DayBreaks for 7/07/20 – Hope for Troubled Times

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DayBreaks for 7/07/20: Hope for Troubled Times

Daniel 2:44 (CSBBible) – In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.

What an amazing time we live in. Pandemics, scandals, demonstrations, riots, political division that is truly painful to see. It’s easy to lose our sense of balance in such a time.

I think Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream speaks to us at this moment, and every moment, in time. What Daniel tells the king (who was far and away the most powerful earthly ruler of his day) was this: a mighty kingdom is coming that will smash any earthly kingdom into smithereens. It’s not a kingdom of this world, but it is the kingdom of God himself.

As Jared Wilson put it in The Story of Everything: “It is the reality of the kingdom of God…that should comfort Christians today, not the rising and falling of popular opinion or the ways of the Supreme Court or the majority votes in Congress or the moral sanity of the president. All those people are sinners. We can root for them and persuade them and pray for them and hope for them – but we cannot hope in them, because none of them is not a sinner. Only Jesus Christ’s kingdom comes with perfect grace and peace and justice. And only Jesus Christ’s kingdom will remain.”

It may seem strange to think of the kingdom of Christ conquering all when we look around today. After all, when Christ came it was as a baby and he died not in a palace but on a wooden cross. When he came he didn’t come as a typical king does to fight and conquer and amass territory and wealth. Why didn’t he come that way? He didn’t have to. He already possessed it all. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”

Be reminded, Christian, not to put your hope or faith in the president or in an election or in the scientists working to prevent COVID-19 or in anything else in this world. The one thing that is worthy of our hope is the completion of the coming of the kingdom of Christ. And that is where our prayers and efforts should be focused.

PRAYER: Jesus, we long to see the mighty kingdom come in its totality and finality. Keep us from trusting in other humans for deliverance and look only to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/05/20 – Missing a Piece of the Puzzle

Coronavirus puts jigsaw puzzles in high demand

DayBreaks for 6/05/20: Missing a Piece of the Puzzle

From MailOnline, 5/25/10:

“It had cluttered up Jack Harris’s dining table for almost eight years.  Nevertheless, the 86-year-old was determined to finish his five-foot long, 5,000-piece jigsaw.  And when he thought the painstaking process was complete, he stood back to admire his work  –  only to find a dog may have eaten the final piece.

“Mr. Harris has searched his home in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, for the missing piece but his family fears one of their two dogs has swallowed it.  They have even asked the puzzle’s manufacturer if they could provide a spare  –  but Mr. Harris has taken so long to complete the jigsaw that Falcon Games has stopped making it.

“His daughter-in-law Eve Harris, who gave him the jigsaw as a Christmas present in 2002, said she thought it would be a challenge for the retired businessman.   Mr. Harris, whose wife Doris died in 2004, is given a new jigsaw every year, and usually finishes them by spring.  But this puzzle was to prove different.

“He said he started the jigsaw  –  which shows the 19th century oil painting The Return Of The Prodigal Son, by James Tissot  –  as usual. But eight years later he was still struggling to finish it.  Mrs. Harris said: ‘We got him this one as a bit of a joke really, because he always boasted he could get them done so quickly, he’s a bit of a whiz with them. It was marvelous to see it finally completed. But when we saw there was a piece missing from the middle, we just couldn’t believe it.  ‘He was just so disappointed when he found one bit was missing. It’s sad really because now it will never be completed.’

“If Mrs. Harris’s dogs are not to blame, the family thinks the piece may have been thrown away by accident.

“Mr. Harris said: ‘I always said I could get the puzzles done by the end of March so I could get out into the garden, but this one took a bit longer.’”

Many of the most famous people in the world think that they’ve got it all figured out and got it all put together, but when they come to their death bed they are confronted with questions that their money, wisdom, knowledge and experience have not been able to answer.  The result: they are often tormented in their soul, uncertain in the face of eternity where their money or experience or knowledge will be of no avail.  The problem is that they’ve spent their life in pursuit of something – only to find when they reach the end that there is a piece missing.  Augustine spoke of it when he said mankind would always be restless until we come to God so He can fill the God-shaped hole in our heart.

Jesus alone can fill that missing piece when our souls launch out into eternity.  “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me.”  Jesus is what we need to complete the puzzle that is life.  Don’t wait until the end to find the most important piece is missing!  

PRAYER: Lord, we believe that we can only be complete when You complete us.  As the crowning piece of the puzzle, may Christ be formed in us today!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/4/20 – The Breath of God

How the Breath Moves the Body in Meditation Practice

DayBreaks for 6/04/20: The Breath of God

In the Genesis creation account, God breathes into the body of Adam the “breath of life”. Many times throughout Scripture it speaks of man’s breath in a way that symbolizes his life.

The Spirit of God comes from the Greek word pneuma which can be translated as wind or breath.

Regardless of whether it is used in conjunction with human life, or with the Spirit of God, it is the animating life force which gives and sustains life. Without breath, we’d be dead in mere minutes.

All that makes it even more tragic that when that breath is cut off, we quickly expire.

George Floyd was not a perfect human being. There’s only been one of those and he was also the perfect Almighty God -perfect man and perfect God. George Floyd was not the Son of God, but by virtue of his being part of God’s creation and made in the image of God, plus his professed Christianity, we was a son of God. I make no judgment about that – nor should you.

But this man was reported to have said multiple times, “I can’t breathe!” He was deprived of the breath of life by one who didn’t recognize or honor the fact that he was made in the very image of God and breathed the air God created. It was flat out wrong – and evil!

We should all be praying that we would have more of the Breath of God in us, the one who said he is the Life, and not like the one who snuffed the breath out of George Floyd. And we must be very, very careful that we don’t snuff the breath of life from others through our attitudes and actions – or lack thereof.

PRAYER: Fill us with your breath and let us help bring the Breath of God to all we encounter. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/3/20 – A Plea to Reverse Babel

Genesis 11:9 (CSBBible) – Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth.

Our nation is torn and bleeding…literally. A man, made in the very image of God, killed by those who are charged with upholding and enforcing the law and the rights of every human being. As a result of that, countless thousands protesting peacefully, while others (I won’t call them protestors, for the aren’t protesting, but rioting and looting) destroy the life work of fellow citizens and violently attack humans in the streets, businesses, and even trying to force their way into homes to wreak havoc and harm. Flames and smoke ascend to the heavens.

A long time ago in a place far, far away, a people thought too highly of themselves and tried to ascend into heaven. In response to their hubris, God confused their language and they scattered over the face of the earth. And it seems we have been scattered ever since.

Right now in America, we have people who speak the same literal language, but who are in no way unified. And sadly, through much of the life of the country and especially in the last week, it seems that the church as been all too silent. Should not the church be a voice crying in the wilderness for peace and unity, dialog and reason, that calls us to love one another regardless of whether the person next to you is red, white, black, brown, green, purple, polka-dotted or striped?

We should all be speaking to each other, hearing one another’s pain and fear and understanding what each human longs for and desires.

On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, tongues of fire descended from heaven to earth and Peter spoke in a language that everyone heard – and understood in their own tongue – a universal language if you will. That’s how the church started. Where is that universal language in the church today? At this moment, tongues of fire ascend in the opposite direction as the flames of burning cities lick the heavenly sky. With one united voice, the church needs to be speaking against what God hates – racism, abuse, hatred, falsehood, misogyny, abuse of power – and to speak and bring his love to all humanity even as God does.

As always, it starts with me. And with you. For we are the church. Let us raise a common language for reconciliation and for healing and ask forgiveness for our own blindness.

PRAYER: Almighty God, where once you confused the language or mankind, we pray now that your Spirit will enable the church to speak with one voice of the preciousness of every human on the face of the earth. We ask you now to restore a common language filled with love and compassion, not hatred and rage. Search our hearts to reveal to us our own prejudices and forgive us for our hardness of heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/29/20 – Flight from Reality

90 Minutes a Day, Until 10 P.M.: China Sets Rules for Young Gamers ...

DayBreaks for 5/29/20: Flight from Reality

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – “Police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online, authorities said.  The couple fed their 3-month-old daughter once a day between marathon stretches in a local Internet cafe, where they were raising a virtual child in the fantasy role-playing game Prius Online, police told local reporters Friday.

Prius Online is a 3-D game in which players nurture an online companion, Anima, a young girl with mysterious powers who grows and increases her skills as the game progresses.

“Police have not identified the 41-year-old father and 25-year-old mother, who lived in Suwon, a suburb south of Seoul. But the father apologized, speaking to reporters.  “I wish that she hadn’t got sick and that she will live well in heaven forever. And as the father, I am sorry,” he said.  The baby reportedly died five months ago.

“South Korea has one of the world’s fastest broadband networks. Seoul has won international awards for e-governance.  Online gaming teams are sponsored by major conglomerates and 24-hour, high-speed Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, dot every urban neighborhood.  Police said the couple had lost their jobs and used the game as an escape from reality, especially after the birth of their premature baby.  “They instead played an online game in which they raised a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby,” Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, told Yonhap News Agency.

“South Korea remains a very conservative society so people who fall outside the norm can come under severe stress and pressure,” said Michael Breen, the Seoul-based author of “The Koreans.” 

“The Internet has provided such people with a paradise to escape to and simply get lost in.” – Andrew Salmon, CNN, 3/7/10 

This is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time.  Any time a child (or person) dies from needless starvation it makes me deeply disturbed.  And it happened because the parents were using a silly game “as an escape from reality.”  Instead of raising their real live offspring, they devoted their time and energy to the care and feeding of a virtual character.

We can easily be distracted into spending our energies and attention on foolish things – things which are not real, things which will never happen, imaginary and pretend things, while letting our life with God and our relationship with Him and those made in His image starve for the attention that they rightfully deserve.  There is no shortage of things which will call for our attention.  The enemy is an expert at distraction.  Don’t let your relationship with your Father die for lack of attention.  Don’t let your relationships with others die as you try to flee reality into a make-believe world.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:1-2

PRAYER: Father, keep our hearts and minds focused on You and on those You love.  Keep us from the deception of Satan.  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 5/18/20 – Time and the Lord’s Plan

Whose Plan is Better: GOD'S Plan or YOURS? —

DayBreaks for 5/18/20: Time and the Lord’s Plan

As earth-bound creatures we are also bound by time. We have watches and phones and computers and sirens and even the sun and moon mark the passing of time for us. We can’t get away from it. We often feel there isn’t either enough, or there’s too much of it. But have we really considered how it is the servant of the Most High?

We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the day of this writing, in our county alone in Illinois 5,904 persons have tested positive and 298 have taken their last breath. We are all anxious for time to pass and this to be over. We hope for a vaccine to put it behind us.

What does all this have to do with time and God’s plan? Consider this: imagine taking a 3 year old to the doctor and the doctor says it’s time for the child to have a vaccination. And just before the needle is inserted into the child’s arm, there is great weeping, fighting against the invasion of the needle into the tiny, flailing arm. The screaming is heartbreaking. Does the child than the doctor for that shot? No! Even the mother or father are heartbroken for what the child is going through.

But imagine, years or decades later, an outbreak of the disease sweeps across the face of the earth. People are sick and dying. But the one who was that young child does not get the dread disease because of those few moments of pain as a child. You see, the vaccine protected the child and it was only through the passing of the time that the child can appreciate what the parent and doctor did years before.

There are many things that happen to us that are painful. Like that young child we wonder why our Father put us through them, why he led us bear the pain in our lives. But know this: He never causes pain except to prevent greater pain for us. Only in hindsight can we see how these things may have saved us even greater pain and loss. Time has been the servant of the Lord in such cases.

The present pandemic, well, it is painful. But we are being taught lessons, lessons we may not even be aware of at the present. Yet there is a purpose – a far greater purpose that we cannot envision – and we have God’s promise that ALL His plans for us are for our good. Find comfort in that promise!

Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG) – I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

PRAYER: Lord, we are impatient and have such limited sight into the reasons for all that happens. May we trust you so much that we can endure with patience the present pain to know that there is purpose for all that happens to us. And give us the wisdom to wait for the understanding with faith in you. 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.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/06/20 – The One Hope

290 Hope Quotes That Will Empower You

DayBreaks for 5/06/20: The One Hope

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

The background: On Easter Sunday 2009, our nation was reeling. The mortgage crisis was in full swing. The roller—coaster nature of Wall Street was making everyone sick to their stomach. Long—trusted financial institutions were being shut down or bought out at an alarming rate. Unemployment rates were skyrocketing. Sensing heavy hearts in his congregation that Easter, John Ortberg, pastor of Menlo Church in Menlo Park, California, and author of a number of best-selling Christian books, offered a powerful reminder about the hope of Easter — a reminder that would serve us well still at this time. Ortberg said:

“I cannot think of an Easter in recent memory where there was a bigger need for hope, for something that would breathe life into the human spirit. A year ago, so many people … felt like they were on pretty solid ground. [Now they] find themselves in circumstances they never would have predicted.

“A lot of people … are feeling anxious. They have pressures … that they did not have [before]. They [regret] decisions they’ve made over this last year. They wonder where things will stand a year from now.

“Nobody ever wants a season of hard times … to come, but when they do, they have a way of making you … ask, What am I really counting on? Am I building my life on a foundation that’s solid enough that circumstances beyond my control cannot take it away? That’s why I’ve been looking forward to Easter … [a time when] we gather to remember the only hope capable of sustaining a human life through everything.

“People have not gathered for the past 2,000 years to say, “The stock market has risen. It has risen indeed.” They have not gathered to say, “The dollar has risen. It has risen indeed.” Or, “the employment rate has risen.” Or, “the gross domestic product has risen.” Or, “General Motors has risen.” Or “the value of your 401(k) has risen.” Here’s the one hope that has held up human beings across every continent and culture for two millennia of difficult times of poverty, disease, pain, hardship, [and] death itself: “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.”  

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, glorified above, hallelujah, for You live forevermore!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2010 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/28/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #23 – This is Your Soul on ZOOM

Intel Is Building the World's Most Powerful Supercomputer

DayBreaks for 4/28/20: The Hallway Through the Sea, #23 – This is Your Soul on ZOOM

The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. For today’s musical pairing, we suggest “Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)” from the film Sunlight. All songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist.

Then Moses said to the Israelites, ‘See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.’” – Exodus 35:30–35

Meditation 23. 3,029,452 confirmed cases, 210,374 deaths globally.

Most of the summers during my childhood in California included backpacking in Yosemite National Park with my family or with the men from my church. We found ourselves at the feet of majestic waterfalls, on peaks in Tuolumne Meadows that stole our breath, or atop Half Dome or El Capitan when shooting stars were falling from the sky. Our souls were transported and we were moved to magnify God.

We tend to think differently of the artifacts of technology. We do not hold up our mobile phones, gaze at a supercomputer, or contemplate a PET scanner and find ourselves moved to sing praises.

In this pandemic, when so much of our experience of the world is mediated through technology, perhaps we need to shift our mindset. Many of the same technologies we cursed months ago for driving us apart we now bless for holding us together. Families keep close through social media and mobile apps. Schools convene over e-learning platforms. Small-group Bible studies pray and praise over Zoom. The church that streams together stays together.

There are reasons for caution when it comes to the uses of technology. The glowing screen can so captivate our attention that we have little left for matters of the soul. The constant consumption of entertainment can dull the deeper senses and atrophy the musculature of the spirit. Technologies can serve in so many ways for trafficking sin or delivering death or impoverishing our years of the full height and depth of life.

And yet, technology is a tool, and God himself gave us the gifts to devise it. The same technology that delivers depravity can also carry the gospel. The technology that lays cities to waste also empowers the world. The technology that broadcasts hatred and ignorance can also encourage love and coordinate its actions. The church has made use of countless technologies to spread the word of God, to heal the sick, and to serve the poor. Should we not give thanks for these things?

Monastic practices filled the lives of monks and nuns with habitual reminders of the lordship and love of God. The cross above the doorway. The ringing of the bell in the chapel. The daily offices serve many times a day as a sort of rhythmic remembrance to practice the presence of God…(Click here to read the rest of this devotion.)

PRAYER: If our hours are to be filled with these technologies, O Lord, let them carry our thoughts toward you. Let us thank you now for breathing intelligence and ingenuity into your children, giving them dreams and visions and talents, so we might use these technologies to maintain our fellowship and continue the work you give us to do. And when at last we have tests and treatments and vaccines, may we thank not only the technologists behind them but the Creator behind the technologists who filled them with such immaculate skill. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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