DayBreaks for 8/9/17 – ‘Tis Foolishness

DayBreaks for 8/09/17: ‘Tis Foolishness

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/7/2007:

I’ve been thinking about contentment lately.  Mind you, I’m not content with my thinking on the topic!  But I’m trying to learn to be more content in my station in life in various venues, but especially in the area of possessions.  It seems that much of what we struggle with in this world as far as contentment goes has to do with things – stuff – possessions. 

I recall when our kids were little.  They’d hear about a new toy in a Happy Meal, or a new video game, or some new action hero figure, and they would ask for it.  Sometimes I gave it to them, sometimes not.  My decision certainly wasn’t all based on “need” – they really didn’t need any of it.  Sometimes I withheld the gift solely to help them learn lessons related to happiness and contentment.  Sometimes, if they really wanted something, they’d say words to this effect: “If you get it for me, I promise I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever!!!!”  Yeah, right.

Of course, none of us adults would be so silly as to think that a change in circumstances or possessions would bring lasting contentment, would we?  Maybe not.  Someone once said that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.  There’s more truth to that than I want to admit.  In Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg observes: “All day long we are bombarded with messages that seek to persuade us of two things:

  1. That we are (or ought to be) discontented, and
  2. That contentment is only one step (or change or purchase) away.”

These two things are at the heart of all marketing.  They try to make us believe that the only thing that stands between us and the girl or guy of our dreams is our toothpaste (as if all our other problems were already fixed!) – and that if we buy a certain brand of toothpaste, we’ll get that girl or guy and live “happily ever after.”  We may have jobs that we’re competent at and that we love, but the promise and allure of “more money” makes us discontent and leads us to jump ship into a position that will mean we sacrifice family time or values.  That one new car may seem like a siren calling your name – and if you had it, you just know you’d be forever happy. 

It’s all a pack of lies.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Doesn’t even your own experience and life tell you that such marketing drivel is not true?  The pursuit of such things, indeed of happiness in this world, is trivial pursuit.  The pursuit of the Kingdom of God bears everlasting dividends, and the promise of happiness and joy that is not made by marketers who have something to gain, but by God, who can’t gain a single thing from us.  How much better for us to seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness…and in due time, all that He has will be ours!

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.  Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/7/17 – The Cold Season of Life

DayBreaks for 6/07/17: The Cold Season of Life

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2007:

It may seem strange, now as the rays of the late-spring sun pour themselves willy-nilly through the window and dance on the floor to be writing about a cold season of life, or of “the winter of our discontent.”  But, ideas, like guests, sometimes come when they choose, and who can tell where and when the Spirit will move with an idea or thought or a challenge?  So, without fear of being called crazy, I write today to share some thoughts about the cold season of life, as inspired by Jamie Langston Turner, from Winter Birds, posted in Christianity Today, 5/30/07:

“I am in the cold season of life, and the words that come to mind as I rise in the morning are these: “Now, is the winter of our discontent.” I borrow them from William Faulkner, a fellow Mississippian, who lifted them from Shakespeare, who put them into the mouth of the Duke of Gloucester, also known as Richard III. Though I am hardly the villain Richard III was, I am no saint. Though I have not murdered, I have used words to maim and destroy. Though I repudiate the notion of conscience, as did Richard, I do not rest easy at night. Often when I wake in the morning, it is after few hours of troubled sleep. I cannot sleep long for fear that I will let go of living. Rather a winter of discontent than no winter at all.”

Galen’s Thoughts:

In fairness, I don’t yet think that I’m in the cold season of life.  I do find the mornings a bit more chilly than it seems they were just a year or two ago.  Can anyone say, “Circulation?”  Part of the challenge is that, in the final analysis, we never know when we are in the cold season of life.  Many are struck down in the springtime, when the flower and bloom of life should just be appearing.  Yet, little did they know, they were in the cold season of life.  Still, I must agree with the writer, that it is better to have a winter of discontent than none for a variety of reasons:

FIRST: if we are in the advanced years, we have had the blessing of a life – whether good or bad.  And how intriguing it is that even those who have lived what we might think are the most difficult and hard lives are often the most grateful.  They’ve learned that life isn’t about what you have, but about Who you know and what you’ve invested your life in that matters.  So it was that in the cold season of his life, the apostle Paul could say, “I am ready to be offered up…”. 

SECOND: memories.  There are good things to remember in looking back.  Memory was important to Israel – even the memory of the captivity and Exodus, the memories of the exile, were important because they resolved to learn from those things.  It is instructive to note that after the Exile, the Jews never again involved themselves in idolatry.  Even in the cold season of life we can look back and remember the warmer, sun-filled days that quickened our breath and heartbeat, and give thanks to the One who gave us such simple joys.

Yet, I must protest the woman’s statement about not being a saint.  Who among us saints is really a saint?  We’ve not earned the title, after all.  We have maimed and destroyed in our own ways, time and time again.  And we do not rest easy for it.  Yet if we are to accept God as God and His Word as the Truth that sets us free, believer – you are a saint.  No less than 62 times in the NT is the term applied to Christians.  Never because of our outstanding performance, but because God through Christ has made us holy and righteous.  Believe it?

PRAYER: Thank you for the days of our lives, the moments and instances, like snapshots, that live on in our memories!  May our longing vision to see you grow stronger as the days grow colder.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/4/16 – Scratching the Itch

DayBreaks for 8/04/16 – Scratching the Itch

When I was a kid, I sometimes got into poison ivy. The key to poison ivy, once you have it, is not to scratch. Restraining yourself is hard, for your skin itches and you want relief. But scratching only makes poison ivy worse.

Greediness works the same way. We get infected, and we want to scratch, although we know we shouldn’t do so. Possessing more and more appears to provide relief, but only makes the situation worse. We keep scratching, but it’s no solution and it certainly doesn’t solve the real problem in our souls.

Jesus issues a warning inspired by a squabble over inheritance, but one that all of us need to hear. He says: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Clarence Jordan’s translation of this verse brings out its original earthiness. Here’s what Jesus says according to Jordan: “You all be careful and stay on your guard against all kinds of greediness. For a person’s life is not for the piling up of possessions.”

In these few words, Jesus rejects much of what keeps our society humming. He warns us against greed, avarice, the desire to possess more than we need, more than we can use, more than we want. In other words, the more we scratch the itch, rather than getting better…it just gets worse!

PRAYER: Father, you have been so generous with us, but it seems we are never satisfied and we keep on scratching the itch and wanting more. May we learn to be grateful…and content. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 04/16/13 – All That’s Coming to Us

DayBreaks for 04/16/13 – All That’s Coming to Us

GettingWhatWeDeserve480x340(1)NOTE: I am on a missions trip/internship to Africa and will be gone until 5/25.  Please pray for God’s work to go forth mightily, for protection for myself and those with whom I will be working, and for my wife in my absence!  Thank you…I cherish your prayers!  You will be receiving DayBreaks as usual (from the archive) until I’ve returned.

“All I want is my fair share.”

How many times during your life have you heard someone say that?  Or, more significantly, how many times in your life have you said it?  We all what “our fair share”, don’t we?  It starts out when we are little children and we notice for the first time that mom or dad gave brother or sister a larger piece of cake, a bigger candy bar, or a fuller bowl of ice cream than we got.  And immediately, our instincts kick into full gear and we feel slighted, cheated, that the world has suddenly become a very unfair place!

Hello!  Welcome to reality!  The world IS a very unfair place…to Christians and to un-Christians alike.  In a strange way, curiosity starts this entire process.  We begin to wonder if someone is getting more of life’s good things than we are.  And it is pride that drives this curiosity.  It is nothing new to the twenty-first century, and this kind of thinking even existed in the days of the New Testament (in fact, we can even see it in operation with Adam and Eve wondering if they were getting all that they could or should be getting in the garden).

Calvin Miller, in The Unchained Soul, suggests: “This curiosity has us all wondering if we shall get ‘all that’s coming to us’.  We do this in front of the Savior.  Peter, after learning that he will be martyred, asks Christ as he points to John, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’  (John 21:21)  Spiritual one-upmanship reigned in his life!  Competition was his insatiable curiosity.  Peter wanted to be sure he got God’s best deal…Cain’s competition with Abel began in curiosity but ended in incrimination and murder.  It was Cain’s curiosity that kept asking, ‘How come Abel gets all the good deals in life?’  Curiosity not only killed the cat, it was the beginning of humanity’s competitive spirit.  It teaches us first to compete and later to hate…Our duty is to serve God and not be overtaken by undue concerns about others.”

What is amazing to me about all this is that we believe we are in a position to judge whether or not God is giving us the best deal!  We presume, by our judgment that others are getting more than we are, that we understand things better than God.  And we get upset, and like little children, stomp our feet on the floor and start to whine to God about “All I want is what’s coming to me!”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want what is coming to me.  I want what God is willing to give to me.  If He gave me what was coming to me, I’d spend eternity in hell, because as a sinner, that’s what should be coming to me!  But, praise God, because of His amazing mercy, God gives me much more than my fair share – He is building a mansion for me in heaven, he is going to take away all my tears, all my suffering, all my sadness.

I hope I never again feel as if I’m not getting my fair share.  What this world has to offer shouldn’t even be of interest to me.  My values and my treasure are to be in a far better place!

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started working 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 linke: 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!

DayBreaks for 04/05/13 – Comparison

DayBreaks for 04/05/13 – Comparison                  

comparisonNOTE: I am on a missions trip/internship to Africa and will be gone until 5/25.  Please pray for God’s work to go forth mightily, for protection for myself and those with whom I will be working, and for my wife in my absence!  Thank you…I cherish your prayers!  You will be receiving DayBreaks as usual (from the archive) after today until I’ve returned.

Recently, an old co-worker and friend of mine named Wayne Schaffnit shared an insight that I thought was great.  Here’s what he said: “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness.”  I don’t know if that is something Wayne read or if it is an original thought, but I think it is spot on! 

Consider this passage from Exodus 20:17: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Do you see it?  Where does coveting start?  With comparing your house to your neighbor’s…and wanting one that you believe is better than the one you have.  It starts with coveting your neighbor’s wife because she is more attractive or talented than your own, it comes when you compare your servant with theirs, your animals with theirs…anything that you have can be compared with someone else’s and what is the result of the comparison?  You become unhappy with what you have – with what God has given you and the situation in which He has put you.  Comparison really is where coveting begins.  We wouldn’t covet if we weren’t comparing – good, better, best. 

Perhaps the only thing we should be comparing on a regular basis is our life to Christ’s.  I believe this comparison is appropriate – it reminds us of the goal that God has set for us – to be like Jesus.  All other comparison can be deadly.

James 4:2a – “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.” 

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 has started working 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 linke: 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!

DayBreaks for 08/01/12 – Where Discontent Goes to Die

DayBreaks for 08/01/12 – Where Discontent Goes to Die

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  (Ps. 23:1)

Come with me to the world’s most oppressive prison.  Just ask the inmates; they will tell you.  They are overworked and underfed…No prison is so populated, no prison so oppressive, and what’s more, no prison is so permanent.  Most inmates never leave.  They never get released…The name of the prison?  You’ll see it over the entrance.  Rainbowed over the gate are four cast-iron letters that spell out its name:  W-A-N-T.

“They don’t want much, mind you.  They want just one thing.  One new job.  One new car.  One new house.  One new spouse.  They don’t want much.  They just want one.” (Max Lucado, Traveling Light)

Max has pretty much hit it on the head.  We just want one thing, don’t we?  What I want is probably quite different than what you want.  And what you want is different than that for which your friend wishes.  And when I get that one thing – that very special thing that I’m wanting – am I happy?  Yes.  If truth be told, I am.  That is, until I find out that somewhere, someone has invented a better gizmo than I bought.  Or until the car no longer smells new, or until the new model year comes out and I like the looks of it even better.  Then I’m stuck.  And what I wanted is not as fun anymore – and it creates the beginnings of an ache in me to want again.  Max continued: “If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink or digest, then face it – you are in prison, the prison of want.  The good news is you have a visitor and your visitor has a message that can get you paroled…look across the table at the psalmist David.  He motions for you to lean forward.  ‘I have a secret to tell you,’ he whispers, ‘the secret of satisfaction.  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want’ (Ps. 23:1).

“David has found the pasture where discontent goes to die…as if he is saying, ‘What I have in God is greater than what I don’t have in life.

“Let me remind you of two biblical truths:

YOUR STUFF ISN’T YOURS: Ask any coroner.  Ask any embalmer.  Ask any funeral home director.  ‘Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, he departs.  He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.’  (Eccl. 5:15) 

IT’S NOT YOU.  Who you are has nothing to do with the clothes you wear or the car you drive.  Jesus said, ‘Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.’  (Lk. 12:15)

Are you a prisoner in this prison?  No?  That’s good, if that’s what you think.  But let me pose to you the two questions that will really put a clear vision in your mind, ones that Max posed in his book: “What is the one thing separating you from joy?  How do you fill in this blank: ‘I will be happy when ______________’?

Now, with your answer firmly in mind, answer this: if your ship never comes in, if your dream never comes true, if the situation never changes, could you be happy?  If not, then you are sleeping in the cold cell of discontent.  You are in prison.  And you need to know what you have in your Shepherd.”

It is interesting that David’s declaration of contentedness is not coupled with verses two or three of Psalm 23, but is the logical extension of the first phrase as if saying: “The Lord is my shepherd, therefore I shall not want.”  David’s lack of wanting had nothing to do with what he possessed, except for the shepherd himself.  If we have God, can anything else compare?

If we think that having something will make us happy, then we have a false god to whom we bow.

PRAYER: We are people of insatiable appetites, Lord.  Teach us to be content with “enough” and please kill our spirits of discontent!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/09/12 – Circumstances, Obedience and Happiness

DayBreaks for 03/09/12 – Circumstance, Obedience and Happiness

The truth about our circumstances, obedience, and happiness...

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:6-8

Humanity has long been caught up in trying to find happiness.  Our track record isn’t very good.

We think our problem is the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  We don’t like what’s going on around us, what’s happening to us, we cry about how unfair it is (and that may be true), we hate being powerless in the face of seemingly overpowering circumstances.

So, what do we do?  We try to change our circumstances.  We get into rebellion mode.  If we are children and don’t like that we have to do what mom and dad say, what do we do?  We get out of the house or out of their sight and do want we want, not what they told us to do.  We disobey.  Why?  Because we think that our happiness will be found, or at the very least, increased by disobedience.  We see the “forbidden fruit” and think that if only we can have it, we will be happy – if even for a little while.  So, like Eve and Adam, we reach out (in disobedience), grasp it and take a bite, thinking that it will increase our happiness.  I wonder how long Eve and Adam felt better about what they did?  I’d be willing to bet that the feelings of guilt set in within the first second.  And things didn’t get any better after that…they go worse.  And yet, we persist in the notion that disobedience is the pathway that leads to happiness.  It does not.

As Randy Pope said a couple weeks ago: “Circumstances to no determine the happiness of the heart.”  He was talking about how believers are oppressed.  When it gets difficult, what is our temptation?  To disobey, thinking we’ll be happier without the suffering that obedience may bring.  He noted that we signed up for following a suffering Christ.  He concluded by saying, “Happiness is always found inside obedience.  It is not found in disobedience.”  He’s right.

Maybe you’ve been searching for happiness in the wrong ways.  Maybe I have, too.  Maybe instead of disobedience, we should try obedience.  Instead of grabbing the forbidden fruit, we should pull our hand back and say, “Lord, you are all I need.  In obedience to You I will find delight and joy and happiness enough for ten million lifetimes!”

PRAYER: Grace – O Lord, how sweet the sound!!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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