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 10/12/20 – The Man Without Breath

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From the DayBreaks archive, October 2010:

The Hawaiians have a name for those of us from the mainland who are of Caucasian descent.  They call us haoles (pronounced “how-lees”).  I never knew the meaning of that name until two weeks ago. 

In 1778, Captain Cook became the first European to visit the Hawaiian islands, then known as the Sandwich Islands.  The Hawaiians had never seen a Caucasian before, and were stunned at his pallor.  They called him a haole, which means a person “without breath.”  In other words, because he was so pale, they thought he was dead – a walking ghost perhaps, or possibly a god. 

As I heard this story, I couldn’t help but recall the Biblical account of creation: how man came to live only when God breathed into him the “breath of life.”  Our life originally found its origin in the very breath of God.  “And man became a living soul.”  It didn’t take us very long, however, before we found a way to “kill” ourselves – through our rebellion and sin.  And, once again, we were dead – spiritually, we were haoles, without life.  God wasn’t content to leave things that way however, and in writing to the Colossians, Paul said: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. –  Colossians 2:13-14

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, we find an interesting note in the text: As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. – John 20:20-22  How did Jesus give us life again?  By breathing into them (and us!) His Holy Spirit!

We are not people without breath.  We are a people who have been given the very breath of God.  Let’s not look and act like we’re dead to anything – except to sin! 

PRAYER: For physical life, we give You our thanks.  For reviving our dead souls through Your sacrifice and Spirit, we rejoice!  May we look and act as those who have been revived and raised from the deadness of our sin!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/27/20 – 2020: The Year of the Lord’s Favor

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This will be a strange DayBreaks. I may be castigated by some for what I write today but please know that I mean no offense to anyone and I truly hurt for those who have been impacted by COVID-19, hurricanes, derechos, tornados, fires and the like. I would never minimize the pain and heartache involved in those events.

Today I attended a webinar about how the church around the world has responded to the pandemic. It was inspiring! Someone mentioned this verse from Luke 4:18-19 and Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

As I listened, speaker after speaker (these were leaders of some of the largest faith-based organizations in the world such as World Vision, IJM, Compassion International, Young Life and the like) talked about how the church globally was heroically responding to the pandemic, it struck me that rather than this being a year of terrible calamity and loss that we could see it as the year the Lord’s favor has been poured out globally. Hard is always hard, but it’s not always bad.

Strange, you say? Yes, I suppose in a way it is. But they told of incredible things the church is doing, of hugely increased interest in spiritual things globally, about people witnessing the love of Christ at work to help them and care for the sick and dying. They spoke of how God has had to push the church into new wineskin types of thinking to see and seize new opportunities on how to share the gospel with the world that make more people reachable with the Good News and love of Christ than ever before.

Someone relayed this Chinese proverb: “Not all storms come to disrupt out lives. Some stores come to clear our paths.” God is constantly trying to channel the church (that’s us, folks!) into his purposes and he’ll move heaven and earth to do it.

What might God be asking you to do in this crisis? How might you need to change your thinking to see increased opportunities around you?

Instead of being consumed with thinking of it as a disastrous year, we may need to change our thinking to see it as the year of the Lord’s favor when humanity is drawn to him through these extraordinary events. Although he cares about all aspects of our lives, his ultimate goal is to see heaven populated with people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

PRAYER: Lord, your ways are not ours. Your thoughts are not ours. Your purposes are beyond our comprehension. We feel somewhat adrift in this maelstrom but help us see your hand in the storm as you open doors of opportunity for your church and us as individuals to serve the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/17/20 – He Should Know

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DayBreaks for 7/17/20: He Should Know

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Revelation 21:5: The One who was sitting on the throne said, ‘Look!  I am making everything new!’  Then He said, ‘Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.’

I’m wrote this on the 4th of July.  We just got back from visiting my wife’s father.  He lives about two hours away from us.  I’ve always liked him – he has an infectious laugh and a twinkle in his eye and he is a lot of fun to be around.  But he is getting older in years and age is catching up with him, just like with all of us.  He doesn’t hear as well as he used to, and he is getting more forgetful.  He has to stop and think a bit before putting all the words of a sentence together. 

As Max Lucado put it in The Applause of Heaven: “It’s hard to see things grow old.  The town in which I grew up is growing old.  I was there recently.  Some of the buildings are boarded up.  Some of the houses are torn down.  Some of my teachers are retired, some are buried.  The old movie house where I took my dates has “For Sale” on the marquee, long since outdated by the newer theaters that give you eight choices.  The only visitors to the drive-in theater are tumbleweeds and rodents.  Memories of first dates and senior proms are weather-worn by the endless rain of years.  High school sweethearts are divorced.  A cheerleader died of an aneurysm.  Our fastest halfback is buried only a few plots from my own father.

“I wish I could make it all new again.  I wish I could blow the dust off the streets.  I wish I could walk through the familiar neighborhood, and wave at the familiar faces, and pet the familiar dogs and hit one more home run in the Little League park.  I wish I could walk down Main Street and call out to the merchants that have rented and open the doors that have been boarded up.  I wish I could make everything new…but I can’t, I can’t.  But God can.  ‘He restores my soul’, wrote the shepherd.  He doesn’t’ reform – he restores.  He doesn’t camouflage the old, he restores the new.  The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore it.  He will restore the vigor.  He will restore the energy.  He will restore the hope.  He will restore the soul.

“What would you give in exchange for a home like that?  Would you really rather have a few possessions on earth than eternal possessions in heaven?  Would you really choose a life of slavery to passion over a life of freedom?  Would you honestly give up all your heavenly mansions for a second-rate sleazy motel on earth?

“‘Great,’ Jesus said, ‘is your reward in heaven.’  He must have smiled when he said that line.  His eyes must have danced, and his hand must have pointed skyward.  For he should know.  It was his idea.  It was his home.”

Sometimes it is tempting, isn’t it – to get caught up in what we have right here and now?  After all – remember the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”?  And what we have here and now is concrete, wood and steel and we can see it, touch it, and we think it is good.  It isn’t.  It is nothing compared to what Jesus’ home is like.  Age won’t weather the boards of your mansion in heaven.  The storms of life won’t beat against it or blow snow under the door.  It won’t make boards and bones brittle.  Jesus knows – it was his home – and he came so it could be our home, too. 

I don’t think that Jesus was joking – or exaggerating – when he said, “Great is your reward in heaven.”  Greater by far than you can even imagine or hope for.  It’ll take our breath totally away.  I truly hope to see you there!

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for giving us this hint about our heavenly reward – and thank You for preparing it for us so it will be ready when we get there!  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 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 3/17/20 – Berakah Praise

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DayBreaks for 3/17/20: Berakah Praise

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2010:

I recently preached a sermon on Jesus as the Master of Prayer.  We sometimes can start to think of Jesus as too much of a 20th century Gentile man.  He was anything but.  Jesus lived as a Jew, was born and raised as a Jew, educated as a Jew, knew their customs and traditions and practiced them up to a point.  And the Jews had certain beliefs about prayer that we find hints of in Jesus’ recorded prayers.

First: the Jews had a practice called Berakah.  Every devout Jew was expected to say 100 praises a day to God.  These praises had a very common form to start with before branching out into the rest of the prayer.  They went something like this: Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe…  After that beginning, they would start to offer specific praises, such as Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, for the harvest of grain that feeds our bodies or Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, for the dawning of this new day.  One hundred times a day such a praise was to be uttered.  When you consider that the typical person is only awake for about 16 hours a day, that comes to about 1 praise every 7 minutes.  I don’t know how successful the Jews were at keeping this practice, but it is a good one and one that we might do well to resurrect. 

If your prayer life is like mine, more of my prayers have to do with requests rather than blessing and praising God.  Recently, one of my littlest grand daughters wrote about why she loved Jesus and God and said it was partly because they gave her he “wishes”.  There’s honesty – and we’re all somewhat like that, aren’t we? While I know that God welcomes our requests, we are also told to give thanks in everything.  The Jews believed it was appropriate to do so because God was in charge of everything. 

I’ve launched an effort to try to offer berakah praises to God throughout the day.  It is interesting: I already find that at the end of the day, my spirits are brighter and I am more thankful for things than I otherwise might be.  Want to join me in this practice?  Let me know how it is going for you!

PRAYER: Tune our hearts and our lips to sing Your praises, O Lord our God, King of the Universe!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/13/20 – WHAT is Jesus to You?

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DayBreaks for 3/13/20: What is Jesus to You?

The title of this DayBreaks may seem strange. More often than not we would ask, “Who is Jesus?” In fact, Jesus asked his disciples who people were saying he was, and then he asked who they thought he was and Peter gave his outstanding confession of Jesus as the Son of God.

While it is vitally important to understand who Jesus is, it is also instructive to consider what  he is. The answer may vary from person to person depending on where Jesus has met them in their lives and in their need, but I love the way that Zach Williams puts it in his song, Chain Breaker. Here’s what he has to say in the chorus of the song:

“If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker.”

As with most of us, we scurry about life taking things for granted and we don’t think often enough about what others have done for us. What is Jesus to you? Take a moment now to think about what Jesus is to you and what he has done for you. Has he met you in your pain? Has he found you when you were wandering in a world of sin and despair and led you out? What has he freed your from? Once you’ve thought about it, pause for a while and give him the thanks and praise he deserves for all he’s done for you.

Link to Chain Breaker on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TtqFg4dzyI

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the pain in my life you’ve taken, the shame and guilt you’ve lifted and how you found me when I was lost. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to YouTube video with coronavirus (COVID-19) facts, symptoms and prevention tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/12/20 – A Harder God to Believe In

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DayBreaks for 3/12/20: A Harder God to Believe In

I don’t know who said this, but I found it resonated with my own spirit:

“What I am displeased with is my own living of life.  I feel an acute sense that I ought to have done better with the circumstances I was given.  This is one of the reasons why it cut me so deeply when people suggested that suffering is God’s discipline — because I find it so very, very easy to believe in a God who is profoundly disappointed in me. 

“It seems utterly natural to believe in the Disappointed God, because I myself am disappointed.  He must be even more disappointed, I think, because his standards are so much higher than mine.  How could he not be disappointed?  That makes complete sense to me.

“It’s the other God, the God who does not experience that kind of disappointment, the God who sees me the way that Prodigal Son’s father saw him — that is the harder God for me to believe in.  It takes work for me to believe in that God.” 

It takes me no effort whatsoever to believe in a God who is very thoroughly disappointed in me.  I am now a minister of the gospel, but it took me nearly 25 years to get to this point – 25 years of secular work.  Yes, I was serving in the church all that time, but not in what I believe I was called to do.  And even though I can see how, in His wisdom, He has used all the things I did and learned in the secular work world to be a better pastor (though I still have much to learn!), I can believe He might have been frustrated with me for not going into the ministry right away (as I considered doing.) 

And, even if I concede to myself that I was still serving God and perhaps even doing what I was supposed to be doing for those 25 years, I can still look at my life and think, “Galen – you really should be further along than you are in your faith walk with Jesus.  Your faith is still shaky.  You still struggle with some of the same old sins that have plagued you for years.  You quench the Spirit from time to time – far too often, actually.  You are not generous.  You can be envious.  You could be a much better husband than you are and a better pastor to the flock, too.”  Those thoughts come easily.  And I’m sure that similar thoughts come easily to you in your own situation.

What a change took place in my life when I learned that God was running towards me to embrace me and weep at my feeble attempts to come to Him!  Do I believe that that God is real – that He is the God I’ve sought to serve all these years?  Yes…but it is harder.  It is harder to accept grace than to live with the whip of the lash.  I feel I deserve the lash, but instead of the lash on my back, I feel the Father’s arm as He puts on the robe of righteousness that Christ wore around His shoulders.  I feel His tears against my cheek – not tears of sadness or despair, but tears of exultant joy.  He takes pleasure in me…and that’s a hard God to believe in.

PRAYER: How desperately we need reminders that You run to us, not from us, and that You rejoice in us through Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/02/20 – A Different Attitude

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DayBreaks for 3/2/20: A Different Attitude

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

I am not lucky when it comes to contests.  I am told (mostly by my wife and also my good friend, Ken) that I am a pretty competitive individual.  I don’t see it, but I guess that they do.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad but I’m certain it could be either – or both – depending on what it is that I might be competitive about!  I don’t like to lose.  And sometimes, if I don’t think that I’ve really got a reasonable chance of success, I won’t even compete because I dislike losing that much. 

How we feel about winning and losing probably says a lot more about us than we want to admit.  I know those who lose and then they sulk about it for days or weeks.  And that’s especially true, it seems, the closer they came to victory.  Consider running the 100-meter dash in the Olympics.  Such an event draws the fastest men and women in the world – people who literally can run like the wind.  In such a short race, with such a high caliber of competitors, the difference between winning and losing is often measured in hundredths of a second – faster than the blink of an eye. 

Can you imagine what it would be like to have trained for year after year after year – perhaps a decade or more – only to lose the Olympic 100-meter dash by .01 second?  It would be crushing.

A fascinating study done by Professor Vicki Medvec reveals the relative importance of subjective attitudes over and above objective circumstances. In her study, she studied Olympic medalists and discovered that bronze medalists were quantifiably happier than silver medalists. Here’s why: Silver medalists tended to focus on how close they came to winning gold, so they weren’t satisfied with silver; bronze medalists tended to focus on how close they came to not winning a medal at all, so they were just happy to be on the medal stand. 

Again, in the case of an Olympic race, the difference between 2nd place and 3rd place (silver or bronze medal) may be only .01 second (or less).  I find it very telling that the third place finishers didn’t feel worse, and in fact felt better, than the second place competitors. 

What does this say about us?  Perhaps it is a lesson in thankfulness and grace: none of us can run the race that Jesus ran – He is the hand’s down winner and no one is even close to Him in terms of holiness.  I suspect that the Pharisees, to the extent that they allowed the truth of their sin to come to the surface, beat themselves up incessantly about their sin, thinking things like, “I was sooooo close to being as holy as God wants me to be!”  Balderdash.  Not one of us can say that. 

I don’t know about you, but when the heavenly dawn breaks for me, I will be thrilled to be on the victory stand and look up at the One who won the race not only for me, but for everyone who puts their trust in Him.  I know I will have no right to be there…I would be more than content to be the stable boy for Jesus’ great white war horse for eternity.  But God won’t permit that.  He has made us His beloved children, He will give us the crown of life, and we will be so eternally thankful that we won’t worry, as did the disciples on the night that Jesus was betrayed, about who is “the greatest.”  It will be perfectly clear Who the Greatest will be!

PRAYER: Help us to have attitudes of thankfulness for what you have done for us, for our destiny and for the joy that awaits us and not to be envious or jealous of those who we might be tempted to look up to in this life.  Let us lift our eyes to see only Jesus and to praise Him for all eternity!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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