DayBreaks for 10/19/20 – The Miracles Surround You

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I find it interesting that the educated of this world, by and large, struggle to believe in God. The university professors, the scientists, Wall Street kingpins, the leaders of nations and industry – at least here in the United States – struggle to believe there is a God. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising because they seldom have the time to slow down long enough to consider his daily miracles.

Farmers see them daily as the seed they planted is warmed by the sun on the soil, watered by the rain and pushes its way out of a dead seed into new life, or they view the rainbow as they plow their field.

Fishermen rejoice in the harvest of fish that they didn’t create but which renews itself year after year.

It seems that those who live in rural areas have more time to see the everyday miracles of God in person.

The great Jonathan Edwards put it this way: “Nature is God’s greatest evangelist.”

The apostle Paul said, “Faith does not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

King David wrote, “God’s testimony makes wise the simple.”

How long has it been since you stepped out of your cubicle or home (especially in this time of COVID) to walk barefoot in the grass, to chase down a beautiful butterfly, to listen to the birds or collect seashells on a beach? There are miracles around us constantly. They may not seem to match the miracle of an empty tomb, but they beg for us to notice them for they point us to God.

Max Lucado wrote: “…there is a certain understanding of God on the cross that comes only with witnessing his daily testimony.”

Now, go take a walk and look at the miracles all around you!

Psalm 19:1-4 (ESV) – The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world…

PRAYER: God Almighty, slow us down to see your glory in a falling autumn leaf, the crispness of the fall air, the twinkling stars at night so that we can better understand your majesty and what the cross means. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/16/20 – The Scariest Verse in the Bible

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What do you think is the most frightening, scariest and terrifying verse in the Bible?  It could be about the fate that awaits liars, cheats and others: the lake of fire. That would be a good candidate because we all know we are liars, cheats, etc. It could be one about the very existence of hell itself. I suppose there are many possible candidates.

Perhaps, though, it is this one: Genesis 6:6 (ESV) – And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  

Think about that for a minute. Here’s a God who made man who is now wishing he hadn’t. The implications of that are frightening. With the kind of power God wields, he could do anything he chooses that doesn’t contradict his nature. And there – in those last five words is our only hope!

God’s nature was perhaps best said by the apostle John with three simple words: God is love. God cannot act against his love. It was his love that caused the hands to fashion the cross and then send his son there in our place. Rather than undoing the creation of man he chose to redeem mankind instead.

Perhaps there’s also a bit more to this verse than meets the eye: …the greatest of these is love. In context, it speaks of faith, hope and love…with love being the greatest. Is God’s justice greater than his love? I don’t think it can be or his justice would prevail and we’d all get what we deserve – eternal damnation. He is a God of justice – but found a different way to act against evil than obliterating us: he sacrificed himself because his love wouldn’t let him do the unthinkable to us. Bottom line: the scariest verse in scripture is more than tamed by those three words from John: God is love.

PRAYER: Father, I’m so grateful for your love and that love is what defines you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/18/20 – The Cause of Fears

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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:

It doesn’t take much to look up the definition of worry or fear.  They are close cousins – related by blood and tears.  It is all the more interesting to learn what Jesus, not Webster or Freud, thinks about the cause of worry.  He gives us his definition of it in Matthew 6:25, when he said, That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough

Do you see it?  “Whether you have enough…”  Our worries are about shortfalls, lack of supply.  It might be that we are afraid we won’t have enough time to complete our bucket list or even to complete today’s tasks, that we won’t have enough good luck to win or even to survive, that our smarts just don’t rate up there high enough, that we won’t be able to receive or give enough love or even that God’s forgiveness will run short just when I get to the front of the line.  We are worried about the supply of oil.  The fact is, we worry about just about everything – fearing that there won’t be enough of it.  There’s only one problem with this: worry doesn’t work.

Jesus went on to talk about the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields.  Neither worries.  As far as we know, no flower or bird has ever worried.  It seems that worry and its cousin, fear, barge into the human mind alone.  Maybe it’s because we are the only beings capable of that level of thought, or that we’re the only creatures that are so self-centered. 

Isn’t it true in your life that when you are worried you are not thinking about God?  You are trying to figure out how to do something, trying to predict the future or control future events.  You are wondering how to manipulate people, events, materials and situations to create the outcome that YOU desire.  We do these things when we are worried about what’s happening.

In my experience, when I am worried, if I pull back and just concentrate on God and His love and care for me, on His promises of not leaving me, of working things out for my best and not my worst, then I find my fear going away. 

God knows, Jesus says, what it is that we need and how much of it we need.  He knows that better than I.  He also knows what will be good for me and what will turn out to be harmful.  Our challenge is to trust His judgment and wisdom and not our own.

PRAYER: I confess, Lord, that I at times worry about whether there will be enough of this or of that, or whether things will work out in ways that I want them to.  Help me to not try to control if, when or how much You choose to give me, but to trust that Your wisdom far surpasses mine in all ways!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/11/20 – No Matter the Prognosis

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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:

In his book If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, Randy Alcorn recalls his friend, writer Ethel Herr, who had a double mastectomy. Two months later doctors discovered that the cancer had spread. One of Herr’s friends, shocked and fumbling for words, asked her, “And how do you feel about God now?” Reflecting on the moment the question was posed to her, Herr says:

“As I sought to explain what has happened in my spirit, it all became clearer to me. God has been preparing me for this moment. He has undergirded me in ways I’ve never known before. He has made himself increasingly real and precious to me. He has given to me joy such as I’ve never known before—and I’ve no need to work at it, it just comes, even amidst the tears. He has taught me that no matter how good my genes are or how well I take care of my diet and myself, he will lead me on whatever journey he chooses and will never leave me for a moment of that journey. And he planned it all in such a way that step by step, he prepared me for the moment when the doctor dropped the last shoe … God is good, no matter what the diagnosis or the prognosis, or the fearfulness of the uncertainty of having neither. The key to knowing God is good is simply knowing him.” 

Isn’t it good to have a traveling companion like Jesus, who will go with you on every step of your journey?  He has chosen the journey for each of us.  He could have chosen it and patted us on the back and said, “Good luck!  I hope to see you when it’s all over!”  But he didn’t.  He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  I have a hunch he emphasized the word “never” when he said that.  He wanted us to be sure.

I don’t know where your journey has already led you.  I don’t know where your journey will take you.  I don’t even know where my journey will take me.  We have this assurance, though: it isn’t really the journey that leads us, is it He Who leads us, and no matter the prognosis, we can safely complete the journey with Him at our side!

PRAYER: Thank You for choosing the journey that is perfect for each one of us, and for promising to travel with us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/08/20 – Fear, Part 2

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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:

The gospels record for us the story of Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when a violent storm arises.  While the disciples are trying to save their skin from the raging storm, Jesus sleeps.  I don’t know how many of you have ever been in a serious earthquake, but it certainly gets your attention!  It would be hard to sleep through a “big one”.  The word that Matthew uses to describe the storm is one we don’t usually associate with the ocean.  He used the term seismos to describe the violence of the storm.  This is the same word we use to describe an earthquake – seismographs record the shaking of the earth.  Matthew uses this word on two other occasions, too: 1) when the earth shook at Jesus’ death; 2) when the earth shook at Jesus’ resurrection.  Clearly, this was a terrific storm to have qualified for the word seismos!  Yet one gets the sense that Jesus would and could have just kept sleeping through the entire “seismic” event.

It is instructive to see what fear does to the disciples when this storm hits them.  First, though, let’s notice that the storm came “suddenly” upon them.  It hadn’t been building for some time – it was not stormy one moment, and then the weather changed – FAST!  Some of the storms that bring fear into our lives are long, drawn out storms that we can see coming and that stay for a long time.  Others, like this storm, take us by surprise.  Either way, there are things we need to learn about what fear does to us from this story:

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO QUESTION JESUS’ CARE FOR THEM.  They asked Jesus, after waking him up, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  They immediately question Jesus’ goodness and the genuineness of His care for them.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  When storms hit many people – their first reaction is “What’s wrong with You, God?  I thought you cared about me!”  This is one of the most tragic effects of fear – even on His closest followers.

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO BECOME CONTROL FREAKS.  Implicit in their criticism that Jesus must not care for them is the unspoken demand that He should care about them and that it is about time that He demonstrates that!  Fear arises because we suddenly find things spinning out of our control, so we grab on to something that gives us at least the illusion of having control.  For some, they run to the cupboard and pull out chocolate, others will reach for the bottle or work extra hours or clean the house until it is spotless all in an effort to have some control and sense of being in control. 

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO NOT SEEK JESUS’ HELP: It is interesting that the disciples do not ask Jesus to do anything.  Instead, they accuse him, as already noted, of not caring. 

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO FORGET REASONS THEY SHOULD BELIEVE: Don’t forget that these are men who have been with Jesus for a while – they’ve seen him do amazing things such as give healing to the sick, sight to the blind, strength to shriveled and crippled limbs, turn water into wine and cast out demons.  Shouldn’t all those things have been enough to create belief?  Yes, they should…but fear does funny things to us and makes us forget prior deliverances and demonstrations of God’s power and love. 

These are all daunting problems created by fear, but the worst of all may be that when we are afraid, our safety becomes the primary thing in our life.  As Max Lucado put it, our fear-driven concern for our safety becomes our god until the storm has passed.  It was so with the disciples – even though God was riding in the boat with them.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive us for questioning your care for us, for trying to control you and our circumstances, for trying to order you around, for not seeking your assistance, for forgetting all the reasons we have to trust in your goodness and love.  Don’t let us make our own safety our god!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/19/20 – Keep Calling the Name

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There was once an old man who had a little spotted dog. The dog was a mixture of spaniel, collie, terrier and dachshund. He was a street-bred mutt, but the old man loved him because he was all he had. They were constant companions, going everywhere and doing everything together. Every night the dog slept at the foot of the old man’s bed.

Then one day the dog disappeared. He was playing in the yard one moment, and the next thing the old man knew he was gone. He searched everywhere for him, looked on every street, around every corner, and talked to every neighbor, but the dog was nowhere to be found. The old man searched all over the town, calling out the dog’s name as he went, listening in vain for his familiar bark. The next day was the same and the one after that . . . for weeks the old man searched till finally his neighbors and friends convinced him that there was no use in looking anymore. Surely the dog is dead, they said: hit by a car, no doubt, and crawled off by himself to die.

Still the old man would not give up hope. Every night, before bed, he went out on the porch and called out the dog’s name at the top of his voice. This went on for several months. The neighbors were certain that the old man had lost his mind. And then one night, as the old man was calling his name, the little spotted dog came home. The old man never knew where he had been or what caused him to stay away so long, but he was very glad that he had never stopped calling his name. – Brett Blair

I fear that we often give up too soon on many things.  We give up hope.  We give up dreams.  We give up on people.  We give up too soon.  Though the story about the man and his dog is possibly fictional, you know that it’s happened before in real life.  We’ve all heard such stories.  We are warmed by the dog’s return, by the man’s incessant hope and effort to find the lost creature.

I rather suspect that as the father in the story of the prodigal son scanned the horizon, he was at the very least calling his son’s name inwardly. 

I believe there are two main lessons here for us:

FIRST: God keeps calling we humans, each night, and people think Him crazy for it.  And perhaps crazy He is – crazy in love with us, driven by a passion for us that refuses to listen to those who think it is demeaning for a God to act in such a manner.  Though everyone else thinks He is pleading a lost cause, He isn’t willing to give up – and He won’t give up until the trumpet blast assails our ears.

SECOND: we give up on people to soon, too.  We may pray for someone to come to Christ daily for a year.  If no progress has been shown, we may give up.  If the subject of our prayers seems farther away than ever at the end of that year, we can’t afford to stop praying.  Far too much is at stake!  People may think you’re crazy, but keep at it.  Is it crazy for Christians to pray for a Hitler to become a believer?  Many would say so.  But what if we all united to pray for such a thing, and we kept at it for years and years?  Might it happen?  Surely, it might.  If God could reach Abraham without a phone, Jonah, Noah, Paul and you…He can reach anyone. 

Who are you praying for?  Just keep calling their name…

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. – Acts 5:42

PRAYER: Give us the strength to persist fervently for those who don’t know You until they have come within Your loving embrace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for taking Jesus home and for preparing a home for us to join you there throughout eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/20/20 – Just a Piece of Wood?

Imagine yourself sitting across a table from someone who is perplexed and puzzled by life and the Bible. Perhaps they’d thought that becoming a Christian would solve all their problems and doubts. But it didn’t. Maybe they’re an unbeliever who is trying to find something to make life worth living. And so, they ask, “What is it that is truly important, that really, really matters?” And then they sit quietly staring at you expecting words of wisdom to fall from your lips. What would you say?

Some might mumble something about the two greatest commandments – surely that must be the answer, right? After all, how can love ever be the wrong answer? The point is that those are the two greatest commandments, but they mean diddly-squat if the main gist of the book is missed.

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess as to the answer. Paul answered it for us in 1 Corinthians 15 when he penned these words: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

There you have it. That’s it. Too simple? It wasn’t simple from God or Jesus’ standpoint. The truth is this: what matters is the cross and the events following.

How can a couple pieces of wood be what counts? As Max Lucado put it in No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, “History has idolized it and despised it, gold-plated it and burned it, worn and trashed it. History has done everything to it but ignore it. That’s the one option that the cross does not offer…Its bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, it is history’s hinge. Period. If not, it is history’s hoax.”

Of course, it wasn’t the pieces of wood that made it special. It was the transaction that took place there: the transference of my sin onto his lashed shoulders, him taking my sin into his pierced hands…and paying the price for it that I should have to pay.

What matters? THAT is what matters.

PRAYER: Jesus, when I begin to doubt your love, to think that my sin is too great a burden even for you, when life crushes in and suffocates me, remind me what matters and turn my heart to contemplate what happened there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/17/20 – He Should Know

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DayBreaks for 7/17/20: He Should Know

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Revelation 21:5: The One who was sitting on the throne said, ‘Look!  I am making everything new!’  Then He said, ‘Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.’

I’m wrote this on the 4th of July.  We just got back from visiting my wife’s father.  He lives about two hours away from us.  I’ve always liked him – he has an infectious laugh and a twinkle in his eye and he is a lot of fun to be around.  But he is getting older in years and age is catching up with him, just like with all of us.  He doesn’t hear as well as he used to, and he is getting more forgetful.  He has to stop and think a bit before putting all the words of a sentence together. 

As Max Lucado put it in The Applause of Heaven: “It’s hard to see things grow old.  The town in which I grew up is growing old.  I was there recently.  Some of the buildings are boarded up.  Some of the houses are torn down.  Some of my teachers are retired, some are buried.  The old movie house where I took my dates has “For Sale” on the marquee, long since outdated by the newer theaters that give you eight choices.  The only visitors to the drive-in theater are tumbleweeds and rodents.  Memories of first dates and senior proms are weather-worn by the endless rain of years.  High school sweethearts are divorced.  A cheerleader died of an aneurysm.  Our fastest halfback is buried only a few plots from my own father.

“I wish I could make it all new again.  I wish I could blow the dust off the streets.  I wish I could walk through the familiar neighborhood, and wave at the familiar faces, and pet the familiar dogs and hit one more home run in the Little League park.  I wish I could walk down Main Street and call out to the merchants that have rented and open the doors that have been boarded up.  I wish I could make everything new…but I can’t, I can’t.  But God can.  ‘He restores my soul’, wrote the shepherd.  He doesn’t’ reform – he restores.  He doesn’t camouflage the old, he restores the new.  The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore it.  He will restore the vigor.  He will restore the energy.  He will restore the hope.  He will restore the soul.

“What would you give in exchange for a home like that?  Would you really rather have a few possessions on earth than eternal possessions in heaven?  Would you really choose a life of slavery to passion over a life of freedom?  Would you honestly give up all your heavenly mansions for a second-rate sleazy motel on earth?

“‘Great,’ Jesus said, ‘is your reward in heaven.’  He must have smiled when he said that line.  His eyes must have danced, and his hand must have pointed skyward.  For he should know.  It was his idea.  It was his home.”

Sometimes it is tempting, isn’t it – to get caught up in what we have right here and now?  After all – remember the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”?  And what we have here and now is concrete, wood and steel and we can see it, touch it, and we think it is good.  It isn’t.  It is nothing compared to what Jesus’ home is like.  Age won’t weather the boards of your mansion in heaven.  The storms of life won’t beat against it or blow snow under the door.  It won’t make boards and bones brittle.  Jesus knows – it was his home – and he came so it could be our home, too. 

I don’t think that Jesus was joking – or exaggerating – when he said, “Great is your reward in heaven.”  Greater by far than you can even imagine or hope for.  It’ll take our breath totally away.  I truly hope to see you there!

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for giving us this hint about our heavenly reward – and thank You for preparing it for us so it will be ready when we get there!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/15/20 – Not Even Close

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From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Do you get discouraged of fighting the same battles over and over and over? It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. I may have the best intentions in the world, but something comes up and my best intentions remain just that: intentions. I’m reminded of all the times my kids were little and I promised them I’d take them to the park to play on the playground equipment some evening after work – but by the time I got home I was just too tired. The day had pressed hard upon me and I couldn’t find the energy and my plan fell flat, along with the look of excitement and hope in my children’s eyes. It breaks my heart to even think about how I let them down – and how many times I disappointed them.

Sometimes it seems as if all the world is that way. Have you noticed? There are days when it seems that this world is on a greased sled destined straight for hell. And I guess, in a way, that is true. What became of God’s glorious plan to win the world to Himself in love? How could anyone resist the story of a love so great, and which was manifested so clearly? Yet clearly, sadly, it is true. The world is going to hell for the single reason that most reject God’s offer of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Has God’s plan failed? Did He make the cosmic mistake of all time by entrusting His plan into human hands? I mean, if He wanted to be sure the job got done right, why didn’t he give the job of evangelization to the archangel Michael? Surely, he could have persuaded more people to believe in God than sinful, deceitful, fallen man!!

I can’t tell you why God did it the way He did. I can’t answer the tough questions that people send me about God’s plan and seeming risky choices. You will have to ask those questions to God yourself – and be content with the fact that you may not get an answer until you get to ask Him in person. Has God failed?

I know that God, when He walked among mankind, wept in sympathy. He cried as He stood by the tomb of Lazarus. He cried in prayer – especially in the garden of Gethsemane. But when the canopy of the sky splits wide open and Jesus comes back, one thing will be certain: that God’s eternal plan – conceived before the foundation of the world – was never threatened, never put in jeopardy, never was it even close to being on the edge of defeat.

For all the times we look around us at the horror in the world and are tempted to wonder where God went to (is it any wonder that during the chaotic 60’s and 70’s that the “God is dead” movement started?), we will do well to remember that God hasn’t gone anywhere. He isn’t off fighting a last gasp battle in an effort to win the war. The war is done – over- caput. All that is left is the mopping up action.

Someday when you get up in the morning – it will be the last time you get up. It will be the last time you will ever sleep. It will be the last sunrise you ever see. Your plans for your life may not have worked out like you wanted them to. But God’s plans for your life – for your eternity – are doing just fine, thank you. Don’t worry – God isn’t about to be knocked out in the final round. No “Hail Mary” passes at the end of the 4th quarter of time will defeat Him. And because He will win you need to be sure that you are on His side if you want to share in His victory.

PRAYER: In this world of so much bitterness, hatred and confusion, I am so grateful that Your plan is being executed perfectly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/08/20 – The Christian’s Security

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DayBreaks for 7/08/20: The Christian’s Security

Security is a dancing phantom, much like the shadows of clouds that flit across the landscape. Yet we long for security in an insecure world. We fear for our health. We fear for our financial “security”. We seek secure investments. We lock our doors in an effort to ensure security. We fear hackers and stolen identities, so we pay for security systems to make our digital identities secure. We may arm ourselves to ward off a nightime intruder. We don’t walk alone at night in a dark place. We do all these things because of our fears in an effort to be secure.

Security in Jesus is not something that I was raised with. In many ways, I grew up in a hellfire and brimstone church that had one trembling with fear every time you had an evil thought or did something you shouldn’t. At those moments we were urged to smell the smoke of the pit that was licking at our feet and about to pull us downward forever.

I thank God that I’ve learned a bit more about security as a Christ-believer. Consider these things:

ONE: the Christian is united with Christ, seated with him (Ephesians 2:6);

TWO: we are hidden with him in God (Colossians 3:3);

THREE: we cannot be divided or separated from him by life or death or anything in existence (John 10:29, Romans 8:38-39).

What is the implication of those things? Simply put it is this: the Christian is as secure as Christ himself is secure!!!  And you just don’t get more secure than that. 

I love what Martin Luther said: World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have One who will give me a new one.

It is so much better to smell the rarified air of heaven than the smoke of the pit.

Believer: rest in Christ. You are as secure as he himself is!

PRAYER: We shout with joy for the security we have found in your, Lord God! Thank you for understanding our fears and our need to feel secure and for giving us the security we sought! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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