DayBreaks for 6/16/17 – Places You Never Knew Existed

 

DayBreaks for 6/16/17: Places You Never Knew Existed

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

On June 4, I was blessed (for the second year in a row!) to participate in a fund raiser for a nearby mission that provides shelter, training, food and spiritual guidance to many who have lost their way in life.  They do a great work, and each year they do a fundraiser that is called Extreme Golf.  On that day, those of us who have signed up to raise pledge money, go out and run around a golf course like crazy people, with the goal of playing 100 holes of golf in 8 hours or less.  What a thrill!

But now (this was written on 6/6), I have been reminded of lessons I learned last year during this event:

FIRST: Sometimes people hurt in places you never knew existed.  My body has aches and pains right now that I didn’t have on early Monday morning before the event.  It’ll continue that way for a few days, I can tell.  People all over hurt – and the greatest hurts aren’t in the physical body, but in the heart and mind of humanity.  Perhaps the greatest hurt of all is hopelessness – when people have been so beaten down that they have given up any idea of it ever getting better.  That’s when many are willing to finally accept Christ because they have learned that nothing else works.  But unless we’re on the lookout for signs of pain in people (wincing and groaning have been my signs the last few days!) we will likely pass by them not even realizing they’ve been beaten.  But heaven have mercy on us if we know they’ve been beaten and pass by anyway.

SECOND: Pain is good.  It is a reminder that we are alive and not dead.  Dead people feel no pain.  We shouldn’t give up on people who are in great pain.  They’re still alive and pain can lead to changes. 

THIRD: Pain is also a reminder that we are to become like Him in His suffering.  I don’t think that is specifically referring to physical pain, but that may be a part of it.  Paul, in Philippians 3:10 put it this way: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…  In our hurts, suffered for the cause of God, we become like Christ.  And God certainly knows how much I need more of that!!!!

There is pain all around you.  There is pain on the golf course, in your school, in your work, in your family – and yes, in your church.  The world is awash in pain.  All we have to do is open our eyes and see it.  Will you take the risk of joining Christ in his sufferings for the world?  You don’t have to travel to India or the Congo or Peru, all you have to do is open your heart and eyes, and you’ll see it.  The question is: what will we do about it?

I’m eager for this event to come around again next year.  May I be as eager to bear pain for Him all year long.

PRAYER: Father, let us become like Christ – willing to bear any burden, to carry any suffering – for the privilege of becoming like Him in His death, so that we may also attain unto His resurrection.  Help us to be sensitive to the pain of others and do all we can to point them to the One who can, and will, heal all hurts some glorious day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/13/17 – The Amazing Extent of Dirt

DayBreaks for 6/13/17: The Amazing Extent of Dirt

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

I don’t know about where you live, but unless you live in one of those “bubbles” or a clean-room environment in a medical or scientific lab, well, there’s just dirt everywhere.  I remember when the first floppy drives came out…they were very large (much larger than the 3-1/4” ones later on) and didn’t hold much data.  The company I was working for was quick to add them to our products for backup purposes (this was before CD’s, etc.), and we struggled with them because even a tiny speck of dust could cause the disk drive heads to crash and ruin data.  The introduction of Winchester disk technology was a real boon to the computer industry, because they used sealed disks that dirt couldn’t get into.

How I wish that my mind was of Winchester technology!  It seems that the “dirt” (not the material kind, but the sinful kind) gets into my mind way too easily.  And, just like the dirt in your kitchen, it’s hard to get out. 

In his book, Hearing God, Dallas Willard contemplates this problem and how the dirt of the world that gets into our mind can hinder our hearing of God.  What, for example, is your first reaction when you hear a siren passing by?  When you have car trouble, how long does it take before you take the matter to God?  Does our mind spontaneously return to God and His things when it’s not intensely occupied with things of work or school?  After all, the needle of a compass returns to true north…and if God is our “true north”, our minds should turn to Him, too.  Our answers to those kind of questions could be an indicator to us of how our mind is so firmly entrenched in false ways.

He notes that we’re still so very much like the world of Isaiah’s days (55:9-10): We wait for light, and lo! There is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.  We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead.

Why is this the case?  Willard suggests: “This is all because our minds – perhaps our very brains – need to have the false thoughts and habits washed out of them.  They so badly need to be washed that we rarely understand what life would be like if they were cleansed, and many of us do not even sense the need for cleansing.”

Remember when your mom talked about washing your mouth out with soap?  Maybe it’s time that we pray fervently that our Father will wash our minds out with the Spirit!

Romans 12:2 (NIV) – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 8:5-6 (NLT) – Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for the washing that leads us to cleansing.  We ask you today to wash our minds, for we give you permission to make them over in whatever way you see fit.  Take the dirt out that so easily contaminates us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/12/17 – Who’s Your Daddy?

DayBreaks for 6/12/17: Who’s Your Daddy?

From the blog, Barney’s Bullets, 6/9/17 by my friend, Barney Cargile:

Walt Disney went to great lengths to ensure that his kids experienced a “normal life”. Instead of seeking the spotlight, he and his wife Lillian did everything in their power to shield their daughters from the typical Hollywood lifestyle.  Every day, Walt drove his kids to public school. He took them to swim class and dance lessons. He arranged his schedule so that he could be home with them as much as possible. 

This was so effective that their daughter Diane didn’t realize what her daddy did for a living. Somehow she never “connected the dots” with the possibility that her dad was the Walt Disney. To her he was just “dad”. Then one day at school a friend asked her, “What’s it like having Walt Disney as your Dad?” The question jolted her like a slap across the face. Later that day, Diane found her dad sitting in his favorite chair. She stood next to him, outraged and asked, “Are you the Walt Disney?” When he answered affirmatively, she asked, “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”  Then she did something really crazy. She asked her own dad for his autograph! For a week, Diane walked around in a daze. She found it hard to believe. She knew Walt Disney! More than that, she was Walt Disney’s daughter! Every time she saw a Disney cartoon or watched the Mickey Mouse Club she thought, “Walt Disney is my dad.” (Source: What If It’s True?, Ray Johnston)

Once Diane Disney understood the reality of her identity, everything changed for her. She became Walt’s motivation to create the film Mary Poppins. She even used her influence as his daughter to inspire him to launch Disneyland. Because she knew who her father was, her life was never the same.

That’s the sense of wonder God wants us to live in. Forget about Walt Disney…Our Father is the Creator of the universe! Once you understand the reality of who you are as God’s child; once that becomes your identity deep inside, you’re never the same.  Ephesians 1 says that those who are “in Christ” are God’s “delightful children”; that we are “holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence”; and that “the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us.” Unbelievable!  Once we “get” this; really get it, our lives will never be the same.  We can live in victory. Now that you know who your Father is, only one question remains. How are you going to live?

PRAYER: Open our eyes to the reality of who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/09/17 – You ARE Holy

 

DayBreaks for 6/09/17: You Are Holy

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2007:

Holy ground. The Holiest of Holies. Terms from the Scripture that we are familiar with. We believe that the ground on which Moses stood was holy. We believe that the temple was made holy by the One who dwelt there. For sure, these things are true.

There was nothing special about the sand and rock on which Moses stood. They were made of the same chemicals and molecules that is the essence of the created world. Iron, magnesium, copper – whatever kind of rock and sand he stood on, was still made up of electrons, protons and neutrons spinning and twirling around one another in an atomic dance.

The gold and silver and wood and linen in the temple were the same chemical compounds that you can buy in the store today. They were the ordinary, routine stuff of existence with which we are so well acquainted. Nothing special there.

In both cases, however, they were holy for one and ONLY one reason: God was there. It was not a miracle of atomic transformation that made all these things holy, it was the miracle of His Presence. His Presence transforms where He is into a holy place  – the holiest of holy places.

Colossians 1:18-23 (NLT)  – Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. Â For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.

The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes a dazzling claim in the passage quoted above. Here it is: you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Wow.

Do you belong to Christ? Then you stand before Him – holy and blameless without a single fault! How can this be? When we became Christians, did the atoms of our flesh change to make us holy? No, no more than the atoms of the material of the wilderness floor or the temple walls. We are holy the same way they were holy: God is present with us. He now dwells in us as he did in the temple – and there His presence made the temple holy.

God sees us through the eyes of the Spirit. We see ourselves through the eyes of the flesh. We need to learn to see ourselves, and believe the truth about ourselves, as God sees us. Paul even stressed it: But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. What truth was he talking about? Our holiness and blamelessness even when we don’t feel holy or blameless. Paul continued: Don’t drift away from the assurance you received. It is believing the truth about who and what we are IN HIM that fills us with the motivation and love and wonder to live for him more fully, each and every day.

PRAYER: Jesus, how desperately we need to take this passage to heart! To believe that we ARE now, and not just at some point in the future, holy and blameless as we stand before you. Let this truth transform our lives for your praise and glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/06/17 – Harmful Ingredients

DayBreaks for 6/06/17: Harmful Ingredients

Are you a label reader? As I’ve gotten older, I read food labels more closely. I do that because as our health conditions change, such matters become more important to my health. I won’t begin to say that I’m good at it, and at times, I don’t bother to read the labels partly because I may want to eat something regardless of what the label says!

One thing I have learned, though, is that food content lists always put the most important things in the list first and then they are listed in descending order of importance. That is how it should be! Think about it: if the things which had the most potential to do you harm were entered at the bottom of the list, would you ever get to that part of the label? I wouldn’t. We’ve become ever more concerned in modern times about what we put into our bodies – and that’s good, because our bodies, we are told, are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Here’s where it gets intriguing: when we describe things that are of importance, don’t we all tend to put the most important things at the top of the list as we start writing or talking about them? I don’t know if that was the case when Jude wrote his brief letter or not, but in his letter, he includes a list of offenses that he described this way: “…certain people…who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These were false teachers who led weak Christians astray. Then he starts to list what their offenses were: These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

Did you notice what is at the top of Jude’s list? It’s not murderers, rapists, thieves or terrorists (yes, they had them in the first century, too). It’s grumblers and fault finders who are out for what they can get.

Does that describe you and me? We are a nation of critics – some people even make a living that way (movie critics, theater critics, fashion critics, music, art, books, restaurants, etc., etc.) I don’t make my living that way, but do I grumble and complain about traffic, prices, weather, the government, taxes, sports teams, how I’m being treated by someone, what I’m being paid? It’s still grumbling, isn’t it?

Why is grumbling ingredient #1 on Jude’s list? It is a sign of inner discontent. Complaining about something makes it public and infects others. In essence, my complaints and grumblings are an indictment against God’s character and goodness, saying He hasn’t treated me well, or fairly, and calling into question His sovereignty and providence. Remember why God punished the Israelites in the wilderness? It was because of their grumblings (1 Cor. 10.10). In Philippians we are told to do everything without complaining or arguing (Phil. 2:14-16), and in 1 Timothy 6:6, Paul goes on to encourage us that godliness with contentement is great gain.

How interesting that grumbling and complaining are at the top of the list, but when you see them as what they really are – indictments of God’s character – it makes sense.

How many times today have you grumbled and complained already? Too many – that’s my guess, but I’m guilty, too.  

PRAYER: God, I’m sorry for the many times I grumble and complain. Forgive my arrogance to call Your character, wisdom and sovereignty into question!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/02/17 – Longing to be Just A Little Bit Better

DayBreaks for 6/02/17: Longing to be Just a Little Bit Better

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Have you ever had your dreams shattered?  Have you wondered where God was when life became too much to bear?  Have you ever thought that if you had more in life you would get more out of life?

In his book, Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb wrote: “Satan’s masterpiece is not the prostitute or the skid-row bum. It is the self-sufficient person who has made life comfortable, who is adjusting well to the world and truly likes living here, a person who dreams of no better place to live, who longs only to be a little better—and a little better off—than he already is.”

When it comes to spiritual matters, we are destitute before God.  People who possess true joy are quick to admit and accept that they are dependent on God, not on their own wisdom, knowledge, looks, talent or strength.  Those with true joy yearn for a better relationship with Him in both the good and hard times – and they have found that joy to be rooted in the relationship itself, not in fulfilling worldly dreams. 

When we think it all depends on us, we’re miserable because if we fail, we’re responsible for our failure.  If we don’t get what we want, we think it must have been because we just didn’t try hard enough, and so we commit ourselves to trying even harder the next time.  It’s a treadmill of disappointment, resolve, determination, effort and more disappointment.  We just simply aren’t big enough to manage life alone.

Maybe you’re one of those people who is self-sufficient, self-confident to a fault.  You look back at the track record of your life and achievements (good or bad) and are pretty comfortable with and in your own skin.  It’s one thing to love being alive, but another thing entirely to like living here in this broken world.  Don’t you still have dreams of a better place?  Instead of just wanting to be a little bit better (and better off, as Crabb noted), wouldn’t you rather be born again to a new and living hope that will never perish?  You know that this world will someday end – and chances are that your life will end long before this world does.  What are you investing for eternity?

Matt. 5:3 KJV – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

PRAYER: Time and life are so short and out of our control, Lord.  Thank you that you are in control at all times and in all ways.  May your kingdom come quickly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/24/17 – The Shout of Victory!

DayBreaks for 5/24/17: The Shout of Victory

John 19:30 (NIV) – When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The final words of Jesus from the cross have often been misconstrued.  Some movies have pictured Christ, with uplifted eyes, croaking out softly, resignedly, “It is finished” and then bowing his head and dying.  I don’t believe that is an accurate picture at all, and here’s why: when we compare the four gospels we find a very interesting thing. The other three do not tell us that Jesus said, “It is finished.” But what they do tell us that he died with a great shout upon his lips.  John doesn’t speak of a great shout, but instead tells us that Jesus’ very last words were, “It is finished.”  We can safely conclude that the great shout and the words “It is finished,” are one and the same thing.  In Greek, “It is finished” is one word — tetelestai — and that’s what Jesus shouted.  It was no meek or resignedly defeated word that he spoke.  He didn’t say, “It is finished,” in weary defeat; he shouted it out just like a person shouts for joy because the victory is won!  He seemed to be broken on the Cross, but he was NOT!  He was victorious on the cross!
Just in case you think I might be wrong, there’s another strong clue that makes this concept even more certain.  John says that Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit. The word that John uses is the word that was often used to describe someone setting their head back upon a pillow and entering into rest.  For Jesus the strife was over and the battle was won; and even on the Cross he knew the joy of victory and the well-deserved rest of one who has completed his task and can lean back, content and at peace.

What a wonderful picture – not of a quiet, broken Jesus on the cross, but of one who knows that it is finished, that it has been finished well, that it will never have to be repeated again.  The price for my sin has ALL been paid!

Do you believe that? That everything that it took for you to be saved and forgiven is finished? That there’s nothing more that you can add to make it more sure? That there’s nothing more that God needs to do for it to be true? That you, too, can rest your head knowing that it is all finished? Maybe the next time we get discouraged in our walk and relationship with Jesus, we would do well to shout out, “It is finished!”

PRAYER:  Will we ever really grasp the victory that was won on Your cross, Lord?  We hang our heads in shame that you had to pay such a price for us, yet we lift our eyes to you in gratitude and wonder for your love.  May we echo your words, “It is finished!” regarding our sinfulness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.