DayBreaks for 5/28/19 – Satan’s Psy Ops

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DayBreaks for 5/28/19: Satan’s Psy Ops

We can actually learn a lot about some of Satan’s strategies in spiritual warfare by studying the military strategies of some of the warriors of old. In his book Head Game, author Tim Downs writes:

“Psy-ops stands for Psychological Operations, a form of warfare as old as the art of war itself. An early example of this can be found in the battle strategies of Alexander the Great. On one occasion when his army was in full retreat from a larger army, he gave orders to his armorers to construct oversized breastplates and helmets that would fit men 7 or 8 feet tall. As his army would retreat, he would leave these items for the pursuing army to discover. When the enemy would find the over-sized gear, they would be demoralized by the thought of fighting such giant soldiers, and they would abandon their pursuit.

“Satan likes to play head games with us, too, often leaving us demoralized by fear or doubt. We assume Satan is bigger or greater than he really is. And the quickest way to thwart our enemy’s psy-ops is to gaze upon the greatness of our God. Perhaps all it takes is a quick look at Job 38:4–7: Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Satan is no powder-puff to be toyed with or minimized – at least not if you are human.  But we also don’t need to fear him.  Our Father is more than capable of keeping that little bully in his place.  We’re even encouraged to “resist Satan” as we make our way through this world.  Will that antagonize him?  You bet.  And that’s just fine, because we aren’t alone in our resistance.  Our elder Brother went before us and antagonized him, and then defeated him.  All our enemy has to look forward to is doom and torment.  We, on the other hand, will be recipients of far better things, and we will witness the removal of our arch-enemy as he is thrown into the pit forever and ever. 

Prayer: May we find the courage that comes from knowing that no one and nothing in the universe can begin overthrow You, or even to threaten You.  We rejoice in Your victory and pray for the day when we shall see Satan once and for all put in his place!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/05/19 – The Shape of Christian Victory

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DayBreaks for 4/05/19: The Shape of Christian Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Wars are fought over silly things: oil, power, insults, a beautiful woman (remember Helen of Troy?), perceived slights – for these things and many others like them, blood has been spilled and lives sacrificed.  It is a sad, strange business this thing called war.

Wars in ancient days were fought with crude weapons such as stones, axes, spears, bows and arrows.  In all modern man’s “wisdom”, we’ve managed to create ever more deadly and accurate weapons.  While once upon a time a man had to stand in front of the other man and look him in the eye as he tried to kill him, we now can launch a missile and destroy millions of people on the far side of the world – never being confronted with their faces and the look in their eyes as they realize they are about to die.  War has become impersonal.  Indeed, remote control aircraft are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan to fire missiles at cars, gatherings of suspected terrorists, etc., and they are piloted by “pilots” sitting in front a computer monitor in the United States…how like a video game we have made war!!!

At the end of World War II, the shape of victory was the mushroom clouds that rose over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Thankfully, due to the horrible nature of those weapons, to date the world has never seen a repeat of their use.  There is no guarantee that this will always be the case, however. 

Of all the battles ever fought, the greatest victory of all time was won on a God-forsaken hillside outside of Jerusalem on a spring day as a carpenter from Nazareth was stripped and nailed to a tree.  His blood, like that of so many before him, watered the earth, turning dust into a red, muddy paste.  How strange that to the Romans and religious leaders that the shape of victory that day was a cross.  Even more bizarre is that the very same cross was also the shape of victory for the God who hung on it and for all who would believe on Him.

As Christians, the shape of our victory is not a mushroom cloud or a sword or a spear or a howitzer or the Gatling gun strapped on the side of an attack helicopter.  No, the shape of our victory is cruciform: What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:31-37 (NIV)

Prayer: For the victory of the cross we honor You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 4/04/19 – The Hidden Victory

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DayBreaks for 4/04/19: The Hidden Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. – Colossians 2:15 (NIV)

God has always had a strange way of winning.  Sometimes His victories are more spectacular than you can imagine: the great flood as a judgment on sin, crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan, the victory at Jericho, the shepherd boy with the slingshot, Gideon’s brave 300, Samson’s bringing down the roof.  All of these things must have been very spectacular to witness.  How I do hope God has instant replay in heaven so we can see them!

Sometimes, however, God’s victories don’t look so much like victory as like defeat.  In 1939, a young pastor, Helmut Thielicke, took his first pastorate in a church in Germany.  Thielicke was young and full of vigor, and he arrived with full confidence in Jesus’ words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  Thielicke told himself that Hitler was just a paper tiger, soon to be consumed by his own arrogance and greed and pomposity. 

After Thielicke arrived, he called for a Bible study.  A whopping three people showed up – two ladies who were so old that they looked like they were made of brittle parchment that could be destroyed by a tiny gust of wind, and an equally old man who had played the church organ, but who was now so old that his hands hardly worked at all.  They sat in a small group inside the church, studying the Word, while all the time they could hear the sounds of the jackboots of Hitler’s Youth Corps hammering on the streets as they marched and drilled. 

Thielicke’s confidence shattered.  Hadn’t Jesus said “ALL authority?”  What about the raging authority that Hitler wielded like a club against his opposition? 

In time, Thielicke came to understand what I hope most of us eventually come to realize: either Jesus’ words had a meaning far deeper than we have yet to grasp, or else his words were a blatant exaggeration…perhaps nothing more than the boastful bleatings of madman.  Was Jesus just a Lamb masquerading as a Lion for the sake of His disciples?

Hitler is gone – fallen in shame and disgrace.  Jesus is still on the throne.  When the last king or queen, the last President, the last dictator and prime minister has passed into the pages of history, Jesus will go on, reigning and ruling in majesty and glory such that the world has never seen.  When the last enemy, Death, has been obliterated forever, Jesus will go on.  When tears are forever banned, Jesus will rule.  When ten trillion years have passed in eternity, the celebration of His reign will only be beginning and it will never stop. 

You see, the Lion is the Lamb, and the Lamb is the Lion.  In any case, the victory that was hidden in the death on the cross will sway all of eternity.

Prayer: Hallelujah, Lord Jesus, for You reign now in glory above and You welcome us to the great celebration of victory!  May we proclaim the victory of the Lion Lamb throughout all our days on earth and in heaven above!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/29/19 – Winners and Losers

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DayBreaks for 3/29/19: Winners and Losers

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Remember “Rocky”? Rocky had a tough time of it in every one of those movies. He would take a terrific beating in the ring, only to struggle to his feet by sheer will power and come back to win the fight. Fanciful stuff, but sometimes it does happen, and when it does the whole world stands and applauds! Remember the “miracle” Mets? Remember the U.S. hockey team when they defeated the Soviets in the Olympics? The women’s hockey team in the last Olympics? How about Dan Jansen who finally won a gold medal in speed skating after falling in each of the previous two Olympics?

How many times have you been knocked down by struggles, heartbreak and sin in your life? In my life, it has been too many times to count. Consider these words from Bob Gass, who wrote in Word for Today on February 24, 1999: Winners are just losers who got tired of losing; they decided to get up one more time than they were knocked down. The Bible is full of their stories. The prodigal came back from a pigsty (Lk. 15). Joseph came back from prison (Gen. 41). Peter came back from a shameful denial (Mk. 16:7). And by God’s grace, you can come back, too. Listen to Psalm 37:23-24: “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

There were others, too: David came back from adultery and murder, Abraham from lying and deceit; Elijah from fear and cowardice. It’s a long and distinguished list – and they are God’s saints, men and women of faith who were very human, too.

As we face the sin and struggles in our life, we must decide whether we’ll settle for being a loser or if we will fight on to be a winner. The loser finally throws up their hands and says, “I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never beat this sin. I’ll never measure up, so I guess I just as well give up.” That’s dangerous. No matter what you’ve done (remember David sin, the prodigal son and Peter with his denial – have you done anything worse??), you can get back up through the grace of God and stand once again.

You see, God loves the underdog, too. He cheers us on, but even more important, He assures us, through the inspired words of Paul, the victory if we don’t grow weary and give up: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9) The harvest, my friends, is victory! Victory in such a way that sin will never touch us again, never even tempt us. God Himself will put the crown of victory on your head!

So, what’ll it be? Keep getting up! You may stumble, but God will pick you up. Look to Him for your victory and trust Him to be as good as His Word!

Prayer: Lord, we know that the victory must come from You and You alone.  Help us to persevere in the face of great odds and the bruisings of life that we may receive and participate in Your victory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 5/24/17 – The Shout of Victory!

DayBreaks for 5/24/17: The Shout of Victory

John 19:30 (NIV) – When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The final words of Jesus from the cross have often been misconstrued.  Some movies have pictured Christ, with uplifted eyes, croaking out softly, resignedly, “It is finished” and then bowing his head and dying.  I don’t believe that is an accurate picture at all, and here’s why: when we compare the four gospels we find a very interesting thing. The other three do not tell us that Jesus said, “It is finished.” But what they do tell us that he died with a great shout upon his lips.  John doesn’t speak of a great shout, but instead tells us that Jesus’ very last words were, “It is finished.”  We can safely conclude that the great shout and the words “It is finished,” are one and the same thing.  In Greek, “It is finished” is one word — tetelestai — and that’s what Jesus shouted.  It was no meek or resignedly defeated word that he spoke.  He didn’t say, “It is finished,” in weary defeat; he shouted it out just like a person shouts for joy because the victory is won!  He seemed to be broken on the Cross, but he was NOT!  He was victorious on the cross!
Just in case you think I might be wrong, there’s another strong clue that makes this concept even more certain.  John says that Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit. The word that John uses is the word that was often used to describe someone setting their head back upon a pillow and entering into rest.  For Jesus the strife was over and the battle was won; and even on the Cross he knew the joy of victory and the well-deserved rest of one who has completed his task and can lean back, content and at peace.

What a wonderful picture – not of a quiet, broken Jesus on the cross, but of one who knows that it is finished, that it has been finished well, that it will never have to be repeated again.  The price for my sin has ALL been paid!

Do you believe that? That everything that it took for you to be saved and forgiven is finished? That there’s nothing more that you can add to make it more sure? That there’s nothing more that God needs to do for it to be true? That you, too, can rest your head knowing that it is all finished? Maybe the next time we get discouraged in our walk and relationship with Jesus, we would do well to shout out, “It is finished!”

PRAYER:  Will we ever really grasp the victory that was won on Your cross, Lord?  We hang our heads in shame that you had to pay such a price for us, yet we lift our eyes to you in gratitude and wonder for your love.  May we echo your words, “It is finished!” regarding our sinfulness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 1/30/17 – The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

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DayBreaks for 1/30/17: The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

It was just over one year ago that I took the photo shown above. We were at Cesarea Philippi in Israel. If that doesn’t ring a bell to you, it is the location where Jesus had a very famous conversation with Peter and the other apostles. Jesus had just asked them who people said he was and they replied that some thought he was one of the old prophets come back to life. But then Jesus made it more personal, asking who they thought he was. Peter’s response was breathtaking: you are the Christ, the Son of God. In response, Jesus said: Matthew 16:18 (ESV) – And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The ancients believed that the cave you see on the left in the photo was the gateway to hell. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jesus was looking at it when he made his statement. 

As I was driving home from the airport on Saturday night, this verse was running through my mind. I’ve read this verse since I was a young boy, heard it read, read commentaries on it and heard sermons preached over it. It’s one of those great statements of Jesus that we love to hear because it encourages us, especially when things seem to heading the wrong direction.

That being said, as I ran it through my mind, a thought dawned on me about what Jesus may have really been saying. Most people read it and believe Jesus was saying that all of Satan’s minions and not even Satan himself with his great power, will be able to overthrow by force the kingdom of God. I believe that to be true. If I didn’t believe that was how things would turn out, I cannot imagine what life would be like.

But look closely at what Jesus said. He didn’t say that the armies of hell wouldn’t conquer the church. He didn’t say that at all. He said that the “gates of hell” (not the armies of hell) would be able to conquer “it” – with “it” being his church. As I pondered what that might me, it struck me that gates are not an offensive force to keep things in. They are defensive structures designed to keep things out. And that brought a new insight to me.

Could Jesus have been saying that even the gates of hell that Satan had so carefully constructed to keep mankind in a doomed, damned state, would not be strong enough to keep the kingdom/church from rescuing those whom the gates of hell were designed to keep in their bondage and damned condition? It seems to make sense especially in light of 1 Peter 3:18-20 (ESV)For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  

In other words, Jesus may have been proclaiming that his church would overcome the gates of hell to reach the lost and that the gates of hell would not be strong enough to prevent it from happening.

I do not know precisely what Jesus meant, but I believe both are true: 1) Satan and his armies are puny compared to the power of the Almighty God, and; 2) until He returns for His church, it will continue to plunder the stronghold of the enemy. Both give me courage, and while the first gives me great hope, the second gives me a great challenge because I am to be part of the army that attacks the gates of the enemy to help free those held in darkness.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the assurance of the victory of your church against all the forces of darkness and evil. We pray to have the courage we need to attack the gates of the enemy to help led those in darkness into the Light that shines in the darkness and cannot be put out. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/09/15 – Tried and Found Difficult

DayBreaks for 7/09/15: Tried and Found Difficult

It wasn’t an easy thing to put people on the moon. It takes herculean effort to reach the pinnacle of Mt. Everest.  Those are exceptional things – achievements that very few people who walk this earth have, or will, every accomplish.

Somehow, part of the glory of such things is the difficulty involved – the sheer magnitude of the effort involved and the overcoming of daunting challenges along the way. It is only when one has stepped onto the lunar soil or the peak of Everest that the sheer wonder and joy of the achievement can be fully relished. Sure, one can anticipate what it would feel like, but no one can truly imagine it. Yet, I’ve never heard of one lunar explorer or Everest conqueror say it wasn’t worth it.

When we attempt to live a life worthy of the Gospel it is because our understanding of “worth” is far different from that of the world. John the Baptist was not beheaded because he chose the easy path. John gave his life because of his commitment to what he understood to be worth the cost, much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his struggles with Nazism and Hitler. Being a pastor in the German Lutheran Church, Bonhoeffer was forced to choose between the worth of loyalty to God or to an insane ruler. He was executed in 1945 for the opposition he voiced to the satanic rule of Hitler.

As G.K. Chesterton so concisely wrote: “It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but tried and found difficult.” Life has many roads to travel. However, to be a Christian, we must choose the road on which the shadow of the cross falls. It always leads to freedom, joy and celebration when the final lap of the race has been run and the goal reached. Some 2000 years later, we speak of the reigns of the Herods and Caesars with pity and disdain, but the names of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ live on as those for whom life was lived with devotion and courage.

PRAYER: Give us the confidence, Lord, that the journey we have undertaken is truly worth the cost and that in the end, we shall stand in glorious celebration! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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