DayBreaks for 1/31/19 – Forgiven and Restored

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DayBreaks for 1/31/2019: Forgiven and Restored

From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:

Is there any greater need of the human race than forgiveness? Freedom from the guilt and shame of the past, from what we have done and what we have been? People all over the world are shattered and broken because they have never found peace in their hearts and lives. Their past haunts them. Perhaps no one put it as profoundly as Marghanita Laski, a humanist author, who was on television shortly before she died. In one of the most shocking statements made on network television, Ms. Laski said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.”

But sometimes, even Christians don’t really understand, accept or believe their forgiveness. Why? Because we can’t forget what we’ve done. Consider the stories of two men who went rampaging through museums and who severely damaged great works of art. In one case, it was Rembrandt’s painting “Nightwatch”. In the other, it was Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Pieta in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. What did the curators of the museums do with these great works of art that had been horribly damaged? Did they throw them out and forget about them, consigning them to the dumpster? No way! Instead, they got the best experts they could find and with the most painstaking effort, did all they could to restore the treasures.

You see, that is exactly what God does with us. We go, from time to time, on sin rampages. By our sin, we mar the beautiful artwork that is us – for we are, after all, made in God’s very own image, and what could be more beautiful than that? The “Curator” has a choice – to trash us or repair us. And He chose and chooses to repair us. How does He do it? He gets the best expert available – Jesus! But here’s the best news of all: not only does He restore us, but He makes us better than we ever were before – because when we accept Christ’s atonement by faith – God credits us with Christ’s righteousness! Romans 4:22-25 says it this way: This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness– for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

The righteousness that God credits to our account is far greater than any righteousness we have ever had. God takes the broken and marred works of art that are the men and women of His creation, forgives and repairs. His repair work is beyond perfect – for He doesn’t just restore us to our human condition, but makes us fit to be heavenly creatures, to live in His presence and to see Him face to face.

Struggling with your past? If you are a believer – don’t. As far as God is concerned, you don’t have a past – only a glorious future.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for the righteousness You have credited to us, for the forgiveness that gives us the hope and strength to press onward to the glorious future You have prepared for us!    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/30/19 – Playing Dress-up

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DayBreaks for 1/30/2019: Playing Dress-up

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 1/27/2009:

From Ovi’s World of the Bizarre, Dec. 4, 1997: “A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with robbing a bank while dressed in a cowboy outfit. According to police reports, Dustin Marshall tipped his hat and yelled, ‘Giddy-up!’ as he pointed the ‘cowboy-type pistol’ at bank employees. Marshall was also charged with robbing another bank six days later while wearing a ghost mask.”

Galen’s Thoughts: This story is rather funny, but at the same time, pathetic. One of the things that bank robbers do is try to conceal their identity so that they won’t be discovered or “found out”. They know that if their identity remains hidden that it is harder to prosecute then for a crime.

What’s the lesson? Well, besides not holding up a bank while yelling “Giddy-up!”, I suppose it could be that in our Christian walk we can dress up and pretend to be something that we aren’t. In the case of Dustin Marshall, he was found out. In our case, we will be found out, too. Matthew 10:26b puts it this way: …There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

In the context in which Jesus gave this teaching, he is talking about the things that the servants of Satan do which seem to remain hidden – they seem like they might be good things when indeed, Satan is behind them. They seem to get away with those things, too! Jesus told this to his followers so that they wouldn’t be discouraged thinking that evil people will get away with their evil. You’ve got Jesus’ word on it!

Can you imagine what it would have been like to hear these words directly from Jesus’ mouth? How do they make you feel even now? Don’t we all wear some masks, some kind of costume, to hide our real identities, sins and fallen nature?

When I was a very little boy, my sister and I would visit our grandparents in their farm house. Sometimes we’d go upstairs into the huge closets and we’d pull on our grandparents clothes over our own and pretend to be someone else. It may work in a child’s imagination, but God sees right through our disguises and promises that even the things which are concealed and hidden will be made known.

The next time we’re thinking about acting righteous when we’re really not, when we think we’ve hidden our tracks well enough that no one will find out, let’s remember these words of Jesus and think soberly about what will be revealed about us!

Prayer: As we navigate our way through this day, Lord, may we be mindful that every word, every thought, every action is laid bare before Your all-seeing eyes.    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/29/18 – Flying on Autopilot

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DayBreaks for 1/28/2019: Neon Promises

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 1/26/2009:

From Ovi’s World of the Bizarre, December 4, 1997: “A bizarre incident occurred when Paul Sirks was trying to get his plane going, after it quit on landing. Sirks was trying to crank the propeller when the plane took off without a pilot. It reached 12,000 feet and flew around for two hours. It finally ran out of gas and crashed in a bean field northwest of Columbus.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I wish I’d seen Mr. Sirks chasing the plane after it started and it took off without him. Can you see him running after it? Can you imagine the phone call he must have made to the control tower?!

Fortunately, although the plane was destroyed, no one was hurt. But consider:

FIRST: Life can operate on autopilot. We can go from day to day, not paying much attention to the details of life, and just “letting it happen”. Life will oblige us, for a while – until all of a sudden it comes crashing down for lack of neglect to the things that are important. It may be a teen who crashes for lack of parental involvement, a marriage that founders because of lack of effort and time, a job that is lost because of laziness and refusal to learn and grow. It is dangerous to fly on autopilot – life can fly that way for a while, but it’s not the best way. Consider the advice given in Proverbs 6:6-11, that encourages us to think about life carefully so we aren’t “poverty stricken”: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. Remember – there is more than one kind of poverty, and the most tragic poverty of all is the poverty of the soul.

SECOND: I’m sure we’ve all seen movies where the pilot of an airplane is killed or dies from a heart attack and someone on board the plane has to do some heroic flying (even though they’ve never been trained). Sometimes it has a happy ending – sometimes not. It is at a moment like that when you really appreciate having a pilot that knows what he’s doing – who has been trained to do the job and do it right. Who is the pilot of your life? Are you trying to fly solo? Some of the time?

Part of the job of the shepherd is to guide and direct the sheep – to make sure they get safely where they are supposed to go. Jesus knows the way – he knows how to really “fly” – and he will give you wings (1 Thes. 4:17: After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.)

Now that’s how to fly!!!

Prayer: Give us the wisdom, Lord, to look deeply and honestly into our lives to consider our ways.  May we yield control of our lives into Your great and Almighty hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/28/19 – Neon Promises

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DayBreaks for 01/28/2019: Neon Promises

Have you ever really noticed how many neon signs there are in your town? Have you paid attention to what they claim and what they try to sell you?

I recently was listening to an old rock song by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band called Fire Inside. It contains these lyrics:

There’s a hard moon risin’ on the streets tonight

There’s a reckless feeling in your heart as you head out tonight,

Through the concrete canyons to the midtown light

Where the latest neon promises are burning bright…

I had never paid close attention to the lyrics before, but for some reason, the concept of neon promises struck a chord in my thoughts and spurred this DayBreaks. If you’ve been to any big (and sometimes small cities), you’ve probably seen neon signs promoting things like these: “All you can eat! $5.95!”  “Girls! Girls! Girls!” “Paradise!” “Fresh pies!” “B-B-Q!” “Cocktails and Dreams!” “Beer on tap – happy hour – $1!”

Satan is no idiot. He knows how attracted we are to beautiful, shiny, colorful and bright things. And he knows how those things draw us with promises of dreams about to be realized, hopes fulfilled, pleasures and freedom to do as your heart pleases without consequence or regret.

But, in reality, all they are is empty neon promises. They shine bright for a while but they are empty, filled with nothing more than the hot gasses contained in glowing glass tubes.

I thought about how the promises of God offer things so different than neon promises: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  “I will remember your sins no more.” “I have come that you may have life and life overflowing.” “Come to me and I will give you rest.”

Does the different between those promises strike you as much as it does me? God’s promises relate to the deepest desires of my heart and soul rather than simply the desires of the flesh. Even if you eat all the food you want for $5.95, you’ll be hungry again tomorrow, but Jesus gives us the bread that makes it so that our souls will never again hunger.

I’ve had enough of neon promises that can’t fulfill. I hope you have, too, and that we will all recognize them for what they are: just tubes filled with glowing gas.

PRAYER: Father, than you for your promises which are real, deep and eternal. Keep us from falling prey to the neon promises of this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/25/19 – A Slave’s Integrity

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DayBreaks for 01/25/2019: A Slave’s Integrity

From Booker T. Washington’s writings, Up From Slavery:

“I found that this man made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labour where and for whom he pleased.

“Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there.  When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars.  Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.

“In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken.  He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise.”

Freedom and promises must go hand in hand.  How can anyone enjoy freedom if they’re bound by promises they’ve not kept?  No one can be truly free in spirit under such conditions. 

When we accepted Christ as our Lord, we made a promise: that we were accepting Him as the Lord of our life.  Through Jesus’ actions, He set us free, but have we kept our promises to him?  If not, is it because we just take our freedom for granted, that perhaps we think we don’t owe Jesus anything for the freedom He’s given us?  If that’s how we feel, perhaps, instead of walking to Virginia, we should walk to a hillside in Israel called Calvary…and make amends.

Prayer: We have so much to thank You for!  Though we can’t be worthy of the freedom you’ve given us, let us keep our promises to you nonetheless.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/24/19 – Truth from the Burning Towers

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DayBreaks for 01/24/2019: You Were Made for More

On that tragic morning of September 11, 2001, The Brooklyn Tabernacle lost four of its members. One victim was a police officer. The officer’s funeral was held at the church building, and Rudy Giuliani, then mayor of New York City, had been asked to share a few thoughts. Here’s what the mayor had to say:

“You know people, I’ve learned something through all this. Let me see if I can express it to you. When everybody was fleeing that building, and the cops and the firefighters and the EMS people were heading up into it, do you think any of them said, ‘I wonder how many blacks are up there for us to save? I wonder what percentage are whites up here? How many Jews are there? Let’s see—are these people making $400,000 a year, or $24,000, or—?’

“No, when you’re saving lives, they’re all precious. And that’s how we’re supposed to live all the time. How would you want the cops to treat you if you were on the seventy-fifth floor that day? Would you want them to say, ‘Excuse me, but I’ve got to get the bosses out first’? Not exactly.

“I confess I haven’t always lived this way. But I’m convinced that God wants us to do it. He wants us to value every human life the way he does.”

The words of the mayor moved everyone who had gathered that day for the funeral.  Jim Cymbala was there as Giuliani spoke, and had this to say afterward: “I sat there thinking, My goodness, the mayor is preaching a truth that has eluded so many of our churches throughout New York and the country! He may have stood for other policies that I could not agree with, but on that day, he was right on the mark. The truth of what he said penetrated my heart.

“The world you and I live in is falling apart before our eyes. We are God’s only representatives on the planet and simply cannot take time to pick and choose who needs help. They all need help. They all need the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. They all need to be rescued from the horror of an eternity apart from God.” – Jim Cymbala, You Were Made for More (Zondervan, 2008), pp. 94-96

Will you do your part to be the love of Jesus living in this world?

Prayer: As we see people around us, Lord, may we see every human being as those desperately in need of the love and forgiveness You offer – and may we see and admit that need in our selves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/23/19: God’s Getting Better At It

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DayBreaks for 01/23/2019: God’s Getting Better At It

Since the beginning God has attempted to get people’s attention and to call them into a commitment to live with principles, values, and sense of sacredness that God wants from all humanity. Sometimes the people heard and responded to God, and sometimes they ignored God.

God kept trying. God kept working at getting their attention. I heard about a little girl who sort of understands that about God. She was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?”

“Yes, Sweetheart,” he answered, “God made me a long time ago.”

“Oh,” she paused, “Grandpa, did God make me too?”

“Yes, indeed, honey,” he said, “God made you just a little while ago.”

Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, “God’s getting better at it, isn’t he?”

God got better at it. After untold efforts to win our allegiance and our hearts through promises made and kept, deliverances promised and carried out, through a law that was perfect, God took on human form, walking among us and living with us so that we would understand.

It is in the living, breathing person of Jesus that we really see all things we call holy, such as forgiveness, sharing, joy, vision, courage, perseverance, and especially love. We might think we understand love, for example, but when we receive totally unconditional love from another person, love takes on a completely new meaning for us. Jesus shows us the ultimate example of love, namely, God’s love. Seeing this example in the flesh makes all the difference in the world for us.

The saddest part is that people are often blinded to the beauty of Jesus by the behavior of we believers. We should be getting better at it, too.

PRAYER: Thank you for “getting better at it” and showing us your beauty God through Jesus. Let us get better at showing his beauty to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/22/19 – The Lesson of the Maggies

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DayBreaks for 01/22/2019: The Lesson of the Maggies

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

“A film made in 2002, The Magdalene Sisters, told the sad story of the “maggies” of Ireland. They got that nickname from Mary Magdalene, a revealing story in itself. The gospels mention only one fact of Mary Magdalene’s past, that Jesus had driven seven demons from her. Nevertheless, a tradition grew that Mary Magdalene must have been the same woman as the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. Hence when a strict order of nuns agreed to take in young women who had become pregnant out of wedlock, they labeled the fallen girls “maggies.”

“The maggies came to public attention in the 1990s when the order sold its convent, bringing to light the existence of the graves of 133 maggies who had spent their lives working as virtual slaves in the convent laundry. The media soon scouted out a dozen such “Magdalen laundries” across Ireland—the last one closed in 1996—and soon relatives and survivors were spilling accounts of the slave-labor conditions inside. Thousands of young women spent time in the laundries, some put away just for being “temptresses,” forced to work unpaid and in silence as a form of atonement for their sins. The nuns took away illegitimate children born to these women to be raised in other religious institutions.

“A public outcry erupted, and eventually campaigners raised money for a memorial, a bench in St. Stephen’s Green, a park in downtown Dublin. I determined to visit the memorial on a trip to Ireland. It was a typical gray day in Dublin, with a sharp September wind and the threat of rain in the air. I asked a policeman and a park guide about the memorial to the maggies, and they both looked at me quizzically. “Dunno that one. Sorry.”

“One by one, my wife and I examined the bronze statues and impressive fountains, mostly honoring fighters for Irish independence. Only by accident did we stumble across a modest bench beside a magnolia tree. A couple was sitting on it, but behind their backs we could see brass-colored lettering. We asked if they would mind moving aside for a moment so we could read the inscription. The plaque reads, “To the women who worked in the Magdalen laundry institutions and to the children born to some members of those communities—reflect here upon their lives.”

“Walking away from the humble memorial, I found myself reflecting not simply on their lives but also on the sharp contrast between how Jesus treated moral failures and how we his followers often do. Jesus appointed the Samaritan woman as his first missionary. He defended the woman who anointed him with expensive perfume: “Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” And Mary Magdalene, she of the seven demons, he honored as the very first witness of the Resurrection—a testimony at first discounted by his more prestigious followers. Where we shame, he elevates.”  – Philip Yancey, Christianity Today, 5/1/2003

Prayer:  May we learn from Your grace and be imitators of Your mercy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/21/19 – The Most Tragic Figure

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DayBreaks for 01/21/2019: The Most Tragic Figure

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

If you were to pick the most tragic figure in all of Scripture, or in all of history, who would it be?  I suppose one could argue for a variety of persons:

ADAM: here is a man who walked and talked with God in the garden, and yet was overcome by sin.  If anyone had motivation to continue to walk uprightly because he had recognized so many blessings from his relationship with God, you’d think it would be Adam.  Yet, one whisper from the serpent and he and his wife fall!

CAIN: it didn’t take long for hatred, envy and jealousy to rise to the point that a man would kill his own brother.  Tragic, indeed.  And over something as foolish as whose sacrifice was most pleasing to God?!?!?!  Why kill your brother instead of taking up the matter directly with God?????

SAUL: this king had it all going for him: he was big, brawny, and popular with the people.  Maybe that’s why it all went to his head and he fell from the throne to madness, wallowing in self-pity and taking his own life.

Perhaps JUDAS is the most tragic figure in all of human history.  He certain is one of the most vilified – at least by believers – who shake and wag our heads at the heinous act he perpetrated. 

The, of course, there are the Atilla the Hun’s, Idi Amin’s, Joseph Stalin’s, Adolph Hitler’s, Genghis Khan’s…sadly, the list is rather long.  You may feel at times that your life has been the most tragic in all of history because it has been so difficult.  At times, we’re all prone to believing we’ve got it bad until we’re reminded of someone who truly is in dire straits. 

There is, of course, another totally different point of view.  While most of the people mentioned above were, well, not nice folks, perhaps the most tragic figure in history is God.  Every single human who has ever lived has wounded the heart of their loving Father.  And not just once, but over and over and over – countless times.  And we continue to do so, even knowingly many times.  And yet His love endures forever.

We need to stop thinking so much about the pain in our lives and consider more the pain in God’s existence.  We need to stop thinking about obedience so much as an act of submission to His will as a response to His heart of love.

Prayer: For all the pain You bore on the cross, and for all the pain we cause You now, we seek Your mercy and forgiveness.  Teach us to obey out of love for a heart that has always loved us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/18/19 – The Braggart

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DayBreaks for 01/18/2019: The Braggart

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

I recently took a “fun” quiz that was forwarded around on the Internet, and one of the questions was to name a characteristic that you hate.  I have to admit that I struggled with that one.  I don’t enjoy being around complainers (fortunately, there are very few of those in my life!) or those who are always trying to impress someone with their talk or wisdom.  Maybe that’s because I can get easily confused and I’m not smart enough to follow their big words.  People who are always talking “big talk” to impress are generally very insecure people, and they remind me of this rather humorous story:

A man was driving through the countryside when suddenly his car stalled.  He got out to see what was wrong, and as he bent over the motor, he heard a voice say, ‘That trip to Japan was wonderful last spring.’  He looked around but saw no one.  All he could see was an old horse standing in the meadow.  The horse looked straight at him and said, ‘Yes, that trip was almost as good as the one to Paris and Rome the year before.’

Well, the man became almost hysterical with excitement.  He ran to the farmhouse at the edge of the meadow, pounded on the door, took out his billfold and said, ‘I want to buy that horse at any price.’  Calmly, the farmer replied, ‘Oh, you mustn’t pay too much attention to that horse.  He hasn’t been to half the places he talks about.’

Why is it that we have such a strong tendency to promote ourselves and talk about ourselves in ways that are intended to do nothing but try to impress others?  I think James 3:13-16 gives us some really good clues: If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.

Bottom line: we either are bragging about the good things we do (and why would we do that? – to get the praise of humans!), OR we are jealous and full of selfish ambition and so we brag about what we’ve done and how good we are – the “worst kind of lie” as James put it.  Such things are not motivated by God or by trying to bring Him glory, but by the Devil!

How much better off we’d be if no one was trying to impress others!!!!  Let us be content to be what and who God created us to be.  When we live that way, we bring Him glory!

PRAYER: Father, may we trust in You to honor those who are genuine in Your time and may we not pursue the praise of other humans.  Help us to be content to be what You have made us to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>