DayBreaks for 7/3/20 – Just Try Breathing Water

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DayBreaks for 7/03/20: Just Try Breathing Water

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

In his book, The New Absolutes, William Watkins cited several studies and then concluded, “Roughly three out of four Americans claimed they embraced relativism and opposed absolutism.” (p. 26) Only 9% of American, born-again teens believe in absolute truth, and the percentage of American adults that believe it isn’t much higher. 

Isn’t the statement, “there is no absolute truth” even a denial of that assertion?  Isn’t it a statement that purports an absolute truth (“There is no absolute truth”) while denying its existence?

Some truths are not negotiable, they are absolute. It matters whether you breathe water or oxygen. If you breathe water you will drown, it is an absolute truth.

When I go to the doctor, I want him to prescribe me the proper dosage of medication I need. It wouldn’t be right for him or her to say to me, “Take as much as you want.” Too much could kill me, not enough wouldn’t help me; I need the right dosage.

When I get ready to fly somewhere, I want the counter person to tell me the correct flight to board, I don’t want to hear, “It doesn’t matter which plane you get on, they all will take you to the same place.” I want to know the absolute truth.

With all due respect to the majority opinion in our society, there is an absolute truth. Jesus said, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Just because someone makes a claim isn’t proof that it is true…but sometimes it is.  We must each decide if we believe Jesus was right or wrong when he made the claim he did. 

One can make the valid argument that physical things are more easily definable as absolute truths (such as breathing the right kind of air versus water) than in the spiritual realm.  But our experience in the physical realm should give us clues about how the spiritual realm may operate: if there are absolute truths in one area, why not in all?  And therein comes the rub – we can’t prove God’s existence, we can’t prove He is love, we can’t prove there is life after death.  There are those who claim that God doesn’t exist, and those who believe He does.  He can’t both not exist and exist at the same time.  He is either there or He isn’t.  Heaven and hell exist or they don’t – but both cannot possibly be true because they are diametrically opposed – like the on or off of a light switch. 

Anyone who tells you that there is no such thing as absolute truth wants to ignore the facts of experience.  If you were to suggest that they go breath water for 30 minutes if it is not absolutely true that it will kill them, they’d think you’ve lost it, but you’ll have made your point.

Let’s search for Truth.  It matters!!!

PRAYER: Give us wisdom to recognize and know truth!  May we have discernment in a world that denies the very existence of truth in any form!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/02/20 – The Prescription for Victory

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DayBreaks for 7/02/20: The Prescription for Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Depending on how you define and calculate it, the human mind is capable of making 20 million billion calculations per second (and even then, they say that number could be off by a factor of 10 either way!)  While computers are faster in conducting impulses than neurons, we have so many neurons in our brain that the human mind is capable at this point of far more calculations per second than the world’s fastest computer.  I’m sure that King David didn’t have a clue about computers or the capabilities of the human mind, but he still was wise enough to say I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Psalm 139:14)

In our Vacation Bible Camp that concluded last Friday, one of the songs the kids learned contained the phrase: I have hidden Thy word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. (Ps. 119:11)  I’ve given that verse to many who struggle to overcome sin.  It is the prescription of the Word for victory.  But as we sang the song, I pondered: why is it that holding God’s Word in our hearts (memorizing it, reflecting on it, thinking about it) keeps us from sin?  I am sure there are many who can come up with a better answer than I, but when I thought about the power of the human brain and how it controls all we say, think and do, I began to see more clearly than ever the importance of hiding His Word in our hearts/minds. 

The apostle Paul counseled the church at Philippi with these words: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)  Do you see the connection?  We become what we think about.  Do you want to live a life that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?  Who doesn’t, right?  Put that incredible brain that God has put inside your head to work and let it dwell on His Word…and it will reform you through the power of the Spirit that takes it and makes it come alive in your spirit!

PRAYER: Help us to have the resolve of King David to hide Your Word in our hearts, and to think about such a praiseworthy thing at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/01/20 – The Invitation to Come Home

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DayBreaks for 7/01/20: The Invitation to Come Home

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Years ago, I read a moving story about a young man who had quarreled harshly with his father and left home in his anger.  During the years he was gone, he continued to stay in touch with his mom, and he wanted very badly to come home for Christmas, but he was afraid his father would not allow him.  His mother wrote to him and urged him to come home, but he did not feel he could until he knew his father had forgiven him.  Finally, there was no time for any more letters.  His mother wrote and said she would talk with the father, and if he had forgiven him, she would tie a white rag on the tree which grew right alongside the railroad tracks near their home, which he could see before the train reached the station.  If there was no rag, it would be better if he went on.

The young man decided this was a risk he could take, so he started homeward.  As the train drew near his home; he was so nervous he said to his friend who was traveling with him, “I can’t bear to look.  Sit in my place and look out the window.  I’ll tell you what the tree looks like and you tell me whether there is a rag on it or not.”  So, his friend changed places with him and looked out the window.  After a bit the friend said, “Oh yes, I see the tree.”  The son asked, “Is there a white rag tied to it?”  For a moment, the friend said nothing.  Then he turned, and in a very gentle and quivering voice said, “There is a white rag tied to every limb of that tree!”

That, in a sense, is what God is saving in John 3:16 and 17. God has removed the condemnation and made it possible to come freely and openly home to him.  God didn’t tie white rags to the tree – He had himself nailed there.  The cross is our sign that it is safe to come home to the Father!

PRAYER: For the welcome You give us, we, in our desperation for our Father’s love, thank You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/30/20 – The Good Land Where Things Die

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DayBreaks for 6/30/20: The Good Land Where Things Die

It seems to be a rule that for there to be new beginnings, new life, that things must die. The NT speaks of this in various ways: Jesus spoke of how a kernel of wheat must fall into the ground and die for a new plant to grow, we are told that if we want to have life we must die to our own life, we are even told to put to death the “old man” so a new man can life and as Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again.

As humans, of course, we don’t think of death as being good. Our pets die and we grieve, our dreams die and we are disheartened, our friends and family die and we are crushed by the dark enemy. We are told that flesh and blood (at least as we know it) cannot be part of the world to come – that we will need new bodies fit for an eternal life, not a temporal one.

Perhaps instead of fighting all forms of death, we should look for the benefits of death. It is good that some things die, after all. Fortunately, there is a place – a good land, a very special and holy place – where things die. Where is it? It’s found at the foot of the cross.

At the blood soaked ground at the foot of the cross is where my shame dies for all the things I’ve done that I don’t want anyone to know about. Why?  Because Jesus took my shame. My guilt dies there as the blood drips from Jesus’ hands, feet, back and side. Why? Because Jesus took my guilt on him. My fear of dying dies there because Jesus would prove a mere three days later that death has no choice but to yield to glorious life because of Jesus power. My sense of insignificance dies there when I think of the blood he shed and what he endured because of one thing and on thing only: he loves me and I matter to him. My fear of the future dies at the foot of the cross because by what he accomplished there, there is no longer any condemnation for me.

But along with the death of those things that I take to the foot of the cross, there is new life springing up from the moistened soil. I can now live a new life without shame and guilt plaguing me. I can face the future, as the song says, because he lives and promises me I will live, too (and he’s proved he can pull off that “trick”). And I need never feel insignificant, unimportant, unwanted, uncherished ever again because in the good land where things go to die, any doubt about those things was erased.

PRAYER: What holy ground is this, Lord Jesus, that we are invited to the ground at the foot of your cross where bad things die and good things spring up filled with eternal life! In your magnificent name we pray, Amen!

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/29/20 – The Old Made New

DayBreaks for 6/29/20: The Old Made New

Today I celebrate by birthday. Do you remember how much you looked forward to birthdays when you were a wee kid? Somehow, as I’ve passed through decades of life a lot of that excitement has worn off and I wonder how many birthdays I have left in this old body of mine.

While walking the dog yesterday morning, I was listening to Zach Williams song, Face to Face, and these words struck me: There’s a day, coming soon Where the old will be made new And Heaven’s glory shines like the morning Before our eyes. I’ve often contemplated the promise that all things will be made new, but more often than not I think about a new heaven and new earth: new mountains without erosion, new galaxies without supernovas, new oceans filled with undying life, new skies without pollution…in short, I tend to think of “things” that are old (for the mountains and canyons of this earth are far older than I) being made new in their pristine wonder and majesty. And I look forward to seeing all those things when they are made new again.  

But as I walked, it struck me that part of what is old is me… and part of the old that will be made new is me. I have known that intellectually for a long, long time, but it really hit me this time as I’m celebrating my 68th trip around the sun.

I recall when I could run like the wind and never get winded. I could leap like a frog and touch the rim of a basketball hoop even though I’ve never exceeded 5’8.5” in height. I had boundless energy and strength. Those days are gone. My bones, muscles and sinews are old and creaky. As I watch my grandchildren run and laugh and leap, I’d love to be able to run and play with them in those ways without fear of my heart seizing up on me or a brittle old bone snapping in two! Alas, it will not happen again in this world and for the most part I can only watch and enjoy watching them delight in their youthful bodies.

But I will run again. I will leap again. I will never age, for part of the old that will be made new is “me”. God has already been working on making my heart, the inner me, new again-but the day will come when the outer me will be made new again. That’s something to look forward to. I long to run and not grow weary or fear brokenness.

In his mercy, when I see Jesus face to face, God will make all that is old, frail, fleeting, flawed, degraded and broken down full of life, vigor, strength and power – and better than it has ever been. What a glorious day that will be!

PRAYER: I praise you, God, that you have the power to make the old new and perfect. Help us not fear that doorway that leads to such healing, but to look forward to the change you will bring to fruition in us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/26/20 – The Greatest Protest

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Strongest Protest

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed not only what kind of world we have, but also what kind of God we have: in a world of gross unfairness we have a God of sacrificial love.

The Father could have taken a different form of protest rather than the cruciform way.  He could have obliterated mankind in the blink of an eye.  He could have stopped the rain and plants from growing and watched while sinful humanity slowly, painfully, starved to death or died of thirst.  It is His world – He can do what He wants to with it.  But His love wouldn’t let Him do any of those things.  In many ways, there wasn’t much else He could have done and been the Being that John described when he said, “God is love.” 

PRAYER: We rejoice to have a God whose Name is Love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/25/20 – The Gift of a World

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Gift of a World

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

One year just before Christmas, a Christian by the name of Halford Luccock asked his two young granddaughters what they would like for Christmas.  “Give us a world!” they responded with childish enthusiasm.  It took Luccock a while to understand what they wanted but eventually he concluded that what they wanted was a globe.  He was happy to get it for them, so he went shopping for a nice, big globe that would spin and which would also be an attractive addition to the room the girls shared. 

Christmas morning arrived and he waited to see their excitement and joy as they opened their gift from him.  Yet, somehow when the present was opened, he sensed they were a bit disappointed. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I thought this is what you wanted.” “Well, yes,” said one of them, “but we were kind of hoping for a lighted world.”  Immediately he understood that what they wanted was a globe with a light inside.

“I can fix that,” he said. “Let me take it back and exchange it for a lighted one.” Unfortunately, the store where he bought the globe did not sell lighted ones. So, he got his money back and set out to find a lighted world rather than a darkened one. Finally, he located a globe with a light in it, bought it and presented it to his granddaughters, who were absolutely thrilled with it.  Later, when telling a colleague about this episode, he was asked if he’d learned anything from this experience.  “Yes,” he said, “I learned one thing.  I learned that a lighted world costs more.”

A lighted world does cost more.  It cost God His Son.  If we are serious about letting our light shine in today’s world, it will cost us as well.

PRAYER: Thank You for the Light of the World that has turned our darkness into day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/24/20 – God of the Broken Hearted

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DayBreaks for 6/24/20: God of the Brokenhearted

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Worship songwriter Brian Doerksen’s son, Isaiah, suffers from fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition which results in physical, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral limitations. In his book Make Love, Make War, Brian reflects on the day he and his wife first received medical confirmation of Isaiah’s condition. In the midst of his heartache, as Brian considered turning away from worship ministry altogether, God taught Brian a lesson that instead carried him further into his ministry:

“[After receiving the test results], I stumbled around our property weeping, confused, heartbroken. At one point I lifted my voice to heaven and handed in my resignation: “God, I am through being a worship leader and songwriter …” 

‘When I was able to be quiet enough to hear, I sensed God holding out his hand and inviting me: “Will you trust me? Will you go even with your broken heart—for who will relate to my people who are heartbroken if not those like you who are acquainted with disappointment?”

Reflecting further on this word from God, Brian wrote: “I used think people were most blessed by our great victories. But now I know differently: People are just longing to hear [others] speak of how they have walked through the deepest valleys. The world lifts up the victorious and the successful, but God lifts up the brokenhearted.”

There are plenty of broken hearts in the world.  Hearts are breaking every second and they can remain broken for years.  Doctors may be able to heal hearts that have suffered cardiac arrest or cardiac arteries that are clogged, but they can’t fix a broken heart.  Broken hearts remain the purview of God and God alone. 

When our hearts are breaking, we tend to do a variety of things to try to regain some sense of equilibrium, but we may struggle to turn to an invisible God to heal our broken heart.  Don’t hesitate.  He is not called the Great Physician for no reason!

PRAYER: All around us, Lord, are those with broken hearts, and we suffer from them, too.  For all those who are in pain this day, we ask You to heal their hearts!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/23/20 – Celebration of Light

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The aurora borealis, a dance of light.

DayBreaks for 6/23/20: Celebration of Light

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

I believe it was Ben Franklin who coined the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”  But what you may not know is why that saying came to be.  Partly, at least, it was due to recognition of the fact that the night time is perilous and fraught with danger and the wise will go to bed early rather than be out and about where they are more prone to being attacked and hurt!

In 21st century America, we have artificial light all around us: streetlights, tungsten lights, fluorescent lights, spotlights, stoplights, car lights, flashing lights, strobe lights…it seems that you can’t get away from artificial light.  Artificial light is so pervasive that it is hard to find a place to really view the stars.  We are blessed to live in the country, and when people come out to our home in the evenings, they usually come out as they prepare to go home and are shocked by how many stars they can see.  Those same stars are in the skies over their own home in town, but they just can’t see them because of all the ambient light from artificial sources.  Because light is so prevalent today, it is difficult for us to appreciate the way night was perceived in earlier times. For millennia, people illuminated their dwellings and workplaces with fire. It was not until William Murdock invented the gaslight in 1803, that large areas could be lit up after dark. For centuries before that, people literally walked in darkness if they walked at all at night.

It was true in Bible times.  People living then fully comprehended the meaning and dangers of the darkness.  When a prophet said that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, they were speaking of something vivid, dramatic and hopeful. When they spoke of Christ as the light of the world, they were making the claim that Jesus had the ability to transform their world from one of darkness, danger and despair to one of hope, safety and joy. It helps us to understand the literal darkness of that ancient world to appreciate the words of the Psalmist: The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? (27:1) Or, the words of St. John: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (1:5)

Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost point on the North American continent.  Because of the tilt of the earth on its axis, Barrow is also one of the darkest places in the world. The sun sets in Barrow in November and won’t show up again until sometime in late January.  Getting through over two months of perpetual night cannot be easy – and it isn’t, not even to the natives who live there: in this tiny, seemingly innocuous outpost home to 3,000 hardy hunters, whalers, lawyers and public employees one finds one of the highest attempted suicide rates in Alaska.  Darkness drives people to do dark things.

Light, however, pushes people to do things that are right and decent partly because they don’t want dark deeds to be revealed.  Light also encourages celebration: the good folk of Barrow have parties on the frozen sea/ground when the sun makes its reappearance. 

I look forward to the party when the Son makes His reappearance.  How about you?

PRAYER: We rejoice to know that the night won’t last forever, and that even on the darkest night, Your vision is unimpaired and You see all clearly and can defend us from the dangers that we cannot even see ourselves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/22/20 – We Matter

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DayBreaks for 6/22/20: We Matter

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment? – Job 7:17-18

As you were driving in to work this morning, how many people stopped and applauded as you drove by?  When you left the house this morning, did you get a kiss or hug from someone who loves and appreciates you?  When you got to the gym to work out, did someone say, “I really want to introduce some folks to you because you’re so special”?  Probably not.  Chances are that you didn’t have a reserved parking spot in the parking lot.  Most likely, no cop pulled you over and gave you $100 and said, “You know, all these years I’ve seen you drive by and never once were you breaking the speed limit.  I just want you to have this to know how much I appreciate you!”  Not in this lifetime, right?  Not in this world!

It is easy to start to think that we really don’t matter very much.  It is so easy to get lost in the shuffling noises of 7 billion inhabitants of the planet called Earth.  It is easy to be overshadowed on the job site, in the grocery store, at the bank, in the church pew.  We want recognition.  We want to be appreciated.  We want to know that we matter to someone – somewhere – sometime.  And it is easy to feel and to be overlooked, ignored and to come to the conclusion that we just don’t really matter to anyone.

Listen to Jesus: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 18:18-19

The ancients had a saying: “As above, so below”…meaning that if the gods got angry and went on a rampage, the gods would rain cataclysm and endless disaster down on the denizens of earth.  Jesus, however, turned that around: He who listens to you listens to me.  He who rejects you rejects me.  As below, so above.  What happens when believers pray?  Heaven responds.  When goes on when a sinner repents?  The angels break out in song.  When a God-mission succeeds, Satan falls like lightning from the sky.  On the other hand, when believers rebel against God, the Holy Spirit is grieved and saddened. 

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that what we humans do here doesn’t affect anyone.  Let’s not play the foolish game of saying that “What I do isn’t affecting of hurting anyone else, so leave me alone!”  If Jesus knows what he’s talking about (and he does!) know this certainty: what we humans do here on earth affects the cosmos!  We matter – far more than we can possibly comprehend or know, because we matter to God!  And today you also matter because of what you will do, say and think.  Matter in a positive way!

PRAYER: Thank You that You notice us from heaven above and sing Your songs of love over us so we will know that without a doubt, we matter!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>