DayBreaks for 6/18/18 – The Lady With Three Hairs

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DayBreaks for 6/18/18: The Lady with Three Hairs

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.”

So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

“H-M-M,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.”

So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

“Well,” she said, “today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.”

So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.

“YEA!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

Attitude is everything.  How’s yours?

PRAYER: Help us to believe that every day lived in Your Presence is a true gift and blessing.  Change our attitudes from one of complaint to one of praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 2/22/18 – Recovering from an Unusual Attitude

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DayBreaks for 2/22/18: Recovering From an Unusual Attitude

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

I have some friends and Christian brothers who are retired airline pilots.  You don’t get to be a pilot without lots of hard work, intelligence and more than just a little nerve.  Consider this part of some pilot’s training:

When a pilot is learning to fly, there comes a point when they pile into the plane behind the controls and they take off – still with the instructor beside them.  They take the plane up to a good altitude and the instructor takes over, but not before putting a cloth bag or some kind of blindfold on the prospective pilot.  Once that is done, the instructor begins to take the plane up and over and around and virtually inside out – all with one purpose: to disturb the equilibrium of the student and get them disoriented.  After some barrel rolls, loop the loops and other acrobatic maneuvers, the pilot takes the plane up and up and up and then noses over into a suicide dive.  At that point, they remove the bag or blindfold from the student and give them back the controls.  His/her job at that point is simple, but very important: get the plane back under control before they smack into the ground.  The name of this exercise is “recovering from an unusual attitude.”

Much of our lives are spend in twists, turns, climbs and dives, and we can easily become disoriented and crash and burn.  We are blinded to many of the reasons and “wherefore’s” that affect us.  We know God has a plan, and we know the final outcome, but not the details – oftentimes, I’m convinced, we don’t even know the details as we are living them out day by day.  And it is imperative that we find our senses in the midst of the twisting and turning, climbing and diving.

Our attitudes play such a major role in how we view life and God.  What’s your attitude when you don’t understand where He’s taking you?  Are you prone to yell at him and get angry, or will you dig into His word, open your heart to his leading, and recover from your own unusual attitude?

PRAYER: May we learn to act graciously even when we don’t understand, and always to act in obedience and find our safety in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/25/18 – The Rails of Life

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DayBreaks for 1/25/18: The Rails of Life

From the DayBreaks archives, January 2008:

This past Tuesday night when we got back from being with our youth group, I had a phone call waiting on our answering machine.  It was from the mother of a good friend of mine from high school.  I’d not heard this woman’s voice for probably 38 years (could I possibly have graduated from high school that long ago??!!).  She was calling to tell me that my friend, Lesley, who has struggled with cancer for years, is very near the end of her struggle, and that “we’re counting down the days.”  What a contrast to the phone call we received just before going to youth group that night from our youngest son, letting us know that he and his wife are with child – their first.  We were, of course, ecstatic!

As happy as I was and am for our son and his bride, I was crushed by the news of Lesley.  This “girl” (I still think of her as I knew her in high school) has had a difficult life.  Within a few months after we graduated, she was riding in a car when she was struck by a train and severely injured.  It was touch and go to see if she’d live or die.  She was left with some permanent issues from that accident, but she did survive and went on to become the mother of 3 boys. 

When she was first diagnosed with cancer, her husband left her.  He said he couldn’t deal with it.  Eventually, she found another man – a good one – who loved her for who she was and in spite of her cancer, they married.  For years, they fought her cancer side by side.  Now, the end of the fight is near.  Her mother asked me if I would do her daughter’s memorial service.  Such things are the great privilege of a friend and pastor.

As I thought about this situation, in conjunction with the passing of a young girl from our community with cancer, I shared at the youth group last Tuesday night some thoughts about death and loss.  God’s timing, though strange to us, is always perfect.  Little did I know as I stood there with the youth that I’d get to put into practice so quickly the things I was talking about.  We showed a NOOMA video that made the observation that we can choose whether or not we become bitter about life and what happens, and also that we can choose to focus on what we’ve lost instead of what we have.  Good lessons.

Then, on Wednesday morning, I got an email from a DayBreaks reader with an interview from Rick Warren, whose own wife has been stricken with cancer.  In the interview, he talked about life, it’s ups and downs, and how we often think of life as a series of peaks (the good times) and valleys (the bad times) – and how we move from one to the other so often.  But then he went on and made an observation that I thought was really good.  He said that he didn’t see life as peaks and valleys, but more like a pair of train tracks.  One rail is good, one rail is bad, and they run in parallel throughout our life. 

As I considered Lesley’s situation and the impending memorial service, I realized how true the words were from the video and Rick Warren, and how well they fit together.  The train of our life runs on both tracks…the question is, which track are we going to focus our emotions on?  There is always good and bad…simultaneously.  Perhaps that’s why the apostle Paul encouraged us to consider the good things and “think on these things.”  If we don’t, the badness of the other rail can do us in and lead us into bitterness and depression. 

For those of us who are left behind (and today, 1/21/2008, is the 10th anniversary of my father’s passing to glory), we can choose life over death, joyful memories over painful ones, happy times over sad, love and laughter over loss.  We can claim once again and for all time the memories that mean so much to us of those we have loved and lost. 

And one more thing: we can hold with confidence to the truth that God is busy making everything new, restoring all the loss – and that someday, we’ll see that with our own wonder-filled eyes.

PRAYER:  Thank You, Lord, for our friends and family.  Thank You for the hope of all things being made new, and for the ability to choose to see the good and not just the bad.  You are awesomely wonderful, Father!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/29/17 – How We View the World

DayBreaks for 3/29/17: How We View the World

What is your general attitude toward the world you live in, towards life?  Do you generally see life as a trudge through the mud, or as an exciting and fulfilling adventure?  I know that there are days when we are overwhelmed one way or another, but as a general rule, how do you see the world and your life in it? 

You might not think that how you generally feel about the world is all that important.  After all, who does it affect but you, right?  Wrong.  I think that the way Christians (and others) feel about the world around us and our role in it makes a huge difference.  I was recently re-reading Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and he described one event that occurred one dark, cold night in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Frankl wrote: I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare.  Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man.  Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do.  At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.

I dare say that none of us have ever been in a situation as horrifying as Frankl.  He found himself in a horrible dilemma: do I compassionately awaken the man who was having such frightening nightmares, or would the reality of the world of the prison camp be even worse than the imagined world taking place in the mind of the dreamer?  What would I have done?  I don’t honestly know.  But I know this: my world is nowhere as terrifying as a concentration camp.  My life and world is really, all things considered, very pleasant and tolerable.  Even beautiful. 

But here’s my point for today: if I view my world as being a horrible thing, chances are that I won’t do anything to “wake people up” who may be sleeping their way through life.  But if I can learn to see the beauty of the life that God has given me, the beauty of God through His creation, I will be more likely to do what I can to help people who are sleeping to wake up and see the beauty of the life lived with the Lord.

The Presence of the Lord can turn the desert into a well-watered land.  Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.

PRAYER: Father, help us to see the truth about our lives.  We have hard times, but help us not to turn them into high drama that isn’t warranted.  May we see and experience the beauty of life lived in fellowship with You, and may we have the wisdom and courage to awaken the sleeper and help them see the glory of the Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/13/16 – The Feast Will be Eaten

DayBreaks for 12/13/16: The Feast Will be Eaten

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

It is Christmas season!  Do you feel any of the excitement yet?  I do!  I don’t usually get excited about Christmas until much closer to the holidays (this is a busy time of the year for pastors, after all!), but for some reason, the joy of Christmas has gotten to me early!  I’m not sure why, but I suspect that some of it may be because of a book I just recently finished reading (you’ll hear more about that in the future!) that has awakened me much more to the Presence of Christ – not just at Christmas – but at all times in my life as a believer.  Still, I could choose to be a bah-humbug about it all if I wished to do so.  But that’s not the choice I’ve decided to make. 

Choices are so critical in all aspects of our life.  Some are choices about what to do, and those are the kind that we think of the most: where to live, what to do for a living, what to eat for dinner, what to wear.  It would probably be astounding to know how many decisions a day that we make.  Most of them are insignificant, but there are some doozies every now and then, too. 

But the choices that perhaps have a lot more to do with what and who we are very seldom are about things that we do, but about how we choose to see and respond to life.  We seldom consider that we can choose to be grateful or complainers, grumpy or joy-filled, loving or bitter.  N. T. Wright, in Evil and the Justice of God, wrote: “Indeed, throughout the new Testament we are constantly warned that the choices we make in this life, especially the choices about what sort of person we might become, are real and have lasting consequences which God himself will honor.  But we do not have the choice to sulk in such a way as to prevent God’s party going ahead without us.  We have the right, like the older brother, to sit it out; God has the right to come and reason with us; but the fatted calf is going to be eaten whether we join in or not.”

You can choose your attitude and how you respond to both the good and bad of life.  Much of it has to do with your confidence and trust in God and whether or not you believe He knows what He’s doing in, through and with your life.  You KNOW that God wants you to be filled with the joy of being His child, and He wants you to be infectious with that joy and love.  What will you choose?  Will you join in the party, or will you sit by yourself, bitter and disgruntled?  God’s feast is prepared, the door is open, the music is playing.  Are you read to join in the celebration?

PRAYER:  How Your joy fills us, Lord!  Make our hearts thankful, joyful, loving and excited to be Your children.  Give us Your Spirit of love and peace so that we can share it with others and begin, here and now, to celebrate the feast of life that we have in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 5/18/15 – What’s Your Tennis Ball?

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DayBreaks for 5/18/15: What’s Your Tennis Ball?

My friend, Barney Cargile (Barney’s Bullets) has a really good insight into living a meaningful life:

“It’s graduation time.  Across our land, commencement speeches present platitudes and promises, with a dose of wisdom mixed in as well.  In 2013, Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, in addressing the grads of MIT uttered these words concerning happy and successful people: ‘They’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them.  They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball: Their eyes go a little crazy, the leash snaps and they go bounding off, plowing through whatever gets in the way…So it’s not about pushing yourself; it’s about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you.’ 

So, what’s your ‘tennis ball’? What lights your fire; what gets you out of bed in the morning?  You’ll always work harder for a cause you believe in than merely a paycheck.  Life’s too short to endure the drudgery of a job you hate.  But what if you’re stuck in a job you hate, and opportunity isn’t exactly beating your door down?  Try this: Don’t work for your employer; work for Jesus.  He’s invited you to partner with him in his work of redeeming a world trapped in darkness.  Paul told first century slaves ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men’ (Col.3:23). Even in a job you hate (I think ‘slavery’ would qualify), don’t see yourself as a ‘just a slave’ but as part of God’s ‘larger story’.  Seeing your small story as part of God’s larger story, transforms work from drudgery to excitement, because you’re joining God in the most meaningful cause in history.”

I especially like the idea of seeing your small story as part of God’s larger story. Did Rahab the prostitute see herself as contributing to the gene pool of the incarnate God? Did Ruth? I doubt it. They did what God put in front of them to do and then left the results up to him. I think that when the epic of our existence is played out, we will be surprised to find out what meaning some of our seemingly insignificant actions really had.

PRAYER: Jesus, how desperately we need single-minded focus to recall that in the final analysis, we work for no one but You!  Help us find meaning in all we do as we learn to do it for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/25/13 – The Gratitude Attitude

DayBreaks for 11/25/13 – The Gratitude Attitude

Romans 12:3 (MSG)  I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, John R. Ramsey tells how in one church a certain person provided him with a rose boutonniere for the lapel of his suit every Sunday. At first he really appreciated it but then it sort of became routine. Then one Sunday it became very special.

As he was leaving the Sunday Service a young boy walked up to him and said, “Sir, what are you going to do with your flower?” At first the preacher didn’t know what the boy was talking about. When it sank in, he pointed to the rose on his lapel and asked the boy, “Do you mean this?”

The boy said, “Yes, sir. If you’re just going to throw it away, I would like it.”

The preacher smiled and told him he could have the flower and then casually asked what he was going to do with it. The boy, who was probably no more than 10 years old, looked up at the preacher and said, “Sir, I’m going to give it to my granny. My mother and father divorced last year. I was living with my mother, but she married again, and wanted me to live with my father. I lived with him for a while, but he said I couldn’t stay, so he sent me to live with my grandmother. She is so good to me. She cooks for me and takes care of me. She has been so good to me that I wanted to give her that pretty flower for loving me.”

When the little boy finished, the preacher could hardly speak. His eyes filled with tears and he knew he had been touched by God. He reached up and unpinned the rose. With the flower in his hand, he looked at the boy and said, “Son, that is the nicest thing that I’ve ever heard but you can’t have this flower because it’s not enough. If you’ll look in front of the pulpit, you’ll see a big bouquet of flowers. Different families buy them for the Church each week. Please take those flowers to your granny because she deserves the very best.”

Then the boy made one last statement which Rev. Ramsey said he will always treasure. The boy said, “What a wonderful day! I asked for one flower but got a beautiful bouquet.”

This, my friends, is the sort of thankful spirit that is to permeate our hearts.  It’s an attitude of gratitude that should guide our giving, our receiving and our lives. Like that boy’s grandmother, God has blessed us so much. God has been so good to us that when the time comes to give to some work of God it shouldn’t even be a question. It should just flow from us naturally.  As should a heart of thankfulness. 

PRAYER: We have so much to thank you for, Father.  You have showered blessing after blessing into our lives…none of which we have deserved.  We are in awe of your giving heart and long to be more like you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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