friends, is depressing, isn’t it?

We would do ourselves a disservice if we stopped reading at verse 15, though, for Paul goes on to say this: But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life.

What do I do when my sin and struggles are crushing my spirit with shame, and when our enemy is tormenting me with guilt? I remind myself of verse 16, and of this verse (Rom. 8:1-2) – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.

God sees my sin. He doesn’t like it but he doesn’t hate me for it – it just breaks his heart. But when I launch out into eternity, having trusted myself and my eternal destiny to the hands of Jesus, I shall not be disappointed, I shall not be put to shame, for I, even now, bear my great guilt no longer. I face no condemnation because Christ faced it for me, and for you. Glory be to God!

PRAYER: Lord, have mercy on me a sinner! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/14/18 – Where the Fire has Been

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DayBreaks for 8/14/18: Where the Fire Has Been

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

One of the great threats in California this year (and almost every year) has been wild fires.  Surely, you’ve heard or read stories about it in the news.  There was a strange night of lightning storms that swept California a while back, and over 800 fires were running amok around the state.  Even to this date, some are still burning. 

Wild fires are nothing new.  Back in the days of the pioneers, there were times when the owners of a log hut would look contentedly out over the miles and miles of swaying, tall grass when they would catch a glimpse of a dark cloud out on the far distant horizon.  As they watched it over a period of time, they could see that behind the apparent cloud was a fierce, fiery glare.  Although it was still a long way off, there could be no doubt about what it was – the prairie is on fire and the winds were driving it straight toward the settlers.

Driven by the wind, the fire would approach at speeds of fifteen miles per hour or more.  What could they possibly do to stop it?  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  There were no flying bombers that could drop tons of flame retardant chemicals, no helicopters that could chopper off to the nearest water hole and fill a huge bucket with water that could be dropped on the fire.  It was true that wise pioneers build a firebreak around their little settlements, but such fire breaks were only effective for an ordinary grass fire, but not for any kind of safety from a massive wild fire sweeping across miles and miles of grassy plain. 

Men and animals with terror–stricken eyes would flee from the onrushing cataclysm for their lives.  No time for thinking was left.  What can be done?  Was there to be no escape, no deliverance?  Would all inevitably perish?

There was one—and only one—hope of escape.  What is it?  How is it accomplished?  It involved the very element (fire) that was pursuing them and threatening them!  If the pioneers struck a match and lit the grass at their feet, the new fire, blown by the wind, would move ahead of them as if fleeing from the oncoming torment itself.  This new fire would burn the prairie ahead of the fleeing pioneers, consuming all before it, leaving the ground, blackened and bare.  As soon as a patch of the prairie was burned, the men and animals could then pass onto the scorched ground into a zone of safety.  Why were they safe?  Because there was nothing left to consume!  The fire started by the pioneers had already burned over the place once, leaving nothing for the approaching flames to burn when they arrived!  The pioneers were then safe and secure from the devouring fire which now raged around them but which could not touch them itself! 

Because of our sins, the fires of hell sweep towards us, seeking to consume and burn us until we are dead.  But, as believers, we can do something about it: we can so burn the knowledge of the Word of God into our lives that the flames of the outside world and hell itself will have no influence!

1 Jn 2:15-17 (NIV) – Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

PRAYER: Thank You for the Word, the Life, that has prepared a safe place for us where we can be secure from the fire to come!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/22/18 – Do You Mortify?

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DayBreaks for 6/22/18: Do You Mortify?

Romans 8:12-13 (ESV) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

The Continental Divide runs up from South America all the way up into Canada. On the eastern side, all the water runs toward the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico, on the western side toward the Pacific. You can literally stand in the road and have one foot on the eastern side and one on the western side. It’s easy when there to move from one extreme to the other. But it’s far harder to move from unholiness to holiness.

Through the middle of our lives is a divide – far wider and far more significant that the Continental Divide.
Earlier in Romans 8:5-8, Paul describes that our minds must be changed, transformed. But that’s not enough. Verses 9-11 say our entire being must be transformed – not just our minds, but our bodies/fleshly nature, too.

The real application here comes in verses 12-13 where we are, by the Spirit (not by our own power!), to put to death the deeds of the body. The whole thing is predicated on verse 12 where Paul says we are not debtors to the flesh. The word debtors here would be better translated as “obligated.” We are not obligated any longer to live in the ways of the flesh. We have the Spirit of God in us.

John Owen, writing long ago, said that we must “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” What is called for is a continual rampage against sin in our lives. We are told to kill it, to mortify, to put it to death.

The billion dollar question though, is are you, am I, mortifying the flesh? Consider this analogy: if an intruder broke into your home and began firing bullets at your family trying to kill them, what would you do? We wouldn’t just invite them to sit down for a cup of coffee so we could discuss things. We would FIGHT – even to the point of killing that intruder in order to preserve the life and peace of our family.

How are we fighting sin? Are we fighting it with the same (or more!) passion as we would that intruder? Or, are we unwilling to kill sin because we want to be able to play with sin once every so often? Have we become so afraid of legalism that we’ve forgotten about the demand for holiness? Yes, God is gracious – far more gracious than we can imagine – but God is very clear: we are to kill sin in our lives by the Spirit. That means letting the Spirit do the killing, but that can only happen as we yield to Him and His control.

We can’t afford to be ho-hum about sin. The devil isn’t ho-hum in his attack on us. Our death is his intention! How could we be ho-hum about our sin when we see the price Jesus paid on Calvary to rescue us from it?

Let’s fight like our lives depend on it – and let Jesus’ holiness that has been credited to us take care of the times we fail.

PRAYER: Jesus, we aren’t very good at killing sin. We cannot do it on our own. Let us cry to you every single day and put our will and fleshly desire to death. Let your Spirit have that work in us that we so desperately need! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/21/18 – The Most Important Sins

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DayBreaks for 6/21/18: The Most Important Sins

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

Long ago, the Roman Catholic church came up with a list of sins that they said were “mortal”, or deadly.  Naturally, they were the sins that the church felt were the worst sins of all.  That’s why they were called deadly.

Are there certain sins that really bug you?  By that I don’t mean sins that you struggle with yourself.  We all have sins like that, too.  What I mean is certain sins that really make you mad, that you just can’t understand and which disgust you and make your stomach turn? 

In his little, but thought-provoking book, The Smell of Sin, Don Everts had a very interesting insight.  He wrote: When we sit down to list the sins that bug us, are they ever the sins we struggle so deeply with?  Or are we quick to ignore the logs in our own eyes while focusing so intently and with such passion on the specks in the eyes of those around us?…Jesus never made a hierarchy of sins.  Sins of idolizing money are just as smelly as sexual sins…So the most important sins must always be our own.  Our own.

You get the point: the sins that should really bug us are PRECISELY the sins that we struggle with ourselves.  Not the sins of someone else, but our own.   We need to a change of heart about what sins turn our stomach, even as they turn Jesus’.  Let us live with the attitude and understanding that the most important sins are mine.

PRAYER: Lord, we are so prone to minimizing our own sins and thinking that they don’t stink in Your nostrils like the sins that we hate.  Let us never shrug our shoulders at our own sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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