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 7/08/20 – The Christian’s Security

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DayBreaks for 7/08/20: The Christian’s Security

Security is a dancing phantom, much like the shadows of clouds that flit across the landscape. Yet we long for security in an insecure world. We fear for our health. We fear for our financial “security”. We seek secure investments. We lock our doors in an effort to ensure security. We fear hackers and stolen identities, so we pay for security systems to make our digital identities secure. We may arm ourselves to ward off a nightime intruder. We don’t walk alone at night in a dark place. We do all these things because of our fears in an effort to be secure.

Security in Jesus is not something that I was raised with. In many ways, I grew up in a hellfire and brimstone church that had one trembling with fear every time you had an evil thought or did something you shouldn’t. At those moments we were urged to smell the smoke of the pit that was licking at our feet and about to pull us downward forever.

I thank God that I’ve learned a bit more about security as a Christ-believer. Consider these things:

ONE: the Christian is united with Christ, seated with him (Ephesians 2:6);

TWO: we are hidden with him in God (Colossians 3:3);

THREE: we cannot be divided or separated from him by life or death or anything in existence (John 10:29, Romans 8:38-39).

What is the implication of those things? Simply put it is this: the Christian is as secure as Christ himself is secure!!!  And you just don’t get more secure than that. 

I love what Martin Luther said: World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have One who will give me a new one.

It is so much better to smell the rarified air of heaven than the smoke of the pit.

Believer: rest in Christ. You are as secure as he himself is!

PRAYER: We shout with joy for the security we have found in your, Lord God! Thank you for understanding our fears and our need to feel secure and for giving us the security we sought! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/6/20 – The Cost of Glory

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DayBreaks for 7/06/20: The Cost of Glory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Two hundred forty-four years and two days ago, on July 3, 1776, George Washington wrote a letter to his wife.  It was, of course, the day before the Declaration of Independence would be signed by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  In the letter, Washington wrote anticipating the hardships and struggles that would come about as a result of the momentous signing of the document.  Here in part are his words:

“In a few days, you will see a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God. I am fully aware of the toil and blood and treasure what it will cost to maintain this declaration and support and defend these states; yes, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.”

Sometimes these days it is hard to see rays of light and hope for our country.  Optimists keep saying we’ve turned the corner economically, but if we go down as a country, it won’t be because of economics, but because of our moral and ethical failures.  We have to remember that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He ALWAYS takes down countries that turn their back on Him.  No country has ever existed on the face of this earth that can thwart the will and plan of God!  Is it our time?  I don’t know – I honestly hope not – but even America will one day come to an end.  I hope and pray it will be later, not sooner!

As I read what Washington wrote, I was struck not so much with the political and nationalistic tone of his final statement, but of its application to our everyday Christian life.  Life extracts a toll.  We sweat.  We bleed.  We groan under the load.  Some of the load is created by our own hand, some is piled on by others – as if our own failings and sin aren’t enough all by themselves.  What I liked about Washington’s statement though, is the part about “through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.” 

What do you see when you try to look into the future?  Aren’t we often drawn to the physical world and our concerns for what is happening and may happen to our country and economy and world?  Shouldn’t we, of all people, be drawn towards the Light and Glory of Jesus that will be ours as His gift to us? 

I don’t want to be a doomsayer.  I want to be an encourager.  I also want to be a realist, and there is nothing more real, glorious or ravishing than the outcome that awaits us in the Light of the Kingdom of God.  In the meantime, we would do well to pray, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”

PRAYER: Let Your kingdom come more strongly and fully into our hearts this and every day.  Keep our eyes focused on the blinding rays of glorious Light that at present are just outside of our reach, so that at last, we may come into possession of all You intend for us!  Guard us against discouragement with the glory of that vision, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/3/20 – Just Try Breathing Water

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DayBreaks for 7/03/20: Just Try Breathing Water

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

In his book, The New Absolutes, William Watkins cited several studies and then concluded, “Roughly three out of four Americans claimed they embraced relativism and opposed absolutism.” (p. 26) Only 9% of American, born-again teens believe in absolute truth, and the percentage of American adults that believe it isn’t much higher. 

Isn’t the statement, “there is no absolute truth” even a denial of that assertion?  Isn’t it a statement that purports an absolute truth (“There is no absolute truth”) while denying its existence?

Some truths are not negotiable, they are absolute. It matters whether you breathe water or oxygen. If you breathe water you will drown, it is an absolute truth.

When I go to the doctor, I want him to prescribe me the proper dosage of medication I need. It wouldn’t be right for him or her to say to me, “Take as much as you want.” Too much could kill me, not enough wouldn’t help me; I need the right dosage.

When I get ready to fly somewhere, I want the counter person to tell me the correct flight to board, I don’t want to hear, “It doesn’t matter which plane you get on, they all will take you to the same place.” I want to know the absolute truth.

With all due respect to the majority opinion in our society, there is an absolute truth. Jesus said, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Just because someone makes a claim isn’t proof that it is true…but sometimes it is.  We must each decide if we believe Jesus was right or wrong when he made the claim he did. 

One can make the valid argument that physical things are more easily definable as absolute truths (such as breathing the right kind of air versus water) than in the spiritual realm.  But our experience in the physical realm should give us clues about how the spiritual realm may operate: if there are absolute truths in one area, why not in all?  And therein comes the rub – we can’t prove God’s existence, we can’t prove He is love, we can’t prove there is life after death.  There are those who claim that God doesn’t exist, and those who believe He does.  He can’t both not exist and exist at the same time.  He is either there or He isn’t.  Heaven and hell exist or they don’t – but both cannot possibly be true because they are diametrically opposed – like the on or off of a light switch. 

Anyone who tells you that there is no such thing as absolute truth wants to ignore the facts of experience.  If you were to suggest that they go breath water for 30 minutes if it is not absolutely true that it will kill them, they’d think you’ve lost it, but you’ll have made your point.

Let’s search for Truth.  It matters!!!

PRAYER: Give us wisdom to recognize and know truth!  May we have discernment in a world that denies the very existence of truth in any form!  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 6/30/20 – The Good Land Where Things Die

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DayBreaks for 6/30/20: The Good Land Where Things Die

It seems to be a rule that for there to be new beginnings, new life, that things must die. The NT speaks of this in various ways: Jesus spoke of how a kernel of wheat must fall into the ground and die for a new plant to grow, we are told that if we want to have life we must die to our own life, we are even told to put to death the “old man” so a new man can life and as Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again.

As humans, of course, we don’t think of death as being good. Our pets die and we grieve, our dreams die and we are disheartened, our friends and family die and we are crushed by the dark enemy. We are told that flesh and blood (at least as we know it) cannot be part of the world to come – that we will need new bodies fit for an eternal life, not a temporal one.

Perhaps instead of fighting all forms of death, we should look for the benefits of death. It is good that some things die, after all. Fortunately, there is a place – a good land, a very special and holy place – where things die. Where is it? It’s found at the foot of the cross.

At the blood soaked ground at the foot of the cross is where my shame dies for all the things I’ve done that I don’t want anyone to know about. Why?  Because Jesus took my shame. My guilt dies there as the blood drips from Jesus’ hands, feet, back and side. Why? Because Jesus took my guilt on him. My fear of dying dies there because Jesus would prove a mere three days later that death has no choice but to yield to glorious life because of Jesus power. My sense of insignificance dies there when I think of the blood he shed and what he endured because of one thing and on thing only: he loves me and I matter to him. My fear of the future dies at the foot of the cross because by what he accomplished there, there is no longer any condemnation for me.

But along with the death of those things that I take to the foot of the cross, there is new life springing up from the moistened soil. I can now live a new life without shame and guilt plaguing me. I can face the future, as the song says, because he lives and promises me I will live, too (and he’s proved he can pull off that “trick”). And I need never feel insignificant, unimportant, unwanted, uncherished ever again because in the good land where things go to die, any doubt about those things was erased.

PRAYER: What holy ground is this, Lord Jesus, that we are invited to the ground at the foot of your cross where bad things die and good things spring up filled with eternal life! In your magnificent name we pray, Amen!

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

DayBreaks for 6/29/20 – The Old Made New

DayBreaks for 6/29/20: The Old Made New

Today I celebrate by birthday. Do you remember how much you looked forward to birthdays when you were a wee kid? Somehow, as I’ve passed through decades of life a lot of that excitement has worn off and I wonder how many birthdays I have left in this old body of mine.

While walking the dog yesterday morning, I was listening to Zach Williams song, Face to Face, and these words struck me: There’s a day, coming soon Where the old will be made new And Heaven’s glory shines like the morning Before our eyes. I’ve often contemplated the promise that all things will be made new, but more often than not I think about a new heaven and new earth: new mountains without erosion, new galaxies without supernovas, new oceans filled with undying life, new skies without pollution…in short, I tend to think of “things” that are old (for the mountains and canyons of this earth are far older than I) being made new in their pristine wonder and majesty. And I look forward to seeing all those things when they are made new again.  

But as I walked, it struck me that part of what is old is me… and part of the old that will be made new is me. I have known that intellectually for a long, long time, but it really hit me this time as I’m celebrating my 68th trip around the sun.

I recall when I could run like the wind and never get winded. I could leap like a frog and touch the rim of a basketball hoop even though I’ve never exceeded 5’8.5” in height. I had boundless energy and strength. Those days are gone. My bones, muscles and sinews are old and creaky. As I watch my grandchildren run and laugh and leap, I’d love to be able to run and play with them in those ways without fear of my heart seizing up on me or a brittle old bone snapping in two! Alas, it will not happen again in this world and for the most part I can only watch and enjoy watching them delight in their youthful bodies.

But I will run again. I will leap again. I will never age, for part of the old that will be made new is “me”. God has already been working on making my heart, the inner me, new again-but the day will come when the outer me will be made new again. That’s something to look forward to. I long to run and not grow weary or fear brokenness.

In his mercy, when I see Jesus face to face, God will make all that is old, frail, fleeting, flawed, degraded and broken down full of life, vigor, strength and power – and better than it has ever been. What a glorious day that will be!

PRAYER: I praise you, God, that you have the power to make the old new and perfect. Help us not fear that doorway that leads to such healing, but to look forward to the change you will bring to fruition in us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/26/20 – The Greatest Protest

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Strongest Protest

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed not only what kind of world we have, but also what kind of God we have: in a world of gross unfairness we have a God of sacrificial love.

The Father could have taken a different form of protest rather than the cruciform way.  He could have obliterated mankind in the blink of an eye.  He could have stopped the rain and plants from growing and watched while sinful humanity slowly, painfully, starved to death or died of thirst.  It is His world – He can do what He wants to with it.  But His love wouldn’t let Him do any of those things.  In many ways, there wasn’t much else He could have done and been the Being that John described when he said, “God is love.” 

PRAYER: We rejoice to have a God whose Name is Love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/24/20 – God of the Broken Hearted

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DayBreaks for 6/24/20: God of the Brokenhearted

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Worship songwriter Brian Doerksen’s son, Isaiah, suffers from fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition which results in physical, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral limitations. In his book Make Love, Make War, Brian reflects on the day he and his wife first received medical confirmation of Isaiah’s condition. In the midst of his heartache, as Brian considered turning away from worship ministry altogether, God taught Brian a lesson that instead carried him further into his ministry:

“[After receiving the test results], I stumbled around our property weeping, confused, heartbroken. At one point I lifted my voice to heaven and handed in my resignation: “God, I am through being a worship leader and songwriter …” 

‘When I was able to be quiet enough to hear, I sensed God holding out his hand and inviting me: “Will you trust me? Will you go even with your broken heart—for who will relate to my people who are heartbroken if not those like you who are acquainted with disappointment?”

Reflecting further on this word from God, Brian wrote: “I used think people were most blessed by our great victories. But now I know differently: People are just longing to hear [others] speak of how they have walked through the deepest valleys. The world lifts up the victorious and the successful, but God lifts up the brokenhearted.”

There are plenty of broken hearts in the world.  Hearts are breaking every second and they can remain broken for years.  Doctors may be able to heal hearts that have suffered cardiac arrest or cardiac arteries that are clogged, but they can’t fix a broken heart.  Broken hearts remain the purview of God and God alone. 

When our hearts are breaking, we tend to do a variety of things to try to regain some sense of equilibrium, but we may struggle to turn to an invisible God to heal our broken heart.  Don’t hesitate.  He is not called the Great Physician for no reason!

PRAYER: All around us, Lord, are those with broken hearts, and we suffer from them, too.  For all those who are in pain this day, we ask You to heal their hearts!  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.  ><}}}”>