DayBreaks for 06/22/11 – This Is the Light

DayBreaks for 06/22/11 – This Is the Light

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

The Light

John 8:12 – “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

I was fascinated when I took the cruise boat across San Francisco bay and disembarked on Alcatraz island.  We followed the guide up the path and into the old prison itself.  We toured the cafeteria, the cell block, the exercise yard, the medical center and eventually found ourselves in the vicinity of the solitary confinement area.  We were faced with a choice: those who wished could go into the solitary confinement cell could do so, but we were cautioned that the light would be extinguished and that it would be dark.  Well, they were right in a sense.  It was more than dark – it was black.  Not a ray of light got through the cell door.  This was blackness!

Jesus describes life for those who don’t follow him as being darkness.  I would have hated to try to walk down a pathway surrounded by the darkness that I experienced in the cell at Alcatraz.  It would be impossible to walk in that kind of darkness.  It is no coincidence that both hell and failing to follow Jesus are referred to as deepest darkness.  It is also worth noting that Jesus didn’t claim to carry the light so that we could see, but rather that he himself IS the light.

What is the light of life that Jesus promises?  It is direction, purpose and meaning.  It shows us the right way to walk.  It is not just illumination, but the very light of life itself…that which lights up life and makes it worth living.

Revelation 22:5 – “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”  The day (well, I guess that is a poor word to use, but I’m not sure how else to say it) is coming when the only thing we will ever experience again will be light.  The darkness of crushed hopes and dreams, of horrifying disease and devastating loss will never be found in God’s home.  And, unlike California, there will be no “rolling blackouts”.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 06/21/11 – Why Isaac Did It

DayBreaks for 06/21/11 – Why Isaac Did It

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Domenichino

Genesis 22:6-10 – “6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”  “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.  “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.  9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

As I’ve written before, this story stuns me.  It intimidates me and frightens me for many reasons.  But today is not the day I want to explore those aspects of this story again.  No, something else has caught my attention this time, and I’d like to share it with you.

First, notice a few things about Isaac.  They had finally reached the mountain where the sacrifice was to take place.  It was apparently a relatively barren mountain, for they had brought their own firewood.  Now it had to be carried to the top of the mountain for the sacrifice.  Did you notice who did the carrying?  It wasn’t Abraham – it was Isaac.  So Isaac was apparently old enough and strong enough to carry a load of firewood up the side of the mountain for the sacrifice.  Not an easy task – I’d have a hard enough time doing that myself, and I know that when my kids were small, there was no way they could have done such a thing.  So my conclusion is that Isaac couldn’t have been that young.

The old man and the young man make their way up the trail until they find the spot God had described to Abraham.  At that point, Isaac watched his father prepare the altar, then let himself be bound and laid on the altar.  While I don’t know for sure how old Isaac was, I’d be willing to bet that he could have easily overpowered old Abraham, or at the very least, he could have outran him down the mountainside to the donkey and servants left at the base of the mountain.  Had he described what Abraham was trying to do, they probably would have been supportive of Isaac’s escape!  But that didn’t happen.  Isaac let himself be bound and laid on the altar.  Why?  Because, as Chuck Swindol put it, Abraham had already taught Isaac how to crawl onto altars.

Think about it: Abram had crawled onto a few altars himself in his own lifetime.  He left his parents and homeland, wandered seemingly endlessly and aimlessly, awaited until he was very old to see his children born, etc.

There’s a lesson here for us fathers and mothers: we need to be teaching our children how to crawl onto altars – how to make sacrifices and be sacrificed.  They need to see us sacrificing ourselves and the things we want.  And we need to teach children to make sacrifices, too.  By the time that Abraham and Isaac got to the site of the sacrifice, Isaac had already learned about sacrifices from his father.

As a parent, are you indulging yourself and not teaching your children the value of sacrifice, especially self-sacrifice?  Are there areas where you need to sacrifice more of your own wants and wishes?  If your children don’t learn sacrifice from you, if they don’t learn that they can’t have it all whenever they want something, they will never learn it later in life and they will be the worse off for it.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 6/20/11 – Just a Crumb

DayBreaks for 06/20/11 – Just a Crumb

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

Crumbs

Matthew 15:21-28 – “21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.   26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

As you read this story, remember that Canaanites were not the friends of the Jews.  There was no great love lost between these two groups of people.  After all, just as the Palestinians today claim that the Jews have taken their homeland, the Canaanites would have made a similar claim about the Jews long ago.  The Canaanites were the inhabitants of the country that became known as Israel.  Joshua had led the conquest of Canaan and thousands were displaced and killed – adults and children alike.  So it was strange that a Canaanite woman would approach Jesus and called him “Lord”.  But perhaps it is even stranger that she called him “Son of David” – a Messianic title.  She recognized his place in history better than most of the Jews did.

This poor woman had a daughter who was demon possessed.  I can’t imagine the anguish and suffering that a parent would feel in those circumstances!  And to start with, Jesus seems aloof and uncaring – almost as if he had his nose in the air and refused to acknowledge her at all.  Even his disciples urged Jesus to send her away – she was getting on their nerves and causing a spectacle.  Again, in a rather aloof manner, Jesus replies that he came only for the Jews.

Humbling herself before the Lord, she continues to plead and Jesus reminds her that what he came to give (God’s word to the Jews, i.e., bread for God’s children), shouldn’t be given to the children of someone else.  But she persisted.  She didn’t argue that she wasn’t a “dog” even though that was considered the worst insult that could be levied by a Jew to a non-Jew.  She accepted the analogy because she was focused on what she wanted – healing for her daughter – and that Jesus had the power from God to do it.  Jesus was impressed – VERY impressed – and granted her request and he daughter was healed.

Jesus was impressed with this woman’s faith.  All she asked for was a crumb.  She didn’t ask for the whole “loaf”, she didn’t demand a feast.  Her faith was such that she realized all her daughter needed was a crumb from the table of the Master.

How’s your faith?  All that it takes to make a miracle is a small little word from Jesus.  Have you asked him for a crumb lately?  Don’t be afraid to ask – and to be persistent in your asking.  It worked for the Canaanite woman.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 06/17/11 – Internal Concentration Camp

DayBreaks for 06/17/11 – The Internal Concentration Camp

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

I’m sure that you remember the story of Jacob and Esau and how Jacob tricked his father into blessing him instead of the rightful firstborn heir, Esau.  How would you have felt if you had been Jacob?  I have often wondered if it was partly his guilty conscience that led him to flee from Esau, or if it was just pure fear.  How do you think you would have reacted if you found yourself in Esau’s shoes?  Have you ever felt that your brother or sister cheated you out of something to which you were entitled?  It is tragic the way that some siblings turn on one another when the last of their parents dies and the inheritance is to be divided up.  It is one of the saddest things in the world when this happens.

We don’t really have to wonder how Esau felt, because Gen. 27:41 tells us what was going on in Esau’s heart – “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’”  People hold grudges, don’t they?  It seems that the longer they are held, the worse they get.  They aren’t like a sore muscle that gets better over time – they grow and take on a life of their own.  What may have originally been a small slight (intentional or not) can grow into a wall that divides people for a lifetime.

Eph. 4:31-32 makes no bones about it – “31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you…”  We have no ground left on which to stand – we are told to get rid of ALL bitterness in our lives.  And it isn’t a suggestion, it is something Paul puts very strongly (can you say “command”?)  When we read those two verses, we are quick to latch onto the last verse and say that we are commanded to be kind and compassionate, but not taking the first verse seriously – the part about getting rid of our bitterness.  Chuck Swindol had this to say: “We who refuse to forgive – we who live in the gall of bitterness – will become victims of torture.  If we nurture feelings of bitterness we are little better than inmates of an internal concentration camp.  For your sake, let me urge you to put away all bitterness now.  The escape route is clearly marked.  It leads to the cross…where the only One who had a right to be bitter wasn’t.

Look deeply into your heart today.  Are you holding a grudge against someone because of something they did – or didn’t do – either recently or long ago?  Not sure?  Let me ask it another way: is there someone that you’d be very uncomfortable around because of something they did to you in the past?  If so, it is possible that you still hold a grudge, that you are living in bitterness – a veritable concentration camp of your own making.

The most miserable people I know are those who hold grudges and who are filled with bitterness.  Do some people have a right to be bitter or hold a grudge?  From a human standpoint I would have to say, “Yes!”  I know some people who have had horrible life experiences – seemingly one right after another.  But God says that we don’t have such a “right”.  All we have is the responsibility to get rid of bitterness from our life.  Are you ready to begin?

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 06/16/11 – Living in the Valley of Elah

DayBreaks for 06/16/11 – Living in the Valley of Elah

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

The Valley of Elah, Israel

1 Samuel 17:2-11 – “2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.  4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.  8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

The confrontation described in these verses took place several thousand years ago, yet the story of David and Goliath continues to capture the imagination of people – young and old – to this day.  I wish I could have watched the confrontation (notice I said “WATCH”).  I labor under no delusions that I would have done what David did – I am ashamed to say that I’m not that courageous, nor do I have the faith of the young shepherd boy.  His faith still inspires me.

I have never been to the valley of Elah.  I’ve never been to the Promised Land.  Perhaps some day I’ll go there and see the valley where this amazing biblical event took place.  But in another sense, we have all been there, in fact, we’ve all lived in that very valley.  You see, the Valley of Elah can stand for any place in any age where God’s people and His enemies square off against one another.  It was in the Valley of Elah that the giant, seemingly so great and mighty and invincible, bellowed out his words: “This day I defy the ranks of Israel!

Isn’t our land full of giants who defy the ranks of God’s chosen?  The battle lines have been drawn, the forces are arrayed one against the other.  At the very sight of God’s people, the taunting and challenge begin.

It is sad, isn’t it?  Verse 11 tells us that all it took were words to terrify and dismay not only the Israelites, but their king as well.  It didn’t take any demonstration of power or superior warfare techniques.  All it required was for a challenge to be issued and the people of God shrank back in fear.

The Valley of Elah is alive and well today.  The questions remain and need to be answered in every generation: where are the people of God?  What will they do when they find themselves in the Valley of Elah?  “If we tremble in the face of Satan, it is never because Satan has grown large, but because our God has grown small.

It only took one young shepherd boy to step out in faith to turn the tide of a battle.  Perhaps now it is your turn – and mine.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 06/15/11 – Another View of Omnipresence

DayBreaks for 06/15/11 – Another View of Omnipresence

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

Omnipresence is one of the attributes that we ascribe to Divinity (God).  It is simply the concept that God is always everywhere.  The Psalmist suggested this in Psalm 139 when he contemplated the nature of God: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Depending on what we’re doing at the moment, we either are grateful for God’s omnipresence, or we wish we’d never heard of it (usually when we are involved with sin).  But, whether we are grateful or not, it doesn’t really make any difference in the fact of His omnipresence.  He’s wherever we are whether we like it or not.  This is what we usually mean when we talk about His omnipresence – the concept that no matter where we go in this world – we cannot escape His presence.

I am not a physicist, but I understand that things exist in three dimensions –physical things exist in the dimensions of space.  I believe (I could be wrong about this) that there are really more than three dimensions – because we also exist in time, as well as space.  I believe that time has been referred to as the fourth dimension.  When we consider what that means in terms of God’s omnipresence, the concept is staggering.  As Calvin Miller put it: “…Christ’s omnipresence.  I cannot go where he is not.  My future cannot be Christ-less.  I have him with me even as I move into the future.

I am not sure why this concept struck me so strongly.  I’ve read the promise how He will never leave us many times.  I have quoted the 23rd Psalm – that describes how the Lord goes with us even through the valley of the shadow of death –  more times than I can count.  Did you catch the significance of the phrase in Miller’s writing?  “My future cannot be Christ-less.”  That is the meaning of the omnipresence of God.  He isn’t limited to three dimension of existence.  God’s omnipresence extends beyond space through time.  As His child, I will never be Christ-less!

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 06/14/11 – Faces

DayBreaks for 06/14/11 – Faces

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

It has been a long and tiring trip.  I sit now on the airport shuttle bus at the San Jose airport, returning from yet another business trip.  Fourteen days has seen me in 4 different towns, sleeping in four different beds, and eating in who knows how many restaurants.  Now I’m heading to the parking lot to get in the car for the hour trip home.

I’m tired.  I look forward to the “day” when I’ll never be tired again.  When I won’t ache in the morning when I awaken.  I look about me on the bus and see faces – faces etched, carved and lined with the wrinkled roadmap of reality.  Lines and creases – some deep, some less so – but they all speak volumes.  The pain of broken relationships, the weariness of the flesh, the tiredness of the spirit are all visible on the shuttle bus tonight.  There is an old saying about the eyes being the window of the soul.   Scripture suggests that our faces reflect what we are: (Prov. 27:19) “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

As I sit looking around the shuttle bus at the faces of life with eyes that stare but do not seem to see, I suddenly am struck with the thought that I wonder if I look any differently than the rest.  Then, I look across the bus and leaning ever so slightly to the right so I can see my reflection in the glass window on the other side of the bus, I realize how tired I look, too.  I have a dawning awareness, as I gaze at my reflected image, that I don’t look any different than the rest of my fellow travelers.  I find myself forcing myself to smile to perhaps – just perhaps – cause someone else to smile, too.  Alas, it doesn’t work.

I’ve felt this often on this shuttle bus – the hopelessness, the weariness, the emptiness – and I am overcome with the weight of it all – of life and death, morning and evening, the unending cycle of daily existence.  Prov. 15:13 says “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”  I fear there is much heartache on this bus tonight and every night.  It makes me angry at the enemy of our souls, then I realize that much of our heartache is caused by no one except ourselves and the poor choices that we make.

I think also about the words of Jesus from the gospel of John: “…but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”  How well do I follow that command?

Eccl. 8:1 – “Who is like the wise man?  Who knows the explanation of things?  Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.

I hope the next time that I’m on the shuttle bus, that I’ll have a bit more wisdom so that my face isn’t as hard and that His victory will shine through – even just a bit.  I hope you will, too.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.