DayBreaks for 1/13/20 – The Possibility of Miracles

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DayBreaks for 1/13/20: The Possibility of Miracles

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Miracles.  We talk about them, I know folks who claim to have seen them.  More often than not, they are talking about someone being healed from an illness or disease, or the miracle of birth or conception, of human development.  It is hard to prove whether such was a miracle or a “co-incidence” in practicality.  In fact, there are those who tend to put a lot of faith in science who say that there is no such thing as a miracle. 

There is no Christian belief without faith in miracles: creation, the virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead…these form the very crux of Christianity and its beliefs.  Science rejects that miracles can be harmonized with a modern, educated and rational view of the world.  So, once armed with that conclusion, they turn to the bible and say it can’t be reliable because of its insistence on miracles and a God of the miraculous.  The thinking goes like this: “Science has proven that there is no such thing as miracles.”  But, as Timothy Keller put it in The Reason for God, “..embedded in such a statement is a leap of faith.  It is one thing to say that science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any others.  It is quite another to insist that science proves that no other causes could possibly exist…The scientist must always assume there is a natural cause.  That is because natural causes are the only kind its methodology can address.  It is another thing to insist that science has proven there can’t be any other kind.  There would be no experimental model for testing the statement: ‘No supernatural causes for any natural phenomenon is possible.’  It is therefore a philosophical presupposition and not a scientific finding.”

Alvin Plantinga, the Christian philosopher, shows the folly of such a line of thinking when he wrote: “Macquarrie perhaps means to suggest that the very practice of science requires that one reject the idea of God raising someone from the dead…[This] argument…is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost care keys only under the streetlight on the grounds that the light was better there.  In fact, it would go the drunk one better: it would insist that because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.”

It is ludicrous to think that science is so smart that it holds all the answers – even to things that cannot be put under a microscope or subjected to scientific methodology. 

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  (Romans 1:22)

PRAYER: Thank you that there are reasons to walk by faith and not by sight alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/20/19 – Speaking a Foreign Language

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DayBreaks for 11/20/19: Speaking a Foreign Language

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

Just this morning, I heard that old familiar “Snap!  Crackle!  Pop!”  No – I’m not talking about Rice Krispies…I’m talking about the sounds of my bones and joints when I wake up!  The sounds of advancing age.  Do you hear them when you wake up?  I didn’t used to hear those sounds.  I think that I can still remember when my joints were freshly oiled and didn’t creak or make funny sounds, but maybe I can’t really remember that, either.

I was speaking this past Sunday on homesickness – how God has put eternity in our hearts.  In other words, we have a heavenly address stamped on our hearts – the address of God’s forever home – that we long for. 

The holidays are coming up.  People will travel across the country to be with family – to “go home.”  It is without doubt the most precious thing about the holidays – being with family to celebrate our thankfulness and the Incarnation.  Picture it: entering the house where it is warmly welcoming, leaving the cold outside behind the closing door.  The moment you enter, you smell the turkey and pies and stuffing as they cook in the oven.  You give and receive hugs from loved ones that you’ve not seen for some time.  Suddenly, your heart is at rest and your blood pressure drops like a rock in the ocean as your stresses waft away.  Home.  This is what it is supposed to be.

And that is what our forever home will be like.  I don’t know what language is spoken in heaven.  I seriously doubt that it is New Testament Greek or Hebrew or even Aramaic.  I have a hunch that it is a language and tongue that is unlike any we’ve ever heard and which will be more blissful than we can imagine.  But, for now, we speak a foreign language – the languages of this earth.  And though our language here varies from country to country or based on our nation of origin, we all speak one language here that we were never meant from the beginning to learn.  We were never meant to become so proficient at speaking the language of death and disease. 

I can’t wait to learn a new language – a language where those words are never to be heard because they describe things that will never again exist.  The day will come when I awaken to speak that new language.  In the meantime, we must deal with the vocabulary of this world and all the words that we hate: cancer, heart failure, H1N1, HIV/AIDS, abuse, murder, betrayal and the rest of the words of that ilk. 

While this is true, let us also be about learning to speak the new language of hope, joy, peace, contentment, happiness, love, mercy, grace – and the rest of the words of that heavenly language.  There are people all around us who need to hear them today.  Will you speak them?

PRAYER: Let us speak delightfully this day and uplift those around us as we let Jesus’ words flow through us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/05/19 – Job and His Complaint

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DayBreaks for 11/05/19: Job and His Complaint

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

If you have been accused (especially wrongly) of something, you want to face your accusers and try to clear your name, don’t you?  This is one of the key rights we have as individuals in America.  It’s not a new idea that came up only when America was founded, it’s been around for years and years.  Witness Job’s complaint from eons past: Job 9:32 – God is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.

Job’s friends had accused him of great and terrible sin.  To their way of thinking, there could be no other explanation for why Job was in such a pickle.  In spite of all that they’d known of Job and observed in his life, they now were convinced that he’d been secretly involved in massive deception and sin.  Who wouldn’t want to face such accusers?  But Job realizes that for them to really know the truth, God would have to be called to the witness stand.  They certainly weren’t going to take Job’s word for it – not when they suspected him of being such a sinner to start with.  (How quickly the good opinion others may have of us can deteriorate if they suspect we’re sinning!) 

So it is that Job issues his complaint about God.  If God were a human like Job (or you or me), we might be able to compel Him to come to the court so we could confront him and clear our name.  Sadly, it is a case we would lose but for the blood of Jesus – and Job knew nothing about Jesus or his future sacrifice. 

Let us not miss the irony that is so heavy in Job’s statement: what Job was longing for became reality when Jesus (God) became a man like me and was put in the court dock.  As Mike Mason wrote, “…in Jesus Christ the Almighty God has become ‘a man like me,’ and moreover a man who by standing before Pontius Pilate and the Sanhedrin has confronted every one of us in court – and yet not, as we may have expected, in His rightful capacity as Judge, but rather as the accused, the prisoner in the dock.  Through this reversal of roles He meant to show us that it is mankind who first condemned God, not the other way around, and that only by faith in Jesus can this condemnation be lifted so that we can be set free.

We “condemned” God first in the garden when mankind decided pleasure was to be preferred over obedience and we’ve been “condemning” God ever since through every act of rebellion that suggests other things are to be preferred over His will. 

So, millennia later, Job’s statement about God was resolved by Jesus’ incarnation.  Humanity put Jesus on trial then to determine if He was who He said He was.  Many concluded he was not who He claimed to be.  But others had the vision to recognize, as did the centurion who watched him die, that “Surely this man was the Son of God!” 

Here’s what may be a scary thought: as a believer, Jesus is on display through your life and actions and words.  What do people see and conclude about Him because of you?

PRAYER: Thank you for becoming a “man” like us so that we could see, hear, touch and thank you that you have made it possible for us to ask you questions through prayer!  Thank you that we do not stand in the court with you as our accuser, but as our friend, defender and Judge!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/30/19 – What Will It Be?

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DayBreaks for 10/30/19: What Will It Be?

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 5:1-2, NIV)

To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (2 Cor. 2:16, NLT)

Did you take a shower or bath this morning or last night?  Why?  If you really get down to it, most of us shower not so much for purely hygienic reasons, but because we don’t want to…well…smell!  No one wants to walk around stinking.  I’ve been in a closed car with passengers who were from the street or who were homeless and I must say, at times the smell was nearly unbearable – especially in the colder time of the year when the windows couldn’t be put down.  It’s not pleasant!  A little sweat if you’ve been playing basketball or some other sport is one thing, but the odor of a human body that hasn’t been washed perhaps for a few weeks can be overpowering. 

There is a story about a time that Dr. Lyman Beecher had received a letter which was critical of him, and when he was asked about why he didn’t reply to the letter, this is what he had to say: “One evening as I walked through a field toward my home, I encountered one of nature’s most undesirable of all creatures. I had several books in my hand which I began to throw at the creature. Unfortunately, the result of my actions was a horrible smell produced by that animal—a skunk. I determined that such an animal should be left alone.”

To a large extent, how we respond to situations determines whether or not we give off a life-giving perfume or the rotting smell of dead flesh.  There will always be unbelievers (those who are perishing, according to the 2 Cor. 2:16 passage above) who will find anything to do with us to be offensive (because we carry a message that they don’t want to accept).  We can’t compromise that message.  But how we deliver it can also either be sweet smelling, or downright repugnant.  Dr. Beecher understood that it was his actions that caused the skunk to release its powerful odor.  He could have ignored the creature, but his own actions were hostile and elicited the release of “skunk perfume.” 

If we choose to respond to attacks and criticism in a fleshly, non-Christian way, only evil will result.  Even if we respond in a Christian way, we may still be persecuted and the persecution may increase.  But at least if we respond as Jesus would have responded, we will present ourselves as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  And after all, isn’t He who we want to please? 

Let’s not be vindictive and small minded.  There are greater things at stake than just our own comfort.  Jesus took the nails – the least we can do is take some criticism in a God-honoring way.

PRAYER: Our nature, Lord, is to strike back any time that we are hurt, criticized or offended.  Let us learn to place all such things at your feet and trust you to deal with them in due time so that we may present ourselves to you as a fragrant offering!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/9/19 – The Biggest Liar

types of liars

DayBreaks for 10/09/19: The Biggest Liar

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

“A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.  The group was surrounding a dog.  Concerned that the boys might be hurting the dog, he went over and asked, ‘What are you doing with that dog?’ 

“One of the boys replied, ‘This dog is just an old neighborhood stray.  We all want him, but only one of us can take him home.  So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.’

“Of course, the pastor was taken aback.  ‘You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!’ he exclaimed.  He then launched into a 10-minute sermon against lying, beginning, ‘Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie?’ and ending with, ‘Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.’

“There was dead silence for about a minute.  Just as the pastor was beginning to think that he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, ‘All right.  Give him the dog.'”

Galen’s Thoughts:

Perhaps one of the hardest things for Christians to do is to admit that we are sinners, yet that is one of the requirements for being a Christian – to be a sinner and to admit it!  It is as if we think that once we become Christians we are instantly supposed to stop sinning (of course, we should grow and mature and sin less and less, but we will always be sinners – just forgiven ones!) When we talk to each other, we talk in a Christian code that makes us look and sound good to each other. We are told that we are to confess our sins to one another (Jas. 5:16), yet we spend a lot more time talking about the good things we do for Christ than we do about our sinful thoughts, struggles and temptations.  After all, what would people think of me if I told them about what goes on inside MY head!!!????

1 John 1:8 says: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  In the story above, the pastor claimed to be above lying, but that very statement made him a liar and won him the prized neighborhood mongrel.  I find in my own life that the very things I say I won’t do, or the things I thought would never be a temptation to me, are the things that catch me by surprise and I fall.  Maybe that is exactly the reason why – I think I’m strong in those areas and God is showing me how weak I really am.

Awareness of our weakness should make us run to God for the strength we need to overcome temptation rather than run from Him.  Let’s be more honest with each other and with God – the world may find our honesty about our struggles refreshing and change their attitude about us from being the kind of people that “pretend” to be holier-than-thou to being ordinary folks who are loved by an extraordinary God.

PRAYER: Help us to be honest enough to admit, not only to ourselves, but to others and especially to You, our sins and transgressions that we may encounter Your forgiveness and mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/02/19 – God’s Heaviest Grief

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DayBreaks for 10/02/19: God’s Heaviest Grief

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

Have you ever known someone who had tremendous potential, but they squandered their opportunities pursuing meaningless things? Perhaps you look back at your own life with a certain measure of regret for “what might have been.”  There isn’t a one of us who can’t look back at our past and say that about one thing or another.  Not one. 

On the other hand, there are others who seemingly have nothing going for them – ordinary men and women – who manage to achieve incredible things.  Mother Theresa was so small physically, and not greatly educated, but has there been anyone in the 20th century who made a bigger impact on people and the world than she did?  Maybe, but not many.  Einstein was a mail clerk, for Pete’s sake.  He wasn’t an educated mathematician or physicist to start with.  In fact, he was singled out by his early teachers and being too dumb to learn.  Yeah, right!!!

So it is that we see this paradox: there are those we’d never suspect who shake the very foundations of the world, and those who we believe could make a huge difference – but they wind up wasting their lives and talent.  When the funerals come around for both the wasters and the achievers, they will all be nice funerals and nice things will be said.  But not all that is said will likely be true. 

The Christian writer, A. W. Tozer, once said, “A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God.  This is man’s greatest tragedy and God’s heaviest grief.”

Well put, don’t you think?  We were made by God to do things – to achieve, to create, to invent and to change and grow to be more like our Father.  Because we are made in his image, we are capable of magnificence with his help! And because we often don’t represent what God is like by our actions and when we waste the life that God has blessed us with it must deeply grieve Him!

How are you doing at becoming and achieving all the potential that God put into you and your DNA?  Have you wasted much of your life in the pursuit of the frivolous?  Do you have many regrets at opportunities you had but which you lost?  Why not turn all that around today and recommit yourself to becoming more like Him and to fulfill all that He’s put into your ability to become?  There is nothing that would give Him greater joy!

PRAYER: We are often too tired and lazy, Lord, to make much effort at becoming all You have gifted us and created us to be.  May we live up to the potential You have created in each one of us that we might bring You joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/10/19 – Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty

Happy and sad at the same time?

DayBreaks for 9/10/19: Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I have spent some time lately with some very discouraged and unhappy people.  Let’s be honest: if we look at this world for very long at all, there is much to get discouraged about!  Disease and death, disappointment, rejection, mistakes in judgment, financial challenges, relationship difficulties…you know the score.  Life is tough.

In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason said: “In short, Scripture never suggests (unlike many churchgoers) that the wearing of a cheerful countenance is a good tonic for the world.  On the contrary, in Ecclesiastes we read, Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart (7:3).  How is it we have bought the lie that a Christian’s face is only publicly presentable when the corners of the mouth are pushed up?  The Apostle James actually exhorts us to …grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom’ (4:9). As the poet Emily Dickinson put it in her trenchant style, ‘I like the look of Agony, because I know it’s true.’

“Undoubtedly Scripture exhorts us to ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ and to ‘Be of good cheer.’  Yet nowhere are we commanded to ‘put on a happy face.’”

We are encouraged to rejoice because we know our names are written in heaven.  We are not to delight in the suffering per se, but in what the suffering is building into our character, knowing that the Lord has a perfect plan for us that will result in wholeness some day.  In the meantime, false cheerfulness may lead to charges of hypocrisy.  Job and David knew what it was to hurt and to weep and wail as a result.  But they also knew that they couldn’t stay with their focus on themselves and their troubles indefinitely or the burden would have become crushing.  They eventually lifted their eyes upwards to receive the help they needed in the time of their greatest pain. 

God doesn’t deny you the right to be honest about your feelings.  Quite the opposite!  He wants you to be honest with yourself and with him and others about them.  It is only then that He can begin to shape us into the image of the Suffering Servant who offers His joy to the entire world.     

PRAYER: Let us be honest with our pain and hopeful in our upward glances!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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