DayBreaks for 5/14/18 – Robbed of Joy

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DayBreaks for 5/14/18: Robbed of Joy

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

There was once a man who had lived a long time.  Someone once asked him what it was that had robbed the most joy from his life.  The old man never hesitated, but answered simply, “Things that never happened!”

How much of my life have I spent worrying about things that might happen but which never did?  I can become frozen with fear and not let my children play in the front yard.  I can refuse to leave my house for fear of being in a traffic accident on my way to work.  I can never shake someone’s hand or hug someone or give anyone a kiss for fear of disease.  I can stop drinking water or eating food because it might be poisoned!  We all would tend to say that doing those things would be silly, yet we worry about many things.  Jesus knew someone like that and her name was Martha: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:41-42).  What had Mary chosen? Jesus!

Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will take care of itself.  We need to be focused on where we are right now in this day that God has made (Matt. 6:34).   The apostle Paul also counsels us to: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).  Paul doesn’t say that we shouldn’t care about things – just that we not be anxious about them.  How do we do that?  We take everything to God as a request – and then we leave it there, with Him.  The result: His peace will guard and protect our hearts and minds.

Here’s three keys to happiness that you may find helpful in your walk with Him today (and tomorrow!!!):

Fret not – for He loves you, John 15:9: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love”  He loves you now and forever!

Faint not – for He holds you, Psalm 139:10: …even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  No one can snatch you from his hand!

Fear not – for He keeps you, Psalm 121:5: The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand…  He will not slumber nor sleep, but always watch over you!

Don’t let things that you only imagine in your mind rob you of your joy in Christ!  It is that very joy that may draw your neighbors to Him through you!

PRAYER: Fill our minds with the joys of your promises and the certainty of your goodness so we don’t worry about things we shouldn’t. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/20/16 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #39

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Casper, at about 1

DayBreaks for 4/20/16 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #39

From the DayBreaks archive, 4/20/2006:

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

We have been absolutely deluged with rain this year.  Cloverdale averages about 37 inches of rain a year.  So far, we’ve had over 60 inches of rain…and more is in the forecast.  I don’t think that I’ve ever lived anywhere during my life where there’s been so much precipitation in a single year.  Everyone in town is rather depressed by the gray skies and “liquid sunshine”, and on those rare days recently when the sun has actually managed to get out of bed in the morning and shine a bit, everyone’s spirits shoot right up.

Even our dogs have had their downs.  Our oldest dog, Rainy, is a mostly yellow lab and as a water dog, you’d think she’d not really care about the rainfall, and to some extent, she doesn’t.  But I think that even she’s getting tired of it.  Casper, just a bit over a year old, doesn’t have enough experience to know whether this has been normal or not, but he LOVES the sunshine.  In fact, as I write, the clouds have temporarily broken and it’s streaming through the window and he’s laying on the floor, snoring, in the sunshine. 

The last time we had sunshine, Casper stood (on the bed!) staring out the window at the sun, the leaves, the trees and grass.  There were reflections and leaves that looked like different colors than he’s been seeing, and he clearly wasn’t used to it.  He was really stirred up!  But Rainy, being older and more mature, came into the same room, hopped up on the bed, sighed heavily and lay down to sleep. 

Casper was a perfect example of someone who didn’t know how to let his anxiety go.  I don’t know, but when we are all stressed out, if we look as funny to God as Casper did to us, God must spend a lot of time laughing about our franticness.  We spend far too much of our lives staring and chasing reflections, worrying about what’s happening and how it’s going to turn out.  (I know that there are momentous things in life that are very legitimate challenges to us and which will naturally upset us, but Paul was pretty clear about it: Don’t be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING…present your requests to God.

It’s hard to do when it affects our loved ones, but it is worth the effort to trust God.  We need to remember that He sees things much differently than we do, but He IS trustworthy…in EVERYTHING. 

PRAYER:  Lord, the events of this life often seem so frightening.  We, like Martha, are worried about many things.  We carry burdens that we weren’t intended to carry, worrying over things that we cannot control, afraid to trust you fully for fear that you may not do what we want.  Help us to learn that what we want is often not what is truly best.  Help us to trust fully in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/24/11 – Virtue in Anxious Times

DayBreaks for 11/24/11 – Virtue in Anxious Times

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. ­- Psalm 127:2

What anxious people we are!  We are worried about our health.  We worry about our futures.  We worry about our pasts.  We worry in the present.  We worry about circumstances.  We worry about what may happen and we worry about what may not happen.  We, like Martha, are “anxious about many things.”  And that’s not how God wants us to live!  Why?  Because all our worrying can’t control any of those things…and therefore, as the Psalmist said, it is “useless.”

Most of us are touched by the suffering of the world and would like to do something to help.  But the core message of anxiety is that we cannot afford to share or get involved because we can never have enough. Put more strongly, in a culture permeated by anxiety and fear, the very things we have traditionally called sins or vices (hoarding, greed and suspicion) seemingly have become wise and prudent virtues.  We have allowed fear, rather than trust and love, to govern our lives. But such fear is a form of idolatry because it suggests we are giving more attention to our own security than we are giving to God.  Scott Bader-Saye warns, “the ethic of security produces a skewed moral vision. It suggests that suspicion, preemption, and accumulation are virtues insofar as they help us feel safe. But when seen from a Christian perspective, such ‘virtues’ fail to be true virtues, since they do not orient us to the true good—love of God and neighbor. In fact, they turn us away from the true good, tempting us to love safety more than we love God.”

God’s virtues have not changed.  He loves forgiveness, mercy, justice, righteousness, generosity.  Those things have not changed because He never changes.  Let’s not let the world re-define virtue for us!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

PRAYER: It is so easy for us to be subtly influence by the world and the way it thinks, Lord.  Help us be grounded and rooted in your Word so we know what you care about and have a basis for living life that doesn’t ever change.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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