DayBreaks for 7/3/20 – Just Try Breathing Water

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DayBreaks for 7/03/20: Just Try Breathing Water

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

In his book, The New Absolutes, William Watkins cited several studies and then concluded, “Roughly three out of four Americans claimed they embraced relativism and opposed absolutism.” (p. 26) Only 9% of American, born-again teens believe in absolute truth, and the percentage of American adults that believe it isn’t much higher. 

Isn’t the statement, “there is no absolute truth” even a denial of that assertion?  Isn’t it a statement that purports an absolute truth (“There is no absolute truth”) while denying its existence?

Some truths are not negotiable, they are absolute. It matters whether you breathe water or oxygen. If you breathe water you will drown, it is an absolute truth.

When I go to the doctor, I want him to prescribe me the proper dosage of medication I need. It wouldn’t be right for him or her to say to me, “Take as much as you want.” Too much could kill me, not enough wouldn’t help me; I need the right dosage.

When I get ready to fly somewhere, I want the counter person to tell me the correct flight to board, I don’t want to hear, “It doesn’t matter which plane you get on, they all will take you to the same place.” I want to know the absolute truth.

With all due respect to the majority opinion in our society, there is an absolute truth. Jesus said, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Just because someone makes a claim isn’t proof that it is true…but sometimes it is.  We must each decide if we believe Jesus was right or wrong when he made the claim he did. 

One can make the valid argument that physical things are more easily definable as absolute truths (such as breathing the right kind of air versus water) than in the spiritual realm.  But our experience in the physical realm should give us clues about how the spiritual realm may operate: if there are absolute truths in one area, why not in all?  And therein comes the rub – we can’t prove God’s existence, we can’t prove He is love, we can’t prove there is life after death.  There are those who claim that God doesn’t exist, and those who believe He does.  He can’t both not exist and exist at the same time.  He is either there or He isn’t.  Heaven and hell exist or they don’t – but both cannot possibly be true because they are diametrically opposed – like the on or off of a light switch. 

Anyone who tells you that there is no such thing as absolute truth wants to ignore the facts of experience.  If you were to suggest that they go breath water for 30 minutes if it is not absolutely true that it will kill them, they’d think you’ve lost it, but you’ll have made your point.

Let’s search for Truth.  It matters!!!

PRAYER: Give us wisdom to recognize and know truth!  May we have discernment in a world that denies the very existence of truth in any form!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/15/20 – Contradicting Culture

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DayBreaks for 6/15/20: Contradicting Culture

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

The following is from a sermon by Tim Keller, author of The Reason for God, and I thought it was worth sharing.  Many today think that Christians are busy-bodies who do nothing more than rail against the culture of their time.  And, let’s face it, perhaps at times we have deserved such criticism.  Here’s that Tim had to say, I urge you to contemplate it seriously. I think he makes an excellent point:

“Many of us read a certain passage of Scripture and say, “That’s so regressive, so offensive.” But we ought to entertain the idea that maybe we feel that way because in our particular culture that text is a problem. In other cultures that passage might not come across as regressive or offensive.

“Let’s look at just one example. In individualistic, Western societies, we read the Bible, and we have a problem with what it says about sex. But then we read what the Bible says about forgiveness—”forgive your enemy;” “forgive your brother seventy times seven;” “turn the other cheek;” “when your enemy asks for your shirt, give him your cloak as well”—and we say, “How wonderful!” It’s because we are driven by a culture of guilt. But if you were to go to the Middle East, they would think that what the Bible has to say about sex is pretty good. (Actually, they might feel it’s not strict enough!) But when they would read what the Bible says about forgiving your enemies, it would strike them as absolutely crazy. It’s because their culture is not an individualistic society like ours. It’s more of a shame culture than a guilt culture.

“Let me ask you a question: If you’re offended by something in the Bible, why should your cultural sensibilities trump everybody else’s? Why should we get rid of the Bible because it offends your culture? Let’s do a thought experiment for a second. If the Bible really was the revelation of God, and therefore it wasn’t the product of any one culture, wouldn’t it contradict every culture at some point? Therefore, if it’s really from God, wouldn’t it have to offend your cultural sensibilities at some point? Therefore, when you read the Bible, and you find some part of it outrageous and offensive, that’s proof that it’s probably true, that it’s probably from God. It’s not a reason to say the Bible isn’t God’s Word; it’s a reason to say it is. What makes you think that because this part or that part of God’s Word is offensive, you can forget Christianity altogether?”

How arrogant that people (including us) think that our judgments and pronouncements about what is good and bad in culture are always true and right!  In fact, if we find ourselves in constant and strong alignment with our culture, chances are good that we need to open again the Word and see what it has to say about it!

PRAYER: Let us have more of Your wisdom, O Lord, and learn to apply Your Word to the life situations we face and the culture that surrounds us.  We want to be strong disciples, Lord, and help us to take the stands that You would like for us to take – and to do so with compassion and grace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/17/19 – Alaska Lessons #1 – Beauty

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Photo by Galen C. Dalrymple, September 2019

DayBreaks for 9/17/19: Alaska Lessons #1 – Beauty

My wife and I were recently able to cross an item off our bucket list: a trip to Alaska. It was all we’d every dreamed of and more!

The vastness and wildness of Alaska stirred a variety of thoughts within me and I wanted to share some with you.

The beauty of Alaska is stunning. It is what I can only imagine the world may have looked like when it was fresh from the Father’s hand and heart. I could hardly keep my eyes off the mountains and streams, glaciers and tundra as I drove along. And I found myself thinking about how God loves beautiful things. I’m quite sure that there are parts of Alaska where man has yet to set foot, yet they are beautiful and God created them that way. Why? Can there be any other explanation other than he did it for his own enjoyment since no one else was going to see it for millenia? 

And that got me to thinking about what God finds truly beautiful. While he loves mountains and oceans, raging streams and quiet woods, there are things he loves even more.

God loves the righteous: Ps. 146:7-8 (ESV) – …who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. He loves justice (Ps. 33:5), he desires honesty and truthfulness from us. He loves the humble heart.

As much as God loves nature’s beauty, he loves us more when he sees us acting like the King’s children.

PRAYER: Let us live in such a way that you see beauty in us and in what we do for you and our fellow man. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/10/19 – Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty

Happy and sad at the same time?

DayBreaks for 9/10/19: Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I have spent some time lately with some very discouraged and unhappy people.  Let’s be honest: if we look at this world for very long at all, there is much to get discouraged about!  Disease and death, disappointment, rejection, mistakes in judgment, financial challenges, relationship difficulties…you know the score.  Life is tough.

In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason said: “In short, Scripture never suggests (unlike many churchgoers) that the wearing of a cheerful countenance is a good tonic for the world.  On the contrary, in Ecclesiastes we read, Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart (7:3).  How is it we have bought the lie that a Christian’s face is only publicly presentable when the corners of the mouth are pushed up?  The Apostle James actually exhorts us to …grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom’ (4:9). As the poet Emily Dickinson put it in her trenchant style, ‘I like the look of Agony, because I know it’s true.’

“Undoubtedly Scripture exhorts us to ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ and to ‘Be of good cheer.’  Yet nowhere are we commanded to ‘put on a happy face.’”

We are encouraged to rejoice because we know our names are written in heaven.  We are not to delight in the suffering per se, but in what the suffering is building into our character, knowing that the Lord has a perfect plan for us that will result in wholeness some day.  In the meantime, false cheerfulness may lead to charges of hypocrisy.  Job and David knew what it was to hurt and to weep and wail as a result.  But they also knew that they couldn’t stay with their focus on themselves and their troubles indefinitely or the burden would have become crushing.  They eventually lifted their eyes upwards to receive the help they needed in the time of their greatest pain. 

God doesn’t deny you the right to be honest about your feelings.  Quite the opposite!  He wants you to be honest with yourself and with him and others about them.  It is only then that He can begin to shape us into the image of the Suffering Servant who offers His joy to the entire world.     

PRAYER: Let us be honest with our pain and hopeful in our upward glances!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/22/19 – Drinking Your Own Kool-aid

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DayBreaks for 08/22/19: Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

Many of you will recall Jim Jones and the People’s Temple located in Guyana.  Jones was a charismatic leader by all accounts.  He had fanatically devoted followers who left behind families, homes, careers and jobs in America to follow him to a jungle “paradise” that was called Jonestown (that should have been a clue to the man’s ego.)  They moved after a magazine, New West, raised questions about the legality of some of their practices.  According to Wikipedia, after moving to Guyana, Jones developed a belief in something he called “Translation” – the idea that he and his followers would all die together and go to another planet to live in peace.  He even held mass suicide “practices” where followers would drink Kool-aid and fall to the ground as if they were dead in order to prepare for Translation. 

The day finally came when it wasn’t practice – it was for real.  A total of 914 people died in the mass poisoning – 638 adults and 276 children.  By the time that authorities arrived, many of the bodies were already in such a state of decay that there is some dispute about how many actually died.  It was not a pretty scene. 

I have often wondered about the mindset of those present in Jonestown on that fateful day.  It is hard for me to comprehend parents giving cups of poisoned Kool-aid to their little ones.  For me, it is almost as hard to understand how people could take the cup and drink it down themselves.

An old blog entry had a synopsis of an article from Vogue magazine by Jenny Sanford (the wife of the infamous Governor Sanford who was caught having an affair with an Argentine woman while lying about his whereabouts to his family and staff), where she was describing what it was like to watch her husband’s “addiction” to a woman with whom he was carrying on an affair.  The writer of the blog (my youngest son, Tim) noted this quote from Ms. Sanford: “Politicians become disconnected from the way everyone else lives in the world. I saw that from the very beginning. They’ll say they need something, and ten people want to give it to them. It’s an ego boost, and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid. As a wife, you do your best to keep them grounded, but it’s a real challenge.” 

What struck me was her comment: “…and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid” – a reference to what happened in Jonestown and how it was so deadly.  It isn’t just politicians who are quick to drink their own Kool-aid.  I fear we are all quick to believe our own deceptions and lies and to seek that which flatters and boosts our egos.  It is frequently said of sports teams or athletes that get too “fat” of a head that they “believe their own press,” i.e., they believe the things they say and think about themselves to an unhealthy and potentially fatal degree.

We do the same thing when we think we’re better than we really are, or when we think we can withstand a certain temptation that has always pulled at us – and we’ll get too close to it and wind up in the dirt like the families who died in Jonestown. 

God doesn’t give us poisoned Kool-Aid, nor does He want us to drink our own concoction.  Instead, He offers us the Living Water – water that is pure, sweet and gives us life. 

Maybe it’s time for us all to do some serious introspection to find out if we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3 (KJV)

PRAYER:  Our eyes are all too often blinded and our minds are dulled by our own press and impressions of ourselves, Lord.  Help us not to drink our own Kool-Aid, nor the Kool-Aid that anyone else would offer us.  Help us to seek and drink only Living Water!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 8/07/19 – The Dangers of Flying Upside Down

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DayBreaks for 08/07/19: The Dangers of Flying Upside Down

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

In The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard tells the story of a young jet fighter pilot who was practicing high-speed maneuvers in her fighter.  At the point where she was to make a steep ascent, she turned the controls in the direction she believed was correct – and flew straight into the ground.  She was unaware that she’d been flying upside down. 

This is not an isolated occurrence.  I’ve read of such things many times…there is apparently something about flying that can disorient the pilot to whether they are upside down or right side up.  It was even one of the explanations for what happened to JFK, Jr., when his private plane crashed.  When visibility is reduced or one is in a cloud bank or fog bank, pushing the control stick in the wrong direction can and often does have fatal results. 

Willard writes: “This is a parable of human existence in our times – not exactly that everyone is crashing, though there is enough of that – but most of us as individuals, and world society as a whole, live at high-speed, and often with no clue to whether we are flying upside down or right-side up.  Indeed, we are haunted by a strong suspicion that there may be no difference – or at least that it is unknown or irrelevant.”

What does Willard mean?  Since I’m just starting this book that I’ve heard so very much about, I am assuming a bit here, but I think he’s saying that we have lost our bearings – we have lost our sense of direction, of right and wrong…and we are moving so fast that we don’t even notice it until we push the stick one more time and crash and burn.  It can and does happen to individuals, but to cultures, too. 

How? With higher education for the past 50-100 years touting that there is no absolute truth, that truth is unknowable, and that truth is relative to the individual.  (Does it seem strange to you that they say truth is unknowable, yet it is knowable at least to the individual as their truth?  Seems strange to me!!!)  In short, there is no up or down, right or left.  We have no bearings upon which we can depend if this is true.  But those who say there is no moral, objective truth will quickly change their tune if you start stealing TV’s, cars, furniture, computers and the like out of their home, or if you take their child away to sell them into the human trafficking market.  Even those who don’t believe in absolutes agree that these things are wrong – so there must be absolutes!

Here’s the fear: until culture comes to see the flaw in their reasoning (and they will be loathe to do so for that insults their intellectual pride), we will continue to fly upside down as a culture.  The stick is being pushed…too many guesses are being ventured about what is right to do in any given circumstances without moral consideration…and the ground is looming closer and closer. 

PRAYER:  What a blessing it is, Lord, to know that this world is not our home!  Though we can’t begin to imagine how you will do it, we do believe that in time, you will set all things right again.  In the meantime, let us speak words of truth and lovingly challenge our culture that is so upside down.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/17/19 – On Bumper Stickers and Belief

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DayBreaks for 07/17/19: On Bumper Stickers and Belief

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

Bumper stickers have always held a certain fascination for me.  Whenever the car in front of me has a bumper sticker plastered on it, I try to get close enough to read it.  Most bumper stickers are relatively innocuous, some are outright offensive, and a few speak truth and a few others are humorous.  For many, it seems that bumper stickers contain the sum of all wisdom.

There is one bumper sticker, though, that I’m sure you’ve probably seen, and it goes like this: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”  I know that the intent of this bumper sticker is to be a Christian witness and a statement that accepts the authority of God to speak and proclaim truth.  So, those are the good things about this particular bumper sticker and I am sure the intent of those who have this sticker on their car are good and heart-felt.  I applaud them for their desire to witness.

I have a problem, however, with that bumper sticker.  The form it takes is that of A+B=C (God said it + I believe it = that settles the issue).  Here’s my beef about it: I would much rather that the bumper sticker simply says, “God said it, that settles it.”  Here’s my point: whether I believe what God says or not has nothing to do with whether what God said is the final word on the issue.  My belief does not make something so.  What makes something so is simply whether or not God has said it is true, that it is so.  And THAT settles the issue.

There are great debates that rage in Christian circles today about many issues that some term “cultural” rather than religious or theological.  There are many movements in the church as a whole today that tend to minimize or discard certain things that God has weighed in on.  In many cases, they do so because they say that the number of times that God said something are few and far between – as if that is sufficient evidence that God doesn’t care much about the topic or he would have said more about it.

It all boils down to an issue of authority.  Not many Christians would argue that God doesn’t have authority – that would be a foolhardy argument to press in any circumstance.  But there are those who don’t accept the authority of Scripture…that if it says anything at all, it means what says, whether it’s mentioned once to ten thousand times.  If we are accepting of God’s authority, whether we believe what He says is right or not, if God said it, that settles it.  Period, over and out.
PRAYER: Let us bow our knees before you willingly, Lord, in full recognition of Your total and complete authority in all things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/11/19 – Elevator Music and Emergencies

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DayBreaks for 7/11/19: Elevator Music and Emergencies

Just this past week I was up in British Columbia doing some salmon fishing with my great friend, Ken.  As is the case with all good things (except God!), they must come to an end, and we found ourselves getting on a puddle-jumper plane to take us back to Vancouver from Campbell River, BC.  This plane look like a flying breadbox.  It wasn’t round – it was more square, and the wings looked about 3 sizes too small to be able to provide enough lift to get the beast off the ground. 

As we prepared to pull away from the gate, they started the familiar ritual of running through the emergency instructions.  As the flight attendant read the instructions (this wasn’t like a big jet that has a tape deck where they play the instructions from a cassette!!!), there was elevator music playing in the background – soothing, calming, almost loud enough to make one drift off to sleep.  And that’s when it struck me: this was a parallel for life and how Satan plays against the Word of God. 

God’s Word is full of instructions – emergency instructions, if you please – about how to avoid a coming firestorm, how to avoid self-inflicted catastrophies and injury in life, how to avoid burn-out, self-destruction, guilt, shame, divorce and a life lived in utter meaningless.  Many people (though fewer than in past decades) know what is in the Good Book because they’ve heard it so many times.  But in the background, subtle but ever present, is Satan’s elevator music.  His music is intended to make us think, “This kind of stuff won’t happen to me, so I don’t need to worry about it.  I’m safe.  All those warnings are just the fantasies of some God who simply likes to be in control and have His own way.”  The elevator music of Satan is designed to make us relax, to not listen as closely, or to think about the consequences of ignoring God’s instructions.  Let’s face it: no one likes to listen to scary warnings about crashing and burning or going down over water, but everyone likes music, right?

Don’t let Satan’s elevator music drown out the voice and wisdom of God.  Let His Word through to your heart and mind and soul, take it serious, for He knows whereof He speaks!

PRAYER: Awaken in us a sense of urgency to hear Your voice and alert us to the subtle lullabies Satan would sing to our hearts to make us dull and sleepy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/13/19 – Dihydrogen Monoxide and Truth

DayBreaks for 6/13/19: Dihydrogen Monoxide and Truth

School’s out. Summer’s here. Kids have been waiting for this for weeks. All summer and nothing but swimming, riding their bikes, endlessly playing video games, and vacations. While kids live in that world this summer we adults will be living in another. There is the economy and the struggle to keep Wall Street and Main Street happy and accountable at the same time. There are conflicts within our nation, not to mention the conflicts between nations.

If there is one thing I have learned in life it’s that everybody has their own version of the truth.

And we have to try and find the truth among all the “truths” that present themselves to us. It is very hard these days to know who to believe. Everyone is trying to lead us to their version of truth. In 1997, Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student at Eagle Rock Junior High School in Idaho Falls won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair by showing how conditioned we have become to alarmists spreading fear of everything in our environment through junk science. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “Dihydrogen monoxide” because:

  1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
  2. It is a major component in acid rain.
  3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
  4. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
  5. It contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape..
  6. It decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  7. It is found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.

He asked 50 people if they support a ban.

43 said yes

Six were undecided

And only one knew that dihydrogen monoxide is … water.

We are afraid of looking ignorant so we are prone to believe anything.

Truth. Pontius Pilate asked his wife: “What is Truth?” Little did he know it was standing right in front of him. It’s a question that plagues everyone who tries to do the right thing.

When it comes to questions about life and its meaning, you will hear many who claim to have the answer. But doesn’t it make sense that the only one who really knows is the one who created life in the first place?

Don’t fall for the “fake truth” that our culture tries so hard to sell us. Settle for THE truth and you’ll never go wrong.

John 14:4b-6 (ESV) – Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

PRAYER: May your love shine on us, God, so that there will be peace in our family and on the earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/29/19 – Recognizing Heresy

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DayBreaks for 5/29/19: Recognizing Heresy

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

I fear for the church – greatly.  It’s not because I think that somehow the devil and his minions will come up with some new “super weapon” that will allow him to prevail against the church (Jesus has already promised us that such a thing won’t happen). There will be no super weapon devised that will overthrow the rule of God.  What I fear are the same old weapons that Satan has used so effectively in the past.  And the weapon that has probably wreaked more destruction than any other is ignorance of believers when it comes to knowing what the Word has to say.  I’ve recently been engaged in a bit of blog banter with some other believers on the topic of whether it’s good for believers to try to understand the thinking of people such as Richard Dawkins, etc.

I’ve had many people tell me before that they don’t think a Christian should read anything but the Bible (interestingly, often I find such people eager to read “Christian fiction” of dubious quality and debatable, at best, theology), but they feel that certainly we should never study what unbelievers think.  It seems that some folks are afraid that if they read what unbelievers think, they may become unbelievers.  (This doesn’t seem to me to give much credit to the Spirit, nor to Jesus’ ability to keep us safely in His family.)  Perhaps that’s why I found the following interesting as a “case in point” using a non-Biblical, non-Christian example to make a spiritual point:

“A popular misconception—perhaps a Christian urban legend—is that the United States Secret Service never shows bank tellers counterfeit money when teaching them to identify it. The agents who do the training, so the legend goes, show bank tellers only examples of genuine money so that when the phony money appears before them they will know it by its difference from the real thing. The story is supposed to make the point that Christians ought to study truth and never heresy.

“The first time I heard the tale as a sermon illustration I intuited its falseness. On checking with the Treasury Department’s Minneapolis Secret Service agent in charge of training bank tellers to identify counterfeit money, my suspicion was confirmed. He laughed at the story and wondered aloud who would start it and who would believe it. At my request he sent me a letter confirming that the Secret Service does show examples of counterfeit money to bank tellers.

“I believe it is important and valuable for Christians to know not only theological correctness (orthodoxy) but also the ideas of those judged as heretics within the church’s story. One reason is that it is almost impossible to appreciate the meaning of orthodoxy without understanding the heresies that forced its development.”  – Roger Olsen, The Story of Christian Theology (InterVarsity Press, 1999), pp. 20-21

If we don’t know the Word, we won’t know heresy when we hear it.  That’s why our FIRST obligation and responsibility is to STUDY the Word, to consume it thoroughly, until we are able to wield it as a sword…and only then to delve into trying to understand why unbelievers feel as they do.  How can we find the flaws in their reasoning and their “faith” if we don’t even understand what they believe and why? 

As I’ve said before, the truth never has anything to fear from untruth.  It is the Truth that will survive and untruth will be destroyed.

Prayer: Forgive us for being such lazy students of Your Word.  May we consume it and internalize it and be consumed by it – so that we are equipped to recognize Satan’s tools of heresy which are often very subtle.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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