DayBreaks for 2/19/20 – One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

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DayBreaks for 2/19/20: One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

From John Ortberg’s sermon, Big God/Little God:

“Many years ago I was walking in Newport Beach, a beach in Southern California, with two friends. Two of us were on staff together at a church, and one was an elder at the same church. We walked past a bar where a fight had been going on inside. The fight had spilled out into the street, just like in an old western. Several guys were beating up on another guy, and he was bleeding from the forehead. We knew we had to do something, so we went over to break up the fight. … I don’t think we were very intimidating. [All we did was walk over and say,] “Hey, you guys, cut that out!” It didn’t do much good.

“Then all of a sudden they looked at us with fear in their eyes. The guys who had been beating up on the one guy stopped and started to slink away. I didn’t know why until we turned and looked behind us. Out of the bar had come the biggest man I think I’ve ever seen. He was something like six feet, seven inches, maybe 300 pounds, maybe 2 percent body fat. Just huge. We called him “Bubba” (not to his face, but afterwards, when we talked about him).

“Bubba didn’t say a word. He just stood there and flexed. You could tell he was hoping they would try and have a go at him. All of a sudden my attitude was transformed, and I said to those guys, “You better not let us catch you coming around here again!” I was a different person because I had great, big Bubba. I was ready to confront with resolve and firmness. I was released from anxiety and fear. I was filled with boldness and confidence. I was ready to help somebody that needed helping. I was ready to serve where serving was required. Why? Because I had a great, big Bubba. I was convinced that I was not alone. I was safe.

“If I were convinced that Bubba were with me 24 hours a day, I would have a fundamentally different approach to my life. If I knew Bubba was behind me all day long, you wouldn’t want to mess with me. But he’s not. I can’t count on Bubba.

“Again and again, the writers of Scripture pose this question for us: How big is your God? Again and again we are reminded that One who is greater than Bubba has come, and you don’t have to wonder whether or not he’ll show up. He’s always there. You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to live your life in hiding. You have a great, big God, and he’s called you to do something, so get on with it!”

Are you facing a huge challenge that you believe God has put squarely in front of you?  Something that you just know deep inside there is no way you can do?  Will you let your fears of failure stop you or will you get on with the task God has assigned?  It’s not easy – it takes a huge step of faith.  We fear failure so much!  We need to remember, however, that God doesn’t call us to succeed, but to obey.  If it is His plan, it will accomplish His purpose.  Sometimes I believe He may ask us to do something not so much because He “needs” a certain outcome, but because He is testing our faith and obedience. 

If you are called to do something for God, don’t hesitate.  One greater than Bubba has come and he’s got your back!

PRAYER: Thank You for the comfort of knowing that the outcomes don’t depend on us and our own achievement, but upon You and Your might!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/05/20 – If You Want to Know God

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DayBreaks for 2/05/20: If You Want to Know God

Cancer. Pain. Abuse. Injustice. Racism. Brokenness. We all experience some of these painful things. Based on our experiences, we tend to form a picture of what God is like. When we suffer, intellectual answers about the problem of pain don’t help much because at such times we have broken hearts, not broken heads and we need heart medicine, not head medicine.

You see, the mind believes what it has learned but our heart believes only what it has experienced. And if our lives have been wracked with pain our perception of God is often askew.

Most of our ideas and beliefs about God come from a heart, not head, perspective. When we’re suffering, we don’t look at the facts, check the Scripture or do much thinking. Instead, we draw our opinions about God from the things we experience (good and bad) in our lives. But that’s not what we should rely on. Only one source will do at such times.

If you want to know what God is like, the one sure way is to look at Jesus. As Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom, “If you want to know how God reacts to people, look at how Jesus reacts to people. If you want to know what God thinks, how he acts and who he is, don’t get with a group of people and vote on it. One doesn’t discover divine truth with an election. If you want to know the truth about God, don’t get a book on theology, listen to a preacher, or even read a book like this one. For God’s sake, go to Jesus.”

The young woman was married with three kids and tons of responsibility and burden. It got to be too much for her so she ran as far and fast as she could from her husband and family to another state and another life.

Her husband eventually found her, called and told her he loved her and their children loved her. But she’d heard it before so she hung up.

Not long after, at great expense physically, emotionally and financially, he traveled to her place where she was living in rebellion, pain and loneliness He begged her to come home and she melted in his arms.

Later, when he asked her why, after begging her on the phone she’d not come home, her answer echoes that of every Christian who has ever rebelled at the pain and ran from the source only to come home:

“Before it was only words,” she said. “Then you came!”

Jesus came to join in our human pain as he was fully human even as he was fully God. If you want to know God, get to know Jesus and see and feel his heart for you, even in the middle of your pain.

PRAYER: Jesus, it is hard sometimes in the middle of pain to remember the truth about you and what you are like. When we doubt the goodness of God, let us see it in your words, actions and face. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/20/20 – The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto

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DayBreaks for 1/20/20: The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

This was sent to me by a friend and I thought it worth sharing, especially if you’re a bit down:

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Criticize by creating. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself.  (Mark Batterson, author of In a Pit With a Lion On a Sunny Day)

There are so many parts of this that I find encouraging and inspiring, but perhaps the one that challenges me the most is this one: “Go after a dream that is destined to fail without Divine intervention.”

What dreams have you had in your life?  What’s become of them?  Do you still have any?  If so, what are they?  Do any of them involve God and His kingdom and your role in it? 

When it comes time to do something for God, do you purposely select something that you believe God wants you to do, but which you know has absolutely zero chance of becoming reality unless God shows up in mighty and powerful ways?  Or, do you tend to select things you think you could do on your own with maybe just a tiny bit of help from others (just in case God doesn’t show up)? 

It puts a whole new spin on faith, doesn’t it?

PRAYER: God, I confess that I’m often a coward and my faith isn’t predicated on the God I can’t see, but on my thoughts of what I think is possible.  Have mercy on us for our weak faith, and fill our hearts with not our dream, but Your dream!  Help us to dare great things with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 12/25/19 – A Reason for the Incarnation

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DayBreaks for 12/25/19: A Reason for the Incarnation

Why did Jesus take on flesh?  Philip Yancey, in Finding God in Unexpected Places, pondered that question and came up with various possibilities.  Certainly, he came to show us what God is like.  He also came to show us what a man “fully alive” was meant to be.  He came to seek and save the lost.  He came not to be served, but to serve.  He came to give himself as a ransom for many through his selfless sacrifice.

God loves matter – the mountains, the trees, the animals, the heavenly orbs, the beauty of a diamond, the rings of Saturn – all made by His hand for His own pleasure.  Creating gives God pleasure.

The creation’s sin, however, created a separation or gulf between God and man.  All the great characters of the Bible struggled with this separation and cried out in terms like these: “God, you don’t know what it’s like living down here!” Job, eloquent as ever, put it more bluntly: “Do you have eyes of flesh?  Do you see as a mortal sees?”

All these Biblical characters had a point – and God recognized the truth of that point by visiting Planet Earth Himself.  The author of Hebrews puts it in absolutely stunning terms when he said that Jesus’ life on earth was a time when he “learned obedience,” “was made perfect,” and became a “sympathetic” high priest. 

How does one learn sympathy?  There is only one way and it is evident in the Greek roots of the word used for sympathy: sym and pathos, meaning “to feel or suffer with.”

Of the many reasons for the Incarnation (Yancey concluded): “…surely one was to answer Job’s accusation.  Do you have eyes of flesh?  Yes, indeed.”

Merry CHRISTmas to you all!

PRAYER: Teach us to have spiritual vision as well as physical vision.  You who came to have human eyes, please give us eyes like yours that we may see what you see, think like you think, and be conformed to your image.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/19/19 – The God of Frailty

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DayBreaks for 12/19/19: The God of Frailty

In a short devotional for Christmas, writer Paul Williams reflects on why he still remembers one particular Christmas pageant from 1981. It all starts with a strep-stricken son. He writes:

“The dull eyes tipped me off before he could open his mouth. Jonathan had strep throat. It seemed the children in our family picked up strep two or three times a year, and someone always had it during the holidays.

“Jonathan had been excited about the nursery school Christmas play for a couple of weeks. He would be Joseph. Mary would be played by a Jewish girl from down the block. Yes, her parents had given permission for her to be in the Christmas pageant.

“With neck glands swollen and his voice a nasally whine, Jonathan begged to go to the festivities. Against our better judgment, we acquiesced. Bundling our son in his warmest coat, we drove the five short miles to the Central Islip Church of Christ. By the time all the parents had squeezed into the small auditorium, Jonathan was as white as the pillowcase he was wearing as a head covering. He looked fragile and diminutive.

“Cathy and I sat on the front row. Jonathan came down the aisle hand in hand with Mary, and the two sat down on the second step below the manger, recently retrieved from its usual home in the boiler room. Jonathan was looking paler still, all the light out of his big blue eyes. He looked at us and managed a weak smile.

“As soon as the play was over we hauled Jonathan off to the doctor’s office. Since our family doctor was a friend, we sneaked in and out in no time. Filled with penicillin, our son was feeling better the next morning. I do not remember much about the rest of that Christmas season, though I am sure it was utterly delightful, as all Christmas celebrations are.

“I have often pondered why that is my only remembrance of that Christmas, in December of 1981. Of all the memories of all our family Christmas experiences, what makes that one event stand out?

“I know the reason.

“Christmas is truly about frail vulnerability, freely chosen. With heart in throat God watched his infant Son cry and squirm in the cold manger, where there was no penicillin.

“I know how I felt watching my son with his head resting in those small hands, wanting to be brave, but weak and unsteady. I can only imagine what my heavenly Father thought, seeing his infant Son in the hands of a frightened young girl.”

PRAYER: Lord, may our spirits be tender to Your Spirit.  Thank You, Father, for entrusting Your Son into the hands of Your frail and flawed creatures.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/17/19 – How Christmas Must have Felt

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DayBreaks for 12/17/19: How Christmas Must have Felt

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2009:

In one of my messages this Christmas season, I pondered what it must have been like for God to become human.  Jesus, as God, had been worshiped and adored throughout all of eternity past.  For ceaseless ages He was enthroned in fabulous and indescribable glory.  He spoke – and worlds came into being.  He had no limitations that weakened His power to do good.  Angels waited at His beck and call ready to do His most minute bidding. 

I’ve wondered how it felt when God in the flesh first stepped on a sharp stone and cried out in pain.  I’ve wondered how it felt when He felt that virus spreading through His body that would cause His nose to run and fever to spread prior to vomiting up the contents of His stomach?  It must have been strange for the God of creation to become like one of His creatures and take their frailty into His own being. 

How did Christmas day feel to God? I know that we can’t recall what it was like to be new-borns, but try to imagine for just a moment becoming a baby again: giving up language and the ability to communicate in anything but cries, to give up muscle coordination and to be unable to do anything to help oneself, to surrender for a period of time the ability to eat solid food and even to control your bladder. God as a newborn took on all those things.  A more appropriate analogy, though, might not be for us to once again become a baby, but to imagine ourselves becoming sea slugs – something vastly of lower position than what we have always known and something we have never been.  This is more like what God did when He became one of us.

Gone were the vast choirs of angels and the heavenly music disappeared only to be replaced by mooing, belching cows, roosters crowing and donkeys braying.  Gone was the throne and the glory that had once surrounded Him only to be replaced by swaddling clothes and straw.  Words were gone – the Word that spoke everything into creation was exchanged for cries of hunger and discomfort.  No one remained to do His bidding except for his mother and father who were lost in the wonder of it all as they alone knew Who this was Who was held in their arms and hearts. 

How does this make YOU feel this Christmas – to know what God endured for you?  

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)

PRAYER: For Your humiliation to become like us, we are thankful and we worship Your Holy Name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/12/19 – Immanuel in Confinement

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DayBreaks for 12/12/19: Immanuel in Confinement

Condensed from Today’s Christian, 2006:

“Locked behind the razor-wire fences of a Florida prison is no place to spend a holiday. I’d spent 15 Christmases under these less-than-festive conditions, but this year my situation looked even bleaker. I was stuck in confinement—a prison inside a prison where the supposed troublemakers are sent. In reality, anyone can find himself in the hole by irritating the wrong person.

“Because I was going to be locked in a cell 24 hours a day through Christmas, I figured nothing memorable could happen. Beyond a five-minute shower three times weekly, there wasn’t much to look forward to.

“In a way, that Christmas was like the first Christmas 2,000 years ago. Most people went about their lives paying bills, cooking dinner, traveling to and fro. A few shepherds working the late-night shift got a spectacular celestial show from some angels who proclaimed, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will to men! (Luke 2:14). And some wise men, eastern Magi, had begun their journey to Jerusalem looking for someone called “The King of the Jews.” But for the rest of the world, it was just another day. No holiday music, no discount sales, no trees with lights.

“Christmas night in confinement, alone in my cell, I read in my Bible about Paul and Silas, who were also inside a prison. Despite their miserable predicament, they were praying and singing hymns to God while the other prisoners listened.

“The lights went out and I stared at the ceiling from my bunk, wondering if I could praise God in the midst of my circumstances. I could hear a mouse nibbling on some crackers I left out for him. Then suddenly I heard a voice come out of the vent above the toilet. It was Andrew in the next cell. “Merry Christmas, Roy,” he said.

“Merry Christmas, Andrew,” I replied.

“Do you know any Christmas songs?” Andrew asked.

“Yeah, I know a few.”

“I’ll sing one if you’ll sing one,” he said.

“What should we sing?”

“Joy to the World.” And he sang every verse. I sang the chorus with him. Then it was my turn and I chose “Silent Night.” Then he sang “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and I answered with “Feliz Navidad.”

“I have another song,” Andrew said, and sang “O Holy Night.” Silence filled the quad as everyone listened. It was a moment I’ll never forget. It not only reminded me of Paul and Silas, but it made me realize every day is Christmas when God has arrived. It wasn’t just another day, and I wasn’t alone. Emmanuel was in confinement with me, in my cell, blessing me.

Galen’s Thoughts: We often hear of people finding Christ in prison.  Some of the conversions are, no doubt, real and some may be merely machinations intended to curry some form of favor from the powers that be.  There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Christ can indeed be found behind prison walls, in hospital wards and every other place that humans can be found.  Christ goes to places of confinement to bless others. 

It was when He was in the flesh that He himself was in confinement…in a body that He Himself made.  He was captive in flesh and bone…for the same reason that He can be found in prison cells…so that He can bring blessing to us in our human confinement.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for enduring confinement in human flesh to bring us the blessing of eternity.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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