DayBreaks for 1/31/17 – Broken

DayBreaks for 1/31/17: Broken

1 Corinthians 15:53-55 (ESV) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Adapted from our worship bulletin for 1/29/17:

“It’s the message you do and don’t want to hear. I was ready for my flight to take off for an important visit. We were loaded, bags on board, seatbelt fastened. The pilot came on the intercom and said, ‘We have a small lead in the hydraulic. Until maintenance clears us, we will not be able to depart.’

“Ugh. Now I faced the immediate future sitting with a bunch of other people who were ready to depart. No, I did not start sharing the gospel because in a flash the pilot made it works. ‘This plane is not fixable, so  you all have to deplane and we will get you another one as soon as we can!’

“So, we got off, sat and waited. In fact, as I write, I am still sitting. You see this is an unfinished story, Not every story has a neatly tied bow. Some are open ended.

“The good news is someone saw the flaw before a catastrophe happened. So, I am thankful for that. I will arrive, just later than I thought.

“So, where do you want to go? What are you pressing towards? Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like the plane to take you to your destination had arrived, and it broke? Are you having to wait? If so, now is the time to look around at your present surroundings but more importantly, look up! He knows where you are. He providentially has you there. Further, there are unseen and mysterious things going on that you don’t see. The best place for you, in His economy, is where you are. Eventually, you will move, so enjoy the grounding.”

Galen’s thoughts: I’ve been in that same spot – waiting for a broken plane to be fixed. I, too, was grateful that they found the problem while on the ground. Broken things lead to delays and they can be deadly unless the are addressed and rectified.

Life is like sitting on the tarmac. We are waiting the launch into the air, but we are broken. We need fixing first or otherwise the result will be catastrophic. Jesus is in the process of fixing us so that we can safely take wing and fly.

It calls for patience. It involves some pain and frustration. But the eventual outcome is that we will reach the destination that we long for. And it will have been worth the wait!

PRAYER: Help us wait patiently for the perfection you are creating in us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/05/17 – Doing Good in a Broken World

DayBreaks for 1/05/17: Doing Good in a Broken World

The late newspaper columnist Mike Royko once shared the other side of the Christmas Story in one of his columns. He told about a stranger who put $1,600 in gold coins in a Salvation Army kettle. The person placed the gift there quietly and anonymously. This is exactly the kind of story the print media is looking for to demonstrate the spirit of caring that Christmas brings about.

Unfortunately there was a follow up story. The local Salvation Army office began getting phone calls about the gold coins. The coins were stolen. The thief had dropped them in the kettle to get rid of them.

So then, Royko told another story about a man driving home from work on Christmas Eve who saw a young boy fall through the ice in a nearby lake. The man stopped his car, jumped out, tore off his jacket and crawled out onto the ice. He managed somehow to save the drowning boy. Happy ending, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately the man discovered that while he was risking his life saving the boy, somebody in the crowd of onlookers stole his jacket and the envelope containing his Christmas bonus.

Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. And even at Christmas, with the promise of peace and hope on our lips and in our hearts, that sinfulness is still present. That sinfulness was personified in the first Christmas story by Herod. “Go and search diligently for the child,” Herod said to the wise men. “And when you have found him, come and bring me word, that I may worship him, too.”

It doesn’t take much to get discouraged when you try to do good in a fallen world, does it? Your deeds seem to go unappreciated. Your sacrifices are taken for granted. The things that cost you so much in time and effort and perhaps money may not even be visible to others. And to top it off, people often take advantage of those with big, Christ-shaped hearts.

Does it matter? Sure, it matters. But we must not think that any of the good we do while living in a broken world isn’t worth doing – it is worth doing. And there is always Someone who notices and loves you for what good you are trying to do.

As we are encouraged, …let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. (Gal. 6:9, AMP)

Hang in there! Fight the fight for the good and let the end result and reward be up to God to determine.

PRAYER: We lose heart easily and we crave recognition for what good we do. Let us never forget we labor for You and on behalf of those You love! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/15/16 – Break Me!

DayBreaks for 3/15/16: Break Me!

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Scripture: Ps 54:6-7 – I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good. For you will rescue me from my troubles and help me to triumph over my enemies. – NLT

This Psalm was written when David was in hiding, and the Ziphites had gone to king Saul and told him, “We know where David is hiding.”  He was being betrayed. 

It is interesting how this first verse is worded.  David could have simply said, “I will sacrifice an offering to You” and we would have said that it was good and fitting that he should do so.  But apparently, David realized that just an offering wasn’t good enough.  It was the nature of the offering that he drilled in on and which caught my eye. 

David says he’ll offer a VOLUNTARY offering.  It is only a voluntary offering that matters to God.  God, being the absolute power in the universe, could have demanded from David (and even today from us) offerings and He could have forced them from us.  He could have demanded our firstborn.  He could have demanded that we mutilate ourselves with fire and knives.  He could have demanded that at some point we take our own life – trusting that we would somehow be “caught” by Him in our descent to the nether world.  But God has clearly noted that what he wants is a voluntary offering – and in particular “a broken and contrite spirit.” 

We often think (or are afraid) that God wants some great thing from us – something that we may be unable (or unwilling) to give.  He doesn’t.  He wants broken hearts – like David’s when confronted by Nathan.  That’s all.  And that is only one of the reasons that God is good.  Could a truly “good” God demand anything further from us, knowing our weakness and our ability to deliver anything to Him except for our brokenness?

God’s specialty is binding up that which is broken (Isa. 61:1-3, NLT) – The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

I need to focus more on giving God what He truly wants from me – not just what I think He wants.  Brokenness for sin is a good thing – not a bad thing.  Break me, Lord Jesus!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  God, create in me a clean heart.  Show us our sin so we may confess and repent before You and there find Your tender forgiveness.  Help our sacrifices to You to be voluntary, born out of love and thankfulness rather than duty.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/25/15: Fix Me!

DayBreaks for 8/25/15: Fix Me!

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

“There lies within each of us the desire to be fixed. It has been ingrained into our minds that as long as we continue to repent of all sin we are well off. We have put so much emphasis on not doing bad and repenting of our wrongdoings that we have forgotten to do good. This is why our altars are packed full every single Sunday and our soup kitchens are lacking in volunteers. Erwin McManus in Seizing your Divine Moment says “We have defined holiness through what we separate ourselves from rather than what we give ourselves to.” We like to think that all we need to do is stop doing the bad stuff and then we will be well off. We have come to the conclusion that God is our almighty doctor, church is his office, and we just need to go for our weekly checkup to assure ourselves we have done nothing wrong. We choose to live our lives in search of a remedy for our most current predicament and we are content with continually being fixed.”  (From “Constant Remedies” by Nathan Colquhoun)

How do you like the feeling of being broken? It’s not much fun, is it? I’ve never had any broken bones except my nose, so I can’t relate to a broken bone too much, but I can relate to feeling broken inside. I’ve felt it several times: at the death of my father, the times our children have moved out of the home to start their own lives, the times when my wife and I have been at bitter odds with one another, when a beloved dog died. There are many things in life that make us feel broken. But it is interesting to contemplate that we may spend so much time grieving over our sins (we should grieve over them for they are very serious), that we forget to do the things that are GOOD, the good works for which God created us. 

You’ve probably known people as I have, who are so wrapped up in their guilt and shame that they can’t get out of their own self-constructed dog-house. Not even after surrendering their lives to Christ! As Mr. Colquhoun says later on, there is only one cure for that – and it’s the blood for Jesus. That’s the only thing that can take away our guilt and shame. Once we’ve claimed His blood, we need to claim the promise of wholeness and forgiveness that comes along with it. To do anything less than accept his forgiveness to cover and remove our guilt and shame is nothing less than a lack of faith in his promises!

We need to move past the constant prayer of “Fix me!” to one of “Let me do your work each moment of every day.”

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to be content to just not to bad…I want to do good for Your glory and the benefit of Your creation! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 08/02/13 – A Broken Hallelujah

DayBreaks for 08/02/13 – A Broken Hallelujah  

abh-1From the DayBreaks Archive 08/15/2003:

“I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch but love is not a victory march, It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah…I did my best it wasn’t much.  I couldn’t feel so I learned to touch.  I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you.  And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.  Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.”  – Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah

Perhaps you’ve seen the animated movie Shrek that was so popular a year or two ago.  It’s the story of an “ugly green ogre” who lives in a swamp who, under the direction of an egotistical prince who wants the princess for his bride, sets out to rescue a princess from a tower in order to fulfill a selfish desire to have his own part of the swamp so he can enjoy peace and quiet.  When Shrek (that’s the name of the ogre) finds the princess and brings her back, he eventually falls in love with her, unaware that she’s been under a spell and is in reality, an ogre, too. 

In the movie is a song by Leonard Cohen, and some of the words are printed above.  It’s a song about love, faith, God and the discovery of our own brokenness.  I had heard the portion of the song that is played in the movie, but I’d not seen nor caught all the words until I looked it up on the internet.  Though I don’t know for sure what was on the composer’s mind when he penned the words, I was even more touched by the emotion that the song expresses when I’d seen all the words.

You see, I think the song might be about our understanding and expression of love – whether to one another, or to God.  Love has a way of humbling us, and at its very best, “…it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah” – meaning that our love and the way we express and receive it, are at best broken and imperfect.  I think of the times I’ve failed my wife, my children, my friends.  Do I love them?  Absolutely!  But my love was imperfect.  And I’ve acted coldly towards them at times. 

And what about God and my expression of love for him?  My failures are even more pronounced on that score.  I didn’t mean for my love to be so broken and flawed – but it has been.  I remember the ambition of my youth and the fire I felt in my soul…and I wonder sometimes where it went.  “It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah…”, isn’t it?  And although the plans I may have had for my own life to serve Him may have flopped, I know that “…even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.  Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.”  But here’s the point: I don’t fear standing before the Lord of Song with my failures and all, with nothing but a praise on my lips, because He loves me beyond all reason, beyond all my wildest dreams, and beyond all time.  And He loves you just the same way, in spite of your own broken Hallelujahs of service and intent.

Rev. 19:6-8 – “6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:  “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.  7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.

PRAYER: Thank  You for accepting my broken Hallelujah and loving me with a perfect one!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 01/24/12 – Busted Parts and Beautiful Things

DayBreaks for 01/24/12 – Busted Parts and Beautiful Things

1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. – Isaiah 42:1-3

Julie Pennington-Russell, in Our Friend Calling, wrote: “I have a friend. He’s a man in his late 60’s. Rugged, burly, brilliant guy. He’s always reminded me a little of the Marlborough Man. He studied at a prestigious university in the East some years ago, and then he moved to Texas to work on his doctorate. But somewhere along the way he became addicted to cocaine–just tumbled into that dark hole. Lost his family, lost his place in graduate school, lost big pieces of himself. But somehow he washed up on the shores of a good church. And when he did, he was so fragile–he looked like he’d been “rode hard and put up wet”–as they say in Texas. But the folks in that church put their arms around that man and slowly he started to heal, and eventually, miraculously, even reunited with his wife and children.

“We had this couple in our home for dinner and the man began to talk with Tim and me about where his life was going. “I want to believe,” he said, “that my best days aren’t behind me, and that my life can still count, can still make a difference for God.” He sat at our table with his head in his hands. “I just can’t help but feel like I’ve blown all of my best chances,” he said. That’s when his wife, who’s just this wonderful, middle-aged bohemian Texas flower child kind of woman, reached over and took his hand and said–and I’ll never forget this–she said, “Baby, you’ve got to take your sticky fingers off that steering wheel. If God could yank Jesus out of a grave, I figure he can make something beautiful out of busted parts.” And I tell you what –if I live to be a hundred and ten, I don’t expect to hear the gospel better articulated than that.”

When we are broken and busted, we tend to think that we are useless.  As we get older and feel that we’re defective, we can really despair thinking that we’re washed up and ready for the junk heap.  The joyful news for all of us is that we are never too old for God to use us, if we just stop trying to control our life and let Him take control.  It is hard to pry our fingers off the steering wheel.  We live under the illusion that we’ve done a good job of driving so far so we figure we just as well keep on driving since we’ve done so well so far.

Deep inside, though, we know we’ve not done all that well.  Could we have done worse?  Probably.  Could we have done better?  Certainly.  But God doesn’t ever make mistakes.  Let Him take the busted parts in you.  Gather them up, put them in His hands, and see what He does with them!

PRAYER: We are like shattered glass, Lord.  We need you to put our lives back together and back on track!!  Make something beautiful out of our brokenness, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/08/11 – Crushed Bones

DayBreaks for 07/08/11 – Crushed Bones

NOTE: Galen will be back Monday and new DayBreaks will be delivered starting 7/11.    Thanks for your understanding!

Crushed bones...

Psalm 51: “Let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Not too long ago we celebrated what we call Memorial Day.  It is a day where we honor the memory of those who gave their lives for our freedom and the freedom of others.  I used to work in an office area that was immediately across the road from Golden Gate National Cemetery.  It was a very quiet and green place.  But it bothered me.  There were far too many white tombstones and crosses.  I’ve seen pictures of the graveyards near the beaches of D-Day.  Again I was moved by the death and the magnitude of suffering.

We, as a race, have puzzled for millennia about suffering, about God, and how a loving God could allow such a thing.  In World magazine’s May 16, 2001 issue, Marvin Olasky wrote: “The continuing presence of persecution, suffering, and disease these days seems to embarrass some who profess belief in the Bible.  Couldn’t an all-powerful God prevent the need for Memorial Days?  Wouldn’t an all-powerful God?  It’s elementary, they say: Either God is weak or He is a mean-spirited spectator who hopes a driver will crash and die in the upcoming Indianapolis 500.

“C.S. Lewis, however, noted (in the Problem of Pain) that “The problems of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves is insoluble only so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the world love.’  God, Lewis observed, loves us enough to want to change our focus from the immediate to the long-range, even to eternity.  What is humanistically meaningless looks different from a theocentric view: See, for example, how Joni Eareckson Tada’s paralysis led her to God and inspired others.”

Dorothy Sayers wrote in The Whimsical Christian that understanding the honor of being chosen to suffer for a great cause gives Christianity “…it’s enormous advantage over every other religion in the world.  It is the only religion that gives value to evil and suffering.”  It does that by affirming the reality of evil and the need to confront it and strive to wrench good out of it, as Christ did when he suffered and died for all who believe in him.”

God doesn’t crush bones to leave them broken.  And he doesn’t crush us to take the joy from our lives, either.  He crushes the bones and then brings rejoicing as we begin to change from people possessed of a short-term view to those who can see through the portals of heaven to a Father that loves us beyond all comprehension and is dying (or rather did die) to welcome us to a home where suffering will not exist.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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