DayBreaks for 6/26/19 – Unfulfilled Expectations

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DayBreaks for 06/26/09: Unfulfilled Expectations

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2009:

The boy was 10 years old. He was known as Phineas. His grandfather, in his will, had left him an island – Ivy Island. Phineas had never seen the island, but dreamt of it often. He pictured how he’d build a house, raise cattle and grow prosperous. But he’d never seen it. All that was about to change. After several requests and years of asking, his father finally agreed to take him to see the island. The father, young boy and a hired hand climbed into the wagon and slowly made their way toward the coast of Connecticut. Finally, as they crested a hill, the father told Phineas that if he ran to the tree line and looked toward the sea, that he’d see his island. The young boy leaped down from the wagon, ran though the trees and caught his first glimpse of Ivy Island – the place of his dreams. However, what he saw wasn’t what he expected. Instead of a beautiful, green island surrounded by the beautiful blue sea, he saw 5 acres of swampy marshland.

Phineas grew bitter and it affected the rest of his life. In fact, later on, Phineas (who was to become known as P.T.), coined the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” You know him as P.T. Barnum, the circus huckster who lured people with promises of freaks and absurdities.

There is something about bitterness that is ugly. Scripture talks about bitterness in this way from Heb 12:15: See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Brain tumors are sometimes very difficult to remove because they grow “roots” that intertwine with the brain stem and other parts of the brain. These roots are very difficult, if not impossible, to extract. Bitterness has the same potential to get into our heads and grow into all the little, dark places where it settles in and makes itself at home.

When it seems like life lets you down, we can become bitter. The promise of a raise wasn’t kept, the recognition that was earned wasn’t delivered, the marriage that was supposed to last forever doesn’t. These are facts of life. They do happen and they happen in some way or form to everyone.

What do you do about it? First, in the Hebrews passage, part of the solution seems to be to not overlook God’s grace – rather than meditating on the wrong has been done to us, focus on how much we have received from God that we had no right to expect. Second, realize you can’t stay in a protective shell – you have to move on. You could choose to shelter your heart if your love has been betrayed, but what a horrible life that would be! Love again – take the risk. Let Jesus bring you healing. Don’t give bitterness a place to grow in your heart. It was meant to hold God’s love, not bitterness.

PRAYER: Give us hearts that hold no bitterness.  Give us eyes to see that we deserve nothing from You.  Give us hope in Your eternal love for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 5/03/19 – God’s Expectations

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DayBreaks for 5/03/19: God’s Expectations

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

Have you ever been the “victim” of someone else’s expectations of you?  Perhaps it was when you were a child: your mom or dad may have wanted you to be a doctor or lawyer when you grew up, but neither was of interest to you.  Or, perhaps you dad wanted you to be as great of a football player or basketball player as he was (or thinks he was!) in his hey-day.  Maybe your mother wanted you to be more beautiful than you were…and so she went to great lengths to get you interested in make-up and pretty things.  Parents, for the most part, really do want good things for their kids.  It’s just that often we don’t know what will really be good for them and what won’t.  But that does very little to temper our expectations. 

Maybe you are struggling with unrealistic expectations of yourself.  Some people hold themselves to impossibly high standards, while others don’t hold themselves to any standard of excellence at all.  Your employer may have unrealistic expectations of you in terms of how many hours you work, what you are expected to achieve. 

Expectations can be killers.

But hasn’t God said, Be holy, even as I am holy?  Now THERE’S a tough expectation to live up to!!!!  Be as holy as God?  Didn’t Jesus command, Be perfect…as your Heavenly father is perfect (Matt. 5:48)?  And didn’t the KJV, in describing Job, record that God Himself said that Job was “perfect”?  Talk about being set up for failure – this is looking like it could be the most colossal failure of all time!

Ah, here’s the release from the tension, and it’s found in Hebrews 10:14, where we are reassured that Christ…has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.  Did you get that?  Christ “HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER” those who are being sanctified.”  Past tense.  Done deal.  The perfection that God demands of us has been achieved – only not in us, but it was done by Christ himself!  God, being a good Father, knows we can’t live up to that expectation on our own, so He resolved the issue for us.  Note the second part of the verse, too: although we have been made (past tense) perfect, we are still “being sanctified.”  So, while our sanctification goes on, our perfection has been achieved.

Doesn’t this make some kind of sense: would God, being perfectly loving and knowing perfectly well what we are truly capable of (and what we aren’t), expect us to do the impossible?  As Mike Mason said in The Gospel According to Job: “Surely not – except by His grace.  And that is precisely the point: it is God’s grace, and nothing else, that declares a person perfect.  It is in God’s eyes that people achieve perfection, not in their own or in the world’s.  In our Heavenly Father’s garden, perfection is by faith and not by sight.”

Prayer: What a comfort it is to know that You know us perfectly well, and yet You have chosen to see us as perfect in Christ Jesus.  Thank You for understanding our inadequacies and for making provision for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/03/17 – Lessons From a Little Child

Charlie

DayBreaks for 8/03/17: Lessons From a Little Child

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:

My oldest son, Doug, recently wrote this in his blog:

“My four-year-old son and I went for a swim at our neighborhood pool on Saturday in the early evening. Though it was still quite warm out, we had the place to ourselves. After our swim we pulled up a couple chairs to sit and dry, facing toward the declining sun. It was a lovely scene: the still, shadowed water of the pool surrounded by an ivied fence; the tall eucalypti and willows stirring languidly in the breeze; the hummingbirds darting through the flowered margins of the grounds; the playful cries of a pair of hawks dashing through the treetops.
We sit silent a moment or two and then my son folds his hands on his lap and says, “Let’s have a conversation.”
“All right,” I say. “What should we talk about?”
“You decide, Papa.”
“Okay. So tell me,” I say, recalling a conversation we had that morning, “do you really think you’d like to be a fireman on a train when you grow up?”
“Yes, a fireman, who shovels the coal and fires it up to keep the train moving.”
“That sounds like a good job.”
“Yes, but I won’t have any little boys or girls or a wife when I’m a fireman.”
“You won’t?”
“No… Can a fireman be married and have little boys and girls?”
“Well, yes, he can.”
“But how can he if he’s always working on the train?”
“He comes home sometimes, you know.”
“Oh… Can all workers have wives and little boys and girls?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“I didn’t know that.”
I stretch my legs out in front of me while my 4-year old son digests this new revelation. He pulls his chair closer and rests his hand on my arm. We sit quietly for half a minute. I take a deep breath and sigh.
“You know,” I say, “I think it’s wonderfully relaxing just to sit here and listen to the wind and the songs of the birds, don’t you?”
“You know what I like better, Papa?”
“What?”
“To sit in a very uncomfortable rocking chair outside and listen to the sounds of forklifts!”
“Really?” I ask, astonished. “An uncomfortable chair? Forklifts?”
“Yes,” he answers. “But what can a forklift lift, and what can a forklift not lift? You tell me.”
“Well,” I say, “a forklift can lift a pallet stacked with heavy boxes and things, but a whole house would be too heavy for it.”
“Yes, but I bet a house wouldn’t be too heavy for an elephant-sized forklift.”
“You mean a forklift so big it could only be operated by elephants? That kind of a forklift?”
“Yes, by elephants. That kind.

“I suppose you’re right, son.”

Galen’s Thoughts:

FIRST: I am struck by my grandson’s commitment to his passion.  Even though he labored under the illusion that a fireman on a train couldn’t have children or a wife, he has a passion in his heart to be such a fireman regardless of the cost.  The apostle Paul describes people who came to Christ, but who then turned back because they loved the things of this world more than they loved Jesus.  They weren’t willing to give up the things of this world to follow the Lord.  Charlie was ready to give up all future hope of a family to fulfill a passion.  Where is my passion, where is yours?  What is it worth to you?  What will you give up to follow Him if He calls you?

SECOND: I don’t think my grandson really believes, at 4 years of age, that elephants can run forklifts.  But he thinks big.  Age has a way of making us think small – and smaller as time goes by.  We limit not only ourselves, but more importantly, the actions of God because we have concluded in advance that a situation is impossible – so we never step out in faith to watch God do HUGE things.

THIRD: it is a good thing to have conversations with your dad.  The day comes when you can’t.  It’s even better to talk with God while we have the chance.  We’ll learn amazing things if we listen to His voice – and we will be delighted with the conversation, just as my son delighted in this conversation with his own boy.

FINALLY: maybe you’ve had a tough week.  I hope this story brought a smile to your face and will remind you that not everything in the world is a deadly serious as we sometimes make it out to be.  Enjoy your weekend!

PRAYER:  Oh, Lord!  Fire the passion in our hearts, give us hearts ready and eager to give up everything to follow You when you call.  Help us to believe – and to expect great things from You through Your great power.  Delight us with Your voice and Presence, and let us laugh and rejoice more than we do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/13/17 – The Yoke of the Rabbi

DayBreaks for 7/13/17: The Yoke of the Rabbi

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

I remember what it was like working in the business world.  I loved the people I worked with, but I must say that I never enjoyed that work as much as what I now do.  I recall how I’d be given an assignment by the VP that I reported to and it would seem to be an impossible request.  And, if the truth be told, at times it was.  You just couldn’t get there from here.  Yet, there was an expectation on his part that somehow, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, what it was that he desired would magically appear.  Sometimes it happened (by God’s goodness!), but at other times, the rabbit was stillborn.

Expectations.  Instructions.  They can be crushing, can’t they?  If you work or have ever worked, or even if you haven’t, you have had expectations placed upon you that at times were easy to live up to, and at other times were like a 10,000 pound load of bricks.  Such things weigh heavily on our minds, bodies and souls.

Enter a young rabbi from Nazareth.  One day, after his teaching had been rejected at Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, Jesus pronounced a woe on those cities for their failure to turn from their sin to the sinless God.  It wasn’t a pretty scene.  But then comes one of the best known of Jesus’ statements: Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

What is the yoke that Jesus is describing?  In the Jewish culture, every rabbi had what was referred to as a “yoke of teaching.”  Simply put, a rabbi’s yoke was their teachings, his instructions.  Jesus was saying that his instructions were easy, that as opposed to the teachings of the other rabbis (especially the Pharisees with their emphasis on rules and obedience), his teachings were light. His burden was one that could be carried!

I fear that many churches have not been teaching the yoke of this Rabbi.  We make it far too hard for people to enter the kingdom.  In Matthew 23:13 Jesus takes the Pharisees to task specifically for not allowing their students to enter the kingdom.  Their concept of admittance to the kingdom was based on people being good enough to qualify, to earn God’s favor.  That is NOT the message of Jesus Christ!  This perverted view of what Christianity is about has kept many men and women from the kingdom.  And the curses that Jesus pronounced on the Pharisees for laying that heavy yoke on those who sought rest will fall today on those who likewise raise barriers to admittance to the kingdom of God.

Jesus said his yoke of teaching was light, that it fits perfectly.  It doesn’t rub or chafe, resulting in ulcerated, bleeding sores.  It is comfortable, barely noticeable.  His teaching was summarized in two commandments and a statement: Love God, love your fellow man.  Believe in me and my work on your behalf.  That’s it.  He offers a relationship, not rules.  He offered grace, not impossibilities.

Are you trying to carry a back-breaking burden of teaching and rules?  Lay it down.  Pick up the yoke that Jesus would give you.  And stop bleeding.  

PRAYER:  We are so grateful, Jesus, that you know and understand our weak frame.  You know that we could never carry the burden of holiness on our own shoulders, nor reach a level of obedience that would qualify us for Heaven.  Thank you for a light burden that is a perfect fit.  May we lay down the heavy load and take up the light yoke of Your teaching.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/30/15 – Great Expectations

DayBreaks for 12/30/15: Great Expectations

In just two days the new year will come screaming in like a newborn baby. We don’t have much choice about it – there’s nothing we can do to stop its arrival. You may face the coming year with a bit of anxiety or even fear. No one can tell you what the new year will hold for you and your loved ones. We shall have to wait and see.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t all have hopes for the new year, and dare I say it, even expectations? Most all of us expect that our health will probably be about the same as it was in 2015. Most will be correct about that expectation. Some will not. Most of us expect to have another Christmas season to spend with our loved ones, but some will not have that blessing. Most expect that they’ll continue to be employed, but some will certainly receive pink slips in the coming year. Some who are sick now may be better by the end of 2016. Some who are now single will find love and life-time companions for the journey. Some are expecting little bundles of joy and will receive them.

Expectations are common to all of us. But what happens when our expectations are not fulfilled? How will you deal with the frustrated expectations you will experience this coming year? They may be related to your marriage, your children, your work, your school, friendships or other matters. One thing for sure is that you will have some unmet expectations.

Let me suggest this: don’t let them shatter your faith! Dreams may be broken, but that doesn’t mean you faith needs to be busted and destroyed. It is important to remember this about expectations and faith: faith increases when Jesus, rather than an expected outcome or result, is the object of our faith.

Here’s one expectation that we would all do well to hold tightly to this coming year: Jesus will never either leave us or forsake us. We may feel at times during this coming year that he is not there – but that’s more a problem with our expectation of how we sense his presence than the reality of his presence and concern.

Don’t let broken expectations break your faith. Hold tightly to it – and to Jesus!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father God, as we prepare for what the coming year may hold, we ask you to keep our expectations in check and our response to unmet expectations serve to strengthen our faith rather than weaken or destroy it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 10/22/15 – This Messiah Does!

DayBreaks for 10/22/05: This Messiah Does!

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

It is no secret that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day didn’t think that Jesus was the Messiah.  It wasn’t that they didn’t want the Messiah to come – Israel had prayed for the Messiah to appear for 1800 years.  They desperately wanted Him to come!  But what they got wasn’t what they’d expected, and that led to His rejection.  Israel wanted a Messiah who would rule with a rod of iron from David’s throne in Israel, that would free Israel from the Roman domination that irked them so.  They wanted a Messiah that was so clearly the Messiah that there would be no questions.  Perhaps they expected that the Messiah would come throwing thunderbolts at the Samaritans and Gentiles.  After all, some of the Jewish Rabbi’s taught that the reason God had created Gentiles was so that He’d have enough fuel to keeps the fires of hell burning with them!

We often don’t get what we hope or expect.  I can remember the first time when I didn’t get what I’d hoped I’d get for Christmas.  Even today, if there’s something that I really want for Christmas, if I don’t get it, there is a tinge of sadness and disappointment.  Shame on me for that, but it’s true.  It’s not a very comfortable feeling to long for something, and then when you finally get it, it’s not as exciting or fun or fulfilling as you’d dreamt it would be.

And so it was with Jesus.  No, he didn’t come throwing thunderbolts to fry His enemies.  This Messiah came to seek and save – not to destroy with hunderbolts.  The messiah they’d expected would come and put sinners in their place.  But that’s not what Jesus did.  This Messiah came, not to put sinners in their place, but to take them out of their place and give them a home in His Place.  The religious leaders said that no prophet of God would allow themselves to be touched by a leper, to talk to a Samaritan, to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors, nor to die in the place of His enemies. 

But the truth is that they didn’t know This Messiah.  This Messiah loves with an unfailing love; this Messiah not only touches lepers but also women with issues of blood and dead bodies.  Instead of those contacts making Him unclean, those touches made the leper, the woman and the dead body clean and well and alive.  The Messiah shouldn’t heal on the Sabbath – but This Messiah does.  The Messiah should be a stern authoritarian – but This Messiah is a servant.  The Messiah that showed up spoke about an easy burden, about giving rest and unbearable rules, and He gave love to all those that had for so long been told in word and action that they were not loved, couldn’t not be loved for they were too sinful, and who had given up hope as a result.

Jesus withholds no good thing from us.  Does He love you?  This Messiah does.  Does He weep for you?  This Messiah does.  Will this Messiah come into your broken, bloody and checkered life?  This Messiah will.  This is the kind of Messiah that we long to have, but for which we had no right to dream.  And once again, God has given us something far better than we could ever have dreamt or imagined.  Praise be to His name for THIS Messiah!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to place our faith fully and completely in you.  Help us not to project our own limitations and small-mindedness onto You and the things You can do.  Help us to remember that our Messiah loves us with a love that will not let us go.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

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

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

Isaiah 55:2 (NLT) Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.

A preacher recently told a story about when his grandmother died.  Some time after her death, his mother received a notice from the bank that her grandmother had left not just one, but two, safe deposit boxes in their vault and that the contents would now be passed along to the preacher’s mom. 

The family was astounded by this and wondered what might be in the boxes?  The grandmother’s husband had died 20 years prior, and the family speculated that perhaps the grandmother had set aside cash or jewelry or other items such as stocks or bonds to help cover her own living expenses as she aged.  The mystery and excitement grew as time passed and the family was finally able to get to the bank.

After clearly everything legally and with all the paperwork done, the family was escorted into the vault where they first box was opened and much to their surprise it contained nothing but air.  Air is valuable, but it is not what they were hoping for.  Yet, one box still remained.  They moved to that box and opened it fingers crossed (mentally if not physically!) only to find that it, too, contained nothing but air!

Their hopes and dreams had been disappointed.  It is part of the human condition.

As people, we search for meaning and worth and love…often coming up with nothing but air as a result of the pursuit.  We keep thinking that “Surely, this is the one!” or “This is my ticket to wealth!” only to find that it turns out to be nothing but vapor. 

What is the cost?  The emotional toll is very high…and we can spend our entire life looking in the wrong places, opening one box after another after another, never finding anything that satisfies, nothing that was worth the effort.  Yet we persist opening boxes, looking everywhere but the one place we can truly find satisfaction and joy. 

God offers us the very best – He offers us Himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  Isn’t it about time to give Jesus a try?  Isn’t it time to stop running from box to box, place to place, lover to lover and to run to the only Lover who will never abandon you? 

He’s waiting for you!

PRAYER: Jesus, forgive our foolish pursuits! Open our hearts to Your love, to the riches that are hidden only in a relationship with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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