DayBreaks for 1/22/20 – Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

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DayBreaks for 1/22/20: Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Here’s another of Newsweek’s lists that was compiled around the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010:

The Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade (1999-2009) – counting down from number 10 to 1, 1 being the most overblown:

  1. Globalization
  2. Anthrax
  3. Teen Oral Sex Epidemic
  4. Web Predators
  5. SARS, Mad Cow, Bird Flu
  6. Bloggers
  7. Immigrants
  8. Vaccines Causing Autism
  9. Shoe Bombs
  10. Y2K

I would have to agree that most of these fears are overblown and were inflated by the media in the worship of sensationalism.  Some of the fears were real fears, even though there wasn’t much of a basis for them, such as Y2K.  I worked in the computer world in 1999-2000 and remember the fears that all our computer systems that provided data and products for our customers might go “belly up.”  Pish-posh.  Didn’t happen – but that was partly due to all the advance warning we had and the hard work of a truly dedicated staff of developers led by one of my best friends. 

I thought #2 was interesting: shoe bombs.  Richard Reid was the cause of that fear – you remember him.  Little did Newsweek know when they put the list together that we’d have another “bomber” attempt lighting his underwear on fire at Christmas time.  Maybe that wasn’t such an overblown fear after all.

What should we fear?  Scripture advises us to be anxious (fearful) about nothing (Phil. 4:6; Lk. 12:22), that we should “Fear not!”.  But there is one exception: we are told to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13) and to “Fear Him who, after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Lk. 12:5)

Other than that, we’ve nothing to worry about and no need to worry about any of the items on Newsweek’s list or any other list!

PRAYER: May we fear You alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/21/20 – Top 10 Indispensible Things Since 1999

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DayBreaks for 1/21/20: Top 10 Indispensible Things Since 1999

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

It’s been an interesting decade from 1999-2009, hasn’t it?  So much has happened in that short 10 years.  So many fears exist now that we’d never acknowledged before.  We’ve seen the birth of worldwide terrorism at a scale we’d never thought existed in the human heart.  We’ve had numerous epidemics (bird flu, swine flu, etc.).  We’ve witnessed devastation caused by nature on horrific scales: Katrina/Rita, the Asian tsunami, Haitian earthquake and so on.  We’ve witnessed masses of people dying in wars, global economic meltdowns.  It’s been quite a decade and it makes one wonder what the next 10 years might hold.

This is from Newsweek, who compiled several interesting lists toward the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, and it was the “Top 10 Indispensible Things Since 1999”.  Check it out:

  1. WikiPedia
  2. YouTube
  3. iTunes
  4. DVR
  5. Gardasil
  6. Chipotle
  7. TMZ
  8. Red Bull
  9. Free Credit Reports
  10. Online Airline Check-in

All I can say is: WHAT?!?!?!?!?!  As I look at the list, I don’t need a single one of those things.  Not one of them would be on my “I can’t live without this” list – and isn’t that the definition of “indispensible”?  I mean, water and air are indispensible.  Sunlight is indispensible.  So’s sleep.  But there are even more important and indispensible things.

If those are the most indispensible things since 1999, we’re in sorry, sorry shape.  Where is God?  Where is love?  Where is social decency?  Where is integrity? Where is faith?  Where is mercy?  Where is grace?  Where is the family?  Where is the church?  Where is forgiveness?  Where’s the Word of God?  Where’s hope?

Those things have always been the most indispensible.  That will never change, no matter what decade it is.

PRAYER: Keep us from thinking that foolish things are indispensible and keep us from happiness and contentment if we have them so that we’ll look for what is truly indispensible to the human soul!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/17/20 – The Great Depression

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DayBreaks for 1/17/20: The Great Depression

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

There’s a movie out that you really should see if you haven’t already.  It’s James Cameron’s Avatar.  If you can, you REALLY should see it in 3D (there’s both a 3D version of it and a 2D version.)  I can virtually guarantee you that you’ve never seen anything like it in terms of movie-making.  It is literally breath-taking in scope, achievement and visual effects.  You feel as if you are in the jungle on Pandora (the name of their planet). 

It is a movie that also, if one has an eye for it, packs lots of messages and evokes many responses.  Here’s one that I don’t think anyone really anticipated: 

From the Huffington Post, Tuesday, January 12, 2010: Avatar-Induced Depression

“The beautiful alien planet Pandora depicted in James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ is so captivating that some audience members are becoming depressed and even suicidal when they fail to find meaning in real life after the film is over.

“Writes Jo Piazza for CNN: On the fan forum site “Avatar Forums,” a topic thread entitled “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,” has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie.

“Here are just a few of the ways people are coping on Avatar Forums:

“I just watched avatar a few weeks ago and I’m feeling depressed and sad. It’s like I want to reach out and be in Pandora. I’d do anything to be in Pandora. I’ve tried so hard to dream about me being on Pandora but it hasn’t worked.”
“Ever since I went to see ‘Avatar’ I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it. I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in ‘Avatar.'”
“Because, at this point, there isn’t pretty much anything else that can be done. Until the release of DVD/BluRay. But even that won’t take away all of the depression. Because you know you can never actually go to Pandora, as it exists only in our imagination… sigh… :(“

“Whether or not these posts are for real there is reason to believe the affliction is rooted in legitimate despair.”

Let me say first, that those I know who have gone to see the movie have not had these kinds of reactions.  Why?  Because the people I’ve talked to about the movie are Christians…and perhaps, just perhaps, we aren’t “depressed and sad” because we understand what the longing is that these folks are experiencing because we’ve found the answer: Jesus. 

As awesome as the world of Pandora is in the movie, it can’t hold a candle to heaven.  As Paul said (he and John are the only humans who’ve ever seen it as far as I know for sure!), it isn’t possible (nor permissible) to discuss what it is like.  I was driving to a meeting early one morning recently as the sun was rising over the eastern hills of the Alexander Valley where we live, and I was captivated by the beauty of that sunrise.  I started talking with God about what heaven would be like.  Are there colors there?  Revelation describes things with color…so there must be.  But are they the same colors?  Will they be different, vastly richer and more beautiful?  I have to believe so.  I can’t believe anything about heaven would be nearly as dull as things on this earth.

As the sun rose, I thought about God’s glory.  He can’t help but be glorious.  It’s not like he wakes up each morning thinking, “I think I’ll be glorious today.”  He can’t help it.  Wherever He goes, His glory arrives before Him like the rays of the sun arrive before the sun is fully up.  And His glory follows after Him as the rays of the sun still light the sky once the sun has set.  As that sunrise came, I realized that the glory of heaven will far outshine anything we can dream of, hope for, long for.  And we don’t need to despair, because our inheritance is being kept for us by God Himself.  Who do you think will be able to take it away from Him?  No one!

Don’t despair.  There’s a place far better than Pandora.  It’s called heaven.

PRAYER: Let Your glory shine on us and led us unto a life lived in the glory of Your eternal day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/07/20 – Fear and Control Freaks

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DayBreaks for 1/07/20: Fear and Control Freaks

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Of all the human emotions, perhaps fear is the one that I really dislike experiencing.  OK, I’ll admit, I was raised in the age of the Marlboro man – someone who was always in control of the world around him, master of fearlessness, brave, courageous and bold.  Fear is for wimps, I thought. 

Life has a way of changing how we feel about things.  When we were young, we weren’t smart enough to be afraid…really afraid.  Oh, sure, we might have been afraid of flunking a chemistry test or of being turned down if we asked a girl out on a date (or even more embarrassing, being turned down if you tried to kiss her goodnight on the doorstep!)  But those are hardly earth-shattering things to be afraid of.

As we age, the things we fear change, too.  We start to fear for the one we love – of something bad happening to them.  That’s partly because we genuinely don’t want anything to happen to them – but underlying all that is fear for ourselves – how we would feel, how we would cope, about the overwhelming powerlessness of the situation.  And then we fear for our children.  The first time they cough we fear they’ve contracted dengue fever or something like bubonic plague rather than a common cold.  They start to drive and we fear, perhaps really fear for the first time, for their very lives.  We can’t bear the thought of what it would be like without them, of the grief that would rend our hearts.

Max Lucado, in Fearless, considered fear and had this to say: “[Fear] turns us into control freaks … [for] … fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.

“The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.

Martin Niemöller documents an extreme example of this. He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler. When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemöller stood at the back of the room and listened. Later, when his wife asked him what he’d learned, he said, “I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man.” Fear releases the tyrant within.”

The New Year is young, but by the time you read this, you’ll hear more about terrorist bombings and possible wars, down days on the stock market, depressing economic news, you may be fearful of the direction the country is or isn’t heading.  You may be afraid of a pink slip at work, or a divorce filing at home.  Fear is a terrible master.  Don’t let it master you and let loose the tyrant hiding inside your heart.

PRAYER: We so desperately need to learn to rest in Your goodness and care for us and not to be afraid, Lord.  Give us peace in a world full of fear and fear-mongering!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/19/19 – The National Rush to Therapy

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DayBreaks for 11/19/19: The National Rush to Therapy

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

Ft. Hood, Texas.  Sadly, that name is now in the archives along with Columbine, Lockerbie, Auschwitz (though this was a much larger scale) and others.  It is a name that will “live in infamy” to borrow a phrase from Franklin D. Roosevelt.  On a beautiful fall day, blood was spilled mixing its color with the leaves.  Thirteen died (as of this writing) and many more were wounded.  It was a tragedy that should not have happened – just as Cain should not have slain Abel, David should not have had Uriah killed, and Saul should not have killed Stephen.  Yet human tragedy seems to be the legacy of the human race.

On November 9, 2009, David Brooks, writing in the New York Times in an article titled “A Rush to Therapy”, analyzed the events and news coverage in the aftermath of Ft. Hood.  I have no interest in sitting in judgment on Maj. Hasan – I am more than willing to leave the judging to God as He alone is qualified to sit in judgment.  I don’t have that right, but He does.  What was interesting about this article was Brooks’ focus on how people have tried to explain away the man’s behavior.  He was stressed out from hearing about others stresses (secondary stress syndrome – we even have a name for it).  As a pastor, I can understand that – I’ve been there before and most assuredly will be again.  Others suggested that he acted out of a fear of going to Afghanistan into a war zone (then why did he create one of his own?)  Others said it was “pre-traumatic stress syndrome” – anticipation of the events of the foreseeable future that cause him to snap like a dry twig (yet couldn’t we blame everything on such a “syndrome” if we want to?) 

I want to be fair and honest about this, so I now tread carefully.  I don’t know what was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” but it seems to me that all the efforts to explain it away, to reassure us as to why it happened, have missed a very crucial point: the existence of evil.  Major Hasan was not different from anyone you meet on the street.  Everyone has struggles and they’re happy to tell you about them if you’ll stop long enough to listen.  Everyone has things they dread in the future (aging, loss of income, health issues, fear of death or abandonment, fear of conflict.)  But not everyone responds as Major Hasan did.  He chose to act evilly.  Why did he kill and wound so many?  Because of evil in the heart.  So it has always been – and so it will always be until we let God create new hearts within us. 

On the same day as Brooks’ article came out, it was announced that the Beltway Sniper (John Allen Mohammad) would not receive clemency and would be executed that same evening at 9:00 p.m..  Something inside of me “cheered” at that news.  After all, I wanted to see “justice” done to this man who held much of the eastern seaboard hostage to a murderous terror spree some years back.  What beat in his heart?  Evil.  I recall people trying to excuse his behavior, too.  I have no doubt that he suffered disappointments, possibly abuse.  Yet that didn’t make him a murderer.  It was his choice about how to respond to those things that made him a murderer.  He could have chosen to go another way – to become a counselor or social worker who helps people who have experienced the things he did, but that wasn’t what he chose.  He chose to act evilly.

But then God puts a check in my heart.  “How have you responded to evil, Galen?”  Well, Lord, there have certainly been times when I talked about someone who hurt me behind their back.  I’ve thought thoughts about them that should never be thought – let alone spoken.  I may have intentionally wronged someone or acted in an evil manner.  But those, too, were choices.  And where do they come from?  From the same heart that drove Hasan or the Beltway Sniper to do what they did.  Perhaps my actions weren’t as evil in the eyes of society, but they are still evil. 

Enough of the evil.  Enough of denying its existence in the hearts of others – and in our own hearts.  Let us all pray that God creates that new heart within us that David pled for when he recognized his own need: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and renew a right spirit within me.  (Ps. 51:10) 

PRAYER: Create in us clean hearts, Father and a spirit that is fashioned after Your Own.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/14/19 – It Is Here

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DayBreaks for 11/14/19: It Is Here

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you. – John 16:1-4 (NIV)

Jesus often couched his messages and teaching in riddles or parables that were designed to be understood only by those who had open hearts and eyes.  In what is surely a sad commentary on human nature, not even those who were the closest to Him often grasped what He meant.  But in this passage from John 16, Jesus spoke in point blank terms.  There was no mistaking His message to those who followed Him: “…a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” 

We have lived in religious freedom in the United States of America for about 235 years.  What a blessing!  I fear that we’ve come to a point in our country where we no longer experience much religious freedom.  Of course, I’m speaking in relative terms – we have far greater religious freedom than in China where churches are forced underground, or in Muslim countries or even in countries where Buddhism or Hinduism are practices.  In such countries, lives are sacrificed – literally – on the altar of obedience to God every day.  We aren’t there yet in the United States.  I hope we never will be – but such hoping on my part may just be wishful thinking for myself and those I love.  It may be best for the kingdom of God if such persecution were to come to this land. 

Seldom does persecution arrive “full blown.”  There are usually steps and phases – the proverbial slippery slope – where small things are first lost.  Then, if no one notices or raises an alarm, the next step is taken…and the next…and the next, until finally one wakes up to find the persecutor knocking on the door.  Think it isn’t happening here?  Consider this excerpt from “Cross and Culture”, an evangelical blog written by my youngest son, Tim: “Bill McGurn has an excellent article on two “Christian Girls, Interrupted.”  The first girl, Amanda Kurowski, was ordered by a judge to attend public school because, essentially, the judge determined that the girl should be exposed to ways of thinking other than those of her religious parents.  Amanda’s parents are divorced; her mother has primary custody, but her father has been concerned about the effect of home-schooling on her “socialization.” 

“The judge determined “that Amanda is generally likeable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”  Yet due to her “rigidity on faith,” the court concludes that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”  In other words, the judge determines, essentially, that she must be sent to public school in order to get away from her mother’s narrow religiosity and be exposed to other worldviews.  Pretty extraordinary stuff.  As McGurn writes, “Just how extraordinary [this line of reasoning is] might best be appreciated by contemplating the opposite scenario: the reaction that would ensue were a court to order a young girl out of a public school and into an evangelical one so she might gain “exposure” to other “systems of belief.”

Religious freedom still exists in America – provided you aren’t a vocal Christian of the evangelical stripe.  Are you ready for the knock on the door?  Will your faith stand the test – or has it already been compromised? 

PRAYER: Lord, we pray for renewal and repentance in our country that we might return to You!  We pray that we would love our enemies, regardless of what they might do to us, that Your kingdom may grow.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/11/19 – Folly

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DayBreaks for 9/11/19: Folly

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

From www.evangelicalgateway.wordpress.com blog, dated 9/9/09 by Tim Dalrymple:

Bill McGurn (from the Wall Street Journal Opinion Post) has an excellent article on two “Christian Girls, Interrupted.”  The first girl, Amanda Kurowski, was ordered by a judge to attend public school because, essentially, the judge determined that the girl should be exposed to ways of thinking other than those of her religious parents.  Amanda’s parents are divorced; her mother has primary custody, but her father has been concerned about the effect of home-schooling on her “socialization.”  The judge, considering the concerns of the father, proceeded to determine “that Amanda is generally likeable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”  (GCD: In other words, she’s socializing just fine, thank you.)  Yet due to her mother’s “rigidity on faith,” the court concludes that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”  In other words, the judge determines, essentially, that she must be sent to public school in order to get away from her mother’s narrow religiosity and be exposed to other worldviews.  Pretty extraordinary stuff.  As McGurn writes, “Just how extraordinary [this line of reasoning is] might best be appreciated by contemplating the opposite scenario: the reaction that would ensue were a court to order a young girl out of a public school and into an evangelical one so she might gain “exposure” to other “systems of belief.”

Galen’s Thoughts: you know, I’m almost at a loss for words on this one.  In his article, Bill McGurn noted that the state motto in New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die”.  So much for that. 

If there was ever an argument to be made against judges who legislate from the bench, this one seems to be at the top of the list.  The judge, even though he decreed that the girl was socializing fine (meaning he should have thrown out the case on the grounds it wasn’t true) decided that in his judgment, she was being brainwashed by a mother who was Christian.  So now, the girl has been sent to public school where she will, undoubtedly, be presented with all sorts of godless and unchristian beliefs.  I am not advocating home school over public school – I’m deeply disturbed, however, at this attack on freedom of religion and the usurping of the parental authority in this case. 

Jesus said there would be times of persecution.  Most of us growing up, probably never thought we’d see it in our lifetime in America.  Wake up, Christians!  It’s on its way!!!!    

PRAYER: Father, we pray for Amanda that you would protect her fledgling faith and help her to stand upon the Rock.  Help us to understand the attacks that are coming against Christians throughout this country.  May we protect the innocent!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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