DayBreaks for 7/06/15 – Choose Your Enemies Carefully

DayBreaks for 7/06/15: Choose Your Enemies Carefully

You’ve heard the old saying, “Choose your friends carefully!”  Why do people say that?  Because if you choose human friends poorly, they may turn on you when it is to their advantage. Or, consider the other reason and another old saw you have probably heard: “Evil companions corrupt good morals.”  In other words, if you choose friends who are not living upright lives, you will probably be tempted to join them in whatever it is that they are doing once your friendship progresses and the peer pressure weighs you down. It is truly wise to choose one’s friends carefully.

But, have you ever considered the importance of choosing your enemies wisely?

First, wouldn’t it be great to not have any enemies at all? We are to pray for our enemies. We are to, as much as it is humanly possible, live at peace with all people. We are commanded to love our enemies. But even that command acknowledges the simple fact that we will have enemies. So, we should learn to choose them wisely.

It is one thing to have enemies in this world. The Devil is our adversary – roaming there and there – trying to find those he can consume. He is an enemy, though none of us have ever seen him.

Listen to this passage from James 4:4 –You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4 (ESV)

It is one thing to have other humans as enemies – as long as they are “enemies” because they are opposed to God. It is our human condition that Satan is our enemy – even if we “serve” him he’s our enemy – because He wants only to kill and to destroy, even while he pretends to be their friends.

I, for one, do not want to have an All-powerful God as my enemy. And that puts me (and you!) directly on a collision course with a critical decision: we can choose to be a friend of the world or a friend of God. We can’t be friends with both. It is not possible.

What might you have to change in order to  no longer be a friend of the world, but God’s friend instead?

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 7/03/15 – Believing the Impossible

DayBreaks for 7/03/15: Believing the Impossible

Today’s DayBreaks is from the 2001 DayBreaks archive:

You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing them.  The National Enquirer, the National Scandal, the Globe…and there are probably at least a few that I don’t even know by name.  There are right there in front of you as you stand at the checkout.  I don’t buy them – let’s be clear about that – but sometimes I can’t help but laugh at some of the headlines.  They boast stories like these: “Monkey-Boy Found in the Amazon”, “Doorway to Hell Found!”, “Titanic Survivor Skeleton Found 75 Years Later” (accompanied by a photo of a skeleton floating in the water inside of a Titanic life ring.  The list of headlines goes on and on and on.  You get the idea.  Rather incredible stuff.  And now it’s confession time: I don’t believe a bit of it! 

I’m a skeptic by nature, I guess.  Call me cautious, call me crazy – just don’t expect me to buy one of these trade rags.  Their claims are so far out that they are hilarious.  But people buy them left and right to read them.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I don’t know if it is because they believe this stuff, or because they want to believe in the incredible, or just because they are looking for a laugh.  (If you buy these magazines, I hope you aren’t offended by my comments – that is not my purpose!)

Perhaps I’m too judgmental.  Maybe I’m too harsh in my opinion about these magazines.  After all, stop and think about some of the things that I believe in: people used to live to be as old as 965 years (Methuselah), a slave boy came to be the vice president of Egypt, a man built a boat of gopher wood and saved humanity from a flood, three Hebrew children walked through a fiery metal furnace and didn’t even come out smelling of smoke, Daniel played fetch with the lions for an entire night and wasn’t on the menu, Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus walked on water, Jesus raised the dead (including himself), he fed 5000 with the equivalent of a child’s meal from Peter’s Fish and Chips.  Oh, and the list doesn’t stop there: he turned water into wine, he told the wind to go away and it did, he arose bodily into heaven, and he’s coming back again sometime. 

Now let me ask you: which is easier to believe?  That Jesus walked on water or a skeleton was found floating in a Titanic life ring?  Can you more easily believe that a human boy was found in the jungle my monkeys and raised to be one of them, or that the son of God was born via a virgin? 

1 Corinthians 3:18 says “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.”  In one of his songs, titled “God’s Fool”, Michael Card wrote about this concept when he penned these words: “And so we follow God’s own fool, for only the foolish can tell.  Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well.

Yes, many thought Jesus was a fool – or at best, a madman.  He didn’t have a home, a place to lay his head, no possessions except his clothing.  He shunned popularity.  He chose ordinary working men and women and challenged them to change the world (and they didn’t even know what the “world” meant). 

I may be foolish.  In fact, I hope I am – if you are talking about being a fool for God.  Christianity is all about faith in God and a Savior we’ve never seen, met or touched.  This is a religion for fools – at least from the world’s point of view we are all fools.  I have never been happier to be a fool.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 7/01/15 – We’re Not Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

DayBreaks for 7/01/15: We’re Not Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:

Do you remember the Christian children’s song from your childhood that included the words, “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder?”  It comes from the story of Jacob in Genesis as he was running for his life with his brother Esau chasing him.  Jacob, after a hard day of running, lay down to sleep at night and had a vision of a ladder reaching from heaven to earth with angels going up and down the ladder.  The old song suggested that each round we went in life, we got higher and higher up the ladder, nearer and nearer to God’s throne.  It’s a cute song, but it’s not biblical in its imagery.

The idea that we can climb up a ladder to God is no different than the suggestion that was put forth by the men of Babel long ago who decided that they’d build a tower to let them get to heaven.  Didn’t work for them – and if we do anything to try to reach God through our own efforts, it won’t work for us, either.

Therein is the problem with the song about Jacob’s ladder: the ladder wasn’t so we could walk up the ladder to God, but so that God could come down to the earth, to the place where Jacob was, and years later on in Jacob’s life, to wrestle with him.  And therein is the wonder: that God would come down in such a way to the place where we live.  Jacob, we’re told, wasn’t aware until he awoke that God was in that place.  I can’t help but wonder how many places that I’ve been where I had no inkling of His presence, too. 

God came down to earth in the garden of Eden, He came down to visit Abraham, He came down in the shape and form of a baby, and He came down in the Spirit to live with us.  God is still in the business of coming to earth.  He comes to us each and every day as we move through life.  He watches us, encourages us, corrects us, counsels us and delights in our Presence. 

I’m thankful that God chooses to come down and spend each day with us.  Let’s make Him welcome!

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/30/15 – God and the Kitchen Guy

DayBreaks for 6/30/15: God and the Kitchen Guy

Today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:

From John Ortberg’s God Is Closer Than You Think: “…a man named Nicholas Herman in the food service industry had had stints in the military and in transportation, and now he was a short-order cook and bottle-washer.  But he became deeply dissatisfied with his life; he worried chronically about himself, even whether or not he was saved.

“One day Nick was looking at a tree, and the same truth struck him that struck the psalmist so long ago: the secret of the life of a tree is that it remains rooted in something other and deeper than itself.  He decided to make his life an experiment in what he called a ‘habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God.’

“He is known today by the new name given to him by his friends: brother Lawrence.  He remained obscure throughout his life.  He never got voted pope.  He never got close to becoming the CEO of his organization.  He stayed in the kitchen.  But the people around him found that rivers of living water flowed out of him that made them want to know God the way he did.  ‘The good brother found God everywhere,’ one of them wrote, ‘as much while he was repairing shoes as while he was praying with the community.’  After Lawrence died, his friends put together a book of his letters and conversations.  It is called Practicing the Presence of God and is thought, apart from the Bible, to be the most widely read book of the last four centuries.  This monastic short-order cook has probably out-sold novelists John Grisham and Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling put together.”

How great is our hunger and longing for God?  How often do you find yourself being aware of His Presence?  You can find Him wherever you are today – in the kitchen, in the workplace, in the classroom, in the nursery and on the highway.  Know this: wherever you are, He will find you.  Will you find Him?  Do you want to?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/29/15 – A Strange Song in a Strange Land

DayBreaks for 6/29/15: A Strange Song in a Strange Land

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:

Ps. 137:1-4 – Beside the rivers of Babylon , we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.  We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees.  For there our captors demanded a song of us.  Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”  But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? (NLT)

This past Saturday, my wife and I took my sister and her two boys from our town over to the California’s Mendocino coast.  As highway 128 winds its way to the beautiful coastline, it cuts through Navarro state park.  In the park are some redwoods and we like to stop and wander among the mighty trees when we drive to the ocean.  This Saturday was no different, and finding a good spot to pull off, we all hopped out of the car and explored a part of the redwood forest.  Since it had been raining for a couple of days (very unusual for California in June!), the forest floor was spongy and soft and the damp smell of redwood humus was thick in the air.  It was very refreshing, and the boys (ages 9 and 5) dodged from tree to tree, climbing where they could, discovering what redwood forests are all about.

At one point, I wandered a tiny bit away from the rest of the explorers and found myself alone amongst the behemoths.  It was quiet, the only sound to be heard was the song of the birds in the wooded canopy.  For about 10-15 seconds, I was able to stand there in complete stillness and soak in the sounds that these huge trees have heard all their lives.  The wind in the upper reaches of the trees, the melodies of the birds as they flitted joyfully from one branch to another.  But then something else happened: one of the boys cried out in delight over some discovery, and the spell was broken.  But as I heard it, I thought of the passage from Psalm 137.  I was smitten with the idea of how foreign the sounds that we humans make in the woods must be to trees, ferns, and the living things of the forest. 

The captive Jews found it impossible to sing one of the songs of Jerusalem, of Zion, while held in Babylon.  For a people who were known for their joyful celebrations and singing, it was quite a statement: “We put away our lyres…how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”  Here’s what I thought:

FIRST: we, as Christians, must sound very foreign to this world when we speak of virgin births, turning water into wine, healing the blind, raising the dead, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of eternal life for those who accept Him by faith.  Surely, we sound as out of place as a boy’s shouts in the woods.  But the sounds of my nephews were no less real sounds of life than those of the birds.  They were just a different language.  And while they sounded out of place in the stillness of the moist, cool redwood forest, surely their squeals of delight pleased the Maker as they celebrated His creation.

SECOND: as the Jews found it difficult to sing God’s songs in a foreign land, we can also find it very hard at times to sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb in a world that doesn’t understand our language.  It isn’t just that they don’t understand our language, we believe they don’t want to hear it, and that’s what makes it difficult at times to sing the Song.  But we do the world an injustice when we keep the Song to ourselves.  There are those who will hear it and find joy in it, freedom and wind to lift them up and let them fly again.  If we don’t sing the Song, who will?  If we won’t sing it now, when the world needs it the most, when will we sing it?  It is the song of the ultimate freedom, of ultimate love, of peace, joy and hope.  It is the Song that this strange land called earth so desperately needs to hear!   Will you sing it?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, we live in very strange times and in a strange and foreign land, far from our native country.  Let us live as your children while here so others may know your goodness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/26/15 – Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

DayBreaks for 6/26/15: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the DayBreaks archive:

I remember playing hide and seek when I was a kid.  No, we didn’t have video games then, so we had to play boring old games where you had to run around and actually expend some energy!  I can’t say that I remember being very good at hide and seek.  Seems that I seldom got found.  Perhaps they just didn’t want to find ME!  But I remember I wasn’t all that great at finding others, either.  And of course, when you couldn’t find someone and you were ready to give up, you’d yell out “Come out, come out, wherever you are!”, and then all those who’d not been found would come out of their hiding places. 

I’m not sure, but I think that perhaps as we get older, we get better at hiding.  We start to hide our feelings (something that little kids can’t do very well), we hide our flaws and quirks, we work very hard at hiding our mistakes in the business world – and if caught – are quick to pass the blame along to someone else, which is really nothing more than another way of hiding. 

The very first game we ever play is usually “peek-a-boo”.  I’ve got to tell you that when I see grown ups acting like crazy folks playing peek-a-boo with their babies, I have to chuckle.  Don’t they know how silly they look?  (Hey – that’s not fair now, I used to play it with my kids – and now my grandkids – but somehow I’m sure I’ve managed to maintain a dignified look when I do it!)  It seems like a simple enough game, doesn’t it?  But it is a very important one, too, if you think about it.

What do babies learn from this simple game?  They learn things that we as adults need to remember rather than forget:

FIRST: we can try to hide ourselves, but we really can’t.  Just because we can’t see someone else (when we cover our eyes), it doesn’t mean that they’re not there.  It just means that our vision is blocked.  We can cover our eyes, but the parents know that we’re still there.  They can still see us with our eyes covered.  God sees us even when we try to blind ourselves to pretend that He’s not there and watching.  We are so foolish!

SECOND: we learn the joy of being “found” again.  The baby that removes their hands from their eyes and again sees mom or dad squeals with delight to be in contact again with the parent.  Their little faces crinkle all up with joy and excitement.  We need to remember the joy of being “found”.  We don’t want to be hidden, isolated, cut off from others.  Most of all, we shouldn’t want to be cut off from God.  But we tend to forget the joyfulness of being “found”.  Oh, that our faces should be like babes faces again and we would squeal with delight at knowing we’ve been found by God, and that we are in His tender care!

It’s been a long time since I’ve played hide-and-seek, but I think I’m about ready again.  How about you?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to stop playing games and let us rejoice that we have been found!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/25/15 – Even in the Darkness

DayBreaks for 6/25/15: Even in the Darkness

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the DayBreaks archive:

I love the story of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples in the middle of the storm.  It has everything you’d expect of a Hollywood blockbuster, except it’s even better because it’s true! 

The story takes place at 3 in the morning, which means it would have been dark.  In fact, due to the storm, it probably was darker than usual because the cloud cover would have hidden the moon and stars from sight.  The sea spray is flying everywhere, the wind is howling it’s mournful cry, the disciples were soaked to the bone and afraid they would never live to see another sunrise.  They had good enough reason for fear based on the weather and sea conditions alone, but then they saw something that made their skin crawl.  They saw a figure approaching them over the water – and it wasn’t another boat coming to their rescue.  It was a person – or what they took to be a ghost actually, in the form of a person.  Now it wasn’t just the wind that was screaming – according to Mark 6, the disciples screamed out in terror.

No sooner does that happen than this apparition identifies himself as Christ, as Jesus – their friend and teacher.  And in the middle of the screaming and tossing waves and soaked-to-the-bone skin, they hear him say, “Courage!  Don’t be afraid.  It’s only me!”  Jesus eventually gets into the boat with them and as Matthew told the story, they worshiped him.  No wonder – not just because they saw him walk on water, but by worshiping they may have felt it improved their chances of making it alive until morning. 

In Matthew’s version of the story, the disciples continued to fight the storm while Peter took his little jaunt on the wave tops, and it wasn’t until both Peter and Jesus were back in the boat that the storm ceased.  Here’s the point: once Jesus got into the boat of their lives, they didn’t worship him.  Their worship was directly connected with what they’d just experienced – the storm and Jesus – in the dark.  Now, after this experience and after the wind had died, they knew things about him that they’d never understood before: that he cared about them, that he’d not left them alone as they’d thought, that he was the master of the wind and the waves and if he could do that, he was the master of life itself – including lives contained in the sides of a heaving boat.  Perhaps more than anything else, they understood only then that when life is dark and when we feel so terribly alone and abandoned, that we aren’t really alone at all.  “Jesus Christ is Lord, even in the darkness.”

Your life may be incredibly dark right now.  I know people who are fighting cancer.  I know some of you are fighting relationships that seem to be going down the drain faster than a comet streaks through the sky.  I know some of you have lost loved ones.  You are all screaming out into the darkness of a moonless night into seemingly cold, empty and black space.  Stop screaming – just for a while.   Jesus didn’t come to them because he heard their screaming and decided to pay them a visit.  He knew where they were all along.  But they needed to stop screaming in order to hear his voice and to recognize him: “Take courage!  It is I.  You no longer need fear.”

Invite Jesus into your situation.  It doesn’t mean He’ll come – because whether or not you realize it, he’s already there – but it does mean that you will have a greater awareness of His Presence and His ability to still the storm, even in the darkness of your life.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Let us rise at your command, Lord, out of our depressions, sadness, bitterness, pain and disillusionment into the glory of a life lived with you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.