DayBreaks for 7/14/15 – The Squeeze of God’s Hand

DayBreaks for 7/14/16 – The Squeeze of God’s Hand

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2006:

Many of us have been conditioned to think of God as a doting Parent whose function is to shield us from unpleasant circumstances.  No wonder we’re disappointed. – Helen Grace Lescheid, “The Place of Acceptance”, Discipleship Journal, Issue 60

Why do we get mad at God when there are hard times in life?  When you think about it, a parent isn’t tasked with keeping children from unpleasant circumstances in spite of what many today seem to believe.  A parent is supposed to teach children how to live with and through both pleasant and unpleasant circumstances because both are part and parcel of life.  Unpleasant things can either knock us off kilter or teach us about what to avoid.  A parent who never lets their child experience the negative consequences of inappropriate behavior is a parent who is failing to teach their child that sin has consequences. 

That doesn’t mean that those circumstances are fun.  But perhaps it will help you to think of them in the same way that Helen Lescheid described them in Issue 76 of Discipleship Journal: Sometimes trouble or hardship is an indication that the hand of God is on our lives…I sometimes say to myself, ‘The pressure I feel right now is but the squeeze of God’s hands on my life as He’s shaping me.’ 

I like that.  Scripture uses the analogy of the Potter and the clay (Rom. 9:21).  The clay cannot be formed without pressure.  Sometimes, depending on what the Potter is forming, the pressure comes from without, but sometimes from with – pressing us outward until we take on the shape He wants for us. 

If you are feeling pressure in your life right now, try to think about it as the hand of the Master shaping the clay of your life.  Rest assured that the Potter doesn’t make junk and doesn’t make mistakes.  In spite of any pressure you may feel – if you belong to Christ, you are not a failure and you are not a mistake.  You are being formed into a vessel for His use and His glory. 

PRAYER:  Father, you are the Potter and we are nothing more than clay.  Help us to remember that is not for the clay to determine what it should become, to try to dictate to You what You’ve done well or what to make of us.  May we yield gracefully, full of loving trust in you, to the gentle pressure of your hands on our life as you shape us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 3/06/15 – A Lesson in Pressure

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DayBreaks for 3/06/15: A Lesson in Pressure    

 

NOTE: This week DayBreaks are from the archive as Galen is out of the country.  He will respond to messages after he returns. 

Sent in by a DayBreaks reader (thanks, Bridget!):  If you were to climb into a submarine you might think that, as long as it held watertight, you could glide on down to the bottom of the ocean. Sadly, if you tried to do this you’d soon discover how mistaken you are. Submarines can only go so deep before the pressure of the water crushes them like an empty soft drink can crumpled by your hand. Indeed, a number of years ago submarine called the Thresher went down too deep. The water pressure rose to the point that the submarines heavy steel bulkheads were crushed.  The sub was torn apart, leaving pieces of debris scattered across the ocean floor for searchers to find.

If you want to go down really deep you need a specially designed research vessel shielded by heavy armor. Now imagine you jumped into one of these heavily clad research vessels and headed down to the ocean depths. Guess what you’d find? Fish. Fish! Fish with skin just millimeters thick.

How is it that fish with just a thin skin covering can survive the pressure of such great depths, where a submarine with thick steel plates cannot? 

The answer is quite simple: fish have equal and opposite pressure inside them. Submarines do not.

When confronting the pressures of sin some Christians try to become like a submarine, shielding themselves from the outside world, strapping themselves into a narrow space where they are safe from external pressures. They make rules which are designed to reinforce them against temptation. But unfortunately, the deeper into life we go the more inadequate this approach will be. The external pressure will just become too great.

This is why we need to be like the fish, to develop positive pressure inside ourselves. Rather than simply resisting the outward pressure of temptation we need to combat it by building up positive spiritual pressure within, replacing the values the world would impose with the Spirit developed character of Christ.  – Adapted from the Internet, Author Unknown

Is your life being properly balanced?  If you seem to be losing the fight to external pressures, fill the inner sanctum of your soul with the presence of the Spirit and the Word He delivered.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Fill us with Your Spirit so we can withstand the pressures of this world and go deeper with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/24/11 – Virtue in Anxious Times

DayBreaks for 11/24/11 – Virtue in Anxious Times

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. ­- Psalm 127:2

What anxious people we are!  We are worried about our health.  We worry about our futures.  We worry about our pasts.  We worry in the present.  We worry about circumstances.  We worry about what may happen and we worry about what may not happen.  We, like Martha, are “anxious about many things.”  And that’s not how God wants us to live!  Why?  Because all our worrying can’t control any of those things…and therefore, as the Psalmist said, it is “useless.”

Most of us are touched by the suffering of the world and would like to do something to help.  But the core message of anxiety is that we cannot afford to share or get involved because we can never have enough. Put more strongly, in a culture permeated by anxiety and fear, the very things we have traditionally called sins or vices (hoarding, greed and suspicion) seemingly have become wise and prudent virtues.  We have allowed fear, rather than trust and love, to govern our lives. But such fear is a form of idolatry because it suggests we are giving more attention to our own security than we are giving to God.  Scott Bader-Saye warns, “the ethic of security produces a skewed moral vision. It suggests that suspicion, preemption, and accumulation are virtues insofar as they help us feel safe. But when seen from a Christian perspective, such ‘virtues’ fail to be true virtues, since they do not orient us to the true good—love of God and neighbor. In fact, they turn us away from the true good, tempting us to love safety more than we love God.”

God’s virtues have not changed.  He loves forgiveness, mercy, justice, righteousness, generosity.  Those things have not changed because He never changes.  Let’s not let the world re-define virtue for us!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

PRAYER: It is so easy for us to be subtly influence by the world and the way it thinks, Lord.  Help us be grounded and rooted in your Word so we know what you care about and have a basis for living life that doesn’t ever change.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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