DayBreaks for 8/19/19 – Who Signed Me Up for This?

Image result for frustrated child

DayBreaks for 08/19/19: Who Signed Me Up for This?

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

A woman named Linda is a teacher in Texas and she told the following story about one of her interactions with a first-grade student in her class on the first day of school.  “Accustomed to going home at noon in kindergarten, Ryan was getting his things ready to leave for home when he was actually supposed to be heading to lunch with the rest of the class.  I asked him what he was doing. “I’m going home,” he replied.  I tried to explain that now that he is in the first grade, he would have a longer school day. “You’ll go eat lunch now,” I said, “and then you’ll come back to the room and do some more work before you go home.” Ryan looked up at me in disbelief, hoping I was kidding.  Convinced of her seriousness, Ryan then put his hands on his hips and demanded, “Who on earth signed me up for this program?”

Haven’t you felt a little bit like Ryan at times?  We had a comfortable old life before coming to Christ.  By that I mean that we were on familiar ground, we didn’t feel very guilty because we may not have believed in such a thing as sin, we felt we were in control, and we may have even thought we were happy.  Then we became Christians and we find that life changed – not just in small, subtle ways, but in BIG ways.  The requirements are daunting—”Surely the Lord doesn’t expect me to forgive seventy times seven;” “Surely he doesn’t want me to turn the other cheek when someone hurts me;” “What does he mean, ‘take up my cross’?” “What’s this bit about I must be holy even as God is holy?  How can I possibly achieve that?!?!”

It isn’t long before you want to say, “Who on earth signed me up for this program?”  Stop and think about it.  In a way, no one signed you up.  In another way, your parents signed you up without your permission.  In order to get a proper perspective on this, though, I think we must reflect back on Ryan and his consternation for being signed up for a more rigorous schooling challenge.  Would it have really been to Ryan’s advantage to have remained in kindergarten the rest of his life, to have never gone on to higher demands and higher lessons learned?  Of course not. 

God could have said that when we came to Him, we could stay in kindergarten, as it were…and not have to grow or change or stop acting like little spoiled children.  Jesus never misled anyone about the cost of following him.  The cost is high: your own life put on your own cross.  Not literally (most likely) but your life is to be sacrificed to him.  Some may spend their entire Christian lives complaining to God about how hard the Walk is and how unfair it seems. 

Isn’t it about time we stopped complaining about what we signed up for and get on with living it out? 

PRAYER:  Lord, thank you that you have enrolled us in the school of the abundant life.  Help us not to complain about the lessons, but to accept them in faith knowing that they help us to grow into Your likeness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 8/07/19 – The Dangers of Flying Upside Down

Image result for flying upside down

DayBreaks for 08/07/19: The Dangers of Flying Upside Down

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

In The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard tells the story of a young jet fighter pilot who was practicing high-speed maneuvers in her fighter.  At the point where she was to make a steep ascent, she turned the controls in the direction she believed was correct – and flew straight into the ground.  She was unaware that she’d been flying upside down. 

This is not an isolated occurrence.  I’ve read of such things many times…there is apparently something about flying that can disorient the pilot to whether they are upside down or right side up.  It was even one of the explanations for what happened to JFK, Jr., when his private plane crashed.  When visibility is reduced or one is in a cloud bank or fog bank, pushing the control stick in the wrong direction can and often does have fatal results. 

Willard writes: “This is a parable of human existence in our times – not exactly that everyone is crashing, though there is enough of that – but most of us as individuals, and world society as a whole, live at high-speed, and often with no clue to whether we are flying upside down or right-side up.  Indeed, we are haunted by a strong suspicion that there may be no difference – or at least that it is unknown or irrelevant.”

What does Willard mean?  Since I’m just starting this book that I’ve heard so very much about, I am assuming a bit here, but I think he’s saying that we have lost our bearings – we have lost our sense of direction, of right and wrong…and we are moving so fast that we don’t even notice it until we push the stick one more time and crash and burn.  It can and does happen to individuals, but to cultures, too. 

How? With higher education for the past 50-100 years touting that there is no absolute truth, that truth is unknowable, and that truth is relative to the individual.  (Does it seem strange to you that they say truth is unknowable, yet it is knowable at least to the individual as their truth?  Seems strange to me!!!)  In short, there is no up or down, right or left.  We have no bearings upon which we can depend if this is true.  But those who say there is no moral, objective truth will quickly change their tune if you start stealing TV’s, cars, furniture, computers and the like out of their home, or if you take their child away to sell them into the human trafficking market.  Even those who don’t believe in absolutes agree that these things are wrong – so there must be absolutes!

Here’s the fear: until culture comes to see the flaw in their reasoning (and they will be loathe to do so for that insults their intellectual pride), we will continue to fly upside down as a culture.  The stick is being pushed…too many guesses are being ventured about what is right to do in any given circumstances without moral consideration…and the ground is looming closer and closer. 

PRAYER:  What a blessing it is, Lord, to know that this world is not our home!  Though we can’t begin to imagine how you will do it, we do believe that in time, you will set all things right again.  In the meantime, let us speak words of truth and lovingly challenge our culture that is so upside down.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/01/19 – So Much for Experts

Image result for experts

DayBreaks for 08/01/19: So Much for Experts

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

I love it when “experts” are shown to be wrong.  It happens a lot, you know.  It was delightful when fishermen off Japan pulled onto the deck of their boat a fish species that the so-called experts said had been extinct for millions of years.  How cool is that???!!!!  I hope I don’t make anyone mad with this next statement (and I hope I’m wrong about this!), but I feel a certain delight and smugness if the experts who have so much faith in the power of the dollar and economy who are predicting that the “recession” will be over within X months are proven to be wrong.  I don’t want people to suffer (though sometimes suffering is designed and put into place by God to teach us extremely valuable lessons in which case we should not seek to avoid it!), but I am just so sick and tired of experts spewing out one opinion after another – often on 180 degree opposite sides of the same question!  It drives me crazy!

I long ago concluded that I don’t know anything except that I don’t know very much.  And quite frankly, that’s how experts are, too.  In many cases, those who claim to be experts have no greater qualification than the ordinary Jane or Joe.  I believe that good old common sense is many times of far greater value than book learnin’. 

An interesting story from CNN: “For eight years, Jessica Terry, a teenager in Seattle, suffered from crippling stomach pain. When she wasn’t doubled over from the cramping, she was often laid low by vomiting, diarrhea, and a high fever. And for those eight years, no doctor could figure out what was wrong with her. So Jessica decided to solve the mystery herself—and she did just that while in her Advanced Placement high school science class at Eastside Catholic School. Though her pathologist had said her intestinal tissue looked normal, Jessica found that wasn’t the case. While looking under a microscope at slides of the same tissue, she discovered an area of inflammation, called a granuloma, which often indicates Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. When Jessica spotted the inflamed area, she called over her teacher, Ms. Welch, who had been teaching a Biomedical Problems class at Eastside for 17 years. Ms. Welch agreed that it looked like a clear sign of Crohn’s, so she emailed a picture of the tissue to Jessica’s pathologist. Just like that, the eight-year mystery was solved.”

This story shows that you don’t always need an expert to tell you what’s wrong.  The same is true with sin in our lives, too.  Your marriage just doesn’t seem right.  Have you looked hard in the mirror?  Your relationship with your co-workers is bitter and rancorous.  Have you listened to your own language?  Your attitude toward someone is far from kind and filled with anger.  Have you searched your own heart to determine the cause of your attitude? 

I think that more often than not, we know what’s wrong in our relationships – certainly we can know what’s wrong with ME.  Yet we often don’t take the time and spend the energy to ascertain the truth about ourselves because if we did, we would be faced with the need to change.  We are resistant to change, and we often feel that we may not be able to change – so we’d rather put all the blame on someone else and let them be not only the scapegoat but also the target for our outbursts. 

Take five minutes and take an honest, Holy-Spirit directed look into your heart.  What do you see?  Write it down.  Pick one of the things and determine that starting right away, you’ll seek the healing that the Great Physician can give.  He’s already given you the diagnosis and He wants to bring the healing.  Will you let Him?

PRAYER:  Remind us, Lord, of how futile our thinking is and that we know nothing except what you’ve told us in your word.  May we open our hearts to you and admit the truth about ourselves, accepting your diagnosis so we can receive your healing.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/30/19 – Vanished From Sight

Image result for vanished

DayBreaks for 07/30/19: Vanished from Sight

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

A recent story from the Associated Press told a fascinating story about hoarding which holds Christian implications.  “Jesus warned against piling up money on earth, because money comes and goes. A sad reminder of the vulnerability of money came with the June 2009 news story of an elderly woman in Israel who had hidden her life savings of one million dollars in her bed mattress. Every night she slept on one million in American dollars and Israeli shekels. She must have felt very secure with her fortune literally inches away, holding her up each night—especially since 2008 and 2009 had been disastrous years for banks and financial institutions as the world economy suffered its worst recession in decades. What’s more, she had had a bad experience with a bank and had lost trust in them. Whom could she trust? No one! In fact, she did not tell even her own daughter where all that fortune was hidden.”

And that was the wealthy woman’s big mistake. One day her daughter decided that the mother needed a new mattress. Who knows, maybe she sat on the bed, and it felt a bit lumpy—one of those ten thousand dollar lumps perhaps—and she thought, “What a cheap bed this is!” She decided to replace the mattress. She wanted to present the new mattress as a surprise gift, so the new mattress was delivered without her mother’s knowledge, and the old, lumpy mattress went into the garbage.

How pleased the daughter must have felt as she watched the delivery men put the new mattress in place and haul the old mattress out to the truck. Imagine the smile on her face when she brought her mother into the bedroom and presented her surprise gift. Somehow her elderly mother did not put two and two together right away. After a night of sleep on her new mattress, however, she woke up and suddenly realized what had happened to her life savings. She literally screamed.

A video news report of this story showed the daughter walking through a garbage dump hunting for the lost mattress. News reports showed workers combing through the trash as bulldozers moved piles of garbage attempting to uncover the lost treasure.

Truly there is no sure way to safeguard our worldly treasures – and they will all be taken from us at one point or another by life or death. 

PRAYER: Help us to truly believe that the only things in life that are worth pursuing are the eternal ones.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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

DayBreaks for 7/25/19 – The View from the Far Country

Image result for far view

DayBreaks for 07/25/19: The View from a Far Country

For nearly six decades I have lived far away from the land where I was born: Iowa. Most of my sojourn has been spent in California which is very, very different from the plains of the mid-west. Recently, however, we have moved to Illinois and were in Iowa for a few days and it made me think about the far country and home.

No matter how long one has been gone, there’s always something endearing about returning “home”. My parents are no longer there, nor any of my aunts and uncles. Some of my cousins remain, but they have scattered, too. Still, it was sweet for me to be “home” again for a while.

Several thoughts:

FIRST: there is a built-in peacefulness for most of us about “home”. It is where we can relax, be ourselves. It is familiar. The far distant country, while it may have its appeals, isn’t the same. We often pretend to be something or someone we aren’t to impress in the far country. At home we know and are known intimately – and loved and accepted.

SECOND: for most, home holds precious memories. My mind is full of images of growing up on the farm and the carefree years of early childhood spent there. I long for that kind of peace and delight once more. Some day I shall have it.

THIRD: we are all in a far country whether we know it or not. And we are all on a journey “home”. The longer we have been gone from home, the sweeter the sound of “Welcome home!” becomes. I will see the face of my Father and my father, mother and a sister I never met, as well as other relatives and beloved friends.

FOURTH: as long as I am in the far country, my Father still expects me to act like His child. I may-and do-fail often, but even more than my earthly father still loved me when I let him down, so much more does my heavenly Father, and His welcome will be the sweetest of them all.

PRAYER: Thank you for our homes, both in this world and the world to come. Help me act like your child no matter when I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

DayBreaks for 7/19/19 – If God Could Do That

Image result for amazing

DayBreaks for 07/19/19: If God Could Do That

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

What do you find amazing?  I find the speed of space flight amazing.  I find the power to hit a baseball 550 feet amazing.  I find the things people do because of love amazing.  I find some of the stupid things people do amazing.  There are lots of things that are amazing in the universe – the distances of space, the life at the bottom of the ocean.  We all like to be amazed whether by speed, power, size or the sleight of hand of a master magician.

I find it interesting that 31 times in the gospels, it describes how the people were amazed at the things that Jesus did or said.  Simply put: Jesus was amazing!  Many times their amazement was related to his miracles, and rightly so.  They should have been amazed!

But we live in a day and age that has an explanation for everything.  In this time of immediate communication and rapid travel, we seem to have lost the sense of amazement. 

I fear that perhaps we have lost our sense of amazement with God, too.  We need to try to put ourselves in the place of those standing around the blind man from John 9 – a man born blind.  We need to see him as his sight returns and he sees the world for the first time.  Put yourself in the place of the mourners surrounding the funeral bier of the son of the widow of Nain (Lk. 7:11-16).  Do you see the joy of the mother as her son sits up?  Can you hear her shriek of amazement and utter joy?  Can you see the faces of the people after they see the young man sit up and as they turn to look back at Jesus?  Can you see the crowd gathered at the tomb of Lazarus from John 11?  Can you see them shrink back when the smelly tomb is opened from fear of the stench and can you see them move forward again in amazement as they behold the wrapped form of Lazarus as he glides forward to the entry to the tomb?  Amazing!

Why does the bible tell us so many things that are amazing?  Because we need so desperately to know we have an amazing God.  You see, when your God can create by speaking, when He can command the water to become blood or the earth to open up and swallow the wicked, when He can heal the blind, the deaf and the dumb, and when He can give life to dead cells and dead bodies, we begin to say, “If God could do that…then He can deal with what I’m facing.”  “If God could heal the sick…He can heal my broken heart, body and soul.”  “If God could give sight to the blind…He can give me a vision for my life.”  “If God could give new life to the dead…He can give me a fresh start, too!”

The next time you are faced with a struggle or a situation that you can’t handle, remind yourself of the great stories of the bible and say to yourself “If God could do that, He can certainly handle this!”  Then give it to Him in faith…and get ready to be amazed!

PRAYER: You are amazing, great God!  By Your words you formed the world and the universe and all that is within it.  May your image be formed in us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/16/19 – Knowing and Unknowing

Related image

DayBreaks for 07/16/19: Knowing and Unknowing

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

I love the series of questions God asks Job at the end of that marvelous book!  I can’t do any better job of answering them than Job did, but I love the questions!  I have grown to love the mystery of God, and the revelation of Him at the same time.  Do I know God?  Yes.  Do I know God?  No.  Somehow, both answers are correct.  Can I explain God?  Yes – it is part of my job.  But can I really explain God?  No – it is part of my limited human nature that makes me unable to do so. 

We live in a world where people like to make us believe they are experts.  I have no doubt that some people are far more expert than me at many things…but when compared to what God knows about their subjects, are they really experts?  No!  We are all novices before the mystery that is He. 

But we like experts, don’t we?  After all, we tend to trust what they say and accept their advice if we’re wise.  When your doctor tells you that you need surgery, you do it because you trust her expert judgment versus your own.  When your financial advisor gives you advice, you tend to accept it because they’ve studied the markets and financial instruments for years.  Mechanics, lawyers, teachers, professors – all have credibility as experts because of what they have learned.  But all are novices before God Himself.

Jesus was the expert on God.  Jesus didn’t just spend 12 years in school studying God – He was God, He was in the beginning with God – for eternity past He studied God and was God.  If there ever was an expert on God, it was God Himself, made flesh and dwelling among us. 

There are many who doubt God’s existence.  There are even “experts” who say boldly that there is no God – and they are certain of it.  Perhaps Rabbi David Stern put it best when he said, “We must be careful not to blur the distinction between the indiscernible and the nonexistent.”  Just because you or someone you know can’t discern with the 5 senses that God exists (although I think you could argue that!), we mustn’t rush to conclude that He doesn’t exist. 

At best our knowing will retain much unknowing.  But I’m OK with that.  Because what I do know has made me confident of what God is like.  I can’t wait to get to heaven so that some of the unknowing is removed as eons of eternity roll slowly by!

PRAYER: There are so many things we want to know about You!  Help us not to lose sight of what Jesus has shown us as we search for more knowing!  May we live in peace with the Mystery that is You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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