DayBreaks for 10/07/20 – Where God Walks

We just returned 10 days ago from a glorious trip through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. We visited three national parks: Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. While they are all spectacular in their own way, Glacier stands out in my mind.

I shot the first picture accompanying this article one day as we were driving to the top of Glacer on Going to the Sun Highway. It was glorious – the fog/low clouds in the valleys below and then a layer of sun and then scatter clouds higher up along the peaks.

As I looked at the scene, I couldn’t help but think that God must enjoy walking through that place. The majesty of the mountains is as close as I can come personally to imagining God’s magnificence!

Then the thought struck me that God must enjoy walking through places like Glacier more than Mud Fort Slum in India (the second picture in this article is one I shot in Mud Fort Slum a number of years back). I mean, who wouldn’t? He must be like me in that regard, I am tempted to think.  

But I was taken aback by what came to mind next. It was almost as if I could hear God saying, “Sure, I love the beauty of my mountains, but I love walking through the slum even more. You see, my mountains wear down and crumble away, but the people in the slums have eternal souls and they are made in my own image. Besides, I’m omnipresent – I’m in both places simultaneously. While you may choose to tune out the suffering in Mud Fort Slum, I never can and never will. People are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever created.”

I was stunned and humbled how little of the heart of God that dwells within me. I’d far rather be in Glacier than one of the world’s slums. But there’s no doubt in my heart where Jesus would be if he were walking the earth today.

Mud Fort Slum, by Galen C. Dalrymple, 2012. All rights reserved.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/15/20 – Not Even Close

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From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Do you get discouraged of fighting the same battles over and over and over? It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. I may have the best intentions in the world, but something comes up and my best intentions remain just that: intentions. I’m reminded of all the times my kids were little and I promised them I’d take them to the park to play on the playground equipment some evening after work – but by the time I got home I was just too tired. The day had pressed hard upon me and I couldn’t find the energy and my plan fell flat, along with the look of excitement and hope in my children’s eyes. It breaks my heart to even think about how I let them down – and how many times I disappointed them.

Sometimes it seems as if all the world is that way. Have you noticed? There are days when it seems that this world is on a greased sled destined straight for hell. And I guess, in a way, that is true. What became of God’s glorious plan to win the world to Himself in love? How could anyone resist the story of a love so great, and which was manifested so clearly? Yet clearly, sadly, it is true. The world is going to hell for the single reason that most reject God’s offer of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Has God’s plan failed? Did He make the cosmic mistake of all time by entrusting His plan into human hands? I mean, if He wanted to be sure the job got done right, why didn’t he give the job of evangelization to the archangel Michael? Surely, he could have persuaded more people to believe in God than sinful, deceitful, fallen man!!

I can’t tell you why God did it the way He did. I can’t answer the tough questions that people send me about God’s plan and seeming risky choices. You will have to ask those questions to God yourself – and be content with the fact that you may not get an answer until you get to ask Him in person. Has God failed?

I know that God, when He walked among mankind, wept in sympathy. He cried as He stood by the tomb of Lazarus. He cried in prayer – especially in the garden of Gethsemane. But when the canopy of the sky splits wide open and Jesus comes back, one thing will be certain: that God’s eternal plan – conceived before the foundation of the world – was never threatened, never put in jeopardy, never was it even close to being on the edge of defeat.

For all the times we look around us at the horror in the world and are tempted to wonder where God went to (is it any wonder that during the chaotic 60’s and 70’s that the “God is dead” movement started?), we will do well to remember that God hasn’t gone anywhere. He isn’t off fighting a last gasp battle in an effort to win the war. The war is done – over- caput. All that is left is the mopping up action.

Someday when you get up in the morning – it will be the last time you get up. It will be the last time you will ever sleep. It will be the last sunrise you ever see. Your plans for your life may not have worked out like you wanted them to. But God’s plans for your life – for your eternity – are doing just fine, thank you. Don’t worry – God isn’t about to be knocked out in the final round. No “Hail Mary” passes at the end of the 4th quarter of time will defeat Him. And because He will win you need to be sure that you are on His side if you want to share in His victory.

PRAYER: In this world of so much bitterness, hatred and confusion, I am so grateful that Your plan is being executed perfectly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/08/20 – The Christian’s Security

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DayBreaks for 7/08/20: The Christian’s Security

Security is a dancing phantom, much like the shadows of clouds that flit across the landscape. Yet we long for security in an insecure world. We fear for our health. We fear for our financial “security”. We seek secure investments. We lock our doors in an effort to ensure security. We fear hackers and stolen identities, so we pay for security systems to make our digital identities secure. We may arm ourselves to ward off a nightime intruder. We don’t walk alone at night in a dark place. We do all these things because of our fears in an effort to be secure.

Security in Jesus is not something that I was raised with. In many ways, I grew up in a hellfire and brimstone church that had one trembling with fear every time you had an evil thought or did something you shouldn’t. At those moments we were urged to smell the smoke of the pit that was licking at our feet and about to pull us downward forever.

I thank God that I’ve learned a bit more about security as a Christ-believer. Consider these things:

ONE: the Christian is united with Christ, seated with him (Ephesians 2:6);

TWO: we are hidden with him in God (Colossians 3:3);

THREE: we cannot be divided or separated from him by life or death or anything in existence (John 10:29, Romans 8:38-39).

What is the implication of those things? Simply put it is this: the Christian is as secure as Christ himself is secure!!!  And you just don’t get more secure than that. 

I love what Martin Luther said: World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have One who will give me a new one.

It is so much better to smell the rarified air of heaven than the smoke of the pit.

Believer: rest in Christ. You are as secure as he himself is!

PRAYER: We shout with joy for the security we have found in your, Lord God! Thank you for understanding our fears and our need to feel secure and for giving us the security we sought! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 2/21/20 – The Other Side, Part 2

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DayBreaks for 2/21/20: The Other Side – Part 2

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

In Mark 6, Jesus feeds the 5000 on the western, Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee.  They are in a remote place – no Burger King’s or McDonald’s in sight.  Not even stores with enough food to feed such a crowd are within miles and miles.  But the people don’t seem to mind – they’re listening to Jesus preach.  And he preaches all day.  At the end of the day, the disciples are moved with compassion on their Jewish friends and neighbors and they approach Jesus with the problem: what are we going to feed them?  Jesus, as you know, miraculously solves the problem.

Switch to Mark 8 and Jesus is back on “the other side” of the Sea of Galilee again – in pagan territory.  The last time he and his disciples had landed here, they had a welcoming committee of one: Legion.  But now it seems that the Man Formerly Known As Legion has been busy telling his story and a great crowd has gathered to welcome Jesus – to hear him and have their infirmities healed.  Jesus doesn’t disappoint them on either score.  He heals many, and he preaches.  And preach he does!  Day one and at the end of the day the crowd is still there – and the disciples say nothing.  Day two comes and goes and still the disciples have said nothing about the fact the crowd hasn’t been fed.  Day three is all that Jesus can bear – and at the end of the day, he tells the disciples (apparently seeing that they weren’t going to say or do anything about the crowd’s hunger) that he has compassion on them and wants them to feed the crowd. 

Do you see what happened here?  The disciples had plenty of compassion on those who were like them – on those who shared their religious and political positions, but not on the people from “the other side.”  Jesus, however, after watching his disciples fail this compassion test, shows them that he has compassion and that something must be done.  He’s setting the example for them for their eventual mission to the world – to take the gospel everywhere to every tribe, and people and language. 

But it moves me to wonder: who am I so prejudiced against that I don’t even feel compassion for them?  Who is the church so dead set against that we can’t be moved with mercy towards them?  Are we so judgmental that we condemn those with open, bleeding sores and diseases because we think they brought their problems on themselves with their wicked decisions?  Are we so blind that we can’t see this message in the contrasts of the feeding of the Jewish 5000 and the pagan 4000?  In the first case, 12 baskets of food were left over – the same number as the tribes of Israel.  Jesus was saying, “I’ve not forgotten my people.  I’ll take care of them and provide for them – in abundance.”  When he was done feeding the 4000, there were 7 baskets of food left over.  This wasn’t a co-incidence – it wasn’t 7 instead of 12 because Jesus had realized he’d overdone it the first time.  There were 7 baskets because there were 7 nation groups that lived in the Decapolis, in “the other side”…the very same nations that God had driven out of Palestine when Joshua took the land (Joshua 3:10; Acts 13:19).  What was Jesus saying with the leftover 7 baskets?  “I’ve not forgotten that these are my people, too.  I’ll take care of them and provide for them – in abundance.” 

On the cross, Jesus tore down all that separated “our side” from “the other side.”  They all now belong to Jesus, and it is time we started treating those on the “other side” as Jesus treated them!

PRAYER: Be merciful to us, Lord, and fill us with the heart of compassion that beat within your breast for all of mankind.  Forgive us our prejudices and our sinful tendency to think of our side and “our kind” as better than others!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/20/20 – The Other Side, Part 1

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DayBreaks for 2/20/20: The Other Side – Part 1

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

After preaching in Galilee, Jesus told his disciples he wanted them all to go to the “other side”.  We read that as simply referring to the other side of the lake, and at one level, that is true.  But it was also a technical term that describes the area of the Decapolis – a heathen, pagan, non-God honoring region populated by the 7 tribes that God had driven out of Israel when the Hebrews took the Promised Land.  It would be like saying, “I’m going over to the Dark Side” in Star Wars terminology – to a place where evil and pride and badness rules, led by Darth Vader and the evil Emperor.  The disciples knew well what it meant. 

As they cross the lake, a storm comes up – a bad one.  What made it worse for the disciples is that the people of the Decapolis worshipped a pagan god that they believed ruled over the weather and the sea.  It’s a bad omen – to those who believe in such things.  Jesus, however, is fast asleep.  When awakened, he calms the storm and they land near Bethsaida in the Decapolis.  Their greeting party is huge, consisting of one man and an entire legion of demons that possess him.  Other than that, they were apparently alone. 

This poor man had been cast out by his people because of his possession.  Jesus heals the man and sends the evil spirits into a swine of 2000 pigs who commit mass suicide by running over a cliff into the water.  (By the say, the pig was part of their pagan worship, too!)  When the townsfolk hear about these going’s on, they ask Jesus and his disciples to get back in the boat they came in on and go back to the “other side” (isn’t it interesting how both sides think the “other side” is whatever side they’re not on?)  When Jesus humbly turns to get back into the boat, the Man Formerly Known As Legion begs to follow Jesus as his disciple.  To my knowledge, this is the only time in Scripture where Jesus tells someone, “No.”  Always, it’s been Jesus extending the invitation: “Come!  Follow me!”, but not now.  Though the man begs, Jesus stands steadfast: No.  You must go tell your story to your people.  Go. 

A couple of chapters later (Mark 8), Jesus returns again with his disciples to “the other side.”  Only this time, a great crowd is present.  Why?  Apparently because one man, formerly possessed, went and told his people what Jesus had done for him and what mercy he had received from the Christ.  All because, it appears, of one man telling his story. 

Couldn’t Jesus have been more effective if he’d stayed and preached after casting Legion out?  I don’t know.  All I know is that Jesus, filled with Divine wisdom, knew it wasn’t the best way.  The people of the Decapolis wouldn’t have been ready to hear Jesus if not for the story of Legion.  They knew this man and even though they’d thrust him out of their communities – he was still “one of us” to these Decapolis dwellers.  He didn’t make them suspicious.  Jesus and his disciples may have had the opposite result.

So, we see the power of telling the story of what Jesus has done for us and of the mercy we found at his outstretched hand. 

Who is on “the other side” from you?  Who is it that you alone, of all God’s many peoples, may be able to reach for Jesus? 

Wouldn’t it be great if when Jesus arrives on the shores of Planet Earth this next time he is greeted by you and by a great crowd to whom you’ve told your story and they’ve become his followers, too?

PRAYER: Help us to not think in terms of “our side” or the “other side”, but to focus on telling the story of the love of Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/18/20 – Finding Family

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DayBreaks for 2/18/20: Finding Family

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/27/20 – The Truly Great Emancipator

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DayBreaks for 1/27/20: The Truly Great Emancipator

There is a story, true or not, about Abraham Lincoln and a time he went to a slave market. There he noticed a lovely, young African American woman being auctioned to the highest bidder. He bid on her and won. He could see the fiery anger in the young woman’s eyes and could imagine what she was thinking. Another white man who will buy me, use me, and then discard me.

As Lincoln walked off with is “property”, he turned to the woman and said, “You’re free.”

“Yeah. What does that mean?” she replied.

“It means that you’re free.”

“Does that mean I can say whatever I want to say?”

“Yes,” replied Lincoln, smiling, “it means you can say whatever you want to say.”

“Does it mean,” she asked incredulously, “that I can be whatever I want to be?”

“Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”

“Does it mean,” the young woman said hesitantly, “that I can go wherever I want to go?”

“Yes, it means you are free and can go wherever you want to go.”

“Then,” said the young woman with tears welling up in her eyes, “I think I shall go with you.”

This is a story of what God has done for us – and what the Christian faith is all about. We’ve been bought with a price. We have a new master, one who, once he paid the price, set us free. Who wouldn’t want to go with such a master?

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, that when you set us free, we are free indeed forevermore!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/16/20 – Can’t Touch This

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DayBreaks for 1/16/20: Can’t Touch This

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Chrysostom, the ancient Church Father, was a beautiful example of true Christian courage. When he stood before the Roman Emperor, he was threatened with banishment if he still remained a Christian. Chrysostom replied, “You cannot, for the world is my Father’s house; you cannot banish me.”

“But I will slay you,” said the Emperor.

“No, but you cannot,” said the noble champion of the faith again, “for my life is hid with Christ in God.”

“I will take away thy treasures.” “No, but you cannot,” was the retort; “in the first place, I have nothing you know anything about. My treasure is in heaven, and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive you away from man, and you shall have no friend left.” “No, and that you cannot,” once more said the faithful witness, “for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you shall not separate me. I defy you; there is nothing you can do to hurt me.”

How does an ordinary human get such courage?  It surely doesn’t come from our human nature.  It comes from the Spirit of boldness that we have as part of the indwelling of the Spirit…the very Spirit that was in Christ Jesus.  There has never been a braver, more courageous and fearless man than Jesus. 

What we have is secured, not by the power of Rome or the United States, it is not kept by a refrigerator or a preservative additive, it is kept by the power of the Almighty God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – ESV, 1 Peter 1:3-5

PRAYER: Give us courage to live in the power of Your Spirit and to be fearless like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 12/06/19 – Which One is Crazy?

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DayBreaks for 12/06/19: Which One is Crazy?

There are plenty of people in this world who think that Christians are a bunch of crazies who should be put into a looney bin.  I can understand that point of view, actually.  There is plenty in the Good Book that seems crazy when you stop to think about it.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t true – in fact, it is actually an indicator of the truth of the story.  No one would have made up these kind of crazy things: people past childbearing holding their toddlers on their knees, a big boat that saved the human race, young boys felling giants with one projectile, people receiving sight, a virgin birth, the dead being raised.  It’s pretty wild stuff, and I for one can totally understand how unbelievers think we may be nice people by and large, but that we’re not playing with a full deck.

Surprisingly, some Christians think other Christians are crazy, too.  This is usually a label that one believer gives to another when the recipient of the label takes the Word at face value and tries with all their power to live out what they believe to be true.  One might call it fanaticism, another craziness.  Either way, it’s sad that we should ever think someone is crazy for trying to live out the Word as they feel led to do by the Spirit.

In Crazy Love, Francis Chan describes the dilemma when talking about how his family, led by their convictions, moved into a house half the size of their previous home so that they would have more money to give to the Lord’s work and more time as well.  The cynics said he was crazy.  Francis’ response to them was: “…in the context of eternity…am I the crazy one for selling my house?  Or are you for not giving more, serving more, being with your Creator more?  If one person ‘wastes’ away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one?  If one person invests her or his resources in the poor – which according to Matthew 25, is giving to Jesus Himself – and the other extravagantly remodels a temporary dwelling that will not last beyond his few years left on this earth, who is the crazy one?

When people gladly sacrifice their time or comfort or home, it is obvious that they trust in the promises of God.  Why is it that the story of someone who has actually done what Jesus commands resonates deeply with us, but we then assume we could never do anything so radical or intense?  Or why do we call it radical when, to Jesus, it is simply the way it is?  The way it should be?

“Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo.  A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don’t always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth.  As Martin Luther put it, ‘There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day.”  (Lk. 14:25-35; Mt. 7:13-23, 8:18-22; Rev. 3:1-6)

How crazy are you?

PRAYER: Lord, give us the faith to do crazy things in the eyes of the world, but which are truly reflections of trust in Your promises.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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