DayBreaks for 1/15/19 – In the Presence of Resurrection

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DayBreaks for 01/15/2019: The Presence of Resurrection

I love the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  The pathos in the story is nearly palpable as they recount to Jesus the events that he seemed (to their way of thinking) ignorant of: the happenings in Jerusalem in the past 5 days or so.  That they’d had their hopes dashed is clear from their words: We had hoped He was the one…we had thought He was the Messiah come to save Israel. (Luke 24:21) The despair is virtually dripping from their hearts and lips.

How long they walked we don’t know, but the distance from Jerusalem to Emmaus was about 7 miles and at a normal walking pace on a flat road (which the road wasn’t) it would take about 2 hours to cover that distance.  What would you have given to walk with Jesus for two hours?  Yet, Jesus was not recognized by them because God, it says, had concealed his identity from them.  (That makes me wonder, too – why would God ever choose to conceal his identity?)  And so they walked and talked for some hours…and all the time they were in the presence not just of a risen one, but of resurrection itself. 

Are you a Christian?  If so, you are walking in the Presence of Resurrection, too.  Yet I go through my day often totally unaware of my constant Companion.  How did the story end for the Emmaus disciples?  The last word in verse 26 is “glory”.  The story ends in glory!  What began in despair and bewilderment finds culmination in glory!  That is the story of our life, is it not?  Much of life is a journey from the bliss of infant unawareness to the burden of adulthood and the increasing burden of advancing age.  All through life, the Resurrection walks beside us.  And our story will end in glory!

John 11:23-26 (NIV) – Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Prayer:  As you turned the hearts of the Emmaus disciples from bewilderment to glory, we open our hearts to you today, Lord, that you may do the same for us this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 12/26/18: Not Like the World Gives

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From my friend, Barney Cargile, Barney’s Bullets:

Christmas Day, 1863. America’s poet laureate, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, found himself in a deep state of depression. America was embroiled in the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in our history. A devout abolitionist, his heart was broken by the terrible war. But even worse, his personal grief was overwhelming.  A month earlier, his oldest son was critically wounded in battle. Two years prior, his wife Fannie burned to death right in front of him, when her clothes caught fire. Longfellow was severely injured in an effort to extinguish her, and carried severe scars for the rest of his days. 

Looking out his window in Cambridge, Mass, in intense despair, he ruminated on the angel’s words to the shepherds in Luke 2:14, “Peace on earth, good will to men”. He scoffed, “There is no peace on earth. These tragic events mock God’s promise of peace.”  

But then, a Christmas miracle occurred. In an instant, everything changed, and Longfellow penned these words: 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day. 

Their old familiar carols play. 

And wild and sweet, the words repeat 

of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Through the church bells, God reminded Longfellow of the big picture; the TRUE peace that the baby in the manger brings to earth. God is not dead, nor does he sleep. He hasn’t abandoned us. The Prince of Peace still triumphs, even in the midst of war and personal tragedy, bringing peace that passes understanding: peace with God.  

Face it, if Jesus came to rid the world of war and suffering, he did a pretty lousy job! But what if…he brought something greater? What if, he did more than anyone ever dared imagine? What if he delivered a unique kind of peace, a peace so great, it transcends external circumstances? That’s the peace that inspired Longfellow to compose this cherished Christmas poem. Jesus promised, “The peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.” (John 14:27)

Our world and lives today abound with conflict and turmoil. Like Longfellow, we have a choice: cave in to despair, or embrace the peace Jesus offers. Longfellow “heard the bells on Christmas day” and his life was changed forever.

I know it’s the day after Christmas, but one more thing about the peace that Jesus gives: it is a lasting peace and it can fill your heart for the rest of your life. Embrace it!

PRAYER: Lord, we are nearly at the new year and we pray that we will know your special peace throughout the year no matter the circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 9/26/17 – The Reality of Now

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DayBreaks for 9/26/18The Reality of Now       

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

John 17:3: Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Lk. 17:20-21: The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.

If you are like most of us, we think of heaven as being “out there” somewhere in the future.  The place of heaven isn’t so much of a topic for thought as is the time when we shall arrive there.  We can easily trust that heaven will not only meet, but infinitely surpass our wildest imaginings.  And perhaps that’s why, when life caves in, we long and hunger for it to come soon.  I think such things are only normal and natural.

But God has a way of not operating in normal or “natural” ways.  And the things that the inspired writers of Scripture captured for us deserve more attention.  Jesus, in his own words, says that eternal life is “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  Isn’t that interesting?  Heaven is not a particularly a place (although there is such a place), but what makes heaven heavenly is the knowing of God and Jesus which we will experience.  And, by the way, it is available, and present, now…not just out there in the future.

The Luke passage is even more stunning: it won’t be something we see coming, this kingdom of God, but it is within us.  A kingdom is the place where a king rules, where he lives.  We might think of the kingdom of God as being heaven (and that’s not incorrect) but the fact is that God’s rule is everywhere…and His Presence is, believe it or not, within us.  That means that His kingdom is also within us…now. 

As Mark Buchanan said in Things Unseen: “There is something about heaven that we must grasp, because if we don’t, we’ll miss everything else.  We’ll read the music but never sing, study the choreography but never dance.  It’s this: heaven starts now.

“Eternity is not primarily a measure of time – chronological time stretched to infinity.  It is not first and foremost a place.  Eternity is primarily a quality of relationship.  It is first and foremost a presence; to know God and Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the one claim Christianity makes that is the most offensive to the world and presents the greatest stumbling block is that there is only one why to God…and that way is belief in Jesus (not in Mohammed, Buddha, or any other person).  All a Christian has to do is say, “Christianity, Jesus Christ, is the only way to God,” and you’ll instantly be branded as a closed-minded, bigoted person.  But when you understand that eternal life is to know Jesus (as Jesus said in John 17), it makes perfect sense.  If eternal life is to know him, if you don’t know him – there cannot be eternal life.  Heaven is intimate knowledge, not of something, but of Someone – the only true God and Jesus Christ, the one He sent.

PRAYER: Almighty Lord, we long to know you better, to experience in greater measure and purity the eternal life that only comes from knowing You.  Keep us from the pride in our hearts and minds that might tell us that we already know you, guard us so that we don’t stop seeking to learn to know you better each passing day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 8/09/18 – The Confession Hotline

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DayBreaks for 8/09/18: The Confession Hotline

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Some time back, Time magazine carried a story about a new phone service that was being offered.  It was an “apology sound off line,” and people could call up at any hour of the day or night in order to get things off their chest.  The line, at the time, would receive up to 200 phone calls per day.

They also created a second number, which charged a higher price for their services, that people could call and pay to have someone listen to their confessions.  That line received as many as 10,000 calls per day.

The first line makes sense to me in a way because it’s better to vent into a telephone mouthpiece than to become violent or abusive towards someone who is present.  The second service – the confession hotline – was more intriguing.

Why would someone call a confession hot line and pay to have someone hear them confess the deepest and darkest secrets in their lives?  I am not sure, but I think it probably has something to do with the human heart and how hard it is for the heart to bear up indefinitely under the weight of our hidden sin and shame. 

But there is another reason that has been suggested, too: it is the one place where people could turn and know that they go to vent out their guilt and be guaranteed that no one would judge them for their evil.  There seems to be some craving in us and at some level, we know the truth does, indeed, set us free.

There was something about Jesus that seems to have made him a safe person so it was easy to confess to him.  Why is it not that way with other people?  Probably there is a plethora of things that enter into an answer for that question: we don’t trust them to keep it a secret, we are too ashamed of what we’ve done to have another human know, we’re afraid that they will think less of us, or that they’ll react with utter disgust and disdain – and that when we see them again, we’ll always have those dirty feelings hanging over our head.  No one wants to be in the presence of those who think you’re dirt or scum.

That’s a shame.  Jesus doesn’t feel that way about us when we confess to him.  Look at how he dealt with all those in Scripture who confessed their shame and sin – not one went away feeling like dirt.  Not one seems to have departed concerned that Jesus somehow thought less of them and would always think less of them.  Not one seems to have been of the opinion that Jesus wouldn’t ever want anything to do with them again.  And if anyone was ever in a position to judge them, it was the Son of God.

When will we learn that confession is important and that when someone confesses to us, it’s not our job to judge them or set them straight?  They’re already aware it’s wrong or they wouldn’t be confessing to start with.  They already feel the shame – they are confessing to be set free from that pit.  Let’s not throw dirt on top of them as they’re trying to dig out.

Jesus offers us the greatest confessional hotline of all time.  Let’s use it more often!  It’s free!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to become like you so that when others confess to us, we are tender, gentle and restorative rather than judgmental and condemning!  We confess to you now that we are sinners – and we welcome your promised forgiveness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 8/08/18 – The Signature of His Presence

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DayBreaks for 8/08/18: The Signature of His Presence

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

It seems like America is fascinated with forensics.  There’s CSI spin-offs, NCIS spin-offs, and other mystery/detective shows that talk a lot about forensics. Much of the gist of those shows is trying to figure out who was the murderer, and that means that they’ve got to place the killer in the room or woods or on the boat with the victim at the time the murder was committed.  Often, the way that they make that link is through DNA evidence: a piece of hair, some bodily fluid that was left at the scene or on a cup that was left in the room.  It can be other small things, too, like dirt from a shoe, a tire tread left in the mud, some little bit of evidence that would be overlooked entirely if you weren’t looking for such details.

Perhaps you’ve known someone who wore a distinctive fragrance (or maybe they just had a strange smell, period).  If they’d just left the room, you could probably tell that they’d been there because of the scent in the air.  We leave clues everywhere we go.

What was the signature of Jesus’ presence?  If a forensic scientist were looking for clues to indicate if Jesus really had come to earth, where might they look, and what might they look for? 

Some might start looking at the temple in Jerusalem – after all, Jesus was Jewish, and that was the supreme place of worship for the Jews.  Some might want to look in the king’s palace.  But if they did that, they’d not find what they were looking for.  In his book, Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg suggests: “His raggedness became the very signature of his presence.  ‘And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’”  (Luke 2:12)

Jesus wasn’t afraid of raggedness.  To become like us, he had to become ragged, indeed.  We’re so full of concerns about how we look, how we’re perceived, what people think of us and what they might say about us behind our backs that we try to hide all the raggedness that surrounds us.  We want to appear properly groomed and turned out for the occasion.  We’re more concerned about appearances than substance.  Jesus wasn’t.  We shouldn’t be, either.

PRAYER: May we put away foolish notions of appearance and strive for true beauty in the inner soul.  May we not only accept our own raggedness, but revel in the raggedness of Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/17/18 – With Unveiled Faces

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DayBreaks for 7/17/18: With Unveiled Faces

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV) – Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

My dad’s last surviving brother passed away on Sunday, July 6.  Out of my dad’s entire family (there were 8 brothers and sisters who survived into adulthood) only 2 of the sisters remain.  Somehow, with the passing of my final “blood” uncle, I sense that a connection with my dad has been lost, and that is sad.  Out of the Grover Dalrymple line of the Dalrymples, I am now the oldest male bearing the surname Dalrymple.  It doesn’t seem possible.

As I contemplated what to share at my uncle’s “home-going celebration” in Oregon this past week, I was drawn to the passage above from 2 Corinthians, and I saw in it some things that I’d never seen or contemplated before.  When we become believers, the “veil” is removed and we can reflect the Lord’s glory. 

But wait – there’s still a challenge here, isn’t there?  How well do you think you reflect the Lord’s glory?  Somehow, I doubt that I am the only one who fails to always (often?) reflect His glory.  In fact, there are probably more times that I fail to reflect the glory like I should than the times when I do reflect it properly.  Why is it that I fail to reflect his image very well?  Could it be because I am still in the flesh?  The flesh is a veil of sorts, and as along as we are in the flesh, we’ll struggle to reflect Jesus’ glory. 

We are given the great privilege and challenge of letting the glory of the Light shine through us, even while bound up in the veil of flesh.  I think that when the flesh is laid aside, as it was by my uncle Dale, we finally, with an unveiled face, can really begin to show the glory of the Lord.  I suspect that if I were able to see my uncle now, that I’d be amazed at how the glory of the Lord, Whom he has now beheld face to face, is reflected by uncle Dale.  It didn’t take much for Moses’ face to shine as a result of being in the presence of the Lord.  How much more for those who have been welcomed into His home?  This is our destiny!

PRAYER:  It is hard to believe that you call us to reflect your glory, that you give us the privilege of bearing your image and showing your Light to the world.  Thank you for the great privilege of helping to make you visible to the world, and even as our faces are still veiled by the flesh, we pray that you will bring yourself glory through your children.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/12/18 – Out of the Kingdom of Darkness

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DayBreaks for 7/12/18: Out of the Kingdom of Darkness

The world watched with baited breath as a small army of divers and rescue personnel descended into a treacherous and deadly cave in an effort to rescue the “Wild Boars” – a soccer team and their coach, who had become trapped when monsoon rains flooded parts of the cave system. For a period approaching 10-12 days, the boys and their coach were in the cave with very little food. They drank water that dripped from the cave ceiling. And they were in darkness…total, utter darkness. I read that one of the boys in particular was terrified of darkness but he went with his teammates in an effort to overcome his fear. 

Fortunately, seemingly miraculously, all twelve boys and their coach made it out alive thanks to the sacrifices of their rescuers. Tragically, on Thai navy SEAL diver died during the effort to rescue these boys.

Colossians 1:13 (ESV) – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…

If you want to know what the kingdom of darkness looks like, just ask those boys. They know what darkness means. You can’t see. It is a place of fear. It is a place of want. It is uncomfortable and threatening. You long for light. It gnaws at you and causes you to give up hope and despair of rescue.

If you want to know what gratitude feels like, just ask those boys. Can you begin to imagine how their hearts leaped when the British divers with a headlight on their foreheads first popped up in the darkness and found the boys? Can you imagine how hope must have been reborn in that instant that they first saw light again? Can you try to imagine how each boy felt when at long last they exited the mouth of the cave that had held them captive and threatened them with certain death unless a miracle happened?

I don’t think most of us have a clue as to how dark was the kingdom that held us in its clutches. We don’t often see it as darkness because it is a darkness of the spirit brought about by the blackness of sin. The enemy of our souls makes it appear as light – he’s such a good liar – and we fall for it over and over again. For a sense of what it was like inside the caves, see this (and that was the easy part – try imagining even that without flashlights in passages as small as 15 inches wide!)

But miraculously, someone came searching for us, found us, and led us out of that inky black place into a kingdom diametrically opposite to that which held us. He is the Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

But just as with the twelve boys and their coach, someone gave their life to rescue us. Unlike that navy SEAL diver, though, the one who gave his life for us came back to life and now guides us through the darkness of the former kingdom to the light. He’s been through that blackness of death that would kill us and been victorious over it so that he knows the way out of the darkness. We need not fear. He will not fail us!  

We should be terrified of the darkness that surrounds us for when it is seen clearly it is terrifying. But we should never doubt our rescue or our Rescuer. 

And one more thing: our Rescuer has turned the tables on darkness. While it was dangerous for us as we were trapped there, now that we have been delivered not only do we no longer need to fear the darkness itself, but he has made us dangerous to the kingdom of darkness because now we have experienced the way out and can help others find the Light. 

It’s a dark, dark world. Let’s be brighter. 

PRAYER: Jesus, all glory to you for descending into the darkness, experiencing it, for your victory over it, so that you could lead us into your kingdom of Light and Life. May we never take the Light for granted! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.