DayBreaks for 10/01/20 – Rag Tags and Ne’er Do Wells

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You are undoubtedly aware of “Who’s Who” lists that tout exceptional people. We may look up to them, may envy them and see them as the movers and shakers who change the world. What a waste – at least in God’s economy! Consider those rag tags and ne’er do wells that God chooses:

The father of the Jewish nation was an inveterate liar who twice said his wife wasn’t his wife. He traded his integrity for his own skin without a thought to what it would mean for Sarah. Where was his faith? Does that sound like a man who “believed God’s promises”? Who chose him to change the world and eternity as the ancestor of the Messiah? God.

A man 80 years old who looked like he’d live his life as a prince but who is now an outlaw – a murderer, in fact. On the run, hiding in sheep pens in the desert. Who would think of asking a killer to carry the Ten Commandments? God.

A shepherd boy who is sitting on a throne let his lust get the best of him. He got a woman pregnant and killed her husband in an attempt to cover things up. And then he went about his everyday life as if nothing wrong has taken place. Who would dare to say he was a man after God’s own heart? God.

A reluctant prophet is giving his calling but runs the opposite way, gets swallowed up by a fish and barfed out in the surf. Who would think he would be a good candidate to preach repentance to the enemies of his people? God.

Jacob was a shifty as they come. Gomer was a prostitute. Sarah laughed at God. Jesus’ ancestors were adulteresses, prostitutes and a woman who took baths in all the wrong places. Who would include such people in the ancestral line of the Son of God? God.

And you know, when I come to think of it, we’ve all traded our integrity for safety, hidden things we’re ashamed of, failed to act in faith, let our lust take over when it should have been put down.

What’s the point here? It’s not about the horrible those people did and not even about the horrible things I’ve done, but it is that God uses regular, ordinary, everyday people to change the world. Not superheroes. Why? Because whatever we lack in terms of perfection or righteousness, God makes up for it with his love.

You may long for God to use you but you block him because of your past (or present). Don’t give up on God because he won’t give up on you! Let him use you to change the world one encounter at a time.

PRAYER: I am comforted, Lord, knowing that you can still use a sinner like me to do your work. For those who doubt that you can use them, give them reassurance that they can be used just as they are to change the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/21/20 – To Create or Not to Create

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Have you ever given serious thought to how you would describe the love of God to someone who has never, ever heard of the Christ?  How do you describe something so wonderful that it is virtually beyond belief?  There is a song, Indescribable, that talks about the wonder of this God that we adore and follow.  It is a great song and I love it.

The love of God, just like His power, is indescribable but an old Jewish legend does a pretty good job. It describes what happened when God created man. The legend says that God took into His confidence the Angels that stood about his throne and told them of His plan to create creatures in His likeness. The Angel of Justice said, ‘Create him not … for if you do he will commit all kinds of wickedness against his fellow man; he will be hard and cruel and dishonest and unrighteous.’ The Angel of Truth said, ‘Create him not … for he will be false and deceitful to his brother and even to Thee.’ The Angel of Holiness stood and said, ‘Create him not … he will follow that which is impure in your sight, and dishonor you to your face.’

Then stepped forward the Angel of Mercy, God’s most beloved angel, who said; ‘Create him, our Heavenly Father, for when he sins and turns from the path of right and truth and holiness I will take him tenderly by the hand, and speak loving words to him, and then lead him back to you.’

Of course this is just a legend…and the Jewish Rabbis either didn’t know, or believe, in the Messiah.  It was Jesus – the very Son of God and God of Gods – who extended the nail scarred hand to all who turn from the path of right and truth and holiness to lead us back to the Father. 

PRAYER: For the Son of Mercy, we shout ‘Halleljuah!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/17/20 – I Knew Who They Were

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Barbara Brown Taylor, in Christian Century, created a word picture of Jesus at a feast.  Sometimes we have a hard time identifying with Biblical stories because they occurred in a time and place that is quite remote and distant to us.  The cultures were different, customs were different.  And it makes it hard for us to really grasp the dynamics of what was taking place.  So, I appreciated this prose picture that forced me to see the story of Jesus at this feast in a new and more modern light:

“So if I were putting together a sinners table at the Huddle House, it might include an abortion doctor, a child molester, an arms dealer, a garbage collector, a young man with AIDS, a Laotian chicken plucker, a teenage crack addict, and an unmarried woman on welfare with five children by three different fathers. Did I miss anyone? Don’t forget to put Jesus at the head of the table, asking the young man to hand him a roll, please, and offering the doctor a second cup of coffee before she goes back to work.

“If that offends you even a little, then you are almost ready for what happens next. Because what happens next is that the local ministerial association comes into the restaurant and sits down at a large table across from the sinners. The religious authorities all have good teeth and there is no dirt under their fingernails. When their food comes, they hold hands to pray. They are all perfectly nice people, but they can hardly eat their hamburger steaks for staring at the strange crowd in the far booth.

“The chicken plucker is still wearing her white hair net, and the garbage collector smells like spoiled meat. The addict cannot seem to find his mouth with his spoon. But none of those is the heartbreaker. The heartbreaker is Jesus, sitting there as if everything were just fine. Doesn’t he know what kind of message he is sending? Who is going to believe he speaks for God if he does not keep better company than that? I saw them eating and I knew who they were.”

Galen’s Thoughts: the people at that table were you and I.  We are all like those who sat at the table with Jesus.  And like them, we need His mercy and grace just as much, if not more.  I can’t help but wonder at which table we would have chosen to sit – with Jesus and the outcasts, or with the local ministerial association across the room.

PRAYER: Help your word to come alive to us today so we can see ourselves in every page and learn what it is that you want us to become!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/15/20 – Two Natures

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Henri Nouwen told a parable about an old man who used to meditate each day be the Ganges River in India.

One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain. Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the mediator, “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save.”

This is, of course, a parable not so much about the nature of the scorpion, but the nature of the old man who was trying to save it.  And it is an apt reflection of our nature versus God’s nature.  To be quite honest, there isn’t a whole lot in our fleshly nature to commend us to anyone, let alone to God.  It is because of the awfulness of our fleshly nature that many despair of ever being recipients of God’s love and grace.   When we are focused on our own nature, we have plenty of good reason for despair.  Our focus, however, should not be on our nature nearly as much as God’s.  It is in God’s nature to save – because it is in God’s nature to love. God seeks the lost, heals the wounded, forgives the offender, and gives hope to those who are in despair, even though we have wounded Him again and again.

It is what God does. 

PRAYER: We love You, Lord, because You first loved us.  Help us to trust in Your goodness and loving nature!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/04/20 – How He Understood

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From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

I wonder what my last conscious thought in this world will be.  I would suppose that it might depend on what I’m doing when that happens.  I have some sense of what I hope they would be, but no one really knows in advance.

It is interesting and informative to look at the final statements of Christ from the cross.  He, of course, knew that he would rise from the dead, but we still get a glimpse into Jesus heart and mind as his final hours and minutes counted down.  Hebrews 2:16-18 says: We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.  We often read this passage and find consolation in it and the fact that it means Christ understands what it is like to be tested – and that is certainly part of the point the writer was trying to make.  But perhaps we see things the same way all the time and we miss out on other lessons.

In one of his final recorded statements from the cross, Jesus prayed a simple, yet profound prayer: Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.  I have always thought of that as a prayer for those who had been complicit in the arrest and faux trials, those who had beaten and spit upon him, those who had put the crown of thorns on his head and had stripped him and mocked him with a purple robe, of those who pounded the nails.  And yes, of you and I.

But how was it that Jesus came to know that we didn’t know what we were doing?  Could it have been by the fact that he became one of us, and had so perfectly identified and understood our limitations and shortcomings that he had “learned” that we have no clue about the things we do?  Perhaps his statement for they do not know what they are doing referred not only to what was happening in those few hours, but a description of human life in general.  If we really knew what we were doing when we give in to sin – we wouldn’t do it.  If we really knew how little things in this life matter, we would not have so many idols that we worship through our actions.  If we really know how what we do affects God – we wouldn’t do it.  But the point is that we don’t know, and to a degree, we can’t know it all.  And maybe that’s why Jesus pled for us in our ignorance.

PRAYER: We fool ourselves into thinking that we know what we are doing.  Help us learn how foolish and ignorant we are.  Thank You, Jesus, for praying for us and pleading our case before the all-knowing Father!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/22/20 – Why I’m Not Like Jesus

Let’s get one thing clear up front: I’m so far short of being like Jesus that it stings to contemplate. I also know this: I’ve got plenty of company, in fact, every other human on the face of the planet joins me in that condition.

The crucifixion of Jesus is described in Luke 23. Here was God made flesh, nailed naked to a tree, in excruciating agony of body and soul. All around him were looky-loos. That’s one thing, but there were many who “sneered” at him and “hurled” insults at him.

You know the pain of words. They can hit us like heavy stones, bruising and breaking us. They are meant to inflict damage to the body and psyche.

One must wonder what kind of people these were. We know some were the so-called religious leaders which would seem shocking if not for the fact the gospels have shown us their character already. One was a thief who was dying beside Jesus. But what troubles me is what Max Lucado pointed out in No Wonder They Call Him the Savior: they were jeering a dying man who was in agony. As Max wrote, who among us would jeer and hurl insults at a man sitting in the electric chair as he convulses in agony? We wouldn’t think of it – it is beyond the pale of human decency. Yet they did that to the Christ.

His response: Father, forgive… One might expect that he’d hurl taunts back: “Just you wait until after I rise from the dead!” or “I’ll get you back when I return in glory and you’ll fry for eternity!” But that’s not Jesus. That would be me. Even if I didn’t say it, I probably would have thought it.

As Max said: “Sometimes I wonder if we don’t see Christ’s love as much in the people he tolerated as in the pain he endured.” One of those he tolerated is me. Another one is you. Therein we see love.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for tolerating us and begging God to forgive us even though we hurt you over and over. Help us all to be more like you this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/14/20 – Crushing Snakes

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Genesis 3:15 (NIV) – And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Crushing and killing snakes is not something to take lightly. I detest rattlesnakes – always have – but it my hatred for them grew exponentially a number of years back when one bit both of our dogs the same morning. I killed that snake 1000 times in my anger. But this passage is certainly speaking of the work of Jesus and the ultimate retribution on Satan for the serpent’s work in the garden.

If you’re at all like me, you are ready to stand up and cheer vociferously when Jesus crushes Satan’s head. Can you imagine a new world without murder, greed, abuse, injustice and the like? Won’t that be wonderful!!!!

So, how will the head of the serpent be crushed? I think that there is a “now – but not yet” aspect to it. The ultimate demise of Satan is decreed and shall come to pass, but there’s a part of it that I believe happens now. Here’s what I mean:

Every time that a believer denies temptation and chooses obedience instead, it’s a tiny wound on the head of the serpent. Every time we do an act of kindness, right a wrong, choose justice and love over injustice and indifference, we inflict wounds on the head of the serpent. Certainly, as humans, we cannot crush the head of the serpent. But as Christ lives within the believer, whenever we choose God’s ways over Satan’s ways, we are participating in the crushing the head of the serpent.

Let’s go out today and crush a few snakes and look forward with excitement and anticipation to the day when the final blow will be inflicted by the One who was foretold long ago.

PRAYER: Lord, let us not be fearful of Satan, for you are far greater than he. Let us slay snakes today in your name and for your glory through our acts of obedience and love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Crushing Snakes, a song by Crowder featuring Taya.

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

DayBreaks for 6/26/20 – The Greatest Protest

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Strongest Protest

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed not only what kind of world we have, but also what kind of God we have: in a world of gross unfairness we have a God of sacrificial love.

The Father could have taken a different form of protest rather than the cruciform way.  He could have obliterated mankind in the blink of an eye.  He could have stopped the rain and plants from growing and watched while sinful humanity slowly, painfully, starved to death or died of thirst.  It is His world – He can do what He wants to with it.  But His love wouldn’t let Him do any of those things.  In many ways, there wasn’t much else He could have done and been the Being that John described when he said, “God is love.” 

PRAYER: We rejoice to have a God whose Name is Love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/17/20 – Tenacious Grace

Free Solo – Golden Age Cinema and Bar

DayBreaks for 6/17/20: Tenacious Grace

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

“It’s not fair.”  Wow…if I had a nickel for every time I heard (or offered) that excuse, I’d own North America. 

We have a sense that things should be fair.  We expect others to treat us fairly and we are upset when we feel we are being treated unfairly.  We generally try to be fair to others – hoping that someday, if the tables should ever be turned, that they’ll respond in kind to us.  I’m not real clear on the relationship between fairness and justice – but we want them, even if we can’t fully explain them. 

One of the knocks against God has always been that He’s not fair in how He treats people.  Let me admit right up front that I don’t understand all, or even most, and maybe very few – of God’s ways.  I certainly don’t understand His reasoning.  I don’t have to understand His reasons in order to believe He is a good God.  I just have to decide if I will trust that He, being good, MUST also be fair.  How could a God who isn’t fair be good?  (There may be a way, but as a human I can’t grasp it!) 

So I must conclude that God is fair in His dealings with everyone.  Isn’t that part of the rationale behind the statement about how He sends the rain on the just and unjust alike?  He deals even-handedly.  He provides opportunities for people to respond.  Some respond and choose the path of righteousness and others the pathway of evil. 
Still, a LOT of what God has done throughout history hasn’t seemed fair to people.  Why didn’t God denounce Jacob for his sneaky, conniving ways against his father and brother?  Why didn’t God cut off his relationship with David because of David’s horrendous activities?  Why did Jesus not make a big deal about the adulteress for her open disregard of the moral laws and then attack the Pharisees so viciously for the sin of lust?  Why did God let Peter bounce back after his denial of Christ in the courtyard when Judas wasn’t “called” back for forgiveness?  Why did God choose to use Saul/Paul after his persecution and murder of Christians in the zeal of the early years in his life?  Why? 

Why? The answer is because there is nothing in the entire universe that is as tenacious and determined as the grace of God. The Gospel of John tells us: God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)

Yeah, God could have done all those things to the people in the paragraph before last. If He did, it would have been just.  But would it have been fair?  Maybe.  But the point is this: He DIDN’T do those things because His interest isn’t in pointing out every little flaw and making sure that we pay for them…but rather to point to Jesus and say, “He’s paid for them so that I can be merciful and extend grace to YOU!” 

It’s not fair…but I’m grateful for it anyway.

PRAYER: Father God, for Your tenacious grace, we praise Your Name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/9/20 – There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

Unstoppable Love Easter 2015 – Freedom Hill Community Church

DayBreaks for 6/09/20: There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

When I was young, I recall a dilemma that fascinated me and it was primarily related to a physics problem: What would happen if an unstoppable force collided with an immovable object? To this day I don’t know, but I suppose the answer might be something like this: there is no such thing as an unstoppable force or an immovable object. With enough energy applied, anything is stoppable or immovable.

At least in the physical realm. If the Bible teaches us anything about God it is that His plan is unstoppable. It may seem to us mortals that it is being thwarted left and right but we surely can’t see the entire story or recognize all the force at work.

As I was walking the dog the other day, I had Crowder as my walking companion (via my Alexa-enabled headphones) and I was struck by a portion of the lyrics to the song Golgotha Hill (King of Love) that made realize that there is one unstoppable force in the universe and that is the love of God.

When you think about it, what is the intent of God’s plan? It is to be reunited with his very good creation in love and peace.

What if our own love were like that unstoppable love of God? There would be no child, spousal or elder abuse. There would be no divorce. There would be no war, no stealing, raping, racial injustice, no hearts crushed by infidelity and no families destroyed.

I wish it was as simple as saying, “God fill me with your unstoppable love!” I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is that easy for me. I do believe that the day will come when his love is all that remains and it will fill us, envelop us, and pour out of us. Until that day my prayer will be to know and experience more of his unstoppable love towards me so that I can love others even as he does.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (CSBBible) – Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:37-39 (YLT)but in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us; for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of god, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

PRAYER: Father, I would know and be possessed by your unstoppable love and I would have that love for others! Our world so desperately needs your unstoppable love right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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