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. 

 

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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.

DayBreaks for 2/26/18 – Toilet Paper Fears

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DayBreaks for 2/26/18: Toilet Paper Fears

Remember the gasoline shortages and rationing?  Weren’t those fun days, getting up way before dawn if it was your day (odd or even, depending on your license plate) to go get in a long line at the gas station, hoping that you’d get to the pump before they’d run out for the day.  I remember it well – it was cold in those wee hours of the morning, but what was one to do?  You had to get gas in order to get to work that day!  It wasn’t fun.

Many people who grew up in the depression know a lot more about hardship and hard times than those of us who are baby boomers.  If I hear one person say one more time, “Well, I remember the great depression and how tough it was….” I may lose my cool!  I’m sure it was hard – I don’t doubt that for a moment, but there comes a point in time when we have to just learn from the past and stop living in it. 

Mark Buchanan tells the following story in his book, The Rest of God:

In 1973, Johnny Carson started a panic with a single joke.  It was the year after the end of the Vietnam war and prosperity came crashing down … oil was scarce, inflation was out of control, food shortages appeared.  And so, all the plenty that Americans had grown accustomed to was now considered to be in jeopardy.

On December 19, 1973 at 11:35 p.m., Johnny walked onto the stage and said before a live audience: “There’s an acute shortage of toilet paper in the US.”  There was a bit of truth to it, because that day, congressman Harold Forehlich from Wisconsin spoke about the federal budget and said that if the government didn’t get its act together soon, that government agencies would run out of toilet paper in a month or two.  Carson took that trivia and played it for a laugh, but not so his hearers. 

20 million viewers flew into a panic.  The next day, hundreds of thousands of people lined up outside grocery stores to rush in and stockpile toilet paper.  People fought over 2-ply and 4-ply, they had fights in the store aisles and at the checkouts.  The managers tried to stop the run by limiting quantities, but they had no way to know how many times a person came back to the store for more.  By noon on December 20, less than 24 hours after Johnny’s wise-crack, American was sold out.

What’s the point?  We’re gullible about news of scarcity.  We have a fear of things running out, of there not being enough.  We are afraid that our money will run out before our time, or that our time will run out too soon, or that our looks will run out or our awareness and we’ll be left without reasoning capacity.  I think mankind has been this way from the time of Adam and Eve in the garden.  Most of us live our lives afraid that we’re almost out of time.  But to Christians, we need to put that into perspective.  We’re heirs of eternity.  We’re not short of days – we’ve got an eternity full of them.  We just need to learn to number them properly while on this earth. 

God never has any shortages.  Let’s stop worrying about running out too soon.

PRAYER: How wonderful it is to have You as our Father – the God who provides in abundance and never runs out!  Help us to learn to number our days properly and to know that You give us enough days to do Your will – the question is if we will do it!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/16/18 – The Jewish Sabbath Secret

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DayBreaks for 2/16/18: The Jewish Sabbath Secret

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Luke 23:50-54 (NIV) – Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t know at least something about the Jewish Sabbath.  Anyone who knows the Ten Commandments is familiar with the command to set one day aside to rest and be recreated.  Yet because of cultural differences between the ancient Jews and modern day people, we miss some key elements that we should not miss.

The passage above from Luke 23 tells us the reason that Jesus was taken down from the cross in such a rush – and in John, it also tells us that the approaching Sabbath was the reason the legs of the thieves were broken and Christ’s side was pierced.  The Jews didn’t want such things happening on the Sabbath – it would have been flat wrong to their way of thinking and belief. 

Bear in mind the time of day when Jesus died…it was in the late afternoon, shortly before 6 p.m.  Sabbath would begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. because the ancient Jews counted time from sundown onward.  Today, we use the convention that a new day starts just after midnight, but the Jews felt it started the evening before.  In reality, even though our clock tells us a new day starts at 12:01 a.m., for all intents and purposes, most of us think of the new day starting when the sun comes up.

Why is that important?  And what does it have to do with the meaning and purpose of Sabbath itself?  A lot, I think, and it has spiritual ramifications: we start the day out with getting ready to go to work, to begin our labors.  The Jews, on the other hand, started their day out with a time of feasting and giving thanks, and then with sleep.  What difference does that make?  I think it says a lot about who is in charge of our lives and our times.  The Jews began their day with a meal and thanksgiving to God, and then instead of working, they laid down to sleep through the night.  On the other hand, we start it out with a quick breakfast (often hurried without time for leisurely giving of thanks) and running off to work to control our destinies.

By worship and then sleeping, the Jews were acknowledging that this new day was from God, and that they could rest in that knowledge.  Sleep is a very real kind of self-relinquishment or self-abandonment.  When we’re sleeping, we’re helpless.  Someone could steal in and murder us or rob us and we’d be oblivious to it.  When we are sleeping, we relinquish all attempts at making money, controlling life, controlling others, being successful.  When we sleep, we are acknowledging our weakness – that we MUST rest.  But the God who watched over Israel (and over us) never sleeps nor slumbers.  And by sleeping first in the day, the Jews showed their trust in God for all that each day would bring.

I know that we aren’t going to be able to change the way the world views time these days, but in our hearts, maybe we’d be wise to recognize our laying down to sleep as the start of a new day – reminding ourselves that we can rest in, and because, of God who never takes His eyes off of us.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for new days and new beginnings, and for inviting us first and foremost to rest in you, knowing you are ever vigilant!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/09/18 – The Promise of a Father

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DayBreaks for 2/09/18: The Promise of a Father

Sometimes just re-reading a verse opens a new universe of thought. In my quiet time, I’m trying to not force any issue or hear a specific message, I’m just trying to hear what Jesus was saying – and beyond that, to the meaning of what he was saying.

Just Thursday morning as I was reading in John 14, I ran across this verse: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. – John 14:18 (ESV)

Wow. Did you catch the import of that verse? Let me share with you that my dad passed on to glory a bit over 20 years ago. I suppose that one could say that as far as an earthly father is concerned, I am now an orphan – and how I wish that were not so! It’s not that I think my dad wanted to leave me, but he did. His heart would not allow him to live here indefinitely and it finally gave out. But his absence, my “orphanhood” if you will, it is the reality of my daily life. My dad was amazing – not sinless, but a man of extraordinary character and integrity. But, he’s no longer here. It is an uncomfortable thing to feel like an orphan. Jesus says that I am not an orphan.

Some are orphans because of the death of parents, others are orphans because they were unwanted – their parents abandoned them. That must be even more painful than being an orphan by death. I cannot imagine how it must feel to be “unwanted” as a human.

Jesus wants us to know that being unwanted will never be the case with us, either. We will not be orphans in either sense, for he will come to us.

One simple verse…but Jesus wants us to really “get” this. We are not orphans. We will never be orphans. We have a Father who loves us and will never abandon us. Now – with that thought in mind, go have a great weekend!

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for being our forever Father, for this promise that we will never be orphans in this universe! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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