DayBreaks for 5/31/16 – God, Horses and Friends

DayBreaks for 5/31/16 – God, Horses and Friends

From the DayBreaks Archive, May 2016:

Deuteronomy 5:27 (NIV) – Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.

A friend sent this to me a while back and I thought it was worth sharing:

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if one stops the car, or is walking by, one will notice something quite amazing.
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
Listening, one will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, one will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her bridle is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.
As one stands and watches these two friends, one sees how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.
Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by God and those whom he places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to see God.
Good friends are like stars…..you don’t always see them, but you know they are always there. – Author Unknown

PRAYER:  Jesus, there are times when we really need to hear your voice more than anything in all the world, and there are times when you want us to help others.  Give us the wisdom and strength to do both at every opportunity.  Thank you for the way you always lead us so gently.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/30/16 – Remember Their Sacrifices

DayBreaks for 5/30/16 – Remember Their Sacrifices

Romans 13:7 (NIV) – Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

It is Memorial Day, 2016, here in the United States. To many, it is the “unofficial” start of summer. Many go camping or start vacations if their kids are out of school. The weather is warm and families get together. But let’s get first things first, can we?

Some seem to confuse this day with Veteran’s Day….both are very special and commemorate people to whom we owe our thanks. But Memorial day is set aside to remember those who gave their lives as a sacrifice for those they loved and cared for. We cannot possibly thank them, or their families, too much. We should be forever grateful for the men and women who laid down their lives or our freedom. Their sacrifice will, and should, be remembered and their memories honored.

As we worshipped on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus. He, too, laid down his life for us in the ultimate battle: the struggle between good and evil. And even as he rose, one day he will bring life to not only believers but all those who have died throughout all of history.

It is right for us to remember those who didn’t love their own lives to dearly to sacrifice it for those they loved more than life. That describes the fallen soldiers of our country, but also our Lord. 

Let us honor them all today as they deserve…but let us honor our Lord above all.

PRAYER: Jesus, we today remember the families of those who died for our freedom. We pray you bring the comfort and warm memories to the loved and lost. May we honor you for your sacrifice above all!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 05/27/16 – The Day of the Lord

DayBreaks for 5/27/16 – The Day of the Lord

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

Isaiah 13:6 (NIV) – “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.”

The “day of the Lord” was an idea that was very common to the Jews of the Old Testament.  The Jews tended to divide history into 3 periods of time: the present evil age, the day of the Lord, and the age to come.  They spoke volumes about how this world was evil, how everything was bad and doomed for destruction because of the anger of the Lord which would be revealed on the “great day of the Lord” when His wrath was revealed and released from heaven against the iniquity of mankind.  The Day of the Lord marked the dividing line between the evil world and the world in which righteousness would rule.  It was a “day” that was feared, for it would be a day of horrible retribution.  It would be followed by an age of righteousness wherein God would rule in perfect justice and harmony, and life would be good.  But the day of the Lord was to be feared, let there be no doubt. 

The theologian, Jurgen Moltmann made an interesting observation by looking at the concept of the day of the Lord in the Old Testament and the same concept in the New Testament.  He noted that the phrase “Day of the Lord” in the Old Testament inspired fear, but in the New Testament it inspires hope: (Titus 2:11-14, NIV) – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
”  

What could make such a difference in a people who had viewed the day of the Lord with such fear for nearly 2000 years?  Moltmann suggests one possibility: he thinks it is because the authors of the New Testament had come to know and trust the Lord whose day it is because they’d lived with and seen that very Lord in the person of Jesus Christ. 

One of the most frequent, if not the most frequent, commands of Jesus to his followers was simply this: “Do not be afraid.”  Perhaps it was his personality that gave the courage to his followers to come to not fear the day of the Lord, but even to pray for it, as John did in Revelation: “Maranatha, Lord Jesus!”  The followers of Jesus have nothing to fear from the day of the Lord, but can look forward to it expectantly, with joy because it will be HIS day, the day of HIS crowning glory, and he’ll be coming to share it with us!

PRAYER:  How we long for your day, Lord, the day that will put an end forever to misery and suffering, sin and injustice, and which will usher in the new heaven and new earth.  Thank you that we need not fear that day because we can know the Lord of the day personally.  Help us to know you better!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/26/16 – Of Clouds and Charlie Brown

DayBreaks for 5/26/16 – Of Clouds and Charlie Brown

Sometime ago in the “Peanuts” comic strip as Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown looked up to the sky, Lucy said, “You can see lots of things in the clouds.” Then turning to her companions, she asked “What do you see, Linus?”

“Well,” he said, “those clouds up there look to me like the map of Belize, the little nation in the Caribbean.” Glancing in a different direction, “That cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that cloud formation over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Steven; why I can see Saul of Tarsus standing to one side.”

“Uh huh,” gasped Lucy, “That’s good.” “And, what do you see Charlie Brown?” Clearing his throat, Charlie timidly replies, “Oh, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I’ve changed my mind.”

You may smile at Charlie Brown. Yet in a more profound way, he reminds me of the first disciples of Christ who had a hard time stretching their faith to see the coming of the Kingdom of God and the spiritual harvest around them. And in that way Charlie Brown also reminds me of me.

As I look around, I can either get discouraged thinking that the Kingdom of God is on a losing streak or I can choose to see these days as times of perhaps unprecedented opportunity for spiritual harvest.

And that leads to the next question: how am I gifted by the Spirit to engage in the harvest? We are all expected to be part of the great army of harvesters. We may not be the reapers – we may be sowers – but we are all to be engaged. We can’t, nor should we, wait until Jesus appears on his white horse to lead us into an engagement with the forces of darkness…we are to do it now – while we await his return.

What do you see when you look around you?

Let’s all commit ourselves to doing something each day to contribute to the harvest of souls.

Matthew 9:35 (NLTse) – Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

PRAYER: Jesus, I know that I can get so tied up in the business of each day that I seldom think about how white the fields are for harvest. Open my eyes to see how abundant it is and to understand the role you want me to play in it! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/25/16 – Do You Believe?

DayBreaks for 5/25/16 – Do You Really Believe?

There was a tightrope walker, who did incredible aerial feats. All over Paris, he would do tightrope acts at tremendously scary heights. Then he had succeeding acts; he would do it blindfolded, then he would go across the tightrope, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow. An American promoter read about this in the papers and wrote a letter to the tightrope walker, saying, “Tightrope, I don’t believe you can do it, but I’m willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your transportation fees, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls.” Now, Tightrope wrote back, “Sir, although I’ve never been to America and seen the Falls, I’d love to come.” Well, after a lot of promotion and setting the whole thing up, many people came to see the event. Tightrope was to start on the Canadian side and come to the American side. Drums roll, and he comes across the rope which is suspended over the treacherous part of the falls blindfolded!! And he makes it across easily. The crowds go wild, and he comes to the promoter and says, “Well, Mr. Promoter, now do you believe I can do it?” “Well of course I do. I mean, I just saw you do it.” “No,” said Tightrope, “do you really believe I can do it?” “Well of course I do, you just did it.” “No, no, no,” said Tightrope, “do you believe I can do it?” “Yes,” said Mr. Promoter, “I believe you can do it.” “Good,” said Tightrope, “then you get in the wheel barrow.”

The word believe, in Greek means “to live by”. This is a nice story…makes you ask, how often do we say that we believe Christ can do it, but refuse to get in the wheelbarrow?

PRAYER: Lord, I am afraid I know the answer to that last question and it disturbs me. I’m afraid to ask in a way, but help me grow in faith and trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/24/16 – The Truth…and Dihydrogen Monoxide

DayBreaks for 5/24/16 – The Truth…and Dihydrogen Monoxide

Do you remember how eager you were as a school kid for summer break to finally get here? Summer’s here (or nearly so), and the kids have been counting down the days and weeks for a couple months now. All summer and nothing but swimming, riding bikes, sandlot baseball every day, endlessly playing video games, and vacations. How I loved summer as a kid! 

While our kids live in that world this summer we adults will be living in another. There is the economy and the struggle to keep Wall Street and Shady Lane happy and accountable at the same time. There are conflicts within our nation, not to mention the conflicts between nations. If there is one thing I have learned in life it’s that everybody has their own version of the truth.
And we have to try and find the truth among all the truths that present themselves to us. It is very hard these days to know who to believe. Everyone is trying to lead us to their version of truth. In 1997, Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student at Eagle Rock Junior High School in Idaho Falls won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair by showing how conditioned we have become to alarmists spreading fear of everything in our environment through junk science. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “Dihydrogen monoxide” because:
1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
2. It is a major component in acid rain.
3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
4. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
5. It contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape..
6. It decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes.
7. It is found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
He asked 50 people if they support a ban.  43 said yes, 6 were undecided and only one knew what dihydrogen monoxide is….water.
Truth. Pontius Pilate asked his wife: What is Truth? It’s a question that plagues everyone who tries to do the right thing. Pilate was on to something, but he ultimately asked the wrong question. Instead of “What is truth?”, he would have done better to ask “Who is truth?”, even as the Truth stood in front of him. 

Want to know what Truth is? Read about Jesus. Read what he said, learn how he felt about things. But then LIVE the truth…the world desperately needs Christians to do that one thing.

PRAYER:  Jesus, our nation and world desperately need to know truth and the One Who is Truth. Help us not to be deceived by our own interpretations, but to find the ultimate Truth in You, Your Word, and Your Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/23/16 – Spiritual Addicts

DayBreaks for 5/23/16 – Spiritual Addicts

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

Philippians 2:3 (NIV) – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Isn’t the price of gasoline outrageous these days?  Here in Cloverdale, as I write this, it’s $3.29 per gallon for regular unleaded at the cheapest stations.  There are stations in town that are more than willing, and who are, charging even more.  But I usually go to the cheaper stations, especially now that gas is so expensive!

But there is somewhat of a risk with doing so, I suppose.  I’m not getting that brand that has Techroline built into it!  (Even so, I’m not losing sleep at night wondering if my valves are suffering from deposits!)  Not all gasoline is as good as others, I’m sure.  And that’s the point: not all fuel is good fuel.

We can have bad fuel spiritually, too.  I recently spoke from John 5:1-15 about the healing of the royal official’s son.  The man came to Jesus, which was wise, but he came for one reason – he wanted his little boy to be healed.  He didn’t want Jesus – just what Jesus could give him or do for him.  Bad spiritual fuel is “living only for the after effects of our relationship with God, rather than for God Himself.  As new Christians we experience a rush of feelings: peace, joy, happiness, warmth, excitement, contentment, and a host of others.  Over time we inadvertently become dependent upon these feelings to sustain our spiritual well-being.  We begin pursuing the feelings we receive from God rather than pursuing God himself.  This is dangerous, because as Simone Weil once remarked: ‘There is a great danger in loving God as the gambler loves his game.’  We can become spiritual-experience junkies, pursuing one spiritual fix after another just to get us through the day.” – Second Guessing God, Brian Jones

How much of my pursuit of God is really just self-interest cleverly disguised?  Do I really only seek Him for what I hope and pray that He’ll give me and do for me?  Or do I want Him – and nothing else?

PRAYER:  Help us, Almighty Father, to drink deeply of the well that is the Water of Life.  Help us to desire the Bread of Life and not just bread.  Let us be satisfied with nothing more, and nothing less, that all that You are.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/20/16 – In the Coffin of Your Selfishness

DayBreaks for 5/20/16 – In the Coffin of Your Selfishness

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

I’m a rather risk-averse person.  I don’t climb sheer rock walls (with or without cables!), I don’t jump out of airplanes that are perfectly functioning, I don’t wrestle alligators or dive with sharks.  I suppose some folks (maybe most) would think that my life is pretty dull and boring because I don’t knowingly take life-risking chances.  So be it.  I can live with that!

But it’s another matter when it comes to spiritual things.  We are all given only one life to spend – and spend it we shall, one way or another.  We’ll live our life based on certain sets of assumptions about reality, meaning, purpose, the existence or non-existence of God and life beyond the grave.  The conclusions we reach about such things are based on what kind of risk we are willing to take.  If you don’t believe there is a God, chances are you’ll live much differently in this world than if you do believe in Him.  I know that if I didn’t believe He exists and has revealed Himself to us, I’d live much differently than I do.  Different things would rise to the top of my priority list than currently reside there.

We do, however, all need to take some risk.  I know people who have lost their spouse several years ago but they cannot seem to break free from their cave of grief and they isolate themselves from the people and events of the world.  They decide not to risk ever being hurt again.  C. S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, wrote: “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

Lewis is right.  When we withdraw and seek to avoid the entanglements that being a fully-functional human requires, we may be able to avoid pain – but only because our hearts turn to stone.  And perhaps, that is a pain that we carry inside and never admit to ourselves. 

I don’t want a heart that doesn’t beat, that doesn’t pulse with life and send it coursing through my being, nourishing not just me, but those I can interact with.  If you’ve withdrawn because of the pain you’ve experienced because you gave your heart away once upon a time, take the risk to rise up out of the “coffin of selfishness” and live again.  Jesus gave himself over and over, in love, to anyone he met who needed love – even those who were the most unlovely.  And he was the perfect human – knowing pain, but also knowing the greatest joy any human has ever experienced.  Our withdrawal from life puts us at the center of our own little universe, and that’s a place that only God should hold.

PRAYER:  Father, create in us a new, clean heart, one that is willing to risk living the life abundant.  For those pains we carry we seek your healing, for the fears that keep us locked in our own selfish coffins – alone and dejected – we ask you for courage to begin to live the life that Jesus died to give us, loving others as he did.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/19/16 – The Cobra of Culture

DayBreaks for 5/19/16 – The Cobra of Culture

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

You’ve seen them on nature shows: the snake charmer with the cobra.  And you’ve maybe seen them on shows that depict the cobra living in the wild – coiled, raised up, swaying back and forth, staring at their soon-to-be prey.  And almost faster than you can see, the cobra strikes, killing the victim with its deadly venom. 

1 John 2:15 says, Do not love the world or anything in the world.  As Brian Jones notes in Second-Guessing God, the Greek word for world is kosmos.  It’s translated as either world or beauty, depending on the context in which it is used.  We get our word, cosmos from it, but also our word for “cosmetics”.  So the world is not only the world itself, but the beautiful things that are in the world – sculptures, beautiful people, “natural” wonders that take our breath away.  So why does the bible use kosmos in a negative way – telling us to not love the either the world or the things that are in it?

Jones writes: “I think it’s because God knew we could easily fall into the hypnotic stare of our culture and waste our loves, just like the rabbit…seeking happiness from what was created rather than its Creator.  God’s gift to us then, in those lethal moments, is to send trials to shake us free from our culture’s grasp to see our situation for what it really is…what writer Simone Weil once said is absolutely true: ‘If there were no afflictions in this world we might think we were in paradise.’”

What aspects of our culture are like the cobra to you?  What holds your fascination?  Are you sure that it is safe, harmless?  Or even better yet, is it making your life – your true, real life of the spirit, not of the flesh – more holy and righteous?

Because culture is of human origin, and because humans are inherently sinful and flawed, culture by and large has always been antithetical to God. As Kevin DeYoung said in his book about humans and our cultures, “Desire must never be given the priority over obedience. Intense longings do not turn sinful wrongs into civil rights.”

The cobra of culture is coiled, swaying back and forth trying to get us to freeze and focus on it.  Beware – it may strike so quickly that you’ll be dead before you know what happened.

PRAYER:  Lord, how easily we fall under the sway of the evil one and how we resist the loving call of your Spirit to holiness and the pursuit of the holy!  Open our ears, enlighten our minds, give us clear vision to see the serpent as he was in the beginning, and even as he is today – our enemy, speaking to us through lying lips.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 5/18/16 – Don’t Waste Your Pain

DayBreaks for 5/18/16 – Don’t Waste Your Pain

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

Ministers often hear about pain.  I’m not complaining about that, mind you – after all, most ministers are in that line of work because they are compassionate and want to help those who hurt.  It is a blessing and privilege that is granted to few humans to be trusted at those moments of deepest pain and anguish and to be admitted to the inner sanctum of someone’s heart and hurt. 

But what do you say when there seem to be no answers to the inevitable “Why?” questions?  I’ll be very honest – I often don’t know what to say at those moments.  It is often enough just to be there with them as a loved one slips the bonds of this life to enter into the next. 

Once again, let me share a perspective from Brian Jones in Second-Guessing God: “The question we need to ask ourselves when God allows us to go through hard times is not why but who?  In the mind of God, pain always has two intended recipients: us and someone else.  If we choose not to take what we’ve experienced and find some way of using it to help other people, we miss a large part of why God allowed us to suffer in the first place.

“In his book The Gospel of Suffering, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard asked: ‘When indeed does the temporal suffering oppress a man most terribly?  Is it not when it seems to him that it has no significance, that it neither secures nor gains anything for him?  Is it not when the suffering, as the impatient man expresses it, is without meaning or purpose?’

“Absolutely.  Suffering is pointless when it is without meaning, and suffering is without meaning, ultimately, when what we’ve suffered isn’t put to some greater use.”

We have all suffered in this world – to varying degrees and in various ways.  There is no consistent scale of pain like there is for earthquakes.  The pain in one heart is unique, but related, to the pain of other hearts.  We cannot know another’s pain – but our own pain helps us identify with it.  Simone Weil wrote: “The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it.”

What do you think God wants you to do with your suffering and pain?  How can you put it to work, to use, for Him, for others?  What pain are you carrying right now, this moment, that can be redeemed by the One who gives our very existence meaning and purpose?

Job 36:15-16 (NIV) – But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.  He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.

PRAYER:  Help us, Lord, as we bear the arrows of suffering, to find in it – in You – a way to use it to bless others for the cause of the Son who bore the stripes for us.  As You redeemed his suffering, we invite you to show us how You wish to redeem ours.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.