DayBreaks for 11/01/12 – The Rock Never Moved

DayBreaks for 11/01/12 – The Rock Never Moved

O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! 2 From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, 3 for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. 4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! – Psalm 61:1-4 (NLT)

We have just witnessed perhaps the most destructive storm to ever hit the United States, hurricane Sandy.  While the winds weren’t the strongest that we’ve experienced, the sheer size of the storm, combined with other meteorological phenomena joined forces to create what some called “Frankenstorm.”  Dozens in the US perished, and who knows what the property damage totals will become?

We often find ourselves at the mercy of the forces of nature and the forces of life.  We can’t control the wind, the waves, the heat or cold.  We can’t control gravity or change the laws of physics in order to spare our lives or keep us and our loved ones from danger.  When you stop to really think about it, life could be terrifying.  Who knows if an unknown meteor will smack into the earth in the next week?  Or if the sun will go super-nova well ahead of schedule?  Can anyone guarantee you that tomorrow you will not be injured or killed in an accident, terrorist act, fire or other catastrophe?  No.  No one can give you that guarantee.  Nor can anyone guarantee that you won’t be deeply wounded tomorrow by someone you work with, or by someone you thought was a friend or companion.  It happens all over the place, every day.  It can happen to any of us at any time.

Should we be terrified?  We should if those things that I’ve mentioned were all we know about life and creation and this world.  But we have been given glimpses into the behind-the-scenes working of this world.  Because of that tiniest of glimpses, we can live without paralyzing fear.

There’s a story about a storm that goes like this: “A storm wrecked a ship. The only survivor was a little boy who was swept by the waves onto a rock. There he sat all night long. In the morning he was seen and rescued. One of his rescuers asked him, “Did not you tremble while you were on the rock during the night?” His answer: “I surely did tremble but the rock did not.”

“We are human. We cannot help but tremble, but the Rock on which we stand never does.” – Practical Bible Illustrations From Yesterday and Today.

No one wants the winds to howl in their life or for the rain to fall.  No one wanted hurricane Sandy to wash away their homes and jobs and lives.  It is tragic, sad and lamentable.  It could have been us.  This time it wasn’t.  But we need not fear, for there is a Solid Rock that will sway the future.

PRAYER:  Jesus, for all the times I have complained about my cross, I’m sorry.  I nearly always forget how blessed I am!  Help me to not carry a chip on my shoulder, but rather to shoulder the crosses you send my way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Want to help us save children and give them a life?  Donate now through I Am 2 Partners, Inc., where Galen serves as director of operations: http://www.iam2.org/donate   Thanks!

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DayBreaks for 10/31/12 – No Room for a Chip

DayBreaks for 10/31/12 – No Room for a Chip

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. – Matthew 16:24 (ESV)

Carrying crosses is not an easy thing – especially when you know you are to be crucified on it.  I suspect that it was easier for Simon the Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross than it was for Jesus to carry it, even if Jesus hadn’t been scourged to within an inch of his life prior to the journey.  Our own burdens always seem heavier than someone else’s.

And, when we are carrying a heavy burden, we often are quick to let others know about it.

“Lord,

“You said if I want to follow you, I will need to carry my cross every day. I want to follow, Lord.

“But there are days when I’m dragging my cross, making a trail for everyone to see. There are days when I’m pushing my cross, making my own path miserable and dusty. There are days when I’m sitting on my cross, trying to get comfortable and going nowhere. There are days when I’m giving my cross to somebody else, who already has one of his own.

“Help me, Lord, to carry my cross on my shoulder. When it’s up there, it leaves no room for a chip!” – A Treasury of Bible Illustrations

I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of days when I drag my cross and hope that everyone will see how deep of a furrow I leave behind because of the weight of my struggle.  Then, there are days when I’m not dragging it, but I’m pushing it – and that’s even harder because it takes even more strength.

Sitting down for comfort on the way?  Oh, yeah.  It sure beats dragging or pushing the cross, doesn’t it?  It is far easier than pushing or pulling and it is far more common to us American Christians.  Not necessarily so common for other Christians, though, around the world.

How about you?  Are you dragging your cross, pushing it, sitting on it or trying to give your cross away?

PRAYER:  Jesus, for all the times I have complained about my cross, I’m sorry.  I nearly always forget how blessed I am!  Help me to not carry a chip on my shoulder, but rather to shoulder the crosses you send my way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Want to help us save children and give them a life?  Donate now through I Am 2 Partners, Inc., where Galen serves as director of operations: http://www.iam2.org/donate   Thanks!

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, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

DayBreaks for 10/30/12 – Don’t Bite the Snake that Bites You

DayBreaks for 10/30/12 – Don’t Bite the Snake that Bites You

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. – 1 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

Surviving a cobra bite in Nepal is simple, or at least that’s what some natives believe. They hold to the idea that if the victim of a cobra bites the snake back right away, and bites hard enough to kill the cobra, then the venom that has been injected is rendered harmless.

There’s only one problem, as a farmer found out.  The farmer was bitten in August in Biratnagar and later told BBC News that he went about his business normally after fatally biting his attacker.  He managed to survive only after his family convinced him that perhaps the custom/superstition was ridiculous and they rushed him to a hospital. (BBC News, 8-13-2012/News of the Weird, 10/29/12)

I think there are a couple of worthwhile lessons here:

FIRST: human superstitions are not fact, they have not saving power and are rather ridiculous.  Just believing something is true certainly doesn’t render it true.  There are those who suggest that Christianity is a foolish superstition.  How can one tell a superstition from something that is true?  It’s not that hard, really.  All one has to do is to test the evidences for the claims to ascertain what is true and what is false.  And there is plenty of evidence for Christianity, but not much for the idea that biting a cobra in return for being bitten is a way to make the venom harmless!

SECOND: we are cautioned by Peter not to “repay evil for evil.”  Granted, most of us will never be bitten by a cobra or will bite one in return even if we had been bitten.  But, we are often “bitten” by the actions and words of others.  We have a sense that if I can only bite back, it’ll feel better and help me heal from the wounding.  Balderdash.  Might as well bite a cobra in an attempt to deal with the venom within us.  It’ll be just as effective as injecting poison into the one who hurt us.  And, by the way, if we bite what bites us, are we any better than that which bit first?

We already have plenty of poison in our hearts and tongues.  Jesus wants to remove that poison from us, not have us use it against others.

PRAYER: Jesus, we may from time to time be able to curb our tongues and not lash out at those who have injured us, but our hearts are another matter entirely.  Take the poison out of our hearts and minds and heal us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Want to help us save children and give them a life?  Donate now through I Am 2 Partners, Inc., where Galen serves as director of operations: http://www.iam2.org/donate   Thanks!

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, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

DayBreaks for 10/29/12 – When You Thought the Worst Was Over

DayBreaks for 10/29/12 – When You Thought the Worst Was Over

From the DayBreaks Archive: October 29, 2002

When you’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death

When you thought the worst was over

And the worst is what was left

Some things he can’t explain now,

But by and by he will.

Look up through the pain now, and you will find him

Deeper still.

Deeper still you will find him, deeper still than before

Deeper still goes the anchor, deeper still the ocean floor.

Deeper still he has taught you, deeper still there is to go

Deeper still is the Savior, deeper still than we know.”  – from Deeper Still: For Those Who Grieve, copyright 1997 IBS Publishing

There is something inside of us that leads us to hope that our troubles are about at an end.  But what happens when you discover that what you thought the worst was only the beginning, or only a mid-point in the trouble?  I wish I had a silver-bullet answer that worked in every situation for everyone.  But the following I do know:

FIRST: God is still in His heaven and is still on His throne.

SECOND: God still loves you – regardless of the cause of the difficulty (and sometimes it is brought about as a result of our sinful, selfish decisions).

THIRD: God still sees you (Psalm 10:14): “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.  The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

FINALLY: Whether your mind and heart can grasp it or not, you will still win – because your Father God will have His way when all is said and done.

PRAYER: Father, it is tough not knowing if we have seen the worst and things will get better or not.  We try, Lord, to hold on to your certainties, but it is not easy.  Give us the courage and the strength for each day to face whatever it brings, and help us to know that you truly are in it with us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Want to help us save children and give them a life?  Donate now through I Am 2 Partners, Inc., where Galen serves as director of operations: http://www.iam2.org/donate   Thanks!

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, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email.

DayBreaks for 10/26/12: A Journey to the Kingdom of Shame

DayBreaks for 10/26/12 – Journey to the Kingdom of Shame

Gas Chamber at Auschwitz

Today I’m going to do something I’ve never done before in DayBreaks.  I wrote a devotion very recently about Maxmillian Kolb, a priest who swapped places in the Nazi death-camps with a man who was a husband/father (link here).  In response to that devotion, today I received a response from a man in Finland who visited Auschwitz just this fall.  He said that it was a very moving experience and provided me with a link to a slide show/musical composition he’d made about Auschwitz and what he saw.

Today I want to share that link with you and share some thoughts.  To watch the video, go here: A Trip to the Kingdom of Shame.

As I watched the slide show, I was moved, as I always am, by scenes of suffering.  I never cease to be dismayed at the depths to which we humans can fall.  I don’t understand how people could look little children in the face as they march them into the gas chambers or watch them starve.  Is there no bottom to the darkness of the human heart?

I think it must be due to our failure to obey the greatest two commands.  If we love God, we will love what is made in His image.  If we love others as we love ourselves, we will not march them off to exterminate them like so many bugs.

Jesus would have cried out against such atrocities…and I’m sure he did during the Holocaust.  He would not have stood silently by and watched.  He will one day intervene with all the power that created the universe.  In this lies hope.  There will be justice.

But what of us?  It is far too easy to switch the channel when commercials asking for support come on the TV showing us faces of starving children.  It is as if we have constructed switches in our hearts that can be thrown as easily as a light switch: out-of-sight, out-of-mind.  Shame.  Shame on us.

God have mercy on our souls if we turn our faces away like the Nazi guards did.

I struggle with the thought that Jesus died even for those guards.  I tell myself that they don’t deserve it…and they don’t.  I am so angry that I don’t want them to benefit in any way from the mercy and grace of God.  But neither do I deserve his death for me.  I am at a loss.  Without words.

Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus!!!!

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)

PRAYER: Lord, I repent in dust and ashes for my coldness of heart, for my lack of compassion and mercy for those who cry out for justice, begging for life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Want to help us save children and give them a life?  Donate now through I Am 2 Partners, Inc., where Galen serves as director of operations: http://www.iam2.org/donate   Thanks!

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, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email.

DayBreaks for 10/25/12 – A World Turned Upside Down

DayBreaks for 10/25/12 – The World Turned Upside Down

7 After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” – Job 42:7-8 (NLT)

By the time we reach the end of Job we’ve heard lots of posturing and grandstanding (not too unlike religious or political debates these days).  In fact, we’ve heard enough of it that we struggle to make sense of it, to stop our heads from spinning in 360 degree circles.

I would imagine that as God lights into Job about how foolish Job was in his thoughts about God, Elihu and his two friends were rubbing their hands in glee, thinking they had been vindicated in their own thinking.  But suddenly God stops questioning Job, who quickly acknowledges how wrong his ideas about God had been – or more accurately how wrong he was to think he had this God all figured out – and takes on the three so-called “friends” of Job who’d come to comfort him.  The hand wringing comes to an abrupt halt and you can almost see the three friends trying to shrink back into the background and disappear.

What has really happened here?  God has turned the world upside down.  Though many today may claim to not believe in God, they still wring their hands in delight when something bad happens to a “godly” person…and start shouting comments much like Job’s friends: “You must be an awful person.  Look at what’s happening to you!  If you were good it wouldn’t have happened…and if God were loving, He wouldn’t have done this to you.  So either you’re bad, God is not loving, or both!”  And they sit smugly hoping to see lightning strike again.

God has let them rage, just as He let Job wax eloquent, but in the end, He pulls them all up short and puts them on notice.  But what’s shocking here is a foreshadowing of the Christ Himself (and what should characterize those who are true followers).  The very one who has been reviled (Job) is now to be God’s representative to accept their sacrifices and to pray for them.  It is a picture of Christ, reviled during his trial and crucifixion, who is it that prays for the persecutors?  Jesus.

What is your reaction to those who offer you insults and charge you with evil (or stupidity) for believing that God is good?  Do you secretly long to see fire from heaven singe their heads and make their clothes catch fire and smolder?  Or, are you praying for them that they might be forgiven?

I suspect we all need for God to turn our hearts around on this one.  Jesus turned his world upside down.  Now it’s our turn.

PRAYER: God, I know that I am not always charitable to those who attack me.  I often want to see pain inflicted on them, but I know that I shouldn’t.  Help me to pray with genuine heart and clean motives for Your love to reach them.  We invite You to turn our world, and hearts, upside down and inside out.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 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, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email.

DayBreaks for 10/24/12 – Scorpions, Antivenom and Your Day

DayBreaks for 10/24/12 – Scorpions, Antivenon and Your Day

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
Romans 12:17 (NLT)

I’ve never been stung by a scorpion, but I’ve come close.  It’s not an experience I will seek out as I hear their stings are quite painful.  But some things just make the pain that much worse.  Case in point, this story retold by News of the Weird, dated 10/22/12:

“Scorpion anti-venom made in Mexico sells in Mexico for about $100 a dose, but for a while over the last year, the going rate in the emergency room of the Chandler (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center was $39,652 a dose, charged to Marcie Edmonds, who was stung while opening a box of air-conditioner filters in June 2011. She received two doses by IV and was released after three hours, to later find a co-pay bill of $25,537 awaiting her (with her Humana plan picking up $57,509), according to reporting by the Arizona Republic newspaper. The Republic found that Arizona hospitals retailed it for from $7,900 to $12,467 per dose–except for Chandler. Following the newspaper’s report, Chandler decided to re-price the venom at $8,000 a dose, thus eating a $31,652 ‘loss.’” [Arizona Republic, 9-4-2012, 9-20-2012]

I’m sorry, but this is outrageous.  What has happened to decency and integrity?  Paul (if he was the writer of Romans and I’m inclined to believe he wrote it), admonishes us to act honorably in all our doings.  Where is the honesty in taking something that could be purchased for $100 and marking it up to nearly forty thousand dollars a dose?

Chances are very good that you’ll not be buying or paying for scorpion anti-venom very soon, and for that I’m grateful.  But, you will have lots of opportunity today to either act honorably or dishonorably.  The “things” you do today will be governed by integrity or greed, truth or dishonesty.  How is the decision made?  It comes from your character – from what is most important to you and what you believe the strongest.

When we are caught acting dishonorably (as the hospital was found to act – and wound up getting “stung” by it), we wind up not only with egg on our faces, but our hearts are shamed and we are in peril of having a ruined reputation.  It’s not worth it.  Sin never is.

PRAYER: We will be tempted today, Lord, to cut a few corners and to do things in less than honorable ways.  Please help us to survive those moments of temptation and to follow the pathway of the One who was, and is, and always shall be, the Truth!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 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, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email.