DayBreaks for 2/27/19 – The Great Value of Faith

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DayBreaks for 2/27/19: The Great Value of Faith

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

Yes, you know the verse about “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”  So, faith is non-negotiable, if we are to please God.  But God, why?  Why does faith sometimes have to be so hard? 

In Daniel 10 is one of the most fascinating stories in Scripture.  Daniel was in prayer – and had been for some time – when Daniel becomes perplexed by why his prayer, offered in faith to the Living God, wasn’t answered already.  Since Daniel was a faithful servant of the Most High, the Lord sent an angel to Daniel to grant him a peek behind the curtain of the spiritual world.  For three weeks, in the unseen world that we can only “see” by faith, the angels says he tried to come and deliver the answer to Daniel’s prayer, but he was resisted by the “prince of the Persian kingdom.”  The angel by himself, so it reads, was not able to overcome that resistance, and had to wait for reinforcements from a heavenly power named Michael, the great archangel of God’s army. 

This passage has caused me endless trouble and distress.  Why, for example, did God wait 3 weeks to dispatch Michael to defeat the source of resistance?  Surely, God knew this was going on and would happen.  Why didn’t God just send Michael to start with?  And what does it mean that the first angel couldn’t overcome the resistance by himself?  Could the angel not have asked Got to remove it, or to give him/her the strength to defeat the resistance?  Such questions are not necessarily confidence builders for me.

Elsewhere, the Bible talks about prayer and uses the term “wrestle” to describe that activity.  It brings to mind, of course, the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel.  Perhaps prayer is much more like real, physical wrestling than we’ll ever know.  In our prayers, we are at war with principalities and powers that are in the unseen world.  Wrestling is hard work.  How much wrestling am I doing in my prayer life? 

Another thought: do angels have to learn faith and trust, too?  What was the lesson for the angel in all this, if any?  Is it possible that even angels are on a faith-journey, side by side with us, just unseen?

I don’t know, nor do I have to know.  But as Phillip Yancey put it, “I doubt Daniel ever prayed casually again.”  Nor should we!

Prayer: Father, may we be willing to engage the enemy in prayer, to call down Your power to bring victory, to release oppression and to pour forth holiness on this earth!  Give us the strength to fight for the souls of the lost, knowing that there are unseen enemies waging war with us.  Give us the wisdom to not fight in our own strength, but only in Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

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DayBreaks for 12/18/17 – Daniel…and Christmas

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DayBreaks for 12/18/17: Daniel…and Christmas

Matthew 2:1-2 (ESV) = Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.

We don’t really know who the wise men were. We don’t even know how many there were other than they were “men”, plural. The tradition of three wise men comes from the fact that three gifts are mentioned: gold, frankincense and myrrh. We don’t even know for sure where they came from, but most believe they came either from the area of ancient Babylon (modern Iraq) or Persia (modern Iran). Regardless, it was a long journey of about 1000 miles taken on foot and perhaps camel (the mode of transport for the wealthy). The words for “wise men” in Latin is magi, short for magician, sorcerer, astrologer, one who could supposedly divine events and the future by looking at the stars. They may have been of a priestly class who served the palace of their home land. We simply don’t know. But we do know they made a very, very long journey because they saw a star – and they followed it.

It could be that they were just curious at the appearance of this new star, but how many would undertake such a time consuming, arduous and dangerous journey just because of seeing a light in the sky? So why, we are left to wonder, did they do so?

We perhaps have a clue in the story of Daniel, the prophet of God who was taken into exile and who rose to greatness in the service of the Babylonian king. When Daniel interpreted the dream of the king, the king promoted him: Daniel 2:47-48 (ESV) – The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.

Do you see it? Daniel was the head over the “wise men” of Babylon. He was their leader and most likely their instructor. Could it be that while serving in the palace of Babylon, he told the other “wise men” of the prophecies of a coming deliverer, a king, born to rule mankind and that such a birth would be heralded by a star, or that the baby would be born in a land to their west? And those wise men passed along that knowledge for 500 years until the time of Christ’s birth?

We don’t know. It is very possible, I think, but maybe that’s just because I want to believe it is true.

It caused me to wonder: if the life of the man Daniel played a role in these pagan people coming to Jesus could have such an effect over 5 centuries, what will the impact of my life be on those I interact with?

What impact are you having this Christmas on the lives of those who also need to come and worship the King?

PRAYER: God, your ways are unsearchable, yet You always accomplish your purposes. I pray, Lord, that our lives will shine the way to Jesus this Christmas, so that those near and far may come to worship Him! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Daybreaks for 9/07/15 – The Secret to Standing Up

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DayBreaks for 9/07/15: The Secret to Standing Up

Do you remember when you were first trying to learn to walk? I don’t either, but I suspect our parents started us down the path to walking by helping us learn to stand up first. It’s a combination, I guess, of figuring out the crawling thing first, watching people walk, and standing on your own two legs.

There are times when standing up isn’t easy. I’ve been on the deck of a boat out on the ocean where the oncoming swells were up above my head. It wasn’t easy to stand at all (let alone keep my breakfast down!) There are other times when I was coming out of anesthesia and walking, at least in a straight line, was rather a challenge. I would imagine that in both those situations I appeared a bit comical (except maybe for throwing up over the boat railing)!

Spiritually, it isn’t easy to always stand up either. The sermon on Sunday was about Daniel chapter 6, where Daniel, who must have been around 80 years old at the time, was made one of the top three rulers in the Medo-Persian empire, and was about to be made the top guy after the king himself, when some of the other satraps and rulers grew jealous of him and set out to try to destroy him. They tricked the king into issuing a decree that no one could pray to anyone except to the king himself for the next 30 days. You see, they knew Daniel’s habit of prayer and unable to find any other fault in him, the had the king pass that self-honoring law.

Daniel didn’t forsake his prayer habit, even though he could have gone into his closet and prayed in the dark, or just “prayed in his heart” for 30 days. He stood a stand for what his conscience told him he needed to do. And how did he take that stand? By kneeling down three times a day to pray toward Jerusalem.

What would I have done? Do I even pray three times a day? Do you? What if I’d been faced with a life or death choice – stop praying or die? How important is prayer to me? Or rather, how important is my relationship with my God?

If someone offered all Christians $5,000,000 to stop praying for 30 days, my guess is that there would a many, many more Christian multi-millionaires. We could justify (or at least rationalize it) in a variety of ways. “Think of all the good I could do for others with that money…and God would be glorified!”

No. Daniel would have said “No!” How do I know that? Because something far more valuable to him than $5,000,000 was at stake – it was his life.

And he stood by kneeling down.

Sometimes the only way to stand is to get down on our knees and then do what we know will bring God glory, not what will bring us honor or glory.

PRAYER: Father, give us the courage to take a stand for You and Your honor and glory! May our knees grown calloused from prayer, for there is great need and penitence to be made for all the times we’ve refused to stand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/24/15 – Unbearable Circumstances

DayBreaks for 8/24/15: Unbearable Circumstances

The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.” The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed. And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.Daniel 2:10-13 (NLT)

Have you ever had a dream that really troubled you? The greatest king of the ancient Babylonian empire did…more than once. After the first dream, the king sought an explanation for the dream…but he wasn’t willing to tell his dream to anyone. His advisors had to not only explain the dream, but to tell the king what the dream was! Impossible? Humanly speaking, it was. The great king was incensed and decreed the death of all the wise men.

You know the rest of the story – how Daniel prayed and God revealed all that was hidden, and by telling the dream and its meaning, the lives of the wise men was spared.

It is easy to miss the point: Daniel and his friends were under a death sentence. Was what the king asked fair? Of course not. But it was the king’s prerogative. And Daniel and his friends found themselves in a situation that was blatantly unfair and unjust. Daniel and his friends who were to be executed had done nothing to deserve this death sentence. Something horrible had happened and Daniel had no idea how it would end.

If you’ve drawn more than one breath on this earth, you know how that feels – the sense of impending doom and despair. How do you react when faced with circumstances that do not seem at all fair? Do you rant and rave and belly-ache about it? Do you scream and yes and tell everyone how miserable you are and how unfair it all is?

What was God doing in this situation? Was God seeking to glorify Daniel? No. He was seeking to bend the will of a pagan king to acknowledge that the God of heaven is the King of kings and that He alone is the Supreme One.

Rather than moaning and groaning in such circumstance, what if we took a different approach and asked ourselves this question: What if God is using this event in my life to showcase His Sovereignty? How might your response differ? Bear in mind the things you know of God: He is kind, He is loving, He is gracious and full of mercy, He cannot do wrong or make mistakes, He only does what glorifies Himself and is best for His children. It may not make the circumstance any less hard, but it may make it bearable knowing that He is good and that He loves you.

PRAYER: Father, even when we feel things are unfair and that what has happened to us is unfair, let us seek You glory above all else! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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