DayBreaks for 10/19/18 – How the Games Ended

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DayBreaks for 10/19/18: How the Games Ended

One person armed with the Gospel of peace can change the world. Telemachus did. He was a monk who lived in the 5th century. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” He was in a cloistered monastery but he put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus. He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isn’t right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, and tried to stop them. The crowd became enraged and stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the Emperor of Rome, Honorius, heard about the monk he declared him a Christian martyr and put an end to the games. Legend has it that the very last Gladiatorial game was the one in which Telemachus died.

Jesus said, “Have salt in yourselves – be at peace with each other.” Sometimes it seems we have gladiatorial games going on inside the church, inside our homes, at work…

PRAYER: Jesus, we often feel that we can’t really make a difference – and so we won’t even try. Help us find the courage to stand for the right when surrounded by wrong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 10/18/18 – The Web of My Sin

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DayBreaks for 10/18/18: The Web of My Sin

I love photography – every kind of photography whether it is landscapes, macro photography, HDR, portraits, still-life, pet photography – you name it, it fascinates me. Time-lapse photography compresses a series of images and events into one picture. Such a photo appeared in an issue of National Geographic. It was shot from a mountain peak in the Rocy Mountains during a heavy thunderstorm. The picture captured the brilliant lightning display that had taken place throughout the storm’s duration. The time-lapse technique created a fascinating, spaghetti-like web out of the individual bolts.

In much the same way, our sin presents itself before the eyes of God. Where we see only isolated or individual acts, God sees the overall web of our sinning. What may seem insignificant — even sporadic — to us because we tend to think of specific instances so those sins pass with hardly a notice in our mind’s eye, is seen quite differently by God. To God’s view of the panorama of our life, my sin creates a much more dramatic display as he sees them as a huge, entangling web that can snuff the life out of me if not dealt with.

The psalmist was right when he wrote, Who can discern his [one’s own] errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Psalm 19:12-13

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for cutting through the web of sin that tries to enshroud me. Help keep me from willful disobedience and sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/17/18 – When You Are Satisfied

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DayBreaks for 10/17/18: When You Are Satisfied

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/13/2008:

Never have a people had more luxury or such an accumulation of creature comforts than the American people. Sure, there are hungry in this country who need food and there are homeless who need shelter. But by and large, we are a nation of great and incredible wealth and plenty.

In Deuteronomy 6:11b-12, Moses gives a solemn caution to the children of Israel. He looks forward to the certain future, when God will have kept His promise and given them the land He promised 400 years earlier to Abraham. They will possess the land and live in cities they didn’t build, drink sweet water from wells they never dug, and have wine and olives from vineyards they didn’t plant. Then Moses says, “…then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt…“.

Moses, inspired by God, understood a lot about human nature. He’d tended flocks and seen how they grew lazy when their bellies were full – they would lay down to rest and that was the very time that they were the most vulnerable to predators. Their eyes would grow heavy and their attention would weaken. Moses says, “When your bellies are full and you are satisfied – be careful! That is when you will forget the Lord!”

Our nation has forgotten the Lord. We have eaten and become satisfied. We would do well to heed Moses’ warning. How easily we settle for food, shelter and some comforts! We are far too easily content to be taken care of physically. And we are too easily satisfied – and therein lies the problem. We should never be satisfied until we have reached the holiness He desires for us. We should never be satisfied with the things in this world. But we can be content!

I hope and pray that God makes you hungry today – not for food, but for Him! May we never be satisfied with a belly full of food, but only with a heart filled with Him!

Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

PRAYER: Awaken in us again a hunger for the Bread that fills and the Water that gives life and keep us from the love of this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/16/18 – God’s Scalpel

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DayBreaks for 10/16/18: God’s Scalpel

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/10/2008:

One of the books that has most profoundly touched my life was written by C. S. Lewis after the death of his wife, Joy. He had been a single man for nearly all of his life when he met Joy Davidson, an American, and fell in love. She died, tragically after just four years, of cancer. The book is titled, A Grief Observed, and I HIGHLY recommend it. It is at one and the same time one of the most unnerving, yet triumphant messages of faith you’ll ever read. In it, Lewis grapples with death and his feelings towards himself, his dead wife, and his feelings towards God. He is brutally honest, and as time passes (the book was written over some period of time to capture the range of his emotions and thinking) he moves in his writing from great anger and bitterness towards God to where his faith in God’s goodness comes crashing to the forefront.

While in the midst of his anguish, he wrote these very insightful words describing the experience of pain in our lives: “The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed – might grow tired of his vile sport – might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.” (I warned you he was brutally honest, didn’t I?!)

Personally, I don’t believe the Bible teaches that the pain and suffering we experience in this world is God-inflicted. I believe it is a result of the struggle between good and evil, God and the powers of darkness, and sometimes it comes about as a direct consequence of sin in our own life. God wants to overcome all the pain and suffering, and He someday will, when the last enemy is defeated (1 Cor. 15:23-26). Until then, God uses even painful things in our lives to make us whole. And if He stopped before the process was complete, we’d never be well.

Can you trust God with the pain in your life? You can. Can you survive the anguish you may face? I believe you can, though I’ve not walked in your shoes. Because through them, as well as through the joys of life, God is only doing what 2 Cor. 3:18 says: “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.”

PRAYER: Jesus, we plead with you to be as tender with us as possible – but to do the work that must be done in us. In Your name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/15/18 – Pick and Choose Morality

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DayBreaks for 10/15/18: Pick and Choose Morality

From the DayBreaks archive, 1998:

James 3:11-12: Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Our country is suffering a real trauma. For months, accusations against our president were on the front pages, along with denials from the president himself. As recent events have sadly shown, they weren’t just accusations or rumors – they were true (by the president’s own admission). It is sad and heartbreaking. We need to pray for the president just as we would for anyone who has been overtaken by sin – pray for true repentance so forgiveness can be given. But I don’t really want to focus on the president or the political issue per se. In J. Budziszewski’s article in the August 22 issue of WORLD magazine, he was discussing the president’s situation and the fact that many Americans believed Mr. Clinton was lying, but many go on to say he was doing a good job as president. Budziszewski asked, “What could they be thinking?” and then went on: “Through diligent listening, I’ve compiled some possibilities: ‘Who am I to judge?’, ‘Everyone lies about sex’, ‘All I care about is the economy’, ‘The other politicians are just as bad’, ‘If his wife can put up with it, so can I,’, ‘I’m so disgusted I’ve stopped paying attention.’ “Have these thoughts any common thread? Yes: they all express the idea that character doesn’t count – that you can be a bad man and yet a good statesman. I doubt that many people would swallow that notion whole. But they do tend to swallow a big part of it – the belief that you can be a bad man in some ways, yet a good statesman.”

Budziszewski calls this the “Pick and Choose Delusion”. It is a disease I think we all suffer from. He says, “We believe that we can pick and choose our sins; persistent disobedience to God in one area of life leaves the others unaffected. This delusion is like thinking, ‘I’m not going to do anything about my cancer. After all, it’s only in my lymph glands!’ The truth is that we cannot pick and choose our sins. Untreated by repentance, disobedience to God spreads from organ to organ until it reaches the heart.”

We can’t pick the areas of our life that we are willing to let God clean. We can’t choose to be holy in some areas and unholy in others. In fact, it is precisely those areas that we might choose to be “unholy” that God most wants to clean. You can’t be a good Christian but a bad father or mother, or a faithful follower of God and be unfaithful to your husband or wife. Yes, we all sin and all need forgiveness, but we can’t pick and choose morality. “No man can pick and choose his sins, because sin is never satisfied. Like the fire, it spreads; like the leech, it devours.” And like the cancer, it kills. “Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve….”  

PRAYER: Lord, we are all great sinners and in desperate need of your blood and grace. Help us choose, with whole hearts and minds, to surrender to your cleansing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/12/18 – Find the Right Road

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DayBreaks for 10/12/18: Find the Right Road

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

I really have mixed feelings about backpacking. I love the unmatched scenery and being able to get away from the crowds. I love the serenity of a remote mountain location. I hate the sweat and backache, though. But sometimes backpacking can be a real adventure. This last June we hiked (well, actually crawled through broken-down trees and branches) through an area where some avalanches had wiped out the trail. We weren’t sure where it was, but knew the general direction that we had to go. Needless to say, with our excellent navigational skills, we got there (guys never get lost, right?)

Joshua 3:4a tells us Joshua’s instructions to the children of Israel as to how they would know where to go when they were about to go into the Promised Land. Joshua said that they were to follow the ark of the covenant because: Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before…

Taking a wrong turn in the woods or in an unknown city at night can be scary. Wasn’t getting lost one of our greatest fears as a child? One of my boys used to sleepwalk. One night while backpacking, he and his older brother were sharing a tent. Well, Tim went for a sleepwalk that night in the Little Yosemite area of Yosemite National Park, only to wake up in the darkest middle of the night and realize that he had no idea where he was or where the campground was. Fortunately, he was clever enough to begin walking in an expanding circle until he came upon the campground.

Taking the wrong road can be scary or frustrating – but it can also be fatal. What if Tim had sleepwalked right off of one of the several thousand foot cliffs in Yosemite? (When we spent the night on top of Half Dome, I tied him to me to prevent just this!!!) It can happen spiritually, too. We can take the wrong road and wind up “lost” in the wilderness of sin. A wrong decision can destroy marriages, wreak havoc with children, destroy relationships and reputations, and they can steal our hope.  And those things can start with just a single wrong decision – if it is the “right” wrong decision.

Maybe you are on the wrong road right now. What will you do about it? Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel, in an article about taking the right road, said: “I agree with C. S. Lewis that when you find you’ve taken the wrong road, going ahead isn’t progress. Progress is going back until you find the right road that takes you where you want to go.” Sometimes progress is made by going back to what you know is right rather than trying to cover up the wrong decision. Remember Peter’s words in John 6:68: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

As with the Israelites, we have “never been this way before”. If you’ve gone down the wrong road – don’t just plow ahead. Go back to the Lord and get on the right road again!

PRAYER: Lord, let us trust the navigation that is found in your Word and the guidance of the Spirit. Let us not fear going “backward” in order to go forward! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/11/18 – Children, Our Teachers

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DayBreaks for 10/11/18: Children – Our Teachers

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

Do you remember the Ark Linkletter show called, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things”? I guess others now have similar shows, but I’ve not seen them. Kids are amazing, aren’t they? They’ll just come right out and say things that we as adults wouldn’t dream of saying. For example, check out these quotes from letters to pastors:

“Dear Pastor, I know God loves everybody, but He never met my sister. Yours sincerely, Arnold, age 8, Nashville”

POINT: You probably have someone in your life that you just can’t bring yourself to love. You may even think that God couldn’t possibly love them, either. Here’s the catch: God HAS met them and guess what? He does love them. And He wants you to do the same!

“Dear Pastor, I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there. Stephen, Age 8, Chicago” POINT: Whatever the situation between these two brothers, I know God doesn’t approve of it. He wants us to live together in love and harmony. I’m convinced God’s heart breaks because of our divisions and pettiness. Is there something that keeps you from living in peace with your brother/sister? Do you have a quarrelsome spirit? Get rid of it – and experience His joy in your life as you discover what your brother or sister is really like!

“Dear Pastor, Please pray for all airline pilots. I am flying to California tomorrow. Laurie, age 10, New York City”

POINT: Aren’t we all prone to praying in moments of crisis? We fear death – so we pray like crazy when we consider the possibilities. But God wants us to pray for teachers, students, bosses, employees, leaders, followers – for everyone. Take time today to lift up those who have been special in your life.

“Dear Pastor, Are there any devils on earth? I think there is one in my class. Carla, aged 10, Salina”

POINT: It is easy to see the “devil” in others, but God wants to remind me of my own failings and the fact that even though he can’t have me anymore, the devil is still trying, and sometimes I let him in a crack in the door. When I give in, I have opened the door to Satan and given him a piece of my life here on earth that should be only for God.

“Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon on Sunday. Especially when it was finished. Ralph, age 11, Akron”

POINT: Every one of us needs to learn when to shut up. And with that, I bid you adieu for today! Until tomorrow, I remain, His, and yours, Galen ><}}}”>  

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for the delight we have in our children. May we bring that delight to your heart, too! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>