DayBreaks for 4/21/17 – Listen to the Birds

DayBreaks for 4/21/17: Listen to the Birds

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

Romans chapter 1 (starting with about verse 20) makes it clear that God has revealed His existence to man through the things that can be seen – His creation.  But mankind has decided that God doesn’t exist: Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  (Rom. 1.28)

Suppose for a second that a student were to write on a physics exam that she didn’t believe in atoms because she couldn’t see them.  No one would blame the professor for failing the student!  The existence of atoms is clearly undeniable on the basis of their recognized effects.  Just ask anyone who lived through Hiroshima or Nagasaki and they’ll tell you that atoms exist – they’ve seen their effect.  Yet man persists in insisting that God doesn’t exist because we can’t see, smell, hear, taste or touch Him.  Silly, isn’t it?!

Job 12:7-9 has this to say: But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 

In the movie, Doctor Doolittle (I think that was the name of it), the good doctor was supposed to be able to talk with the animals.  Scripture tells us that the animals will tell us about the God who formed them – and we don’t have to learn to speak their language! 

Why is it that “they (mankind) did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God”?  I don’t think it is because most of mankind really doesn’t want to believe there is a God, but rather that they don’t want to believe in the kind of God who would tell them not to practice sinful lifestyles – who would cramp our style!  We want to believe in a God who would tell us that we can do whatever we want and that because He loves us that He’ll just look the other way.  But that isn’t the God of the Bible.  He couldn’t look the other way precisely because He does love us too much. 

1 Pet 1:8-9 puts it this way: Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 

Like the atom, God is unseen.  Like the atom, He is powerful.  Like the atom, He is real.  How tragic that the greatest thing in all of God’s creation and that which He loves the most (mankind) is the one thing in all the universe that denies His existence and which rejects Him.  Let’s all go outside and listen to the birds sing their melody about the greatness of God – and maybe we, too, can learn how to praise Him from the animals that He made!

PRAYER: For the wisdom behind the creation, we thank You and give You praise.  May we hear and sings songs of greatness to Your glory this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/24/16 – Thanksgiving Questions

DayBreaks for 11/24/16: Thanksgiving Questions

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I love this holiday. I hope you do, too. I realize you may have had a very difficult year, and if so, I am sorry for the pain you’ve had. Yet, we all have things to be thankful for, don’t we?

A group of Moms got together and composed a list of things they are thankful for. They wrote that they were especially thankful:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after dinner snacks.

“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

“For children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.

“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.”

And finally, “For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”

Each of us would have our own list of the things for which we are thankful. Most of us are mature enough in our faith to recognize that Thanksgiving is a most dangerous holiday. When we give thanks for our good health, what does that say to people who do not have a healthy body? Does that say that we are more deserving than they, or that somehow God loves us more?

When we thank God for our nice homes or our families or our freedom as Americans, what does this say about good, decent God-loving people around the world who do not share these blessings?

I have no ready answers for such questions and neither does anyone else. I would prefer, however, as we give thanks this Thursday and all the rest of the year, that we do it for the right reasons.

What are some of the things that every Christian, regardless of his or her circumstance, in every corner of the globe can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season? What are some of the things that you can be grateful for today that you might not typically think to give thanks for? Search out a few – and thank God for them today!

PRAYER: We have much to thank You for today, God! I pray that You will be the unseen, yet honored guest of honor at our tables and in our hearts on this Thanksgiving day! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 10/11/16 – Now Thank We All Our God

 

DayBreaks for 10/11/16 – Now Thank We All Our God             

You can even be thankful during the most difficult of circumstances in life. It’s true! We see an especially inspiring example of a brave and thankful heart in the story behind one of the church’s most popular hymns, “Now Thank We All Our God.” This particularly hymn was written during the Thirty Years War in Germany, in the early 1600s. Its author was Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran pastor in the town of Eilenburg in Saxony.

Now, Eilenburg was a walled city, so it became a haven for refugees seeking safety from the fighting. But soon, the city became too crowded and food was in short supply. Then, a famine hit and a terrible plague and Eilenburg became a giant morgue.

In one year alone, Pastor Rinkart conducted funerals for 4,500 people, including his own wife. The war dragged on; the suffering continued. Yet through it all, he never lost courage or faith and even during the darkest days of Eilenburg’s agony, he was able to write this hymn:

Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom the world rejoices
…[So] keep us in His grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

Even when he was waist deep in destruction, Pastor Rinkart was able to lift his sights to a higher plane. He kept his mind on God’s love when the world was filled with hate. He kept his mind on God’s promises of heaven when the earth was a living hell. Can we not do the same – we whose lives are almost trouble-free, compared with the man who wrote that hymn?

Whom can you say “thank you” to? What can you thank God for this day? It is said that the seeds of discouragement won’t grow in a thankful heart. Let’s be thankful people!

PRAYER: God, for all you have done, for all you have given, for all those things for which I’ve not said “Thank you”, I say it now. You have blessed us in every possible way…and we are thankful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/21/16 – In the Smallest Detail, Delight

DayBreaks for 6/21/16 – In the Smallest Detail, Delight

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Psalms 37:23-24 (NLT) – The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Mornings are not kind to me.  I don’t like them.  I get tired of having to shave every day.  I get tired of having to pay the bills each month.  I get tired of how fast my hair is turning a lighter shade somewhat akin to gray.  I get tired of having to pay for gasoline, of having to go through the same routines of life, day in, day out, week in, week out.  Somewhat like Solomon of old (though far less wise than he!), I can find life to be monotonous.  The myriad of details is stupefying.

What a contrast to my heavenly Father!  Psalm 37:23 says that rather than finding my life boring and dull, He delights in “every detail”.  How can I grasp this?  Is there anything in my human experience that enables me to begin to understand this intense interest and joy that He finds in my life?

Perhaps it works like this: I can sit and watch my grandchildren for hours on end.  I wouldn’t need to say a word, nor would they.  It doesn’t matter if they’re awake or asleep (although, there are times when the quiet of their sleep-filled breathing is welcome!), playing or eating, sitting or standing, jumping or rolling on the floor.  I am captivated and fascinated by them.  And I felt the same things about their parents before them – and I still do.  I could sit in a room with my kids and never say a word and be perfectly delighted just to be near them, to be able to see them.

I think that God delights in every detail of my life – and yours – in the same way.  We don’t have to be climbing Mount Everest or binding the hands of Satan for His delight to rest upon us.  He delights in watching each breath we take – whether we’re awake or asleep.  He loves to watch us eat and enjoy the flavors of the food.  He loves to watch me shave in the morning and comb my hair (subtracting in His heavenly record book the number of hairs that fall out each day!)  He loves to watch me paying the bills.  Why?  For one reason: He loves me.  He never leaves my side because He doesn’t want to miss a single event, a single miniscule detail of my life.  How do I know?  Because I’d do the same if I were Him.  I’d never have my kids or grandkids or wife or dogs out of my sight – not for an instant if I had the choice and power – not because I have to watch over and worry about their safety, but for the sheer delight of beholding them each moment of each day. 

I fear we frequently lose the wonder and delight that God put in us about life itself. 

God delights in you.  He is delighting in even the smallest parts of your life that you may think is the least significant thing you’ll do all day.  Every word.  Every detail.  Isn’t it awesome to have a Father that loves us so?

PRAYER:  What love you have poured out upon us, Father!  Help us this day to see life a bit more like You see it rather than the way we usually see it.  May this day be a majestic wonder as we take each step, breathe each breath, because we know You are watching, and You are delighted in us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/1/16: Holy Land Lessons – The Stones Will Cry Out

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Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel. Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016.

Luke 19:39-40 (KJV) – And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

It was what we call the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The crowds were cheering the man from Galilee. No doubt many were thinking that this was the time when Rome would be overthrown and the Jewish people would once again be freed from the oppression of the great empire. One thing that galled the people was that the temple which had been constructed by Herod was overshadowed on one side by the fortress Antonia, from which Roman soldiers could peer down into the temple grounds to keep a close eye on those worshiping there. 

But on this day, there was cheering. The ruling clique of religious leaders in Jerusalem were very distressed about all the noise and clamor. The Romans didn’t like boisterous crowds (except in the Coliseum and at their own revels) and would often react with great and swift violence to quell any possible disturbance. That is probably at least part of the reason the religious rulers were disturbed by the noise. 

I believe they were also disturbed because Jesus was getting so much attention. The masses of people in Israel despised their own religious leaders with good reason, for they were corrupt and in cahoots with Rome whenever it suited their purposes. 

But none of that is the point. The point is that Jesus’ statement about the stones along the road crying out gives me pause to think. I, like most people, like it when people sing my praises. In such a situation we don’t mind being the center of attention. Jesus, as the incarnate Son of God, had created those stones that were along the side of the road. It seems that Jesus is suggesting that even the inanimate things of creation know their Creator and will give him praise.

And that gives me reason to ponder my own attitude of praise toward Jesus. Do I find myself so compelled by wonder and love and appreciation that I give him the praise He is due? In today’s photo that I took inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it seems as if the stones of that building are reaching skyward to sing glory to His name. While I was there, did I? Barely. And that shames me, for He certainly is worthy of my shouts of praise!

PRAYER: Jesus, You deserve every bit of praise that my poor soul can lift to You. Let my entire life be a song of praise, an offering of love and devotion, to You for what You have done for us all! Forgive my silence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/14/15 – Christ’s Longest Ministry

DayBreaks for 12/14/15: Christ’s Longest Ministry

Rom. 8:34 (NLT) – Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve been accused of something that you didn’t do?  How did it feel?  How does it feel when someone comes to your defense in that situation?  There’s a huge difference between having to face accusations alone and facing them with someone who pleads your case.

There is, of course, a difference between declaring your own innocence and being declared innocent by the Judge or by the law.  And there is, therefore, a huge difference between the hypothetical situation I described above where you’re incorrectly accused and the situation we face before God.  Let’s be very clear here – we may not have committed murder or swindled folks out of millions of dollars, but when it comes to sin, we are not innocent – but the passage from Romans 8 encourages us by telling us that Jesus has been placed at the highest place of honor (placed there by God!) – and that he’s pleading with the Judge on our behalf.  He’s not so much pleading our innocence – because we aren’t innocent – rather He’s pleading for God’s mercy on us because of our acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice by faith.

We tend to think of the 30+ years that Christ spent here on earth as being the most significant portion of his existence – his life and his ministry.  But as John Ortberg suggests in The Life You’ve Always Wanted, Christ’s earthly ministry really only lasted about 3 years and then was over, but his intercessory ministry has now lasted for nearly 2000 years. 

Walter Wink made the statement that the future belongs to the intercessors – those who pray the future into being.  Certainly, Christ is bringing a glorious future into existence for you and I before the very throne of God!  May His name be praised!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we are so thankful to you for your pleading for us before the Father’s throne.  Thank you for your interest in our eternal destiny, thank you for your assurances that we will not be condemned when we stand before the Father.  Teach us to be intercessors for those we meet and have the privilege to pray for each day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/19/14 – On That Day

DayBreaks for 11/19/14 – On That Day

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Today, I’m not writing anything other than this brief introduction because this photo says it far more eloquently than words ever could.  I shall let this photo and Scripture speak for themselves.

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Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT) – I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

PRAYER: Let us engage with vigor in Your service! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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