DayBreaks for 10/20/20 – How to NOT Get Blown Up

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So, what have you already had to decide today that you’d not anticipated? If you haven’t done that yet, just wait – you will! They happen to us day in and day out. Some are simple, some have bigger consequences.

There is a story of a fisherman and a game warden. It seemed that every day this fisherman would come back with stringers full of fish while everyone else managed just one or two. So, the game warden wanted to learn his secret.

They set out early one morning together, got to the middle of the lake and stopped. Watching, the game warden saw the fisherman pull out a stick of dynamite, light it and toss it into the air. The concussion from the explosion stunned the fish and the fisherman just scooped them up in his net.

The game warden was incensed! “You can’t do that!” he yelled at the fisherman. In response, the fisherman pulled out another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it into the hands of the game warden, then asked, “Are you going to just sit there or are you going to fish?”

All of a sudden, the game warden was faced with an unexpected decision – and it was an explosive one! And some of our decisions can be explosive, too.

Consider the youth who must decide if he’ll snort some coke just to be friends with someone. Consider the girl facing improper sexual pressure by her boyfriend. Or the employee who has a chance to syphon off a little cash here or there. The taxpayer taking a few “shortcuts” on their taxes. The housewife being pressured to tell some juicy tidbits about someone else.

You see, all those have explosive consequences. What can we do about it?

Jesus’ experience with his disciples in the garden is instructive. First, he tells them to “Watch…” – always a good idea. “Be alert”, “keep your eyes peeled”, etc.

How does that relate? You know your weaknesses, don’t you? It could be alcohol, sex, drugs, power, money. What Jesus is saying is to watch out for those places and situations which will put you with a lit stick of dynamite in your hands! When you see such a situation developing, scram!  But if you aren’t watching, you will soon be in a dangerous situation.

Secondly, Jesus tells them to “pray”. It’s not that you’ll tell him something he doesn’t already know. Prayer is inviting him to walk the pathway ahead of you and warn you through his Spirit of the pitfalls and dangers ahead of you so you can avoid them (that’s the watch…(and listen! part), and then to have your back as you move forward.

Watch. Pray. It can spell the difference between winding up with dynamite in your lap or a quiet ride on the water.

PRAYER: Jesus, help our first inclination be to watch and pray rather than to run ahead into dangerous waters! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/19/20 – The Miracles Surround You

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I find it interesting that the educated of this world, by and large, struggle to believe in God. The university professors, the scientists, Wall Street kingpins, the leaders of nations and industry – at least here in the United States – struggle to believe there is a God. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising because they seldom have the time to slow down long enough to consider his daily miracles.

Farmers see them daily as the seed they planted is warmed by the sun on the soil, watered by the rain and pushes its way out of a dead seed into new life, or they view the rainbow as they plow their field.

Fishermen rejoice in the harvest of fish that they didn’t create but which renews itself year after year.

It seems that those who live in rural areas have more time to see the everyday miracles of God in person.

The great Jonathan Edwards put it this way: “Nature is God’s greatest evangelist.”

The apostle Paul said, “Faith does not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

King David wrote, “God’s testimony makes wise the simple.”

How long has it been since you stepped out of your cubicle or home (especially in this time of COVID) to walk barefoot in the grass, to chase down a beautiful butterfly, to listen to the birds or collect seashells on a beach? There are miracles around us constantly. They may not seem to match the miracle of an empty tomb, but they beg for us to notice them for they point us to God.

Max Lucado wrote: “…there is a certain understanding of God on the cross that comes only with witnessing his daily testimony.”

Now, go take a walk and look at the miracles all around you!

Psalm 19:1-4 (ESV) – The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world…

PRAYER: God Almighty, slow us down to see your glory in a falling autumn leaf, the crispness of the fall air, the twinkling stars at night so that we can better understand your majesty and what the cross means. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/16/20 – The Scariest Verse in the Bible

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What do you think is the most frightening, scariest and terrifying verse in the Bible?  It could be about the fate that awaits liars, cheats and others: the lake of fire. That would be a good candidate because we all know we are liars, cheats, etc. It could be one about the very existence of hell itself. I suppose there are many possible candidates.

Perhaps, though, it is this one: Genesis 6:6 (ESV) – And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  

Think about that for a minute. Here’s a God who made man who is now wishing he hadn’t. The implications of that are frightening. With the kind of power God wields, he could do anything he chooses that doesn’t contradict his nature. And there – in those last five words is our only hope!

God’s nature was perhaps best said by the apostle John with three simple words: God is love. God cannot act against his love. It was his love that caused the hands to fashion the cross and then send his son there in our place. Rather than undoing the creation of man he chose to redeem mankind instead.

Perhaps there’s also a bit more to this verse than meets the eye: …the greatest of these is love. In context, it speaks of faith, hope and love…with love being the greatest. Is God’s justice greater than his love? I don’t think it can be or his justice would prevail and we’d all get what we deserve – eternal damnation. He is a God of justice – but found a different way to act against evil than obliterating us: he sacrificed himself because his love wouldn’t let him do the unthinkable to us. Bottom line: the scariest verse in scripture is more than tamed by those three words from John: God is love.

PRAYER: Father, I’m so grateful for your love and that love is what defines you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/14/20 – Hanging in the Balance

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From the DayBreaks archive, October 2010:

The island of Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands.  As such, it has a long history.  Some of the history is beautiful and amazing, but it also has its dark moments. 

Before Kauai became part of King Kamehameha’s unified Hawaiian island kingdom, Kauai had its own kings who lived high up in the mountains in the center of the island.  The kingship would be passed from father to son as was typical in most monarchies.  When it came time for the wife of the king to give birth, she would come down from the mountain to a heiau (a holy place of worship) where she would give birth.  If the child that was born was a daughter, the baby would be automatically welcomed into the royal family.  If, however, the baby was a boy, a test was required to determine if the child was worthy to be a successor to the king.  After the child was born, the umbilical cord of the baby boy was wrapped in ti leaves and placed outside of the enclosure where the mother and baby boy would spend the night.  If the rats came during the night and ate the umbilical cord, it was believed that the boy was not worthy to be an heir to the kingdom and he would be put to death.  The boy would survive only if the umbilical cord was still intact and hadn’t been eaten by rats during the night.

As I heard about this practice of the ancient residents of Kauai, I couldn’t help but draw a contrast between this chance-laden, horrendous practice and how God deals with us.  The writer of the letter to the Romans describes our relationship with the King: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. – Romans 8:17

Are any of us worthy to be joint heirs with Jesus?  Absolutely not!  Does God leave us outside the door to see what chance may play into our future?  No.  Does He accept us only if we pass some test?  Yes, and no.  The test is a simple one: will you put your faith in My Son?  That’s it.  It’s not left to some rat to determine our fate, nor is it even up to Satan to determine our fate.  God leaves it to us, in a way, to make the choice that will allow us to be accepted as His sons and daughters. 

Have you chosen yet?  Eternity is hanging in the balance.

PRAYER: How thankful we are that You have a heart that is willing and eager to adopt us as Your children, to give us, along with Jesus, all things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/12/20 – The Man Without Breath

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From the DayBreaks archive, October 2010:

The Hawaiians have a name for those of us from the mainland who are of Caucasian descent.  They call us haoles (pronounced “how-lees”).  I never knew the meaning of that name until two weeks ago. 

In 1778, Captain Cook became the first European to visit the Hawaiian islands, then known as the Sandwich Islands.  The Hawaiians had never seen a Caucasian before, and were stunned at his pallor.  They called him a haole, which means a person “without breath.”  In other words, because he was so pale, they thought he was dead – a walking ghost perhaps, or possibly a god. 

As I heard this story, I couldn’t help but recall the Biblical account of creation: how man came to live only when God breathed into him the “breath of life.”  Our life originally found its origin in the very breath of God.  “And man became a living soul.”  It didn’t take us very long, however, before we found a way to “kill” ourselves – through our rebellion and sin.  And, once again, we were dead – spiritually, we were haoles, without life.  God wasn’t content to leave things that way however, and in writing to the Colossians, Paul said: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. –  Colossians 2:13-14

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, we find an interesting note in the text: As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. – John 20:20-22  How did Jesus give us life again?  By breathing into them (and us!) His Holy Spirit!

We are not people without breath.  We are a people who have been given the very breath of God.  Let’s not look and act like we’re dead to anything – except to sin! 

PRAYER: For physical life, we give You our thanks.  For reviving our dead souls through Your sacrifice and Spirit, we rejoice!  May we look and act as those who have been revived and raised from the deadness of our sin!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/09/20 – What About the 99?

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(Prompted by a conversation with a friend of mine – Valerie – thank you!)

Luke 15:3-5 (NLT2) – So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.

I think we all love this story because at some point in our faith walk it describes every single one of us – we were all the sheep that was lost. We should rejoice in this story because it gives us insight into how precious a single lamb is to the Lord. It is good to know we are precious to someone and even more so as that someone is God Almighty.

But what of the 99? The story is set in the wilderness where the sheepfold would be at best a pile of rocks on nearly four sides. The shepherd brought the sheep into the fold at night and then lay down across the opening – becoming the gate to the sheepfold so that none of the sheep could wander without his knowledge.

I’d always assumed the rest of the sheep – the 99 – were in the sheepfold when the shepherd goes looking for the lost one. But the story doesn’t say that. It just says they are in the wilderness.

Now we might assume they were in the sheepfold and that another shepherd kept an eye on them, but the story doesn’t say that, either. So, did the shepherd just walk off and leave the 99 to the ravenous predations of the wolves or lions? I don’t think so – especially since the shepherd is Jesus!

While this story doesn’t say it, I think something much more amazing was to take place given this passage: John 10:27 (NLT2) – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Do you see it? The sheep wouldn’t have stayed behind. They would have followed the shepherd in his desperate and love-fueled search for the one that was lost. And isn’t that what we are all supposed to do – join the Good Shepherd in the pursuit of the lost ones?

When all the lost ones have been found, he will carry us all safely to our eternal destiny.

He won’t ever leave us stranded and alone and we should never stay behind when the Shepherd is on the move!

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/06/20 – Playing Games at the Foot of the Cross

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Matthew 27:35-36 (NLT2) – After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.

The day started like any other for the Roman soldiers. Another day, another execution. So they went to the hill called Calvary, nailed the offender to the cross and then got down to the serious business of gambling – right at the foot of the cross.

There were items to be divvied up – a cloak, an inner garment and some sandals to be sure. So they bet on who would get what and a few walked away with the spoils from the Nazarene.

Have you thought about how that scene must have looked to Jesus as he looked down at them? It must have been mind-blowing! Here they were, mere feet away from the most important and earthshattering event ever – and they were oblivious to the simple fact that it was God on the tree. At least they all seem to have been oblivious except one who eventually started paying attention and made his own startling declaration about who they were killing.

Oh, it’s so easy to be shocked by their behavior and games they were playing at the foot of the cross! But let’s not miss this: we aren’t that different than those soldiers – even those of us who bear the name of the Crucified One!

Consider: churches fight over a finite population of potential members. We dole out condemnation and judgments. We are seeking our own personal gain (a sandal here, a cloak there) to get ahead, get something for free.

We hold rallies celebrating how righteous my cause is and how unrighteous you are if you differ from my views. We write books about what other believers are doing wrong. We major in telling tales about the “others” and take joy in unveiling weaknesses – not for the purpose of restoration – but to take them down! We argue over points of “doctrine”, about other denominations and whether or not they are “of the Lord”.

And Jesus must look down at us in stunned disbelief.

As Max Lucado put it: “We, too, play games at the foot of the cross…So close to the timber yet so far from the blood…we are so close to the world’s most uncommon event but we act like common crapshooters huddled in bickering groups and fighting over silly opinions.

“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed.

“One, not one in groups of two thousand. But one in One. One church. One faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christians. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.”

What can we do to stop playing games at the foot of the cross? Build bridges, toss a rope to someone struggling to keep their head above the swelling tide, pray for unity. Choose to “be the soldier who snaps to his senses, jumps to his feet, and reminds the rest of us, ‘Hey, that’s God on that cross!”

There are far too many games being played at the foot of the cross. Let’s refuse to play those petty games any more!

PRAYER: Jesus, take mercy on us! Turn us from game playing to Kingdom building! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/05/20 – Being Carried

It was so long ago but I will never forget how precious it was to carry my children! I even have vague memories of being carried by my father’s strong arms when I was little. There is nothing quite as sweet as when a little child wraps their arms around your neck, puts their head on your shoulder and snuggles in.

There were times after our second and third children came along that I’d be carrying a couple of them while my wife carried another. I must confess that by that time they were getting older…and heavier!…and that at times it was hard to carry them for a long time.

A little child has no conception of the fact that they are making your arm muscles burn until they hurt! They don’t think about the reality that the parent is carrying their full weight. All they know is that they are being held, and carried, and they feel safe.

We are told that we have a Father that carries us (Ps. 68.19, NLT2): Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. But here’s a key difference between how God carries us and how I carried my children (Dt. 33.27a, NLT2): The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.

You see, my arms got weary and tired, but God’s almighty and everlasting arms will never tire of carrying us! He won’t have to put a single one of us down to regain his strength. And many have been the times when he was carrying us and we were unaware of how he bore our weight and did all the work for us.

There is also a commonality between my carrying of our kids and God’s carrying of us: it is a delight to the father to carry his kids!

Are you weary? Struggling to even stand let alone move forward? Run to God, let him pick you up, feel his massive almighty and everlasting arms underneath and around you, rest your head on his shoulder…and find peace!

PRAYER: Thank you for carrying us and holding us close to your heart, inviting us to run to you for peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/30/20 – Godly Imaginations

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We know him best as “doubting Thomas” but often forget he was willing to march into Jerusalem side by side with Jesus after they religious rulers tried to kill him the previous time. Thomas, though he may have doubted, was built of stern stuff.

He was easily confused: when Jesus said they knew the way he was going, Thomas raised his hand and in effect said, “I don’t! What do you mean?”  For all his faults (which aren’t that different than mine), Thomas was loyal.

Could it be that Thomas wasn’t in the upper room during the first appearance of Jesus after the resurrection because he had taken the death of Jesus so hard? Might it have been because Thomas was so confused about the sudden and dramatic turn of events just a couple days before? He couldn’t imagine where this was all leading.

He couldn’t fathom a resurrection of a crucified man. That sort of flashy occurrence was outside of Thomas’ thought processes. He didn’t want to get his hopes up just to be disappointed again. Max Lucado says that Thomas appears to have been too honest to be gullible but too loyal to give us hope entirely. His doubt wasn’t caused by distrust, but by the reluctance to imagine the “impossible”.

In this we are much like Thomas. We ponder things with wrinkled brows. We proceed with great caution. We don’t want anything, let alone God, to surprise us. So, we can’t imagine what God might do.

When is the last time that you let God surprise you?  When is the last time you claimed the promise that he is able to do “exceeding more than we are able to ask or imagine”?

Thomas got his proof. Legend says he traveled to India where they had to kill him to get him to stop talking about this friend of his who had lived, been crucified, but came back to life. Thomas learned to imagine God doing the impossible and to know for a fact that he can and does the impossible. This man of loyalty finally had his imagination captured and expanded by the God who has no limits. May our minds and hearts be expanded, too, knowing that Jesus must have smiled when he let Thomas touch his wounds, knowing that Thomas would never be the same, either.

PRAYER: Let us dream the impossible and count on you to make your fame and glory known through even humble, flawed beings like us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/29/20 – Getting a New Soul

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NOTE: I should be back tomorrow! In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

We Americans like to think that we’re pretty determined, persistent, tenacious even.  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  We take pride (there’s that nasty word!) in how dogged we can be.  When we consider that our ancestors created a country and shaped it through persistence and hard work, carving out settlements, fighting tyrant kings and governments, creating new and amazing inventions that have fueled our health, economies and culture, we have become a symbol to the entire world of hard work, diversity and freedom.  But let me ask you a question: do you love going to the Department of Motor Vehicles?  Me, neither. 

Would you voluntarily subject yourself to going there 960 times in order to get your driver’s license?  That is precisely what Cha Sa-soon, a Korean lady, did in her quest to get her own driver’s license.  This amazing 69-year old woman studied diligently, but she just couldn’t seem to pass the written part of the driver’s test.  She first took the 50-minute, 40-question test once a day starting in April 2005, five days week – and each time she failed.  Perhaps thinking that she needed to study harder to prepare, she eventually slowed down to only taking the test twice each week.  Finally, on her 960th attempt, she got enough of the questions right to pass.

Local news outlets heard the story and it wasn’t long before the tale caught the ear of vehicle manufacturer, Hyundai-Kia. The company asked people to post congratulatory messages online, and after an overwhelming response, Kia gave her the keys to a brand-new Soul. 

That, my friends, is persistence!  Cha Sa-soon really wanted to drive and was determined not to let anything stand in her way!

It causes me to think of several things:

  1. How determined am I to obey Christ?  Does my ability to resist sin even begin to compare to the diligence of this woman?  She wanted something so badly that she could taste it and she refused to let anything stand between her and her goal.  It often doesn’t take much to get me to surrender to temptation.  My persistence is poor!
  2. Persistence is a good trait.  We are to persist in prayer, we are to persevere in doing good – though we may fail over and over and over.  Even the disciples question about forgiving 70 times 7 is only about half way to the 960 attempts at this woman to pass the test!  Thankfully, God isn’t counting down to a point where He will refuse to forgive us if we humbly repent and ask for His forgiveness.
  3. While this woman was given a new Soul (that’s a model of Hyundai car in Korea), only Jesus can give us a new, clean soul after our record has been tarnished.  And thank God that He does!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

PRAYER: Father, give us strong spirits to fight the good fight and to finish the course strong!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>