DayBreaks for 04/20/11 – Our Fair and Lovely Hope

DayBreaks for 04/20/11 – Our Fair and Lovely Hope

There is only One Way and One Source for HOPE...

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope…- 1 Timothy 1:1

This past week I was in a meeting with some other pastors and we were discussing a passage of Scripture and how timely and wonderful the message was.  There are passages of Scripture that whisper to us in our discomfort and renew our souls.  Most of those passages are promises that God has given to us to encourage us along the way.  One such passage is Psalm 23 – a passage that is perhaps more beloved than any other section of Scripture because it is a passage of hope and comfort.

Words rightly constructed and used are beautiful and, as the Hebrews believed, have great power.  They viewed the spoken word to be akin to an arrow that was loosed from the bow and which flew out into the air: once released, it could never be recalled until it fulfilled the purpose for which it was sent.

Not too long ago, I came across a beautiful piece illustrating the beauty of words from an ancient Syrian Orthodox Liturgy that I want to share with you during this week leading to Easter.  Here it is: How fair and lovely is the hope which the Lord gave to the dead when he lay down like them beside them. Rise up and come forth and sing praise to him who has raised you from destruction.

What is the “fair and lovely” hope which the Lord gave to the dead?  It was giving them himself in death, lying down beside them Himself, becoming like them in death, so that when He rose up again in life, we can become like Him.  As Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:1 above, Christ Jesus IS our hope!

PRAYER: There’s a great day coming, Lord, and we join with the martyrs under the altar is crying, “How long, Lord Jesus?”  Even as we eagerly await the promises of the new world and everlasting righteousness in all things, help us to persevere with patience!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 04/19/11 – Why Christians Can’t Wait

DayBreaks for 04/19/11 – Why Christians Can’t Wait

Its hard to wait when you know the best is just ahead...

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. – 1 Corinthians 15:26

Have you ever noticed how so many Christians seem to be impatient?  They are very frequently impatient with the faults and failings of others – including their brothers and sisters in the Lord’ family.  They are impatient with themselves for not being more sanctified than they are at the present moment.  They are impatient with a world that is full of pain and aggravation and suffering and injustice.  Why is that?

I am sure that there are probably many reasons, but I believe that Jurgen Moltman, in his work, Theology of Hope, has hit upon perhaps one of the greatest reasons: “If Paul calls death the “last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26), then the opposite is also true: that the risen Christ, and with him the resurrection hope, must be declared to be the enemy of death and of a world that puts up with death. That is why faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience . …Those who hope in Christ can no longer put up with reality as it is.”

It is the Christian hope itself that causes patience at some level.  We know we, and others, are not what we ought to be – and we are impatient for the completion of our sanctification in glory above.  We know that this world is full of suffering and we long for the injustices and hatred and killings and brutality to be done – and that will only happen when the trumpet blast pierces the air and the Lord descends with a great shout.  We long for the fullness of redemption – not just for ourselves, but for all things.  And it is the resurrection and the promises it holds for us that evokes our impatience.  We know something better awaits – and we are eager for it!

so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. – Hebrews 9:28

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

PRAYER: There’s a great day coming, Lord, and we join with the martyrs under the altar is crying, “How long, Lord Jesus?”  Even as we eagerly await the promises of the new world and everlasting righteousness in all things, help us to persevere with patience!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 04/18/11 – Cape of Storms

DayBreaks for 04/18/11 – The Cape of Storms

The Cape of Storms becomes the Cape of Good Hope

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5

For many centuries, the southernmost point of Africa has experienced horrifying storms.  The storms were often so severe there that for many years no one even knew what lay beyond that point of land, for no ship that had attempted to navigate around that point had ever returned to tell the tale. It should not be surprising that the ancients had a name for it: the “Cape of Storms.” Finally, in the 16th century, a brave Portuguese explorer by the name of Vasco De Gama successfully sailed around that point and found beyond the wild raging storms, a great calm sea, and beyond that, the shores of India. The name of that cape was then changed from the Cape of Storms to the Cape of Good Hope.

Until Jesus Christ rose from the dead, death had been the cape of storms on which all hopes of life beyond had been wrecked. No one knew what lay beyond that point until, on Easter morning Christ moved past that point and showed us the glory that lay beyond. His disciples trembled in fear, even after seeing evidence of His resurrection. Eventually, Christ turns their Cape of Storms into a Cape of Good Hope with His appearance and the peace He brings.

May He turn this day into a Day of Good Hope and your life into a song of praise!

PRAYER: We give you glory and praise, Lord God Almighty, for conquering death and giving us the one, true Good Hope!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 04/15/11 – Titanic and the Cross

DayBreaks for 04/15/11 – Titanic and the Cross

From the DayBreaks archive, 4/9/1998:

1522 people dead, frozen in frigid waters.  Not even 11 Academy Awards can make up for even one of the souls of those who were lost.  Yet the Titanic was the biggest and brassiest vessel to sail the sea.  Over 100,000 watched the launch from the shore.  She represented the new age of scientific optimism and to many was the symbol that Utopia was about to be found in the relatively new century.  The people responsible for the Titanic boasted that “even God Himself could not sink this ship.”

God doesn’t react well to such displays of human arrogance.  He didn’t in the days of Nimrod when men decided to build a tower and invade God’s sovereign territory, He didn’t react well to it in 1912, and He doesn’t today.  He is not about to share His sovereignty with the tinker-toy towers and the pathetic boats that men build.  Many in her day saw different symbols in the giant ship.   Some, indeed, claimed that she was the modern incarnation of the tower of Babel.  They saw God’s unwillingness to allow an invincible machine as a lesson to not seek salvation through technology.  Many saw the boasts of the builders and promoters as a direct challenge to the Creator of heaven and earth.

Yet, as is the case always, where human sinfulness and pride was at its greatest, God’s grace was even greater.  The examples of courage during the sinking comforted and inspired many.  With only a very few exceptions, the men aboard the Titanic willing gave up space on lifeboats so women and children could be saved, putting into practice Jesus’ own words: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)  As a result, one of Titanic’s greatest ironies is that she became a symbol of duty and faith.  The policy of ‘women and children first’ led to a 9-to-1 death ratio of men to women.

In 1996 another boat sank off the shores of Indonesia.  Like Titanic, hundreds died.  Like Titanic, there weren’t enough life boats.  But unlike Titanic, in this sinking, men were given precedence over women and children and women and children died as men saved themselves.

God’s principle is this: the groom dies for the bride, the strong suffer for the weak, and the highest expression of love is to give your life for another.  This ‘dying for another’ may be literal – or it may be dying to your own will and desire for rest and comfort to spend your life to serve someone.

Who will you die for today?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, glory to you for your grace towards us and the fact that the King died for the peasants!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 4/14/11 – Deflector Beanies and Mind Control

DayBreaks for 04/14/11 – Deflector Beanies and Mind Control

“All of the victims of cranium invasion can finally put their minds at ease.  A non-commercial Internet site has devotes its time and effort to developing a beanie that can stop a person from having his or her brain invaded.  The product is an Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB), which reportedly is a type of head-wear that can shield your brain from most electro-magnetic psychotronic mind-control carriers.  The site provides plans and photographs on how to make a beanie, entirely from foil, that wards off mind-control signals.”

The battle for the mind...

I don’t know anyone who has been abducted by aliens, do you?  Well, there are some folks that I wonder about because they’re really strange, but I really don’t think that even they were abducted or controlled by aliens.  And while someone on the Internet has found yet another way to trick the unsuspecting and encourage the loonies, there is a certain sadness in this story about mind control.

 

I don’t for a minute believe that aliens from outer space can control our minds.  The really sad part is that we have such a hard time controlling our own minds.  Perhaps there is no other part of our life that is as hard to submit to God as our thought life.  While outward actions such as stealing and murder are obvious, the sins of the mind are invisible to everyone except ourselves and God.   We can all be filled with hateful, lustful, angry thoughts and as long as we control our outward actions, our sin is secret – but it is still sin.

In a way, though, our minds can be controlled be a Source that is from outside of this world.  No, not by space aliens who beam electro-magnetic waves at us, but by a Spirit that lives within us and controls us from within: Romans 8:5-8 – “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

God intends for the Spirit to be our “deflector” – to shield our minds from harmful influences.  But perhaps you have something that is creating interference and keeping the Spirit from controlling your mind.  What is controlling you?  Stop and think about it – are your desires things that are related to this physical, natural world?  Or is your mind filled with thoughts of life and peace and what the Spirit desires (closeness to God)?

PRAYER: Control our hearts and minds by Your Spirit that our desires are the same as Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 04/13/11 – Mountains He Has Moved

DayBreaks for 04/13/11 – Mountains He Has Moved

Matthew 17:20 – “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

 

There is no such thing as a "mountain" that God can't move.

I remember as a child that I took this verse literally.  I tried to picture believing enough that I could literally move a mountain.  I even wandered out into the Iowa barnyard and would look at a distant slope and tell it to move.  It never did.  Now that I’m older, I realize that it wasn’t a literal mountain that Jesus had in mind when he made this statement (of course, Jesus could literally move mountains or enable us to do so if he chose to do so!)  To put the verse in context, the disciples had just failed to cast a demon out of a boy.  The problem was a spiritual problem – it was a spiritual mountain that needed to be moved – not a literal mountain.  And the spiritual problem in this particular case was disbelief, or more accurately, a lack of belief.

 

In his book, The Gift for All People, Max Lucado described some of the mountains that God has moved for all of those who are His children: “God wants you to be free of yesterday’s guilt.  He wants you free of today’s fears.  He wants you free of tomorrow’s grave.  Sin, fear and death.  These are the mountains he has moved by the power of the cross.  These are the prayers he will answer through the gift of his love.”

Many times we talk about people walking around as if they “had the weight of the world on their shoulders”.  Mountains are heavy – guilt can be a crushing burden.  Fear can immobilize us beneath its weight.  And the fear of dying can cause us to never really live.  The cross forever abolished all three of those mountains by removing our guilt, overcoming our fear and ensuring us of life unending.

God is waiting today to remove these mountains from you.  Are you weighed down?  Let Him fill your life with the lightness of His being, the joy of being His child and the confident assurance of life everlasting!

PRAYER: Father, we look at our problems and see them as mountains.  Teach us to look at You and we will see how small our “mountains” really are when compared to Your power and greatness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 04/12/11 – Selling the Soul

DayBreaks for 04/12/11 – Selling the Soul

What will a person give in exchange for their soul?

From the Seattle Times, 2/9/01, by Mark Rahner: Woodinville man sells soul for $400

“Adam Burtle of Woodinville gained not the world but $400 in an auction on the Internet site that ended at 4:36 p.m. yesterday.  Bidding for the item, listed as ‘20 yr-old Seattle boy’s SOUL, hardly used,’ began at 5 cents on February 1.  A bidding war for Burtle’s soul broke out in the auction’s final hour, shooting its selling price from $56 up to $400.

“I was happy to be past $7.50,’ said Burtle, an atheist, nothing that an ex-girlfriend had bid $6.66 – the number of the beast – for his soul.  In the eBay description for his soul, Burtle wrote: ‘Please realize, I make no warranties as to the conditions of the soul.  As of now, it is near mint condition, with only minor scratches.”

You probably remember the famous story about Daniel Webster and the devil and the man who sold his soul to the devil.  It was an interesting story, and one that captivated me as a child, so when my son sent me this news article, I was fascinated.  But as I read the story, it became heartbreaking to me for several reasons:

FIRST: how tragic is it that a boy has reached the age of 20 and can say of his soul that it is ‘hardly used’?  We ignore our spiritual side in favor of the physical – especially when we are young.  We exercise the body by playing sports when we are young, but what of the soul?  If you are young, let me encourage you to exercise your soul as well as your mind and body.  What a shame to be 20 years of age and have to say that your soul has been hardly used!  But if there is a silver lining here, it is that as long as we have breath, we can begin to exercise our soul!

SECOND: Adam Burtle’s comment about “I make no warranties as to the conditions of the soul…” is disturbing.  Even though he was probably just being flippant with the entire episode, it is sad that he felt he had no warranty.  Warranties are given by the manufacturer.  This young man didn’t even seem to recognize or realize he had a “Manufacturer”, nor did he perceive any kind of impending “recall” where he would have to given an answer to the Manufacturer for how he’d lived his life.

THIRD: Satan is no fool.  He is the master of deception, and he had deceived this young man into thinking that his soul (if he had one) was in near mint condition.  If the Word teaches us anything, it’s that our souls are not in mint condition.  Our souls don’t have “only minor scratches”.  We are bankrupt, our souls are scarred and disfigured by sin.  We needed to be “re-manufacturered”, renewed, renovated from the inside out – starting with the soul.

FINALLY: the devaluation of the soul is one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century.  The very idea that a soul would be worth only $400 is insulting to the God of heaven, who gave His Son to buy the soul at the price of His own blood.

How much value do you put on your soul?  Are you selling your soul in some way that demeans the price Christ paid for you?  Your soul is eternal – and priceless.  Act like it!

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  Mark 8:36

PRAYER: Let us value Your image that is planted deep in our souls, Lord, and honor You by how we live our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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