DayBreaks for 5/15/19 – It Is Always Morning

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DayBreaks for 5/15/19: It Is Always Morning

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009, Michael Card’s email devotion, Devotions From the Studio:

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. – Revelation 22:16

“In astronomy, the morning star is not a star at all, but actually the planet Venus. For a portion of the year, Venus appears early in the morning, just before sunrise, only to be overcome by the light of the sun as it moves behind our star in its orbit. During this time, it is referred to as the “morning star.” Later, it can be seen just before sunset, going down early in the evening, hence the term “evening star.” Venus is unmistakable, the third brightest object in the sky. Only the sun and moon outshine it.

“It is always darkest before the dawn,” Thomas Fuller wrote in 1650. Nothing could be truer. While Venus is known as both the evening and the morning star, in Scripture the term “morning star” is the only one used in reference to Jesus. This is because it is in the morning that we most need light. Despite the growing light of dawn, many times mornings can be the darkest time of the day. Sometimes it is not easy to find the courage to embrace all that lies before us in the new day. So many worries and fears can assail us in these early morning hours. We can find ourselves living in dread of the hours before us. To face the new day with joy requires a courage that must come from outside ourselves.

“If this is a dark morning for you, if you feel in need of light in your life, begin with this passage from the prophet. It represents a small flickering flame: I see Him, but not now, I behold Him, but not near – A Star shall rise out of Jacob.  – Numbers 24:17

“Then listen to the simple words of the Morning Star, the true Light Bearer, and allow them to transform the darkness into a new morning for you: I am the Light of the World.  He who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.”  – John 8:12

Galen’s Thought: Even though Venus is referred to as both the “morning star” and the “evening star”, Jesus is never referred to by both terms.  With Jesus it is always about the dawning and presence of Light, not the setting or disappearing of the light, hence, “the bright and morning star” and never the “evening star”.  What this says about Jesus is significant, and only goes to back up His self-proclamation, “I am the Light of the World.” 

May your day be filled with His Light this day and always!

Prayer: Thank You for the Light that is Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star, who shines in the heavens without parallel!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 5/14/19 – Trading on God’s Mercy

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DayBreaks for 5/14/19: Trading on God’s Mercy

John 8:35-36 (ESV) – The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Yesterday I wrote about verse 36 and how the Son gives true freedom – a truly encouraging truth But immediately preceding that statement, Jesus gives a stern warning. There is a difference between a slave and a family member.

As William Barclay points out, Jesus is making a not-too-subtle threat here, one his audience, the Jews, would easily grasp: “The word slave reminds him that in any household there is a difference between the slave and the son. The son is a permanent dweller in the household, but the slave can be ejected at any time. In effect Jesus is saying to the Jews: ‘You think that you are sons in God’s house and that nothing, therefore, can ever banish you from God. Have a care; by your conduct you are making yourselves slaves, and the slave can be ejected from the master’s presence at any time.’ Here is a threat. It is a terrible thing to trade on the mercy of God—and that is what the Jews were doing.”

There is warning here for more than the Jews – it is for us, too.

At the same time, for followers of Christ, in spite of the fact that we are still entranced by sin in our flesh, that sin has been paid for and we are no longer slaves, or even servants, but called friends and sons and daughters. As sons and daughters we have a position in the family of God that is permanent.

PRAYER: Thank you for adopting us as sons and daughters with the full privileges and security of being members of your family. Let us live in that truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 5/03/19 – God’s Expectations

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DayBreaks for 5/03/19: God’s Expectations

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

Have you ever been the “victim” of someone else’s expectations of you?  Perhaps it was when you were a child: your mom or dad may have wanted you to be a doctor or lawyer when you grew up, but neither was of interest to you.  Or, perhaps you dad wanted you to be as great of a football player or basketball player as he was (or thinks he was!) in his hey-day.  Maybe your mother wanted you to be more beautiful than you were…and so she went to great lengths to get you interested in make-up and pretty things.  Parents, for the most part, really do want good things for their kids.  It’s just that often we don’t know what will really be good for them and what won’t.  But that does very little to temper our expectations. 

Maybe you are struggling with unrealistic expectations of yourself.  Some people hold themselves to impossibly high standards, while others don’t hold themselves to any standard of excellence at all.  Your employer may have unrealistic expectations of you in terms of how many hours you work, what you are expected to achieve. 

Expectations can be killers.

But hasn’t God said, Be holy, even as I am holy?  Now THERE’S a tough expectation to live up to!!!!  Be as holy as God?  Didn’t Jesus command, Be perfect…as your Heavenly father is perfect (Matt. 5:48)?  And didn’t the KJV, in describing Job, record that God Himself said that Job was “perfect”?  Talk about being set up for failure – this is looking like it could be the most colossal failure of all time!

Ah, here’s the release from the tension, and it’s found in Hebrews 10:14, where we are reassured that Christ…has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.  Did you get that?  Christ “HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER” those who are being sanctified.”  Past tense.  Done deal.  The perfection that God demands of us has been achieved – only not in us, but it was done by Christ himself!  God, being a good Father, knows we can’t live up to that expectation on our own, so He resolved the issue for us.  Note the second part of the verse, too: although we have been made (past tense) perfect, we are still “being sanctified.”  So, while our sanctification goes on, our perfection has been achieved.

Doesn’t this make some kind of sense: would God, being perfectly loving and knowing perfectly well what we are truly capable of (and what we aren’t), expect us to do the impossible?  As Mike Mason said in The Gospel According to Job: “Surely not – except by His grace.  And that is precisely the point: it is God’s grace, and nothing else, that declares a person perfect.  It is in God’s eyes that people achieve perfection, not in their own or in the world’s.  In our Heavenly Father’s garden, perfection is by faith and not by sight.”

Prayer: What a comfort it is to know that You know us perfectly well, and yet You have chosen to see us as perfect in Christ Jesus.  Thank You for understanding our inadequacies and for making provision for us.  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 Easter Sunday, 4/21/19 – This Was More than Just a Man

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DayBreaks for 4/21/19: This was More than Just a Man

Today is a glorious day because we focus on the greatest event ever – the resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today I want to share a song that has come to bless me in so many ways. I pray it will enrich your appreciation of His being risen as you worship him this day.

Hope is Alive – Kristine DiMarco

Hope is Alive – Kristine DiMarco (concert version)

Matthew 27:54 (NIV) – When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Prayer: All glory and praise to the Lord Jesus forever and ever! Thank you that our hope, You, are alive today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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