DayBreaks for 12/24/19 – The Lamb Victorious

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DayBreaks for 12/24/19: The Lamb Victorious

“Christmas, the celebration of the first Coming of the Lamb, looks back to the humble stable and the simple shepherds. The setting is a dark, fallen world. He has come to expose through His weakness the impotence of what the world calls power. He has come to show us that it is we who are upside-down.

“In that sense, Christmas is a preparation for the celebration that will be the Second Coming, of the Lamb triumphant. The contrast between the settings of the two comings could not be more extreme. Instead of a silent stable and a bunch of motley shepherds, there will be a resplendent multitude whose praise can only be described as a “roar”.

“Oh Lamb of God, innocent, helpless
One, born in a stable, held in
shepherds’ arms, sleeping in the hay.
You are the Lamb, our Lamb, meek,
gentle, and spotless Victim.

“Yet you are the Lamb victorious!
You have conquered sin and death.
You have overcome the evil one.
The throne is yours. The glory yours.
We look up to see the lion and yet it is
still You that we see, both reigning
and slain. And you bid us follow.

“This Christmas, make us mindful of what
Your first coming means.
Clear our vision so that we might
look ahead and upward to your
Second Coming, a faithful Bride,
longing for the feast.

The writing is taken from the devotional book The Promise, © 1991 by Michael Card. All Rights Reserved

PRAYER: Lamb of God, we await Your return!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 12/03/19 – The Three Advents

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DayBreaks for 12/03/19: The Three Advents

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent and churches around the globe observed the meaning of Advent.

Most people tell you that Advent simply means “coming”. More properly, it means “coming to”. In other words, there’s a purpose to it and it isn’t us who do the coming, but Jesus who “comes to” us.

Sunday, we celebrated the first advent: his coming as a babe in the Incarnation. There is a second advent that remains in the future when Christ will come again.

But there is also a sense of a third advent, which is the way Christ comes to us daily, or at least desires to.

What do I mean? Here’s a few ways that Christ can come to us daily:

  • Through his Spirit to comfort us;
  • Through his Spirit to convict us;
  • Through his Spirit to guide and counsel us;
  • Through his Word;
  • Through the wonder of his creation;
  • Through the beauty of musical worship;
  • Through an opportunity to bless someone;
  • Through people around us – including in a disguise as someone who needs help along life’s pathway.

I’m sure there are other ways, too. People longed for the first Advent – all you have to do is read some of the Old Testament to see how the Jews longed for the Messiah to arrive.

People long for the second Advent when pain and tears and death will be no more.

But how many of us long for and prepare daily for the third Advent? It is one thing to say we do, but what evidence is there that we’re really wanting him to come to us? Are you in the word daily? How might you have encountered him today in the form of a homeless person (remember, Jesus was a homeless man)? During this time of celebrating the first Advent and our longing for the second Advent, let’s not lose sight of our need for Jesus’ arrival each and every day in our hearts.

PRAYER: Prepare us to greet you not just when you return again, but tomorrow and each day afterward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/22/19 – The Renewal of All Things

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DayBreaks for 11/22/19: The Renewal of All Things

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

As a general rule, I don’t like it when I have to renew my driver’s license, or my prescriptions, or my eyeglasses, or memberships to various organizations or subscriptions to magazines.  I don’t like renewing things.  I suppose there are several reasons for that: it implies that what I’ve got is older and not as up-to-date, and in fact, may be approaching the end of its useful life, which hints at the passing nature of all that exists in this world.  It is also expensive to have to renew car licenses – among other things!  Renewing stuff – bah humbug!  That, however, is not true of all things.  There are things that I don’t mind renewing at all: renewing my promises of love to my family and friends. 

My truck has a bad power window on the driver side.  I probably need a new window motor – but I’m thinking instead of getting a renewed one instead because it will probably be cheaper to get a refurbished one instead of a new one.  I’m cheap.  I’ll almost always take the cheapest route if I think it is worth the risk.  But there is always that risk – that nagging suspicion that something that has been merely “renewed” is not as good as a brand new one.  Usually that suspicion proves to be true.  It is more costly to buy new things than to renew old ones. 

We are “new creatures” – not just renewed ones – in Christ.  And that was expensive.  God wasn’t content to simply renew us – that wouldn’t be good enough.  We needed to be made new through-and-through, not just renewed and spiffed up on the outside.  We needed new hearts, new spirits, new life deep inside where the real “us” lives.  Our old hearts, hearts of flesh and stone, could never be renewed enough – they needed transplanting entirely – we needed new ones.  And God chooses to create that heart in us bit by bit.  We probably couldn’t stand it if it happened all at once!  We might not survive that experience!

We are, also, being ‘renewed’ day by day: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16, NIV)   We are renewed in the sense that with the dawning of each new day we are reminded that God will provide the strength for that one day, the courage for facing whatever life brings our way, renewed in a sense of purpose and meaning.  This is good renewal.

Here’s another one, from Matthew 19:28, where Jesus was describing his return to earth when he said, I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne.  The word for “renewal of all things” in Greek is palingenesis, used to describe the great conflagration after which history, having been purified, starts over.  This was a radically new concept when Jesus applied it to himself.  He was making the claim that his return would be accompanied by such power that even the material world and universe would be purged entirely of decay and brokenness.  It would be a time, as Timothy Keller put it in The Reason for God, that “All will be healed and all might-have-beens will be.”

At the end of the Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee, the faithful hobbit friend of Frodo and Gandalf, discovers that his friend Gandalf was not dead (as Sam thought he was) but very much alive.  Sam cries out, “I thought you were dead!  But then I thought I was dead myself!  Is everything sad going to come untrue?”  Keller said: “The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes.  Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”

Let us await with patience the renewal of all things – when all will be as glorious as the moment God first spoke things into existence – including us!

PRAYER: We groan as we await the fullness of completely new hearts and the renewal of Your creation, Lord.  Teach us patience, fill us with trust, overflow our hearts with hope for the glorious future that awaits us as part of Your renewed creation!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/15/19 – Where Happiness Is

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DayBreaks for 08/15/19: Where Happiness Is

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

Where in life can we find fulfillment and joy and happiness?  Solomon tried many things, as have others throughout time.  Whereas Hebrews chapter 11 gives us a roll call of the heroes of the faith, let me give you a different kind of roll call today that reflects the results obtained by others when they sought happiness:

It is not found in unbelief: Voltaire was an infidel of the strongest sort.  He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”

It is not found in money: Jay Gould, an American millionaire, had plenty of money and the things it could buy.  He, when dying, said: “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth.”

It is not found in position, fame or power: Lord Beaconsfield had plenty of those things, but wrote: “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a secret.”

It is not found in loose living and infidelity: Thomas Payne, in his last moments of life, cried out: “O Lord, help me!  God, help me!  Jesus Christ, help me!”  Colonel Charteris said: “I would gladly give 30,000 pounds to have it proved to my satisfaction that there is no such place as hell.”

It is not found in pleasure: Lord Byron, who reveled in pleasure throughout his life, wrote on his last birthday: “My days are in the yellow leaf, The flowers and fruits of life are gone, The worm, the canker, and the grief, Are mine alone.”

It is not found in raw power: The name of Napoleon the Great, truly represents a life lived about power.  As a lonely prisoner at St. Helena, he summarized his life this way: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires.  But on what did we found them?  On force!  Jesus Christ alone founded His on love, and today there are millions who would die for him!”

So where is happiness to be found?  Listen to Jesus: I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no man will take from you.  (Jn. 16:22)  The answer is simple: in seeing Christ come as our friend and redeemer and not as our vengeful judge!

PRAYER:  Lord, hasten the day when the faith shall be sight and we shall turn our eyes toward the heavens and with great joy see Jesus coming again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/02/19 – A Burned Patch of Ground

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DayBreaks for 4/02/19: A Burned Patch of Ground

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

In the early days of American life on the great plains, if a wildfire was started by a thunder strike or a careless settler or Native American, the results could be incredibly catastrophic.  If you’ve never seen the great plains, they are largely flat and windswept.  And therein lies the problem.  Once a fire started on the prairie, if there was any wind, it would move across the plains with startling rapidity.  The stronger the wind, the faster the destruction would travel, sweeping every living thing from its path. 

Settlers could often see the smoke from an approaching wildfire.  That wasn’t the problem.  There weren’t enough trees or hills to block the view.  So they could see the fire that was coming there way.  The problem was that if the wind was strong enough, there was simply no way to outrun the fire – not even on horseback.  Some other solution had to be found.

So it was that the settlers did the only thing that they could: they would light a match and burn a patch of ground as large as possible, but large enough to hold the family and their livestock (if they had time!).  Once that patch of ground was burned, the terrified family would huddle together in the center of the scorched earth and watch as the wildfire raged onward towards them.  As the fire reached the scorched earth, it found nothing to consume in the burned patch of ground and so the flames would simply “split” and move past the huddled family and animals, moving on its way, leaving the family behind, alive. 

God’s Holy Word says that there is a wildfire coming – a wildfire of the Lord’s own making: And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 (NLT)  And again: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. – 2 Peter 3:9-10 (KJV)

Yes, the fire is coming.  No one will be able to outrun it. No one will be able to hide from it.  We need to find a safe place to stand when it happens so that we are not swept away.  The good news is that God created that safe place for us.  At the foot of the cross is the only patch of scorched earth where we can and will be safe.  Let us rush to the safety that God offers, for the fire may be much closer than we think.

Prayer: You are our Shelter, Lord Jesus.  At the foot of the cross we run to You for deliverance from the fire that is sweeping our way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/5/19 – Ready Every Day

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DayBreaks for 3/05/19: Ready Every Day

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

Robby Robins was an Air Force pilot during the first Iraq war. After his 300th mission, he was surprised to be given permission to immediately pull his crew together and fly his plane home. They flew across the ocean to Massachusetts and then had a long drive to western Pennsylvania. They drove all night, and when his buddies dropped him off at his driveway just after sun-up, there was a big banner across the garage—”Welcome Home Dad!”

How did they know? No one had called, and the crew themselves hadn’t expected to leave so quickly. Robins relates, “When I walked into the house, the kids, about half dressed for school, screamed, ‘Daddy!’ Susan came running down the hall—she looked terrific—hair fixed, make-up on, and a crisp yellow dress. ‘How did you know?’ I asked.

‘I didn’t,’ she answered through tears of joy. ‘Once we knew the war was over, we knew you’d be home one of these days. We knew you’d try to surprise us, so we were ready every day.'”

In Matthew 25 is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins who were invited to the wedding feast.  The wise virgins had enough oil to keep their lamps burning and were ready and waiting when the bridegroom showed up at the feast.  The foolish virgins had not exercised the foresight to prepare themselves so they were not ready when the bridegroom arrived. 

We need to be ready every day for a variety of things:

FIRST: we need to be ready for the arrival of the bridegroom.  It could be today that Jesus gets the word from the Father: “It’s time.  Go back and bring My children home!”  If that day is today, there is absolutely nothing that will stop it from taking place.  No one knows the day, except the Father.  Hence the need to always be ready!

SECOND: we need to be ready to die.  Jesus may or may not come today…and we may or may not live to see tomorrow.  It sounds trite to say it, but it is true.  Just recently in our town, a 19 year old boy from a nearby town came here for the yearly Citrus Fair.  He was hit by a car and killed.  I know he wasn’t expecting it, I can only hope and pray that he was ready.

THIRD: there are opportunities that only come up once in a while and we need to be ready to grasp the opportunities to show the love of Jesus each day even as he demonstrates his love to us daily.  Make it a point, right now, to love someone today in a practical way.  You might not have the chance again tomorrow.

Prayer: Help us to be watchful, Lord, and ready, for Your return, for our own death, and for the chances that come our way to love others in Your name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

 

DayBreaks for 9/04/18 – The Creation Groans

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DayBreaks for 9/04/18: The Creation Groans

From the DayBreaks Archive, September 2008:

About 10 days ago, at 3:11 a.m. in the morning, I was awakened by the sound of a tree splitting and falling somewhere near our property.  We’ve had a tree come down on one of our outbuildings once before – and I must say, it is impressive what a tree can do when it falls on a structure.  And, living on a hillside as we do, there are trees up above our home and others that surround it.  At 3:11 a.m. it was far too dark to know where the tree fell – even though I got up to make sure that it hadn’t fallen on a car or part of the house.  I couldn’t see where the tree was, but when I stuck my head out the patio door, I could smell the scent of dust in the air and knew it couldn’t have been too far away.

But what struck me was the awful, cracking, splitting and sighing of the wood under strain as it gave way and fell, pulled by gravity.  It was as if the tree had fought as long and hard as it could, only to finally give up the struggle.  The groaning made me recall the passage from Romans that describes the “entire creation” groaning and moaning as a result of the fall, longing for relief.  And, after returning to bed, I lay there thinking that perhaps the sound of breaking tree branches is part of this groaning. 

There is a verse that struck me as I thought about the time when the creation will be completely released from its suffering.  It’s found in 2 Peter 3:10 (NIV) and it says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

I’d never pondered before what the cause of the roar would be, but I have a couple of thoughts.  It could be the roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah which will resound throughout the vanishing universe.  Or, it could be a roar let out by the creation itself as it is finally released from the frustration in which it has been held for these innumerable years.  After all, if the stones could have cried out in adoration of the King during his entry into Jerusalem, why not think that it will cry out in relief when it is set free?  Behold, I make ALL THINGS new is the promise.  The Psalmist spoke of the language of the stars that fills creation with speech.  Won’t it be something when we hear them set free to sing their song of praise to the Creator?

PRAYER: We join our hearts and prayers in longing and anticipation of the great moment when all will be set free from the bondage that has come upon the universe because of sin and evil.  May we prepare ourselves to join in the great shout of deliverance that will take place when we lift our eyes to the sky and see our Redeemer!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/24/18 – The Original Truth

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DayBreaks for 7/24/18: The Original Truth

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to emails. 

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

Our assumptions and preconceptions are powerful things.  They can keep us from seeing truth that is right in front of our eyes because we try to interpret what we see in self-fulfilling ways so that it matches what we expect to see. 

From the time we were born and became aware of good versus evil, we’ve known we possessed not just the ability to do bad things, but that we’ve actually done them.  And somewhere, deep down inside, most of us know we still have even deeper capabilities for evil inside us than we’ve been guilty of committing.  We view ourselves as sinners, and justifiably so.  And we label ourselves “sinners” – at least if we’re Christians we do.  We should.  We are.

But we can easily get the wrong perspective on what we really were meant to be.  When God created Adam and Eve, He pronounced them “very good”.  How long did Adam and Eve wander through the garden with God, in direct personal relationship?  How long did it take Adam to name the animals even before Eve arrived on the scene?  I would imagine that took some period of time, wouldn’t you?  How long was it after Adam’s creation that God made Eve?  I don’t know…but this much is clear from a close reading of the creation account: there was some period of time that took place before the Fall.  And that is very significant!

Why?  It means that we were not created sinners.  We were not created in the image of a sinner, or in the image of Satan, the father of lies.  We were created in the image of God.  That is the most significant truth about us – not that we are sinners.  We were created in HIS image, His image of perfection, and for some glorious period of time in Eden, mankind was sinless and must have reveled in the glory of a sinless being created in the image of his Creator. 

You see, what we now are is not what we were meant to be.  We were created to be more, to be better, than we are.  And some day we will once again be more than we are, when Jesus completes his work of making “all things new.”  We will be restored to what we were meant to be – we will once more be sinless and freed from the effects of the fall, and the deepest truth about us will once again be the most visible truth about us: we are made in His image!

PRAYER:  God, thank You for the glory You created us to be and experience.  May we not become so discouraged by our sin that we believe the greatest truth about is us our sinfulness rather than that we bear Your image.  We long to be all You meant for us to be.  Thank You for the promise that all that was lost will be regained through Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/4/18 – Is This It?

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DayBreaks for 7/04/18: Is This It?

I find it interesting that some of the DayBreaks I wrote in years past are just as relevant, though perhaps in a slightly different context, than when they were first written.

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

Just this past week, the stock market fell 380-some points in one day.  It wasn’t the only day the market fell.  In fact, June was perhaps the worst month for the stock market since the great depression, according to one news source.  On the same day, oil prices surpassed $140 per barrel, and some were saying that it’ll blow past $150 very soon, in spite of the Saudi’s agreeing to pump some more oil.  The situation with Iran doesn’t look promising.  Due to the cost of energy, the cost of food is rising rapidly, General Motors is struggling to survive and other large companies that have seemed to be rock solid pieces of the American financial foundation are sinking.  People are being let go.  Inflation seems to be a real threat, even as the housing market continues to sink. 

Last Thursday night, my wife and I attended a financial seminar on retirement planning and received some good guidance on investments, etc.  One of the key thoughts that kept running through my mind was this: I’m so grateful that I’m not dependent on financial investments either for this life or the next.  Not even a million shares of Google could get me into heaven.  Nor can it feed my belly or assuage hunger. 

Does it scare me at all to see what is happening in America and the world?  Yeah, I guess it does a bit.  More because I worry about my kids and grandkids and what their world might be like.  God, however, isn’t affected by the falling stock market, rumors of wars, greenhouse gases, the price of oil or an uncertain future.  There is no such thing as an uncertain future to Him.

Amid all the panic, as Christians we can be lights in the darkness, projecting the truth of what we know in our hearts, simply this: this is God’s world and all will end exactly as He wills it – without exception. 

We, of all people, should not run around panicked about what may or may not be.  We, of all people, should be filled with peace, even as we see the world around us start to disintegrate at a faster rate because we know Who holds the future – and us – in His hands.

Is this the birth pangs of the end?  I honestly don’t know. Either way, let us lift our voices with John the beloved disciple and say, Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

PRAYER: Lord, you hold the times and the seasons in Your hand.  You alone have the wisdom to bring sense out of this chaos, to bring perfection out of such brokenness.  Let us be harbingers of the coming of the King, preparing the way for the coming of the Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/02/18 – The King has One More Move

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DayBreaks for 4/02/18: The King has One More Move

A man was touring the Louvre with his friend who happened to be a chess grand master. They moved along the corridors and rooms admiring the many great paintings and works of art that were on display.

As they came to one particular painting of two people playing chess, titled “Checkmate”, the grand master paused and began looking in depth at the painting. It seemed that moment by moment he became more and more immersed in the work. His companion watched for a while, but eventually grew impatient and suggested that they move on to see more works of art, but the grand master wouldn’t budge. After quite some more time had passed, the grand master asked if he knew if the painter were still alive. His friend replied that he didn’t know. The grand master replied, “We must find the painter. They must either change the painting or change the title. You see, the king has one more move.”

And so it is that Easter 2018 is now truly past and we must move on. We quickly forget the wonder of the Resurrection, of the emotions of holy week, and get absorbed in our everyday lives. We will watch or listen to the news and hear stories that are discouraging, depressing, and yes, even terrifying. The joy of Easter Sunday yields quickly to the fears of Good Friday and the darkness of Saturday, and we start quickly to lose hope and joy.

I hope that this year, whenever you start to lose hope, to get discouraged, to be terrified, when joy begins to fade, that as you face the events of your day that you will remind yourself that the King has one more move. Nothing will stop Him from making that move for he is not just the King, but He is Almighty God and His will prevails. He rules the nations with a rod of iron.

When He makes what is truly the final move, the victorious last move, that “Easter” morning will never turn into another burdened Monday but it will last forever.

Remember: the King has one more move!

PRAYER: Jesus, we have rightly celebrated your glorious resurrection. Now we face Monday – a Monday like all the others where we will be challenged on every hand. We will be prone to disillusionment and even despair. We may even think the game is over and all is lost. Remind us, every day, every moment, that You have one more move! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(For more on the Checkmate painting, see here.)

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