DayBreaks for 4/14/21 – All That’s Coming to Us

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2012:

“All I want is my fair share.” 

How many times during your life have you heard someone say that? Or more significantly, how many times in your life have you said it? We all what “our fair share”, don’t we?  t starts out when we are little children and we notice for the first time that mom or dad gave brother or sister a larger piece of cake, a bigger candy bar, or a fuller bowl of ice cream than we got. And immediately, our instincts kick into full gear and we feel slighted, cheated, that the world has suddenly become a very unfair place!

Hello! Welcome to reality! The world IS a very unfair place…to Christians and to un-Christians alike. In a strange way, curiosity starts this entire process. We begin to wonder if someone is getting more of life’s good things than we are. And it is pride that drives this curiosity. It is nothing new to the twenty-first century, and this kind of thinking even existed in the days of the New Testament (in fact, we can even see it in operation with Adam and Eve wondering if they were getting all that they could or should be getting in the garden).

Calvin Miller, in The Unchained Soul, suggests: “This curiosity has us all wondering if we shall get ‘all that’s coming to us’.  We do this in front of the Savior.  Peter, after learning that he will be martyred, asks Christ as he points to John, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’  (John 21:21) Spiritual one-upmanship reigned in his life! Competition was his insatiable curiosity. Peter wanted to be sure he got God’s best deal…Cain’s competition with Abel began in curiosity but ended in incrimination and murder. It was Cain’s curiosity that kept asking, ‘How come Abel gets all the good deals in life?’  Curiosity not only killed the cat, it was the beginning of humanity’s competitive spirit. It teaches us first to compete and later to hate…Our duty is to serve God and not be overtaken by undue concerns about others.”

What is amazing to me about all this is that we believe we are in a position to judge whether or not God is giving us the best deal! We presume, by our judgment that others are getting more than we are, that we understand things better than God.  And we get upset, and like little children, stomp our feet on the floor and start to whine to God about “All I want is what’s coming to me!” 

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want what is coming to me. I want what God is willing to give to me. If He gave me what was coming to me, I’d spend eternity in hell, because as a sinner, that’s what should be coming to me! But, praise God, because of His amazing mercy, God gives me much more than my fair share – He is building a mansion for me in heaven, he is going to take away all my tears, all my suffering, all my sadness. 

I hope I never again feel as if I’m not getting my fair share. What this world has to offer shouldn’t even be of interest to me. My values and my treasure are to be in a far better place!

PRAYER: Thank You Almighty God, for Your unbelievably wonderful grace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/13/21 – There Is No Hiding

Luke 8:47 – “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.

Much has been said and much has been written about this story of the healing of the bleeding woman.  I’ve taught about it, written about it and preached about it.  And as with all things from God’s great Word, we can always gain a new and fresh insight.  Such is the case now.

I’d never really focused on the second phrase of this story: “…seeing that she could not go unnoticed…”.  I’d imagined that this woman, like anyone who has purposely and literally reached out and touched someone famous, she wished she hadn’t, or at the very least, that she’d been much more careful so that her touch hadn’t been noticed.

But now, she could forget about that.  Jesus had noticed.  No matter how hard she wanted to blend into the throngs surrounding Christ, she couldn’t.  She realized that she had been noticed, and that she couldn’t hide. 

Here’s the lesson, as noted by Calvin Miller: “When God begins to touch our lives there should be no hiding.  Open confession, and not anonymity, is the business of the church.  Who are we to declare ourselves anonymous in lieu of Jesus’ great benediction, ‘Blessed are you when men hate you and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil.”  (Luke 6:22)  Miller continues: “We never see any evidence of the church being a place to be comfortable while those who go there remain unchanged.  Nor are we anywhere commanded to major on church growth at the expense of truth and commitment and confession.

As a believer in Jesus, not only have you reached out to touch God, but God touched your life first.  What is your reaction?  Do you, knowing you have been in contact with the Almighty God, shrink back, wishing you could be unnoticed – wishing that your life could go back into anonymity and you could become a wall flower in the middle of a corrupt and sinful world?  It is not an option that is acceptable to God.  It is not a position that we should seek. 

It is time to step forward.  There should be no more hiding of Christians and their Christianity.

PRAYER: Let us step boldly into Your Presence and then step boldly into Your world to be Your message and likeness bearers!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/12/21 – Is It Nothing to You?

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2012:

Is it nothing to you? – (Lam. 1:12)

From The Unchained Soul, by Calvin Miller comes this analogy:

An African myth tells of a tribe whose people noticed that their cows were not giving as much milk as they once did.  In spying on their cows at midnight, they noticed a beautiful young woman carrying a large pail and floating down to earth on a moon ray.  She milked their cows and went back to the skies.  One the following night, when they trapped this thieving goddess, they discovered that she was the Sky Maiden, a member of a sky tribe who had no other way to get food for themselves.  The man who had trapped the Sky Maid promised to release her if she would return and marry him.  She agreed, but only if he would allow her to return to the sky for three days and prepare herself.  When she returned, she brought with her a large, sealed box.  She told the man that she would marry him, but he must promise her he would never look inside the box.  They were married and for many weeks lived happily together, but one day when his wife was away from their hut, the bridegroom’s curiosity got the best of him.  He opened the box and looked inside.  He was amazed.  The box was empty.

“When the Sky Maid discovered that he had looked inside, she refused to be married to him any longer.  Her earthbound husband did not understand why she would leave him for so trivial a matter as an empty box.  She replied to him with these words: ‘I’m not leaving you because you opened the box, I thought you probably would.  I’m leaving you because you said it was empty.  It wasn’t empty; it was full of sky.  It contained the light and the air and the smells of my home in the sky.  When I went home for the last time, I filled that box with everything that was most precious to me to remind me of where I came from.  How can I be your wife if what is most precious to me is emptiness to you?’

“This parable explains the plight of God.  How is it that, when we mean so very much to God, he means so little to us?  Yet his love is unconditional.  It flows eternally toward us, whether or not we stop to love God in return. 

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Rom. 5:6-8)

“God loves us to the extremity of the cross and says to us, ‘Look in the box.’  Grace fills the treasure chest of God.  Is His glorious love of no value?  Do you experience this love beyond all telling, or are you incriminated by Jeremiah’s cry, ‘Is it nothing to you?’ (Lam. 1:12)

How important are the treasures of God to you?

PRAYER: May what You treasure be our highest desire, and may we treasure those things more than our own lives!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/09/21 – What Makes Us Vulnerable

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2012:

Psalm 90:14 (NLT) – Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

What is it that makes us so vulnerable to sin?  I know what James says about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  Those things are undeniable.  I also know that we are led into sin when we are enticed by our own desires.  I’ve supplied plenty of evidence of that throughout my life.  It is the nature of the flesh to “fall.”

I read this from John Ortberg in Fighting the Good Fight, in the spring 2012 issue of Leadership Journal, and thought it worth contemplating.  He was talking about what makes us so prone and vulnerable to sin when he wrote:

“It is perhaps the inversion of one of the great observations of ancient Israel: the joy of the Lord is our strength. Those of us in church leadership read or hear with sad frequency of one of our sisters or brothers ending up in a moral ditch. A mentor of mine noted once that when that happens, as a general rule, the person has been living without a deep sense of soul satisfaction for a long time, which is what made them vulnerable. I asked him how often someone who does live with a deep sense of soul satisfaction in God and their life ends up in a moral ditch.

“Never, he said.  Always it is the unsatisfied soul that finds sin to look good.”

How is your soul satisfaction?

PRAYER: Satisfy us with Your good things that we don’t go looking for satisfaction elsewhere!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/08/21 – Playing Hide and Seek With God

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2012:

When I was a kid, I remember that I really enjoyed playing hide and seek.  It was a challenge of creativity to come up with the hiding place where no one would think to look, and to race back to the base and call out “Free!”. 

Somehow, as I got older, my attitude about playing hide and seek changed.  It seems to have happened when I had my own kids, and we would play hide and seek.  When one of the kids was “it” and I’d be one of the ones who was supposed to be hiding, I really didn’t try very hard to hide.  Why?  Because I delighted in the squeal of laughter from my kids when they would find me…sometimes “hidden” in plain sight.

God plays hide and seek with us.  According to scripture, He does it much like I did with my kids.  Jeremiah 29:14 says – “I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”

God wants to be found!  He wants us to find Him!  And He delights when we do.  At the same time, we would do well to remember that, try as we might, we cannot hide from Him.  It didn’t work for Adam and Eve, Cain, Moses, Jonah or David.  It won’t work for us, either.

Are you seeking God?  He will be found…don’t give up the search!  He’s dying for you to find Him!

PRAYER: We were so lost, Lord, that we didn’t realize we were lost!  Thank You for finding us, and for delighting in our finding of You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/07/21 – More Than We Can Handle

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2012:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. Philippians 2:14-16

When you think about the events of Easter morning, we are often tempted to overlook some activities that were not documented for us.  The women were coming to the tomb with spices that they had prepared (Luke 24).  Bear in mind that the previous day was the Sabbath and the women wouldn’t have worked on the Sabbath, so they either had to wait until the Sabbath ended, or they rose so early on Easter Sunday that they were able to complete their labors before heading to the tomb.  As it was still dark when they arrived at the tomb, it most certainly was dark when they arose and went about the preparation for the gruesome task ahead of them.  They rose in the dark, they worked in the dark, they travelled in the dark.

Earlier this week, an old couple received a phone call from their son who lives far away. The son said he was sorry, but he wouldn’t be able to come for a visit over the holidays after all. “The grandkids say hello.” They assured him that they understood, but when they hung up the phone they didn’t dare look at each other.

Earlier this week, a woman was called into her supervisor’s office to hear that times are hard for the company and they had to let her go. “So sorry.” She cleaned out her desk, packed away her hopes for getting ahead, and wondered what she would tell her kids.

Earlier this week, someone received terrible news from a physician. Someone else heard the words, “I don’t love you any more.” Earlier this week, someone’s hope was crucified. And the darkness is overwhelming.

No one is ever ready to encounter Easter until he or she has spent time in the dark place where hope cannot be seen. Easter is the last thing we are expecting. And that is why it terrifies us. This day is not about bunnies, springtime and girls in cute new dresses. It’s about more hope than we can handle.

PRAYER: Lord, we have travelled in the dark – some have had much more darkness than others of us but help us to know that life is largely lived in the dark, but that it will end in glorious Light!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/06/21 – Graveyards of Victors

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2012:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Nearly everyone knows that laurel wreaths were the reward for winning an event in the ancient Olympic games.  The wreath would be placed on their head and they were celebrated for their achievements.  Strange how we’ve substituted a bit of precious metal for the laurel wreath.  Both are signs of victory.

If we had lived in the Roman Empire in the first century, we would have noticed a strange custom practiced by our fellow Christians. Their custom was to go out to their graveyards with laurel wreaths, like those used in Greek and Roman culture to crown the victors of athletic contests. They would take those laurel wreaths and place them on the graves of deceased believers. If you had asked them why, they would say, “Because we believe that in Jesus Christ we have received victory over the power of death.”    

There is a dear couple from the church I pastored in California who are facing the husband’s imminent departure for glory.  They are both believers, but to the human side of us, it is hard to see a pending victory as his body wastes away from the disease that is eating him from the inside out.  Cancer is a horrible disease and it seems merciless.  There will be no victory over cancer in his life in the sense of a remission.  We have prayed for a long time for healing, but the Lord wants to heal him in a far more permanent way, it appears.

When Jesus rose victorious over the grave, no one gave him a laurel wreath.  No one saw him rise at the moment of victory.  But they saw him afterwards and they gave him more than a laurel wreath: they gave Him worship as the RISEN Son of God. 

In a sense, since His own resurrection, Jesus has visited every believer’s grave and placed a laurel wreath upon it in anticipation and as a guarantee of the scene that will one day be acted out in the graveyard as the graves burst open, the resurrected saints spring skyward, and the eternal celebration will begin.

PRAYER: For our brothers and sisters who are dying (and that is all of us, Lord), help us to comfort one another with the promise of the resurrection, for we have seen the proof in the risen Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/5/21 – The Unfinished Gospel

The gospel of Mark is intriguing for many reasons. It is the shortest of the gospels. It contains the crudest Greek of the four, suggesting that perhaps Mark was rather uneducated. Many believe Mark wrote it based on the words of Peter, the apostle.

One other thing about this gospel that is unique is how it ends. The other gospels all talk about things surrounding the resurrection, post-resurrection appearances, the Ascension and appearances to other witnesses to the resurrection. But not Mark.

The best attested and oldest texts bring Mark’s gospel to an end with this verse: “…they went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone since they were afraid. – Mk. 16:8

The tension and mystery is left lingering. The women run away terrified and fearful from their encounter with the angel who proclaimed the news of the resurrection. That’s it. End of the gospel of Mark.

We are left wonder what happens next. Was part of the text lost over the years? Was the angel possibly right? What did the women do?

I think that perhaps it ends as it does for that very reason: we simply must ask the question “What happens next?”

That answer is up to us, ultimately. I think there are two options:

ONE: We run away in fear and hide in silence. We tell no one and we let the excitement and fear subside. That’s one option.

TWO: We can decide what to do with what we have heard. The other two gospels tell us that though they were afraid, the women told others what they heard. I recently read a brief devotion about the concept of ongoing Easter – the idea that since that first Easter it has never stopped being Easter. The joy and reality of Jesus’ victory over death is something that is celebrated throughout the world each and every day.

So, the story is now in your hands and mine. Let’s celebrate Easter every day and tell others so they can celebrate it, too. Whatever we do, let’s not let fear keep us silent.

Song for this past week (Golgotha Hill (King of Love), by Crowder:

PRAYER: Lord, you accomplished something so amazing that to many it is unbelievable. Don’t allow us to run away in fear and silence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Copyright 2021, all rights reserved. Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/02/21 – How the Centurion Knew

Mark 15:37-39 (CSBBible) – Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

The centurion in this story had an ugly job. I don’t know if it was his daily routine – go out and crucify a few more people – or not. But it couldn’t have been pleasant even to a hardened killing machine like a Roman centurion.

For hours after he gave the command to pound the nails he watched as the three men who were dying that day writhed, suffered and struggled to get even a single breath into their screaming lungs. He could hear what they said. He could see their faces. He watched while they struggled to push down with their feet to be able to get a lungful of air, only to whimper and cry with the pain of it all.

So, he either sat or stood and watched. It wasn’t like he could leave his post before the job was done. So, he attended to the victims of this most sadistic type of execution.

Then, something caught his eye. The one on the center cross took one last shuddering breath, cried out to commit his soul to the father and died. He’d watched him as the nails were driven, heard the taunts from the jeering crowd. He’s observed this man’s suffering and how he died. And it moved his stone-cold killer’s heart.

You see, it was only in beholding Jesus’ suffering and how he died that the centurion recognized Jesus for what and who he really was. He wasn’t just a carpenter lunatic from Nazareth that had managed to delude some folks into believing he was God’s son. He was God’s son and how he suffered proved it.

I don’t think I could have stood there and watched and heard it. But I’m glad this centurion did.

I’m grateful that it can be something horrendous as the suffering of the Son of God that convinces people of the love of God.

Look at him. Look at him on the cross. Listen to his words. See his face. Hear his tender pleas for you to be forgiven for your ignorance of how your actions put him there. And then, acknowledge him as the Son of God, the King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega who now holds the keys of death and who is dying to give you eternal life.

This is Easter. This is the Son of God.

PRAYER: Thank you for suffering for me, Jesus. Thank you that in your suffering we can see your real identity and your heart toward us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2021, Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>