DayBreaks for 4/24/18 – They’ve Never Been There

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DayBreaks for 4/24/18: They’ve Never Been There   

The story is told of the explorer who some years ago had just returned to his country from the Amazon. The people at home were eager to learn all about the vast and mighty river and the country surrounding it. How he wondered, could he ever describe it to them – how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded into his heart when he saw the exotic flowers and heard the night sounds of the jungle. How could he communicate to them the smells the filled the air and the sense of danger and excitement that would come whenever he and his fellows explorers encountered strange animals or paddled through treacherous rapids?

So the explorer did what all good explorers do – he said to the people, “go and find out for yourselves what it is like”, and to help them he drew a map of the river pointing out the various features of its course and describing some of the dangers and some of the routes that could be used to avoid those dangers.

The people took the map and they framed and hung it on the wall of the local science museum so that everyone could look at it. Some made copies of it. After a period of time many of those who made copies for themselves considered themselves experts on the river – and indeed they knew its every turn and bend, they knew how broad it was and how deep, where the rapids where and where the falls. They knew the river and they instructed others in what it was like whenever those people indicated an interest in it.

I think that many people today are in the same situation. We know the scriptures but we do not understand them. And we do not understand them because we have not been there. We must not simply look at the scriptures and their meaning, we must go there. We must experience what it means to repent of our sins and allow God to forgive us. Would you this morning take the map down from the wall and go to the river with me. See what is there. Allow Christ to open your mind, to breathe his Holy Spirit upon you, and make you a disciple from the heart.

PRAYER: Let us drink deeply from the sweet well of your word and Spirit that we may know you from experience and not just from printed page! 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 3/09/18 – The Great and the Small

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DayBreaks for 3/09/18: The Great and the Small

NOTE: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive,  March 2008:

Rev. 20:12: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

I was talking with some new members in our church family and was really blessed by spending the time with them.  Godly men and women are so refreshing!  As it turns out, the wife is from British origin and still has a wonderful accent.  Being a “Brit”, she was deeply saddened by the death of Princess Diana.  In fact, they shared a story with me about the time that they were within about 10 feet of her while they were “on holiday” in England, and then the wife shared a story with me of a time when she went right up to the window of the Queen’s motorcar (how about that for another British term that I squeezed in here?!?!?) and snapped a picture of Her Royal Majesty.  Things like that wouldn’t happen in America – if you rushed the President’s motorcade to snap a picture, the Secret Service just might snap off a shot at you!

Nonetheless, we do tend to think in a special way about “nobility” or the powerful.  We really shouldn’t.  They are just men and women like the rest of us.  They eat, sleep, get sick, and if they are cut, they bleed just like us.  They even will die just like us.  And whatever special treatment they may have received here will stop at that moment in time when they pass from this world.  There is no reason to be envious of them.

General Robert E. Lee was a devout believer in Jesus Christ.  Not too long after the end of the Civil War, he was attending worship services at a church in Washington, D.C. and he knelt down next to a black man to pray.  After services were over, someone approached him and asked him, “General, how could you do that?  How could you pray next to a black man?”  The general replied, “All ground is level beneath the cross of Jesus.” 

On that great and final day when the kings, queens, princes, paupers and beggars are all gathered before the throne, degrees won’t matter nor will royal blood.  It won’t matter how many sales you made in this lifetime, how high you rose in the ranks of business or academia, how much money you had in the bank or how beautiful or handsome you were.  None of that will even be discussed.  You won’t be able to bribe God with your money, titles or with an autograph of your famous name.  On that day, the cross of Jesus will tower over everything else and your only hope will be to plead the blood of Jesus.  Princess Diana will be there and all the good things she may have done to benefit the starving or help children won’t mean a thing unless she knew Jesus as her Savior. 

Are you confusing success in one part of your life with spiritual success?  It is easy to do.  Just because you are successful in the physical realm doesn’t mean your spiritual life is great, too.  The ground will be level beneath his cross on the judgment day.

PRAYER: Remind us, Lord, that the small and great all must alike pass through death’s door and face judgment.  Help us to not confuse success in this world with faithfulness to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/15/18 – Salvaged and Beautiful

Art Gallery of Guelph

DayBreaks for 2/15/18: Salvaged and Beautiful

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

There is a river that runs through the city of Guelph, located in British Columbia, Canada.  As with many rivers that are near or pass through cities, over time refuse accumulates in the river.  Every year in Cloverdale, CA, is a day when local citizens and service groups go out to the Russian River and pull debris from the river banks and river bed.  The same happens in Guelph, but there’s a slight difference.  Here in Cloverdale, the refuse that’s pulled out winds up in a recycling center or a landfill.  In Guelph, I’m sure that some of the same thing happens, but they also put some of it to a very different usage: they invite sculptors in to gather up items pulled from the river and to form them into works of art that are then put on display.  Some of the items recovered are appliances, automobiles, bicycles and motorcycles, bottles, bed springs and frames, barrels and miscellaneous other discarded items.

It is amazing what beauty can come from trash.  Some of the art that is made is truly amazing and beautiful – and it’s all made from refuse. 

What is it that lets these things that were one person’s trash become the beautiful artwork and treasure of another person?  It’s the eyes of the artist that makes the difference.  While someone sees that old refrigerator as something to be destroyed or gotten rid of, the artist sees it as the torso of a statue or a spaceship, and with tender and patient skill, the trash is transformed into something beautiful.

The analogy to the Christian life is clear: we had been discarded by our previous owner (Satan), thrown into the muck and mire by our sinfulness and futility.  And then along came Jesus, trolling through the deepest, darkest recesses of this world until his eyes and hands found us.  He lifted us up from the mud, cleaned us off, and then proceeds to make something “beautiful of my life.”  It isn’t because we deserve it, or because we’ve even asked for it to start with.  It’s because he sees in us, through his Divine eyes, what we can be made into and he delights in the changing of us according to his will.

I know many people who are discouraged, despairing, afraid to look in the mirror for fear of the horror that they see when they look into their own souls.  Sadly, many of those people are believers who struggle to accept that God loves them and that He is already engaged in the process of turning them into a beautiful work of art fit to be found on the streets of heaven.  Maybe you’re one of those people, or today is one of the days when you feel like a piece of trash.  Just remember: God has salvaged you and is shaping you into a unique – and beautiful – work of His art that He will one day display in the halls of His very own home!

PRAYER: God, give us a glimpse of what you are doing with our broken lives and fill us with joy to be your reclamation projects that you are turning into your very own masterpieces!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/12/17 – A Kingdom of Power???

DayBreaks for 10/12/17: A Kingdom of Power?

Mark 9:1 (ESV) – And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

So, after you read the saying of Jesus in today’s verse, what do you think about the kingdom? Jesus said that there would be those present who heard his words first-hand who would not die until after the kingdom came with power.

Look around you. Does it seem to you that the kingdom has come with power? Does it seem to you that people are acting out and living according to kingdom principles and truth?

When you look at the death and destruction from recent hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, the Las Vegas massacre, the fires in northern California that are like hell itself has been released on earth…does it seem to you that the kingdom has come with power? It sure doesn’t seem so, does it?

But, if we come to that conclusion, we would have to say that Jesus was either mistaken and didn’t know what he was talking about, or he’s a liar. I’m not willing to take either of those positions.

So, how can we explain it? A couple of thoughts come to mind:

FIRST: given the inclination of the human heart to sin and depravity, how can the fact that we don’t all kill, steal, rape and otherwise do the most horrible things be explained? I think some of it is because of the influence of the Spirit at work in creation. All I really have to do is consider my own darkest impulses and the fact that I don’t give in to them somehow is a testimony to the power of the Spirit in my life (not that I’m bragging, I’m just saying that it is only because of the power of the Spirit unleashed in my own heart that I don’t do all those bad things) and I have to say there is some power at work. Imagine what you might do if not for the restraining power of faith and the Spirit at work in you.

SECOND: how many believers have there been since the founding of Christianity? The number must be in the billions, in fact, Google says that in 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with 2.2 billion adherents. How does that happen if not by immense power?!! Scripture is pretty clear that left to our own, we can’t even come to faith.

The kingdom has come with power: power to change individual hearts, power to lead 2.2+ billion to faith in our present age, power to restrain evil individually and culturally. Yes, there is still great evil in the world, but what would the world be like without the kingdom? I shudder to even contemplate the thought!

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the Spirit and the power that is working in the world and in my own heart. May the power of the kingdom grow and expand in me, in my loved ones, in your church and in this world for your immense glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/6/17 – We’ve Done Everything Else

DayBreaks for 1/06/17: We’ve Done Everything Else

There was a time when the people didn’t venture out onto the seas. There was a time when the idea of a person flying through the air like a bird was grounds for commitment to an insane asylum. And don’t even mention the notion of man escaping the bounds of earthly gravity to walk on the surface of another celestial body. Yet, all those things have come to pass.

There was even a time in Scripture when mankind decided to build a tower to reach heaven itself. And, apparently, they were making some pretty good progress because God stepped in and convoluted their language and plans to prevent it from happening.

It seems, doesn’t it, that there is no limit to what mankind can accomplish? Well, I’m sure there are limits, but that’s not the point here. I recently ran across this quote from William Sloan Coffin and it struck me to the heart:

We have learned to soar through the air like birds, to swim through the seas like fish, to soar through space like comets. Now it is high time we learned to walk the earth as the children of our God.

Let this be the year when we make that our highest objective and greatest resolution!

PRAYER: God, a year from now, I pray that we can all look back and see that we have walked this earth more like your children than we ever have before! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/05/17 – Doing Good in a Broken World

DayBreaks for 1/05/17: Doing Good in a Broken World

The late newspaper columnist Mike Royko once shared the other side of the Christmas Story in one of his columns. He told about a stranger who put $1,600 in gold coins in a Salvation Army kettle. The person placed the gift there quietly and anonymously. This is exactly the kind of story the print media is looking for to demonstrate the spirit of caring that Christmas brings about.

Unfortunately there was a follow up story. The local Salvation Army office began getting phone calls about the gold coins. The coins were stolen. The thief had dropped them in the kettle to get rid of them.

So then, Royko told another story about a man driving home from work on Christmas Eve who saw a young boy fall through the ice in a nearby lake. The man stopped his car, jumped out, tore off his jacket and crawled out onto the ice. He managed somehow to save the drowning boy. Happy ending, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately the man discovered that while he was risking his life saving the boy, somebody in the crowd of onlookers stole his jacket and the envelope containing his Christmas bonus.

Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. And even at Christmas, with the promise of peace and hope on our lips and in our hearts, that sinfulness is still present. That sinfulness was personified in the first Christmas story by Herod. “Go and search diligently for the child,” Herod said to the wise men. “And when you have found him, come and bring me word, that I may worship him, too.”

It doesn’t take much to get discouraged when you try to do good in a fallen world, does it? Your deeds seem to go unappreciated. Your sacrifices are taken for granted. The things that cost you so much in time and effort and perhaps money may not even be visible to others. And to top it off, people often take advantage of those with big, Christ-shaped hearts.

Does it matter? Sure, it matters. But we must not think that any of the good we do while living in a broken world isn’t worth doing – it is worth doing. And there is always Someone who notices and loves you for what good you are trying to do.

As we are encouraged, …let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. (Gal. 6:9, AMP)

Hang in there! Fight the fight for the good and let the end result and reward be up to God to determine.

PRAYER: We lose heart easily and we crave recognition for what good we do. Let us never forget we labor for You and on behalf of those You love! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.