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.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/30/20 – The Good Land Where Things Die

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DayBreaks for 6/30/20: The Good Land Where Things Die

It seems to be a rule that for there to be new beginnings, new life, that things must die. The NT speaks of this in various ways: Jesus spoke of how a kernel of wheat must fall into the ground and die for a new plant to grow, we are told that if we want to have life we must die to our own life, we are even told to put to death the “old man” so a new man can life and as Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again.

As humans, of course, we don’t think of death as being good. Our pets die and we grieve, our dreams die and we are disheartened, our friends and family die and we are crushed by the dark enemy. We are told that flesh and blood (at least as we know it) cannot be part of the world to come – that we will need new bodies fit for an eternal life, not a temporal one.

Perhaps instead of fighting all forms of death, we should look for the benefits of death. It is good that some things die, after all. Fortunately, there is a place – a good land, a very special and holy place – where things die. Where is it? It’s found at the foot of the cross.

At the blood soaked ground at the foot of the cross is where my shame dies for all the things I’ve done that I don’t want anyone to know about. Why?  Because Jesus took my shame. My guilt dies there as the blood drips from Jesus’ hands, feet, back and side. Why? Because Jesus took my guilt on him. My fear of dying dies there because Jesus would prove a mere three days later that death has no choice but to yield to glorious life because of Jesus power. My sense of insignificance dies there when I think of the blood he shed and what he endured because of one thing and on thing only: he loves me and I matter to him. My fear of the future dies at the foot of the cross because by what he accomplished there, there is no longer any condemnation for me.

But along with the death of those things that I take to the foot of the cross, there is new life springing up from the moistened soil. I can now live a new life without shame and guilt plaguing me. I can face the future, as the song says, because he lives and promises me I will live, too (and he’s proved he can pull off that “trick”). And I need never feel insignificant, unimportant, unwanted, uncherished ever again because in the good land where things go to die, any doubt about those things was erased.

PRAYER: What holy ground is this, Lord Jesus, that we are invited to the ground at the foot of your cross where bad things die and good things spring up filled with eternal life! In your magnificent name we pray, Amen!

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

DayBreaks for 6/22/20 – We Matter

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DayBreaks for 6/22/20: We Matter

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment? – Job 7:17-18

As you were driving in to work this morning, how many people stopped and applauded as you drove by?  When you left the house this morning, did you get a kiss or hug from someone who loves and appreciates you?  When you got to the gym to work out, did someone say, “I really want to introduce some folks to you because you’re so special”?  Probably not.  Chances are that you didn’t have a reserved parking spot in the parking lot.  Most likely, no cop pulled you over and gave you $100 and said, “You know, all these years I’ve seen you drive by and never once were you breaking the speed limit.  I just want you to have this to know how much I appreciate you!”  Not in this lifetime, right?  Not in this world!

It is easy to start to think that we really don’t matter very much.  It is so easy to get lost in the shuffling noises of 7 billion inhabitants of the planet called Earth.  It is easy to be overshadowed on the job site, in the grocery store, at the bank, in the church pew.  We want recognition.  We want to be appreciated.  We want to know that we matter to someone – somewhere – sometime.  And it is easy to feel and to be overlooked, ignored and to come to the conclusion that we just don’t really matter to anyone.

Listen to Jesus: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 18:18-19

The ancients had a saying: “As above, so below”…meaning that if the gods got angry and went on a rampage, the gods would rain cataclysm and endless disaster down on the denizens of earth.  Jesus, however, turned that around: He who listens to you listens to me.  He who rejects you rejects me.  As below, so above.  What happens when believers pray?  Heaven responds.  When goes on when a sinner repents?  The angels break out in song.  When a God-mission succeeds, Satan falls like lightning from the sky.  On the other hand, when believers rebel against God, the Holy Spirit is grieved and saddened. 

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that what we humans do here doesn’t affect anyone.  Let’s not play the foolish game of saying that “What I do isn’t affecting of hurting anyone else, so leave me alone!”  If Jesus knows what he’s talking about (and he does!) know this certainty: what we humans do here on earth affects the cosmos!  We matter – far more than we can possibly comprehend or know, because we matter to God!  And today you also matter because of what you will do, say and think.  Matter in a positive way!

PRAYER: Thank You that You notice us from heaven above and sing Your songs of love over us so we will know that without a doubt, we matter!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/20/22 – Lessons Learned in Crucibles, #1

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DayBreaks for 5/20/20: Lessons Learned in Crucibles #1

Nearly all of us have had unplanned time for reflection during this COVID-19 lockdown. I suppose that like me, you’ve had many thoughts about it and that your thinking and emotions may have changed day by day – maybe hour by hour.

In my quiet time, I’ve been working my way through Ecclesiastes. It’s a strange, interesting and bewildering book. On the one hand, it’s doom and gloom, on the other it encourages us to enjoy our lot in life. In particular, yesterday I was reflecting on this: Ecclesiastes 6:1-7 (CSBBible) – Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a person riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place? All of a person’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied.

Pretty gloomy, eh? But think about it for a moment. As we sit in this COVID-19 world, we can learn something from this passage. It does seem strange and unfair that all we acquire or accomplish of a worldly nature in this life is stripped from us upon death, or even upon a strange turn of events in this life. A market downturn, a pandemic, a health issue – those things can strip us of our deluded security and even the option of enjoying the things we work for. All this tells me that if we find our purpose, meaning and enjoyment in things that can be so suddenly taken from us, aren’t we a bit on the crazy side?

I hope to spend more time during the lockdown – however long that may be – to readjust what gives me purpose, meaning and enjoyment and to refocus on that which can never be taken from me in this world or the next – Jesus.

PRAYER: Jesus, so much has been taken from so many during this pandemic and we long for a return of normalcy. I pray that we will use this time wisely to refocus on those things which nothing can ever take from us and find our greatest joy – the joy you designed us for – in drawing closer to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/27/20 – An Unending Honeymoon

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DayBreaks for 2/27/20: An Unending Honeymoon

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

If you are married, think back to your honeymoon.  I would certainly hope that it was a time of great joy for you and your beloved.  Honeymoon’s are supposed to be that way – a time when you can simply focus on one another and the delight that fills the heart and put away all other concerns.  It’s great while it lasts, isn’t it?

In his book The Pleasures of God, John Piper shares why God’s love is superior to any love we will find here on earth:

“Sometimes we joke and say about marriage, “The honeymoon is over.” But that’s because we are finite. We can’t sustain a honeymoon level of intensity and affection. We can’t foresee the irritations that come with long-term familiarity. We can’t stay as fit and handsome as we were then. We can’t come up with enough new things to keep the relationship that fresh. But God says his joy over his people is like a bridegroom over a bride. He is talking about honeymoon intensity and honeymoon pleasures and honeymoon energy and excitement and enthusiasm and enjoyment. He is trying to get into our hearts what he means when he says he rejoices over us with all his heart.

“And add to this, that with God the honeymoon never ends. He is infinite in power and wisdom and creativity and love. And so he has no trouble sustaining a honeymoon level of intensity; he can foresee all the future quirks of our personality and has decided he will keep what’s good for us and change what isn’t; he will always be as handsome as he ever was, and will see to it that we get more and more beautiful forever; and he infinitely creative to think of new things to do together so that there will be no boredom for the next trillion ages of millenniums.” – John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Multnomah, 2000), p. 188

I wish I could be on a honeymoon with my bride forever and never have to worry again about the cost of eyeglasses or dental work or mortgage payments or the rising price of everything else.  I wish I could be creative enough to find new ways to express my delight in her each and every moment for as long as I live.  Alas, as she’ll tell you, I’m not that creative.  But God is.  The honeymoon love of God for us will never end nor will we ever tire of it, for our love for Him will be perfected, too.

Long ago when I first married my wife, I couldn’t conceive of a love that would get more and more beautiful as time passed.  Now, from the perspective of a few years, I can understand that such a thing can be true.  But I still can’t conceive of a love that gets “more and more beautiful forever” – yet that is precisely what we will find in Him!

PRAYER: How we long to fully experience your creative, unending, exciting, joyful, beautiful love forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/24/20 – Do Not Be Afraid?!?!?!!!

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DayBreaks for 2/24/20: Do Not Be Afraid!?!?!?

In every instance in Scripture where God appears to people they fall terrified to the ground! The only exceptions that I can think of (I may have missed some) are the incarnation appearances of Jesus – and in his case he looked just like a human and not God. But what I find interesting about the times God does show up and we humans cower in fear, his words to us are: “Do not be afraid”

Does that make sense to you? After all, when confronted by the One who is the Lord over all, the Creator, ultimate in power, who wouldn’t we cringe in fear and shame? At that moment there must be no doubt about the fact that he knows every single thing we have ever done, every impure, mean, angry, hateful thought we’ve ever had, every opportunity to do good that we let pass by. He knows everything about us – there is nothing that escapes His all-seeing eyes! And when confronted by the absolute judge of the universe who is totally pure and loves justice, why wouldn’t we be terror stricken!!!

Yet isn’t that precisely why he came as an incarnate human being? To show us what he is really like…to say, in essence, “See me? Touch my hands, hear my words, know my heart…and you’ll know you don’t need to be afraid. I’m on YOUR side and I love you! I won’t ever leave or forsake you.”

The more I think about it, the more I think that was a key part of his coming – to take away our fear. His truest revelation of himself to us is visible in the incarnation and on the cross. Once we have seen that and accepted him, there is no need for fear for there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for taking away our fear and for showing us the true nature of the Father! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/19/20 – One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

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DayBreaks for 2/19/20: One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

From John Ortberg’s sermon, Big God/Little God:

“Many years ago I was walking in Newport Beach, a beach in Southern California, with two friends. Two of us were on staff together at a church, and one was an elder at the same church. We walked past a bar where a fight had been going on inside. The fight had spilled out into the street, just like in an old western. Several guys were beating up on another guy, and he was bleeding from the forehead. We knew we had to do something, so we went over to break up the fight. … I don’t think we were very intimidating. [All we did was walk over and say,] “Hey, you guys, cut that out!” It didn’t do much good.

“Then all of a sudden they looked at us with fear in their eyes. The guys who had been beating up on the one guy stopped and started to slink away. I didn’t know why until we turned and looked behind us. Out of the bar had come the biggest man I think I’ve ever seen. He was something like six feet, seven inches, maybe 300 pounds, maybe 2 percent body fat. Just huge. We called him “Bubba” (not to his face, but afterwards, when we talked about him).

“Bubba didn’t say a word. He just stood there and flexed. You could tell he was hoping they would try and have a go at him. All of a sudden my attitude was transformed, and I said to those guys, “You better not let us catch you coming around here again!” I was a different person because I had great, big Bubba. I was ready to confront with resolve and firmness. I was released from anxiety and fear. I was filled with boldness and confidence. I was ready to help somebody that needed helping. I was ready to serve where serving was required. Why? Because I had a great, big Bubba. I was convinced that I was not alone. I was safe.

“If I were convinced that Bubba were with me 24 hours a day, I would have a fundamentally different approach to my life. If I knew Bubba was behind me all day long, you wouldn’t want to mess with me. But he’s not. I can’t count on Bubba.

“Again and again, the writers of Scripture pose this question for us: How big is your God? Again and again we are reminded that One who is greater than Bubba has come, and you don’t have to wonder whether or not he’ll show up. He’s always there. You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to live your life in hiding. You have a great, big God, and he’s called you to do something, so get on with it!”

Are you facing a huge challenge that you believe God has put squarely in front of you?  Something that you just know deep inside there is no way you can do?  Will you let your fears of failure stop you or will you get on with the task God has assigned?  It’s not easy – it takes a huge step of faith.  We fear failure so much!  We need to remember, however, that God doesn’t call us to succeed, but to obey.  If it is His plan, it will accomplish His purpose.  Sometimes I believe He may ask us to do something not so much because He “needs” a certain outcome, but because He is testing our faith and obedience. 

If you are called to do something for God, don’t hesitate.  One greater than Bubba has come and he’s got your back!

PRAYER: Thank You for the comfort of knowing that the outcomes don’t depend on us and our own achievement, but upon You and Your might!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/18/20 – Finding Family

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DayBreaks for 2/18/20: Finding Family

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. – Romans 8:29-30

“They worked together every day at the furniture delivery company and didn’t know. Gary would lift one end of the couch and Randy the other. People said they looked alike, but they chalked that up to coincidence.

“Randy had been researching his family history. He was an adopted son, and a new law in Maine allowed him to finally see his birth certificate. He learned that both his parents had died but that they had another son, born June 10, 1974. Then, on a furniture delivery run, it happened again. A customer commented on how much Randy looked like Gary. Randy started nonchalantly asking Gary some more personal questions—like when his birthday is. “As soon as he said his birthday, I knew,” Randy said later. Gary is his brother.

“Here they had grown up in neighboring towns and attended rival schools—only a year apart in age—and never known about each other. It was a shock to both of them. “Phenomenal,” said Gary. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.” A co-worker, Greg Berry, said, “There’s nothing like family, especially when you don’t have one. Now they’ve got it.”

“But that’s not all. After their story appeared in the local paper, “a teary-eyed woman showed up at the brothers’ workplace clutching a birth certificate.” She was their half-sister, born five or six years before the two men to the same mother. “After all these years,” she said in an interview with a reporter, “here I am 41, and now I finally found my brothers.” – Bangor Daily News

What a wonderful picture of what the church is to be!  Veritable strangers come together inside a building – perhaps they know someone and perhaps they are all total strangers to one another.  But if they stay for any period of time, they find that they are really brothers and sisters – that those who are part of this particular family of God all have a striking family resemblance as well as a deep bond that can’t be explained in mere human terms.  Those who are alone and lonely can find (in a church that beats with the heartbeat of the Master), the family they never knew they had.

As believers, we all have a responsibility and privilege of bearing the image of our Lord.  Let’s make sure that we keep His image clean and pure and that we welcome those who are seeking a place where they belong.  

PRAYER: May we be true brothers and sisters – far beyond any physical ties – that those outside will see in Your church the family they desperately long for!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/05/20 – If You Want to Know God

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DayBreaks for 2/05/20: If You Want to Know God

Cancer. Pain. Abuse. Injustice. Racism. Brokenness. We all experience some of these painful things. Based on our experiences, we tend to form a picture of what God is like. When we suffer, intellectual answers about the problem of pain don’t help much because at such times we have broken hearts, not broken heads and we need heart medicine, not head medicine.

You see, the mind believes what it has learned but our heart believes only what it has experienced. And if our lives have been wracked with pain our perception of God is often askew.

Most of our ideas and beliefs about God come from a heart, not head, perspective. When we’re suffering, we don’t look at the facts, check the Scripture or do much thinking. Instead, we draw our opinions about God from the things we experience (good and bad) in our lives. But that’s not what we should rely on. Only one source will do at such times.

If you want to know what God is like, the one sure way is to look at Jesus. As Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom, “If you want to know how God reacts to people, look at how Jesus reacts to people. If you want to know what God thinks, how he acts and who he is, don’t get with a group of people and vote on it. One doesn’t discover divine truth with an election. If you want to know the truth about God, don’t get a book on theology, listen to a preacher, or even read a book like this one. For God’s sake, go to Jesus.”

The young woman was married with three kids and tons of responsibility and burden. It got to be too much for her so she ran as far and fast as she could from her husband and family to another state and another life.

Her husband eventually found her, called and told her he loved her and their children loved her. But she’d heard it before so she hung up.

Not long after, at great expense physically, emotionally and financially, he traveled to her place where she was living in rebellion, pain and loneliness He begged her to come home and she melted in his arms.

Later, when he asked her why, after begging her on the phone she’d not come home, her answer echoes that of every Christian who has ever rebelled at the pain and ran from the source only to come home:

“Before it was only words,” she said. “Then you came!”

Jesus came to join in our human pain as he was fully human even as he was fully God. If you want to know God, get to know Jesus and see and feel his heart for you, even in the middle of your pain.

PRAYER: Jesus, it is hard sometimes in the middle of pain to remember the truth about you and what you are like. When we doubt the goodness of God, let us see it in your words, actions and face. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/31/20 – Standing Before God

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DayBreaks for 1/31/20: Standing Before God

My faith roots come from a very legalistic background. A common question posed to keep us in fear regarding salvation was, “If you sin and are run over by a truck and killed before you can ask for forgiveness, will you be saved?” The answer they wanted to hear was “No” because it was only fear that could keep us young people in line. We were taught (and this part is true) that God was always watching and we might be able to fool people but never God – and that some day the books would be balanced and we’d find ourselves in the most serious trouble imaginable. And so we cried and literally shook with fear for our sinfulness. 

But flip that argument around: are we any better if God is kind, but also safe and controllable? I think not. If God were kind, safe and controllable we have an entirely different problem: he wouldn’t be God at all.

You see, small gods do small things – because that’s all they can do. I like how Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom: “If you have never stood before God and felt afraid, then probably you have never stood before God. (Heb. 10:31) You have stood before an idol of your own making. Worse, your life will remain silly and superficial because you worship a silly and superficial God.”

At the same time, Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. How can he say that? Because as Aquinas said, the cross didn’t secure the love of God, but the love of God secured the cross. All who believe have been adopted. Not only have we been reconciled to that great and mighty and totally holy God by Christ’s sacrifice, but something else happened: we received Jesus’ righteousness – and not just a part of it, but all of it…ALL the goodness of Christ was credited to your account and mine.

What is the practical application of this wondrous truth? Here it is: if you are a Christian, it means that God will never be angry with you again. He has turned his wrath away from you because he credited ALL of Christ’s righteousness to your account. And here it is in a nutshell: how can God be angry at perfection?

It is a truth too good to be true – but it is true. Find freedom because Christ died to give it to you!

PRAYER: God, I can hardly believe you see me as holy and righteous as Christ because you’ve given me his righteousness as my inheritance as your child! No words can ever express enough gratitude for what you’ve done! Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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