DayBreaks for 10/22/20 – Standing Within Inches of God

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It really happened, you know. The ten apostles (Judas was dead and Thomas was MIA) were huddled in a locked room, fearful for their lives. After all, if the one they’d hoped was the Messiah was killed, what was to stop them – mere followers – from being killed themselves? I can identify with fear – can’t you?

Then, incredulously, in the middle of the room Jesus appeared. Some might take it that he was a hallucination of fevered, grieving minds. That’s why his next appearance with Thomas added to the ten is so important – they touched him and you can’t do that with hallucinations.

What is so fascinating is how this “simple” appearance changed history. A rag-tag uneducated group of nobodies from backwater villages throughout Israel received a commission to tell the world what they’d witnessed. And you know what? They did exactly that! Not only did they tell the world, they died for the privilege of carrying that message.

What changed? Had they simple re-read the prophets and gained insight? No. They stood within inches of God. Sure, they’d stood next to Jesus, talked to him, walked with him, watched him before. But he hadn’t been dead during those encounters. And when he appears this time, he had been dead, really truly dead. But there he was! That’s something only God can do. It changed them and the world forever.

Imagine how you would feel and how you might be changed if your dead mother or father, brother or sister, friend or enemy who had died was to suddenly appear next to you!

Those eleven, plus others, went throughout the world because they could all say, “All I know is he was dead and now he is alive!”

They changed the world. Some say it would be impossible to replicate what they accomplished – that the world is just too big, complicated and evil for it to happen again.

But is it? After all, if God can die and then miraculously appear alive in the middle of a room once, couldn’t he move us all to change the world yet again?

After all, if one has stood within inches of God nothing can ever be the same again.

PRAYER: Lord, give us the faith to see you standing in our midst, sending us out to tell the world that though you were dead, yet you are alive forevermore! In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/19/20 – The Miracles Surround You

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I find it interesting that the educated of this world, by and large, struggle to believe in God. The university professors, the scientists, Wall Street kingpins, the leaders of nations and industry – at least here in the United States – struggle to believe there is a God. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising because they seldom have the time to slow down long enough to consider his daily miracles.

Farmers see them daily as the seed they planted is warmed by the sun on the soil, watered by the rain and pushes its way out of a dead seed into new life, or they view the rainbow as they plow their field.

Fishermen rejoice in the harvest of fish that they didn’t create but which renews itself year after year.

It seems that those who live in rural areas have more time to see the everyday miracles of God in person.

The great Jonathan Edwards put it this way: “Nature is God’s greatest evangelist.”

The apostle Paul said, “Faith does not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

King David wrote, “God’s testimony makes wise the simple.”

How long has it been since you stepped out of your cubicle or home (especially in this time of COVID) to walk barefoot in the grass, to chase down a beautiful butterfly, to listen to the birds or collect seashells on a beach? There are miracles around us constantly. They may not seem to match the miracle of an empty tomb, but they beg for us to notice them for they point us to God.

Max Lucado wrote: “…there is a certain understanding of God on the cross that comes only with witnessing his daily testimony.”

Now, go take a walk and look at the miracles all around you!

Psalm 19:1-4 (ESV) – The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world…

PRAYER: God Almighty, slow us down to see your glory in a falling autumn leaf, the crispness of the fall air, the twinkling stars at night so that we can better understand your majesty and what the cross means. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/09/20 – What About the 99?

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(Prompted by a conversation with a friend of mine – Valerie – thank you!)

Luke 15:3-5 (NLT2) – So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.

I think we all love this story because at some point in our faith walk it describes every single one of us – we were all the sheep that was lost. We should rejoice in this story because it gives us insight into how precious a single lamb is to the Lord. It is good to know we are precious to someone and even more so as that someone is God Almighty.

But what of the 99? The story is set in the wilderness where the sheepfold would be at best a pile of rocks on nearly four sides. The shepherd brought the sheep into the fold at night and then lay down across the opening – becoming the gate to the sheepfold so that none of the sheep could wander without his knowledge.

I’d always assumed the rest of the sheep – the 99 – were in the sheepfold when the shepherd goes looking for the lost one. But the story doesn’t say that. It just says they are in the wilderness.

Now we might assume they were in the sheepfold and that another shepherd kept an eye on them, but the story doesn’t say that, either. So, did the shepherd just walk off and leave the 99 to the ravenous predations of the wolves or lions? I don’t think so – especially since the shepherd is Jesus!

While this story doesn’t say it, I think something much more amazing was to take place given this passage: John 10:27 (NLT2) – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Do you see it? The sheep wouldn’t have stayed behind. They would have followed the shepherd in his desperate and love-fueled search for the one that was lost. And isn’t that what we are all supposed to do – join the Good Shepherd in the pursuit of the lost ones?

When all the lost ones have been found, he will carry us all safely to our eternal destiny.

He won’t ever leave us stranded and alone and we should never stay behind when the Shepherd is on the move!

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 10/07/20 – Where God Walks

We just returned 10 days ago from a glorious trip through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. We visited three national parks: Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. While they are all spectacular in their own way, Glacier stands out in my mind.

I shot the first picture accompanying this article one day as we were driving to the top of Glacer on Going to the Sun Highway. It was glorious – the fog/low clouds in the valleys below and then a layer of sun and then scatter clouds higher up along the peaks.

As I looked at the scene, I couldn’t help but think that God must enjoy walking through that place. The majesty of the mountains is as close as I can come personally to imagining God’s magnificence!

Then the thought struck me that God must enjoy walking through places like Glacier more than Mud Fort Slum in India (the second picture in this article is one I shot in Mud Fort Slum a number of years back). I mean, who wouldn’t? He must be like me in that regard, I am tempted to think.  

But I was taken aback by what came to mind next. It was almost as if I could hear God saying, “Sure, I love the beauty of my mountains, but I love walking through the slum even more. You see, my mountains wear down and crumble away, but the people in the slums have eternal souls and they are made in my own image. Besides, I’m omnipresent – I’m in both places simultaneously. While you may choose to tune out the suffering in Mud Fort Slum, I never can and never will. People are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever created.”

I was stunned and humbled how little of the heart of God that dwells within me. I’d far rather be in Glacier than one of the world’s slums. But there’s no doubt in my heart where Jesus would be if he were walking the earth today.

Mud Fort Slum, by Galen C. Dalrymple, 2012. All rights reserved.

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 9/11/20 – No Matter the Prognosis

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

In his book If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, Randy Alcorn recalls his friend, writer Ethel Herr, who had a double mastectomy. Two months later doctors discovered that the cancer had spread. One of Herr’s friends, shocked and fumbling for words, asked her, “And how do you feel about God now?” Reflecting on the moment the question was posed to her, Herr says:

“As I sought to explain what has happened in my spirit, it all became clearer to me. God has been preparing me for this moment. He has undergirded me in ways I’ve never known before. He has made himself increasingly real and precious to me. He has given to me joy such as I’ve never known before—and I’ve no need to work at it, it just comes, even amidst the tears. He has taught me that no matter how good my genes are or how well I take care of my diet and myself, he will lead me on whatever journey he chooses and will never leave me for a moment of that journey. And he planned it all in such a way that step by step, he prepared me for the moment when the doctor dropped the last shoe … God is good, no matter what the diagnosis or the prognosis, or the fearfulness of the uncertainty of having neither. The key to knowing God is good is simply knowing him.” 

Isn’t it good to have a traveling companion like Jesus, who will go with you on every step of your journey?  He has chosen the journey for each of us.  He could have chosen it and patted us on the back and said, “Good luck!  I hope to see you when it’s all over!”  But he didn’t.  He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  I have a hunch he emphasized the word “never” when he said that.  He wanted us to be sure.

I don’t know where your journey has already led you.  I don’t know where your journey will take you.  I don’t even know where my journey will take me.  We have this assurance, though: it isn’t really the journey that leads us, is it He Who leads us, and no matter the prognosis, we can safely complete the journey with Him at our side!

PRAYER: Thank You for choosing the journey that is perfect for each one of us, and for promising to travel with us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/31/20 – If I Only Had One More Chance

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We aren’t told what the disciples did after Jesus’ death and burial. We know they didn’t show up at the trial or the crucifixion – except for John, that is. We can surmise (I suspect correctly) that they ran and hid. It’s likely I might have done the same.

How did they spend the time from Friday until their meeting again in the upper room? The Bible is silent. Perhaps they began to come together, led by their shame and seeking consolation from their fellow disciples in their misery. Maybe they just pulled a hood up over their face and hid in a dark room or walked the back streets of Jerusalem kicking themselves for their cowardice.

But they did come back together sometime on Sunday. Was it simply misery loves company or might it have been that they heard muffled whispers that Jesus had risen. Something drew them back to the upper room where they’d had their Passover meal and where Jesus had washed their feet. Maybe they were just hoping against hope that there was some truth to the resurrection rumors. Gather they did.

Then, with the room closed, as they share their shame with one another, Jesus walks through the wall into their midst. Not one word of condemnation or recrimination is spoken. And the darkened hearts of the disciples are filled with the brilliance of the Light of the World.

What are we to learn? It’s not a secret. As they sat there saying something like, “If I only had one more chance, I’d tell Jesus I’m sorry and I’d not fail him again”, he appears and just as the father of the prodigal son didn’t let him ask forgiveness, Jesus extends forgiveness before they can ask.

Jesus knew their hearts and thoughts. He knew how they felt and how badly they’d failed him. Yet a joyous celebration is on tap and the tears of joy overflow.

All Jesus requires of any of us who have “done it again”, who have failed to follow him and stand by him is a heart that knows its own brokenness and we are welcomed.

You may be in hiding right now because of your brokenness. Meet him in the upper room. He’ll find you there with arms open wide!

PRAYER: Lord God, how gracious you are! Thank you for the story of your disciples and their failures. Thank you for showing us the magnitude of your forgiveness and love even in our darkest, most shameful moments! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DayBreaks for 7/02/20 – 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 6/24/20 – 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 6/02/20 – An Interesting Twist on the Ascension

The Ascension of Jesus Bible Story Study Guide

DayBreaks for 6/02/20: An Interesting Thought on the Ascension

We have just recently come through the time of year where we celebrate the resurrection – and rightly so! – for it is our guarantee that Jesus was who he claimed to be and will raise us up in due time.

Aside from the shocking appearances between his resurrection and Pentecost we find another event in Jesus’ life that we often speed past in our journey to get back to work or to care for the kids. That event is the ascension.

In the sermon this past Sunday, the preacher made an excellent point that I’d neither considered nor heard before. He noted that when Jesus ascended, he took a part of earth to heaven with him. How? Well, it appears from the passage in Revelation that Jesus still bears the scars of the crucifixion on his heavenly body. In taking a bit of earth to heaven it is a reminder to God of us earthly creatures and a foreshadowing of the great in-gathering of other earthly beings that will some day take place.

But with Pentecost being this past Sunday, it is worth noting that what happened on Pentecost was a bit of heaven (the Spirit) being brought to earth – to remind us of the heavenly truths and to remind us that God has not forgotten or abandoned us.

A part of the earthly is permanently in the heavenlies and a part of the heavenlies is permanently here on earth. This is the start of the great reuniting that God has been working toward for millennia. With all that is going on in the world let us pray the words that Jesus taught us: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

PRAYER: Almighty God, let your Spirit flood throughout the world until your will is done here, in my heart and in this earthly world, as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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