DayBreaks for 1/04/19 – The Passing of the Shadow

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DayBreaks for 01/04/2019: The Passing of the Shadow

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09 (modified):

Whew.  The holidays are now over.  It is a bittersweet feeling, isn’t it?  On the one hand, I love the excitement and joy of the holidays, and the chance to share that with family, loved ones and friends.  I love the Christmas carols and was surprised to find some of them playing in the malls this year. I love the bright lights and colors, and yes, the nuts and chews of Christmas from See’s Candies!

But it isn’t long and the holidays that have been so long awaited are over and done with.  The family has returned to their own homes and gone back to work, the Christmas decorations have been pulled down and boxed away for another year, the candy is gone (thank goodness!) and the Christmas carols and tree have been tucked away for 11 months.  And – I’m tired. 

As I was reflecting on this one day, I was watching our old dog, Rainie.  She’s 12 years old now and she’s clearly winding down.  She walks with a strange, stiff gait because of some arthritis in her hips, and if you look into her eyes, they are not dark and clear – they are milky and a bit subdued.  She is afraid, or in a bit too much discomfort, to hop up on the bed as easily as she used to.  Now, at night, when she comes back into the house, she will whimper and whine before even attempting her leap of faith up to the top of the mattress.  And she huffs and puffs a lot more than when she was younger.  It saddens me to see this happening before my very eyes and to be powerless in the face of the inexorable march of time.  And then I realize, I am on the same march, head down as I trudge the pathway before me.

The passing of the holidays and the winding down of life have parallels that can teach us.  We start out exuberant, full of excitement and energy.  We hurry here and there because the world is so big and there is so much to see and do and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  But then, as with Christmas, the holiday is over before you are even fully aware that it has begun.  Old friends and family are no longer around.  We find ourselves more fearful of running around too far from home, and we also whimper and whine as we rise or recline on our bed.  Not to mention the eyesight. 

This is the way of all flesh.  This is what makes our God and His promises so precious – He does not grow old, tired, and weary.  He doesn’t get cataracts.  His bones don’t ache and generate the whimpers that accompany old age.  And He promises us that the day will come when we will be like Him in that regard.  We try to imagine a life without any sort of pains or sadness and we cannot grasp even the tiniest crumb of that reality.  But we do long for it.  The life we so longed to live when we were younger has been spent somehow, somewhere – like a shadow passing in the night, soundlessly and quickly, not even leaving footprints behind.  Hold on to the fact that the shadow is passing, but it isn’t passing from daylight to darkness, but instead the shadow is passing to daylight, from earth to heaven, from mortality to immortality, from death to life.  And there shall be no more weeping.

PRAYER:  Lord, life often feels like both a blessing and a burden.  Thank you for the promise that you will make our joys even greater than anything we have experienced in this lifetime, and that you will remove our sorrows eternally.  Thank you, that Jesus “is the life!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 01/02/19 – Commitment

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DayBreaks for 01/02/2019: Commitment

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

Commitment.  How committed are you? “Well,” you might say, “that depends on what you’re asking about.” Fair enough. How committed are you to your marriage? How committed are you to your children? How committed are you to your church and faithful, every-day and every-week service? How committed are you to your job and to being a light for Christ in the world? How committed are you to Jesus?

What is commitment? We think of it as “stick-to-itiveness”. Or we think of it in terms of dedication to a purpose or determination to reach a goal. Those aren’t bad, but there’s another aspect of commitment that really shows whether or not we are “committed”. It came in a devotion from Bob Gass Ministries. Here’s what he had to say: “If I could pick one word to describe commitment, I’d pick the word – alone. Daniel dined and prayed alone. Elijah sacrificed and witnessed alone. Jeremiah prophesied and wept alone. Paul said, “…all men forsook me…” (2 Tim. 4:16).

“The place of commitment is the place where God intervenes on your behalf. When the three Hebrew children of God made the commitment, God brought them out of the fiery furnace without even the smell of smoke. King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he said, ‘…there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.’ (Dan. 3:29) That’s what the world is waiting for, somebody who’ll put everything on the line, get into the fiery furnace and let the world see God’s power.”

Commitment….alone. Perhaps that is the true measure of our commitment, don’t you think? Am I willing to stand for God all alone? Am I willing to stand alone for my marriage? Am I willing to stand alone for God in a workplace that is overwhelmed with darkness and that is openly hostile to Christ? The Hebrew children had God, and each other. What if they’d been alone?

I see in this concept the power of fellowship, but also the demand for commitment even if we, like Daniel, have to stand alone. It’s easy to say we’re committed when we sit in a pew on Sunday morning, but the real test of our commitment comes outside the walls of the church building when we are alone in the world.

Let me ask again: How committed are you to your marriage? How committed are you to your children? How committed are you to your church and faithful, every-day and every-week service? How committed are you to your job and to being a light for Christ in the world? How committed are you to Jesus? What you do when you are alone will tell you the answer to these questions – and reveal the depth of your true commitment!

Prayer: Teach us the kind of commitment that you have shown to us, Lord, even as you endured the loneliness of this world, this life, and the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/01/2019: Live the Power

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Generators inside Hoover Dam. See the tiny human to the lower right. 

DayBreaks for 01/01/2019: Live the Power

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2008:

I am fascinated by power – not political or positional power, but energy. I’ve never been to Niagara Falls but only seen it from flying overhead. I’ve been told by those who’ve been there that the power of the water rushing over the falls is awesome. Hoover Dam houses 17 generators that are over 70 feet tall weighing over 2000 tons each. It takes about three years to assemble each generator. The moving part of each generator weighs over 800 tons and spins 3 times per second (180 times a minute!) Together, they generate over 2000 megawatts of energy (unless my math is wrong, that’s 2 billion watts). Pretty heady stuff. But it’s nothing compared to what’s being built just over the hill from us at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It’s call the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and will be by far the most powerful laser in the world. Actually, it will be composed of 192 lasers when completed. Get this: the NIF will be able to generate 500 TRILLION watts of energy, a figure that is 100 times the total US generating capacity as of today. But there’s a tiny catch…that level of power will only be sustainable for 4 billionths of a second.

Here’s a story about another kind of power: “Christian Herter was the governor of Massachusetts, running for a second term in office. After a busy morning kissing babies and chasing votes, he arrived at a church BBQ in his honor. Late in the afternoon, he was famished. Moving down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person. “Excuse me,” Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?” “Sorry,” the woman told him. “I’m supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person.” “But I’m starved,” the governor said. “Sorry,” the woman said again. “Only one per customer.” Governor Herter, a modest/unassuming man, decide that this time he’d throw his weight around a little. “Do you know who I am?” he said. “I’m the governor of this state.” “Do you know who I am?” the woman said. “I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”

This lady had power and authority because she knew who she was and what she was supposed to do. Have you ever thought about what the world would be like if we Christians ever really understood WHO and WHAT we are in Christ?! If we ever grasp the truth of our sonship/daughtership – look out world! In Titus 2:15 Paul encourages Titus to teach, encourage and rebuke with all authority and not to let anyone despise us. We need to be courageous and take a stand and refuse to be despised! Then, 2 Tim. 1:7 says God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love and self-control. Do you live like you believe that?

When Satan comes through life’s serving line and wants things from us – let’s agree to tell him to “move along, mister!” We don’t have to take (or give) anything to him! Live in the power of the Spirit in 2019!

PRAYER: Father, may we come to appreciate and realize who we are, and what we are becoming, in Christ!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/26/18: Not Like the World Gives

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From my friend, Barney Cargile, Barney’s Bullets:

Christmas Day, 1863. America’s poet laureate, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, found himself in a deep state of depression. America was embroiled in the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in our history. A devout abolitionist, his heart was broken by the terrible war. But even worse, his personal grief was overwhelming.  A month earlier, his oldest son was critically wounded in battle. Two years prior, his wife Fannie burned to death right in front of him, when her clothes caught fire. Longfellow was severely injured in an effort to extinguish her, and carried severe scars for the rest of his days. 

Looking out his window in Cambridge, Mass, in intense despair, he ruminated on the angel’s words to the shepherds in Luke 2:14, “Peace on earth, good will to men”. He scoffed, “There is no peace on earth. These tragic events mock God’s promise of peace.”  

But then, a Christmas miracle occurred. In an instant, everything changed, and Longfellow penned these words: 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day. 

Their old familiar carols play. 

And wild and sweet, the words repeat 

of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Through the church bells, God reminded Longfellow of the big picture; the TRUE peace that the baby in the manger brings to earth. God is not dead, nor does he sleep. He hasn’t abandoned us. The Prince of Peace still triumphs, even in the midst of war and personal tragedy, bringing peace that passes understanding: peace with God.  

Face it, if Jesus came to rid the world of war and suffering, he did a pretty lousy job! But what if…he brought something greater? What if, he did more than anyone ever dared imagine? What if he delivered a unique kind of peace, a peace so great, it transcends external circumstances? That’s the peace that inspired Longfellow to compose this cherished Christmas poem. Jesus promised, “The peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.” (John 14:27)

Our world and lives today abound with conflict and turmoil. Like Longfellow, we have a choice: cave in to despair, or embrace the peace Jesus offers. Longfellow “heard the bells on Christmas day” and his life was changed forever.

I know it’s the day after Christmas, but one more thing about the peace that Jesus gives: it is a lasting peace and it can fill your heart for the rest of your life. Embrace it!

PRAYER: Lord, we are nearly at the new year and we pray that we will know your special peace throughout the year no matter the circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 12/12/18 – Happiness

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DayBreaks for 12/12/18: Happiness

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/9/98:

The holidays are a tough time of year for many people. I know that there are those of you who will read these words who will be spending the first holidays without your parents, a child, a spouse or some other loved one. (Galen, 12/12/18: in fact, this is my first Christmas without my mother as she is now in glory with my dad.) As if that weren’t enough, others are unhappy because of a job that is taking the best you have to offer and no one seems to notice or appreciate your efforts. Financial burdens loom large at this time of the year. You may have guilt in your heart because you would like to give someone special something that is more than you can afford and you know you can’t give it – so you’ll settle for less and feel unhappy about it.

What is happiness? We have a sense that it is feeling cheerful, feeling good about yourself and the situation you are in. That’s what it has come to mean in our culture. But that wasn’t the original meaning or interpretation of happiness. From a Breakpoint by Charles Colson (11/9/98): “Dean Hudson, editor of Crisis magazine, writes that the classical idea of happiness had to do with a state of character and virtue. The ancient Greek word for happiness meant the formation of character over a lifetime. It referred to how well we conformed ourselves to reality: that is, the structure of the universe around us, and our own nature. Only by learning to live in accord with our true nature can we be genuinely happy.”

Our true nature is to be and act in the image of God. God doesn’t delight in things – He didn’t even delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Israelites. He already owns everything. There isn’t anything we can give to Him that He needs. He is happy because He cannot be anything except true to His own nature. We, however, have been infected with a virus that has warped and twisted us and marred our own view of what our true nature is. It is only when we get back to understanding our true nature that we will find happiness.

It seems to me that the Greeks understood this pretty well: happiness is indeed the formation of character over a lifetime. And the character that is to be formed in us is the character of Christ. As He becomes more and more real and a bigger and bigger part of our lives – we’ll find more happiness than we could ever imagine!

Some people think more money would make them happy. Or to have one more child. A bigger home. The movie, “What Dreams May Come” suggests that heaven is going to be whatever we imagine it to be or want it to be. I think that’s wrong. Heaven will be much better than that because it will be what God wants it to be. My wanting is too corrupt and not imaginative enough. God knows what will make me happy – and He knows how to provide it in abundance!

PRAYER: May we learn that happiness is not something that can be purchased in a store, and that Your plan and will for us is far better than what we would choose for ourselves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/06/18 – God and the GPS

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DayBreaks for 12/06/18: God and the GPS

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

From a sermon (“Choices”) by John Ortberg:

“I can’t live Jesus’ life and Jesus knows that, but he says: You can ask me to come and live my life in you.

“I’ll give you a picture of this. Nancy and I were in a part of the country we had never been before. We were going to be driving on obscure back roads, so we got a rental car, and the guy at the counter said to me, ‘Along with this car, if you want, you can also get a GPS system.’ Have you ever used a GPS system? You plug it in and punch in your destination. A woman’s voice will tell you how to get wherever it is you are going. Well, when the guy at the counter asked if I wanted one, my immediate response was, ‘No. That is going to cost something. I don’t need that. I can find where I’m going without that.’ Anybody want to guess what my wife weighed in with? ‘Get the GPS.’ So, we got the GPS.

“Here’s the deal: You can get the box. You can have the lady in the car, but that doesn’t mean you trust her. If you trust her, what do you do? You do what she says. You go where she tells you to go. She says, ‘Turn left,’ you turn left. If she says, ‘Turn left,’ and in your heart you think, ‘But I want to turn right,’  and then you remember, ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is death.’ Okay?

“To follow Jesus means I will do what he says. I will mess up a lot. I’m going to need his power. I know that, but I form the intention. I say to him, ‘God, with your help, as best I can, I will do what you say. I will give you my life, my time, my obedience.’

“Here is the thing: If that is not your settled intent, then it is best to be honest about it. If that is not your settled intent, then whatever else you might be, you are not a follower of Jesus. An admirer, maybe. But he is looking for followers. He is looking for somebody who will say, ‘All right, God.’

“There is something else you need to know about him—something that is also true when dealing with a GPS system. At one point when we were driving in this car, I was quite sure the lady was wrong. She said to go left, and I didn’t go left. I went right, because I knew she was wrong. Then as an interesting response, she said, ‘Recalculating route. When safe to do so, execute a U-turn.’ I knew she was wrong, so I unplugged her. That’s the beauty of that little box. You can unplug her.

“I got lost as a goose. My wife enjoyed that immensely.

“So we plugged that lady back in, and you know what she said? ‘I told you so, you little idiot.’ She said, ‘You think I’m going to help you now? You rejected me. You just find your way home by yourself.’ No—she didn’t say that. She said, ‘Recalculating route. When safe to do so, execute a U-turn.’

“Now see, that’s grace. As soon as you’re ready to listen, as soon as you’re ready to surrender, God will say, ‘Here is the way home. Execute a U-turn.’ That’s repentance. ‘I’ll bring you home.’ That is grace. That’s Jesus. He is the only one with authoritative wisdom about how to live. He is the only one who brings about the possibility of forgiveness for your sin and mine. He is the only one to give any kind of realistic hope of conquering death, of life beyond the grave.

“Why would you not give your full devotion to Jesus? He does not present himself as a good, spiritual teacher to be admired from a distance. He presents himself as Master, as Lord, as the one to be followed and served and obeyed and worshiped. There is no other way. He is it.”

PRAYER: For grace and mercy we thank You, Almighty and Eternal God.  Thank You for giving us direction.  Give us the wisdom to follow it faithfully!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/03/18 – Smart Devil

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DayBreaks for 12/03/18: Smart Devil

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

As a minister, I must tell you about one of my pet peeves.  I despise the concept of “professional” ministry.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my “job” and what I do.  What I hate is the distinction people have about clergy and laity.  For one thing, I think it is not very biblical.  Sure, there were rabbis in the days of Jesus – and there will always be preachers and teachers and others who are blessed with the calling and privilege of proclaiming the Word.  But the distinction has created some real problems, too.

Over time, people became experts at medicine, astronomy, philosophy, literature, physics, art, music…and that is as it should be.  After all, you don’t want a non-expert opening your chest to do a bypass, do you?  It is only right that people develop their skills and talents to perform work that others cannot do.  But when it comes to our walk with God, it is strange that we have the idea that a professional is needed to tell us how to walk with and follow Jesus. 

Do we really need an expert to tell us how to become Christ-like?  2 Timothy 3:16-17 would tend to suggest otherwise: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  Do you see it?  We don’t need someone to tell us what to do to do everything as Jesus would have us do them.  We just need to know the Scripture.  Scripture gives us all the instruction we need.  And it becomes dangerous when we lean on some other person and their opinion.  We can always count on Scripture to be reliable and trustworthy.  We can’t always count on other’s thoughts (or our own!) in the same way.  

Following Jesus through the teaching of the Scripture makes anyone, clergy or laity, a Jesus-expert.  There is no excuse for men and women, girls and boys (especially in America) to be ignorant of the Word or to be anything less than a Jesus-expert.  The very idea that we can’t all be Jesus-experts is one of the devil’s most clever ploys.  He’s a smart devil, our enemy.  Don’t let him fool you or make you think you need some expert to tell you how to do it.  The Spirit IS the expert! The Word is inspired!  And Jesus will always be the truth!

PRAYER: Almighty Father, help us to be students of the Word, to become experts at following Jesus.  Let us accept no excuse for being ignorant of the Word and tone-deaf to the Spirit.  May we all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>