DayBreaks for 6/24/16 – You Must be Kidding!

DayBreaks for 6/24/16 – You Must be Kidding

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Jesus said many things during his Incarnation that were provocative and considered scandalous by those who were nearby.  He told stories about the hated Samaritans in which they were the heroes and the Jews were the bad guys.  He forgave sins – a prerogative reserved only for God Himself.  He healed on the day of rest – showing us that God’s compassion doesn’t take days off – and created a scandal.  His teaching about marriage and divorce, hate, lust – all stirred anger, bitterness and resentment.

But perhaps no words of Jesus were more scandalous, nor more hard for us to keep, than these words from Luke 6:35-36 (NLT): Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

As Michael Card put it The Lost Language of Lament: “This is one of Jesus’ most unbelievable and scandalous statements about His Father. Nothing like it had ever been spoken before. The Father is merciful to the ungrateful and the wicked, Jesus says. With these words He opens a door to an understanding of God which He would perfectly demonstrate on the cross. Jesus would die for the ungrateful and the wicked so the Father could show them mercy.”

It seems to us that being kind to our enemies should be enough.  Jesus says, “No.  You must LOVE them.”  One of the greatest qualities about love is that it is forgiving, compassionate, dare we say, merciful?  There have been many times when I wondered why it was that God wanted me to be kind to someone who had hurt me, to love them.  It always seemed as if it did no good.  Sure, I’d cling to the verse about doing good towards them and in doing so, I’d be heaping piles of burning coals on their head (Romans 12:20)!  (Ah, now that’s the kind of motivation that usually moves us – causing pain to someone who has hurt us!!!!)  But other than that, why, Lord?  Why should I love and do good to them other than to cause them guilt, shame and hopefully, remorse?  I think Michael may be on to something: it’s because when we love them and do good to them that we are most easily recognizable as children of the Most High.  And as always, God doesn’t ever ask us to do something that He hasn’t already done – God demonstrated His own love and compassion on the cross through the death of Christ for one reason: so the Father could show them mercy.

God wants us to love our enemies so that God is modeled to them and so that He can show mercy to them.  As always, it’s not about us and what we can or can’t do, it’s about God and what He wants to do through us. 

PRAYER: God, we are not very noble creatures and we are not driven by very noble motives.  The words and commands of Jesus sometimes are shocking to us and we can’t understand how you could ask such things of us.  Help us to realize that it is your heart of love and mercy that brought us to repentance and which longs for all to come to salvation.  Help us to love our enemies so that You can show them Your mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/5/16 – These Wicked People

DayBreaks for 5/05/16 – These Wicked People

From the DayBreaks archives, May 2006:

Psalm 58:1-3, 10-11 – Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No, all your dealings are crooked; you hand out violence instead of justice. These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way…  The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.

This Psalm is a scorching tirade that reflects David’s deep frustration.  In case you’d not noticed, the world is not a fair place and perhaps it is only our foolish expectation that it will be fair and good that sets us up for disappointment and heartbreak.  While it seems David is ranting, he is only stating the truth.  Why should it offend us so?  Perhaps because it is in the nature of truth that it offends and stings and reveals our own brokenness to us so clearly. 

Verse 3 would seem to be directed against David’s enemies (“these wicked people are born sinners,” David virtually shouts), but in reality, it is a self-condemnation of us all.  We are all wicked people, we have all gone astray, there is none that is righteous, all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags.  We are quick to jump on others, perhaps even to join in David’s outpouring of anger and frustration, but we should slow down and see ourselves in the words of David.  If these words had been written by God, not David, would any of us have argued with them?  I think not.  (And weren’t they written by God?)

It is because of our recognition of our fallenness and inclusion in the “wicked people” that it is hard to accept the truth of verses 10 and 11.  But if the Scripture promises us one thing, it is that God loves us (even though we are “these wicked people”) and that He forgives us through our faith in Christ and that there will be justice against all those who remain in their wickedness.  The last sentence is difficult – we believe in the reward, but it is much harder to believe that there is a God who judges justly here on earth.  That part is hard to accept or believe, yet we cannot doubt that it will happen.

Passages like this should encourage us and make us more grateful that He’s changed His view of us from wicked ones to “the godly”.  What a transformation has occurred in His mind towards us! 

PRAYER: What a wonder it is, Lord, that you should have changed us from being your enemies to being not just your friends, but your very children – the apple of your eye!  Help us to not lose heart because your judgment is delayed upon this world of wickedness, but rather to see it as the perfect evidence of your incredible patience and desire for us all to come to believe in your Son, Jesus.  Help us to truly see ourselves as you see us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 07/03/12 – Evil Inside

DayBreaks for 07/03/12 – Evil Inside

(NOTE: Galen is back from his trip to India, is recovering from the removal of his gall bladder, so one more week of archived DayBreaks!  New DayBreaks starting again next week!)

Genesis 6:5 – “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

It seems to me that for all our “progress” in the arts and sciences, the one area of human nature that hasn’t progressed very far is the spiritual side.  Oh, we might think that we know more about God than the ancients who lived so long ago, but I’m not so sure that it’s true.  I’m reminded of Brennan Manning’s statement that just the moment that we begin to say we know and understand God that we really show how totally ignorant we are about Him.  We can know some about Him, we can even know Him to some degree, but God is, if anything, beyond our understanding.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 10 years or so you’ve seen the Intel logo with the words “Pentium Inside”.  It started when the first Pentium processors were introduced some time ago, and has been popular on packaging and computers every since.  It was intended to advertise what was inside the box, because you couldn’t see it when the box was closed.  People wanted to know they were getting the ‘real thing’ when they bought a computer.

Recently, while we were biding time in Birmingham, England for our flight back to the United States, we had the fortune (whether it was good or not, I’m not sure) of being in the center of downtown for the first two nights of the Queen of England’s Golden Jubilee.  There were street fairs, entertainers, food vendors and people everywhere.  It got rather crowded.  As we wandered through the streets, I saw a young girl approaching – probably not more than 15 years of age.  She word a black t-shirt with the Pentium logo, but instead of saying “Pentium Inside”, it said with a red flourish and letters “Evil Inside”.  I know that it was supposed to be a bold statement about the girl – an advertisement of her independence and perhaps teenaged rebellion.  She probably thought it was “cool”.  Here she was – maybe as young as 13, and she was advertising how evil she was.  I was stunned, and a bit shocked, but then I realized that the shirt just spoke the truth about all of us.

Romans 7:18 – “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”  The moment that any of us stops pretending about our righteousness is the moment when we become more Christlike –  for when we pretend to be something we aren’t, we are being deceitful and become liars.

I’m a sinner.  How about you?

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Father, forgive us our sins!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 has just launched another project: to put in a water system for what will be the only pediatric hospital in all of Rwanda!  If you are interested in learning more, go to our blog: http://iam2.org/blog to read about it and learn how you can help! We are trying to raise up a massive army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us deliver this water system through our partner, BeyondPoverty.org.  The budget for this water system is $8300.  Every gift matters…and every gift is appreciated!  They ALL make a difference!

Also, don’t forget our other project, Bright Future Children’s Home.  You can read the latest update about them at the blog, too, and can help us move forward with the feeding, clean water and protection these 37 kids in Kenya need to not just live, but grow!!!  We still need to raise a bit over $4000 to fulfill our mission.  Donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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