DayBreaks for 2/28/19 – An Unspoken Thanks

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DayBreaks for 2/28/19: An Unspoken Thanks

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

I’ve been struck recently by the amount of ingratitude in my life.  I don’t think that I’m alone, but I don’t wish to project my shortcomings on to any of you.  All the hype on the news about how awful things are have created in many of us a sense of “Yep, it’s terrible.  Things are worse than they’ve ever been and I see no hope that things will be better.”  And, we tend to be so down-in-the-mouth and dispirited that we ignore an entire panoply of blessings each day.

In his book, The Holy Wild, Mark Buchanan was musing on the faithfulness of God.  It’s a topic that we don’t often ponder, for good reason: faithfulness is about as boring as a 1978 Buick that just keeps on running and refuses to just quit.  Someone who has an old car might see someone driving a new, shiny, sporty vehicle.  The owner of the flashy car may say to the old Buick owner, “Why are you still driving that thing?  You were driving that when we last saw each other 10 years ago!” to which the Buick owner replies, “Yeah, but it’s faithful.”  In other words, it keeps on working.  Or, to put a slightly different spin on it, “Yeah, it’s as boring as all get out, but it just keeps working.” 

You see, faithfulness is boring.  We come to expect faithfulness after a while because something (a person, car, pet, etc.) is always there, always does what it is supposed to do.  We presume faithfulness and are shocked when it doesn’t happen.

The same is true with God.  We know in our heads that God has promised to be faithful – and we believe it – at least at some level.  But that’s dangerous because it means we take Him and what He does for granted.  In Buchanan’s book, he ponders the wonder of leaves.  Leaves when they are dry are very fragile, yet just the other day, I was sitting in a restaurant with my wife and sister and her kids, and it was windy and raining outside, but I looked outside and saw a dried leaf clinging to a branch.  Leaves can even cling to trees through a hurricane or tornado.  But when they’re dry, they are so very fragile.  Leaves give us shelter from the blazing summer sun, they provide food for animals and people, they drink down the poison of carbon dioxide and give us back life-giving oxygen in exchange.  Each spring, leaves appear on trees all over the world by the trillions or quadrillions (who knows how many leaves God creates each spring?!??!)  And my guess is that not one time in your life, have you ever had to ask God to put leaves on trees in the spring.  And I’d also be willing to bet that not once have you stopped to give Him thanks for those leaves that give you life.  I haven’t. 

Leaves and their ilk are signs, reminders if you will, of God’s faithfulness.  When something in your life gets you down and discourages you, when you are tempted to feel that God has failed and let you down, stop and ponder a leaf or two – and remember that they are reminders of God’s faithfulness – even when we fail to give Him thanks for such simple things. 

Hebrews 12:28 (NASB) – Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe…  We have received citizenship in a kingdom which we don’t deserve.  We have much, even this very moment, that calls out to us to give Him thanksgiving.

Prayer: Father, thank You for making leaves!  Thank You for making us!  Thank You for all good things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen  

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

 

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DayBreaks for 1/23/19: God’s Getting Better At It

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DayBreaks for 01/23/2019: God’s Getting Better At It

Since the beginning God has attempted to get people’s attention and to call them into a commitment to live with principles, values, and sense of sacredness that God wants from all humanity. Sometimes the people heard and responded to God, and sometimes they ignored God.

God kept trying. God kept working at getting their attention. I heard about a little girl who sort of understands that about God. She was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?”

“Yes, Sweetheart,” he answered, “God made me a long time ago.”

“Oh,” she paused, “Grandpa, did God make me too?”

“Yes, indeed, honey,” he said, “God made you just a little while ago.”

Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, “God’s getting better at it, isn’t he?”

God got better at it. After untold efforts to win our allegiance and our hearts through promises made and kept, deliverances promised and carried out, through a law that was perfect, God took on human form, walking among us and living with us so that we would understand.

It is in the living, breathing person of Jesus that we really see all things we call holy, such as forgiveness, sharing, joy, vision, courage, perseverance, and especially love. We might think we understand love, for example, but when we receive totally unconditional love from another person, love takes on a completely new meaning for us. Jesus shows us the ultimate example of love, namely, God’s love. Seeing this example in the flesh makes all the difference in the world for us.

The saddest part is that people are often blinded to the beauty of Jesus by the behavior of we believers. We should be getting better at it, too.

PRAYER: Thank you for “getting better at it” and showing us your beauty God through Jesus. Let us get better at showing his beauty to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/18/19 – The Braggart

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DayBreaks for 01/18/2019: The Braggart

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

I recently took a “fun” quiz that was forwarded around on the Internet, and one of the questions was to name a characteristic that you hate.  I have to admit that I struggled with that one.  I don’t enjoy being around complainers (fortunately, there are very few of those in my life!) or those who are always trying to impress someone with their talk or wisdom.  Maybe that’s because I can get easily confused and I’m not smart enough to follow their big words.  People who are always talking “big talk” to impress are generally very insecure people, and they remind me of this rather humorous story:

A man was driving through the countryside when suddenly his car stalled.  He got out to see what was wrong, and as he bent over the motor, he heard a voice say, ‘That trip to Japan was wonderful last spring.’  He looked around but saw no one.  All he could see was an old horse standing in the meadow.  The horse looked straight at him and said, ‘Yes, that trip was almost as good as the one to Paris and Rome the year before.’

Well, the man became almost hysterical with excitement.  He ran to the farmhouse at the edge of the meadow, pounded on the door, took out his billfold and said, ‘I want to buy that horse at any price.’  Calmly, the farmer replied, ‘Oh, you mustn’t pay too much attention to that horse.  He hasn’t been to half the places he talks about.’

Why is it that we have such a strong tendency to promote ourselves and talk about ourselves in ways that are intended to do nothing but try to impress others?  I think James 3:13-16 gives us some really good clues: If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.

Bottom line: we either are bragging about the good things we do (and why would we do that? – to get the praise of humans!), OR we are jealous and full of selfish ambition and so we brag about what we’ve done and how good we are – the “worst kind of lie” as James put it.  Such things are not motivated by God or by trying to bring Him glory, but by the Devil!

How much better off we’d be if no one was trying to impress others!!!!  Let us be content to be what and who God created us to be.  When we live that way, we bring Him glory!

PRAYER: Father, may we trust in You to honor those who are genuine in Your time and may we not pursue the praise of other humans.  Help us to be content to be what You have made us to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/12/18: Paying Too Much for Too Little

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DayBreaks for 11/12/18: Paying Too Much for Too Little

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/20/98:

From “The Necklace” by Guy Demaupassant: “A couple of moderate means was invited to a lavish company party. The wife, Mathilde, so wanted to impress the guests that she borrowed what she supposed to be a very expensive necklace. They had a great time, and she was proud of the necklace, but the evening was ruined when she arrived home and discovered the necklace had been lost without notice.

“In order to pay for the lost necklace, the couple moved into a cheap, run-down apartment, and both worked at whatever jobs were available. It took them 10 long years to repay the debt. Old and worn down, the wife saw her friend from who she had borrowed the necklace. Unrecognized, Mathilde told her friend the truth about what had happened. Great was her shock when her friend Jeannie told Mathilde the necklace was only cheap glass – an imitation, worth only a few dollars.”

Galen’s thoughts: There are sharply contrasting lessons for us here:

FIRST – the couple reminds me of humanity. I respect their integrity to replace the necklace. But they spent far too much for something that had little value. They shelled out 10 years of their life for an imitation of the real thing. But haven’t we all been there? Investing time in the wrong places and things – thinking that things had great value only to discover too late that they were cheap imitations? We pay a great price for things of no value, but are we truly willing to spend our entire life for the true pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45-46) – knowing God and being known by Him?

SECOND: before buying anything, we consider the price/value relationship – at least at some level. Is it well made? Will it last? Will it do what I want? How badly do I want it compared to what must I spend to get it? Consider for a moment the price God paid for humanity. If you are like me, you’re tempted to say, “He paid too much for too little” – we don’t do what He wants and we are prone to great failures. But God has a different perspective on it than we do. What loving father wouldn’t give his own life to save his child? God knows better than we how great the cost was – and we weren’t cheap.

Let’s make sure that what we are living (and dying) for is worth what we’re paying for it. And let’s also make sure that the life we’re living is worthy of His investment!

PRAYER: Help us recognize the genuine article and discern that which is fake and useless! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/4/18 – The Problem Wasn’t Him

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DayBreaks for 10/04/18: The Problem Wasn’t Him

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

Get the scene: Jesus has been crucified and buried and has raised from the dead.  He’d met with his 11 remaining disciples in the upper room and they’d seen him, and at least Thomas had also touched him.  He’d met them on the shore of the lake and fixed a fish breakfast – and restored Peter.  And now, the time has come for him to return to the Father. 

Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV) – Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

You’d think that after all the time they’d spent with Jesus and all that they’d witnessed, they’d have it down by this time, but as verse 17 says, “some doubted.”  (Mercifully, the names of those “some” are not revealed to us, or we’d probably criticize them severely.)  There were still some who doubted and wondered and were fearful.  And so, Jesus has a message for them, a message about God having given him ALL authority in heaven and on earth. 

What was it that Jesus wanted them to understand?  That they needn’t fear even one single thing (or any thing) for one simple reason: He has all authority – and control.  He has healed the sick, given sight to the blind, strengthened feeble legs so that they could walk, filled the ears of the deaf with the song of birds and laughter, brought the dead to life and even rose from the dead himself.  And yet, they still doubted – they still feared.  You see, their doubting problem wasn’t caused by some failure in Jesus and how he’d prepared them – it was humanity’s problem of believing what they’d seen and heard him do and not accepting that all authority resides in him.  There is no need to fear anybody on earth or in heaven.  Why?  Because He has all authority!

Are you a doubter?  Are you fearful?  The problem isn’t his – it’s yours – and mine – for not remembering His authority! 

PRAYER: Lord, quell our fears and doubts, and help us to believe in the full authority of Your Son!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/01/18 – Sitting in the Wrong Seat

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DayBreaks for 10/01/18Sitting in the Wrong Seat           

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

In her book Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit, author and speaker Beth Moore recalls a particularly insightful moment in her life:

“I will never forget watching an evening talk show featuring the story of the parents and killer of a young college student. The killer was his best friend. The weapon was high alcohol content inside a speeding automobile. …

“What made this particular feature prime-time viewing? The parents had forgiven the young driver… And if that was not enough, they had taken him in as their own. This young man sat at the table in the chair which was once occupied by their only son. He slept in the son’s bed. He worked with the victim’s father, teaching seminars on safety. He shared their fortune and supported their causes. He spoke about the one he had slain in ways only someone who knew him intimately could have. …

“Why did these parents do such a thing? Because it gave them peace. The interviewer was amazed; I was amazed. I kept trying to put myself in the parents’ position—but I could not. Then, as the tears streamed down my cheeks, I heard the Spirit of God whisper to my heart and say: “No wonder you cannot relate. You have put yourself in the wrong position. You, my child, are the driver.” God was the parent who not only forgave, but also invited me to sit at His table in the space my Savior left for me. As a result, I have peace.”

May His peace fill your heart today as you sit at His table!

PRAYER: Give us perspective to realize that we are the killer, not the one who has lost a loved one, but that we are the person who ran roughshod over Your heart of love through lives and deeds of sin!  Thank You for taking us in after what we have done to Your beloved Son!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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.