DayBreaks for 2/07/17 – Child Saints and Resurrected Lizards

DayBreaks for 2/07/17: Child Saints and Resurrected Lizards

From the blog of Doug Dalrymple (my son!), dated 12/4/06 about his son (my grandson!):

You expect your children to see angels. Fresh and innocent as they are, how could they not see angels, right? You expect them, once sufficiently articulate, to spout forth little bon mots of ageless toddler wisdom that somehow suddenly make clear the ways of God and illumine the labyrinth of the human heart. But, no, children do not leap from their mother’s wombs straight into the full flush of sainthood. In my experience, children are just as likely to misapprehend the faith of their parents as to utter unsolicited spiritual profundities.
I have been equally charmed and horrified by what comes out of the mouth of my three year old son when he decides to talk theology. For instance, while considering a picture of the Crucifixion (with Mary and John standing to either side of Christ), my 3-yeard old son once explained to me that it was St. John himself, and no one else, who had taken up the hammer to nail Jesus’ hands and feet to the wood. A ghastly thought! I gently corrected him and changed the subject lest he say something even worse.
But every now and then something charming does pop out of his curious little mind. Not long ago we were out for a hike with his mother and sister, visiting a little farm tucked away into the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains. We approached a spot where he’d seen a dead lizard the week before. “Papa!” he said, “look – there’s a lizard over here – and it’s dead!” He ran ahead in his excitement, pointing the way. I followed and helped him to scan the ground for the unfortunate reptile. It was gone. “He’s not here anymore – where did he go?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe another animal ate him up,” I suggested. “No…” the boy answered, “but maybe God raised him from the dead!”
“Well…” I hesitated. “I don’t know…but, maybe He did.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We are all to quick to deny God’s miracles.  If we don’t see it, we think it didn’t or couldn’t have happened.  For all we know, God, when no one else was looking, raised that little lizard from the dead.  After all, that’s how He raised His own Son – in the dark of the tomb while no human eyes were watching.  Oh, for the faith of a little child once again!

PRAYER:  Thank you Father for giving to the little ones the eyes to see your wonders and to believe in your miracles.  Give us those kind of eyes, and faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/20/17 – A Flower in Life

DayBreaks for 1/20/17: A Flower in Life

Note: Galen is traveling this week so he’s recycling some old DayBreaks.

FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:

There is a very poignant tale in chapter 19 of John about Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  These were two very prominent men – both part of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council in Jerusalem), and both were men who had opportunity to hear Jesus teaching.  Nicodemus even came to Jesus by night once to discuss matters relating to the kingdom of God but was confused when he was told that he needed to be born again.  Joseph is unknown to us until Jesus’ death when he boldly goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus so he can bury him in his own unused tomb.

These men were not the typical Jewish leaders.  We are told that Nicodemus was a man seeking the kingdom of God.  That’s high praise coming from the gospel writers.  It indicates a heart that is searching for Godly things, for His will and His rule in the world and the hearts of men.  I think that they were good men who were secret admirers, perhaps even to some extent, secret followers, of Jesus.  And that is where the tragically sad part of this story begins.

In John chapter 19.38-42 we find Joseph taking the body of Christ and Nicodemus bringing burial spices.  This is, of course, after Jesus has been crucified and died.  Have you ever thought about what Nicodemus and Joseph did while Jesus was on trial before the Sanhedrin?  Why is there nothing in scripture that shows them standing up in his defense or speaking out to give him the benefit of the doubt?  Did they excuse themselves from that meeting or were they there but just too afraid to say anything?  Perhaps, though we don’t know, like many so-called leaders today, they didn’t have the courage to speak what they believed at critical times. 

Now, however, they are finally paying tribute to the one who they had failed to stand up for in life.  As William Barclay put it: How much greater would loyalty in life have been than a new tomb and a shroud fit for a king!  One flower in life is worth all the wreaths in the world in death.

How often am I like Nicodemus and Joseph?  I know who He is.  It is obvious to anyone who will really take the time to examine His claims and teaching.  Christ is on trial before my peers and the world every day.  What am I saying in His defense?  Am I saying nothing like Nicodemus and Joseph did?  Do I excuse myself from the discussion? 

Jesus wants us to live with him forever.  He waits for the day when he can hold us in his arms and welcome us home.  Those things will happen.  But he also wants my loyalty in this life – before I get to heaven.  Let us give him our tribute now and it’ll only make heaven that much sweeter!

PRAYER:  Lord, we need Your courage to stand for Jesus, to put our feet squarely on the ground and boldly proclaim the truth about Him.  Help us not to be afraid of what others may say, think, or do to us.  May we honor You not just in eternity, but in this life as well.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/02/17 – Out of Egypt We Are Called

DayBreaks for 1/02/17: Out of Egypt We Are Called

After trying everything else, Shelly was present for her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Skeptical and listening half- heartedly at first, the words of Martha caught her attention. Martha told the group, “I just knew that I could handle alcohol and my other problems on my own, but I couldn’t. Seven years ago I came to my first A.A. meeting and since that time I have grown as a person beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”

Martha exuded confidence and depth. She spoke of a power “higher than I,” the God of Jesus Christ, and the way in which God now lived at the center of her life. Her words oozed with sincere encouragement and concern. Most of all, Martha exhibited a thankfulness which words could not express. Shelly, who came to the meeting doubtful that anything she would hear would change the way she felt or thought, made her way to Martha when the meeting was over. “I want what you have,” Shelly told Martha, “I want what you have.”

Shelly wanted the compassion and depth and hope which Martha knew, but she may not have realized fully how Martha came to know those things. Martha learned compassion from a time of deep personal suffering. She acquired spiritual depth from hours of praying when there was nowhere else to turn. She discovered hope by taking one step at a time because “one day at a time” was too much to be expected.

Shelly said, “I want what you have. Where do I get it?” And Martha told her, “It comes from being right where you are and doing just what you are doing.” Martha went on to tell Shelly the oddest story about learning compassion when we are hurting, and learning love when we are excluded, and learning hope when we are helpless. In short Martha said that it is out of Egypt that we are called.

Many symbols could be used for times of suffering-Egypt, darkness, a flood, a storm-but no matter the symbol, they represent something that is not fun but painful. Everyone has had suffering in their life to varying degrees. Some seem to suffer very little while others suffering defies comprehension.

Perspective is so important because it determines how we will deal with suffering in ourselves or others. If we can come to truly realize that our homes are not ours, our bodies are not ours, even the air that we breathe isn’t ours (it ALL belongs to Him), then when bad things happen to us we can realize that it isn’t directed against us personally and that the God who charted our course in some heavenly hallway knew all those things would happen and are part of a plan beyond our comprehension.

Someone once said that when we are in the midst of the raging sea of life storms and wonder why, that it is perhaps then that God whispers to us: “It is because your enemies cannot swim.” In other words, it is a safe place for us even though it may be uncomfortable. Indeed, the God who leads us into the storm not only can cause us to swim in it – but even to walk atop the waves. He’s done it before. He can do it for you. And with Him, you are safe.

PRAYER: Help us to have a kingdom perspective when you call us out of Egypt to face struggles. Let us look to you in the midst of the storm. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/5/16 – Traveling to the Unexplored Land

DayBreaks for 12/05/16: Traveling to the Unexplored Land

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) – For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

My oldest son was always captivated by maps. He would draw maps of imaginary places when he was younger, though I don’t think he does any more. Perhaps you’ve seen ancient maps of what were the unexplored portions of the world? Maps that portrayed the prevailing ideas of what lay beyond, the unexplored lands and the uncrossed seas? Maps from before the adventures of Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan? How grotesquely inaccurate those maps were! How vastly they differed from what the explorer eventually found! How fantastic were the notions the ancients had about what was out there – a dropping-off-place, mammoth sea serpents to swallow up ships. But as things turned out, it wasn’t that way at all. You know, if Columbus had believed half the maps and legends of his time he would never have lifted an anchor!

Well, we are all on a journey traveling into the unexplored land, and we ought to be careful how we map it until we’ve traveled there. Certainly we shouldn’t let the future do things to us it never meant to do. For many, the future is a terrifying place – they don’t believe anything is there, or whatever it may be that lurks there is most likely, in their view, to be unfriendly at best.

It is my faith that the future means to be friendly; and I don’t think we ought to treat it as an enemy. If we do, and start in to do battle with it, I can tell you this: it’s a battle we can never win. Let those who believe never suspect it of standing over us with a club waiting for a chance to clobber us into the ground, or of lurking in the shadows to pounce upon us around the next dark corner. If the verse for today says anything, it says that we can, and should, look towards the Unexplored Land with joy and great anticipation, not just during this season, but always.

PRAYER: Father, I believe that when we travel to the Unexplored Land that it will be full of delights and surprises we cannot even imagine. Let it stir up in us excitement as our arrival in Your land draws closer and may it spur us onward until we are Home! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 11/18/16 – A Point of Faith

DayBreaks for 11/18/16: A Point of Faith

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2006:

John 11:21-27 (NLT) Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”  Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”  “Yes,” Martha said, “when everyone else rises, on resurrection day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.  They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?”

 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.

I have read and re-read and preached and taught on this passage many times, but I never got it until now.  For years, I read this and thought that Martha was expressing great faith – faith that Jesus would raise Lazarus right then and there if he only asked God to do so.  But after Jesus makes the statement, “Your brother will rise again,” Martha makes it clear that she expects no such thing – at least not until the day of the resurrection.  Her faith was sufficient to believe he would rise then, but not before. 

Bear in mind that she was in grief from losing her brother.  Jesus deals with her very patiently, very gently, but he sees that Martha needs to re-focus.  The problem Martha was having was that she was trusting in the resurrection at some point in the unknown future.  Her faith was in the resurrection, so Jesus redirects her faith with the words: “I am the resurrection and the life.” 

Standing right before Jesus, Martha had missed him entirely.  She’s seen him many times, heard his voice, spent countless hours in his presence with her sister and brother and others.  But she’d never seen him as the resurrection and the life before.  Jesus wanted to help her understand that her faith needed to be in HIM, not in some event in some unknown future.  What she wanted was to be found not around Jesus, but IN Him, for he is the resurrection and the life.  Jesus won’t bring the resurrection with him when he returns, for He IS the resurrection.

Where is your faith?  What is your faith in?  Is it in the positive-thinking world of pop-psychology, in self-help books, in prayer, in Christian fellowship, or in the resurrection?  It doesn’t matter, if your answer isn’t simply “Jesus”, your faith if misplaced.   

PRAYER: Lord, help us to find the Resurrection and the Life, both now and forever, and to place all our faith in Him!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/9/16 – God Is Well Today

DayBreaks for 11/09/06: God Is Well Today

Do you have days when you just don’t feel quite right? Maybe you woke up this morning and looked at the election results and felt sick to your stomach. Sometimes, you may not feel good because you didn’t sleep well during the night, or you’ve got a low-grade fever and are slightly discombobulated, maybe a bit on the dizzy side.  If I don’t eat on a fairly regular schedule, I can get feeling weak rather quickly.  And while I know (intellectually at least) that I am not God and that God is not one of us, there have been times when I was at least tempted to think that perhaps God just wasn’t quite with it, either.  After all, if I’m made in His image, and I can have bad days, why can’t He?

Well, there’s a good reason why He can’t have a bad day.  It’s just simply not possible for God to have a bad day.  Let me quote again from Louie Giglio’s book, I Am Not But I Know I Am: “God is doing well today, thank you.  He has no dilemmas.  No quandaries.  No counselors.  No shortages.  No rivals.  No fears.  No cracks.  No worries.  He is self-existent, self-contained, self-perpetuated, self-powered, and self-aware.  In other words, He’s God and He knows it. 

“After an eternity of being God, he shows no signs of wear and tear.  He has no needs.  His accounts are in the black.  He’s the owner, not to mention Creator, of all the world’s wealth and treasure…He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and all the hills the cows are standing on…God does whatever He wants.  His purposes are a sure thing.  There’s no stopping Him.  No containing Him.  No refuting Him.  No cutting Him off at the pass.  No short-circuiting His agenda.”

When I get up in the morning, I always plan to have a good day.  But 64 years of experience tells me that somewhere on the trajectory of my day’s activities, I will have dilemmas.  I will have fears about whether or not I’m doing the right thing, or making the right decisions.  I will worry about it each time I have to spend money – especially for unexpected, unbudgeted things. 

And after a hard week that may have been filled with special challenges, I do show signs of wear and tear.  Let there be no doubt of that.  I have needs.  I own nothing, although I delude myself into thinking that certain things belong to me.  There will be things that can throw my best plans right down the tubes.  But none of that ever, EVER happens to God.  He’s so far above those things that are all related to human weaknesses. 

But here’s the good news: He understands human weaknesses for two very important reasons:

FIRST: He created us.  Just like the engineer who designed a portion of a nuclear submarine knows what that component’s purpose is and what it’s made of with all it’s limitations, God knows ME.  He knows humanity.  So He knows and understands our human weaknesses.

SECOND: He lived on this tiny ball in the middle of space as one of us so He’d understand perfectly – so that we’d KNOW He understands.  He just asks us to trust that He has none of our limitations and so won’t be derailed in the slightest, and to trust that in all things, He works to our advantage!

If you looked at the election results and thought God goofed up, know this – He didn’t. He knows perfectly well what He’s doing, and even moreso, why He’s doing it. He’s not obligated to share that information with us. We are obligated to trust that His eye is still on the ball and He hits grand slams with every swing. He never strikes out. The election turned out the way He planned it to. He rules over the affairs of men and always will. History is in His hand, not in the hand of an earthly ruler.

So, take comfort. God is doing just great today, thank you very much! He never has an “off” day!

Psalm 66:7 (NLT) – For by his great power he rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance.  

PRAYER: Lord, no matter how we are feeling today, help us to remember that You are alive and well, flourishing and as strong as You were on the very first day of eternity.  Thank you that You’ve given us such wonderful proofs of Your understanding of us.  May we be comforted this day in knowing YOU are well and doing everything perfectly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/04/16 – This Terrifying Aspect of His Nature

DayBreaks for 11/04/06: This Terrifying Aspect of His Nature

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2006:

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?”1And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?”   Mark 4:35-41 

From Michael Card’s Devotions From the Studio:

“Whenever Jesus is revealed in a new way, he has to tell the disciples not to be afraid. (Matt. 8:26, 14:27, 17:7, 28:10, Mk. 4:40, 5:36, 6:50, Lk. 5:10, 8:50, 12:32, Jn. 6:20, 12:15, 14:27) Too often we simply think of Him as “gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” But this is only a small facet of His infinite character. If we look closely at the gospels, we will see that those who were closest to Jesus we often terrified by His power, so frightened were they that He had to continually tell them, “don’t be afraid.”

“If He is the same yesterday, today and forever, where has this terrifying aspect of His nature gone? He is no less powerful now than He was then. What has become of this “disturbing presence” of Jesus?”

Galen’s Thoughts: Michael asks some good questions.  When, can I honestly say, was the last time that I was afraid of Jesus?  Have I given him cause to be angry with me?  Have I hurt him repeatedly and knowingly as if he didn’t even exist?  Perhaps one of the reasons that the 12 were so committed to their task of obeying Jesus by carrying the Word to the uttermost parts of the earth that they had so often been afraid by the demonstrations of his power.  And though they’d seen his love, they’d seen his power destroy a fig tree, calm the storm, overpower demons and raise the dead to life.  What could such a One do if he put his mind to it?  Were there any limits to his power? 

May Jesus become disturbing to us – just as disturbing as we need him to be to help keep us on the right pathway!

PRAYER:  Jesus, it is a comfort to know that you have all power in heaven and on earth.  It is a blessing to know that you will use your power to do what is right and just, and what is in our best interests.  Help us to never become complacent around you, but to always hold you in the highest regard.  We give you permission to disturb us time and time again when we forget your greatness and wander off into the pathway of sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.