DayBreaks for 1/16/20 – Can’t Touch This

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DayBreaks for 1/16/20: Can’t Touch This

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Chrysostom, the ancient Church Father, was a beautiful example of true Christian courage. When he stood before the Roman Emperor, he was threatened with banishment if he still remained a Christian. Chrysostom replied, “You cannot, for the world is my Father’s house; you cannot banish me.”

“But I will slay you,” said the Emperor.

“No, but you cannot,” said the noble champion of the faith again, “for my life is hid with Christ in God.”

“I will take away thy treasures.” “No, but you cannot,” was the retort; “in the first place, I have nothing you know anything about. My treasure is in heaven, and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive you away from man, and you shall have no friend left.” “No, and that you cannot,” once more said the faithful witness, “for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you shall not separate me. I defy you; there is nothing you can do to hurt me.”

How does an ordinary human get such courage?  It surely doesn’t come from our human nature.  It comes from the Spirit of boldness that we have as part of the indwelling of the Spirit…the very Spirit that was in Christ Jesus.  There has never been a braver, more courageous and fearless man than Jesus. 

What we have is secured, not by the power of Rome or the United States, it is not kept by a refrigerator or a preservative additive, it is kept by the power of the Almighty God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – ESV, 1 Peter 1:3-5

PRAYER: Give us courage to live in the power of Your Spirit and to be fearless like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/15/19: His DNA

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DayBreaks for 1/15/20: His DNA

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Lee Eclov told this story, shared by permission of the Foote family:

“In August, 2009, we got a rather amazing email from my wife’s youngest brother, Jon. Six or seven years ago, when Jon and his wife, Lori, were working with a youth group in Nebraska, they met Amanda—a teenage girl the same age as their son, Wesley. Amanda came from a terribly abusive home and was eventually taken from her parents by the state. She has been part of Jon and Lori’s family ever since.

“After conferring with their two sons, Jon and Lori legally adopted Amanda. She is 22, and her name is now Amanda Foote. She will even get a new birth certificate! Now Jon and Lori have three legal heirs, and Amanda has two new brothers. She no longer has any legal claim upon her former parents, who disowned her—nor they upon her. The process was relatively simple.

“They had thought of Amanda as their daughter for a long time, but I asked if anything felt different after that day at the courthouse. Jon said, “Absolutely! When it was official there was a huge change in Lori and me—sort of like when you see your newborn for the first time. And for Amanda, there was a change in her, too. Now she knew she belonged. She knew we were her parents.”

“The beauty of it all made me offer a word of thanks to the way-clearing of our Elder Brother Jesus, God’s Beloved Son. God has given us a new name (his), a new legal standing (we are his responsibility and his heirs), and a new family (brothers and sisters in Christ, and God as our true Father). But God went even further. He gave us something that Jon and Lori can’t give Amanda. God gave us his Holy Spirit. In some ways it’s like God gives us his DNA. But even more than that, God implants in us his heart, his mind, his passion, his holiness—and people even look at us and say, “My how you bear a striking resemblance to your Father!”

Today in courts all over the world, DNA is used to prove relationships or identity.  When you think about it, isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is within us?  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:13-14 Our inheritance is assured because of our Paternity, and the Holy Spirit is the guarantee, the identifying method if you will, that shows we are His.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the incomparable gift of your Holy Spirit that You have placed within us.  Teach us to hear His voice and follow His leading!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/13/20 – The Possibility of Miracles

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DayBreaks for 1/13/20: The Possibility of Miracles

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Miracles.  We talk about them, I know folks who claim to have seen them.  More often than not, they are talking about someone being healed from an illness or disease, or the miracle of birth or conception, of human development.  It is hard to prove whether such was a miracle or a “co-incidence” in practicality.  In fact, there are those who tend to put a lot of faith in science who say that there is no such thing as a miracle. 

There is no Christian belief without faith in miracles: creation, the virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead…these form the very crux of Christianity and its beliefs.  Science rejects that miracles can be harmonized with a modern, educated and rational view of the world.  So, once armed with that conclusion, they turn to the bible and say it can’t be reliable because of its insistence on miracles and a God of the miraculous.  The thinking goes like this: “Science has proven that there is no such thing as miracles.”  But, as Timothy Keller put it in The Reason for God, “..embedded in such a statement is a leap of faith.  It is one thing to say that science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any others.  It is quite another to insist that science proves that no other causes could possibly exist…The scientist must always assume there is a natural cause.  That is because natural causes are the only kind its methodology can address.  It is another thing to insist that science has proven there can’t be any other kind.  There would be no experimental model for testing the statement: ‘No supernatural causes for any natural phenomenon is possible.’  It is therefore a philosophical presupposition and not a scientific finding.”

Alvin Plantinga, the Christian philosopher, shows the folly of such a line of thinking when he wrote: “Macquarrie perhaps means to suggest that the very practice of science requires that one reject the idea of God raising someone from the dead…[This] argument…is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost care keys only under the streetlight on the grounds that the light was better there.  In fact, it would go the drunk one better: it would insist that because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.”

It is ludicrous to think that science is so smart that it holds all the answers – even to things that cannot be put under a microscope or subjected to scientific methodology. 

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  (Romans 1:22)

PRAYER: Thank you that there are reasons to walk by faith and not by sight alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/9/20 – Not Quite White

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DayBreaks for 1/09/20: Not Quite White

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

As some of you know, photography has become one of my hobbies.  There’s not much that I enjoy more than getting off to some place that is pretty or interesting or which has wild animals and taking pictures of them.  I can’t say that I’m much good at it – but I hope to get better and I’m reading things to help me learn. 

I was recently able to spend part of a day in Yosemite where there was snow on the ground – not a lot of it, but enough to make the place even more magical than it already is.  There is a challenge to taking good pictures in the snow.  The color white reflects back 36% of the light waves that hit it.  Camera light meters, however, have a real problem with white.  They see white and rather than seeing all of it, they see only 18% (half) of the light waves bouncing off a white surface.  As a result, cameras, left to automatic exposure, will typically render white snow as a dingy gray.

As I struggled a bit to get good exposures in Yosemite in the snow, I got to thinking about how the Bible says white is symbolic of purity and black is representative of sin.  We would like to think that we’re “white” spiritually.  This is never clearer than in the case of those who think that they’re “pretty good people” who don’t smoke, drink or cheat.  They think they are good enough through their own efforts.  But just like the camera has a problem with recognizing whiteness, so our inner eyes often struggle to see our own dingy grayness and instead we choose to think we see purity when it is in fact lacking.  We make the problems we may have (even sin problems) someone else’s fault: they provoked me to anger, they cheated me so I’m justified in talking about them behind their back, or she wore too short of a skirt and made me lust. 

That thinking doesn’t fly in God’s Kingdom.  We can contribute to creating sinful environments that will either trip us up, or those around us, but ultimately, we are responsible for how we respond.  We are responsible for our own sin. 

The best any of us are on our own is like the blackest black you can imagine.  It’s what the prophet was saying when he said, “All our righteous deeds are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).  They aren’t even gray – they’re filthy black!

Then, in steps Jesus, armed with the ability and knowledge to turn us white once again.  Just as a photographic exposure can be adjusted to make the white more “white”, Jesus can take our sin-stained souls and brighten them up so that we will “shine like stars in the universe” (Phil. 2:15). 

The eye of the camera is fooled by whiteness…and we can let our spiritual eyes be fooled, too. 

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for cleaning us up and making us shine!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/8/20 – Bildad’s Folly

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DayBreaks for 1/08/20: Bildad’s Folly

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

I’m glad that I don’t have a friend like Bildad.  He’s one of the “friends” of Job who came to “help” their friend in the midst of untold misery.  Fat lot of help he was!

Here’s just a tiny bit of Bildad’s “comfort” to Job: “If you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf.” (Job 8:5-6)  This comes after Job has talked about how he offered sacrifices to God, and Bildad jumps on that, saying in effect, “Job, it’s clear to everyone apparently but you, that your first sacrifices to God didn’t work.  It probably wasn’t the sacrifices that were wrong, I’d be willing to bet that the problem was you, Job.  Before you go back and try to offer sacrifices to please God again, dig deep into your heart and get right with him and maybe if you’re lucky, he’ll hear you this time and have mercy on you once you are pure and upright.”

As Mike Mason points out in The Gospel According to Job, “Significantly, Bildad makes the cardinal blunder of thinking that one must be pure before he can approach God.  Jesus exposed the folly of this when He taught, it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick.” 

What would it be like if we had to be pure before we could approach God, before we could cry out to Him, “Lord, save me!”?  It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

PRAYER: Thank You for meeting us where we are, full of our sin and brokenness, full of disease of physical and spiritual natures.  Thank You for the healing You give to our souls!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/3/20 – All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee

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DayBreaks for 1/03/20: All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

It may appear that humans are uniquely equipped to offer praise to God.  We know, of course, that angels praise him.  We know that part of the reason we were created was to bring Him glory and proclaim His greatness.  We may even acknowledge that living things praise Him – the bird crying in apparent joy as she soars in freedom above the created world, the dolphin that leaps deliriously as it tears through the water at breakneck speed and sings its strange chirping song.  Who is to say that they are not praising their Creator?

Inanimate things praise Him…the heavens declare His glory and the heavenly bodies day after day and night after night pour forth their speech and stun us into humbled silence at His power and evident majesty.  Who is to say that the sounds that radio telescopes pick up from the depths of the universe’s vast array are not some form of heavenly praise that we cannot understand or interpret? The Psalmist put it well in Psalm 145:10: All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

Things visible and things invisible declare His wisdom.  Consider again the atom.  Everything that exists in the physical realm is made up of atoms.  But did you realize that atoms are mostly empty space?  There are those who have spent their life studying the atomic and subatomic world of creation who hold that when two objects come together in the physical realm (like two billiard balls) they don’t really hit one another.  Instead, says Timothy Ferris, “..the negatively charged fields of the two balls repel each other…were it not for their electrical charges they could, like galaxies, pass right through each other unscathed.”  When you sit in a chair, did you know you aren’t actually sitting on the chair, but because of the power in the electrons of your body and clothing and the electrons in the chair that repel one another that you are actually levitating about the height of one angstrom (1 hundred millionth of a centimeter)?

Neutrons and protons make up the nucleus of an atom.  The nucleus is very, very tiny – only one millionth of one billionth of the full volume of the atom, but it is extremely dense, packed tight with tiny particles.  In fact, if an atom was expanded to fill the size of a large cathedral, the nucleus would be about the size of a fly, but that fly would be many thousands of times heavier than all the rest of the cathedral combined. 

All of this was designed by the hand of the Almighty.  It is invisible to us, but somehow, I suspect that if we could hear the “voice” of the atom, it, too, would be singing His praise. 

May your new year and your very life be filled with praise to Him and may you join your voice with that of the sun, moon and stars in exalting His name! How will you praise Him today?

PRAYER: How marvelous is Your creation, O Great God!  We are humbled before You and Your unsearchable wisdom!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/2/20 – With Healing in His Wings

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DayBreaks for 1/02/20: With Healing in His Wings

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Goodness knows our world and souls need healing.  Repeated attempts by shoe bombers to blow up planes of ordinary people, suicidal bombers wearing explosive vests, children abducted and murdered – these and many more heinous events have taken place since Christmas.  What a way to end the year, eh? 

Yet, we have hope.  For thousands of years, the Jews hoped…and waited…and kept on hoping and kept on waiting, for what Malachi promised in chapter 4 verse 2-3: But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.  All of this will take place, says the Lord of Hosts, “on the day when I act.”  If the Jews could hope and wait for millennia, shouldn’t Christians be able to hope for even longer if necessary?

In the passage from Malachi, the word translated as “wings” is from the Hebrew kinof.  There’s a strange, yet very fascinating connection here that we miss since we don’t know Hebrew.  In the instructions given by God to Moses about how the Israelites were to live and practice their faith, they were to wear tassels on the fringes of the prayer shawls worn by the priests and others.  These tassels were to be a visible reminder to all that they were to be a special people, priestly in nature to the rest of the world.  Here’s where it gets interesting: the same Hebrew word, kinof, is used for “wings” in Malachi as for the fringes of the prayer shawl.  Both are kinof.

In Luke 8:40-48 is recorded the story of Jesus in the crowd when he was touched by the woman with the issue of blood.  Remember what the woman touched?  The edge of his garment.  The kinof, if you please.  This woman wasn’t just hoping to be healed.  It appears that she’d thought this through and had come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah, the “sun of righteousness” that would rise with healing in his kinof (wings, fringes), as if saying, “I believe that this is the One!  He’s the one we’ve waited for!  I know he has healing in his wings!”

It becomes even more clear in verse 48 when Jesus tells her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well…”  It wasn’t just faith in his power to heal, it was her faith in him as the sun of righteousness that had risen with healing in his wings! 

Yes, he came, he healed.  So in a sense, it is history – past tense.  Yet in a far greater and obviously more powerful mode he will come again and “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in it’s wings” once more, and on the day when he acts again the disease will be forever gone, there will be no more suicide bombers, children ripped from the arms and hearts of their parents…and death itself will be no more!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may this be the day when once again the “sun of righteousness” rises!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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