DayBreaks for 3/15/17 – What We Grab, Grabs Us

DayBreaks for 3/15/17: What We Grab, Grabs Us

There is a story that is told about a mighty eagle that hovered over a lake and suddenly swooped down and caught a two-foot long fish in its talons. Slowly, the bird rose with its ten pound catch, but when it reached about 1,000 feet, it began to descend, until it splashed into the water. Later, both the bird and fish were found dead. Apparently the fish was too heavy for the eagle, but it could not let go, for its talons were embedded in the flesh of the fish.

There is a very real truth illustrated in this story – one that we are loathe to admit when we are in the throes of temptation. The truth is simply this: what we grab, grabs us.

It doesn’t matter what the cause may be, but when we are in a difficult situation, perhaps when we are overly tired, lonely, depressed, frustrated we often reach out for things that the hope will help us cope with the situation or at the very least take some of the pain away for a while. And so, some grab a bottle only to find themselves later on to be alcoholics. Others grab drugs in order to escape, thinking to themselves that “I can handle this”, but of course, they can’t. Any time we start a sentence with “I can…” we are bound to be in trouble because we forget that we can’t do anything good without the power of the Spirit. Still others reach out for companionship, for someone who will listen to their tale of woe and injustice about their spouse and how the spouse isn’t meeting their needs for closeness. They may find themselves in the arms of another person before long only to realize too late that those arms are pulling them down to a broken marriage, family, shame, guilt and a lifetime of pain worse than they could have imagined.

Nearly anyone observing the eagle in the story could have told the eagle that it shouldn’t try to carry such a big fish. But the eagle believed it could handle what it has grabbed. That untruth led to the eagle’s demise.

Sin, no matter the shape or form, no matter the “reason” behind the temptation, takes hold of us after we’ve dabbled in it and if left uncleansed will kill us.

Beware what you grab hold of today. It could kill you tomorrow!

We have a higher purpose, a higher calling as His children: 1 Peter 2:9 (MSG)
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you…

If we are going to grab on to something, let us grab on to this: 1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV) – Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

PRAYER: Lord, our grasping is often brought about by a desperate condition in our life and so we grab for those things that we believe may help us stay sane and survive. Give us the wisdom to be careful about what we grab hold of and what we need to run away from. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/09/17 – Small Service, Great Consecration

DayBreaks for 1/09/17: Small Service, Great Consecration

Matthew 10:29 (NLT) – What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.

Some years ago, a Scottish minister told his congregation about dreaming he had died. When he came to the pearly gates, to his dismay, he would be denied entrance until he presented his credentials. Proudly the Pastor articulated the number of sermons preached and the prominent pulpits occupied. But Saint Peter said no one had heard them in heaven. The discouraged servant enumerated his community involvement. He was told they were not recorded. Sorrowfully, the pastor turned to leave, when Peter said, “Stay a moment, and tell me, are you the man who fed the sparrows?”

“Yes,” the Scotsman replied, “but what does that have to do with it?”

“Come in,” said Saint Peter, “the Master of the sparrows wants to thank you.”

Here is the pertinent, though often overlooked, point: great and prominent positions indicate skill and capacity, but small services suggest the depth of one’s consecration.

We know that the things we do have nothing to do with our salvation or admittance to heaven, but the point here is simply that the smallest of kindnesses, often done if invisible ways, say more about who we are and what we believe than the more “noisy” and visible things we may do. And not one of them is unnoticed in heaven…not even something as seemingly simple as feeding sparrows. If God notices when one of them dies, surely he cares about those who care for them. It matters.

Keep serving, and trusting that He sees – and that your service makes a difference.

PRAYER: May our days be filled with loving kindness, Lord, to our fellow man and to all that you have created and given the breath of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/11/16 – The Mortal Enemy Within

DayBreaks for 11/11/16: The Mortal Enemy Within

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2006: (Galen is traveling again)

Just this past week, once again we heard of the leader of an evangelical group being accused of secret sin.  I don’t know at the time of this writing if the allegations will prove to be true or false, God knows and only time will tell the truth of the matter.  Regardless, it is sad and tragic.  I hope and pray that it is false and will be shown conclusively to be false.  But it reminded me again of the danger of secret sin in our lives. 

Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about.  We all have them.  Some may just be things we think in our heads, but others may be acted out under the cover of darkness, or with great guile so as to not be seen and caught in our sin.  We are a deceptive lot when it comes to sin. 

I’ve read that there is an insect that physically, to all appearances, is very much like a bumble bee, but which is actually a terrible enemy to the same bee.  But because it looks so much like the bumble bee, when it shows up at the hive, it will sometimes be admitted into the bees’ nest, and there it will lay its own eggs.  When the eggs finally hatch, the larva of the interloper devour the larva that come from the bees’ own eggs.  So, while it shows up looking and pretending to be a bee, it turns out to be a consuming enemy. 

It’s the same way with the sin (secret or otherwise) that we harbor in our hearts – it eats away at the vital elements of our spiritual lives and if left unresolved and unremoved, destroys our ability to grow and be useful to the Master and others.  What makes it so insidious is that it comes masked in the guise of a friend and helper.

What are the secret sins that you’ve managed to keep hidden from prying eyes?  What intruders (lies of Satan) have you let infiltrate your heart?  Here’s how to know: look at what culture wants you to believe and compare that to what the Word teaches.  We fall for the Destroyer’s lies all of the time!

The warning from Numbers 32:23 is especially necessary for us: “…and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”  If that’s not good enough for you, listen to Jesus’ own words on the matter: Luke 12:2 (NLT) – The time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public.  If that doesn’t make you stop and think twice about your secret sin, you (and I) need to read it again.  May we all resolve that by the Spirit of the Lord, we will turn aside from our secret sin as we confess it and repent.

Psalms 90:8 (NIV) – You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Numbers 32:23 (NLT) – But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

PRAYER: Lord, you have searched our hearts and you know us and you know every secret sin and thought we have.  Lord, we don’t want our secret sins to be found out, we don’t want them to be brought into the light of day to bring shame to you.  Help us to truly and deeply repent and turn from our secret sins.  May our lives be holy sacrifices to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 9/28/16 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #37

DayBreaks for 9/28/16 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #37           

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Lesson: let the Master scratch your itch.

You’ve heard of obsessive/compulsive disorder, I’m sure.  We call it OCD – the type of behavior that just can’t “let go” of something.  Well, I’m not a dog psychologist, but I think Casper may have OCD.

There are two things he does that make me think this.  First, any time he sees a reflection (from the face of a watch, or off a computer screen or any shiny object), laser pointer or even a flashlight (lit or not!), he is obsessed with it!  He “locks on” to it with every ounce of energy and attention in his taut body and he won’t stop chasing it until it goes away fully.  Even then he looks for it for several more minutes.  It’s bizarre.

But there’s another thing that he’s obsessive about: he LOVES to have his belly scratched.  It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night or something in-between, he wants you to scratch his belly!  He lets you know about it, too, because he’ll come over to where you are sitting or laying or standing, and he’ll raise up one of his paws and “paw” your arm until you get the idea.  So, you scratch his belly until you think your arm will fall off, your fingers have gone into permanent cramp-mode, and you stop.  But what does he think of this?  He doesn’t care if your arm does fall off – he’ll start pawing you again until you start rubbing his tummy again!  He has no shame.

I couldn’t help but think that God wants us to desire His contact as badly as Casper wants mine.  And I should want that touch from Him as desperately as Casper wants my touch.  How good and pleasant it is to lie down in green pastures, to drink the cool waters, to enjoy the table full of blessings that the Lord’s presence provides!  Can there be anything better than that?

Sometimes we just need to slow down and let God scratch our belly so we are filled with delight.  And as Scripture says, His arm never loses strength or grows weary! 

PRAYER:  Thank you, Father, for the ways you bless and comfort us each day.  May we be obsessed with Your Presence and may we take time to revel in Your touch.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 9/23/16 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #36

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DayBreaks for 9/23/16 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #36      

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2006:

Lesson: never pretend to be something you’re not.

Casper is my white boxer.  He’s eagerly awaiting his second birthday (in December), hoping that he’ll get a new chew toy of some kind.  He has rather figured out that I have a soft spot the size of Alaska in my heart for him, so when he gives me hints about what he wants for birthdays or Christmas, he’s got a good idea that he’ll get them!

He is still full of puppy.  A rather large and rambunctious puppy at that.  There are times when we (especially my wife!) wonder if he’ll ever grow up.

There are times when he tries to act like a docile, innocent creature, but his eyes and tail always wind up giving him away.  He may be able to act like there’s no mischief in his body for a while, but his eyes give him away quickly, the tail starts to move from side to side, and the real Casper comes out to play once again.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be for him to “sit” or lay down and control his energy.  It looks like a Herculean effort!

God looks at us and sees us as we are, not as we are pretending to be before Him.  Just as Casper knows there are times when I wish he’d just lay down and be quiet, I know there are times God wants me to just follow Him and behave myself.  So, I’ll sometimes pretend to be paying attention to Him (because I know He wants me to!), when deep inside I’m really struggling to restrain myself.  I sometimes wonder who it is that I’m really trying to fool: God, others, or myself.  I wind up, ultimately, not fooling any of them, for my old sin nature sneaks back out and rather than resting in God, I’m jumping and leaping all over creation, getting in trouble again.

When Casper breaks out of his innocent-little-puppy mode, it can be disastrous both for him and anyone in close proximity.  The same is true of us as humans.  We are dangerous and the havoc we wreak can be very hurtful, even deadly.  While the stingray that took the life of Steve Irwin looked docile, it wasn’t harmless, and it cost Irwin his life. 

May we all beware of things that are not what they seem, and of hypocrisy in our own lives.

PRAYER:  Jesus, you know better than anyone the danger of people putting on a show and pretending to be something that they aren’t.  The religious leaders of your day were experts at it, but sadly, so are many of us.  Help us to set aside our attempts to appear holy and righteous so that we might truly BE holy and righteous.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/8/16 – Boldly Presumptuous

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DayBreaks for 6/08/16 – Boldly Presumptuous

From our worship bulletin this past Sunday:

“My dog is boldly presumptuous. She presumes that everyone who comes to our home is there to see her. Whether you’re a friend, solicitor or a delivery or repair person, if you come to our house and ring the doorbell, she’ll run to greet you with yelps and howls, and when we open the door, she’ll rush out and jump up on you. If you visit often, she gets even more excited. She may even bring a toy in her mouth because she’ll assume you want to play with her. Once you’re safely inside and things have calmed down a bit, she’ll sit at your feet expectantly looking up at you, waiting for you to pet or scratch her. If you don’t get the hint, she’ll start nudging your arm with her nose or even scratching at you with her paws in an effort to remind you of the real reason you came to our house in the first place, to see her! If you sit on our den sofa, she’ll jump up next to you. She’s truly bold and presumptuous!

“If you look up “presumptuous” or its root word “presume” in the dictionary, you’ll find definitions like, “expect or assume especially with confidence”; “suppose to be true without proof”; “go beyond what is right or proper”; “over-stepping the due bounds”; or “taking liberties”. You’ll find synonyms like audacity, brashness, chutzpah, immodesty, gall, nerviness, overfamiliarity and temerity, and you’ll find an example sentence like this one: “It’s a little presumptuous of you to assume I’m your new best friend just because I invited you along.”

“The apostle John was boldly presumptuous. He called himself, “the disciple Jesus loved” six times in his own gospel account. John only says that about himself, not about any of the rest of the twelve. He’s boldly proclaiming that he’s “Jesus’ BFF” (best friend forever), his favorite disciple.  That’s a pretty presumptuous statement on  his part since nowhere in scripture do we have a record of Jesus saying that to John. In fact, the Pharisees correctly said of Jesus, “You are impartial and don’t play favorites” (Mt. 22:16).  Just because Jesus spent some extra time alone with Peter, James and John and gave them some special attention, John presumed he was Jesus’ favorite.

“I once read a story about a toddler who was boldly presumptuous. One day, he was walking with his mother through the White House. Suddenly, he broke away from her as toddlers often do, and he ran as fast as his little legs would carry him right past the Secret Service agents and into the Oval Office where he interrupted an important meeting. He then proceeded to run right over and jump up on the President’s lap! The little boy just presumed he’d be welcomed by one of the most important people in the world. He was confident of that because he was the President’s son, John (John-John) Kennedy, Jr.

“The Bible says we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).  Just like little John-John, we can rush into the throne room of the most important One in the universe; we can interrupt Him and ask for whatever we need, and we can do this because we’re His children. You are one of God’s favorites because of what Jesus did on your behalf. As His children, we can be confident He loves us and wants to help us, protect us, and do what’s best for us.”

PRAYER: Thak You, King of the universe, for boldly welcoming us with open arms to Your throne room!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/31/16 – God, Horses and Friends

DayBreaks for 5/31/16 – God, Horses and Friends

From the DayBreaks Archive, May 2016:

Deuteronomy 5:27 (NIV) – Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.

A friend sent this to me a while back and I thought it was worth sharing:

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if one stops the car, or is walking by, one will notice something quite amazing.
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
Listening, one will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, one will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her bridle is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.
As one stands and watches these two friends, one sees how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.
Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by God and those whom he places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to see God.
Good friends are like stars…..you don’t always see them, but you know they are always there. – Author Unknown

PRAYER:  Jesus, there are times when we really need to hear your voice more than anything in all the world, and there are times when you want us to help others.  Give us the wisdom and strength to do both at every opportunity.  Thank you for the way you always lead us so gently.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.