DayBreaks for 3/28/17 – Watch Out for the Snake

DayBreaks for 3/28/17: Watch Out for the Snake

CHINA – “When arriving at the bottom of a tequila bottle after a long night with the guys, someone is always dared to take down the worm. However, very rarely, if ever, does the worm fight back. In China, alcoholic drinks such as rice wine contain preserved snakes or other creatures in place of the ever-popular worm. As a man named Li cracked open a bottle during his lunch break, the pickled snake lunged out of the bottle and bit him in the neck. The victim was taken to a hospital where he was not believed to be in any danger. According to the Xin Bao newspaper, the bottle’s stopper was made from wood or cork and allowed air in the vessel, helping the snake to survive in the bottle for a year.”

You know, I find that there are things in my life that I thought were dead and gone, but then they come back to bite me.  It seems to be at a time when I’ve been thinking, “Whew…I’m glad I’ve got that licked!” that they often raise their ugly head once again.  Such is the my constant need for reminders that I’m not so good or strong as I’d like to think. You’d think that at some point I’d learn how weak I really am.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s that I’m that weak or that evil is that powerful.  And when I reflect on it that way, I think that both are true.  I am far weaker in the flesh than I’d like to be, or than I want to admit to being.  But Satan is not a novice at this game – he’s been around the block more than once since the days of Adam and Eve.  And it’s not just me – everyone has fallen to his schemes.  It’s no excuse, though, for stronger than Satan is Jesus, and God won’t let me get away with excuses.

It only took a small fracture in the cork to allow enough air into the bottle to keep the snake alive.  Sadly, sometimes in our lives we don’t just leave a little crack for Satan to slither through, we leave the door wide open and hang out the “Welcome – come on in!” sign.  Would that we shut the door entire to Satan and opened the door wide for Jesus!

Beware – the snake will be on the prowl until his head is crushed one final time.

PRAYER: Help us to learn from our mistakes, to love You more, and to be alert to our enemy.  May we open the door of our hearts fully to Your Spirit!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.


DayBreaks for 7/14/15 – Avoiding Snakebite

DayBreaks for 7/14/15: Avoiding Snakebite

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/14/2005:

For the record, I don’t like snakes.  I don’t like to touch them.  I don’t like to see them unless they are safely in a cage on the other side of solid glass that’s too strong for them to break through.  Then, and only then, do I enjoy seeing them.  We live in rattlesnake country and so I’m always wary when around brush, rock or wood piles.  I’d just as soon leave the snakes alone.

John Ortberg told a story about a man who worked in a zoo that housed a 13-foot king cobra.  The venom in his venom glands was powerful enough to kill 1000 adult males.  A single bite from such a large cobra has been known to kill a full-grown African elephant.  As it turns out, this particular cobra had a scar by one eye that prevented it from completely shedding its skin when it molted.  That meant that every time the snake shed its skin, the zoo handlers had to grab and hold the angry snake while the vet carefully cut the skin away from the scar.

As I thought about that story, I was certain that I wouldn’t want the job of grabbing the snake.  I wouldn’t have wanted to grab it even if it was a harmless garter snake, let alone a ticked-off 13-foot king cobra.  But the vet, and 4 others, managed to grab hold of the snake and immobilize it long enough for the vet to cut away the dead skin.  But before he finished, the vet cautioned everyone that the most dangerous part was yet to take place: the moment when they had to release the snake, to let it go.  He told them that more people are bitten by snakes when letting go of them than while grabbing them or holding onto them.  I think he should have told them this tidbit of news before they agreed to hold onto the nasty beast to start with.  I would have been very angry at him if he’d not told me that in advance!

Still, it made me think about temptation and sin.  We grab the snake of sin and we’re in trouble.  We don’t know how to let it go without getting hurt.  We find out that the sin was much more powerful and difficult to deal with than we thought it would be when we gave in to it the first time.  But by then, we’re in trouble.  We’ve got a deadly, spitting snake in our hands and it wants to bury its fangs deep into our souls.

Why is it that we don’t just let go and run away?  We’re afraid.  But if we are brutally honest, we don’t really want to let go of the snake of temptation too badly, do we?  We’d rather keep hanging on to it so that we know where it is, and if we decide that we want to indulge our sinful appetites again, we can do so without having to go through the trouble of catching the snake all over again.  We hold it close, afraid of it, but pretending all the while that it is harmless, or at least that it can’t hurt us as long as we hang on to it tightly enough (i.e., “have it under control”).  We’re crazy. 

Are you holding onto a deadly viper of sin in your life?  Let it go…and run!  Run like crazy to the Savior!

Eccl 10:11 – It does no good to charm a snake after it has bitten you.PRAYER: Lord, we delude ourselves thinking we can master our temptations and manage our sinfulness!  Save us from this foolishness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/30/12 – Don’t Bite the Snake that Bites You

DayBreaks for 10/30/12 – Don’t Bite the Snake that Bites You

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. – 1 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

Surviving a cobra bite in Nepal is simple, or at least that’s what some natives believe. They hold to the idea that if the victim of a cobra bites the snake back right away, and bites hard enough to kill the cobra, then the venom that has been injected is rendered harmless.

There’s only one problem, as a farmer found out.  The farmer was bitten in August in Biratnagar and later told BBC News that he went about his business normally after fatally biting his attacker.  He managed to survive only after his family convinced him that perhaps the custom/superstition was ridiculous and they rushed him to a hospital. (BBC News, 8-13-2012/News of the Weird, 10/29/12)

I think there are a couple of worthwhile lessons here:

FIRST: human superstitions are not fact, they have not saving power and are rather ridiculous.  Just believing something is true certainly doesn’t render it true.  There are those who suggest that Christianity is a foolish superstition.  How can one tell a superstition from something that is true?  It’s not that hard, really.  All one has to do is to test the evidences for the claims to ascertain what is true and what is false.  And there is plenty of evidence for Christianity, but not much for the idea that biting a cobra in return for being bitten is a way to make the venom harmless!

SECOND: we are cautioned by Peter not to “repay evil for evil.”  Granted, most of us will never be bitten by a cobra or will bite one in return even if we had been bitten.  But, we are often “bitten” by the actions and words of others.  We have a sense that if I can only bite back, it’ll feel better and help me heal from the wounding.  Balderdash.  Might as well bite a cobra in an attempt to deal with the venom within us.  It’ll be just as effective as injecting poison into the one who hurt us.  And, by the way, if we bite what bites us, are we any better than that which bit first?

We already have plenty of poison in our hearts and tongues.  Jesus wants to remove that poison from us, not have us use it against others.

PRAYER: Jesus, we may from time to time be able to curb our tongues and not lash out at those who have injured us, but our hearts are another matter entirely.  Take the poison out of our hearts and minds and heal us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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