DayBreaks for 7/02/20 – The Prescription for Victory

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DayBreaks for 7/02/20: The Prescription for Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Depending on how you define and calculate it, the human mind is capable of making 20 million billion calculations per second (and even then, they say that number could be off by a factor of 10 either way!)  While computers are faster in conducting impulses than neurons, we have so many neurons in our brain that the human mind is capable at this point of far more calculations per second than the world’s fastest computer.  I’m sure that King David didn’t have a clue about computers or the capabilities of the human mind, but he still was wise enough to say I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Psalm 139:14)

In our Vacation Bible Camp that concluded last Friday, one of the songs the kids learned contained the phrase: I have hidden Thy word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. (Ps. 119:11)  I’ve given that verse to many who struggle to overcome sin.  It is the prescription of the Word for victory.  But as we sang the song, I pondered: why is it that holding God’s Word in our hearts (memorizing it, reflecting on it, thinking about it) keeps us from sin?  I am sure there are many who can come up with a better answer than I, but when I thought about the power of the human brain and how it controls all we say, think and do, I began to see more clearly than ever the importance of hiding His Word in our hearts/minds. 

The apostle Paul counseled the church at Philippi with these words: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)  Do you see the connection?  We become what we think about.  Do you want to live a life that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?  Who doesn’t, right?  Put that incredible brain that God has put inside your head to work and let it dwell on His Word…and it will reform you through the power of the Spirit that takes it and makes it come alive in your spirit!

PRAYER: Help us to have the resolve of King David to hide Your Word in our hearts, and to think about such a praiseworthy thing at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/11/20 – The God Who Never Answers Prayers

DayBreaks for 6/11/20: The God who Never Answers Prayers

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

This past Saturday, we had a Celebration of Life service for one of the godliest and most grace-filled women I’ve ever had the chance to meet.  She’d been a faithful member of our congregation for a number of years before she finally lost her struggle to cancer.  It wasn’t her first bout with that enemy – I know she’d fought and defeated it at least twice before it rose up too strong to be overcome.  It was a wonderful celebration we had – this woman was truly a saint and it showed through those her life had touched.  It was a celebration – but also a reminder that there is an enemy named death.

In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the Underworld, the god of the Dead, was the most hated of all the immortal beings because he was held to be the only god who never answered prayer.  Never. 

The exception that proves the rule is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Orpheus was the greatest of mortal musicians.  When his beloved wife, Eurydice, died, he simply could not accept the finality of that loss.  So he took his harp and journeyed to the Underworld where he played so beautifully, sang so poignantly of grief and sorrow, that tears of molten iron ran down the normally immovable face of Hades, and for the only time ever recorded, he relented. Eurydice would be permitted to follow Orpheus back into the world of the living, the world of the sun. But he must not look behind him until they had both safely emerged from the darkness of Hades’ realm back into the sunlight.

So imagine Orpheus’ feelings as he begins the long walk by himself through the dark tunnel.  He sees the small point of light at the end, and he begins to hear faint footsteps, growing ever louder and more solid, as Eurydice begins to resume physical form and follow behind him.  He desperately wants to look backwards and see her again, to confirm that it is her footsteps that he hears approaching behind him!  But he dare not. 

At the point where they only had one more step to go before Orpheus’ quest to regain Eurydice would be completed, at that instant when one more step would mean his goal would have been achieved and her life would have been snatched back from stone-faced Hades, at that moment she stumbles against a stone and cries out in pain, and by instinct, without thinking, he turns to catch her and keep her from falling.  But he has broken the ban, he has violated the requirement, he has transgressed the taboo.  And so he turns only to see her for one intolerably heartbreaking moment reaching for him as she evaporates and fades back into the mist, forever lost in the darkness.

Perhaps the hardest thing about Death to accept is that impenetrable wall brutishly erected across your path, that steel door slammed in your face.  It simply doesn’t matter how important and essential the departed loved one has been to your life, you aren’t getting him back.  That is what makes it the great and final Enemy: “The last enemy to be defeated is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).

And that is what Jesus overcame not just by his own resurrection, but by raising Lazarus and the son of the widow from Nain!  Should it be any wonder to us that the people were filled with terror and awe when the dead man sat up and began to speak?!  

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. – John 5:28-29  This is the last, great and final hope of Christianity – that the stone wall will be shattered, that the steel door will be destroyed…and so we shall be forever with the Lord!

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

PRAYER: I thank You that YOU are a God who hears the prayers of those who cry out to You, and that You will one day answer even our prayers to see and be with Your saints of all ages once again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/10/20 – To the Ridgeline

Tucker Mountain summit looking west at the ridgeline

DayBreaks for 6/10/20: To the Ridgeline

A good number of years back (I hate to think how long ago it was!), I went with a group of men from our church in Tracy, California, on a backpacking trip to the 10 Lakes Basin in Yosemite National Park.  We started early in the morning while it was cool – it would be a steep uphill hike, and since we would be spending the night there, we carried heavy packs. It was July – and the temperature was over 100 degrees, even at that elevation.  As the day wore on and it got to be mid-to-late afternoon, we knew we had to be getting close to our destination.  Every once in a while, we’d lift our heads and gaze at the top of the ridge looming above us – when you’re that tired, you just can’t help but look at the huge peaks and ridges that tower over you and which beckon you to keep hiking up its side.  Then, when you finally reach that ridge top, you realize that it isn’t the top at all – that there is another ridge behind and above it – you just couldn’t see it from where you were before.  Perspective from below fools you.  You then reset your expectations, thinking that what you now see is the real summit – another half-mile off.  But then you begin to wonder – is it a false summit, too?  I must admit, there were several false summits – and with each false summit, there was disappointment.  But we kept going – and we reached our goal – and when we did, it was sweet!

That hike and that experience echo lessons I have learned about the journey of faith.  Just as with that backpacking adventure, a faith walk will involve miscalculations, misperceptions, thrills and disappointments – long periods of waiting and even longer periods when it seems as if the uphill trudge will never come to an end.  No matter how well one prepares and takes all appropriate cautions and attempts to eliminate all the risks, we never succeed.  There will be times when the weather settles in thick and cold and we lose sight of the ridgeline that rises above us – when we can’t see a thing and aren’t sure if we’re still even moving in the right direction. 

But this I also have discovered – that when we reach the summit, there is nothing in the world that compares to the feeling of exaltation.  But it would never have happened if we had stopped walking at the first false ridgeline, if we quit when we’re in the valley and give up because it seems too hard and we’re not sure if we can make it.

Persistence is not an easy thing to possess as the years mount up and our strength winds down.  But too much is at stake to quit this close to the finish line.  Keep looking upward…you will reach the destination, not because of you own strength, but because He has guaranteed to carry you over the pathway that you cannot navigate on your own!

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

PRAYER: When times are hard and we are exhausted, be our Strength and guide our footsteps on the upward way until we reach our Rest!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/9/20 – There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

Unstoppable Love Easter 2015 – Freedom Hill Community Church

DayBreaks for 6/09/20: There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

When I was young, I recall a dilemma that fascinated me and it was primarily related to a physics problem: What would happen if an unstoppable force collided with an immovable object? To this day I don’t know, but I suppose the answer might be something like this: there is no such thing as an unstoppable force or an immovable object. With enough energy applied, anything is stoppable or immovable.

At least in the physical realm. If the Bible teaches us anything about God it is that His plan is unstoppable. It may seem to us mortals that it is being thwarted left and right but we surely can’t see the entire story or recognize all the force at work.

As I was walking the dog the other day, I had Crowder as my walking companion (via my Alexa-enabled headphones) and I was struck by a portion of the lyrics to the song Golgotha Hill (King of Love) that made realize that there is one unstoppable force in the universe and that is the love of God.

When you think about it, what is the intent of God’s plan? It is to be reunited with his very good creation in love and peace.

What if our own love were like that unstoppable love of God? There would be no child, spousal or elder abuse. There would be no divorce. There would be no war, no stealing, raping, racial injustice, no hearts crushed by infidelity and no families destroyed.

I wish it was as simple as saying, “God fill me with your unstoppable love!” I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is that easy for me. I do believe that the day will come when his love is all that remains and it will fill us, envelop us, and pour out of us. Until that day my prayer will be to know and experience more of his unstoppable love towards me so that I can love others even as he does.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (CSBBible) – Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:37-39 (YLT)but in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us; for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of god, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

PRAYER: Father, I would know and be possessed by your unstoppable love and I would have that love for others! Our world so desperately needs your unstoppable love right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/08/20 – Forgiven

Forgiven 2019 – Trinity Productions Proudly Presents FORGIVEN 2019

DayBreaks for 6/08/20: Forgiven

We struggle with many things in life. We struggle with pride, pain, relationships, work, finances, failures, parenting, loving others who are different from us…the list could go on virtually ad infinitum. But there is one thing that we as believers struggle with perhaps more than non-believers. and that thing is forgiveness – and by that I mean accepting that we have been forgiven.

Why is that so?  You’d think that of all people on this green and blue orb that Christians would be the quickest ones to accept our forgiveness. And that’s true of many. But there are untold thousands, if not millions, of believers who just have a hard time accepting that our sins are forgiven. I think it is because while we have forgiveness, we also have the Spirit. Part of the role of the Spirit is to convict us of sin – not to torment of agonize us, but to cause us to confess and to steer us back into a good path.

If we are to believe anything about the cross, it must be this: that the price for ALL our sins was paid for – past, present and future, when the God-man died sinlessly. It wasn’t just for the sins I’d committed before I became a believer – though those are surely forgiven – but every sin I’ve committed since then and every sin I’ll ever commit in the future.

Maybe you did something this weekend, or last week, or last month or 20 years ago that you believe can never be forgiven. That simply isn’t true. To say it is unforgiveable is to deny the power of the blood of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice to take care of YOUR sin. My friend, you are not bigger, nor is your sin more powerful than the Father’s heart of love for you.

I love music and find it very powerful in causing me to think. And so I want to share this YouTube link with you from David Crowder’s Forgiven, where he says, “Forgiven, forgiven! Child there is freedom from all of it. Say goodbye to every sin you are forgiven.”

Walk in perfect freedom – now and forever!

Romans 8:1-2 (ESV) – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for our freedom – bought and paid for by your mighty, invincible blood! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/3/20 – A Plea to Reverse Babel

Genesis 11:9 (CSBBible) – Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth.

Our nation is torn and bleeding…literally. A man, made in the very image of God, killed by those who are charged with upholding and enforcing the law and the rights of every human being. As a result of that, countless thousands protesting peacefully, while others (I won’t call them protestors, for the aren’t protesting, but rioting and looting) destroy the life work of fellow citizens and violently attack humans in the streets, businesses, and even trying to force their way into homes to wreak havoc and harm. Flames and smoke ascend to the heavens.

A long time ago in a place far, far away, a people thought too highly of themselves and tried to ascend into heaven. In response to their hubris, God confused their language and they scattered over the face of the earth. And it seems we have been scattered ever since.

Right now in America, we have people who speak the same literal language, but who are in no way unified. And sadly, through much of the life of the country and especially in the last week, it seems that the church as been all too silent. Should not the church be a voice crying in the wilderness for peace and unity, dialog and reason, that calls us to love one another regardless of whether the person next to you is red, white, black, brown, green, purple, polka-dotted or striped?

We should all be speaking to each other, hearing one another’s pain and fear and understanding what each human longs for and desires.

On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, tongues of fire descended from heaven to earth and Peter spoke in a language that everyone heard – and understood in their own tongue – a universal language if you will. That’s how the church started. Where is that universal language in the church today? At this moment, tongues of fire ascend in the opposite direction as the flames of burning cities lick the heavenly sky. With one united voice, the church needs to be speaking against what God hates – racism, abuse, hatred, falsehood, misogyny, abuse of power – and to speak and bring his love to all humanity even as God does.

As always, it starts with me. And with you. For we are the church. Let us raise a common language for reconciliation and for healing and ask forgiveness for our own blindness.

PRAYER: Almighty God, where once you confused the language or mankind, we pray now that your Spirit will enable the church to speak with one voice of the preciousness of every human on the face of the earth. We ask you now to restore a common language filled with love and compassion, not hatred and rage. Search our hearts to reveal to us our own prejudices and forgive us for our hardness of heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/29/20 – Flight from Reality

90 Minutes a Day, Until 10 P.M.: China Sets Rules for Young Gamers ...

DayBreaks for 5/29/20: Flight from Reality

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – “Police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online, authorities said.  The couple fed their 3-month-old daughter once a day between marathon stretches in a local Internet cafe, where they were raising a virtual child in the fantasy role-playing game Prius Online, police told local reporters Friday.

Prius Online is a 3-D game in which players nurture an online companion, Anima, a young girl with mysterious powers who grows and increases her skills as the game progresses.

“Police have not identified the 41-year-old father and 25-year-old mother, who lived in Suwon, a suburb south of Seoul. But the father apologized, speaking to reporters.  “I wish that she hadn’t got sick and that she will live well in heaven forever. And as the father, I am sorry,” he said.  The baby reportedly died five months ago.

“South Korea has one of the world’s fastest broadband networks. Seoul has won international awards for e-governance.  Online gaming teams are sponsored by major conglomerates and 24-hour, high-speed Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, dot every urban neighborhood.  Police said the couple had lost their jobs and used the game as an escape from reality, especially after the birth of their premature baby.  “They instead played an online game in which they raised a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby,” Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, told Yonhap News Agency.

“South Korea remains a very conservative society so people who fall outside the norm can come under severe stress and pressure,” said Michael Breen, the Seoul-based author of “The Koreans.” 

“The Internet has provided such people with a paradise to escape to and simply get lost in.” – Andrew Salmon, CNN, 3/7/10 

This is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time.  Any time a child (or person) dies from needless starvation it makes me deeply disturbed.  And it happened because the parents were using a silly game “as an escape from reality.”  Instead of raising their real live offspring, they devoted their time and energy to the care and feeding of a virtual character.

We can easily be distracted into spending our energies and attention on foolish things – things which are not real, things which will never happen, imaginary and pretend things, while letting our life with God and our relationship with Him and those made in His image starve for the attention that they rightfully deserve.  There is no shortage of things which will call for our attention.  The enemy is an expert at distraction.  Don’t let your relationship with your Father die for lack of attention.  Don’t let your relationships with others die as you try to flee reality into a make-believe world.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:1-2

PRAYER: Father, keep our hearts and minds focused on You and on those You love.  Keep us from the deception of Satan.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/26/20 – The Final Resting Place

DayBreaks for 5/25/20: The Final Resting Place

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

I’ve done too many funerals lately, plus two graveside services (why is it that every graveside service I’ve done in the past few years has always been on a rainy day when the skies themselves are weeping?)  What a wonderful day it will be when there are no more funerals – ever!  But until then, they are an important part of coming to terms with our loss and sadness, and for that reason they are necessary. 

As I was preparing for a recent graveside service I was looking at the common reading often heard at such ceremonies, and I thought about how many times I’ve heard someone say that So-and-So has now been carried to their final resting place.  We often say nice sounding things in an attempt to comfort the bereaved, but we should be careful about what we say.  As I contemplated it, I thought about how untrue it is to say such a thing.  For one thing, when the casket is lowered into the ground, the person being mourned is not there – they have gone on to the next life, the next world – for better or worse.

For believers it is for the better: the final resting place is not in an urn or in a burial vault in the ground.  It is in the arms of Jesus in heaven above!  THAT is the final resting place of those who have put their trust in him!  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. – Hebrews 4:3

For unbelievers, I wish the story were different than Scripture reveals it to be.  There is no resting place for those who are strangers to Jesus:  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. – Revelation 14:11

If we are to “enter into rest”, it is to be found only in Jesus.  Where are you headed?

PRAYER: We long to enter rest, Lord!  We are so weary and grateful that there is a rest that awaits us in glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/25/20 – The Baggage of Life

16 secrets only baggage handlers know | loveexploring.com

DayBreaks for 5/25/20: The Baggage of Life

Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. So they inquired again of the LORD, “Is there a man still to come?” and the LORD said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 1 Samuel 10:20-22

What a fascinating passage!  Saul has been chosen to be king over Israel.  Yet, when the time comes to receive his kingship, where is he?  Hiding “among the baggage.”  Hiding in the “stuff” that was around him!  It’s easy to hide in “stuff”, isn’t it?  It might be hiding in the noise of a busy place, hiding among our possessions, even hiding in a crowd at church so that we don’t have to stand up and be counted and take a step of faith.  Saul shrank from it, and I know I’ve pulled back many times when I needed to take a stronger stand. 

The baggage that burdens us can also be guilt, shame, anger, fear or any of a number of emotions.  They can become crippling at times.   And our baggage can keep us from becoming what God wants us to be and prevent us from doing what he wants us to do.

Jesus invited us to take off the burdens that bow our backs and to exchange them for his yoke – a light yoke.  Jesus hasn’t come to give you guilt, despair, shame or fear.  He came to take all those things – and many more – off your shoulders.  He bore all of them on His shoulders for you.  Will you lay them down at his cross and walk away without your baggage?             

PRAYER: Thank you for lifting our burdens off our backs, Lord, and for inviting us to be free from the things that would haunt us ceaselessly!  Once we lay our burdens down at your feet, give us enough faith that we can walk away and leave them behind us forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/20/22 – Lessons Learned in Crucibles, #1

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DayBreaks for 5/20/20: Lessons Learned in Crucibles #1

Nearly all of us have had unplanned time for reflection during this COVID-19 lockdown. I suppose that like me, you’ve had many thoughts about it and that your thinking and emotions may have changed day by day – maybe hour by hour.

In my quiet time, I’ve been working my way through Ecclesiastes. It’s a strange, interesting and bewildering book. On the one hand, it’s doom and gloom, on the other it encourages us to enjoy our lot in life. In particular, yesterday I was reflecting on this: Ecclesiastes 6:1-7 (CSBBible) – Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a person riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place? All of a person’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied.

Pretty gloomy, eh? But think about it for a moment. As we sit in this COVID-19 world, we can learn something from this passage. It does seem strange and unfair that all we acquire or accomplish of a worldly nature in this life is stripped from us upon death, or even upon a strange turn of events in this life. A market downturn, a pandemic, a health issue – those things can strip us of our deluded security and even the option of enjoying the things we work for. All this tells me that if we find our purpose, meaning and enjoyment in things that can be so suddenly taken from us, aren’t we a bit on the crazy side?

I hope to spend more time during the lockdown – however long that may be – to readjust what gives me purpose, meaning and enjoyment and to refocus on that which can never be taken from me in this world or the next – Jesus.

PRAYER: Jesus, so much has been taken from so many during this pandemic and we long for a return of normalcy. I pray that we will use this time wisely to refocus on those things which nothing can ever take from us and find our greatest joy – the joy you designed us for – in drawing closer to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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