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 10/06/20 – Playing Games at the Foot of the Cross

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Matthew 27:35-36 (NLT2) – After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.

The day started like any other for the Roman soldiers. Another day, another execution. So they went to the hill called Calvary, nailed the offender to the cross and then got down to the serious business of gambling – right at the foot of the cross.

There were items to be divvied up – a cloak, an inner garment and some sandals to be sure. So they bet on who would get what and a few walked away with the spoils from the Nazarene.

Have you thought about how that scene must have looked to Jesus as he looked down at them? It must have been mind-blowing! Here they were, mere feet away from the most important and earthshattering event ever – and they were oblivious to the simple fact that it was God on the tree. At least they all seem to have been oblivious except one who eventually started paying attention and made his own startling declaration about who they were killing.

Oh, it’s so easy to be shocked by their behavior and games they were playing at the foot of the cross! But let’s not miss this: we aren’t that different than those soldiers – even those of us who bear the name of the Crucified One!

Consider: churches fight over a finite population of potential members. We dole out condemnation and judgments. We are seeking our own personal gain (a sandal here, a cloak there) to get ahead, get something for free.

We hold rallies celebrating how righteous my cause is and how unrighteous you are if you differ from my views. We write books about what other believers are doing wrong. We major in telling tales about the “others” and take joy in unveiling weaknesses – not for the purpose of restoration – but to take them down! We argue over points of “doctrine”, about other denominations and whether or not they are “of the Lord”.

And Jesus must look down at us in stunned disbelief.

As Max Lucado put it: “We, too, play games at the foot of the cross…So close to the timber yet so far from the blood…we are so close to the world’s most uncommon event but we act like common crapshooters huddled in bickering groups and fighting over silly opinions.

“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed.

“One, not one in groups of two thousand. But one in One. One church. One faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christians. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.”

What can we do to stop playing games at the foot of the cross? Build bridges, toss a rope to someone struggling to keep their head above the swelling tide, pray for unity. Choose to “be the soldier who snaps to his senses, jumps to his feet, and reminds the rest of us, ‘Hey, that’s God on that cross!”

There are far too many games being played at the foot of the cross. Let’s refuse to play those petty games any more!

PRAYER: Jesus, take mercy on us! Turn us from game playing to Kingdom building! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/17/20 – I Knew Who They Were

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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:

Barbara Brown Taylor, in Christian Century, created a word picture of Jesus at a feast.  Sometimes we have a hard time identifying with Biblical stories because they occurred in a time and place that is quite remote and distant to us.  The cultures were different, customs were different.  And it makes it hard for us to really grasp the dynamics of what was taking place.  So, I appreciated this prose picture that forced me to see the story of Jesus at this feast in a new and more modern light:

“So if I were putting together a sinners table at the Huddle House, it might include an abortion doctor, a child molester, an arms dealer, a garbage collector, a young man with AIDS, a Laotian chicken plucker, a teenage crack addict, and an unmarried woman on welfare with five children by three different fathers. Did I miss anyone? Don’t forget to put Jesus at the head of the table, asking the young man to hand him a roll, please, and offering the doctor a second cup of coffee before she goes back to work.

“If that offends you even a little, then you are almost ready for what happens next. Because what happens next is that the local ministerial association comes into the restaurant and sits down at a large table across from the sinners. The religious authorities all have good teeth and there is no dirt under their fingernails. When their food comes, they hold hands to pray. They are all perfectly nice people, but they can hardly eat their hamburger steaks for staring at the strange crowd in the far booth.

“The chicken plucker is still wearing her white hair net, and the garbage collector smells like spoiled meat. The addict cannot seem to find his mouth with his spoon. But none of those is the heartbreaker. The heartbreaker is Jesus, sitting there as if everything were just fine. Doesn’t he know what kind of message he is sending? Who is going to believe he speaks for God if he does not keep better company than that? I saw them eating and I knew who they were.”

Galen’s Thoughts: the people at that table were you and I.  We are all like those who sat at the table with Jesus.  And like them, we need His mercy and grace just as much, if not more.  I can’t help but wonder at which table we would have chosen to sit – with Jesus and the outcasts, or with the local ministerial association across the room.

PRAYER: Help your word to come alive to us today so we can see ourselves in every page and learn what it is that you want us to become!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/27/20 – 2020: The Year of the Lord’s Favor

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This will be a strange DayBreaks. I may be castigated by some for what I write today but please know that I mean no offense to anyone and I truly hurt for those who have been impacted by COVID-19, hurricanes, derechos, tornados, fires and the like. I would never minimize the pain and heartache involved in those events.

Today I attended a webinar about how the church around the world has responded to the pandemic. It was inspiring! Someone mentioned this verse from Luke 4:18-19 and Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

As I listened, speaker after speaker (these were leaders of some of the largest faith-based organizations in the world such as World Vision, IJM, Compassion International, Young Life and the like) talked about how the church globally was heroically responding to the pandemic, it struck me that rather than this being a year of terrible calamity and loss that we could see it as the year the Lord’s favor has been poured out globally. Hard is always hard, but it’s not always bad.

Strange, you say? Yes, I suppose in a way it is. But they told of incredible things the church is doing, of hugely increased interest in spiritual things globally, about people witnessing the love of Christ at work to help them and care for the sick and dying. They spoke of how God has had to push the church into new wineskin types of thinking to see and seize new opportunities on how to share the gospel with the world that make more people reachable with the Good News and love of Christ than ever before.

Someone relayed this Chinese proverb: “Not all storms come to disrupt out lives. Some stores come to clear our paths.” God is constantly trying to channel the church (that’s us, folks!) into his purposes and he’ll move heaven and earth to do it.

What might God be asking you to do in this crisis? How might you need to change your thinking to see increased opportunities around you?

Instead of being consumed with thinking of it as a disastrous year, we may need to change our thinking to see it as the year of the Lord’s favor when humanity is drawn to him through these extraordinary events. Although he cares about all aspects of our lives, his ultimate goal is to see heaven populated with people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

PRAYER: Lord, your ways are not ours. Your thoughts are not ours. Your purposes are beyond our comprehension. We feel somewhat adrift in this maelstrom but help us see your hand in the storm as you open doors of opportunity for your church and us as individuals to serve the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/13/20 – And They All Came Tumbling Down

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Remember that old nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty, the old egg who sat on a wall and fell off, but who couldn’t be put back together again in spite of the best efforts of “all the king’s men and all the king’s horses”?  Or the old children’s Christian song about the foolish man who built his house on the sand and how the walls “all came tumbling down”?  There are great lessons to be learned from such simple stories and rhymes.

Edward Gibbon, the author of the seminal work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, examined and studied the decline and fall of the mighty Roman Empire.  At the conclusion of his research, he attributed the fall of mighty Rome to five key things:

1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.

2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses (giveaways) for the populace that led to laziness and complacency.

3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.

4. The building of gigantic armaments and armies to protect themselves from outsiders when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.

5. The decay of religion–faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds awfully familiar to me.  But instead of focusing on the nation, we need to focus on ourselves first, for if God’s people are not different from the world when it comes to the five things Gibbon discovered, will not our own personal lives all come tumbling down, too?  Statistics say that those who identify themselves a born-again believers are not different that the world in most of these things: our attitude towards family and sexual mores, wanting handouts instead of being willing to earn things by the sweat of our brow, the pursuit of pleasure and comfort while others are starving and in torment, erecting all sorts of mechanisms to protect us from others who can hurt us but turning a blind eye to the disease that is within our own flesh and spirit, a faith that has become watered-down, ritualistic and that has lost meaning and power to make us different from the world around us. 

I fear that the diseases that led to the fall of Rome will lead eventually to the fall of America, but before that happens, we need to look hard at the church (that’s His disciples – we ourselves – not buildings!) and see if we aren’t already crumbling from within for all these reasons.  If you look at your life and feel that you’re doing just fine, you may be.  But someone once said that the greatest sin is to have no sense of sin.  We can all be guilt of that far too easily.

“Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”

PRAYER: Father, turn Your Spirit loose to search each corner of our hearts and reveal to us the corruption that is within us as individuals, as Your church, and as a nation that You brought to power to do good in this world.  Let us repent with bitter tears and return to You in all humility and trust.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/07/20 – Hope for Troubled Times

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DayBreaks for 7/07/20: Hope for Troubled Times

Daniel 2:44 (CSBBible) – In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.

What an amazing time we live in. Pandemics, scandals, demonstrations, riots, political division that is truly painful to see. It’s easy to lose our sense of balance in such a time.

I think Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream speaks to us at this moment, and every moment, in time. What Daniel tells the king (who was far and away the most powerful earthly ruler of his day) was this: a mighty kingdom is coming that will smash any earthly kingdom into smithereens. It’s not a kingdom of this world, but it is the kingdom of God himself.

As Jared Wilson put it in The Story of Everything: “It is the reality of the kingdom of God…that should comfort Christians today, not the rising and falling of popular opinion or the ways of the Supreme Court or the majority votes in Congress or the moral sanity of the president. All those people are sinners. We can root for them and persuade them and pray for them and hope for them – but we cannot hope in them, because none of them is not a sinner. Only Jesus Christ’s kingdom comes with perfect grace and peace and justice. And only Jesus Christ’s kingdom will remain.”

It may seem strange to think of the kingdom of Christ conquering all when we look around today. After all, when Christ came it was as a baby and he died not in a palace but on a wooden cross. When he came he didn’t come as a typical king does to fight and conquer and amass territory and wealth. Why didn’t he come that way? He didn’t have to. He already possessed it all. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”

Be reminded, Christian, not to put your hope or faith in the president or in an election or in the scientists working to prevent COVID-19 or in anything else in this world. The one thing that is worthy of our hope is the completion of the coming of the kingdom of Christ. And that is where our prayers and efforts should be focused.

PRAYER: Jesus, we long to see the mighty kingdom come in its totality and finality. Keep us from trusting in other humans for deliverance and look only to you! 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 6/19/20 – To DO or to BE – That is the Question

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DayBreaks for 6/19/20: To Do or To Be – That is the Question

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

“To be, or not to be, that is the question” is a phrase spoken by Prince Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. Hamlet is contemplating life, death and suicide, overwhelmed by life’s pain while also wondering if death is even worse than life. It is one of the most quoted lines in English literature.

This DayBreaks isn’t about suicide or death or life per se, so I hope you’ll continue reading.

The preacher said something this past Sunday that prompted the title of this DayBreaks.  When you think about it, which is more important as a Christian – doing the right things or being the right thing?  I grew up in a denomination where doing the right things was stressed – you had to do certain things and not do others if you were a “good” Christian. Some would say that’s works-based religion and I suppose they’d be right.

But if we asked Jesus which he’d prefer, I suspect he’d want us to be more than to do. He’d want us to be people of justice, mercy, compassion, to be a disciple, a lover of our fellow man. Sure, there’s a link between the being and doing – but if you are not being who you truly are, the works will die out soon enough.

And what are we to be? Well, someone said that “Sanctification is the process of becoming who we already are in Christ.” You see, in Christ we are already viewed as perfect – because we are IN him and his righteousness covers us fully and completely. But we know in our souls we are not perfect – hence the above saying about sanctification is spot on.

I am to be one who loves God above anything else in heaven or on earth. I am supposed to be honest, fair, loving, a healer of hurts, a righter of wrongs, forgiving, a walking, breathing imitator of Jesus. That’s what Jesus desires from us the most – to be like him. To do, or to be…the answer should be fairly clear to us all. Now, it were only that easy.

PRAYER: Jesus, don’t let us get distracted with busyness doing for you that we neglect who are to be in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/15/20 – Contradicting Culture

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DayBreaks for 6/15/20: Contradicting Culture

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

The following is from a sermon by Tim Keller, author of The Reason for God, and I thought it was worth sharing.  Many today think that Christians are busy-bodies who do nothing more than rail against the culture of their time.  And, let’s face it, perhaps at times we have deserved such criticism.  Here’s that Tim had to say, I urge you to contemplate it seriously. I think he makes an excellent point:

“Many of us read a certain passage of Scripture and say, “That’s so regressive, so offensive.” But we ought to entertain the idea that maybe we feel that way because in our particular culture that text is a problem. In other cultures that passage might not come across as regressive or offensive.

“Let’s look at just one example. In individualistic, Western societies, we read the Bible, and we have a problem with what it says about sex. But then we read what the Bible says about forgiveness—”forgive your enemy;” “forgive your brother seventy times seven;” “turn the other cheek;” “when your enemy asks for your shirt, give him your cloak as well”—and we say, “How wonderful!” It’s because we are driven by a culture of guilt. But if you were to go to the Middle East, they would think that what the Bible has to say about sex is pretty good. (Actually, they might feel it’s not strict enough!) But when they would read what the Bible says about forgiving your enemies, it would strike them as absolutely crazy. It’s because their culture is not an individualistic society like ours. It’s more of a shame culture than a guilt culture.

“Let me ask you a question: If you’re offended by something in the Bible, why should your cultural sensibilities trump everybody else’s? Why should we get rid of the Bible because it offends your culture? Let’s do a thought experiment for a second. If the Bible really was the revelation of God, and therefore it wasn’t the product of any one culture, wouldn’t it contradict every culture at some point? Therefore, if it’s really from God, wouldn’t it have to offend your cultural sensibilities at some point? Therefore, when you read the Bible, and you find some part of it outrageous and offensive, that’s proof that it’s probably true, that it’s probably from God. It’s not a reason to say the Bible isn’t God’s Word; it’s a reason to say it is. What makes you think that because this part or that part of God’s Word is offensive, you can forget Christianity altogether?”

How arrogant that people (including us) think that our judgments and pronouncements about what is good and bad in culture are always true and right!  In fact, if we find ourselves in constant and strong alignment with our culture, chances are good that we need to open again the Word and see what it has to say about it!

PRAYER: Let us have more of Your wisdom, O Lord, and learn to apply Your Word to the life situations we face and the culture that surrounds us.  We want to be strong disciples, Lord, and help us to take the stands that You would like for us to take – and to do so with compassion and grace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen

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

DayBreaks for 6/08/20 – Forgiven

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DayBreaks for 6/08/20: Forgiven

We struggle with many things in life. We struggle with pride, pain, relationships, work, finances, failures, parenting, loving others who are different from us…the list could go on virtually ad infinitum. But there is one thing that we as believers struggle with perhaps more than non-believers. and that thing is forgiveness – and by that I mean accepting that we have been forgiven.

Why is that so?  You’d think that of all people on this green and blue orb that Christians would be the quickest ones to accept our forgiveness. And that’s true of many. But there are untold thousands, if not millions, of believers who just have a hard time accepting that our sins are forgiven. I think it is because while we have forgiveness, we also have the Spirit. Part of the role of the Spirit is to convict us of sin – not to torment of agonize us, but to cause us to confess and to steer us back into a good path.

If we are to believe anything about the cross, it must be this: that the price for ALL our sins was paid for – past, present and future, when the God-man died sinlessly. It wasn’t just for the sins I’d committed before I became a believer – though those are surely forgiven – but every sin I’ve committed since then and every sin I’ll ever commit in the future.

Maybe you did something this weekend, or last week, or last month or 20 years ago that you believe can never be forgiven. That simply isn’t true. To say it is unforgiveable is to deny the power of the blood of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice to take care of YOUR sin. My friend, you are not bigger, nor is your sin more powerful than the Father’s heart of love for you.

I love music and find it very powerful in causing me to think. And so I want to share this YouTube link with you from David Crowder’s Forgiven, where he says, “Forgiven, forgiven! Child there is freedom from all of it. Say goodbye to every sin you are forgiven.”

Walk in perfect freedom – now and forever!

Romans 8:1-2 (ESV) – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for our freedom – bought and paid for by your mighty, invincible blood! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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