DayBreaks for 5/20/19 – Then You Will Know

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DayBreaks for 5/20/19: Then You Will Know

Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.’ – Exodus 6:6-7 (NIV)

You can identify some people by their voice: Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, James Earl Jones.  Others you can identify by the creations they’ve left behind: Michelangelo, Dali, da Vinci.  It is important to be able to identify people one way or another: just ask Esau how he felt when his father, Isaac, was unable to distinguish between Jacob and Esau!  (I’m sure Isaac didn’t feel that great about it, either!)

Before God takes His people out of Egypt, He gave the above words to Moses, to tell the Israelites that after He’d led them out of Egypt, they would know that He was the LORD, their God.  This might seem strange – after all, were these not the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?  Yes, they were, but let’s not forget that they been in Egypt for 400 years.  How much did God communicate with them during that time?  We have no idea, but let’s face it: for 400 years they’d been surrounded by idolatry in many forms.  It is very possible that in those 400 years that they’d nearly, if not entirely, forgotten God.  Consider, for example, that America is 235 years old and see how much our country and faith-life has changed in just 235 years.  So, it is very possible that Israel had forgotten God entirely.

Therefore, God wants to identify Himself to them again.  He could have just said, “Hi, I’m your God, the One who made promises to Abraham,” and left it at that.  But He didn’t.  He knew that people (like you and me and the Israelites) would probably demand more proof.  And so He offered it to them (paraphrasing): “After I’ve led you out from under Egyptian oppression and done mighty and wonderful things, then you will know that I’m who I said – the Lord your God.”

Here’s the point: God made the proof of who He was conditional on doing something that no one else could have done – delivered a rag-tag group of slaves from the mightiest nation on earth without so much as a sword or a bow and arrow. 

God was willing to prove who He was in ways that no one else could provide.  God is always doing things that no one else can do.  Consider the kinds of things that He has done to show you who He is.  And then give Him glory!

Prayer: You have brought each of us out of slavery to the glory of Your Name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 5/16/19 – God’s Intent

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DayBreaks for 5/16/19: God’s Intent

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

Good intentions.  My goodness, I’ve certainly had enough of them to last a lifetime.  Do those intentions always translate into right actions?  Well, um, no.  But just because the action didn’t follow the intent, it doesn’t mean that anything was wrong with the intent.  It’s the execution of a good intention that leads to good actions.

There is an interesting passage in Ephesians that speaks about one of God’s intentions.  Here it is: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Ephesians 3:10-11 (NIV)

Maybe it seems strange to think of it in this way, but at least for the present time, God’s intentions don’t always work out, either.  They will eventually, but in the meantime, they can get sidetracked, too.  They don’t get sidetracked because God changes His mind or because He can’t execute His plan.  It’s just that He chooses to make some of His intentions intertwined with the actions of human beings like us.  And that’s why His intentions don’t always get fulfilled right away.

It was God’s “intent” that His wisdom should show forth God’s wisdom.  How is your church doing at showing forth God’s wisdom?  But let’s make it a bit more personal than that…for we are the church.  The question could therefore be asked, “How well am I doing at letting God’s manifold wisdom be seen through my life?” 

Many churches are too busy fussing and fighting to show much of anything that would resemble God’s character.  But when a diverse group of people can not only co-exist, but love one another and let God’s wisdom (not the wisdom of the church leaders) be seen – then something amazing happens.  People in this world see something that doesn’t come from this world: God’s wisdom.  Even then, however, this display of wisdom from the church isn’t primarily for human eyes – it is for the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  They are watching – and believe it or not, they see the wisdom of God in His plan to involve humans as His family.

You are the church.  Does your life showcase your wisdom, or His? 

Prayer: Father, forgive us for our foolishness and for wanting to show how smart and wise we are in our human thinking.  May we live as your church so that the angels and demons give You praise for Your wisdom in creating the church!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/08/19 – Settling for Lesser Things

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DayBreaks for 5/08/19: Settling for Lesser Things

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

We have all at one time or another had to “settle” for less than we wanted or hoped for. As a child, it may have been settling for a cookie instead of a full-blown banana split.  As a teenager, it might be something like settling for an iPod Nano instead of a full-blown iPod.  As an adult, perhaps you’ve had to settle for a two bedroom apartment instead of a 10 bedroom, 5 bath, 3 car garage home with a pool and built in bowling alley. We all have had to settle for lesser things. 

And even though we’re had to do it many times, it doesn’t mean we like it.  We still have the desire for more and bigger and better.  But we seldom get all that we’d really like to have. 

Consider this story, told by Skye Jethani in his book, The Divine Commodity, (copyright 2009, pg. 113), about a trip he took to India with his father. While walking the streets of New Delhi, a little boy approached them. He was “skinny as a rail, and naked but for tattered blue shorts. His legs were stiff and contorted, like a wire hanger twisted upon itself.” Because of his condition, the little boy could only waddle along on his calloused knees. He made his way toward Skye and his father and cried out, “One rupee, please! One rupee!” Skye describes what happened when his father eventually responded to the boy’s persistent begging:

“What do you want?” [my father asked].

“One rupee, sir,” the boy said while motioning his hand to his mouth and bowing his head in deference. My father laughed.

“How about I give you five rupees?” he said. The boy’s submissive countenance suddenly became defiant. He retracted his hand and sneered at us. He thought my father was joking, having a laugh at his expense. After all, no one would willingly give up five rupees. The boy started shuffling away, mumbling curses under his breath.

“My father reached into his pocket. Hearing the coins jingle, the boy stopped and looked back over his shoulder. My father was holding out a five-rupee coin. He approached the stunned boy and placed the coin into his hand. The boy didn’t move or say a word. He just stared at the coin in his hand. We passed him and proceeded to cross the street.

“A moment later the shouting resumed, except this time the boy was yelling, “Thank you! Thank you, sir! Bless you!” He raced after us once again—but not for more money but to touch my father’s feet.

This, I imagine, is how our God sees us—as miserable creatures in desperate need of his help. But rather than asking for what we truly need, rather than desiring what he is able and willing to give, we settle for lesser things.”

Sometimes we need to learn to be content with lesser things, trusting that God in His wisdom knows what is best for us to have – and what is best for us not to have.  But we can fall into the trap of settling for too little when God wants so much for us: Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. (Ephesians 3:20, NLT) In context, Paul is talking about us being spiritual empowered.  What does that mean?  Let me put it this way: how easily do I give up when that old temptation comes a knockin’ on my door?  I’ve convinced myself that that old trickster the devil will never leave me alone, that I will never be free from that particular sin/temptation.  But God is able to give you and me power that we cannot even conceive of.  In fact, He’s already given us “all we need for life and godliness.”  He’s given us the power of the Spirit that hovered over the face of the deep and brought order out of chaos. 

If the Spirit could bring order out of the material chaos, how much more can He bring order out of the chaos of our lives…as long as we don’t settle for lesser things.

Prayer: God, teach us to be content with what You give us, but to never be content with our spiritual progress!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/7/19 – It Doesn’t Work That Way

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DayBreaks for 5/07/19: It Doesn’t Work That Way

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

It never fails.  It seems that no matter how often I talk with people (even Christians!), I will almost invariably hear some comment about how the person hopes they have enough faith to be allowed into heaven, or that they’ll have done enough good things that God will overlook the bad things they’ve done and the scales of “justice” will tip in their favor on judgment day. 

Why is it that people struggle so much with the concept of grace?  Perhaps it’s because deep down inside, it’s something that we seldom experience in this world from other human beings.  We are much more familiar with “justice” (i.e., getting what we deserve) and judgment from other humans.  And, let’s be honest about it, we often get worse than what we deserve (injustice) from other people, too. 

Thank God that He is not like us!  Thank God that He not only created but embodies mercy (not giving us what we really deserve) and grace (giving us the good things that we certainly don’t deserve)! 

Here’s a great explanation of why it doesn’t work the way a bank account does (i.e., where if you deposit more than you withdraw, you’re OK).  David Rich, in 7 Biblical Truths You Won’t Hear in Church (2006, pg. 37) explained it this way: “Picking, choosing, and deciding which sins are trivial and which are the biggies is a completely human tendency. A young man once told me, “It’s like a heavenly bank account. As long as I make more deposits than withdrawals, I’m in good shape.”

“I shared the biblical reality with him: the very first time he made a withdrawal, the account was emptied and closed forever. He thought that was a bit harsh. But I explained that I didn’t make the rules; God did. And I shared this truth with him not to depress him, but to make him aware and appreciative of God’s mercy.

“If you’re a believer, your account has been closed, and a new one opened in Christ’s name. You’re wealthy, but you can’t make another deposit or withdrawal. As Christians we just get the benefits of this new account, living off the interest—or, to put it another way, living off the blessing granted us by the blood of Jesus.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Praise God for grace!

Prayer: We seem reluctant to admit that we can’t do anything to earn Your grace, but we are thankful for it more than words can ever say!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/06/19 – Pocket God

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DayBreaks for 5/06/19: Pocket God

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

Have you heard about Pocket God? It’s one of the top-selling video game applications for Apple’s iPhone. Here’s the game description found on iTunes:

“What kind of god would you be? Benevolent or vengeful? Play Pocket God and discover the answer within yourself. On a remote island, you are the all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders. You can bring new life, and then take it away just as quickly.”

Seeing that game options include throwing islanders into volcanoes, using islanders as shark bait, bowling for islanders with a large rock, or creating earthquakes to destroy the islanders’ villages, designers seem to think players will only want to play the role of a vengeful god—which must mean they think that’s the only kind of god players can ever imagine being real.

This reminds me somewhat of a famous experiment that was done a number of years ago where college students were placed in positions of power (akin to being “god-like”) such that they could administer shocks to other students and could wield power over them.  They didn’t have to be mean to their “subjects”, but what the researchers discovered was that if one person was given power over another, they wound up using that power for not such altruistic purposes.

This is nothing short of horrifying.  For one thing, the God that I know and worship isn’t anywhere close to being like a “pocket God.”  The entire universe is not enough to contain Him.  Secondly, He doesn’t want to throw anyone (except Satan and his angels) into a volcano or pit of any kind, and He doesn’t use humans for bait.  I seriously doubt that God finds any humor at all in this “game.” 

Perhaps most disturbing is the image this creates in the minds of those who play the game.  I don’t care what anyone else says, it makes a difference.  Even if it does nothing more than make kids think that God is this way, it’s terribly destructive. 

Satan is not the Creator, but he is creative and innovative when it comes to trying to warp our minds.  Isn’t it time we stop to consider what we believe, and what we will tolerate, in light of the Word instead of our own opinions?  It’s time to take God back out of our pockets and put Him on the streets, taking Him with us “as we go” into all the world.

Prayer: Father, forgive us for we often don’t know what we are doing.  Give us the courage to reveal the real God, in the person of Jesus Christ, to a desperately sick world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/03/19 – God’s Expectations

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DayBreaks for 5/03/19: God’s Expectations

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

Have you ever been the “victim” of someone else’s expectations of you?  Perhaps it was when you were a child: your mom or dad may have wanted you to be a doctor or lawyer when you grew up, but neither was of interest to you.  Or, perhaps you dad wanted you to be as great of a football player or basketball player as he was (or thinks he was!) in his hey-day.  Maybe your mother wanted you to be more beautiful than you were…and so she went to great lengths to get you interested in make-up and pretty things.  Parents, for the most part, really do want good things for their kids.  It’s just that often we don’t know what will really be good for them and what won’t.  But that does very little to temper our expectations. 

Maybe you are struggling with unrealistic expectations of yourself.  Some people hold themselves to impossibly high standards, while others don’t hold themselves to any standard of excellence at all.  Your employer may have unrealistic expectations of you in terms of how many hours you work, what you are expected to achieve. 

Expectations can be killers.

But hasn’t God said, Be holy, even as I am holy?  Now THERE’S a tough expectation to live up to!!!!  Be as holy as God?  Didn’t Jesus command, Be perfect…as your Heavenly father is perfect (Matt. 5:48)?  And didn’t the KJV, in describing Job, record that God Himself said that Job was “perfect”?  Talk about being set up for failure – this is looking like it could be the most colossal failure of all time!

Ah, here’s the release from the tension, and it’s found in Hebrews 10:14, where we are reassured that Christ…has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.  Did you get that?  Christ “HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER” those who are being sanctified.”  Past tense.  Done deal.  The perfection that God demands of us has been achieved – only not in us, but it was done by Christ himself!  God, being a good Father, knows we can’t live up to that expectation on our own, so He resolved the issue for us.  Note the second part of the verse, too: although we have been made (past tense) perfect, we are still “being sanctified.”  So, while our sanctification goes on, our perfection has been achieved.

Doesn’t this make some kind of sense: would God, being perfectly loving and knowing perfectly well what we are truly capable of (and what we aren’t), expect us to do the impossible?  As Mike Mason said in The Gospel According to Job: “Surely not – except by His grace.  And that is precisely the point: it is God’s grace, and nothing else, that declares a person perfect.  It is in God’s eyes that people achieve perfection, not in their own or in the world’s.  In our Heavenly Father’s garden, perfection is by faith and not by sight.”

Prayer: What a comfort it is to know that You know us perfectly well, and yet You have chosen to see us as perfect in Christ Jesus.  Thank You for understanding our inadequacies and for making provision for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/01/19 – Connecting to a Disconnected God

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DayBreaks for 5/01/19: Connecting to a Disconnected God

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

In March of this year, Reuters carried a story about a Dutch artist by the name of Johan van der Dong who decided God needed a telephone number and so he got Him one – a cell phone, in fact -to show that God was “available anywhere and anytime.”

“In earlier times you would go to a church to say a prayer,” Dong said in an interview, “and now [this is an] opportunity to just make a phone call and say your prayer in a modern way.”

What was the response?  It seems a lot of people appreciated what van der Dong did for them with the so-called “divine hotline.”  In just one week, over 1,000 people had called the cell number and left God a message.

On one hand, it’s pretty intriguing and exciting to know that over 1,000 people got the number in just one week and wanted to connect to God.  However, I can’t help but wonder how the people felt once they made the “connection.”  You see, when they called the number van der Dong set up for God, this is what they heard on the other side of the line: “This is the voice of God. I am not able to speak to you at the moment, but please leave a message.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly give me a warm and fuzzy concept of a God who is supposed to be “available anywhere and anytime.”  Van der Dong plans on keeping the cell phone number active for only six months.

So, what has van der Dong accomplished?  Not much.  It was mostly a gimmick, perhaps even a mockery.  All he did was connect people to an altogether disconnected God.  He is not connecting people to the real God.  God doesn’t need a phone line (cell or land-line), He doesn’t have an answering machine because He’s too busy managing supernova’s somewhere in deep space, and He is never, ever disconnected from the prayers of His people. 

When you pray, what is your attitude?  Do you really understand the power to whom you are speaking?  Do you comprehend that prayer is not something to be thrown off casually like a flippant, off-hand string of comments and requests, but rather a connection with the only True and Living God?  God is not to be trifled with, but He longs for communication from the heart, and He will never be too busy to put you on hold.

Prayer: What a privilege and blessing it is to be able to talk directly to You, most glorious and exalted God and Father!  May we approach Your throne in humility, but boldly, in confidence that we have Your ear and attention at any time of the day or night for as long as we shall live!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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