DayBreaks for 10/18/19 – The Message of I AM

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DayBreaks for 10/18/19: The Message of I AM

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

One could consider the various names used in Scripture for God or Jesus or the Spirit for a long, long time before exhausting all the possibilities.  I’m sure that some of God’s names mean more to you than others and that is only natural.  From time to time, your favorite name of God may change because of the life situation in which you find yourself.  But of all the names of God, perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing was how He identified Himself to Moses and Abraham, and how Jesus referred to himself when responding to the Pharisees: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” 

We sing songs about the great “I AM”.  What’s the point of the name?  Obviously, it indicates someone who IS – not someone who was but is no more, nor someone who is “becoming” something that they are not at the present time.  It speaks, among other things, of the eternal nature of God in an exquisite way.

Still, there is something within me that has always felt like God stopped the sentence prematurely – that He intended to continue with a description of Himself that would be a bit more revealing than just saying, “I AM.”  And maybe that’s where the intriguing mystery of the name comes into play.

What could God have said?  He could have said that he was loving, long-suffering, patient, compassionate, merciful, eager to forgive, the Creator, the King…and the list could go on and on and on nearly for eternity.  But if God had said that, it wouldn’t have been fully accurate.  Love, righteousness, holiness, mercy, compassion…are all part of what God has created and they are part of His nature, but they are not God.  As Athol Dickson said in The Gospel According to Moses, “This is part of the reason God said Israel would know him as “I Am.”  That most personal name for God is significant as much for what it does not say as for what it does say.  For example, it does not say, ‘I am love,’ or ‘I am holy,’ or ‘I am righteous,’ or ‘I am just.’  That would be confusing the effect with the cause.  …When thinking about God’s essence, I must not think that he is love, for example, because even that noble idea leads to a limited conception of God.  God simply is.”

Why did God say that He was “I Am?”  Because it is the only words we lowly humans may have that can encompass all that is our God!

PRAYER: It is a great blessing, Father, to have a God is always has been, always is, and always will be, but it is equally wonderful to be lost in the wonder of Who You are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/02/19 – God’s Heaviest Grief

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DayBreaks for 10/02/19: God’s Heaviest Grief

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

Have you ever known someone who had tremendous potential, but they squandered their opportunities pursuing meaningless things? Perhaps you look back at your own life with a certain measure of regret for “what might have been.”  There isn’t a one of us who can’t look back at our past and say that about one thing or another.  Not one. 

On the other hand, there are others who seemingly have nothing going for them – ordinary men and women – who manage to achieve incredible things.  Mother Theresa was so small physically, and not greatly educated, but has there been anyone in the 20th century who made a bigger impact on people and the world than she did?  Maybe, but not many.  Einstein was a mail clerk, for Pete’s sake.  He wasn’t an educated mathematician or physicist to start with.  In fact, he was singled out by his early teachers and being too dumb to learn.  Yeah, right!!!

So it is that we see this paradox: there are those we’d never suspect who shake the very foundations of the world, and those who we believe could make a huge difference – but they wind up wasting their lives and talent.  When the funerals come around for both the wasters and the achievers, they will all be nice funerals and nice things will be said.  But not all that is said will likely be true. 

The Christian writer, A. W. Tozer, once said, “A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God.  This is man’s greatest tragedy and God’s heaviest grief.”

Well put, don’t you think?  We were made by God to do things – to achieve, to create, to invent and to change and grow to be more like our Father.  Because we are made in his image, we are capable of magnificence with his help! And because we often don’t represent what God is like by our actions and when we waste the life that God has blessed us with it must deeply grieve Him!

How are you doing at becoming and achieving all the potential that God put into you and your DNA?  Have you wasted much of your life in the pursuit of the frivolous?  Do you have many regrets at opportunities you had but which you lost?  Why not turn all that around today and recommit yourself to becoming more like Him and to fulfill all that He’s put into your ability to become?  There is nothing that would give Him greater joy!

PRAYER: We are often too tired and lazy, Lord, to make much effort at becoming all You have gifted us and created us to be.  May we live up to the potential You have created in each one of us that we might bring You joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/06/19 – Pocket God

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DayBreaks for 5/06/19: Pocket God

From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009

Have you heard about Pocket God? It’s one of the top-selling video game applications for Apple’s iPhone. Here’s the game description found on iTunes:

“What kind of god would you be? Benevolent or vengeful? Play Pocket God and discover the answer within yourself. On a remote island, you are the all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders. You can bring new life, and then take it away just as quickly.”

Seeing that game options include throwing islanders into volcanoes, using islanders as shark bait, bowling for islanders with a large rock, or creating earthquakes to destroy the islanders’ villages, designers seem to think players will only want to play the role of a vengeful god—which must mean they think that’s the only kind of god players can ever imagine being real.

This reminds me somewhat of a famous experiment that was done a number of years ago where college students were placed in positions of power (akin to being “god-like”) such that they could administer shocks to other students and could wield power over them.  They didn’t have to be mean to their “subjects”, but what the researchers discovered was that if one person was given power over another, they wound up using that power for not such altruistic purposes.

This is nothing short of horrifying.  For one thing, the God that I know and worship isn’t anywhere close to being like a “pocket God.”  The entire universe is not enough to contain Him.  Secondly, He doesn’t want to throw anyone (except Satan and his angels) into a volcano or pit of any kind, and He doesn’t use humans for bait.  I seriously doubt that God finds any humor at all in this “game.” 

Perhaps most disturbing is the image this creates in the minds of those who play the game.  I don’t care what anyone else says, it makes a difference.  Even if it does nothing more than make kids think that God is this way, it’s terribly destructive. 

Satan is not the Creator, but he is creative and innovative when it comes to trying to warp our minds.  Isn’t it time we stop to consider what we believe, and what we will tolerate, in light of the Word instead of our own opinions?  It’s time to take God back out of our pockets and put Him on the streets, taking Him with us “as we go” into all the world.

Prayer: Father, forgive us for we often don’t know what we are doing.  Give us the courage to reveal the real God, in the person of Jesus Christ, to a desperately sick world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/28/19 – Walking on Water

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DayBreaks for 3/28/19: Walking on Water

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

From WORLD Magazine, February 13, 1999: “Disneyland-style special effects are coming to the Holy Land. A private contractor will build a submerged bridge on the Sea of Galilee so pilgrims can walk on water. “It will not be too kitschy,” claimed Zeev Margalit of Israel’s National Parks Authority. This man-made miracle will arrive in Capernaum next August as part of Israel’s preparations for an anticipated 4 million visitors arriving for millennium celebrations. The crescent-shaped floating bridge will be 13 feet wide, 28 feet long, and hold up to 50 people at once. For full effect, it will sit two inches below the water – with no railings. Instead, when people fall off the bridge, boats and lifeguards will rush to save them.”

We’ve all wished we could walk on water. Maybe it was to get across a freezing-cold mountain stream without getting wet, or to avoid getting soaked in a rain puddle. Either way, it would be a great “trick”, wouldn’t it?

When I read this story about “walking on water” at the Sea of Galilee, it struck me that this is no different than what most of us do every day: we are constantly trying to elevate ourselves to “God” status. You see, only God can walk on water without help. Yet in his undertaking, Mr. Margalit is going to be creating the illusion that we can do what God does. Well, here’s a hot scoop right off the press: we can’t. It’s no different than the lie Satan told Eve in the garden: “You will be like God…”.

We want to appear holy – we can’t; we want to decide what is right and wrong – we can’t because it’s already been decided; we want to walk on water – but it’s not our calling. Or at least, not until August 1999. And even then, it will be artificial.

When we pretend to be God, we’ll fall and need to be rescued, just like those who will fall off this submerged bridge. When we try to play God, we get all wet!!!

Romans 12:3 says: “…I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment….”

We need to learn to be what we are and stop pretending to be who we aren’t. We aren’t divine. We cannot do the things that God can do. Whenever I get too big for my britches, I’m bound to fall into the water and need someone to rescue me.

Let’s let Him do the things only He can do – like saving us, forgiving us, judging, and walking on water! Let us stop fighting Him for supremacy in our life and let Him rule in our hearts as we humble ourselves before Him.

Prayer: Lord, we give You our worship as You alone are God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/26/19: Getting Comfortable With the Mystery

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DayBreaks for 2/26/2019: Getting Comfortable With the Mystery

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

We, my friends, are dwarfed by God.  Not just in terms of power and intellect, but in every way possible.  We are as a mote of dust drifting through an endless universe compared to God.  I don’t understand Him.  I cannot.  Yet He understands me perfectly well.  I cannot put my arms around Him, yet He holds me in the palm of His hand.  I dare not tell Him what to do, yet He has every right to direct my pathway.  I can’t contain Him or put Him in a box, and He has the ability to make me disappear totally, forever. 

Why did God send Jesus?  Why did He create a universe where every self-conscious creature that would ever live would be fallen creatures?  Why did He not choose another way to save the fallen creatures?  Why does it matter so much to Him what creatures as small and insignificant as we are do?  Why did He need to create free will?  Why could God not be content with beings who would obey Him without question and save the universe all this pain?  Why do little children die?  Why do the wicked prosper?  Why does God test our faith when He already knows what we’ll do in every second of our existence?  Why do we have to die instead of just be carried off into the hereafter?  Why is there a Trinity of Three-In-One?  Why couldn’t Jesus, if He was necessary at all, not have just died a righteous and perfectly holy man – in his sleep instead of on a rough cross?  Why is faith so important to God?  Why didn’t God come every 20 years or so and make Himself visible so more would believe?  Ah, the mysteries are great…

The late Dr. Clarence Edward Macartney, while a theological student, visited the home of a skeptic. The skeptic’s argument was as follows: “If a man tells me that he has a horse which can trot a mile in three minutes, I tell him to bring out the horse and prove it. If you tell me that there is a God, I ask you to produce God and prove His existence.” Macartney replied, “No Christian claims to know God, nor would want to know Him in that way. By that kind of searching we cannot know the Almighty to perfection. The Christian believer does not say, ‘I know God,’ or ‘I see God,’ or ‘I think there is a God,’ but ‘I believe in God.'”

We must face the reality that we will not now, not likely ever, solve all the mysteries.  Even the simplest of the mysteries can only be solved by God if He chooses to reveal the answers.  Many people struggle with uncertainty and with the apparent dilemmas of faith.  Is the God of the NT the same as the God of the OT, and if so, why does the God of the NT seem so tame by comparison?

“The great must always be a mystery to the little,” continues Parker. “The arch must always be a mystery to the column; God must always be a mystery to His creatures. If I could understand all, I should be all. Only the whole can comprehend the whole. Only God can understand God.”

Hear G. K. Chesterton on this subject: “Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious.”  Phillip Yancey observed, “Most heresies come from espousing one opposite at the extreme of the other.”  God is all in all.  We can’t subdivide Him nor put Him under an electron microscope to dissect Him.  We must accept all that He is, even though we don’t know what all that means.

Prayer: I must confess, Lord, that sometimes mystery makes me uncomfortable and I long for more certainty and clarity.  I don’t know why faith is so important to You, why having creatures trust in You matters so much to You.  I don’t understand Your actions and I often can’t see the benefit of Your ways.  Teach me, though, to trust in what I cannot see or comprehend completely.  Help me to live peacefully with Your great mystery!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

 

DayBreaks for 12/12/17 – How Christians Can Make God Disappear

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DayBreaks for 12/12/17: How Christians Can Make God Disappear

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

It was the Psalmist that perhaps most eloquently voiced the purpose of creation when he said, in Psalms 19:1-4 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun…

Have you ever wondered why God made physical things?  After all, He Himself is a spiritual being, as are we.  Could God not have created spiritual beings without physical bodies and without a physical realm to move around in?  Of course He could!  But He didn’t.  The reason why is unknown to us, other than the fact that God seems to delight in creating, and in the work of His hands – just like a master craftsman delights in a fine piece of jewelry or a chair or vase. 

I think, however, that the main purpose behind His creation – all of it, not just the physical realm – is found in the passage above: it exists to declare the glory of God.  Someone has said that creation is like God’s fingerprints.  From fingerprints alone we can’t tell too much about a person – we can’t know their character, interests, etc. – but we can tell that they were there.  It’s evidence of their existence.  Creation is evidence of His existence and it glorifies His name!

If only spiritual beings (humans, anyway) were as good at it as the physical universe.  We don’t do a great job of declaring the glory of God.  Joel Belz, in the December 8 issue of World Magazine, wrote: For the truest and most effective proponents of godlessness are almost never those who are most blatant about their mission.  They are instead those who purport to pick up any topic at all for further discussion—and then leave God out of that conversation.  Do that with a dozen such discussions, or maybe 20 or 100, and you don’t have to do much more.  You’ve implicitly made your case.  God doesn’t exist—or if He does, He doesn’t matter. 

What struck me about Belz’ statement wasn’t how the godless go about declaring that God doesn’t exist, but how subtly we as believers can, by the lack of our words and actions, also make God disappear.  When we leave God out of the public conversations we have (and the private ones as well), God has disappeared in that instance.  And, as Belz notes, if we do that often enough in dozens or hundreds of conversations, God is as good as invisible – He disappears from life and living. 

How many conversations do you have in the course of a day?  In how many of those conversations is even the name of God voiced (other than when someone uses His name in vain)?  Are you one of those Christians who makes God disappear, or do you, like the physical heavens, declare the glory of God?

PRAYER:  Father, Your Word says that someday we will shine like stars in the universe.  The universe proclaims Your glory – may we add our voices in our daily conversations!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/16/17 – As If

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DayBreaks for 11/16/17: As If

NOTE: Galen is traveling…again.

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Playing God.  It’s something that we accuse doctors of doing at times, or even other folks who are trying to control everything and everyone.  It’s a ridiculous concept, if you really stop to think of it.  Perhaps that’s why movies like Bruce Almighty found such an audience – it probed the depths of what it might be like if some bumbling human tried to take on the job of God.  And, God Himself challenged Job with the concept – almost saying point blank: “If you think you could do a better job, give it a spin!”  Job, fortunately, was wise enough to not take Him up on the offer. 

Here’s a different twist on the notion:

“Losing PlayStation privileges or being confined to a room would be hard enough for most children, but at the tender age of ten, Sajani Shakya almost lost her status as a living goddess.  In the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, living goddesses—called Kumari—are chosen from the same Hindu caste as Buddha and worshiped as deity.  As Sajani soon learned, with the elevated status came elevated expectations.  Under no circumstances was she ever to leave the country.  Nepalese authorities were outraged, then, when she chose to travel to the United States to participate in a documentary that was being filmed about the Kumari tradition.  Upon her return, she received notification of termination from goddess status from Jaiprasad Regmi, chief of the government trust that manages the affairs of the living goddesses.  However, after a little pressure from the public and Sajani’s own remorse, the government has since offered a reprieve.  Sajani will retain her title if she faithfully goes through an intense cleansing process that washes her of the sins of the countries she has visited in her travels.” – AP, 7/21/07

There is a huge difference between God and the gods of men.  As if any human, or a group of “authorities” could strip a real God of His Godhood.  It can’t help but make me wonder what definition of “god” the Nepalese were operating under.  It’s preposterous to think that we can take away God’s “Godness”. 

To some extent, they are right: with greatness (and if anything constitutes greatness, surely that would be “Godhood”!) come expanded expectations.  We just need to be careful of what expectations we place on Him.  Do you expect Him to do your bidding?  Do you view Him as the Heavenly Answer-man?  In the real God we see a great dichotomy: He is the one who gives answers, he is the one who can do anything, yet we often approach him by telling him what he should do in any given situation.  And if He doesn’t, we might be tempted to lose faith in Him (in essence, stripping Him of His God-ness) in our hearts and minds. 

The Truth is that God doesn’t need us to declare Him as God.  He knows who He is.  Our problems is that often we don’t know who we are in relation to Him! 

PRAYER: Help us to grow in appreciation and awareness of Your greatness this day.  Teach us that we are nowhere close to being able to do Your job and to humbly walk before You.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.