DayBreaks for 1/30/19 – Playing Dress-up

Image result for playing dress up

DayBreaks for 1/30/2019: Playing Dress-up

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 1/27/2009:

From Ovi’s World of the Bizarre, Dec. 4, 1997: “A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with robbing a bank while dressed in a cowboy outfit. According to police reports, Dustin Marshall tipped his hat and yelled, ‘Giddy-up!’ as he pointed the ‘cowboy-type pistol’ at bank employees. Marshall was also charged with robbing another bank six days later while wearing a ghost mask.”

Galen’s Thoughts: This story is rather funny, but at the same time, pathetic. One of the things that bank robbers do is try to conceal their identity so that they won’t be discovered or “found out”. They know that if their identity remains hidden that it is harder to prosecute then for a crime.

What’s the lesson? Well, besides not holding up a bank while yelling “Giddy-up!”, I suppose it could be that in our Christian walk we can dress up and pretend to be something that we aren’t. In the case of Dustin Marshall, he was found out. In our case, we will be found out, too. Matthew 10:26b puts it this way: …There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

In the context in which Jesus gave this teaching, he is talking about the things that the servants of Satan do which seem to remain hidden – they seem like they might be good things when indeed, Satan is behind them. They seem to get away with those things, too! Jesus told this to his followers so that they wouldn’t be discouraged thinking that evil people will get away with their evil. You’ve got Jesus’ word on it!

Can you imagine what it would have been like to hear these words directly from Jesus’ mouth? How do they make you feel even now? Don’t we all wear some masks, some kind of costume, to hide our real identities, sins and fallen nature?

When I was a very little boy, my sister and I would visit our grandparents in their farm house. Sometimes we’d go upstairs into the huge closets and we’d pull on our grandparents clothes over our own and pretend to be someone else. It may work in a child’s imagination, but God sees right through our disguises and promises that even the things which are concealed and hidden will be made known.

The next time we’re thinking about acting righteous when we’re really not, when we think we’ve hidden our tracks well enough that no one will find out, let’s remember these words of Jesus and think soberly about what will be revealed about us!

Prayer: As we navigate our way through this day, Lord, may we be mindful that every word, every thought, every action is laid bare before Your all-seeing eyes.    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 1/29/18 – Flying on Autopilot

Image result for autopilot

DayBreaks for 1/28/2019: Neon Promises

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 1/26/2009:

From Ovi’s World of the Bizarre, December 4, 1997: “A bizarre incident occurred when Paul Sirks was trying to get his plane going, after it quit on landing. Sirks was trying to crank the propeller when the plane took off without a pilot. It reached 12,000 feet and flew around for two hours. It finally ran out of gas and crashed in a bean field northwest of Columbus.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I wish I’d seen Mr. Sirks chasing the plane after it started and it took off without him. Can you see him running after it? Can you imagine the phone call he must have made to the control tower?!

Fortunately, although the plane was destroyed, no one was hurt. But consider:

FIRST: Life can operate on autopilot. We can go from day to day, not paying much attention to the details of life, and just “letting it happen”. Life will oblige us, for a while – until all of a sudden it comes crashing down for lack of neglect to the things that are important. It may be a teen who crashes for lack of parental involvement, a marriage that founders because of lack of effort and time, a job that is lost because of laziness and refusal to learn and grow. It is dangerous to fly on autopilot – life can fly that way for a while, but it’s not the best way. Consider the advice given in Proverbs 6:6-11, that encourages us to think about life carefully so we aren’t “poverty stricken”: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. Remember – there is more than one kind of poverty, and the most tragic poverty of all is the poverty of the soul.

SECOND: I’m sure we’ve all seen movies where the pilot of an airplane is killed or dies from a heart attack and someone on board the plane has to do some heroic flying (even though they’ve never been trained). Sometimes it has a happy ending – sometimes not. It is at a moment like that when you really appreciate having a pilot that knows what he’s doing – who has been trained to do the job and do it right. Who is the pilot of your life? Are you trying to fly solo? Some of the time?

Part of the job of the shepherd is to guide and direct the sheep – to make sure they get safely where they are supposed to go. Jesus knows the way – he knows how to really “fly” – and he will give you wings (1 Thes. 4:17: After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.)

Now that’s how to fly!!!

Prayer: Give us the wisdom, Lord, to look deeply and honestly into our lives to consider our ways.  May we yield control of our lives into Your great and Almighty hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/11/19 – The Radical Ordinary

Image result for ordinary

DayBreaks for 01/11/2019: The Radical Ordinary

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2009:

At the end of the gospel of John is a scene that has puzzled and troubled me.  Momentous events have transpired in Jerusalem, in the life of Christ, and certainly in the lives of the disciples.  Events so huge and significant that you’d expect they would have all been changed dramatically and for all time.  But where do we find the disciples?  They’re back in a boat on a familiar lake doing what they had done all their lives up until Christ invited them to “Follow me!”  They’re fishing.  This is what these men had done for a livelihood.  And they’re back at it – even after Jesus had told them he’d make them fishers of men – they went back to being fishers of fish. 

I have always assumed that this didn’t reflect well on the disciples.  Yet when Jesus meets them on the beach and makes breakfast for them, he doesn’t criticize them.  I assumed that the disciples did this because they didn’t know what to make of things – that they still weren’t sure about this Jesus, what it was He was trying to accomplish, and what their part in it was supposed to be.  And that may be the reality of the situation. 

Eugene Peterson, in Living the Resurrection, had a different thought on this interesting scenario.  Resurrection had always had something to do with life in the next world, the next life.  But the resurrection of Jesus somewhat broke that rule and that line of thinking.  His resurrection took place here in this world, on this planet, in this lifetime…and he was alive and out there walking around somewhere.  So, resurrection had to be taken out of the sphere of the future and made into a reality in the present.  Here’s what Peterson had to say: “This is a radical thing.  It is as radical for you and me as it was for them.  This might account – at least, this is what I think – for why the seven former fishermen were back fishing that night.  They were beginning to get the sense that Jesus’ resurrection had everything to do with their ordinary lives.  They needed practice in this reorientation, and they plunged into ordinariness – the old familiar workplace or sea and the fishing boat.”

I don’t know if Peterson is right nor not, but the point he makes is valid.  Scripture talks about how we have already been made alive in Christ – we died with him, we were raised with him.  Our soul has experienced the resurrection already – even if our bodies have not.  What difference does it make in how you will live your life today as you drive to the office or factory, the school, the gym?  How are you, and how can you, practice the resurrection of Jesus and experience it TODAY? 

PRAYER: Jesus, we struggle to grasp the reality of our new life in You.  You have said we are born again to a new and living hope, that we now live in you and that whoever believes in you will never die!  Let us live life’s moments in that reality that others may see your glory and our joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/04/19 – The Passing of the Shadow

Image result for shadows

DayBreaks for 01/04/2019: The Passing of the Shadow

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09 (modified):

Whew.  The holidays are now over.  It is a bittersweet feeling, isn’t it?  On the one hand, I love the excitement and joy of the holidays, and the chance to share that with family, loved ones and friends.  I love the Christmas carols and was surprised to find some of them playing in the malls this year. I love the bright lights and colors, and yes, the nuts and chews of Christmas from See’s Candies!

But it isn’t long and the holidays that have been so long awaited are over and done with.  The family has returned to their own homes and gone back to work, the Christmas decorations have been pulled down and boxed away for another year, the candy is gone (thank goodness!) and the Christmas carols and tree have been tucked away for 11 months.  And – I’m tired. 

As I was reflecting on this one day, I was watching our old dog, Rainie.  She’s 12 years old now and she’s clearly winding down.  She walks with a strange, stiff gait because of some arthritis in her hips, and if you look into her eyes, they are not dark and clear – they are milky and a bit subdued.  She is afraid, or in a bit too much discomfort, to hop up on the bed as easily as she used to.  Now, at night, when she comes back into the house, she will whimper and whine before even attempting her leap of faith up to the top of the mattress.  And she huffs and puffs a lot more than when she was younger.  It saddens me to see this happening before my very eyes and to be powerless in the face of the inexorable march of time.  And then I realize, I am on the same march, head down as I trudge the pathway before me.

The passing of the holidays and the winding down of life have parallels that can teach us.  We start out exuberant, full of excitement and energy.  We hurry here and there because the world is so big and there is so much to see and do and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  But then, as with Christmas, the holiday is over before you are even fully aware that it has begun.  Old friends and family are no longer around.  We find ourselves more fearful of running around too far from home, and we also whimper and whine as we rise or recline on our bed.  Not to mention the eyesight. 

This is the way of all flesh.  This is what makes our God and His promises so precious – He does not grow old, tired, and weary.  He doesn’t get cataracts.  His bones don’t ache and generate the whimpers that accompany old age.  And He promises us that the day will come when we will be like Him in that regard.  We try to imagine a life without any sort of pains or sadness and we cannot grasp even the tiniest crumb of that reality.  But we do long for it.  The life we so longed to live when we were younger has been spent somehow, somewhere – like a shadow passing in the night, soundlessly and quickly, not even leaving footprints behind.  Hold on to the fact that the shadow is passing, but it isn’t passing from daylight to darkness, but instead the shadow is passing to daylight, from earth to heaven, from mortality to immortality, from death to life.  And there shall be no more weeping.

PRAYER:  Lord, life often feels like both a blessing and a burden.  Thank you for the promise that you will make our joys even greater than anything we have experienced in this lifetime, and that you will remove our sorrows eternally.  Thank you, that Jesus “is the life!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/27/18 – An Everyday Mystery

Image result for choosing

DayBreaks for 12/27/18: An Everyday Mystery

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Choosing.  How difficult it is, and yet how often we do it!  How many decisions have you made already today?  You decided whether or not to get up when the alarm went off, or to hit snooze a time or two.  You decided what you would wear.  You decided what you would eat, or if you would eat, for breakfast.  You decided (whether you thought about it or not) on the route you’d drive to work, school or wherever you were going.  You decided where to park, how fast you’d drive, whether or not to pass or honk at someone who irritated you.  You decided what you’d listen to on the radio.  You decided what to read in the paper.  You decided if you’d take your lunch or buy it.  Chances are you’ve already made thousands of little decisions (many unconscious) already today – and your day is just getting started.

Someone has said that practice is what makes perfect.  We know, of course, that there’s a smidgen of truth in that sentiment – with practice we DO get better (hopefully!)  But we don’t get perfect through practice regardless of the old saying.  The only way we ever get perfect is by God changing us in eternity into Christ’s likeness.  We can make progress until then – but perfection?  No, definitely not.

But if we are to get better with practice, have you ever stopped to think about why it is that we so seldom choose what is best?  It’s nothing new to the 21st century, of course.  It’s been going on since the beginning of time, and humanistic thinking aside, we aren’t getting better at it throughout the millennia.  Adam and Eve were given an entire garden by God and told that they could eat of any tree in the garden – except one.  And which one did they choose?  The ONE.  Jonah had the choice of going to Ninevah or the other direction – so he high-tailed it away from Ninevah.  Saul/Paul could choose to persecute Christians or to let them be.  Judas could have not betrayed Jesus, be he did.  Perhaps you could have chosen to remain faithful to your spouse but you chose unfaithfulness instead.  Drugs, alcohol, greed, thievery, murder, lying – all spring from the well of choice.  See what I mean when I say we’re not getting better at it? 

I’m convinced that we don’t know how to choose wisely sometimes.  How can we possibly know in every circumstance what is the very best thing to do?  If you know the answer, please tell me!  Sure, I know we can pray and God can give us direction, but we still have to choose to go His way and not our own, or He may not give us an answer when we are seeking it. 

So what are we to do?  Maybe all we can hope for in those cases where we’re not sure what is best is to choose what is better.  Mary and Martha were hosting Jesus in their home, and Martha was all a-flutter with her busyness and serving until she got so ticked off at her sister that she even (by implication at least) berates Jesus and Mary – Mary for not helping, Jesus for not telling Mary to help Martha.  Jesus, ever gentle and wise, simply gives Mary a bit of praise: Mary has chosen what is better.  (Lk. 10:42) Notice what Jesus didn’t say: he didn’t say Mary had chosen what was best, but just better. 

What would have been best in that situation?  The Lord only knows, but he didn’t scold Mary for not choosing what was best but encouraged her in her choosing of what was simply “better”.  Maybe that’s why, in all our ways, we should acknowledge Him and let him direct our paths until we reach that which is best.

PRAYER: I’m so grateful, Lord, that you understand our limitations and don’t expect perfection from us.  Forgive us for our foolish choices and help us choose that which is better!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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

Image result for listening to god

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.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/30/18 – Doubting Worshipers

Image result for worshipers

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.  ><}}}”>