DayBreaks for 10/23/20 – Out of the Depths

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Image from the movie, The 33.

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. – Psalm 71:20

 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. – Psalm 95:4

This past week we were privileged to witness one of the most amazing rescues I can recall.  Thirty-three miners escaped from the depths of the earth (the story is told in the movie, The 33).  I don’t know for sure, but someone said that when they came to the surface, they were wearing shirts that had Psalm 95:4 stenciled on their back.  These 33 men endured great anguish and fear yet came through their ordeal with a perspective that is amazing. 

There are so many rich lessons for us to grasp in this event:

As Psalm 139 says, there is nowhere either above or below the earth that He cannot be found.  And one of the miners said that God was in that time and place, as was the devil, but God won.  He always does – and always will!

I thought about being “re-born” to a new and living hope.  Surely these men can now read those words with renewed appreciation. 

I thought about how God has translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son…and how the miners had been in the mines for so long that they had to wear sunglasses even at night when they came up out of the mine into the light. 

The joy that they and their loves ones experienced is certainly understandable!  These men, as good as dead, were alive and could live “normal” lives.  The joy that swept the world at their survival – even the joy that filled my own heart at their rescue – was powerful and strong.  But there is an even greater miracle, an even greater reason for joy that we have as Christians: we have been saved by the grace of God!!!  Did those miners deserve being rescued, being saved?  I don’t know if “deserved” is the right word – but because they were humans, the efforts were made.  God made a far greater effort and had to span a distance far greater than 2050 feet in order to rescue us from a death that was every bit as certain (even more certain, as it turns out!) than the miners faced in the dark bowels of the earth.  Why should our joy be any less?  Why don’t we react to our salvation with the same wild abandon as those miners?

It is a question worth pondering.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t really believe we are bad enough to deserve eternal punishment.  Perhaps it’s because we have never considered ourselves as good as dead.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t begun to grasp the life that God has given us.  Maybe it’s all of the above and other reasons, too.  I’m ready to begin celebrating my salvation more than I have in the past, and I hope you will, too.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for seeing fit to spare the lives of the Chilean miners!  We rejoice in the new lease on life that they have been granted.  Help us to come to a far greater appreciation of what YOU have done for us than we have ever experienced before!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/20/20 – How to NOT Get Blown Up

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So, what have you already had to decide today that you’d not anticipated? If you haven’t done that yet, just wait – you will! They happen to us day in and day out. Some are simple, some have bigger consequences.

There is a story of a fisherman and a game warden. It seemed that every day this fisherman would come back with stringers full of fish while everyone else managed just one or two. So, the game warden wanted to learn his secret.

They set out early one morning together, got to the middle of the lake and stopped. Watching, the game warden saw the fisherman pull out a stick of dynamite, light it and toss it into the air. The concussion from the explosion stunned the fish and the fisherman just scooped them up in his net.

The game warden was incensed! “You can’t do that!” he yelled at the fisherman. In response, the fisherman pulled out another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it into the hands of the game warden, then asked, “Are you going to just sit there or are you going to fish?”

All of a sudden, the game warden was faced with an unexpected decision – and it was an explosive one! And some of our decisions can be explosive, too.

Consider the youth who must decide if he’ll snort some coke just to be friends with someone. Consider the girl facing improper sexual pressure by her boyfriend. Or the employee who has a chance to syphon off a little cash here or there. The taxpayer taking a few “shortcuts” on their taxes. The housewife being pressured to tell some juicy tidbits about someone else.

You see, all those have explosive consequences. What can we do about it?

Jesus’ experience with his disciples in the garden is instructive. First, he tells them to “Watch…” – always a good idea. “Be alert”, “keep your eyes peeled”, etc.

How does that relate? You know your weaknesses, don’t you? It could be alcohol, sex, drugs, power, money. What Jesus is saying is to watch out for those places and situations which will put you with a lit stick of dynamite in your hands! When you see such a situation developing, scram!  But if you aren’t watching, you will soon be in a dangerous situation.

Secondly, Jesus tells them to “pray”. It’s not that you’ll tell him something he doesn’t already know. Prayer is inviting him to walk the pathway ahead of you and warn you through his Spirit of the pitfalls and dangers ahead of you so you can avoid them (that’s the watch…(and listen! part), and then to have your back as you move forward.

Watch. Pray. It can spell the difference between winding up with dynamite in your lap or a quiet ride on the water.

PRAYER: Jesus, help our first inclination be to watch and pray rather than to run ahead into dangerous waters! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/15/20 – The Street Orphan and God

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In No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Max Lucado tells the story of a time when he was a missionary in Brazil. It was very common for young children – some no doubt orphans – to beg for something to eat. One day, while on his way to teach a class, a small boy tapped Max on the hand and asked, “Pao, Senhor?” (Bread, sir?)

Max had grown familiar with this sort of request and always tried to help when he could. He told the young boy to come with him and they went into a shop where Max always bought his coffee. He told the young boy to go and choose a pastry and the little fellow excitedly ran to the counter to make his selection.

Max took his coffee to the end of the counter where people would sit to drink their coffee, but the boy was not in sight. Looking around, he saw the boy outside, face pressed against the window, looking into the café.

When the boy saw Max, he scampered in to Max and looking up at him from about belt-buckle level, said “Obrigato.” He paused for a second and said, “Muito obrigato!”, or “Thank you very much!”

Max’s response was wonderful. He said that those two words in Portuguese stirred his heart to the point that he wanted to buy the entire stock of pastries for the young boy because of the gratitude that he’d shown for such a simple gift!

In reflecting on the encounter, Max made such a simple, yet profound observation: if he was so moved by those two words from the little boy expressing such gratitude for a piece of pastry, how must God feel when we take the time to thank him, really, really thank him, for saving our souls?

When is the last time you did that?

PRAYER: Thank you, God, thank you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/14/20 – Hanging in the Balance

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From the DayBreaks archive, October 2010:

The island of Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands.  As such, it has a long history.  Some of the history is beautiful and amazing, but it also has its dark moments. 

Before Kauai became part of King Kamehameha’s unified Hawaiian island kingdom, Kauai had its own kings who lived high up in the mountains in the center of the island.  The kingship would be passed from father to son as was typical in most monarchies.  When it came time for the wife of the king to give birth, she would come down from the mountain to a heiau (a holy place of worship) where she would give birth.  If the child that was born was a daughter, the baby would be automatically welcomed into the royal family.  If, however, the baby was a boy, a test was required to determine if the child was worthy to be a successor to the king.  After the child was born, the umbilical cord of the baby boy was wrapped in ti leaves and placed outside of the enclosure where the mother and baby boy would spend the night.  If the rats came during the night and ate the umbilical cord, it was believed that the boy was not worthy to be an heir to the kingdom and he would be put to death.  The boy would survive only if the umbilical cord was still intact and hadn’t been eaten by rats during the night.

As I heard about this practice of the ancient residents of Kauai, I couldn’t help but draw a contrast between this chance-laden, horrendous practice and how God deals with us.  The writer of the letter to the Romans describes our relationship with the King: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. – Romans 8:17

Are any of us worthy to be joint heirs with Jesus?  Absolutely not!  Does God leave us outside the door to see what chance may play into our future?  No.  Does He accept us only if we pass some test?  Yes, and no.  The test is a simple one: will you put your faith in My Son?  That’s it.  It’s not left to some rat to determine our fate, nor is it even up to Satan to determine our fate.  God leaves it to us, in a way, to make the choice that will allow us to be accepted as His sons and daughters. 

Have you chosen yet?  Eternity is hanging in the balance.

PRAYER: How thankful we are that You have a heart that is willing and eager to adopt us as Your children, to give us, along with Jesus, all things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/12/20 – The Man Without Breath

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From the DayBreaks archive, October 2010:

The Hawaiians have a name for those of us from the mainland who are of Caucasian descent.  They call us haoles (pronounced “how-lees”).  I never knew the meaning of that name until two weeks ago. 

In 1778, Captain Cook became the first European to visit the Hawaiian islands, then known as the Sandwich Islands.  The Hawaiians had never seen a Caucasian before, and were stunned at his pallor.  They called him a haole, which means a person “without breath.”  In other words, because he was so pale, they thought he was dead – a walking ghost perhaps, or possibly a god. 

As I heard this story, I couldn’t help but recall the Biblical account of creation: how man came to live only when God breathed into him the “breath of life.”  Our life originally found its origin in the very breath of God.  “And man became a living soul.”  It didn’t take us very long, however, before we found a way to “kill” ourselves – through our rebellion and sin.  And, once again, we were dead – spiritually, we were haoles, without life.  God wasn’t content to leave things that way however, and in writing to the Colossians, Paul said: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. –  Colossians 2:13-14

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, we find an interesting note in the text: As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. – John 20:20-22  How did Jesus give us life again?  By breathing into them (and us!) His Holy Spirit!

We are not people without breath.  We are a people who have been given the very breath of God.  Let’s not look and act like we’re dead to anything – except to sin! 

PRAYER: For physical life, we give You our thanks.  For reviving our dead souls through Your sacrifice and Spirit, we rejoice!  May we look and act as those who have been revived and raised from the deadness of our sin!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/07/20 – Where God Walks

We just returned 10 days ago from a glorious trip through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. We visited three national parks: Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. While they are all spectacular in their own way, Glacier stands out in my mind.

I shot the first picture accompanying this article one day as we were driving to the top of Glacer on Going to the Sun Highway. It was glorious – the fog/low clouds in the valleys below and then a layer of sun and then scatter clouds higher up along the peaks.

As I looked at the scene, I couldn’t help but think that God must enjoy walking through that place. The majesty of the mountains is as close as I can come personally to imagining God’s magnificence!

Then the thought struck me that God must enjoy walking through places like Glacier more than Mud Fort Slum in India (the second picture in this article is one I shot in Mud Fort Slum a number of years back). I mean, who wouldn’t? He must be like me in that regard, I am tempted to think.  

But I was taken aback by what came to mind next. It was almost as if I could hear God saying, “Sure, I love the beauty of my mountains, but I love walking through the slum even more. You see, my mountains wear down and crumble away, but the people in the slums have eternal souls and they are made in my own image. Besides, I’m omnipresent – I’m in both places simultaneously. While you may choose to tune out the suffering in Mud Fort Slum, I never can and never will. People are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever created.”

I was stunned and humbled how little of the heart of God that dwells within me. I’d far rather be in Glacier than one of the world’s slums. But there’s no doubt in my heart where Jesus would be if he were walking the earth today.

Mud Fort Slum, by Galen C. Dalrymple, 2012. All rights reserved.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/05/20 – Being Carried

It was so long ago but I will never forget how precious it was to carry my children! I even have vague memories of being carried by my father’s strong arms when I was little. There is nothing quite as sweet as when a little child wraps their arms around your neck, puts their head on your shoulder and snuggles in.

There were times after our second and third children came along that I’d be carrying a couple of them while my wife carried another. I must confess that by that time they were getting older…and heavier!…and that at times it was hard to carry them for a long time.

A little child has no conception of the fact that they are making your arm muscles burn until they hurt! They don’t think about the reality that the parent is carrying their full weight. All they know is that they are being held, and carried, and they feel safe.

We are told that we have a Father that carries us (Ps. 68.19, NLT2): Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. But here’s a key difference between how God carries us and how I carried my children (Dt. 33.27a, NLT2): The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.

You see, my arms got weary and tired, but God’s almighty and everlasting arms will never tire of carrying us! He won’t have to put a single one of us down to regain his strength. And many have been the times when he was carrying us and we were unaware of how he bore our weight and did all the work for us.

There is also a commonality between my carrying of our kids and God’s carrying of us: it is a delight to the father to carry his kids!

Are you weary? Struggling to even stand let alone move forward? Run to God, let him pick you up, feel his massive almighty and everlasting arms underneath and around you, rest your head on his shoulder…and find peace!

PRAYER: Thank you for carrying us and holding us close to your heart, inviting us to run to you for peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/02/20 – On the Way to the Rat Race

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So, what do you think it would take to REALLY make you content? A new job? A new house? A new spouse? Another child? A bar of chocolate?

Contentment is such an elusive butterfly, seemingly forever out of reach. When you get that thing that you think will make you happy and content, it either breaks, gets lost, gets scratched (why does that always happen with a new car?) or a new model is released the next week that you didn’t know was coming!

The simple fact of the matter is that we are far too busy to be content. Contentment carries with it a slow pace, a lack of urgency. Picture a cow laying in a green pasture chewing her cud. It’s a picture of contentment, even if crude.

Our busyness steals the opportunity to be content right out from under us. And why are we so busy? Because we are craving that promotion, the first $million, the new car, the better house and so we jump into the rat race with both feet and we lose our chance for contentment at that instant. We hurry and scurry so much today because we think it will give us contentment tomorrow. Fools, we are.

And surely you know this, too: that things will never give you contentment. They cannot. It is not within their power. I think Max Lucado (No Wonder They Call Him Savior) put it perfectly when speaking about what can give us contentment: “An hour of contentment…an hour when we realize that a lifetime of blood-sweating and headhunting can’t give us what the cross gave us in one day – a clean conscience and a new start.”

Now, go lay down in a green pasture and contemplate that for a while.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

PRAYER: Give us the ever present awareness of what the cross gave us and makes possible for us even today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/29/20 – Getting a New Soul

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NOTE: I should be back tomorrow! In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

We Americans like to think that we’re pretty determined, persistent, tenacious even.  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  We take pride (there’s that nasty word!) in how dogged we can be.  When we consider that our ancestors created a country and shaped it through persistence and hard work, carving out settlements, fighting tyrant kings and governments, creating new and amazing inventions that have fueled our health, economies and culture, we have become a symbol to the entire world of hard work, diversity and freedom.  But let me ask you a question: do you love going to the Department of Motor Vehicles?  Me, neither. 

Would you voluntarily subject yourself to going there 960 times in order to get your driver’s license?  That is precisely what Cha Sa-soon, a Korean lady, did in her quest to get her own driver’s license.  This amazing 69-year old woman studied diligently, but she just couldn’t seem to pass the written part of the driver’s test.  She first took the 50-minute, 40-question test once a day starting in April 2005, five days week – and each time she failed.  Perhaps thinking that she needed to study harder to prepare, she eventually slowed down to only taking the test twice each week.  Finally, on her 960th attempt, she got enough of the questions right to pass.

Local news outlets heard the story and it wasn’t long before the tale caught the ear of vehicle manufacturer, Hyundai-Kia. The company asked people to post congratulatory messages online, and after an overwhelming response, Kia gave her the keys to a brand-new Soul. 

That, my friends, is persistence!  Cha Sa-soon really wanted to drive and was determined not to let anything stand in her way!

It causes me to think of several things:

  1. How determined am I to obey Christ?  Does my ability to resist sin even begin to compare to the diligence of this woman?  She wanted something so badly that she could taste it and she refused to let anything stand between her and her goal.  It often doesn’t take much to get me to surrender to temptation.  My persistence is poor!
  2. Persistence is a good trait.  We are to persist in prayer, we are to persevere in doing good – though we may fail over and over and over.  Even the disciples question about forgiving 70 times 7 is only about half way to the 960 attempts at this woman to pass the test!  Thankfully, God isn’t counting down to a point where He will refuse to forgive us if we humbly repent and ask for His forgiveness.
  3. While this woman was given a new Soul (that’s a model of Hyundai car in Korea), only Jesus can give us a new, clean soul after our record has been tarnished.  And thank God that He does!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

PRAYER: Father, give us strong spirits to fight the good fight and to finish the course strong!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/28/20 – Seasoned With Salt

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6

The way we say things, especially when it comes to acting as ambassadors (ones sent on a mission) for God, can be crucial.  Consider this story about a woman who worked in an ophthalmology practice that specialized in LASIK eye surgery: “I am expected to comfort nervous patients.  But prior to one operation, the patient was so frightened that she was actually shaking.  Nothing I said seemed to calm her.  So, after the doctor finished operating on her left eye, and before he began on the right, I wanted her to know the surgery was going well.

“There,” I said, patting her hand reassuringly, “Now you only have one eye left!”

Oops!  When I worked in the high-tech world, we had our own language that we understood when we talked about computers and techonolgy: RAM, RGU, CCU, SDRAM, I/O, megahertz, etc.  We knew what we were talking about and could understand each other perfectly well. 

As Christians, we have our own language, too, and I fear we sometimes fail to connect with those who are not yet believers due to how we talk – and/or how we act.  For example, in the recent couple of weeks, much was made of the pastor in Florida who planned a Koran burning at his church.  His actions and plans drew the attention of people around the world – even the President weighed in on the matter.  The pastor had a right, as an American, to say what he wanted to say – it is a freedom of speech issue.  But was it wise to say and act as he did (or as it turns out, as he planned to)?  What got more press: that one man’s actions, or the actions of thousands of pastors around the country and world who stood up and spoke the Word of God faithfully last Sunday?  That which sensationalizes may get press – but it seldom, if ever, saves.  We can never change the message – but the message can, and should, change us.

Perhaps you’ve been trying for a long time to talk with someone about Jesus – with little or no success.  While that may be due to a variety of factors, it may be a problem with your words.  Try a different approach…and above all, make sure that your life is living up to what your mouth is saying. 

PRAYER: Jesus, fill our hearts with Your Spirit and our mouths with Your words of grace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>