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.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 1/16/19 – When the Wine Runs Out

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DayBreaks for 01/16/2019: When the Wine Runs Out

The world famous Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway was a person who went for it all. A newspaper reporter, ambulance driver during WWII, involved in the Spanish Civil War, friend to bullfighters as well as authors–he did it all. And, when he did it he did it to the fullest. In a manner of speaking he enjoyed the wine of life. But there came a day when the wine of joy ran out.

Carlos Baker records it in his biography of Hemingway in this way: Sunday morning dawned bright and cloudless. Ernest awoke early as always. He put on the red “Emperor’s robe” and padded softly down the padded stairway. The early sunlight lay in pools on the living room floor. He had noticed that the guns were locked up in the basement, but the keys, as he well knew, were on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. He tiptoed down the basement stairs and unlocked the storage room. It smelled as dank as a grave. He chose a double barreled shotgun with a tight choke. He had used it for years to shoot pigeon’s. He took some shells from one of the boxes in the storage room, closed and locked the door, and climbed the basement stairs. If he saw the bright day outside, it did not deter him. He crossed the living room to the front foyer, a shrine-like entryway five feet by seven feet, with oak-paneled walls and a floor of linoleum tile. He slipped in two shells, lowered the gun butt carefully to the floor, leaned forward, pressed the twin barrels against his forehead just about the eyebrows and tripped both triggers.

What are you going to do when the wine runs out? Hemingway turned to the easy way out, but it was the way out to what? He turned to a gun to deal with his pain. I would rather turn to Jesus and godly friends to help me through the pain. I hope you will, too.

Prayer: Father, in your children’s pain, let us feel your presence and love as never before and give us the wisdom and strength to run to your arms! Help us remember that the pain is only fleeting and that joy comes again in the eternal morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/14/19 – Maybe His Greatest Mercy

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DayBreaks for 01/14/2019: Maybe His Greatest Mercy

Mercy. It’s somewhat defined as not getting what you deserve, for example, when a judge is merciful from the bench instead of jailing a woman who stole a loaf of bread to feed her starving children. When thinking of mercy and the human condition, we are talking about God in his mercy not destroying us all because of our sin. That’s his mercy in action. So that is without a doubt his greatest mercy. But let’s take that mercy off the table for the purposes of our thinking for now. What would the next greatest mercy of God toward us be?

Every week at church there is a video of someone giving a testimony of their life. It is wonderful to hear the testimonies of what God has done in the lives of the men and women who share their stories. But this Sunday, the man who shared his story said something that really struck me so I wrote it down. He asked the question: “Could it be that His greatest mercy is that he never gives me what I think I want?”

What is it that I want? Do I want his rule in my life or self-rule? That answer is pretty obvious isn’t it? We rebel against his rule and each “go our own way.” We want what we want, whether that is money, fame, a new spouse, prestige, pleasure, escape or just fun times. And we demonstrate that with our sinful choices.

What if God gave us all that we think we want? What would the effect be on our homes and families? If God gave us endless pleasure because that’s what we’re pursuing, would we even bother to seek him out and to long for a better world in which people live?  Why would we every think to pray, “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”? Would we be so content that anything to do with heaven and righteousness would be wiped from our minds forever? And why would we even both to seek the purpose in our existence if everything I want is obtainable here? I don’t think I would.

And so God demonstrates his mercy to me by not giving me what I think I want. And I need him to change my heart to be happy and content with what He wants for me.

PRAYER: God, thank you for your mercy in not giving us what we think we want, or many times not giving us what we ask for! Change our hearts so that what you desire for us is our greatest desire. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/11/19 – The Radical Ordinary

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DayBreaks for 01/11/2019: The Radical Ordinary

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2009:

At the end of the gospel of John is a scene that has puzzled and troubled me.  Momentous events have transpired in Jerusalem, in the life of Christ, and certainly in the lives of the disciples.  Events so huge and significant that you’d expect they would have all been changed dramatically and for all time.  But where do we find the disciples?  They’re back in a boat on a familiar lake doing what they had done all their lives up until Christ invited them to “Follow me!”  They’re fishing.  This is what these men had done for a livelihood.  And they’re back at it – even after Jesus had told them he’d make them fishers of men – they went back to being fishers of fish. 

I have always assumed that this didn’t reflect well on the disciples.  Yet when Jesus meets them on the beach and makes breakfast for them, he doesn’t criticize them.  I assumed that the disciples did this because they didn’t know what to make of things – that they still weren’t sure about this Jesus, what it was He was trying to accomplish, and what their part in it was supposed to be.  And that may be the reality of the situation. 

Eugene Peterson, in Living the Resurrection, had a different thought on this interesting scenario.  Resurrection had always had something to do with life in the next world, the next life.  But the resurrection of Jesus somewhat broke that rule and that line of thinking.  His resurrection took place here in this world, on this planet, in this lifetime…and he was alive and out there walking around somewhere.  So, resurrection had to be taken out of the sphere of the future and made into a reality in the present.  Here’s what Peterson had to say: “This is a radical thing.  It is as radical for you and me as it was for them.  This might account – at least, this is what I think – for why the seven former fishermen were back fishing that night.  They were beginning to get the sense that Jesus’ resurrection had everything to do with their ordinary lives.  They needed practice in this reorientation, and they plunged into ordinariness – the old familiar workplace or sea and the fishing boat.”

I don’t know if Peterson is right nor not, but the point he makes is valid.  Scripture talks about how we have already been made alive in Christ – we died with him, we were raised with him.  Our soul has experienced the resurrection already – even if our bodies have not.  What difference does it make in how you will live your life today as you drive to the office or factory, the school, the gym?  How are you, and how can you, practice the resurrection of Jesus and experience it TODAY? 

PRAYER: Jesus, we struggle to grasp the reality of our new life in You.  You have said we are born again to a new and living hope, that we now live in you and that whoever believes in you will never die!  Let us live life’s moments in that reality that others may see your glory and our joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/08/19 – The Power of a Timid Prayer

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DayBreaks for 01/08/2019: The Power of a Timid Prayer

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09:

It was 1992 and Derek Redmond, a 26-year old Briton, was running in the race he was favored to win in the Barcelona Olympics: the 400 meters.  He’d already passed the early qualifying rounds and was running in the semi-finals.  About half-way through the race, he collapsed onto the track, with agonizing pain in his right leg.  His hamstring was torn – his Olympic dream was gone.

As the medical personnel drew near, he raised himself to his feet, and with agony on his face, began hopping toward the finish line, about 200 meters away.  He later said that it was “animal instinct” that made him do it.  His coaches came running to him, but he pushed them away…and kept hopping in a crazy attempt to cross the finish line. 

By the time he got to the stretch, a large man with a t-shirt that said, “Have you hugged your child today?” and a hat that advised, “Just Do It!” had pushed his way through the crowd and somehow managed to get down onto the track.   It was Jim Redmond, Derek’s dad. 

As the tears of pain and disappointment flowed down Derek’s face, his dad said to him, “You don’t have to do this.” 

“Yes, I do,” Derek responded. 

“Well, then, we’re going to finish this together.”  And so Jim wrapped Derek’s arm around his shoulder and helped him hop and hobble toward the finish line.  By that time, security reached the two, and as Derek buried his face in his dad’s shoulder, they stayed in Derek’s lane all the way across the finish line.  The crowd was on their feet, first cheering, then weeping openly as the father and son finished the race together. 

In analyzing this story, Max Lucado pointed out: “What made the father do it?  What made the father leave the stands to meet his son on the track?  Was it the strength of his child?  No, it was the pain of his child.  His son was hurt and fighting to complete the race.  So the father came to help him finish.

“God does the same.  Our prayers may be awkward.  Our attempts may be feeble.  But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.

In the Biblical story, the father who intercedes for his dying son simply says, “I believe.  Help my unbelief.”  In that instance, the disciples had failed to cast out the demons that plagued the son, and the father was now trying Jesus to see if he could help.  “IF you can help…” was even how the father put it.  Jesus diagnosed the situation and said that this kind of demon only comes out through prayer.  Notice: in the entire encounter, the only prayer offered was that of the doubting father: “I believe, help my unbelief.”  Jesus didn’t stop and pray.  Yet the demons left.  It was at best a very timid prayer, but an honest one of agony and desperation. 

Never underestimate the power of your prayers – even when you are uncertain.  The Father responds to the pain of his children!

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for joining us in the race of our life.  Thank you for hearing even our most doubting and timid prayers.  Thank you, Father, for responding to the pain of your children.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/02/19 – Commitment

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DayBreaks for 01/02/2019: Commitment

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

Commitment.  How committed are you? “Well,” you might say, “that depends on what you’re asking about.” Fair enough. How committed are you to your marriage? How committed are you to your children? How committed are you to your church and faithful, every-day and every-week service? How committed are you to your job and to being a light for Christ in the world? How committed are you to Jesus?

What is commitment? We think of it as “stick-to-itiveness”. Or we think of it in terms of dedication to a purpose or determination to reach a goal. Those aren’t bad, but there’s another aspect of commitment that really shows whether or not we are “committed”. It came in a devotion from Bob Gass Ministries. Here’s what he had to say: “If I could pick one word to describe commitment, I’d pick the word – alone. Daniel dined and prayed alone. Elijah sacrificed and witnessed alone. Jeremiah prophesied and wept alone. Paul said, “…all men forsook me…” (2 Tim. 4:16).

“The place of commitment is the place where God intervenes on your behalf. When the three Hebrew children of God made the commitment, God brought them out of the fiery furnace without even the smell of smoke. King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he said, ‘…there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.’ (Dan. 3:29) That’s what the world is waiting for, somebody who’ll put everything on the line, get into the fiery furnace and let the world see God’s power.”

Commitment….alone. Perhaps that is the true measure of our commitment, don’t you think? Am I willing to stand for God all alone? Am I willing to stand alone for my marriage? Am I willing to stand alone for God in a workplace that is overwhelmed with darkness and that is openly hostile to Christ? The Hebrew children had God, and each other. What if they’d been alone?

I see in this concept the power of fellowship, but also the demand for commitment even if we, like Daniel, have to stand alone. It’s easy to say we’re committed when we sit in a pew on Sunday morning, but the real test of our commitment comes outside the walls of the church building when we are alone in the world.

Let me ask again: How committed are you to your marriage? How committed are you to your children? How committed are you to your church and faithful, every-day and every-week service? How committed are you to your job and to being a light for Christ in the world? How committed are you to Jesus? What you do when you are alone will tell you the answer to these questions – and reveal the depth of your true commitment!

Prayer: Teach us the kind of commitment that you have shown to us, Lord, even as you endured the loneliness of this world, this life, and the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/01/2019: Live the Power

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Generators inside Hoover Dam. See the tiny human to the lower right. 

DayBreaks for 01/01/2019: Live the Power

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2008:

I am fascinated by power – not political or positional power, but energy. I’ve never been to Niagara Falls but only seen it from flying overhead. I’ve been told by those who’ve been there that the power of the water rushing over the falls is awesome. Hoover Dam houses 17 generators that are over 70 feet tall weighing over 2000 tons each. It takes about three years to assemble each generator. The moving part of each generator weighs over 800 tons and spins 3 times per second (180 times a minute!) Together, they generate over 2000 megawatts of energy (unless my math is wrong, that’s 2 billion watts). Pretty heady stuff. But it’s nothing compared to what’s being built just over the hill from us at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It’s call the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and will be by far the most powerful laser in the world. Actually, it will be composed of 192 lasers when completed. Get this: the NIF will be able to generate 500 TRILLION watts of energy, a figure that is 100 times the total US generating capacity as of today. But there’s a tiny catch…that level of power will only be sustainable for 4 billionths of a second.

Here’s a story about another kind of power: “Christian Herter was the governor of Massachusetts, running for a second term in office. After a busy morning kissing babies and chasing votes, he arrived at a church BBQ in his honor. Late in the afternoon, he was famished. Moving down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person. “Excuse me,” Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?” “Sorry,” the woman told him. “I’m supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person.” “But I’m starved,” the governor said. “Sorry,” the woman said again. “Only one per customer.” Governor Herter, a modest/unassuming man, decide that this time he’d throw his weight around a little. “Do you know who I am?” he said. “I’m the governor of this state.” “Do you know who I am?” the woman said. “I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”

This lady had power and authority because she knew who she was and what she was supposed to do. Have you ever thought about what the world would be like if we Christians ever really understood WHO and WHAT we are in Christ?! If we ever grasp the truth of our sonship/daughtership – look out world! In Titus 2:15 Paul encourages Titus to teach, encourage and rebuke with all authority and not to let anyone despise us. We need to be courageous and take a stand and refuse to be despised! Then, 2 Tim. 1:7 says God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love and self-control. Do you live like you believe that?

When Satan comes through life’s serving line and wants things from us – let’s agree to tell him to “move along, mister!” We don’t have to take (or give) anything to him! Live in the power of the Spirit in 2019!

PRAYER: Father, may we come to appreciate and realize who we are, and what we are becoming, in Christ!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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