DayBreaks for 11/05/15 – An Ungrateful Heart

DayBreaks for 11/04/15: An Ungrateful Heart

From the DayBreaks archive, 11/03/05:

From Bizarre News, 9/28/05: “Randall Dale Adams was convicted of murder in 1977.  Ten years later, filmmaker Errol Morris made a film about the Adams case and as he did, he became convinced that Adams was innocent.  The movie, The Thin Blue Line, presented the case for Adam’s innocence so effectively that he was released from prison.  Morris’s reward?  When Adams got out of jail, he sued the filmmaker for $60,000 for using his story.”

You would think that a convicted murderer would be grateful for a reprieve from prison.  I don’t know if Mr. Adams was condemned to the electric chair or just to life in prison, but he certainly didn’t show any gratitude toward the man who made the movie that convinced the legal system that Mr. Adams was innocent.  I would like to think that if I’d been in Mr. Adams place, I’d have given profuse thanks to Mr. Morris.

But would I really?  After all, you and I are all convicted – found guilty of sin by the Highest Court in existence.  There are no plea bargains to be made, no one else that we can “surrender up” as a bigger sinner to get us off the hook.  No, we’re guilty.  Plain and simple.  And our own offense carried the penalty of death – eternal death, called the “second death” in Scripture.  Not a very comfortable position to be in.  Yet, while we were imprisoned by sin awaiting the execution that was scheduled for us, someone took an interest in our story.  There was a huge difference, though.  Jesus knew that we weren’t innocent.  But still, as our Advocate, he took our seemingly hopeless case to the Father and offered himself in our stead. 

What is shocking is that the Father agreed to such an arrangement.  Of course, He and Christ were of one mind on the matter, so that made it somewhat easier, I’m sure.  So, the way our story ends is with us being released not only from prison, but from the sentence we had earned, to be giving something we could have never hoped for. 

So, the time comes to ask the question: how’s my heart when I consider this true-life story?  Is my heart grateful, or like Mr. Adams, do I snipe and complain at my Deliverer – accusing him of false motives, or of making bad choices for my life regarding my career, my finances, my marriage or children or parents – even my church?  If we can come to grips with what he did for us, we should realize that we have no right to complain against him.  Yet it seems to be a human pattern – after their delivery, Israel, too, carped at God.  I pray that we’ll not repeat that mistake!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, forgive us for our selfishness and for our critical spirit towards You.  You’ve given us not just this life, but the life to come – freely.  Help us to never criticize you or be ungrateful toward You again.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 12/12/12 – Turning Thankless

DayBreaks for 12/12/12 – Turning Thankless

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

News of the Weird recently told about a devoted Catholic named David Jimenez.  It seems that Jimenez, a 45 year old from Newburgh, NY, was praying regularly to a large crucifix outside the Church of St. Patrick after becoming convinced it was responsible for eradicating his wife’s ovarian cancer. Jimenz requested, and got permission from the church authorities to dress up the structure as he believed its power deserved.  So far, so good.

Then, while cleaning the crucifix in May 2010, the 600-lb. object came loose and fell on Jimenez’s leg, which subsequently had to be amputated.  Nearly overnight, the crucifix, in Jimenez’ mind at least, went from being an object of worship to grounds for a lawsuit that will go to trial in January 2013.  [WCBS-TV (New York), 10-26-2012] [Associated Press via Newsday, 11-7-2012]

I confess that I am quick to judge upon hearing stories like this.  I wonder how someone could go so quickly from being thankful and worshipful to being vindictive and angry.  We have a tremendous capacity to move from thankfulness to ungracious hostility.  Israel did it as soon as they left the slave whips behind in Egypt.  I’ve done it more quickly than that.

We’ve just come through the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hopefully, you felt and expressed your appreciation and thanks that day to Almighty God.  But here’s the question: how have you been doing since then?  Has the joyful thanksgiving continued, or has it turned into bitterness as you face the celebration of the birth of His Son and you see all the things you wish you could have or could give to someone you love – but you can’t do it?

I hope that as we move deeper and deeper into this season of joy, that our joy will turn into thanksgiving for what we DO have, and not into bitterness for our situation or for what we don’t have.

PRAYER: Let our hearts and spirits continually pour out songs of thanksgiving in all things, for You are good!!!!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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