DayBreaks for 6/02/17 – Longing to be Just A Little Bit Better

DayBreaks for 6/02/17: Longing to be Just a Little Bit Better

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Have you ever had your dreams shattered?  Have you wondered where God was when life became too much to bear?  Have you ever thought that if you had more in life you would get more out of life?

In his book, Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb wrote: “Satan’s masterpiece is not the prostitute or the skid-row bum. It is the self-sufficient person who has made life comfortable, who is adjusting well to the world and truly likes living here, a person who dreams of no better place to live, who longs only to be a little better—and a little better off—than he already is.”

When it comes to spiritual matters, we are destitute before God.  People who possess true joy are quick to admit and accept that they are dependent on God, not on their own wisdom, knowledge, looks, talent or strength.  Those with true joy yearn for a better relationship with Him in both the good and hard times – and they have found that joy to be rooted in the relationship itself, not in fulfilling worldly dreams. 

When we think it all depends on us, we’re miserable because if we fail, we’re responsible for our failure.  If we don’t get what we want, we think it must have been because we just didn’t try hard enough, and so we commit ourselves to trying even harder the next time.  It’s a treadmill of disappointment, resolve, determination, effort and more disappointment.  We just simply aren’t big enough to manage life alone.

Maybe you’re one of those people who is self-sufficient, self-confident to a fault.  You look back at the track record of your life and achievements (good or bad) and are pretty comfortable with and in your own skin.  It’s one thing to love being alive, but another thing entirely to like living here in this broken world.  Don’t you still have dreams of a better place?  Instead of just wanting to be a little bit better (and better off, as Crabb noted), wouldn’t you rather be born again to a new and living hope that will never perish?  You know that this world will someday end – and chances are that your life will end long before this world does.  What are you investing for eternity?

Matt. 5:3 KJV – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

PRAYER: Time and life are so short and out of our control, Lord.  Thank you that you are in control at all times and in all ways.  May your kingdom come quickly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/29/17 – How We View the World

DayBreaks for 3/29/17: How We View the World

What is your general attitude toward the world you live in, towards life?  Do you generally see life as a trudge through the mud, or as an exciting and fulfilling adventure?  I know that there are days when we are overwhelmed one way or another, but as a general rule, how do you see the world and your life in it? 

You might not think that how you generally feel about the world is all that important.  After all, who does it affect but you, right?  Wrong.  I think that the way Christians (and others) feel about the world around us and our role in it makes a huge difference.  I was recently re-reading Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and he described one event that occurred one dark, cold night in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Frankl wrote: I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare.  Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man.  Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do.  At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.

I dare say that none of us have ever been in a situation as horrifying as Frankl.  He found himself in a horrible dilemma: do I compassionately awaken the man who was having such frightening nightmares, or would the reality of the world of the prison camp be even worse than the imagined world taking place in the mind of the dreamer?  What would I have done?  I don’t honestly know.  But I know this: my world is nowhere as terrifying as a concentration camp.  My life and world is really, all things considered, very pleasant and tolerable.  Even beautiful. 

But here’s my point for today: if I view my world as being a horrible thing, chances are that I won’t do anything to “wake people up” who may be sleeping their way through life.  But if I can learn to see the beauty of the life that God has given me, the beauty of God through His creation, I will be more likely to do what I can to help people who are sleeping to wake up and see the beauty of the life lived with the Lord.

The Presence of the Lord can turn the desert into a well-watered land.  Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.

PRAYER: Father, help us to see the truth about our lives.  We have hard times, but help us not to turn them into high drama that isn’t warranted.  May we see and experience the beauty of life lived in fellowship with You, and may we have the wisdom and courage to awaken the sleeper and help them see the glory of the Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/24/16 – Thanksgiving Questions

DayBreaks for 11/24/16: Thanksgiving Questions

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I love this holiday. I hope you do, too. I realize you may have had a very difficult year, and if so, I am sorry for the pain you’ve had. Yet, we all have things to be thankful for, don’t we?

A group of Moms got together and composed a list of things they are thankful for. They wrote that they were especially thankful:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after dinner snacks.

“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

“For children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.

“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.”

And finally, “For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”

Each of us would have our own list of the things for which we are thankful. Most of us are mature enough in our faith to recognize that Thanksgiving is a most dangerous holiday. When we give thanks for our good health, what does that say to people who do not have a healthy body? Does that say that we are more deserving than they, or that somehow God loves us more?

When we thank God for our nice homes or our families or our freedom as Americans, what does this say about good, decent God-loving people around the world who do not share these blessings?

I have no ready answers for such questions and neither does anyone else. I would prefer, however, as we give thanks this Thursday and all the rest of the year, that we do it for the right reasons.

What are some of the things that every Christian, regardless of his or her circumstance, in every corner of the globe can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season? What are some of the things that you can be grateful for today that you might not typically think to give thanks for? Search out a few – and thank God for them today!

PRAYER: We have much to thank You for today, God! I pray that You will be the unseen, yet honored guest of honor at our tables and in our hearts on this Thanksgiving day! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 8/22/16 – Misunderstanding Life – and the Father

 

DayBreaks for 8/22/16 – Misunderstanding Life – and the Father

There is no greater example of the gospel than that found in Luke 15 where Jesus tells three stories: the lost sheep, the lost coin…and the “prodigal son” story (and that’s a huge misnomer!) So, my dear, dear friend…this is a story for you…

Luke 15:17-20 (ESV) – But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

Our lead teacher (Randy) has been doing a series on this chapter and it has been so rich! Sunday, he spoke about this son – this younger, prideful, rebellious son and about his return home. There were some key points that I wanted to share from his message because they blessed me and I think they’ll bless you, too.

FIRST: this young, headstrong and inconsiderate man thought that in license there would be freedom. He wanted to cast off the restraints of living in the presence of the father, thinking that if he could only go and do what he wanted, to be in charge and control of his own life, that he could find happiness. But, as Randy noted, “License always ends in bondage.” We think that the lack of restraints is what will not only bring us joy, but bring us freedom. It won’t. It ends in bondage. License doesn’t set you free – the Truth is what sets us free!

SECOND: the son totally misunderstood the father. He is hoping against hope to be welcome to serve as a hired hand in the father’s house and business. That’s all he could aspire to, all he could imagine after what he’d done to his father. But this just shows how badly he misunderstood the father. There is no way that the father would take his son back as a hired hand! No! This son was treated to the father’s very own rob, to shoes for his feet, a ring for his hand…but far more than that, what was the greatest gift of the father was his embrace and kiss. Fathers don’t embrace and kiss hired hands…but they do their sons and daughters. This son had no idea how much he was loved by the father until the embrace and kiss took place!

THIRD: perhaps most importantly – and I hope you don’t miss this one – the embrace and kiss are NOT given to the son because he came home.  They are given because he was a son…a child so deeply loved by the father that no other response from the father was even possible! The embrace and kiss had to be given because the father couldn’t not constrain his love.

In order to come home, we have to believe in the love of the father. The young man believed – or rather hoped – that there was some compassion in the heart of his dad.  He just didn’t know the love that was in the father’s heart.

And so it is with you and me. We won’t come home (not to a physical or metaphysical place) but into the relationship of the Father’s person, unless we begin to believe He loves us. And when we make the first step, oh sweet joy! – the Father runs to us, encircles us with His almighty arms, and gives us a “welcome home” kiss!

Are you away from “home”, thinking that maybe if you’re super lucky, that the Father might let you inhabit the darkest corner of heaven as a sweeper of the golden street? Forget it! You will be welcomed as a beloved child – and the greatest celebration of all eternity will begin – and never end!

PRAYER: Oh, Father, Father, Father! Your love is so overwhelming! Help us believe that You love us like this – even more than this – and that we are welcome in the home of Your embrace forever! In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 4/13/16 – Costly Gratitude

DayBreaks for 4/13/16 – Costly Gratitude

Luke 7:36-38, 44-47 (NLTse) – One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them…Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

How much does it cost to be grateful? We’re inclined to think that gratitude is more a feeling than an action. I’m not so sure, though, that we’re really all that grateful if there isn’t also some action attached to it. It’s easy to say how grateful we are, but it’s an entirely different thing to show how grateful we are.

Pastor Victor Shepherd tells the story of a missionary surgeon he met who was rather gruff and to the point. On one occasion the surgeon was speaking to a small group of university students about his work in the Gaza Strip. He was telling us that we North American “fat cats” knew nothing about gratitude. Nothing! On one occasion he had stopped a peasant hovel to see a woman on whom he had performed surgery. She and her husband were dirt poor. Their livestock supply consisted of one Angora rabbit and two chickens. For income the woman combed the hair out of the rabbit, spun the hair into yarn and sold it. For food she and her husband ate the eggs from the chickens. The woman insisted that the missionary surgeon stay for lunch. He accepted the invitation and said he would be back for lunch after he had gone down the road to see another postoperative patient. An hour and a half later he was back. He peeked into the cooking pot to see what he was going to eat. He saw one rabbit and two chickens. The woman had given up her entire livestock supply–her income, her food, everything. He concluded his story by saying us that we North Americans (and perhaps Christians as a whole) knew nothing of gratitude. He wept unashamedly at the price of their gratitude.

There is another incident concerning gratitude that will never be forgotten. It’s about a woman who poured costly perfume over our Lord as she wiped his feet with her hair. Make no mistake–the perfume was expensive, three hundred denarii, a year’s income for a laborer in Palestine.

Enough to keep a family alive for twelve months.

What has Jesus done for you? What has he done for me? How am I showing my gratitude?

PRAYER: Jesus, in my heart I am grateful to you for so many things. Help me to show my gratitude with my hands and life as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 1/7/16 – You Have Granted His Request

DayBreaks for 1/7/16: You Have Granted His Request

Galen is out of the country. While he is gone, you will be receiving DayBreaks from the DayBreaks archive from January, 2006.

Ps 21:4-7 (NLT) – He asked you to preserve his life, and you have granted his request.  The days of his life stretch on forever.  Your victory brings him great honor, and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.  You have endowed him with eternal blessings.  You have given him the joy of being in your presence.  For the king trusts in the LORD.  The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.

Christmas is over, the presents (the ones that aren’t broken or eaten already!) have found their place on the shelves or in the closets and toy boxes of the little ones.  Hopefully, if there was something you really wanted, someone was able to give it to you.  If so, did you enjoy it as much as you thought you would?  Is the luster beginning to fade from the gift already? 

In Psalm 21, David is talking to God about how God has dealt with him (the king.)  There are several things that are very noteworthy in this passage:

FIRST: the king asked for God to preserve his life – and he was not given what he requested – but much, much more.  Rather than just preserving his life in the there-and-then, God has caused the days of his life to “stretch on forever.”  While David was probably seeking deliverance from some particular adversary, God gave him a life without end! 

SECOND: David found that the joy in his life came not from the things that God gave to him, but from being in God’s presence.  We so often get confused thinking that gifts, presents, things – if you please, give us joy, but David found that real joy came not from presents but from the Presence.

THIRD: – unfailing love is so important – when all else fails us, if we know we are loved, we can still find peace and rest and we know that ultimately, all is well.  Love is the most important thing, and nothing is better than knowing – even in the middle of all my sin and failures and foolishness – that God’s love us “unfailing” and that it will keep us from the ultimate fall.

We often think we know what we want and what will make us happy.  It would appear from this passage that we don’t ask God for enough, for whatever we can think of to request, He’s anticipated it long in advance and has something far better and greater for us.  We may pray for length of days, but He gives us forever and ever.  We want Joy and God gives us Jesus’ own Presence – and that is far better than any joy we could have anticipated!  And, when all else fails, His love and Presence persist and we can say with great confidence: “It is well with my soul.”

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, we pray so foolishly sometimes, praying for things that we want or have tried to convince ourselves that we need, as if we could dictate to You what is best.  Help us to have big faith and to look to You to make those things – and even more – become reality.  Help us to realize that we are like little children who really don’t know what is best for us and that we need to trust in You to actually do what is right for us in Your great wisdom.  All glory to You now and forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 12/22/15 – A Gold Box Filled with Love

DayBreaks for 12/22/15: A Gold Box Filled With Love

We often learn the most from our children. There is an old story about a man who punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction once he realized the gift was for him. He opened the gift, but his anger flared again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside of it?”

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy it’s not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy.” The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her forgiveness. He kept that gold box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from God. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s “one and only Son,” we have the access to eternal life.

While there are those times when it seems as if He has left us to make it on our own, and there are those times when it appears as if we cannot go any further in life, there is no more precious possession anyone could hold than the gold box filled with the love of God.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, our hearts overflow with your golden gift – a truly priceless and precious gift. Fill our hearts with love for you and the wonder of your gift.  In His name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.