DayBreaks for 5/20/19 – Then You Will Know

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DayBreaks for 5/20/19: Then You Will Know

Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.’ – Exodus 6:6-7 (NIV)

You can identify some people by their voice: Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, James Earl Jones.  Others you can identify by the creations they’ve left behind: Michelangelo, Dali, da Vinci.  It is important to be able to identify people one way or another: just ask Esau how he felt when his father, Isaac, was unable to distinguish between Jacob and Esau!  (I’m sure Isaac didn’t feel that great about it, either!)

Before God takes His people out of Egypt, He gave the above words to Moses, to tell the Israelites that after He’d led them out of Egypt, they would know that He was the LORD, their God.  This might seem strange – after all, were these not the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?  Yes, they were, but let’s not forget that they been in Egypt for 400 years.  How much did God communicate with them during that time?  We have no idea, but let’s face it: for 400 years they’d been surrounded by idolatry in many forms.  It is very possible that in those 400 years that they’d nearly, if not entirely, forgotten God.  Consider, for example, that America is 235 years old and see how much our country and faith-life has changed in just 235 years.  So, it is very possible that Israel had forgotten God entirely.

Therefore, God wants to identify Himself to them again.  He could have just said, “Hi, I’m your God, the One who made promises to Abraham,” and left it at that.  But He didn’t.  He knew that people (like you and me and the Israelites) would probably demand more proof.  And so He offered it to them (paraphrasing): “After I’ve led you out from under Egyptian oppression and done mighty and wonderful things, then you will know that I’m who I said – the Lord your God.”

Here’s the point: God made the proof of who He was conditional on doing something that no one else could have done – delivered a rag-tag group of slaves from the mightiest nation on earth without so much as a sword or a bow and arrow. 

God was willing to prove who He was in ways that no one else could provide.  God is always doing things that no one else can do.  Consider the kinds of things that He has done to show you who He is.  And then give Him glory!

Prayer: You have brought each of us out of slavery to the glory of Your Name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 5/10/19 – We Just Don’t Get It

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DayBreaks for 5/10/19: We Just Don’t Get It

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

In 2004, Daniel Meyer wrote: “Years ago I traveled to Ecuador and spent a couple of weeks traveling in the mountains. The Quechua Indian people I met there lived amidst the most mind-numbing squalor. The disease and disfigured bodies were heartbreaking. The bugs and stench were everywhere. People were living in a hole in the ground and calling it a house. They were feeding on rotten food and prizing garbage as possessions. But they didn’t know it. Why? Because everyone lived that way. They had never been given a picture of what it means to be a genuinely healthy human being. They did not know what an abundant life truly looked like.

“That is our problem, too. It’s the reason we think of ourselves as largely innocent people—people who have little to do with bringing about the Cross of Christ. We don’t get how sick and undeveloped we are spiritually. In Psalm 14, David says that the one fully-healthy Being in the universe views the human race as we might view those Quechua villagers—only the gap between his life and that of our village is so much larger. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. But all have turned aside. They have together become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one. (Ps. 14) In other words, we are condemned, and we don’t even know it.”

I think Mr. Meyer is correct: we are just as ignorant of what a truly abundant life looks like as the Quechua Indians are about what life in America might look like.  There is absolutely no way that they can imagine or picture freeways, cars, grocery stores stocked with food, doctor’s offices and hospitals that can assist in God’s healing.  They cannot imagine what lurks in the water they drink because they’ve never seen a microscope and know nothing of bacteria and viruses. 

We, perhaps, do a have bit better idea of what an abundant life looks like, because we can look at the life of Jesus and get an idea.  Jesus certainly lived an abundant life – and we’ll note that it had nothing to do with cars, stocked shelves of foodstuffs or even physical well-being.  Abundant life, from the Biblical standpoint, springs from the heart that is in tune with God and His will. 

Part of the problem may also be that we seldom to take time to consider our life and compare it to what an abundant life might look like.  Again, mind you, I’m not talking about physical possessions.  Jesus put it this way: Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. For life consists of far more than food and clothing.  Luke 12:22-23 (NLT)

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:9-10 (KJV)

Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’  “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21 (NASB)

Prayer: Jesus, lead us into true abundant life that we may be rich towards You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/25/19 – Love You Forever

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DayBreaks for 4/25/19: Love You Forever

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

Ah, the promises of endless love! How they sweep us off our feet when we are young…and how they comfort us in our declining years. Endless love has been immortalized in endless love songs. It seems that the world simply cannot get enough of the idea of a timeless, endless love. We want to believe in a love that will never die, will never end, will never fade or lose it’s luster. We want to believe that our love – and those things we love – will go on beyond the grave.

When my children were little, there was a book that I loved to read to them, even though I struggled to read it each time because it nearly always made me cry. The name of the book is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  It is the story of a mother’s love for her little boy, from his earliest days, right through the period called “the terrible twos”, through the rebellious teen years and on into the boy’s middle age. No matter what the boy’s age is, the mother is always consistent: she gathers the sleeping form of her son into her aging arms and holds him with the tenderness that only a mother can muster. As she holds the sleeping baby/child/boy/man, she sings the same song over and over to him: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

It is a beautiful book, and a beautiful thought. Don’t we all long to be loved like that? But there is one problem with what the mother has to say – not so much a problem, but a lurking reality that can’t be escaped: “…as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Implied in the words of the song is the inevitable specter of death and the reminder that at some point she will die and no longer be able to sing her love song to her “baby.”

For those who know Jesus, the words could be sung to us: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my child you’ll be.” Only when Jesus sings that to us it takes on an entirely different meaning, for the phrase “as long as I’m living” takes on real meaning when applied to Christ. For him, it’s not haunted by a shadow of his potential demise, but rather becomes a reminder that we will indeed be loved forever, liked for always and that we shall forever and eternity be his beloved child! God lives, and God loves, forever.

Do not fear…do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:16-17)

Prayer: Lord, in your embrace we find peace and love everlasting for neither your love, nor you, will ever die.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/24/19 – The Magic Princess and the King

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DayBreaks for 4/24/19: The Magic Princess and the King

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

The great castle at Disneyland looms over the landscape and causes little girls and boys alike to squeal in delight.  If you’re lucky, Cinderella…gorgeous, every hair in place, flawless skin, a beaming smile…will appear.  In one true story told by Max Lucado, it happened just that way, and all the children rushed to her, drawn like steel to a magnet.  Each wanted to touch the beautiful Princess and be touched by her.  All the children ran to her…all, that is, except one.

Alone, on the other side of the castle, was a solitary boy – 7 or 8 years old.  It was hard to tell his age because his body was so twisted and disfigured.  He was very small and fragile, yet he stood watching quietly and wistfully, holding his older brother’s hand. 

You know what he wanted…he wanted to be with all the rest of the children, to be able to run and be in the middle of the group reaching out to Cinderella – calling out her name, seeking her attention.  But you can also feel his fear – the fear of yet another rejection, of being taunted, made fun of, being shoved aside by those who were bigger, stronger…who weren’t disfigured.  Don’t you wish Cinderella would go to him?  Well, that’s exactly what she did.

Looking over the heads of the adoring little children, she noticed the little boy and immediately began walking in his direction.  Politely, but firmly, she inched her way through the adoring crowd of children, and finally broke free.  She walked quickly across the floor, knelt down at eye level with the stunned little boy and placed a kiss on his face.

This is like another story – about another royal figure.  The names are different, but aren’t the stories almost the same?  Rather than a princess of Disney, this other story is about the King of Kings.  Rather than being about a disfigured boy in a castle, this story is about you and me.  In both cases, a wonderful gift was given.  In both cases, love was shared.  In both cases, the lovely one performed a gesture beyond words for the disfigured and cast aside one.

But Jesus did much more than Cinderella.  Cinderella gave only a kiss.  When she stood to leave, she took her beauty with her.  The boy was still deformed.  What if Cinderella had done what Jesus did?  What if she’d assumed his state?  What if she had somehow given him her beauty and taken on his disfigurement?  That’s what Jesus did.

He took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us…He was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did.  The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. (Is. 53:4-5)

Make no mistake:

  • Jesus gave more than a kiss – he gave his beauty.
  • He paid more than a visit – he paid for our mistakes.
  • He took more than a visit – he paid for our mistakes.
  • He took more than a minute – he took away our sin.

Prayer: Lord, all we can do is stand in our brokenness and hope that You will notice us and come to us with a sign of Your favor.  We give You praise for seeing our disfigurement and having compassion on us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 4/12/19 – The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

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DayBreaks for 4/12/19: The King is Dead – Long Live the King!

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Isaiah 6 describes a visit of Isaiah to the temple in the year that King Uzziah died.  Uzziah had been king for 52 years – a good one, too.  He’d done wonderful things, and he had been able to hold the mighty Assyrian army, under the command of Tiglath-Pileser at bay on more than one occasion.  But now, now the king is dead. 

We don’t know why Isaiah went to the temple when he did, but perhaps it was because the young man was seeking some reassurance.  The king was dead, now who would protect Judah?  Who would keep them safe, if anyone could, from Assyria?  I don’t doubt that Isaiah had some of these thoughts running through his head as he entered the temple to pray – seeking some peace in the maelstrom with Uzziah’s death.

In two places in Scripture there are retellings of visions that holy men had of our great God.  One is found in Isaiah 6, and the other in Revelation, where John had a vision of God enthroned in glory above.  There are similarities and differences between their two visions that are instructive.  Isaiah’s vision took place first – by a span of about 800 years.  Isaiah describes seeing seraphs around the throne with their 6 wings, covering their eyes, constantly singing (all day and all night forever and ever!), “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!”  In John’s vision, 800 years later, are seraphim are still singing their never-ending song about God’s holiness, never tiring of giving Him glory.  But while there are many similarities, there are also two things that are radically different:

800 years before, only the angels were singing.  Heaven’s music was performed by a very select and elite company – a chamber choir of angels in God’s throne room.  But now, with John’s vision, that all has changed.  No longer is it just the angels who sing, but all living things in heaven and on earth join into the song! It is no longer an aria reserved for just a few chosen angelic tongues, but it has become the praise song of all creation.

Secondly – and this difference is more noteworthy and important than the first one – in Isaiah’s vision the seraphim around God’s throne use two of their wings to cover their eyes.  Even though these angels around the throne of God must be and are holy because otherwise they would not be permitted into His presence to offer their worship, they could not behold the perfection of God’s holiness.  They must cover their eyes, for His holiness is too much even for these heavenly beings to look upon.  BUT: in John’s vision, the creatures who surround the throne are “covered with eyes, in front and in back.”  Each has six wings still, but now they are covered with eyes all around, even under the wings, according to John.  They are ALL eyes.  They cannot help but to look full upon the Lord who is high and lifted up.

Why the change?  What happened in those 800 years?  John, the beloved disciple, answered the question in his apocalypse: Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne. This is the Lamb that John the Baptist had spoken of when he shouted: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The difference is simple, but profound.  While once man – even a man as upright as Isaiah – couldn’t look upon the Lord and even the heavenly host dared not look upon God, now, because of Jesus, the Lamb of God who has taken away the world’s sin, everyone and anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, can look.  All of us men and women of unclean lips, because of Jesus, can now look directly upon all that was once forbidden even to angels to see. 

And that alone, is the reason that not just the angels sing around the throne after Jesus, but that all creation – even the souls of the mighty prophets who at one time dared not join in that song – can join in and sing: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Prayer: You are Holy, Lord, and we join our song to that of the living creatures to say without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 4/11/19 – Who Will Show Us Better Times?

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DayBreaks for 4/11/19: Who Will Show Us Better Times?

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

I remember one morning shortly after the 2008 presidential election, I was listening to the radio in the garage as I was exercising.  There were people on the radio who were so excited about what Barack Obama would do for them.  Now, I’ll grant you that this isn’t a reflection on Barack Obama, but just on a few people (probably the most radical ones they could find) who were among his adoring band of adherents.  I could scarcely believe my ears when I heard this one lady say “Now I won’t have to make my house or car payments any more.”  What was she thinking?  She was thinking that the new President was somehow going to make everything better overnight and that she’d no longer have to meet her obligations – the government would take care of it all for her for the rest of her life.   When I heard her statement, I about fell off the elliptical machine!

On the day I wrote this email, the news was reporting that for the first time, they are now forecasting a global recession.  (As if we weren’t already in one!)  And, the news about GM isn’t good: they plan to shut down for 9 weeks this summer in order “to save money” – but did you know that GM is obligated to make up the difference between what the employees would normally be paid and what they will get on temporary disability?  It’s not clear how much money it will save them, but that’s not the point, either.  The jobless rate continues to climb.  The announcer on the radio also pointed out that home prices in the bay area have fallen another 12.5% from this time last year, and that the market is still stagnant and the prospects for it picking up soon aren’t good.

So, is it any wonder that some will fantasize about how someone (read “government”) will fix all our problems for us?  Let’s face it: we all would like things to be better, for the economy to be good again, for much of the discomfort and hardship to be over and gone and for the “good times” to roll.  That’s what’s so intriguing about this passage from the NLT, found in Psalm 4:6-8: “Many people will say, ‘Who will show us better times?’  Let Your face smile on us, Lord.  You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”

What a great passage!  People all over are seeking for someone to “show us better times”, even if it means mortgaging our grandchildren’s future.  Isn’t that a bit selfish on our part?  I’d rather deal with the hard times myself than pass it off on my grandkids.  But the answer to the question is implied in the second line: “Let Your face smile on us, Lord.”  You can’t expect the President, Congress, the United Nations, the European Union/Common Market, the burgeoning economies of India or China to show us better times. 

As Christians, we need to take it to heart that we already have better times given to us by the Lord.  He has given us greater joy than those who have riches.  And at night, we can sleep deeply, drinking in the truth of the knowledge that the Lord, and only the Lord, can and will keep us safe and bring us better times – in the next life, if not in this one.

Prayer: Lord, forgive our frantic worrying about the good times.  Help us to hold firmly to the truth that you have ALREADY given us greater joy than anything that money or bumper crops could possibly afford!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 3/25/19 – The Three Mile Per Hour God

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DayBreaks for 3/25/19: The Three Mile Per Hour God

We love shortcuts, don’t we? Why? Because they are faster and save us time so we can move on to the next thing on our To-Do list or calendar. But, perhaps like me, you’ve found that the shortcuts often aren’t shortcuts, but long-cuts that wind up spending you more time in the long run. There’s an old saying that was common in the high-tech company where I worked that went like this: “There’s never enough time to do it right the first time, but there’s always time to do it over.”

Something I’ve learned over the year is that anything that is of truly lasting worth takes time. It takes time so raise a family. It takes time to make a good marriage. It takes time to build a career of integrity and honor. It takes time to be sanctified and learn to live a Godly life.

So here’s what may seem a contradiction: it’s not only better to go longer but better to go slower, too. In the short film, Godspeed, there’s a pastor who at the beginning of the film says these words: I’ve been running for most of my life, running through life to get somewhere else. But the things about running is that you miss most things, and if I kept running, I was going to miss everything.

The film describes Jesus as the “three-mile-an-hour God” because he walked everywhere he went. You may drive on the freeway at 70 miles per hour, or ride a bike at 15 miles per hour, but when you walk (3 miles per hour) you really noticed things. You can stop and smell the roses (literally), appreciate the sound of the birds or a brook or the wind in the trees, take the time for a conversation with a stranger or friend. As life shows down, it gets brighter and more spectacular because you have time to appreciate the miracles you encounter.

Consider this passage from Jeremiah 6:16a: This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.

Can you, just for today, test out the “long and slow” theory in your pace of life? If you can’t today, how about tomorrow or on the weekend. Take an extra moment to speak with a neighbor. Instead of praying while you drive, stop for a few quite minutes. Instead of parking as close as you can and then running into the store, park at the back of the lot and take the time to look up, look around, look within. And when  you take the time to walk slowly on the long roads, I believe you’ll find Jesus walking with you. He never rushes!

PRAYER: Help us take the long road so we may walk it with  you and revel in your creation and presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>