DayBreaks for 10/23/20 – Out of the Depths

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Image from the movie, The 33.

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. – Psalm 71:20

 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. – Psalm 95:4

This past week we were privileged to witness one of the most amazing rescues I can recall.  Thirty-three miners escaped from the depths of the earth (the story is told in the movie, The 33).  I don’t know for sure, but someone said that when they came to the surface, they were wearing shirts that had Psalm 95:4 stenciled on their back.  These 33 men endured great anguish and fear yet came through their ordeal with a perspective that is amazing. 

There are so many rich lessons for us to grasp in this event:

As Psalm 139 says, there is nowhere either above or below the earth that He cannot be found.  And one of the miners said that God was in that time and place, as was the devil, but God won.  He always does – and always will!

I thought about being “re-born” to a new and living hope.  Surely these men can now read those words with renewed appreciation. 

I thought about how God has translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son…and how the miners had been in the mines for so long that they had to wear sunglasses even at night when they came up out of the mine into the light. 

The joy that they and their loves ones experienced is certainly understandable!  These men, as good as dead, were alive and could live “normal” lives.  The joy that swept the world at their survival – even the joy that filled my own heart at their rescue – was powerful and strong.  But there is an even greater miracle, an even greater reason for joy that we have as Christians: we have been saved by the grace of God!!!  Did those miners deserve being rescued, being saved?  I don’t know if “deserved” is the right word – but because they were humans, the efforts were made.  God made a far greater effort and had to span a distance far greater than 2050 feet in order to rescue us from a death that was every bit as certain (even more certain, as it turns out!) than the miners faced in the dark bowels of the earth.  Why should our joy be any less?  Why don’t we react to our salvation with the same wild abandon as those miners?

It is a question worth pondering.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t really believe we are bad enough to deserve eternal punishment.  Perhaps it’s because we have never considered ourselves as good as dead.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t begun to grasp the life that God has given us.  Maybe it’s all of the above and other reasons, too.  I’m ready to begin celebrating my salvation more than I have in the past, and I hope you will, too.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for seeing fit to spare the lives of the Chilean miners!  We rejoice in the new lease on life that they have been granted.  Help us to come to a far greater appreciation of what YOU have done for us than we have ever experienced before!  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 10/05/20 – 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 7/14/20 – Crushing Snakes

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Genesis 3:15 (NIV) – And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Crushing and killing snakes is not something to take lightly. I detest rattlesnakes – always have – but it my hatred for them grew exponentially a number of years back when one bit both of our dogs the same morning. I killed that snake 1000 times in my anger. But this passage is certainly speaking of the work of Jesus and the ultimate retribution on Satan for the serpent’s work in the garden.

If you’re at all like me, you are ready to stand up and cheer vociferously when Jesus crushes Satan’s head. Can you imagine a new world without murder, greed, abuse, injustice and the like? Won’t that be wonderful!!!!

So, how will the head of the serpent be crushed? I think that there is a “now – but not yet” aspect to it. The ultimate demise of Satan is decreed and shall come to pass, but there’s a part of it that I believe happens now. Here’s what I mean:

Every time that a believer denies temptation and chooses obedience instead, it’s a tiny wound on the head of the serpent. Every time we do an act of kindness, right a wrong, choose justice and love over injustice and indifference, we inflict wounds on the head of the serpent. Certainly, as humans, we cannot crush the head of the serpent. But as Christ lives within the believer, whenever we choose God’s ways over Satan’s ways, we are participating in the crushing the head of the serpent.

Let’s go out today and crush a few snakes and look forward with excitement and anticipation to the day when the final blow will be inflicted by the One who was foretold long ago.

PRAYER: Lord, let us not be fearful of Satan, for you are far greater than he. Let us slay snakes today in your name and for your glory through our acts of obedience and love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Crushing Snakes, a song by Crowder featuring Taya.

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

DayBreaks for 7/9/20 – The Forgetfulness of God

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DayBreaks for 7/09/20: The Forgetfulness of God

The story of the creation and fall of man in the garden is ancient history. It is intriguing in so many ways. But even as it is ancient history, it is as new as this day’s sunrise.

There is no secret in Scripture that Satan and God are at odds with one another and they work for different goals. Yet, it is intriguing in the temptation narrative from the garden how Satan seeks to manipulate the situation.

He starts by asking what appears to be a very simple, harmless question: Did God really say…? That question alone is fascinating, but the name Satan uses for God is even more intriguing. Satan doesn’t use the word Yahweh-Elohim (the Lord God) as God is described in Genesis 2, but simply uses the term Elohim (God). What’s the big deal? Satan is removing the relational Yahweh from his language. The implication Satan is making is that there’s a distancing, that God is not a Supreme Being that one can know and engage in a relationship, but a theoretical idea to ponder. Deitrich Bonhoeffer noted this when he said, “Satan does not…fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.”

It is only after planting a seed of doubt about God at all to challenging and contradicting what God said about pending punishment should they disobey.

And the very first thing they learn after seeking to be like God is that they are in fact exceedingly vulnerable. There was no sense of being empowered to a greater position or of being enlightened other than to their miniscule-ness. They are ashamed and try to hide.

Satan is a smart cookie. He’s no fool and no one should play him as a fool. He’s certainly not on an equal footing with God, but he’s no idiot. And rather than seeking to get us to hate God, he’s quite content with getting us to forget God. Once we forget God and his omniscience, we are freed from boundaries (or so we believe) because the thought of a watchful God has vanished from our minds, giving us permission to do in secret things we’d never do in the light.

The secret, I suspect, to living a Godly life has more to do with mindfulness of God than any sort of human willpower and determination to “do good”. 

How is Satan seeking to make you forget God? What will you do to see to it that you remember Him more often?

PRAYER: Father, we are so prone to Satan’s sneakiness and we so quickly forget you, even as Israel did of old. We beg you to fill us with awareness of your presence and existence and watchfulness so that we can never forget you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/07/20 – Hope for Troubled Times

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DayBreaks for 7/07/20: Hope for Troubled Times

Daniel 2:44 (CSBBible) – In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.

What an amazing time we live in. Pandemics, scandals, demonstrations, riots, political division that is truly painful to see. It’s easy to lose our sense of balance in such a time.

I think Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream speaks to us at this moment, and every moment, in time. What Daniel tells the king (who was far and away the most powerful earthly ruler of his day) was this: a mighty kingdom is coming that will smash any earthly kingdom into smithereens. It’s not a kingdom of this world, but it is the kingdom of God himself.

As Jared Wilson put it in The Story of Everything: “It is the reality of the kingdom of God…that should comfort Christians today, not the rising and falling of popular opinion or the ways of the Supreme Court or the majority votes in Congress or the moral sanity of the president. All those people are sinners. We can root for them and persuade them and pray for them and hope for them – but we cannot hope in them, because none of them is not a sinner. Only Jesus Christ’s kingdom comes with perfect grace and peace and justice. And only Jesus Christ’s kingdom will remain.”

It may seem strange to think of the kingdom of Christ conquering all when we look around today. After all, when Christ came it was as a baby and he died not in a palace but on a wooden cross. When he came he didn’t come as a typical king does to fight and conquer and amass territory and wealth. Why didn’t he come that way? He didn’t have to. He already possessed it all. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”

Be reminded, Christian, not to put your hope or faith in the president or in an election or in the scientists working to prevent COVID-19 or in anything else in this world. The one thing that is worthy of our hope is the completion of the coming of the kingdom of Christ. And that is where our prayers and efforts should be focused.

PRAYER: Jesus, we long to see the mighty kingdom come in its totality and finality. Keep us from trusting in other humans for deliverance and look only to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/02/20 – The Prescription for Victory

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DayBreaks for 7/02/20: The Prescription for Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Depending on how you define and calculate it, the human mind is capable of making 20 million billion calculations per second (and even then, they say that number could be off by a factor of 10 either way!)  While computers are faster in conducting impulses than neurons, we have so many neurons in our brain that the human mind is capable at this point of far more calculations per second than the world’s fastest computer.  I’m sure that King David didn’t have a clue about computers or the capabilities of the human mind, but he still was wise enough to say I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Psalm 139:14)

In our Vacation Bible Camp that concluded last Friday, one of the songs the kids learned contained the phrase: I have hidden Thy word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. (Ps. 119:11)  I’ve given that verse to many who struggle to overcome sin.  It is the prescription of the Word for victory.  But as we sang the song, I pondered: why is it that holding God’s Word in our hearts (memorizing it, reflecting on it, thinking about it) keeps us from sin?  I am sure there are many who can come up with a better answer than I, but when I thought about the power of the human brain and how it controls all we say, think and do, I began to see more clearly than ever the importance of hiding His Word in our hearts/minds. 

The apostle Paul counseled the church at Philippi with these words: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)  Do you see the connection?  We become what we think about.  Do you want to live a life that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?  Who doesn’t, right?  Put that incredible brain that God has put inside your head to work and let it dwell on His Word…and it will reform you through the power of the Spirit that takes it and makes it come alive in your spirit!

PRAYER: Help us to have the resolve of King David to hide Your Word in our hearts, and to think about such a praiseworthy thing at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/23/20 – Celebration of Light

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The aurora borealis, a dance of light.

DayBreaks for 6/23/20: Celebration of Light

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

I believe it was Ben Franklin who coined the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”  But what you may not know is why that saying came to be.  Partly, at least, it was due to recognition of the fact that the night time is perilous and fraught with danger and the wise will go to bed early rather than be out and about where they are more prone to being attacked and hurt!

In 21st century America, we have artificial light all around us: streetlights, tungsten lights, fluorescent lights, spotlights, stoplights, car lights, flashing lights, strobe lights…it seems that you can’t get away from artificial light.  Artificial light is so pervasive that it is hard to find a place to really view the stars.  We are blessed to live in the country, and when people come out to our home in the evenings, they usually come out as they prepare to go home and are shocked by how many stars they can see.  Those same stars are in the skies over their own home in town, but they just can’t see them because of all the ambient light from artificial sources.  Because light is so prevalent today, it is difficult for us to appreciate the way night was perceived in earlier times. For millennia, people illuminated their dwellings and workplaces with fire. It was not until William Murdock invented the gaslight in 1803, that large areas could be lit up after dark. For centuries before that, people literally walked in darkness if they walked at all at night.

It was true in Bible times.  People living then fully comprehended the meaning and dangers of the darkness.  When a prophet said that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, they were speaking of something vivid, dramatic and hopeful. When they spoke of Christ as the light of the world, they were making the claim that Jesus had the ability to transform their world from one of darkness, danger and despair to one of hope, safety and joy. It helps us to understand the literal darkness of that ancient world to appreciate the words of the Psalmist: The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? (27:1) Or, the words of St. John: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (1:5)

Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost point on the North American continent.  Because of the tilt of the earth on its axis, Barrow is also one of the darkest places in the world. The sun sets in Barrow in November and won’t show up again until sometime in late January.  Getting through over two months of perpetual night cannot be easy – and it isn’t, not even to the natives who live there: in this tiny, seemingly innocuous outpost home to 3,000 hardy hunters, whalers, lawyers and public employees one finds one of the highest attempted suicide rates in Alaska.  Darkness drives people to do dark things.

Light, however, pushes people to do things that are right and decent partly because they don’t want dark deeds to be revealed.  Light also encourages celebration: the good folk of Barrow have parties on the frozen sea/ground when the sun makes its reappearance. 

I look forward to the party when the Son makes His reappearance.  How about you?

PRAYER: We rejoice to know that the night won’t last forever, and that even on the darkest night, Your vision is unimpaired and You see all clearly and can defend us from the dangers that we cannot even see ourselves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/22/20 – We Matter

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DayBreaks for 6/22/20: We Matter

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment? – Job 7:17-18

As you were driving in to work this morning, how many people stopped and applauded as you drove by?  When you left the house this morning, did you get a kiss or hug from someone who loves and appreciates you?  When you got to the gym to work out, did someone say, “I really want to introduce some folks to you because you’re so special”?  Probably not.  Chances are that you didn’t have a reserved parking spot in the parking lot.  Most likely, no cop pulled you over and gave you $100 and said, “You know, all these years I’ve seen you drive by and never once were you breaking the speed limit.  I just want you to have this to know how much I appreciate you!”  Not in this lifetime, right?  Not in this world!

It is easy to start to think that we really don’t matter very much.  It is so easy to get lost in the shuffling noises of 7 billion inhabitants of the planet called Earth.  It is easy to be overshadowed on the job site, in the grocery store, at the bank, in the church pew.  We want recognition.  We want to be appreciated.  We want to know that we matter to someone – somewhere – sometime.  And it is easy to feel and to be overlooked, ignored and to come to the conclusion that we just don’t really matter to anyone.

Listen to Jesus: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 18:18-19

The ancients had a saying: “As above, so below”…meaning that if the gods got angry and went on a rampage, the gods would rain cataclysm and endless disaster down on the denizens of earth.  Jesus, however, turned that around: He who listens to you listens to me.  He who rejects you rejects me.  As below, so above.  What happens when believers pray?  Heaven responds.  When goes on when a sinner repents?  The angels break out in song.  When a God-mission succeeds, Satan falls like lightning from the sky.  On the other hand, when believers rebel against God, the Holy Spirit is grieved and saddened. 

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that what we humans do here doesn’t affect anyone.  Let’s not play the foolish game of saying that “What I do isn’t affecting of hurting anyone else, so leave me alone!”  If Jesus knows what he’s talking about (and he does!) know this certainty: what we humans do here on earth affects the cosmos!  We matter – far more than we can possibly comprehend or know, because we matter to God!  And today you also matter because of what you will do, say and think.  Matter in a positive way!

PRAYER: Thank You that You notice us from heaven above and sing Your songs of love over us so we will know that without a doubt, we matter!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/12/20 – Lurching Toward the Hay Bale

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DayBreaks for 6/12/20: Lurching Toward the Hay Bale

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

I’ve been preaching for the past couple of weeks about faith…and doubt.  Churches and Christians like to hear about faith but doubt is not frequently spoken of unless it is in condemnatory terms.  I, for one, that that’s sad.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that doubt per se is a good thing, but then again, it isn’t always bad, either.  For example, there were those who doubted the church’s teaching in centuries gone by that suggested slavery was right, or who didn’t agree that medicine was an instrument of the Devil and that Christian’s shouldn’t use it because it reflected a lack of faith in God and prayer.  In those cases, people were right to doubt the position of the church and argue against it. 

In my own life, I have found doubt to be constructive.  When I have doubts, it drives me to study, to reflect, to listen and learn all that I can to determine the truth of a matter.  I think that’s good.  As I’ve said on multiple occasions before: the truth never has to be afraid of being examined.  Truth will always be truth, just as 2+2 will always be 4 in a decimal world. 

Doubt can, however, also be bad…even deadly.  There is a story that was told by a 14th century monk from France about a donkey that was confronted with two equally attractive, delicious looking and equally distant bales of hay.  The animal stares at one, then the other, leans to move towards one but then hesitates…stares some more, then leans to go to the other one…but then hesitates, stares some more…and so it goes until eventually the animal dies of starvation because he has no logical justification for moving towards one bale of hay or the other.  It never reached the food it so desperately needed because it couldn’t make up its mind between the two alternatives.

Simply put: without some element of risk, there is and can be no faith.  But being stuck in the middle between faith and doubt and not moving towards one or the other, may be the greatest danger of all, because it removes all passion from a relationship with God.  Jesus himself seems to have stressed this point when he told the Laodiceans in Revelation that he wished they were either “hot or cold” – anything but lukewarm.  Those who are waiting for an empirical proof of the existence of God will have to wait until the Second Coming – but then it will be too late to conduct experiments to determine the reality and truth of God’s existence and of Jesus’ identity.  Those who fail to move in faith towards God because they can’t prove to themselves if He’s real will eventually, like the donkey, starve to death spiritually because faith for them has become an intellectual question – and that is never the definition of Biblical faith.

As the apostle Paul wrote, As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. – 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

As Moses said to Israel as they readied to enter the promised land: Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. –  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Don’t die of spiritual starvation because of doubts.  Eat of the Bread of Life…and live!

PRAYER: We have so often been caught up in smooth talk and persuasive arguments that have led us in the wrong ways and caused us to doubt.  Help us to not doubt in Your goodness, nor in the offer You extend to us that we may eat and live!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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