DayBreaks for 3/29/19 – Winners and Losers

Image result for winners and losers

DayBreaks for 3/29/19: Winners and Losers

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Remember “Rocky”? Rocky had a tough time of it in every one of those movies. He would take a terrific beating in the ring, only to struggle to his feet by sheer will power and come back to win the fight. Fanciful stuff, but sometimes it does happen, and when it does the whole world stands and applauds! Remember the “miracle” Mets? Remember the U.S. hockey team when they defeated the Soviets in the Olympics? The women’s hockey team in the last Olympics? How about Dan Jansen who finally won a gold medal in speed skating after falling in each of the previous two Olympics?

How many times have you been knocked down by struggles, heartbreak and sin in your life? In my life, it has been too many times to count. Consider these words from Bob Gass, who wrote in Word for Today on February 24, 1999: Winners are just losers who got tired of losing; they decided to get up one more time than they were knocked down. The Bible is full of their stories. The prodigal came back from a pigsty (Lk. 15). Joseph came back from prison (Gen. 41). Peter came back from a shameful denial (Mk. 16:7). And by God’s grace, you can come back, too. Listen to Psalm 37:23-24: “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

There were others, too: David came back from adultery and murder, Abraham from lying and deceit; Elijah from fear and cowardice. It’s a long and distinguished list – and they are God’s saints, men and women of faith who were very human, too.

As we face the sin and struggles in our life, we must decide whether we’ll settle for being a loser or if we will fight on to be a winner. The loser finally throws up their hands and says, “I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never beat this sin. I’ll never measure up, so I guess I just as well give up.” That’s dangerous. No matter what you’ve done (remember David sin, the prodigal son and Peter with his denial – have you done anything worse??), you can get back up through the grace of God and stand once again.

You see, God loves the underdog, too. He cheers us on, but even more important, He assures us, through the inspired words of Paul, the victory if we don’t grow weary and give up: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9) The harvest, my friends, is victory! Victory in such a way that sin will never touch us again, never even tempt us. God Himself will put the crown of victory on your head!

So, what’ll it be? Keep getting up! You may stumble, but God will pick you up. Look to Him for your victory and trust Him to be as good as His Word!

Prayer: Lord, we know that the victory must come from You and You alone.  Help us to persevere in the face of great odds and the bruisings of life that we may receive and participate in Your victory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 3/28/19 – Walking on Water

Image result for walking on water

DayBreaks for 3/28/19: Walking on Water

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

From WORLD Magazine, February 13, 1999: “Disneyland-style special effects are coming to the Holy Land. A private contractor will build a submerged bridge on the Sea of Galilee so pilgrims can walk on water. “It will not be too kitschy,” claimed Zeev Margalit of Israel’s National Parks Authority. This man-made miracle will arrive in Capernaum next August as part of Israel’s preparations for an anticipated 4 million visitors arriving for millennium celebrations. The crescent-shaped floating bridge will be 13 feet wide, 28 feet long, and hold up to 50 people at once. For full effect, it will sit two inches below the water – with no railings. Instead, when people fall off the bridge, boats and lifeguards will rush to save them.”

We’ve all wished we could walk on water. Maybe it was to get across a freezing-cold mountain stream without getting wet, or to avoid getting soaked in a rain puddle. Either way, it would be a great “trick”, wouldn’t it?

When I read this story about “walking on water” at the Sea of Galilee, it struck me that this is no different than what most of us do every day: we are constantly trying to elevate ourselves to “God” status. You see, only God can walk on water without help. Yet in his undertaking, Mr. Margalit is going to be creating the illusion that we can do what God does. Well, here’s a hot scoop right off the press: we can’t. It’s no different than the lie Satan told Eve in the garden: “You will be like God…”.

We want to appear holy – we can’t; we want to decide what is right and wrong – we can’t because it’s already been decided; we want to walk on water – but it’s not our calling. Or at least, not until August 1999. And even then, it will be artificial.

When we pretend to be God, we’ll fall and need to be rescued, just like those who will fall off this submerged bridge. When we try to play God, we get all wet!!!

Romans 12:3 says: “…I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment….”

We need to learn to be what we are and stop pretending to be who we aren’t. We aren’t divine. We cannot do the things that God can do. Whenever I get too big for my britches, I’m bound to fall into the water and need someone to rescue me.

Let’s let Him do the things only He can do – like saving us, forgiving us, judging, and walking on water! Let us stop fighting Him for supremacy in our life and let Him rule in our hearts as we humble ourselves before Him.

Prayer: Lord, we give You our worship as You alone are God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/27/19 – True Contentment

Image result for cow chewing cud

DayBreaks for 3/27/19: True Contentment

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Growing up on a farm put a lot of images in my mind. Some are pictures of hard work that never seemed to be done, but others were more peaceful and relaxing. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the privilege of watching a cow chew her cud, but I have. They just kind of lay down in the green grass (after having eaten a bellyful of the stuff), transfer some of the grass from one of their stomachs to their mouth, and contentedly lay there, looking around, chewing away without a care in the world. It is a picture of contentment.

You see, unlike us, cows are far too smart to worry about where their next meal will come from. They don’t worry about what they will wear to the next church social or how the payment on the farm is going to be made. They are content just being cows. They probably look at us people and wonder why we scurry about so busily.

1 Tim 6:6-8 says: But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

We believe that we will be content someday. We tend to think that it will happen when we get to heaven, and I’m sure we will be content there. But we can learn to be content now. It is a mindset that comes from understanding the realities of life and this world. We need to remember that we came into the world with nothing and that is exactly how we’ll leave. With nothing in our hands.

I like what Mother Theresa had to say about being content in the here and now: “Being happy with (God) now means: Loving as he loves, helping as he helps, giving as he gives, serving as he serves, rescuing as he rescues, being with him 24 hours, touching him in his distressing disguise.”  What is the distressing disguise she talks about? I think she means people – he “disguised” himself with the tent of flesh, and sometimes the people he created don’t appear very appealing, either. Yet, Christ was content to do the Father’s will. He spent his lifetime touching us (mankind) in our distressing appearance. It takes a mindset that is focused on eternal things to be able to do what Christ did. Why else would anyone do it? We must have our minds focused on eternal things – and people are eternal. What else have you ever touched on this earth that is eternal except for some other person?

Let us learn to be content, not just when heaven arrives, but now, by being like Him.

Prayer: Let us find our happiness in You and in being Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/26/19 – Being on the Right Side

Image result for being on the right side

DayBreaks for 3/26/19: Being on the Right Side

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Throughout history kings, emperors and generals have tried to inspire their troops with claims that “God is on our side”. The idea? Well, if God is on our side, we will win…God is on our side because we are in the right!

Well, I have some problems with that. I’m not so sure that God chooses sides to coincide with us and our squabbles. I like what Abraham Lincoln had to say in reply to a group of southerners who came to see in him Washington, DC: “My great concern is not whether God is on our side; my great concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

Sometimes we can be so sure that we’re right…that God just has to see things the way we do and agree with us, thus He’ll bring us to a happy conclusion. It is humility to recognize that we aren’t always right, but God is. How much greater it is to desire to be on God’s side than to have Him on ours!

What does it take? Knowing the heart and mind of God. We certainly won’t ever get that one down perfectly, so let’s be humble about it and admit it. Let’s not be pigheaded and stubborn unless we are positive we have the mind of God within us about a matter – and even then we may well be wrong!

Let’s work hard to be on God’s side!

Prayer: May we seek to never convince you to be on our side, but may we desire only to be on Your side, Father!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Help us take the long road so we may walk it with  you and revel in your creation and presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/25/19 – The Three Mile Per Hour God

Image result for speedometer

DayBreaks for 3/25/19: The Three Mile Per Hour God

We love shortcuts, don’t we? Why? Because they are faster and save us time so we can move on to the next thing on our To-Do list or calendar. But, perhaps like me, you’ve found that the shortcuts often aren’t shortcuts, but long-cuts that wind up spending you more time in the long run. There’s an old saying that was common in the high-tech company where I worked that went like this: “There’s never enough time to do it right the first time, but there’s always time to do it over.”

Something I’ve learned over the year is that anything that is of truly lasting worth takes time. It takes time so raise a family. It takes time to make a good marriage. It takes time to build a career of integrity and honor. It takes time to be sanctified and learn to live a Godly life.

So here’s what may seem a contradiction: it’s not only better to go longer but better to go slower, too. In the short film, Godspeed, there’s a pastor who at the beginning of the film says these words: I’ve been running for most of my life, running through life to get somewhere else. But the things about running is that you miss most things, and if I kept running, I was going to miss everything.

The film describes Jesus as the “three-mile-an-hour God” because he walked everywhere he went. You may drive on the freeway at 70 miles per hour, or ride a bike at 15 miles per hour, but when you walk (3 miles per hour) you really noticed things. You can stop and smell the roses (literally), appreciate the sound of the birds or a brook or the wind in the trees, take the time for a conversation with a stranger or friend. As life shows down, it gets brighter and more spectacular because you have time to appreciate the miracles you encounter.

Consider this passage from Jeremiah 6:16a: This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.

Can you, just for today, test out the “long and slow” theory in your pace of life? If you can’t today, how about tomorrow or on the weekend. Take an extra moment to speak with a neighbor. Instead of praying while you drive, stop for a few quite minutes. Instead of parking as close as you can and then running into the store, park at the back of the lot and take the time to look up, look around, look within. And when  you take the time to walk slowly on the long roads, I believe you’ll find Jesus walking with you. He never rushes!

PRAYER: Help us take the long road so we may walk it with  you and revel in your creation and presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/22/19 – Even the Darkness Dazzles

Image result for brilliant light in the darkness

DayBreaks for 3/22/19: Even the Darkness Dazzles

In order to be God made man and to lead our exodus from this world to the next, Jesus had to die like we do: alone, with no particular glory. Otherwise he would have been an anomaly instead of a messiah, and it would have been hard for us to see what he had in common with the rest of us.

As it was, he died very much like those who died on either side of him, one of them begging to be saved from what was coming, the other asking to be remembered when Jesus got where he was going. Jesus could not do anything for the one who wanted to be spared, but he did a great favor for the other. He told him that the darkness was a dazzling one, with paradise in it for both of them.

Perhaps it was the transfiguration that helped remind Jesus of this dazzling world beyond: when light burst through all his seams and showed those gathered what he was made of. It was as if he experienced a flash-back of his pre-incarnation glory. If we had been allowed to intrude on that moment, it would have been because someone thought we might need a dose of glory too, to get us through the night. Some people are lucky enough to witness it for themselves, although like Peter, James and John, very few of them will talk about it later.

What the rest of us have are stories like the transfiguration and the crucifixion, and the chance to decide for ourselves whether we will believe what they tell us. It is a lot to believe: that God’s lit-up life includes death, that there is no way around it but only through, that even the that death darkness can dazzle.

1 John 1:5 (CSBBible) – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him.

PRAYER: Thank you that there is no darkness in, or for, you and therefore the death darkness for your children dazzles with your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/21/19 – God Didn’t Make Mountaintops to Live There

Image result for mountain peaks

DayBreaks for 3/21/19: God Didn’t Make Mountaintops to Live There

God never meant us to live on the mountaintop. I wish the gospel story told you the next Biblical story after the Transfiguration. This next Biblical story is often left out after discussing the Transfiguration. I think maybe the next story is the key to really understanding the transfiguration story. The disciples and Jesus came off the mountain, and they came right down to the bottom of the valley. They came off the mountain and they came down into the valley and they found a boy who was having epileptic seizures. The mother and father were enormously upset and worried about the desperately sick boy, and the little boy fell into a fire and burned himself. In other words, the disciples came down off that mountaintop right into the problems of real life. Home from a mountaintop vacation and into the real world at home. And the disciples discovered that God is also down in the valley and does not live only or even primarily on the mountaintop.

I like the quotation by Henry Drummond, the Scottish theologian when he said, “God does not make the mountains in order to be inhabited. God does not make the mountaintops for us to live on the mountaintops. It is not God’s desire that we live on the mountaintops. We only ascend to the heights to catch a broader vision of the earthly surroundings below. But we don’t live there. We don’t tarry there. The streams begin in the uplands, but these streams descend quickly to gladden the valleys below.” The streams start in the mountaintops, but they come down to gladden the valleys below.

You and I experience the valleys of life. You and I both know what happens the next day coming down from the mountain. It is the real world and the real life. After Sundays of life, there are always Mondays. You know, the tough ones of life. God is with us there, just as much as on the mountaintop – maybe more, because we need him more in the valleys.

PRAYER: Thank you for mountaintops, Lord, but thank you for your presence in the valleys! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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