DayBreaks for 1/31/19 – Forgiven and Restored

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DayBreaks for 1/31/2019: Forgiven and Restored

From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:

Is there any greater need of the human race than forgiveness? Freedom from the guilt and shame of the past, from what we have done and what we have been? People all over the world are shattered and broken because they have never found peace in their hearts and lives. Their past haunts them. Perhaps no one put it as profoundly as Marghanita Laski, a humanist author, who was on television shortly before she died. In one of the most shocking statements made on network television, Ms. Laski said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.”

But sometimes, even Christians don’t really understand, accept or believe their forgiveness. Why? Because we can’t forget what we’ve done. Consider the stories of two men who went rampaging through museums and who severely damaged great works of art. In one case, it was Rembrandt’s painting “Nightwatch”. In the other, it was Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Pieta in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. What did the curators of the museums do with these great works of art that had been horribly damaged? Did they throw them out and forget about them, consigning them to the dumpster? No way! Instead, they got the best experts they could find and with the most painstaking effort, did all they could to restore the treasures.

You see, that is exactly what God does with us. We go, from time to time, on sin rampages. By our sin, we mar the beautiful artwork that is us – for we are, after all, made in God’s very own image, and what could be more beautiful than that? The “Curator” has a choice – to trash us or repair us. And He chose and chooses to repair us. How does He do it? He gets the best expert available – Jesus! But here’s the best news of all: not only does He restore us, but He makes us better than we ever were before – because when we accept Christ’s atonement by faith – God credits us with Christ’s righteousness! Romans 4:22-25 says it this way: This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness– for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

The righteousness that God credits to our account is far greater than any righteousness we have ever had. God takes the broken and marred works of art that are the men and women of His creation, forgives and repairs. His repair work is beyond perfect – for He doesn’t just restore us to our human condition, but makes us fit to be heavenly creatures, to live in His presence and to see Him face to face.

Struggling with your past? If you are a believer – don’t. As far as God is concerned, you don’t have a past – only a glorious future.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for the righteousness You have credited to us, for the forgiveness that gives us the hope and strength to press onward to the glorious future You have prepared for us!    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 11/13/18 – Just Wildflowers on a Log

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DayBreaks for 11/13/18: Just Wildflowers on a Log

With the recent tragedies in California (shootings, fires that have destroyed literally thousands of homes, families that have lost everything and a growing count of the dead), there are many people struggling to find hope. It’s understandable. I am not sure how I would react if I were in their place, but this I know –  without hope it is hard to continue living.

A young boy grew up in the country with his parents. When he was 15, the house caught on fire. They escaped with only the clothes on their backs. There were no close neighbors to help so he and his father walked to a distant village to get supplies. As they returned they saw something that stayed with Ruele Howe all those years after. Beside the charred remains of what had been their house, his mother had laid out lunch on a log. She had placed a tin can filled with wildflowers on the log. It was a symbol of hope in the midst of tragedy.

This is the Christian faith, isn’t it? She didn’t try to cover up the disaster with flowers, but in the midst of that gloomy scene she had placed a symbol of hope.

Have you just come through a disaster? Or maybe you’re in the midst of one now. Look for tiny signs of hope to keep you going. And remember that there was no hope to be found nearly two thousand years ago as two grief-stricken women approached a tomb on a Sunday morning. But they found hope there and you can, too.

PRAYER: Thank you for the fact that as your children we are never without hope, even in the darkest of times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/16/17 – Places You Never Knew Existed

 

DayBreaks for 6/16/17: Places You Never Knew Existed

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

On June 4, I was blessed (for the second year in a row!) to participate in a fund raiser for a nearby mission that provides shelter, training, food and spiritual guidance to many who have lost their way in life.  They do a great work, and each year they do a fundraiser that is called Extreme Golf.  On that day, those of us who have signed up to raise pledge money, go out and run around a golf course like crazy people, with the goal of playing 100 holes of golf in 8 hours or less.  What a thrill!

But now (this was written on 6/6), I have been reminded of lessons I learned last year during this event:

FIRST: Sometimes people hurt in places you never knew existed.  My body has aches and pains right now that I didn’t have on early Monday morning before the event.  It’ll continue that way for a few days, I can tell.  People all over hurt – and the greatest hurts aren’t in the physical body, but in the heart and mind of humanity.  Perhaps the greatest hurt of all is hopelessness – when people have been so beaten down that they have given up any idea of it ever getting better.  That’s when many are willing to finally accept Christ because they have learned that nothing else works.  But unless we’re on the lookout for signs of pain in people (wincing and groaning have been my signs the last few days!) we will likely pass by them not even realizing they’ve been beaten.  But heaven have mercy on us if we know they’ve been beaten and pass by anyway.

SECOND: Pain is good.  It is a reminder that we are alive and not dead.  Dead people feel no pain.  We shouldn’t give up on people who are in great pain.  They’re still alive and pain can lead to changes. 

THIRD: Pain is also a reminder that we are to become like Him in His suffering.  I don’t think that is specifically referring to physical pain, but that may be a part of it.  Paul, in Philippians 3:10 put it this way: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…  In our hurts, suffered for the cause of God, we become like Christ.  And God certainly knows how much I need more of that!!!!

There is pain all around you.  There is pain on the golf course, in your school, in your work, in your family – and yes, in your church.  The world is awash in pain.  All we have to do is open our eyes and see it.  Will you take the risk of joining Christ in his sufferings for the world?  You don’t have to travel to India or the Congo or Peru, all you have to do is open your heart and eyes, and you’ll see it.  The question is: what will we do about it?

I’m eager for this event to come around again next year.  May I be as eager to bear pain for Him all year long.

PRAYER: Father, let us become like Christ – willing to bear any burden, to carry any suffering – for the privilege of becoming like Him in His death, so that we may also attain unto His resurrection.  Help us to be sensitive to the pain of others and do all we can to point them to the One who can, and will, heal all hurts some glorious day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. 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 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 12/11/12 – Everyone Means Everyone

DayBreaks for 12/11/12 – Everyone Means Everyone

Jesus Healing-01

Luke 6:17-19 (NLT)When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and Jesus also cast out many evil spirits. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

I think my favorite four words from this text are the last four: and he healed everyone.  He’s not in a rush.  He didn’t live by a wristwatch or smart phone alerting him to appointments, places he had to go, things he needed to do.  Jesus never seemed to be pressed for time, have you noticed?  He spent countless hours alone in prayer.  He fasted in the wilderness for 40 days, ignoring all the other things he could have been doing.   He waited 30 years to begin his ministry.  He lay in the tomb for 3 days when he could have risen up immediately.  But he didn’t.

The point is he came for us…to be Immanuel (God WITH us).  In ministry it is hard to find the time to be WITH those we are to minister to.  We find every other reason to be invested in the study, to go to the Christian supply store, to meet with other pastors, to go to conferences, to do everything except be present.  The same is true for every life – it is hard anymore to find time to BE with others.  Instead of talking, we text.  Instead of spending time with real people, we spend it with animated video games or staring at a television.  We find all sorts of ways to avoid being with others (perhaps as a self-defense mechanism).  Jesus didn’t.  He took the opposite approach.

But the best part of those last four words are this: he didn’t fail to heal a single person.  There is no one or nothing that Jesus can’t heal.  He can heal the pain of your divorce, of your sexual infidelity, of your addiction, of your rebellion.  He can render the disease of pride, anger, unforgiveness, lust, greed and envy null and void.  There is nothing that he cannot and will not do to bring us back into fullness as humans and into a personal relationship with him.  He proved that on the cross.

PRAYER: Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed!!!!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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