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.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 9/22/17 – Playing to Lose

DayBreaks for 9/22/17: Playing To Lose

Note: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

Last week a brother who gets DayBreaks suggested a thought on the topic of “playing to lose” and the idea captured my thoughts.  This brother and I have played together on church softball teams and we have some firsthand knowledge about losing!  But he wasn’t talking about softball.  He was talking about our life before God.  There are at least two ways of thinking about this that I’d like to explore:

First: the phrase “playing with sin” is not uncommon.  What does it mean?  It means tolerating the little sins in our life that we don’t think are so bad.  I mean, after all, have you ever murdered someone?  Been a drug “lord”?  Betrayed your government?  Been a terrorist who blew up innocent people?  Chances are that for those of you who read this, you’ve done none of those things.  They do the things they do because they don’t feel it’s wrong and because they believe those things will help make them richer and more powerful.  But when we start to think that the little sins we tolerate in our lives are OK, we forget the Words of scripture from Romans 8.13: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, … and also: Col 3.5-6: Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

These verses should serve to remind us that “playing with sin” in our lives is like playing balloon toss with nitroglycerin.  It is playing to lose, not playing to win.  These verses are real clear: the things of the sinful nature don’t have to be huge things like murder or terrorism, but can be sexual immorality, impurity, lust, etc..  They are just as deadly in God’s eyes (even deadlier!), and because of that, they will bring His wrath.  Doing the things that cause us to fall under the wrath of God is definitely playing to lose!!!!

Second: there is a way that Scripture talks about in which we can lose and still win.  It’s all a matter of perspective – whether you look at things from God’s eyes or from the vantage point of the world and which is the most important to you.  Read Matt 10.39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 

Matt 19.29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Here’s a situation where we WANT to be playing to lose, because in losing, we WIN!  If we play our lives in such a way that we lose ourselves to the passions, lusts, greed and sinfulness of the earthly life, even to the point of forsaking the most precious things on earth (our families who would hinder us) for the cause of the kingdom, Jesus tells us that our won-loss record will be 100-1.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to throw in the real trophy: eternal life!  If you do this, your friends will think you’ve lost your mind.  And they’ll be right, because even your earthly mind and it’s sense of what is good, will be lost by being transformed to the mind of Christ.

In this DayBreaks, I’ve talked about “playing”.  But the bottom line: this isn’t a game.  Life, and what we choose to follow, is a deadly serious business.  There is a huge difference between playing to lose and playing to lose so you win.  Are you playing to lose or are you playing to lose so that you can win?  Make sure that you are on the winning team, because when the “game” is over, it’s either eternal life or sudden death!

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for winning the victory and for sharing the crown of victory and life with us!  Give us the good sense to play to lose so we may win that which is wroth winning!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2007 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/15/15 – Will I Ever Win the Lottery?

DayBreaks for 10/15/05: Will I Ever Win the Lottery?  

Today after working out in the gym, I stopped in the convenience store to get a couple diet Dr. Pepper’s. As I was entering the store, there was a neon sign that showed the value of the lottery for tonight. I think it was something like $80 million dollars. That’s not chump change!

Well, let me tell you right know that I know I will never win the lottery. They tell me that you have to play in order to win, and I refuse to fork over hard earned money to try to win something when I’ve got a far better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery!

In fact, I’m the kind of person who never wins anything. I’m not lucky that way, I guess. And I’m skeptical of even trying to win because I know the odds are stacked against me.

If you’re like me, you may sometimes feel like you’re not even going to make it to heaven. If I stop and think about it, if I start dwelling on my failures and faults (which are many!), I can start to question whether I’ll get “there.” It is a very uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it?

That’s why I so love and desperately cling to these verses: And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day. – John 6:39-40

I think perhaps Jesus made that statement just for my benefit.

Several things are noteworthy: first, Jesus says that this is God’s will, not just something that God hopes will happen. And God has a way of ultimately getting His will! Second, Jesus says he will “not lose even one”. Have you ever been overlooked? Forgotten? Left out when it came right down to the choosing? My fears of being left out when I stand before the throne of God are pointless, according to Jesus. I will not be forgotten, I will not be left out, I will not be rejected!

Will I win the lottery some day? No. But then I’ve already won something of far greater value!

PRAYER: Jesus, forgive me when I doubt. Forgive me when I think that your blood isn’t sufficient to cover even my sins. Thank you for the incredible comfort that comes from knowing you will forget and lose no one on that day that the Father has put into your hands – including me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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 4/11/14 – Neither Casseroles Nor Condolences for Jesus

DayBreaks for 4/11/14 – Neither Casseroles Nor Condolences for Jesus

John 11:21-26 (NLT) – Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 23  Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24  “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25  Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Pastor Bishop Kenneth Ulmer from Inglewood, CA, envisions the animating, life-fulfilling power of the Holy Spirit as something like the transformation that comes over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon figures as they’re inflated. Without any air these huge balloons lay flat on the floor, limp, and featureless figures. But when the wind starts whipping up inside those balloons, they begin to rise, fill out and stand tall. They become individuals, people and creatures that we recognize and love. Once on the parade route, these balloons take on even more life, for they are animated not just by the air within them, but by the winds that buffet and bolster them down the street.

In John 11, Jesus doesn’t appear before Martha and Mary – who are in agony over the death of their brother Lazarus – carrying a casserole and condolences. Jesus doesn’t mutter platitudes or concede that Lazarus’ death is a tragedy that could have been avoided if Jesus had gotten there earlier.

Instead, Jesus bypasses their house and goes straight to his best friend’s tomb and calls out, “Lazarus, come forth!” As experienced by Ezekiel and the psalmist, once again the animating spirit of God moves with power and precision, and brings a dead man walking (or levitating as he’s still bound hand and foot) right out of his tomb!

Instead of condolences, this is what God settles for!!!! Miracle, rebirth, deliverance from the pit, and eternal redemption. God doesn’t define winning as not losing. God doesn’t settle for anything less than joy unbounded, and glory filled dreams fulfilled.

Will we all see our dreams fulfilled in this life on earth? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be super-fulfilled in the life we shall one day possess in fullness. Will it be worth waiting for?  I can’t tell you from personal experience one way or the other, but this I can say: if God is as good as His word, it will be far better than we could ever imagine!

PRAYER: Lord, I’m so grateful that you don’t define winning as not losing, but your idea of winning is beyond our wildest dreams! I am so grateful that nothing can deny you your victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/16/12 – It Isn’t Always About Winning

DayBreaks for 02/16/12 – It Isn’t Always About Winning

Winning isn't everything..

14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. – Hebrews 3:14

We live in a time that is perhaps more highly competitive than any other time in history.  Sure, there have always been competitive people (Cain and Abel, for example – at least from Cain’s point of view!)  And there always will be.  That competitive culture causes us to think that life is about winning.  That’s not always the case.

When you think about the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, you probably don’t think about Paula Barila Bolopa, in fact, you probably never even heard of her. Paula was the women’s 50 meter freestyle swimmer from Equatorial Guinea. She had also never been in a 50 meter swimming pool until she arrived in Sydney to compete.

How did Paula qualify for the Olympics? She is a person who can barely swim across the pool and doesn’t even get her face wet when she swims freestyle. She had never stood on a starting block before the Olympics. In fact, Paula didn’t even have a swimsuit when she arrived in Sydney.

She was invited to participate in the competition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC has a program that reaches out to athletes from developing nations who might not otherwise have the opportunity to join in the world-famous games. Why in the world would Paula travel to Sydney to compete in an event she had no possible chance of winning? Not only did she have no chance of winning, it actually took her more than three times longer than it took the women’s freestyle gold medalist, Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands to finish the 50 meter race!

It isn’t always about winning. When Paula finished her heat in 1 minute and 3.97 seconds, the crowd gave her a deafening round of applause. “I got very tired at the end, but the crowd urged me on,” Paula confessed in a recent Sports Illustrated article.

Which will carry you farther in life, a gold medal or undaunted courage?  Scripture is clear: the race isn’t always to the fastest or strongest, but to the one who just keeps at it, day after day, struggle after struggle.  Someday, those people will hear the cheers of the heavenly host when they walk through the gates of that city!

PRAYER: We get so tired, Lord!  We get weary of the struggle.  We feel there’s no way to survive, like we may drown in the deep end of the pool before the race is over.  Give us courage to keep fighting!  Give us courage to keep trying!  At those moments, give us a foretaste of the cheering hosts of heaven to keep us going!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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