DayBreaks for 4/26/17 – God and Circumstances

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DayBreaks for 4/26/19: God and Circumstances

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

Suffering is a very hard taskmaster.  It’s not easy to predict what the outcome of suffering will be.  Some suffer and conclude that God is not, and cannot, be good – nor does He care or suffering would not take place.  Strangely and remarkably, it seems that often those who really do suffer the most are the first ones to sing songs of praise to God and His love. 

Just today, I read an email from an organization in our fair town that is involved in conducting and coordinating community events.  Here’s what it had to say: “It has been awhile since we have communicated with everyone and it seems that each day that goes by, the world continues to evolve in ways that many of us never imagined. As this is not an excuse for our lack of recent communication, it has however caused all of us to look deeper into ourselves, push ourselves harder than many of us are used to and simply try and survive.

I understand that there are people in pain in our community (and in yours) and that pain is real and people are afraid and in some cases, suffering.  So, please don’t get mad at me when I say that I think this statement was a gross exaggeration.  Most (not all) Americans have no idea what it means to “simply try to survive.”  American grocery stores are full of food, there are safety net programs that help feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.  Yes, they are being stressed to higher levels than ever before, but they still exist.  Such things don’t exist in most of the world.  As a general rule, we are far from “simply try(ing) to survive.”

Yet circumstances often dictate our attitudes and our devotion to God.  How quickly we are swayed and surrender our trust in Him!  Consider again the list of spiritual heroes in Hebrews chapter 11: now there is a list of people who truly were simply trying to survive…and many of them didn’t, dying as martyrs.  What characterized those who had their names place in the roll of honor of the faithful?  Simply this: they refused to let God be defined by their own circumstances and experiences.  They understood that God was above and beyond all circumstance, and that His character is never, ever defined by human experience nor circumstances. 

No matter whether your circumstances and present experience is good or bad, God doesn’t change with circumstances.  If He ever has been good, it is a fact that He will always be good.  Sometimes, I think, God controls circumstances, but more often than not, He’s interested in controlling and directing outcomes.  It’s what we do with the circumstances that He’s most interested in.  What will you do with your circumstances today?

Prayer: God, forgive us when we treat you as if you are fickle and a changeling rather than the Rock who never changes and who is always good.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 7/18/16 – RX for a World Torn Apart

DayBreaks for 7/18/16 – RX For a World Torn Apart

From our Sunday worship bulletin (and some of my own input, too):

Whatever comes out of these dates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together, we survive. – Maximus

This quote is from the movie, “Gladiator,” and the context is gladiators coming together to fight a common enemy. I love the quote because it’s a great illustration for the church. If the church works together, if it stays together, then whatever common enemy we face, we can survive. Now, Jesus said He would build His church, and therefore the church at large is not going to disappear. We’re here to stay. Still, the church, in this age, can certainly be threatened. There are enemies which would seek to eliminate it. So, the church is in a definite battle. There is spiritual warfare going on.

Who is the enemy? The apostle John instructs the church to …not love the world or things in the world. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16) In this context, we get a glimpse that the enemy is, in some ways, our own sinful desire. The apostle Peter also says, Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) The enemy is the devil, and it’s the world around us, made up of sinful people, including us. My contention is often the enemy (regardless of who or what it is) threatens to pull us apart, isolate us from one another, and bring us to disunity.

This is a huge issue, not just for the church but for our nation. But what’s so scary about it for the church is that it’s often subtle. We can easily testify Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and our lives can be isolated from one another. We are not working together or staying together. We may have gotten to the point, in which we understand we even need to be together.

So, what do I mean “to be together”? Well, we’re in relationship with others in the church, those who know us, including some of our struggles. Yes, that’s scary, and there are a lot of challenges with that. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek it out. Why? Because we need one another. To walk this journey of faith, which is hard enough, I’m convinced we can’t do it on our own. We need the church. We need to be in relationship with God’s people, and that’snot just your name on a roll.

The enemy is at the gates. If we’re to stay together, as a church, as a nation, if we’re to work together, we must first be together. United we stand and survive, divided we fall.

PRAYER: Jesus, in an age characterized by anonymity, isolation and texting instead of face-to-face conversations, it’s easy for us to withdraw, to not be together with others. Let us learn from your example that you didn’t text us from heaven, but you came to BE with us. Create that desire in us to be with others, to risk the relationships, so we can work together in peace and harmony. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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