DayBreaks for 8/27/15 – The Power of Together

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DayBreaks for 8/27/15: The Power of Together

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/29/2005:

It hasn’t been that long – you may remember it. A few years back a tremendous human drama played out above and below ground in the Quecreek mine in Pennsylvania.  A group of miners were drilling in a coal mine shaft. Unbeknownst to them, their map was wrong. They believed that they were hundreds of feet away from an old mine shaft that had long ago been flooded.  As their drill bit broke through into the flooded shaft, millions of gallons of water began pouring into the mine where they were working. The water filled the lower section of the shaft and cut off their escape route to the surface. They were trapped in a cold, totally dark mine shaft. 

I probably would have totally freaked out – I am claustrophobic, and one of my worst nightmares is to be trapped somewhere. But these men decided early on that they would live or die as a group. They wouldn’t split up, taking their chances as individuals. Whatever their fate held, they would face it together.  And so days passed while rescue teams drilled a new hole through which the men might be rescued. As they huddled together in the cold, dark wetness of the shaft, when one member became too cold, they would all huddle around that man and hold them until they warmed up, and then they’d take turns warming others. 

Eventually, the rescuers managed to reach the men and they were all rescued from several hundred feet underground. The rescue was shown on television.  It took place at night, as I recall, when the first miners were brought up to the surface, soaked, dirty, but very, very happy to be alive. I was very moved by the images of the men coming up out of that dark pit.

As Christians there are powerful lessons in what happened to these men. 

FIRST: it’s important to have the right map. If they’d not had an incorrect map, they wouldn’t have ever drilled the hole that let the water in. We can easily look for direction in the wrong places. Guidance must come from a reliable source.  If you want truth, you must turn to the Truth.

SECOND: there was power in the men staying together. It’s easy to think that we can go it alone and survive. And in fact, rather than binding together as people who are going through an ordeal (make no doubt about it, we are living in a very serious and deadly situation), we often turn on one another and are more interested in scoring points rather than survival and helping one another live. 

THIRD: waiting must be extremely hard to do when you are in a flooded tunnel with a diminishing air supply in total darkness. Yet these men realized that their best chance for survival was to stick together and wait for rescue to come. They could have untied themselves and tried in vain to swim through the pitch-black tunnels in search of the exit – and they would have drowned, almost certainly. As Christians, we need to tie and bind ourselves together with the love of the Lord, helping one another survive until the Rescuer from above appears.  Scripture is full of admonitions to persevere, to wait upon the Lord and His time and will. 

Romans 8:23-25 – Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

PRAYER: God, help us love one another truly from the heart and be united in love and by the family ties that bind us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/26/15 – The Power of Pretend

DayBreaks for 8/26/15: The Power of Pretend

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/25/2005:

Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:3)

It won’t be long now until The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe finds its way to the big screen. I don’t know if you’ve seen previews of it, but it looks great. It is, of course, based on the book of the same name which is part of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. How fitting (and delightful) that it should come to the big screen. Of course, I’ve not see it so I can’t vouch for the content, but what I’ve seen by way of previews looks very exciting, indeed. Already there are Christian books springing up in anticipation of capitalizing on the movie and the books that Lewis wrote. I even bought one.

In Aslan’s Call – Finding Our Way to Narnia, by Mark Eddy Smith, the author was speaking about the power of pretend, and how that sometimes, when in moments of weak faith, pretend seems to be able to convey truth that sometimes we miss in the middle of real life. Of course, the author points out, Narnia and Aslan are pretend, while earth, heaven and Jesus are very real, indeed. Nonetheless, he wrote concerning the verse above: “The specific childhood virtue to which he alluded is humility, but it cannot have escaped his attention that the thing for which children are best known is their ability to pretend, to make believe that they are mothers or fathers, Davids or Goliaths, camels or coyotes. When someone tells them there’s a man who can walk on water, their eyes go wide and they gasp in astonishment, just as if they had seen it themselves. The next time they’re at the beach, they give it a try; and their disappointment when they sink is profound…The stories in the Bible tell us we can change the world, indeed that we must, and maybe we long to believe them, but it’s hard because of the sinking we did when we were children.”

I remember trying to walk on water as a child, and failing. Was I disappointed? Yes, I was. In many things since my childhood, I’ve tried to take a step in faith. Sometimes it was successful (although it isn’t really about me and my success as much as it is my willingness to say, “Yes, Lord!” when he asks me to take a step), many times I failed. When I failed, it was usually because whatever I was trying to do didn’t make sense to me, or rather, I concluded that it would never work and didn’t take that step of faith because I was afraid that I’d sink, just like I did when I tried walking on water as a little kid. “It didn’t work then, it won’t work now,” might as well have been my mantra. And sadly, there are still times in my life now when I don’t try to walk on the water anymore. And that is a tragedy, because life lived with Jesus calls for walking on water, for the power to imagine what could be, for the excitement and amazement of the adventure that beckons us onward. If Jesus walks on water, and I am to follow him, doesn’t it stand to reason that I must walk on water at least part of the time, too? Of course, I’ll only be able to walk on the water if I’m walking with him and through his uplifting power and Presence. 

Imagine. Imagine what God could do through you. If you need to pretend in your head first, fine…go right ahead. But don’t let it stop there. After the Spirit puts the vision in your heart and confirms it, live it!!!!

PRAYER: Lord, we long for a great adventure, but are afraid to take the first step because we’ve failed so often. Help us to take the first step when Your Spirit shows us the direction! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/25/15: Fix Me!

DayBreaks for 8/25/15: Fix Me!

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

“There lies within each of us the desire to be fixed. It has been ingrained into our minds that as long as we continue to repent of all sin we are well off. We have put so much emphasis on not doing bad and repenting of our wrongdoings that we have forgotten to do good. This is why our altars are packed full every single Sunday and our soup kitchens are lacking in volunteers. Erwin McManus in Seizing your Divine Moment says “We have defined holiness through what we separate ourselves from rather than what we give ourselves to.” We like to think that all we need to do is stop doing the bad stuff and then we will be well off. We have come to the conclusion that God is our almighty doctor, church is his office, and we just need to go for our weekly checkup to assure ourselves we have done nothing wrong. We choose to live our lives in search of a remedy for our most current predicament and we are content with continually being fixed.”  (From “Constant Remedies” by Nathan Colquhoun)

How do you like the feeling of being broken? It’s not much fun, is it? I’ve never had any broken bones except my nose, so I can’t relate to a broken bone too much, but I can relate to feeling broken inside. I’ve felt it several times: at the death of my father, the times our children have moved out of the home to start their own lives, the times when my wife and I have been at bitter odds with one another, when a beloved dog died. There are many things in life that make us feel broken. But it is interesting to contemplate that we may spend so much time grieving over our sins (we should grieve over them for they are very serious), that we forget to do the things that are GOOD, the good works for which God created us. 

You’ve probably known people as I have, who are so wrapped up in their guilt and shame that they can’t get out of their own self-constructed dog-house. Not even after surrendering their lives to Christ! As Mr. Colquhoun says later on, there is only one cure for that – and it’s the blood for Jesus. That’s the only thing that can take away our guilt and shame. Once we’ve claimed His blood, we need to claim the promise of wholeness and forgiveness that comes along with it. To do anything less than accept his forgiveness to cover and remove our guilt and shame is nothing less than a lack of faith in his promises!

We need to move past the constant prayer of “Fix me!” to one of “Let me do your work each moment of every day.”

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to be content to just not to bad…I want to do good for Your glory and the benefit of Your creation! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/24/15 – Unbearable Circumstances

DayBreaks for 8/24/15: Unbearable Circumstances

The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.” The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed. And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.Daniel 2:10-13 (NLT)

Have you ever had a dream that really troubled you? The greatest king of the ancient Babylonian empire did…more than once. After the first dream, the king sought an explanation for the dream…but he wasn’t willing to tell his dream to anyone. His advisors had to not only explain the dream, but to tell the king what the dream was! Impossible? Humanly speaking, it was. The great king was incensed and decreed the death of all the wise men.

You know the rest of the story – how Daniel prayed and God revealed all that was hidden, and by telling the dream and its meaning, the lives of the wise men was spared.

It is easy to miss the point: Daniel and his friends were under a death sentence. Was what the king asked fair? Of course not. But it was the king’s prerogative. And Daniel and his friends found themselves in a situation that was blatantly unfair and unjust. Daniel and his friends who were to be executed had done nothing to deserve this death sentence. Something horrible had happened and Daniel had no idea how it would end.

If you’ve drawn more than one breath on this earth, you know how that feels – the sense of impending doom and despair. How do you react when faced with circumstances that do not seem at all fair? Do you rant and rave and belly-ache about it? Do you scream and yes and tell everyone how miserable you are and how unfair it all is?

What was God doing in this situation? Was God seeking to glorify Daniel? No. He was seeking to bend the will of a pagan king to acknowledge that the God of heaven is the King of kings and that He alone is the Supreme One.

Rather than moaning and groaning in such circumstance, what if we took a different approach and asked ourselves this question: What if God is using this event in my life to showcase His Sovereignty? How might your response differ? Bear in mind the things you know of God: He is kind, He is loving, He is gracious and full of mercy, He cannot do wrong or make mistakes, He only does what glorifies Himself and is best for His children. It may not make the circumstance any less hard, but it may make it bearable knowing that He is good and that He loves you.

PRAYER: Father, even when we feel things are unfair and that what has happened to us is unfair, let us seek You glory above all else! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/21/15 – Our Birthmark

DayBreaks for 8/21/15: Our Birthmark

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

I have some very dear friends who are very interested in “activism.” What do I mean by that? I mean that they’re engaging our culture in as many different ways as possible to try to bring more of the Light to bear on the world’s darkness. They engage in debates, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts, make phone calls to talk radio hosts and some even have run or consider running for public office. Don’t get me wrong, my hat is off to them. I think that what they’re doing is good – they’re at least trying to be the salt and light that we are all called to be. Some folks are called to be more activist than others. Some are more given to acts of service (like Mother Theresa) than political wrangling. God needs people of all kinds, shapes and sizes to do what He wants done.

Still, there’s a part of me that thinks we need to be cautious in our activism. The things we usually become activists about are the things that anger and frustrate us. And anger is not a very good motivation when it comes to doing the Lord’s work. At least not if the anger is something other than righteous indignation. If our anger is directed towards the person and not their actions, we may be missing the boat and working out of ungodly motivations.

Wouldn’t it be true that if our activism, no matter how well-intentioned it is, drives the possibility of love out of the heart of those towards whom my activism is directed, then I am not a proper representative of the gospel of Christ? If my attitudes produce frustration that blocks their way to the cross, I must not be spreading grace, but rather demanding adherence to law.

It is true that a culture war is inevitable and must be fought. I am convinced that such is, indeed, the case. We can’t just let it go by without even raising Godly concerns and truth to the forefront. But we shouldn’t use the same weapons that the enemy uses. We should use the weapons of the Spirit, being armed with grace at all times. 

When you stop to think about it, when we were born into the family of God, our birthmark changed from anything that characterizes the world to become something that characterizes the kingdom of God. We should have but one birthmark: not political correctness, legal or moral superiority, but love. No matter how much we might achieve without love, Paul reminds us that it is of no value. 1 Cor. 13:1-3: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

The next time we’re tempted to react hotly to something in our culture, let’s be sure our birthmark shows.

PRAYER: Let us never betray our Father! Lord, help us clearly demonstrate Who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/20/15 – All That Is Hidden

DayBreaks for 8/20/15: All That is Hidden

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/20/2005:

LONDON – It’s nice to wake up from surgery to see your family gathered around you for support. For Melvyn Reed, however, it wasn’t so nice when he awoke from triple bypass surgery to find all three of his wives surrounding him.   While he was under the knife, his years as a double bigamist came to an end when the three women showed up at the same time to the hospital and realized something wasn’t right. They held a meeting in the parking lot and discovered they were all married to the same man! Reed later turned himself into police, admitting he was married to all three women, and confessed to bigamy.

I remember waking up after my bypass surgery and having the nurses and my wife present. It was a wonderful and comforting feeling to have her there, and to know that, well, I was still among the living and that the nurses were being so attentive. I can’t imagine what kind of thoughts must have gone through Mr. Reed’s mind, however, when he opened his eyes to see all 3 of his wives standing beside his bed. He may have been afraid to go back to sleep for fear that they’d unhook his medical equipment!

I’ve written many times about the passage that describes the human heart as being totally deceitful. Of all the things that can deceive us in this world, our own hearts and minds must be on the top of the heap. And there is nothing that we deceive ourselves about more completely than in thinking that our sins are hidden. Why? We take comfort in thinking that they’re hidden, and we probably take a bit of perverse pride in our ability to cover them up, too. We can hide much from the eyes of our families, friends, co-workers and fellow students, even from our pastors and spiritual mentors. The Spirit, however, sees all. May we learn from the foolishness of Melvyn Reed that we’re not nearly as clever as we think we are. All that is hidden will be made known.

Luke 12:2-3 – There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

1 Cor. 3:13 – But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value.

PRAYER: Let us truly understand that nothing is hidden from You, and that we are foolish to think we can “get away” with our sin! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/19/15 – A Higher Priority

DayBreaks for 8/19/15: A Higher Priority

At the Olympic games in Paris in 1924 the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.

As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill’s wife would give birth to her first child about the time that Bill would be competing in the Paris Games. In 1924 there were no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow-moving ocean-going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife’s side when their first child was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain behind. Bill’s wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, he had been working towards this for all these years. It was the culmination of a life-long dream.

Clearly the decision was not easy for Bill to make. Finally, after much soul searching, Bill decided to withdraw from the competition and remain behind with his wife so that he could be with her when their first child arrived. Bill considered being at her side a higher priority than going to Paris to fulfill a life-long dream.

To make a long story short, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal at the Paris Olympics. And Bill’s wife was late in giving birth to her first child. She was so late that Bill could have competed in the event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.

People said, “What a shame.” But Bill said he had no regrets. After all, his commitment to his wife was more important then, and it still was now.

The story of Bill Havens is a story of how one man paid a high price to fulfill a commitment to someone he loved.

But the story doesn’t end there. The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they named Frank. Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read, and I quote it exactly: “Dad, I won. I’m bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be born.”

Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the canoe-racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but never did.

There is a sequel to our acts of commitment as well, our commitments to one another, and our commitment to God. We reap the abundant harvest of righteousness. We reap a harvest of joy and peace that endures forever.

What is your highest priority? What will you NOT surrender or give up because it is of too great of value to you? Is it Jesus and His Word?

PRAYER: Commitment is a hard lesson to learn, Lord. My will power is not strong enough and I need Your help! Help me hold fast to that which I know in my heart should be my highest priority! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.