DayBreaks for 9/16/19 – Two Appropriate Thoughts

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DayBreaks for 9/16/19: Two Appropriate Thoughts

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

My wife and I live outside of the glare of city lights, about 5 miles from the closest town.  We feel very blessed with the peace and quiet of this place.  On occasion on warm summer nights, I go out onto the deck and just stare up at the skies.  You can see far more stars here than in town.  It is possible to see the milky scatter that is called the Milky Way as it stretches across the sky. 

Just the other night as I lay there gazing up, I was struck by several thoughts.  I am always totally amazed at the vast distances involved in the universe.  I thought about the deep, absolute cold of outer space.  I thought about the huge amounts of nothingness that presents itself through the absence of any sign of light.  And, I thought about the incredible fact that some of the “stars” I perceived as a single point of light are really extremely distant galaxies that are composed of billions (some say as many as 350,000,000,000) of stars.  What appears tiny may indeed be exceedingly massive. 

I also always find myself repeating David’s question as I stare into this vastness: What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him?  And I ask myself: Why, God, do You think of and take notice of ME? 

God, of course, didn’t have to make the universe so vast.  In fact, He didn’t have to make it large at all.  He could have been content with just creating a nice little cozy solar system for us to live in.  That would have been impressive enough!  We don’t even understand all that happens on our planet, let alone in our solar system.  They mysteries and wonder are deep, indeed. 

Once again, Francis Chan found himself wondering about the same thing.  “Why would God create more than 350,000,000,000 galaxies (and this is a conservative estimate) that generations of people never saw or even knew existed?  Do you think maybe it was to make us say, ‘Wow, God is unfathomably big?  Or perhaps God wanted us to see these pictures so that our response would be, ‘Who do I think I am?’”

The Bible tells us that God is unfathomably big and powerful.  And it amazingly tells us that He does in fact notice and care about us as individuals, that we matter GREATLY to Him – each and every one of us.  Perhaps, as Chan suggests, the most important feeling that the universe should stir in us is to put us in our place when we are thinking too highly of ourselves. 

Space should make us feel small, for we are infinitesimally small in comparison to the universe.  Our God holds all that exists in the palm of His hand.  We need to be reminded of that when we’re too puffed up and feeling hoity-toity.  If the universe makes us feel small, when we compare ourselves (our wisdom, goodness, knowledge, capabilities, etc.) to God, may we all be led to view the skies with wonder and ask, “Who do I think I am?”

PRAYER: For the wonder of your creation, we thank you.  For the way you feel about us and love us, we adore you.  When we start to get too big for our shoes, keep us humble before You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/09/19 – Handmade in Heaven

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DayBreaks for 9/09/19: Handmade in Heaven

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

You’ve read the labels before: “Handmade in Italy.”  “Made by hand in Ireland.”  “Handmade in China.”  Do all three of those statements give you the same feeling?  For many years, “handmade in China” would not stir one to think all that highly of the product, unless it was some special type of pottery or other work of art.  For a long time, “Made in Japan” and “Made in China” had reputations of suggesting poor quality.  To some extent, that has change in more recent times, but problems with toxic paints on toys and other manufacturing issues have once again made us skeptical of things made in places such as China.

On the other hand, “Handmade in Italy” probably would cause one to think that the product is worth something extra.  There is a higher reputation for things made in Italy (for example) versus China.  And the “handmade” part of the label leads one to suspect that an artisan made that particular product. 

What would be the most priceless artifact in history?  It might be hard to say, but I’d venture a guess that if there were a table or chair or some article made out of wood that could be verified as being handmade by Jesus that it would be the most priceless treasure ever found.  Bids would become astronomical!  Alas, no such artifact has ever been found. 

That is not to say, however, that we have nothing that was handmade by Jesus.  We do – plenty of things that were handmade by Him.  The sun, moon, stars, the oceans, mountains, animals…all were made by Him (John 1:3).  Truly, we live in a world of wonders! 

But the very best news is what John 1:3 implies: it means that you are handmade by Jesus!  Scripture speaks about this in many places, including Job 10:10-11 and Psalm 139 (my favorite Psalm).  Now what does THAT say about you?  You are priceless…far more so than a table formed under the blows and gouging planes that Jesus once held in His hands.  Jesus never died for a table or chair, though they’d be priceless today if they could be located.  But He did die for you. 

You are “Handmade by the Lord” and infinitely more precious than anything else in this world!

PRAYER: Thank You for forming us and shaping us by Your precious hands!  May we be worthy representatives of Your handiwork and bring glory to our Maker!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/04/19 – Not Even Like Ours

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DayBreaks for 9/04/19: Not Even Like Ours

NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

How God must laugh at us at times!  The sheer arrogance of mankind to think that we know what God is thinking, why He’s thinking the way He is, why He does the things He does and why He doesn’t do other things…and of course, the supreme arrogance is to think that we know better than God because we obviously understand the situation SO MUCH BETTER than God could!  Ha!  If it weren’t so deadly, it would be worth laughing about.

One of my favorite passages (it keeps me humble!) is found in Isaiah 55:8-9, where we read: My thoughts are not like your thoughts.  Your ways are not like my ways.  Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

In his little devotional book, For the Tough Times, Max Lucado makes the point well: “Make special note of the world like.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are they even like ours.  We aren’t even in the same neighborhood.  We’re thinking, “Preserve the body”; He’s thinking, “Save the soul.”  We dream of a pay raise.  He dreams of raising the dead.  We avoid pain and seek peace.  God uses pain to bring peace.  “I’m going to live before I die,” we resolve.  “Die so you can live,” He instructs.  We love what rusts.  He loves what endures.  We rejoice at our successes.  He rejoices at our confessions.  We show our children the Nike basketball star with the million-dollar smile and say, ‘Be like Mike.’  God points to the crucified carpenter with bloody lips and a torn side and says, ‘Be like Christ.’”

The next time you presume to tell someone what God is thinking or why He’s doing something, stop and remember Isaiah 55:8-9.  It may just keep you from saying something very, very foolish.

PRAYER: Lord, keep our lips from spewing falsehoods or speaking foolishness in Your name or about You.  May we only proclaim Your words when it is clearly from the Word!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/02/19 – Not Even Like Ours

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DayBreaks for 9/02/19: Not Even Like Ours

NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

How God must laugh at us at times!  The sheer arrogance of mankind to think that we know what God is thinking, why He’s thinking the way He is, why He does the things He does and why He doesn’t do other things…and of course, the supreme arrogance is to think that we know better than God because we obviously understand the situation SO MUCH BETTER than God could!  Ha!  If it weren’t so deadly, it would be worth laughing about.

One of my favorite passages (it keeps me humble!) is found in Isaiah 55:8-9, where we read: My thoughts are not like your thoughts.  Your ways are not like my ways.  Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

In his little devotional book, For the Tough Times, Max Lucado makes the point well: “Make special note of the world like.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are they even like ours.  We aren’t even in the same neighborhood.  We’re thinking, “Preserve the body”; He’s thinking, “Save the soul.”  We dream of a pay raise.  He dreams of raising the dead.  We avoid pain and seek peace.  God uses pain to bring peace.  “I’m going to live before I die,” we resolve.  “Die so you can live,” He instructs.  We love what rusts.  He loves what endures.  We rejoice at our successes.  He rejoices at our confessions.  We show our children the Nike basketball star with the million-dollar smile and say, ‘Be like Mike.’  God points to the crucified carpenter with bloody lips and a torn side and says, ‘Be like Christ.’”

The next time you presume to tell someone what God is thinking or why He’s doing something, stop and remember Isaiah 55:8-9.  It may just keep you from saying something very, very foolish.

PRAYER: Lord, keep our lips from spewing falsehoods or speaking foolishness in Your name or about You.  May we only proclaim Your words when it is clearly from the Word!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/21/19: Herein Is Love

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DayBreaks for 08/21/19: Herein Is Love

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

Have you ever stopped to ponder the variety of ways in which God chooses to show us His love for us?  I am highly confident that the ways and means He uses to show us His love are innumerable and as infinite as the stars of the sky or the sand of the seashore.  Yet, sometimes we still wonder if He really, honestly, truly loves us. 

Flowers can speak to us of how He longs to whisper to us.  Mountain vistas that He created were made to sweep us off our feet.  The vastness of the universe on a cold, clear night speaks to us not only of His greatness, but of our importance to Him that caused the Psalmist to wonder aloud how amazing it was that He should care about and “visit” us.  The touch of a lover’s hand upon the skin excites us as does the gentleness of the breeze borne of the Spirit.  In all these things, and so many more, He speaks love to us.

Donald McDonald, in Behold Your God (1995), perhaps captured the thing that most ultimately is the proof of His love.  He said, “In the last analysis, God expresses His love for us not by putting another to suffer in our place, but by Himself taking our place.  He meets the whole cost of our forgiveness in Himself, exacting it of Himself.  He demands the ransom.  He provides the ransom.  He becomes the ransom.  Herein is love.

That God provided someone to suffer in our place is not the greatest measure of His love for us.  God could have commanded the archangel Michael to come to earth and die on a cross.  We don’t know for sure, but we must all assume that Michael, along with the balance of the heavenly host, are all without sin.  Could they not have been the sacrifice?  Why not?  Why didn’t God send one of them to suffer in our place?  To my very limited way of thinking, I have to believe that He didn’t do that because it wouldn’t speak to us of His love for us if He’d sent someone else, and secondly that it is not in keeping with His nature to not love to the “Nth” degree in a personal way. 

If a father is watching a drowning child struggle in the middle of a lake, would the loving thing be for the father to ask someone else to go an die in an effort to save the child, or to go himself?  Which would be love?  It’s obvious, isn’t it. 

God’s love isn’t shown just by Him having sent someone to die for us, but in coming to do it Himself.

Today, live with the thought that He loves you far more than you will ever know or imagine!

PRAYER:  For Your great love that is higher than the stars, deeper than the sea, and wider than eternity…Hallelujah!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/14/19 – How Can it Be?

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DayBreaks for 08/14/19: How Can It Be?

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

“O love of God, how can it be, that You my King, should die for me?”

How much has been written about the love of God?  It really doesn’t matter – even if the entire universe were filled with the writing, it wouldn’t be enough to cover the subject!  We believe in His love (most of the time), and we certainly WANT to believe in it always, but there are times when we just find it hard to believe that although John says He is love, that He loves ME. 

Why?  Why should He love you?  Why should He love me?  Is there something deep within you that requires Him to love you?  Is there something special about my character that causes Him to love me?  While we are all unique and special, is there something about us that God finds irresistible that compels or forces Him to love us? 

The question of “How could he love me?” is a common one, even when it lies unspoken on the lips.  It is also a question that I don’t think we can answer.  I know that I often don’t find myself all that lovable.  How can He find me lovable after all the things I’ve done?  Sure, we can say it’s because we’re made in His image…and it is true that we are made in His image.  But I don’t think that is sufficient to provoke love in His heart for us. 

In his book, The God I Don’t Understand, Christopher J. H. Wright said, “We will never understand why God has chosen to love us, other than the revealed truth that God is love.  It is simply and essentially God’s character and nature to love.  That states the truth, but it doesn’t explain it. … The love of God is generated and motivated within God’s own being, just as the light and warmth of the sun that we feel on planet Earth is generated within the sun itself and owes nothing to anything the earth or its inhabitants can do – other than to be orbiting within reach.”

It is probably just that simple: God loves us because He is God.  Period, over and out.  And if He is truly love, as John proclaimed, it should not be a surprise that He can love even one like me!

PRAYER:  Of all the things that You could have been, how grateful I am that in Your deepest nature, You are love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/13/19 – The Great Substitutions

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DayBreaks for 08/13/19: The Great Substitutions

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

When I was in junior high, high school, and college, I loved to play sports.  I wasn’t always first string, but whether I was or not, everyone has to take a bit of break now and then and sit to rest.  So, the coach would either send me in as a substitute, or he’d pull the substitute he’d sent in for me so I could go back into the game.  I always hated it when I was pulled out to rest.  I wanted to keep playing!  But the concept of substituting one player for another is based on very solid realities.  In the major leagues, some players are better at defense than others, and toward the end of a close game if their team is leading and the score is close, they might be sent in as a substitute for a player who is not quite as good with a glove.  In basketball, some players can’t shoot free throws and when it comes to crunch time, the coach may pull them out and put in players who can shoot free throws, or three-pointers if the team is behind and has to catch up. 

Of course, the Christian faith is all about substitution: Christ paying the price for the sinner, His death rather than our own.  The righteous dying for the unrighteous.  Pretty fundamental to the entire enterprise of God’s plan.

There is, however, more substitution going on that we are wont to admit.  Consider this perspective from John Stott in his excellent book, The Cross of Christ: “The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation.  For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.  Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.  Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”

Sin surely is us humans putting ourselves in God’s place, rising up in rebellion, overthrowing the reign and rule of God (or trying to) in order to decree what is right and acceptable based on our desires and wishes.  We don’t often think about that form of substitution, but it is putting our wills in the forefront rather than His will.  It is what Adam did in the garden and we’ve been constantly at it ever since. 

We want to accept the substitution that God made for us.  We just don’t want to have to admit the substitution we have made to displace Him from the throne.

PRAYER:  We are deeply grateful, Lord Jesus, that you put yourself in our place.  We are less eager to admit the reason it was necessary was because of our attempt to substitute ourselves and our will for Your will and rule.  Have mercy on us sinners!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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