DayBreaks for 03/08/12 – The Story of Amazing Grace

DayBreaks for 03/08/12 – The Story of Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound!

From the DayBreaks archive, 3/08/02:

When it comes time to talk about the great hymns of the faith, there are probably two hymns that stand head and shoulders above all others.  One is “The Old Rugged Cross”.  The other is “Amazing Grace”.  Perhaps Amazing Grace is the one that is best known because it is often sung or played at funerals – even for non-believers (as strange as that may seem – perhaps it is to give some sense of hope for the lost soul).  But do you know the story behind the song?  I didn’t until I read it in The Unchained Soul by Calvin Miller.  I hope you enjoy it:

It was John Newton who used the adjective amazing to describe God’s grace.  And well it marked his life.  In his younger years, Newton had been a sailor.  Even his shipmates agreed that he was the vilest of sailors.  He could use more ‘cuss words’ in a row than any of them.  He could also drink more than any of them.  He was, by all the standards of his day, a sinful man.  Several accounts abound concerning his sinfulness. One of the most curious tells of his being in a drunken stupor during a storm at sea.  In this experience his whole life flashed before him, and he came face to face with the Cross.  When Newton cried out to Jesus, his sins – like the Pilgrim’s in Pilgrim’s Progress – rolled off his back and tumbled downward into the empty tomb.  How glorious is Newton’s testimony, sung now by Christians everywhere:

“Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.”

The discovery that John Newton made so long ago can be discovered anew by those who don’t know Christ, but even by us day after day as believers, time after time that we’ve fallen and failed.  We should never think that we’ve outgrown our need for God’s grace.  We would all be better off if we ended each day with the wonderful story of Amazing Grace in our hearts.

PRAYER: Grace – O Lord, how sweet the sound!!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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DayBreaks for 03/07/12 – A Walk Between Worlds

DayBreaks for 03/07/12 – A Walk Between Worlds

From the DayBreaks archive, 3/25/02:

We can walk between worlds...

I have always wanted to travel into space.  I would love to walk on the surface of the moon. I would love to feel the kick of the powerful rocket engines as they threw me into orbit.  Perhaps, however, one of the things I would love to do the most would be to space walk.  I can only imagine the incredible feeling of freedom to drift silently through space, looking down at the beautiful blue marble of the earth.  I think I would be endlessly fascinated by the sight of my home planet, the ever-changing swirling patterns of the clouds and the beauty of the colors.

In a recent movie I saw about Mars, there was a scene where the manned mission was to have arrived in Mars orbit, only to find that there was a problem and to try to rescue the mission and the lives of the crew, one man took a perilous space walk to capture a piece of the spaceship that had broken loose.  He overextended his travel and wound up slowly drifting down toward the planet until gravity captured him and he was ultimately killed.

Well, I seriously doubt that I’ll ever get to space walk – and certainly not in the Martian atmosphere.  But there is a sense in which we, as Christians, walk between worlds every day.  Once again, Calvin Miller put is well: “Is prayer a journey?  Yes, a trek for those who walk between worlds.

Contemplate this prayer of Teresa of Avila: “Oh, my Lord, how obvious it is that you are Almighty!  There is no need to understand the reasons for your commands.  So long as we love and obey you, we can be certain that you will direct us on to the right path.  And as we tread that path, we will know that it is your power and love that has put us there.  It is as if the path which leads to you is narrow and rough, with steep cliffs on either side plunging down into dark valleys.  Yet the path on which you have put me is a royal road, broad and smooth.  It is safe for anyone who chooses to take it.  And your Son holds the hand of all who walk on it.  If we become tired or discouraged, we need only look up to see your smiling face in the distance inviting us to share Your joy.

When we talk with God, and when we listen to Him in our prayers, we are engaged in the most incredible walk between worlds that a human being can experience.   In prayer we pass from the transient into the eternal realm, and God comes to us in our lowliness, cloaked in His incredible majesty and glory.  Prayer lifts us out of the mundane into the magnificent and, if we pray rightly, takes our eyes off ourselves and turns them to the Glory that is Beyond All Glories, God Himself.

Go for a walk between worlds today – cherish it, revel in it, languish in it, get lost in it.  And if you never come back, as was the case with Enoch, well…that’s just fine, too.

PRAYER: How we love to walk with You in heavenly places!  Capture our hearts and thrill us with joyous communication with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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 03/06/12 – Don’t Just Fight, Stand There!

DayBreaks for 03/06/12 – Don’t Just Fight, Stand There!

From the DayBreaks archive, 3/19/02:

One of the most important parts of doing battle is to have good “intelligence”.  By that, I mean knowledge about what the enemy is doing – where they are going, how fast they are traveling, where they are entrenched and when they will be there.  More often than not, good intelligence overcomes a more superior force.  One of the trickier aspects of intelligence gathering is to determine how much credibility to give to the source of the intelligence.  Sometimes, as we’ve seen recently in the news, a source is considered to be “unreliable”.

In 2 Chronicles 20:15-17, God gives some intelligence to His people regarding the advancing enemy (the Ammonites, Moabites and men from Mt. Seir) and their troop movements: “15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’  When God gives you intelligence, you know you can count on it!

Try now to put yourself in the position of King Jehoshaphat: God has told you where the enemy will be, and He has also given you explicit instructions that may see a bit contradictory:

FIRST: Don’t be afraid of them, in spite of the fact that they are a “vast army”.  I can hear myself now: “Well, I’m sorry, God, that’s easy for you to say.  These guys aren’t going to be handing out lollipops, and it’s me, not you, that they’ll be shooting at.  Don’t you understand that I could die?!?”

SECOND: The battle is God’s, not mine.  Again, I would be tempted on the day of battle to look to my left and then look to my right to try to see God standing in the battle line.  I wouldn’t be able to see Him.  But that doesn’t mean that He’s not there.  Sometimes the most ferocious and deadly enemy is one you cannot see…and God is the enemy of evil-doers like those who were attacking Judah.

THIRDLY: March down to do battle.  Take your positions, stand firm, don’t even bother to string your bows or sharpen your axes, because you won’t have to fight this battle.  As I stood in the battle line, I would be saying: “God?  Oh, God?  I know you said I wouldn’t need to fight this battle, but look over there – can’t you see the enemy?  They are almost uncountable!  Is it time yet to string up my bow?  Maybe I should do that – just in case?”  God was testing the faith of the men from Judah while at the same time extending amazing grace to them by fighting for them.  God was essentially telling them, “Go out to do battle.  Then, don’t fight – just stand there.”  Hard to do.

Are you facing some difficult battle today?  Don’t run!  Stand still: and refuse to retreat.  Look at it as God looks at it and draw on his power to hold up under the blast.  Sure, it’s tough.  Nobody ever said the Christian life was easy. He offers something better – His own sustaining presence through any trouble we may encounter: courage to just go where and when He sends us and trust God for the victory.

PRAYER: Thank you for fighting…and winning…for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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 03/05/12 – Give Me All

DayBreaks for 03/05/12 – Give Me All

One of the most dramatic and world-renowned shifts from “I” to God is the conversion of C. S. Lewis. This little man, who held the chair of medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge, sat in his study without typewriter or secretary and penned the great masterpieces which made him perhaps the most broadly-read Christian writer of our century. C. S. Lewis was an agnostic, but was Surprised By Joy–the title of a book in which he tells about “The Shape of My Early Life” as Christ replaced the “I” in his life.

C. S. Lewis describes the exchange between self-will and God’s will in Beyond Personality (and his words are a challenge to you and to me): “Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your money and so much of your work–I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self instead. In fact I will give you myself, my own will shall become yours.”

How much of yourself have you really given over to Christ?

PRAYER: Dying to ourselves is hard, Lord.  Surrender, though we know you are good and loving, is still difficult.  Thank you for giving us yourself in exchange for each bit of ourselves that dies.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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 03/02/12 – The Sound Satan Loves

DayBreaks for 03/02/12 – The Sound Satan Loves

Satan loves some sounds...but not others...

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/07/2002:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 – “13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

Calvin Miller, writing in The Unchained Soul, said: “Satan loves the sound of hopeless crying.  We serve him only when we abandon God and agree to ‘grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope’.  When we laugh we participate in the spirit of heaven, where He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)  Heaven’s laughter will at last define the dwelling place of God and all His saints.”

I like Miller’s suggestion of what Satan loves.  If Satan can manage to snuff out our hope, all we are left with is crying – a crying born of despair, dejection and resigned defeat.  It is the sound of those who have no hope when they are confronted with death, disease or other horrible tragedies that they cannot control or contain.  Their weeping is bitter and the bitterness of their wailing is deeper than the deepest well, for it comes from the bottom of the human heart.  That kind of despair can cause us to give up on God and to turn our back on Him.

Yet that isn’t what God wants for us.  He came to give us hope so that we don’t have to grieve like the rest of humanity.  The sound that characterizes the Christian isn’t supposed to be grieving and despair, but joy.  Dare we even say, laughter?  Yes!  Did you realize that Scripture speaks about God laughing?  Psalm 2:4a says – “4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs…”  Did you get that?  Maybe you never thought about God laughing, but He does!  And when we who have accepted Christ grasp our position in Christ, we have no reason to grieve – we have reason to laugh with joy!

PRAYER: Fill us with the music of Your laughter as we look forward with great joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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 03/01/12 – Listening to Your Life

DayBreaks for 03/01/12 – Listening To Your Life

Listening to Your Life

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. – Psalm 139:23-24

Frederick Buechner, a great Christian thinker and writer, in Listening to Your Life, asks a series of questions designed to help us think about where we have been and where we are going. I think you’ll find Buechner’s questions worth mulling over, and his comment at the end, very revealing:

When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?

If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be, in twenty-five words or less?

Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo?

Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?

Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?

If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?

Frederick Buechner goes on to say: “To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business, all in all, but if sack cloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.”

PRAYER: Bring us safely, Lord, through the sack cloth and ashes brought about by the searching if Your Spirit, into the joy of an everlasting Easter morning!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “I Am 2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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.