DayBreaks for 10/05/17 – Rend Your Heart

DayBreaks for 10/05/17: Rend Your Heart

Joel 2:12-14 (NIV) – Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’  Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing — grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.”

One of the things that I find hardest to understand about God is how patient He is with us.  Seemingly countless times in the Old Testament, Israel, the people that He Himself chose to be His own special people, walked off and left Him behind.  And for every one of those times, He pleaded with them to return to Him.  For every time that I’ve chosen against God, He has pleaded with me to return.  Remember, this is the God who is so great that He that creates with words alone, pleading with His creation.  It defies comprehension. 

The passage above from Joel shows us what it is that the Lord wants from us at times like that.  Israel got to be very good at crying out to God for help – but less good at crying out to Him for forgiveness.  They would go through religious reformation many times – putting on a good outward show, but they seldom participated in true spiritual renewal, from the inside out. 

The ancient Jews had a habit of tearing their clothing when they were bereft or distraught.  It was a sign of the depth of their anguish or sorrow.  In the passage from Joel, God puts it about as clearly as it could be said: “Don’t tear your robes.  I want your heart to be torn.”  Why?  Because His own heart had been torn.  It’s not that God wanted them to suffer as much, or even in like fashion, as He was suffering, but because He wanted their actions to proceed from their hearts.  It’s easy to appear broken on the outside.  It’s also much more painful to have your heart torn – as God’s heart was when His people turn their backs on Him.  But outward change doesn’t penetrate to the heart and result in heart-change.  Heart-change, on the other hand, will become apparent in outward actions. 

God is wise enough to know when our outward actions are merely for show or when they’re for real.  We can fairly easily fool one another by how we act when we’re surrounded by Christians or when we’re in church.  We can never, ever, fool God.  Not even when I pray to him and tell Him I’m sorry for something when deep down inside, I know my heart is not in agreement with my lips. 

We need to learn to pray that our hearts are rent and torn by our sin – and return to Him, “for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Who knows?  He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing…”

PRAYER: Jesus, we are masters at deceiving ourselves and others.  Give us hearts that break over our sin and then the lips to confess it.  Remove pretense far from us and turn our hearts back to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 6/16/16 – The Answer is in the Heart

DayBreaks for 6/16/16 – The Answer is in the Heart

Columbine. Sandy Hook. Fort Hood. San Bernadino. Aurora. Oklahoma City. Orlando.

Unfortunately, I don’t have to explain to the reference to each of the above locales. They are infamous enough because of events that took place there.

I don’t want to get political about this…that’s not the point. I don’t care what you do or don’t think about things like gun control…that’s entirely up to you. I have my opinions but right now those are beside the point. I only bring that up to make this point: you won’t solve the problem by making guns illegal any more than making drugs illegal has caused them to be eliminated from our culture.

So what is to be done? Why is this happening in our country and in places around the world?

I believe it is because we have lost our bearings because we have totally abandoned the only thing that can really change people: the indwelling Spirit and Word of God.

Most people of my generation grew up going to church. Our parents went to church…and took us with them. But then in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, there was a backlash against any kind of authority, any kind of control. My generation was a part of that, too. When truth became relative and defined by the individual instead of One who truly has Authority, all things became possible.

Parents (including those of my generation) began to turn away from church, from the 10 Commandments, from the teaching of the Word…and we made our own truth.

So, if gun laws and drug laws won’t solve the problem, where is the answer to be found? It is in changed hearts…change from the inside out. If only we could go back to when values like truth, integrity, respect for others regardless of their level of authority, the Golden Rule and morality were taught to our little ones, I believe the future could look different.

But it won’t happen by passing laws. Ask Israel how the Old Law worked for them.  Even Paul says it: laws only provoke sin – they don’t stop it or cure it. He is quite clear: law leads to greater sin and death. Why? Because the heart resents law and defies it with a shouted “I will show you – I will do what I want to do! If you tell me I can’t do something, that is precisely what I WILL do!” The answer is in the heart – a heart overcome by the love of Christ and His Spirit living in us and teaching us how to love others as He has loved us.

Parents: teach your children God’s ways. Parenting isn’t about being a friend to your children – it is hard work, it is meant to be hard work because it is the most serious work you’ll ever do. Grandparents: teach your grandchildren God’s ways. And let’s live God’s way ourselves so the little ones can see that it works and is the best way to live life! Will you rise to the challenge? 

PRAYER: How desperately we need individual and collective transformation of our hearts, Lord! Please, we need you to change us before we destroy one another! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/14/15 – The Power of Small Things

DayBreaks for 10/14/05: The Power of Small Things  

Many have been the times that I wished I could do something great for Jesus. I think every believer at some point in their walk has felt that way. After all, he has done (and is doing!) amazingly great things for us. We want to reciprocate.

Yet most of us are not born to do “great” things. We don’t find ourselves in the position to change the world with the stroke of a pen or with a few words. Such is not our position. As a result, we can feel a bit dispirited and disappointed with the small things we can do.

The power of little things should never be underestimated. The power of the laugh of a little child to cheer a heart, the energy contained in the atom, a gentle and compassionate hug can lift the spirits of those in despair. As evidence, consider this true story:

A room-service waiter at a Marriott hotel learned that the sister of a guest had just died. The waiter, named Charles, bought a sympathy card, had hotel staff members sign it, and gave it to the distraught guest with a piece of hot apple pie.

“Mr. Marriott,” the guest later wrote to the president of Marriott Hotels, “I’ll never meet you. And I don’t need to meet you. Because I met Charles. I know what you stand for. … I want to assure you that as long as I live, I will stay at your hotels. And I will tell my friends to stay at your hotels.”

I don’t know if Charles was a Christian or not, but in this instance, he acted like one. It was just a card and piece of pie. Charles didn’t change the world that day, but he changed that day for someone who was grieving. And for all we know, that simple act of kindness and compassion may have changed eternity for the grieving guest. More important, that guest became a devotee of Marriott Hotels and an apostle to their friends on behalf of the hotel chain.

Today you will not nail 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg. Today you will not share your faith in Jesus before thousands of people gathered in a stadium. Today you will not feed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish.

We might say, “So, if those things are true, what’s the point of my trying to do anything for Jesus?” Jesus said it himself – that is we even give a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul, we’ve given it to him. He notices. He sees. And what little thing you may do today can change the world for someone today – and perhaps forever. They may even become a devotee of Jesus as a result of that cup of cold water.

Zechariah 4:10 (NLTse) – Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.

PRAYER: Lord, we have nothing great to offer you except small things. Let us never forget how great small things can be when given to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/29/15 – The Power of One Life

DayBreaks for 9/29/15: The Power of One Life

We know some of the huge impact that the life of Jesus had on the world. But then, He was the Son of God, right? One would expect that He would have an unmatched impact on the world. But there are times when we think that we can’t make much of a difference – after all, we are mere humans, born into normal, ordinary lives without much apparent power or influence.

If that’s how you feel about your own life, you need to think again. One person armed with the gospel of peace can change the world.

Telemachus did. He was a monk who lived in the 5th century. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” He was in a cloistered monastery but he put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus. He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isn’t right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, and tried to stop them. The crowd became enraged and stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the Emperor of Rome, Honorius, heard about the monk he declared him a Christian martyr and put an end to the games. Legend has it that the very last Gladiatorial game was the one in which Telemachus died.

Chances are that you won’t be stepping into a physical gladiatorial confront today, but you will have a chance to influence the world for the best.

PRAYER: Lord, it is easy to think we are powerless and can’t make much of an impact in this world. Our sins have beaten us down and our shame and frequent failures cause us to surrender before the battle is even joined. Remind us of the great power that dwells within us and which you have placed at our disposal. Let us all make the world a better place this and each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 7/31/15 – The Dance of Eternal Love

DayBreaks for 7/31/15: The Dance of Eternal Love

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

Can you imagine living in a world where no one argues about who is right and wrong – because no one is ever wrong?  Or a world where people don’t have to try to prove to others that they are more powerful, more beautiful, more intelligent?  Where it wouldn’t matter if you were younger or older than someone else, or who was going to take out the garbage or sweep or vacuum the floors, or whose turn it was to wash the dinner dishes?  It’s hard to imagine a world where people aren’t trying to put someone else in their place, to keep the down and out or to step on them on the way up the corporate ladder. 

I think the reason that it’s hard to imagine such an existence is that we’ve never really experienced it.  Everything is competitive, and at some level, so is everyone you and I have ever met.  There may be brief, shining moments where people act in totally unselfish ways, but they’re the exception, not the norm.  The human brain works so fast that it calculates “What’s in it for me?” so quickly that we’re not even aware of our thought patterns that lead us to make decisions that we believe will further our own interests. 

Jesus, in John 14:10, said: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”  If you’re like me, you’ve read these words many times, and probably had nice thoughts about them: “Yes, Jesus and God are One: one in purpose, plan, action, desire and thought.  Now let’s move on to the next verse.”  If we read it so hastily, however, we miss a beautiful lesson.  The word that Jesus uses for the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son (and Spirit, too, of course) is the Greek word perichoresis.  We get our word “choreography” from it.  What Jesus was saying is that the Trinity exists in a kind of eternal dance of love and joy between Father, Son and Spirit. 

But here’s the really great news: in eternity, we’ll share in that eternal dance of joy and love.  There will be no more ladder-climbing, attention-grabbing, or control and power freaks.  All those things that have made our dance on earth less than it could have been will be gone – forever, washed out of us totally by the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  And then, totally clean for the first time ever, we’ll dance with the Trinity!

PRAYER: Teach us your dance even now with our clumsy feet that we may dance it with perfection with you in heaven! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 7/27/2015 – God’s Mirror

DayBreaks for 7/27/15: God’s Mirror

I’ve got one and so do you. In fact, just about everyone I know has one. It’s that reflective thing, called a mirror, that hangs over the sink. We take a peek in it every morning (and if truth be told, pretty much every time we walk by one or by a reflective window). Why? Vanity, to be sure, but also because looking in the mirror in the morning helps me see what needs to be done to make myself presentable that day. I usually shave (at least if I’m going out that day) and comb my hair. Strange thing I’ve discovered, though: I don’t like looking in the mirror as much as I did when I was younger. Now it’s more a necessity!

Would it make much sense for me to take that look in the mirror, see my wild, fly-away sleep hair and whiskers that needs tidying up only to do nothing about what I saw?

James essentially put that question to us when he wrote in James 1:22-25: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James is telling us that God’s word is a mirror for our souls, showing us the state of our hearts and what needs to be changed. Looking in the bathroom mirror each day show us what needs to be corrected in our outward appearance, and daily Bible reading reveals to us God’s holiness and desires for what we should be like, what we should do, and what needs to be corrected in our inner spiritual lives.

I am fairly certain that you took a look at yourself this morning to make sure things were in order, neat and in place before going out the door to face the day. But, did you look into God’s mirror to see what’s going on in your heart and what you need to do about that?

If it would be foolish for us to go out into the world without making sure our outward appears in cleaned up, isn’t it even more foolish to start out our day without looking into the condition of our heart and soul?

PRAYER: Help us live disciplined lives that look intently into Your mirror and reveal through Your Spirit what needs to be addressed! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.