DayBreaks for 7/31/19 – How Much More

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DayBreaks for 07/31/19: How Much More

Matthew 7:11 (ESV) – If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

In context, this lesson deals with a neighbor who comes banging on the door in the middle of the night asking for food. Jesus moves on to show us the heart of an earthly father by saying that no father would give a serpent or stone instead of bread or a fish to his child and then he draws the contrast with three key words: How much more…to introduce us to the heart of the heavenly Father.

Is Jesus saying that we will always have a belly full of food in this passage? I think not. We automatically equate the “good gifts” here to the food that was mentioned in the verses preceding verse 11. And while food is a good gift, I think Jesus had something far greater in mind.

Think about your prayers and how much of them is consumed with asking for food, shelter, protection, health and other things related to our life here on this planet. I know that far too much of my prayers are concerned with such things.

So, what are the good things, the greater things, we should be asking for with even greater urgency?

How about: forgiveness, mercy, grace, greater love, justice, freeing of the Spirit to empower our lives, salvation for our families and friends. Things with eternal weightiness.

It’s not that Jesus thinks we don’t need food and clothing. The same phrase, “How much more…” is used in the Sermon on the Mount to describe how God provides for the lilies of the field and birds of the air then says if God does that for such things, won’t He much more provide them for us?

We often ask for the comparatively minor things when we should be majoring in the greater with our prayer requests. He wants so much more for us – the greater things – and he will certainly give them if we but ask.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us focus on the greater things. Thank you for your great faithfulness and generosity in all things great and small! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/30/19 – Vanished From Sight

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DayBreaks for 07/30/19: Vanished from Sight

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

A recent story from the Associated Press told a fascinating story about hoarding which holds Christian implications.  “Jesus warned against piling up money on earth, because money comes and goes. A sad reminder of the vulnerability of money came with the June 2009 news story of an elderly woman in Israel who had hidden her life savings of one million dollars in her bed mattress. Every night she slept on one million in American dollars and Israeli shekels. She must have felt very secure with her fortune literally inches away, holding her up each night—especially since 2008 and 2009 had been disastrous years for banks and financial institutions as the world economy suffered its worst recession in decades. What’s more, she had had a bad experience with a bank and had lost trust in them. Whom could she trust? No one! In fact, she did not tell even her own daughter where all that fortune was hidden.”

And that was the wealthy woman’s big mistake. One day her daughter decided that the mother needed a new mattress. Who knows, maybe she sat on the bed, and it felt a bit lumpy—one of those ten thousand dollar lumps perhaps—and she thought, “What a cheap bed this is!” She decided to replace the mattress. She wanted to present the new mattress as a surprise gift, so the new mattress was delivered without her mother’s knowledge, and the old, lumpy mattress went into the garbage.

How pleased the daughter must have felt as she watched the delivery men put the new mattress in place and haul the old mattress out to the truck. Imagine the smile on her face when she brought her mother into the bedroom and presented her surprise gift. Somehow her elderly mother did not put two and two together right away. After a night of sleep on her new mattress, however, she woke up and suddenly realized what had happened to her life savings. She literally screamed.

A video news report of this story showed the daughter walking through a garbage dump hunting for the lost mattress. News reports showed workers combing through the trash as bulldozers moved piles of garbage attempting to uncover the lost treasure.

Truly there is no sure way to safeguard our worldly treasures – and they will all be taken from us at one point or another by life or death. 

PRAYER: Help us to truly believe that the only things in life that are worth pursuing are the eternal ones.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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

DayBreaks for 7/29/19 – Just Try to Imagine It

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DayBreaks for 07/29/19: Just Try to Imagine It

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

A 2009 movie, New in Town, tells the story of Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), a high-powered consultant who loves her Miami lifestyle, who is sent to New Ulm, Minnesota, to oversee a restructuring at a blue-collar manufacturing facility.  Eventually, she’s ordered to shut down the plant, putting the entire community out of work.  At that point, Lucy is forced to reconsider her goals and priorities.  When she arrived in New Ulm, a small, freezing city with one red light and a population of 13,595—a city where people “drag Jesus into regular conversation”—Lucy is met by her new executive assistant, Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon, who is a real-life Christian).  In this scene Blanche asks Lucy one personal question after another, culminating in a question concerning Jesus.

“Are you a scrapper?” Blanche asks. When Lucy is confused, Blanche clarified: “Do you keep a scrapbook?”

It is soon clear that Blanche is quite the scrap booker. She actually has a “mini” scrapbook in her purse, filled with pictures of Winston Churchill—her now-dead dog who was a “bit of a drooler.”

“Are you married?” Blanche asks. “Do you have children?”

“No,” Lucy answers, though visibly uncomfortable because of Blanche’s line of questioning.

“Not to worry,” Blanche insists. “You’re still young. You still have time—I suppose.” After a brief pause, Blanche continues: “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

Lucy, eyes bulging, replies, “Isn’t that what you’ve been doing?”

Unfazed, Blanche tenderly asks, “Have you found Jesus?”

“Well, I didn’t know he was missing,” Lucy replies with a laugh.

Blanche drops her head. Noticing she has hurt Blanche with her response, Lucy says, “It was just a joke.”

“Normally we don’t joke about Jesus around here,” Blanche replies. “But I can see how you could think that was sort of funny.” Then, with a look of concern, Blanche ponders out loud, “Imagine Jesus gone missing. Imagine.” – New in Town (Lionsgate Pictures, 2009)

Have you ever tried to imagine if Jesus had gone AWOL?  If, on the way from heaven to earth he’d decided to take a detour to somewhere else in order to avoid his mission?  Or, if on his way to Jerusalem for that last fateful visit, he’d headed north and disappeared into Gaul instead?  Or, if his body had gone missing and there were no after-death appearances to prove the resurrection?  Not a pretty picture, is it?

Has Jesus gone missing from your life and conversation with co-workers, family, friends, neighbors?  If so, bring him back today!

PRAYER:  What a wonderful Savior You are, Jesus!  Thank You for being part of our lives.  May we invite You into every relationship and conversation we have!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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

DayBreaks for 7/26/19 – The Great Contagion

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DayBreaks for 07/26/19: The Great Contagion

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

The Black Death plague ravaged Europe between 1348 and 1351.  It is believed to have traveled to Europe via rats aboard ships that came from Asia.  In three short years, 30-60% of Europe’s population died from the plague.  It is estimated that the plague killed nearly a quarter of all persons in the world died during that time (~100 million deaths).  The bubonic plague had a mortality rate of thirty to seventy-five percent and symptoms including fever of 101–105°, headaches, painful aching joints, nausea and vomiting, and a general feeling of malaise.  Of those who contracted the bubonic plague form of the disease, 4 out of 5 died within eight days.

The world hasn’t seen a plague like that since.  Let’s pray it never does.  But we do have avian flu, swine flu, regular old flu, and other diseases that could be equally deadly if they were not contained…and if not for modern interventions. 

These and other contagions are serious business and can spread rapidly.  But Scripture has something today about contagion of the spiritual kind that we should think seriously about.  Consider Deuteronomy 29:22-27 (NIV): Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it. The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur–nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger.  All the nations will ask: “Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?” And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book.

Lest we think all of the above came about because of massive sin, all we have to do is go back a couple of verses to verses 19-20 to see the cause: When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.” This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.”  Do you get it?  It starts with “such a person”, a single individual, who persists in going his own way.  And what is his own way?  Following his own wisdom and desires and wants rather than God’s.  In short, sin.  But did you catch the consequence?  “This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.”  The contagion spread from one man determined to do his will instead of God’s, and it spreads to other people like a contagion…but even one person, it appears, is enough that the contagion will even affect the dirt and soil.  In The Gospel According to Moses, Athol Dickson put it in these words: “The corruption beginning as a hidden thought in one man’s mind is so contagious it ends with a curse not just on humanity but even upon the soil and plants!  Suddenly it seems the Torah is treating sin not as a mere choice, but as a disease, a highly contagious, full-blown plague upon the earth.”

He continues: “I am reminded of the Torah’s teaching that simply touching holy things such as Mt. Sinai, the tabernacle altar, or the offerings presented at the tabernacle altar could cause a person to become holy.  The Torah says physical contact with a specific piece of real estate, a portable piece of furniture, or a slaughtered animal could make a person holy under the right circumstances.  There is no stronger argument for the contagious nature of spiritual conditions.  Unfortunately, I believe the Torah also strongly implies that this spiritual contagion flows both ways.  For example: Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening. (Num. 19:22) 

Not one of us would voluntarily touch Yersinia pestis (the infectious agent of bubonic plague).  Yet daily, we touch and handle sin, playing with it as if it were a toy rather than a destructive contagion that brings plague everywhere.  If only we had eyes to see how deadly it is…

PRAYER: Jesus, we need to have a deeper understanding of the deadly contagion that is the sin in our lives.  Help us understand its effect not just on ourselves, but on others that we love, and upon You as seen through the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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

DayBreaks for 7/25/19 – The View from the Far Country

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DayBreaks for 07/25/19: The View from a Far Country

For nearly six decades I have lived far away from the land where I was born: Iowa. Most of my sojourn has been spent in California which is very, very different from the plains of the mid-west. Recently, however, we have moved to Illinois and were in Iowa for a few days and it made me think about the far country and home.

No matter how long one has been gone, there’s always something endearing about returning “home”. My parents are no longer there, nor any of my aunts and uncles. Some of my cousins remain, but they have scattered, too. Still, it was sweet for me to be “home” again for a while.

Several thoughts:

FIRST: there is a built-in peacefulness for most of us about “home”. It is where we can relax, be ourselves. It is familiar. The far distant country, while it may have its appeals, isn’t the same. We often pretend to be something or someone we aren’t to impress in the far country. At home we know and are known intimately – and loved and accepted.

SECOND: for most, home holds precious memories. My mind is full of images of growing up on the farm and the carefree years of early childhood spent there. I long for that kind of peace and delight once more. Some day I shall have it.

THIRD: we are all in a far country whether we know it or not. And we are all on a journey “home”. The longer we have been gone from home, the sweeter the sound of “Welcome home!” becomes. I will see the face of my Father and my father, mother and a sister I never met, as well as other relatives and beloved friends.

FOURTH: as long as I am in the far country, my Father still expects me to act like His child. I may-and do-fail often, but even more than my earthly father still loved me when I let him down, so much more does my heavenly Father, and His welcome will be the sweetest of them all.

PRAYER: Thank you for our homes, both in this world and the world to come. Help me act like your child no matter when I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

DayBreaks for 7/24/19 – What Martha Needed to Learn

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DayBreaks for 07/24/19: What Martha Needed to Learn

Luke 10:38-42 (CSBBible) – While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Poor Martha. She was doing what she could to serve her honored guest. She was working hard to serve him. But she missed the point, much like me.

What was the one thing that was necessary? In the final analysis it wasn’t serving Jesus. It was letting Jesus serve her needs. It is why Jesus said he came (Mt. 10:45).

It is easy to understand Martha’s position. Who wouldn’t want to serve God if he showed up at your doorstep? The point is that Jesus came there not to be served, but to serve them.

A teacher serves by teaching his students. Jesus was serving by teaching – and Mary understood that was what she needed, in fact, it is what we all need.

Are you so busy serving Jesus that you’re not letting him serve you through his Spirit, his Word, his family and worship? Let’s take a lesson from Martha and let Jesus serve us.

PRAYER: Forgive our frantic rushings-about and let us receive the fulness of what you came to give to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/23/19 – In Green Pastures

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DayBreaks for 07/23/19: In Green Pastures

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

Psalm 23:2 – He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Such a simple statement.  So hard to do.  And there is much behind this simple statement from the quill of King David, who knew exactly what he was saying because of his own shepherding experiences.

In the area where David lived and tended sheep, green pastures don’t just appear normally or naturally.  It is a hot, dry, desert area.  The only way that green pastures exist in such a place is because the shepherd has labored to create a green pasture.  The shepherd would tear out the rocks that might harm the sheep, he would clear away the brush and burn it.  He would dig deep into the earth to create a well and would use the water to irrigate the plot of ground where he planted grass seed.  Finally, when a pasture had been created, he would bring the sheep there to find rest. 

Here’s what David could have said, “He makes me to lie down in His finished work.”  In Christ, that takes on an entirely new meaning.  He is the Great Shepherd who leads all of God’s flock into His finished work.  It is a special place where we find rest from our sin, guilt, shame, fear.  It is made possible only by His completed work on the cross.

Are you finding your rest in the finished work of the Shepherd, or are you still struggling to do the work yourself?

PRAYER: We can never repay You, our Shepherd, for all that You have done for us!  May we rest completely in what Jesus has accomplished and provided for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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