DayBreaks for 5/17/18 – Only One Qualification

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DayBreaks for 5/17/19: Only One Qualification

I have been working pretty much full time for 46 years. While I think I’ve had a tremendous life, I am tired. Many of my friends are retired and I have strong hopes of joining them one of these days, but not yet.

My guess is that you’re tired, too. Physically we scurry around like squirrels, hoping to find that one more bit of something to fulfill our seemingly insatiable wants and needs. We work hard. We play hard. And we’re tired as a result.

Physical tiredness is one thing – and it seems to be an inevitable part of getting older as I can attest. But the worst tiredness is brought about by worry, fear and relationships. We worry about the stock market and our portfolios. We worry if we’ll have war with Iran. We worry about the intentions of North Korea. We worry about the politics in our own country and what the future may hold. We worry about our health. We worry about our kids and grandkids and other loved ones. We get frustrated by our relationships many times and wonder if we can ever be happy. The newspapers and nightly news only feed this tiredness.

Perhaps that’s why this promise of Jesus is so meaningful: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matt. 11:28-29 (ESV)

It is soul tiredness that wears on us. Jesus doesn’t say that we can find rest if we bring a large enough portfolio to him first. There is only one qualification: that we are weary and in our weariness we come to him.

How does he alleviate our weariness? By telling us we can trust his promises, that God knows our needs and will meet them. By telling us we don’t have to worry about the events of the world or the future because it is all going to work out according to his plan – his good and perfect plan. By telling us that we are his children and there’s a dwelling place that the Carpenter himself has made for us just waiting around the next bend. 

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for this great invitation! Give us the wisdom to understand that rest won’t come to us until we come to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 5/16/19 – God’s Intent

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DayBreaks for 5/16/19: God’s Intent

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

Good intentions.  My goodness, I’ve certainly had enough of them to last a lifetime.  Do those intentions always translate into right actions?  Well, um, no.  But just because the action didn’t follow the intent, it doesn’t mean that anything was wrong with the intent.  It’s the execution of a good intention that leads to good actions.

There is an interesting passage in Ephesians that speaks about one of God’s intentions.  Here it is: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Ephesians 3:10-11 (NIV)

Maybe it seems strange to think of it in this way, but at least for the present time, God’s intentions don’t always work out, either.  They will eventually, but in the meantime, they can get sidetracked, too.  They don’t get sidetracked because God changes His mind or because He can’t execute His plan.  It’s just that He chooses to make some of His intentions intertwined with the actions of human beings like us.  And that’s why His intentions don’t always get fulfilled right away.

It was God’s “intent” that His wisdom should show forth God’s wisdom.  How is your church doing at showing forth God’s wisdom?  But let’s make it a bit more personal than that…for we are the church.  The question could therefore be asked, “How well am I doing at letting God’s manifold wisdom be seen through my life?” 

Many churches are too busy fussing and fighting to show much of anything that would resemble God’s character.  But when a diverse group of people can not only co-exist, but love one another and let God’s wisdom (not the wisdom of the church leaders) be seen – then something amazing happens.  People in this world see something that doesn’t come from this world: God’s wisdom.  Even then, however, this display of wisdom from the church isn’t primarily for human eyes – it is for the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  They are watching – and believe it or not, they see the wisdom of God in His plan to involve humans as His family.

You are the church.  Does your life showcase your wisdom, or His? 

Prayer: Father, forgive us for our foolishness and for wanting to show how smart and wise we are in our human thinking.  May we live as your church so that the angels and demons give You praise for Your wisdom in creating the church!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/14/19 – Trading on God’s Mercy

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DayBreaks for 5/14/19: Trading on God’s Mercy

John 8:35-36 (ESV) – The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Yesterday I wrote about verse 36 and how the Son gives true freedom – a truly encouraging truth But immediately preceding that statement, Jesus gives a stern warning. There is a difference between a slave and a family member.

As William Barclay points out, Jesus is making a not-too-subtle threat here, one his audience, the Jews, would easily grasp: “The word slave reminds him that in any household there is a difference between the slave and the son. The son is a permanent dweller in the household, but the slave can be ejected at any time. In effect Jesus is saying to the Jews: ‘You think that you are sons in God’s house and that nothing, therefore, can ever banish you from God. Have a care; by your conduct you are making yourselves slaves, and the slave can be ejected from the master’s presence at any time.’ Here is a threat. It is a terrible thing to trade on the mercy of God—and that is what the Jews were doing.”

There is warning here for more than the Jews – it is for us, too.

At the same time, for followers of Christ, in spite of the fact that we are still entranced by sin in our flesh, that sin has been paid for and we are no longer slaves, or even servants, but called friends and sons and daughters. As sons and daughters we have a position in the family of God that is permanent.

PRAYER: Thank you for adopting us as sons and daughters with the full privileges and security of being members of your family. Let us live in that truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/13/19 – Forever Freed

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DayBreaks for 5/13/19: Forever Freed

John 8:36 (ESV) – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

“Freedom!” It echoed from the lips of William Wallace and countless men and women throughout history. Freedom is precious – and it is something that the oppressed long for. Countless lives have been lost in pursuit of freedom.

In the context of today’s verse, the Jews claimed that they had never been the slaves of any man. That, technically, is not true. They were enslaved many times throughout their history, but their fierce determination to be free led them to stretch the truth in their statement to Jesus.  

It wasn’t so much slavery to other persons that Jesus was talking about. He was talking about something much more difficult. He was talking about enslavement to sin. But as William Barclay put it, we often say or think, “Surely I can do what I like with my own life.” He goes on: “But the point is that the man who sins does not do what he likes; he does what sin likes. A man can let a habit get such a grip of him that he cannot break it. He can allow a pleasure to master him so completely that he cannot do without it. He can let some self-indulgence so dominate him that he is powerless to break away from it. He can get into such a state that in the end, as Seneca said, he hates and loves his sins at one and the same time. So far from doing what he likes, the sinner has lost the power to do what he likes. He is a slave to the habits, the self-indulgences, the wrong pleasures which have mastered him. This is precisely Jesus’ point. No man who sins can ever be said to be free.”

What does slavery to sin mean? It means we’re enslaved to it’s power to overrule our own best intention to be obedient. It means we’re trapped in a cesspool of shame, guilt, embarrassment and regret.

As we often hear, “Freedom is not free”, meaning that there is always a price that is paid for freedom, and freedom from sin is no exception to that rule.

Do you long to be free from your guilt, shame and regret? You don’t need to be if you are a child of the King. If the Son has set you free, Jesus himself says that you are truly free. No need to carry those things on your shoulders for one more moment. Trust his promise. He who set you free and paid the price for that freedom is honored when you trust that he is as good as his word.

Prayer: For the freedom you purchased for us, Jesus, we humbly thank you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/09/19 – Heart Valves or Auschwitz

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DayBreaks for 5/09/19: Heart Valves or Auschwitz

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

Flash of Genius is inspired by the true story of Dr. Robert Kearns (played by Greg Kinnear). After creating the intermittent windshield wiper, Kearns pitches his idea to General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. All three companies turn him down, only to steal his idea and add them to all their automobiles. Dr. Kearns decides to take on the Ford Motor Company in a legal battle that no one believes he can win. (He later challenged Chrysler, GM, and Mercedes, as well.)

At this point in the film, Dr. Kearns has not yet invented his famous windshield wiper. He is currently working as a mechanical engineering professor at Wayne State University. As the scene begins, Dr. Kearns is writing the word “ethics” on a chalkboard. His students enter the classroom. He turns, and says, “Morning, everybody! I want to welcome you all to the first day of the quarter for Applied Electrical Engineering. My name is Dr. Robert Kearns, and I’d like to start by talking to you about ethics.”

“I can’t think of a job or a career where the understanding of ethics is more important than engineering,” Dr. Kearns continues. “Who designed the artificial aortic heart valve? An engineer did that. Who designed the gas chambers at Auschwitz? An engineer did that, too. One man was responsible for helping save tens of thousands of lives. Another man helped kill millions.”

“Now, I don’t know what any of you are going to end up doing in your lives,” Dr. Kearns says, “but I can guarantee you that there will come a day when you have a decision to make. And it won’t be as easy as deciding between a heart valve and a gas chamber.”

Everything has implications. Decide to make the ethical choices today.

Prayer: May we live upright lives, considering carefully the outcome of our choices.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/08/19 – Settling for Lesser Things

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DayBreaks for 5/08/19: Settling for Lesser Things

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

We have all at one time or another had to “settle” for less than we wanted or hoped for. As a child, it may have been settling for a cookie instead of a full-blown banana split.  As a teenager, it might be something like settling for an iPod Nano instead of a full-blown iPod.  As an adult, perhaps you’ve had to settle for a two bedroom apartment instead of a 10 bedroom, 5 bath, 3 car garage home with a pool and built in bowling alley. We all have had to settle for lesser things. 

And even though we’re had to do it many times, it doesn’t mean we like it.  We still have the desire for more and bigger and better.  But we seldom get all that we’d really like to have. 

Consider this story, told by Skye Jethani in his book, The Divine Commodity, (copyright 2009, pg. 113), about a trip he took to India with his father. While walking the streets of New Delhi, a little boy approached them. He was “skinny as a rail, and naked but for tattered blue shorts. His legs were stiff and contorted, like a wire hanger twisted upon itself.” Because of his condition, the little boy could only waddle along on his calloused knees. He made his way toward Skye and his father and cried out, “One rupee, please! One rupee!” Skye describes what happened when his father eventually responded to the boy’s persistent begging:

“What do you want?” [my father asked].

“One rupee, sir,” the boy said while motioning his hand to his mouth and bowing his head in deference. My father laughed.

“How about I give you five rupees?” he said. The boy’s submissive countenance suddenly became defiant. He retracted his hand and sneered at us. He thought my father was joking, having a laugh at his expense. After all, no one would willingly give up five rupees. The boy started shuffling away, mumbling curses under his breath.

“My father reached into his pocket. Hearing the coins jingle, the boy stopped and looked back over his shoulder. My father was holding out a five-rupee coin. He approached the stunned boy and placed the coin into his hand. The boy didn’t move or say a word. He just stared at the coin in his hand. We passed him and proceeded to cross the street.

“A moment later the shouting resumed, except this time the boy was yelling, “Thank you! Thank you, sir! Bless you!” He raced after us once again—but not for more money but to touch my father’s feet.

This, I imagine, is how our God sees us—as miserable creatures in desperate need of his help. But rather than asking for what we truly need, rather than desiring what he is able and willing to give, we settle for lesser things.”

Sometimes we need to learn to be content with lesser things, trusting that God in His wisdom knows what is best for us to have – and what is best for us not to have.  But we can fall into the trap of settling for too little when God wants so much for us: Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. (Ephesians 3:20, NLT) In context, Paul is talking about us being spiritual empowered.  What does that mean?  Let me put it this way: how easily do I give up when that old temptation comes a knockin’ on my door?  I’ve convinced myself that that old trickster the devil will never leave me alone, that I will never be free from that particular sin/temptation.  But God is able to give you and me power that we cannot even conceive of.  In fact, He’s already given us “all we need for life and godliness.”  He’s given us the power of the Spirit that hovered over the face of the deep and brought order out of chaos. 

If the Spirit could bring order out of the material chaos, how much more can He bring order out of the chaos of our lives…as long as we don’t settle for lesser things.

Prayer: God, teach us to be content with what You give us, but to never be content with our spiritual progress!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/03/19 – God’s Expectations

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DayBreaks for 5/03/19: God’s Expectations

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

Have you ever been the “victim” of someone else’s expectations of you?  Perhaps it was when you were a child: your mom or dad may have wanted you to be a doctor or lawyer when you grew up, but neither was of interest to you.  Or, perhaps you dad wanted you to be as great of a football player or basketball player as he was (or thinks he was!) in his hey-day.  Maybe your mother wanted you to be more beautiful than you were…and so she went to great lengths to get you interested in make-up and pretty things.  Parents, for the most part, really do want good things for their kids.  It’s just that often we don’t know what will really be good for them and what won’t.  But that does very little to temper our expectations. 

Maybe you are struggling with unrealistic expectations of yourself.  Some people hold themselves to impossibly high standards, while others don’t hold themselves to any standard of excellence at all.  Your employer may have unrealistic expectations of you in terms of how many hours you work, what you are expected to achieve. 

Expectations can be killers.

But hasn’t God said, Be holy, even as I am holy?  Now THERE’S a tough expectation to live up to!!!!  Be as holy as God?  Didn’t Jesus command, Be perfect…as your Heavenly father is perfect (Matt. 5:48)?  And didn’t the KJV, in describing Job, record that God Himself said that Job was “perfect”?  Talk about being set up for failure – this is looking like it could be the most colossal failure of all time!

Ah, here’s the release from the tension, and it’s found in Hebrews 10:14, where we are reassured that Christ…has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.  Did you get that?  Christ “HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER” those who are being sanctified.”  Past tense.  Done deal.  The perfection that God demands of us has been achieved – only not in us, but it was done by Christ himself!  God, being a good Father, knows we can’t live up to that expectation on our own, so He resolved the issue for us.  Note the second part of the verse, too: although we have been made (past tense) perfect, we are still “being sanctified.”  So, while our sanctification goes on, our perfection has been achieved.

Doesn’t this make some kind of sense: would God, being perfectly loving and knowing perfectly well what we are truly capable of (and what we aren’t), expect us to do the impossible?  As Mike Mason said in The Gospel According to Job: “Surely not – except by His grace.  And that is precisely the point: it is God’s grace, and nothing else, that declares a person perfect.  It is in God’s eyes that people achieve perfection, not in their own or in the world’s.  In our Heavenly Father’s garden, perfection is by faith and not by sight.”

Prayer: What a comfort it is to know that You know us perfectly well, and yet You have chosen to see us as perfect in Christ Jesus.  Thank You for understanding our inadequacies and for making provision for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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