DayBreaks for 1/31/17 – Broken

DayBreaks for 1/31/17: Broken

1 Corinthians 15:53-55 (ESV) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Adapted from our worship bulletin for 1/29/17:

“It’s the message you do and don’t want to hear. I was ready for my flight to take off for an important visit. We were loaded, bags on board, seatbelt fastened. The pilot came on the intercom and said, ‘We have a small lead in the hydraulic. Until maintenance clears us, we will not be able to depart.’

“Ugh. Now I faced the immediate future sitting with a bunch of other people who were ready to depart. No, I did not start sharing the gospel because in a flash the pilot made it works. ‘This plane is not fixable, so  you all have to deplane and we will get you another one as soon as we can!’

“So, we got off, sat and waited. In fact, as I write, I am still sitting. You see this is an unfinished story, Not every story has a neatly tied bow. Some are open ended.

“The good news is someone saw the flaw before a catastrophe happened. So, I am thankful for that. I will arrive, just later than I thought.

“So, where do you want to go? What are you pressing towards? Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like the plane to take you to your destination had arrived, and it broke? Are you having to wait? If so, now is the time to look around at your present surroundings but more importantly, look up! He knows where you are. He providentially has you there. Further, there are unseen and mysterious things going on that you don’t see. The best place for you, in His economy, is where you are. Eventually, you will move, so enjoy the grounding.”

Galen’s thoughts: I’ve been in that same spot – waiting for a broken plane to be fixed. I, too, was grateful that they found the problem while on the ground. Broken things lead to delays and they can be deadly unless the are addressed and rectified.

Life is like sitting on the tarmac. We are waiting the launch into the air, but we are broken. We need fixing first or otherwise the result will be catastrophic. Jesus is in the process of fixing us so that we can safely take wing and fly.

It calls for patience. It involves some pain and frustration. But the eventual outcome is that we will reach the destination that we long for. And it will have been worth the wait!

PRAYER: Help us wait patiently for the perfection you are creating in us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/30/17 – The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

thegatesofhell

DayBreaks for 1/30/17: The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

It was just over one year ago that I took the photo shown above. We were at Cesarea Philippi in Israel. If that doesn’t ring a bell to you, it is the location where Jesus had a very famous conversation with Peter and the other apostles. Jesus had just asked them who people said he was and they replied that some thought he was one of the old prophets come back to life. But then Jesus made it more personal, asking who they thought he was. Peter’s response was breathtaking: you are the Christ, the Son of God. In response, Jesus said: Matthew 16:18 (ESV) – And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The ancients believed that the cave you see on the left in the photo was the gateway to hell. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jesus was looking at it when he made his statement. 

As I was driving home from the airport on Saturday night, this verse was running through my mind. I’ve read this verse since I was a young boy, heard it read, read commentaries on it and heard sermons preached over it. It’s one of those great statements of Jesus that we love to hear because it encourages us, especially when things seem to heading the wrong direction.

That being said, as I ran it through my mind, a thought dawned on me about what Jesus may have really been saying. Most people read it and believe Jesus was saying that all of Satan’s minions and not even Satan himself with his great power, will be able to overthrow by force the kingdom of God. I believe that to be true. If I didn’t believe that was how things would turn out, I cannot imagine what life would be like.

But look closely at what Jesus said. He didn’t say that the armies of hell wouldn’t conquer the church. He didn’t say that at all. He said that the “gates of hell” (not the armies of hell) would be able to conquer “it” – with “it” being his church. As I pondered what that might me, it struck me that gates are not an offensive force to keep things in. They are defensive structures designed to keep things out. And that brought a new insight to me.

Could Jesus have been saying that even the gates of hell that Satan had so carefully constructed to keep mankind in a doomed, damned state, would not be strong enough to keep the kingdom/church from rescuing those whom the gates of hell were designed to keep in their bondage and damned condition? It seems to make sense especially in light of 1 Peter 3:18-20 (ESV)For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  

In other words, Jesus may have been proclaiming that his church would overcome the gates of hell to reach the lost and that the gates of hell would not be strong enough to prevent it from happening.

I do not know precisely what Jesus meant, but I believe both are true: 1) Satan and his armies are puny compared to the power of the Almighty God, and; 2) until He returns for His church, it will continue to plunder the stronghold of the enemy. Both give me courage, and while the first gives me great hope, the second gives me a great challenge because I am to be part of the army that attacks the gates of the enemy to help free those held in darkness.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the assurance of the victory of your church against all the forces of darkness and evil. We pray to have the courage we need to attack the gates of the enemy to help led those in darkness into the Light that shines in the darkness and cannot be put out. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/27/17 – The Ends of the Earth Have Seen His Salvation

DayBreaks for 1/27/17: The Ends of the Earth Have Seen His Salvation

Psalm 98:3 (TNIV) – He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God.

We, like all of humanity before us, have tried our best to make God in our image, and when we read certain passages of Scripture, we can misconstrue them with great ease.  For example, when we read the first 3 words of Psalm 98:3 (TNIV), we would be tempted to think that the implication is that for a while, God forgot his love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.  Such is not the case.  God doesn’t forget anything.  When Scripture says that God forgives and forgets our sin, never to remember them against us again – it means that God will never bring them up against us again.  He still knows our sin – past, present and future.  He wouldn’t be Infinite if he were truly forgetful – even of things like sin.  And, with each lash of the whip, with each blow of the hammer upon the nails, our sins were embedded into the back, hands and feet of Christ.  It appears, based on Revelation 5:6, that even in heaven, the scars caused by our sins are visible upon the Lamb.  We talk about not being able to take things with us when we die, but Christ apparently took these “souvenirs” of his time on earth to heaven with him, perhaps to remind us throughout all eternity of the love that drove him to the cross.

But, what’s important in the passage above isn’t that God forgot our sins, but that he never forgets his love and faithfulness to his people.  How far does it extend?  To the ends of the earth.  What does that mean?  I think it may mean two things:

FIRST: physically, the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, has reached to all the ends of the earth.  North, south, east, west – all four points of the compass have heard of the glory of God, if by nothing other than the glory of the creation (Romans 1).  From the beginning, there has been a moral sense in mankind wherever he is found. 

SECOND: I can’t help but wonder if this verse isn’t speaking with the certainty of completed prophecy: God has decreed that at the time of the “ends of the earth” when the dead will rise and the great judgment scene takes place, the earth (mankind) will see the salvation of God for his beloved children.  All the wicked and hateful angels and people from all ages will stand in the judgment and see the salvation of God poured out upon those who through faith have accepted Christ, trusting in God for their deliverance.  What a scene that will be!  And we will all live to see it!

PRAYER:  Lord, we long for the day when You vindicate Your righteous ones, made perfect through the Lamb!  And our prayer, Lord, is that before that great and terrible day arrives, that whose who are lost at this moment will turn to Jesus in faith.  And on that day, may we be numbered with the faithful and fully see Your great salvation!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/26/17 – The Upright Heart

DayBreaks for 1/26/17: The Upright Heart

Psalm 97:10-12 (NLT) – You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. Light shines on the godly, and joy on those who do right. May all who are godly be happy in the LORD and praise his holy name!

How I fear we have missed much of the wonder and blessing of the Psalms!  Sure, there are the all-time favorites: Psalm 19, Psalm 90, Psalm 132, and of course, Psalm 23.  But there is so much that we miss by rapidly reading the Psalms! 

There is so much to consider in this Psalm.  Verse 10 gives a command to those who love the Lord (notice, it isn’t just for those who say they love the Lord, but for those who really do love Him!), and it consists of two words: “hate evil.”  Part of being faithful is to hate evil.  I ask myself: how much do I hate evil, instead of dabble with it because I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame?  If I truly love the Lord, I am to hate evil – not because evil isn’t fun, but because of what evil does to God, others and myself.  I may think that evil might be fun, but it isn’t – not really.  In the final analysis, it is painful – and deadly. 

God protects the lives of the godly, the faithful, and delivers them from the power of the wicked.  This verse doesn’t say that we won’t still struggle, but it is He who protects and rescues us from the power of the wicked (Satan and humans!)  It is not our own resolve, strength or determination that delivers us.  My will power isn’t up to that task – and neither is yours.  I can’t see all the stratagems of the wicked nor see all their plots.  God can – and He alone has the ability to deliver us.

Verse 11 says that light and joy are shed on those who do right.  The NIV says that they are shed on “the upright in heart.”  What is an upright heart?  Think of a glass of water.  An upright glass is not tipped, slanted or crooked – it is straight up vertical!  A crooked heart is one that wanders back and forth in allegiance and whose love waxes and wanes.  A slanted heart may be too earthly – or too heavenly.  Someone once said that we can be too earthly to be of any heavenly value, and to heavenly to be of any earthly good.  Wise observation, if you ask me.  But an upright – or “right side up” heart is directed to God.

But there’s more for us here.  Verses 10-11 talk about what God does for the upright and godly.  Then comes verse 12 with its instructions on our proper response:  we are to not just be intellectually or emotionally grateful for what God has done, but we need to rejoice and praise His name.  We need to take our response and faith beyond just hearing about His protection, deliverance, light and joy into taking actions of praise for those and all other things that come from His hand. 

We, if we are godly (vs. 12), are to be happy in the Lord.  And why shouldn’t we be – once we get our hearts and minds around verses 10-11!

Far too few who are Christians hate evil – we’re much more comfortable with loving good than hating evil.  But we need to be outraged by it and hate what it does to God’s creation!

PRAYER: Almighty Father, may we truly love you with all our heart, mind, strength and soul.  May we learn to hate evil as you hate evil.  May we rest in the wonderful protection you give us, exulting in your deliverance!  Fill us with light, joy and happiness that we may praise you forever!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/25/17 – The Danger with Eternal Youth

DayBreaks for 1/25/17 – The Danger with Eternal Youth

From Doug Dalrymple’s blog, dated 1/5/07:

A life devoted to instant gratification produces permanent infantilization: ‘At sixty-four…tastes are what they were at seventeen.’ In our society, the telescoping of generations is already happening: the knowledge, tastes, and social accomplishments of thirteen-year-olds are often the same as those of twenty-eight-year-olds. Adolescents are precociously adult; adults are permanently adolescent.  –  Theodore Dalrymple, ‘The Dystopian Imagination’

In the first sentence above, Dalrymple is quoting Mustapha Mond, a character from Huxley’s Brave New World.  In the novel, Mond is an ‘Alpha’ and the resident World Controller for Western Europe.  As I recall, he keeps a forbidden Bible in a safe and is one of only two living people known to have read Shakespeare (‘John the Savage’ being the other).  As Dr. Dalrymple notes, Mustapha Mond might as well have made his observation of our own day.  Last September I wrote:

“Perhaps this is the natural progress of a culture that idolizes youth and sex, that devours its children and discards its elderly.  The generation gap disappears while, from their respective ends of the ladder, adults descend and children ascend toward a universal, middle state of fragile, uncertain adolescence.”

Perhaps.  But why this idolization of youth and sex, this devouring of children and discarding of elderly, in the first place?  The celebration of youth and strength is nothing new, nor is lechery, nor resentment toward those to whom we owe much.  Why should it be so difficult for westerners in particular to reconcile themselves to growing old?  Is it, as Theodore Dalrymple suggests, a “life devoted to instant gratification” that produces “permanent infantilization?”  I suspect that’s begging the question again.  Perhaps it’s simply that the bogeyman of Death looms larger and fiercer as the image of the reconciling Cross and the Empty Tomb fades in the cultural memory.  With a specter like Old Bones gaping at us in the foreground, and no savior to precede us, we’re inclined to flee, as best we’re able, in the opposite direction.
In any case, let’s not be too hard on our young people: it’s not easy to grow up these days.  Those of us fortunate enough to have known living examples of well-adjusted maturity and reconciled old-age have less excuse, of course.  But for those with video-gamer grandpas who divorce at 60 to pursue younger prospects, and plastic-surgeried grandmas who dress and talk like sixteen-year-olds, what can we really expect of them?  That’s the trouble with eternal youth.  –  D. Dalrymple, Scrivener blog, 1/5/07

Galen’s Thoughts: the Western culture in particular idolizes youth and decries any mention of old age – let alone death in advanced years.  It almost seems that our culture finds something shamefully distasteful about white hair and creaky bones and minds.  We live in denial of advancing years and approaching death, and we “flee…in the opposite direction.”  And the problem with eternal youth is that we never grow up, we never get wiser, just more and more foolish.  Would it not be better to honestly face the future that awaits us all – whether we reach old age or not?  Death is our next door neighbor throughout our entire lives, you know.  We’d be wise to contemplate our meeting and how we wish to face “Old Bones”, for face him we shall.  In a culture where the cross and empty tomb are shuffled off into ancient lore and the realm of make-believe instead of accepted truth, we must not run to eternal youth as the answer, but to the Eternal One for THE answer: Jesus.

PRAYER: Help us to spend our days on this earth not seeking physical beauty, or a life of care-free mindlessness content to frolic during our time “upon the stage”.  Give us wisdom to contemplate our end, and our beginning, in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/24/17 – Where Is Jesus?

DayBreaks for 1/24/17: Where Is Jesus?

John 12:26 (NLT) – Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

The meaning of disciple is “follower”. For most, when we think of a disciple, we think of a disciple of Jesus, but a disciple can be any person who follows a teacher or a teaching or a way of life.

Jesus is very clear: if you want to be his disciple, you have to follow him. It isn’t an optional statement or something he said “off the cuff” without thinking it through. If you want to be his disciple, you “…must be where I am.”

Of course, we are familiar with the verse about Jesus that scares us all out of our minds: that we must take up our cross and follow him. But that’s not the point here today. It may sound strange, but I think we need to ask the obvious, simple question: where is Jesus?

Jesus is in your work place today. He is in your school. He is in the hospital. He is in the church. He is in your home. He is on your playground and fitness club. He is in the restaurant where you will eat today. He is in your neighborhood. He is…everywhere.

Jesus isn’t in all those places just for curiosity’s sake or because he’s spying on folks. He is there because he wants to do something there – to touch someone’s life and change them forever. He is there because there is human need wherever there are humans. And you must be there with him – imitating him, doing the things he is doing to comfort and confront, challenge and uplift, encourage and engage people with the reality of who he is and of what he wants for them.

Are you up to the challenge? You must be where he is, doing what he does. If you aren’t, the question must be asked: are you truly a disciple?

PRAYER: Let us be with you all day today, Lord, and with each interaction, help us to imitate you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/23/17 – Don’t Be Afraid of Things Dying

DayBreaks for 1/23/17: Don’t Be Afraid of Dying Things

John 12:23-24 (NLT) – Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

We have an aversion to death and dying things. We don’t like to watch anything that is dying. For some people it is so strong that they won’t even visit those who are dying or diagnosed with a deadly disease because it is too uncomfortable. It is my belief that this is innate within us because death is an enemy and adversary. Yet in the verse above, Jesus speaks a universal truth: the death of a single seed that is sown in the ground brings forth an abundant harvest of life.

While losing physical life is hard, there are other things that are perhaps even more painful for a person to “live” through, for example, the loss of dreams. Dreams die hard and they take a toll on us when it happens. But loss of hope is perhaps even more sad and tragic.

Perhaps you find yourself right now having lost a loved one, a spouse, a child, a job, a dream. Perhaps you’ve given up hope as your hope died. I think Jesus would tell you not to be afraid of things dying, because when something dies, new things come to life.

While your hope and dreams may lie shattered right now, take heart for new life and new hopes and new dreams may be just around the corner. A new life awaits you not just in heaven, but while you continue to sojourn here.

PRAYER:  Jesus, loss is hard for us to deal with. Help us to trust in the principle of new life springing from things that have died because you are the one who gives life and as long as you live we have nothing to fear.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.