DayBreaks for 6/30/17 – The Hidden Possibilities

DayBreaks for 6/30/17: The Hidden Possibilities

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

Agostino d’Antonio, a sculptor in Florence, Italy, labored diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble.  After much effort and time, Mr. d’Antonio pronounced his verdict: “I can do nothing with it.”  But, rather than just throwing the large piece of marble out, other sculptors tried their hand at it at making something of the chunk of rock, but they too gave up the task.

For forty years that large slab of stone lay in a huge pile of rubbish, until one day, another sculptor was out walking and spied the stone.  He immediately gave orders to have the marble brought to his studio, and he began to work upon it at once – falling on it with the hammer and chisel, laboring to release the image within the stone.  Ultimately, his work and labor met with success.  From that seemingly worthless stone that had been cast into the rubbish pile, Michaelangelo carved one of the world’s greatest masterpieces of marble sculpture, the statue known to us as David!

What was it that made the difference between Agostino d’Antonio and Michaelangelo’s work on the same piece of marble?  The secret lay in the sculptor, not in the stone. 

As we look at the great men and women of Scripture, we might be tempted to draw contrasts with our own lives.  The lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Moses – they look like giants made out of granite.  They seem to tower over us and make our own lives seem small and significant by comparison.  Our lives seem to be full of disappointments while their lives seem bolder than life, full of color and vibrancy.  We see all that God has accomplished in them, and probably see little of what He’s done in our lives.  What is it that made such people so strong and great?  It wasn’t the nature of who they were.  It was all in the Sculptor who worked within them. 

The same Sculptor is at work in all those who have entrusted their lives to them.  What can we expect?  We can expect Him to produce a masterpiece out of your life because you know the quality of the work of the Sculptor, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 44:24 (NIV) – This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself…

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, that You are trustworthy to make us and chisel away the dross to form us into the image of Your precious Son, Jesus.  May we yield to the hammer and chisel until we reach the design You have for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 8/31/15 – The Hidden Deception of Sin

DayBreaks for 8/31/15: The Hidden Deception of Sin

Daniel 5 is a fascinating chapter. Belshazzar, the titular king of Babylon and grandson to the great Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, was one of those who never learned from history. His grandfather’s pride led to his being punished with the disease of boanthropy – believing and acting like a cow – until he repented and came to his senses and was restored to his grandeur.

Belshazzar surely would have heard the story. Had he learned? No. He was filled with pride. Daniel 5 says as much, but it is evident in what was happening in the capital even as the enemy was at the gate.

Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s father and the actual king, was gone waging war against the Medes and Persians, and Belshazzar was left in the citadel of Babylon to rule in his absence. The Medes and Persians were outside the walls, threatening the city. So what does Belshazzar do? He hosts a wild party.

What was Belshazzar thinking? We can only surmise, but he had invited all the nobles to a great feast that night. It seems as if Belshazzar was mocking the enemy, or trying to convince his nobles (and perhaps himself!) that they had nothing to fear for he was, after all, the king of Babylon!

If there is a sin that has plagued creation since the time of the beginning, it would seem to be pride: pride in thinking we know better than the Creator what is good and best for us, pride that causes us to think we created our own successes and are alone responsible for our achievements. It is pride that makes us seek more and more possessions, more and more power, more and more fame and glory for ourselves. And Belshazzar had it in spades, this sin called pride.

Pride blinded Belshazzar to what befell his grandfather. Sin blinded him to the realities of the situation with which he was confronted. And that is what sin does best: it makes us unaware of the danger involved. Especially when sin is coupled with God’s long-suffering nature.

Because we have all sinned and seem to have “gotten away with it” (which is really just God’s incredible patience to have not stricken us dead on the spot, for “the soul that sins shall surely die”), we are blinded to the danger of our sin. It is like playing with a king cobra and not being bit. It leads us to a false sense of well-being and we conclude that “all must be well” when in reality, as Belshazzar found out, it was not well at all. That very night, in Daniel 5, Belshazzar was overthrown and killed.

We have recently seen how this happens with the entire Ashley Madison hack. Those who thought they were “safe” in their secret sins one night, awoke the next morning to find they had been deceived into thinking they were safe and their infidelities were secret and hidden.

Sin’s deception is hideous. It makes us unaware of the danger. And that is perhaps the greatest danger of all.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. – Galatians 6:7 (ESV)

PRAYER: Keep us from deception and from convincing ourselves that all is well when we sin! Reveal to us the danger in the things we do – yet seem to get away with. Make us wise to Truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 8/20/15 – All That Is Hidden

DayBreaks for 8/20/15: All That is Hidden

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/20/2005:

LONDON – It’s nice to wake up from surgery to see your family gathered around you for support. For Melvyn Reed, however, it wasn’t so nice when he awoke from triple bypass surgery to find all three of his wives surrounding him.   While he was under the knife, his years as a double bigamist came to an end when the three women showed up at the same time to the hospital and realized something wasn’t right. They held a meeting in the parking lot and discovered they were all married to the same man! Reed later turned himself into police, admitting he was married to all three women, and confessed to bigamy.

I remember waking up after my bypass surgery and having the nurses and my wife present. It was a wonderful and comforting feeling to have her there, and to know that, well, I was still among the living and that the nurses were being so attentive. I can’t imagine what kind of thoughts must have gone through Mr. Reed’s mind, however, when he opened his eyes to see all 3 of his wives standing beside his bed. He may have been afraid to go back to sleep for fear that they’d unhook his medical equipment!

I’ve written many times about the passage that describes the human heart as being totally deceitful. Of all the things that can deceive us in this world, our own hearts and minds must be on the top of the heap. And there is nothing that we deceive ourselves about more completely than in thinking that our sins are hidden. Why? We take comfort in thinking that they’re hidden, and we probably take a bit of perverse pride in our ability to cover them up, too. We can hide much from the eyes of our families, friends, co-workers and fellow students, even from our pastors and spiritual mentors. The Spirit, however, sees all. May we learn from the foolishness of Melvyn Reed that we’re not nearly as clever as we think we are. All that is hidden will be made known.

Luke 12:2-3 – There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

1 Cor. 3:13 – But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value.

PRAYER: Let us truly understand that nothing is hidden from You, and that we are foolish to think we can “get away” with our sin! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 10/05/12 – Buried In Plain Sight

DayBreaks for 10/05/12 – Buried In Plain Sight

Sometimes no one ever really knows what lurks beneath until things get a good shake. An April earthquake in the region of the Solomon Islands shook loose a World War II torpedo boat which had rested on the ocean floor for over 60 years. The boat’s hull was intact—explosives and all. A bomb unit was deployed to detonate the torpedoes safely.

Experts believe the PT boat is just one of many pieces of military wreckage that pepper the coastline of the islands. This piece is particularly fascinating in that it’s the same variety of military craft U.S. President John F. Kennedy commanded.

Jay Waura of the National Disaster Management Office said, “We were amazed by this finding, as previously this wreckage had long been sitting under the sea and rusting in peace without anyone knowing about it.”

Luke 8:17 – For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed.  We like to believe in exceptions – and in particular that WE are the exception to the rule.  But Jesus is clear: “There is NOTHING hidden that will not be disclosed…”

Whatever things we are trying to hide from the sight of the Lord are clearly visible to Him now…and they will be made visible to all one day.  I don’t like that.  If you don’t like it either, then we should change how we live.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, I pray that your Presence will continually remind us that all shall one day be revealed!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 09/13/11 – The Overriding Command

DayBreaks for 09/13/11 – The Overriding Command

The hidden will be made visible...

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. – Luke 12:2

In the wake of the 2011 London riots, which included days of crazed, wild and uncontrollable looting and violence, Great Britain’s chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks decried the “moral disintegration” of the western world.  He said:

“[The rioters] are the victims of the tsunami of wishful thinking that washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality, and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.

“What has happened morally in the West is what has happened financially as well. Good and otherwise sensible people were persuaded that you could spend more than you earn, incur debt at unprecedented levels and consume the world’s resources without thinking about who will pay the bill and when ….

“There are large parts of Britain, Europe, and even the United States where religion is a thing of the past, and there is no counter-voice to the culture of buy it, spend it, wear it, flaunt it, because you’re worth it. The message is that morality is passé, conscience is for wimps, and the single overriding command is ‘Thou shalt not be found out.’” – Jonathan Sacks, “Reversing the Decay of London Undone,” The Wall Street Journal (8-20-11)

I sometimes wonder: would we sin nearly as often if we really believed that our sins will “find us out”, or to put it another way, if everything that we’ve hidden will be made as plain and as visible as day.  Every bank robber or criminal thinks that they’ll be able to get away with their crime.  And many don’t see what they are doing as wrong – somehow thinking that as long as they aren’t caught, that it isn’t really illegal.

With God, there is no way that what we have done will not be found out and made visible.  Think about that today when  you are tempted to do something in secret that you know is wrong, for nothing is really secret.

PRAYER: Don’t let us deceive ourselves foolishly thinking that what we do in secret will never be known or revealed!  Let us not be ashamed in the day of your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/13/11 – The Hidden Things of God

DayBreaks for 07/13/11 – The Hidden Things of God

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.- Psalm 51:10

For me, one of the highlights of our recent road trip was visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  If you’ve not been there, stop right now and go pencil it into your bucket list.  It’s a must see – like the Grand Canyon.

We descended about 2 miles through the caverns to a depth of 750 feet underground, wandering among spectacular and strange wonders.  At every turn, new visions would appear of shapes and colors and textures – all marvelous and delightful.  I shot more pictures that day in the caverns than at any other single place on our trip.

When we came up out of the cave after several hours, I was struck with the wonder of what God had created in a place that only He could see for thousands of years.  Why would God make such beauty, only to hide it in absolute, total darkness 750 feet below the surface of the planet?

I don’t presume to speak for God on this matter, nor to know His reasons, but I’d be willing to venture a few thoughts on the subject.  First, I think God creates because He delights to do so.  And much of what He creates has always been hidden from human eyes: things on the ocean floor, things in deep space that we can’t even begin to see with our most powerful telescopes.  Yet, He created those things because it delighted Him to do so.

Then, I thought about the darkness of the human heart, and how it, too, like Carlsbad, is hidden from view.  And God is at work there, too…slowly, painstakingly, over long periods of years, forming and shaping and changing the landscape of our hearts to more closely match that of Jesus.

When we look at one another, we see only the outside.  We can’t see the inside.  We can’t change our own hearts from sinful to obedient.  It is work that only God can, and does do, day after day…unseen, but yet beautiful, too.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful things you create in the hidden places of the world and in our hearts!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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