DayBreaks for 08/03/15 – The Loyal Friend

DayBreaks for 8/03/15: The Loyal Friend

From Barney’s Bullets (by Barney Cargile):

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

“In August of 1936 a sheepherder in Ft. Benton, Montana fell ill, and died a few days later.  His body was placed in a crude crate and loaded on a train heading east. There was no funeral, no stores closed, and no one came out to say good-bye…except for one faithful friend.  He stood silently watching as the train doors slammed shut and the locomotive disappeared over the horizon. Then his friend returned the next day…and the next…and the next.  For nearly six years the sheepherder’s faithful friend would come to the depot each day, staring at the spot where he had said good-bye.  Then tragedy struck on January 12, 1942.  Slipping on an icy rail, the friend fell beneath the wheels of the inbound 10:17 train.  No one remembers the name of the sheepherder, but everyone around Ft. Benton knows the name of his famous friend: Shep the sheepdog.

“The faithfulness of Shep has been immortalized in Ripley’s Believe It or Not and on Paul Harvey’s radio broadcast.  While alive, fan-mail poured in to the tiny post office by the hundreds.  Today a bronze statue of Shep stands in Ft. Benton’s town square, honoring its most famous citizen; a tribute to a faithful friend’s devotion.  How many of us could claim to have a friend this loyal?  How many of us could lay claim to being this loyal of a friend?  Friendship is essential to life. That’s how God designed us.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, With a friend you can face the worst.

“Years ago, Mike Correll of Atlanta, built a healthy business by literally buying friends for people.  For those too busy to build friendships, he would hook you up with a BFF for a mere $1200.  That speaks volumes to the relational bankruptcy of our culture.  In our age where the bar of “friendship” has been brought so low that “friends” can literally be bought (in real life and on Facebook), we need to be reminded of what true friendship looks like; we need to know that friendship is still alive; we need a model of a faithful friend…even if it comes in the form of four legs and shaggy fur!”

Galen’s thoughts: What kind of a friend are you to those around you? More importantly, what kind of a friend are you to Jesus?

PRAYER: Teach us to be faithful friends. Thank you for being the greatest friend to us in our greatest need! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/31/15 – The Dance of Eternal Love

DayBreaks for 7/31/15: The Dance of Eternal Love

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

Can you imagine living in a world where no one argues about who is right and wrong – because no one is ever wrong?  Or a world where people don’t have to try to prove to others that they are more powerful, more beautiful, more intelligent?  Where it wouldn’t matter if you were younger or older than someone else, or who was going to take out the garbage or sweep or vacuum the floors, or whose turn it was to wash the dinner dishes?  It’s hard to imagine a world where people aren’t trying to put someone else in their place, to keep the down and out or to step on them on the way up the corporate ladder. 

I think the reason that it’s hard to imagine such an existence is that we’ve never really experienced it.  Everything is competitive, and at some level, so is everyone you and I have ever met.  There may be brief, shining moments where people act in totally unselfish ways, but they’re the exception, not the norm.  The human brain works so fast that it calculates “What’s in it for me?” so quickly that we’re not even aware of our thought patterns that lead us to make decisions that we believe will further our own interests. 

Jesus, in John 14:10, said: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”  If you’re like me, you’ve read these words many times, and probably had nice thoughts about them: “Yes, Jesus and God are One: one in purpose, plan, action, desire and thought.  Now let’s move on to the next verse.”  If we read it so hastily, however, we miss a beautiful lesson.  The word that Jesus uses for the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son (and Spirit, too, of course) is the Greek word perichoresis.  We get our word “choreography” from it.  What Jesus was saying is that the Trinity exists in a kind of eternal dance of love and joy between Father, Son and Spirit. 

But here’s the really great news: in eternity, we’ll share in that eternal dance of joy and love.  There will be no more ladder-climbing, attention-grabbing, or control and power freaks.  All those things that have made our dance on earth less than it could have been will be gone – forever, washed out of us totally by the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  And then, totally clean for the first time ever, we’ll dance with the Trinity!

PRAYER: Teach us your dance even now with our clumsy feet that we may dance it with perfection with you in heaven! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/30/15 – Life Substitutes

DayBreaks for 7/30/15: Life Substitutes

There’s a story found in the Chronicles of Narnia. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth volume of that series, Mary, Edmund, their cousin Eustice, and some of the colorful creatures of Narnia, come upon a crystal clear pool of water with what appears to be a golden statue of a man at the bottom. Only, they discover that it is a magical pool that turns everything into gold that touches the water. It appears that the statue at the bottom of the pool is a man who either didn’t know about the pool’s magic powers, or he was so consumed with accumulating gold that he ignored its dangers. Even though the characters of the story are awed at the magic of the pool, they recognize that such a place is far more dangerous than it is beneficial, and so they swear themselves to secrecy and wipe their memories clean of that place.

You see, when you waste your energies seeking to fulfill the hunger for things that perish, what you’ll find all too often is that you’ll still be dissatisfied, and your dissatisfaction will usually put you deeper into the hole you’re digging for yourself. Whatever piece of the pie that you’re hungering for – whether it’s a bigger slice of acceptance or riches or gratification of your urges – you’re going to find yourself hungry for more and more and more, until you’re so out of control that you can’t back-peddle fast enough. In our consumer-driven world, in which many people literally work themselves to death accumulating a never-fully-satisfying abundance of things, Jesus’ words challenge our society’s misguided substitutes for “life.”

What are you giving in exchange for your life?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36 (NIV)

PRAYER: God, I know I only have so many hours allotted to me.  Please help me spend them in pursuit of real Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/29/15 – The Light of Life

DayBreaks for 7/29/15: The Light of Life

Scientists tell us that if you take six molecules of carbon dioxide and combine it with twelve molecules of water, then add light, the result will be one molecule of glucose sugar, six molecules of oxygen, and six molecules of water. This process, known as photosynthesis, makes the world as we know it possible. Carbon dioxide, which is exhaled by all mammals, is converted into oxygen which allows us to breathe. Plants, which use this photosynthesis process, make our world possible. But, photosynthesis without light is not possible. The chemical reaction will not occur without light.

Light is an essential element in our lives. Light brings warmth to our earth and our feelings. We feel more comfortable in the light. Darkness is cold; it brings fear and danger. Light also gives us strength. We feel more confident and strengthened in will when we walk in the light. Light gives us direction as well. We can proceed forward when we walk in the light; we know which way to go. With the aid of the light we can see the path, the road of our daily journey as well as that of our lives.

Photosynthesis, a scientific phenomenon, and the light that makes it possible provides the created world with its formula for life. This process allows the world to function. Thus, it is in every possible way the recipe for life. Follow it and life becomes possible. While the world certainly needs a recipe to sustain its life, we equally need a formula to discover and attain the eternal life which is God’s promise to all who believe.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. – John 1:4 (NIV)

Let there be Light!

PRAYER: Thank You for being the Light of Life! Let us seek the Light even in our darkest night! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/27/2015 – God’s Mirror

DayBreaks for 7/27/15: God’s Mirror

I’ve got one and so do you. In fact, just about everyone I know has one. It’s that reflective thing, called a mirror, that hangs over the sink. We take a peek in it every morning (and if truth be told, pretty much every time we walk by one or by a reflective window). Why? Vanity, to be sure, but also because looking in the mirror in the morning helps me see what needs to be done to make myself presentable that day. I usually shave (at least if I’m going out that day) and comb my hair. Strange thing I’ve discovered, though: I don’t like looking in the mirror as much as I did when I was younger. Now it’s more a necessity!

Would it make much sense for me to take that look in the mirror, see my wild, fly-away sleep hair and whiskers that needs tidying up only to do nothing about what I saw?

James essentially put that question to us when he wrote in James 1:22-25: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James is telling us that God’s word is a mirror for our souls, showing us the state of our hearts and what needs to be changed. Looking in the bathroom mirror each day show us what needs to be corrected in our outward appearance, and daily Bible reading reveals to us God’s holiness and desires for what we should be like, what we should do, and what needs to be corrected in our inner spiritual lives.

I am fairly certain that you took a look at yourself this morning to make sure things were in order, neat and in place before going out the door to face the day. But, did you look into God’s mirror to see what’s going on in your heart and what you need to do about that?

If it would be foolish for us to go out into the world without making sure our outward appears in cleaned up, isn’t it even more foolish to start out our day without looking into the condition of our heart and soul?

PRAYER: Help us live disciplined lives that look intently into Your mirror and reveal through Your Spirit what needs to be addressed! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/24/15 – Where to Start Your Biography

DayBreaks for 7/24/15: Viewing Your Biography

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

Have you ever thought about writing your life story?  Maybe some of you have done it.  I’ve started, but I’ve not written anything on it for years.  (Maybe I keep hoping that something exciting will happen that would seem a bit more interesting than the life story of a country farm-boy from the corn fields of Iowa!)  I think that the real reason that I’ve not made more headway on my life story for my children and grandchildren is that I don’t feel it’s ready to be written yet.  There’s still too much that I think God wants me to do before I get my seat on a non-stop flight of Heavenly Air!  My father wrote his life story – or at least stories about his life and his early years.  I can’t begin to tell you how precious those writings are to me now!  Someday, my kids may get to read my autobiography.

Joseph Wittig said, “A man’s biography ought really to begin not with his birth but with his death; it can only be written from the point of view of its end, because only from there can the whole of his life in its fulfillment be seen.”  Wittig makes a good point.  We’ve got lots of sayings that remind us not to get too far ahead of ourselves: “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched,” “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” “all’s well that end’s well,” etc.  King Solomon started out great in life, but towards the end, he sadly appears to have gone a bit off the deep end, forgetting about the God of his younger years. 

What will my biography look like if written from the perspective of starting with my death?  It would have to cover not just how and where I was born, but how and where I died, how I lived, what mattered to me (not because I said it was important, but because it found expression in my life right up until the very end).  It would cover lots of things that I can’t foresee from this vantage point in time.  It is only when a life can be viewed from the end that we can really appraise it properly. 

It is no different when we come to Jesus.  To tell the story of Jesus, we must begin with his death.  That’s why all the gospel preaching that’s recorded in Scripture focuses on Christ and him crucified.  It is only in his death that his life, and indeed his birth, make sense and find their meaning. 

How’s your biography coming along?

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

PRAYER: Father, we want to live our lives so that when we die, our story will be one that glorifies you and gives testimony to a life well lived! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/23/15 – One Thing God Never Does

DayBreaks for 7/23/15: One Thing God Never Does

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

I’ll admit it. I worry about some things.  By the grace of God alone, I don’t worry about nearly as much as I used to.  God’s shown me (for the most part) how silly my worrying is.  But I still worry from time to time when the pile of bills seems to keep getting larger while the bank account keeps getting lower, or about a nagging or persistent pain somewhere in my aging body.  If I really want to wrap myself about the axle with worry, I can do it in a heartbeat when I stop to think of all the can go wrong in my kids lives or in the lives of my grandchildren.  Oh, yeah…I can worry just fine, thank you.  About such things I can worry a LOT!

The great apostle Paul urges us in 2 Cor. 10:5-6 with these words: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  Now that’s a big challenge, isn’t it?  My guess is that we all sin a lot more in our thought lives than we do in our actual deeds or words.  We know that the things we do and say are visible or audible, so we tend to “behave” ourselves when it comes to the things other can see.  But our thought lives are a whole other matter.  You can be sitting in the middle of a worship service and be sinning your heart out with thoughts of anger, bitterness, lust, hatred, jealousy or any of a dozen other sinful thought and attitude patterns. 

Yet Paul says that we are to take EVERY thought captive for the purpose of making our minds and thoughts obedient to Jesus.  If you haven’t had a challenge in your life for a while, try this one on for size!  While writing in God Is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg observed: “Every thought is either enabling or strengthening you to be able to cope with reality to live a kingdom kind of life, or robbing you of that life.  Every thought is – at least to a small extent – God-breathed or God-avoidant; leading to death or leading toward life.” 

But, he continues: “…there are other thoughts that are not likely to be God-speaking.  For instance, nowhere in the Bible does it say, ‘And then God worried.’  So I can be quite confident that thoughts that move me toward a paralyzed anxiety are not from God.”

Have you thought about that?  God never worries – NEVER!  He doesn’t have to worry.  He has the power to make everything work out.  He has the ability to see all factors, consider all options, and always knows the right answer and how things will work out.  I don’t, but my God does.  Worry is one kind of thought that we need to take captive in obedience to Christ.  If we worry like non-believers, we don’t have much of a witness – or, at the very least, it would be hard for anyone to distinguish us from an unbeliever.  God isn’t worrying about the future.  Neither should we!

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

PRAYER: Let us hear Your voice clearly and resolve to only follow You and those who are true to the Word of Life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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