DayBreaks for 8/17/17 – Falling Stars and Fleeting Days

DayBreaks for 8/17/17: Falling Stars and Fleeting Days

Note from Galen: Sorry for all the DayBreaks repeats these past few months. I happen to be in a very busy season of life right now. Oh, yeah, yesterday was my anniversary, so I took the day off from DayBreaks! I appreciate your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:

On Sunday evening, 8/12, some friends and my wife and I sat out on our deck and watched about 2 hours worth of the Perseid meteor shower.  I’d read about it before, so I was familiar with what it was.  Basically, for those who may not know, it’s when the earth passes through the tail of a comet (Swift-Tuttle) that originates in the Perseus constellation.  The effect of passing through this comet’s “tail” has been observed for over 2000 years, and if you missed it, don’t worry: it happens every summer and peaks at about August 12 each year.  Some of the effects we observed were rather insignificant – faint streaks of light that happened so quickly that you didn’t dare blink or you’d miss them entirely – but others were very bright and left a long, glowing streak across the sky as the particles flamed out in the atmosphere.

There is a song by Fernando Ortega in which he contemplates God’s protection and Presence with us.  In that song, one line goes as follows: “My days are passing by like falling stars that blaze across the night sky and then they are gone…”  The Perseids gave me new perspective on exactly what that means.  And I paused in my heart to take stock of my life.  Life truly does fly by like blazing “falling stars”, does it not?  Scripture talks about it as a mist that appears for a short time and then vanishes…I think Fernando’s take on it is more apt and seemingly (at least to me) much more realistic.  Blink, and you miss it.  Blink, and it is gone, over, done.

I don’t know how long the Lord will permit me to abide on the face of the earth.  I’m 55 years old now (65 as of 2017).  From the actuarial tables, I’ve got maybe 10 years left.  10 years.  The first 20 went by so quickly, and the years from 20 to 40 even faster.  Let’s not even discuss my perspective on how fast I got from 40 to 65.  It’s frightening to contemplate.  And if I’m lucky and blessed, I may see another 15-20 years, but with the history of cardiac problems in my family, the odds are probably against that happening, but God knows. 

So, what am I to make of all this?  I suppose there are several things that come to my mind:

FIRST: I wonder what it will actually be like to die.  It struck me with new force that it’s an experience we can’t really prepare ourselves for – we just don’t know how it feels until we go through it.  Last night as I contemplated this, I wished I could ask my father what it’s like – since he’s been there and is now at home with our Lord.  I will NOT escape that experience, no matter how much I might wish to, or how good I’ve been.  I can only say that I hope it will be like falling asleep and waking up to see the Lord’s face smiling at me. 

SECOND: I ponder all the things that I’ve wanted to do in life, but that I’ve not yet done.  Places I’d like to see.  Friends I’d like to see “one more time.”  Problems and temptations that I’d like to “overcome” before I say my final farewell to earth and fly to meet Him.  Some of those things are unimportant – such as the places I’d like to see.  But what haunts me is the thought: “As I lay on my death bed, what will be my biggest regret?”  If I could answer that question and then manipulate human history and events, then I’d put that question to rest.  But, alas, I cannot manipulate life, and I don’t know until I reach the moment of death what will be my biggest regret at that moment in time.  But, methinks it’s worth thinking about. 

THIRD: I can see the holes in my character, and their size is humbling.  I see many of the faults in my obedience and love for God and others.  Those are humbling, too.  So what’s a man or woman to do who stops long enough to take stock of life and a future of unknown and uncertain duration?  I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort in these words of Scripture from Paul’s pen in Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV) – I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  I’m glad that Paul didn’t say that he himself would have to complete what God had started.  How much better that the one who began that work in us (God Himself!) will see to its completion in ME…and in you!  Although it is beyond my ken and comprehension, I have God’s word on it.  And if that’s not good enough to launch out into eternity, then what is?

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for falling stars and the sweet days of life that flee from east to west in the twinkle of an eye.  Life is sweet, Lord, and it is precious.  May we remember what a great gift this is that You’ve given us.  Thank You for Your Faithful Word and Promise to bring us to spotless perfection in Christ Jesus.  You are amazing.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/8/17: What Are You Building?

DayBreaks for 8/08/17: What Are You Building?

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/8/2007:

In the San Jose area of California stands an impressive house, but it has a strange history.  It’s called the Winchester Mystery House.  It was home to the widow of the inventor of the Winchester rifle, and after he and their only child died, Mrs. Winchester seems to have gone crazy.  At the very least, she became obsessed with the occult.  As a result, she began a huge building project that would last 38 years – and then it only stopped because she died.  Based on statements and things she wrote, she apparently came to believe that as long as she kept building on the house, that she would not die. 

For 38 years, sixteen carpenters worked full time on the house.  At its largest expanse (it has since been partly destroyed by fire), the house contained 2000 doors and 160,000 windows (that’s more windows than are in the Empire State Building.)  Two front doors were installed at an incredible price of $3000 (a huge sum of money in those days), and yet those doors were only used 1 time – by the workmen who installed them.  Throughout the building are secret passageways, stairways that lead only to the ceiling and no further, doors that open into solid brick walls.  All of this was designed for one purpose: to confuse death.  To prevent death from finding her. 

It didn’t work.  Construction was still going on when death found and overtook her.  “Death wasn’t confused at all.  Death has a wonderful sense of direction.” (Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason

Why are we such a busy people?  No one has ever moved faster than we do, yet it seems that we accomplish less and less.  But why are we so busy?  Perhaps because we’ve made poor choices and we have to work two jobs to make ends meet.  Or, maybe it’s deeper than that.  Maybe we scurry about so in order that we don’t have to think about death, maybe at some subliminal level we (like Mrs. Winchester) believe that as long as we stay busy, we’ll keep on living.  We may fear that the moment we stop, we’ll collapse and die, or that we’ll have time for thoughts about death and dying will enter our heads and we try to prevent that by staying busy.

Ortberg continues: “…don’t forget one thing.  Don’t forget that the truck will come one day and take it all away.  Don’t forget that one day Death will come.  It will not be confused.  It will know just where to look.”

Wouldn’t we all be a lot wiser to give more thought to our demise and the condition of our lives and souls at that point in time? 

Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 (NIV) A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.

Every day you are building something.  The question is, will what you are building last beyond the rim of this world?  

PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.  Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/21/17 – Mickey Mouse Immortality

DayBreaks for 6/21/17: Mickey Mouse Immortality

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

“Disneyland, believe it or not.
“That was the destination of my “questionable pilgrimage” last week. It was a long-planned vacation with my wife’s family. I am not a fan of such places. It had been a full seventeen years since I last set foot in Disneyland and I hadn’t exactly been pining away for a reprise.

“Theme parks, amusement parks, resorts, fairs – any place designed to translate us to a supernatural state of enjoyment presents itself as a particular vision of heaven and an organized denial of death. Where craft and design are skillfully employed, there is a pleasure in the spectacle. But after three days under the unreal spell of the so-called Magic Kingdom, one begins to sicken and lose grip on the hard margins of life.

“Forever let us hold our banners high – high – high – high!

Forever.  If Disneyland is a vision of immortality it is flush with the same kind of color and false health the diseased sometimes display even on their deathbeds.  It is pristine, pre-pubescent, antiseptic, apparently safe, the “happiest place on earth,” But whose heaven is it? A child’s heaven?  A sentimentalist’s heaven? A show-goer’s heaven?  A consumer’s heaven?  A marketer’s heaven?  A glutton’s heaven?  In any case it is a godless heaven and so no heaven at all.  There’s a smell of sulphur mixed in with the cotton candy.

“One risks taking this all too seriously, I know. There’s room for a modest amount of pleasure in life, after all. But when was Disneyland ever about moderation?
“And yet even here one can discover little blossoms of sublimity, little daisies that surprise in a field of plastic flowers. At the end of a tiring day to hold my one-year-old daughter wrapped in a blanket in the front seat of a bobbing boat with her head against my chest while the lights and colors and evening’s first stars are reflected in the black lacquered bow – that is beautiful.”

Galen’s Thoughts: Though sometimes I worry that my oldest son is too serious-minded, I am thankful for his gifts and wisdom that draws me up short on many occasions.  We must be careful, as Doug notes, to not create false supernatural states of enjoyment that denies the realities of life.  That kind of life operates under the motto of “Eat, drink and be merry…for tomorrow we die” (except they leave out the last 4 words!)  God has a better plan – real supernatural enjoyment that lasts forever.  Seek it.  Find Him.  And you will have found all that your heart ever truly has longed for. 

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for helping us know the beautiful from that which has false beauty and attraction.  Fill us fully with Your joy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/20/17 – Almost Home

DayBreaks for 4/20/17: Almost Home

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

The little town of Franklin, TN, was the sight of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  In the space of only 5 hours, 7000 men were killed and thousands of others wounded.  In that short amount of time, northern troops alone used up 100 wagon loads of ammunition.  Accounts written at the time described bodies being stacked six or seven deep for more than a mile along the Columbia Pike.  No one had ever seen anything like it.  The state of Tennessee didn’t have enough money to turn the entire area into a state park to commemorate the battle, but in the battleground stands the Carter house that now serves as a museum and memorial to this bloody battle. 

As terrible as the battle itself, there was one person who died on that day over 140 years ago that is arguably more tragic than the other 6999.  As the battle of Franklin raged, the Carters’ youngest son, Todd, was outside.  He was running for the shelter of home when he was struck down and died, virtually in the shadow of the house.  He was taken into the home dead.  Even today, more is probably written about that young boy who died in the battle than about any of the others who died. 

Several things about this story that struck me: 

First of all is the power of the death of the innocent.  It just doesn’t seem right when a young child is struck down because of the violence of adults.  Yet it happens.  And when the innocent die, people take notice.  An absolutely perfectly innocent person was struck down by our violence and sin.  And similar to Todd Carter, much has been written and said about him.  Jesus Christ, the innocent, was killed by us and for us.  He was almost home when he was “hit”, but he died willingly as a sacrifice – not running in terror. 

Secondly, I thought about how close we can come sometimes to being “home free” only to fail to actually arrive there.  We can’t control the people and events around us.  We know our intent – to get home safely – but sometimes things interfere with our well-laid plans, and in the shadow of the rooftop we fall.   I am very thankful that God is the One who will get us home.  I rejoice that He recognizes that I can’t make it on my own, that I alone would surely be cut down by Satan’s bullets.  He is able to handle our eternal destinies (2 Tim. 1:12).  We need to finish the race well, 2 Tim. 4:7-8, and not die in the home stretch.

The saddest thing, though, is to hear about those who are almost on the porch of the house and ready to enter, but who Satan snatches at the last moment.  The story of Paul’s defense before Agrippa is heart-wrenching, from Acts 26:28-29a: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  Paul replied, “Short time or long– I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am….”  There is no evidence Agrippa “made it home”.  How tragic and sad.

There are those today who are almost home but who aren’t quite there yet.  What a tragedy if we let them languish so close to heaven’s door. 

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the innocent Christ who died for us.  Help us to understand that we don’t control the events that swirl around our lives, but that in You, we are safe forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/30/16 – Sightless Eyes

DayBreaks for 12/30/16: Sightless Eyes

From the DayBreaks archive, 1999:

A while back, I received a call from the county sheriff’s office asking if I was available to go with one of their deputies to notify a woman that her husband of many years had died. I went down to the emergency room at the local hospital to meet the officer before going to the home and he took me into the room where the man’s body was. The man had died only minutes earlier, apparently of a heart attack while driving. He was alone in the quiet room, surrounded by medical equipment and signs of the lost battle that had been waged to keep him alive. His eyes, sightless, were open – staring at the ceiling.

I was reminded of the words of God through Jeremiah the prophet in Jer. 5:21-22: “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” As I stood gazing at the body of this man, I couldn’t help but wonder what his “eyes” were seeing at that instant. Was he beholding the face of the Redeemer or was he seeing the reality of a horrifying destiny for eternity? It added a sense of urgency to tell others about Christ.

In Matthew 13:13-15, Jesus spoke about sightless eyes and as usual, got to the heart of the problem. The people couldn’t see for the simple reason that they had closed their eyes. They didn’t WANT to see. What they saw (Jesus!) made them uncomfortable because he revealed what man was meant to be and what God demanded – holiness! And the sad part of it is that if we walk in rebellion long enough, we do become blind (Romans 1).

Think about it: what happens to you if you close your eyes? It isn’t long before you start getting hurt. There was a group of Pharisees who were referred to as the “blind and bleeding Pharisees” because when they were walking on a public street and a woman came along, they would close their eyes so they wouldn’t lust – with the inevitable result that they got bloody when they began bumping into buildings and other things in the street! That wasn’t what Jesus meant, but it illustrates the dangers of closing our eyes.

We have a choice. We can close our eyes if we want to – and when we do we run the risk of being hurt – not to mention we can’t see our brother or neighbor in need (remember the Good Samaritan and those who passed by the injured traveler?). But the worst thing we can do is close our eyes when we look into the mirror of the Word of God (James 1:23-25) and refuse to see the truth about ourselves, what we are and what we do, and what we can become through Jesus.

How is your vision? Is it clear and sharp? Are you closing your eyes in rebellion? By closing our eyes to failures and imperfections, we are only blinding ourselves – not God.

PRAYER: Keep us from willful blindness, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/23/16 – The Necessary Arrangements

DayBreaks for 11/23/16: The Necessary Arrangements

There is an Italian legend about a master and servant.

It seems the servant was not very smart and the master used to get very exasperated with him. Finally, one day, in a fit of temper, the master said: “You really are the stupidest man I know. Here, I want you to carry this staff wherever you go. And if you ever meet a person stupider than yourself, give them this staff.”

So time went by, and often in the marketplace the servant would encounter some pretty stupid people, but he never found someone appropriate for the staff. Years later, he returned to his master’s home. He was shown into his master’s bedroom, for the man was quite sick and in bed. In the course of their conversation the master said: “I’m going on a journey soon.”

“When will you return?”, asked the servant.

“This is a journey from which I will not return.” the master replied.

The servant asked: “Have you made all the necessary arrangements?”

“No, I guess I have not.”

“Well, could you have made all the arrangements?”

“Oh yes, I guess I’ve had time. I’ve had all my life. But I’ve been busy with other things…”

With that, the servant took the staff the master had given him years earlier and placed it beside the bed of the master. “Sir, he said, I have finally found someone more deserving of this staff than I.”

The moral of the story is quite obvious, isn’t it? But what isn’t so obvious to us is the extent to which we are like the master in this story. Perhaps for years you have made fun of those who clung to faith, thinking that they were stupid, foolish, superstitious and ignorant. The other thing which isn’t so obvious to us is how entrapped we have become in the pursuit of other things, those things which kept our hearts and minds from the ultimate question that we will face on our death bed. How tragic it would be to find ourselves in that position and not have made “the arrangements” necessary for the trip into eternity.

How are your preparations coming?

PRAYER: Lord, our enemy tries to keep us blinded and oblivious to the ultimate realities in life. He tries to keep us too busy to think about such things. Wake us up, Jesus, so that we and our loved ones can make the necessary arrangements so that when we are on our deathbed, we will have the confidence that comes from a relationship with You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/01/16 – When He Comes Again

DayBreaks for 11/01/16 – When He Comes Again

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

NOTE: Galen is taking a short vacation.

Where will you be?  What will you be doing?  Have you ever wondered what you’ll see and hear and how you’ll feel when the LORD comes to receive His own?  I have.  I’ve thought about it many times – even worried about it when I was young.  I was afraid he’d come at some time when I’d be away from my mom and dad and sister, and I’d be on my own – lost in the vast horde of humanity that will rise when summoned to the great judgment throne of God.  I look back at those fears now and know that they were childish and silly.  But the coming of Christ will be neither childish nor silly.  It will be spectacular.  It will be indescribable.  It will be, quite honestly, the culminating moment of all history.  I like, however, the way Max Lucado tried to make it real for us.  It stirred my heart, and I hope it stirs yours:


“You are in your car driving home. Thoughts wander to
the game you want to see or meal you want to eat, when suddenly a sound unlike any you’ve ever heard fills the air.  The sound is high above you.  A trumpet?  A choir?  A choir of trumpets?  You don’t know, but you want to know.

“So you pull over, get out of your car, and look up.  As you do, you see you aren’t the only curious one. The roadside has become a parking lot.  Car doors are open, and people are staring at the sky.  Shoppers are racing out of the grocery store.  The Little League baseball game across the street has come to a halt.  Players and parents are searching the clouds. And what they see, and what you see, has never before been seen.

“As if the sky were a curtain, the drapes of the atmosphere part. A brilliant light spills onto the earth. There are no shadows. None.  From whence came the light begins to tumble a river of color spiking crystals of every hue ever seen and a million more never seen. Riding on the flow is an endless fleet of angels. They pass through the curtains one myriad at a time, until they occupy every square inch of the sky.

“North.
South.
East.
West.

“Thousands of silvery wings rise and fall in unison, and over the sound of the trumpets, you can hear the cherubim and seraphim chanting, Holy, Holy, Holy.  The final flank of angels is followed by twenty-four silver-bearded elders and a multitude of souls who join the angels in worship.

“Presently the movement stops and the trumpets are silent, leaving only the triumphant triplet: Holy, Holy, Holy.  Between each word is a pause.  With each word, a profound reverence.  You hear your voice join in the chorus. You don’t know why you say the words, but you know you must.

“Suddenly, the heavens are quiet.  All is quiet.  The angels turn, you turn, the entire world turns and there He is. 

 “Jesus.

“Through waves of light you see the silhouetted figure of Christ the King.  He is atop a great stallion, and the stallion is atop a billowing cloud.  He opens his mouth, and you are surrounded by his declaration: “I am the Alpha and the Omega!” 


“The angels bow their heads.
“The elders remove their crowns.
“And before you is a Figure so consuming that you know, instantly you know:  Nothing else matters. 

“Forget stock markets and school reports.  Sales meetings and football games.  Nothing is newsworthy.  All that mattered, matters no more….for Christ has come.” – Max Lucado 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.

PRAYER:  Father, when we are prone to despair and be discouraged, help us to remember that the “day of the Lord” will, indeed, come, and that when it does, there will be nothing at all that matters except Jesus.  May we be eagerly ready!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.