DayBreaks for 3/04/19 – The Word Became Flesh

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DayBreaks for 3/04/19: The Word Became Flesh

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

One of the most amazing statements in Scripture is found in the gospel of John: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…  Here is a great mystery: that the Divine Word became flesh.  There are those who have puzzled over how this could be true, those who question the virgin birth and the fact that Jesus was begotten by the Spirit.  It is a rather remarkable fact.  But that’s not the most wonderful or amazing question that could be asked.  Instead of asking “How”, I believe we’d be better to ask the “Why?” question. 

John doesn’t leave us hanging on that point, either.  It was because the Word became flesh that we saw the glory of God in the person of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.  Surely, it was the kind of thing that mankind had longed for from the time of the creation – to see the glory of God.  Even those who saw Jesus saw only a bit of the glory that belongs to God because it would have been too much for humans to bear to be exposed, in our flesh, to the fullness of the glory of God Almighty.  But a portion of it was made visible to us, and it should be enough.

The great Christian scholar and theologian, Karl Barth, had an interesting observation regarding this passage, which brings us to the point I want to consider today.  Here’s what he had to say: “The Word became flesh – and then through theologians it became words again.” 

Yes, Jesus became flesh.  He’s not here any longer in a fleshly form, but he is here in those of us who have fleshly forms.  The Word took up residence in human flesh when Jesus came, and the Spirit has taken up residence in human flesh in all believers.  The question is: has the Word remained incarnated in us, or have we turned the truth of the Spirit and of God into just words once more?  Is the Spirit of the risen Lord dwelling actively in you?  Are you listening to His promptings, taking action as He directs?  Is He a personal acquaintance with whom you have a relationship?  Or, has your faith just become a matter of words once more, drained of the vitality of the One Who is Life itself?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

The Word still dwells in flesh.  Only this time it is our flesh.  Let it dwell in you RICHLY!!!!

Prayer: What an amazing thing, Jesus, that You became flesh!  How humbling that You still choose to live in our human flesh through Your Spirit.  May you dwell in us richly, Lord Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 12/03/18 – Smart Devil

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DayBreaks for 12/03/18: Smart Devil

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

As a minister, I must tell you about one of my pet peeves.  I despise the concept of “professional” ministry.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my “job” and what I do.  What I hate is the distinction people have about clergy and laity.  For one thing, I think it is not very biblical.  Sure, there were rabbis in the days of Jesus – and there will always be preachers and teachers and others who are blessed with the calling and privilege of proclaiming the Word.  But the distinction has created some real problems, too.

Over time, people became experts at medicine, astronomy, philosophy, literature, physics, art, music…and that is as it should be.  After all, you don’t want a non-expert opening your chest to do a bypass, do you?  It is only right that people develop their skills and talents to perform work that others cannot do.  But when it comes to our walk with God, it is strange that we have the idea that a professional is needed to tell us how to walk with and follow Jesus. 

Do we really need an expert to tell us how to become Christ-like?  2 Timothy 3:16-17 would tend to suggest otherwise: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  Do you see it?  We don’t need someone to tell us what to do to do everything as Jesus would have us do them.  We just need to know the Scripture.  Scripture gives us all the instruction we need.  And it becomes dangerous when we lean on some other person and their opinion.  We can always count on Scripture to be reliable and trustworthy.  We can’t always count on other’s thoughts (or our own!) in the same way.  

Following Jesus through the teaching of the Scripture makes anyone, clergy or laity, a Jesus-expert.  There is no excuse for men and women, girls and boys (especially in America) to be ignorant of the Word or to be anything less than a Jesus-expert.  The very idea that we can’t all be Jesus-experts is one of the devil’s most clever ploys.  He’s a smart devil, our enemy.  Don’t let him fool you or make you think you need some expert to tell you how to do it.  The Spirit IS the expert! The Word is inspired!  And Jesus will always be the truth!

PRAYER: Almighty Father, help us to be students of the Word, to become experts at following Jesus.  Let us accept no excuse for being ignorant of the Word and tone-deaf to the Spirit.  May we all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/16/18 – The Word Subverted

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DayBreaks for 8/16/18: The Word Subverted

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I’ve ranted and raved before about the way language is used today.  In some cases, language riles folks up, while in other cases, it is purposely designed to salve our consciences and to try to do away with any sense of guilt or shame we may have about our actions.  Today, I want to share something with you that Eugene Peterson wrote in Reversed Thunder about how Satan uses the printed word to accomplish some of his purposes.  Certainly, the invention of the printing press and the ability to print the Word in many languages and by the millions of copies has been a great blessing.  But as is often the case with Satan, he will take a good thing and somehow find a way to twist it and make something dark out of it.  Listen:

“The subtlest and most common attack in the satanic assault on God’s ways among us is a subversion of the word.  This subversion unobtrusively disengages our imagination from God’s word and gets us to think of it as something wonderful in print, at the same time that it dulls any awareness that it is spoken by a living God.  It has been an enormously successful strategy: millions of people use the Bible in which they devoutly believe to condemn people they do not approve of; millions more read the word of God daily and within ten minutes are speaking words to spouses, neighbors, children, and colleagues that are contemptuous, irritable, manipulative, and misleading.  How does this happen?  How is it possible for people who give so much attention to the Word of God, to remain so unaffected by it?  Not, surely, through unbelief, but through lack of imagination: the enemy subverted the spoken word into an ink word…they go through the minds of the readers like water through a pipe.”

A couple of pages later, he continues to drive home the point: “If the Revelation is masterful in getting us involved in a living response to scripture, it is also unavoidable in its claim that scripture is God’s word to us, not human words about God.  Reading scripture as if it were the writings of various persons throughout history giving their ideas of experiences of God, is perhaps the commonest mistake that is made in reading scripture.  And the deadliest.”

What is your attitude towards the word?  Do you eagerly say, “Yes, I believe Scripture is God’s word and it’s inspired and the only sure and safe guide for faith”?  Do you still say the same thing when you find it says something you don’t agree with, or which you don’t like?  Does it, at those moments, become less than inspired for you?  It is precisely at those moments when we discover something in the word which makes us uncomfortable and which is convicting to us that we need to bow the knee before the Word, realizing it’s not just someone’s opinions or a gentle suggestion about what God wants – it is His very WORD!

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) – For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

PRAYER: Give us the wisdom to rightly divide Your word and to apply it to our lives.  Give us the courage to read it at face value, humbly, knowing we are reading the very words of God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/24/18 – They’ve Never Been There

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DayBreaks for 4/24/18: They’ve Never Been There   

The story is told of the explorer who some years ago had just returned to his country from the Amazon. The people at home were eager to learn all about the vast and mighty river and the country surrounding it. How he wondered, could he ever describe it to them – how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded into his heart when he saw the exotic flowers and heard the night sounds of the jungle. How could he communicate to them the smells the filled the air and the sense of danger and excitement that would come whenever he and his fellows explorers encountered strange animals or paddled through treacherous rapids?

So the explorer did what all good explorers do – he said to the people, “go and find out for yourselves what it is like”, and to help them he drew a map of the river pointing out the various features of its course and describing some of the dangers and some of the routes that could be used to avoid those dangers.

The people took the map and they framed and hung it on the wall of the local science museum so that everyone could look at it. Some made copies of it. After a period of time many of those who made copies for themselves considered themselves experts on the river – and indeed they knew its every turn and bend, they knew how broad it was and how deep, where the rapids where and where the falls. They knew the river and they instructed others in what it was like whenever those people indicated an interest in it.

I think that many people today are in the same situation. We know the scriptures but we do not understand them. And we do not understand them because we have not been there. We must not simply look at the scriptures and their meaning, we must go there. We must experience what it means to repent of our sins and allow God to forgive us. Would you this morning take the map down from the wall and go to the river with me. See what is there. Allow Christ to open your mind, to breathe his Holy Spirit upon you, and make you a disciple from the heart.

PRAYER: Let us drink deeply from the sweet well of your word and Spirit that we may know you from experience and not just from printed page! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 1/10/17 – The Word Does The Work

DayBreaks for 1/10/17: The Word Does the Work

This was so good that I just had to share it. It’s from a blog by Mike Livingstone (mikelivingstone.com):

“The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

“More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)

“Would it be enough?

“Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”

 “Like Tozer, we should be concerned that so many people in our churches want to be entertained while they worship. We should be concerned when we no longer recognize the difference between the two. And we should be concerned by the growing belief that adding more entertainment value to worship is necessary for the church to accomplish its mission.

“I may stand alone, but it grieves me when I see worship services characterized more by props, performances, and pep rally atmospheres than by any sense of divine sacredness; and hallowedness giving way to shallowness.

“This is not about worship styles. The issue is not traditional versus contemporary versus blended worship. It’s not about organ versus worship band. That discussion misses the point completely. This is about the heart and focus and intent of worship. The real issues, for me, are these:

“1. Who or what is the spotlight really on? If the figurative spotlight in our church services is on anyone other than God, it is not worship. If the spotlight shines brighter on human performance than on the gospel of Christ, it is not worship. If anyone other than Jesus is receiving our adulation and applause, it is not God we worship.

“2. What message are we communicating? The message of the church—the message the world needs to hear from us—is not, “Come and have a good time,” “Come and be entertained,” or “Come and find your best life now.”

Tozer said: “Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name.” The message of the church is the message of the cross. Lest we forget, Jesus’ cross was a source of entertainment only for those who mocked Him as He hung on it.

“3. How are lives changed? “But our methods are attracting and winning people!” some will say. Tozer addressed that sentiment: “Winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ?”

“David Platt and the church he pastored, The Church at Brook Hills, decided to try to answer the question, “Is His Word still enough for His people to come together?” They stripped away the entertainment value and invited people to come simply to study God’s Word. They called it Secret Church. They set a date—on a Friday night—when they would gather from 6:00 in the evening until midnight, and for six hours they would do nothing but study God’s Word and pray. People came. A thousand people came the first time and it grew from that. Soon, they had to start taking reservations because the church was packed full. Secret Church now draws tens of thousands of people via simulcast in over 50 countries around the world—with no entertainment, no bells and whistles or smoke machines.

“Why do they come? Platt explained in an interview: “People are hungry for the Word. There’s really nothing special or creative about it. It’s just the study of the Word …. The Word itself does the work!”

“People are hungry. They are hungry for a diet of substance, not candy. More of the Word. Deeper into the Word. Less of what Tozer called ‘religious toys and trifles.’”

PRAYER: Lord, let our love of “worship” never supersede our love for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 2/12/16 – Road Kill or the Bread of Life?

DayBreaks for 2/12/16: Road Kill or the Bread of Life?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Bizarre News, 2/1/06: CORNWALL, England – A retired British civil servant is writing a cook book about his passion of more than 50 years – road kill. Arthur Boyt, 66, of Cornwall, England, said he has eaten dead animals he found along the roadside since he was 13. “It’s good meat for free and I know nobody has been messing with it and feeding it hormones,” Boyt told Sky News.  “I’ve been doing it all my life and never been ill once,” he told The Guardian. Boyt, whose favorite snack is a badger sandwich, said he is putting his recipes in a road kill cookbook and has been invited to join celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay later this year.  

I’ve been told that in Texas there is a restaurant, perhaps a chain, called the Roadkill Café.  I really don’t know what they serve there, and I don’t know if I really do want to know.  I doubt that they really serve road kill.  I hope not.

It seems to me that we are creatures who prefer road kill to the Manna that comes from heaven.  People I know who have been around church for years, but who have never made a decision for Christ, are somewhat like Arthur Boyt.  A feast has been prepared, but they continue to eat road kill.  Why?  Because “road kill” doesn’t cost anything – Christianity does.  Jesus told his followers over and over and over again that Christianity is costly – it’ll cost you everything you have, including losing your life if you want to find life. 

And so, not wanting to pay the price, people keep eating road kill.  They feel like they’ve been eating it for so long ant it’s never “hurt” them.  That may be…or at least it may appear to be true.  But you know what?  It only takes eating bad food once and you may die.  The day will come when road kill isn’t available any longer, and those who have never taken in the Bread of Life will wish that they’d changed their diets. 

Mr. Boyt says that he knows no one has been messing with road kill.  Jesus died so we don’t have to eat that trash any longer.  From a spiritual standpoint, it is the Word of God which will endure forever – and we can know that no one has messed with the Word!

John 6:51-58 NLT –I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.”  Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.  So Jesus said again, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.   But those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day.  For my flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink.  All who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me, and I in them.  I live by the power of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, those who partake of me will live because of me.  I am the true bread from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever and not die as your ancestors did, even though they ate the manna. 

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, we are so prone to settle for less than you offer to us.  We are content with road kill when You are the bread that gives us life.  May we take your life into us, so that we may live in your power forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/29/15 – With ALL Your Mind

DayBreaks for 10/29/15: With All Your Mind

In the days of the circuit riders a minister was out riding one afternoon and came upon a man out working in his field.

“Fine day isn’t it?” the minister called out.

“It is fine for you”, the man replied, “All you have to do is ride around on that horse thinking about God all day long, while I have to sweat here in this field and then walk home afterward. I don’t think it is right you should have things so easy while I have to work so hard.”

“On the contrary”, the minister answered, “thinking about God is one of the most difficult things you can do. And to prove it, I’ll give you this horse if you can think about God and nothing else for one minute.”

“You’re on,” said the man and immediately he sat down in silence. Thirty seconds later he looked up at the minister, and said, “Does that include the saddle?”

Today you’ll have 1440 minutes at your disposal…or 86,400 seconds. How many of those seconds will you be thinking about God? We are to meditate on Him and His word constantly. We are to love him with ALL our mind…how are you doing?

1 Chronicles 16:11 (MSG) – Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night…

TODAY’S PRAYER: Give us a hunger to know You better! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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