DayBreaks for 2/11/19 – I AM #1: The Way

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DayBreaks for 2/11/2019: I AM #1: The Way

John 14:3-6 (ESV) – And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”

One can’t blame Thomas. Jesus had just said he was going away without saying where he was going. Bless his heart, Thomas wanted to find Jesus again once he’d gone away, so what Thomas was really asking was, “How will we find you? What path to what place must we follow?”

Jesus’ reply wasn’t what Thomas expected, I’m sure. Where was Jesus going? To death, to the tomb…and then ultimately back to pre-incarnation glory. If we want to find Jesus again after his going away, not only is he the destination, but also the way to get there.

What is a “way”? A path – like a path through the jungle or dense forest. Without pathways through such places we’d get lost and die. The irony here is that not only is Jesus the destination, and the path, but as long as we stay on the path we will not be lost for in addition to being the path, he has promised to never leave us – he walks the path with us.

Stay on the path with him and you will  find him…walking beside you all the way.

PRAYER: Lord, in our search for meaning and happiness and fulfillment we take so many detours off the path to the left and right, thinking “This time it’ll work!”, only to find that the only pathway to that which we hunger for is you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 12/06/18 – God and the GPS

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DayBreaks for 12/06/18: God and the GPS

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

From a sermon (“Choices”) by John Ortberg:

“I can’t live Jesus’ life and Jesus knows that, but he says: You can ask me to come and live my life in you.

“I’ll give you a picture of this. Nancy and I were in a part of the country we had never been before. We were going to be driving on obscure back roads, so we got a rental car, and the guy at the counter said to me, ‘Along with this car, if you want, you can also get a GPS system.’ Have you ever used a GPS system? You plug it in and punch in your destination. A woman’s voice will tell you how to get wherever it is you are going. Well, when the guy at the counter asked if I wanted one, my immediate response was, ‘No. That is going to cost something. I don’t need that. I can find where I’m going without that.’ Anybody want to guess what my wife weighed in with? ‘Get the GPS.’ So, we got the GPS.

“Here’s the deal: You can get the box. You can have the lady in the car, but that doesn’t mean you trust her. If you trust her, what do you do? You do what she says. You go where she tells you to go. She says, ‘Turn left,’ you turn left. If she says, ‘Turn left,’ and in your heart you think, ‘But I want to turn right,’  and then you remember, ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is death.’ Okay?

“To follow Jesus means I will do what he says. I will mess up a lot. I’m going to need his power. I know that, but I form the intention. I say to him, ‘God, with your help, as best I can, I will do what you say. I will give you my life, my time, my obedience.’

“Here is the thing: If that is not your settled intent, then it is best to be honest about it. If that is not your settled intent, then whatever else you might be, you are not a follower of Jesus. An admirer, maybe. But he is looking for followers. He is looking for somebody who will say, ‘All right, God.’

“There is something else you need to know about him—something that is also true when dealing with a GPS system. At one point when we were driving in this car, I was quite sure the lady was wrong. She said to go left, and I didn’t go left. I went right, because I knew she was wrong. Then as an interesting response, she said, ‘Recalculating route. When safe to do so, execute a U-turn.’ I knew she was wrong, so I unplugged her. That’s the beauty of that little box. You can unplug her.

“I got lost as a goose. My wife enjoyed that immensely.

“So we plugged that lady back in, and you know what she said? ‘I told you so, you little idiot.’ She said, ‘You think I’m going to help you now? You rejected me. You just find your way home by yourself.’ No—she didn’t say that. She said, ‘Recalculating route. When safe to do so, execute a U-turn.’

“Now see, that’s grace. As soon as you’re ready to listen, as soon as you’re ready to surrender, God will say, ‘Here is the way home. Execute a U-turn.’ That’s repentance. ‘I’ll bring you home.’ That is grace. That’s Jesus. He is the only one with authoritative wisdom about how to live. He is the only one who brings about the possibility of forgiveness for your sin and mine. He is the only one to give any kind of realistic hope of conquering death, of life beyond the grave.

“Why would you not give your full devotion to Jesus? He does not present himself as a good, spiritual teacher to be admired from a distance. He presents himself as Master, as Lord, as the one to be followed and served and obeyed and worshiped. There is no other way. He is it.”

PRAYER: For grace and mercy we thank You, Almighty and Eternal God.  Thank You for giving us direction.  Give us the wisdom to follow it faithfully!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/12/18 – Find the Right Road

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DayBreaks for 10/12/18: Find the Right Road

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

I really have mixed feelings about backpacking. I love the unmatched scenery and being able to get away from the crowds. I love the serenity of a remote mountain location. I hate the sweat and backache, though. But sometimes backpacking can be a real adventure. This last June we hiked (well, actually crawled through broken-down trees and branches) through an area where some avalanches had wiped out the trail. We weren’t sure where it was, but knew the general direction that we had to go. Needless to say, with our excellent navigational skills, we got there (guys never get lost, right?)

Joshua 3:4a tells us Joshua’s instructions to the children of Israel as to how they would know where to go when they were about to go into the Promised Land. Joshua said that they were to follow the ark of the covenant because: Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before…

Taking a wrong turn in the woods or in an unknown city at night can be scary. Wasn’t getting lost one of our greatest fears as a child? One of my boys used to sleepwalk. One night while backpacking, he and his older brother were sharing a tent. Well, Tim went for a sleepwalk that night in the Little Yosemite area of Yosemite National Park, only to wake up in the darkest middle of the night and realize that he had no idea where he was or where the campground was. Fortunately, he was clever enough to begin walking in an expanding circle until he came upon the campground.

Taking the wrong road can be scary or frustrating – but it can also be fatal. What if Tim had sleepwalked right off of one of the several thousand foot cliffs in Yosemite? (When we spent the night on top of Half Dome, I tied him to me to prevent just this!!!) It can happen spiritually, too. We can take the wrong road and wind up “lost” in the wilderness of sin. A wrong decision can destroy marriages, wreak havoc with children, destroy relationships and reputations, and they can steal our hope.  And those things can start with just a single wrong decision – if it is the “right” wrong decision.

Maybe you are on the wrong road right now. What will you do about it? Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel, in an article about taking the right road, said: “I agree with C. S. Lewis that when you find you’ve taken the wrong road, going ahead isn’t progress. Progress is going back until you find the right road that takes you where you want to go.” Sometimes progress is made by going back to what you know is right rather than trying to cover up the wrong decision. Remember Peter’s words in John 6:68: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

As with the Israelites, we have “never been this way before”. If you’ve gone down the wrong road – don’t just plow ahead. Go back to the Lord and get on the right road again!

PRAYER: Lord, let us trust the navigation that is found in your Word and the guidance of the Spirit. Let us not fear going “backward” in order to go forward! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/18/18 – No Turning Back

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DayBreaks for 5/18/18: No Turning Back

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

One more analogy from the Space Center: the shuttle is nearing the end of its lifespan, and in just a few more years, it’ll be retired in favor of the Constellation program – a program designed to put men back on the moon (by 2012, I think), and to go to even further places.  The shuttle will be no more, and the space program will return to the kind of rockets and space craft that were used previously.

The shuttle is a very complex piece of equipment.  It is not as complicated as a complete Apollo/Lunar Lander/Saturn V (which had 2 million separate systems – the most complicated piece of engineering ever made), but it is still an amazing piece of machinery. 

There is, as you know, a large central fuel tank, and two slender, white solid rocket boosters, one on each side.  They are called solid rocket boosters because their fuel is “solid”, not liquid.  Here’s the tricky thing about that kind of rocket booster: unlike the liquid fuel contained on the Apollo/Saturn 5, once you light if off a solid rocket booster, there’s no shutting it down until it has totally expended itself.  In other words, you’d better be sure you’re ready to go because you’ll be going somewhere …and going there very fast!

We are familiar with the passage that talks about how futile it is to put our “hand to the plow” and then look backwards. There is to be no going back, not even looking back for a glance, once we’ve embarked on the Christian pathway. There is only to be forward motion.

Another thought: we were all launched into this world at birth.  We will live our lives until we’ve expended all the seconds that God has allotted to us.  We can’t go back into the womb (as Nicodemus wondered when told by Jesus that we must be born again).  Once launched, we must take the journey that lies before us…and complete the course. 

May we choose the right trajectory that leads back to the Father’s house.  You are going somewhere – your engine has been lit by God Himself.  Where will you wind up?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the gift of life and the adventure of living.  Help us to keep on moving in the right direction until we arrive safely at home.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/23/18 – An Everyday Mystery

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DayBreaks for 2/23/18: An Everyday Mystery

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Choosing.  How difficult it is, and yet how often we do it!  How many decisions have you made already today?  You decided whether or not to get up when the alarm went off, or to hit snooze a time or two.  You decided what you would wear.  You decided what you would eat, or if you would eat, for breakfast.  You decided (whether you thought about it or not) on the route you’d drive to work, school or wherever you were going.  You decided where to park, how fast you’d drive, whether or not to pass or honk at someone who irritated you.  You decided what you’d listen to on the radio.  You decided what to read in the paper.  You decided if you’d take your lunch or buy it.  Chances are you’ve already made thousands of little decisions already today – and your day is just getting started.

Someone has said that practice is what makes perfect.  We know, of course, that there’s a smidgen of truth in that sentiment – with practice we DO get better (hopefully!)  But we don’t get perfect through practice regardless of the old saying.  The only way we ever get perfect is by God changing us in eternity into Christ’s likeness.  We can make progress until then – but perfection?  No, definitely not.

But if we are to get better with practice, have you ever stopped to think about why it is that we so seldom choose what is best?  It’s nothing new to the 21st century, of course.  It’s been going on since the beginning of time, and humanistic thinking aside, we aren’t getting better at it throughout the millennia.  Adam and Eve were given an entire garden by God and told that they could eat of any tree in the garden – except one.  And which one did they choose?  The ONE.  Jonah had the choice of going to Ninevah or the other direction – so he high-tailed it away from Ninevah.  Saul/Paul could choose to persecute Christians or to let them be.  Judas could have not betrayed Jesus, be he did.  Perhaps you could have chosen to remain faithful to your spouse but you chose unfaithfulness instead.  Drugs, alcohol, greed, thievery, murder, lying – all spring from the well of choice.  See what I mean when I say we’re not getting better at it? 

I’m convinced that we don’t know how to choose wisely sometimes.  How can we possibly know in every circumstance what is the very best thing to do?  If you know the answer, please tell me!  Sure, I know we can pray and God can give us direction, but we still have to choose to go His way and not our own, or He may not give us an answer when we are seeking it. 

So what are we to do?  Maybe all we can hope for in those cases where we’re not sure what is best is to choose what is better.  Mary and Martha were hosting Jesus in their home, and Martha was all a-flutter with her busyness and serving until she got so ticked off at her sister that she even (by implication at least) berates Jesus and Mary – Mary for not helping, Jesus for not telling Mary to help Martha.  Jesus, ever gentle and wise, simply gives Mary a bit of praise: Mary has chosen what is better.  (Lk. 10:42) Notice what Jesus didn’t say: he didn’t say Mary had chosen what was best, but just better. 

What would have been best in that situation?  The Lord only knows, but he didn’t scold Mary for not choosing what was best but encouraged her in her choosing of what was simply “better”.  Maybe that’s why, in all our ways, we should acknowledge Him and let him direct our paths until we reach that which is best.

PRAYER: I’m so grateful, Lord, that you understand our limitations and don’t expect perfection from us.  Forgive us for our foolish choices and help us choose that which is better!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/01/18 – A Lamp, Not a Searchlight

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DayBreaks for 2/01/18: A Lamp, Not a Searchlight

From the DayBreaks archives, January 2008:

Psalm 119.105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Have you ever gone backpacking?  I have rather poor eyesight without my contact lenses, and at night when we are backpacking and I take my lenses out, I want to be sure that I don’t have to do any walking around or I can’t see a thing!  It can be awkward to be tripping and stumbling over unseen roots and rocks (not to mention it doesn’t impress my friends with my sheer athletic gracefulness)!!!

This verse from Psalm 119 is trying to tell us that we don’t have to walk in the darkness.  But it is important to remember what a lamp was in the days the passage was written.  Typically, the lamp being described was a small earthenware bowl with an elongated snout on one end into which a wick was laid.  One end ran into the bowl and the other lay on the outer edge of the “snout” and was lit.  It could usually fit easily into the hand.  Travelers carried these lamps at night so that they could see the terrain where they were walking.

It’s worth noting that the Word is described as being a “lamp”, not a high-powered searchlight.  The lamp of olden days gave light to the feet, but couldn’t give light for a great distance.  That’s the way it is with God – He gives us just enough to see the next couple of steps but not the complete pathway.  Why?  I think it is because if we had a high powered searchlight, we wouldn’t need faith, for then we would be walking by sight and not by faith.  God wants us to learn to trust Him with a future that is unknown (to us). 

Are you trying to direct your own steps?  Sometimes we can try to hard to plan the future and we rob ourselves of the excitement and joy of being led step by step.  Our planning tends to remove God and dependence on Him from our minds.  We must approach all of life with the attitude noted in James 4.13-15: “So you should say, ‘If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that.'”  How often in the course of planning your day, let alone your week, month, year or life, do you stop to take God’s sovereignty into account?

Living day by day, depending on Him alone, is a tremendous adventure.  Don’t try to find the searchlight – be content with the lamp and trust that He truly knows the path.

PRAYER: Give us the wisdom to seek Your light and the courage to walk in Your pathway!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/13/16 – Who’s Gonna Drive?

DayBreaks for 5/13/16 – Who’s Gonna Drive?

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

NEW YORK (Bizarre News, 5/2006) – “A retired teacher who visited the graves of her loved ones every day was struck and killed by her own car while visiting a New York cemetery. Evanglistia Vartholomeou, 76, emigrated to the United States from Greece in 1965 and regularly visited the graves of her brother, sister, mother and a nephew, who died of cancer at the age of 3 in 1979.  Niece Katherine Vartholomeou told the New York Post her aunt spent her life caring for family and apparently left her car in drive at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens by mistake.”

I remember when I was taking driver’s education so very, very long ago (yes, we had to take driver’s ed in order to get a license to ride a horse – NOT!)  There was a device that was intended to measure how quickly you could respond to a light changing from green to yellow.  I was, speaking modestly, pretty fast!  I always have felt that I’m a pretty good driver.  I know that I have some bad habits that I’ve allowed to creep into my driving over the past few years that I should correct, but by the grace of God, I’ve never had a serious accident at all.  I pray that will continue to be the case.

Sometimes, when I’m going somewhere with someone, we’ll have a bit of a debate about who’s going to drive.  If it is someone that I’ve not ridden with before and I don’t know what their driving is like, I’m more likely to say “I’ll drive!” or trust the directions to Waze or Google Maps.  Rightly or wrongly, I trust my own driving.

But when it comes to going somewhere in a city that I’ve never been before, I’m more than ready to cede control of the car to someone who’s been there and knows the way.  I trust that they’ll get me there or I wouldn’t get in the car with them. 

In the case of Ms. Vartholomeou, she forgot a couple key things.  She forgot to put her car in park and she failed to put on the parking brake.  The car thought she was in control still and it just did what cars will do under those circumstances – it went with the flow of gravity. 

As we travel through life, going from one destination to another, we need to get out from behind the wheel and let Jesus take control.  Consider the advantages: he’s been there, he knows where it is safe and where it is dangerous, he never takes wrong turns and he definitely won’t run over us. 

Are you still trying to navigate your own way through life?  Stop.  Put your life in park, put on the brake, get out of the driver’s seat and let Jesus take you where he wants you to go.

PRAYER:  We have tried for years, God, to make our own way and we’ve paid a huge price for it.  Help us to humble ourselves enough to admit that we are lost, that we cannot navigate our way through life without You.  We ask you to take full control of our past, present and future direction to lead us safely home.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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