DayBreaks for 5/16/18 – Fuel for the Journey

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DayBreaks for 5/16/18: Fuel for the Journey

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

On Tuesday, May 6, we visited Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.  I was there once before a number of years back, but I didn’t get my fill of it and I wanted to take my wife there ever since (well, OK, maybe I just wanted to go back!). 

My favorite part of the tour is the Apollo/Saturn V center.  I grew up with stars in my eyes, stories of astronauts, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo – and of course, the excitement of living through the first lunar landing and all the subsequent landings.  I have always wanted to go to the moon.  I don’t think that I’ll ever get the chance.  And so, I vicariously experience it through the memories of the Apollo space program. 

Inside the Apollo/Saturn V visitor center is a Saturn V rocket, lying on its side and supported by huge iron support brackets.  It is a beast of a rocket – to this day, the largest ever assembled and the most powerful ever built.  It is 363 feet in length (longer than a football field, including both end zones).  The first stage held 5 huge engines that generated 7.5 million pounds of thrust.  In just the two minutes that the engines on the first stage were burning, they consumed 545,000 gallons of fuel.  Imagine having to pay for that at today’s gas prices (not to mention that it was a special mixture of fuel that would have been even more expensive.)  Why so much fuel, why so much power?  Because the fully loaded rocket weighed in at something like 6.3 million pounds, and it takes a lot of fuel to get something that big and heavy into space. 

It takes a lot to get us to heaven.  It’s not something that we can make, manufacture or buy.  It doesn’t take huge refineries, massive tanks or great, roaring engines.  What it does take is the blood of the Son of God…and as the old song goes, “There’s power in the blood.” 

We also need the fuel provided by the bread of life…the very same Jesus who gave his life for us and called us into his glory. 

One more thing: when the fuel on the Saturn V ran out, it was gone…kaput.  And it did run out.  But the power supplied by the Son is more than sufficient and will never be used up!

Revelation 7:14 (KJV) – And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the power that is in your blood to cleanse us and the power of your Spirit to keep us, and that your power never changes but is always constant.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 4/19/18 – Habakkuk’s Circumstances – Deja Vu

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DayBreaks for 4/19/18: Habakkuk’s Circumstances (Déjà vu)     

I will refer you to Habakkuk 1.2-4 as a background for this DayBreaks.

Here’s the scenario: Habakkuk, a prophet in Judea, looks around himself and sees that the “righteous” (in whose number he includes himself) are surrounded by the wicked. He sees so-called justice that is really injustice. He sees iniquity. He sees destruction and violence running rampant. Strife and contention are everywhere and the law seems paralyzed. As bad as that is, what really is bothering Habakkuk is that he has been crying out to the Lord for help – and not seeing any help coming to his rescue.

This is going to get a bit sensitive here because I’m going to delve into politics. Bear with me, please. Habakkuk mixed the two – righteousness and justice. As much as some would like to totally separate the two, we can’t. Why is it wrong to steal from someone, both morally and ethically? Because it results in injustice to the person who had things taken. Justice is both a moral and political issue methinks.

And here’s where it’s gonna get touchy: there are many in America today who are feeling a lot like Habakkuk. They are right – there is much to despair over because of what they see happening (or not happening). They can’t understand why God has let some things happen and why he hasn’t come down with an iron rod and set things straight. And as a result, they cry out – but not maybe so much to God as to their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and via email.

I think that Habakkuk had a far better approach to venting his frustration. Isn’t it better to cry out to God when we are despairing? We may not like the answer (or non-answer) we get from God, but it is HIS answer, so it is bound to be better than that which we get from our friends. Our dilemma is whether or not we believe his answers and ways are good or not. He is the God who raises up rulers and tears them down – not for our satisfaction, but for his immutable reasons. 

Indeed, God may yet come down with a rod of iron to fix what is wrong in this world (we know he will eventually, but he can fix things in the meantime, too, if in his infinite wisdom he knows that it is the right thing to do). There IS much injustice. There IS much violence, strife and contention. Those things need to be fixed – and they will.

But rather than crying out to everyone else around us, maybe like Habakkuk we should be crying out to God. Oh, and one more thing: maybe we need to be on our knees a whole lot more on behalf of our president, congresspersons, governors, magistrates, etc. than we have been. I wonder how often those who have railed the most against the political and moral state of affairs in our country are taking the command from Paul that we are to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2.2 – and bear in mind the leader Paul told people to pray for at that time as an utterly unjust, evil tyrant named Nero.) What, I wonder, would happen if Christians in the country and around the world truly started to pray for their leaders like we should? Not pray that they be smitten, but pray for their well-being, for righteousness to find a place to rule in their hearts, to seek God’s answers, to find salvation and God’s ways rather than the guidance of human advisors. Remember that prayer is offering our desires to God, but always with the attitude of “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” Might God just hear from heaven and heal our land?

PRAYER: Convict us of the need to pray for all of our leaders far more than we feel the need to criticize them, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/09/18 – Two Goats on a Bridge

DayBreaks for 4/09/18: Two Goats on a Bridge

Perhaps you saw the story on the news or read about it online. Last week there were two goats (apparently pals who escaped from a nearby yard) who went out for an adventure. They wound up on a girder underneath the bridge, about 200 feet out from one end of the structure and they got “stuck”. They couldn’t continue walking ahead because of an obstacle that blocked their path, and while one of the goats managed to turn around to go back, his partner either couldn’t do so or lacked the courage to try, blocking the pathway of the courageous goat. And so there they were, 100 feet in the air, 200 feet from the end of the bridge. A call went out to attempt to rescue the goats and some bridge maintenance crew arrived with a cherry-picker to reach down under the roadway to rescue the critters. The good news is that both goats were successfully rescued, but there are lessons here for us.

FIRST: the goats were only looking for an adventure, not trouble. We are often looking for adventure, excitement in our lives, and we don’t give much though to where we’re headed and the possible complications and trouble we could get into. What may seem like an innocent indulgence can become life and eternity threatening.

SECOND: The goats couldn’t go forward or backward, they couldn’t retrace their steps to get out of trouble. We get ourselves into many a predicament where we cannot go back and undo what it was that got us into trouble. Relationship and friendships can be destroyed forever because of a dalliance.

THIRD: we were much like the goats on the bridge. They desperately needed rescue. They’d been there for hours without any hope of escape. They needed some outside agency to not just care about them, but to rescue them. I liked what one of the rescuers said when he reached out and grabbed one of the goats to pull them into the basket of the cherry-picker: “There was no way,” he says, “I was letting go of that goat.” God isn’t about to let go of us, either. I, for one, find that very encouraging!

2 Peter 3:3 (KJV) – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…

PRAYER: Lord, in our foolishness we often go astray and are stranded. We are grateful that you not only are concerned for us, but came to our rescue. Give us wisdom to understand the danger we often get ourselves into. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 3/26/18 – The Proclamation

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DayBreaks for 3/26/18: The Proclamation

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2008:

SARPOURENX, France – A mayor in southwest France has threatened residents of his village of Sarpourenx with severe punishment if they die because there’s no room in the cemetery. Mayor Gerard Lalanne posted an ordinance in the council offices advising the village’s 260 residents that “all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish.” It added, “Offenders will be severely punished,” Homes Worldwide said. The 70-year-old mayor, who is hoping to be re-elected in local elections, told journalists, “It may be a laughing matter for some, but not for me.”  

Easter is coming but will soon be over and I shall miss it once it’s gone.  Of course, there’s no reason we can’t revel in the joyful proclamation “He is not here, he is risen!” all year long – and indeed, we should.  It is at the very heart of the Christian message, for if Christ is not risen from the dead, we’d have no greater hope or joy than any other religion whose founder lies moldering in the grave. 

I would imagine that mayor Lalanne issued his proclamation rather tongue-in-cheek.  I just don’t think that one can legislate the prevention of death.  Try as one might, you will never be able to keep cemeteries from filling up.  The human march toward death is certain and inexorable.  The bell tolls for we. 

Jesus would take a different approach than Mayor Lalanne.  Jesus is a realist – we will all die, and after that face judgment.  But rather than filling up cemeteries, Jesus is all about emptying them out through the resurrection.  And we need never fear another thing: there is no message such as “There’s no room at the inn,” or “Heaven is full…no vacancy.”  If Easter is about anything, it is about room – room at the foot of the cross, room in an empty tomb, room in cemeteries where the dead are raised and room in heaven for “whosoever will” that desires to come home to the Father. 

PRAYER: Lord, we believe that the day will come when all who are in the grave will hear your voice and every grave will open and surrender to You.  May we never lose hope, may we invite all we know to come home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 3/13/18 – The Diagnosis

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DayBreaks for 3/13/18: The Diagnosis

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008:

HAVERFORDWEST, England – A boy from Haverfordwest, England, can hear on one side for the first time in nine years after a cotton wool bud suddenly popped out of his ear. Jerome Bartens, 11, was diagnosed deaf in his right ear when he was two, causing him to struggle in school and strain to hear the TV and friends, Britain’s Daily Mail reported.  But when playing pool with his friends in a church hall Jerome felt a sudden pop. And out of his right ear came the tip of a cotton wool bud that had been wedged in for almost 10 years. “It was just incredible — his hearing returned to normal in an instant. He was cured as suddenly as he became deaf. I had always suspected Jerome had stuck something in his ear when he was little and that was causing the problem. But the doctors and hearing specialists said it was wax and he would probably grow out of it,” said Jerome’s father, Carsten Bartens. “I am amazed they didn’t spot something as obvious as a cotton wool bud.”  

Every now and then a story like this comes along and we are both fascinated and puzzled at the same time.  I’m very happy for this young boy!  It is one of those “feel good” stories that you hear about.  But I’m also puzzled that the boy could have had this problem for so long and all the specialists and doctors he’d been to had never discovered the problem. 

There are, as usual, lessons to be learned:

FIRST: don’t put your trust too much in the “learned and wise” in this world.  They are still just humans, fallible as can be.  They can be very persuasive, because we give them the benefit of the doubt because of their “knowledge”…and quite frankly, knowledge seems to equate to power in today’s world.  It always has been that way, I guess.  But our knowledge is limited.  We may pretend to know more than we really do so that we have more power, but that’s a dangerous game to play.

SECOND: there are lots of things that can cause deafness – and that’s true spiritually as well.  The Word is replete with comments on how we don’t hear God (usually meaning that we don’t seek to understand what He’s saying and then refusing to obey it if we do).  Biblically, hearing usually implies action as well.  A loud noise, a Q-tip, ear wax, various diseases – all can cause physical deafness.  There are many causes of spiritual deafness, too: pride, willful rebellion, illicit pleasures and passions that we don’t want to have to give up, anger, lack of a forgiving spirit – the list is almost as long as Psalm 119! 

Having the right diagnosis is important.  When it comes to your life and how you should live it, whose diagnosis are you putting your faith in?  A self-help book (even one bought at a Christian bookstore?)  The words of a friend?  The words of a pastor/minister/priest?  If you do, let me suggest you’re putting your diagnosis and treatment plan in the wrong place.  Put it in the revealed Word of God and His Spirit.  If the diagnosis anyone else gives you doesn’t match with those two things – reject it and keep seeking! 

Jesus stands at the door and knocks.  We won’t open if we can’t hear him. 

PRAYER: Our eyes and ears deceive us, Lord!  We want easy answers and seek diagnosis of our lives and condition in all the wrong places, putting trust in those who don’t deserve our trust.  Heal us, O Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 3/8/18 – The Perils of a Cold Heart

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DayBreaks for 3/08/18: The Perils of a Cold Heart

NOTE: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive,  March 2008:

An early candidate for 1998’s “Darwin Award” (an annual “award” given to the stupidest thing that someone did during the year – usually awarded posthumously), from Remy, France: “Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when he decided to commit suicide.  He stood at the top of a tall cliff and tied a noose around his neck.  He tied the other end of the rope to a large rock.  He drank some poison and set fire to his clothes.  He even tried to shoot himself at the last moment.  He jumped and fired the pistol.  The bullet missed him completely and cut through the rope above him.  Free of the threat of hanging, he plunged into the sea.  The sudden dunking extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison.  He was dragged out of the water by a kind fisherman and was taken to a hospital, where he died of hypothermia.”

I’ve wondered what makes people contemplate suicide.  I understand financial stress, grief, despair, anxiety, depression, etc. – at least at some level.  I’ve never reached the point where I felt that life was so hopeless that I had no other option.  I have had friends who have committed suicide and it is heartbreaking.  I don’t know what problems were hounding Mr. LeFevrier, but he was determined to leave nothing to chance.  As it turns out, it wasn’t the noose, the poison, the fire, the pistol or the fall that took his life.  It wasn’t even really something external – but something internal.  His core body temperature fell to such a low level that his organs couldn’t do their job – his heart and brain stopped.

So it is with us.  It isn’t the things around us that will prove our undoing – it is what is within us.  Matthew 24:12 says: Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold… .  We can spend great amounts of energy and time to make sure the circumstances surrounding our life are just right, leaving no stone unturned in our efforts.  We can install backup system after backup system to make sure our life is planned to the smallest detail.  But you know what?  Those things don’t matter.  They are just details.  What matters is what is within.  Is your heart on fire after God, or is it cold and unfunctioning?  When Jesus once again comes crashing through the barriers of time and space with a trumpet blast and the earth and the heavens are consumed with flaming fire all the backup plans we may make prior to then will go up in smoke – literally!  But it is the heart and what is in it that will determine what happens next.

What is your core heart temperature?  What are you doing to fuel the fire of your heart towards greater love and service to God and His creation?  Mr. LeFevrier never would have guessed in his wildest dreams that he would have died of coldness.  I hope and pray that coldness doesn’t claim any of us!

PRAYER: You are a consuming fire, Your Spirit appeared as tongues of fire…light our hearts on fire that they may never grow cold, lest we die.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/20/18 – Worthless Confetti

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DayBreaks for 2/20/18: Worthless Confetti

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

CATANIA, Sicily – Grandparents often share their sage advice with youngsters to teach them the values of life. A five-year-old Sicilian boy took his grandfather’s wisdom a bit too literally when he told him, “money is just worthless trash.”   The very next day the grandson helped his 33-year-old father get rid of his “trash.” The boy found a wad of cash in his dad’s wallet and tore it up into little pieces until it was unusable. Just in case, he threw the remains out of the window. It turns out the wad of money was actually his father’s entire monthly salary. Now it’s just worthless confetti.

Some lessons in life are expensive.  Some are learned through the school of “hard knocks.” 

Although the story doesn’t say how the father reacted to his son’s “help” in getting rid of his “worthless trash” money that was an entire month’s income, I can only imagine.

I’ve recently done two memorial/funeral services and I’ve been struck by the things in life that are important to us.  I’ve been observing the American way of grief and find it fascinating.  The things that we think have value are suddenly and sharply put into clear focus when someone we love dies.  It’s just a pity that the focus doesn’t last longer than it does, for all too soon we forget the lessons learned in the house of mourning and return to our own ways of pursuing things that are at the very least of questionable value.

How much of life is taken up with the pursuit of “worthless trash!”  How much better off we’d be if we spent our time, effort and energy in pursuit of Jesus.  As I stood, even on the day that I write this, beside the open casket of a warrior of God who served Him faithfully for many years, I am forced once again to confront my own values and pursuits and to confess that they need adjusting. 

The day is coming when all that I’ve done or ever will do in this world will be either burned up or left behind to others.  How true is the saying: “Only one life, ‘Twill soon be past.  Only what is done for the Lord will last!”

Don’t waste your life making confetti.  Make a difference that will survive death and your journey to eternity. 

PRAYER: Give us wisdom to recognize the things of real value and the strength to pursue them.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.