DayBreaks for 1/16/19 – When the Wine Runs Out

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DayBreaks for 01/16/2019: When the Wine Runs Out

The world famous Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway was a person who went for it all. A newspaper reporter, ambulance driver during WWII, involved in the Spanish Civil War, friend to bullfighters as well as authors–he did it all. And, when he did it he did it to the fullest. In a manner of speaking he enjoyed the wine of life. But there came a day when the wine of joy ran out.

Carlos Baker records it in his biography of Hemingway in this way: Sunday morning dawned bright and cloudless. Ernest awoke early as always. He put on the red “Emperor’s robe” and padded softly down the padded stairway. The early sunlight lay in pools on the living room floor. He had noticed that the guns were locked up in the basement, but the keys, as he well knew, were on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. He tiptoed down the basement stairs and unlocked the storage room. It smelled as dank as a grave. He chose a double barreled shotgun with a tight choke. He had used it for years to shoot pigeon’s. He took some shells from one of the boxes in the storage room, closed and locked the door, and climbed the basement stairs. If he saw the bright day outside, it did not deter him. He crossed the living room to the front foyer, a shrine-like entryway five feet by seven feet, with oak-paneled walls and a floor of linoleum tile. He slipped in two shells, lowered the gun butt carefully to the floor, leaned forward, pressed the twin barrels against his forehead just about the eyebrows and tripped both triggers.

What are you going to do when the wine runs out? Hemingway turned to the easy way out, but it was the way out to what? He turned to a gun to deal with his pain. I would rather turn to Jesus and godly friends to help me through the pain. I hope you will, too.

Prayer: Father, in your children’s pain, let us feel your presence and love as never before and give us the wisdom and strength to run to your arms! Help us remember that the pain is only fleeting and that joy comes again in the eternal morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 1/09/18 – A Morsel or a Feast?

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DayBreaks for 01/09/2019: A Morsel or a Feast?

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09:

“If I can only touch his robe,” she thought to herself.  The poor woman had been bleeding for years.  No one had been able to alleviate her suffering.  There was one more hope, one more chance – and she knew she had to take it.  The Rabbi was coming to town and he was the talk of the village.  The things he’d done elsewhere were incredible – or at least the stories of them were!  He’d healed the lame, given sight to the blind – even those blind since birth!  There were even stories about him raising the dead.  It was worth a chance – it was the last option she could think of.

But the crowds were so large – and she was so embarrassed by her condition.  How could she ever talk to him?  And then it dawned on her, “Maybe I don’t need to talk to him.  Maybe he doesn’t need to touch me.  Maybe it’ll be enough if I can just touch his robe.”  And so, casting caution to the wind and subjugating her fears, she pressed into the crowd.  It was hard to see where he was through the many bodies, but suddenly, there he was – right in front of her.  Did she dare reach out to touch him?  Others were.  He was being bumped and jostled.  But did she have the courage? 

Finally, she stretched out her arm and barely touched the hem of his robe.  And immediately, he stopped and turned, and she was in the spotlight – the very last thing she ever wanted.  “Who touched me?” he asked.  “It was me,” she stammered, eyes wanting to turn down to the ground in shame, but somehow she couldn’t tear her eyes away from his.  But she was healed.

In this miracle, recorded in Mark chapter 5, there are several things worth grasping:

FIRST: the part of the woman in what happened was miniscule.  She just reached out.  What she did isn’t as important as the fact that she did something.  She wasn’t content, in her need and misery, to just sit and hope Jesus would bump into her.  She was tired of being sick and wanted to be healed – now, today.  We are often far to content to remain in our sickness.  After a while, it becomes a part of our identity – and some even seem to revel in their misery and telling others how miserable their life is.  None of that for this woman.  There should be none of it for us, either!  Her healing started when she reached out to Jesus.  It’s the same with us.

The next two lessons are unique to this story in the Bible.  It’s not recorded that they happened anywhere else, but Mark took the time to point them out for us, and I’m glad he did:

SECOND: Jesus healed the woman before he even knew it.  I suppose this could be debated – being God, he certainly knew she was there, but his statement, “I felt power go out from me” is only made here and not in any other case of healing.  There wasn’t any fancy light show, trumpets blaring, or public pronouncements of “Watch this, folks…just watch what I’m going to do for this woman.”  It just happened before Jesus could even apparently think about it.  As Max Lucado put it, it seems as if the Father short-circuited Jesus for a moment – the Divine Christ was a step ahead of the human Christ.  No hoopla.  Just healing.  This tells me that God/Jesus are eager to heal…perhaps just waiting for us to reach out and make some effort, as did this woman.

THIRD: when Jesus addresses this woman, he calls her “Daughter.”  He never says that to anyone anywhere else – not to Mary Magdalene, not to Mary or Martha, not to anyone that we know of.  If you were that woman – full of fear and trepidation, singled out in front of the entire crowd who has grown silent, listening to the interchange – how do you think it would have made you feel to hear him tenderly call you, “Daughter” and not “Woman…” or “You…”?

Tolstoy wrote of a time he met a beggar on the street.  Tolstoy reached into his pocket to give the man some money, but found there was nothing there.  Tolstoy said, “I’m sorry, brother, but I have nothing to give you.”  The beggar’s face lit up and he said, “You have given me more than I asked for – you have called me brother.”

To the loved, to the desperate, to the lonely and love-starved, a single word is not just a morsel, but a feast!

Prayer:  Almighty Creator, Loving Father – thank you for wanting to heal us.  Give us the courage to reach out.  Help us hear your Son’s voice as he calls us “son” or “daughter”.  May we rest in Your everlasting goodness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/04/19 – The Passing of the Shadow

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DayBreaks for 01/04/2019: The Passing of the Shadow

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09 (modified):

Whew.  The holidays are now over.  It is a bittersweet feeling, isn’t it?  On the one hand, I love the excitement and joy of the holidays, and the chance to share that with family, loved ones and friends.  I love the Christmas carols and was surprised to find some of them playing in the malls this year. I love the bright lights and colors, and yes, the nuts and chews of Christmas from See’s Candies!

But it isn’t long and the holidays that have been so long awaited are over and done with.  The family has returned to their own homes and gone back to work, the Christmas decorations have been pulled down and boxed away for another year, the candy is gone (thank goodness!) and the Christmas carols and tree have been tucked away for 11 months.  And – I’m tired. 

As I was reflecting on this one day, I was watching our old dog, Rainie.  She’s 12 years old now and she’s clearly winding down.  She walks with a strange, stiff gait because of some arthritis in her hips, and if you look into her eyes, they are not dark and clear – they are milky and a bit subdued.  She is afraid, or in a bit too much discomfort, to hop up on the bed as easily as she used to.  Now, at night, when she comes back into the house, she will whimper and whine before even attempting her leap of faith up to the top of the mattress.  And she huffs and puffs a lot more than when she was younger.  It saddens me to see this happening before my very eyes and to be powerless in the face of the inexorable march of time.  And then I realize, I am on the same march, head down as I trudge the pathway before me.

The passing of the holidays and the winding down of life have parallels that can teach us.  We start out exuberant, full of excitement and energy.  We hurry here and there because the world is so big and there is so much to see and do and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  But then, as with Christmas, the holiday is over before you are even fully aware that it has begun.  Old friends and family are no longer around.  We find ourselves more fearful of running around too far from home, and we also whimper and whine as we rise or recline on our bed.  Not to mention the eyesight. 

This is the way of all flesh.  This is what makes our God and His promises so precious – He does not grow old, tired, and weary.  He doesn’t get cataracts.  His bones don’t ache and generate the whimpers that accompany old age.  And He promises us that the day will come when we will be like Him in that regard.  We try to imagine a life without any sort of pains or sadness and we cannot grasp even the tiniest crumb of that reality.  But we do long for it.  The life we so longed to live when we were younger has been spent somehow, somewhere – like a shadow passing in the night, soundlessly and quickly, not even leaving footprints behind.  Hold on to the fact that the shadow is passing, but it isn’t passing from daylight to darkness, but instead the shadow is passing to daylight, from earth to heaven, from mortality to immortality, from death to life.  And there shall be no more weeping.

PRAYER:  Lord, life often feels like both a blessing and a burden.  Thank you for the promise that you will make our joys even greater than anything we have experienced in this lifetime, and that you will remove our sorrows eternally.  Thank you, that Jesus “is the life!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/31/18 – How Closely He Listens

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DayBreaks for 12/31/18: How Closely He Listens

The brick wall. The deafening silence. The times when it seems our prayers ascend to nothingness and no one. We’ve all felt it. It isn’t a comfortable feeling for those who are believers, who proclaim that there is a God in heaven who is good and caring and notices us.

David marveled that the One who created the vast heavens (and David had no idea how vast they are – and to this day no one really knows for sure) was mindful of him. It is a bit difficult to believe when staring up into space while laying out under a canopy of stars on a dark night. How could He possibly even know I’m here, let alone care for me and know my every word before it’s spoken, my very thoughts before I think them?  And not just me – but everyone!?!?!?!?  Can God really be listening to me, hearing me when I mutter my hopes, dreams, pain and requests skyward?

Psalm 6:8 gives us the assurance we need, but we have to pay close attention. Here’s what David said: Psalm 6:6-8 (ESV) – I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.

What is it that God hears? The sound of weeping. Not of shrieking, wailing. When David just said he drenches his couch with his weeping he is using “weeping” in the sense of tears, not loud wailing. So David is saying that God is hearing the sound of his tears.

What sound does a falling tear make when it escapes the eye and moves down the face? It’s inaudible – but David says that God hears it. He is listening so closely to us that he can hear the sound of a tear escaping our eye. If we have ever doubted that God is a God of compassion, we need never question that fact.
If he hears your tears, he also knows your heartache. And as David concludes Psalm 6, he tells those who oppress him that they should start running now because God has heard his pleas and accepted his prayer – in short, God is moved to action on behalf of the one whose tears fall silently. He hears you.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for not just noticing us, but for listening so closely you can hear the silent tears that escape from the eyes of your children. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/28/18 – The Power of Hope

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DayBreaks for 12/28/18: The Power of Hope

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2008: A school system in a large city decided to start a program to help hospitalized kids stay caught up in their studies. One day, a teacher who worked with the program was called to the school and given the assignment to help a young hospitalized boy stay caught up with his adverbs and nouns. The teacher arrived at the hospital and was shocked to learn the boy had been horribly burned and was in great pain. She managed to say, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” She then delivered her lesson and left, feeling as if she’d accomplished very little. When she came back the next day, a nurse approached her in the hallway and asked, “What did you do to that boy?” The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and started to apologize. “Oh, no!” said the nurse, “you don’t know what I mean! We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. It’s as though he’s decided to live.” Two weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization, which he expressed this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?”

Galen’s Thoughts: Hope is so important. Perhaps you know someone right now who is struggling, ready to give up on life, on a marriage, on their kids. Maybe it is someone who has been fighting a battle with drugs, alcohol or cancer. What message of hope can you give them today? Perhaps all they need is a reassurance that you care – that God cares – for them and about them. Who do you need to call or talk to today so that you can share hope?

On the other hand, maybe you are the one who needs hope. Perhaps you feel like your life is hopeless and you’re ready to give up. You may have even been thinking about taking your own life. Try to understand what the boy came to realize: the teacher wouldn’t have come to him if the school and doctors thought he was hopeless and was just going to die. In the same way, the Teacher has come to you! God doesn’t send His Son/Spirit to us if we’re just destined to die! No, God has great plans for you and great things in store for you. Maybe you won’t see them on this site of eternity – but that doesn’t make them any less real or any less marvelous. And it certainly doesn’t make them less worth waiting for. Hope – it comes from knowing there are better things to come. For us Christians, hope should beat strong in our hearts!

Rom. 5:5: And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for the hope that keeps us moving ahead.  For those who are in despair and feeling hopeless as they face this near year, renew their hope through Your indwelling Spirit!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/24/18 – Searching for Hope

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DayBreaks for 12/24/18: Searching for Hope

(NOTE: This was written by a dear friend of mine, Janine Boyer, earlier in December. Used by permission.)

Our trip to Israel had already exceeded my expectations and then I saw them. “Look! Look! Those are real sheep and a real shepherd,” I said to Dave from inside our bus. As we passed the hills of Bethlehem, they were just like I had pictured in my mind, a mixture of grass and rocks, steep for those cute little sheep and windy for a donkey to have to travel. Tomorrow I would get to visit the place where Jesus Christ was born.

But in a matter of a day, the scene changed. There was some unrest in Bethlehem overnight, and it wasn’t safe to visit. I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip and experiencing what it must have felt like for Mary and Joseph over 2,000 years ago.

Things didn’t work out as I had expected; and almost a year later, I can still feel that disappointment. But as I thought about that, I also thought about how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Because of the census being taken, they had to leave behind everything that was familiar to them and start over in a new place. What did it feel like when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, desperately looking for a place to stay, only to be turned away?

I imagine Mary was not only searching for a place to deliver her baby, but also desperately searching for relief from that pain, searching for rest and searching for help. Who of us cannot relate to those feelings in one way or another? Our lives can change in a moment, often times leaving us feeling desperate and disappointed. But if we stop there, we miss the blessings of the unexpected.

Mary and Joseph continued searching for a place to stay. What did they find? A stable. Straw would become the blanket upon which Jesus Christ would be born. Not soft and comfy like the blankets on our beds, but itchy and scratchy for this tiny baby. Maybe that’s not what they were looking for, but that is what they found.

Often times what we are looking for is different than what we find too. Life’s circumstances can change the way we feel. But we can’t stop there. We desperately need to keep searching for God in the midst of all we feel. While Joseph and Mary searched, they never lost hope. As a result, what did they find? They found God turned that stable into a place of glory, a place that was lit up by a star in the sky, a place where people who were desperately searching, would find hope and peace. A place for all of us.

I don’t know what you are feeling this Christmas season. I don’t know your life events. But God does. That tiny little baby, God’s Son, felt everything we feel. “For unto us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for giving us a place to come and find hope and peace. Give us the courage to choose to make room for you no matter how we feel today, whether we be full of joy or full of sorrow. Help us to feel the amazing wonder of Your Son and His birth, His life and even His death. Help us to be like Mary and take the stable that was offered to her and turn it into a place where YOU, King of all Kings, would be born. In Your Hopeful name we pray, Amen.

DayBreaks for 12/14/18 – Aiming Past Life

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DayBreaks for 12/14/18: Aiming Past Life

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/9/98:

Okay, let’s see how many of you have tried this: have you ever put a board (even just one – and maybe a thin one at that) between two bricks and tried to break the board with your hand?  I’ve tried it – on more than one occasion.  I’ve seen it done in person (in fact, my oldest granddaughter can do it!) – but not just with one board, but with many boards, with cement blocks or blocks of solid ice.  I can only say that if you tried it, I hope you were more successful than I.  And I hope you didn’t hurt yourself, either!

It isn’t just big, hulking guys who do this kind of stuff.  I’ve seen little folk do it – men and women.  So the key to the ability to smash stuff like that with your bare hands can’t be based on brute strength. 

There are actually two things that are necessary, according to those who bust stuff with their bare hands, if one is to break boards, ice or cement blocks with nothing more than the edge of a hand.  Here they are: 1) focused concentration, and 2) aiming at a point just beyond the board.  In other words, it is important to not get distracted by things around you as you focus on hitting a point in your mind that is just beyond the visible board.  Of course, the “point” you aim at isn’t visible because the board blocks it from view, so that’s where the focus also comes into play.

Life is often somewhat like that board.  It’s hard and unyielding.  We bump up against it over and over and bruises are usually the result.  Life doesn’t bend, as a general rule.  If we are to break through the frustration of living in this world, we must be focused, and we must aim at something beyond this life – something that is just on the other side of what is visible.  And then we must drive with all our force to that “something” that is just beyond our sight. 

For Christians, we take note of what the Word says in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV) – So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  What is seen is like the board – it’s not really the goal – the goals is unseen, just on the “other side”.  And again, Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) instructs us: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  We are to focus all our energy, our vision, on Jesus.  And where is he?  Seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  He’s in the realm of the unseen, and he awaits us just beyond what is visible.

Another way to think of this is that death is the board – a door, if you will – that prevents us from seeing what is not unseen.  But it will not always be so.  And what will we see when we break through?  Jesus.

PRAYER: We pray that You will sharpen our focus and help us to remember that we are not to aim at things in this life that would distract us from what is presently unseen.  Strengthen us to look beyond this life to see the Risen Son seated in glory, awaiting our arrival!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>