DayBreaks for 6/10/16 – Raising Redwoods

DayBreaks for 6/0/16 – Raising Redwoods

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

On Memorial Day this year, my wife and I hopped in the car and drove from our home to Mendocino, California on the Pacific coast.  On the way across highway 128 are some lovely redwood groves.  The road winds its way through the majestic giants, in some places with the darkness of the shadows so deep that it’s hard to remember that the day is still young and not ending.  We stopped, opened the sun roof, reclined our seats and lay back, looking up at the underside of the treetops, swaying slowly in the wind.  

For hundreds of years these trees have stood the test of time, weather and road making machinery.  They inspire an awe that is at best, impossible to describe.  There is something very, very spiritual about this place that God has made.  One can’t help but wonder if what you think is the sound of the trees is the very breath of God.

In our yard, by our driveway, is another redwood tree.  It’s not nearly as imposing as it may some day get to be.  It’s just a mere baby – perhaps a hundred years or so old.  It’s probably not more than 40 feet tall at present, if that.  As I stand on the carpet of forest detritus that surrounds the base of the huge redwoods of the forest, I think about what it takes to raise a redwood – the patience, the constant care and attention, that someone, even if it is just God, must pay to such an undertaking.  It needs the right amount of sun, of water, of nutrients, it needs protection from the fires and infestations that might bring it down at a young age. 

Suddenly, I am stricken by the realization that raising redwoods to become all that they can be must be a lot like raising children to grow tall and straight in the Lord, to have their roots go down deep by the stream of Life that flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 22).  And I am even more amazed to realize that God goes through this process with each one of His children – watching over us day and night, protecting, sheltering, nurturing – with tremendous patience, dreaming of the end result that will be a spectacle to behold.  

PRAYER:  Almighty Creator, our only true Father, how can we possibly express our gratitude to You for Your incredible patience and love as You grow us from seedlings to Spirit-filled men and women?  How terrifying that You should entrust the lives and souls of our little ones to people such as us.  Gift us with the diligence and patience to raise them as You raise us up.  And thank You for seeing – and dreaming – of what we may become through Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/21/16 – Finding the One Needful Thing

DayBreaks for 4/21/16 – Finding the One Needful Thing

From the DayBreaks archive, 4/21/2006:

Luke 10:41-42 (NLT) – But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details!  42 There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her.

As I write this, it is Easter Sunday afternoon.  As was true of churches all over America, we had more people in church today than on almost any other day of the year.  It happens that way every year.  It is at one and the same time both a delight to every preacher and a frustration.  It’s a delight to see people that you’ve not seen come for some time when they come through the door.  It’s great to meet new people who may need to know about Jesus.  And it’s great to get to preach the Word at any time. 

But it’s also frustrating because it points out how frivolously some people take their faith.  They will show up for Easter and Christmas…and other than a funeral or wedding throughout the year, that’s about it.  Why?  I’m sure there are a lot of reasons, and while I know that in the verse above, Jesus rebuked Martha for being “upset” over many details, I think he would criticize many of us for being “obsessed” by so many things.  Perhaps distracted is more accurate.

I look at families who are extremely irregular in their church attendance.  They often have kids who are involved with soccer, football, baseball, gymnastics, cheerleading and other things.  It used to be that sports leagues had the decency to not have such things on Sunday because there was a respect for Sunday as a day of worship.  No longer.  And so many of these parents yield their God-given responsibility to raise their kids in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” so that their kids can participate in sports or hobbies.  The parents often believe that they’re just being supportive of their kids, and, in a way, they are.  But are they being supportive in the things that really matter?  What’s more important – God and worshipping him, learning about Christ and the faith, or kicking one more goal?  I fear greatly for many of these kids.  They are learning from their folks many wrong lessons – such as, “There are many wonderful things in life you can do, and church is just one of them.  But if you decide you’d rather participate in some organized activity rather than going to church, I’ll support your decision.”  For most of those kids, the day will come when their parents wonder why their children have no faith – certainly not a faith that will sustain them when life gets hard and the enemy spreads his lies.  The answer will be simple: it will be because their parents failed in their God-given responsibility to model the Christian life and to insist that their children attend church and participate in spiritual things as a priority over earthly pursuits. 

Jesus told Martha that there was only one thing worth being concerned about…and that Mary, by sitting at Jesus’ feet and learning and worshipping, had chosen that one thing.  The one thing that is needful for each generation is not to play organized sports or be part of some club, but to know Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead.  I fear a dreadful judgment for parents who fail in this most sacred of responsibilities, and for the children whose parents didn’t have the spiritual insight to see how their “support” for what their children wanted to do could cost them in eternity.  If children haven’t established a faith in Christ by the time they are 18, the odds are that they never will come to know Him.

What are you teaching your children is the one needful thing in life?

PRAYER:  We are so easily distracted, Lord, from being with you.  We find and use every excuse to abandon you and fail to worship and fellowship with other Christians.  Open our eyes to the effect that our actions have on our children.  Help us to hunger and thirst after righteousness and not vicarious experiences through our children’s lives.  Forgive us and renew our commitment to putting You first, now and forever, in our lives.  We pray that you’ll draw our children to you and that they will come to know you, love you, and follow you all the days of their lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/04/15 – A Kind of Child Sacrifice

DayBreaks for 8/04/15: A Kind of Child Sacrifice

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.– Jeremiah 7:31 (ESV)

Of all the sins of ancient Israel, it is hard to imagine anything that could compare to the sacrificing of children to pagan gods. Surrounded as pagan cultures as they were, those practices often infiltrated the national life of Israel. As I understand the worship of some of those gods, they were represented by metal images with their arms and hands outstretched in front of them. Fires could be lit beneath their arms and the arms would be heated until they glowed red-hot. And then the idolatrous worshipers would bring their children and place them into the super-heated arms of the pagan deities as sacrifices to placate the whim of those gods. Though it was acceptable culturally to the surrounding nations and many in Israel, It makes one shudder to even try to imagine such a thing!

On Sunday, the preacher was talking about worship and how we are innately worshiping beings: we all worship something – if not God, then idols. I fear he is right, and I also fear the extent of our idolatry even in the absence of physical images of metal or wood or stone.

In the name of financial gain, the pursuit of the perfect body, the head-long rush to climb the corporate ladder to dizzying heights, in the pursuit of our love of sports, fame or honor – we hold our children out and place them into the arms of those gods. Rather than holding our children and cherishing them, instead of making them the priority with our free time, we rush off and dump the children off on whoever is willing to watch them while we entertain ourselves.

I ask: is that not a kind of child sacrifice? It used to be that parents would selflessly sacrifice themselves in order to be there to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”. Consider God’s admonition to Israel: Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deut. 6:7 (NIV) You can’t possibly keep that command if you have sacrificed your children for the sake of convenience or expediency. 

It was culturally acceptable at times in the experience of Israel to sacrifice their children. That’s how they explained it away, I suppose. Even though we don’t literally sacrifice our children on a burning altar, it makes me wonder if we haven’t fallen for the same “culturally acceptable” seduction when it comes to our children and grand children. The altar of materialism and career and accumulation are leading to sacrifice of our children. 

I know not everyone has a choice – a single parent let to struggle raising children alone has a very difficult challenge to make ends me and yet be a parent. All I ask is that we think about our children as our most important “possession”. In making sacrifices “for” them, I can’t help but wonder if maybe we aren’t sometimes actually sacrificing them!

PRAYER: God, how desperately we need Your mind on this matter! We can make all sorts of excuses for why we are doing what we do but never let us forget that You have entrusted them to us and they are Yours and we will give an answer before Your throne for how we dealt with our children! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 6/11/15 – Show and Tell

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DayBreaks for 6/11/15: Show and Tell 

Steve Morrison tells a story about a friend of his who likes to read fairy tales to his two young sons at night. This friend has great sense of humor and often times ad-libs parts of the stories just for fun. One day his youngest son was sitting in his first grade class as the teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs. She came to the part of the story where the first pig was trying to gather building materials for his home.

She said “…And so the pig went up to the man with a wheel barrow full of straw and said ‘Pardon me sir, but might I have some of that straw to build my house with?'”

Then the teacher asked the class “And what do you think that man said?”

This friend’s little boy raised his hand and said “I know! I know! he said, ‘Holy smokes! A talking pig!'” The teacher was unable to teach for the next ten minutes.

We may not be able to predict what our kids are going to say, but there’s one thing for certain, it’ll usually be something unexpected. Hopefully they won’t repeat something we’ve said that maybe we shouldn’t have said and embarrass us. And the other thing we know for sure is our children are like sponges, they soak up everything we say and everything we do.

What we say to them and about them makes a huge difference in who they become.

Read Mark 4:26-34 and listen to what God might be saying to you today: And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.  The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”  And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,  yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”  With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.  He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. – Mark 4:26-34 (ESV)

What we say and what we do are like seeds planted in the hearts and minds and spirits of our children. Jesus makes it very clear that often times it’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference in our faith. The same can be said about parenting. Watch this.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Our children will not only imitate us, but in many ways, they will grow up to be like us simply because we’re their parents. Surveys show that parents still have more influence than peer pressure, even though the kids might rebel.

So, you might say that parenting is kind of like farming or gardening. You see, I learned something growing up on a farm in Iowa: We Harvest What We Plant. If we plant squash, we can’t expect to get corn. If we plant potatoes you can’t expect to get tomatoes. We Harvest What We Plant. The same is true in parenting. And in my opinion, the best way to make sure we reap the best harvest is to plant the best seed possible.

And that means we have to go back to elementary school for a little bit. Elementary school is where we learned all the basic for everything else we would learn. And one of the most important lessons for parenting in elementary comes from Show and Tell time. As parents we’re called to Show our children how to live as a Christian in the world today. We’re called to Show them how much we love them. And we’re called to tell them how much we love them.

How are you doing with that today?

PRAYER: Teach us to live before our children and grandchildren as You lived before mankind and may our lives and speech be worthy of emulation!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 2/03/15 – Sweet Oblivion

From the DayBreaks archive, 2/3/2005:

Last week I wrote a DayBreaks (“Especially in the Wilderness”) about some dear friends who were going through a very hard time.  They didn’t know I was writing that DayBreaks, and they were rather shocked when the recognized themselves in the writing.  One of them awoke that morning and made their way to the computer where they opened the DayBreaks, only to clearly see themselves between the lines.  And God’s timing with that message was perfect, for it had been a very difficult night.  And while the objective of that DayBreaks wasn’t targeted to help encourage them in particular, God worked through His Spirit to do just that. 

When their kids came round, mom shared that DayBreaks with them.  But what touched my heart, and I’m sure theirs, so deeply was the reaction of their son who listened while mom had read the message to them.  He said, “Wow.  That’s pretty sad.  Are they anyone that we know?”

Oh, the sweet oblivion of children!  How precious is their trust and faith in their parents!  This young boy didn’t even recognize the agony that had been going on in mom and dad, didn’t recognize his own family in the word pictures, but was moved by the plight of the “strangers” in the story. 

How I wish, sometimes, for that kind of oblivion to the swirls and eddies of trouble that wash into my life!  All was fine, as far as this young boy was concerned, because he was in his mom and dad’s house – and he knew he was loved and cared for in every way humanly possible.  And so I find myself learning from this young man: I have nothing to fear.  I am in the Father’s house.  I am loved, cared for, welcomed, eagerly watched over by the Father Himself.  I am loved in every way that the ultimate, the only True and Living God, can love anyone and everyone. 

Some day, some precious day, like that precious son of my friend, I’ll wake up and I’ll meet my Father.  And in that twinkling of an eye when I see Him and He looks me in the eye, I’ll be totally oblivious to all but His greatness, to the flood of warmth of love that will engulf me and forever sweep from my memory the pain, the suffering, the sorrow, grief and tears – to the point that I wouldn’t recognize my troubles if they were right before my face. 

Ah, the sweet oblivion when my struggles disappear only to be replaced by His glory and to live in it forever more! 

Jude 1:24-25 (NIV) – To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

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

PRAYER: I’m sorry, Lord.  I know I need to talk with you and listen to you much more than I do.  Let my path be well worn to Your throne of grace and to those who need to hear about You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations! Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 08/30/13 – Too Good to be True?

DayBreaks for 08/30/13 – Under-Dreaming Heaven

Luke 18:15-17 (NLT) –One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. 16  Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17  I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

Receiving the kingdom like a child is not as easy as it sounds, especially for us adults.  We’ve seen a lot of life, survived a lot of disappointment and pain and have grown skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true.  We’ve been warned of precisely that all of our lives.  And we have fallen for it over and over again – whenever Satan whispers in our ears about how much we will enjoy the sin activity we are contemplating, we always find out afterwards that it wasn’t as good as he made it sound, in fact, it was something that made us feel slimy.

So we wonder, based upon our conditioned response and myriad warnings over the years, are the things of God the same way?  Is Jesus just trying to sucker us in by telling us we need to accept the kingdom with the blind trust and naiveté of a little child – only to find that it will be less than he built it up to be?  I think not.  Expectations are strange things, but they are powerful.  If the apostle Paul is right (1 Cor. 2:9), our expectations for an eternity with God are way off base, but in a good way!  Our expectations won’t be disappointed in the Kingdom.  We will awaken to find them far too tame and minimalistic, we will have under-dreamt the vision of heaven. 

Can we take Jesus at his word that we need to come in blind trust, openly receiving all that He has told us about His home and a life to come will all be worth it and that we won’t be disappointed?  We stake our faith on it, don’t we, each time we say no to the world and yes to Him.

PRAYER: We have grown jaded through the years and have lost the simple delight of accepting something good at face value.  Let us learn to be children again in our acceptance of your teaching!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 07/19/13 – Of Lawns and Kids

DayBreaks for 07/19/13 – Lawns and Kids

Brother and Sister RunningErma Bombeck, the late author of If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, What Am I Doing Here In The Pits, tells of two moments in her husband’s life:

There was a time when the children were growing up that her husband used to go and look at the back yard. Surveying the muddy patches where the lawn should be, he would wonder — Will the grass ever come back?

And then there was the time when the children were grown and gone that her husband went and looked over the beautiful green lawn, immaculate from lack of use and wondered — Will the children ever come back?

These are simple, homey moments that nearly any parent can identify with.  But they point us to deeper truths that are timeless and priceless: some parts of life are temporary and like the grass they shine for a moment and then are gone but they come back the next spring.  Other things, such as our children, are beings with eternal destinies, infinitely more precious and valuable than some patch of grass.  Yet I fear that too many today are spending more time on grass or cars or work or hobbies or sports than investing it in the eternal souls of their children.  Wisdom knows the difference.  Do our actions show that we understand the value of the human souls that fill the homes and buildings and stores around us?  Do we even recognize it in our own children and grand-children?

PRAYER: Oh, Lord, help us see the value of the human soul in the scars of your hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is working as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!