DayBreaks for 3/16/20 – The Wimpy Legion

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DayBreaks for 3/16/20: The Wimpy Legion

The Roman army was organized into legions. A legion was comprised of about 6000 highly trained professional soldiers. A Roman legion was, if you will, a killing machine the likes of which the ancient world have ever seen. No one wanted to stand across the battlefield from a Roman legion. No one.

Jesus encountered a legion, too, but it wasn’t a wimpy Roman legion, it was a legion of demons and it had possessed a man and made him wild and dangerous. But there is something interesting when the encounter takes place. Even though others had tried to cast the demons out of the poor man they had utterly failed. When Jesus confronts the Legion across the battleground of the man’s soul, the Legion begins to beg. You see, the Legion of demons recognized the voice that was speaking to them and they knew the power behind the voice. In fact, the demons don’t even attempt to put up a fight against Jesus.

As interesting as this story is with the horde of demons and pigs, we miss the point of it if we don’t stay focused on the man. The point is that the may was set free. A few verses later we meet him again, sitting at Jesus feet (indicating the peace he’d been given), clothed and no longer naked (Jesus had restored the man’s dignity and taken away his shame). That is what Jesus is about – setting free those enslaved, given them peace and dignity.

We are surrounded these days with all sorts of evil – animate and inanimate. We need to be reminded that the Jesus of this story still lives, still sees, and still has that great power at his command. As coronavirus attacks our communities, so Satan attacks our souls. Both will yield at some point to the command of the Lord. Even in the midst of this virus, though, let us remain seated at Jesus’ feet, let us be at peace and walk in the dignity of those who know they are his beloved children.

Perhaps in this time of fear and uncertainty, you can help your children, your neighbors find the freedom, peace and dignity their souls seek.

Mark 5:6-9 (CSBBible) – When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!”
For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” “What is your name?” he asked him. “My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.”

PRAYER: Jesus, it is so comforting to know that all things will one day, instantaneously, surrender and yield to your voice. Teach us to do that each day until all things have been put forever under your feet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/04/20 – Not Cast Down

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DayBreaks for 3/04/20 – Not Cast Down

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. Psalms 37:23-24 (KJV)

With the 2010 Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver, Canada, February 12-28, chances are good that many of athletes performing on the biggest stage in the world will be dedicated Christians whose faith affects their preparation and participation in their specialized events. In an anthology entitled Finding God At Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians, American figure skater and Harvard graduate Paul Wylie writes of his experience during a very trying moment in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics:

“I set up for the first jump in my program, but as soon as I’m in the air, I know something is terribly wrong.  A flash later my hand touches the ice; the blade will not hold. I start slipping and now I realize it: I am falling. All I hear as I collapse to the ice is the empathetic groan of what seems like a million voices. I struggle to get up, hustling to get to the next move, thoughts racing through my mind as I try to cover the disappointments. There is no way of erasing a fall from the judge’s minds, nor can I jam the television transmissions to the living rooms of family and friends watching back home. This is live, and I have just blown it.

“I have four minutes left and one important choice to make. Either skate through the rest of the program believing that something constructive will come of the mishap, concentrating and performing through to the end, or continue to dwell on the fall and its consequences, inviting more mistakes caused by a negative frame of mind. A Scripture flashes through my mind that helps me with my decision: “The righteous shall fall, but they shall not be utterly cast down.” I suddenly grasp God’s perspective: he will use our successes and our failures to teach us about ourselves and to show the world his glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I move on, accepting a new role. I admit imperfection and decide to skate “heartily as unto the Lord” for God’s glory rather than my own results.

“Paul Wyle would go on to finish tenth, but his lack of success at the 1988 Games did not deter him. He continued to compete in figure skating, learning from his setback. He eventually won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics in France.” – Jerry De Luca, Montreal West, Quebec; source: Paul Wylie, “On Gravity and Lift,” in Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians (edited by Kelly Monroe Kullberf), InterVarsity Press, 2007

It is hard to fall down and not be down cast about it.  The wonderful news is that no matter what happens to us in this life, the Lord will lift us up in due time!

PRAYER: We all face hard times, Lord, times when we fall and are badly hurt.  Bring healing to us, remind us that in You we will NEVER be “utterly cast down!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/28/20 – The Most Precious Olympic Hardware

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DayBreaks for 2/28/20: The Most Precious Olympic Hardware

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

The Olympics have always fascinated and entertained me.  I always watch them.  They are, however, a testimony to human endeavor – regardless of whether one is talking about the games themselves, the athletes, or those who organize it all and make it happen.  There are many awards shows on television (mostly from Hollywood!) that are nothing more than people patting themselves and others on the back.  I get rather tired of that, and I get tired of athletes who are all about themselves.  That’s why stories about athletes who aren’t that way really resonate with me.  Here’s a story I’d never heard before:

“The rarest medal in the Olympics wasn’t created from gold, but a bolt.

“The story begins on a cold, winter afternoon in Innsbruck at the 1964 Olympic two-man bobsled competition. A British team driven by Tony Nash had just completed its first run, which had put them in second place. Then they made a most disheartening discovery. They had broken a bolt on the rear axle of their sled, which would put them out of the competition.

“At the bottom of the hill, the great Italian bobsled driver Eugenio Monti, who was in first place, heard of their plight. Without hesitation, Monti removed the bolt from the rear axle of his own sled and sent it to the top of the hill. The British team affixed it to their sled and then completed their run down the mountain, winning the gold medal. Monti’s Italian team took the bronze.

“When asked about his act of sportsmanship, Eugenio Monti deflected any praise, saying, “Tony Nash did not win because I gave him a bolt. Tony Nash won because he was the best driver.”

“The story of Monti’s selfless act spread. And because of it he was given the first De Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship. The award, named after the founder of the modern Olympics, is one of the noblest honors that can be bestowed upon an Olympic athlete; in other words, the most precious hardware any Olympian can own.”

Doesn’t that sound like what Jesus did for us?  Took his righteousness and holiness and gave it to us so that we can win the race? 

PRAYER: Thank you for Your selfless love that could only win if we would be able to stand in the “winner’s circle” with you on the great day of the Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/26/20 – The Tireless Pursuit

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DayBreaks for 2/26/20: The Tireless Pursuit

DayBreaks for 2/26/20: The Tireless Pursuit

Tedd Kidd was five years older than Janet.  He finished college before her and started to work in a city hundreds of miles from where Janet lived.  They always seemed to be at different places and going in different directions in their lives. But they had been dating for seven years. 

Every Valentine’s Day for seven years, Tedd proposed to her.  Every Valentine’s Day for seven years, Janet would say, “No, not yet.”

Finally, when they were both living in Dallas, Texas, Tedd reached the end of his patience.  He bought a ring, took Janet to a romantic restaurant, and was prepared to reinforce his proposal with the diamond.  Another “No”, he’d decided, would mean he had to get on with his life without her, even though he’d be broken hearted.

After the salad, entree, and dessert, it was time.  Tedd summoned up all his courage for this one last attempt.  Knowing that Janet had a gift for him, however, he decided to wait.  “What did you bring me?” he asked.  She handed him a box the size of a book.  He opened the package and slowly peeled away the tissue paper.  It was a cross-stitch that Janet had lovingly made herself that simply said, “Yes.”

Yes: it is the word that God, in his tireless pursuit of the sinner, longs to hear.  It is the word that He loves to hear from us in response to: “Do you love me?”  “Will you accept my Son as your Lord?”  “Will you let me change you to become like Jesus?” 

For how many years did God pursue you?  I know stories of people who have been prayed over for 50 years who have finally said, “Yes” to God’s proposal. 

Thank God for His tireless pursuit of our hearts!

PRAYER: Let the praises ring, O Lord Most High, for your unending love and pursuit that always holds out hope for us to say “Yes!” to Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/18/20 – Finding Family

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DayBreaks for 2/18/20: Finding Family

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. – Romans 8:29-30

“They worked together every day at the furniture delivery company and didn’t know. Gary would lift one end of the couch and Randy the other. People said they looked alike, but they chalked that up to coincidence.

“Randy had been researching his family history. He was an adopted son, and a new law in Maine allowed him to finally see his birth certificate. He learned that both his parents had died but that they had another son, born June 10, 1974. Then, on a furniture delivery run, it happened again. A customer commented on how much Randy looked like Gary. Randy started nonchalantly asking Gary some more personal questions—like when his birthday is. “As soon as he said his birthday, I knew,” Randy said later. Gary is his brother.

“Here they had grown up in neighboring towns and attended rival schools—only a year apart in age—and never known about each other. It was a shock to both of them. “Phenomenal,” said Gary. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.” A co-worker, Greg Berry, said, “There’s nothing like family, especially when you don’t have one. Now they’ve got it.”

“But that’s not all. After their story appeared in the local paper, “a teary-eyed woman showed up at the brothers’ workplace clutching a birth certificate.” She was their half-sister, born five or six years before the two men to the same mother. “After all these years,” she said in an interview with a reporter, “here I am 41, and now I finally found my brothers.” – Bangor Daily News

What a wonderful picture of what the church is to be!  Veritable strangers come together inside a building – perhaps they know someone and perhaps they are all total strangers to one another.  But if they stay for any period of time, they find that they are really brothers and sisters – that those who are part of this particular family of God all have a striking family resemblance as well as a deep bond that can’t be explained in mere human terms.  Those who are alone and lonely can find (in a church that beats with the heartbeat of the Master), the family they never knew they had.

As believers, we all have a responsibility and privilege of bearing the image of our Lord.  Let’s make sure that we keep His image clean and pure and that we welcome those who are seeking a place where they belong.  

PRAYER: May we be true brothers and sisters – far beyond any physical ties – that those outside will see in Your church the family they desperately long for!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/14/20 – Would I Have Believed It?

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DayBreaks for 2/14/20: Would I Have Believed It?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

I have started a series of sermons on Jesus.  Wow – what a shocking thing, eh?  But the more I read and study and learn about Jesus, the more amazed I become.  I sense that there is no bottom to the depths of Jesus.

 In 1993, Philip Yancey read a news report about a “Messiah sighting” in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. In an article for Christianity Today magazine, he wrote about the feverish response of over 20,000 Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews who lived in the region, many of whom believed the Messiah was dwelling among them in the person of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson:

“Word of the rabbi’s public appearance spread like a flash fire through the streets of Crown Heights, and Lubavitchers in their black coats and curly sidelocks were soon dashing toward the synagogue where the rabbi customarily prayed. The lucky ones connected to a network of beepers got a head start, sprinting toward the synagogue the instant they felt a slight vibration. They jammed by the hundreds into a main hall, elbowing each other and even climbing the pillars to create more room. The hall filled with an air of anticipation and frenzy normally found at a championship sporting event, not a religious service.

“The rabbi was 91 years old. He had suffered a stroke the year before and had not been able to speak since. When the curtain finally pulled back, those who had crowded into the synagogue saw a frail old man with a long beard who could do little but wave, tilt his head, and move his eyebrows. No one in the audience seemed to mind, though. “Long live our master, our teacher, and our rabbi, King, Messiah, forever and ever!” they sang in unison, over and over, building in volume until the rabbi made a small gesture with his hand and the curtain closed. They departed slowly, savoring the moment, in a state of ecstasy. (Rabbi Schneerson [later] died in June 1994. Now some Lubavitchers [still await] his bodily resurrection.)”

Later in his article, Yancey confesses he was tempted to laugh out loud as he read about Schneerson and his followers, thinking, Who are these people trying to kid – a nonagenarian mute Messiah in Brooklyn? But then a sobering thought came to mind for Yancey: I am reacting to Rabbi Schneerson exactly as people in the first century had reacted to Jesus. A Messiah from Galilee? A carpenter’s kid, no less? He writes:

“The scorn I felt as I read about the rabbi and his fanatical followers gave me a small glimpse of the kind of responses Jesus faced throughout his life. His neighbors asked, “Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” Other countrymen scoffed, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” His own family tried to put him away, believing he was out of his mind. The religious experts sought to kill him. As for the common people, one moment they judged him demon-possessed and raving mad, the next they forcibly tried to crown him king.

“It took courage, I believe, for God to lay aside power and glory and to take his place among human beings who would greet him with the same mixture of haughtiness and skepticism that I felt when I first heard about Rabbi Schneerson of Brooklyn. It took courage to endure the shame, and courage even to risk descent to a planet known for its clumsy violence, among a race known for rejecting its prophets. A God of all power deliberately put himself in such a state that Satan could tempt him, demons could taunt him, and lowly human beings could slap his face and nail him to a cross. What more foolhardy thing could God have done?” – Christianity Today, Cosmic Combat

This story makes it a bit easier to understand how it was that so many refused to believe on Jesus during his life.  I wonder if I would have been one of them? 

One more thing: I’m glad that my Messiah can’t suffer a stroke and lose his ability to do great deeds. 

PRAYER: When we are so arrogant in our faith, thinking we could never slip, forgive us our arrogance!  Thank you for a living Messiah who rules forever and ever!  Hallelujah!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/13/20 – We Lepers

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DayBreaks for 2/13/20: We Lepers

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

In his book, God is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg relates the following story:

“Father Damien was a priest who became famous for his willingness to serve lepers. He moved to Kalawao—a village on the island of Molokai, in Hawaii, that had been quarantined to serve as a leper colony. For 16 years, he lived in their midst. He learned to speak their language. He bandaged their wounds, embraced the bodies no one else would touch, preached to hearts that would otherwise have been left alone. He organized schools, bands, and choirs. He built homes so that the lepers could have shelter. He built 2,000 coffins by hand so that, when they died, they could be buried with dignity. Slowly, it was said, Kalawao became a place to live rather than a place to die, for Father Damien offered hope.

“Father Damien was not careful about keeping his distance. He did nothing to separate himself from his people. He dipped his fingers in the poi bowl along with the patients. He shared his pipe. He did not always wash his hands after bandaging open sores. He got close. For this, the people loved him.

“Then one day he stood up and began his sermon with two words: “We lepers….”

“Now he wasn’t just helping them. Now he was one of them. From this day forward, he wasn’t just on their island; he was in their skin. First he had chosen to live as they lived; now he would die as they died. Now they were in it together.

“One day God came to Earth and began his message: “We lepers….” Now he wasn’t just helping us. Now he was one of us. Now he was in our skin. Now we were in it together.

Identification.  I don’t mean your driver’s license or social security number – I mean knowing who you are – is very important.  If I find myself in a struggle with something, I go to someone who I believe can identify with my struggle so we can speak a common language into one another’s ear.  I don’t go to someone who I believe will not have any sense of what I’m talking about or going through.  To do so would be foolish, at best, and downright harmful because we may get very incorrect advice!

Jesus knew when he came that he would have to become like one of us.  Not just someone with a physical body containing 2 legs, 2 arms, 2 eyes, a nose, ears and mouth.  He knew he would have to become JUST like us in all respects.  The writer of the Hebrew letter understood this: For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18

It wouldn’t be enough to just look like us and sound like us.  He had to be made like his brothers “in every way” so that He would understand the misery and despair and desperation of the human heart.  I find verse 18 interesting: he suffered when He was tempted.  Sometimes we may have the idea that Jesus rather easily and flippantly threw off temptation.  Perhaps he did, perhaps the “suffering” described in Hebrews 2:18 was generalized suffering brought on by the very nature of the Incarnation, but I believe this goes beyond generalized suffering. 

When we are tempted, really, truly tempted, and we resist it, we suffer an emotional and spiritual torment of sorts.  We WANT what is tempting us.  And we want it BADLY.  It is painful to say “No!”  It hurts to be obedient.  But it never hurts as badly as disobedience. 

In the final analysis, Jesus went a step beyond what we experience.  We experience sin as sinners.  Jesus didn’t just experience sin, but He “became sin” (2 Cor. 5:21).  It is in all these experiences that Jesus stands before the throne of the Father, pleading the case for us, “We humans…”.

PRAYER: We will never understand all that you took on to be our Savior, Lord – the humiliation, the pain, the suffering – all because your love refused to let us go.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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