DayBreaks for 01/01/13 – God Loves Water!

DayBreaks for 01/01/13 – God Loves Water

raging torrent

Psalm 124:2-5 (NLT) – What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us?  3 They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger.  4 The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. 5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives.

The preacher on Sunday spoke on Psalm 124.  Chances are, it’s not one of your favorites, and it certainly isn’t one of the most beloved Psalms.  But it is RICH in content!

One of the points the pastor made was about how troubles are frequently pictured in Scripture as manifestations of water: floods, raging rivers, torrents that would sweep us away.  It’s easy to see why, isn’t it?  When we are in the deep water of trouble, we feel as if we will vanish beneath the waves forever.

He then went on to point out that God isn’t afraid of water.  In fact, He seems to love it!  Consider:

  1. The great flood of Genesis was under His control;
  2. The parting of the Red Sea;
  3. The crossing of the Jordan in a miraculous way;
  4. Elijah and the contest on Mt. Carmel where the offering and altar were soaked in water before God consumed them with fire;
  5. The storm on the sea that Jesus’ calmed by rebuking the waves;
  6. Another storm on the same body of water where Jesus came walking on the top of the liquid stuff.

You see, God isn’t afraid of a little (or lot!) of water, nor is he afraid of our troubles.  In fact, over and over again, God does much of his greatest work either in the midst of the raging waters of life, or in the darkness where it is hard to perceive.

As you look at the coming year, what do you see?  There is plenty of potential darkness: will the ‘fiscal cliff’ be avoided (and should it be?)  What is your work situation – is it gloomy and frightening?  What about your marriage and relationships?  Are you in legal trouble?  Financial difficulties swimming all around you?

The water may look deep, but God can touch the bottom and bring you out of the swirling flood of troubles that you may have.

Of one thing we can be absolutely sure: there will be nothing that happens this year, either in our individual lives as Christians, or our corporate existence as humanity, that will be too big or too hard for God to handle.  You see, God has already seen every single thing that will happen this year and knows precisely how to handle it.

Isn’t it great to belong to such a great God?!?!?!

PRAYER: Lord, I often am very afraid when I’m in deep water and it threatens the things I value and hold dear.  Remind us as we begin this new year that You love water…and love saving Your people from the flood that would overwhelm us if possible.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/28/12 – Join Me

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/26/12:

reflections on Christ - crucifixionColossians 1:24 – “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

Christmas was just yesterday.  Perhaps it seems strange to speak of suffering at this time of year.  But is it really all that strange?  While the Christmas story itself is joyful and the angels proclaimed tidings of great joy, the shadow of the cross was always in the background even in the stable.  Christmas was, for God, the beginning of the sacrifice and the beginning of suffering. 

In entering human history God shattered all previous conceptions of who God is and what man is meant to be.  In the New Testament we are presented with a God who suffers crucifixion, a Supreme Being with spit on his face.  What he went through in His passion and death is meant for me too; the invitation he issues is, ‘Don’t weep for Me!  Join Me!  The life I have planned for Christians is a Christian life, much like the life I led.  I wasn’t poor so that you might be rich, I wasn’t mocked so that you might be honored.  I wasn’t laughed at so that you could be lauded.  I was revealing the Christian picture of man and woman, one that is meant to include you, too.’  Paul wrote to the Colossians, ‘We are meant to fill up what is wanting in the suffering of Christ.’”  (Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning)

This year has seen major changes in our lives, our families, our churches, our nation and our world.  Wouldn’t it be appropriate for Christmas to be a bit different, too?  Instead of being so focused on what you GOT for Christmas, why not seek a way to “fill up what is wanting in the suffering of Christ”?  How?  I’m sure that there are many ways that it could be done, but ask yourself this question: “If He were here today, how would he suffer for the benefit of another?”  Then go do it.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

Prayer for today: We need your courage, Lord, for if left to our own devices, we will always seek the path of least resistance and comfort.  Let us live not just in imitation of your love and compassion and mercy, but also in imitation of your willingness to suffer for truth and for the sake of those who might even hate and reject us.  In  Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for Christmas Day, 12/25/12 – How Silently

DayBreaks for 12/25/12 – How Silently

silently-swinging-jan-pillerMatthew 28:20 (NLT)Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Among the Christmas carols, perhaps none has achieved the favor and popularity of Silent Night.  While I am not too sure how accurate it is historically (I rather doubt that the angelic choir proclaiming the birth were all that quiet when they appeared to the shepherds!) but the sentiment is wonderful.

I was pondering silence earlier today.  I love peace and quiet.  It is one of the reasons that I love to be out in the woods where the only sound may be the sighing of the wind as is stirs the tree-tops and makes them dance in their peculiar way.

I was reminded of the silence of a falling snow when we lived in the woods of Maine.  It was truly magical, and that silence spoke so loudly to my heart and soul that I shall never forget it.

We need more silence – more stillness and quietness in our hearts.  That’s why the angels that surrounded His birth came with the message that we should not be afraid of God breaking into human space and time because He was coming because He loved us.

I contemplated Silent Night and how silence at this time of the year is so appropriate.  It would be very difficult for us to hear His voice if we are raucous and noisy.  After all, little babies don’t really make that much noise, and to hear His message of love we have to listen very closely.  The world can be such a dark place, but He brought light and love to us, whispering between each breath of the Christ-child, “Don’t be afraid.  I love you.  I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”

Though all others may leave you, He never will, nor will His love for you diminish, nor will it become more perfected, for it is already perfect!

Merry CHRISTmas to all the DayBreaks readers!!!

PRAYER: Quieten our souls this day, Lord Jesus, that we may truly hear your message of love on this very special day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/24/12 – Comfort My People

DayBreaks for 12/24/12 – Comfort My People

MF.-Seeking-Comfort-on-Her-ShouldersIsaiah 40:1-2: “Comfort my people” says our God. “Comfort them! Encourage the people of Jerusalem. Tell them they have suffered long enough and their sins are now forgiven. I have punished them in full for all their sins.”

I used to live where it snowed. One of the strongest and most stirring of my childhood memories is to walk alone in the dark in freshly fallen snow and hear the sound of the footsteps crunching the white wonder stuff under my feet. Then, sometimes, I’d stop and listen. You can’t hear the snowfall. The world was white and quiet – not a sound except my breathing.

In one sense, these words that God spoke were fulfilled with the return of some of the exiles from Babylon about 200 years after He spoke them. But not really and truly. They foresaw the coming of the baby in the manger and the life and death he would live.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the last words of God to Jesus before he shrank down to become a human embryo weren’t along these lines: “Comfort my people! Comfort them!” That’s what this day is all about – how God reached out to His people who were distressed and like sheep had gone astray. How His great heart must have been broken to see so much pain and misery in us! And as Jesus left the courts of heaven, God gave him this one final charge and message: “Comfort my people!”

Today you can choose to reject God’s comfort and to beat yourself senseless over your failures and faults. Goodness knows, we all have enough failings – we don’t have to look very hard or very long to find them, do we? Or, you can accept His comfort.

Listen to the words of God to Jesus: “Comfort my people!” Did you hear that? Listen to His voice. It was first heard as the cry of a baby in a manger that echoed, not just within the walls of the stable, but throughout the universe and inside the heart of the Father. To some, it may have just sounded like another baby crying, but to those who really knew what was going on, they clearly heard the message from the lips of the God in the manger: “I love you! I am with you! Be comforted!”

Let Him comfort you tonight – then do your part to comfort those who need His comfort and as you do, you’ll become a little more like Him.

PRAYER: May we find comfort in Your love and welcome this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/21/12 – The Shape of Christmas

DayBreaks for 12/21/12 – The Shape of Christmas

14331889-many-colorful-christmas-packages-put-together-a-bunch

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 12/21/2001:

I was in Costco recently and I was standing in the checkout line when I noticed two young boys (about 8 years old) who were standing in the next line.  Behind them was a man who had a large stuffed tiger in his shopping basket.  The boys were enthralled, and the joy on the man’s face of knowing how his child would love having the stuffed tiger was evident.  For some little child, Christmas this year may come in the shape of that stuffed tiger.

In Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning wrote: “Jesus does not dominate my life.  Any tree in my path seems to have more power than he, if only because it forces me to walk around it…what would life be like if Christ did rule in me?  If during Advent my primary concern were His Kingdom? …What shape would Advent and Christmas take, if Jesus really RULED in me?

“If He did, that is, if my faith were deep, burning, powerful and passionate, my life would be very different.  My self-esteem would cease to be based upon the worldly values of possessions, prestige, status, and privilege, and upon the group solidarities of family, race, class, religion, and nation.  For to make these my supreme values is to have nothing in common with Jesus.  With burning faith I would speak of Jesus not as some distant being but as a close friend with whom I have a personal relationship.  The invisible world would become more real than the visible, the world of what I see, Christ more real than myself.

“…It stands to reason that if during the Advent season we relegate Jesus and what He stands for to second place on our scale of values, then we have already denied Him and what He stands for.  Either you accept the Kingdom of Jesus understood it or you don’t.  You cannot serve two masters.

Jesus came not only to save you, but to make you different.  To transform your mind (Rom 12:2) – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

To the extent that Jesus rules in us, our lives will take the shape of His not just at Christmas, but all year long.  What shape will your Christmas take this year?

PRAYER: We are prone to think of You more during this season, Lord, and to forget about you for much of the rest of the year.  We invite you to shape our lives to fully conform to Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/20/12 – The Shipwrecked at the Stable

DayBreaks for 12/20/12 – Shipwrecked at the Stable

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 12/20/2001:

nativity

Do you think you could contain Niagara Falls in a teacup?”

“Is there anyone in our midst who pretends to understand the awesome love in the heart of the Abba of Jesus that inspired, motivated, and brought about Christmas?  The shipwrecked at the stable kneel in the presence of mystery.”

“God entered into our world not with the crushing impact of unbearable glory, but in the way of weakness, vulnerability, and need.  On a wintry night in an obscure cave, the infant Jesus was a humble, naked, helpless God who allowed us to get close to him.”

“We all know how difficult it is to receive anything from someone who has all the answers, who is completely cool, utterly unafraid, needing nothing, and in control of every situation.  We feel unnecessary, unrelated to this paragon.  So God comes as a newborn baby, giving us a chance to love him, making us feel that we have something to give him.” –
Brennan Manning

It is hard to grasp the magnitude of what happened in Bethlehem.  We like to think that we, like the wise men of old, would come to give him something.  After all, isn’t that appropriate for a king (let alone the God of the universe)?

But in the final analysis, little did the wise men know that it was they who were receiving a much greater gift.  What could they give the King of kings, the creator of all that exists or ever will exist?  What could such a God want or desire from mere humans?  So, while I’m sure that the gifts were stupendous and that Mary and Joseph had probably never seen such richness, it was the baby that was receiving the most precious gift: the worship of his creatures.

What does God want from you this holiday season?  He doesn’t really care for a big financial gift on Christmas Sunday (although if you want to give it, He’ll put it to use to feed the hungry or reach the lost).  He wants your adoration – your worship – and your love.

We need to come to the stable realizing that we are shipwrecked by life and in need of rescue.  Even at the moment of his birth, he needed nothing from us, for he had come to rescue us and give us life.

PRAYER: Here we are, Lord, shattered by life, scarred, disfigured, barely limping along!  We have no gold, frankincense or myrrh to give you.  All we have to give you is our brokenness, which is precisely the gift you long to receive so you can make us whole once again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/19/12 – God and My Day

DayBreaks for 12/19/12 – God and My Day

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Ever have one of those days when ABSOLUTELY nothing goes according to plan and you are frustrated and maybe upset with God (and the rest of the world) because of either what did, or didn’t happen?  I had one of those days today.  How timely that it showed up on Facebook (I don’t know who wrote it), but it was a perfect fit for my situation today, and perhaps for you, too!

Me: God, can I ask You a question?

God: Sure

Me: Promise You won’t get mad

God: I promise

Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do u mean?

Me: Well, I woke up late

God: Yes

Me: My car took forever to start

God: Okay

Me: at lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait

God: Huummm

Me: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call

God: All right

Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home ~I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?

God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one
of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that

Me (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Me: (ashamed)

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Me (embarrassed):Okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Me (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to Trust Me…. in All things , the Good & the bad.

Me: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children…

PRAYER: I am so self-centered, God, thinking that the cosmos revolves around me and what happens to ME on this single day!  Remind me that You are a big, busy God, infinitely wise, knowing the ending from the beginning, and that as far as You are concerned, the cosmos does revolve around me because of Your great love for me and for all Your other children, too!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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