DayBreaks for 1/18/19 – The Braggart

Image result for braggart

DayBreaks for 01/18/2019: The Braggart

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

I recently took a “fun” quiz that was forwarded around on the Internet, and one of the questions was to name a characteristic that you hate.  I have to admit that I struggled with that one.  I don’t enjoy being around complainers (fortunately, there are very few of those in my life!) or those who are always trying to impress someone with their talk or wisdom.  Maybe that’s because I can get easily confused and I’m not smart enough to follow their big words.  People who are always talking “big talk” to impress are generally very insecure people, and they remind me of this rather humorous story:

A man was driving through the countryside when suddenly his car stalled.  He got out to see what was wrong, and as he bent over the motor, he heard a voice say, ‘That trip to Japan was wonderful last spring.’  He looked around but saw no one.  All he could see was an old horse standing in the meadow.  The horse looked straight at him and said, ‘Yes, that trip was almost as good as the one to Paris and Rome the year before.’

Well, the man became almost hysterical with excitement.  He ran to the farmhouse at the edge of the meadow, pounded on the door, took out his billfold and said, ‘I want to buy that horse at any price.’  Calmly, the farmer replied, ‘Oh, you mustn’t pay too much attention to that horse.  He hasn’t been to half the places he talks about.’

Why is it that we have such a strong tendency to promote ourselves and talk about ourselves in ways that are intended to do nothing but try to impress others?  I think James 3:13-16 gives us some really good clues: If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.

Bottom line: we either are bragging about the good things we do (and why would we do that? – to get the praise of humans!), OR we are jealous and full of selfish ambition and so we brag about what we’ve done and how good we are – the “worst kind of lie” as James put it.  Such things are not motivated by God or by trying to bring Him glory, but by the Devil!

How much better off we’d be if no one was trying to impress others!!!!  Let us be content to be what and who God created us to be.  When we live that way, we bring Him glory!

PRAYER: Father, may we trust in You to honor those who are genuine in Your time and may we not pursue the praise of other humans.  Help us to be content to be what You have made us to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 1/15/19 – In the Presence of Resurrection

Image result for emmaus walk

DayBreaks for 01/15/2019: The Presence of Resurrection

I love the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  The pathos in the story is nearly palpable as they recount to Jesus the events that he seemed (to their way of thinking) ignorant of: the happenings in Jerusalem in the past 5 days or so.  That they’d had their hopes dashed is clear from their words: We had hoped He was the one…we had thought He was the Messiah come to save Israel. (Luke 24:21) The despair is virtually dripping from their hearts and lips.

How long they walked we don’t know, but the distance from Jerusalem to Emmaus was about 7 miles and at a normal walking pace on a flat road (which the road wasn’t) it would take about 2 hours to cover that distance.  What would you have given to walk with Jesus for two hours?  Yet, Jesus was not recognized by them because God, it says, had concealed his identity from them.  (That makes me wonder, too – why would God ever choose to conceal his identity?)  And so they walked and talked for some hours…and all the time they were in the presence not just of a risen one, but of resurrection itself. 

Are you a Christian?  If so, you are walking in the Presence of Resurrection, too.  Yet I go through my day often totally unaware of my constant Companion.  How did the story end for the Emmaus disciples?  The last word in verse 26 is “glory”.  The story ends in glory!  What began in despair and bewilderment finds culmination in glory!  That is the story of our life, is it not?  Much of life is a journey from the bliss of infant unawareness to the burden of adulthood and the increasing burden of advancing age.  All through life, the Resurrection walks beside us.  And our story will end in glory!

John 11:23-26 (NIV) – Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Prayer:  As you turned the hearts of the Emmaus disciples from bewilderment to glory, we open our hearts to you today, Lord, that you may do the same for us this day!  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 1/10/19 – The First Miracle

Image result for turning water into wine

DayBreaks for 01/10/2019: The First Miracle

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2009:

One of the craziest questions that is asked (at least on television shows or movies about beauty pageants – at least in “Miss Congeliality”) relates to what the individual would do if they could have the power to change anything – but only one thing – in the world.  The right answer, according to that movie, is to say, “World peace.”  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  But what about you?  What would you do if you had the power to change any one thing in the entire world?  You might say, “Cure cancer”, “Eliminate heart disease”, “End poverty”, “Make sure no one goes to bed hungry” or any of a number of things.  And who among us wouldn’t love to have the power to be able to do something like that?

Well, Jesus did have the power.  He still does.  And so it is all the more interesting that when it came time for his first miracle, it had nothing to do with erasing wars, poverty, or disease.  It had to do with helping someone who had run out of wine at a wedding feast. 

I don’t for one minute think that Jesus chose a “low-level” nearly invisible miracle as his first one because he wasn’t sure he could pull it off – he wasn’t just “testing the water” (pun intended!) to see if he had power left over from before the Incarnation.  He chose this time and place, and this specific miracle rather than anything else that had global impact.  Why?

There are the obvious social things: it was expected that wine would be plentiful – not to encourage drunkenness, but because to the Jews, wine was a sign of joy – and what is more joyful than a long-awaited wedding?  It is true that those present would go away and tell others about what Jesus did, but wouldn’t it have been more newsworthy and would have been on more front pages if he’d started out with raising the dead?  The resurrection of Lazarus was pretty flashy, after all, and certainly got the attention of a lot of people! 

I think this was the first miracle because again, God was trying to say, “I care about you and what you care about.”  Jesus’ friend (assuming he knew the host, which he almost certainly did) was at risk of embarrassment (heavens, no!).  It wasn’t like his friend was about to die of embarrassment or be cut off from his family forever because of this faux pas.  It seems a relatively minor thing.  But to Jesus it wasn’t.  It was enough to make Jesus exert Divine power on behalf of his friend.

Jesus cares.  He really does.  He showed it by turning water into wine as his first miracle instead of ensuring world peace.  The latter would have been just as easy for him as the first.  His choice for miracle number one was very telling.  What does it tell you about your situation right now?

Prayer:  Blessed be Your name, o Mighty God, for all Your goodness and care for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/07/19 – I Created YOU

Image result for created for good works

DayBreaks for 01/07/2019: I Created You

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09:

This past Christmas was not an easy one for many people for a variety of reasons.  Many have recently lost jobs, others fear a pink slip in the near future.  Some have had diagnoses that take one’s breath away and leave them trembling and numb with fear.  Some spent the holidays for the first time in decades without a beloved spouse, parent, child or sibling.  There are many causes of pain and hurt in this world.  And we often get angry at God and wonder, “Why don’t You do something about all this, God?”

In his book, Holy Wild, Mark Buchanan relates a story in a letter that he got from a missionary couple he knew in Brazil.  When I read this the first time, I wept: “Driving through the Christmas traffic, fighting the drizzling rain, I chanced on a four-year-old little girl.  She was wet and cold and shaking.  Her clothes were ragged, her hair was matted, and her nose was running.  She walked between the cars at the stoplight, washing headlights because she was too short to was windshields.  A few gave her coins, others honked at her to get away from their vehicles.

“As I drove away only some fifty cents poorer, I raged at God for the injustice in the world that allowed the situation.  ‘God, how could you stand by, helpless?’  Later that evening, God came to me softly with that still small voice and responded not in kind to my rage, but with tenderness, ‘I have done something.  I created you.

We will all likely face a world of hurt and pain this year.  It has been so from the beginning – with some periods of time being more painful than others.  I’m not a prophet like Isaiah, but I think this year will be a very painful year for humanity.  Rather than rage at God in bitterness and anger, let’s remember that He created us for a purpose – for good works in Christ.  May we be about our Father’s business in the midst of a sea of hurt.

1 John 3:11-14 (NIV) – This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. Qe know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

Prayer:  Father, we are fearful as we enter this new year.  We are fearful for the pain our loved ones may face, for the pain that we may face personally.  It is so easy for us to become paralyzed by our fear and pain and to be so afraid that if we give something away to those who are needy, that we may have a shortage ourselves later.  Help us to remember that we were created not to be selfish, but to love one another – not just in heart, but in deed as well.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/03/19: Smiley Face Stickers and the Cross

Image result for smiley face

DayBreaks for 01/03/2019: Smiley Face Stickers and the Cross

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/01/99, by Tim Dalrymple:

A verse that has been haunting my thoughts recently is Mark 15:34: And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ I had always found this passage extremely disturbing. Could it be? Jesus was left alone, abandoned, forsaken, precisely when he needed the Father most. In his moment of deepest pain and agony, Jesus could not feel the comforting presence and gentle embrace of his Father. Certainly, in the theological sense, Jesus was not abandoned by the Father, the Father still loved him, and didn’t cast him out of His grace. But, at the least, Jesus felt a frightening and agonizing distance from his Father when he was on the cross.

Although this passage always disturbed and even scared me, I’ve come to consider it one of the most profound in all of Scripture. It tells me that when we hear, “By his stripes we are healed”, we should remember that his “stripes” were both physical and spiritual. We do not see a tranquil, dispassionate Jesus easily enduring physical suffering. Jesus comprehends more than just my physical pain – he comprehends my loneliness and abandonment as well.

It would be easy to brush aside this passage, and like a good American, paste a smiley-face sticker on the cross. But this is very dangerous. There is definitely something beautiful in the cross, for it is a profound demonstration of the depth of God’s love for us.

There is also, however, something very terrible: the suffering and abandonment of a crucified God. We gild our crosses with gold and we wreath them with roses, but we should never forget that the cross is, in the final analysis, an extraordinarily ugly and painful thing.

To wipe away the blood from the cross, to polish away the splinters, is to divest the cross of its incredible power. We should never rob the cross of its ugliness and pain, because it is precisely through that ugliness and pain that Jesus identified with, and overcame, our ugliness and pain. We will never walk further (or even as far) down the path of suffering and abandonment than Jesus walked. There is no extent of pain, loneliness, even distance from God, that Jesus cannot understand. It is because of his excruciating suffering that he is ‘God with us’ when we are facing trials. It is because of his sense of abandonment – by the disciples and by the Father – that he is ‘God with us’ even when we are most lonely and forsaken. Jesus walked the length of the path of physical and spiritual suffering so that he could be with you every step of the way. And you’ll never walk further than he can walk with you.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we thank you for walking with us and for carrying us when we have no strength of our own, and for the amazing demonstration of love that took place on the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/02/19 – Commitment

Image result for alone

DayBreaks for 01/02/2019: Commitment

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

Commitment.  How committed are you? “Well,” you might say, “that depends on what you’re asking about.” Fair enough. How committed are you to your marriage? How committed are you to your children? How committed are you to your church and faithful, every-day and every-week service? How committed are you to your job and to being a light for Christ in the world? How committed are you to Jesus?

What is commitment? We think of it as “stick-to-itiveness”. Or we think of it in terms of dedication to a purpose or determination to reach a goal. Those aren’t bad, but there’s another aspect of commitment that really shows whether or not we are “committed”. It came in a devotion from Bob Gass Ministries. Here’s what he had to say: “If I could pick one word to describe commitment, I’d pick the word – alone. Daniel dined and prayed alone. Elijah sacrificed and witnessed alone. Jeremiah prophesied and wept alone. Paul said, “…all men forsook me…” (2 Tim. 4:16).

“The place of commitment is the place where God intervenes on your behalf. When the three Hebrew children of God made the commitment, God brought them out of the fiery furnace without even the smell of smoke. King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he said, ‘…there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.’ (Dan. 3:29) That’s what the world is waiting for, somebody who’ll put everything on the line, get into the fiery furnace and let the world see God’s power.”

Commitment….alone. Perhaps that is the true measure of our commitment, don’t you think? Am I willing to stand for God all alone? Am I willing to stand alone for my marriage? Am I willing to stand alone for God in a workplace that is overwhelmed with darkness and that is openly hostile to Christ? The Hebrew children had God, and each other. What if they’d been alone?

I see in this concept the power of fellowship, but also the demand for commitment even if we, like Daniel, have to stand alone. It’s easy to say we’re committed when we sit in a pew on Sunday morning, but the real test of our commitment comes outside the walls of the church building when we are alone in the world.

Let me ask again: How committed are you to your marriage? How committed are you to your children? How committed are you to your church and faithful, every-day and every-week service? How committed are you to your job and to being a light for Christ in the world? How committed are you to Jesus? What you do when you are alone will tell you the answer to these questions – and reveal the depth of your true commitment!

Prayer: Teach us the kind of commitment that you have shown to us, Lord, even as you endured the loneliness of this world, this life, and the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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