DayBreaks for 12/05/18 – The God Who Does

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DayBreaks for 12/05/18: The God Who Does

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him? –  (Ps. 8:4, KJV)

David was neither the first, nor the last, who asked the question of God (my paraphrase here): “Why would you pay attention to us?  Why would you waste a precious moment of your time on creatures like us?”  All it takes for me to be lost in the wonder of David’s question is to lay on the deck at night gazing up into the seemingly inexhaustible reaches of space and I find it hard to believe that God even knows I exist.  Have you ever had the same feeling?  Sure, I know what his word says and I believe it – well, most of the time at any rate.  there are moments when it is hard to grasp.

There are those who, regardless of what the Bible says, believe that God takes no notice of us.  Some believe that because they’ve asked him for something and never heard from him in a way that they expected.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “Earth’s crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees takes off his shoes.”  There is wisdom in these words: for those who are tempted to think that God would not communicate with measly humans are not likely to hear from Him at all.  They are not able to hear His voice.  That shouldn’t surprise us: think about how often we fail to hear the voices of human who are speaking to us.  It may be a crowded room, or just that we’re distracted by something else at the moment.  Each of us is bombarded with radio and television signals 24 hours a day – those signals are passing through our physical bodies constantly, and yet we can’t even hear them at all.  A receiver that is properly tuned to those frequencies has no problem picking up those signals and “hearing” them at all. 

We are like those receivers, and God is like the “broadcaster.”  We are constantly being showered with His messages – and like the radio and TV waves, they pass through us unnoticed because we are not attuned properly to hear His voice.  We have been attuned to science to observe nature and think of molecules, chemicals, physical laws, and matter/energy, but not to pick up the signals of God’s voice that are being broadcast by nature 24 hours a day (“The heavens announce the glory of God” – Ps. 19).  Nor do we hear the special communication directed by God to each of us as individuals. 

As Dallas Willard put it in Hearing God, “Some of Jesus’ deepest teachings are about hearing.  He taught in parables so those who did not really want to hear the truth could avoid it.  He realized that not everyone has ears for the straightforward purpose of hearing but that some use their ears to sift out only what they want to hear, leaving the rest aside.  One of his most repeated sayings was, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”  But he also urged his hearers to make a great effort to hear, assuring them that what they received would be proportional to their desire and effort (Mk. 4:23-24).”

Yes, we are tiny specks in the universe.  Just as only those who see take off their shoes at the burning bush, only those who unplug their ears can hear, for God does communicate with His creation – even tiny specks of humanity in a vast universe.

PRAYER: Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts eager to obey.  Thank you for your Word to us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 11/30/18 – Doubting Worshipers

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DayBreaks for 11/30/18: Doubting Worshipers

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

I look forward to worship every Sunday morning.  I love music and we celebrate communion each Sunday.  I even usually manage to get something out of the message (in spite of the fact that I’m the one doing the preaching!)  I enjoy the fellowship before, during and afterwards, and the entire experience usually will draw me closer to God.

I must always guard and be aware of the fact that not everyone who is present is on the same page.  Goodness knows, there have been days when I’ve been in worship when I would have preferred to be somewhere else.  And I feel certain that the same can be said for people each and every Sunday.  Every Lord’s day when we gather, there are those who have had very trying and difficult experiences during the week.  There have been those who prayed asking for some boon from the Lord, only to get a “No”, or maybe no answer at all.  And that can be hard to take.  Others struggled in their relationships and may have had a fight with their spouse that very morning.  Been there, done that.

There’s an interesting scene in Matthew 28 where Jesus meets with his disciples after his resurrection.  The eleven (remember Judas is dead) show up on the mountain where Jesus will ascend, and as verse 17 says, When they say him, they worshipped him, but some doubted.  What a strange comment!  Have you wondered who it was that doubted?  It was apparently more than just one, for it says, “some doubted.”  Was it the majority or minority?  What was it that they doubted?  Were they still doubting the resurrection, even after several appearances?  Were they doubting His divinity?  Were they doubting that his flesh, as well as his spirit, had been raised?  How long did the doubting continue?  For an entire lifetime?  Did it ever fully end?  If so, when?  We simply do not know.  All we know, is that even though they were worshipping him, they still had doubt in their heart.

There is comfort to be found in that knowledge.  There have been times I’ve sat in worship and had my doubts – times when I’d been wrestling with God and what kind of God He really was.  At other times, I’ve doubted if He was there at all.  Thank goodness, I’ve got company – some of Jesus’ own immediate disciples! 

What does that tell us?  It tells us that Jesus accepts our worship – with our frequent doubts.  Jesus welcomed them, and their worship, even as their hearts and minds were filled with doubts!   When you are struggling with your faith, you might be tempted to think that you should stay away from worship because you’d feel like a hypocrite.  Don’t feel that way.  If Jesus accepted the worship of his followers on the mountaintop (knowing their hearts and minds), he will accept yours that comes from a heart of faith – even if there are doubts living side-by-side with your faith.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you that you understand our weak faith and our doubting hearts and that you still welcome us and our worship.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/01/18 – Wouldn’t It Be Great!?!?!

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DayBreaks for 11/01/18: Wouldn’t It Be Great?

Here in America, the Mega-Millions lottery hit something like $1.6 billion before someone hit the “jackpot”. Thousands of tickets were being sold per minute as the thought of striking it rich in the lottery reached epidemic proportions. Many were thinking to themselves, “Would it be great if I won the lottery?!?!?” We probably would think, “Yeah, that would be really great!”

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so great. Not everyone has the same idea of a great time. One person’s wish may be another’s nightmare. Take, for example, the story of three men who were sailing together in the Pacific Ocean. Their vessel was wrecked and they found themselves on an island. They had plenty of food, but their existence was in every way different from what their lives had been in the past. The men were walking by the seashore one day after they had been there for some months and found an ancient lantern. One man picked it up. As he began to rub it and clean it, a genie popped out and said, “Well, since you have been good enough to release me, I will give each of you one wish.”

The first man said, “Oh, that’s perfectly marvelous. I’m a cattleman from Wyoming and I wish I were back on my ranch.” Poof! He was back on his ranch.

The second man said, “Well, I’m a stockbroker from New York, and I wish that I were back in Manhattan.” Poof! He was back in Manhattan with his papers, his telephones, his clients and his computers.

The third fellow was somewhat more relaxed about life and actually had rather enjoyed life there on the island. He said, “Well, I am quite happy here. I just wish my two friends were back.” Poof! Poof! You see, everybody’s idea of a “great time” isn’t the same!

So is it true? Are you perhaps sitting around wishing, “Now wouldn’t it be great …if I won the lottery…if I had my dream house…if I was famous….” As Christians, the people of God, what if instead of wishing for money or fame or success or more “things,” we could just as earnestly wish with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength that we could love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves?

PRAYER: Our ideas of what would be great for us are ill-formed at best, Lord. Let us trust in your wisdom, but more than anything, let us yearn to know you and love you and our neighbors above all else! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/23/18 – So Alike Yet So Different

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DayBreaks for 10/23/18: So Alike Yet So Different

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

On 10/18 my wife and I flew back from Boston where we were visiting our youngest son (middle child) and his family – including our newest granddaughter, Sophia.  She was 3-1/2 weeks old when we got there and the amount she changed during the two weeks we were there is astonishing.  But, rest assured that during the entire time we were there she was the perfect addition to our family, and we now have another blessing from God to love and serve as grandparents.

While I was there, I couldn’t help but be struck by several things:

FIRST: It’s fascinating to see just a tiny bit of myself, my wife, our son and his wife, in the looks of Sophia.  Sure, she’ll change a lot as she grows and gets older, but she’s got her mother’s eyes and hair, our son’s (and grandmother’s) hairline, and arguably she has some aspects of my appearance, too (although most would argue she’s way to beautiful to have anything in common with her Pop-pop [that’s me]!)  As I thought about that, I thought about how in each of us there are glimpses of our Father.  Yes, they can be very hard to see and sometimes we may not be able to perceive them at all, but there is no way that we can avoid some of His characteristics.  They may only be seen when we’re at our very best (which still isn’t very good!), and it may be necessary to look long and deep to identify them, but they are there.  In the most distressed appearance you could imagine, Mother Theresa saw Jesus.  Who do you see?  Do you even try to see Jesus, or some semblance of the Father, in each person He’s created?  If we did, instead of just seeing things we don’t like, we might find this world a much more fascinating and beautiful place.  Some folks just need a bit of help to let those resemblances blossom and flourish.  Maybe we can help them.

SECOND: It’s easy to forget how tiny and small new babies are.  I was amazed at how tiny the little hands, fingers and toes were – how short the little arms are.  Compared to Sophia, I’m a huge monster.  She’s not a little baby – she was eight pounds something when she was born, and she’s been packin’ on the chub ever since – but she’s SO TINY!  And that made me think of how we must appear to God.  With a baby as small as Sophia is at present, it creates a desire inside of me to want to protect her, to hold her, to keep her safe from bumps, bruises and the hurts the world could inflict without even noticing.  As I looked at Sophia, I felt like a giant.  When God looks at us, He must be even more impressed with how tiny and fragile we are.  And yet, He picks us up and holds us ever so gently so as not to break us.  Anyone who can call a universe into existence simply through the power of a spoken word is so far beyond us in power and strength that we can’t begin for one second to wrap our little minds around His greatness and power.  And He’s put that power at our disposal so that when we are walking in harmony with Him, there’s no limit to what He can do through such tiny little babies as us.

THIRD: It’s easy to forget how helpless little babies are.  It’s not that Sophia doesn’t want to be able to feed and clothe herself.  I quite honestly don’t know if she does or not, but when she’s hungry and wants to eat and she can’t feed herself – she lets the world know.  But she just isn’t able to do that yet.  She is still trying to figure out what those things are that show up near her face every once in a while that have five little worm-like things on each one (her fists).  She can’t do a single thing for herself except cry.  Once again, God looks at us and sees people who are totally helpless, who are dependent on the Father for everything – whether they realize it or not.  Does Sophia know that she’s dependent on mom and dad?  No, she just knows when she needs changing or is hungry or when something hurts.  But the concept of dependence, I’m convinced, hasn’t yet developed in her mind.  Hopefully, someday she’ll come to recognize her dependence on the great and perfect Father.  The Father, meanwhile, sees us thrashing wildly around, helpless to do the things that must be done…and so He has undertaken to do those things for us.

Praise be to God, the Father of us all!

PRAYER: Your gentleness is overwhelming with us, Lord.  Thank you for your tender yet powerful hands that pick us up when we fall.  Thank you that you’ve done for us all the things we cannot do, and for remembering our frailty and smallness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/05/18 – Touching Fame

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DayBreaks for 10/05/18: Touching Fame

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

This past Monday and Tuesday, I was at a two-day conference in Healdsburg, CA for ministers.  It was a great time of feeding and being reminded, and re-establishing some contacts and friendships.  One of those in attendance was a very interesting man – he wasn’t a “minister” in the formal sense of the word, but he is involved in ministry.  At any rate, he is a fairly new believer who is now investing much of his time and life in kids.

This man spent most of his life in the world of professional and collegiate baseball.  He wasn’t a player, but he was a hitting coach.  But he wasn’t just any hitting coach.  He was so good at what he did that he is widely regarded as the best hitting coach ever.  He had been around baseball for many years – he knew Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snyder, Ted Williams – you name the player, he probably knows or knew them.  He was so good at what he did that when he was working with Ted Williams’ team, he roomed with Ted when the team went on the road.  Ted had come to this man and said, “I’ve never met anyone who knows as much about hitting as you do.  I need to talk to you.” 

Now the man is teaching kids about hitting in his own back yard with state of the art video and batting cages – but before he teaches them to hit, he teaches them about Jesus and about living properly and wisely with parents, grandparents, etc.  I found him thoroughly delightful and engaging.

Now it’s time for a bit of confession.  I loved talking to him about his ministry, but also about baseball (and the Dodgers!)  It was great to be able to ask him about my favorite players of all time (Sandy Koufax – “The best pitcher I ever saw, and a very humble man”, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and others).  I was very impressed to meet someone who knew these great players and could talk and tell about them and what they were like.

But then, I realized that I want to be more impressed with meeting people who really know Jesus.  I would like to be the kind of person who, after people have talked with me, could say, “Wow.  He really knows Jesus!”  Isn’t that far more important that just knowing someone who knows others who are famous?  I want to know Him and spend more time with people who do know Him.  Those kind of people are life-changing folks, because they know the Life Changer.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to know your Son and to be the kind of people in whom others can see Him living.  Help us to keep our emphasis in the right place and our attention on focused what is truly important.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/02/18 – Mosquito Musings

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DayBreaks for 10/02/18 – Mosquito Musings        

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

Earl Wilson, from the Field Newspaper Syndicate, reported on film director Elliot Silverstein, on location in Louisiana, who said he found two kinds of mosquitoes there: “Those small enough to get through screen doors – and those big enough to open them.”

Isn’t it amazing how something as small as mosquitoes can cause us so much discomfort? Just be quiet for a minute and listen: can’t you hear one buzzing in your ear?! Fortunately, where we live in California, there really aren’t many mosquitoes. That’s fine by me. I’ve heard similar claims about the size of mosquitoes in Alaska – how they’re reputed to be so big that they carry away polar bear cubs!

Which do you fear most – a polar bear, or a mosquito? Does it seem like a silly question? When you think about it in a physical sense, it is, of course, silly. But when you stop to think about it a little more deeply, both of them can draw blood. Enough mosquitoes could, I suppose, drain you dry!

I recently had a woman call me in the office who wanted to know what the worst sin was that you could possibly commit (from her speech I think she was more than just a little inebriated). I explained to her that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the only sin that bible says is unforgivable. She said, “OK, what’s the next worst one after that?” I told her that from God’s standpoint, there wasn’t a “next worst”. That all sins were equally bad because all it takes is one to make you a sinner. She didn’t like that answer, but I didn’t know what else to tell her except that some sins have more severe consequences in the here and now than others do. But sin is sin – and one unforgiven sin is enough to condemn.

What’s the point? We think about how terrible “big sins” are and when we think about someone like Pol Pot or Adolph Hitler, we figure that they are terrible sinners destined for hell. And when we do that, we forget the mosquito of “sin” that is buzzing in our own ear and we think that it’s just one of the little ones – it isn’t a “big” sin, so it’s not so bad. Mosquitoes, by spreading malaria and other diseases, have been responsible for the loss of more human lives than all the wars of history. Pretty amazing for such a small creature, huh?

Wrong. Jesus had to pay the same price to redeem the little sins as he did the big ones. There is no bargain-basement price for “little” sinners. If you only told one little white lie in your life, the price for your salvation was just as great as the price Jesus paid for the worst sinner in history.

That’s what makes His forgiveness and our salvation so amazing. Don’t think that the little sins in your life are like little mosquitoes that aren’t a threat. Enough little mosquitoes can kill you!

PRAYER: Lord, grant us humble hearts that recognize the depravity of our own souls and sinful hearts.  Awaken in us a realization of how deadly our sins are, and how great Your forgiveness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/28/18 – A Victim of His Own Invention

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DayBreaks for 10/01/18A Victim of His Own Invention       

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

As a man soweth, so shall he reap.  Gal. 6:7

When someone who has been skirting the law for some time gets caught, we are prone to say that “He’s getting what he deserves.”  That is true…violations of law deserve punishment.  There seem to be exceptions when things go unpunished, but ultimately, as Ecclesiastes 12:14 says, For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.  There will be no escape for any deed that was done – good, or bad, visible or invisible.  A sobering thought, isn’t it?

I thank God that even though my deeds will be made visible, that the punishment for them has already been suffered by my Lord.  He paid the price, the penalty, for all my wrongs.

Several years after inventing radar, Sir Robert Watson-Watt was arrested in Canada for speeding.  He’d been caught in a radar trap.  He wrote this little poem to commemorate the event:

“Pity Sir Robert Watson-Watt,

strange target of his radar plot,

and this, with others I could mention,

a victim of his own invention.”

Ah, yes… “a victim of his own invention.”  We’ve all been victims of things we’ve invented.  We invent lies to cover up some deed done or undone, and we fall victim to that invented truth.  People invent gods of their own that suit their own whims and desires – and usually those gods are nothing but benevolent and have little to do with truth or justice.  The day will come when those gods fail them, if not before, when they stand before the God who was never invented but what always Was, and Is, and Is to come. 

Watch out for the inventions you form in your own mind about God, or gods, or truth.  We can “invent” stories and lines of logic all day long that just won’t hold water when the Truth that is Jesus Christ is revealed. 

Beware your inventions…you may become their victim!

PRAYER: Foolishness runs deep in us, Lord.  Forgive our foolish ways and open our hearts to the only true and living God and the One who is and embodies ALL Truth!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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