DayBreaks for 5/17/18 – Only One Qualification

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DayBreaks for 5/17/19: Only One Qualification

I have been working pretty much full time for 46 years. While I think I’ve had a tremendous life, I am tired. Many of my friends are retired and I have strong hopes of joining them one of these days, but not yet.

My guess is that you’re tired, too. Physically we scurry around like squirrels, hoping to find that one more bit of something to fulfill our seemingly insatiable wants and needs. We work hard. We play hard. And we’re tired as a result.

Physical tiredness is one thing – and it seems to be an inevitable part of getting older as I can attest. But the worst tiredness is brought about by worry, fear and relationships. We worry about the stock market and our portfolios. We worry if we’ll have war with Iran. We worry about the intentions of North Korea. We worry about the politics in our own country and what the future may hold. We worry about our health. We worry about our kids and grandkids and other loved ones. We get frustrated by our relationships many times and wonder if we can ever be happy. The newspapers and nightly news only feed this tiredness.

Perhaps that’s why this promise of Jesus is so meaningful: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matt. 11:28-29 (ESV)

It is soul tiredness that wears on us. Jesus doesn’t say that we can find rest if we bring a large enough portfolio to him first. There is only one qualification: that we are weary and in our weariness we come to him.

How does he alleviate our weariness? By telling us we can trust his promises, that God knows our needs and will meet them. By telling us we don’t have to worry about the events of the world or the future because it is all going to work out according to his plan – his good and perfect plan. By telling us that we are his children and there’s a dwelling place that the Carpenter himself has made for us just waiting around the next bend. 

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for this great invitation! Give us the wisdom to understand that rest won’t come to us until we come to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 5/13/19 – Forever Freed

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DayBreaks for 5/13/19: Forever Freed

John 8:36 (ESV) – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

“Freedom!” It echoed from the lips of William Wallace and countless men and women throughout history. Freedom is precious – and it is something that the oppressed long for. Countless lives have been lost in pursuit of freedom.

In the context of today’s verse, the Jews claimed that they had never been the slaves of any man. That, technically, is not true. They were enslaved many times throughout their history, but their fierce determination to be free led them to stretch the truth in their statement to Jesus.  

It wasn’t so much slavery to other persons that Jesus was talking about. He was talking about something much more difficult. He was talking about enslavement to sin. But as William Barclay put it, we often say or think, “Surely I can do what I like with my own life.” He goes on: “But the point is that the man who sins does not do what he likes; he does what sin likes. A man can let a habit get such a grip of him that he cannot break it. He can allow a pleasure to master him so completely that he cannot do without it. He can let some self-indulgence so dominate him that he is powerless to break away from it. He can get into such a state that in the end, as Seneca said, he hates and loves his sins at one and the same time. So far from doing what he likes, the sinner has lost the power to do what he likes. He is a slave to the habits, the self-indulgences, the wrong pleasures which have mastered him. This is precisely Jesus’ point. No man who sins can ever be said to be free.”

What does slavery to sin mean? It means we’re enslaved to it’s power to overrule our own best intention to be obedient. It means we’re trapped in a cesspool of shame, guilt, embarrassment and regret.

As we often hear, “Freedom is not free”, meaning that there is always a price that is paid for freedom, and freedom from sin is no exception to that rule.

Do you long to be free from your guilt, shame and regret? You don’t need to be if you are a child of the King. If the Son has set you free, Jesus himself says that you are truly free. No need to carry those things on your shoulders for one more moment. Trust his promise. He who set you free and paid the price for that freedom is honored when you trust that he is as good as his word.

Prayer: For the freedom you purchased for us, Jesus, we humbly thank you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/08/19 – Settling for Lesser Things

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DayBreaks for 5/08/19: Settling for Lesser Things

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

We have all at one time or another had to “settle” for less than we wanted or hoped for. As a child, it may have been settling for a cookie instead of a full-blown banana split.  As a teenager, it might be something like settling for an iPod Nano instead of a full-blown iPod.  As an adult, perhaps you’ve had to settle for a two bedroom apartment instead of a 10 bedroom, 5 bath, 3 car garage home with a pool and built in bowling alley. We all have had to settle for lesser things. 

And even though we’re had to do it many times, it doesn’t mean we like it.  We still have the desire for more and bigger and better.  But we seldom get all that we’d really like to have. 

Consider this story, told by Skye Jethani in his book, The Divine Commodity, (copyright 2009, pg. 113), about a trip he took to India with his father. While walking the streets of New Delhi, a little boy approached them. He was “skinny as a rail, and naked but for tattered blue shorts. His legs were stiff and contorted, like a wire hanger twisted upon itself.” Because of his condition, the little boy could only waddle along on his calloused knees. He made his way toward Skye and his father and cried out, “One rupee, please! One rupee!” Skye describes what happened when his father eventually responded to the boy’s persistent begging:

“What do you want?” [my father asked].

“One rupee, sir,” the boy said while motioning his hand to his mouth and bowing his head in deference. My father laughed.

“How about I give you five rupees?” he said. The boy’s submissive countenance suddenly became defiant. He retracted his hand and sneered at us. He thought my father was joking, having a laugh at his expense. After all, no one would willingly give up five rupees. The boy started shuffling away, mumbling curses under his breath.

“My father reached into his pocket. Hearing the coins jingle, the boy stopped and looked back over his shoulder. My father was holding out a five-rupee coin. He approached the stunned boy and placed the coin into his hand. The boy didn’t move or say a word. He just stared at the coin in his hand. We passed him and proceeded to cross the street.

“A moment later the shouting resumed, except this time the boy was yelling, “Thank you! Thank you, sir! Bless you!” He raced after us once again—but not for more money but to touch my father’s feet.

This, I imagine, is how our God sees us—as miserable creatures in desperate need of his help. But rather than asking for what we truly need, rather than desiring what he is able and willing to give, we settle for lesser things.”

Sometimes we need to learn to be content with lesser things, trusting that God in His wisdom knows what is best for us to have – and what is best for us not to have.  But we can fall into the trap of settling for too little when God wants so much for us: Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. (Ephesians 3:20, NLT) In context, Paul is talking about us being spiritual empowered.  What does that mean?  Let me put it this way: how easily do I give up when that old temptation comes a knockin’ on my door?  I’ve convinced myself that that old trickster the devil will never leave me alone, that I will never be free from that particular sin/temptation.  But God is able to give you and me power that we cannot even conceive of.  In fact, He’s already given us “all we need for life and godliness.”  He’s given us the power of the Spirit that hovered over the face of the deep and brought order out of chaos. 

If the Spirit could bring order out of the material chaos, how much more can He bring order out of the chaos of our lives…as long as we don’t settle for lesser things.

Prayer: God, teach us to be content with what You give us, but to never be content with our spiritual progress!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/7/19 – It Doesn’t Work That Way

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DayBreaks for 5/07/19: It Doesn’t Work That Way

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

It never fails.  It seems that no matter how often I talk with people (even Christians!), I will almost invariably hear some comment about how the person hopes they have enough faith to be allowed into heaven, or that they’ll have done enough good things that God will overlook the bad things they’ve done and the scales of “justice” will tip in their favor on judgment day. 

Why is it that people struggle so much with the concept of grace?  Perhaps it’s because deep down inside, it’s something that we seldom experience in this world from other human beings.  We are much more familiar with “justice” (i.e., getting what we deserve) and judgment from other humans.  And, let’s be honest about it, we often get worse than what we deserve (injustice) from other people, too. 

Thank God that He is not like us!  Thank God that He not only created but embodies mercy (not giving us what we really deserve) and grace (giving us the good things that we certainly don’t deserve)! 

Here’s a great explanation of why it doesn’t work the way a bank account does (i.e., where if you deposit more than you withdraw, you’re OK).  David Rich, in 7 Biblical Truths You Won’t Hear in Church (2006, pg. 37) explained it this way: “Picking, choosing, and deciding which sins are trivial and which are the biggies is a completely human tendency. A young man once told me, “It’s like a heavenly bank account. As long as I make more deposits than withdrawals, I’m in good shape.”

“I shared the biblical reality with him: the very first time he made a withdrawal, the account was emptied and closed forever. He thought that was a bit harsh. But I explained that I didn’t make the rules; God did. And I shared this truth with him not to depress him, but to make him aware and appreciative of God’s mercy.

“If you’re a believer, your account has been closed, and a new one opened in Christ’s name. You’re wealthy, but you can’t make another deposit or withdrawal. As Christians we just get the benefits of this new account, living off the interest—or, to put it another way, living off the blessing granted us by the blood of Jesus.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Praise God for grace!

Prayer: We seem reluctant to admit that we can’t do anything to earn Your grace, but we are thankful for it more than words can ever say!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/30/19 – What God Alone Can Do

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DayBreaks for 4/30/19: What God Alone Can Do

Every day we ask others if they can do this or that thing for us.  It’s normal and necessary that we learn to lean on and get help from one another.  There are, after all, things which we can’t do either because we lack the knowledge, skill, time or strength to do them.  And so we ask, “Can you help me carry this?” or “Can you help me figure this out?”  Such moments, rather than frustrating us, should help us learn to appreciate others rather than resent them for asking.

Still, there are many things we simply cannot do as humans.  We cannot create even a single celled animal out of nothing.  God can.  We can’t calm a raging storm in order to save lives.  God can.  We can’t direct the course of human events (not even of our own lives).  God can.  We cannot give sight to the blind by rubbing mud on unseeing eyes.  God can.

Those are all fantastic things and we are in awe of them.  Justly so.  But they really are of limited consequence.  Jesus didn’t heal all – while those who were healed had their life changed forever, there were others who were blind in Jesus’ times who weren’t healed.  Only a limited number experienced the stilling of the storm.

But we have all the same need when it comes to being holy and blameless.  We struggle to be holy.  We struggle to live a blameless life.  And if we will admit it or not, we have succeeded at neither holiness nor blamelessness.  We simply can’t.  It’s enough to make one despair of ever seeing God.  And that’s why this passage is so very, very important: May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.  (1 Thes. 5:23-24)

Note very carefully what those verses say:

FIRST: It is God Himself who sanctifies us.  We don’t, and can’t sanctify ourselves.  And He doesn’t just sanctify us a bit, but “through and through.”  Why does God do that Himself?  Because He knows we can’t, so He assigned Himself the task.

SECOND: Our entire spirit, soul, and body will be kept blameless when Jesus comes…because …the One who calls you is faithful and HE will do it.  We don’t, and can’t, keep either our spirit or our soul or our body (let alone all three!) blameless.  Why does God do that Himself?  Because He knows we can’t, so He assigned Himself the task. 

Making people holy and blameless is God’s job, for it truly is a God-sized task.  It requires skills and wisdom and strength that we won’t ever have possess.  I can choose to cooperate with God in this venture, but I can’t make it happen.  Thank God I don’t have to make it happen!  Thank God that He will!

Prayer: What great news this is, God, that You are in charge of making us holy and blameless before You, and for this great promise that You will do exactly that for those who put their faith in Christ!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/24/19 – The Magic Princess and the King

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DayBreaks for 4/24/19: The Magic Princess and the King

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

The great castle at Disneyland looms over the landscape and causes little girls and boys alike to squeal in delight.  If you’re lucky, Cinderella…gorgeous, every hair in place, flawless skin, a beaming smile…will appear.  In one true story told by Max Lucado, it happened just that way, and all the children rushed to her, drawn like steel to a magnet.  Each wanted to touch the beautiful Princess and be touched by her.  All the children ran to her…all, that is, except one.

Alone, on the other side of the castle, was a solitary boy – 7 or 8 years old.  It was hard to tell his age because his body was so twisted and disfigured.  He was very small and fragile, yet he stood watching quietly and wistfully, holding his older brother’s hand. 

You know what he wanted…he wanted to be with all the rest of the children, to be able to run and be in the middle of the group reaching out to Cinderella – calling out her name, seeking her attention.  But you can also feel his fear – the fear of yet another rejection, of being taunted, made fun of, being shoved aside by those who were bigger, stronger…who weren’t disfigured.  Don’t you wish Cinderella would go to him?  Well, that’s exactly what she did.

Looking over the heads of the adoring little children, she noticed the little boy and immediately began walking in his direction.  Politely, but firmly, she inched her way through the adoring crowd of children, and finally broke free.  She walked quickly across the floor, knelt down at eye level with the stunned little boy and placed a kiss on his face.

This is like another story – about another royal figure.  The names are different, but aren’t the stories almost the same?  Rather than a princess of Disney, this other story is about the King of Kings.  Rather than being about a disfigured boy in a castle, this story is about you and me.  In both cases, a wonderful gift was given.  In both cases, love was shared.  In both cases, the lovely one performed a gesture beyond words for the disfigured and cast aside one.

But Jesus did much more than Cinderella.  Cinderella gave only a kiss.  When she stood to leave, she took her beauty with her.  The boy was still deformed.  What if Cinderella had done what Jesus did?  What if she’d assumed his state?  What if she had somehow given him her beauty and taken on his disfigurement?  That’s what Jesus did.

He took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us…He was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did.  The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. (Is. 53:4-5)

Make no mistake:

  • Jesus gave more than a kiss – he gave his beauty.
  • He paid more than a visit – he paid for our mistakes.
  • He took more than a visit – he paid for our mistakes.
  • He took more than a minute – he took away our sin.

Prayer: Lord, all we can do is stand in our brokenness and hope that You will notice us and come to us with a sign of Your favor.  We give You praise for seeing our disfigurement and having compassion on us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 4/23/19 – The King and the Poison

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DayBreaks for 4/23/19: The King and the Poison

From the DayBreaks archived, 2009: (sorry, I just can’t let go of Easter yet – it is too good to be done already!)

From Max Lucado’s Six Hours One Friday comes a parable-type telling of the garden and the crucifixion:

“Finally that hour came.  The Son went for one last visit with his Father.  He met Him in another garden.  A garden of gnarled trees and stony soil.

“Does it have to be this way?” 

“It does.”

“Is there no one else who can do it?”

The King swallowed.  “None but you.”

“Do I have to drink from the cup?”

“Yes, my Child.  The same cup.”

He looked at the Prince of Light.  “The darkness will be great.”  He passed his hand over the spotless face of his Son.  “The pain will be awful.”  Then he paused and looked at his darkened dominion.  When he looked up, his eyes were moist.  “But there is no other way.”

“The Son looked into the stars as he heard the answer.  “Then, let it be done.”

Slowly the words that would kill the Son began to come from the lips of the Father: “Hour of death, moment of sacrifice, it is your moment.  Rehearsed a million times on false altars with false lambs; the moment of truth has come.”

“Soldiers, do you think you lead him?  Ropes, you think you bind him?  Men, you think you sentence him?  He heeds not your commands.  He winces not at your lashes.  It is my voice he obeys.  It is my condemnation he dreads.  And it is your souls he saves.

“Oh, my Son, my Child.  Look up into the heavens and see my face before I turn it.  Hear my voice before I silence it.  Would that I could save you and them.  But they don’t see and they don’t hear.

“The living must die so that the dying can live.  The time has come to kill the Lamb.

“Here is the cup, my Son.  The cup of sorrows.  The cup of sin.

“Slam, mallet!  Be true to your task.  Let your ring be heard throughout the heavens.

“Lift him, soldiers.  Lift him high to his throne of mercy.  Lift him up to his perch of death.  Lift him above the people that curse his name.

“Now plunge the tree into the earth.  Plunge it deep into the heart of humanity.  Deep into the strata of time past.  Deep into the sees of time future.

“Is there no angel to save my Isaac?  Is there no hand to redeem the Redeemer?

“Here is the cup, my Son.  Drink it alone.”

God must have wept as he performed his task.  Every lie, every lure, every act done in shadows was in that cup.  Slowly, hideously they were absorbed into the body of the Son.  The final act of incarnation.

The Spotless Lamb was blemished.  Flames began to lick his feet.

The King obeys his own edict.  “Where there is poison, there will be death.  Where there are goblets, there will be fire.

The King turns away from his Prince.  The undiluted wrath of a sin-hating Father falls upon his sin-filled Son.  The fire envelops him.  The shadow hides him.  The Son looks for his Father, but his Father cannot be seen.

“My God, my God….why?”
The throne room is dark and cavernous.  The eyes of the King are closed.  He is resting.

In his dream he is again in the Garden.  The cool of the evening floats across the river as the three walk.  They speak of the Garden – of how it is, of how it will be.

“Father…”, the Son begins.  The King replays the word again.  Father.  Father.  The word was a flower, petal-delicate, yet so easily crushed.  Oh, how he longed for his children to call him Father again.

A noise snaps him from his dream.  He opens his eyes and sees a transcendent figure gleaming in the doorway.  “It is finished, Father.  I have come home.”  – Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado, Multhomah Press, 1989, pgs. 101-104

Prayer: God, forgive us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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