DayBreaks for 7/3/20 – Just Try Breathing Water

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DayBreaks for 7/03/20: Just Try Breathing Water

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

In his book, The New Absolutes, William Watkins cited several studies and then concluded, “Roughly three out of four Americans claimed they embraced relativism and opposed absolutism.” (p. 26) Only 9% of American, born-again teens believe in absolute truth, and the percentage of American adults that believe it isn’t much higher. 

Isn’t the statement, “there is no absolute truth” even a denial of that assertion?  Isn’t it a statement that purports an absolute truth (“There is no absolute truth”) while denying its existence?

Some truths are not negotiable, they are absolute. It matters whether you breathe water or oxygen. If you breathe water you will drown, it is an absolute truth.

When I go to the doctor, I want him to prescribe me the proper dosage of medication I need. It wouldn’t be right for him or her to say to me, “Take as much as you want.” Too much could kill me, not enough wouldn’t help me; I need the right dosage.

When I get ready to fly somewhere, I want the counter person to tell me the correct flight to board, I don’t want to hear, “It doesn’t matter which plane you get on, they all will take you to the same place.” I want to know the absolute truth.

With all due respect to the majority opinion in our society, there is an absolute truth. Jesus said, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Just because someone makes a claim isn’t proof that it is true…but sometimes it is.  We must each decide if we believe Jesus was right or wrong when he made the claim he did. 

One can make the valid argument that physical things are more easily definable as absolute truths (such as breathing the right kind of air versus water) than in the spiritual realm.  But our experience in the physical realm should give us clues about how the spiritual realm may operate: if there are absolute truths in one area, why not in all?  And therein comes the rub – we can’t prove God’s existence, we can’t prove He is love, we can’t prove there is life after death.  There are those who claim that God doesn’t exist, and those who believe He does.  He can’t both not exist and exist at the same time.  He is either there or He isn’t.  Heaven and hell exist or they don’t – but both cannot possibly be true because they are diametrically opposed – like the on or off of a light switch. 

Anyone who tells you that there is no such thing as absolute truth wants to ignore the facts of experience.  If you were to suggest that they go breath water for 30 minutes if it is not absolutely true that it will kill them, they’d think you’ve lost it, but you’ll have made your point.

Let’s search for Truth.  It matters!!!

PRAYER: Give us wisdom to recognize and know truth!  May we have discernment in a world that denies the very existence of truth in any form!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/02/20 – The Prescription for Victory

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DayBreaks for 7/02/20: The Prescription for Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Depending on how you define and calculate it, the human mind is capable of making 20 million billion calculations per second (and even then, they say that number could be off by a factor of 10 either way!)  While computers are faster in conducting impulses than neurons, we have so many neurons in our brain that the human mind is capable at this point of far more calculations per second than the world’s fastest computer.  I’m sure that King David didn’t have a clue about computers or the capabilities of the human mind, but he still was wise enough to say I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Psalm 139:14)

In our Vacation Bible Camp that concluded last Friday, one of the songs the kids learned contained the phrase: I have hidden Thy word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. (Ps. 119:11)  I’ve given that verse to many who struggle to overcome sin.  It is the prescription of the Word for victory.  But as we sang the song, I pondered: why is it that holding God’s Word in our hearts (memorizing it, reflecting on it, thinking about it) keeps us from sin?  I am sure there are many who can come up with a better answer than I, but when I thought about the power of the human brain and how it controls all we say, think and do, I began to see more clearly than ever the importance of hiding His Word in our hearts/minds. 

The apostle Paul counseled the church at Philippi with these words: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)  Do you see the connection?  We become what we think about.  Do you want to live a life that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?  Who doesn’t, right?  Put that incredible brain that God has put inside your head to work and let it dwell on His Word…and it will reform you through the power of the Spirit that takes it and makes it come alive in your spirit!

PRAYER: Help us to have the resolve of King David to hide Your Word in our hearts, and to think about such a praiseworthy thing at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/01/20 – The Invitation to Come Home

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DayBreaks for 7/01/20: The Invitation to Come Home

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Years ago, I read a moving story about a young man who had quarreled harshly with his father and left home in his anger.  During the years he was gone, he continued to stay in touch with his mom, and he wanted very badly to come home for Christmas, but he was afraid his father would not allow him.  His mother wrote to him and urged him to come home, but he did not feel he could until he knew his father had forgiven him.  Finally, there was no time for any more letters.  His mother wrote and said she would talk with the father, and if he had forgiven him, she would tie a white rag on the tree which grew right alongside the railroad tracks near their home, which he could see before the train reached the station.  If there was no rag, it would be better if he went on.

The young man decided this was a risk he could take, so he started homeward.  As the train drew near his home; he was so nervous he said to his friend who was traveling with him, “I can’t bear to look.  Sit in my place and look out the window.  I’ll tell you what the tree looks like and you tell me whether there is a rag on it or not.”  So, his friend changed places with him and looked out the window.  After a bit the friend said, “Oh yes, I see the tree.”  The son asked, “Is there a white rag tied to it?”  For a moment, the friend said nothing.  Then he turned, and in a very gentle and quivering voice said, “There is a white rag tied to every limb of that tree!”

That, in a sense, is what God is saving in John 3:16 and 17. God has removed the condemnation and made it possible to come freely and openly home to him.  God didn’t tie white rags to the tree – He had himself nailed there.  The cross is our sign that it is safe to come home to the Father!

PRAYER: For the welcome You give us, we, in our desperation for our Father’s love, thank You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/26/20 – The Greatest Protest

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Strongest Protest

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed not only what kind of world we have, but also what kind of God we have: in a world of gross unfairness we have a God of sacrificial love.

The Father could have taken a different form of protest rather than the cruciform way.  He could have obliterated mankind in the blink of an eye.  He could have stopped the rain and plants from growing and watched while sinful humanity slowly, painfully, starved to death or died of thirst.  It is His world – He can do what He wants to with it.  But His love wouldn’t let Him do any of those things.  In many ways, there wasn’t much else He could have done and been the Being that John described when he said, “God is love.” 

PRAYER: We rejoice to have a God whose Name is Love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/25/20 – The Gift of a World

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Gift of a World

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

One year just before Christmas, a Christian by the name of Halford Luccock asked his two young granddaughters what they would like for Christmas.  “Give us a world!” they responded with childish enthusiasm.  It took Luccock a while to understand what they wanted but eventually he concluded that what they wanted was a globe.  He was happy to get it for them, so he went shopping for a nice, big globe that would spin and which would also be an attractive addition to the room the girls shared. 

Christmas morning arrived and he waited to see their excitement and joy as they opened their gift from him.  Yet, somehow when the present was opened, he sensed they were a bit disappointed. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I thought this is what you wanted.” “Well, yes,” said one of them, “but we were kind of hoping for a lighted world.”  Immediately he understood that what they wanted was a globe with a light inside.

“I can fix that,” he said. “Let me take it back and exchange it for a lighted one.” Unfortunately, the store where he bought the globe did not sell lighted ones. So, he got his money back and set out to find a lighted world rather than a darkened one. Finally, he located a globe with a light in it, bought it and presented it to his granddaughters, who were absolutely thrilled with it.  Later, when telling a colleague about this episode, he was asked if he’d learned anything from this experience.  “Yes,” he said, “I learned one thing.  I learned that a lighted world costs more.”

A lighted world does cost more.  It cost God His Son.  If we are serious about letting our light shine in today’s world, it will cost us as well.

PRAYER: Thank You for the Light of the World that has turned our darkness into day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 6/23/20 – Celebration of Light

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The aurora borealis, a dance of light.

DayBreaks for 6/23/20: Celebration of Light

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

I believe it was Ben Franklin who coined the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”  But what you may not know is why that saying came to be.  Partly, at least, it was due to recognition of the fact that the night time is perilous and fraught with danger and the wise will go to bed early rather than be out and about where they are more prone to being attacked and hurt!

In 21st century America, we have artificial light all around us: streetlights, tungsten lights, fluorescent lights, spotlights, stoplights, car lights, flashing lights, strobe lights…it seems that you can’t get away from artificial light.  Artificial light is so pervasive that it is hard to find a place to really view the stars.  We are blessed to live in the country, and when people come out to our home in the evenings, they usually come out as they prepare to go home and are shocked by how many stars they can see.  Those same stars are in the skies over their own home in town, but they just can’t see them because of all the ambient light from artificial sources.  Because light is so prevalent today, it is difficult for us to appreciate the way night was perceived in earlier times. For millennia, people illuminated their dwellings and workplaces with fire. It was not until William Murdock invented the gaslight in 1803, that large areas could be lit up after dark. For centuries before that, people literally walked in darkness if they walked at all at night.

It was true in Bible times.  People living then fully comprehended the meaning and dangers of the darkness.  When a prophet said that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, they were speaking of something vivid, dramatic and hopeful. When they spoke of Christ as the light of the world, they were making the claim that Jesus had the ability to transform their world from one of darkness, danger and despair to one of hope, safety and joy. It helps us to understand the literal darkness of that ancient world to appreciate the words of the Psalmist: The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? (27:1) Or, the words of St. John: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (1:5)

Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost point on the North American continent.  Because of the tilt of the earth on its axis, Barrow is also one of the darkest places in the world. The sun sets in Barrow in November and won’t show up again until sometime in late January.  Getting through over two months of perpetual night cannot be easy – and it isn’t, not even to the natives who live there: in this tiny, seemingly innocuous outpost home to 3,000 hardy hunters, whalers, lawyers and public employees one finds one of the highest attempted suicide rates in Alaska.  Darkness drives people to do dark things.

Light, however, pushes people to do things that are right and decent partly because they don’t want dark deeds to be revealed.  Light also encourages celebration: the good folk of Barrow have parties on the frozen sea/ground when the sun makes its reappearance. 

I look forward to the party when the Son makes His reappearance.  How about you?

PRAYER: We rejoice to know that the night won’t last forever, and that even on the darkest night, Your vision is unimpaired and You see all clearly and can defend us from the dangers that we cannot even see ourselves!  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 6/12/20 – Lurching Toward the Hay Bale

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DayBreaks for 6/12/20: Lurching Toward the Hay Bale

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

I’ve been preaching for the past couple of weeks about faith…and doubt.  Churches and Christians like to hear about faith but doubt is not frequently spoken of unless it is in condemnatory terms.  I, for one, that that’s sad.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that doubt per se is a good thing, but then again, it isn’t always bad, either.  For example, there were those who doubted the church’s teaching in centuries gone by that suggested slavery was right, or who didn’t agree that medicine was an instrument of the Devil and that Christian’s shouldn’t use it because it reflected a lack of faith in God and prayer.  In those cases, people were right to doubt the position of the church and argue against it. 

In my own life, I have found doubt to be constructive.  When I have doubts, it drives me to study, to reflect, to listen and learn all that I can to determine the truth of a matter.  I think that’s good.  As I’ve said on multiple occasions before: the truth never has to be afraid of being examined.  Truth will always be truth, just as 2+2 will always be 4 in a decimal world. 

Doubt can, however, also be bad…even deadly.  There is a story that was told by a 14th century monk from France about a donkey that was confronted with two equally attractive, delicious looking and equally distant bales of hay.  The animal stares at one, then the other, leans to move towards one but then hesitates…stares some more, then leans to go to the other one…but then hesitates, stares some more…and so it goes until eventually the animal dies of starvation because he has no logical justification for moving towards one bale of hay or the other.  It never reached the food it so desperately needed because it couldn’t make up its mind between the two alternatives.

Simply put: without some element of risk, there is and can be no faith.  But being stuck in the middle between faith and doubt and not moving towards one or the other, may be the greatest danger of all, because it removes all passion from a relationship with God.  Jesus himself seems to have stressed this point when he told the Laodiceans in Revelation that he wished they were either “hot or cold” – anything but lukewarm.  Those who are waiting for an empirical proof of the existence of God will have to wait until the Second Coming – but then it will be too late to conduct experiments to determine the reality and truth of God’s existence and of Jesus’ identity.  Those who fail to move in faith towards God because they can’t prove to themselves if He’s real will eventually, like the donkey, starve to death spiritually because faith for them has become an intellectual question – and that is never the definition of Biblical faith.

As the apostle Paul wrote, As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. – 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

As Moses said to Israel as they readied to enter the promised land: Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. –  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Don’t die of spiritual starvation because of doubts.  Eat of the Bread of Life…and live!

PRAYER: We have so often been caught up in smooth talk and persuasive arguments that have led us in the wrong ways and caused us to doubt.  Help us to not doubt in Your goodness, nor in the offer You extend to us that we may eat and live!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/11/20 – The God Who Never Answers Prayers

DayBreaks for 6/11/20: The God who Never Answers Prayers

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

This past Saturday, we had a Celebration of Life service for one of the godliest and most grace-filled women I’ve ever had the chance to meet.  She’d been a faithful member of our congregation for a number of years before she finally lost her struggle to cancer.  It wasn’t her first bout with that enemy – I know she’d fought and defeated it at least twice before it rose up too strong to be overcome.  It was a wonderful celebration we had – this woman was truly a saint and it showed through those her life had touched.  It was a celebration – but also a reminder that there is an enemy named death.

In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the Underworld, the god of the Dead, was the most hated of all the immortal beings because he was held to be the only god who never answered prayer.  Never. 

The exception that proves the rule is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Orpheus was the greatest of mortal musicians.  When his beloved wife, Eurydice, died, he simply could not accept the finality of that loss.  So he took his harp and journeyed to the Underworld where he played so beautifully, sang so poignantly of grief and sorrow, that tears of molten iron ran down the normally immovable face of Hades, and for the only time ever recorded, he relented. Eurydice would be permitted to follow Orpheus back into the world of the living, the world of the sun. But he must not look behind him until they had both safely emerged from the darkness of Hades’ realm back into the sunlight.

So imagine Orpheus’ feelings as he begins the long walk by himself through the dark tunnel.  He sees the small point of light at the end, and he begins to hear faint footsteps, growing ever louder and more solid, as Eurydice begins to resume physical form and follow behind him.  He desperately wants to look backwards and see her again, to confirm that it is her footsteps that he hears approaching behind him!  But he dare not. 

At the point where they only had one more step to go before Orpheus’ quest to regain Eurydice would be completed, at that instant when one more step would mean his goal would have been achieved and her life would have been snatched back from stone-faced Hades, at that moment she stumbles against a stone and cries out in pain, and by instinct, without thinking, he turns to catch her and keep her from falling.  But he has broken the ban, he has violated the requirement, he has transgressed the taboo.  And so he turns only to see her for one intolerably heartbreaking moment reaching for him as she evaporates and fades back into the mist, forever lost in the darkness.

Perhaps the hardest thing about Death to accept is that impenetrable wall brutishly erected across your path, that steel door slammed in your face.  It simply doesn’t matter how important and essential the departed loved one has been to your life, you aren’t getting him back.  That is what makes it the great and final Enemy: “The last enemy to be defeated is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).

And that is what Jesus overcame not just by his own resurrection, but by raising Lazarus and the son of the widow from Nain!  Should it be any wonder to us that the people were filled with terror and awe when the dead man sat up and began to speak?!  

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. – John 5:28-29  This is the last, great and final hope of Christianity – that the stone wall will be shattered, that the steel door will be destroyed…and so we shall be forever with the Lord!

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

PRAYER: I thank You that YOU are a God who hears the prayers of those who cry out to You, and that You will one day answer even our prayers to see and be with Your saints of all ages once again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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