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

To access the web page version, click:

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.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

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

To access the web page version, click:

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.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

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

To access the web page version, click:

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.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

DayBreaks for 2/26/15 – Powdered Christians

To access the web page version, click:

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.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

DayBreaks for 2/25/15 – A Subtler Game

To access the web page version, click:

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.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

DayBreaks for 2/24/15 – The Big Lie

To access the web page version, click:

DayBreaks for 2/24/15: The Big Lie

I grew up in a church (they refused to consider themselves a denomination) that didn’t celebrate Easter, didn’t make any ties between Christmas and the Christian faith nor did they observe anything like Lent.  I think that not observing those key times as Christian observances was a loss in my life. Perhaps that’s why I’m more interested in Lent now as I get older.  When I come across a good Lenten thought, I think I’ll share it with you.  I think today’s is one such reflection, from a Catholic priest, Fr. Robert Barron:

“Our God is a living God, and God wants us to share his life. This is why “God planted a garden in Eden…and he placed there the man he had formed.” In Eden he gave us near total freedom as a sign of his good will and his desire that we fulfill ourselves in every direction. Politics, art, science, literature, philosophy, music, sports, entertainment – all that conduces to human flourishing is desired by God.

“But then enters the serpent. Like us, the serpent is a creature of God. He is totally dependent on God for his life. He is not some sort of co-equal rival to God. The Church has always taught that evil is parasitic on the good, not a substantive opponent.

“Nevertheless, he is a wily opponent. He forces Eve to wonder about the prohibition: “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” When she clarifies, he says, “You certainly will not die! God knows well that the moment you eat of it you will be like gods knowing good and evil.”

“This is the great temptation and the great lie. The serpent places in the minds of Adam and Eve the conviction that unless and until they determine the meaning and purpose of their lives, they will not be free. To put it in modern terms, their lives will not be lived to the fullest.

“But the knowledge of good and evil is the godlike prerogative to set the agenda for one’s life, to determine the difference between right and wrong. And this belongs to God alone. Just as he breathed life and being into us, so he breathes moral and spiritual purpose into us.

“When we convince ourselves that we live on our own terms, we cease to be truly free and alive.

“When Adam and Eve grasped at this knowledge, they were expelled from the garden, not because God is vindictive, but because it is the natural consequence of making oneself into God.

“When we grasp at divinity, whatever life we have dries up. We become small souls, locked in the prison of our egotism, victims of the Great Lie.”

PRAYER: Lord, let us be content in our creatureliness and not grasp for what is not, and can never be, rightfully ours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

DayBreaks for 2/23/15 – 10,000 Years

To access the web page version, click:

DayBreaks for 2/23/15: 10,000 Years    

 

In worship on Sunday, we sang a version of the beloved hymn, Amazing Grace/I’ve Been Set Free and it was wonderful.  We’ve sung it before, and I’ve sung the traditional Amazing Grace since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but for some reason, a part of it that has always been my favorite struck me with even greater force today than before.  It’s the verse that says, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun…”

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I pictured my dad while we sang that today.  My dad has been “there” over 17 years now.  And as we sang today, I pictured my dad bright and shining.  It was a wonderful moment for me.

I’m sure that my dad, just as Moses’ face shone after being in God’s Presence for just a short while on Sinai, now glows with the reflected glory of the Lord.  And then, I began to wonder what we will look like after we’ve been there 10,000 years.  At what point will that glory max out?  I don’t think, though I’m not sure, that it will.  Consider this verse: 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) – And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

I grant you that I’m not much to look at now.  And, quite frankly, neither are you.  But can you imagine what we will look like after having been in God’s Presence after 10,000 years, or 100,000 million years – if the glory is ever-increasing? 

As CS Lewis put it: There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.

That brother or sister that you struggle to put up with here – imagine them after 10 billion years of glory is visible on their face.  Maybe we’d treat each other better if we did.

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for being generous with Your glory.  I pray that even a bit of it might light upon each of us now and that we will see one another as we will be, not as we are.  And, Lord, give my dad my regards!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive