DayBreaks for 10/23/20 – Out of the Depths

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Image from the movie, The 33.

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. – Psalm 71:20

 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. – Psalm 95:4

This past week we were privileged to witness one of the most amazing rescues I can recall.  Thirty-three miners escaped from the depths of the earth (the story is told in the movie, The 33).  I don’t know for sure, but someone said that when they came to the surface, they were wearing shirts that had Psalm 95:4 stenciled on their back.  These 33 men endured great anguish and fear yet came through their ordeal with a perspective that is amazing. 

There are so many rich lessons for us to grasp in this event:

As Psalm 139 says, there is nowhere either above or below the earth that He cannot be found.  And one of the miners said that God was in that time and place, as was the devil, but God won.  He always does – and always will!

I thought about being “re-born” to a new and living hope.  Surely these men can now read those words with renewed appreciation. 

I thought about how God has translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son…and how the miners had been in the mines for so long that they had to wear sunglasses even at night when they came up out of the mine into the light. 

The joy that they and their loves ones experienced is certainly understandable!  These men, as good as dead, were alive and could live “normal” lives.  The joy that swept the world at their survival – even the joy that filled my own heart at their rescue – was powerful and strong.  But there is an even greater miracle, an even greater reason for joy that we have as Christians: we have been saved by the grace of God!!!  Did those miners deserve being rescued, being saved?  I don’t know if “deserved” is the right word – but because they were humans, the efforts were made.  God made a far greater effort and had to span a distance far greater than 2050 feet in order to rescue us from a death that was every bit as certain (even more certain, as it turns out!) than the miners faced in the dark bowels of the earth.  Why should our joy be any less?  Why don’t we react to our salvation with the same wild abandon as those miners?

It is a question worth pondering.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t really believe we are bad enough to deserve eternal punishment.  Perhaps it’s because we have never considered ourselves as good as dead.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t begun to grasp the life that God has given us.  Maybe it’s all of the above and other reasons, too.  I’m ready to begin celebrating my salvation more than I have in the past, and I hope you will, too.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for seeing fit to spare the lives of the Chilean miners!  We rejoice in the new lease on life that they have been granted.  Help us to come to a far greater appreciation of what YOU have done for us than we have ever experienced before!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/14/20 – Hanging in the Balance

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From the DayBreaks archive, October 2010:

The island of Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands.  As such, it has a long history.  Some of the history is beautiful and amazing, but it also has its dark moments. 

Before Kauai became part of King Kamehameha’s unified Hawaiian island kingdom, Kauai had its own kings who lived high up in the mountains in the center of the island.  The kingship would be passed from father to son as was typical in most monarchies.  When it came time for the wife of the king to give birth, she would come down from the mountain to a heiau (a holy place of worship) where she would give birth.  If the child that was born was a daughter, the baby would be automatically welcomed into the royal family.  If, however, the baby was a boy, a test was required to determine if the child was worthy to be a successor to the king.  After the child was born, the umbilical cord of the baby boy was wrapped in ti leaves and placed outside of the enclosure where the mother and baby boy would spend the night.  If the rats came during the night and ate the umbilical cord, it was believed that the boy was not worthy to be an heir to the kingdom and he would be put to death.  The boy would survive only if the umbilical cord was still intact and hadn’t been eaten by rats during the night.

As I heard about this practice of the ancient residents of Kauai, I couldn’t help but draw a contrast between this chance-laden, horrendous practice and how God deals with us.  The writer of the letter to the Romans describes our relationship with the King: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. – Romans 8:17

Are any of us worthy to be joint heirs with Jesus?  Absolutely not!  Does God leave us outside the door to see what chance may play into our future?  No.  Does He accept us only if we pass some test?  Yes, and no.  The test is a simple one: will you put your faith in My Son?  That’s it.  It’s not left to some rat to determine our fate, nor is it even up to Satan to determine our fate.  God leaves it to us, in a way, to make the choice that will allow us to be accepted as His sons and daughters. 

Have you chosen yet?  Eternity is hanging in the balance.

PRAYER: How thankful we are that You have a heart that is willing and eager to adopt us as Your children, to give us, along with Jesus, all things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/23/20 – Bug Bombs

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

My wife and I used to live in Florida where there were HUGE cockroaches.  I mean, there were some that were so big I think they could have carried off the TV if they’d tried.  You don’t live long in Florida, or other places like it, without an extermination company contract to come and treat the house once a month.  Some folks, however, try to get by without it – and wind up paying the price!

Steve decided he’d had it with the cockroaches.  He was tired of cockroaches skittering down the wall while he watched TV. He was tired of the middle-of-the-night discoveries when he turned on the kitchen light. He was tired of the rowdy cockroach poker games the bugs were obviously having in the dark corners of his pantry.  Steve was fed up, and ready for revenge. There were stores in Westminster, California that sold bug bombs, and Steve bought some. The back of the bug bombs said two would do it for a house the size of Steve’s, but he didn’t want just two bug bombs. He’d had it with cockroaches, and he was ready to blow them straight to their infernal eternal destiny, so Steve didn’t buy two bug bombs. He bought 25.  Steve needed both arms to bring those canisters inside his apartment, and he needed quite a bit of time to set them all up.

Try to imagine the inside of his place once he set them off.  The spray of 25 cockroach bombs in an apartment kitchen must be quite overpowering. The air in Steve’s place became rich with fuel, and the cockroach screams could be heard for miles around.

Or was it Steve and his neighbors screaming? The thick spray reached the pilot light of his stove, ignited, and created the biggest bug bomb folks had ever seen in Westminster. Steve’s screen door blew clear across the street. Every window and every piece of glass in Steve’s apartment was shattered. His furniture caught fire, and the fire department soon soaked Steve’s smoke-damaged belongings.  It would take $10,000 for the apartment complex to repair the damage, and years for Steve to recover from his anger.

And wouldn’t you know it? The cockroaches were back by the following Sunday!

What’s the point of this sad, but true story?  Simply this: if you have a problem inside your home (or inside your heart) with your marriage or your children or anything else, take care of the problem without destroying your home.  Too much is at stake.  Deal with the issues while they are small and manageable.  Don’t put them off with the naïve hope that they’ll get better all on their own.  Sin never gets better on its own – only worse.

PRAYER: Lord, give us wisdom enough to follow your instructions on how to clean our hearts, minds and home of the things that infest us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/10/20 – The Brightest Light

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

In July 2010, Paul Crowther, professor of astrophysics from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, announced that he and his research team had discovered a star they described as the brightest star ever found in the universe. Not even a welder’s helmet would help you face the light from this giant. The mass of the star is roughly 265 times that of our sun. But that’s nothing. The brightness of this star is some 10 million times greater than the light coming from our sun!

Think about that: The star, currently named R136a1, is not twice as bright as our sun, which would be overwhelming in itself if it were the sun that our earth orbited (quite frankly, if that were the case, we’d literally be toast!) It is not just 10 times brighter, which is a light so bright we can hardly imagine it. It is not a hundred times brighter or a thousand times brighter than our sun. It is not a million times brighter! This newly identified star is ten million times brighter than our sun! How can anything be that bright?  But there is something that is even more brilliant and dazzling than the light from R136a1.

Thinking about R136a1 gives us a sense of what the glorious presence of God is like, for Scripture says that God is a being who “lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.”

What will it be like to see God?  Dazzling! 

PRAYER: We long to see You in Your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/13/20 – And They All Came Tumbling Down

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Remember that old nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty, the old egg who sat on a wall and fell off, but who couldn’t be put back together again in spite of the best efforts of “all the king’s men and all the king’s horses”?  Or the old children’s Christian song about the foolish man who built his house on the sand and how the walls “all came tumbling down”?  There are great lessons to be learned from such simple stories and rhymes.

Edward Gibbon, the author of the seminal work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, examined and studied the decline and fall of the mighty Roman Empire.  At the conclusion of his research, he attributed the fall of mighty Rome to five key things:

1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.

2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses (giveaways) for the populace that led to laziness and complacency.

3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.

4. The building of gigantic armaments and armies to protect themselves from outsiders when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.

5. The decay of religion–faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds awfully familiar to me.  But instead of focusing on the nation, we need to focus on ourselves first, for if God’s people are not different from the world when it comes to the five things Gibbon discovered, will not our own personal lives all come tumbling down, too?  Statistics say that those who identify themselves a born-again believers are not different that the world in most of these things: our attitude towards family and sexual mores, wanting handouts instead of being willing to earn things by the sweat of our brow, the pursuit of pleasure and comfort while others are starving and in torment, erecting all sorts of mechanisms to protect us from others who can hurt us but turning a blind eye to the disease that is within our own flesh and spirit, a faith that has become watered-down, ritualistic and that has lost meaning and power to make us different from the world around us. 

I fear that the diseases that led to the fall of Rome will lead eventually to the fall of America, but before that happens, we need to look hard at the church (that’s His disciples – we ourselves – not buildings!) and see if we aren’t already crumbling from within for all these reasons.  If you look at your life and feel that you’re doing just fine, you may be.  But someone once said that the greatest sin is to have no sense of sin.  We can all be guilt of that far too easily.

“Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”

PRAYER: Father, turn Your Spirit loose to search each corner of our hearts and reveal to us the corruption that is within us as individuals, as Your church, and as a nation that You brought to power to do good in this world.  Let us repent with bitter tears and return to You in all humility and trust.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/10/20 – The Gears of History

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Since the dawn of humanity things have been pretty much the same – at least as regards ultimate realities. People are born. They grow, they eat, the reproduce, they age, they die and go into the grave and are forgotten. It’s been that way and will be that way as long as this present world endures.

Or so it seems. Perhaps it’s not really true, but we just can’t see it yet. In a real sense, when Christ rose from the dead, a massive shift took place. History began moving backward – and it is painfully, slowly moving that direction still today.

Here’s what I mean: when you think about the fall, Adam and Eve tried to shift the blame. “She gave it to me” and “the serpent told me” became their mantras. Ever since then we’ve been trying to shift the blame.

But then along comes Jesus and instead of shifting the blame, he takes it on himself. They tried to transfer it, but Jesus accepted it. And in so doing, Jesus begins to transfer back to humanity what we were created with: blessing from God, not accusation. While Satan is the accuser, Christ is the accepter. Where the law demands death that has been with us from the beginning, Christ announces eternal life. While we shift blame, Jesus shift blessing.

As Jared Wilson says it in The Story of Everything, “As Christ dies, the gears of history grind to a halt. The sky goes black. In the temple, where God’s presence is said to dwell, the gigantic curtain keeping men out is shredded top to bottom. But not just so that man may go in. Now, the presence of God comes out. The gears of history begin to crank in reverse. Time moves in a different direction. Jesus comes out of his grave. The witnesses stand in the garden. They expect death. They deserve death. But a new thing is beginning. God is reversing death.”

Ever since that day, we inch slowly, inexorably, toward the way it was in the beginning when God’s rule was fully absolute. What moved the needle in the wrong direction was the fall. What moved the needle in the right direction was Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We will get back to the garden. We see it in Revelation. We will get back to glory. In the meantime, my calling and yours is to help bring the kingdom tiny bit by tiny bit, day by day, in how I emulate Jesus.

PRAYER: Father, there is no way we could have turned the tide of history. I thank you that not only could you change the direction of the universe but that you did and that you did so in precisely the ways we most needed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/6/20 – The Cost of Glory

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DayBreaks for 7/06/20: The Cost of Glory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Two hundred forty-four years and two days ago, on July 3, 1776, George Washington wrote a letter to his wife.  It was, of course, the day before the Declaration of Independence would be signed by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  In the letter, Washington wrote anticipating the hardships and struggles that would come about as a result of the momentous signing of the document.  Here in part are his words:

“In a few days, you will see a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God. I am fully aware of the toil and blood and treasure what it will cost to maintain this declaration and support and defend these states; yes, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.”

Sometimes these days it is hard to see rays of light and hope for our country.  Optimists keep saying we’ve turned the corner economically, but if we go down as a country, it won’t be because of economics, but because of our moral and ethical failures.  We have to remember that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He ALWAYS takes down countries that turn their back on Him.  No country has ever existed on the face of this earth that can thwart the will and plan of God!  Is it our time?  I don’t know – I honestly hope not – but even America will one day come to an end.  I hope and pray it will be later, not sooner!

As I read what Washington wrote, I was struck not so much with the political and nationalistic tone of his final statement, but of its application to our everyday Christian life.  Life extracts a toll.  We sweat.  We bleed.  We groan under the load.  Some of the load is created by our own hand, some is piled on by others – as if our own failings and sin aren’t enough all by themselves.  What I liked about Washington’s statement though, is the part about “through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.” 

What do you see when you try to look into the future?  Aren’t we often drawn to the physical world and our concerns for what is happening and may happen to our country and economy and world?  Shouldn’t we, of all people, be drawn towards the Light and Glory of Jesus that will be ours as His gift to us? 

I don’t want to be a doomsayer.  I want to be an encourager.  I also want to be a realist, and there is nothing more real, glorious or ravishing than the outcome that awaits us in the Light of the Kingdom of God.  In the meantime, we would do well to pray, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”

PRAYER: Let Your kingdom come more strongly and fully into our hearts this and every day.  Keep our eyes focused on the blinding rays of glorious Light that at present are just outside of our reach, so that at last, we may come into possession of all You intend for us!  Guard us against discouragement with the glory of that vision, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/26/20 – The Greatest Protest

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Strongest Protest

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed not only what kind of world we have, but also what kind of God we have: in a world of gross unfairness we have a God of sacrificial love.

The Father could have taken a different form of protest rather than the cruciform way.  He could have obliterated mankind in the blink of an eye.  He could have stopped the rain and plants from growing and watched while sinful humanity slowly, painfully, starved to death or died of thirst.  It is His world – He can do what He wants to with it.  But His love wouldn’t let Him do any of those things.  In many ways, there wasn’t much else He could have done and been the Being that John described when he said, “God is love.” 

PRAYER: We rejoice to have a God whose Name is Love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/28/20 – The Flight to Imprisonment

Advocates Say Timing Is Right For Independent Oversight Of Texas ...

DayBreaks for 5/28/20: The Flight to Imprisonment

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

The Associated Press recently had a story about an incident in Cleveland, Ohio.  A man driving a car broke a traffic law and the police set off in pursuit to give him a ticket.  Instead of pulling over, the man did his best to escape (never a smart idea when the police are after you!)  After a chase through several communities that reaching speeds of over 90 miles per hour, he realized he wasn’t having success outrunning the police, so he decided to abandon his car and take his chances on foot.  He took off running, with officers again running after him.  The man found himself confronted with a large fence, which he scaled and came down on the other side, thinking that perhaps now he’d be safe from the pursuing officers.  Imagine his dismay when he looked around and realized that the fence he’d scaled was the outer fence of the state women’s prison!  He was arrested.

I love stories like this because I like a good laugh.  But most stories have a moral to them if we look, and this one contains a deeper spiritual truth if we take a few moments to think about it.  It is often the knowledge of our own wrongdoing that makes us prone to run and this is never more true than when we sense that someone is authority is about to find out about what we’ve done, whether it is police, the boss, the pastor, teachers, etc.  And so we take flight.  We think we can flee the thing we’ve done, that we can escape the consequences, but often times it is our efforts to gain freedom and escape that leads to the very imprisonment and loss of freedom that we try to find.  Our imprisonment may not be literal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true imprisonment.  It may be the prison of guilt, of consequences that must be suffered, of self-exile.

That is probably not the worst thing about the imprisonment, however.  For those who have a Christian understanding, the worst tragedy and greater sadness about our running is that the authority that is over us desires to forgive and restore – not to enslave us. 

If we are to run when pursued by God, let us run to Him, not from Him!

PRAYER: Father, we thank You for the Spirit that convicts us of our sin and which helps to keep us honest.  Remind us that it is Your desire to seek and save, not to judge and destroy.  May we have the presence of mind and Spirit that we will run to you and find forgiveness when we sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/14/20 – Choosing What to Celebrate

A Letter of Celebration - P.S. I Love You

DayBreaks for 5/14/20: Choosing What to Celebrate

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

I’ve always believed you could tell something about people and perhaps even nations by examining their heroes – those they honor.  There are groups that celebrate those who wore white hoods, burned crosses and killed African-Americans.  There are others who celebrate Stalin, Hitler and others of that ilk.  For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would celebrate any of those people or causes.  And the fact that they do, says a lot about them, I think. 

This bit of disturbing news was published just last Thursday: FOX NEWS: 5/13/10 – “A nationwide petition has been launched by the Catholic League after the Empire State Building denied a request to commemorate Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday.

“Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic civil rights organization, submitted an application to the Empire State Building Lighting Partners in February to have the skyscraper feature blue and white lights — the colors of Mother Teresa’s congregation — on Aug. 26 to commemorate her centennial. The request was denied without explanation last week, and more than 6,000 people have signed a protest petition in just one day, Donohue told FoxNews.com.

“I’d like to find out what’s driving this,” he said. “But I’m confident it’s just a matter of time before we win on this thing.”

“Donohue noted that the iconic building in midtown Manhattan changed its colors to red and yellow last year to honor the 60th anniversary of China’s Communist Revolution.

“Yet under its founder, Mao Zedong, the Communists killed 77 million people,” Donohue said in a statement. “In other words, the greatest mass murderer in history merited the same tribute being denied to Mother Teresa.”

“The iconic Empire State Building is lit in white most nights, but nearly every week the skyscraper gets splashed with color to honor holidays and heroes.

“Mother Teresa received 124 awards, including Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Freedom,” Donohue’s statement continued. “She built hundreds of orphanages, hospitals, hospices, health clinics, homeless shelters, youth shelters and soup kitchens all over the world … Not surprisingly, she was voted the most admired woman in the world three years in a row in the mid-1990s. But she is not good enough to be honored by the Empire State Building.”

“A spokeswoman for the building’s public relations firm declined comment Thursday when reached by FoxNews.com.

What has happened to us when we can celebrate those who commit genocide and “honor” them but we won’t do it for a little Albanian nun who gave comfort to the oppressed and food to the hungry?” 

Perhaps it is because we don’t know how to choose heroes anymore that the name Jesus means nothing to so many.  If there ever was a hero who deserved not only whatever honor we could give him, but also our worship, it’s the Lord.  Will you honor Him by what you do and say today?  He would rather that you did that than decorate the Empire State Building in His honor!

PRAYER: All honor and glory truly belong to You, Jesus!  May we choose to honor You this day through all we do!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>