DayBreaks for 10/07/20 – Where God Walks

We just returned 10 days ago from a glorious trip through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. We visited three national parks: Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. While they are all spectacular in their own way, Glacier stands out in my mind.

I shot the first picture accompanying this article one day as we were driving to the top of Glacer on Going to the Sun Highway. It was glorious – the fog/low clouds in the valleys below and then a layer of sun and then scatter clouds higher up along the peaks.

As I looked at the scene, I couldn’t help but think that God must enjoy walking through that place. The majesty of the mountains is as close as I can come personally to imagining God’s magnificence!

Then the thought struck me that God must enjoy walking through places like Glacier more than Mud Fort Slum in India (the second picture in this article is one I shot in Mud Fort Slum a number of years back). I mean, who wouldn’t? He must be like me in that regard, I am tempted to think.  

But I was taken aback by what came to mind next. It was almost as if I could hear God saying, “Sure, I love the beauty of my mountains, but I love walking through the slum even more. You see, my mountains wear down and crumble away, but the people in the slums have eternal souls and they are made in my own image. Besides, I’m omnipresent – I’m in both places simultaneously. While you may choose to tune out the suffering in Mud Fort Slum, I never can and never will. People are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever created.”

I was stunned and humbled how little of the heart of God that dwells within me. I’d far rather be in Glacier than one of the world’s slums. But there’s no doubt in my heart where Jesus would be if he were walking the earth today.

Mud Fort Slum, by Galen C. Dalrymple, 2012. All rights reserved.

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 10/06/20 – Playing Games at the Foot of the Cross

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Matthew 27:35-36 (NLT2) – After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.

The day started like any other for the Roman soldiers. Another day, another execution. So they went to the hill called Calvary, nailed the offender to the cross and then got down to the serious business of gambling – right at the foot of the cross.

There were items to be divvied up – a cloak, an inner garment and some sandals to be sure. So they bet on who would get what and a few walked away with the spoils from the Nazarene.

Have you thought about how that scene must have looked to Jesus as he looked down at them? It must have been mind-blowing! Here they were, mere feet away from the most important and earthshattering event ever – and they were oblivious to the simple fact that it was God on the tree. At least they all seem to have been oblivious except one who eventually started paying attention and made his own startling declaration about who they were killing.

Oh, it’s so easy to be shocked by their behavior and games they were playing at the foot of the cross! But let’s not miss this: we aren’t that different than those soldiers – even those of us who bear the name of the Crucified One!

Consider: churches fight over a finite population of potential members. We dole out condemnation and judgments. We are seeking our own personal gain (a sandal here, a cloak there) to get ahead, get something for free.

We hold rallies celebrating how righteous my cause is and how unrighteous you are if you differ from my views. We write books about what other believers are doing wrong. We major in telling tales about the “others” and take joy in unveiling weaknesses – not for the purpose of restoration – but to take them down! We argue over points of “doctrine”, about other denominations and whether or not they are “of the Lord”.

And Jesus must look down at us in stunned disbelief.

As Max Lucado put it: “We, too, play games at the foot of the cross…So close to the timber yet so far from the blood…we are so close to the world’s most uncommon event but we act like common crapshooters huddled in bickering groups and fighting over silly opinions.

“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed.

“One, not one in groups of two thousand. But one in One. One church. One faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christians. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.”

What can we do to stop playing games at the foot of the cross? Build bridges, toss a rope to someone struggling to keep their head above the swelling tide, pray for unity. Choose to “be the soldier who snaps to his senses, jumps to his feet, and reminds the rest of us, ‘Hey, that’s God on that cross!”

There are far too many games being played at the foot of the cross. Let’s refuse to play those petty games any more!

PRAYER: Jesus, take mercy on us! Turn us from game playing to Kingdom building! 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 10/02/20 – On the Way to the Rat Race

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So, what do you think it would take to REALLY make you content? A new job? A new house? A new spouse? Another child? A bar of chocolate?

Contentment is such an elusive butterfly, seemingly forever out of reach. When you get that thing that you think will make you happy and content, it either breaks, gets lost, gets scratched (why does that always happen with a new car?) or a new model is released the next week that you didn’t know was coming!

The simple fact of the matter is that we are far too busy to be content. Contentment carries with it a slow pace, a lack of urgency. Picture a cow laying in a green pasture chewing her cud. It’s a picture of contentment, even if crude.

Our busyness steals the opportunity to be content right out from under us. And why are we so busy? Because we are craving that promotion, the first $million, the new car, the better house and so we jump into the rat race with both feet and we lose our chance for contentment at that instant. We hurry and scurry so much today because we think it will give us contentment tomorrow. Fools, we are.

And surely you know this, too: that things will never give you contentment. They cannot. It is not within their power. I think Max Lucado (No Wonder They Call Him Savior) put it perfectly when speaking about what can give us contentment: “An hour of contentment…an hour when we realize that a lifetime of blood-sweating and headhunting can’t give us what the cross gave us in one day – a clean conscience and a new start.”

Now, go lay down in a green pasture and contemplate that for a while.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

PRAYER: Give us the ever present awareness of what the cross gave us and makes possible for us even today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/01/20 – Rag Tags and Ne’er Do Wells

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You are undoubtedly aware of “Who’s Who” lists that tout exceptional people. We may look up to them, may envy them and see them as the movers and shakers who change the world. What a waste – at least in God’s economy! Consider those rag tags and ne’er do wells that God chooses:

The father of the Jewish nation was an inveterate liar who twice said his wife wasn’t his wife. He traded his integrity for his own skin without a thought to what it would mean for Sarah. Where was his faith? Does that sound like a man who “believed God’s promises”? Who chose him to change the world and eternity as the ancestor of the Messiah? God.

A man 80 years old who looked like he’d live his life as a prince but who is now an outlaw – a murderer, in fact. On the run, hiding in sheep pens in the desert. Who would think of asking a killer to carry the Ten Commandments? God.

A shepherd boy who is sitting on a throne let his lust get the best of him. He got a woman pregnant and killed her husband in an attempt to cover things up. And then he went about his everyday life as if nothing wrong has taken place. Who would dare to say he was a man after God’s own heart? God.

A reluctant prophet is giving his calling but runs the opposite way, gets swallowed up by a fish and barfed out in the surf. Who would think he would be a good candidate to preach repentance to the enemies of his people? God.

Jacob was a shifty as they come. Gomer was a prostitute. Sarah laughed at God. Jesus’ ancestors were adulteresses, prostitutes and a woman who took baths in all the wrong places. Who would include such people in the ancestral line of the Son of God? God.

And you know, when I come to think of it, we’ve all traded our integrity for safety, hidden things we’re ashamed of, failed to act in faith, let our lust take over when it should have been put down.

What’s the point here? It’s not about the horrible those people did and not even about the horrible things I’ve done, but it is that God uses regular, ordinary, everyday people to change the world. Not superheroes. Why? Because whatever we lack in terms of perfection or righteousness, God makes up for it with his love.

You may long for God to use you but you block him because of your past (or present). Don’t give up on God because he won’t give up on you! Let him use you to change the world one encounter at a time.

PRAYER: I am comforted, Lord, knowing that you can still use a sinner like me to do your work. For those who doubt that you can use them, give them reassurance that they can be used just as they are to change the world! 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 9/29/20 – Getting a New Soul

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NOTE: I should be back tomorrow! In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

We Americans like to think that we’re pretty determined, persistent, tenacious even.  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  We take pride (there’s that nasty word!) in how dogged we can be.  When we consider that our ancestors created a country and shaped it through persistence and hard work, carving out settlements, fighting tyrant kings and governments, creating new and amazing inventions that have fueled our health, economies and culture, we have become a symbol to the entire world of hard work, diversity and freedom.  But let me ask you a question: do you love going to the Department of Motor Vehicles?  Me, neither. 

Would you voluntarily subject yourself to going there 960 times in order to get your driver’s license?  That is precisely what Cha Sa-soon, a Korean lady, did in her quest to get her own driver’s license.  This amazing 69-year old woman studied diligently, but she just couldn’t seem to pass the written part of the driver’s test.  She first took the 50-minute, 40-question test once a day starting in April 2005, five days week – and each time she failed.  Perhaps thinking that she needed to study harder to prepare, she eventually slowed down to only taking the test twice each week.  Finally, on her 960th attempt, she got enough of the questions right to pass.

Local news outlets heard the story and it wasn’t long before the tale caught the ear of vehicle manufacturer, Hyundai-Kia. The company asked people to post congratulatory messages online, and after an overwhelming response, Kia gave her the keys to a brand-new Soul. 

That, my friends, is persistence!  Cha Sa-soon really wanted to drive and was determined not to let anything stand in her way!

It causes me to think of several things:

  1. How determined am I to obey Christ?  Does my ability to resist sin even begin to compare to the diligence of this woman?  She wanted something so badly that she could taste it and she refused to let anything stand between her and her goal.  It often doesn’t take much to get me to surrender to temptation.  My persistence is poor!
  2. Persistence is a good trait.  We are to persist in prayer, we are to persevere in doing good – though we may fail over and over and over.  Even the disciples question about forgiving 70 times 7 is only about half way to the 960 attempts at this woman to pass the test!  Thankfully, God isn’t counting down to a point where He will refuse to forgive us if we humbly repent and ask for His forgiveness.
  3. While this woman was given a new Soul (that’s a model of Hyundai car in Korea), only Jesus can give us a new, clean soul after our record has been tarnished.  And thank God that He does!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

PRAYER: Father, give us strong spirits to fight the good fight and to finish the course strong!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/28/20 – Seasoned With Salt

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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:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6

The way we say things, especially when it comes to acting as ambassadors (ones sent on a mission) for God, can be crucial.  Consider this story about a woman who worked in an ophthalmology practice that specialized in LASIK eye surgery: “I am expected to comfort nervous patients.  But prior to one operation, the patient was so frightened that she was actually shaking.  Nothing I said seemed to calm her.  So, after the doctor finished operating on her left eye, and before he began on the right, I wanted her to know the surgery was going well.

“There,” I said, patting her hand reassuringly, “Now you only have one eye left!”

Oops!  When I worked in the high-tech world, we had our own language that we understood when we talked about computers and techonolgy: RAM, RGU, CCU, SDRAM, I/O, megahertz, etc.  We knew what we were talking about and could understand each other perfectly well. 

As Christians, we have our own language, too, and I fear we sometimes fail to connect with those who are not yet believers due to how we talk – and/or how we act.  For example, in the recent couple of weeks, much was made of the pastor in Florida who planned a Koran burning at his church.  His actions and plans drew the attention of people around the world – even the President weighed in on the matter.  The pastor had a right, as an American, to say what he wanted to say – it is a freedom of speech issue.  But was it wise to say and act as he did (or as it turns out, as he planned to)?  What got more press: that one man’s actions, or the actions of thousands of pastors around the country and world who stood up and spoke the Word of God faithfully last Sunday?  That which sensationalizes may get press – but it seldom, if ever, saves.  We can never change the message – but the message can, and should, change us.

Perhaps you’ve been trying for a long time to talk with someone about Jesus – with little or no success.  While that may be due to a variety of factors, it may be a problem with your words.  Try a different approach…and above all, make sure that your life is living up to what your mouth is saying. 

PRAYER: Jesus, fill our hearts with Your Spirit and our mouths with Your words of grace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/25/20 – Pouring the Sea Down a Hole

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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:

One thing that has always puzzled me is how atheists think.  I sometimes wonder if they do think seriously about the question of God and His existence.  I must admit that I struggle to think about God, too, but in a different way.  I find myself pondering His character, His nature, His power, wisdom, greatness – and I soon find that I’ve come to the end of my ability to grasp infinite things.  I wish I could understand more about Him!  I hope that when we are in eternity with Him that somehow, our capacity to understand His mind and ways is increased.  I don’t believe we’ll know all about Him, for He is infinite – something which we will never be, even though we will have eternal life.  We will still, I think, be finite creatures – and He will remain as He is – infinite.  And we shall delight in our eternal discoveries of and about Him!  Perhaps atheists give up thinking about God because they can’t understand Him.  I can understand that to a degree – it can be frustrating to ponder something that you just don’t “get” – like biochemistry or nuclear physics or the theory of relativity.  But it can also be very rewarding and cause us to grow and discover new horizons that we had no idea even existed. 

Augustine walked the seashore one day, pondering the majesty of God.  He saw a small boy who had dug a hole in the sand.  The boy kept scooting down to the ocean, scooping up water in a seashell, and scrambling back to pour the water in the hole.

“What are you doing?” Augustine asked him.

“I’m going to pour the sea into that hole,” the boy said.

“Ah,” Augustine thought, “That is what I have been trying to do.  Standing at the ocean of infinity, I have tried to grasp it with my finite mind.”

It is fun (not to mention extremely profitable!) to try to grasp and understand as much as we can about God – but it should humble us as well and reveal to us our own finitude and creatureliness. 

PRAYER: God, we long to revel in Your infinite Presence forever!  Daily, let us grasp new truths about You as we walk through this life, truth that will draw us into a closer and more intimate relationship with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/24/20 – For the Long Haul

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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:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  –  Romans 5:1-5

Fred Craddock, in an address to ministers, caught the practical implications of consecration. “To give my life for Christ appears glorious,” he said. “To pour myself out for others … to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom – I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.

“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table – ‘Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.’

“But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost.’ Go to a committee meeting. Give up a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.

“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.”

PRAYER: It is hard to persevere, Lord.  We would much rather have it done with!  Fill us with the assurance that perseverance creates proven character and that the character that grows in us will result in hope that will never disappoint us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>