DayBreaks for 2/24/20 – Do Not Be Afraid?!?!?!!!

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DayBreaks for 2/24/20: Do Not Be Afraid!?!?!?

In every instance in Scripture where God appears to people they fall terrified to the ground! The only exceptions that I can think of (I may have missed some) are the incarnation appearances of Jesus – and in his case he looked just like a human and not God. But what I find interesting about the times God does show up and we humans cower in fear, his words to us are: “Do not be afraid”

Does that make sense to you? After all, when confronted by the One who is the Lord over all, the Creator, ultimate in power, who wouldn’t we cringe in fear and shame? At that moment there must be no doubt about the fact that he knows every single thing we have ever done, every impure, mean, angry, hateful thought we’ve ever had, every opportunity to do good that we let pass by. He knows everything about us – there is nothing that escapes His all-seeing eyes! And when confronted by the absolute judge of the universe who is totally pure and loves justice, why wouldn’t we be terror stricken!!!

Yet isn’t that precisely why he came as an incarnate human being? To show us what he is really like…to say, in essence, “See me? Touch my hands, hear my words, know my heart…and you’ll know you don’t need to be afraid. I’m on YOUR side and I love you! I won’t ever leave or forsake you.”

The more I think about it, the more I think that was a key part of his coming – to take away our fear. His truest revelation of himself to us is visible in the incarnation and on the cross. Once we have seen that and accepted him, there is no need for fear for there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for taking away our fear and for showing us the true nature of the Father! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/31/20 – Standing Before God

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DayBreaks for 1/31/20: Standing Before God

My faith roots come from a very legalistic background. A common question posed to keep us in fear regarding salvation was, “If you sin and are run over by a truck and killed before you can ask for forgiveness, will you be saved?” The answer they wanted to hear was “No” because it was only fear that could keep us young people in line. We were taught (and this part is true) that God was always watching and we might be able to fool people but never God – and that some day the books would be balanced and we’d find ourselves in the most serious trouble imaginable. And so we cried and literally shook with fear for our sinfulness. 

But flip that argument around: are we any better if God is kind, but also safe and controllable? I think not. If God were kind, safe and controllable we have an entirely different problem: he wouldn’t be God at all.

You see, small gods do small things – because that’s all they can do. I like how Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom: “If you have never stood before God and felt afraid, then probably you have never stood before God. (Heb. 10:31) You have stood before an idol of your own making. Worse, your life will remain silly and superficial because you worship a silly and superficial God.”

At the same time, Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. How can he say that? Because as Aquinas said, the cross didn’t secure the love of God, but the love of God secured the cross. All who believe have been adopted. Not only have we been reconciled to that great and mighty and totally holy God by Christ’s sacrifice, but something else happened: we received Jesus’ righteousness – and not just a part of it, but all of it…ALL the goodness of Christ was credited to your account and mine.

What is the practical application of this wondrous truth? Here it is: if you are a Christian, it means that God will never be angry with you again. He has turned his wrath away from you because he credited ALL of Christ’s righteousness to your account. And here it is in a nutshell: how can God be angry at perfection?

It is a truth too good to be true – but it is true. Find freedom because Christ died to give it to you!

PRAYER: God, I can hardly believe you see me as holy and righteous as Christ because you’ve given me his righteousness as my inheritance as your child! No words can ever express enough gratitude for what you’ve done! Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/22/20 – Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

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DayBreaks for 1/22/20: Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Here’s another of Newsweek’s lists that was compiled around the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010:

The Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade (1999-2009) – counting down from number 10 to 1, 1 being the most overblown:

  1. Globalization
  2. Anthrax
  3. Teen Oral Sex Epidemic
  4. Web Predators
  5. SARS, Mad Cow, Bird Flu
  6. Bloggers
  7. Immigrants
  8. Vaccines Causing Autism
  9. Shoe Bombs
  10. Y2K

I would have to agree that most of these fears are overblown and were inflated by the media in the worship of sensationalism.  Some of the fears were real fears, even though there wasn’t much of a basis for them, such as Y2K.  I worked in the computer world in 1999-2000 and remember the fears that all our computer systems that provided data and products for our customers might go “belly up.”  Pish-posh.  Didn’t happen – but that was partly due to all the advance warning we had and the hard work of a truly dedicated staff of developers led by one of my best friends. 

I thought #2 was interesting: shoe bombs.  Richard Reid was the cause of that fear – you remember him.  Little did Newsweek know when they put the list together that we’d have another “bomber” attempt lighting his underwear on fire at Christmas time.  Maybe that wasn’t such an overblown fear after all.

What should we fear?  Scripture advises us to be anxious (fearful) about nothing (Phil. 4:6; Lk. 12:22), that we should “Fear not!”.  But there is one exception: we are told to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13) and to “Fear Him who, after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Lk. 12:5)

Other than that, we’ve nothing to worry about and no need to worry about any of the items on Newsweek’s list or any other list!

PRAYER: May we fear You alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/07/20 – Fear and Control Freaks

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DayBreaks for 1/07/20: Fear and Control Freaks

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Of all the human emotions, perhaps fear is the one that I really dislike experiencing.  OK, I’ll admit, I was raised in the age of the Marlboro man – someone who was always in control of the world around him, master of fearlessness, brave, courageous and bold.  Fear is for wimps, I thought. 

Life has a way of changing how we feel about things.  When we were young, we weren’t smart enough to be afraid…really afraid.  Oh, sure, we might have been afraid of flunking a chemistry test or of being turned down if we asked a girl out on a date (or even more embarrassing, being turned down if you tried to kiss her goodnight on the doorstep!)  But those are hardly earth-shattering things to be afraid of.

As we age, the things we fear change, too.  We start to fear for the one we love – of something bad happening to them.  That’s partly because we genuinely don’t want anything to happen to them – but underlying all that is fear for ourselves – how we would feel, how we would cope, about the overwhelming powerlessness of the situation.  And then we fear for our children.  The first time they cough we fear they’ve contracted dengue fever or something like bubonic plague rather than a common cold.  They start to drive and we fear, perhaps really fear for the first time, for their very lives.  We can’t bear the thought of what it would be like without them, of the grief that would rend our hearts.

Max Lucado, in Fearless, considered fear and had this to say: “[Fear] turns us into control freaks … [for] … fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.

“The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.

Martin Niemöller documents an extreme example of this. He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler. When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemöller stood at the back of the room and listened. Later, when his wife asked him what he’d learned, he said, “I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man.” Fear releases the tyrant within.”

The New Year is young, but by the time you read this, you’ll hear more about terrorist bombings and possible wars, down days on the stock market, depressing economic news, you may be fearful of the direction the country is or isn’t heading.  You may be afraid of a pink slip at work, or a divorce filing at home.  Fear is a terrible master.  Don’t let it master you and let loose the tyrant hiding inside your heart.

PRAYER: We so desperately need to learn to rest in Your goodness and care for us and not to be afraid, Lord.  Give us peace in a world full of fear and fear-mongering!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/31/19: Trust the Catcher

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DayBreaks for 12/31/19: Trust the Catcher

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/31/09:

The year is at a close. The decade is done (depending on how you count the start of a decade!) What will the coming year hold? Birth, life, and death. Chances are good that some who read this DayBreaks won’t be alive this time next year. Certainly, someone you know will die in the next year.

In her introduction to Henri Nouwen’s book, The Only Necessary Thing, Sue Mosteller relays a bit of Nouwen’s thoughts about death and life: “Speaking of death and eternal life, Henri leads us to glimpse the reality of our approaching death, not as something fearful and traumatic, but more as a ‘return to the womb of God’ (p. 190). Communion with God grows deep inside us and we gradually learn a trust so tangible that we begin to imagine our death as a ‘letting go’ of the swing on the flying trapeze. Henri quotes the trapeze artist Rodleigh, who says, ‘When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar…the worst thing a flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher.’ ‘Dying is trusting the catcher,’ says Henri. ‘Don’t try to grab Him; He will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.'”

Trusting in God is to trust Him as the Catcher. I don’t get the sense from Jesus’ words on the cross that he was worried about trying to grab onto God:“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46) I sense nothing in his words except absolute trust that the Father was more than able to catch him regardless of what Jesus did at that point.

The story has been told for years about the man who was standing alone on the edge of a cliff when the ground beneath him crumbled and the man plunged over the edge. About 15-20 feet down, he managed to grab a branch that protruded from the cliff face. Desperately holding on, he began crying out for help. No one was there – no one heard. So finally, the man calls out to God: “God, please save me!” To his surprise, he hears a voice: “Do you trust me?” The man, struggling to maintain his grip, replies, “Yes, God, I trust you!” To which God replies, “Then let go…”.

Only God can catch us. Only God is worthy of our trust. But faith and trust are sometimes hard to come by, especially when faced with the ultimate conclusion of this worldly life. During this next year, as you see friends and loved ones die, if they are believers you can have great confidence that God will “catch” them. That death, for the believer, is a trip home, to our origin. It is not something to be feared.

The time will eventually come for all of us – and we must launch out into eternity with nothing in our hands – trusting Him to catch us and land us safely on the other side.

As far as tomorrow – I am not afraid. God can catch me. He can catch us all regardless of the date, regardless of the circumstances. Until then, “just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.”

PRAYER: Lord, you have carried us in your arms from the moment we were born and you will carry us until the day we die.  Thank you for being with us this past year and for the assurance that no matter where we are, you will be with us in the coming year, too.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/16/19 – Fear and Inactivity

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DayBreaks for 10/16/19: Fear and Inactivity

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

A soldier in one of the regular batteries of the army of the Confederacy had displayed conspicuous bravery in a dozen engagements while serving with his gun as a cannoneer.  When it came to the battle known as Chickamauga, he was assigned duty as a driver only, so instead of participating in the excitement of loading and firing, the soldier had nothing to do but sit quietly on his horse, and watch the havoc created around him by the enemy’s shot.  He soon became possessed by a terror which completely permeated him and after the battle he implored his commanding officer to send him back to his gun.  His courage leaked away when he had nothing to do.

I find it to be the case in my own life that I often sit and think too much about something rather than taking some positive action that I believe might be warranted.  The longer I sit and ponder the situation and all the different things that could happen, I can get bound up in fear and uncertainty to the point that I do nothing at all. 

In the case of the Confederate soldier, it was when he had nothing to do but sit and watch that he was overwhelmed by fear.  It is amazing – surely standing by the cannon and being actively involved in firing the mighty weapon at the enemy was much more dangerous than sitting on a horse in the background, watching all that was happening.  When we are engaged in some mighty and noble endeavor, we don’t have time to notice all the explosions and mayhem around us because of the cause we are trying to advance.

When it comes to serving Christ, many are too afraid – paralyzed into inaction – seeming to think that the result of whatever service they are called upon to render depends on them and their ability and wisdom. 

The best place to be is in the thick of the battle, right beside the Lord (and make no mistake – he is in the hottest point of the battle all the time!)  It is to those who remain on the periphery that he may say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  He knows those that fight at his side – he knows them well and will give them a crown of life not because of their works, but because of the fact that they call Him “Lord” – and then they prove it by how they follow Him.

PRAYER: Thank you for inviting us to fight at your side for the souls of men and women!  Let us not sit idly bound by fear, but to follow you boldly into the fray!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/28/19 – Satan’s Psy Ops

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DayBreaks for 5/28/19: Satan’s Psy Ops

We can actually learn a lot about some of Satan’s strategies in spiritual warfare by studying the military strategies of some of the warriors of old. In his book Head Game, author Tim Downs writes:

“Psy-ops stands for Psychological Operations, a form of warfare as old as the art of war itself. An early example of this can be found in the battle strategies of Alexander the Great. On one occasion when his army was in full retreat from a larger army, he gave orders to his armorers to construct oversized breastplates and helmets that would fit men 7 or 8 feet tall. As his army would retreat, he would leave these items for the pursuing army to discover. When the enemy would find the over-sized gear, they would be demoralized by the thought of fighting such giant soldiers, and they would abandon their pursuit.

“Satan likes to play head games with us, too, often leaving us demoralized by fear or doubt. We assume Satan is bigger or greater than he really is. And the quickest way to thwart our enemy’s psy-ops is to gaze upon the greatness of our God. Perhaps all it takes is a quick look at Job 38:4–7: Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Satan is no powder-puff to be toyed with or minimized – at least not if you are human.  But we also don’t need to fear him.  Our Father is more than capable of keeping that little bully in his place.  We’re even encouraged to “resist Satan” as we make our way through this world.  Will that antagonize him?  You bet.  And that’s just fine, because we aren’t alone in our resistance.  Our elder Brother went before us and antagonized him, and then defeated him.  All our enemy has to look forward to is doom and torment.  We, on the other hand, will be recipients of far better things, and we will witness the removal of our arch-enemy as he is thrown into the pit forever and ever. 

Prayer: May we find the courage that comes from knowing that no one and nothing in the universe can begin overthrow You, or even to threaten You.  We rejoice in Your victory and pray for the day when we shall see Satan once and for all put in his place!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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