DayBreaks for 6/24/20 – God of the Broken Hearted

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DayBreaks for 6/24/20: God of the Brokenhearted

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Worship songwriter Brian Doerksen’s son, Isaiah, suffers from fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition which results in physical, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral limitations. In his book Make Love, Make War, Brian reflects on the day he and his wife first received medical confirmation of Isaiah’s condition. In the midst of his heartache, as Brian considered turning away from worship ministry altogether, God taught Brian a lesson that instead carried him further into his ministry:

“[After receiving the test results], I stumbled around our property weeping, confused, heartbroken. At one point I lifted my voice to heaven and handed in my resignation: “God, I am through being a worship leader and songwriter …” 

‘When I was able to be quiet enough to hear, I sensed God holding out his hand and inviting me: “Will you trust me? Will you go even with your broken heart—for who will relate to my people who are heartbroken if not those like you who are acquainted with disappointment?”

Reflecting further on this word from God, Brian wrote: “I used think people were most blessed by our great victories. But now I know differently: People are just longing to hear [others] speak of how they have walked through the deepest valleys. The world lifts up the victorious and the successful, but God lifts up the brokenhearted.”

There are plenty of broken hearts in the world.  Hearts are breaking every second and they can remain broken for years.  Doctors may be able to heal hearts that have suffered cardiac arrest or cardiac arteries that are clogged, but they can’t fix a broken heart.  Broken hearts remain the purview of God and God alone. 

When our hearts are breaking, we tend to do a variety of things to try to regain some sense of equilibrium, but we may struggle to turn to an invisible God to heal our broken heart.  Don’t hesitate.  He is not called the Great Physician for no reason!

PRAYER: All around us, Lord, are those with broken hearts, and we suffer from them, too.  For all those who are in pain this day, we ask You to heal their hearts!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/19/20 – To DO or to BE – That is the Question

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DayBreaks for 6/19/20: To Do or To Be – That is the Question

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

“To be, or not to be, that is the question” is a phrase spoken by Prince Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. Hamlet is contemplating life, death and suicide, overwhelmed by life’s pain while also wondering if death is even worse than life. It is one of the most quoted lines in English literature.

This DayBreaks isn’t about suicide or death or life per se, so I hope you’ll continue reading.

The preacher said something this past Sunday that prompted the title of this DayBreaks.  When you think about it, which is more important as a Christian – doing the right things or being the right thing?  I grew up in a denomination where doing the right things was stressed – you had to do certain things and not do others if you were a “good” Christian. Some would say that’s works-based religion and I suppose they’d be right.

But if we asked Jesus which he’d prefer, I suspect he’d want us to be more than to do. He’d want us to be people of justice, mercy, compassion, to be a disciple, a lover of our fellow man. Sure, there’s a link between the being and doing – but if you are not being who you truly are, the works will die out soon enough.

And what are we to be? Well, someone said that “Sanctification is the process of becoming who we already are in Christ.” You see, in Christ we are already viewed as perfect – because we are IN him and his righteousness covers us fully and completely. But we know in our souls we are not perfect – hence the above saying about sanctification is spot on.

I am to be one who loves God above anything else in heaven or on earth. I am supposed to be honest, fair, loving, a healer of hurts, a righter of wrongs, forgiving, a walking, breathing imitator of Jesus. That’s what Jesus desires from us the most – to be like him. To do, or to be…the answer should be fairly clear to us all. Now, it were only that easy.

PRAYER: Jesus, don’t let us get distracted with busyness doing for you that we neglect who are to be in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/18/20 – Stolen Cookies and Life Lessons

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DayBreaks for 6/18/20: Stolen Cookies and Life Lessons

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

A woman was at the airport waiting to catch her plane when she bought herself a bag of cookies, settled in a chair in the airport lounge and began to read a book. Suddenly she noticed the man beside her helping himself to her cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she read on, ate cookies, and watched the clock. As the daring “cookie thief” kept on eating the cookies she got more irritated and said to herself, “If I wasn’t so nice, I’d blacken his eye!” She wanted to take the bag of cookies and move them to her other side but she couldn’t find the nerve to do it.  With each cookie she ate, he ate one, too.  At last, only one cookie was left, and she wondered what he would do if she took the last cookie.  Then with a smile on his face and a nervous laugh – he settled the issue for her when he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, and he ate the other. She reached out and grabbed it from him and thought, “Unbelievable!  This guy has some nerve, and he’s rude, too, why, he didn’t even show any gratitude for all the cookies I let him eat!”  She audibly sighed with relief when her flight was called.  She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate, refusing to look at the ungrateful “thief.”  She got on the plane, found her seat, and again reached in her bag to get a book to read and told herself to forget about the incident.  Much to her surprise, next to her book was her bag—of cookies.

The cookies they ate in the lounge were his – not hers.  She had been the thief – not him.

The cookie thief story reminds us that it often is the case that the one pointing the accusing finger and feeling self-righteous often turns out to be the guilty one, that they are themselves the offending party.  In the cookie story, the woman believed she was such a wonderful person to put up with the rudeness and ingratitude of the man sitting beside her.  In the end she discovered that she was the rude and ungrateful one and the man was wonderfully friendly.

We sometimes can be guilty of the same kind of infraction towards God.  We get that way about “our” possessions – even our children or spouses who may be “taken” away from us by a stranger or by death.  We work hard to “earn” the things we have, and when someone comes along and gets something that we have had to work or pay for, we are resentful. 

Do any of us really have the right to resentment?  I think not.  It presumes that we have what we’ve got because we earned it, rather than that it was given to us by a loving Father.  And when He gives us something, we should be ready to share it with others.

PRAYER: Guard our spirits from haughtiness and self-centeredness, Lord.  Help us to learn not to point the finger until the beam is clearly out of our own eye first!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/17/20 – Tenacious Grace

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DayBreaks for 6/17/20: Tenacious Grace

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

“It’s not fair.”  Wow…if I had a nickel for every time I heard (or offered) that excuse, I’d own North America. 

We have a sense that things should be fair.  We expect others to treat us fairly and we are upset when we feel we are being treated unfairly.  We generally try to be fair to others – hoping that someday, if the tables should ever be turned, that they’ll respond in kind to us.  I’m not real clear on the relationship between fairness and justice – but we want them, even if we can’t fully explain them. 

One of the knocks against God has always been that He’s not fair in how He treats people.  Let me admit right up front that I don’t understand all, or even most, and maybe very few – of God’s ways.  I certainly don’t understand His reasoning.  I don’t have to understand His reasons in order to believe He is a good God.  I just have to decide if I will trust that He, being good, MUST also be fair.  How could a God who isn’t fair be good?  (There may be a way, but as a human I can’t grasp it!) 

So I must conclude that God is fair in His dealings with everyone.  Isn’t that part of the rationale behind the statement about how He sends the rain on the just and unjust alike?  He deals even-handedly.  He provides opportunities for people to respond.  Some respond and choose the path of righteousness and others the pathway of evil. 
Still, a LOT of what God has done throughout history hasn’t seemed fair to people.  Why didn’t God denounce Jacob for his sneaky, conniving ways against his father and brother?  Why didn’t God cut off his relationship with David because of David’s horrendous activities?  Why did Jesus not make a big deal about the adulteress for her open disregard of the moral laws and then attack the Pharisees so viciously for the sin of lust?  Why did God let Peter bounce back after his denial of Christ in the courtyard when Judas wasn’t “called” back for forgiveness?  Why did God choose to use Saul/Paul after his persecution and murder of Christians in the zeal of the early years in his life?  Why? 

Why? The answer is because there is nothing in the entire universe that is as tenacious and determined as the grace of God. The Gospel of John tells us: God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)

Yeah, God could have done all those things to the people in the paragraph before last. If He did, it would have been just.  But would it have been fair?  Maybe.  But the point is this: He DIDN’T do those things because His interest isn’t in pointing out every little flaw and making sure that we pay for them…but rather to point to Jesus and say, “He’s paid for them so that I can be merciful and extend grace to YOU!” 

It’s not fair…but I’m grateful for it anyway.

PRAYER: Father God, for Your tenacious grace, we praise Your Name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/4/20 – The Breath of God

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DayBreaks for 6/04/20: The Breath of God

In the Genesis creation account, God breathes into the body of Adam the “breath of life”. Many times throughout Scripture it speaks of man’s breath in a way that symbolizes his life.

The Spirit of God comes from the Greek word pneuma which can be translated as wind or breath.

Regardless of whether it is used in conjunction with human life, or with the Spirit of God, it is the animating life force which gives and sustains life. Without breath, we’d be dead in mere minutes.

All that makes it even more tragic that when that breath is cut off, we quickly expire.

George Floyd was not a perfect human being. There’s only been one of those and he was also the perfect Almighty God -perfect man and perfect God. George Floyd was not the Son of God, but by virtue of his being part of God’s creation and made in the image of God, plus his professed Christianity, we was a son of God. I make no judgment about that – nor should you.

But this man was reported to have said multiple times, “I can’t breathe!” He was deprived of the breath of life by one who didn’t recognize or honor the fact that he was made in the very image of God and breathed the air God created. It was flat out wrong – and evil!

We should all be praying that we would have more of the Breath of God in us, the one who said he is the Life, and not like the one who snuffed the breath out of George Floyd. And we must be very, very careful that we don’t snuff the breath of life from others through our attitudes and actions – or lack thereof.

PRAYER: Fill us with your breath and let us help bring the Breath of God to all we encounter. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/3/20 – A Plea to Reverse Babel

Genesis 11:9 (CSBBible) – Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth.

Our nation is torn and bleeding…literally. A man, made in the very image of God, killed by those who are charged with upholding and enforcing the law and the rights of every human being. As a result of that, countless thousands protesting peacefully, while others (I won’t call them protestors, for the aren’t protesting, but rioting and looting) destroy the life work of fellow citizens and violently attack humans in the streets, businesses, and even trying to force their way into homes to wreak havoc and harm. Flames and smoke ascend to the heavens.

A long time ago in a place far, far away, a people thought too highly of themselves and tried to ascend into heaven. In response to their hubris, God confused their language and they scattered over the face of the earth. And it seems we have been scattered ever since.

Right now in America, we have people who speak the same literal language, but who are in no way unified. And sadly, through much of the life of the country and especially in the last week, it seems that the church as been all too silent. Should not the church be a voice crying in the wilderness for peace and unity, dialog and reason, that calls us to love one another regardless of whether the person next to you is red, white, black, brown, green, purple, polka-dotted or striped?

We should all be speaking to each other, hearing one another’s pain and fear and understanding what each human longs for and desires.

On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, tongues of fire descended from heaven to earth and Peter spoke in a language that everyone heard – and understood in their own tongue – a universal language if you will. That’s how the church started. Where is that universal language in the church today? At this moment, tongues of fire ascend in the opposite direction as the flames of burning cities lick the heavenly sky. With one united voice, the church needs to be speaking against what God hates – racism, abuse, hatred, falsehood, misogyny, abuse of power – and to speak and bring his love to all humanity even as God does.

As always, it starts with me. And with you. For we are the church. Let us raise a common language for reconciliation and for healing and ask forgiveness for our own blindness.

PRAYER: Almighty God, where once you confused the language or mankind, we pray now that your Spirit will enable the church to speak with one voice of the preciousness of every human on the face of the earth. We ask you now to restore a common language filled with love and compassion, not hatred and rage. Search our hearts to reveal to us our own prejudices and forgive us for our hardness of heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/29/20 – Flight from Reality

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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 5/26/20 – 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

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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.  ><}}}”>