DayBreaks for 11/13/19 – Incarnational Revelation

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DayBreaks for 11/13/19: Incarnational Revelation

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

There has never been a better “asker” of questions than Jesus!  And there has never been a more important question than when he asked, But what about you?  Who do you say I am? Matthew 16:15 (NIV)  Upon the answer to that question hangs our eternity!

Jesus said He came so that we might see the Father, or to put it in another way, to know what God is like.  In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason posed a series of questions that are related to the incarnational experiences of Jesus that reveal to us who He is.

“If God alone ‘treads on the waves of the sea’ (Job 9:8), what must we conclude from the fact that Jesus did the same?

“If God is ‘the Maker of the Bear and Orion and Pleiades’ (vs. 9), what could be more fitting than that a brand-new star should be created to announce the birth of His Son?

“If God ‘performs wonders that cannot be fathomed’ and ‘miracles that cannot be numbered’ (vs. 10), then of course this description also fits the ministry of Jesus.

“If it is true of God that ‘when he goes by, I cannot perceive him’ (vs. 11), then it follows that Jesus too would have the power to make himself invisible in a crowd (as He does, for example, in John 8:59).

“If no one can say to God, ‘What are you doing?’ (vs. 12), then in the life of Jesus, too, it would come to pass that ‘no one dared ask him any more questions.’  (Mk. 12:34)

“If ‘God does not restrain his anger’ (vs. 13), then Jesus too might be expected to show anger.

“Finally, if ‘the cohorts of Rahab [the powers of darkness] cower at [God’s] feet’ (vs. 13b), then for Jesus, too, it would happen that ‘whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out.’  (Mk. 3:11)

“What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrait of the earthly Jesus!  Or was it the other way around?  That is, did Jesus Christ, having been born into this world, set out deliberately to spend His life painting a visible and tangible portrait of His unseen Father as described in the Old Testament?”

Jesus claimed to be God.  He did things only God can do.  He deserves not just our love, but our obedience as Almighty God.

PRAYER: For the awesome mystery of God made flesh and living among us, we give You our praise!  May we obey Jesus from the heart with the full understanding that He is God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/05/19 – Job and His Complaint

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DayBreaks for 11/05/19: Job and His Complaint

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

If you have been accused (especially wrongly) of something, you want to face your accusers and try to clear your name, don’t you?  This is one of the key rights we have as individuals in America.  It’s not a new idea that came up only when America was founded, it’s been around for years and years.  Witness Job’s complaint from eons past: Job 9:32 – God is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.

Job’s friends had accused him of great and terrible sin.  To their way of thinking, there could be no other explanation for why Job was in such a pickle.  In spite of all that they’d known of Job and observed in his life, they now were convinced that he’d been secretly involved in massive deception and sin.  Who wouldn’t want to face such accusers?  But Job realizes that for them to really know the truth, God would have to be called to the witness stand.  They certainly weren’t going to take Job’s word for it – not when they suspected him of being such a sinner to start with.  (How quickly the good opinion others may have of us can deteriorate if they suspect we’re sinning!) 

So it is that Job issues his complaint about God.  If God were a human like Job (or you or me), we might be able to compel Him to come to the court so we could confront him and clear our name.  Sadly, it is a case we would lose but for the blood of Jesus – and Job knew nothing about Jesus or his future sacrifice. 

Let us not miss the irony that is so heavy in Job’s statement: what Job was longing for became reality when Jesus (God) became a man like me and was put in the court dock.  As Mike Mason wrote, “…in Jesus Christ the Almighty God has become ‘a man like me,’ and moreover a man who by standing before Pontius Pilate and the Sanhedrin has confronted every one of us in court – and yet not, as we may have expected, in His rightful capacity as Judge, but rather as the accused, the prisoner in the dock.  Through this reversal of roles He meant to show us that it is mankind who first condemned God, not the other way around, and that only by faith in Jesus can this condemnation be lifted so that we can be set free.

We “condemned” God first in the garden when mankind decided pleasure was to be preferred over obedience and we’ve been “condemning” God ever since through every act of rebellion that suggests other things are to be preferred over His will. 

So, millennia later, Job’s statement about God was resolved by Jesus’ incarnation.  Humanity put Jesus on trial then to determine if He was who He said He was.  Many concluded he was not who He claimed to be.  But others had the vision to recognize, as did the centurion who watched him die, that “Surely this man was the Son of God!” 

Here’s what may be a scary thought: as a believer, Jesus is on display through your life and actions and words.  What do people see and conclude about Him because of you?

PRAYER: Thank you for becoming a “man” like us so that we could see, hear, touch and thank you that you have made it possible for us to ask you questions through prayer!  Thank you that we do not stand in the court with you as our accuser, but as our friend, defender and Judge!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/18/19 – The Message of I AM

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DayBreaks for 10/18/19: The Message of I AM

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

One could consider the various names used in Scripture for God or Jesus or the Spirit for a long, long time before exhausting all the possibilities.  I’m sure that some of God’s names mean more to you than others and that is only natural.  From time to time, your favorite name of God may change because of the life situation in which you find yourself.  But of all the names of God, perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing was how He identified Himself to Moses and Abraham, and how Jesus referred to himself when responding to the Pharisees: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” 

We sing songs about the great “I AM”.  What’s the point of the name?  Obviously, it indicates someone who IS – not someone who was but is no more, nor someone who is “becoming” something that they are not at the present time.  It speaks, among other things, of the eternal nature of God in an exquisite way.

Still, there is something within me that has always felt like God stopped the sentence prematurely – that He intended to continue with a description of Himself that would be a bit more revealing than just saying, “I AM.”  And maybe that’s where the intriguing mystery of the name comes into play.

What could God have said?  He could have said that he was loving, long-suffering, patient, compassionate, merciful, eager to forgive, the Creator, the King…and the list could go on and on and on nearly for eternity.  But if God had said that, it wouldn’t have been fully accurate.  Love, righteousness, holiness, mercy, compassion…are all part of what God has created and they are part of His nature, but they are not God.  As Athol Dickson said in The Gospel According to Moses, “This is part of the reason God said Israel would know him as “I Am.”  That most personal name for God is significant as much for what it does not say as for what it does say.  For example, it does not say, ‘I am love,’ or ‘I am holy,’ or ‘I am righteous,’ or ‘I am just.’  That would be confusing the effect with the cause.  …When thinking about God’s essence, I must not think that he is love, for example, because even that noble idea leads to a limited conception of God.  God simply is.”

Why did God say that He was “I Am?”  Because it is the only words we lowly humans may have that can encompass all that is our God!

PRAYER: It is a great blessing, Father, to have a God is always has been, always is, and always will be, but it is equally wonderful to be lost in the wonder of Who You are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/10/19 – Praying When it Hurts

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DayBreaks for 10/10/19: Praying When it Hurts

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

How do you pray when you are hurting?  Maybe a better question would be, “How can you pray when you are hurting so badly that you can’t even think straight?”  Have you ever experienced so much hurt (regardless of the reason) that you just couldn’t find words to say?  I have.  And sometimes I didn’t make the effort to pray because it was just too hard.  Those were the moments when I had to trust the Spirit to make intercession.

The bible makes great claims for the power of prayer (Jn. 14:12-14 – I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Do you believe it?  Really?  Was Jesus just being hyperbolic?  It is an incredible promise from Jesus’ own lips!  When you think about it – he had reason to be so positive and sure – wherever he went in life and saw people in pain, he did something about it.  Should we think that because he is no longer here on earth that he is now powerless to do anything about it?  No!  We know that prayer connects us with the One who can heal.  But it is the times when the “healing” doesn’t come that trouble us.  As Brother Lawrence wrote: “Even when miracles seem in very short supply, when emotional problems remain unresolved or a tumor does not shrink, prayer is never wasted…many times when the specific healings I’ve prayed for have not materialized, but the situation changed in other ways.  These, too, are answers to prayer.” 

Then, he made a good observation: “We have not matured as men and women of prayer because we have not put a fraction of the time, thought and effort into learning to pray which we readily invest in our work, our hobbies, our human relationships…  If we are retarded in prayer, then we ourselves suffer for it – but so does the world.  The world needs us to be prayer therapists.  Prayer is God’s appointed way by which we become channels of His healing power.”

 “Prayer is a key which unlocks the blessings of the day and locks up the dangers of the night.”  (Anon.)  If your day could use more blessing, if your night could use more peace, prayer is the key!

PRAYER: Forgive our lack of time in speaking and listening to You in prayer.  May our desire to be with you in prayer grow and increase constantly so we may come to know you and love you more each moment!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/07/19 – From a Distance

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DayBreaks for 10/07/19: From a Distance

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I don’t know who wrote the song titled, From A Distance, but I know that both Bette Middler and Kathy Mattea have recorded it. The words are very poignant, and were probably inspired by some of the beautiful pictures of earth that were taken from space. Essentially, the song describes how from a distance all on the earth looks to be peaceful and serene. From space, you can’t see people hurting each other, killing each other and cheating one another. The song goes on to describe how God sees all this going on from a distance.

I like the song, actually. But I must disagree with the concept that God views us from a distance. The ancient Jews conceived of God as very high and exalted (and rightfully so), but to the extent that they believed that man could never approach God. Well, I guess that up to a point in time, they were right about that, too. Man couldn’t approach God until He first approached us! But with Jesus, all that changed. God was no longer viewing us from a distance, but from behind human eyes. What a different perspective for Him that must have been!

We might be tempted to think that with the ascension, God left the earth and hasn’t been close since. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the NT is clear about anything, it is that God takes up residence in us when we give our lives to Him: And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. (Eph. 2:22) God doesn’t watch you from a distance. In fact, He’s closer to you than your very own skin, because He is inside of your skin!!!

Does it bother you that God sees you from that close instead of far away? It really shouldn’t make any difference. If He truly is God (and He is!) He can see equally well from far away. But it is to our benefit that He lives within us. It is the indwelling Spirit that testifies to us that we are His children (Romans 8:16), that seals us for redemption and guarantees us of our heavenly inheritance (Eph. 1:13b-14).

When we lose contact with the God who dwells within us, we lose much of our ability to resist sin. As you make your way through this day, practice the presence of the God that lives within you. Listen for Him, talk to Him and enjoy Him! He enjoys you – just as you are, up close and personal!

PRAYER: May we find complete and utter rest in knowing that You know us and we are not strangers to You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/4/19 – He Knows Your Name

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DayBreaks for 10/04/19: He Knows Your Name

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

A true story: “A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all the cash from the cash drawer.  After the cashier put the cash in the bag, the robber saw a bottle of scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf.  He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but he refused and said, ‘Because I don’t believe you are over 21.’  The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because he didn’t believe him.  At this point the robber took his driver’s license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk.  The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and he put the scotch in the bag.  The robber then ran from the store with his loot.  The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he got off the license.  They arrested the robber two hours later.”

If I’d been the clerk, I probably would have forgotten the name and address before I could tell it to the cops.  We have probably all experienced times when someone forgot our name.  It’s embarrassing for everyone when that happens.

Have you ever thought about what it will be like to stand before God?  Have you ever wondered if there will be a “foul up” in heaven and that out of all mankind that has ever lived, you will be the only one whose name should have been found in the book of life (Rev. 20:12) but wasn’t?  That somewhere, just as in a human courthouse, there will have been a transcription error and your name will be missing?

It won’t happen!!!  Never!  You see, God knows you, He calls you by name, He knows every word that has ever been in your mouth before you spoke it, He knows how many hairs there are on your head at any moment in the day or night.

Consider Isaiah 49:14-16a: But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’  Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands….

Though I might forget someone else’s name, I’d never ever forget my child’s name!  You see, God knows a whole lot more about you than you do about your own children, and He never has amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease.  What’s even better than all that: he loves you with a love that will never go away, grow weak or get tired.

Your name will be written there if you have believed and trusted in Christ…He knows you (that’s good news!!!) and He loves you, too!  Rejoice today knowing that He does!

I am not now, nor will I ever be, a stranger to God!

PRAYER: May we find complete and utter rest in knowing that You know us and we are not strangers to You!

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

DayBreaks for 10/03/19 – The Nature of Faith

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DayBreaks for 10/03/19: The Nature of Faith

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I think that Christians struggle with faith.  That statement can be interpreted at least two different ways: 1) that we struggle to believe, and 2) that we struggle to understand what faith is. 

We all understand the first struggle rather implicitly.  We know there are times we find it hard to believe.  We may not struggle to believe that God exists (though we may, from time to time), but this first struggle is more pronounced when we find ourselves or someone/something that we love that is in great pain and anguish.  In that case, we struggle with our faith in the proclamation that “God is a good, loving God.” 

The second case is more the one I’ve been thinking about lately.  I feel confident that the world doesn’t understand the very nature of faith.  All you have to do is read carefully what is said about “those Christians” and you’ll quickly see that they believe people of faith have taken leave of their senses.  They think that to have faith in God is superstition – nothing more and nothing less than blind, ignorant wishful thinking. 

Is that really true?  Is that the real nature of faith?  I don’t believe so.  Our faith is neither baseless nor wishful thinking.  If you didn’t believe (have faith) in the law of gravity, would you ever jump upward to grab a basketball or in a frenzy of joyful dancing leave your feet?  No, you wouldn’t.  If you believed that you would just keep going up and depart the atmosphere into the void of space where you’d suffocate, you’d never jump!  We have faith that the laws of gravity will not be superseded even once when we jump.  And that faith is based on observance of the situation and past performance. 

We sometimes say we have faith in someone.  What is that faith based on?  It’s based on observation of that person and their character over some period of time that has shown them to be faith-worthy.  The same is true for the fact that we have faith that the brakes on our car will work, that the steering mechanism won’t become disconnected and that the key to our front door will continue to work in the lock as long as the lock doesn’t change.  Even though molecular motion says that the molecules in the lock (and in the key and in our hands, etc.) are constantly moving, we believe the key will still work in the lock because of the history we’ve had with the lock.

The same is true of Christian faith.  It is not a blind, thoughtless, ignorant superstition, but an intelligent response to evidence we see all around us, to the past performance of the One that we see as the explanation for all that exists.  Atheists must have faith in something – for them it is chance and time that they put their faith in as the explanation for what they see and experience.  But what of the things we can’t see?  They never can explain how anything came to be (how did the matter in the big bang come to exist?) in the first place – even if time and chance were the operative factors involved. 

So, faith isn’t foolish.  Faith is reasonable.  Faith is based on past observations about reliability and performance.  No one would realistically walk up to a total stranger on the street corner who is unshaven, homeless and filthy and hand them their life savings and say, “I trust you’ll keep this safe for me.”  Why?  Because we don’t know if they are reliable.  God, however, has demonstrated faithfulness throughout every generation.  And we can go to Him, hand Him our eternal destiny, and with faith say, “I trust you’ll keep this safe for me.”

We have faith because of reliability, a proven track record, personal experience and because it is the only reasonable thing to do.  Faith isn’t blind. 

PRAYER: We are grateful that You have proven Yourself over and over to us and that You will always be worthy of our faith in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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