DayBreaks for 10/23/20 – Out of the Depths

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Image from the movie, The 33.

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. – Psalm 71:20

 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. – Psalm 95:4

This past week we were privileged to witness one of the most amazing rescues I can recall.  Thirty-three miners escaped from the depths of the earth (the story is told in the movie, The 33).  I don’t know for sure, but someone said that when they came to the surface, they were wearing shirts that had Psalm 95:4 stenciled on their back.  These 33 men endured great anguish and fear yet came through their ordeal with a perspective that is amazing. 

There are so many rich lessons for us to grasp in this event:

As Psalm 139 says, there is nowhere either above or below the earth that He cannot be found.  And one of the miners said that God was in that time and place, as was the devil, but God won.  He always does – and always will!

I thought about being “re-born” to a new and living hope.  Surely these men can now read those words with renewed appreciation. 

I thought about how God has translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son…and how the miners had been in the mines for so long that they had to wear sunglasses even at night when they came up out of the mine into the light. 

The joy that they and their loves ones experienced is certainly understandable!  These men, as good as dead, were alive and could live “normal” lives.  The joy that swept the world at their survival – even the joy that filled my own heart at their rescue – was powerful and strong.  But there is an even greater miracle, an even greater reason for joy that we have as Christians: we have been saved by the grace of God!!!  Did those miners deserve being rescued, being saved?  I don’t know if “deserved” is the right word – but because they were humans, the efforts were made.  God made a far greater effort and had to span a distance far greater than 2050 feet in order to rescue us from a death that was every bit as certain (even more certain, as it turns out!) than the miners faced in the dark bowels of the earth.  Why should our joy be any less?  Why don’t we react to our salvation with the same wild abandon as those miners?

It is a question worth pondering.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t really believe we are bad enough to deserve eternal punishment.  Perhaps it’s because we have never considered ourselves as good as dead.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t begun to grasp the life that God has given us.  Maybe it’s all of the above and other reasons, too.  I’m ready to begin celebrating my salvation more than I have in the past, and I hope you will, too.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for seeing fit to spare the lives of the Chilean miners!  We rejoice in the new lease on life that they have been granted.  Help us to come to a far greater appreciation of what YOU have done for us than we have ever experienced before!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/09/20 – What About the 99?

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(Prompted by a conversation with a friend of mine – Valerie – thank you!)

Luke 15:3-5 (NLT2) – So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.

I think we all love this story because at some point in our faith walk it describes every single one of us – we were all the sheep that was lost. We should rejoice in this story because it gives us insight into how precious a single lamb is to the Lord. It is good to know we are precious to someone and even more so as that someone is God Almighty.

But what of the 99? The story is set in the wilderness where the sheepfold would be at best a pile of rocks on nearly four sides. The shepherd brought the sheep into the fold at night and then lay down across the opening – becoming the gate to the sheepfold so that none of the sheep could wander without his knowledge.

I’d always assumed the rest of the sheep – the 99 – were in the sheepfold when the shepherd goes looking for the lost one. But the story doesn’t say that. It just says they are in the wilderness.

Now we might assume they were in the sheepfold and that another shepherd kept an eye on them, but the story doesn’t say that, either. So, did the shepherd just walk off and leave the 99 to the ravenous predations of the wolves or lions? I don’t think so – especially since the shepherd is Jesus!

While this story doesn’t say it, I think something much more amazing was to take place given this passage: John 10:27 (NLT2) – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Do you see it? The sheep wouldn’t have stayed behind. They would have followed the shepherd in his desperate and love-fueled search for the one that was lost. And isn’t that what we are all supposed to do – join the Good Shepherd in the pursuit of the lost ones?

When all the lost ones have been found, he will carry us all safely to our eternal destiny.

He won’t ever leave us stranded and alone and we should never stay behind when the Shepherd is on the move!

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of how precious and special people are to you. Help my heart learn more of the rhythm of yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/05/20 – Being Carried

It was so long ago but I will never forget how precious it was to carry my children! I even have vague memories of being carried by my father’s strong arms when I was little. There is nothing quite as sweet as when a little child wraps their arms around your neck, puts their head on your shoulder and snuggles in.

There were times after our second and third children came along that I’d be carrying a couple of them while my wife carried another. I must confess that by that time they were getting older…and heavier!…and that at times it was hard to carry them for a long time.

A little child has no conception of the fact that they are making your arm muscles burn until they hurt! They don’t think about the reality that the parent is carrying their full weight. All they know is that they are being held, and carried, and they feel safe.

We are told that we have a Father that carries us (Ps. 68.19, NLT2): Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. But here’s a key difference between how God carries us and how I carried my children (Dt. 33.27a, NLT2): The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.

You see, my arms got weary and tired, but God’s almighty and everlasting arms will never tire of carrying us! He won’t have to put a single one of us down to regain his strength. And many have been the times when he was carrying us and we were unaware of how he bore our weight and did all the work for us.

There is also a commonality between my carrying of our kids and God’s carrying of us: it is a delight to the father to carry his kids!

Are you weary? Struggling to even stand let alone move forward? Run to God, let him pick you up, feel his massive almighty and everlasting arms underneath and around you, rest your head on his shoulder…and find peace!

PRAYER: Thank you for carrying us and holding us close to your heart, inviting us to run to you for peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/30/20 – Godly Imaginations

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We know him best as “doubting Thomas” but often forget he was willing to march into Jerusalem side by side with Jesus after they religious rulers tried to kill him the previous time. Thomas, though he may have doubted, was built of stern stuff.

He was easily confused: when Jesus said they knew the way he was going, Thomas raised his hand and in effect said, “I don’t! What do you mean?”  For all his faults (which aren’t that different than mine), Thomas was loyal.

Could it be that Thomas wasn’t in the upper room during the first appearance of Jesus after the resurrection because he had taken the death of Jesus so hard? Might it have been because Thomas was so confused about the sudden and dramatic turn of events just a couple days before? He couldn’t imagine where this was all leading.

He couldn’t fathom a resurrection of a crucified man. That sort of flashy occurrence was outside of Thomas’ thought processes. He didn’t want to get his hopes up just to be disappointed again. Max Lucado says that Thomas appears to have been too honest to be gullible but too loyal to give us hope entirely. His doubt wasn’t caused by distrust, but by the reluctance to imagine the “impossible”.

In this we are much like Thomas. We ponder things with wrinkled brows. We proceed with great caution. We don’t want anything, let alone God, to surprise us. So, we can’t imagine what God might do.

When is the last time that you let God surprise you?  When is the last time you claimed the promise that he is able to do “exceeding more than we are able to ask or imagine”?

Thomas got his proof. Legend says he traveled to India where they had to kill him to get him to stop talking about this friend of his who had lived, been crucified, but came back to life. Thomas learned to imagine God doing the impossible and to know for a fact that he can and does the impossible. This man of loyalty finally had his imagination captured and expanded by the God who has no limits. May our minds and hearts be expanded, too, knowing that Jesus must have smiled when he let Thomas touch his wounds, knowing that Thomas would never be the same, either.

PRAYER: Let us dream the impossible and count on you to make your fame and glory known through even humble, flawed beings like us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/18/20 – The Cause of Fears

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

It doesn’t take much to look up the definition of worry or fear.  They are close cousins – related by blood and tears.  It is all the more interesting to learn what Jesus, not Webster or Freud, thinks about the cause of worry.  He gives us his definition of it in Matthew 6:25, when he said, That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough

Do you see it?  “Whether you have enough…”  Our worries are about shortfalls, lack of supply.  It might be that we are afraid we won’t have enough time to complete our bucket list or even to complete today’s tasks, that we won’t have enough good luck to win or even to survive, that our smarts just don’t rate up there high enough, that we won’t be able to receive or give enough love or even that God’s forgiveness will run short just when I get to the front of the line.  We are worried about the supply of oil.  The fact is, we worry about just about everything – fearing that there won’t be enough of it.  There’s only one problem with this: worry doesn’t work.

Jesus went on to talk about the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields.  Neither worries.  As far as we know, no flower or bird has ever worried.  It seems that worry and its cousin, fear, barge into the human mind alone.  Maybe it’s because we are the only beings capable of that level of thought, or that we’re the only creatures that are so self-centered. 

Isn’t it true in your life that when you are worried you are not thinking about God?  You are trying to figure out how to do something, trying to predict the future or control future events.  You are wondering how to manipulate people, events, materials and situations to create the outcome that YOU desire.  We do these things when we are worried about what’s happening.

In my experience, when I am worried, if I pull back and just concentrate on God and His love and care for me, on His promises of not leaving me, of working things out for my best and not my worst, then I find my fear going away. 

God knows, Jesus says, what it is that we need and how much of it we need.  He knows that better than I.  He also knows what will be good for me and what will turn out to be harmful.  Our challenge is to trust His judgment and wisdom and not our own.

PRAYER: I confess, Lord, that I at times worry about whether there will be enough of this or of that, or whether things will work out in ways that I want them to.  Help me to not try to control if, when or how much You choose to give me, but to trust that Your wisdom far surpasses mine in all ways!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/15/20 – Two Natures

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Henri Nouwen told a parable about an old man who used to meditate each day be the Ganges River in India.

One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain. Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the mediator, “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save.”

This is, of course, a parable not so much about the nature of the scorpion, but the nature of the old man who was trying to save it.  And it is an apt reflection of our nature versus God’s nature.  To be quite honest, there isn’t a whole lot in our fleshly nature to commend us to anyone, let alone to God.  It is because of the awfulness of our fleshly nature that many despair of ever being recipients of God’s love and grace.   When we are focused on our own nature, we have plenty of good reason for despair.  Our focus, however, should not be on our nature nearly as much as God’s.  It is in God’s nature to save – because it is in God’s nature to love. God seeks the lost, heals the wounded, forgives the offender, and gives hope to those who are in despair, even though we have wounded Him again and again.

It is what God does. 

PRAYER: We love You, Lord, because You first loved us.  Help us to trust in Your goodness and loving nature!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/11/20 – No Matter the Prognosis

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

In his book If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, Randy Alcorn recalls his friend, writer Ethel Herr, who had a double mastectomy. Two months later doctors discovered that the cancer had spread. One of Herr’s friends, shocked and fumbling for words, asked her, “And how do you feel about God now?” Reflecting on the moment the question was posed to her, Herr says:

“As I sought to explain what has happened in my spirit, it all became clearer to me. God has been preparing me for this moment. He has undergirded me in ways I’ve never known before. He has made himself increasingly real and precious to me. He has given to me joy such as I’ve never known before—and I’ve no need to work at it, it just comes, even amidst the tears. He has taught me that no matter how good my genes are or how well I take care of my diet and myself, he will lead me on whatever journey he chooses and will never leave me for a moment of that journey. And he planned it all in such a way that step by step, he prepared me for the moment when the doctor dropped the last shoe … God is good, no matter what the diagnosis or the prognosis, or the fearfulness of the uncertainty of having neither. The key to knowing God is good is simply knowing him.” 

Isn’t it good to have a traveling companion like Jesus, who will go with you on every step of your journey?  He has chosen the journey for each of us.  He could have chosen it and patted us on the back and said, “Good luck!  I hope to see you when it’s all over!”  But he didn’t.  He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  I have a hunch he emphasized the word “never” when he said that.  He wanted us to be sure.

I don’t know where your journey has already led you.  I don’t know where your journey will take you.  I don’t even know where my journey will take me.  We have this assurance, though: it isn’t really the journey that leads us, is it He Who leads us, and no matter the prognosis, we can safely complete the journey with Him at our side!

PRAYER: Thank You for choosing the journey that is perfect for each one of us, and for promising to travel with us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/09/20 – Fear, Part 3

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Who have you let down already today?  Maybe no one, so ask yourself that question again tonight when you go to bed and see if your answer has changed! 

We all have been guilty of letting others down.  Sometimes we get over it, sometimes we don’t. 

Noble Doss was a football player – an excellent one.  He dropped lots of passes throughout his career, but in spite of all he caught, he painfully remembered one he dropped.  In 1941 he was part of the University of Texas football team that was ranked #1 in the nation heading into a matchup with their conference rival, Baylor University.  They held hopes for an undefeated season, but for that to happen, they would have to win the game against Baylor.  In the 3rd quarter of their game, Doss’ team was ahead 7-0 when the Longhorn quarterback hurled a long pass to Doss, who was wide open.  The only thing I had between me and the goal was 20 yards of grass, Doss recalls.  The pass was right on target and as one, the Longhorn fans rose cheering to their feet.  Doss locked his eyes on the ball and reached out for it, but somehow, it slipped through his hands.  With just seconds remaining later in the game, Baylor tied the score, Texas lost their top ranking, and their chance to go to the Rose Bowl and to have a perfect record.  Until he died in 2009, Doss said: I think about that play every day.  He felt, keenly, that he’d disappointed his teammates and let their fans down, too.

Sure, he had plenty of other memories: he was married more than 60 years, was a loving father, grandfather, and he served in the Navy during WW2.  He’d been on the cover of Life magazine with his Texas teammates, he intercepted 17 passes during his college years – a UT record that stands to this day.  He went on to win 2 NFL championships with the Philadelphia Eagles.  By all accounts, Doss was a man of great integrity and honor – that’s what everyone said about him – even while he was still living!  But while most people remember the life he lived, the plays he made and the TD’s he caught, Doss remembered the one he didn’t catch.  In fact, when he once met a new UT Longhorn’s head coach, Doss told him about that play, and he wept when he spoke of it. 

Fear of failure is crippling.  Because we are afraid we may fail (and let ourselves and others down) we may never get into the action at all.  Or, perhaps because of a failure in your past, you no longer are involved in ministry, outreach or fellowship.  You may have withdrawn, and like Doss, you fear you will carry that disappointment with you until you die – and that it will often bring tears when you think of it.

You fear that you may disappoint God – and that may be the deepest fear any of us carry.  After all, if we disappoint God – well, let’s just say that’s not a good thing to do.  We fear that God may give up on us.  Yet He knows our make-up – that we have deceitful hearts, that the imaginations of our hearts are evil continually, that no good thing dwells within us.  He knows all those things about you and me – and He still died for us.  Does that sound like Someone who is going to give up on you?

PRAYER: Father, we are so grateful that You love us with a love that refuses to give up or let go of us!  Help us get over our fears of failure, of disappointing You, and trust in Your amazing grace and love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/20/20 – Just a Piece of Wood?

Imagine yourself sitting across a table from someone who is perplexed and puzzled by life and the Bible. Perhaps they’d thought that becoming a Christian would solve all their problems and doubts. But it didn’t. Maybe they’re an unbeliever who is trying to find something to make life worth living. And so, they ask, “What is it that is truly important, that really, really matters?” And then they sit quietly staring at you expecting words of wisdom to fall from your lips. What would you say?

Some might mumble something about the two greatest commandments – surely that must be the answer, right? After all, how can love ever be the wrong answer? The point is that those are the two greatest commandments, but they mean diddly-squat if the main gist of the book is missed.

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess as to the answer. Paul answered it for us in 1 Corinthians 15 when he penned these words: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

There you have it. That’s it. Too simple? It wasn’t simple from God or Jesus’ standpoint. The truth is this: what matters is the cross and the events following.

How can a couple pieces of wood be what counts? As Max Lucado put it in No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, “History has idolized it and despised it, gold-plated it and burned it, worn and trashed it. History has done everything to it but ignore it. That’s the one option that the cross does not offer…Its bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, it is history’s hinge. Period. If not, it is history’s hoax.”

Of course, it wasn’t the pieces of wood that made it special. It was the transaction that took place there: the transference of my sin onto his lashed shoulders, him taking my sin into his pierced hands…and paying the price for it that I should have to pay.

What matters? THAT is what matters.

PRAYER: Jesus, when I begin to doubt your love, to think that my sin is too great a burden even for you, when life crushes in and suffocates me, remind me what matters and turn my heart to contemplate what happened there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/15/20 – Not Even Close

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From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

Do you get discouraged of fighting the same battles over and over and over? It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. I may have the best intentions in the world, but something comes up and my best intentions remain just that: intentions. I’m reminded of all the times my kids were little and I promised them I’d take them to the park to play on the playground equipment some evening after work – but by the time I got home I was just too tired. The day had pressed hard upon me and I couldn’t find the energy and my plan fell flat, along with the look of excitement and hope in my children’s eyes. It breaks my heart to even think about how I let them down – and how many times I disappointed them.

Sometimes it seems as if all the world is that way. Have you noticed? There are days when it seems that this world is on a greased sled destined straight for hell. And I guess, in a way, that is true. What became of God’s glorious plan to win the world to Himself in love? How could anyone resist the story of a love so great, and which was manifested so clearly? Yet clearly, sadly, it is true. The world is going to hell for the single reason that most reject God’s offer of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Has God’s plan failed? Did He make the cosmic mistake of all time by entrusting His plan into human hands? I mean, if He wanted to be sure the job got done right, why didn’t he give the job of evangelization to the archangel Michael? Surely, he could have persuaded more people to believe in God than sinful, deceitful, fallen man!!

I can’t tell you why God did it the way He did. I can’t answer the tough questions that people send me about God’s plan and seeming risky choices. You will have to ask those questions to God yourself – and be content with the fact that you may not get an answer until you get to ask Him in person. Has God failed?

I know that God, when He walked among mankind, wept in sympathy. He cried as He stood by the tomb of Lazarus. He cried in prayer – especially in the garden of Gethsemane. But when the canopy of the sky splits wide open and Jesus comes back, one thing will be certain: that God’s eternal plan – conceived before the foundation of the world – was never threatened, never put in jeopardy, never was it even close to being on the edge of defeat.

For all the times we look around us at the horror in the world and are tempted to wonder where God went to (is it any wonder that during the chaotic 60’s and 70’s that the “God is dead” movement started?), we will do well to remember that God hasn’t gone anywhere. He isn’t off fighting a last gasp battle in an effort to win the war. The war is done – over- caput. All that is left is the mopping up action.

Someday when you get up in the morning – it will be the last time you get up. It will be the last time you will ever sleep. It will be the last sunrise you ever see. Your plans for your life may not have worked out like you wanted them to. But God’s plans for your life – for your eternity – are doing just fine, thank you. Don’t worry – God isn’t about to be knocked out in the final round. No “Hail Mary” passes at the end of the 4th quarter of time will defeat Him. And because He will win you need to be sure that you are on His side if you want to share in His victory.

PRAYER: In this world of so much bitterness, hatred and confusion, I am so grateful that Your plan is being executed perfectly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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