DayBreaks for 7/31/15 – The Dance of Eternal Love

DayBreaks for 7/31/15: The Dance of Eternal Love

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

Can you imagine living in a world where no one argues about who is right and wrong – because no one is ever wrong?  Or a world where people don’t have to try to prove to others that they are more powerful, more beautiful, more intelligent?  Where it wouldn’t matter if you were younger or older than someone else, or who was going to take out the garbage or sweep or vacuum the floors, or whose turn it was to wash the dinner dishes?  It’s hard to imagine a world where people aren’t trying to put someone else in their place, to keep the down and out or to step on them on the way up the corporate ladder. 

I think the reason that it’s hard to imagine such an existence is that we’ve never really experienced it.  Everything is competitive, and at some level, so is everyone you and I have ever met.  There may be brief, shining moments where people act in totally unselfish ways, but they’re the exception, not the norm.  The human brain works so fast that it calculates “What’s in it for me?” so quickly that we’re not even aware of our thought patterns that lead us to make decisions that we believe will further our own interests. 

Jesus, in John 14:10, said: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”  If you’re like me, you’ve read these words many times, and probably had nice thoughts about them: “Yes, Jesus and God are One: one in purpose, plan, action, desire and thought.  Now let’s move on to the next verse.”  If we read it so hastily, however, we miss a beautiful lesson.  The word that Jesus uses for the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son (and Spirit, too, of course) is the Greek word perichoresis.  We get our word “choreography” from it.  What Jesus was saying is that the Trinity exists in a kind of eternal dance of love and joy between Father, Son and Spirit. 

But here’s the really great news: in eternity, we’ll share in that eternal dance of joy and love.  There will be no more ladder-climbing, attention-grabbing, or control and power freaks.  All those things that have made our dance on earth less than it could have been will be gone – forever, washed out of us totally by the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  And then, totally clean for the first time ever, we’ll dance with the Trinity!

PRAYER: Teach us your dance even now with our clumsy feet that we may dance it with perfection with you in heaven! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/30/15 – Life Substitutes

DayBreaks for 7/30/15: Life Substitutes

There’s a story found in the Chronicles of Narnia. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth volume of that series, Mary, Edmund, their cousin Eustice, and some of the colorful creatures of Narnia, come upon a crystal clear pool of water with what appears to be a golden statue of a man at the bottom. Only, they discover that it is a magical pool that turns everything into gold that touches the water. It appears that the statue at the bottom of the pool is a man who either didn’t know about the pool’s magic powers, or he was so consumed with accumulating gold that he ignored its dangers. Even though the characters of the story are awed at the magic of the pool, they recognize that such a place is far more dangerous than it is beneficial, and so they swear themselves to secrecy and wipe their memories clean of that place.

You see, when you waste your energies seeking to fulfill the hunger for things that perish, what you’ll find all too often is that you’ll still be dissatisfied, and your dissatisfaction will usually put you deeper into the hole you’re digging for yourself. Whatever piece of the pie that you’re hungering for – whether it’s a bigger slice of acceptance or riches or gratification of your urges – you’re going to find yourself hungry for more and more and more, until you’re so out of control that you can’t back-peddle fast enough. In our consumer-driven world, in which many people literally work themselves to death accumulating a never-fully-satisfying abundance of things, Jesus’ words challenge our society’s misguided substitutes for “life.”

What are you giving in exchange for your life?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36 (NIV)

PRAYER: God, I know I only have so many hours allotted to me.  Please help me spend them in pursuit of real Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/29/15 – The Light of Life

DayBreaks for 7/29/15: The Light of Life

Scientists tell us that if you take six molecules of carbon dioxide and combine it with twelve molecules of water, then add light, the result will be one molecule of glucose sugar, six molecules of oxygen, and six molecules of water. This process, known as photosynthesis, makes the world as we know it possible. Carbon dioxide, which is exhaled by all mammals, is converted into oxygen which allows us to breathe. Plants, which use this photosynthesis process, make our world possible. But, photosynthesis without light is not possible. The chemical reaction will not occur without light.

Light is an essential element in our lives. Light brings warmth to our earth and our feelings. We feel more comfortable in the light. Darkness is cold; it brings fear and danger. Light also gives us strength. We feel more confident and strengthened in will when we walk in the light. Light gives us direction as well. We can proceed forward when we walk in the light; we know which way to go. With the aid of the light we can see the path, the road of our daily journey as well as that of our lives.

Photosynthesis, a scientific phenomenon, and the light that makes it possible provides the created world with its formula for life. This process allows the world to function. Thus, it is in every possible way the recipe for life. Follow it and life becomes possible. While the world certainly needs a recipe to sustain its life, we equally need a formula to discover and attain the eternal life which is God’s promise to all who believe.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. – John 1:4 (NIV)

Let there be Light!

PRAYER: Thank You for being the Light of Life! Let us seek the Light even in our darkest night! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 7/27/2015 – God’s Mirror

DayBreaks for 7/27/15: God’s Mirror

I’ve got one and so do you. In fact, just about everyone I know has one. It’s that reflective thing, called a mirror, that hangs over the sink. We take a peek in it every morning (and if truth be told, pretty much every time we walk by one or by a reflective window). Why? Vanity, to be sure, but also because looking in the mirror in the morning helps me see what needs to be done to make myself presentable that day. I usually shave (at least if I’m going out that day) and comb my hair. Strange thing I’ve discovered, though: I don’t like looking in the mirror as much as I did when I was younger. Now it’s more a necessity!

Would it make much sense for me to take that look in the mirror, see my wild, fly-away sleep hair and whiskers that needs tidying up only to do nothing about what I saw?

James essentially put that question to us when he wrote in James 1:22-25: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James is telling us that God’s word is a mirror for our souls, showing us the state of our hearts and what needs to be changed. Looking in the bathroom mirror each day show us what needs to be corrected in our outward appearance, and daily Bible reading reveals to us God’s holiness and desires for what we should be like, what we should do, and what needs to be corrected in our inner spiritual lives.

I am fairly certain that you took a look at yourself this morning to make sure things were in order, neat and in place before going out the door to face the day. But, did you look into God’s mirror to see what’s going on in your heart and what you need to do about that?

If it would be foolish for us to go out into the world without making sure our outward appears in cleaned up, isn’t it even more foolish to start out our day without looking into the condition of our heart and soul?

PRAYER: Help us live disciplined lives that look intently into Your mirror and reveal through Your Spirit what needs to be addressed! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/24/15 – Where to Start Your Biography

DayBreaks for 7/24/15: Viewing Your Biography

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

Have you ever thought about writing your life story?  Maybe some of you have done it.  I’ve started, but I’ve not written anything on it for years.  (Maybe I keep hoping that something exciting will happen that would seem a bit more interesting than the life story of a country farm-boy from the corn fields of Iowa!)  I think that the real reason that I’ve not made more headway on my life story for my children and grandchildren is that I don’t feel it’s ready to be written yet.  There’s still too much that I think God wants me to do before I get my seat on a non-stop flight of Heavenly Air!  My father wrote his life story – or at least stories about his life and his early years.  I can’t begin to tell you how precious those writings are to me now!  Someday, my kids may get to read my autobiography.

Joseph Wittig said, “A man’s biography ought really to begin not with his birth but with his death; it can only be written from the point of view of its end, because only from there can the whole of his life in its fulfillment be seen.”  Wittig makes a good point.  We’ve got lots of sayings that remind us not to get too far ahead of ourselves: “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched,” “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” “all’s well that end’s well,” etc.  King Solomon started out great in life, but towards the end, he sadly appears to have gone a bit off the deep end, forgetting about the God of his younger years. 

What will my biography look like if written from the perspective of starting with my death?  It would have to cover not just how and where I was born, but how and where I died, how I lived, what mattered to me (not because I said it was important, but because it found expression in my life right up until the very end).  It would cover lots of things that I can’t foresee from this vantage point in time.  It is only when a life can be viewed from the end that we can really appraise it properly. 

It is no different when we come to Jesus.  To tell the story of Jesus, we must begin with his death.  That’s why all the gospel preaching that’s recorded in Scripture focuses on Christ and him crucified.  It is only in his death that his life, and indeed his birth, make sense and find their meaning. 

How’s your biography coming along?

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

PRAYER: Father, we want to live our lives so that when we die, our story will be one that glorifies you and gives testimony to a life well lived! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/23/15 – One Thing God Never Does

DayBreaks for 7/23/15: One Thing God Never Does

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

I’ll admit it. I worry about some things.  By the grace of God alone, I don’t worry about nearly as much as I used to.  God’s shown me (for the most part) how silly my worrying is.  But I still worry from time to time when the pile of bills seems to keep getting larger while the bank account keeps getting lower, or about a nagging or persistent pain somewhere in my aging body.  If I really want to wrap myself about the axle with worry, I can do it in a heartbeat when I stop to think of all the can go wrong in my kids lives or in the lives of my grandchildren.  Oh, yeah…I can worry just fine, thank you.  About such things I can worry a LOT!

The great apostle Paul urges us in 2 Cor. 10:5-6 with these words: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  Now that’s a big challenge, isn’t it?  My guess is that we all sin a lot more in our thought lives than we do in our actual deeds or words.  We know that the things we do and say are visible or audible, so we tend to “behave” ourselves when it comes to the things other can see.  But our thought lives are a whole other matter.  You can be sitting in the middle of a worship service and be sinning your heart out with thoughts of anger, bitterness, lust, hatred, jealousy or any of a dozen other sinful thought and attitude patterns. 

Yet Paul says that we are to take EVERY thought captive for the purpose of making our minds and thoughts obedient to Jesus.  If you haven’t had a challenge in your life for a while, try this one on for size!  While writing in God Is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg observed: “Every thought is either enabling or strengthening you to be able to cope with reality to live a kingdom kind of life, or robbing you of that life.  Every thought is – at least to a small extent – God-breathed or God-avoidant; leading to death or leading toward life.” 

But, he continues: “…there are other thoughts that are not likely to be God-speaking.  For instance, nowhere in the Bible does it say, ‘And then God worried.’  So I can be quite confident that thoughts that move me toward a paralyzed anxiety are not from God.”

Have you thought about that?  God never worries – NEVER!  He doesn’t have to worry.  He has the power to make everything work out.  He has the ability to see all factors, consider all options, and always knows the right answer and how things will work out.  I don’t, but my God does.  Worry is one kind of thought that we need to take captive in obedience to Christ.  If we worry like non-believers, we don’t have much of a witness – or, at the very least, it would be hard for anyone to distinguish us from an unbeliever.  God isn’t worrying about the future.  Neither should we!

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

PRAYER: Let us hear Your voice clearly and resolve to only follow You and those who are true to the Word of Life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/22/2015 – The One God Couldn’t Save

DayBreaks for 7/22/15: The One God Couldn’t Save

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

We often talk about nothing being impossible for God, and rightly so.  But that’s not really true.  He can’t lie.  He can’t sin.  He can’t die.  He can’t break His promises.  I don’t think he can make a circle have 373 degrees in it, not can He make a triangle have 6 sides.  Some things are just logical impossibilities (at least as far as I know).

There’s another thing in Scripture that is prophetic, yet haunting.  In Matthew 27:42 (KJV) we find these taunting words spoken by the little, pathetic souls standing before the cross: “He saved others; himself he cannot save.”  I’ve always wanted to take issue with them on that.  Could Jesus have saved himself if he chose to?  Well, my logic tells me he could have.  Could God have saved Jesus if he wanted to?  I think so.  But I’m troubled…

In a way, those words spoken ignorantly by those at the foot of the cross, are in a very real way, true.  Calvin Miller put it this way: “If death was to die and life was to really live, Jesus had to die.  For God, Christ’s death was an ‘either-or’ matter.  God could not save His Son if He was to save us.”  Miller goes on to tell about a book by the title of The Fall, by Albert Camus that described such a terrible quandary.  The hero of the book says, “Do you know that in my little village, during a punitive operation, a German office courteously asked an old woman to please choose which of her two sons would be shot as a hostage?  Choose! – can you imagine that?   ‘That one?  No, this one!’  The picture this suggest is that of a mother trapped between her love for her two sons.  She runs between them, embracing them, trying to make a hellish choice, for she has been told that she can save one of them, but not both.  Here is a soul-rending crisis of love.  Such a crisis ripped into the heart of divine love at the Cross.  Either we or Christ must die.  For all his love, God could not save both.”

It would appear that it wasn’t possible for God to save Christ and us.  What I can’t understand, not now and not in ten billion, billion years, is why God chose to save us.  It says something about love that is beyond our grasp, it says something about our value and worth to God that we find so unbelievable that we are tempted to reject it as heresy.  Yet there it is, in black and white…and red…His love spoken to us, recorded in blood.  We know what God chose.  We just can’t fully bring ourselves to believe it is true for it is so fantastical that it makes us dizzy to contemplate. 

There was only One in all history that God couldn’t save, and it was His Son.  Little did those at the foot of the cross know how right they were.

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

PRAYER: God, I am speechless at what You suffered in watching Your beloved Son die!  All I can say is, “Thank You!” and “I’m sorry!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/21/15 – Choosing Whom to Follow

DayBreaks for 7/21/15: Choosing Whom to Follow

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/19/2005:

Bizarre News, 7/9/2005: ISTANBUL, Turkey – “It all started when one lone sheep jumped from a cliff to its death. Then Turkish shepherds watched stunned as nearly 1,500 others followed suit, each leaping off the same cliff. When it was all over, 450 dead sheep lay on top of each other in a white, furry pile. “There’s nothing we can do. They’re all wasted,” Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam. The sheep suicide is bad news to families in the town of Gevas, who are suffering an estimated loss of over $100,000.”

No one has ever accused sheep of being smart.  Smelly?  Oh, yeah.  Sheepish?  Sure.  Stupid?  Definitely!  Let me assure you that these sheep that leaped off the cliff didn’t do so because they had confidence in their leader.  Sheep tend to not follow anything very well – it’s sort of like herding cats.  Sheep usually just put their head down and keep walking in the direction of the “leader”.  Sadly, in this case, the sheep hadn’t all made a suicide pact – they just were following the wrong leader.

It is so common today to pick a leader and follow them no matter what.  We see it happening in politics.  We see it happening in businesses, in school, and in churches.  Someone who is charismatic and charming, witty and personable, who has a gift for making others relax and who can communicate a vision is a prime candidate for leadership.  The lead sheep in this story had a vision perhaps – it may have seen the green grass far below and thought how great it would be to be able to fly to the pasture land to munch on some of that green stuff.  But it was a bad vision, if that was the case.

As we choose those we will emulate from a spiritual standpoint, I hope and pray that God will give us discernment to follow not the sheep, but the Shepherd.  It’s so easy to get caught up in a charismatic leader with an exciting vision.  Let’s just be sure that it is the Lord’s vision, not the leader’s vision.  Otherwise, we may wind up at the bottom of a hill in a pile with a lot of other dead sheep. 

Ps. 80:1-3 – Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Israel like a flock.  O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.  Show us your mighty power.  Come to rescue us!  Turn us again to yourself, O God.  Make your face shine down upon us.  Only then will we be saved.

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

PRAYER: Let us hear Your voice clearly and resolve to only follow You and those who are true to the Word of Life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/20/15 – Course Changes

DayBreaks for 7/20/15: Course Changes

So, let me ask you: what are your plans for today? Have you got your day fairly well regimented and planned out? There are those who think that should be how we all live our lives. And, I’m sure there is some truth to that. However, “life” has a way of altering our plans and forcing us to change from one course to another. Or is it “life” that changes such things, or is it perhaps something much greater?

Jesus and the disciples had been headed for Bethsaida when the evening’s storm blew them to Gennesaret instead. Notice our Lord’s response. He does not tell the Apostles to set out to sea and try again to get to their originally planned destination. Instead, he disembarks where they landand begins to minister to the people around him. Christ’s response is to see the storm as God’s will and to minister appropriately wherever he lands.

How do you and I respond when our day is blown off course? Do you respond to daily (or even major life-changing) “inconveniences” by looking for God’s purposes or do you become angry and frustrated at the “interruption” of your carefully thought through plans and purposes?

I have found that the higher my personal agenda, the more wrapped up that I am in my own thinking and the more insistent I am on setting my own direction, the less I am able to see God’s purpose in my daily “interruptions.” Yet, I have also found that when make myself available to “Deus Interruptus,” incredible and miraculous things frequently happen. Have you ever considered beginning your day by giving God permission to alter your agenda at any moment and any time?

“Dearest God, feel free to interrupt my agenda today with yours at any time or in any place.”

PRAYER: Lord, I pray that today and every day that you will feel free to interrupt my agenda with things that you want me to do and with the people you want me to speak to! Help me to see such “interruptions” not as inconveniences, but as part of the plan you are working out in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/17/15 – Wait for ALL the Evidence

DayBreaks for 7/17/15: Wait for All the Evidence

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

High profile trials catch our attention.  O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, Robert Blake…the list could go on for a long, long time.  What I find fascinating is that we all form our opinions of the guilt or innocence of these people based on what we’ve heard or what someone told us, without having access to the evidence that’s shown in a court room.  As a general rule, I think we often make up our minds on their probable guilt or innocence before the trial even begins!  While we could debate whether the legal system is very effective and accurate, those folks had their problems, and I’m sure that they wanted all the evidence to be weighed before the jury finally decided their fate.

We all have hardships, too.  It’s part of life that we just can’t ignore or wish away.  It just doesn’t work like that.  And sometimes, quite often, in fact, people blame God for the hard times.  Even Christians sometimes put the blame at His feet.  It’s hard to keep things in perspective when we’re hurting.  Consider Phillip Yancey’s comments from Rumors of Another World: “No one gets an exemption from hardship on planet Earth. How we receive it hinges on whether we believe in an alternate reality that transcends the one we know so well. The Bible never minimizes hardship or unfairness—witness books like Job, Psalms, and Lamentations. It simply asks us to withhold final judgment until all the evidence is in.

“Why would anyone choose to follow a God who promises more hardship, not less? I will let the apostle Paul answer that question. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal’ (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

“Paul had two pictures of himself. One image he could view in a mirror, and the insomnia, beatings, imprisonments, and deprivations must have left their mark in the gaunt and weary face that stared back at him from the crude Roman glass. The other image he could not see. Nevertheless he could sense his inward self being renewed and made more fit, tempered by hardship. Belief in another world cast hardship in such a different light that he could compile a list of his many personal calamities and call them ‘light and momentary troubles.’”

It isn’t easy to focus on things you can’t see, to bet your life – no, your eternity – on the fact that what we wait for is worth it, regardless of what we must deal with here on earth.  You may be struggling to hang on to the idea that God is good and that He wants only good for you.  You may be ready to sentence God to being fickle, unfair and perhaps even cruel.  Wait.  The evidence isn’t all in yet.  Someday, God will present the evidence that will show that He is totally good and loving.  Wait for that day.  Then you can see for yourself that He is good, always!

PRAYER: Lord, help us wait until we see your goodness with our own “eyes”, and we can also then see ourselves as you view us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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