DayBreaks for 4/04/19 – The Hidden Victory

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DayBreaks for 4/04/19: The Hidden Victory

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. – Colossians 2:15 (NIV)

God has always had a strange way of winning.  Sometimes His victories are more spectacular than you can imagine: the great flood as a judgment on sin, crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan, the victory at Jericho, the shepherd boy with the slingshot, Gideon’s brave 300, Samson’s bringing down the roof.  All of these things must have been very spectacular to witness.  How I do hope God has instant replay in heaven so we can see them!

Sometimes, however, God’s victories don’t look so much like victory as like defeat.  In 1939, a young pastor, Helmut Thielicke, took his first pastorate in a church in Germany.  Thielicke was young and full of vigor, and he arrived with full confidence in Jesus’ words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  Thielicke told himself that Hitler was just a paper tiger, soon to be consumed by his own arrogance and greed and pomposity. 

After Thielicke arrived, he called for a Bible study.  A whopping three people showed up – two ladies who were so old that they looked like they were made of brittle parchment that could be destroyed by a tiny gust of wind, and an equally old man who had played the church organ, but who was now so old that his hands hardly worked at all.  They sat in a small group inside the church, studying the Word, while all the time they could hear the sounds of the jackboots of Hitler’s Youth Corps hammering on the streets as they marched and drilled. 

Thielicke’s confidence shattered.  Hadn’t Jesus said “ALL authority?”  What about the raging authority that Hitler wielded like a club against his opposition? 

In time, Thielicke came to understand what I hope most of us eventually come to realize: either Jesus’ words had a meaning far deeper than we have yet to grasp, or else his words were a blatant exaggeration…perhaps nothing more than the boastful bleatings of madman.  Was Jesus just a Lamb masquerading as a Lion for the sake of His disciples?

Hitler is gone – fallen in shame and disgrace.  Jesus is still on the throne.  When the last king or queen, the last President, the last dictator and prime minister has passed into the pages of history, Jesus will go on, reigning and ruling in majesty and glory such that the world has never seen.  When the last enemy, Death, has been obliterated forever, Jesus will go on.  When tears are forever banned, Jesus will rule.  When ten trillion years have passed in eternity, the celebration of His reign will only be beginning and it will never stop. 

You see, the Lion is the Lamb, and the Lamb is the Lion.  In any case, the victory that was hidden in the death on the cross will sway all of eternity.

Prayer: Hallelujah, Lord Jesus, for You reign now in glory above and You welcome us to the great celebration of victory!  May we proclaim the victory of the Lion Lamb throughout all our days on earth and in heaven above!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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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 9/15/17 – Your Garden of Gethsemane

DayBreaks for 9/15/17: Your Garden of Gethsemane

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

Have you ever stopped to think how many decisions you will make in any given day?  We make decisions all the time without even thinking about it.  When we think of decisions, we tend to think of the weightier matters of life – and that’s a good thing.  Weighty matters deserve lots of thought as we try to decide what to do.  Hopefully, if you are a Christian, the very first thing you contemplate is whether or not the thing you are doing is in God’s will.  Regardless of whatever other factors you choose to apply to decisions you are facing and making, that one should be the most prominent. 

How do you know His will?  I’m not going to try to provide an exhaustive list here, but certainly His revealed and written Word is our primary tool for discerning his will.  If we cavalierly throw that out the window, we have no solid basis for a decision.  God expects us to follow the Word when we are facing decisions.  That means we have to accept it as truth, not try to explain it away or rationalize why it doesn’t apply to us.

One of my favorite stories about the life of Jesus has to do with his night in the garden of Gethsemane, my favorite place in the Holy Land.  I am moved by that story – even more, I think, that by the story of the crucifixion itself.  Physical pain is one thing, but spiritual pain can be far worse.  It was in the garden that we’re told Jesus was in agony – not on the cross.  (I’m not minimizing what happened upon those old timbers – I am sure there was incredible agony there, too.)  It was in the garden that he wrestled with both flesh and blood and principalities and powers in the heavenly places.  Why?  Because in the garden he was faced with the decision that would form the crux of his life.  It all culminated there, in the shadows of the olive trees, as the Son of God knelt down in the dirt and made the most crucial decision in all of history: would he do things his way, or God’s way?

There are times and decisions in our lives that are seemingly insignificant (although I’d like to argue that one with you – notice I said “seemingly insignificant”), but then there are moments that clearly rise into the stratosphere in terms of importance.  At those times we are faced with our own garden of Gethsemane.  We must decide whether our prayer will be, “Nevertheless, my will not Thine be done,” or if we’ll echo Jesus’ words: “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” 

You may be wrestling with a decision today that has life-altering potential, that once made may not be able to be undone ever.  Have you considered what God’s Word would say about it?  If you know how God feels about it, what will you do about it?  You may be facing your own garden of Gethsemane right now.  What will your prayer be?

PRAYER:  Spirit, help us not to fail the test in moments of crisis.  Strip away Satan’s deceptions from our eyes so that we can see what is at stake in the decisions of life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/11/17 – As Though It Were Not Serious

DayBreaks for 9/11/17: As Though It Were Not Serious

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

You know how it is when you receive bad news about someone you love.  It may have come as the result of some tests they were having run – is there a tumor or not?  If so, is it malignant?  Or, someone has been in an accident and you hear their voice through the phone, “I’ve been in a crash – and I’ve got some injuries – but nothing serious.”  Until you get that last little bit of information “It’s nothing serious,” you’re on pins and needles.  Until the lab report comes back clear, you contemplate the possible cessation of your life.  Those words, “It’s nothing serious,” can be some of the most comforting words we’ll hear. 

Sometimes, though, those words can be deceptive.  Consider the diagnosis that comes back and says all will be well, only to later discover that the diagnosis was wrong, that the test results were incorrect.  “It’s no big deal,” is another way of saying about the same thing.  Nothing to worry about…but while it may not be a big deal to that person, someone else who was affected by it may think it is a huge deal.

We have different ways of seeing things, and I understand that.  I suppose it is inevitable.  But it disturbs me deeply when Christians are divided on things that Scripture clearly calls sin.  We’ve heard the culture decrying religious thought and beliefs for so long that we’ve bought into a brain-washed mindset.  Somehow, in our arrogance, we’ve bought the lie that just because the laws of our land (or any other) say that something is legal that it means it must be okay and that it can’t therefore possibly be sin.  Even when the Bible is point-blank on the subject! 

We would do well to remember that God says judgment will begin not with the heathen, but with those of His own house (1 Peter 4:17).  When His own people have become indistinguishable with unbelievers there is great cause for fear.  When His own people cannot tell right from wrong, it is totally incorrect to say, “It’s not serious, it’s no big deal.”  Listen to these words, spoken by God, to His great prophet Jeremiah: (6:14-15) – They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.  Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD.  In context, God is talking to His own people, addressing them about what is about to happen because they have minimized the Word of the God and its authority.  Why was God so angry at his people?  We get a pretty good clue in verse 10: To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.

It seems that the people of the Lord had chosen not to listen to God’s Word any longer.  Why?  Because they found it offensive.  What was offensive about it?  They didn’t like what it said – it called sin, sin – it pointed out their evil and the evil in the cultures that surrounded them.  And they didn’t like it because they loved the culture more than they loved the Word of the Lord.

How I fear for modern American Christians who can’t see the truth when it’s printed on the pages of the Bibles right in front of them.  And that includes me.

It is serious.

PRAYER: Father, we are so blinded by our human desires and selfishness that we don’t love Your Word and honor its truth.  We close our ears because your word offends us with it’s demands for holiness and righteousness and for turning away from the sins we love so much.  Help us once more to find pleasure in Your Word, to love truth more than convenience and even more than our own lives.  Pour Your Spirit of revelation out upon us that we can have our eyes opened and ears unclogged once more to perceive and practice truth.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/18/16 – They Still Know His Name

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Photo Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016, Sea of Galilee at sunset.

DayBreaks for 1/18/16: They Still Know His Name

“Grander earth has quaked before

Moved by the sound of His voice

Seas that are shaken and stirred

Can be calmed and broken for my regard…” – It Is Well, Bethel Music (link to YouTube for this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI)

It was less than two weeks ago that I found myself on a boat crossing the sea of Galilee. I’d seen it before, but never been on the water. A gentle breeze was blowing and I found myself in thought about what had happened on that body of water 2000 years ago, when a man fell asleep in the back of the boat in the middle of a storm. The waves and wind screamed out in their torment while he slept peacefully.

Those with him feared for their lives – the boat, they would tell him after waking him, was sinking and they would all drown. His reaction was to speak – to tell the wind and sea to be calm – and instantly the storm was over. Why? Because they recognized the voice and name of the One who had made them and to Whose will they were still subject. And at that realization, the fear of the disciples changed from the storm to Whomever this was that was in the boat with them.

You’ve heard the story so many times before. You’ve thought about the implications – about the storm on the sea as an analogy for the storms in our lives and how Jesus calms us. But being on the sea makes it come alive with new meaning.

I have had storms in my life. I, like those in the boat with Him, have been afraid. I have called out to Him in the storm. Sometimes it seemed as if He couldn’t hear me over the raging of the storm. Sometimes I doubted that He would answer even if He could hear me – for I was too sinful. Sometimes it seemed as if He wasn’t even there (if he ever had been there), and I trembled in frustration and fear and pain.

Yet in hindsight, I can see that even at those moments, He was there. He did hear. And as with the disciples in the boat, He did care. He took action out of regard for the disciples, and he took action for me, too, not just that day He was on the boat with them, but on ALL those days when I so desperately needed Him.

I find myself not as fearful these days after having the luxury of being able to look back over 63 years of life and seeing that He has never once really let me down or let me drown. And now there is a quieter spirit in my soul that believes, ever so slightly more, that He never will fail me or let me down.

Why do I have that comfort? Not because my faith is so much stronger or that I deserve it more or because there are not storms in my life, but because of two things: 1) I have seen His faithfulness, but even more because 2) the wind and the waves still know His name, and they must yield to Him.

Mark 4:37-41 (NLT) But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, how comforting it is to know that the same winds and seas that knew your voice and authority 2000 years ago still know who you are – and they still obey you instantly. In the shrieking storms that assail our lives, let us take comfort in knowing that everything in heaven and on earth and in all creation MUST yield to your voice when you speak – and that you act and speak on our behalf throughout our entire lifetime. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/27/15 – The Enforcers

DayBreaks for 11/27/15: The Enforcers

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2005:

Eph. 1:21-22 – Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come.  And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church. (NLT)

We’re very familiar with these verses that form part of Paul’s great exultation at the beginning of the letter to Ephesus.  We get excited when we read about Christ’s great power and authority.  It’s good to know that He’s on OUR side!!!!  The fact that he has such power is comforting and encouraging to us as we struggle through things in this life.

But we sometimes miss the last part of verse 22 which tells us why God gave Christ such power and authority.  It wasn’t for Christ’s benefit, or to make him more grand and awesome.  Jesus didn’t need that – he’s grand and awesome enough.  No, God gave Jesus that kind of authority “for the benefit of the church.”

We, of course, are the church.  That means that God gave Christ that authority for our benefit.  Christ has already won the ultimate battle against Satan and death.  Judgment has been decreed…all that now awaits is the execution of that ruling by the Almighty God.  The question, however, is how well are we doing at applying the power of the Risen Christ (to whom God has given all authority in this world and the one to come) to our lives and to the society in which we live?  You might argue that it is Jesus who has that power, not us…and that’s very, very true.  But you don’t have to look far in Scripture to see that we have been given “all things” that enable us to live lives of godliness and power.  After all – it’s not just us – but Jesus who lives within us!

So, we must not become passive.  We must engage.  We are invaders in the kingdom of the enemy.  We are here to do a job that we don’t have the power to pull off – but He does.  We must begin to learn to wield the victory that Christ has already won.  We must learn how to enforce it, not shrink from the enemy in fear.  In Judges 3, God explains that He didn’t drive out all the inhabitants of the Promised Land for one reason: he left some to test the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience (3:2).  Do you see?  Much of what He allows in our lives is not for us to simply accept, but to get us to rise up, to teach us how to fight for the Promised Land.  God wants us to know how to wield the weapons and power necessary to take a stand and to fight!

Copyright 2005 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, let us be warriors for You, surrounded and empowered by the unlimited power of Jesus Christ.  Through His strength, let us reclaim this lost world for You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

DayBreaks for 3/13/14 – On the Verge of Anarchy

DayBreaks for 3/13/14 – On the Verge of Anarchy          

NOTE: From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/09/2004. Galen is traveling this week.  New DayBreaks will resume next week.

There is so much going on in our country right now that really frightens me.  (That was originally written 10 years ago – and we can see the chickens coming home to roost today!) We have lost our moral footing – the basis on which we make moral judgments and decisions.  And, as a talk show host I was listening to the other day said, we seem to be on the verge of anarchy.

We have mayors of cities deciding that they will not obey the laws of the constitutions of their states, even after the state attorney general has stated that by NOT abiding by the laws on the books that the governors are breaking the law.  So what do they do?  They say, in effect, “I don’t care what the law says.  I’m going to do what I think is right.”  On what grounds do they decide the rightness and wrongness of an action?  Seemingly based on either personal, or political biases.

The talk show had a caller who was wondering how to explain to his kids why same-sex marriage or abortion or many other things are wrong without “bringing God into it” and “without offending them”.  Well, therein lies the problem.  As Christians, we can’t not bring God into the discussion.  When we leave Him out in the cold, we betray Him.  We don’t have a God-given right to decide for ourselves what is morally acceptable and what is not.  If you are a Christian, you have no choice – God is God, the Decider and Author of morality, or He isn’t.  His Word is truth – or it isn’t.  That doesn’t mean we have to like what it says(in fact, we may really not like it!), but that really isn’t the issue when it comes to the Lordship of Jesus now, is it?  If He is Lord, He speaks…we listen, we obey.  Period.  That’s it.  And if that’s not how it is, then we’re just playing a game.

So, what’s wrong with our society?  The name of God can’t be mentioned without causing offense, as the father on the phone noted.  So what, I ask?  Should that be surprising?  Didn’t 1 Cor. 1:23 (NLT) tell us that people will be offended by the truth: “So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense”?  When we are too afraid to speak the truth because we’re afraid to offend someone, we are focusing on the wrong thing.  Truth can save lives and souls!  People get over offenses, given time.  Don’t misunderstand me – we are not to be offensive – we are to love and speak the truth in love.  It is the truth about Jesus and what He taught that people find offensive because they don’t like the fact that the truth is like salt rubbed in a wound when it applies to something we’re doing that is wrong.  People don’t like it…but that salt in the wound may be the only thing that keeps the wound from putrifying, turning gangrenous, and causing death or mutilation.  The problem in our country is that God is being left out of the discussion on morality.  We’ve lost our spine as Christians because we’re like the dad who was afraid of “offending” his children by bringing God into the discussion.  Or worse yet – because of our own cowardice.  Would that father be worried about offending his kids by telling them to stay away from drug dealers and from using drugs?  No!  Why?  Because he cares about his children.  Why don’t we seem to care about our children’s morality!?!  Or our own?

And as for the argument that if something isn’t specifically prohibited in the state constitution – let’s just take that at face value for a minute.  I wonder if there is anything in the state constitution that specifically prohibits marrying a dog, or a cow, or a tree?  How about marrying one’s mother, father, brother or sister?  I wonder if there is anything in the state constitution that prohibits pedophilia, or necrophilia?  I doubt it.  But if we follow the line of reasoning that some folks are taking, why shouldn’t those things be allowed, too?  After all, if someone decided that it’s OK for them, that they disagree with the law, if one person can say that and get away with it, why can’t everyone?  Why can’t people kill and give drugs to kids and just tell the cops that they didn’t agree with the law and then be allowed to go free?   And what happens when a NASA scientist programming the re-entry burn for our next astronauts decides that he doesn’t agree with the laws of physics, or that 2+2=4?  Someone dies.  And would anyone accept his argument that it was OK because he didn’t like the laws of math and physics?  No one would accept such anarchy.  Why do we accept it in the moral realm?  I know, I know, we can’t expect non-Christians to behave like Christians, and I don’t – but God expects Christians to act like Christians – like “little Jesus Christ’s”.  What do you think He’d say about what’s going on in our country?

You see, we can’t have it both ways.  Either there is objective, universal truth found in God’s Word – or there isn’t.   What do you believe?  No, I take that back.  That’s the wrong question.  Here’s a more appropriate one for us at all times: what does God say about it – and will we stand up for it?

PRAYER: Jesus – open our hearts and minds to truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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