DayBreaks for 9/18/18 – Saints Among the Killing Fields

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DayBreaks for 9/18/18: Saints Among the Killing Fields

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

There’s a man in Croatia named Bosada.  One day, his Serbian neighbor came to him and handed him the keys to his home and said, “Would you look after my house for me and my pigs and my cattle and sheep?” Bosada said, “Sure. You’re my neighbor.  You’re my friend.  Our families have lived together here for 500 years.”  What the neighbor didn’t tell Bosada was something that every Serb knew, but the Croats didn’t: every Serb in that Croatian village was doing the same thing that very day.  They had been forewarned by the Serbian army to get out; the army was coming to blast the Croats and their homes to kingdom come the next day.

The next day, the tanks did indeed roll in and they blasted all the houses, leaving just ruins.  Only two houses out of 39 were left standing: half of Bosada’s home and a house across the street (which was then used as a prison to torture people).  Then a peace accord was signed—an uneasy peace, if it could even be called that.  When the United Nations peacekeepers came, this little village with Serb houses sitting up on the hillside began to be repopulated by Croatians headed by Bosada.

Bosada, who was a Christian and pastor of the local church, said, “We must show the way.  We must go back and rebuild the church.” And he did, taking his daughter with him.  Even though the UN peacekeepers were there, Serbian soldiers came out of the forest and took both Bosada and his 17-year-old daughter up among the trees.  They took his daughter away and raped and tortured her.  They took a bayonet and thrust it through Bosada seven times, but he didn’t die.  “Well, old man,” they finally said, “we’re fed up beating you.  I think what we’ll do is let your own people kill you.”  So they brought the daughter back and said, “Now off you go home through the minefield.  If you make it, your own militia people will kill you at the other end because it’s after curfew.”

Bosada took his daughter’s hand and set off through the minefield.  While he was being tortured, he’d said to his torturers, “You can kill our bodies, but you cannot kill our souls. This is the wrong thing you’re doing. I will go to heaven, but where will you go? I know that my Redeemer lives. Why don’t you turn to my Redeemer?”

Bosada and his daughter did make it through the mine field and survived, but what is inspiring is the message he gave to his torturers.  Did any respond, did it have any kind of impact on the future actions of his tormentors?  I do not know.  I only know I wish I had the courage of my brother in the Lord, Bosada.

We may never walk through literal minefields.  We will hopefully never be tortured because of our faith.  Yet, we still walk through minefields strewn with deadly devices planted by our enemy and the prevailing spirit of this fallen world.  May we walk it with the grace of a saint in deadly places.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the faith of those like Bosada, whom we will most likely never meet on this earth.  Thank You for preserving both he and his daughter.  Thank You for preserving us.  Give us the courage and grace to act like our brother in the face of great evil and danger.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/17/18 – Resignation and Acceptance

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DayBreaks for 9/17/18: Resignation and Acceptance

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

I recently read an article by Jill Briscoe that dealt with struggling and troubles in this world.  We often think we have troubles – they seem real enough to us and I don’t mean to disparage any hardship that anyone is going through.  But, by and large, we Americans know very little of trouble compared to the rest of the world.  Sure, we worry about how to make our house payments, but there are countless millions (billions?) in this world who don’t have a house at all.  Our health issues are troubles – no mistake about that.  But at least, we have “modern medicine” available to us while many people must either suffer through their illness alone in order to get well – or they die. 

How do (or should) we deal with difficulties?  Should we just resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll have trouble (just like Jesus said we would)?  Should we accept it, and if so, how?

Resignation and acceptance are two different things.  Some religions are resigned to fate: Hinduism, Buddhism for example.  The Christian, alternatively I believe, is to accept suffering and use it for a greater purpose.  “Resignation is surrender to fate; acceptance is surrender to God,” said Elisabeth Elliot. “Resignation lies down quietly in an empty universe. Acceptance rises up to meet the God who fills that universe with purpose and destiny.…Resignation says, ‘It’s all over for me.’ Acceptance asks, ‘Now that I’m here, Lord, what’s next?’ Resignation says, ‘What a waste.’ Acceptance says, ‘In what redemptive way can you use this mess, Lord?'”

Who is Elisabeth Elliot?  You probably know: she’s a woman whose husband lay flat on his face, dead in a river with an arrow in his back—martyred for Jesus. What did Elisabeth do? She said, “In what redemptive way can you use this mess, Lord? I know that my Redeemer lives. He died to make me fit for heaven; he lives to make me fit for earth. Now, what are you going to redeem, buy back, out of this situation?”

Elisabeth Elliot took the hand of her 6-year-old daughter, and Marge Saint, the wife of another martyred missionary, and they walked to that tribe that had killed their husbands.  When they arrived at the jungle village, they weren’t killed; they were accepted. They proceeded to translate the Bible into the language of the tribe, and the whole tribe came to Christ.

At age 17, Marge Saint’s little girl, Kathy, told the story of that day and more. She said, “I remember at 15, I stood in the river where my father had died, and I was baptized by the man who killed him. That man is now the pastor of that tribe.” 

Would the Elliot’s and Saint’s have asked for the troubles that life brought their way?  Absolutely not.  Yet they did accept it – they didn’t give up in resignation and say, “Oh, well.  I guess this wasn’t meant to be.”  In the loss and turmoil, they sought some way that God would turn their tragedy into something purposeful. 

When we are faced with difficulties, don’t just resign yourself to the hardship.  Seek to see and understand how God can use it in a redemptive way and create something beautiful and eternal out of it. 

PRAYER: Father, we don’t understand all that happens to us here, and we don’t like much of what happens.  Keep us from bitterness.  Open our hearts to Your divine redemptive purposes in what takes place and show us Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/27/18 – I’ll be a Horse!

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DayBreaks for 8/27/18: I’ll be a Horse!

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Meg F. Quijano related the following incident relating to her 5-year-old daughter, Lisa. When Lisa greeted her mom with the news that when she grew up she wanted to be a nurse, Meg was a bit taken aback. There was a time when nursing was thought by many to be a “woman’s job”. Quijano told Lisa she could be anything she wanted to be. “You can be a lawyer, a surgeon, a banker, President of the United States – you can be anything.” Lisa looked a little dubious. “Anything? Anything at all?” She thought about it, and then her face lit up with ambition. “All right!” she said, “I’ll be a horse!”

I ask a lot of kids what they want to be when they grow up, and I’ve never had one tell me that they wanted to be a horse. But I think there is something beautiful in that 5-year-old’s faith in what her mom told her. Her mom did say “anything”, didn’t she? And if mom said it, that was good enough for Lisa.

Jesus taught about the world of little children and their pure faith and trust – how they receive things on faith because someone they believed in said it was true (Mark 10:14-15). As we grow older we become less believing. Why? Because people and things we trusted let us down. We find out that mom and dad, big brother or big sister, grandma or grandpa didn’t keep their word about something. And that begins our journey into distrust. We no longer trust others – so we turn to the only one we believe we can trust – ourselves. And then things happen that we can’t handle. And again our faith is broken. We can no longer even trust ourselves. We get cynical and skeptical. Then along comes Jesus.

What is it that he wants from us? Simply to believe anything he tells us – like we once did with our parents. Does it seem foolish? Well, after you’ve been let down by humans many times, it probably does. Is it crazy? Maybe so. But let me ask you one question – and don’t answer it right away. Spend some time to REALLY THINK about this one, OK? Here it is: can you point to a single event or moment in your life where God failed to keep His promise to you? I can’t. There are times where I wondered if He was there, there were times where I wondered why He let things happen the way He did, but I can’t identify a single time He ever failed to keep a promise. And you know what? He never will.

Do you remember that old saying, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”? Well, I guess that just about says it. That doesn’t mean our faith needs to be a totally blind faith at all. It just speaks to the reality and solidity of God’s pronouncements. If God said He would set you free from sin’s power – believe it! When He says He has forgiven your sin – believe it! With God’s help you can become anything – anything at all!

PRAYER:  How desperately we need to have faith like that of little children, Lord!  Give us eyes to see and hearts to believe that with you, all things are possible!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/25/18 – The Nature of Reality

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DayBreaks for 6/25/18: The Nature of Reality

From the DayBreaks Archive, June 2008:

What is faith?  The fundamental aspect of faith (biblical or otherwise) is the confidence that we hold either in a thing (such as the brakes on our car to be able to stop the car), faith in a person (I believe that my friend is as good as his word), or faith in the truth of a statement (the sun came up today).  We live our lives everyday through placing our faith in things, people or the truth of a statement.   We believe the food we eat is not tainted nor poisoned, that the water we drink is not going to harm us, that a husband or wife will be there for us when we need them, that the laws of physics that control the motion of the heavenly bodies, the braking of our cars and the rules of thermodynamics will be as true today as they’ve been shown to be in the past. 

What does that mean in everyday life?  It is evidence that we believe faith is as good as the object (thing, person or proposition) that faith holds.  We don’t think twice wondering if the engineers who designed our cars made powerful enough braking systems.  Astronauts on the shuttle don’t wonder if there’s enough fuel in the tanks to get them into orbit. 

But, somehow, when it comes to God, we’re told that there is no such Reality.  If you can’t see it, touch it, taste it, smell it or hear it with one of the 5 senses, then you cannot know if it is real – therefore, it must be rejected.  Really?  Have you ever tasted guilt?  Heard anguish (not the manifestation of it, but anguish itself?)  When is the last time you saw love walk past on the sidewalk?  Have you seen gravity itself?  We have no problem believing such things exist, even though we can’t test them or touch them. 

When it comes to spiritual things, people have bought lock, stock and barrel into the ungodly idea that knowledge about anything beyond the physical world is impossible – therefore, it is mythological at best.  Do some myths come true?  Perhaps, from time, to time.  But knowledge about the unseen is mere speculation.  So, to placate those who hold beliefs in the Supernatural, they would tell us that what is important is for people who are inclined to believe in such things, it is the fervency of their belief that is more important that the object of their belief. 

John, the apostle, didn’t seem to agree, nor did Paul, Peter or any of the other men and women of faith who believed in a reality that was Unseen.  As J.P. Moreland put it in The Kingdom Triangle: “Reality is basically indifferent to how sincerely we believe something….As far as reality is concerned, what matters is not whether I like a belief of how sincere I am in believing it, but whether or not the belief is true.”  I could sincerely hope a gondola cable will hold me, but how fervently I hold that belief doesn’t make the cable one bit stronger.  What matters it the strength of the cable, not the strength of my belief in it.  I may never get on the gondola if I don’t belief it is strong enough to hold us up, but my belief matters not one whit one way or the other to the cable.

God is Reality.  He is the GREAT Reality…whether I choose to believe it or not.  Jesus doesn’t need by belief so that he’ll become strong enough to save me.  He’s already strong enough.  My faith should be in Him – He is to be the object of my faith.  That’s the bottom line on Reality.

PRAYER: Almighty God, You Who made a world of reality and who lives in a universe of reality, open our eyes to see that You are the One Reality with which we must all ultimately deal, and by which we will all ultimately be confronted.  Don’t let us be deceived, nor let our friends and family be fooled into thinking that what matters is whether we really believe in something.  Let us believe it You, for You are true.  You are the only reality that can save us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/19/18 – The Trust Fall

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DayBreaks for 6/19/18: The Trust Fall

There are moments when people take my breath away with something they say or do. I experienced one of those moments just yesterday and thought I’d share a bit of it with you.

I have subscribed for some time to the Twitter account of Taya Kyle. If that name isn’t familiar to you, she was the wife of Chris Kyle, the Navy Seal, author and the subject of the movie, American Sniper. If you don’t know the story, he survived several tours of duty as a Seal sniper in the middle east. When he finally left the Seal team behind forever, he came back to his home state of Texas and his family and began to get involved in helping other veterans who were struggling with ghosts of what they had witnessed – and perhaps what they had done.

One afternoon he was meeting at a gun range with one such veteran who took one of the guns and shot Chris, killing him, leaving Taya behind with their little children. To say Taya has had a difficult, heartbreaking time is an understatement.

Yet, this is what she wrote on Facebook both in memory of her husband on Father’s Day, but also to draw our hearts closer to the greatest Father of all and to make us ponder our relationship with Him:

I remember when our kids asked what a trust fall was. Chris lifted them on the high counter in our kitchen and told them not to look back but trust he would catch them as they fell backward. They were terrified and couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. I don’t blame them, it would have been terrifying for anyone. The more they didn’t trust, the more frustrated Chris got. Had he not shown them at every turn how much they could trust him? Did they not know how much he loved them?

I wonder if this is not how God feels when we, His children, do not trust Him. Do we not know the world may hurt us but He will not? Do we not see how many times and how many ways He has loved us and been there for us? Do we not know how the world may hurt us and actions have consequences but His love is solid and true and He will always want what is best for us?

Here’s what took my breath away and made me ponder my own level of trust: DO WE NOT KNOW THE WORLD MAY HURT US BUT HE WILL NOT? What a profound question! I believe that, I truly do, but if God asked me to show my trust, how would my trust fare? How would yours?

PRAYER: God, forgive my lack of trust. I know better, but I am weak and fearful when I should be strong and unafraid. Help me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/04/18 – The Undoubting Doubter

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DayBreaks for 4/04/18: The Undoubting Doubter

If I were to mention the names of certain disciples to you and ask you to write down the first word that comes into your mind, it is unlikely you would come up with the same words. If I were to mention the name of Judas many of you would write down the word “betray” or “betrayer” but not all of you. If I were to mention Simon Peter, some of you would write down the word “faith,” but not all of you. If I were to mention the names of James and John, some of you would write down the phrase “Sons of Thunder,” but not all of you. But when I mention the word Thomas, there is little question about the word most everyone would write down. It would be the word doubt or the label, “doubter”. Indeed, so closely have we associated Thomas with this word, that we have coined a phrase to describe him: “Doubting Thomas.”
You may be interested to know that in the first three gospels we are told absolutely nothing at all about Thomas. It is in John’s Gospel that he emerges as a distinct personality, but even then there are only 155 words about him. There is not a lot about this disciple in the Bible but there is more than one description.

When Jesus turned his face toward Jerusalem the disciples thought that it would be certain death for all of them. Surprisingly, it was Thomas who said: Then let us go so that we may die with him. (Interestingly, Thomas is said by tradition to have died a martyr’s death in India, having angered local religious authorities by his preaching of the gospel, they ran him through with a spear. How ironic that he would die in that manner after having placed his hand in the spear wound in Christ’s side!)

It wasn’t Peter who said …let us go so that we may die with him. It wasn’t John or Jesus’ half-brother James. Thomas’ words were courageous, yet we don’t remember him for that. We also fail to point out that in this story of Thomas’ doubt we have the one place in the all the Gospels where the Divinity of Christ is bluntly and unequivocally stated. 

It is interesting, is it not, that the story that gives Thomas his infamous nickname, is the same story that has Thomas making an earth shattering confession of faith? How did Thomas move so quickly from the bold confessor to the doubting one? I think it may be that those who are the most hopeful fall hardest when those hopes appear shattered and belief comes hard – if at all. But look at his confession after seeing the risen Christ: My Lord, and my God. Not teacher. Not just Lord. Not Messiah. But God! It is the only place where Jesus is called God without qualification of any kind. It is uttered with conviction as if Thomas was simply recognizing a fact, just as 2 + 2 = 4, and the sun is in the sky. You are my Lord and my God! These are certainly not the words of a doubter. Again, it wasn’t Peter, James or John who uttered those five huge words so laden with meaning.

Today, however, I want to ask you this question: who is Jesus to you? Is he your favorite moral and ethical teacher? Do you call him Lord? He is so much more than just Lord, as Thomas noted: he is God.

If you aren’t willing and ready to let him be both your Lord and God – with all that entails in terms of absolute, utter obedience to even the slightest thing he may ask or command – then we need to rethink our relationship with him. Too much is at stake to not think seriously about this!

PRAYER: Jesus, open our eyes to this profound truth that you are both Lord and God and there is no excuse to not follow every word that came out of your mouth and to commit ourselves unreservedly to humble obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/01/18 – If You Can

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DayBreaks for 3/01/18: If You Can

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

“Hey, hon, would you see if you can get the lid off this jar?”  If I had a dollar for every time my wife asked me that question, I’d have a much faster PC than I do now!  There is also something in the male ego that rises to such a challenge: “What do you mean, ‘If you can?’  I’m macho!”  Then, so us guys can demonstrate our physical prowess, we try really hard to make it look easy to get the lid off the jar.  Sometimes it is very easy, but other times it is hard (but we can’t ever let on that it is hard).

In Mark 9.22-23, Jesus has been approached by a man who had a son who was possessed by demons, and here is part of their conversion, the man speaking first of all to Jesus: It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.

Here was a man who had a broken heart.  His son, whom he no doubt loved greatly, had been wracked with suffering as a result of the demon.  As a parent, you would feel like you could never take your eyes off your child for an instant because the demon might try to throw him into the fire or water at any time.  Parenting would become a very intense 24-hour a day job.  You can hear the desperation in the man’s voice: “But, IF you can do anything..”.  Undoubtedly this poor man had tried other “healers” or religious leaders – including the very disciples of Jesus – but to no avail.  He finds himself now, not daring again to get his hopes up, confronted with Jesus himself.  Would he be able to do what his disciples could not?  Was there any reason to hope?  Hence, the words, “…if you can…”.

Jesus’ reply picks up on the lack of faith in the father of the child.  “If you can?  EVERYTHING is possible for him who believes.” 

First of all, Jesus believed.  He knew the power of the Father that was at his beck and call.  He had no doubt that he could deliver the boy from demonic struggle.  The disciples apparently doubted that they could do it.  He didn’t permit the lack of faith from the boy’s father to cause him to doubt his own faith.  With Jesus is found certainty. 

Second, Jesus doesn’t limit the ability to do great things to just himself – but says EVERYTHING is possible for EVERYONE who believes. 

Are you at a point in your life right now where you are not sure that even God can help you?  It happens.  Does it seem you have tried everything and everyone with no progress?  The father who brought his tormented son to Jesus found mercy and grace and healing in spite of his personal lack of faith.  He only had enough faith to ask the question – “If you can, can you help me?” 

In your despair and the pit of your suffering, if you can find even the smallest bit of faith when you go to him, he can and will help you, too.

PRAYER: Lord, grow our belief!  Help our unbelief!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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