DayBreaks for 9/14/20 – The Prayer of God

See the source image

NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

When is the last time you spend the night in prayer?  Have you ever spent an entire night in prayer?  In Luke chapter 6, Jesus is described as going off to a mountain where he prayed all night to the Father.  One might wonder: why did Jesus pray at all?  Who was He praying to?  (If Jesus and the Father are One, who was there to listen?)  What did Jesus say to the Father?  Did He need to pray, or just want to? 

I don’t know the answers to those questions.  I think, however, that we can learn something from how Jesus prayed – even though the passage in Luke doesn’t record his words.  It is easy to say he spent the entire night in prayer, though it takes quite a few words in English to communicate that idea.  Not so in the Greek.  In the Greek, only one word is required: dianuktereuo, and it is a significant word.  It is a word that would be used to describe enduring at a task throughout an entire period of time.  It isn’t the kind of word that would be used to say “I slept all night,” nor would you use that Greek word if you were to say it was dark “all night”.  Those uses don’t require the sense of enduring.  The verse (6:12) essentially says that Jesus worked hard all throughout the night in his praying.  How did he work hard?  It doesn’t say, but I do find it comforting that prayer could be a struggle – for it often is for me.  If the Son of God toiled at prayer – either because he had so much to deal with, or because as a certifiable 100% human being, he struggled to concentrate and stay focused (just as I do) – I find it comforting, either way.

But that’s not all.  There’s another insight from the Greek that we can’t see in our English translations.  One English translation says He continued all night in prayer to God.  The actual Greek, however, means that He spent the whole night in the prayer of God.  Whenever He prayed, it was God’s prayer, the prayer of God. 

If we take that last thought and we then reflect on the prayers of Jesus (especially his high priestly prayer on the night of his betrayal), it is even more significant.  I’ve often reflected on Jesus praying for us.  But this puts it in a slightly different light.  It wasn’t “just” Jesus, but it was God praying for me and for you.  I don’t know exactly what that means, but this I do know: it just doesn’t get any better than knowing that God is praying for me…and you!

PRAYER: For the deep, yet simple, mysteries of Your word and for Your prayers over and for us, we give our most heartfelt thanks!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/08/20 – The Christian’s Security

See the source image

DayBreaks for 7/08/20: The Christian’s Security

Security is a dancing phantom, much like the shadows of clouds that flit across the landscape. Yet we long for security in an insecure world. We fear for our health. We fear for our financial “security”. We seek secure investments. We lock our doors in an effort to ensure security. We fear hackers and stolen identities, so we pay for security systems to make our digital identities secure. We may arm ourselves to ward off a nightime intruder. We don’t walk alone at night in a dark place. We do all these things because of our fears in an effort to be secure.

Security in Jesus is not something that I was raised with. In many ways, I grew up in a hellfire and brimstone church that had one trembling with fear every time you had an evil thought or did something you shouldn’t. At those moments we were urged to smell the smoke of the pit that was licking at our feet and about to pull us downward forever.

I thank God that I’ve learned a bit more about security as a Christ-believer. Consider these things:

ONE: the Christian is united with Christ, seated with him (Ephesians 2:6);

TWO: we are hidden with him in God (Colossians 3:3);

THREE: we cannot be divided or separated from him by life or death or anything in existence (John 10:29, Romans 8:38-39).

What is the implication of those things? Simply put it is this: the Christian is as secure as Christ himself is secure!!!  And you just don’t get more secure than that. 

I love what Martin Luther said: World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have One who will give me a new one.

It is so much better to smell the rarified air of heaven than the smoke of the pit.

Believer: rest in Christ. You are as secure as he himself is!

PRAYER: We shout with joy for the security we have found in your, Lord God! Thank you for understanding our fears and our need to feel secure and for giving us the security we sought! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 2/19/20 – One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

Image result for muscle beach

DayBreaks for 2/19/20: One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

From John Ortberg’s sermon, Big God/Little God:

“Many years ago I was walking in Newport Beach, a beach in Southern California, with two friends. Two of us were on staff together at a church, and one was an elder at the same church. We walked past a bar where a fight had been going on inside. The fight had spilled out into the street, just like in an old western. Several guys were beating up on another guy, and he was bleeding from the forehead. We knew we had to do something, so we went over to break up the fight. … I don’t think we were very intimidating. [All we did was walk over and say,] “Hey, you guys, cut that out!” It didn’t do much good.

“Then all of a sudden they looked at us with fear in their eyes. The guys who had been beating up on the one guy stopped and started to slink away. I didn’t know why until we turned and looked behind us. Out of the bar had come the biggest man I think I’ve ever seen. He was something like six feet, seven inches, maybe 300 pounds, maybe 2 percent body fat. Just huge. We called him “Bubba” (not to his face, but afterwards, when we talked about him).

“Bubba didn’t say a word. He just stood there and flexed. You could tell he was hoping they would try and have a go at him. All of a sudden my attitude was transformed, and I said to those guys, “You better not let us catch you coming around here again!” I was a different person because I had great, big Bubba. I was ready to confront with resolve and firmness. I was released from anxiety and fear. I was filled with boldness and confidence. I was ready to help somebody that needed helping. I was ready to serve where serving was required. Why? Because I had a great, big Bubba. I was convinced that I was not alone. I was safe.

“If I were convinced that Bubba were with me 24 hours a day, I would have a fundamentally different approach to my life. If I knew Bubba was behind me all day long, you wouldn’t want to mess with me. But he’s not. I can’t count on Bubba.

“Again and again, the writers of Scripture pose this question for us: How big is your God? Again and again we are reminded that One who is greater than Bubba has come, and you don’t have to wonder whether or not he’ll show up. He’s always there. You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to live your life in hiding. You have a great, big God, and he’s called you to do something, so get on with it!”

Are you facing a huge challenge that you believe God has put squarely in front of you?  Something that you just know deep inside there is no way you can do?  Will you let your fears of failure stop you or will you get on with the task God has assigned?  It’s not easy – it takes a huge step of faith.  We fear failure so much!  We need to remember, however, that God doesn’t call us to succeed, but to obey.  If it is His plan, it will accomplish His purpose.  Sometimes I believe He may ask us to do something not so much because He “needs” a certain outcome, but because He is testing our faith and obedience. 

If you are called to do something for God, don’t hesitate.  One greater than Bubba has come and he’s got your back!

PRAYER: Thank You for the comfort of knowing that the outcomes don’t depend on us and our own achievement, but upon You and Your might!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/31/20 – Standing Before God

Image result for standing before God

DayBreaks for 1/31/20: Standing Before God

My faith roots come from a very legalistic background. A common question posed to keep us in fear regarding salvation was, “If you sin and are run over by a truck and killed before you can ask for forgiveness, will you be saved?” The answer they wanted to hear was “No” because it was only fear that could keep us young people in line. We were taught (and this part is true) that God was always watching and we might be able to fool people but never God – and that some day the books would be balanced and we’d find ourselves in the most serious trouble imaginable. And so we cried and literally shook with fear for our sinfulness. 

But flip that argument around: are we any better if God is kind, but also safe and controllable? I think not. If God were kind, safe and controllable we have an entirely different problem: he wouldn’t be God at all.

You see, small gods do small things – because that’s all they can do. I like how Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom: “If you have never stood before God and felt afraid, then probably you have never stood before God. (Heb. 10:31) You have stood before an idol of your own making. Worse, your life will remain silly and superficial because you worship a silly and superficial God.”

At the same time, Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. How can he say that? Because as Aquinas said, the cross didn’t secure the love of God, but the love of God secured the cross. All who believe have been adopted. Not only have we been reconciled to that great and mighty and totally holy God by Christ’s sacrifice, but something else happened: we received Jesus’ righteousness – and not just a part of it, but all of it…ALL the goodness of Christ was credited to your account and mine.

What is the practical application of this wondrous truth? Here it is: if you are a Christian, it means that God will never be angry with you again. He has turned his wrath away from you because he credited ALL of Christ’s righteousness to your account. And here it is in a nutshell: how can God be angry at perfection?

It is a truth too good to be true – but it is true. Find freedom because Christ died to give it to you!

PRAYER: God, I can hardly believe you see me as holy and righteous as Christ because you’ve given me his righteousness as my inheritance as your child! No words can ever express enough gratitude for what you’ve done! Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/16/20 – Can’t Touch This

Image result for bank safe

DayBreaks for 1/16/20: Can’t Touch This

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Chrysostom, the ancient Church Father, was a beautiful example of true Christian courage. When he stood before the Roman Emperor, he was threatened with banishment if he still remained a Christian. Chrysostom replied, “You cannot, for the world is my Father’s house; you cannot banish me.”

“But I will slay you,” said the Emperor.

“No, but you cannot,” said the noble champion of the faith again, “for my life is hid with Christ in God.”

“I will take away thy treasures.” “No, but you cannot,” was the retort; “in the first place, I have nothing you know anything about. My treasure is in heaven, and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive you away from man, and you shall have no friend left.” “No, and that you cannot,” once more said the faithful witness, “for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you shall not separate me. I defy you; there is nothing you can do to hurt me.”

How does an ordinary human get such courage?  It surely doesn’t come from our human nature.  It comes from the Spirit of boldness that we have as part of the indwelling of the Spirit…the very Spirit that was in Christ Jesus.  There has never been a braver, more courageous and fearless man than Jesus. 

What we have is secured, not by the power of Rome or the United States, it is not kept by a refrigerator or a preservative additive, it is kept by the power of the Almighty God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – ESV, 1 Peter 1:3-5

PRAYER: Give us courage to live in the power of Your Spirit and to be fearless like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 10/03/19 – The Nature of Faith

Image result for blind faith

DayBreaks for 10/03/19: The Nature of Faith

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I think that Christians struggle with faith.  That statement can be interpreted at least two different ways: 1) that we struggle to believe, and 2) that we struggle to understand what faith is. 

We all understand the first struggle rather implicitly.  We know there are times we find it hard to believe.  We may not struggle to believe that God exists (though we may, from time to time), but this first struggle is more pronounced when we find ourselves or someone/something that we love that is in great pain and anguish.  In that case, we struggle with our faith in the proclamation that “God is a good, loving God.” 

The second case is more the one I’ve been thinking about lately.  I feel confident that the world doesn’t understand the very nature of faith.  All you have to do is read carefully what is said about “those Christians” and you’ll quickly see that they believe people of faith have taken leave of their senses.  They think that to have faith in God is superstition – nothing more and nothing less than blind, ignorant wishful thinking. 

Is that really true?  Is that the real nature of faith?  I don’t believe so.  Our faith is neither baseless nor wishful thinking.  If you didn’t believe (have faith) in the law of gravity, would you ever jump upward to grab a basketball or in a frenzy of joyful dancing leave your feet?  No, you wouldn’t.  If you believed that you would just keep going up and depart the atmosphere into the void of space where you’d suffocate, you’d never jump!  We have faith that the laws of gravity will not be superseded even once when we jump.  And that faith is based on observance of the situation and past performance. 

We sometimes say we have faith in someone.  What is that faith based on?  It’s based on observation of that person and their character over some period of time that has shown them to be faith-worthy.  The same is true for the fact that we have faith that the brakes on our car will work, that the steering mechanism won’t become disconnected and that the key to our front door will continue to work in the lock as long as the lock doesn’t change.  Even though molecular motion says that the molecules in the lock (and in the key and in our hands, etc.) are constantly moving, we believe the key will still work in the lock because of the history we’ve had with the lock.

The same is true of Christian faith.  It is not a blind, thoughtless, ignorant superstition, but an intelligent response to evidence we see all around us, to the past performance of the One that we see as the explanation for all that exists.  Atheists must have faith in something – for them it is chance and time that they put their faith in as the explanation for what they see and experience.  But what of the things we can’t see?  They never can explain how anything came to be (how did the matter in the big bang come to exist?) in the first place – even if time and chance were the operative factors involved. 

So, faith isn’t foolish.  Faith is reasonable.  Faith is based on past observations about reliability and performance.  No one would realistically walk up to a total stranger on the street corner who is unshaven, homeless and filthy and hand them their life savings and say, “I trust you’ll keep this safe for me.”  Why?  Because we don’t know if they are reliable.  God, however, has demonstrated faithfulness throughout every generation.  And we can go to Him, hand Him our eternal destiny, and with faith say, “I trust you’ll keep this safe for me.”

We have faith because of reliability, a proven track record, personal experience and because it is the only reasonable thing to do.  Faith isn’t blind. 

PRAYER: We are grateful that You have proven Yourself over and over to us and that You will always be worthy of our faith in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/02/19 – Earning Trust

Image result for operating on yourself

DayBreaks for 07/02/19: Earning Trust

(NOTE: sorry about no DayBreaks yesterday, our internet was down!)

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

The year was 1921, the city was New York.  Dr. Evan Kane is performing a routine appendectomy.  He’s done this over 4000 times in his 37-year medical career, so it’s old hat to him.  But there are two things that this time are different, that make this a special operation. 

First, Dr. Kane was concerned about the dangers of general anesthesia and he is doing this surgery using local anesthesia.  It wasn’t easy finding a volunteer to go through this surgery because no one knew for sure how well local anesthesia would work in such a surgery.  Many of Dr. Kane’s associates agreed with the dangers of general anesthesia, but volunteers were hard to come by.  Finally, Dr. Kane found a volunteer willing to undergo the experiment.  He’d looked long and hard for a volunteer before he got one. 

As it turns out, the surgery was successful.  The patient experienced only mild discomfort and was released two days later. 

Thanks to the courage of the brave volunteer, local anesthesia was shown to be an effective treatment option that in many cases is highly preferable to general anesthesia.

The second special thing about this surgery is that the volunteer was Dr. Kane himself.  Yep – he operated on his own appendix under just local anesthesia.  Why did he do this?  First, of all, he was convinced of what he believed and was willing to “put his money where his mouth was.”  Secondly, he couldn’t persuade anyone else to try it, so he became a patient in order to convince other patients that they could trust him as the doctor.

This is the core of the gospel and our great hope.  Christ became one of us, enduring the things we endure, suffering the things we suffer, identifying with us in our humanity.  Because he did that, we can trust him and that he understands!

PRAYER: Thank you for giving us proof that you believe in our worth, and that you understand what our lives are like when we struggle and hurt!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/04/19 – The Hidden Victory

Image result for victory

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.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 7/30/18 – The Ride Home

Image result for Plane flying lightning

DayBreaks for 7/30/18: The Ride Home

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

“A pastor had been on a long flight between church conferences.  The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on:  Fasten Your Seat Belts.

“Then, after a while, a calm voice said, “We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence.  Please be sure your seat belt is fastened.”“As the pastor looked around the aircraft, it was obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive.  Later, the voice on the intercom said, “We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time.  The turbulence is still ahead of us.” And then the storm broke . . .

“They heard the ominous cracks of thunder above the roar of the engines.  Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean.  One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.

“The pastor confessed that he shared the fear and discomfort of those around him.  He said, “As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying.  The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

“Then, I saw a little girl.  She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly.

“Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world.

“When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.”  The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

“It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time.  Having commented about the storm and the behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

“The child replied, ‘cause my Daddy’s the pilot, and he’s taking me home.’”

“There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement.  We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

“Let us remember: Our Father is the Pilot.  He is in control and taking us home. Don’t worry!”

PRAYER:  Lord, it is a comfort to know that You are taking us home, and that You will see to it that we arrive safely!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 3/21/18 – Without a Doubt

Image result for confidence

DayBreaks for 3/21/18: Without a Doubt

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008:

How strange are the mysteries of God!  To paraphrase: “If you want to find your life, you must lose it.”  Or, “He that is the greatest shall be the least among you.”  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”  Certainly, perhaps the greatest understatement in the history of the universe was when God declared, My ways are not your ways, nor my thought like your thoughts.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts. 

It seems strange that in dying, death was defeated.  Christ took death in both of his arms and pulled it into his mortal body, and in doing so, defeated it.  Through the resurrection, death and its power were forever broken and we need not fear the moment of our physical death for one second longer.  This is the peace that Christ has bought us: that we have been reconciled to God the Father through Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection.  All that previously stood between us has been removed, torn down, ripped asunder like the veil in the temple. 

“He died, but he vanquished death; in himself, he put an end to what we feared; he took it upon himself, and he vanquished it; as a mighty hunter, he captured and slew the lion.  Where is death?  Seek it in Christ, for it exists no longer; but it did exist, and now it is dead.  O life, O death of death!  Be of good heart; it will die in us also.  What has taken place in our head will take place in his members; death will die in us also.  But when?  At the end of the world, at the resurrection of the dead in which we believe and concerning which we do not doubt.” – Augustine, Sermon 233

It is one thing to stand at the gravesite and hope for resurrection.  It is another, as Augustine put it, to “believe and concerning which we have no doubt.”  It is through a life of close fellowship with God that such confidence comes.  The resurrection was the first fruit of Christ’s victory – a victory that he is eager to share with each of his children!

PRAYER: Lord, it is difficult for us to believe and accept that death holds no power as we see people dying all around us.  May we, as we celebrate Christ’s victory over death, clearly understand that it is our victory, too.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.