DayBreaks for 7/12/18 – Out of the Kingdom of Darkness

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DayBreaks for 7/12/18: Out of the Kingdom of Darkness

The world watched with baited breath as a small army of divers and rescue personnel descended into a treacherous and deadly cave in an effort to rescue the “Wild Boars” – a soccer team and their coach, who had become trapped when monsoon rains flooded parts of the cave system. For a period approaching 10-12 days, the boys and their coach were in the cave with very little food. They drank water that dripped from the cave ceiling. And they were in darkness…total, utter darkness. I read that one of the boys in particular was terrified of darkness but he went with his teammates in an effort to overcome his fear. 

Fortunately, seemingly miraculously, all twelve boys and their coach made it out alive thanks to the sacrifices of their rescuers. Tragically, on Thai navy SEAL diver died during the effort to rescue these boys.

Colossians 1:13 (ESV) – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…

If you want to know what the kingdom of darkness looks like, just ask those boys. They know what darkness means. You can’t see. It is a place of fear. It is a place of want. It is uncomfortable and threatening. You long for light. It gnaws at you and causes you to give up hope and despair of rescue.

If you want to know what gratitude feels like, just ask those boys. Can you begin to imagine how their hearts leaped when the British divers with a headlight on their foreheads first popped up in the darkness and found the boys? Can you imagine how hope must have been reborn in that instant that they first saw light again? Can you try to imagine how each boy felt when at long last they exited the mouth of the cave that had held them captive and threatened them with certain death unless a miracle happened?

I don’t think most of us have a clue as to how dark was the kingdom that held us in its clutches. We don’t often see it as darkness because it is a darkness of the spirit brought about by the blackness of sin. The enemy of our souls makes it appear as light – he’s such a good liar – and we fall for it over and over again. For a sense of what it was like inside the caves, see this (and that was the easy part – try imagining even that without flashlights in passages as small as 15 inches wide!)

But miraculously, someone came searching for us, found us, and led us out of that inky black place into a kingdom diametrically opposite to that which held us. He is the Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

But just as with the twelve boys and their coach, someone gave their life to rescue us. Unlike that navy SEAL diver, though, the one who gave his life for us came back to life and now guides us through the darkness of the former kingdom to the light. He’s been through that blackness of death that would kill us and been victorious over it so that he knows the way out of the darkness. We need not fear. He will not fail us!  

We should be terrified of the darkness that surrounds us for when it is seen clearly it is terrifying. But we should never doubt our rescue or our Rescuer. 

And one more thing: our Rescuer has turned the tables on darkness. While it was dangerous for us as we were trapped there, now that we have been delivered not only do we no longer need to fear the darkness itself, but he has made us dangerous to the kingdom of darkness because now we have experienced the way out and can help others find the Light. 

It’s a dark, dark world. Let’s be brighter. 

PRAYER: Jesus, all glory to you for descending into the darkness, experiencing it, for your victory over it, so that you could lead us into your kingdom of Light and Life. May we never take the Light for granted! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 6/18/18 – The Lady With Three Hairs

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DayBreaks for 6/18/18: The Lady with Three Hairs

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.”

So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

“H-M-M,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.”

So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

“Well,” she said, “today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.”

So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.

“YEA!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

Attitude is everything.  How’s yours?

PRAYER: Help us to believe that every day lived in Your Presence is a true gift and blessing.  Change our attitudes from one of complaint to one of praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 12/20/17: Christmas Surprises

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DayBreaks for 12/20/17: Christmas Surprises

Who doesn’t enjoy opening presents on Christmas day? Let’s be honest: we all love it, don’t we? We wonder what’s inside that package, box or envelope. We love surprises!

Under a cultural-exchange program, rabbi Alan Abramsky and his family in Roanoke, Texas, were hosts to a rabbi from Russia at Christmas time. They decided to introduce him to a culinary treat that was probably not available in his country: they took him to their favorite Chinese restaurant.

Throughout the meal, the rabbi spoke excitedly about the wonders of North America in comparison to the bleak conditions in his homeland. When they had finished eating, the waiter brought the check and presented each of them with a small brass Christmas-tree ornament as a seasonal gift.

They all laughed when Abramsky’s father pointed out that the ornaments were stamped “Made in India.” But the laughter subsided when they saw that the rabbi was quietly crying. Concerned, Abramsky’s father asked the rabbi if he was offended because he’d been given a gift for a Christian holiday.

He smiled, shook his head and said, “Nyet. I was shedding tears of joy to be in a wonderful country in which a Buddhist gives a Jew a Christmas gift made by a Hindu!” A time of miracles. A time for stories.

From time to time we hear someone say, “Wouldn’t it be great if it could be Christmas all year long.” Surprise! That was God’s intent. That is why God invaded our planet and gave us the gift of God’s Son. There is only one thing that stands in the way of celebrating Christmas all year long: you and I. Let’s agree to not stand in the way of anyone celebrating Christmas all year long!

PRAYER:  Jesus, we don’t want to cause people not to celebrate Immanuel all year long, year after year, decade after decade. Let us never lost the sense of the miraculous that is so present in this season. Let us overflow each and every day out of lives that are filled with wonder. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/23/17 – Thanksliving

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DayBreaks for 11/23/17: Thanksliving

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Thanksgiving.  My favorite holiday of the entire year.  The smells of Thanksgiving dinner that start early in the morning.  The anticipation of the arrival of family.  The joyful hugs of children and the encircling arms of my grandchildren around my neck.  Turkey, dressing, green-bean and mushroom casserole, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pies and whipped cream topping.  My mouth waters just to think of it!

And as much as I love those things about Thanksgiving, I’m sure that the real reason for Thanksgiving goes underappreciated year after year after year by most of us.  Not that we don’t take time to give God thanks on this day, but we don’t take much time to do that compared to what we spend cooking, or even eating, the feast that His hand has provided.  How much time do you spend eating or watching football on Thanksgiving day?  How much time do you spend giving thanks to God? 

I’m not saying that to make any of us feel guilty, it’s just an observation – and something I think we need to ponder.  As much as God desires to hear our “Thank You, Father”, I think that if it comes to just saying thanks then we’ve missed the point.  How can we practically demonstrate our thankfulness?  It’s been said that the art of thanksgiving is in thanksliving.  It is gratitude in action.  That being the case, here’s some ideas on how we can really demonstrate that we understand what we’ve received and that we are thankful for it:

It is thanking God for the gift of life by living it triumphantly.

It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good.

It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you by doing things for others.

It is thanking God for happiness by striving to make others happy.

It is thanking God for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful.

It is thanking God for inspiration by trying to be an inspiration to others.

It is thanking God for health and strength by the care and respect you show your body.

Rudyard Kipling at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. A few college students, however, did not appreciate Kipling’s writings; they facetiously sent him a letter and enclosed ten shillings. It read, “Please, send us your best word.” They got back a letter from Kipling that said, “Thanks.”

What a great word: “Thanks!”  May we say, and live, it often not just on this one day a year, but constantly.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) – In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

PRAYER:  There are not enough words in existence to give You due thanks, Father God.  But today we’ll try to give You appropriate thanks by not just saying it, but by trying to live lives that demonstrate our gratefulness!   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/26/17 – Ask Not for Whom the Cock Crows

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DayBreaks for 10/26/17: Ask Not for Whom the Cock Crows

John 18:25-27 (ESV) – Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

I have often wondered why God put some of the things He did in Scripture. Like today’s text, for instance. There can be no doubt that Jesus and Peter were very close friends. There can be no doubt that they loved one another deeply. And yet, here we have it: Peter’s denial recorded in black and white for people to read and ponder.

If I had been the one determining what would be written, I would have left things like this, and David’s dalliance with Bathsheba, and Noah’s drunkenness out of the pages of holy writ. I would have wanted to save Peter, David, Noah and countless others the embarrassment of having their failures recorded and paraded in front of people for thousands of years. And you’d think that God would have wanted to save them the embarrassment, too. But it wasn’t up to me. And that’s a really good thing.

I believe that God put those things into Scripture to encourage us in our humanity. Let me explain: there hasn’t been any human who has ever endeavored to live the Christian life who hasn’t found themselves despairing over their own failures in ethical, moral and all other ways. Imagine how difficult and discouraging it would be if all we had were stories off the great triumphs: the saving of humanity in the ark, the victory over the giant Goliath, Peter’s great ministry and brave martyrdom. And if we were only to have those stories and compared ourselves to them, we’d be devastated. So, God in His great wisdom, knew we needed to hear of the failures of the great men and women of faith so we wouldn’t be discouraged.

And here’s another thing: Scripture shows us that God deeply loved all those flawed characters, and that gives me hope, too, that He can love a sinner like me.

We shouldn’t gloat over the fact that we’ve not done like Peter did, for we have all denied and betrayed the One who would die for us. We should never ask for whom the cock crows, for it crows for each of us!

PRAYER: Thank you for the stories of Scripture – good and bad – and showing us that even our failures can’t overcome your plan for us nor your love for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/31/17 – The Sinner’s Feast

DayBreaks for 8/31/17: The Sinner’s Feast

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/2007:

One of my favorite pictures of Scripture is the feast scene that gets brief mention in Revelation, and in a few other books of the NT.  Let’s face it: we love to eat, don’t we?  And we love to have a great time, right?  What can be more exciting and fun than a festive dinner with all the trimmings, all your best friends gathered round, laughter, music…and you don’t have to either pay for it or clean up the mess afterwards?  In about 2 months, our daughter will be getting married – and I look forward to the dinner after the wedding.  What a joy it will be!!!

We might think of the feasts described in heaven as the Christian’s feast…a feast that will be designed, catered (and served, according to Scripture!) by Christ Himself.  I am sure that there never has been, nor will there ever be, any celebration greater than that of the marriage supper of the Lamb of God with His bride, the church.  By God’s grace, I look forward to being there to enjoy it!  No, it wouldn’t be wrong to think of that home-coming/marriage feast as the Christian’s feast.  But there’s another feast that perhaps more properly is the Christian feast – in his sermon “The Sinner’s Feast,” Lee Eclov describes what should be the celebrative side of Communion in the context of worship:

“This table is different. This table of the Lord isn’t where sinners find Christ but where sinners celebrate being found …

“Maybe some morning, instead of solemnly passing these trays, we should dance for joy.  Maybe we should sing every born-again song we know.  Maybe we should tell our “homecoming” stories and laugh like people who no longer fear death.  Maybe we should ask if anyone wants seconds and hold our little cups high to toast lost sisters found and dead brothers alive.”

Have you ever laughed like you didn’t fear death?  I don’t know that I have.  But I should.  Every Sunday at the Lord’s table, I should.  After all, I’m one of those dead brothers who have been found alive.

PRAYER: Hallelujah, Lord God!  What kind of God are You that can take dead men and women and bring us to life again?  May we laugh in Your very Presence as those who no longer fear death because of what Jesus has done!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/18/17 – Bronzing Your Flip Flops

DayBreaks for 8/18/17: Bronzing Your Flip Flops

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:

The Associated Press ran a story recently about a Virginia woman says she’s still alive because of 2 things: her faith and her flip-flops.  It seems that Marie Drackert was watching the weather on television in her York County home July 29th of this year when a bolt of lightning came down her chimney and shot out through her fireplace. The lightning fried appliances and sent a jolt of electricity through her body.

Ms. Drackert says that it was the rubber in her flip-flops that kept her grounded and her faith kept her going, even though the impact from the lightning strike was so strong that she believed a plane had crashed into the roof of her home. 

The lightning blew out Drackert’s washer and dryer, television, telephone, stereo, microwave oven, toaster, coffee pot and a brand-new air conditioning unit. Parts of her home’s floor and walls were also damaged.  After ravaging her home, the bolt shot out and damaged the homes of two neighbors as well. 

Drackert says she’s thinking about getting the flip-flops bronzed. 

I don’t know this lady and I’m not making judgments about her faith, but I found the story interesting.  I’m not sure what she meant when she said her faith “kept her going”, but instead of getting the flip-flops bronzed and instead of crediting them for saving her life, maybe a bit of praise and thanksgiving are in order.  After all, does she really think it was the flip-flops that saved her life, of the grace of the good Lord?  It could have just been the press that didn’t mention the name of Jesus in the article (that’s a very real possibility!), but when things like this (and things bigger and smaller) happen to us as believers, the more credit that we give to the Lord, the better.  The world needs to see the power of the Almighty God and to understand that nature is not God, and God is not nature.  There’s a reason He’s called “supernatural”.  He is far above nature – and can control it at will.

I find that I often flip-flop between acts of faith and praise and acts of cowardice and discontent.  I pray to have those kind of flip-flops removed.  They don’t deserve to be bronzed.

PRAYER: Jesus, please remove the flip-flops from my life that I can be a more consistent witness for You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>