DayBreaks for 10/30/15 – Be Careful What You Wish For

DayBreaks for 10/30/15: Be Careful What You Wish For

Wednesday night at choir practice, one of the sopranos shared a story of good fortune. Just that day her mother-in-law won $1,000,000 playing the lottery! What made it all the more touching is that the woman who won the lottery had raised four or five boys by herself after she was left alone. She struggled and scraped her entire life to raise and provide for her children. Isn’t God good?

Such things have probably prompted us all to thing: “Wouldn’t it be great if I won a million dollars?!” I was at one time both happy to hear of this woman’s good fortune, but at the same time was thinking, “Why couldn’t it have been me” (aside from the small detail that I don’t play the lottery)?  I also found myself being envious of the lady who shared the story: she and her husband have the potential of a nice inheritance some day. Envy is easy to come by – if we are envying people for the wrong things.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so great. Not everyone has the same idea of a great time. One person’s wish may be another’s nightmare. Take, for example, the story of three men who were sailing together in the Pacific Ocean. Their vessel was wrecked and they found themselves on an island. They had plenty of food, but their existence was in every way different from what their lives had been in the past. The men were walking by the seashore one day after they had been there for some months and found an ancient lantern. One man picked it up. As he began to rub it and clean it, a genie popped out and said, “Well, since you have been good enough to release me, I will give each of you one wish.”

The first man said, “Oh, that’s perfectly marvelous. I’m a cattleman from Wyoming and I wish I were back on my ranch.” Poof! He was back on his ranch.

The second man said, “Well, I’m a stockbroker from New York, and I wish that I were back in Manhattan.” Poof! He was back in Manhattan with his papers, his telephones, his clients and his computers.

The third fellow was somewhat more relaxed about life and actually had rather enjoyed life there on the island. He said, “Well, I am quite happy here. I just wish my two friends were back.” Poof! Poof! Everybody’s idea of a “great time” isn’t the same!

So is it true? How many Americans (perhaps you are among them) sitting around wishing, “Now wouldn’t it be great …if I won the lottery…if I had my dream house…if I was famous….”

As Christians…as the people of God…what if instead of wishing for money or fame or success or more “things,” we could just as earnestly wish with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength that we could love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves? There is no greater treasure than to know Him, yet we act as if everything else is of greater value because we spend so much time pursuing those other things and so little time getting to know Him!

Genesis 15:1 (KJV) – After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

TODAY’S PRAYER: You are the treasure we should seek, Lord. Help us to not seek after worldly joy, but after that which will delight us for all eternity! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/29/15 – With ALL Your Mind

DayBreaks for 10/29/15: With All Your Mind

In the days of the circuit riders a minister was out riding one afternoon and came upon a man out working in his field.

“Fine day isn’t it?” the minister called out.

“It is fine for you”, the man replied, “All you have to do is ride around on that horse thinking about God all day long, while I have to sweat here in this field and then walk home afterward. I don’t think it is right you should have things so easy while I have to work so hard.”

“On the contrary”, the minister answered, “thinking about God is one of the most difficult things you can do. And to prove it, I’ll give you this horse if you can think about God and nothing else for one minute.”

“You’re on,” said the man and immediately he sat down in silence. Thirty seconds later he looked up at the minister, and said, “Does that include the saddle?”

Today you’ll have 1440 minutes at your disposal…or 86,400 seconds. How many of those seconds will you be thinking about God? We are to meditate on Him and His word constantly. We are to love him with ALL our mind…how are you doing?

1 Chronicles 16:11 (MSG) – Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night…

TODAY’S PRAYER: Give us a hunger to know You better! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/27/15 – There’s a Place for You

DayBreaks for 10/27/05: There’s a Place for You

Psalm 84:3 (NLT) – Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!

There is a commercial playing on the radio these days about a book concerning heaven. One of the questions that is posed by a voice-over artist as part of the commercial is this: Will I go to heaven?

It’s a good question, and one worth asking. There is a fear that we’ll be left out, or that there may not be enough “room” for us. That’s why I like the verse shown above that declares even the sparrow, the most common of birds, will find a home there. Sure, Revelation depicts an eagle flying through mid-heaven, and because the eagle is such a noble creature, we’re not surprised by that. But a sparrow?

Yes, even the sparrow will find a home there. And here’s where it gets interesting. Jesus declares that you and I are worth far more than sparrows (Mt. 6:26), so if there’s room for a sparrow there, how much more room will be there for us! Besides, the Nazarene carpenter went to prepare it for us!

TODAY’S PRAYER: I am grateful, Father, that Your home has a place for me – and for all who have put their trust in Your Son! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/26/15 – If You Kept a Record…

DayBreaks for 10/26/05: If You Kept a Record…

Psalm 130:3-4 (NLT) – LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.

How many times have you been overwhelmed by your sense of wrongdoing, of your own sin? Maybe a better question is: how many times a day does your sinfulness “get you down”?

I don’t know what was going on in the life of the Psalmist when this was written, but clearly, the writer was stricken with a sense of guilt that led to the question, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins…who…could ever survive?”
What is the answer to that question? It’s a very simple one: no one. That is, IF God was the kind of God who kept record of our sins. The Psalmist is voicing things from a human perspective in the question, and anyone who believes in God and has even a rudimentary sense of sin, must have in the back of their mind all the failings and faults that accumulate like junk in an attic.

Then, however, the Psalmist lets us in on a great secret about God. Are you ready for this good news? He offers us forgiveness rather than a recitation of our laundry list of sins. He offers it…through Jesus and His completed work on the cross, but we have to accept it. But, once it is accepted, God takes that list of our wrongs and trashes them, burns them forever and removes them from us as far as the east is from the west!

I grew up in a very legalistic and conservative church, one that spoke a lot about condemnation and damnation. It was not pleasant to be bombarded by that week after week. Seldom, if ever, do I recall hearing these glorious words from the letter to the Romans 8:1: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Struggling with your guilt today, thinking that God has a massive data vault filled with a record of every sinful act, every sinful thought, every good deed that you failed to do? If you belong to Christ Jesus, that is not the case. They are gone forever, and you guilt and shame should be, too.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, thank You that You have taken our long list of sins and thrown them away, that you don’t keep a record of our sin any longer! Let us trust in these words of comfort and assurance! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/23/15 – Flirting With Unbelief

DayBreaks for 10/23/05: Flirting With Unbelief

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Faith is such an intriguing topic.  We pray for it.  We practice it (to varying levels of success depending on the severity of the circumstances.)  When not much is truly at stake, it’s easier to say, “Yes, Lord, I trust you with this.”  But when life itself is on the line and we stand on the precipice of the great divide between this world and the next, how then does faith respond?  Chances are, that unless we’ve stood on that tiny shelf and looked down into the chasm of death ourselves, we really can’t answer that question very well.  It is an intriguing thing for me, as a pastor who has access to people who are looking into the grave, to observe their faith as it passes through the ultimate test.  With the very next step, they may plunge into the pit – and what then? 

We pray for healings.  Sometimes no healing comes.  Well meaning people may say that the only reason healing wasn’t granted is because the faith faltered – that is wasn’t really faith, but at most, wishful thinking or hoping.  Such well meaning people may have destroyed the faith of many who needed to be helped to grow in faith.  Shame on us when we think we know the reasons why God does or doesn’t do anything in a given situation.

But what about the times when healing DOES come?  We have another problem, then.  We live in a scientific age where it’s easy to explain how bacteria, viruses or tumors divide, grow and, sometimes, die.  And when that happens, we tend to not really exhibit faith too well, either.  Sometimes, there’s a diagnosis by a doctor that says there is a shadow on the lung or in the breast or contained in the cranium.  So we pray, our prayer chains light up like a blazing fire, and when a second opinion is sought or when the specialist is called in, the shadow is gone.  What happened? 

In a recent article in World Magazine, Andre Seu wrote about a diagnosis that filled her with dread, but when the second doctor ran the tests, nothing was found.  Here’s what she had to say: Now when do you have a certifiable miracle? Well, never, if you claim a priori that miracles have ceased. And never if, like me, your mind leaps like a duck on a June bug to naturalistic explanation: Doctor A blew it. The latter theory is possible, of course, but on the other hand, what would it take, and how much proof, before I acknowledged the supernatural in my life? (Father Abraham says even raising a corpse wouldn’t do it for folks of a certain ilk. Luke 16:31.) Francis Schaeffer draws the line precisely here between the Christian mind and the non-Christian mind: “I am not a Bible-believing Christian in the fullest sense simply by believing the right doctrines, but as I live in practice in this supernatural world.” (True Spirituality)

My violent intercessor seems to think that since we prayed watchfully (Colossians 4:2), and since the request we sought was granted, it’s a no-brainer that I need to give public glory to God. There are precedents, of course: The leper is healed and forthwith told by Jesus to go show himself to the priest (Matthew 8:4). Still I protested vainly: “Many godly people pray and are not healed.” Violent replied, “You were. Shout it from the housetops”—plus words to the effect that it’s a dangerous thing to ask the Almighty for something, and then, having received it, to flirt with unbelief. There was no gainsaying that, and in the end I saw the truth of it, and yielded doubt to faith, and that is why I tell you this.”  (Andre Seu, World Magazine, Oct. 1, 2005)

Have you received from God something you prayed diligently for, but when you received it, you gave the glory to medicine instead of God?  When will we learn that all healing truly does come from God – even when it is administered through the hands of a physician?  And rather than explain away such things as healings as a mere reversal or outworking of body chemistry, let’s climb to the top of the roof and there sing His praises for yet another miracle!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, we are so prone to rational explanations for all that happens in this world that we fail to give you the glory for what You do.  Open our eyes to see Your greatness and Your hand even in the tiniest things and teach us to sing Your praises!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/22/15 – This Messiah Does!

DayBreaks for 10/22/05: This Messiah Does!

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

It is no secret that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day didn’t think that Jesus was the Messiah.  It wasn’t that they didn’t want the Messiah to come – Israel had prayed for the Messiah to appear for 1800 years.  They desperately wanted Him to come!  But what they got wasn’t what they’d expected, and that led to His rejection.  Israel wanted a Messiah who would rule with a rod of iron from David’s throne in Israel, that would free Israel from the Roman domination that irked them so.  They wanted a Messiah that was so clearly the Messiah that there would be no questions.  Perhaps they expected that the Messiah would come throwing thunderbolts at the Samaritans and Gentiles.  After all, some of the Jewish Rabbi’s taught that the reason God had created Gentiles was so that He’d have enough fuel to keeps the fires of hell burning with them!

We often don’t get what we hope or expect.  I can remember the first time when I didn’t get what I’d hoped I’d get for Christmas.  Even today, if there’s something that I really want for Christmas, if I don’t get it, there is a tinge of sadness and disappointment.  Shame on me for that, but it’s true.  It’s not a very comfortable feeling to long for something, and then when you finally get it, it’s not as exciting or fun or fulfilling as you’d dreamt it would be.

And so it was with Jesus.  No, he didn’t come throwing thunderbolts to fry His enemies.  This Messiah came to seek and save – not to destroy with hunderbolts.  The messiah they’d expected would come and put sinners in their place.  But that’s not what Jesus did.  This Messiah came, not to put sinners in their place, but to take them out of their place and give them a home in His Place.  The religious leaders said that no prophet of God would allow themselves to be touched by a leper, to talk to a Samaritan, to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors, nor to die in the place of His enemies. 

But the truth is that they didn’t know This Messiah.  This Messiah loves with an unfailing love; this Messiah not only touches lepers but also women with issues of blood and dead bodies.  Instead of those contacts making Him unclean, those touches made the leper, the woman and the dead body clean and well and alive.  The Messiah shouldn’t heal on the Sabbath – but This Messiah does.  The Messiah should be a stern authoritarian – but This Messiah is a servant.  The Messiah that showed up spoke about an easy burden, about giving rest and unbearable rules, and He gave love to all those that had for so long been told in word and action that they were not loved, couldn’t not be loved for they were too sinful, and who had given up hope as a result.

Jesus withholds no good thing from us.  Does He love you?  This Messiah does.  Does He weep for you?  This Messiah does.  Will this Messiah come into your broken, bloody and checkered life?  This Messiah will.  This is the kind of Messiah that we long to have, but for which we had no right to dream.  And once again, God has given us something far better than we could ever have dreamt or imagined.  Praise be to His name for THIS Messiah!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to place our faith fully and completely in you.  Help us not to project our own limitations and small-mindedness onto You and the things You can do.  Help us to remember that our Messiah loves us with a love that will not let us go.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/21/15 – I Heard My Brother Crying

DayBreaks for 10/21/05: I Heard My Brother Crying

Some years ago in a small village in the Midwest, a little twelve-year old girl named Terri was babysitting her little brother. Terri walked outside to check the mail. As she turned back from the mailbox, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The house was on fire. So very quickly the little house was enveloped in flames.

Terri ran as fast as she could into the flaming house only to find her baby brother trapped by a burning rafter which had fallen and pinned him to the floor. Hurriedly, Terri worked to free her brother. She had trouble getting him loose as the flames were dancing around their heads. Finally, she freed him. She picked him up and quickly took him outside and revived him just as the roof of the house caved in.

By this time, firemen were on the scene and the neighbors had gathered outside the smoldering remains of the house. The neighbors had been too frightened to go inside or to do anything to help, and they were tremendously impressed with the courage of the twelve-year old girl. They congratulated her for her heroic efforts and said, “Terri, you are so very brave. Weren’t you scared? What were you thinking about when you ran into the burning house?” I love Terri’s answer. She said, “I wasn’t thinking about anything. I just heard my little brother crying.”

Let me ask you something? How long has it been? How long has it been since you heard your brother or sister crying? How long has it been since you stopped and did something about it?

PRAYER: God, give us open ears, but even more, open hearts to be touched by the cries all around us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/20/15 – Would It Help?

DayBreaks for 10/20/05: Would It Help?

When Gary Power’s U2 spy plane was shot down in 1960, I was about 2 months shy of being eight years old. But I remember it well as it was perhaps the height of the Cold War and we would practice “duck and cover” in the school classroom in case of nuclear attack. Of course, I was way too young to realize how futile such an action would be…and we lived on the Great Plains in the heart of Iowa – not a prime target for nuclear annihilation anyway. But I was a worrier as a kid (and if I am to be honest with you, I have been most of my adult life, too.) When I went to spend the night with a city cousin, I was awake and crying one night because I believed we’d all be blown up before the next morning. My aunt came in and comforted me. You see, I didn’t want to get blown up, and if it was to happen, I wanted to be with my folks when it happened.

And so it was that when the movie, Bridge of Spies came out this past Friday, I had to go see it. It features Tom Hanks in the lead role, but it is about a man named James Donovan who negotiated for the release of Gary Powers and an American student for a convicted Russian spy (whom Donovan had represented as the lead defense attorney). It is based on a true story and I must say, it is a masterfully done movie – if you like history at all, you’ll find it fascinating.

In the movie, the convicted spy (Rudolf Abel, played to fabulous effect by actor Mark Rylance), seems to never worry about a thing. Over and over again, Tom Hank’s character asks Abel if he is worried…and time after time is met with the simple, honest yet thought-provoking reply, “Would it help?” Rylance’s character seems to never get flustered or worried about anything!

Point well taken, isn’t it? Did my worrying about nuclear annihilation have anything to do with it not happening? No. Do my worries about finances or health or the health and well-being of my loved ones make any of those things one bit more secure or healthy? No.

Isn’t that the point Jesus made in his great sermon on the mountainside? Matthew 6:25-34 (NLT) – That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

I’m trying something new – and you may want to join me. When I’m tempted to worry about something, I’m going to ask myself, “Would it help?”

I already know the answer to that question. So, instead of worry, I’m just going to try to leave it in God’s hands through prayer. I think life will be much more pleasant and praise-filled if I worry less. My guess is yours will be, too.

PRAYER: God, You know what a worrier I have been throughout my life. Help me not to worry, but to remember this teaching of Jesus and be at peace in You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/19/15 – Others

DayBreaks for 10/19/05: Others  

It won’t be long now and once again we will begin to see people in uniforms in shopping malls ringing bells collecting donations for the poor. They will be are doing the work of the Salvation Army.

In 1878, when the Salvation Army was really beginning to make its mark, men and women from all over the world began to enlist. A man who had once dreamed of becoming a bishop in another denomination crossed the Atlantic from America to England to enlist in the Salvation Army instead. His name was Samuel Brengle. Brengle left a fine pastorate to join William Booth’s Army. At first General Booth accepted his services reluctantly and grudgingly. Booth said to Brengle, “You’ve been your own boss too long.” So in order to instill humility in Brengle, he made him work by cleaning the boots of other trainees.

Discouraged, Brengle said to himself, “Have I followed my own fancy across the Atlantic in order to black boots?” Then, as in a vision, he saw Jesus bending over the feet of rough, uneducated fishermen. “Lord,” he whispered, “you washed their feet; I will black their shoes.”

Samuel Brengle went on to establish the Salvation Army in America. At the time of his death, the Salvation Army was thriving in both the United States and in Canada. Just before his death Brengle sent out a short memo to all of his top leaders. This memo had one single word written on it: “Others.”

We can have many motives for the things we do. Jesus had one: that others might have life. What are the motives that drive you?

PRAYER: Father, let us put others ahead of our own selfish interests and motives! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/16/15 – The One Who Stayed

DayBreaks for 10/16/15: The One Who Stayed  

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called “The One Who Stayed.”  The story in the poem is about a Pied Piper who came along and piped all the children away.  His music was enchanting, and the kids followed him dancing, twirling and spinning happily on their way.  That is, all the children except one followed the Piper.  That one child went back home and stayed there.  His dad was proud of the son for not following – for not listening to the Piper’s tantalizing music.  But the son, deep in his heart, knew that he’d stayed behind for the wrong reason, and that for his entire life he would regret his decision:

“I cannot say I did not hear

That sound so haunting hollow –

I heard, I heard, I heard it clear…

I was afraid to follow.”

Perhaps the boy was simply afraid of leaving home.  Perhaps he was afraid of leaving his parents.  Maybe he was afraid to go because he didn’t know where the Piper would lead him, or what would happen to him when they arrived at their destination.  Or, perhaps the boy had too much at home and he was reluctant to give up his video games, fast car, and fancy clothes for a life on the road with an itinerant Piper.

A similar message was extended long ago to a rich young ruler who decided to stay home, too.  And we’re told that he went on his way sorrowful.  We know why he stayed home, and I believe, like the boy in the story, that he regretted that decision for the rest of his life. 

Today there are fathers who will applaud their child’s decision to stay home – to stay away from church, to ignore the calling of the Holy Spirit in the life of their children.  “Oh, I’m proud of you for deciding for yourself what you want.  Good for you.”  I fear for those children – and for those parents – who don’t have enough common sense to encourage their children to go to church, to live the adventure for which God created them.  For those parents who don’t do all that they can to help their children find their way to God – I tremble in fear for the questions they will face from God when they finally stand before His throne.  What kind of message are you communicating to your children when you let them not go to church so that they can play sports every Sunday, or to stay home and watch movies or play video games?  Aren’t you sending a message that says: “I’m proud of you for not going to church.  Games and movies are much more important that listening to the call and command of God.” 

Mom and dad: don’t think for a second that your children aren’t watching what you choose to do on Sunday, too.  They watch – they see – and if your actions make it clear that everything else in the world is more important than worshipping God and being with His family – don’t be surprised when your child winds up with no faith, or if they listen to the wrong piper and wind up in broken marriages, jail and perhaps even hell.

PRAYER: Lord, being a parent is a huge responsibility. Help us realize that we will be held accountable not just for what we are doing ourselves, but for how we are molding and influencing our children! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>