DayBreaks for 12/11/17 – Thou Doest Protest Too Much

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DayBreaks for 12/11/17: Thou Doest Protest too Much

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

This past week I was having a conversation with a wise, elderly woman from our church.  We were musing on our culture’s head-long rush to remove God from the public square entirely.  There are those who think that God and Christianity should have no place at all in the public arena.  They are eager and quick to point to the constitution, jumping up and down and shouting against Christianity, but they misinterpret what the constitution says.  The so-called “establishment clause” in the constitution says that the government shall not establish a state religion – it doesn’t say that religion should not be allowed to be practiced publicly or privately.  In fact, it is quite clear that the topic of God came into a great many discussions among the founding fathers.  How many of them were merely Deists versus Christians may be a topic of debate – but religion played often and well in the public discourse.

At the present time, Michael Newdow (you may remember him – he had an appeal go to the Supreme Court in an effort to have “under God” removed from the pledge of allegiance, only to have his case thrown out on a technicality – he was supposedly suing on behalf of his child, but his child didn’t live with him, therefore the court ruled he had no right to sue on her behalf.  The court never ruled on the real topic – the question of whether or not can “under God” remain in the pledge.

Michael Newdow is at it again.  He still doesn’t have custody of his daughter (who lives with her mother, and unless I’m mistaken, they are strongly opposed to Newdow’s actions), but he’s now suing on behalf of some other folks.  I don’t get all the legal mumbo-jumbo, but he’s once more trying to get “under God” taken out of the pledge. 

Michael Newdow is an atheist.  The question the elderly sister asked me was simply this: “What do atheists fight so hard to do away with something they don’t even believe exists?”  Interesting queston, eh?  I mean, if they really believe He doesn’t exist, why should it bother them if I think and believe He does exist? 

Then, on the morning that I wrote this DayBreaks, I got an email from a reader who noted that since the atheists don’t believe in any god, they in essence become their own god.  She was right, I think.  Why does Michael Newdow and others of his ilk try to eliminate all mention of God or Jesus?  Because they want to be their own god.  They don’t want to have to even consider that they might have to answer to a Higher Authority.  It’s almost as if they are sitting there with their eyes clenched as tightly shut as they possibly can squeeze them, with hands over their ears, repeating over and over, “There is no God, there is no God, there is no God,” hoping to convince themselves of that fact.  I remember that my kids would do similar things when they were little when they didn’t want to believe something that they couldn’t escape, like knowing they were going to the doctor to get an immunization.  All the “No, I’m not going!  No, I’m not going!  No, no, no!” didn’t make the inevitable go away.

Sadly, no matter how hard he may try, Michael Newdow will never be able to escape from the Truth.  He’s in for a big surprise – and a very unpleasant one, at that, if he doesn’t come to faith before he dies.  We should pray for his lost soul and the souls of all who are lost in unbelief.  We are all there at one time, too.

Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

PRAYER:  Lord, open the eyes of those who don’t believe in You.  Help them to see the Light of the World that can take away their sin and give them eternal life.  Help us not to try to be our own gods, for we are doomed to failure and destruction if we pursue that path!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/08/17 – Being the Real Deal

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DayBreaks for 12/08/17: Being the Real Deal

NOTE: Galen is traveling for the next few days.

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

A Georgia woman’s outrageous attempt at fraud has landed her in jail under charges of forgery.  Thirty-five-year-old Alice Pike attempted to pay for $1671.55 worth of merchandise at a Wal-Mart with a one-million dollar bill.

When Pike handed the cashier the bill, the cashier refused to take it, and also declined to hand over the $998,000 change.  She immediately called the manager, who also refused to take the bogus bill.

Pike reportedly offered $2.32 on a gift card, and then tried to cash the big bill again.  At the point the manager called police, who took Pike into custody.  Authorities found two more of the seven-figure bills in her purse. 

Police say Pike claims the bills were a gift from her husband, and she thought they were real.  Chief of Police in Covington, Georgia, Stacey Cotton says, “The bill ‘looks’ real, but of course there’s nothing real about this.”

The U.S. Treasury does not print a one-million-dollar bill, but several varieties of the large bills are available as toys, novelty gifts, or souvenirs.  – http://www.nypost.com, Funny-$$ Gal 1 in a Million, by Amit Srivastava, March 10, 2004.

You’ve heard the saying, “If something looks too good to be true, it probably is”, and yet we still have a tendency to fall for things, don’t we?  Perhaps it’s because we so badly want some things to be true. 

When it comes to money, merchants want the real deal, as do doctors, lawyers, dentists, sanitation engineers and even employees (when payday rolls around!)  No one likes to be defrauded or duped.  We want authenticity.

When it comes to the Christian life, the world deserves to see the real deal.  That means people on an authentic journey, working to change the world a little tiny piece at a time into God’s kingdom on earth.  The world is full of folks who, as Paul put it in his letter to his spiritual offspring, Timothy, where he warns Timothy about those who appear to be as “…having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Tim. 3:5, NIV)  

The real challenge for us is not to decide who such people are and to judge them, but to examine ourselves to see if we hold not only the form of godliness, but also its power in our lives to resist sin, overcome temptation, to love our enemies, to forgive those who have wronged us.  Don’t be so eager to decide if others really have the power of godliness – look first at yourself.

Prov. 21:27 (NASB) – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent!

PRAYER:  We want to be authentic followers of Yours, Jesus.  We want to have the power You have promised us in our lives so we can bring You glory and find the deliverance from the wiles of Satan that You intend for us to experience.  Help us to examine our hearts to determine if the truth be within us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/07/17 – Shattered Dreams

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DayBreaks for 12/07/17: Shattered Dreams

NOTE: Galen is traveling for the next few days.

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

Who among us hasn’t had dreams that were destroyed by one of the twists and turns of life?  Dreams die hard, and they hurt when they die.  We must live with the knowledge and in the presence of that death for the rest of our days.  And sometimes, the ghosts of those dreams come back to haunt us.

I spoke today with a woman who recently became a Christian and who attends another church.  She told me that in her new congregation she doesn’t seem to find the power to overcome things that she once sensed in her prior church, and it has led her to wonder if God is angry at her, if He’s left her because of something foolish or accidental that she’s done.  I’m sure that we’ve all wondered where God was when life became too much to bear. 

Much of modern advertising is designed to convince us that if we have more in life that we’ll get more out of life.  Not so, says Larry Crabb, in Shattered Dreams: “Satan’s masterpiece is not the prostitute or the skid-row bum.  It is the self-sufficient person who has made life comfortable, who is adjusting well to the world and truly likes living here, a person who dreams of no better place to live, who longs only to be a little better—and a little better off—than he already is.”

When it comes to spiritual things, we are all bankrupt before the Father.  People who have true joy are God-dependant, not self-sufficient.  They yearn for a better relationship with Him through difficult times and find their joy in that relationship, not the fulfillment of their dreams. 

What gives you the greatest fulfillment in your life?  If it’s not God and His Kingdom, we need to rethink our priorities and dream different dreams.

Matthew 5:3 Matthew 5:3 (KJV) – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

PRAYER:  We humans have a hard time with contentment, Lord.  We want and do not have, and we don’t especially want the things that are best for us, like some medicine that might taste bad.  Help us learn to trust in Your wisdom for our lives and for what will bring us true joy and meaning.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/06/17 – Non-Negotiable Truth

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DayBreaks for 12/06/17: Non-Negotiable Truth

NOTE: Galen is traveling for the next few days.

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

Not too long ago, George Barna’s research said that only 9% of teenagers who call themselves “born-again Christians” believe in such a thing as moral absolutes.  Only 4% of non-born again teens believe in moral absolutes.  It would be interesting to see what the statistics say for adults who consider themselves Christians.  I’m sure that piece of data is out there, but I don’t have it readily available at this writing.  But, it’s not really necessary.  If these statistics are real, the point is made.  And why, one might ask, would born-again Christian teens not think that there are moral absolutes?  Most likely it’s because their parents and churches haven’t taught them that there are moral absolutes.  We’ve abdicated the reasoning and logical powers of our youth to relativistic teachers and postmodern deconstructionists who have twisted and blinded their eyes.  And I believe most who call themselves Christians but who are adults, have the same problem.  

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)

But wait: isn’t the statement, “there is no absolute truth” a contradiction in and of itself?  Isn’t it a statement that purports to make an absolute truth statement even while denying the existence of absolute truth?  Of course it is.  See how easy it is to swallow Satan’s baited hook?

Maybe some of you who are reading this are saying right now: “But there are no absolute truths.”  Okay, let’s test that hypothesis right now.  For those who think that there are no absolutes, at lunchtime today, I want you to go into the lavatory, fill the sink with water, and put your head in and hold it totally underwater for 45 minutes breathing nothing but water.  Then, come out and tell me if there is absolute truth about this statement one way or another: “Breathing water for humans is just as good as breathing air.” 

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

Maybe you are going to the doctor in the next few days.  When he/she prescribes something for you, do you want the precise dosage, or do you want them to tell you that “it doesn’t matter how much you take – take whatever you want to”?  I don’t know about you, but when I go to the doctor, I want him to tell me the right dosage of medication I need.  It wouldn’t be right for him 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.  There is absolute truth in this, too!

Maybe you’re flying somewhere this week or for the holidays.  When you get to the airport, do you want the counter person to tell you which is the correct gate and flight and departure time, or to say, “You know, it really doesn’t matter which plane you get on, they all will take you somewhere sometime – maybe even all will take you to the same place.”  No thanks.  Not for me.  I want to know the absolute truth about what flight to get on to wind up where I want to be.

Perhaps you’re saying, “Sure, Galen, but those are physical things.  I’m talking about spiritual absolutes – and there are none of them.”  Again, a self-refuting claim.  To accurately make such a claim, one would have to know every possible fact about spiritual things.  If there is a single spiritual truth that someone doesn’t know or have, that one truth might just well be that there are absolute spiritual realities.  Jesus said there is absolute truth – and He is IT!

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 KJV

PRAYER:  Give us the wisdom to recognize falsehood when it comes disguised as so-called “wisdom” and eyes to see that Jesus is the Absolute Spiritual Truth.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/5/17 – Faith, With Nike’s On

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DayBreaks for 12/05/17: Faith, With Nikes On

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

It never ceases to fascinate me when I pause to consider how different people are from one another.  Some are tall, others short.  Some fat, some anorexic.  Some laugh and find a lot of joy in life while others are grim, depressed and seem to be captivated by the negative side of things. 

I am the kind of person who likes chaos.  You’d know that about me if you ever saw my office when I worked in the computer world, or even now!  My desktop usually looks like Katrina had just blown through the office.  Piles here, stacks there – I suppose to any outsider looking at it, they’d think it was totally in disarray and that no one could ever find anything in that mess.  But somehow, I do just fine in that environment.  My high-tech job at the end was very diverse, I had many wonderful managers working under my direction on all kinds of products and services.  If I was ever allowed to spend more than about 20 minutes at time on any particular topic, I’d start to get bored.  I love chaos.  I function well under chaos.  But not all people do.  And that’s OK, too!

Sometimes it isn’t just our desktops or purses or garages that get chaotic, it’s life itself.  Just a few days ago, we learned that one of my wife’s cousins went into the hospital and has found out now that she’s got stage 4 cancer.  Between Saturday and Monday, her world and life was turned upside down.  A huge wind blew in and rearranged everything.  She’d been planning to sell her house (it’s on the market, but here in California right now, that doesn’t mean a thing), she was looking forward to retirement (that’s the main reason she was selling the house – so she could retire and start to draw her retirement checks) and to watching her grandchildren grow.  All of that suddenly was ripped away from her in one hugely chaotic moment, with just 3 words: “You have cancer.”

A friend of mine (and brother in Christ) is going to be divorced soon – his wife chose to leave him and took the two little children with her, moving clear across this great land that we call home – breaking her home in the process.  She doesn’t want to be married to him anymore.  His world, too, has become chaotic. 

Compared to those two people, my life is a piece of cake. 

But what are we to do when the winds of chaos howl and blow through our lives?  We’re to do the same thing we do when only the slightest breeze ruffles our lives.  Here’s how Andre Seu put it: The alternative is to remember that the fundamental things apply in cataclysms as well as calm times.  To wit: Do the right thing; one foot in front of the other; one piece of the problem at a time; take lunch, exercise, sleep.  I remember the counselor Jay Adams saying that the trouble is not usually that we don’t know what to do but that we don’t do it long enough.  We give up just before the breakthrough would have come.  Like Screwtape said, “It is so hard for these creatures to persevere.”  But persevering is what it’s all about.  Persevering is just faith with Nikes on.  – Andre Seu, World Magazine, 12/1/07

In times of chaos, do the right thing – one step at a time, one piece of the problem at a time, persevere.  In times of calm, do the right thing – one step at a time, one piece of the problem at a time, persevere.  It was Jesus’ model, and it works.  Strap on your Nikes!

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NIV) – May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

PRAYER:  Father, may we be at peace even in the storm, may we be prepared to run the distance and finish well regardless of chaos or calm.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/4/17 – What We Shall Be

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DayBreaks for 12/04/17: What We Shall Be

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

What do you think heaven looks like?  We read of the streets of gold and the city gates being made up of a huge, single pearl each.  There are descriptions of the river of life that flows through the city and the trees that bear fruit along its banks.  Incredible creatures are there, too, according to Revelation: myriads upon myriads of angels, archangels, and don’t forget the fascinating four living creatures that stand before the throne itself.  What do they look like?  John describes them somewhat for us, but even then, it’s a mind-boggling and mind-stretching scene to try to imagine.  Then, don’t forget the glassy, crystal sea.  It must be beautiful to look upon!

And of course, there’s the Lamb and the Father and the Spirit – all pictured in various places throughout Scripture, but most intriguingly, perhaps in Revelation. 

So, what is it that you think will be the most amazing thing to see?  Will it be God Himself?  Will it be when our eyes are opened and we can see the Spirit?  Will it be the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world?  I am sure that when we see Them, it will be beyond our imagining, even though we’ve read about them in John’s apocalypse.  And I’m sure that the four living creatures won’t disappoint, nor will the sight of the angel, Michael, the leader of God’s heavenly army.

But, as I thought about it the other day, while not the most glorious sight, but perhaps the most surprising, may be those who have been at last perfected by the blood of the Lamb.  Not even the most beautiful actress or actor at their finest will begin to compare to a perfected human being.  We’ve never seen a perfected human in the 21st century.  There was only One human who ever lived that was perfect – all that the Father Creator meant for Him to be.  Only one century was privileged to see that.  But even then, his flesh wasn’t perfected – it was subject to decay and failure, just as ours is. 

As I sat during Thanksgiving and watched my family around the table, in the front room, in the kitchen, and I watched them with wonder in my heart and delighted to hear their interactions and laughter, I looked at my wife and thought: won’t she be incredible in heaven?  (I think she’s wonderfully incredible now!)  She’ll have no flaws of any kind, nor will I.  In heaven, we will be perfected – all God ever meant for us to be.  Won’t it be a glorious sight to see?

John 1:14 (NIV) – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 John 3:2 (KJV) – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

PRAYER:  Lord, we can’t imagine the delights of Your home, and our home!  We wait with patience, we will finish well, Lord, by Your grace and great power, as we look forward to the day when You complete Your mighty work in us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/01/17 – What to Value

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DayBreaks for 12/01/17: What to Value

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Can you believe it?  Tomorrow is the first of December.  I both hate and love this time of the year.  I love the smells of Christmas – cookies, hot apple cider, turkey and pie.  I love the sounds of Christmas – carols have always been among my favorite music – the laughter of children, the sound of friends greeting one another with “Merry Christmas!”  I love the sights of the holidays – the colorful lights up and down the main street and on the homes in town, the decorations on the tree.  I love the feel of Christmas – the cold nip in the air, the freshness and the feeling of warmth while bundled up in spite of the temperature outside, the fire in the hearth.  What’s not to love?

Well, for ministers, this is a very, very busy time of the year.  Each year, my wife and I say, “Let’s keep it simple this year.”  We’re not talking about just our own Christmas, but also the Christmas that we will share with the congregation God has blessed us with.  Yet, there are certain expectations – Christmas music, perhaps a skit or play, decorations, and the thing I dread perhaps more than any of the rest of it: putting together Christmas sermons!  I don’t mind the shopping that much, but it is the busyness that floods over my soul, and so by the time the holidays are over, I’m worn out, worn down and flat.

It is enough to make one pause to reflect on what is really important. 

It was reported that 11 millionaires went down on the Titanic.  Major A. H. Peuchen left $300,000,000 in money, jewelry, and securities in a box in his cabin.  “The money seemed a mockery at that time,” he later said.  “I picked up 3 oranges instead.”

This year, I pray we will have the sense to pick up oranges – to stay focused on what is of value and what brings the peace and joy that we are to find in this season of remembrance.  Let us value the Who of Christmas.  Let us let go of other things that have so little value as to be meaningless in light of the coming of the One promised from the garden of Eden to take away our sins. 

I know it’s rather early for a Christmas DayBreaks, but if you don’t enter into this month with firm conviction and principles about how you’ll live this month, you’ll likely find yourself right back in the same frantic rush – and perhaps miss the real Value.

PRAYER: Give us discerning hearts, dear Father, to do what is important and not do anything that has no real value, especially at this time of the year.  Give us the wisdom to say “No” when we need to in order to stay focused on the things which really mean something!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.