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.

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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.

DayBreaks for 6/27/18 – Buying an Occupied Field from Prison

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DayBreaks for 6/27/18: Buying an Occupied Field from Prison

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

The year was 586 B.C. and Jerusalem was being threatened with obliteration.  Eleven years earlier, the Babylonians had sacked the city and led the cream of the crop of the residents away into captivity across 700 miles of scorching desert.  In the intervening years, those left behind in Jerusalem grew restive, then began to plot how they might be able to throw off the yoke of Babylonian rule.  The people believed that if they could only get Egypt to fight with them, then they’d be freed…at least from Babylon.  So, Egypt agreed to help. 

When the Babylonians heard of the plot, they were very angry, and their army again marched against the city.  Egypt turned tail and ran, realizing they would be defeated and had nothing to gain in the looming fight.  Israel stood alone against the full fury of Babylon. 

Jeremiah, the prophet of God, was in prison.  He had been falsely accused of conspiring with the Babylonians and the people of Jerusalem were tired of hearing his preaching about their need of repentance.  One day, while imprisoned, Jeremiah’s cousin, Hanamel, showed up and asked Jeremiah if he’d buy Hanamel’s field that just so happened to be located in Jeremiah’s home town of Anathoth.  Jeremiah didn’t waste one minute – but counted out 17 shekels, had a deed drawn up and set aside for safe keeping.  Oh, and there’s one more thing you should know about this strange deal: at the time, the army of Babylon was camped on the very property that Hanamel was trying selling to his cousin, Jeremiah.  Jeremiah knew that, but bought the land anyway.

As far as we know, Jeremiah never set foot on the land he’d bought, never built upon it, neither planted nor harvested any crop from that land.  Jeremiah, when he bought it, had no idea if he’d ever be a free man again.  So, what possessed him to buy this piece of property?  God told him to, and that was all Jeremiah needed.  Jeremiah knew and understood something that everyone else seemed to have forgotten: God is as good as His word.  And God had said that the Jews would one day buy fields and build houses and raise crops, that those who were exiled would return.  Jeremiah believed those words, and he acted on the hope that beat in his heart.

Why?  Jeremiah, unlike the rest of the people in Jerusalem, had hope.  He wasn’t filled with wishful thinking.  One key difference is that hope results in action while wishful thinking is just that: sitting and thinking.  Jeremiah wanted to participate in the plan of God for His people and by buying the field, he gave wings to his hope – and gave hope to many others who witnessed this strange man acting in a strange way, as if saying, “I know the Babylonians are on the land, I know I’m imprisoned by my own people and I don’t know if I’ll ever be set free, but I know God and I want to be part of His unfolding plan for His people.”

Hope acts.  Hope is infectious.  Hope won’t let us sit still when we see God at work.  How’s your hope?

PRAYER:  God our Father, in a dark age fill our hearts with hope like Jeremiah’s and let us realize that You are at work here, that though the enemy may be camped against Your church, that Your plan will not be defeated for the world, for the church, or for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/21/18 – Before and Now

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DayBreaks for 5/21/18: Before and Now

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

Through some recent reading, I’ve been led to contemplate the importance of the human concept of our origins.  I know the Biblical concept: man was made in the very image of God.  We come from Him, we are to live for Him, and we will some day return to Him – and at that time we’ll all have to give an answer for how we lived in this world (Heb. 9:27). 

It’s quite a different story if you reject the idea of creation and of the existence of a Divine Being.  Without believing in a Divinely ordained destiny for all of creation (including mankind), you are left to believe that everything is the product of chance and mathematical probabilities.  It means that you were born for no reason other than a chance meeting of reproductive materials.  It means that your life has no teleos – no goal toward which it is moving.  It means that when you die, it’s done, period, over and out. 

Jeremiah, at one point in his life, had an encounter with God that reveals the fallacy of such thinking.  In Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV), he wrote these words: The word of the LORD came to me, saying,  ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’”

God told Jeremiah wonderful things: “I knew you before you were even formed in the womb.  I didn’t just know that you were going to be, but I knew YOU.”  How could it be that God knew Jeremiah even before he was conceived?  It can only be that God had plans for a particular person (Jeremiah), and that God quite literally knew him.  That was the “before” in Jeremiah’s life.  And it was through understanding that he had a “before”, and a call for the present (he was consecrated) and that there was a purpose for his life (he was given as a prophet to the nations), that Jeremiah found meaning.  It is the “before” that gives the “now” meaning.

God didn’t just know Jeremiah before he was born.  He knew all of us.  David says that God knew every day that was appointed for him to live before he was born, that every thought he’d ever have and word he’d speak was known before he literally had a single thought.  In Ephesians, the great apostle Paul says that God chose us before the foundation of the world. 

What does all this mean for you and I?  It means that there is a definite purpose for our lives and that we are not to think our lives are meaningless, directionless and without value.  It means we don’t have to scurry around trying to find, or even to create, some kind of answers to life.  Instead, we can go to God to discover the reason and truth of our existence.   

Is it any wonder that there is so much despair among those who don’t know Christ?

PRAYER: Fill us, Lord, with the confidence that comes from knowing our before and how that shapes our now and directs our future.  Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/15/18 – Things Remembered

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DayBreaks for 5/15/18: Things Remembered

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

The smell of a basement, or an in-ground pump house.  The scent of an orange grove snaking its way through the refreshing breeze.  Sights.  Sounds.  The feel of humidity on the skin. 

I used to live in Florida a long time ago.  I’ve lived there twice in fact.  Once when I was just a young boy in the 4th grade, and again after graduating from high school when I went to Florida to attend college.  This past week, I spent time in central Florida, sight-seeing and enjoying what there was to be explored.  I saw things I’d never seen before, which I always find fascinating, and I learned things that I’d not known before, which is exhilarating. 

One thing that I didn’t expect was the flood of sensations that reminded me of living there years before.  There is a certain feel to the air in Florida that is missing in California.  Early in the morning, there’s a smell of damp, humid air that we don’t get to experience in the west. 

As I reflected on that, and other reports from my senses, I began to ponder the phenomenon of memory.  I thought of my children and grandchildren and thought about how they would remember me.  I thought of the friends from church we had here a long time ago who “adopted” us young Californian kids who were so far away from home.  Some of those friends how rest in the arms of the Lord, though some linger here still.

In 50 years, will anyone remember me at all?  Will the name of Galen Dalrymple be long forgotten?  Who will speak my name, and why? 

I know, however, that He will not forget me nor my name.   When I rest from the labors of this life, I will be remembered by the One who made me, Who kept me, Who led me through this world and safely to the next.  And, I concluded, that is enough.  It is more than enough that He will know me and once again call me by name. 

Psalms 106:3-4 (KJV) – Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation.

PRAYER: Dear Father, I am so grateful that you have never forgotten me and that you will always remember me and hold me near to your heart.  May I never forget you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/04/18 – Good for Generations

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DayBreaks for 5/04/18: Good for Generations

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:     

There’s a bank here in California that is advertising free checking for the next 1000 years.  As they put it, “After that – you’re on your own!”.  If a generation is 25 years (which is the number I believe they typically use), then there would be 40 generations in 1000 years.  Not bad.  Free checking for 40 generations.  That could save $72,000 (assuming $6 per month for 1000 years).  Would you like to be able to give something to your kids and their kids and their kids after them that would last for much more than 40 generations?  It is possible (and no, you don’t have to have to spend a penny for it)!

Deuteronomy 5:9-10 says: You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.  In fact, a statement similar to this is made numerous times in the Old Testament. 

So, what is it that you can give your children that will outlast the next millennium?  Check out Jeremiah 32:38-39: They will be my people, and I will be their God.  I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me FOR THEIR OWN GOOD and the GOOD OF THEIR CHILDREN after them. (emphasis mine, GCD)

Right there it is: give your children the fear of God.  Why?  Well, if you believe God (and I do!), He says that it is for our own good and the good of our children after us to fear Him!  It isn’t popular to talk about fearing God.  We like to quote to the verse: “Perfect love casts out fear.”  We know we can come before Him boldly and with confidence.  But we are commanded to fear God: 1 Pet 2:17 and Rev. 14:7.  It is only natural that as humans we hold someone in awe who can do things far greater than we can do.  He is the Judge of the whole earth – the living and the dead, He is the Holy One, the Ancient of Days, and it is only because of His love that we are not all consumed (Lam. 3.22), He holds our lives and destinies in His hand.  And God Himself told Israel that they should fear Him for their own sake and the sake of their children.  I don’t think you can separate the faithfulness of God and His blessings to our children from the job we have as parents to fear Him and teach our children to fear Him.

I know that I’ll never leave my children an inheritance like Bill Gates could leave his kids.  But you know, I really wouldn’t want to.  Why should I?  I can give them something much better, something that will last for 1000 generations – through teaching them to fear God, to love Him and to keep His commandments.  Bill Gates’ kids should be so lucky as to have an inheritance like that!

What are you leaving your kids?  How long will it last?

PRAYER: Father, let us leave something behind to our children that is of eternal value, no matter how long this earth may stand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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