DayBreaks for 6/30/15 – God and the Kitchen Guy

DayBreaks for 6/30/15: God and the Kitchen Guy

Today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:

From John Ortberg’s God Is Closer Than You Think: “…a man named Nicholas Herman in the food service industry had had stints in the military and in transportation, and now he was a short-order cook and bottle-washer.  But he became deeply dissatisfied with his life; he worried chronically about himself, even whether or not he was saved.

“One day Nick was looking at a tree, and the same truth struck him that struck the psalmist so long ago: the secret of the life of a tree is that it remains rooted in something other and deeper than itself.  He decided to make his life an experiment in what he called a ‘habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God.’

“He is known today by the new name given to him by his friends: brother Lawrence.  He remained obscure throughout his life.  He never got voted pope.  He never got close to becoming the CEO of his organization.  He stayed in the kitchen.  But the people around him found that rivers of living water flowed out of him that made them want to know God the way he did.  ‘The good brother found God everywhere,’ one of them wrote, ‘as much while he was repairing shoes as while he was praying with the community.’  After Lawrence died, his friends put together a book of his letters and conversations.  It is called Practicing the Presence of God and is thought, apart from the Bible, to be the most widely read book of the last four centuries.  This monastic short-order cook has probably out-sold novelists John Grisham and Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling put together.”

How great is our hunger and longing for God?  How often do you find yourself being aware of His Presence?  You can find Him wherever you are today – in the kitchen, in the workplace, in the classroom, in the nursery and on the highway.  Know this: wherever you are, He will find you.  Will you find Him?  Do you want to?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/29/15 – A Strange Song in a Strange Land

DayBreaks for 6/29/15: A Strange Song in a Strange Land

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:

Ps. 137:1-4 – Beside the rivers of Babylon , we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.  We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees.  For there our captors demanded a song of us.  Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”  But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? (NLT)

This past Saturday, my wife and I took my sister and her two boys from our town over to the California’s Mendocino coast.  As highway 128 winds its way to the beautiful coastline, it cuts through Navarro state park.  In the park are some redwoods and we like to stop and wander among the mighty trees when we drive to the ocean.  This Saturday was no different, and finding a good spot to pull off, we all hopped out of the car and explored a part of the redwood forest.  Since it had been raining for a couple of days (very unusual for California in June!), the forest floor was spongy and soft and the damp smell of redwood humus was thick in the air.  It was very refreshing, and the boys (ages 9 and 5) dodged from tree to tree, climbing where they could, discovering what redwood forests are all about.

At one point, I wandered a tiny bit away from the rest of the explorers and found myself alone amongst the behemoths.  It was quiet, the only sound to be heard was the song of the birds in the wooded canopy.  For about 10-15 seconds, I was able to stand there in complete stillness and soak in the sounds that these huge trees have heard all their lives.  The wind in the upper reaches of the trees, the melodies of the birds as they flitted joyfully from one branch to another.  But then something else happened: one of the boys cried out in delight over some discovery, and the spell was broken.  But as I heard it, I thought of the passage from Psalm 137.  I was smitten with the idea of how foreign the sounds that we humans make in the woods must be to trees, ferns, and the living things of the forest. 

The captive Jews found it impossible to sing one of the songs of Jerusalem, of Zion, while held in Babylon.  For a people who were known for their joyful celebrations and singing, it was quite a statement: “We put away our lyres…how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”  Here’s what I thought:

FIRST: we, as Christians, must sound very foreign to this world when we speak of virgin births, turning water into wine, healing the blind, raising the dead, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of eternal life for those who accept Him by faith.  Surely, we sound as out of place as a boy’s shouts in the woods.  But the sounds of my nephews were no less real sounds of life than those of the birds.  They were just a different language.  And while they sounded out of place in the stillness of the moist, cool redwood forest, surely their squeals of delight pleased the Maker as they celebrated His creation.

SECOND: as the Jews found it difficult to sing God’s songs in a foreign land, we can also find it very hard at times to sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb in a world that doesn’t understand our language.  It isn’t just that they don’t understand our language, we believe they don’t want to hear it, and that’s what makes it difficult at times to sing the Song.  But we do the world an injustice when we keep the Song to ourselves.  There are those who will hear it and find joy in it, freedom and wind to lift them up and let them fly again.  If we don’t sing the Song, who will?  If we won’t sing it now, when the world needs it the most, when will we sing it?  It is the song of the ultimate freedom, of ultimate love, of peace, joy and hope.  It is the Song that this strange land called earth so desperately needs to hear!   Will you sing it?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, we live in very strange times and in a strange and foreign land, far from our native country.  Let us live as your children while here so others may know your goodness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/26/15 – Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

DayBreaks for 6/26/15: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the DayBreaks archive:

I remember playing hide and seek when I was a kid.  No, we didn’t have video games then, so we had to play boring old games where you had to run around and actually expend some energy!  I can’t say that I remember being very good at hide and seek.  Seems that I seldom got found.  Perhaps they just didn’t want to find ME!  But I remember I wasn’t all that great at finding others, either.  And of course, when you couldn’t find someone and you were ready to give up, you’d yell out “Come out, come out, wherever you are!”, and then all those who’d not been found would come out of their hiding places. 

I’m not sure, but I think that perhaps as we get older, we get better at hiding.  We start to hide our feelings (something that little kids can’t do very well), we hide our flaws and quirks, we work very hard at hiding our mistakes in the business world – and if caught – are quick to pass the blame along to someone else, which is really nothing more than another way of hiding. 

The very first game we ever play is usually “peek-a-boo”.  I’ve got to tell you that when I see grown ups acting like crazy folks playing peek-a-boo with their babies, I have to chuckle.  Don’t they know how silly they look?  (Hey – that’s not fair now, I used to play it with my kids – and now my grandkids – but somehow I’m sure I’ve managed to maintain a dignified look when I do it!)  It seems like a simple enough game, doesn’t it?  But it is a very important one, too, if you think about it.

What do babies learn from this simple game?  They learn things that we as adults need to remember rather than forget:

FIRST: we can try to hide ourselves, but we really can’t.  Just because we can’t see someone else (when we cover our eyes), it doesn’t mean that they’re not there.  It just means that our vision is blocked.  We can cover our eyes, but the parents know that we’re still there.  They can still see us with our eyes covered.  God sees us even when we try to blind ourselves to pretend that He’s not there and watching.  We are so foolish!

SECOND: we learn the joy of being “found” again.  The baby that removes their hands from their eyes and again sees mom or dad squeals with delight to be in contact again with the parent.  Their little faces crinkle all up with joy and excitement.  We need to remember the joy of being “found”.  We don’t want to be hidden, isolated, cut off from others.  Most of all, we shouldn’t want to be cut off from God.  But we tend to forget the joyfulness of being “found”.  Oh, that our faces should be like babes faces again and we would squeal with delight at knowing we’ve been found by God, and that we are in His tender care!

It’s been a long time since I’ve played hide-and-seek, but I think I’m about ready again.  How about you?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to stop playing games and let us rejoice that we have been found!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/25/15 – Even in the Darkness

DayBreaks for 6/25/15: Even in the Darkness

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the DayBreaks archive:

I love the story of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples in the middle of the storm.  It has everything you’d expect of a Hollywood blockbuster, except it’s even better because it’s true! 

The story takes place at 3 in the morning, which means it would have been dark.  In fact, due to the storm, it probably was darker than usual because the cloud cover would have hidden the moon and stars from sight.  The sea spray is flying everywhere, the wind is howling it’s mournful cry, the disciples were soaked to the bone and afraid they would never live to see another sunrise.  They had good enough reason for fear based on the weather and sea conditions alone, but then they saw something that made their skin crawl.  They saw a figure approaching them over the water – and it wasn’t another boat coming to their rescue.  It was a person – or what they took to be a ghost actually, in the form of a person.  Now it wasn’t just the wind that was screaming – according to Mark 6, the disciples screamed out in terror.

No sooner does that happen than this apparition identifies himself as Christ, as Jesus – their friend and teacher.  And in the middle of the screaming and tossing waves and soaked-to-the-bone skin, they hear him say, “Courage!  Don’t be afraid.  It’s only me!”  Jesus eventually gets into the boat with them and as Matthew told the story, they worshiped him.  No wonder – not just because they saw him walk on water, but by worshiping they may have felt it improved their chances of making it alive until morning. 

In Matthew’s version of the story, the disciples continued to fight the storm while Peter took his little jaunt on the wave tops, and it wasn’t until both Peter and Jesus were back in the boat that the storm ceased.  Here’s the point: once Jesus got into the boat of their lives, they didn’t worship him.  Their worship was directly connected with what they’d just experienced – the storm and Jesus – in the dark.  Now, after this experience and after the wind had died, they knew things about him that they’d never understood before: that he cared about them, that he’d not left them alone as they’d thought, that he was the master of the wind and the waves and if he could do that, he was the master of life itself – including lives contained in the sides of a heaving boat.  Perhaps more than anything else, they understood only then that when life is dark and when we feel so terribly alone and abandoned, that we aren’t really alone at all.  “Jesus Christ is Lord, even in the darkness.”

Your life may be incredibly dark right now.  I know people who are fighting cancer.  I know some of you are fighting relationships that seem to be going down the drain faster than a comet streaks through the sky.  I know some of you have lost loved ones.  You are all screaming out into the darkness of a moonless night into seemingly cold, empty and black space.  Stop screaming – just for a while.   Jesus didn’t come to them because he heard their screaming and decided to pay them a visit.  He knew where they were all along.  But they needed to stop screaming in order to hear his voice and to recognize him: “Take courage!  It is I.  You no longer need fear.”

Invite Jesus into your situation.  It doesn’t mean He’ll come – because whether or not you realize it, he’s already there – but it does mean that you will have a greater awareness of His Presence and His ability to still the storm, even in the darkness of your life.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Let us rise at your command, Lord, out of our depressions, sadness, bitterness, pain and disillusionment into the glory of a life lived with you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/24/15 – When Jesus Says “Get Up!”

DayBreaks for 6/24/15: When Jesus Says “Get Up!”

This is good!  From William Willimon’s sermon on Mark 5:21-43:

“With whom do you most identify in today’s gospel? There are plenty of characters here who are being stung by death. There is a woman whose whole life has been caught, dominated by a terrible, life-demanding illness. There is a distraught father. A little girl whose young life is being cut short. There are the baffled disciples, the crowd who doesn’t know what to think of all this. Where are you?

“And yet, intruding into the story is another face, the strong, live-giving face of Jesus. Mark says that Jesus was forever intruding into fixed, settled, hopeless situations and bringing life. Hear his strong voice speaking over the laments and dirges in today’s gospel? Hear him as he calls to the little girl, “Get up!”

“I think he may be calling to you. “Get up!” His voice is strong, commanding, vital. “Get up!” You have perhaps heard his comforting, soft voice before, stilling the waves of the storm, bringing peace to troubled waters. Now hear his other voice, that strong, shattering, enlivening voice. Evoking “fear and trembling” (verse 33) in all who heard it that day, it may do the same for us. Life is frightening, when it intrudes into the realm of death. Hear his voice now. I think it is a shout. There is so much death. We are asleep with death so it takes a loud voice to wake us.

“The great tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg overlooks the church where Luther preached and is today buried.

“On the anniversary of the Reformation the Socialist government took it upon itself to paint, in large, tasteless letters, a quote for the first line of Luther’s famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God, a bulwark never failing.”

“Believers in Wittenberg, for whom the words were more than an advertising slogan, whispered among themselves “The communists should have quoted from the first line of the second verse of the hymn, ‘If we on our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.’

“And it’s true. Left to our own devices, we are caught, trapped, dead. Face facts. There’s a lot of deadness out there and in here.

“But Jesus does not leave us be. In this story, we don’t have to wait to Easter for life to intrude and death to be defeated. Get up! he says. In the name of Jesus Christ, the victor over pain and death, enslavement and despair, Get up!”

PRAYER: Let us rise at your command, Lord, out of our depressions, sadness, bitterness, pain and disillusionment into the glory of a life lived with you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/23/15 – No More Payments

DayBreaks for 6/23/15: No More Payments

Image result for paid in full

I cannot say that I’ve ever paid off a home mortgage other than the times we sold a home to live somewhere else. We have never been the kind of people who lived in one place forever. The list of places we’ve lived is long and varied. Sometimes we wonder if we should have stayed put somewhere – especially when we have friends who have paid off their mortgages – but then we think of all the adventure we would have missed by living in other locations, and we are content with the choices we made.

Debt, though, can be a life-crushing. At some point, it starts to eat you alive.

There is a passage in Colossians 2:13-4 that goes like this: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

We sing songs about how Jesus paid our debt where his blood ran red and our sins washed white, or how Jesus paid it all – and how we no longer own a debt we could not pay. 

But I wonder: do we act as if we believe that is true? How many are still struggling to show God how good we are, to impress him somehow with why he should save us? How many are trying, through labors and works, to pay for a sinful past (or present)? How many spend hours pleading, hoping against hope, that God will forgive their sin?

You see, if you are in Christ, God has already forgiven it! You are DEBT-FREE when it comes to your salvation. Not because God just chose to ignore your sin, but because someone else paid for it and handed you the title to a plot in heaven where he has been building your house.

Are you a Christian? God looks at you and sees sinlessness. No sins from your past. No sins that need to be paid for from your present. No sin that you can commit in the future which will require another payment. It’s paid in full.

Grasp that – and your outlook on life will be changed forever from one of a timid, pleading, begging debtor to one freed indeed!

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for paying my bill and making me debt free!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/22/15 – My Father, Our Father

DayBreaks for 6/22/15: My Father, Our Father

My father has been home in heaven for 18+ years now. I wonder what it is like.  It is like something brand new every “morning”, just as our Father’s mercies are new every morning? Is it possible to get tired of seeing and experiencing what heaven holds? I suspect such is not the case!

On Saturday, the day before Father’s day, I took my camera to an old cemetery in Atlanta to capture some images. Yet the image that sticks with me wasn’t one capture by a digital sensor, but by the sensor of my heart. As I walked along the rows and plots of ground holding the earthly remains of so many, some were adorned with sculptures or other artwork and were beautiful and thought provoking. But the image that struck me the most were simple words across the top of numerous grave markers: Father. A simple two syllable word but it says so much. Much more than contributing DNA is required to truly be a father.  

As I walked among the grave markers, I was hundreds of miles away from my father’s resting place. Yet it was as if he walked beside me. Each stone marked, “Father” brought him closer in my heart and mind, his footsteps echoing in my ears. And I welcomed his presence.

I cannot imagine not having a father such as I was blessed to have. And as I walked along thinking of my father and what a fine man and dad he was, I wondered what my children will think of me when my name is carved into a stone. What will others think when the name of Galen Dalrymple falls on their ears or worms its way into their memories?

And then I’d come across a tombstone for a young child who obviously died before their parents. The parental pain must be and seem unbearable. But I happens. And fathers walk among the tombstones and see the names of their sons and daughters carved into the cold stone. And fathers grieve and weep for they are helpless to do anything to bring the beloved child back to life.

Our Father has walked and walks the world over and sees His children dead in sin. Only our Father is not powerless. He enters into the grave and takes us by the hand and raises us up to a new life, an eternal life. He will one day raise my father from his earthly grave…and He will raise me, too. Because of our Father, I will see my father again…and we will rejoice.

PRAYER: I think you, Lord, for giving me the father you did, and for being my Father now. Please tell my father that we are all okay and how much I missed him on Father’s Day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/19/15: Learning to Hear the Voice

DayBreaks for 6/19/15: Learning to Hear the Voice

There is a positive message to be learned from these words of Jesus. The lesson is that we must keep ourselves alert to the way God is working in the world. Remember that those who were seeking to discredit Jesus were religious people. Their problem was that they just didn’t expect God to be acting as Jesus said he was acting, so they missed the movement of God in their midst, and in fact, they called it evil. Today God may be speaking to us in causes that are unpopular, or in political events that cause us to feel threatened and insecure. The cries for justice and fairness in the world may come from quarters that we are not accustomed to listen to. We need to exercise diligence so that we don’t miss the voice of God today just because it happens to be spoken by unfamiliar lips.

A man once sat in on a class with his wife who taking in music appreciation. The instructor was asking the class members to listen for the recurring theme as it was passed from one instrument to another and was modified. The man quickly lost it, but others in the class, who had benefited from their training, were able to keep track of the theme and even state which instrument was playing it.

It is a law of life that we hear what we have trained ourselves to hear. What we must do is to train ourselves to listen for the voice of God in areas where we have not expected to hear it. We hear that voice only by attentive listening: by asking ourselves whether there is a valid message in those things which make us uncomfortable.

Jesus spoke of an unforgivable sin, not because any act is unforgivable, but to warn us that our own hardness of heart can close the channels through which God’s forgiveness flows and, as a consequence, leave us feeling alienated. Let us, therefore, affirm the good that is in others, so that our own hearts become generous and accepting of others, even as God is generous and accepting of us.

PRAYER: It is hard for us to hear Your voice, God, when we surround ourselves with too much cacaphony! Teach us to hear and recognize Your voice of guidance and comfort. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/18/15: Jack, the Beanstalk and Christianity

The Spread of the Gospel Map

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DayBreaks for 6/18/15: Jack, the Beanstalk, and Christianity

If the growing seed parable seems to be about the mystery of kingdom growth, the mustard seed image is about the apparent weakness of the kingdom. The day will come when the results of the kingdom’s silent, steady growth will be impressive. Meanwhile don’t be surprised if the seeds you plant look ineffective. Don’t be surprised if the witness you have to offer gets laughed at on account of looking so puny. It’s the old “Jack and the Beanstalk” fable: Jack’s mother scorns the tiny beans he brings home from the market. They can never live off those! So in anger she hurls them out the window. Those beans were a non-starter, a mistake, a dead-end nutritionally and in every other sense. Except that, of course, they ended up sprouting into a beanstalk that went, in a way, clear up to heaven.

It seems every night now if you turn on the nightly news you get a strong dose of Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Hamas and other politico-religioun-oriented terrorist organizations exploding bombs, beheading those who refuse to convert to their faith, kidnapping, raping, plundering…and it seems that the entire world is moving their direction.

I recently received a link to an animation that I think you may find reassuring.  Do you remember what Jesus said: how he would build his church and the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against it?  The story of the mustard seed sure makes the kingdom seem small and weak, doesn’t it?

Don’t despair.  Be encouraged!  Jesus knew what he was talking about because he knows how this will all end!

Check out this video that shows the spread of Christianity since the time of Christ.  It also shows Islam and other world empires as they appear and disappear from the map…

PRAYER: Let us take heart, Lord, and be encouraged by your words of certainty about your kingdom and the end of all things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/17/15 – God, I Forgive You

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DayBreaks for 6/17/15: God, I Forgive You

A minister once relayed a conversation he had one day with a female medical assistant in a doctor’s office, as he was waiting to see the doctor. The woman recognized him because she had occasionally attended his church, though she was a member of another church.

“I want to tell you about my experience,” she said. “I got saved in the Assemblies of God Church … I gave my life to God … and guess what? … Life tumbled in! I developed a heart problem. My husband lost his executive job … and he recently died of cancer.”

The minister says he tried to mumble a few theological sounding explanatory words about God’s mysterious ways, thinking that was what the woman wanted. But she went right on with her story, indicating that she had repeatedly asked God, “Why me?” “And what do you think God told me?” she continued. “‘Why not you?’ That’s what God said. ‘Why should you be spared all the crises of life that everyone else must go through?'” Then she wound up her story saying, “One day I said to God, ‘Lord, you’ve forgiven me. Now I forgive you.'”

It might seem the height of arrogance to say that we are “forgiving” God for anything, but in my way of thinking, this woman was on to something.  I think her faith is great and that it is not just a series of theological propositions, it was far more: is a relationship, and as in all relationships, it is one that changes and can tolerate challenges. It is vital because it is honest.  After all, we’ve all been angry at God many times for things that happen to us or those we love.  We can choose to fume over those things, or accept that fact that God knows better than we do and that we can full trust Him for one thing: that He will only and always do what is best for us.  Even then, we may need to “forgive” Him rather than let our anger and bitterness consume and destroy us.

PRAYER: While we know that we really have nothing to forgive You for, I am thankful that You understand and can handle our disappointment in Your decisions from time to time.  Keep us from the anger and bitterness that would keep us from relationship with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.