DayBreaks for 2/09/18 – The Promise of a Father

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DayBreaks for 2/09/18: The Promise of a Father

Sometimes just re-reading a verse opens a new universe of thought. In my quiet time, I’m trying to not force any issue or hear a specific message, I’m just trying to hear what Jesus was saying – and beyond that, to the meaning of what he was saying.

Just Thursday morning as I was reading in John 14, I ran across this verse: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. – John 14:18 (ESV)

Wow. Did you catch the import of that verse? Let me share with you that my dad passed on to glory a bit over 20 years ago. I suppose that one could say that as far as an earthly father is concerned, I am now an orphan – and how I wish that were not so! It’s not that I think my dad wanted to leave me, but he did. His heart would not allow him to live here indefinitely and it finally gave out. But his absence, my “orphanhood” if you will, it is the reality of my daily life. My dad was amazing – not sinless, but a man of extraordinary character and integrity. But, he’s no longer here. It is an uncomfortable thing to feel like an orphan. Jesus says that I am not an orphan.

Some are orphans because of the death of parents, others are orphans because they were unwanted – their parents abandoned them. That must be even more painful than being an orphan by death. I cannot imagine how it must feel to be “unwanted” as a human.

Jesus wants us to know that being unwanted will never be the case with us, either. We will not be orphans in either sense, for he will come to us.

One simple verse…but Jesus wants us to really “get” this. We are not orphans. We will never be orphans. We have a Father who loves us and will never abandon us. Now – with that thought in mind, go have a great weekend!

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for being our forever Father, for this promise that we will never be orphans in this universe! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 2/02/18 – The Hands of a Father, #1

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DayBreaks for 2/02/18: The Hands of a Father, #1

From the DayBreaks archives, 1/28/98: (this DayBreaks was written one week after my father died in 1998)

I remember as a child laying in the church pew (I was really young, OK?) and my dad would be resting his arm on the back of the pew with his fingers dangling down towards me.  I’d play with his fingers and hands while the preacher did his thing.  I remember thinking how powerful and strong my dad’s hands were.  He was a farmer then, so you know that they were broad, calloused and hardened from difficult work.

Last week as I sat by my father’s deathbed and I held his hand in mine, the situation had changed.  Once upon a time, it was my dad’s hand that enveloped mine.  Times when I was afraid, times when he was afraid for me (that I’d run into the road or something like that), times when he was trying to keep me from falling.  And certainly times just when he wanted to hold my hand or I wanted to hold his.

They say that at some point in our lives that the child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child.  I guess that is what happened to my dad and I last week.  No longer could he hold my hand, now it was my hand that surrounded his and it was I who was trying to provide the comfort and assurance that I could. Yet for as much as my heart yearned to keep him from slipping off into eternity, I was powerless to stop it. And for his sake, I’m grateful that even as my hand had to let go of his, I know our Father had taken his hand to lead him home.

As I sat by his bedside holding his motionless hand, I thought about how many times the Father has held my hand and I’ve taken it for granted.  Psalm 37.23-24: If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.   Daniel 5.23b: But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.

I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times my dad held my tiny, weak hand in his.  I wonder how many times God has held my hand and I’ve been so insensitive that I didn’t even recognize it.  But there are even worse things than not recognizing His hand.  I have a choice to withdraw my hand from His (indeed, isn’t that exactly what we do every time we sin?).  I also have a choice to not take the hand that is offered to me (the way of escape from temptation is to take His hand and walk with Him through the test).

If I had the chance for my dad to hold my hand again, I’d grab it in a heartbeat.  I hope and pray that I’ll be as eager to let God hold my hand on this journey through life.  And I pray that I’ll never again be so insensitive to the Father’s hand upon my life.  My prayer for you is the same.

PRAYER: Lord, how desperately we need Your hand to hold ours!  We tremble in fear at the roaring of the world when we think we are alone.  May Your Almighty hand reassure us that we are never alone and we are never to fear with our Father at our side.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/14/17 – The Voice on the Battlefield

DayBreaks for 9/14/17: The Voice on the Battlefield

NOTE: Sorry for the missing DayBreaks yesterday. We just got our power back Wednesday morning and the internet Wednesday night!

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

It isn’t by accident that the Bible often uses terminology relating war to human life.  It’s a battle all the way, no matter who you are or where you live.  For some, each day is literally a battle for life and death – for food, water, running from roving bands armed with machine guns.  For others (and most  Americans), it’s a different kind of battle, but it’s still a battle.  We struggle with boredom, depression, busyness, with too many choices and perhaps too much opportunity.  Living in luxury has it’s own perils.

But by God’s good grace, one thing remains constant: whether we live and die in an African desert or in an American home or hospital, there is someone who is seeking us out:

“A famous military officer used to tell a story of an aged Quaker named Hartmann, whose son had enlisted in the army.  There came the news of a dreadful battle, and this old father, in fear and trembling, started to the scene of conflict that he might learn something concerning his boy.  The officer of the day told him that he had not answered to his name, and that there was every reason to believe that he was dead.  This did not satisfy the father, so, leaving headquarters, he started across the battlefield, looking for the one who was dearer to him than life.  He would stoop down and turn over the face of this one and then the face of another, but without success.  The night came on, and then with a lantern he continued his search, all to no purpose.  Suddenly the wind, which was blowing a gale, extinguished his lantern, and he stood there in the darkness hardly knowing what to do until his father’s ingenuity, strength and affection prompted him to call out his son’s name, and so he stood and shouted, “John Hartmann, your father calls you.”  All about him he would hear the groans of the dying and someone saying: “Oh, if that were only my father.”  He continued his cry with more pathos and power until at last in the distance he heard his boy’s voice crying tremblingly, “Here, father.”  The old man made his way across the field shouting out, “Thank God! Thank God!” Taking him in his arms, he carried him to headquarters, nursed him back to health and strength, and he went on to live a long life.” – J. Wilbur Chapman

We live on a battlefield, and the fallen are all around us.  Some of them may be your own children, your husband or wife, perhaps you yourself have fallen and lay on the battlefield, marred and disfigured – in desperate need of recovery.  Upon the battlefield that is this world, this life, on this day walks Jesus Christ, the Son of God, crying out to all who are wrecked by this awful, twisted world, “Your Father is calling you!”   He listens for the slightest response to his plea, eager to scoop us up in his arms and carry us into heaven.

Perhaps you have never trusted in Christ, but have been thinking of doing so.  Let me ask: what other alternative do you have that could be better?  Answer his call before he moves on.  Perhaps you are a believer, but have fallen by the wayside, disregarding the Word and the claim of God upon your life – choosing to go your own way instead of his.  Answer his call before you bleed to death.  Time is of the essence.

PRAYER:  We praise you that you come to search out our broken lives in the middle of this world, Lord.  Thank you that you have made the journey from heaven to earth to find us.  Give us ears to hear your voice and hearts willing to respond!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/19/17: My Fathers, Who Art in Heaven

Dad

DayBreaks for 6/19/17: My Fathers, Who Art in Heaven

As I write this, it is Father’s Day. I don’t know why, but for some reason today I find myself missing my father more than I have for a long, long time. I can’t seem to get him out of my mind, even though he’s been gone now almost 20 years. I am glad, though, that he is still in my mind and heart. I was blessed to have the father I did, and as I’ve said before, my father was the finest man I’ve ever known.

As I contemplated my dad today and the friendship and love we shared, I was struck during worship about a line in a song that we sang about how Jesus loves me in spite of all my sin. It made me think about my dad, who loved me in spite of the sins he knew about. He didn’t know about them all, but he loved me in spite of the flaws he did see in me. And then I thought about my Heavenly Father and how much greater His love is for me because He sees ALL my sin and still loves me without condition or restraint. How can such love be?

In trying to figure out the answer to that last question, I have to look no further than my own experience as a father to three amazing kids (now adults with their own families) and five incredibly precious grandchildren. As I think about how I love them, I realize that even if I knew all their flaws (and I do know some of them!), I would still love them. I realize that even if I knew all their sins – even the darkest ones that they hide from human eyes – I would not love them any less. And that is how God loves me.

I never once doubted my father’s love. I knew by his actions, even if not always by his words, that he loved me to the moon and back. But my Heavenly Father’s love is so far beyond that. The distance to the moon and back his vast, but if we know anything about the Father’s love for us, it is infinite. I don’t know how far it is to the farthest star in the entire universe. All I know is that it is a long, long way – beyond my ability to comprehend or even imagine. And here’s the part that really gets me: Jesus traversed that vast distance to bring this prodigal home because His love reached that far – and even farther.

My fathers in heaven love me. The God of the universe loves you and has been pursuing our hearts throughout the vastness of space and time in order to be with us once again.

The day will come when I shall be with my fathers in heaven. What a delight it will be to see both of them – and to never be parted again.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for being my Father. Thank You for giving me the father you did. Let me never forget the vastness of Your love and the distance You traveled to bring your son home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/12/17 – Who’s Your Daddy?

DayBreaks for 6/12/17: Who’s Your Daddy?

From the blog, Barney’s Bullets, 6/9/17 by my friend, Barney Cargile:

Walt Disney went to great lengths to ensure that his kids experienced a “normal life”. Instead of seeking the spotlight, he and his wife Lillian did everything in their power to shield their daughters from the typical Hollywood lifestyle.  Every day, Walt drove his kids to public school. He took them to swim class and dance lessons. He arranged his schedule so that he could be home with them as much as possible. 

This was so effective that their daughter Diane didn’t realize what her daddy did for a living. Somehow she never “connected the dots” with the possibility that her dad was the Walt Disney. To her he was just “dad”. Then one day at school a friend asked her, “What’s it like having Walt Disney as your Dad?” The question jolted her like a slap across the face. Later that day, Diane found her dad sitting in his favorite chair. She stood next to him, outraged and asked, “Are you the Walt Disney?” When he answered affirmatively, she asked, “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”  Then she did something really crazy. She asked her own dad for his autograph! For a week, Diane walked around in a daze. She found it hard to believe. She knew Walt Disney! More than that, she was Walt Disney’s daughter! Every time she saw a Disney cartoon or watched the Mickey Mouse Club she thought, “Walt Disney is my dad.” (Source: What If It’s True?, Ray Johnston)

Once Diane Disney understood the reality of her identity, everything changed for her. She became Walt’s motivation to create the film Mary Poppins. She even used her influence as his daughter to inspire him to launch Disneyland. Because she knew who her father was, her life was never the same.

That’s the sense of wonder God wants us to live in. Forget about Walt Disney…Our Father is the Creator of the universe! Once you understand the reality of who you are as God’s child; once that becomes your identity deep inside, you’re never the same.  Ephesians 1 says that those who are “in Christ” are God’s “delightful children”; that we are “holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence”; and that “the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us.” Unbelievable!  Once we “get” this; really get it, our lives will never be the same.  We can live in victory. Now that you know who your Father is, only one question remains. How are you going to live?

PRAYER: Open our eyes to the reality of who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/22/15 – My Father, Our Father

DayBreaks for 6/22/15: My Father, Our Father

My father has been home in heaven for 18+ years now. I wonder what it is like.  It is like something brand new every “morning”, just as our Father’s mercies are new every morning? Is it possible to get tired of seeing and experiencing what heaven holds? I suspect such is not the case!

On Saturday, the day before Father’s day, I took my camera to an old cemetery in Atlanta to capture some images. Yet the image that sticks with me wasn’t one capture by a digital sensor, but by the sensor of my heart. As I walked along the rows and plots of ground holding the earthly remains of so many, some were adorned with sculptures or other artwork and were beautiful and thought provoking. But the image that struck me the most were simple words across the top of numerous grave markers: Father. A simple two syllable word but it says so much. Much more than contributing DNA is required to truly be a father.  

As I walked among the grave markers, I was hundreds of miles away from my father’s resting place. Yet it was as if he walked beside me. Each stone marked, “Father” brought him closer in my heart and mind, his footsteps echoing in my ears. And I welcomed his presence.

I cannot imagine not having a father such as I was blessed to have. And as I walked along thinking of my father and what a fine man and dad he was, I wondered what my children will think of me when my name is carved into a stone. What will others think when the name of Galen Dalrymple falls on their ears or worms its way into their memories?

And then I’d come across a tombstone for a young child who obviously died before their parents. The parental pain must be and seem unbearable. But I happens. And fathers walk among the tombstones and see the names of their sons and daughters carved into the cold stone. And fathers grieve and weep for they are helpless to do anything to bring the beloved child back to life.

Our Father has walked and walks the world over and sees His children dead in sin. Only our Father is not powerless. He enters into the grave and takes us by the hand and raises us up to a new life, an eternal life. He will one day raise my father from his earthly grave…and He will raise me, too. Because of our Father, I will see my father again…and we will rejoice.

PRAYER: I think you, Lord, for giving me the father you did, and for being my Father now. Please tell my father that we are all okay and how much I missed him on Father’s Day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/11/15 – He Will Be My Son

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DayBreaks for 3/11/15: He Will Be My Son    

There is a story that comes out of the Bedouin culture. “Bedouin” is the Aramaic name for “desert dwellers.” These people live much as the characters of the Old Testament did. During a heated argument, according to this story, a young Bedouin struck and killed a friend of his. Knowing the ancient, inflexible customs of his people, the young man fled, running across the desert under the cover of darkness, seeking safety.

He went to the black tent of the tribal chief in order to seek his protection. The old chief took the young Arab in. The chief assured him that he would be safe until the matter could be settled legally.

The next day, the young man’s pursuers arrived, demanding the murderer be turned over to them. They would see that justice would prevail in their own way. “But I have given my word,” protested the chief.

“But you don’t know whom he killed!” they countered.

“I have given my word,” the chief repeated.

“He killed your son!” one of them blurted out. The chief was deeply and visibly shaken with his news. He stood speechless with his head bowed for a long time. The accused and the accusers as well as curious onlookers waited breathlessly. What would happen to the young man? Finally the old man raised his head. “Then he shall become my son,” he informed them, “and everything I have will one day be his.”

The young man certainly didn’t deserve such generosity. And that, of course, is the point. Love in its purest form is beyond comprehension. No one can merit it. It is freely given. It is agape, the love of God. Look to the cross. At the cross we encounter love in its purest form.

Revelation 21:7 (NIV) – He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

PRAYER: Lord, crosses scare us!  We would have preferred you had said, “Take up your easy chair and follow me!”, but you never carried an easy chair and if we are to be your followers, we must carry crosses, too.  Overcome our fear with the greater desire to follow in your footsteps and to become like our Master!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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