DayBreaks for 8/30/18 – An Excellent Question

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DayBreaks for 8/30/18: An Excellent Question

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I love a good question!  Good questions (and many DayBreaks readers have posed some really good ones to me in the past 11 years!) make one think!  And thinking is good, methinks!

It turns out that Blaise Pascal, a 17th century mathematician, philosopher and theologian, had a pretty good noggin and thought some pretty deep thoughts.  And, he asked some excellent questions. 

I have noticed in my life that no matter how good things are, or how happy I may be, that there always still seems to be something missing.  Even at my most happiest moments, there is an aching inside my heart that tells me that there is an absence that hasn’t been filled.  Why is that? 

That’s one of the things that Pascal wrestled with, too (hey – I’m in good company!), but he came up with an explanation for it that is worth pondering.  In the manner of great thinkers, he posed his answer in the form of a question so that we could wrestle with it on our own.  He said (paraphrasing): Do you miss something you’ve never had?  Here’s an example: have you ever grieved the loss of being able to fly?  No – while you may wish you could fly, it’s not something you’ve ever been able to do, so you can’t grieve the loss of it.  Have you ever grieved losing your third eye, or a third leg or arm?  No.  Why?  Because you’ve never had them to start with. 

But we do grieve a loss that we feel inside, this nameless and relentless longing for something that we no longer have.  And what is it that we are missing?  I think there are probably several things that we did once have, but which we have lost:

FIRST: innocence.  We were born and formed in the womb as innocent beings, but all too soon we lost our innocence and we grieve that loss.  Shame and guilt took the place of that initial innocence – and they stick with us!

SECOND: the full image of God that we were meant to bear was lost when we sinned.  We were meant to be more like Him than we are – surely Adam and Eve knew what this image was like when they walked and talked in the garden with God – being to being, in sinlessness.  We can’t do that in the same way now that they did – at least, not until we depart this world.

THIRD: the awareness of His Presence, heaven and home.  We came from God.  I don’t know where our souls were before we were conceived, or if they were created at that moment, but this I do know: we have a longing for a better place.  Where could that longing have come from if it were not implanted into our awareness by God?  Why would He do such a thing?  As a beacon, it calls us back to our true home and our true Father. 

Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NIV) – I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

PRAYER:  Lord, you have put eternity in our hearts and we don’t comprehend it.  But we have a longing for Home, for our True Father.  May we follow that yearning beacon to Your (and our!) heavenly home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 8/15/18 – Singleness of Heart

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DayBreaks for 8/15/18: Singleness of Heart

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Every so often it seems that an individual, or group of people (even as large as a nation at times), gets it into their head to do something and they are driven to do it.  Such was the case with Kennedy’s challenge to put men on the moon by the end of the ‘60’s.  If some of our politicians who are running for office today are to be believed, we can do all sorts of things if we just decide to do it. 

I’m not quite as convinced.  While the elimination of hunger and poverty are good and worthy goals and we all should work as hard as we can towards those ends, Jesus himself said that “the poor will always be with you.”  And how about eliminating war?  Scripture says that in the end times there will be wars and rumors of wars.  How I wish it were not the case, but it is. 

Still, it is fascinating to read of wholehearted human endeavor—amazing stories of total dedication and commitment to a cause or purpose.  For example, the U.S. Marines have a super secret sniper program that is run out of Quantico, Virginia.  The sniper school admits 25 people for an eight-week course consisting of 16-hour days of training and practice.  Very few who enter the program will pass.  To graduate, each must go on a mock mission into a well-defined area where instructors search for the sniper.  If they can find him, they can fail him.

To get within range of the target, the sniper may have to move forward at a rate of only one inch per hour.  They may sit or lay in position for days – absolutely still, despite cold, rain, insect bites, and fear.  No one gets out of the Marine Corps sniper school without singleness of heart.

We expect that kind of intensity from Olympic champions, concert pianists, neurosurgeons and everyone else at the highest levels of human achievement.  Somehow, we’ve gotten it into our head that since our God is a very loving and forgiving God (very true) who wants no one to be lost (also very true!), that we can have a lukewarm commitment and dedication to Him.  Not so.  God expects single-mindedness and complete dedication when we come back to Him.  God deserves such singleness of heart because He is God! 

Sadly, many intend to come back to God—sometime.  But they may well fail because their intention never becomes intense.

How committed to living as godly of a life as possible are you?  What can you offer as proof and evidence of that kind of single-hearted dedication?

Jeremiah 29:13-14 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.

PRAYER: Our hearts and minds are so easily distracted, Lord!  Help us to have single vision – and to focus that vision on the cross!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/7/18 – Words Are Loaded Pistols

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DayBreaks for 8/07/18: Words Are Loaded Pistols

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Have you been described as a person of many words?  Most of us are more afflicted with the running-off-at-the-mouth disease than closed-mouth disease.  We like to hear ourselves talk, probably because we think we have something worth saying.  Sometimes that is true, but sometimes, perhaps most often, it’s a delusion. 

Did you know that on October 14, 1912, the life of outspoken and energetic presidential candidate, Theodore Roosevelt was saved by his many words? 

Roosevelt had just completed one term as our nation’s president, and was reapplying with the voters for the job.  As he left his hotel in Milwaukee on that particular day, he stuffed his thick, wordy campaign speech in his breast pocket.  He was soon confronted by a gun-toting bartender who fired at rough-and-tumble Teddy, hoping that Roosevelt would suffer the same fate as his predecessor, President McKinley, who’d been assassinated.  The bullet did crack one of Roosevelt’s ribs, but the thickness of his speech probably saved him from death as the bullet struck the large sheaf of paper that he’d put into his pocket shortly before.

While many words were life-saving in this one incident, generally the more words you spit out, the more trouble you bring on your own head.  Jean Paul Sartre once wisely observed, “Words are loaded pistols.”  Now, just in case you don’t like what Sartre had to say on the topic, your Creator dispensed this sage perspective: When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Prov. 10:19, NIV).

“Words are loaded pistols.” Indeed they are. They can protect and defend, but they can also maim and kill.

Words—choose them carefully.  Spend them carefully.  And make sure you err on the side of saying too little rather than too much.  Your life might be at stake.

Matthew 12:36-37 (NIV) – But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

PRAYER:  Help us Lord, to be people of few words.  May the words we speak be Your Words, not ours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/24/18 – The Original Truth

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DayBreaks for 7/24/18: The Original Truth

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to emails. 

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

Our assumptions and preconceptions are powerful things.  They can keep us from seeing truth that is right in front of our eyes because we try to interpret what we see in self-fulfilling ways so that it matches what we expect to see. 

From the time we were born and became aware of good versus evil, we’ve known we possessed not just the ability to do bad things, but that we’ve actually done them.  And somewhere, deep down inside, most of us know we still have even deeper capabilities for evil inside us than we’ve been guilty of committing.  We view ourselves as sinners, and justifiably so.  And we label ourselves “sinners” – at least if we’re Christians we do.  We should.  We are.

But we can easily get the wrong perspective on what we really were meant to be.  When God created Adam and Eve, He pronounced them “very good”.  How long did Adam and Eve wander through the garden with God, in direct personal relationship?  How long did it take Adam to name the animals even before Eve arrived on the scene?  I would imagine that took some period of time, wouldn’t you?  How long was it after Adam’s creation that God made Eve?  I don’t know…but this much is clear from a close reading of the creation account: there was some period of time that took place before the Fall.  And that is very significant!

Why?  It means that we were not created sinners.  We were not created in the image of a sinner, or in the image of Satan, the father of lies.  We were created in the image of God.  That is the most significant truth about us – not that we are sinners.  We were created in HIS image, His image of perfection, and for some glorious period of time in Eden, mankind was sinless and must have reveled in the glory of a sinless being created in the image of his Creator. 

You see, what we now are is not what we were meant to be.  We were created to be more, to be better, than we are.  And some day we will once again be more than we are, when Jesus completes his work of making “all things new.”  We will be restored to what we were meant to be – we will once more be sinless and freed from the effects of the fall, and the deepest truth about us will once again be the most visible truth about us: we are made in His image!

PRAYER:  God, thank You for the glory You created us to be and experience.  May we not become so discouraged by our sin that we believe the greatest truth about is us our sinfulness rather than that we bear Your image.  We long to be all You meant for us to be.  Thank You for the promise that all that was lost will be regained through Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/16/18 – In the House of the Tiger

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DayBreaks for 7/16/18: In the House of the Tiger

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

It was just about two weeks ago that I was sent some pictures of an incredible home on the shore by the ocean.  I mean, this was a palace!  Spectacular.  Mesmerizing.  Indescribable.  And I must admit, there was something that was stirred deep inside me as I sit here in my little office in our little home (1264 square feet, or so I’m told) that made envy rise in me like a cobra ready to strike.  I thought to myself, “Wow.  I’d love to have a place like that!”  But that wasn’t the envy part – the envy part came when I began to think, “It’s not fair that they should have a home like that!  The probably don’t even know the Lord.  Why did they get blessed like that while I’m sitting out the California summer in a home that’s not even air conditioned?!”  Envy is subtle, and deadly, indeed.

It just so happens that the home I became envious of is apparently the home of Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin.  (And yes, I am envious of Tiger’s golf game, too!)  Every now and then, I’ll receive something like that in email – it may be Tiger’s house, or the home of the Sultan of Brunei or some other incredible place, and I feel badly.  I feel badly that I can’t give my wife a home like that (along with the requisite helpers to take care of the place, of course).  I start to think how wonderful it would be to have the use of such a place for even one night.  But in reality, I know that would only make me long for it even more.

I shouldn’t worship houses.  I shouldn’t worship golf swings.  But there’s a part of me that does, God have mercy on me and forgive me, please! 

I know that I’m not alone.  But what can help me get past such longings?  There’s a passage that I try to remind myself of when I start to envy others: (Ps. 73:3-17, NIV) – For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.  They say, “How can God know?  Does the Most High have knowledge?”  This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.  All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Please understand: I don’t know Tiger and Elin personally, and I am not saying that they are evil or wicked.  They may know Christ as their Savior – in point of fact, I hope and pray that they do.  The point remains: when I enter the sanctuary of God, I understand not only their final destiny, but mine.  We are on equal terms.  And, even if they do know God, my mansion in heaven will make their earthly home look like a pile of refuse.  God has already promised that to us.  All I have to do is wait for that (and I do understand that the greatest blessings in heaven will not be material ones at all!) 

Remember the final destiny, and rejoice, “for great is your reward in heaven!”

PRAYER:  Forgive my heart, Lord, for its envy.  Let me remain always in your sanctuary so I never lose sight of final destinies.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/29/18 – Three Reasons

 

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DayBreaks for 6/29/18: Three Reasons

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

When was the last time that someone did something that made you feel unimportant?  Chances are that it was fairly recently. It may have been the way you were treated by a co-worker or a boss.  It may have been the fact that your spouse didn’t greet you warmly when you got home last night.  It might even be that your dog wouldn’t even give you a warm sendoff as you went out the door this morning!  (You know it’s getting bad when your dog shines you on!)  Some were raised by parents who made them feel worthless – like human trash.

It is easy to get down on ourselves.  We grew up in a school system where our mistakes were pointed out.  Have you ever noticed how it is the errors on the page that are marked and counted instead of the right answers?  We might feel better about ourselves if the positive things we did were highlighted instead of the mistakes we made!

I ran across a quote from Lorne Sanny, the long-time head of the Navigators that I think is worth sharing.  It has a very biblical answer to the question of why we are important and valued by God.  Here it is:

“I can give you three reasons why you are important to God:

First, simply because of who you are;

Second, because of what you cost, and;

Third, because of what you can become.”

Who are we?  We are the pinnacle of God’s creation  –  made in His very image.  It was only after God made man on the sixth day of creation that He was moved to declare that what He’d done was VERY good (Gen. 1:31).  Everything else that He’d made up to then only rated “It is good.”  Mankind, however, was something else!  Psalm 8:5-6 says we were made only slightly lower than the angels, we’re crowned with glory and honor and we are charged as rulers over the works of His hands!

What did we cost?  You know the answer to that one already.  We were purchased not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with the blood of the Son of God (1 Peter 1.18-19).  In this age of multi-billion dollar mega-mergers and huge corporate buyouts we are somewhat dulled to the scope of the finances involved.  Yet not one corporate CEO or president has yet bought out their enemies by literally bleeding to death for them.  Why?  The cost is too great.

What can you become?  You can become like a bright star in God’s heavenly galaxy (Phil. 2:5); a partaker in the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); a pillar in God’s temple (Rev. 3:12); like a tree besides fresh waters (Ps. 1:3); and certainly not least, His son or daughter (Rev. 21:7).

Never let anyone tell you that you are not important or valuable.  God begs to differ!

PRAYER:  We often feel so small and insignificant in this vast universe that was created by Your hands.  When we feel useless and insignificant, help us to remember that truth that You find us precious and that we are important in Your eyes!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/28/18: I Could Have Been Free

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DayBreaks for 6/28/18: I Could Have Been Free

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

Dr. Ramesh Richard was the final speaker at Promise Keepers in Fresno.  He talked about living a Godly legacy, and he told a story about a man in Alabama who was imprisoned for a crime and given a life sentence.  The man had been wrongly convicted but was in jail serving time.  Over the course of the years while he was in prison, he tried three times to escape but was recaptured each time.  Finally, after many years had passed, the original conviction was overturned.  However, in Alabama, there is a law that says that if you are serving a life sentence and have tried 3 times to escape, that you are automatically sentenced to another life sentence.  As the man said after learning about this law: “I could have been free if I hadn’t run.” 

When a prisoner attempts an escape and goes on the run, they don’t usually end up finding the one-armed man that was guilty of the crime (remember The Fugitive?).  They usually end up getting caught and more time is added because of the escape attempt.  As attractive as running may seem, it is costly.  In the case of the Alabama man, it may cost him the rest of the years of his life.

Think about that in a spiritual light for just a moment.  What usually happens to men and women when they have committed some sin?  Do they typically come running to God or do they run from Him?  There is a part of us, like Adam and Eve demonstrated in the garden, that runs from God when we have done something wrong.  And you know what?  That is exactly the WRONG way to run.  Instead of running from God, we should run to him and take the discipline He has to give us.  Instead of running and trying to pretend that nothing is wrong, we need to be in His Presence, heads bowed and seek His forgiveness.  Then we can be free, but not until. 

Perhaps you’ve been running from God.  Moses tried to run from God with his excuses about why he wasn’t the man God wanted.  Jonah tried to run from God and found that he couldn’t find freedom in that direction.  Perhaps you are running from His calling for your life.  You’ll never find freedom as long as you are running.  Perhaps you are running because of sin that you don’t want to face up to because you’re afraid the discipline will be more than you can bear.  It won’t be.  God disciplines, yes, but He loves you and will not break you (Isa. 42:3): A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice…  Perhaps you are running from making a commitment to the Lord and giving Him your life.  What a tragedy it will be when someday you stand before His throne and say to yourself, “I could have been free if I hadn’t run.”

PRAYER:  Let us run to You, Lord, and cast ourselves on Your great mercy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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