DayBreaks for 7/27/18 – Our Deadly Commonsense

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DayBreaks for 7/27/18: Our Deadly Commonsense

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to email.

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

From Don Everts’ God In the Flesh: “We call you, Lord, Lord’ and do not do what you tell us because you tell us to do such strange things.

“Consider a few of his teachings there in Luke 6: the poor are lucky.  The rich are unfortunate.  Congratulations to those who mourn today.  Give to everyone who begs from you.  Bless those who curse you.  Do for others what you would want them to do for you…And that’s just a sampling.

“Why do we not do what Jesus tells us?  Because (when we’re perfectly honest) our common sense makes more sense to us than the words of Jesus.  His teachings may be well intentioned and inspirational, but it doesn’t seem like they would really hold in everyday life. 

“Blessed are you who are poor” sounds sort of nice and spiritual, but when it comes right down to it, it’s really the rich whom we think are lucky.  ‘Give to everyone who begs from you’ is inspirational talk, but it’s overly simplistic and doesn’t really work on the streets of our broken cities.  ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ is admirable sounding, but when I’m really honest about what I want done to me (lots of gifts, surprise parties, regular encouragement, care about my needs, a ready ear to listen to me), I realize what an impossibly high standard of love this is.

“Why do we call you ‘Lord, Lord’ but not do what you tell us to do?  Because when we’re really honest, we have to admit that you sound genuine, but what you tells us to do is just undoable.  It will destroy our lives.  It’s not good advice, Jesus.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We must ultimately decide whether we will put more trust in our own common sense, or in the words of Jesus.  Why is it that we think we’re smarter and know better than He does?  How long will we call him, “Lord, Lord” and not do what He says?

PRAYER:  In our pride, Lord, we trust our own common sense and not Your words.  Help us to understand that we can’t call you Lord, and not do what you say.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 7/11/18 – The Thing We Need to KNOW

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DayBreaks for 7/11/18: The Thing We Need to Know

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

What do you need to know?  It depends on what you’re talking about, doesn’t it?  There are many things that are important for us to know.  It’s important that you know what is expected of you at work.  It’s important to know the speed limit and the laws in order not to wind up in prison.  It’s important that you know right from wrong.  It’s important that you know your anniversary or spouse’s or kid’s birthdays (some of those, by the way, are more important than others – take it from me!)  If you’re talking about playing a game, you need to know how the game is to be played and what the objective is. 

We can’t know it all.  That’s why we hire realtors to help us wade through the miasma of property laws and real estate complexities.  We hire doctors to know how to deal with our bodies, and lawyers to tell us how to protect our assets via trusts and such.  There are experts in everything from astrophysics to microbiology to literature to law to medicine to….well, you get the idea. 

While it’s important to know things, there are some things that are so important that we just can’t afford to not “get them”.  John Eldredge, again in Epic, noted a discovery he had made in his career in counseling.  Here’s what he had to say: “It came as a great surprise to me as a counselor when I first discovered that children would much rather know that their parents loved each other than that they loved them.  But, of course, we need to know that love is real, that it endures, that a world of love is planned for us and waits for us, and that we can count on it.  As Jesus said, ‘Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory You have given me because You loved me before the creation of the world.’ 

“We need to know that love lasts.  The reason divorce is so devastating to children (not to mention grown-ups) is because it ends the story.  Just like that.  The past is lost.  The future is uncertain.  The pictures come down off the walls.  Certain names are never mentioned again.  The love story is over.  You can’t count on anything.”
We need to know that the love story is not over.  We need to know that love lasts.  We need to know that we can count on something, and deep down inside our most private thoughts and the tenderest places in our hearts, we hope that the one thing we can always count on is love remaining. 

That, my friends, is what makes the gospel good news!  Love does last!  God’s love never fails!  Of the three greatest things – faith, hope and love – what is the one thing that is the greatest?  LOVE!  “God is love,” wrote John the apostle.  God tells us over and over and over again (because that’s what one has to do with little children) that His love is an “unfailing love.”  With God there is no divorce.  With God your picture remains forever on His wall and in His wallet.  With God not only is the future certain but the past is redeemed and healed – all because God’s love story is never over. 

He loves you with an unfailing love.  And that’s the one thing we all need to know.

PRAYER:  Endless love, oh how we rejoice in those reassuring words about your love, “unfailing love”, Lord!  Praises to you for redeeming our past and making our future of love certain throughout all eternity!   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/28/18 – Pondering First Thought

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DayBreaks for 5/28/18: Pondering the First Thought

Have you been to the Grand Canyon?  I was unprepared for it the first time I’d been there.  I wasn’t very excited about seeing it.  After all, who needs to see a big ditch?  But I must confess, when I caught the first glimpse of it, I was hooked.  Mesmerized.  Spellbound.  It far exceeded anything I’d expected or imagined.  My first thought was simply, “Wow!”

When my wife materialized at the end of aisle and I saw her for the first time on our wedding day, I was struck with how fortunate I was to be marrying the most beautiful woman in the world. 

When I first saw my children, I think my heart may have stopped for several seconds as I was lost in contemplating the wonder of a newborn that was flesh of my flesh, someone who you instantly knew you’d die for even though you’d just beheld them for the first time.

First thoughts are sometimes hard to recall, but not when it’s about something important.  I’ve wondered about what Jesus’ first thoughts were when he came to earth.  I wonder if at times he was despairing about what he saw in the hearts of men, or if he held great hope even when he saw us stagger and fall. 

First thoughts and last thoughts say a lot about us.  What is my first thought when I see someone who is homeless?  What is my first thought when someone approaches the church asking for money?  What is my first thought when I see scenes of the devastation in Myanmar or China?  What will I think in the morning when I see that person at work that always causes problems?

The first thought of God about man that’s recorded in Scripture is “It’s very good!”  My opinion of mankind isn’t often as high as God’s.  That says more about me than about Him, and about how much I need to have the mind of Christ formed in me.

PRAYER:  Father, give me as much of Your mind and heart as I can bear so that I can think about humanity as You do!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/11/18 – My Apologies

Hi, everyone. I am so sorry for the lack of DayBreaks this week. I’m on the road and have been as sick as a dog (still am). I hope to resume DayBreaks posts next week. 

Thank you for your patience with me and for your understanding. 

Blessings and peace…and if you are so inclined, I am supposed to fly home from Phoenix, AZ to Atlanta, GA on Saturday morning, arriving late Saturday afternoon, so I’d really appreciate your prayers for physical endurance for the journey home!

God is good…always. 

 

DayBreaks for 4/09/18 – Two Goats on a Bridge

DayBreaks for 4/09/18: Two Goats on a Bridge

Perhaps you saw the story on the news or read about it online. Last week there were two goats (apparently pals who escaped from a nearby yard) who went out for an adventure. They wound up on a girder underneath the bridge, about 200 feet out from one end of the structure and they got “stuck”. They couldn’t continue walking ahead because of an obstacle that blocked their path, and while one of the goats managed to turn around to go back, his partner either couldn’t do so or lacked the courage to try, blocking the pathway of the courageous goat. And so there they were, 100 feet in the air, 200 feet from the end of the bridge. A call went out to attempt to rescue the goats and some bridge maintenance crew arrived with a cherry-picker to reach down under the roadway to rescue the critters. The good news is that both goats were successfully rescued, but there are lessons here for us.

FIRST: the goats were only looking for an adventure, not trouble. We are often looking for adventure, excitement in our lives, and we don’t give much though to where we’re headed and the possible complications and trouble we could get into. What may seem like an innocent indulgence can become life and eternity threatening.

SECOND: The goats couldn’t go forward or backward, they couldn’t retrace their steps to get out of trouble. We get ourselves into many a predicament where we cannot go back and undo what it was that got us into trouble. Relationship and friendships can be destroyed forever because of a dalliance.

THIRD: we were much like the goats on the bridge. They desperately needed rescue. They’d been there for hours without any hope of escape. They needed some outside agency to not just care about them, but to rescue them. I liked what one of the rescuers said when he reached out and grabbed one of the goats to pull them into the basket of the cherry-picker: “There was no way,” he says, “I was letting go of that goat.” God isn’t about to let go of us, either. I, for one, find that very encouraging!

2 Peter 3:3 (KJV) – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…

PRAYER: Lord, in our foolishness we often go astray and are stranded. We are grateful that you not only are concerned for us, but came to our rescue. Give us wisdom to understand the danger we often get ourselves into. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/28/18 – Two Stories, One Command

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DayBreaks for 2/28/18: Two Stories, One Command

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Nearly everyone in America at one time or another has at least heard of the Ten Commandments even if they didn’t grow up in a church where they had to memorize them.  A smaller number could tell you that the 10 commandments are found in the book of Exodus and that they were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai.  But still fewer realize that the 10 commandments are repeated again in Deuteronomy. 

As you would expect, the two lists are virtually identical – virtually, but not perfectly.  One of the most significant differences is found in the command about observing the Sabbath.  Here, in a nutshell, is the difference: in Exodus, the command is tied to the fact that God rested after creation, and that we are to do likewise.  We spend 6 days a week being creative and then we need a rest.  God modeled it for us – and although He didn’t need the rest, He knew we would, so He gave us an example of what to do.  Rest – guilt-free. 

But in Deuteronomy, the reason for observing the Sabbath, the motivation, if you will, is not rooted in creation, but in deliverance from Egypt.  God essentially says, “You were slaves but you have been delivered and set free.  You are slaves no longer.  Take a day each week to remember that – to remember what it was like when you were enslaved – the quotas, the inability to choose when you would work or where you would work, remember the whips of the taskmasters and the merciless, endless demands and ridicule.  That’s all behind you now, so remember what I’ve done by setting you free.” 

You may feel that you aren’t tired enough to need a Sabbath for rest.  I seriously doubt that it’s true – and God certainly thought it was and is necessary.  It’s interesting that the only case where we have a “for sure” violation of the Sabbath involved a man who went out and gathered firewood on the Sabbath.  Like the woman taken in adultery in the NT, this man was brought by his accusers to Moses, who entreated of God about what should be done.  God said, “Kill him.”  Sounds to me like God takes the observance of the Sabbath as something pretty serious, doesn’t it?

So, maybe you think you can let a time of restful reflection slide because you’re not very tired.  But have you been delivered and set free from your taskmasters: sin, shame, guilt?  Then take the time to stop from your ordinary routine and observe the Sabbath out of thankfulness for your deliverance!  And don’t ever go back to slavery like that again.

PRAYER: Thank you for giving us rest and deliverance!  May we honor You with our stilled hearts and spirits regularly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/27/2018 – The Intersection

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DayBreaks for 2/27/18: The Intersection

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

On the night that I write this, the Washington Post is reporting that our government appears to have fired a missile into space and destroyed a satellite that was about to tumble back to earth bearing deadly hydrazine.  I find it interesting that they say they “think” that they destroyed not only the bus-sized satellite, but that the collision between the missile and satellite appears to have destroyed the hydrazine fuel tank because they “saw” a large explosion.  Yet, they say it will be 24-48 hours before we know for sure.  I don’t get it – how can you “see” it and not know one way or another?

But, be that as it may, the trajectory of the intercept missile and satellites had to be carefully calibrated and calculated.  The intercept had to be reprogrammed – the missile used was built to shoot down incoming warheads which travel a lot slower than the satellite in earth orbit.  I’m sure that it was quite a scientific and military accomplishment – if indeed it happened as the Post reports.

Trajectories are interesting.  Have you thought about what it takes to catch a fly ball?  The human mind is amazing: sometimes hundreds of feet away, a ball and bat collide and the ball takes to the air.  It will fly a certain distance, depending on the amount of energy transferred to the ball by the bat, the density of the atmosphere, wind conditions, the undulations in the surface of the ground, even the curvature of the earth enters into the distance and path the ball will travel.  On the other end, the human ear hears the crack of the bat, and the eye picks up the sphere as it begins to rise in the air.  Immediately, the mind takes over and calculates the fundamental trajectory of the ball and estimates the distance it will travel. Sometimes, the mind must fine tune things on the fly (literally) in order to enable the player to arrive at the right spot and so catch the ball.  It’s truly amazing when you think about it.  The ball and player have to arrive in the right spot at the right time – and it happens more often than not.

Our lives are a constant trajectory between earthly life and an eternal destiny.  We fly towards eternity while living here on earth.  We need to pause to contemplate where our life and eternity will intersect, and what will happen then.  “Teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.”  That’s what this is all about – learning to live the days of our trajectory in such a way that when eternity arrives on our doorstep (or, as may be more appropriate, we arrive on eternity’s doorstep), we will be not just happy, but thrilled with the outcome. 

The good news is that we don’t have to be wise in order to number our days properly, but rather wisdom, according to the verse, is the result of numbering our days aright.

How’s your trajectory today?  Will you hit the target that you desire?

PRAYER: Lord, we speak of time flying by, and in reality it is our lifetimes that fly by like a watch in the night.  Help us to spend our lifetime in a way that pleases You and fulfills Your purposes in our generation.  We invite Your Spirit to adjust our trajectories so that we arrive at home at last!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.