DayBreaks for 5/29/20 – Flight from Reality

90 Minutes a Day, Until 10 P.M.: China Sets Rules for Young Gamers ...

DayBreaks for 5/29/20: Flight from Reality

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – “Police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online, authorities said.  The couple fed their 3-month-old daughter once a day between marathon stretches in a local Internet cafe, where they were raising a virtual child in the fantasy role-playing game Prius Online, police told local reporters Friday.

Prius Online is a 3-D game in which players nurture an online companion, Anima, a young girl with mysterious powers who grows and increases her skills as the game progresses.

“Police have not identified the 41-year-old father and 25-year-old mother, who lived in Suwon, a suburb south of Seoul. But the father apologized, speaking to reporters.  “I wish that she hadn’t got sick and that she will live well in heaven forever. And as the father, I am sorry,” he said.  The baby reportedly died five months ago.

“South Korea has one of the world’s fastest broadband networks. Seoul has won international awards for e-governance.  Online gaming teams are sponsored by major conglomerates and 24-hour, high-speed Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, dot every urban neighborhood.  Police said the couple had lost their jobs and used the game as an escape from reality, especially after the birth of their premature baby.  “They instead played an online game in which they raised a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby,” Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, told Yonhap News Agency.

“South Korea remains a very conservative society so people who fall outside the norm can come under severe stress and pressure,” said Michael Breen, the Seoul-based author of “The Koreans.” 

“The Internet has provided such people with a paradise to escape to and simply get lost in.” – Andrew Salmon, CNN, 3/7/10 

This is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time.  Any time a child (or person) dies from needless starvation it makes me deeply disturbed.  And it happened because the parents were using a silly game “as an escape from reality.”  Instead of raising their real live offspring, they devoted their time and energy to the care and feeding of a virtual character.

We can easily be distracted into spending our energies and attention on foolish things – things which are not real, things which will never happen, imaginary and pretend things, while letting our life with God and our relationship with Him and those made in His image starve for the attention that they rightfully deserve.  There is no shortage of things which will call for our attention.  The enemy is an expert at distraction.  Don’t let your relationship with your Father die for lack of attention.  Don’t let your relationships with others die as you try to flee reality into a make-believe world.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:1-2

PRAYER: Father, keep our hearts and minds focused on You and on those You love.  Keep us from the deception of Satan.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/28/20 – The Flight to Imprisonment

Advocates Say Timing Is Right For Independent Oversight Of Texas ...

DayBreaks for 5/28/20: The Flight to Imprisonment

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

The Associated Press recently had a story about an incident in Cleveland, Ohio.  A man driving a car broke a traffic law and the police set off in pursuit to give him a ticket.  Instead of pulling over, the man did his best to escape (never a smart idea when the police are after you!)  After a chase through several communities that reaching speeds of over 90 miles per hour, he realized he wasn’t having success outrunning the police, so he decided to abandon his car and take his chances on foot.  He took off running, with officers again running after him.  The man found himself confronted with a large fence, which he scaled and came down on the other side, thinking that perhaps now he’d be safe from the pursuing officers.  Imagine his dismay when he looked around and realized that the fence he’d scaled was the outer fence of the state women’s prison!  He was arrested.

I love stories like this because I like a good laugh.  But most stories have a moral to them if we look, and this one contains a deeper spiritual truth if we take a few moments to think about it.  It is often the knowledge of our own wrongdoing that makes us prone to run and this is never more true than when we sense that someone is authority is about to find out about what we’ve done, whether it is police, the boss, the pastor, teachers, etc.  And so we take flight.  We think we can flee the thing we’ve done, that we can escape the consequences, but often times it is our efforts to gain freedom and escape that leads to the very imprisonment and loss of freedom that we try to find.  Our imprisonment may not be literal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true imprisonment.  It may be the prison of guilt, of consequences that must be suffered, of self-exile.

That is probably not the worst thing about the imprisonment, however.  For those who have a Christian understanding, the worst tragedy and greater sadness about our running is that the authority that is over us desires to forgive and restore – not to enslave us. 

If we are to run when pursued by God, let us run to Him, not from Him!

PRAYER: Father, we thank You for the Spirit that convicts us of our sin and which helps to keep us honest.  Remind us that it is Your desire to seek and save, not to judge and destroy.  May we have the presence of mind and Spirit that we will run to you and find forgiveness when we sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/27/20 – Putting the Blood on Trial

Nothing But The Blood Video | The Skit Guys

DayBreaks for 5/27/20: Putting the Blood on Trial

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

The following was sent to me by a DayBreaks reader.  I don’t know the author.  (Thanks, Kate, for sending this along to me!):

“One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart.   She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. 
“The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution.  But, the change in her was evident. As time went on she became a faithful member of the church.  She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children. 

“It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor’s son.   The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans.  This is when the problems began. 

“You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor’s son.  The church began to argue and fight about the matter…so they decided to have a meeting.  As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. 

“The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past.  As she began to cry the pastor’s son stood to speak.  He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. 

“He began to speak and his statement was this: “My fiancee’s past is not what is on trial here.  What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin.  Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial.  So, does it wash away sin or not?” 

“The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters. 

“Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot cleanse us completely.  If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of trouble.   What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!  End of case!!!!” 

PRAYER: Hallelujah, Lord Jesus!  Thank YOU for Your blood that never loses its power!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/26/20 – The Final Resting Place

DayBreaks for 5/25/20: The Final Resting Place

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

I’ve done too many funerals lately, plus two graveside services (why is it that every graveside service I’ve done in the past few years has always been on a rainy day when the skies themselves are weeping?)  What a wonderful day it will be when there are no more funerals – ever!  But until then, they are an important part of coming to terms with our loss and sadness, and for that reason they are necessary. 

As I was preparing for a recent graveside service I was looking at the common reading often heard at such ceremonies, and I thought about how many times I’ve heard someone say that So-and-So has now been carried to their final resting place.  We often say nice sounding things in an attempt to comfort the bereaved, but we should be careful about what we say.  As I contemplated it, I thought about how untrue it is to say such a thing.  For one thing, when the casket is lowered into the ground, the person being mourned is not there – they have gone on to the next life, the next world – for better or worse.

For believers it is for the better: the final resting place is not in an urn or in a burial vault in the ground.  It is in the arms of Jesus in heaven above!  THAT is the final resting place of those who have put their trust in him!  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. – Hebrews 4:3

For unbelievers, I wish the story were different than Scripture reveals it to be.  There is no resting place for those who are strangers to Jesus:  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. – Revelation 14:11

If we are to “enter into rest”, it is to be found only in Jesus.  Where are you headed?

PRAYER: We long to enter rest, Lord!  We are so weary and grateful that there is a rest that awaits us in glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/25/20 – The Baggage of Life

16 secrets only baggage handlers know | loveexploring.com

DayBreaks for 5/25/20: The Baggage of Life

Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. So they inquired again of the LORD, “Is there a man still to come?” and the LORD said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 1 Samuel 10:20-22

What a fascinating passage!  Saul has been chosen to be king over Israel.  Yet, when the time comes to receive his kingship, where is he?  Hiding “among the baggage.”  Hiding in the “stuff” that was around him!  It’s easy to hide in “stuff”, isn’t it?  It might be hiding in the noise of a busy place, hiding among our possessions, even hiding in a crowd at church so that we don’t have to stand up and be counted and take a step of faith.  Saul shrank from it, and I know I’ve pulled back many times when I needed to take a stronger stand. 

The baggage that burdens us can also be guilt, shame, anger, fear or any of a number of emotions.  They can become crippling at times.   And our baggage can keep us from becoming what God wants us to be and prevent us from doing what he wants us to do.

Jesus invited us to take off the burdens that bow our backs and to exchange them for his yoke – a light yoke.  Jesus hasn’t come to give you guilt, despair, shame or fear.  He came to take all those things – and many more – off your shoulders.  He bore all of them on His shoulders for you.  Will you lay them down at his cross and walk away without your baggage?             

PRAYER: Thank you for lifting our burdens off our backs, Lord, and for inviting us to be free from the things that would haunt us ceaselessly!  Once we lay our burdens down at your feet, give us enough faith that we can walk away and leave them behind us forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/22/20 – Lessons from a Time Capsule

MIT construction uncovers time capsule intended for 2957 A.D. ...

DayBreaks for 5/22/20: Lessons from a Time Capsule

At least once that I can recall, I was part of the burying of a time capsule.  In my 8th grade year, my fellow students and I were part of the first class at Antioch Junior High school – a new school in town.  I vaguely remember a ceremony where a time capsule was buried.  I don’t for the life of me recall what was in it, nor if we each wrote something that was included.  I don’t even know when it is to be opened – or if it has already been opened.  Nonetheless, as a person who finds history intriguing, I think time capsules are fascinating.  They present us with eyes into a time gone by that helps us better understand those times and those who lived in them. 

Kevin Kelly, from Wired magazine, has had the privilege of being around numerous time capsule openings, and he’s shared one very valuable lesson that we would do well to incorporate into our mindset: “Stuff we think is important will not be in the future, and stuff we don’t think is important now, will be.” 

Why is it that we can’t seem to learn what is really valuable until it is taken from us?  Why is it we think we are doing something good when we sacrifice our precious time with our spouses and children and grandchildren for the sake of having more to buy “stuff” or go out with some buddies often? 

If I should live another 25 years, I wonder what things I’ll be able to look back on and say, “That really wasn’t as important as I thought it was.  I didn’t need it and it didn’t even work for very long before it broke.” 

I am a sentimentalist.  I have papers my kids (the youngest of which is now 37!) colored in school, Father’s Day cards that they gave me, a cup that they gave me as a gift when they were all little (and I refuse to use it because I don’t want it to break!)  And you know what, I think those kind of things will be even far more valuable to me in another 25 years than they are today – and today I consider them priceless. 

Let us not get distracted by stuff that won’t be meaningful, that won’t even be important, in the future.  Let us focus on the things Jesus focused on and rejoice that we can follow in His footsteps. 

PRAYER: Jesus, I have to say that I often have pursued frivolous things that seemed not only important, but urgent, to me at the time, and that I’ve wasted much of my life and resources in the pursuit of such things.  Teach me what is really good, what is truly valuable and truly important, and enable me to live for such things.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/21/20 – Weakness and Strength

Should You Fix Weaknesses or Focus on Strengths? Here's How to ...

DayBreaks for 5/21/20: Weakness and Strength

A minister traveling on a train in Europe was the sole occupant of a compartment, save for a young man reading a newspaper. The youth was also a Christian, but so weak was his faith, and so many were his temptations, that he told the minister he did not think he would be able to stand life a week longer. The minister took from his pocket a Bible and a penknife and said, “See, I will make this penknife stand up on the cover of this Bible, in spite of the rocking of the train.” The young man, thinking that this was some conjuring trick, watched the proceeding with interest, saying, “I am afraid that it will not be very easy to do that, sir.” “But,” said the minister, “I am doing it.” “Oh, but you are holding it,” retorted his fellow passenger. “Why of course. Did you ever hear of a penknife standing up on its end without being held up?” “I see,” was the young man’s comment. “I see you mean to teach me that I cannot stand unless Christ holds me. Thank you for reminding me of that.”

In front of the great Cathedral of Amiens stands a statue of Jesus Christ, and on either side His twelve apostles. Below them are written their greatest virtues, in contrast to their greatest vices. In Peter’s case, his outstanding quality is his courage, but below it you see a figure of Peter fleeing from a leopard, representing his cowardice. Then beneath that you see the same figure sitting on a leopard and riding forth to conquest. The sculptor wished to teach us that by contact with the Lord Jesus Christ that very thing which is a man’s weakness can be transfigured into his strength; that very thing from which he fled can become the glorious chariot on which he rides forward, conquering and to conquer.

What weaknesses are in you that God wants to transform into a strength?  It is often the case that our areas of greatest giftedness can be our areas of greatest weakness and temptation.  For instance, the person who is blessed with the silver tongue can be more easily tempted to use their oratorical powers to influence people for either good or bad.  Hitler was a spell-binding orator and he used his gift to perpetrate one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind.  The person who is gifted with the ability to make money may become so addicted to more of the green stuff that they lose track of the importance of family, God and  generosity in their pursuit of a growing pile of cash.  The person who is gifted with artistic talent can use that talent for great good, or to influence many to follow the pathway to evil.  With the same tongue – Scripture tells us – we can both bless and curse God. 

Perhaps we should celebrate our weaknesses (for in our weaknesses He is shown to be strong) and be much more careful about our strengths, for those may well be the things that will lead us to ruin. 

PRAYER: Lord, we want to honor you with our obedience, but help us understand that we will never be good enough, wise enough, obedient enough, to be saved unless we are perfect like the Father is perfect.  Thank you, Jesus, for applying your perfect holiness to us through your blood! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/20/22 – Lessons Learned in Crucibles, #1

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DayBreaks for 5/20/20: Lessons Learned in Crucibles #1

Nearly all of us have had unplanned time for reflection during this COVID-19 lockdown. I suppose that like me, you’ve had many thoughts about it and that your thinking and emotions may have changed day by day – maybe hour by hour.

In my quiet time, I’ve been working my way through Ecclesiastes. It’s a strange, interesting and bewildering book. On the one hand, it’s doom and gloom, on the other it encourages us to enjoy our lot in life. In particular, yesterday I was reflecting on this: Ecclesiastes 6:1-7 (CSBBible) – Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a person riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place? All of a person’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied.

Pretty gloomy, eh? But think about it for a moment. As we sit in this COVID-19 world, we can learn something from this passage. It does seem strange and unfair that all we acquire or accomplish of a worldly nature in this life is stripped from us upon death, or even upon a strange turn of events in this life. A market downturn, a pandemic, a health issue – those things can strip us of our deluded security and even the option of enjoying the things we work for. All this tells me that if we find our purpose, meaning and enjoyment in things that can be so suddenly taken from us, aren’t we a bit on the crazy side?

I hope to spend more time during the lockdown – however long that may be – to readjust what gives me purpose, meaning and enjoyment and to refocus on that which can never be taken from me in this world or the next – Jesus.

PRAYER: Jesus, so much has been taken from so many during this pandemic and we long for a return of normalcy. I pray that we will use this time wisely to refocus on those things which nothing can ever take from us and find our greatest joy – the joy you designed us for – in drawing closer to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/19/20 – It Was/Is Good

Creation | Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation

DayBreaks for 5/19/20: It Was/Is Good

Genesis 1:31 (CSBBible) – God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.

Sometimes we may think that some of the things God made aren’t so good. To wit, rattlesnakes, spiders, reptiles, and from time to time we’re likely to think that some of the people God made aren’t all that hot. We may think gravity isn’t good if we fall and get hurt. But Genesis says that all that he made is good.

So the problem isn’t with what God made. It’s with how the things he made are used and what they do. God made us with hands that can be turned into fists to beat others or to hand food to someone who is hungry. He gave us mouths to sing his praise and bless him and others, but far too often we use our mouths to say hateful, bitter, petty things or hurt others. Our minds are amazing and can lead to create the Sistine Chapel,  Mozart’s symphonies, Michelangelo’s David, create cures for diseases and put people on the moon, or they can be used to create things like the Holocaust – unhuman and ungodly abominations.

You see, it’s what we do with God’s good things that create sin.

We should never blame God for evil, but ourselves. As GK Chesterton put it once when asked to answer a question in the newspaper, “What’s wrong with the world?”  His answer was two words? “I am.”

I can be part of the pollution or the solution. So can you. Choose you this day what you will do with God’s good creation!

PRAYER: Let us this day make the best possible use of all your glorious creation and realize that it is us, not you, that is the problem! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/18/20 – Time and the Lord’s Plan

Whose Plan is Better: GOD'S Plan or YOURS? —

DayBreaks for 5/18/20: Time and the Lord’s Plan

As earth-bound creatures we are also bound by time. We have watches and phones and computers and sirens and even the sun and moon mark the passing of time for us. We can’t get away from it. We often feel there isn’t either enough, or there’s too much of it. But have we really considered how it is the servant of the Most High?

We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the day of this writing, in our county alone in Illinois 5,904 persons have tested positive and 298 have taken their last breath. We are all anxious for time to pass and this to be over. We hope for a vaccine to put it behind us.

What does all this have to do with time and God’s plan? Consider this: imagine taking a 3 year old to the doctor and the doctor says it’s time for the child to have a vaccination. And just before the needle is inserted into the child’s arm, there is great weeping, fighting against the invasion of the needle into the tiny, flailing arm. The screaming is heartbreaking. Does the child than the doctor for that shot? No! Even the mother or father are heartbroken for what the child is going through.

But imagine, years or decades later, an outbreak of the disease sweeps across the face of the earth. People are sick and dying. But the one who was that young child does not get the dread disease because of those few moments of pain as a child. You see, the vaccine protected the child and it was only through the passing of the time that the child can appreciate what the parent and doctor did years before.

There are many things that happen to us that are painful. Like that young child we wonder why our Father put us through them, why he led us bear the pain in our lives. But know this: He never causes pain except to prevent greater pain for us. Only in hindsight can we see how these things may have saved us even greater pain and loss. Time has been the servant of the Lord in such cases.

The present pandemic, well, it is painful. But we are being taught lessons, lessons we may not even be aware of at the present. Yet there is a purpose – a far greater purpose that we cannot envision – and we have God’s promise that ALL His plans for us are for our good. Find comfort in that promise!

Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG) – I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

PRAYER: Lord, we are impatient and have such limited sight into the reasons for all that happens. May we trust you so much that we can endure with patience the present pain to know that there is purpose for all that happens to us. And give us the wisdom to wait for the understanding with faith in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>