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.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 7/13/15 – Weep No More!

DayBreaks for 7/13/15: Weep No More

Winners.  Losers.  Victors.  Vanquished.

No one likes to lose.  Athletes hate it with a passion.  Business persons, do too.  When armies lose, nations tumble and lives are lost.  When the famous stop being famous, when the “beautiful people” are older and no longer “beautiful”, they feel lost and adrift as that which gave them “value” is now gone.

When the Jews were taken captive by the Babylonians, they must have felt like losers.  Daniel 1:2 describes it like this: And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. – Daniel 1:2 (ESV)

Judah, the more “faithful” of the two kingdoms, held to the strong illusion that they were true to God.  They felt He would protect them.  Yet they honored him with their lips but their hearts were far from Him.  Even the glorious house of God that had been built by Solomon was razed to the ground, the temple objects taken from the temple and put into the temples of a false God.  Do you suppose they felt like losers?  I think they did.

There have been plenty of things lately that may make the church feel like all is lost.  That God has abandoned us.  That the fight just as well be over because the outcome is so clear and obvious.  And we may well feel like losers.

Don’t.  Check this out: And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5 (ESV)

You see, it isn’t over until it is over.  Jesus WILL have the final word..the FINAL word.  And that Word will bring victory for the church.

Things may look dismal.  I get it!  They start to look more and more hopeless – especially in the past couple of years.  But the victory will be gained.  Rather than weeping over the present state of affairs, take heart, Christian!  Weep no more, but join in with great expectation because you are on the winning side!

PRAYER: Jesus, things haven’t gone well in the past few years on this planet, but you already know that.  I pray you will keep us from discouragement or surrender! Help us remember that rather than weeping over the state of affairs, that you call us to join you in the present work and the great victory celebration to come!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 4/09/14 – Winner or Loser?

DayBreaks for 4/09/14 – Winner or Loser?

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT)  For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

What does a Christ-like mind look like as we live in the world? We can see it clearly in the great saints and martyrs, such as Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer. I’m drawn as well to the idea William Placher suggests in his book Narratives of a Vulnerable God as he uses an illustration from the world of basketball. Professor Placher writes, “In basketball the players who are always asking, ‘How am I doing? Am I getting my share of the shots?’ Those are the ones who never reach their full potential. It is the players who lose themselves who find themselves. And it’s that kind of self-forgetfulness that makes the best players.” And isn’t that the case with all of us in whatever we do?

Joanna Adams wrote: “I read about one of the fastest growing churches in the world, with branches in 32 countries already. It is called the Winners Church, and according to its leaders, it lives by a motto that comes from America’s religious culture. Here’s the motto: “Be happy. Be successful. Join the winners.” People flock to that kind of church, I guess. But it all depends, doesn’t it, on how we define winning? I wonder what kind of church you would have if your motto were “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.” Or about this one for a motto, “Those who want to save their lives will lose them and those who lose their lives for my sake, will find them.”

Would you join a church like that? On Palm Sunday, it looked like Jesus was going to be planting the “Winners Church”, didn’t it?  The crowds were adoring, voices raised in raucous celebration of the one that they welcomed to the city!  If anyone looked like a winner that day, it was Jesus!

Five days later he looked nothing like a winner as he stood before the masses, stripped, beaten and bloodied, a crown of thorns on his head, spit (from others) dripping off his face.  Hardly the picture of a winner at all.

Yet, we have Jesus’ promise that the way to win is to lose.  It proved true in his case.  On Sunday morning none of the spit lingered as he rose in glory – the greatest Winner in the history of the universe.  This Winner is eager to share his victory.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to attend a church that called itself something like this: “Servant of All Church”, or “The Victorious Fellowship of Losers”? 

Remember: what looks like victory to the world is not victory.  Don’t be fooled by false values!

PRAYER: Lord, ! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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