DayBreaks for 5/21/18 – Before and Now

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DayBreaks for 5/21/18: Before and Now

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

Through some recent reading, I’ve been led to contemplate the importance of the human concept of our origins.  I know the Biblical concept: man was made in the very image of God.  We come from Him, we are to live for Him, and we will some day return to Him – and at that time we’ll all have to give an answer for how we lived in this world (Heb. 9:27). 

It’s quite a different story if you reject the idea of creation and of the existence of a Divine Being.  Without believing in a Divinely ordained destiny for all of creation (including mankind), you are left to believe that everything is the product of chance and mathematical probabilities.  It means that you were born for no reason other than a chance meeting of reproductive materials.  It means that your life has no teleos – no goal toward which it is moving.  It means that when you die, it’s done, period, over and out. 

Jeremiah, at one point in his life, had an encounter with God that reveals the fallacy of such thinking.  In Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV), he wrote these words: The word of the LORD came to me, saying,  ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’”

God told Jeremiah wonderful things: “I knew you before you were even formed in the womb.  I didn’t just know that you were going to be, but I knew YOU.”  How could it be that God knew Jeremiah even before he was conceived?  It can only be that God had plans for a particular person (Jeremiah), and that God quite literally knew him.  That was the “before” in Jeremiah’s life.  And it was through understanding that he had a “before”, and a call for the present (he was consecrated) and that there was a purpose for his life (he was given as a prophet to the nations), that Jeremiah found meaning.  It is the “before” that gives the “now” meaning.

God didn’t just know Jeremiah before he was born.  He knew all of us.  David says that God knew every day that was appointed for him to live before he was born, that every thought he’d ever have and word he’d speak was known before he literally had a single thought.  In Ephesians, the great apostle Paul says that God chose us before the foundation of the world. 

What does all this mean for you and I?  It means that there is a definite purpose for our lives and that we are not to think our lives are meaningless, directionless and without value.  It means we don’t have to scurry around trying to find, or even to create, some kind of answers to life.  Instead, we can go to God to discover the reason and truth of our existence.   

Is it any wonder that there is so much despair among those who don’t know Christ?

PRAYER: Fill us, Lord, with the confidence that comes from knowing our before and how that shapes our now and directs our future.  Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 5/18/18 – No Turning Back

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DayBreaks for 5/18/18: No Turning Back

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

One more analogy from the Space Center: the shuttle is nearing the end of its lifespan, and in just a few more years, it’ll be retired in favor of the Constellation program – a program designed to put men back on the moon (by 2012, I think), and to go to even further places.  The shuttle will be no more, and the space program will return to the kind of rockets and space craft that were used previously.

The shuttle is a very complex piece of equipment.  It is not as complicated as a complete Apollo/Lunar Lander/Saturn V (which had 2 million separate systems – the most complicated piece of engineering ever made), but it is still an amazing piece of machinery. 

There is, as you know, a large central fuel tank, and two slender, white solid rocket boosters, one on each side.  They are called solid rocket boosters because their fuel is “solid”, not liquid.  Here’s the tricky thing about that kind of rocket booster: unlike the liquid fuel contained on the Apollo/Saturn 5, once you light if off a solid rocket booster, there’s no shutting it down until it has totally expended itself.  In other words, you’d better be sure you’re ready to go because you’ll be going somewhere …and going there very fast!

We are familiar with the passage that talks about how futile it is to put our “hand to the plow” and then look backwards. There is to be no going back, not even looking back for a glance, once we’ve embarked on the Christian pathway. There is only to be forward motion.

Another thought: we were all launched into this world at birth.  We will live our lives until we’ve expended all the seconds that God has allotted to us.  We can’t go back into the womb (as Nicodemus wondered when told by Jesus that we must be born again).  Once launched, we must take the journey that lies before us…and complete the course. 

May we choose the right trajectory that leads back to the Father’s house.  You are going somewhere – your engine has been lit by God Himself.  Where will you wind up?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the gift of life and the adventure of living.  Help us to keep on moving in the right direction until we arrive safely at home.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/17/18 – How Do You Smell?

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DayBreaks for 5/17/18: How Do You Smell?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

When we were touring Kennedy Space Center, we went to the International Space Station assembly facility.  Since most of the station is now in orbit and complete, there wasn’t much going on, but they were preparing a supply module that would be carried up to the station on a coming shuttle flight.  The cylindrical modules are 15 feet in width (the cargo bay of the shuttle is 16 feet wide), and this particular module would be carrying up stuff that the crew aboard the shuttle needed. 

The guide that was at that station told us an interesting story.  He informed us that the air on board the space station is relatively stale.  When a new cargo module arrives, those aboard the space station flock to the airlock where the new module is attached to get a whiff of the fresh air that’s contained inside the module. As the lock is opened, they all breathe in deeply…and they all comment how the air “smells like Florida.”  After hearing that, the ground crew started including some fresh oranges, lemons, etc., to make it smell even better for the astronauts who are missing the fresh air.

Once the module has been emptied, it is then filled up…with dirty clothes.  There is no facility on the station for washing clothing, so the empty module becomes like a combination laundry hamper and trash can.  The shuttle then ferries it back to earth. 

When the ground crew gets the module offloaded from the shuttle, no one scurries to be there when it is opened because…well, it stinks. 

This made me think about the passage which talks about how we smell: 2 Cor. 2:14-16 (NLT) – But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume.  Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

There’s something about Christians and Christianity that smells.  Interestingly, and in contradiction to what one might expect, to God we are a fragrance.  God loves our smell!  But those who are earthbound and not heaven-destined find the fragrance quite off-putting.  It’s not because we present two different fragrances – Christians carry the sweet perfume of the Good News either way.  Our job is not to go around trying to stink to people, but our first obligation is to God, to offer our lives as living sacrifices that are well-pleasing to Him. Others will make of it what they will.

PRAYER: Lord, let us carry the sweet perfume of heaven to all.  May we live in such a way that you are happy and pleased with us, that we delight you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/16/18 – Fuel for the Journey

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DayBreaks for 5/16/18: Fuel for the Journey

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

On Tuesday, May 6, we visited Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.  I was there once before a number of years back, but I didn’t get my fill of it and I wanted to take my wife there ever since (well, OK, maybe I just wanted to go back!). 

My favorite part of the tour is the Apollo/Saturn V center.  I grew up with stars in my eyes, stories of astronauts, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo – and of course, the excitement of living through the first lunar landing and all the subsequent landings.  I have always wanted to go to the moon.  I don’t think that I’ll ever get the chance.  And so, I vicariously experience it through the memories of the Apollo space program. 

Inside the Apollo/Saturn V visitor center is a Saturn V rocket, lying on its side and supported by huge iron support brackets.  It is a beast of a rocket – to this day, the largest ever assembled and the most powerful ever built.  It is 363 feet in length (longer than a football field, including both end zones).  The first stage held 5 huge engines that generated 7.5 million pounds of thrust.  In just the two minutes that the engines on the first stage were burning, they consumed 545,000 gallons of fuel.  Imagine having to pay for that at today’s gas prices (not to mention that it was a special mixture of fuel that would have been even more expensive.)  Why so much fuel, why so much power?  Because the fully loaded rocket weighed in at something like 6.3 million pounds, and it takes a lot of fuel to get something that big and heavy into space. 

It takes a lot to get us to heaven.  It’s not something that we can make, manufacture or buy.  It doesn’t take huge refineries, massive tanks or great, roaring engines.  What it does take is the blood of the Son of God…and as the old song goes, “There’s power in the blood.” 

We also need the fuel provided by the bread of life…the very same Jesus who gave his life for us and called us into his glory. 

One more thing: when the fuel on the Saturn V ran out, it was gone…kaput.  And it did run out.  But the power supplied by the Son is more than sufficient and will never be used up!

Revelation 7:14 (KJV) – And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the power that is in your blood to cleanse us and the power of your Spirit to keep us, and that your power never changes but is always constant.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/15/18 – Things Remembered

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DayBreaks for 5/15/18: Things Remembered

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

The smell of a basement, or an in-ground pump house.  The scent of an orange grove snaking its way through the refreshing breeze.  Sights.  Sounds.  The feel of humidity on the skin. 

I used to live in Florida a long time ago.  I’ve lived there twice in fact.  Once when I was just a young boy in the 4th grade, and again after graduating from high school when I went to Florida to attend college.  This past week, I spent time in central Florida, sight-seeing and enjoying what there was to be explored.  I saw things I’d never seen before, which I always find fascinating, and I learned things that I’d not known before, which is exhilarating. 

One thing that I didn’t expect was the flood of sensations that reminded me of living there years before.  There is a certain feel to the air in Florida that is missing in California.  Early in the morning, there’s a smell of damp, humid air that we don’t get to experience in the west. 

As I reflected on that, and other reports from my senses, I began to ponder the phenomenon of memory.  I thought of my children and grandchildren and thought about how they would remember me.  I thought of the friends from church we had here a long time ago who “adopted” us young Californian kids who were so far away from home.  Some of those friends how rest in the arms of the Lord, though some linger here still.

In 50 years, will anyone remember me at all?  Will the name of Galen Dalrymple be long forgotten?  Who will speak my name, and why? 

I know, however, that He will not forget me nor my name.   When I rest from the labors of this life, I will be remembered by the One who made me, Who kept me, Who led me through this world and safely to the next.  And, I concluded, that is enough.  It is more than enough that He will know me and once again call me by name. 

Psalms 106:3-4 (KJV) – Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation.

PRAYER: Dear Father, I am so grateful that you have never forgotten me and that you will always remember me and hold me near to your heart.  May I never forget you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/14/18 – Robbed of Joy

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DayBreaks for 5/14/18: Robbed of Joy

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

There was once a man who had lived a long time.  Someone once asked him what it was that had robbed the most joy from his life.  The old man never hesitated, but answered simply, “Things that never happened!”

How much of my life have I spent worrying about things that might happen but which never did?  I can become frozen with fear and not let my children play in the front yard.  I can refuse to leave my house for fear of being in a traffic accident on my way to work.  I can never shake someone’s hand or hug someone or give anyone a kiss for fear of disease.  I can stop drinking water or eating food because it might be poisoned!  We all would tend to say that doing those things would be silly, yet we worry about many things.  Jesus knew someone like that and her name was Martha: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:41-42).  What had Mary chosen? Jesus!

Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will take care of itself.  We need to be focused on where we are right now in this day that God has made (Matt. 6:34).   The apostle Paul also counsels us to: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).  Paul doesn’t say that we shouldn’t care about things – just that we not be anxious about them.  How do we do that?  We take everything to God as a request – and then we leave it there, with Him.  The result: His peace will guard and protect our hearts and minds.

Here’s three keys to happiness that you may find helpful in your walk with Him today (and tomorrow!!!):

Fret not – for He loves you, John 15:9: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love”  He loves you now and forever!

Faint not – for He holds you, Psalm 139:10: …even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  No one can snatch you from his hand!

Fear not – for He keeps you, Psalm 121:5: The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand…  He will not slumber nor sleep, but always watch over you!

Don’t let things that you only imagine in your mind rob you of your joy in Christ!  It is that very joy that may draw your neighbors to Him through you!

PRAYER: Fill our minds with the joys of your promises and the certainty of your goodness so we don’t worry about things we shouldn’t. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/11/18 – My Apologies

Hi, everyone. I am so sorry for the lack of DayBreaks this week. I’m on the road and have been as sick as a dog (still am). I hope to resume DayBreaks posts next week. 

Thank you for your patience with me and for your understanding. 

Blessings and peace…and if you are so inclined, I am supposed to fly home from Phoenix, AZ to Atlanta, GA on Saturday morning, arriving late Saturday afternoon, so I’d really appreciate your prayers for physical endurance for the journey home!

God is good…always.