DayBreaks for 7/20/18 – The Entrance of Evil

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DayBreaks for 7/20/18: The Entrance of Evil

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

AVONDALE, Ariz. – An Arizona man said his 3-year-old Labrador retriever was so excited for the Super Bowl that he devoured two very expensive tickets to the game.   Chris Gallagher, of Avondale, Ariz., said he asked that a courier slip the envelope containing two Super Bowl XLII tickets under his doormat but the envelope was instead inserted under the door — and into the waiting jaws of his dog, Buddy, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.  Gallagher said the tickets, which he purchased for friends, were valued at $900 apiece.  However, he said the seller assured him that the tickets can be replaced in time for game day.

The dog owner said the tickets were only the latest of Buddy’s many victims, which have included sunglasses, shoes and footballs.  “He’s a trouble-maker,” Gallagher told the Republic. “But he looks at you with those big eyes and you can’t be mad for long.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I have recently been utilizing John Eldredge’s Epic video series as part of the Sunday morning messages.  On this past Sunday, we were covering Act Two: The Entrance of Evil.  As an illustration slide, I showed an image of a fearsome looking creature – red-faced, possessed by rage, vicious teeth bared in a terrifying grimace.  It was, of course, representative of Satan. 

One of the members of the congregation came up to me after seeing the picture and made an excellent point: if that is how Satan really appeared to us, would any of us really fall for his deceptions?  She noted that Scripture speaks of Satan as able to appear as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) 

Here’s the point: Satan is pictured in Scripture as a roaring lion, and as if he were an angel of light.  Like the dog, Buddy, if we look into Satan’s eyes, he doesn’t look frightening and scary.  He looks like something that you cannot resist – or which you find no reason to avoid.  And therein is where he gets his great power – he appears so innocent.

Evil doesn’t usually come into our lives looking like evil.  Instead, it looks like fun, or it looks safe, or tame, or innocuous.  It doesn’t look like evil – it looks like anything but.  And that’s where we can’t let ourselves be deceived by the one who came to deceive, kill and destroy.  Don’t let him fool you.  Don’t look into his eyes and think he’s harmless.  He most definitely is not!

PRAYER:  Lord, I confess that I often don’t work hard enough to discern the lies and deceptions that Satan throws my way!  I pray that you will give us the wisdom to not be fooled by Satan’s “big brown eyes” into thinking he’s harmless.  Awaken us to the power and strength and true intent of our enemy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 7/16/18 – In the House of the Tiger

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DayBreaks for 7/16/18: In the House of the Tiger

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

It was just about two weeks ago that I was sent some pictures of an incredible home on the shore by the ocean.  I mean, this was a palace!  Spectacular.  Mesmerizing.  Indescribable.  And I must admit, there was something that was stirred deep inside me as I sit here in my little office in our little home (1264 square feet, or so I’m told) that made envy rise in me like a cobra ready to strike.  I thought to myself, “Wow.  I’d love to have a place like that!”  But that wasn’t the envy part – the envy part came when I began to think, “It’s not fair that they should have a home like that!  The probably don’t even know the Lord.  Why did they get blessed like that while I’m sitting out the California summer in a home that’s not even air conditioned?!”  Envy is subtle, and deadly, indeed.

It just so happens that the home I became envious of is apparently the home of Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin.  (And yes, I am envious of Tiger’s golf game, too!)  Every now and then, I’ll receive something like that in email – it may be Tiger’s house, or the home of the Sultan of Brunei or some other incredible place, and I feel badly.  I feel badly that I can’t give my wife a home like that (along with the requisite helpers to take care of the place, of course).  I start to think how wonderful it would be to have the use of such a place for even one night.  But in reality, I know that would only make me long for it even more.

I shouldn’t worship houses.  I shouldn’t worship golf swings.  But there’s a part of me that does, God have mercy on me and forgive me, please! 

I know that I’m not alone.  But what can help me get past such longings?  There’s a passage that I try to remind myself of when I start to envy others: (Ps. 73:3-17, NIV) – For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.  They say, “How can God know?  Does the Most High have knowledge?”  This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.  All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Please understand: I don’t know Tiger and Elin personally, and I am not saying that they are evil or wicked.  They may know Christ as their Savior – in point of fact, I hope and pray that they do.  The point remains: when I enter the sanctuary of God, I understand not only their final destiny, but mine.  We are on equal terms.  And, even if they do know God, my mansion in heaven will make their earthly home look like a pile of refuse.  God has already promised that to us.  All I have to do is wait for that (and I do understand that the greatest blessings in heaven will not be material ones at all!) 

Remember the final destiny, and rejoice, “for great is your reward in heaven!”

PRAYER:  Forgive my heart, Lord, for its envy.  Let me remain always in your sanctuary so I never lose sight of final destinies.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/13/18 – If There Were No Tomorrow’s

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DayBreaks for 7/13/18: If There Were No Tomorrows

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

I’ve already got plans for tomorrow…and for numerous days after that.  I am sure that you do, too.  It is a normal and very human thing to do.  As far as I know, humans are the only thing on the earth that formulates plans.  My dog may decide he’s hungry, so he gets up and walks over to bury his face in the food bowl, but that’s not planning.  I don’t think that he has ever had a thought like this: “Tomorrow I’ll get up, look out the window, bark at some birds, wander outside and chase lizards for 15 minutes to get exercise, take a nice, long cool drink, and then come in and slobber all over Galen.”  If he had thought such things, that would have been planning. 

My plans for tomorrow are varied.  Some will be just pure enjoyment, others are having to do with duties, and still others may or may not happen depending on how everything else works out and what might come up unexpectedly.  It isn’t necessarily bad to have plans: we’re told in the Proverbs that we should look at the ant and learn to prepare for the storms of life that may head our way – and that requires some planning.  We’re also told not to trust in our own plans, for they are flawed and our ways are not God’s ways.  If our plans for our lives and His conflict, guess whose plan will lose?

So, in planning, we need to always be aware that our plans are subject to Divine review and change.  There are some things, however, that I don’t think God would ever remove from our plans.  Obedience to the first and greatest commandment and to the second greatest commandment are two examples of such things.  Those things are always good – and delight God’s heart. 

Maybe that’s what makes it so sad (and vitally important) to contemplate the question: what if there were no tomorrows?  What relationships in my life would I want to improve?  What disobedience would I seek forgiveness for?  What repentance is needed?  Who would I talk to that I’ve been avoiding because of some silly disagreement or upset in the past?  Who would I want to see one more time?  Who would I want to tell about Jesus before my tomorrows ran out? 

The problem, of course, isn’t really in answering those questions I just posed, but in believing that some day our tomorrows will run out – and we just never know when that day will be upon us, like a lion on a wildebeest.  But, that day will come.  It’ll come for me, and it’ll come for you.  Like the children’s game of hide or seek, that time will come with the words, “Ready or not, here I come!”  And then we’ll be in its clutches. 

Since we don’t know when that day will come, doesn’t it make sense today – this VERY DAY – to begin taking care of some of those questions listed above, to fixing some of the broken things in your life?  What is ONE THING you will do today to start working toward the point that when the times comes that there are no more tomorrows for you, that you won’t leave this world behind with regrets?  You can’t fix it all in one day, but you can fix it one day at a time…as long as you have even just one tomorrow left. 

PRAYER:  Give us wisdom to know where to being to work with Your Spirit to fix up the brokenness we might leave behind if we have no more tomorrows.  Give us the courage to live each moment, let alone each day, as if it were our last.  Put the people on our heart that You have prepared to hear about Jesus, and let us speak His name to them while we still breathe.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/09/18 – Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Equation

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DayBreaks for 7/09/18: Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Equation

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

What lies at the heart of all things?  The answer you get will depend on who you ask and what their world view is.  An evolutionist would pretty much have to say that at the heart of all things is blind chance and some principle that came from who knows where, that champions “survival of the fittest.”  Given enough time, the evolutionist claims, all things are possible.  Theoretically, I suppose that’s true – but not nearly enough time has passed since the so-called “big bang” for the diversity and complexity of life as we can observe it on this planet alone to have taken place.  So – don’t let this next statement alarm you – we shouldn’t be here.

Closely akin to an evolutionary point of view is that of a more sophisticated scientist, or an atheist, such as the late Bertrand Russell.  It was Russell’s belief that if we were able to strip away all the mystery we see all around us in the universe so that we could get to the real heart of things, we would find a “mathematical equation.”  2+2=4, or something like that, only probably much more complicated.  Now isn’t that exciting?  Doesn’t that just warm the cockles of your heart to know that behind all this is math?  I hate math! 

I certainly don’t want to, nor do I believe, that this world and universe is all predicated on something that is as cold and impersonal as a mathematical equation.  I can’t accept that.  It isn’t possible to my way of thinking.  For one thing, it fails to explain this: if there is no Creator possessed of personality and intelligence but only cold math, how can human personality have come from something as totally cold and impersonal as that?  We speak of people having personalities (and I know some real characters!), we even talk about our pets having character.  On rare occasions we may even say that a building or some other non-living thing has “character”, but we mean it in a different way than when we’re talking about something alive and breathing.  Has anyone you’ve even known say of a rock in their yard that it has character, i.e., personality?  If they did, you’d gently put them into your car and drive them to a padded room somewhere.  How can personality come from something inanimate and as dead as a mathematical equation any more than personality is passed on to people by touching a rock?!

I prefer to believe that behind all the mystery of the universe is something much more than a mathematical equation.  I prefer to believe that there is a Creator possessed of infinite wisdom, capacity, of PERSONALITY that is not totally comprehensible, and that you and I have personalities because the Creator is a Personality, and He has given something of Himself to us – a spirit that is in His very image.  He made us all “characters” and gave us personalities so we could have a relationship, a personal relationship, with the One who made us.  Now that’s something to be excited about! 

PRAYER:  Thank you, Lord, for the delight of personalities!  Thank you for the rich variation in your creation.  Thank you that you want to have a relationship with us who were made from the dust of the earth – and given personality by the God who made it all!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/05/18 – A Better Use of Energy

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DayBreaks for 7/05/18: A Better Use of Energy

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

Energy – the discussion is everywhere these days, mostly due to the price of oil.  Should we drill in ANWR?  How about offshore?  Should we be tapping into the strategic petroleum reserve in an effort to lower prices and drive down costs?  How about the bio-fuels that have been touted, such as ethanol, etc., that once seemed to hold such promise but which now are becoming more and more suspect as part of the solution?  Should Congress allow building more oil refineries?  How about nuclear power?  Hydrogen fuel cell cars?  Solar powered vehicles, or other forms of electric vehicles? 

Not all energy gets pumped out of the ground.  There’s the energy in our human hearts and in our bodies.  As we get older, it is a standing “joke” about how we are more tired than we used to be and how we have less energy than when we were younger.  Sadly, our spiritual energies can get taxed and worn, too. 

Some of our expenditure of energy is due to trying to be something that we aren’t.  That always takes more energy than being genuine.  In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge wrote: “We at least know this: we know that we are not what we were meant to be.  Most of us spend our energy trying to hide that fact, through all the veils we put on and the false selves we create.  Our first parents thought they could hide behind fig leaves and in the bushes, and we do the same – only with more sophistication.  Far better to spend our energy trying to recover the image of God and unveil it for His glory.”

Adam and Eve spent time and energy trying to hide from God.  I want to spend the remaining years of my life trying to recover the image of God that I’m meant to carry.  It’s a much better use of energy!

PRAYER:  God, empower us through Your Spirit to do what we were created to do and to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/4/18 – Is This It?

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DayBreaks for 7/04/18: Is This It?

I find it interesting that some of the DayBreaks I wrote in years past are just as relevant, though perhaps in a slightly different context, than when they were first written.

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

Just this past week, the stock market fell 380-some points in one day.  It wasn’t the only day the market fell.  In fact, June was perhaps the worst month for the stock market since the great depression, according to one news source.  On the same day, oil prices surpassed $140 per barrel, and some were saying that it’ll blow past $150 very soon, in spite of the Saudi’s agreeing to pump some more oil.  The situation with Iran doesn’t look promising.  Due to the cost of energy, the cost of food is rising rapidly, General Motors is struggling to survive and other large companies that have seemed to be rock solid pieces of the American financial foundation are sinking.  People are being let go.  Inflation seems to be a real threat, even as the housing market continues to sink. 

Last Thursday night, my wife and I attended a financial seminar on retirement planning and received some good guidance on investments, etc.  One of the key thoughts that kept running through my mind was this: I’m so grateful that I’m not dependent on financial investments either for this life or the next.  Not even a million shares of Google could get me into heaven.  Nor can it feed my belly or assuage hunger. 

Does it scare me at all to see what is happening in America and the world?  Yeah, I guess it does a bit.  More because I worry about my kids and grandkids and what their world might be like.  God, however, isn’t affected by the falling stock market, rumors of wars, greenhouse gases, the price of oil or an uncertain future.  There is no such thing as an uncertain future to Him.

Amid all the panic, as Christians we can be lights in the darkness, projecting the truth of what we know in our hearts, simply this: this is God’s world and all will end exactly as He wills it – without exception. 

We, of all people, should not run around panicked about what may or may not be.  We, of all people, should be filled with peace, even as we see the world around us start to disintegrate at a faster rate because we know Who holds the future – and us – in His hands.

Is this the birth pangs of the end?  I honestly don’t know. Either way, let us lift our voices with John the beloved disciple and say, Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

PRAYER: Lord, you hold the times and the seasons in Your hand.  You alone have the wisdom to bring sense out of this chaos, to bring perfection out of such brokenness.  Let us be harbingers of the coming of the King, preparing the way for the coming of the Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/29/18 – Three Reasons

 

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DayBreaks for 6/29/18: Three Reasons

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

When was the last time that someone did something that made you feel unimportant?  Chances are that it was fairly recently. It may have been the way you were treated by a co-worker or a boss.  It may have been the fact that your spouse didn’t greet you warmly when you got home last night.  It might even be that your dog wouldn’t even give you a warm sendoff as you went out the door this morning!  (You know it’s getting bad when your dog shines you on!)  Some were raised by parents who made them feel worthless – like human trash.

It is easy to get down on ourselves.  We grew up in a school system where our mistakes were pointed out.  Have you ever noticed how it is the errors on the page that are marked and counted instead of the right answers?  We might feel better about ourselves if the positive things we did were highlighted instead of the mistakes we made!

I ran across a quote from Lorne Sanny, the long-time head of the Navigators that I think is worth sharing.  It has a very biblical answer to the question of why we are important and valued by God.  Here it is:

“I can give you three reasons why you are important to God:

First, simply because of who you are;

Second, because of what you cost, and;

Third, because of what you can become.”

Who are we?  We are the pinnacle of God’s creation  –  made in His very image.  It was only after God made man on the sixth day of creation that He was moved to declare that what He’d done was VERY good (Gen. 1:31).  Everything else that He’d made up to then only rated “It is good.”  Mankind, however, was something else!  Psalm 8:5-6 says we were made only slightly lower than the angels, we’re crowned with glory and honor and we are charged as rulers over the works of His hands!

What did we cost?  You know the answer to that one already.  We were purchased not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with the blood of the Son of God (1 Peter 1.18-19).  In this age of multi-billion dollar mega-mergers and huge corporate buyouts we are somewhat dulled to the scope of the finances involved.  Yet not one corporate CEO or president has yet bought out their enemies by literally bleeding to death for them.  Why?  The cost is too great.

What can you become?  You can become like a bright star in God’s heavenly galaxy (Phil. 2:5); a partaker in the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); a pillar in God’s temple (Rev. 3:12); like a tree besides fresh waters (Ps. 1:3); and certainly not least, His son or daughter (Rev. 21:7).

Never let anyone tell you that you are not important or valuable.  God begs to differ!

PRAYER:  We often feel so small and insignificant in this vast universe that was created by Your hands.  When we feel useless and insignificant, help us to remember that truth that You find us precious and that we are important in Your eyes!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.