DayBreaks for 1/24/20 – Marks of Clarity

Image result for clarity

DayBreaks for 1/24/20: Marks of Clarity

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

There are times in my walk with God when things seem very clear.  But then again, there are times when I long for even the slightest inkling of clarity.  At times my relationship with the Lord is so real and palpable that I can’t help but be overwhelmed with the wonder of it all.  But then again, there are times (if I am to be honest with God, you and myself) when it all seems very unreal and like a sham.  And I find myself pondering from time to time: which is real?  Which reflects the real me and my relationship with God?  Am I only fooling myself when I feel so close to Him that I weep? 

William Cowper was a Christian songwriter of years gone by.  He wrote some of the favorite songs of the church, including the hymns O For a Closer Walk with God, God Moves in a Mysterious Way His wonders to Perform, and There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood.  For a period of time, he lived in a house with John Newton, a converted slave-trader and author of Amazing Grace.  It is interesting how little grace Cowper actually experienced.  For long years he feared that he had committed the unpardonable sin and was hounded by false rumors of an illicit affair.  As a result, Cowper suffered a nervous breakdown, tried several times to kill himself, and was kept for some of his life in a straightjacket in an insane asylum for his own protection.  During the last quarter of his life, he avoided church entirely.

He wrote these word: “Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I sought the Lord?  Where is the soul-refreshing dew Of Jesus and His Word?  What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!  How sweet their memory still!  But they have left an aching void The world can never fill.  Return, O Holy Dove, return Sweet messenger of rest!  I hate the sins that made Thee mourn And drove Thee from my breast.”

There are many who might consider Cowper a prime candidate for the title of Christian hypocrite for his struggles, a man who wrote beautifully and convincingly about things he found hard, if not impossible, to put into practice.  I prefer to think of his hymns as being the real marks of clarity in a very troubled life.  He was the one who wrote: “Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.”  Perhaps I am naïve, but I see in Cowper’s struggle my own struggles and in his struggling faith, a reflection of my own.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for redeeming love that loves a wretch like me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/22/20 – Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

Image result for great fears

DayBreaks for 1/22/20: Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Here’s another of Newsweek’s lists that was compiled around the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010:

The Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade (1999-2009) – counting down from number 10 to 1, 1 being the most overblown:

  1. Globalization
  2. Anthrax
  3. Teen Oral Sex Epidemic
  4. Web Predators
  5. SARS, Mad Cow, Bird Flu
  6. Bloggers
  7. Immigrants
  8. Vaccines Causing Autism
  9. Shoe Bombs
  10. Y2K

I would have to agree that most of these fears are overblown and were inflated by the media in the worship of sensationalism.  Some of the fears were real fears, even though there wasn’t much of a basis for them, such as Y2K.  I worked in the computer world in 1999-2000 and remember the fears that all our computer systems that provided data and products for our customers might go “belly up.”  Pish-posh.  Didn’t happen – but that was partly due to all the advance warning we had and the hard work of a truly dedicated staff of developers led by one of my best friends. 

I thought #2 was interesting: shoe bombs.  Richard Reid was the cause of that fear – you remember him.  Little did Newsweek know when they put the list together that we’d have another “bomber” attempt lighting his underwear on fire at Christmas time.  Maybe that wasn’t such an overblown fear after all.

What should we fear?  Scripture advises us to be anxious (fearful) about nothing (Phil. 4:6; Lk. 12:22), that we should “Fear not!”.  But there is one exception: we are told to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13) and to “Fear Him who, after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Lk. 12:5)

Other than that, we’ve nothing to worry about and no need to worry about any of the items on Newsweek’s list or any other list!

PRAYER: May we fear You alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/15/19: His DNA

Image result for dna

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 1/07/20 – Fear and Control Freaks

Image result for fear

DayBreaks for 1/07/20: Fear and Control Freaks

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Of all the human emotions, perhaps fear is the one that I really dislike experiencing.  OK, I’ll admit, I was raised in the age of the Marlboro man – someone who was always in control of the world around him, master of fearlessness, brave, courageous and bold.  Fear is for wimps, I thought. 

Life has a way of changing how we feel about things.  When we were young, we weren’t smart enough to be afraid…really afraid.  Oh, sure, we might have been afraid of flunking a chemistry test or of being turned down if we asked a girl out on a date (or even more embarrassing, being turned down if you tried to kiss her goodnight on the doorstep!)  But those are hardly earth-shattering things to be afraid of.

As we age, the things we fear change, too.  We start to fear for the one we love – of something bad happening to them.  That’s partly because we genuinely don’t want anything to happen to them – but underlying all that is fear for ourselves – how we would feel, how we would cope, about the overwhelming powerlessness of the situation.  And then we fear for our children.  The first time they cough we fear they’ve contracted dengue fever or something like bubonic plague rather than a common cold.  They start to drive and we fear, perhaps really fear for the first time, for their very lives.  We can’t bear the thought of what it would be like without them, of the grief that would rend our hearts.

Max Lucado, in Fearless, considered fear and had this to say: “[Fear] turns us into control freaks … [for] … fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.

“The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.

Martin Niemöller documents an extreme example of this. He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler. When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemöller stood at the back of the room and listened. Later, when his wife asked him what he’d learned, he said, “I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man.” Fear releases the tyrant within.”

The New Year is young, but by the time you read this, you’ll hear more about terrorist bombings and possible wars, down days on the stock market, depressing economic news, you may be fearful of the direction the country is or isn’t heading.  You may be afraid of a pink slip at work, or a divorce filing at home.  Fear is a terrible master.  Don’t let it master you and let loose the tyrant hiding inside your heart.

PRAYER: We so desperately need to learn to rest in Your goodness and care for us and not to be afraid, Lord.  Give us peace in a world full of fear and fear-mongering!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/06/20 – The Ten Trillion Dollar Question

Image result for huge stacks of money

DayBreaks for 1/06/20: The $10 Trillion Dollar Question

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

What is the most important question that has ever crossed your mind?  As with all things, the answer to that would depend on who you asked and on what their experiences and beliefs are.  Many would argue that question that we all need to deal with is “Why am I here?”  That’s a good question – and it gets to the core of the issue of meaning and purpose.  It is a question that all should, yet not all do, ask of ourselves.   Sadly, many die without ever coming up with a good answer to that question. 

Another question that arguably is the most important might be “Is there a God?”  

As good of questions as those are, there is at least one that is more fundamental, because it informs the “Why am I here?” question and helps to answer it, and just knowing if there is a God or not is not enough.  It could be argued that it is more important to know what that God is like.  I think perhaps Paul asked the most important question of all in Romans 8:35 where he wrote “Can anything separates us from the love Christ has for us?”  In one of his small devotional books, Max Lucado suggests that this question really gets to the heart of what we all want to know.  How long will God’s love endure?  Can we conceive of being loved forever, or of a love lasting forever? 

But at a deeper level, we want to know that God loves us when we’re dressed in our Sunday clothes and when we’re in our dirtiest clothes.  Here’s some of Max’s thoughts: “I want to know (deep within, don’t we all really want to know?), how does God feel about me when I’m a jerk?  Not when I’m peppy and positive and ready to tackle world hunger.  Not then.  I know how we feels about me then.  Even I like me then.  I want to know how he feels about me when I snap at anything that moves, when my thoughts are gutter-level, when my tongue is sharp enough to slice a rock.  How does he feel about me then?…Will God stop loving me?”

We know that with other human beings there is a line that can be crossed, when it becomes obvious that the relationship has been forever changed.  Or what about the last time you drank until you passed out and threw up?  Of when your business failed or you found yourself standing at the fresh grave of your child and you cursed God in your heart or even out loud?  Does He still love you then?

Paul doesn’t ask questions that he doesn’t answer: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  And, come to think of it, that’s not really Paul’s answer at all, is it?  It’s God’s answer given to us through the pen of Paul.    

You are loved forever.  Nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus Christ for you.  Amazing, isn’t it?  That knowledge should make a difference in how you feel about yourself and others as you realize Christ loves them the same way – and in how  you feel about Christ!

PRAYER: Thank you, Christ, for your undying, unending, forever love that seeks us out and calls us home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/01/20 – Seeing the Invisible

Image result for invisible

DayBreaks for 1/01/20: Seeing the Invisible

From the DayBreaks Archive, 1/01/09:

Do you remember the story, The Invisible Man? I faintly remember seeing black and white TV movies or shows about it. I found the premise fascinating. For those of you who don’t remember it, a man had become invisible (I don’t remember how), and he wore clothes and bandages over his head to hide the fact that he was invisible. Of course, when he took the bandages off, there was a gap between his hat and his shirt collar! Most of us have probably wished at times that we could be invisible. It may have been when we were in trouble, or when we were feeling mischievous.

Have you ever seen anything that is invisible? I haven’t. But the Bible claims that it has happened. Listen to Hebrews 11:27-28 as it describes Moses: By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.  I’m sure that the writer to the Hebrews had Ex. 33:20-23 in mind when he wrote this, but I think there are several lessons here to be learned:

FIRST: Moses left Egypt on less than good terms. He wasn’t afraid of the pharaoh and his anger (according to this passage), but the thing that allowed Moses to continue on until he died was seeing things that were invisible. It gave him the power to persevere. Many times when my life is frantic and falling into disarray and I think I can’t bear another day, it is because I have only been looking at visible things and stopped seeing invisible Reality.

SECOND: God wants us to see Him. In the ultimate sense, He wants us to look on His face as His child (Rev. 22:4) in heaven. But it wasn’t enough that we should see Him some day. There are some days that are so bad that we need to see Him NOW! And it is at those moments that God reveals Himself in quite unexpected ways. It may come in the form of a cool wind on a blistering hot day, it may come disguised as a kind person who gives a cup of cold water, it may come in the form of someone who has hurt us surprising us by apologizing for some mean words they said. And when we see those things, I hope we’ll see and recognize not just the physical, but the invisible Truth behind all love, kindness and forgiveness.

THIRD: God grants us glimpses of himself when we need it. But more often than not, He is cleverly disguised by human flesh. That’s how He came in the person of Jesus. That was how He revealed Himself through the prophets. And that is how He wants to reveal Himself to the world around you – by and through you: (Colossians 1:27) To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. You see, if Christ is in you, and you are in Him, God lives within you in a real and utterly unfathomable way. I can’t see it, I can’t explain it, but God lives inside of you and me. When people see us – will they be able to identify and see the Invisible?

PRAYER: Father, may we make You visible to all who see us that they may come to know Your goodness and glory and be saved!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/31/19: Trust the Catcher

Image result for trapeze artist

DayBreaks for 12/31/19: Trust the Catcher

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/31/09:

The year is at a close. The decade is done (depending on how you count the start of a decade!) What will the coming year hold? Birth, life, and death. Chances are good that some who read this DayBreaks won’t be alive this time next year. Certainly, someone you know will die in the next year.

In her introduction to Henri Nouwen’s book, The Only Necessary Thing, Sue Mosteller relays a bit of Nouwen’s thoughts about death and life: “Speaking of death and eternal life, Henri leads us to glimpse the reality of our approaching death, not as something fearful and traumatic, but more as a ‘return to the womb of God’ (p. 190). Communion with God grows deep inside us and we gradually learn a trust so tangible that we begin to imagine our death as a ‘letting go’ of the swing on the flying trapeze. Henri quotes the trapeze artist Rodleigh, who says, ‘When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar…the worst thing a flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher.’ ‘Dying is trusting the catcher,’ says Henri. ‘Don’t try to grab Him; He will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.'”

Trusting in God is to trust Him as the Catcher. I don’t get the sense from Jesus’ words on the cross that he was worried about trying to grab onto God:“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46) I sense nothing in his words except absolute trust that the Father was more than able to catch him regardless of what Jesus did at that point.

The story has been told for years about the man who was standing alone on the edge of a cliff when the ground beneath him crumbled and the man plunged over the edge. About 15-20 feet down, he managed to grab a branch that protruded from the cliff face. Desperately holding on, he began crying out for help. No one was there – no one heard. So finally, the man calls out to God: “God, please save me!” To his surprise, he hears a voice: “Do you trust me?” The man, struggling to maintain his grip, replies, “Yes, God, I trust you!” To which God replies, “Then let go…”.

Only God can catch us. Only God is worthy of our trust. But faith and trust are sometimes hard to come by, especially when faced with the ultimate conclusion of this worldly life. During this next year, as you see friends and loved ones die, if they are believers you can have great confidence that God will “catch” them. That death, for the believer, is a trip home, to our origin. It is not something to be feared.

The time will eventually come for all of us – and we must launch out into eternity with nothing in our hands – trusting Him to catch us and land us safely on the other side.

As far as tomorrow – I am not afraid. God can catch me. He can catch us all regardless of the date, regardless of the circumstances. Until then, “just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.”

PRAYER: Lord, you have carried us in your arms from the moment we were born and you will carry us until the day we die.  Thank you for being with us this past year and for the assurance that no matter where we are, you will be with us in the coming year, too.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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