DayBreaks for 10/07/15 – The Tale of Two Paintings

DayBreaks for 10/07/05: The Tale of Two Paintings

A preacher once shared this story: “Over forty years ago, I heard a man describe two paintings he said he had at his home. I have never forgotten them even though I never saw them. One was of the figure in Jesus’ story of the rich man whose crops produced so abundantly that he decided to pull down his barns and build bigger ones, and he said to his soul, “Soul, eat, drink, and have a great time, for tomorrow you die.” The caption under this painting said: “The Failure that Looked Like Success.” The other painting, the companion painting, was of Jesus dying on the cross, the crown of thorns on his head, his chin drooping against his chest, the crude nails in his hands, and all his friends off somewhere in hiding. The caption under this picture said: “The Success that Looked Like Failure.”

There isn’t a single one of us who wouldn’t like to be successful and fulfilled as persons. That is something that our culture, for better or worse, instills within us. But when we listen to Jesus, we realize that success and fulfillment don’t really come the way we often expect them to. They aren’t the direct result of anything we can do to attain them. Instead, they’re a gift from God and they simply happen when we are doing the right things with our lives. In God’s eyes it is a whole lot better to be a success that looks like failure than a failure that looks like success.

What is your definition of success for your life? Does it have anything to do with God and His will for you, or is it all about things you want to accumulate or achieve without giving thought to His plan for you? What do you believe God thinks of your success goals?

Mark 8:36 (KJV) – For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  

PRAYER: God, Our culture sends us such powerful messages and creates in us a hunger for success that may really look like failure in your eyes. Teach us to long for the success that looks like failure so we may be imitators of Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/06/15 – Being Taught by Babies

DayBreaks for 10/06/05: Being Taught by Babies

This was in our worship bulletin on Sunday, and I think it makes a point well and reminds us of something that should bless and encourage us all:

“I’ve got friends who have a baby that’s learning to walk. Whenever their baby tries to stand and take a step or two, he stumbles and falls, but then he gets right back up and tries again, only to fall once more. He doesn’t give up, he keeps trying over and over to walk to his parents. Do you think his parents scold him or tell him he’s worthless, and he’ll never make it? NO, they smile, courage him, and applaud his efforts, they even assist him a little. They don’t expect him to perform perfectly, instead, they boost him up spiritually and physically because they understand he’s just learning to walk.

“Our Heavenly Father loves us, and As a father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has mercy on those who fear Him, (Ps. 103:13).  God tenderly forgives us and encourages us to repent, get back up, and walk with Him again and again. Proverbs 24:16 says, Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. God’s people will stumble and fall, but they won’t be destroyed because He’ll forgive them. With his help, they’ll get back up and keep walking toward Him. However, when those who don’t know Him fall, they get stuck in the quicksand because they can’t rescue themselves.”

They also wrote a poem, part of which I’m sharing here:

“Did you ever see a baby who’s learning to walk?

He doesn’t seem to mind when he falls.

He never even thinks to give up on it all,

He picks himself right up and keeps on.

And I’m learning to walk with the Savior,

And I stumble and tumble and fall.

I’m embarrassed by my bad behavior;

Sometimes all I can do is just crawl.


“Ever hear a baby who’s learning to talk?

Her syllables make no sense at all.

Her father doesn’t mind; he just sites there enthralled,

Waiting just to hear his name called.

And I’m learning to talk with the Father,

And I fumble with words when I pray.

But to the Lord I am never a bother;

He just longs to hear me speak His name.”

Be blessed…your Father is not embarrassed by your falling, even when all we can do is crawl. And when you feel your prayers are weak and faulty, all He wants is to hear you call His name.

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus! How wonderful to be reminded of these simple truths of your love for us and patience with our weaknesses! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/05/15 – Don’t Get Too Comfortable

DayBreaks for 10/05/15 – Don’t Get Too Comfortable

From the DayBreaks archive, 2015:

A year ago for my birthday, my wife and kids got me a hammock.  We live on the side of a hill that overlooks the world famous Alexander Valley – famous for the vineyards and wine that comes from the area.  I’ve got to tell you the truth – in the afternoon when there’s a nice breeze coming up from the valley, it’s VERY comfortable to lay out there in the hammock with the Bible or a good book and read.  In fact, it can be too comfortable – it’s too easy to fall asleep. 

I guess we were designed to like comfort and to be comfortable.  Given our druthers, most of us would rather be comfortable than uncomfortable.  (There are a few who would rather climb a 2000 foot vertical rock face instead of lay around in a hammock, but I’ve concluded that those people are probably crazy!)  One of the things that makes us comfortable is predictability.  When we know what to expect, we can relax because we aren’t worried about things that take us by surprise or that go bump in the night.   

While we may seek comfort (a relaxed, casual, non-alarmed state) I seriously doubt that God wants us to be that way.  Over and over again we’re cautioned to stay alert, be awake, be watchful, to keep our lamps trimmed and bright.  Why?  Because God is not the God of the comfortable.  We may even quote the verse about God being “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” and we’d be right.  But there’s a big difference between what God is (His unchangeable nature) and the things that God may do.  A rather casual glance at Scripture shows us a God who is chock-full of surprises: He inhabits pillars of fire and cloud, sends an earthquake to shake up the complacent, sends windstorms so strong that they rend the very rocks, hails fire down from the sky, makes an animal talk to an abusive master, piles up the Red Sea like curtains and then surprised everyone by appearing as a baby in a manger who later on will die as a criminal on a cross.  If there’s one thing about God that’s certain, it’s this: you can’t really follow Him for very long and remain comfortable.  He’ll do something the stir you out of your lethargy.

Maybe you’ve been getting a little too comfortable.  You can do it by pulling back from any and all ministries, by not using your giftedness for the benefit of the Kingdom.  It’s easy to do – we all love an easy chair!  Just don’t get too comfortable.

PRAYER: Keep us from the mistake of thinking we know what You will do or when you will do it. Don’t let us grow fat and complacent with our relationship and walk with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/02/15 – Guessing at the Answers

DayBreaks for 10/02/15 – Guessing at the Answers

I LOVE to speculate.  Probably to a fault.  I love to contemplate the mysteries of God, how He works, what He knows and how He thinks.  I want to know the “Why?” behind things.  I know that too much speculation is empty and useless.  I can accept that there are things that God has not told us because He didn’t want us to know, didn’t need us to know, or which, well, we’re just too dumb to be able to understand.  I don’t know if it’ll be that way in heaven, but I feel rather certain that even there we won’t be able to begin to fathom the depth of the Father’s mind.  But that only makes it all the more intriguing for me, because I love to learn, and I’m a slow enough learner that He’ll have to repeat things to me many, many times!

There are many times that people ask me questions about why God does this-or-that, and I’ve got to admit that I often don’t know.  Why did God permit something to happen instead of prevent it?  I can’t answer that question.  Nobody that I know can answer it satisfactorily.  Sometimes I speculate about why, but that’s probably not a good thing to do.  In our desire to help someone find their balance again, we grasp for answers.

Sometimes, we think that as Christians we are expected to have all the answers to anyone’s questions, and that we’re supposed to answer them in a certain way.  Consider this cute story: “A little boy went to Sunday school, where he knew the sort of answers you’re supposed to give to questions.  The teacher asked, ‘What is brown, furry, has a long tail, and stores up nuts for winter?’

“Well,” the boy muttered, “I guess the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”

Here’s the bad news: the bad news is that we are often like that kid, knowing the right answer, but not confident enough to say it.  We are suspicious that there’s something we’re overlooking, or something that we’re missing and we’re afraid we’ll look like a fool if we say what we believe.  And so we don’t say anything, letting opportunities pass us by.  And while we may be suspicious of the question – that there’s some ulterior motive for the question or that it’s a trick of some kind, Jesus doesn’t play games with us.  There are not trick questions with God, for far too much is at stake.

Here’s the good news: whenever we are in doubt, the answer IS Jesus!  Whenever someone is in pain, confusion, dealing with an addiction or relationship problem – the answer is Jesus and His Word.  With Jesus, you just can’t go wrong! 

PRAYER: Lord, when we need answers, or even when we merely seek them, forgive our impertinence and help us to know that You are the answer to all of life’s questions, even though we may not understand! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/01/15 – Sleepy Devotion

DayBreaks for 10/01/15 – Sleepy Devotion

When are you most likely to get sleepy?  I know that when I’m driving on a long trip, the worst time for me to drive is the first couple of hours after lunch.  My belly is full (too full, most of the time!), the warm sunshine is pouring through the window, I am starting to get tired and I’ve already heard the news on the radio about 10 times, and I can’t find much to talk about (I’m a man of few words – except, as the congregation would tell you, when I’m preaching!) 

I also can get tired and sleepy in meetings.  Especially a meeting which is poorly run and seems to have no direction or real purpose.  Or, if it’s about something I really don’t care about.  In my previous career in the computer/data field, I have to confess that I sat through more meetings than a skunk has stink!  And, I often found myself nodding, not in approval, but with drowsiness!  I would shift in my chair from one side to the other, uncross my legs and cross them again, lean forward or back, force myself to take notes and all sorts of other ingenious activities to keep from falling on the floor in a loud snore.  Not good, I know.  But honest. 

Our devotion to God can get pretty sleepy, too.  If we think we’ve got it figured out already, or if we think “I’ve already heard from God.  What else is there that He could possibly tell me?”  Well…plenty.  The more willing I am to listen to God, the more He tells me!  And I’m afraid that I’m an unending project for God – the rest of you may “get it” as soon as the gates of heaven swing open for you, but I’m convinced that God’ll still be working on me 732 trillion years after I get there!!!!!

Frank Laubach said, “If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are.”  Good point.  If your Christianity is dull, boring and as interesting as an aimless, wandering, unimportant meeting, then you aren’t experiencing a God-centered relationship, or you’re cherishing sin in your heart.  Ask Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John, Peter, Paul, Mary, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Job, Mary Magdalene, Dorcas or anyone else in Scripture if their life was sleepy because of the relationship they had with God.  I’m sure they, like us, had ups and downs where their devotion waxed and waned, but it would be hard to characterize the life of any one of those people as boring, unexciting, dull or sleepy!

When you stop to think about it, how could a life that is sold out to God be a boring life?  God never gets tired – and He’s a creative, energy-filled God who has plenty for us to do!  But the best part isn’t even the doing – it’s being with Him, becoming like the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega – that’s exciting!

Don’t settle for a dull, boring journey through this life as a Christian.  Live it on the edge with God, and you’ll never get sleepy again!

PRAYER: Lord, lead us on in a great adventure with You, and renew us with the excitement of constantly being in Your Presence and walking with You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 9/30/15 – Struggling With God’s Reliability

DayBreaks for 9/30/15: Struggling with God’s Reliability

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

From 2020 Vision, by Bill and Amy Stearns: “Why do we often worry about whether God will come through for us?  Why can’t we spend the ‘last’ 75 years of our lives in solid confidence of His working in our lives and feel deeply satisfied with life?  Perhaps because somehow we’ve gotten the idea that God is supposed to respond to our pleas, to what we feel are our needs.  And often He doesn’t.  We become disappointed with Him and – perhaps without ever hinting at such blasphemy – feel that He’s unreliable.  The prophet Jeremiah felt exactly that way in his life of troubles; he complained to God, Will you indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable? (Jer. 15:18)  The KJV of that passage puts it about as forcefully as a translator would dare when speaking to God: Wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?

“Many people who reject God, even when raised in a Christian environment, can point back to a specific event that convinced them that God – if God exists at all – is unreliable.  They’ve prayed that God would save the life of a loved one, and the person dies.  They experience a horrible personal trauma and God doesn’t rescue them; therefore they feel that God doesn’t care.  Even some Christians live the life of a practical atheist.  They know He exists and has saved the, but they frankly don’t trust Him because He has ‘let them down.’

“But maybe it’s time for us to get scriptural in our expectations of God’s reliability.  He won’t always do what we think He should do.  But He will always do exactly what He says He will do.  And on this we can base a whole new life of confident assurance, of encouraging hope.  God will do what He set out to do, and as we align with that, we have steadfastness and sureness like an anchor of the soul – even through tough times of doubt and tragedy.” 

Do you get the critical point here?  God won’t always do what we think He should, but He will always keep His word.  So when we think that God has promised to heal and He doesn’t, we must have misunderstood or misapplied that promise.  We must understand that God never fails to do what He said He would.  There is no force in the universe that is strong enough to make Him break His promise.  Let us pray for wisdom to better understand what God has said He will do – and not to put our expectations on Him as if we were the potter and He were the clay!

PRAYER: God, we need to be filled with understanding and to be reassured that You are absolutely, totally reliable and trustworthy. We know in our head that You are, but in our fear we sometimes doubt. Increase our trust! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 9/29/15 – The Power of One Life

DayBreaks for 9/29/15: The Power of One Life

We know some of the huge impact that the life of Jesus had on the world. But then, He was the Son of God, right? One would expect that He would have an unmatched impact on the world. But there are times when we think that we can’t make much of a difference – after all, we are mere humans, born into normal, ordinary lives without much apparent power or influence.

If that’s how you feel about your own life, you need to think again. One person armed with the gospel of peace can change the world.

Telemachus did. He was a monk who lived in the 5th century. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” He was in a cloistered monastery but he put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus. He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isn’t right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, and tried to stop them. The crowd became enraged and stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the Emperor of Rome, Honorius, heard about the monk he declared him a Christian martyr and put an end to the games. Legend has it that the very last Gladiatorial game was the one in which Telemachus died.

Chances are that you won’t be stepping into a physical gladiatorial confront today, but you will have a chance to influence the world for the best.

PRAYER: Lord, it is easy to think we are powerless and can’t make much of an impact in this world. Our sins have beaten us down and our shame and frequent failures cause us to surrender before the battle is even joined. Remind us of the great power that dwells within us and which you have placed at our disposal. Let us all make the world a better place this and each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.