DayBreaks for 11/15/18 – Talking to Caterpillars

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DayBreaks for 11/15/18: Talking to Caterpillars

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

There are plenty of days when I am deeply frustrated by my walk with God.  Why?  Because sometimes, at least in some areas of my life, I just don’t seem to be making any progress, or if I am, it’s negligible.  I can’t see it.  I believe that I should be “better” than I am by now.  And I know that I’m not alone.  As a minister, I hear that from many people.  They, too, get discouraged and from time to time are so deeply depressed about their lack of spiritual progress that they talk about giving up.

I recently ran across an illustration that really helped me in this regard.  Suppose for a moment that you found a caterpillar.  Not all caterpillars, by the way, are fuzzy and cute, so let’s just assume that this caterpillar has been crawling around on its belly, blind and slimy.  Perhaps, being a higher life form, you might take compassion on this poor caterpillar and begin speaking to it: “Hi, there.  I can see that you’re having troubles.  You know, I want to tell you something: you won’t always be a caterpillar.  You won’t always crawl on your belly in the dirt or be blind and slimy.  There will come a time when you will wrap yourself inside of a tight, snug cocoon.  You’ll be there for a while, but then you’ll pop out of the cocoon and you’ll be able to see.  You’ll be filled with beautiful colors and you’ll have wings attached to your back and you’ll dance on the air!  Won’t that be great!?”

The caterpillar, of course, probably can’t understand a word you’re saying. But if it could, do you think it would believe you?  It’s blind: it’s never been able to see a butterfly or to even imagine such a thing.  It would probably laugh out loud at your words of encouragement and think you were nuts.  But you know it is true, even if the caterpillar doesn’t.

Here’s the point: I’m like that caterpillar, slimy, crawling on my belly and blind.  I have lived that way more often than not.  And it feels as if it will never end.  But God has told me otherwise, and He’s told you otherwise, too, if you are a disciple.  Listen to these passages:

2 Cor. 3:18: And we…are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.

Phil. 3:20-21: Our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

1 John 3:2: Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him.

We ARE being transformed…Jesus WILL transform our lowly bodies…what we WILL BE has not yet been made know, but we know that…we SHALL BE like him. Like the caterpillar, for now we’re blind and can’t see it, but when we emerge from our cocoon, we will have eyes to see!

God has been telling us this for 2000 years or longer.  But we’re like the caterpillar who has trouble understanding what God is saying, and even greater trouble accepting it.  When I’m discouraged about my walk, I need to remind myself that I am like the caterpillar for the time being, but because Jesus has the “power that enables him to bring EVERYTHING under his control” that He will not fail to change me into his likeness so when I arrive at the throne of God, I “shall be like him.”  It’s almost too good to believe, isn’t it?  Who and what we will be is more than we can imagine!

PRAYER: Lord, this process seems so slow and I often fear that I will gum up the works and bring it all to a screeching halt.  Help me to remember that You are the one who turns caterpillars into beautiful butterflies, and that You’ve promised to do that for me, too.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 11/13/18 – Just Wildflowers on a Log

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DayBreaks for 11/13/18: Just Wildflowers on a Log

With the recent tragedies in California (shootings, fires that have destroyed literally thousands of homes, families that have lost everything and a growing count of the dead), there are many people struggling to find hope. It’s understandable. I am not sure how I would react if I were in their place, but this I know –  without hope it is hard to continue living.

A young boy grew up in the country with his parents. When he was 15, the house caught on fire. They escaped with only the clothes on their backs. There were no close neighbors to help so he and his father walked to a distant village to get supplies. As they returned they saw something that stayed with Ruele Howe all those years after. Beside the charred remains of what had been their house, his mother had laid out lunch on a log. She had placed a tin can filled with wildflowers on the log. It was a symbol of hope in the midst of tragedy.

This is the Christian faith, isn’t it? She didn’t try to cover up the disaster with flowers, but in the midst of that gloomy scene she had placed a symbol of hope.

Have you just come through a disaster? Or maybe you’re in the midst of one now. Look for tiny signs of hope to keep you going. And remember that there was no hope to be found nearly two thousand years ago as two grief-stricken women approached a tomb on a Sunday morning. But they found hope there and you can, too.

PRAYER: Thank you for the fact that as your children we are never without hope, even in the darkest of times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/12/18: Paying Too Much for Too Little

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DayBreaks for 11/12/18: Paying Too Much for Too Little

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/20/98:

From “The Necklace” by Guy Demaupassant: “A couple of moderate means was invited to a lavish company party. The wife, Mathilde, so wanted to impress the guests that she borrowed what she supposed to be a very expensive necklace. They had a great time, and she was proud of the necklace, but the evening was ruined when she arrived home and discovered the necklace had been lost without notice.

“In order to pay for the lost necklace, the couple moved into a cheap, run-down apartment, and both worked at whatever jobs were available. It took them 10 long years to repay the debt. Old and worn down, the wife saw her friend from who she had borrowed the necklace. Unrecognized, Mathilde told her friend the truth about what had happened. Great was her shock when her friend Jeannie told Mathilde the necklace was only cheap glass – an imitation, worth only a few dollars.”

Galen’s thoughts: There are sharply contrasting lessons for us here:

FIRST – the couple reminds me of humanity. I respect their integrity to replace the necklace. But they spent far too much for something that had little value. They shelled out 10 years of their life for an imitation of the real thing. But haven’t we all been there? Investing time in the wrong places and things – thinking that things had great value only to discover too late that they were cheap imitations? We pay a great price for things of no value, but are we truly willing to spend our entire life for the true pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45-46) – knowing God and being known by Him?

SECOND: before buying anything, we consider the price/value relationship – at least at some level. Is it well made? Will it last? Will it do what I want? How badly do I want it compared to what must I spend to get it? Consider for a moment the price God paid for humanity. If you are like me, you’re tempted to say, “He paid too much for too little” – we don’t do what He wants and we are prone to great failures. But God has a different perspective on it than we do. What loving father wouldn’t give his own life to save his child? God knows better than we how great the cost was – and we weren’t cheap.

Let’s make sure that what we are living (and dying) for is worth what we’re paying for it. And let’s also make sure that the life we’re living is worthy of His investment!

PRAYER: Help us recognize the genuine article and discern that which is fake and useless! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/9/18 – They Barely Make a Noise

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DayBreaks for 11/09/18: They Barely Make a Noise

In the NT is the story of the widow who gave her two mites…a mere pittance, but it was all she had. That story has remained an enduring image throughout the ages. We play favorites. We treat those who give more as if they are the pillars on which the church is erected.

But consider for a moment another image. Jesus, sitting opposite the place where the offerings were put, is observing the people as they make their donations as they enter the temple. He is not alone. Seated with him are the leaders-the Sadducees. It is startling to think of Jesus sitting with those whom he had scorned for their hypocrisy. Remember that as they watch there is no paper money so all of the offerings make a terrible clatter as they roll down this long, horn shaped object and fall into the pool of coins. And here comes this little widow with two small coins worth nothing and she drops them in. They barely make a noise. You can almost see the Temple leaders as they roll their eyes and hope for better results with the next person who walks in the door. Jesus then calls his Disciples over and says, “This poor widow has put more in to the treasury than all the others.” To the Sadducees this woman is a waste of time but to Jesus she is the stuff by which Kingdoms are erected. Thus, at its heart, the story of the widow’s mite is a strong reminder to the kingdoms of this world and a reminder to us that God’s ways and thoughts are nothing like ours.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to be more like this woman and have her kind of faith. Give me eyes to see as you do and value what you value. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/08/18 – The Stone Elephant

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DayBreaks for 11/08/18: The Stone Elephant

There is a story about a man who had a huge boulder in his front yard. He grew weary of this big, unattractive stone in the center of his lawn, so he decided to take advantage of it and turn it into an object of art. He went to work on it with hammer and chisel, and chipped away at the huge boulder until it became a beautiful stone elephant. When he finished, it was gorgeous, breath-taking.

A neighbor asked, “How did you ever carve such a marvelous likeness of an elephant?”

The man answered, “I just chipped away everything that didn’t look like an elephant!”

We have just come through another bitter election cycle in which everyone was slinging mud, patience was pushed to the breaking point, words were said that hurt and wounded. There is a lot of bitterness and anger in our country right now, no matter who your candidate was. It’s heartbreaking.

If you have anything in your life right now that doesn’t look like love, then, with the help of God, chip it away! If you have anything in your life that doesn’t look like compassion or mercy or empathy, then, with the help of God, chip it away! If you have hatred or prejudice or vengeance or envy in your heart, for God’s sake (literally!). for the other person’s sake, and for your sake, get rid of it! Let God chip everything out of your life that doesn’t look like tenderheartedness.

PRAYER: Create hearts in us that are so filled with love that we let go of grudges and the pain and frustration that we may feel – especially toward others with whom we disagree. Remind us that no matter the outcome of the election or anything else, you are still on the throne and in charge of it all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/07/18 – The Easy Road

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DayBreaks for 11/07/18: The Easy Road

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

A missionary society wrote to David Livingstone in Africa saying, “Some people would like to join you. What’s the easiest road to get to where you are?” Livingstone replied, “If they’re looking for the easiest road, tell them to stay in England. I want people who will come, even if there is no road at all!”

Isn’t it just like human nature to look for the easiest way to get somewhere? Seldom do we want to put in the hard work to blaze new trails. So we look for the easiest way. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that in some matters, but when you start talking about spiritual things, it gets really risky.

Satan specializes in “the easy way” – the path of least resistance. Think about this example: why did Jesus come to the earth? To save mankind and regain that which was lost for God’s cause, right? So how did Satan tempt Jesus in Luke 4:5-8? He offered Jesus the “easy way” to get what he wanted. After showing him all the kingdoms of the world, he offered them to Jesus if he would “…worship me, it will all be yours.” It would have been the easy way to get the “kingdoms of the world”, their “authority and splendor” – much easier than going to the cross and dying! But Jesus knew that even though it may be the easy way, it wasn’t the right way.

In the case of Dr. Livingstone, he understood the same thing that Jesus did: those who seek the easy way aren’t made out of very tough stuff. They have a tendency to quit when things get hard and the heat gets turned up in the kitchen.

God wants people who will come to Him no matter what the cost. He’s made the road available through Calvary. When there was no road in the past, he parted the Red Sea and His children walked through on dry ground.

Where is God sending you? The road may not be easy – in fact, you can bet that it probably won’t be easy. Maybe you can’t even see a road to get there. Don’t worry – He’ll make one just for you!

Whenever you are tempted to take the easy road – think twice and make sure you know where it will lead before you start walking!

PRAYER: Lord, give us the fortitude to choose your pathway no matter how difficult rather than taking the easy route to nowhere. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/06/18 – The Platinum Rule

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DayBreaks for 11/06/18: The Platinum Rule

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/15/98:

Marketing is a funny business. Great ideas come rarely, and even then, they must quickly be improved on or you risk losing market share. Remember when credit cards came out? Originally they were simply called VISA or MasterCard. But it wasn’t long and they became Silver VISA or Gold MasterCard. Now, gold isn’t good enough – it is Platinum VISA, etc.. What’ll be next – titanium? Unobtainium? I don’t know, but I do know that it’ll be something.

Do you remember the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We all heard that from our folks, didn’t we? And in fact, Jesus referred to the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12. It isn’t a new idea – it’s an old one, and in spite of all the things our parents told us about it, it really isn’t a good idea. Now you might be saying, “What! Who are you to tell me that my folks were wrong! I’ve even told my kids the golden rule!” That’s OK. Let me explain why I think it may not be such a good rule.

Who is the golden rule focused on? On what I want – how I want to be treated? Yes! The focus is on me and how I want to be dealt with, putting our own interests as the motivation for how we treat others. That’s kind of selfish, don’t you think?

As Vital Ministry magazine, September/October 1998 suggested, we need to move from the Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule. Jesus gave us this rule himself. Permit me to paraphrase the meaning behind Jesus’ words in John 13:34-35: Do unto one another as I have done unto you. Do you see the difference? “I” – my own desires on how I want to be treated – are entirely removed from the picture, and in it’s place comes the motivation of love and appreciation for what Christ has done for me that empowers me to treat others the way Christ treated me! Another way to put it: “Treat others as Christ has treated you.”

God certainly treats me better than I treat Him. He treats me far better than I treat my fellowman. And He wants me to treat others, to love others, the way that He has loved me. Not so I can be treated that way in return – but because He has already treated me that way!

Forget the Golden Rule. Let’s teach our kids (and ourselves) the Platinum Rule and then we can really get on with fulfilling the Great Commission and loving the world with God’s love!

PRAYER: Lord, fill us with love that is outward focused, not inward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>