DayBreaks for 3/06/15 – A Lesson in Pressure

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DayBreaks for 3/06/15: A Lesson in Pressure    

 

NOTE: This week DayBreaks are from the archive as Galen is out of the country.  He will respond to messages after he returns. 

Sent in by a DayBreaks reader (thanks, Bridget!):  If you were to climb into a submarine you might think that, as long as it held watertight, you could glide on down to the bottom of the ocean. Sadly, if you tried to do this you’d soon discover how mistaken you are. Submarines can only go so deep before the pressure of the water crushes them like an empty soft drink can crumpled by your hand. Indeed, a number of years ago submarine called the Thresher went down too deep. The water pressure rose to the point that the submarines heavy steel bulkheads were crushed.  The sub was torn apart, leaving pieces of debris scattered across the ocean floor for searchers to find.

If you want to go down really deep you need a specially designed research vessel shielded by heavy armor. Now imagine you jumped into one of these heavily clad research vessels and headed down to the ocean depths. Guess what you’d find? Fish. Fish! Fish with skin just millimeters thick.

How is it that fish with just a thin skin covering can survive the pressure of such great depths, where a submarine with thick steel plates cannot? 

The answer is quite simple: fish have equal and opposite pressure inside them. Submarines do not.

When confronting the pressures of sin some Christians try to become like a submarine, shielding themselves from the outside world, strapping themselves into a narrow space where they are safe from external pressures. They make rules which are designed to reinforce them against temptation. But unfortunately, the deeper into life we go the more inadequate this approach will be. The external pressure will just become too great.

This is why we need to be like the fish, to develop positive pressure inside ourselves. Rather than simply resisting the outward pressure of temptation we need to combat it by building up positive spiritual pressure within, replacing the values the world would impose with the Spirit developed character of Christ.  – Adapted from the Internet, Author Unknown

Is your life being properly balanced?  If you seem to be losing the fight to external pressures, fill the inner sanctum of your soul with the presence of the Spirit and the Word He delivered.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Fill us with Your Spirit so we can withstand the pressures of this world and go deeper with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/05/15 – No Difference

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DayBreaks for 3/05/15: No Difference    

 

NOTE: This week DayBreaks are from the archive as Galen is out of the country.  He will respond to messages after he returns. 

DALLAS – “Some people love their pets so much that one is just not enough. That’s why one woman from North Texas spent $50,000 dollars to have her kitty cloned. Julie stored Nicky the cat’s tissue in the California based Genetic Savings & Clone until the firm offered clients the chance to reproduce their pets. This month, she became the first owner of a commercially cloned feline. Dubbed Little Nicky, the cloned cat was presented to Julie earlier this month, and the proud owner couldn’t be happier. ‘I see absolutely no differences between Little Nicky and Nicky,’ Julie told the company.”

Regardless of your position on the emerging technology of cloning, this is an interesting story.  As much as we love our pets, spending that kind of money to have another version of a pet cloned is, well, ridiculous.  I don’t know if Julie has enough experience at this point in time to really know if her cat is just like Nicky or not.  At least at the time the report was printed, she felt they were identical.  And theoretically, they should be – provided everything worked perfectly.  But as we all know, things don’t work perfectly.  My guess is that as time passes, she’ll begin to discover differences between Nicky and Little Nicky. 

I have to wonder, though, how God feels about us.  The “old” us, the “old man” or “nature” as Scripture puts it, must die.  And, a new person is to be born.  But it is not supposed to be the same person as before – a cloned image.  No, we are to be much more like the caterpillar and butterfly, not a cloned cat.  What a tragedy if God, and those who know us, look at us and compare our lives before we were Christians with what we are now and said, “I see absolutely no differences between pre-Christian Galen and post-Christian Galen.”  Why would that be such a tragedy?  Several reasons:

  1. The amount that God invested to transform us was heavenly-high, and it would be a great shame if we waste such a great ransom;
  2. What we were before really isn’t very attractive or lovely – at least not it God’s eyes. Our old friends and associates may think that our former lifestyle was desirable and great and that our new lifestyle is dull and boring. But they miss the truth: the old life was not satisfying, it held no lasting joy, and it is filled with emptiness, guilt and shame. 
  3. If all we are is a clone of what we were before, it means we will die again. But when we are “reborn” through the power of the Spirit by the blood of Jesus, we “have eternal life” as John instructs us. We are not a clone – we are a brand new original, destined to live for eternity. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a clone of what I was before.  How about you?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: I’m tired of the old me, Lord.  May the new me be fully born and alive through Your Spirit!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/03/15 – Leave No Stone Unturned

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DayBreaks for 3/03/15: Leave No Stone Unturned    

 

NOTE: This week DayBreaks are from the archive as Galen is out of the country.  He will respond to messages after he returns. 

Matt. 13:44-46 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

These two short parables are fascinating.  I’ve always thought of them as describing the individual who discovers the treasure of salvation and then surrenders their life in order to take possession of such great wealth.  And that is true – these should be reminders to us that nothing compares with what we find in Jesus.

But since the church is made up of individuals who have come to salvation, can the parables also not apply to the church as a living body?  The field is the world, and God has put a great and mysterious treasure into the world through the Incarnation.  It is hidden from the eyes of those who are too prideful to acknowledge their brokenness and need, but is available to those who seek Him.  Pay careful attention to the first verse: once the treasure was found, it was hidden again until the entire field, not just the treasure, could be purchased.  If the field represents the world, the church has a great challenge and responsibility.  The treasure is here, hidden in the world.  The treasure can be seen as both the mystery of God in salvation, but also as the individual that is hidden (“lost”) in the world.  And the mission of the church is to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the treasure for which God paid such a high price. 

Whether or not that is what Jesus intended when he spoke these parables, the truth remains: we cannot leave any stone unturned, any price unpaid, to reach that which is hidden, buried and lost in the world.  When we were lost, God saw us as a treasure hidden in the world, and He sold all He had to purchase us.  How can we do any less?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Thank You for seeing us as a great treasure.  Help us to see the world, and the lost, in the same way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/02/15 – And So We Wait

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DayBreaks for 3/02/15: And So We Wait    

 

NOTE: This week DayBreaks are from the archive as Galen is out of the country.  He will respond to messages after he returns. 

From a non-believer’s perspective, we live on a speck of cosmic dust, whirling and spinning its way through space.  And we spend our rainy, gray days and nights in silence, fearing what the darkness may hold, yet also afraid of what the coming day may reveal.  We’re afraid and unwilling to wait, but we’re also afraid to find out what we don’t know.  And since a non-believer holds no concept of God, nor of a goal towards which all of human history is moving, life is nearly unbearable in its sameness and drudgery.

For believers, it’s a different story – or at least it should be.  For believers, history is not just a repetitive cycle of events and random occurrences.  It is God-designed, God-directed, and God-appointed.  There is a goal, a destiny towards which we are all heading.  But in the meantime, we wait.  Some wait patiently, some wait painfully, some can’t wait.  Yet while we live here on earth, that is often our job: to wait.  Louis Smedes put it this way: Waiting is our destiny as creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for.  We wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light.  We wait in fear for a happy ending we cannot write.  We wait for a not yet that feels like a not ever.  Waiting is the hardest part of hope.

If we had the power, we might be tempted to create what we hope for – but we would be disappointed.  What have you ever created that truly, and more important, lastingly – produced?  We want clarity of vision and direction – but we can’t light the flame that gives direction.  We must wait for God to do that, for only He can see beyond the next corner.  We want happiness – and in Christ there is abundant happiness to be found and enjoyed.  Yet we are fearful that the happy ending will come to others, but not to “me”.  And we know we aren’t big enough to write happiness into the script of our lives.  Oh, and doesn’t the “Not yet” seem like a “Not ever!” at times. 

Rom. 8:23: And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

How is your wait?  It’s okay, according to the above verse, to wait anxiously – as long as we are waiting for the right thing – the day of God, and for Him to complete His purpose for all of creation.

Wait with patience.  Wait with impatience if you must.   Be above all, wait upon Him!

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Let our patience be strong and may we take heart knowing that our waiting will not be in vain nor will we be disappointed!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/27/15 – Two Kinds of Dogs

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DayBreaks for 2/27/15: Two Kinds of Dogs in Worship    

If you are a Christian, chances are good that about 48 hours from now, you’ll be headed to worship somewhere.  At least, for God’s sake (and His glory!), I hope so.  Worship is challenging.  True worship is very challenging.  We forget what it is about and why we do it.  But I thought that this illustration was a good one and might be helpful:

There are two kinds of dogs in this world. There are the dogs who eat everything and anything (like our yellow Lab!) – toss them a scrap of anything, meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, shoe leather – and they will literally snap it out of the air and scarf it down without hesitation – in the twinkling of an eye!

Then there are the dogs that approach every tidbit offered to them with suspicion. They stop, they sniff, they consider, and then they finally — they either accept the goodie offered to them or simply turn and walk away.  The spoiled doggie message being sent here is that the gift you offer is accepted with the attitude that “I am doing you a favor by eating this.”

The “scarf hounds” joyously gulp down whatever comes their way from our hands because they trust that we are always offering them something good, something that they want and they need.

The “spoiled dogs” also show up for treat time, but they convey an attitude that suggests that we need them to be there and, indeed, are fortunate that they did us the favor of showing up to entertain us. These pampered pooches take their invitation as a given, and their finicky feeding manners emphasize that they are “gracing us” with their presence and their acceptance of what we offer to them.

When you go to worship on Sunday, will you be going as a “scarf hound” or as a “spoiled dog”? Will you be there because your soul trusts in God’s providence and presence, and hungers for the divine gift of being able to draw near to God? Or are you here because you are doing God a “favor” by showing up? Do you somehow imagine that God needs your presence and the witness of your worship in order to validate God’s divinity?

PRAYER: May we all be hungry for our encounters with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/26/15 – Powdered Christians

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DayBreaks for 2/26/15: Powdered Christians    

From the Lenten devotion of Fr. Robert Barron about the second temptation of Jesus:

“You might remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. When he first came to the United States from Russia he was not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, “On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk — you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice — you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, “What a country!”

“Smirnoff is joking but we make these assumptions about Christian Transformation — that people change instantly at salvation. Some traditions call it repentance and renewal. Some call it Sanctification of the believer. Whatever you call it most traditions expect some quick fix to sin. According to this belief, when someone gives his or her life to Christ, there is an immediate, substantive, in-depth, miraculous change in habits, attitudes, and character. We go to church as if we are going to the grocery store: Powdered Christian. Just add water and disciples are born not made.

“Unfortunately, there is no such powder and disciples of Jesus Christ are not instantly born. They are slowly raised through many trials, suffering, and temptations. A study has found that only 11 percent of churchgoing teenagers have a well-developed faith, rising to only 32 percent for churchgoing adults. Why? Because true-life change only begins at salvation, takes more than just time, is about training, trying, suffering, and even dying (adapted from James Emery White, Rethinking the Church, Baker, 1997, p. 55-57).

“Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him. Why? Peter believes the kingdom of God can be obtained instantly by force. Peter has a worldly view of the Kingdom and Jesus is speaking about a heavenly kingdom. For a moment I would like you to listen to this story with new ears and see Jesus through the eyes of Peter and the rest of the disciples. Get rid of all your notions about who Jesus is. Take away from your mind Jesus as the Son of God. Strip from your memory that he died on the Cross and that he did that for your sins. Forget that Jesus ever said love your enemies or love your neighbor.

“Now I want you to think of Jesus only as a military leader. Imagine that your country has been invaded and is being ruled by godless men. Sense, now, that the tension is mounting and you are about to go into battle. That you are about to conduct a coup d’etat. That you and this band of ruffians are going to attempt to overthrow this government by a sudden violent strike. That the odds are stacked against you but you have a very strong belief that God is on your side despite the overwhelming odds.

“Now you are thinking like Peter…”

The Kingdom cannot be forced or perhaps not even instantly grasped.  It takes time, struggle, successes and failures.  But don’t let them disillusion you.  It’s part of the sanctification process – and while it may be painful, it produces the results within us that He desires. 

PRAYER: Help us be patient as the Kingdom is formed within us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/25/15 – A Subtler Game

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DayBreaks for 2/25/15: A Subtler Game    

From the Lenten devotion of Fr. Robert Barron about the second temptation of Jesus:

“Having failed at his first attempt to tempt Jesus in a direct and relatively crude way, the devil plays a subtler game: “The devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.”

“This is the more rarefied, more refined temptation of power. Power is one of the greatest motivating factors in all of human history. Alexander the Great, Caesar, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Charlemagne, the Medicis, Charles V, Henry VIII, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Nixon, and Kissinger – all the way down to your boss at work. These are all people who have been seduced, at one time or another, by the siren song of power.

“We notice something very disquieting in the account of this temptation: the devil admits that all the kingdoms of the world have been given to him. He owns and controls them. That is quite a sweeping indictment of the institutions of political power. But it resonates with our sense that attaining high positions of power and not becoming corrupt is difficult to do.

“It might be useful here to recall the two great names for the devil in the Bible: ho Satanas, which means the adversary, and ho diabolos, which means the liar or the deceiver. Worldly power is based upon accusation, division, adversarial relationships, and lies. It’s the way that earthly rulers have always done their business.

“A tremendous temptation for Jesus was to use his Messianic authority to gain worldly power, to become a king. But if he had given in to this, he would not be consistently a conduit of the divine grace. He would be as remembered today as, perhaps, one of the governors of Syria or satraps of Babylon (and do you remember the first-century satrap of Babylon?)

“No, Jesus wanted to be the one through whom the divine love surged into creation, and so he said to Satan, It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.

Who are you worshiping?  Who are you serving?

PRAYER: Jesus, it is perhaps because of our lowly estate that we so hunger for power.  Thank you for demonstrating how to deal with this temptation and give us the discernment to recognize when we are being tempted in this way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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