DayBreaks for 10/22/22 – It Will Never Fail

Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, LORD. – Psalms 23:6 CEV

I’m rather melancholy today. Late last week, we learned that a co-worker of mine (I didn’t know him, but I do know his close friend and boss very well) has gone to be with the Lord. But the circumstances may not be what you think. It wasn’t COVID.

Last week, Boko Haram came into the village where this brother, Solomon, lived. They entered his home and wanted to kidnap his daughter. Solomon, a pastor, refused to let her go and tried to protect her. Boko Haram shot and killed him. Thanks be to God, in the chaos of the moment, his daughter was able to hide herself and Boko Haram didn’t get her. Both the daughter and her mother have now been taken to a safe and secure location. Solomon’s heroic actions undoubtedly saved his daughter from unspeakably evil things. But Solomon is gone.

How do we square such things with passages like Psalm 23:6? It’s hard…very hard. Sometimes we can only attempt to see things such as this through the eyes of faith.

When we fall in love with someone, we all hope and want it to last forever. No one falls in love thinking and hoping that someday they will become bitter toward one another and filled with hate. They don’t get married planning to divorce. But they do know that at some point, they will be separated by death if nothing else.

That thought terrifies those of us who deeply love our families and friends. We don’t want to deal with the pain of that loss, or to be the cause of that kind of pain to our loved ones. But we know that at some point it will happen.

We look at this verse and it says that God’s kindness and love is different. It will be with us each and every day of our lives. God’s love and kindness for us won’t grow old, he won’t grow bitter toward us, and not even death itself will separate us from him. It is hard to understand and believe that – we can only imagine such a love through hopeful eyes of faith – and we long for it to be really, really true.

Solomon is dwelling now in the house of the Lord, where he will know nothing but love and kindness throughout endless ages. In the meantime, we who are left behind are the unfortunate ones as separation from those we love still looms ahead of us somewhere down the line, but we need not fear that of God – and that’s no small consolation. In times like this, when it is most hard to believe in the unending kindness and love of God, it is most vitally important that we do just that.

Please join me in praying for pastor Solomon’s (his first name – last name omitted for safety reasons) family and other who are in harms way.

PRAYER: Lord, we lift up Solomon’s family to you for your comfort. Hold them all close, let them hear your heartbeat and see your tears as your heart breaks for them, but give them assurance that Solomon is safe in your home. Keep us always in your love and kindness as we await the time, we, too, shall be home with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/21/21 – The Sign of Forgiveness

This was worth sharing:

“When Jesus forgave the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof the man picked up his bed and went home. This is a sign that forgiveness of sins is not simply letting us get by with the things we’ve done wrong. Instead, finding forgiveness means finding wholeness and completion.

“A person who is truly forgiven is able to leave the paralysis that sin brings to their life and step out on a new path. Therefore, finding forgiveness is not only concerned with being forgiven of the bad things we’ve done or being healed of the bad things that have been done to us. Finding forgiveness also involves facing all the things we’ve left undone.

“These are called ‘sins of omission’. Too often we think the only thing which is sinful is that which makes us feel guilty or ashamed. We want to be forgiven for all those bad things we’ve done, and if we can only find forgiveness for those we think we’ll be okay. But this is too small an understanding of sin.

“When we begin to face all the good things that we have left undone the weight of our sin becomes even greater than we thought! Sin is actually defined as ‘falling short of the glory of God’. We need to find forgiveness not only for what we’ve done, but for all the things we’ve left undone–all the ways in which we have not reached the target–all the ways we have fallen short of the glory of God.

“Finding forgiveness for the things we’ve left undone includes a prayer asking for God’s grace to strengthen us to step up, like the paralyzed man and step out on a new way of life. Suddenly the paralyzed man could move and walk and run. In the same way, once we have found forgiveness for the things we have left undone we are also given new power to do what we should do.

This grace–this new power–does not come instantly. Instead, it comes as we step out and obey God’s commandments. St Benedict says we “Run in the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with an inexpressible delight of love!” This is the end point of finding forgiveness–that in being forgiven we also find a new power in Christ to run in the way of God’s commandments.” – Dwight Longenecker 

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? – Mark 2:9 (ESV)

PRAYER: Lord, help us to demonstrate the signs of forgiveness and to rise up and live in the power of that forgiveness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/20/21 – The Courage of Love

Maximilian Kolbe was a truly amazing man.  Let me share his story with you:

During the WW2, Kolbe (a Catholic priest) provided shelter to refugees from Poland, including 2000 Jews that he hid from Nazi persecution.  Eventually, he was discovered and on February 17, 1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo and placed in prison.  On May 28 of 1941, he was sent to Auschwitz as prisoner 16670. 

As 1941 came to an end, three prisoners vanished from the camp, prompting the deputy camp commander to select 10 men who would be starved to death in an underground bunker to dissuade further escape attempts.  One of the men, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out, “My wife!  My children!”, Kolbe volunteered to take the man’s place.

In the underground bunker, Kolbe celebrated Mass each day and sang hymns with the prisoners.  He led the condemned men in song and prayer and encouraged them by talking to them about heaven.  Whenever the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied and killed Kolbe with a lethal injection of carbolic acid.  Some who witnessed the injection say he raised his left arm and calmly waited for the injection. 

Kolbe wrote: “No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the catacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?”

Blogger George David Byers said this as he contemplated the example of Kolbe: “A surviving witness—an inmate who had been called to act as translator—later reported that the Nazi guards marveled in wonder at Kolbe. Their ideology had taught them to strive to be godless “supermen,” defining themselves by the brute power with which they could subjugate others. In the naked, starving priest, the Nazis were stunned to discover a true man, one who could face death with a smile because he was dying not for hate, but for love.”

Would I have stepped forward to give my life for a stranger as Kolbe did?  Isn’t that the kind of love we are to have for others?  Kolbe followed the example of Jesus: laying down his life, not just for a friend, but for a total stranger. 

PRAYER: Jesus, teach me to love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/19/21 – Troubled Waters

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. (John 5:2–4 NKJV)

There’s a definite sequence here that we’d do well to understand. The people who were around the pool had problems. They were sick, blind, lame, paralyzed and who knows what else. They knew and understood the challenges that come from changes and the unexpected things in life.

But here’s the sequencing that is so important:

FIRST: before someone could be healed, the waters had to be stirred up. When things were calm, nothing was happening. The water had to start to swirl and splash around.

SECOND: once the water was troubled, the next essential ingredient to the healing was the faith of the sick that believed healing would come if they could just get into the stirred up waters.

In life, we may prefer smooth sailing on still water, but things don’t change when it is that way. It’s when things are stirred up and become “troubled” that healing can come. But we need to believe in the power behind the healing, too, and in his desire for us to be healed.

Don’t fight against troubled waters. Instead, leap into them filled with faith that healing awaits.

PRAYER: Jesus, our preference is for quiet and calm in life, but don’t let us use that as an excuse to find the healing in the troubled water that surrounds us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/18/21 – The Roses Come with Thorns

That great American writer, Mark Twain, wrote: “Most people are bothered by those passages in Scriptures which they cannot understand; but as for me, I always notice that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most are those which I do understand.”

I suspect that, at times, we all would like to walk away from the church and never come back. We want a God different from the one we find in Jesus.

Flesh and blood? Yes. But demanding? No.

Resurrected? Yes. But crucified? No.

Salvation? Yes. Repentance? No.

Love? Yes. Commitment? No.

Unfortunately, you cannot have one without the other. The rose comes with the thorns. The pains come with the birth. Night comes with day. The best of times can only be lived because there are those times that are so bad.

PRAYER: Father, teach us to graciously accept not only the roses, but the thorns they bear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/15/21 – God’s Curveballs

Sandy Koufax was the master of the curveball when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  There’s been a movie out for some time now titled “Trouble with the Curve” about baseball.  The ability to hit the curve is perhaps the greatest difference between major league hitters and those who never make it to the majors.  Curve balls, in a word, are tough.

God is even better at curve balls than Sandy Koufax. 

Here’s a few examples: Abram had his life planned out then God threw him a huge curve: “Pack up and follow me to a place I’ll tell you about later.”  Then: “Take your son and offer him to me on an altar.”  Daniel was a noble in his homeland and God threw him a curve: now you’re an exile in Babylon.  Moses’ didn’t deal too well with his curveball but recovered nicely.  Peter struck out on 3 pitches but learned to hit later.

One thing we can count on in life is that God will throw us some curves.  Why does he do that?  I think that there’s at least two reasons:

FIRST: if all we ever saw from God were straight fastballs, pretty soon we’d learn to hit and we’d start to feel confident about our own ability.  Anyone can hit fastballs, especially when served up in a steady stream.  But when that curve shows up, we once again are reminded that we’re not that great of hitters after all.  More often than not, we’ll swing and miss…and that’s good medicine for us.

SECOND: sometimes the curve balls are great teaching devices…teaching us how much we need to depend on God because we see how clearly we can’t deal with those curves ourselves.  Curve balls are the great humblers in life.  Have you ever really thought about what Jesus said: By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. – John 5:30 (NIV)

If Jesus said He couldn’t do anything on his own, what makes us think that we can?

Be on the lookout for God’s curve balls.  They have a purpose.  Let’s all learn from them!

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, I pray that your Presence will continually remind us that all shall one day be revealed!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/14/21 – Falling Like Lightning

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. – Luke 10:18 (NIV)

A few years back now, one Felix Baumgartner did something amazing.  He rode a hot air balloon (a very special one!) to an altitude of 24 miles before jumping out of the capsule that carried him to that height.  He then free-fell to earth for nine minutes, reaching a top speed of 833.9 miles per hour, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier while sky-diving.  It was an amazing, incredible, courageous (some may say crazy) feat!

Here’s a lesson for us.  It’s easy to fall…and once you start falling, it’s really, really hard to stop.  It took Baumgartner only 9 minutes to get back to earth, but the ascent too much longer.  It is always harder to go up than to come down.  Falling is easy, ascending is hard.  Ascending is hard work. 

The Scriptures talk of ascending to God’s holy hill or mountain.  Ascending takes our breath away as we labor to move up the mountainside.  Ascending requires sweat, even when in the bitter cold of Mt. Everest.  Ascending takes dedication, a strong motivation, a determination that falling never requires.  Life lived in pursuit of God’s Presence is always in an upward direction.  It takes effort.  It will not happen by accident.

Falling away from His Presence is easy.  All we have to do is let go of where we are and let go of our pursuit of the Holy and we’ll be zooming downward in a heartbeat.  And it’s all downhill from there.

It’s also true that it’s much harder to build a reputation up than to tear one down – either your own, or someone else’s.  Don’t do it. 

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, I pray that your Presence will continually remind us that all shall one day be revealed!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/13/21 – The Servant Commander

During the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, “Sir, I am a corporal!” The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, “Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again.” With that George Washington got back on horse and rode off.

Where did Washington learn such leadership skills? I have no doubt he learned them here. In these words of Jesus: Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. The young corporal had these words modeled to him from the man at the top. The disciples, likewise, receive from their leader a picture of servant hood.

And it is high time they start imitating their leader. It seems to me that never in my lifetime have I witnessed so many people striving for power – yet unwilling to serve others.

It isn’t easy humbling oneself, is it? Pride was the original sin and it likely remains the #1 sin today.

How is your heart? What are you willing to give up to serve others less fortunate, less powerful, less lovely than yourself? I’m sure that Jesus saw Washington get off his horse to help construct a battlement…and I’m sure he’s watching us today, too.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for showing us the greatest example of humility in history! Give us the hunger to imitate you in service as well as in piety. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/12/21 – Buried in Plain Sight

Sometimes no one ever really knows what lurks beneath until things get a good shake. An April earthquake in the region of the Solomon Islands shook loose a World War II torpedo boat which had rested on the ocean floor for over 60 years. The boat’s hull was intact—explosives and all. A bomb unit was deployed to detonate the torpedoes safely.

Experts believe the PT boat is just one of many pieces of military wreckage that pepper the coastline of the islands. This piece is particularly fascinating in that it’s the same variety of military craft U.S. President John F. Kennedy commanded.

Jay Waura of the National Disaster Management Office said, “We were amazed by this finding, as previously this wreckage had long been sitting under the sea and rusting in peace without anyone knowing about it.”

Luke 8:17 – For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed.  We like to believe in exceptions – and in particular that WE are the exception to the rule.  But Jesus is clear: “There is NOTHING hidden that will not be disclosed…”

Whatever things we are trying to hide from the sight of the Lord are clearly visible to Him now…and they will be made visible to all one day.  I don’t like that.  If you don’t like it either, then we should change how we live.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, I pray that your Presence will continually remind us that all shall one day be revealed!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/11/21 – The Jerk and Me

The movie, The Jerk, tells the story of Navin Johnson (played by Steve Martin), a man whose quirky invention takes him from rags to riches—and then back to rags. Just after losing his fortune in a single court case, Navin’s life is falling apart. His marriage is on the rocks, and he’s in the process of leaving his extravagant lifestyle behind. Nonetheless, he stubbornly insists he doesn’t need any of it anyway. The problem is, his actions betray his convictions. As he stumbles around the room, he grabs hold of a number of insignificant things. By the time he’s made it to the door, his arms are filled with material items—all while protesting wildly that he doesn’t need anything. His words tell it all:

“Well, I’m going to go then!” Navin yells. “And I don’t need any of this! I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything except this [picks up an ashtray] and that’s it. And that’s the only thing I need—this. I don’t need this or this—just this ashtray. And this paddle game. The ashtray and the paddle game, and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, these matches, the remote control, and the paddleball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game, the remote control, the lamp, and that’s all I need.

“And that’s all I need, too!” Navin continues. “I don’t need one other thing—not one. I need this (picks up a chair)! The paddle game, the chair, the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this! And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine, and the chair.”

I don’t know if the writers of the movie were trying to make a serious point or just be funny, but it is a rather tragic scene if you think about it carefully. 

It’s easy to say that I’ve given everything I have and am to God…but our actions often betray the truth about us.  I could easily describe my life and walk with God something like this: “I have given it all to Him, and I have held nothing back.  Except my bank account.  That’s all I’ve kept, I don’t need anything else.  Just my bank account…and my job.  That’s all I have held back…I’m sure He understands.  I’ve only kept my bank account and my job…and my expensive vacations.  Other than those things, I’ve given my all to Jesus.  Those things, and lust…and I have given Him all the rest.” 

The only problem is, I’ve not given Him my all if I’ve held anything back. 

What are you holding back? 

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me… – Mt. 10:37

PRAYER: Jesus, I know, in spite of all my protestations, that I have held back parts of my life, thinking them either too precious to give up, or that I can run those parts of my life better than you can.  Forgive my foolishness, pardon my sin, break my heart…and let me give you ALL!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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