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.  ><}}}”>

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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.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/15/15 – Will I Ever Win the Lottery?

DayBreaks for 10/15/05: Will I Ever Win the Lottery?  

Today after working out in the gym, I stopped in the convenience store to get a couple diet Dr. Pepper’s. As I was entering the store, there was a neon sign that showed the value of the lottery for tonight. I think it was something like $80 million dollars. That’s not chump change!

Well, let me tell you right know that I know I will never win the lottery. They tell me that you have to play in order to win, and I refuse to fork over hard earned money to try to win something when I’ve got a far better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery!

In fact, I’m the kind of person who never wins anything. I’m not lucky that way, I guess. And I’m skeptical of even trying to win because I know the odds are stacked against me.

If you’re like me, you may sometimes feel like you’re not even going to make it to heaven. If I stop and think about it, if I start dwelling on my failures and faults (which are many!), I can start to question whether I’ll get “there.” It is a very uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it?

That’s why I so love and desperately cling to these verses: And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day. – John 6:39-40

I think perhaps Jesus made that statement just for my benefit.

Several things are noteworthy: first, Jesus says that this is God’s will, not just something that God hopes will happen. And God has a way of ultimately getting His will! Second, Jesus says he will “not lose even one”. Have you ever been overlooked? Forgotten? Left out when it came right down to the choosing? My fears of being left out when I stand before the throne of God are pointless, according to Jesus. I will not be forgotten, I will not be left out, I will not be rejected!

Will I win the lottery some day? No. But then I’ve already won something of far greater value!

PRAYER: Jesus, forgive me when I doubt. Forgive me when I think that your blood isn’t sufficient to cover even my sins. Thank you for the incredible comfort that comes from knowing you will forget and lose no one on that day that the Father has put into your hands – including me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/14/15 – The Power of Small Things

DayBreaks for 10/14/05: The Power of Small Things  

Many have been the times that I wished I could do something great for Jesus. I think every believer at some point in their walk has felt that way. After all, he has done (and is doing!) amazingly great things for us. We want to reciprocate.

Yet most of us are not born to do “great” things. We don’t find ourselves in the position to change the world with the stroke of a pen or with a few words. Such is not our position. As a result, we can feel a bit dispirited and disappointed with the small things we can do.

The power of little things should never be underestimated. The power of the laugh of a little child to cheer a heart, the energy contained in the atom, a gentle and compassionate hug can lift the spirits of those in despair. As evidence, consider this true story:

A room-service waiter at a Marriott hotel learned that the sister of a guest had just died. The waiter, named Charles, bought a sympathy card, had hotel staff members sign it, and gave it to the distraught guest with a piece of hot apple pie.

“Mr. Marriott,” the guest later wrote to the president of Marriott Hotels, “I’ll never meet you. And I don’t need to meet you. Because I met Charles. I know what you stand for. … I want to assure you that as long as I live, I will stay at your hotels. And I will tell my friends to stay at your hotels.”

I don’t know if Charles was a Christian or not, but in this instance, he acted like one. It was just a card and piece of pie. Charles didn’t change the world that day, but he changed that day for someone who was grieving. And for all we know, that simple act of kindness and compassion may have changed eternity for the grieving guest. More important, that guest became a devotee of Marriott Hotels and an apostle to their friends on behalf of the hotel chain.

Today you will not nail 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg. Today you will not share your faith in Jesus before thousands of people gathered in a stadium. Today you will not feed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish.

We might say, “So, if those things are true, what’s the point of my trying to do anything for Jesus?” Jesus said it himself – that is we even give a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul, we’ve given it to him. He notices. He sees. And what little thing you may do today can change the world for someone today – and perhaps forever. They may even become a devotee of Jesus as a result of that cup of cold water.

Zechariah 4:10 (NLTse) – Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.

PRAYER: Lord, we have nothing great to offer you except small things. Let us never forget how great small things can be when given to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/13/15 – Taking a Nap With Jesus

DayBreaks for 10/13/05: Taking a Nap With Jesus  

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2005:

Matt. 11:28-30 (NLT) – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.

I look around me and all I see are blurs.  People coming and going at warp speed.  How many people in the course of a week do I talk with who tell me how tired they are, how busy they are – that they don’t have time for one more thing on their plate!  I’m worried for them – and also for myself in the busyness of begin a pastor.  There are many good causes, there are many things to which we can give our time and our effort – and most of us have problems setting boundaries and saying “No.” 

We seem to have forgotten that the greatest Cause of all that to which we can offer our time and energy to is God.  You see, God knows about human limitations – after all, He built them into us.  And unlike us, He’ll readily admit that we have weaknesses and need rest.  We don’t want to admit that we need anything at all – even if it is just rest.  And so we drive ourselves to the point of exhaustion trying to be in twelve different places at once, doing twelve different things simultaneously.

In Messy Spirituality, Mike Yaconelli wrote: “Actually, we do know how to rest; we simply refuse to rest.  Rest is a decision we make.  Rest is choosing to do nothing when we have too much to do, slowing down when we feel pressure to go faster, stopping instead of starting.  Rest is listening to our weariness and responding to our tiredness, not to what is making us tired.  Rest is what happens when we say one simple word: ‘No!’  Rest is the ultimate humiliation because in order to rest, we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God’s work does not depend on us.  Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say ‘Yes!’  Only then might we find the reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him.  Only then might we have the courage to take a nap with Jesus.”

I’m not by nature a “napper.”  It seem that there’s too much to do.  But I need to learn the lesson that I am unnecessary.  God’s work will go on without me, as will the world itself.  When we’re so busy “doing,” it is hard to be sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning.

PRAYER: God, if we don’t slow ourselves down, I pray you will slow us down until we get our priorities in line with what is truly important! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/12/15 – Walking In God’s Shoes

DayBreaks for 10/10/05: Putting On God’s Shoes

It’s quiet on the street.  Deadly quiet.  I can’t help but wonder if this is what hell looks like – without the screams. 

“Ghost town.”  That phrase seems to fit, at least partially.  One of the best preserved ghost towns of the old west is Bodie, California, where the wind blows the sandy dust up and down the street that once was witness to gunfights and drunken brawls between the silver miners who labored there.  I’ve been there several times and it’s sort of like this, but there’s a couple major distinctions.  Bodie is far cleaner and Bodie doesn’t have the stink that is everywhere on this street. 

I don’t know the name of the street we’re on because the street signs are gone, either blown or washed away.  The houses tell me this was once a beautiful neighborhood – most of them are, or I should say, were brick.  But as we walk this street there are no children holding mock gunfights or wrestling on the yard with their best friends.  There are no children here – praise God for that. 

A pastor recently told a story worth repeating, about children drawing pictures of God and of Jesus.  Their pictures of God showed him with white hair, a white beard, a smiling face and a flowing white robe.  Their pictures of Jesus showed him with white hair, a white beard, a smiling face and a flowing white robe, too.  But there was a difference.  They drew sandals on the feet of Jesus.  I don’t know what the children were thinking when they drew their pictures, but it seemed to be indicating that Jesus gave feet to God so that we could see Him, hear Him, touch Him.  And that made their pictures different.

We like to visit places where famous people have walked or slept or where great things have happened.  “Abraham Lincoln slept here.”  “George Washington crossed the Delaware here in 1776.”  Shiloh.  Manassas.  Bull Run.  Fredricksburg.  Gettysburg.  The beaches of Normandy.  Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX.  Ford’s Theater in Washington DC.  There is something about being where history altering things have happened that changes you inside. 

Last week as our relief team walked through one of the neighborhoods in Chalmette, Louisiana in St. Bernard’s Parish, we wept.  Our hearts fell out of us and it seemed as if our insides melted.  Some stopped in their tracks and wept in the middle of the street – but that was OK because there were no cars anywhere except ours. 

When I put on my shoes that morning, I didn’t really think too much about where I’d be walking that day.  Even as we walked the streets, I didn’t realize the truth and reality of what was happening.  It was only on Sunday (yesterday) that I knew.  The streets of the neighborhood may have looked abandoned, but I know now that before we had visited those streets of destruction, God has walked those streets…and wept.  And when we were walking there, we were walking on Holy Ground because God had been (and still was!) there.  At the time, all I could see or apprehend was desolation.  How blind I was.  How blind we are as we walk the streets, campuses, hospital corridors each day.  The reality is that no matter where we go or when we go there, God has walked there, and is walking there even now.  Holy Ground is everywhere, for God has been there since the beginning of time.

When you put your shoes on this morning, chances are that you never thought that you’d walk on Holy Ground this day.  Open your eyes a little bit more and perhaps you’ll see His footprint, perhaps you’ll hear His sobs as He cries over the devastation of His creation and of the shattered lives of men and women overtaken in sin.  And perhaps, hopefully, you’ll join Him in His weeping.  And also perhaps, you’ll think about it in the morning when you again put on your shoes that you are the only Jesus many will see…you are putting on God’s shoes and making Him visible.  What an awe-inducing responsibility we have been given.  May we wear the shoes and reflect the image well this day.

Eph. 6:15 – For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared.

PRAYER: Father, we can never fill Your shoes, but let us walk and live in imitation of You to a broken world. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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