DayBreaks for 6/05/17 – What To Do With Believers

DayBreaks for 6/05/17: What to Do With Believers

First, let me say that 20 years ago yesterday (6/04/97) marked the first ever DayBreaks. I thought about re-sharing the first DayBreaks I ever sent out, but decided against it. Instead, I just want to say this: I never expected DayBreaks would last so long. There have been times I’ve debated whether or not it was time to stop, but I never sensed a clear direction from the Lord to do that, so for now, we’ll continue on. But even more than that, I’ve come to love many of you who have written over the years, shared parts of your life (good and bad) with me as you wrote and told me your stories. I am humbled and honored at your trust. In addition, some of my best friends have come through DayBreaks – and I shall cherish our friendship and relationship as long as I live. Thank you to all who have shared this journey with me!

From the DayBreaks archive, June 5 ,2007:

An article I recently read by Mark Buchanan made an interesting observation about Jonah chapter 1 and Acts, chapters 27 and 28.  Both of those passages tell the story of a God-worshipper who is on board a ship, surrounded by unbelievers.  In both cases, a violent storm blows up on the sea and the “mighty ship was tossed” (to borrow a line from Gilligan’s Island!)  So severe was the storm in both cases, that the crew reached a conclusion that they would rather have not reached: all the cargo on the ship would need to be thrown overboard.  It wasn’t a case of their profits going up in smoke, but of their profits going down to Davey Jones’ locker.  But, at least in the case of Jonah, he was considered “cargo”.  Somehow, the pagans felt this disaster in the making was due to someone who had offended the gods, and Jonah was singled out. 

Remember: Jonah is on board because he’s fleeing from God.  When confronted by the pagan sailors, he’s boastful about himself and disdainful toward them.  As it turns out, there’s only one way for those pagans to survive the storm: they have to get rid of the God-worshiper – they have to throw him overboard.  And they do just that.

Not so in Acts.  There, the apostle Paul is on board the ship precisely because he has been following God.  He’s a prisoner of Rome, on his way via ship to be tried in front of Caesar, but even more important, he’s a man on a mission sent from heaven, who has been being obedient to that calling.  When the pagan sailors panic, Paul is wise, humble, and helpful – quite the opposite of his predecessor, Jonah.  Paul lets those terrified shipmates know that he cares deeply for them.  It turns out, there’s only one way for those pagans to survive the storm: they have to put the God-worshiper, the one who showed concern for them, in charge.

The point that Buchanan draws is this: the more that we genuinely care for the people in this storm-wracked world—the less we boast and denounce, the more we bless and serve—the more they will let us – and the Jesus we serve – into their lives and lives and souls will be redeemed and saved!

PRAYER: May we be the kind of God worshippers that You are pleased with.  May we answer Your call, may we be meek and humble, may we care and not denounce unnecessarily!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/01/17 – Run to the Rock!

Rafting on the American River (above).

DayBreaks for 6/01/17: Run to the Rock!

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Psalms 61:2 (NIV) – From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

On the 19th of this month, I had a new experience: I went white-water rafting with some other fellows from our church.  We were on the South Fork of the American River, above Sacramento.  It was a LOT of fun!  The water flow was high and rapid and it was a great time of fellowship and fun.

Before we began our white-water adventure, the guides went though a great deal of instruction in order to be sure we’d be as safe as possible.  We received directions about how to get someone back into the boat in case they fell out, about what to do with your feet if you fell out (keep them up, not down as they could catch between rocks and you’d be pulled under!), and what we were to do if the float raft slammed up against a rock. 

Now, it is rather counter-intuitive, but if you see your boat being swept into a large rock, what would your first reaction be?  Most people would instinctively move away from the side of the boat that will be struck by the rock.  They want to get as far away as possible from the edge that will soon be kissing granite!  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  But it’s the wrong thing to do.  Instead, everyone was instructed that if it happened, the thing to remember was this: run to the rock.  With all the weight on the high side of the boat, it won’t flip over, but if everyone went to the side below the rock, it would surely tip and everyone would be overboard. 

It struck us that we should “run to the rock” because it has obvious spiritual parallels.  Jesus, we are told, is the Rock.  He is the one to whom we should run for safety.  It may not be intuitive, in fact, we may be tempted to run to things we can see, taste, hear, smell or touch instead of a God Who is a Spirit.  But in times of trouble, if we want our little boat to stay afloat and not get dumped out into the swirling waters of life, remember: “Run to the Rock!”

PRAYER: Lord, help us to remember that there is no place that is safer than to be as close to You as possible.  Give us the wisdom, and the spiritual insight, to run to the rock!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/31/17 – It’s An Impossible Thing

DayBreaks for 5/31/17: It’s An Impossible Thing

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Daniel 2:10-11 (NLT) – The astrologers replied to the king, “There isn’t a man alive who can tell Your Majesty his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer!  This is an impossible thing the king requires. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live among people.

Nebuchadnezzar’s request was totally out of line with reality.  He not only wanted to know the meaning of the dream, he didn’t want to tell his advisors about the dream.  Putting myself in their place, I, too, would rant against the impossible and unreasonable request.  Life seems to make unfair demands upon us all the time.  Sometimes it is people who make the demands, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where every option and choice seems unfair.  The astrologers had it right – there isn’t a man alive who could tell them the dream…or so they thought.  Daniel was alive.  What can we learn from this?

FIRST: we think we’ve got our arms around situations and we think we know more than we really do.  They immediately concluded that what was being asked was impossible for any human.  They were right insofar as a human on his/her own couldn’t do anything to answer the king’s request.  This is what so often happens when God is taken out of the picture.  Our world faces seemingly impossible challenges – what about global warming?  What will we do when the oil runs out?  What can be done to stop diseases in this day of rapid travel?  How do we stem the tide of violence, greed, drugs and brokenness that we see all around us?  Some look to politicians for answers to these dilemmas, but they should take a page out of the astrologer’s book: “No man alive” can do these impossible things (even if they say they are the only person who can!)

SECOND: unfair things happen.  There’s not much we can do about them.  We should probably expect them, and while we may protest against them, in the final analysis, we didn’t ask for the situation nor do we have answers for it.  Such, as they say, is life.

THIRDLY: when God is put back into the picture, the impossible becomes possible.  And with Him in the picture, while we may still protest the unfairness, we can also understand that God’s hand has permitted it.

The astrologers, and our culture, desperately needed answers.  Sadly, neither look to the right place for them.  If our culture needs anything, it needs Jesus.  Some argue for putting the 10 Commandments back into the mainstream of life, arguing that if we could post them in schools and court houses, city buildings and corporate centers, then the “good life” would return and our country would get back on track.  While I agree it is sad and tragic that God’s words are banned from public places, simply displaying them won’t make a bit of difference.  God Himself, in the person of Christ, is the answer.  The indwelling Spirit of God, the Lamb of the World engraved on our hearts, is what America and the world need, not the 10 commandments or any other such list.  We need the change that comes only from within the human heart – that starts there and that changes what it finds there.  It is impossible for men to make the change in culture for one reason – we can’t even make the change in ourselves.  It is impossible for any person to do so – but let’s not make the mistake the astrologers did and forget that there is a God who can do all things that we humans find impossible.

PRAYER: Lord, today we’ll be faced with situations that, at the very least, don’t seem to be fair!  Help us to not think we know more than we do about such things, let us realize that even in the midst of unfair situations, we are still called to be and act like Your children, and let us never give up hope that You will act in due time.  Help us to be like the astrologers insomuch as we will never foolishly place our trust in man.  May we rest in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 5/29/17: Big Things With Small, Still Voices

DayBreaks for 5/29/17: Big Things With Small, Still Voices

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Job 38:4-7 (NIV) – Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Psalms 19:1-2 (NIV) – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

From The Scrivener blog by Doug Dalrymple, 4/20/07:

“Quite literally, as it turns out – the sun is singing: snagging orchestra seats for this solar symphony would be fruitless, however, as the frequency of the sound waves is below the human hearing threshold. While humans can make out sounds between 20 and 20,000 hertz, the solar sound waves are on the order of milli-hertz—a thousandth of a hertz.”

We know that whales sing and birds sing, and well, even some of us humans try to sing with varying degrees of success.  Dogs bark, cats meow, rivers roar and even the heavenly objects, so Scripture says, “sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” 

When did all this happen?  We might be tempted to think that it happened before the fall of Satan and the realization of evil in the created universe.  After all, wouldn’t it make sense that God’s glorious creation would praise him?  Should we be so arrogant to think that only humans and angels can do so?  It may be true that they sang for joy at the creation and before the fall, for we’re also told through the word that the entire creation now groans and travails in pain, awaiting deliverance that will some day surely come!

But in the meantime, if we’re quiet enough for long enough, you’ll still hear singing.  You’ll hear it with your ears as the animals, wind and sea sing, you’ll hear it with your heart as you look up at the starry canvas on a warm summer night.  And, for those who have ears to hear, we can hear it in the sub-human range of the song of the sun and other stars that sang in the very beginning. 

It’s interesting that something as huge as the sun has such a small voice.  We’d expect it to be huge – a mighty roar as the gasses combust and the flares soar.  But it is a sound too low for us to even hear!  And, as I think about it, perhaps that’s how it really should be anyway.  The voice of God on the mountain was so mighty that people feared Him and fled.  But that’s not his only voice: he also spoke in a whisper to Samuel as a young boy, and in my own personal favorite – he spoke to Elijah in a “still small voice”, that literally translated is something like the sound of falling snow.  As Doug put it: “There’s just something marvelous about big, big things with still, small voices.”

When we were little, our dads were big, but when they pulled us close in their powerful arms and we heard the song, “I love you!” come pouring from their lips, it was marvelous.  And now, with my earthly father gone some 20 years, I’m enthralled when I hear God’s voice, through Jesus, saying, “I love you, son.  I’m so proud of you.  I’ll never let you down!  You’re safe here with Me.”

Big Things with small voices, indeed!

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the music of the spheres and for the song of love that You sing to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 5/23/17 – The Face of Everyman

DayBreaks for 5/23/17: The Face of Everyman

John 19:33-37 (NIV) But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.  These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

And so the soldiers and the on-lookers witnessed the piercing of Jesus with the spear.  It is true that they did not break Jesus’ legs.  The Passover lamb from the OT had to be perfect – without any flaw.  In the preparation of the lamb for the sacrifice, the lamb was not to be mutilated any more than was absolutely necessary for the sacrifice.  It was offered to God and was to be protected from any unnecessary mutilation.  Of course, that was a foreshadowing of Christ – and the ancient passages that had been prophecies about the sacrifice of the Messiah included one that said not a bone of his would be broken.  What’s the point?  Simply this: we must remember that God in heaven, the eternal Father and lover of His only begotten Son, could apparently tolerate only so much…he would not permit his Son to be unnecessarily mutilated – nothing more than was necessary.  We might argue and think that Christ was horribly mutilated by the scourging, the beating, by bearing his cross from the city to the hill of Calvary, by the nails and crown of thorns, and by the spear in his side.  In fact, the great prophet Isaiah had written in Isaiah 52:14 (NLT) – “Many were amazed when they saw him—beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person.” 

This, too, was a prophecy about the suffering the Messiah would endure.  So how can we look at this passage from Isaiah which says Jesus was so badly mauled in his suffering and crucifixion that he was hardly recognizable as a man and how can we reconcile that with the words that say that the lamb was not to be mutilated any more than was absolutely necessary?  There’s only one way that I can think of, and it horrifies me: ALL that Jesus suffered on the cross and leading up to it was ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.  It wasn’t necessary because Jesus deserved it – but because we deserved it.  It wasn’t his own beating that he endured – Isaiah chapter 53 makes it clear that it was our punishment he bore: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Every lash of the whip, every blow of the fist, every moment of pain, every fall of the hammer – every last one of them were absolutely necessary, for God would permit no more.  A couple more thoughts on this passage:

  1. Why was it necessary that Christ should be so beaten and disfigured that he was barely recognizable as a human being? I’m not sure, I can only speculate. But in his death, if he had been recognizable as himself, with his own distinct features still clearly visible, his face would not be that of every man…he would still be someone distinct.  But by having his features nearly wiped off his face, he bore the image of degraded, disfigured Everyman.
  2. The soldiers and lookie-loo’s saw Jesus, the one they had pierced, but we, too shall see him – and when we do, we shall realize that we, too, pierced him. We pierced him on the cross by the sin of our hatred and rebellion to God, we pierce his heart of love every day when we sin against the love of God and His will. And the day will come when we, too, shall lift up our eyes and see the One we pierced.  What we see in return will depend on what we’ve done with Jesus in this life – if we’ve confessed our sinfulness and asked His forgiveness – letting him be the Lord of our life, or on the other hand, if we proudly refuse to bow the knee and ask his forgiveness, we will not be happy to see him.

May I always be reminded that my eyes, too, shall look upon the one that they, and I, have pierced, and that he looks upon me.

PRAYER: Forgive us, Jesus.  We know not what we do.  Thank you for such love, grace and mercy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 5/17/17 – The Immanent or the Greater

Image result for fiery furnace

DayBreaks for 5/17/17: The Immanent or the Greater

Thanks to some writing by Mark Labberton, I’ve been fascinated again with the childhood story of Shadrach, Mescheh and Abednego.  I shared some insights in a DayBreaks before, but here’s one a friend had that I think is worth sharing.

I wrote before about how these young men had to discern the real danger when confronted with the choice of worshipping the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had built.  They had to decide for themselves if the greatest danger was in bowing down and worshipping the idol or in not worshipping the real and living God. 

As Hebrews, these three had been well versed in the 10 commandments, and I’m sure, could easily recite them by heart.  So, for them to truly be tempted to worship an idol, well, it probably wasn’t really a temptation for them at all.  Saving their lives might have been a temptation, but they certainly knew it was wrong to worship an idol.  But, here’s the thing: they believed that worshipping anything other than Yahweh was a greater risk and danger than worshipping the idol, however sometimes the immediate or immanent danger seems greater than the far off danger.  Even though they knew what was right and wrong, and they knew in their hearts that failure to be true to Yahweh was the greater danger, the heat from the fire was pressing against their skin, making itself felt RIGHT NOW, and the danger from not worshipping Yahweh probably seemed a long way off.

We are often tempted to compromise for a couple of reasons: we want immediate pleasure rather than delayed gratification, or we want to avoid the immediacy of pain and suffering.  The latter is just as dangerous as the first – and both can be deadly.

Is there some immediate suffering that you can foresee in your life that you’ve been wrestling with and trying to avoid by some compromise?  Are you thinking that you can set the record straight with God at some later point?  That’s very dangerous reasoning.  Remember the words of the writer to the Hebrews: (Hebrews 10:31, NLT) It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

PRAYER: In our foolishness, Lord, we often forget that it may be better to suffer now than to fall into Your hands later.  Give us courage and open our eyes to understand that just because one kind of suffering may be more immediate, that it doesn’t mean it is the greatest suffering we could encounter.  Let us have no other gods before You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 4/27/17 – The Real Danger

DayBreaks for 4/27/17 – The Real Danger

Note: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

As a child, I was fascinated by the story of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego.  My mind would swim with images and imaginings of what it looked like, of the sounds of the roaring furnace, of the great king Nebuchadnezzar in all his finery as the music blared and the masses bowed down.  That is, they bowed down with the exception of three people: the Hebrew boys otherwise known as Azariah, Mishael and Hananiah. 

I always thought that this was a story about idolatry.  I’d always thought that the temptation they faced was to worship the golden idol of the Babylonian king.  After all, that’s how I remember the story from the flannel graphs that my Sunday school teacher used to help us “see” the stories.  It is only recently that I believe God opened my eyes to a more significant truth.  The story is about idolatry, all right, but the idol that the young men were being tempted to worship wasn’t really the 90-foot tall golden sculpture. 

No, the real test was one about worship.  What would be worshipped?  They’d been taught as Jewish children that “the Lord our God is One” and that “No one is like the Lord our God.”  They knew full well that He was the only One who was worthy of worship.  The idol that these boys were confronted with – and which they were tempted to bow down and worship – was themselves, their earthly lives.  If they worshipped the idol, they’d save their lives – if they didn’t, they might lose their lives.

Would these three young men be wise enough to recognize which was the greater danger: to die in a fiery furnace, or to worship and esteem something else (even if it is your physical life) higher than the worship of God is idolatry?

We are our own greatest idol.  We need to cast aside the idol of self that leads us to hoard money, love, compassion, wisdom, possessions, pleasures.  Even if it comes to laying down our lives in order to worship God, doesn’t God have a right to ask that of us?  Of course He does. 

Do you recognize your own self-worship and idolatry?  Every time we choose our way, our dreams, our own joys rather than His, we are bowing down to the idol of self-worship.

PRAYER:  Father, help us to recognize our idolatry and our self worship.  Give us the wisdom to be able to discern the greatest danger – the danger of not giving you the worship and glory that you alone deserve.  Tear down our idols of self-interest that we may be true worshippers!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.