DayBreaks for 9/17/19 – Alaska Lessons #1 – Beauty

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Photo by Galen C. Dalrymple, September 2019

DayBreaks for 9/17/19: Alaska Lessons #1 – Beauty

My wife and I were recently able to cross an item off our bucket list: a trip to Alaska. It was all we’d every dreamed of and more!

The vastness and wildness of Alaska stirred a variety of thoughts within me and I wanted to share some with you.

The beauty of Alaska is stunning. It is what I can only imagine the world may have looked like when it was fresh from the Father’s hand and heart. I could hardly keep my eyes off the mountains and streams, glaciers and tundra as I drove along. And I found myself thinking about how God loves beautiful things. I’m quite sure that there are parts of Alaska where man has yet to set foot, yet they are beautiful and God created them that way. Why? Can there be any other explanation other than he did it for his own enjoyment since no one else was going to see it for millenia? 

And that got me to thinking about what God finds truly beautiful. While he loves mountains and oceans, raging streams and quiet woods, there are things he loves even more.

God loves the righteous: Ps. 146:7-8 (ESV) – …who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. He loves justice (Ps. 33:5), he desires honesty and truthfulness from us. He loves the humble heart.

As much as God loves nature’s beauty, he loves us more when he sees us acting like the King’s children.

PRAYER: Let us live in such a way that you see beauty in us and in what we do for you and our fellow man. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/10/19 – Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty

Happy and sad at the same time?

DayBreaks for 9/10/19: Cheer, Happy Faces and Honesty

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

I have spent some time lately with some very discouraged and unhappy people.  Let’s be honest: if we look at this world for very long at all, there is much to get discouraged about!  Disease and death, disappointment, rejection, mistakes in judgment, financial challenges, relationship difficulties…you know the score.  Life is tough.

In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason said: “In short, Scripture never suggests (unlike many churchgoers) that the wearing of a cheerful countenance is a good tonic for the world.  On the contrary, in Ecclesiastes we read, Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart (7:3).  How is it we have bought the lie that a Christian’s face is only publicly presentable when the corners of the mouth are pushed up?  The Apostle James actually exhorts us to …grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom’ (4:9). As the poet Emily Dickinson put it in her trenchant style, ‘I like the look of Agony, because I know it’s true.’

“Undoubtedly Scripture exhorts us to ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ and to ‘Be of good cheer.’  Yet nowhere are we commanded to ‘put on a happy face.’”

We are encouraged to rejoice because we know our names are written in heaven.  We are not to delight in the suffering per se, but in what the suffering is building into our character, knowing that the Lord has a perfect plan for us that will result in wholeness some day.  In the meantime, false cheerfulness may lead to charges of hypocrisy.  Job and David knew what it was to hurt and to weep and wail as a result.  But they also knew that they couldn’t stay with their focus on themselves and their troubles indefinitely or the burden would have become crushing.  They eventually lifted their eyes upwards to receive the help they needed in the time of their greatest pain. 

God doesn’t deny you the right to be honest about your feelings.  Quite the opposite!  He wants you to be honest with yourself and with him and others about them.  It is only then that He can begin to shape us into the image of the Suffering Servant who offers His joy to the entire world.     

PRAYER: Let us be honest with our pain and hopeful in our upward glances!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/01/19 – So Much for Experts

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DayBreaks for 08/01/19: So Much for Experts

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

I love it when “experts” are shown to be wrong.  It happens a lot, you know.  It was delightful when fishermen off Japan pulled onto the deck of their boat a fish species that the so-called experts said had been extinct for millions of years.  How cool is that???!!!!  I hope I don’t make anyone mad with this next statement (and I hope I’m wrong about this!), but I feel a certain delight and smugness if the experts who have so much faith in the power of the dollar and economy who are predicting that the “recession” will be over within X months are proven to be wrong.  I don’t want people to suffer (though sometimes suffering is designed and put into place by God to teach us extremely valuable lessons in which case we should not seek to avoid it!), but I am just so sick and tired of experts spewing out one opinion after another – often on 180 degree opposite sides of the same question!  It drives me crazy!

I long ago concluded that I don’t know anything except that I don’t know very much.  And quite frankly, that’s how experts are, too.  In many cases, those who claim to be experts have no greater qualification than the ordinary Jane or Joe.  I believe that good old common sense is many times of far greater value than book learnin’. 

An interesting story from CNN: “For eight years, Jessica Terry, a teenager in Seattle, suffered from crippling stomach pain. When she wasn’t doubled over from the cramping, she was often laid low by vomiting, diarrhea, and a high fever. And for those eight years, no doctor could figure out what was wrong with her. So Jessica decided to solve the mystery herself—and she did just that while in her Advanced Placement high school science class at Eastside Catholic School. Though her pathologist had said her intestinal tissue looked normal, Jessica found that wasn’t the case. While looking under a microscope at slides of the same tissue, she discovered an area of inflammation, called a granuloma, which often indicates Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. When Jessica spotted the inflamed area, she called over her teacher, Ms. Welch, who had been teaching a Biomedical Problems class at Eastside for 17 years. Ms. Welch agreed that it looked like a clear sign of Crohn’s, so she emailed a picture of the tissue to Jessica’s pathologist. Just like that, the eight-year mystery was solved.”

This story shows that you don’t always need an expert to tell you what’s wrong.  The same is true with sin in our lives, too.  Your marriage just doesn’t seem right.  Have you looked hard in the mirror?  Your relationship with your co-workers is bitter and rancorous.  Have you listened to your own language?  Your attitude toward someone is far from kind and filled with anger.  Have you searched your own heart to determine the cause of your attitude? 

I think that more often than not, we know what’s wrong in our relationships – certainly we can know what’s wrong with ME.  Yet we often don’t take the time and spend the energy to ascertain the truth about ourselves because if we did, we would be faced with the need to change.  We are resistant to change, and we often feel that we may not be able to change – so we’d rather put all the blame on someone else and let them be not only the scapegoat but also the target for our outbursts. 

Take five minutes and take an honest, Holy-Spirit directed look into your heart.  What do you see?  Write it down.  Pick one of the things and determine that starting right away, you’ll seek the healing that the Great Physician can give.  He’s already given you the diagnosis and He wants to bring the healing.  Will you let Him?

PRAYER:  Remind us, Lord, of how futile our thinking is and that we know nothing except what you’ve told us in your word.  May we open our hearts to you and admit the truth about ourselves, accepting your diagnosis so we can receive your healing.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/20/18 – Signing With Your Real Name

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DayBreaks for 9/20/18: Signing With Your Real Name            

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

From Bizarre News, 9/8/08: Iowa City, Iowa – “Police say an Iowa man accused of credit card theft forgot who he was supposed to be and allegedly signed his real name on credit card slips. Kody David Merrival, 21, of Iowa City, Iowa, was arrested after an unidentified man told police that his wallet had been stolen and his credit cards were being used, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported Thursday. Police say Merrival allegedly used the card for his own account at a coffee house in the city and signed his real name on a slip for a carton of cigarettes, the Press-Citizen reported. Police caught up with him when he allegedly tried to make a purchase at a deli. Merrival, who allegedly confessed to using the credit card but denied stealing the wallet, has been charged with an aggravated misdemeanor, the Press- Trust reported.”

OK, no Iowa jokes, OK?  It is my home state where I was born.  But, you have to admit, it appears that not everyone in Iowa is very bright.  Perhaps Mr. Merrival was born in Nebraska(???) 

It’s interesting how so many criminals try to hide their identity.  I’m sure that most of them do it because they don’t want to be caught, but part of me wonders if they perhaps are also ashamed and don’t want anyone to know who they are for that reason as well.  Regardless, in a case of fraudulent use of a credit card, it’s not unusual to use a fake name.  For a while, unless the criminal is really not very smart, they can get away with it.  For a while, they don’t have to be accountable for their actions and cheating.

Judgment day will be a bit of a different story.  On that day, when the great and small alike stand before the Almighty, there won’t be fake credit cards, there won’t be any masks to cover any faces.  We will all have to sign with our real name when the time comes.  The time will have come, as the saying goes, to “pay the piper.”  What a relief it will be for believers to know that the payment has been made and we will have nothing to fear.

PRAYER: Please keep us from being frauds, Lord.  Let us be genuine and honest, providing honest things in the sight of all people and especially You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/08/17 – Being the Real Deal

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DayBreaks for 12/08/17: Being the Real Deal

NOTE: Galen is traveling for the next few days.

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

A Georgia woman’s outrageous attempt at fraud has landed her in jail under charges of forgery.  Thirty-five-year-old Alice Pike attempted to pay for $1671.55 worth of merchandise at a Wal-Mart with a one-million dollar bill.

When Pike handed the cashier the bill, the cashier refused to take it, and also declined to hand over the $998,000 change.  She immediately called the manager, who also refused to take the bogus bill.

Pike reportedly offered $2.32 on a gift card, and then tried to cash the big bill again.  At the point the manager called police, who took Pike into custody.  Authorities found two more of the seven-figure bills in her purse. 

Police say Pike claims the bills were a gift from her husband, and she thought they were real.  Chief of Police in Covington, Georgia, Stacey Cotton says, “The bill ‘looks’ real, but of course there’s nothing real about this.”

The U.S. Treasury does not print a one-million-dollar bill, but several varieties of the large bills are available as toys, novelty gifts, or souvenirs.  – http://www.nypost.com, Funny-$$ Gal 1 in a Million, by Amit Srivastava, March 10, 2004.

You’ve heard the saying, “If something looks too good to be true, it probably is”, and yet we still have a tendency to fall for things, don’t we?  Perhaps it’s because we so badly want some things to be true. 

When it comes to money, merchants want the real deal, as do doctors, lawyers, dentists, sanitation engineers and even employees (when payday rolls around!)  No one likes to be defrauded or duped.  We want authenticity.

When it comes to the Christian life, the world deserves to see the real deal.  That means people on an authentic journey, working to change the world a little tiny piece at a time into God’s kingdom on earth.  The world is full of folks who, as Paul put it in his letter to his spiritual offspring, Timothy, where he warns Timothy about those who appear to be as “…having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Tim. 3:5, NIV)  

The real challenge for us is not to decide who such people are and to judge them, but to examine ourselves to see if we hold not only the form of godliness, but also its power in our lives to resist sin, overcome temptation, to love our enemies, to forgive those who have wronged us.  Don’t be so eager to decide if others really have the power of godliness – look first at yourself.

Prov. 21:27 (NASB) – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent!

PRAYER:  We want to be authentic followers of Yours, Jesus.  We want to have the power You have promised us in our lives so we can bring You glory and find the deliverance from the wiles of Satan that You intend for us to experience.  Help us to examine our hearts to determine if the truth be within us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/04/17 – Caleb and Courageus Conviction, #2

DayBreaks for 7/04/17: Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #2

There are some key statements in Joshua 14:7-8 (NLT) – Joshua 14:7-8 (NLT) – I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the LORD, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God.

First, there is a contrast: 1) Caleb claims that he gave an honest report on his return – a claim that could seem to be full of braggadocio if not for the fact that history proved his words to be true; 2) the 10 spies gave a contrary report – with the truly deadly result being the frightening of the people that in turn led to them all, save Caleb and Joshua, dying in the desert sands of the Sinai peninsula.

The second thing I want to point out is the effect the two varying reports had. Caleb’s report was dismissed, seemingly out of hand, because it would mean warfare to proceed. The 10 spies report only capitalized on those fears and scared the people. Caleb again declares his devotion to God and trust in Him to accomplish the delivery of the Promised Land to Israel.

Today is the 4th of July here in America – our country’s 241st birthday. Not many countries have lasted that long. Part of the reason it’s survived is because of the courage of the men and women who stood up for their convictions. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult (and dangerous) to do so.

It is always right to give an honest report. It pays dividends – it certainly did for Joshua and Caleb – they lived to set foot in the Promised Land as a result.

Today, stop and think about what kind of report you are giving these days. Do your words spell doom and gloom? Do they strike fear, anxiety and distrust in the hearts and minds of others? Satan is a coward and those that follow him are cowards. It takes strong men and women to take a stand, but just as God rewarded Joshua and Caleb, He will always reward those who give “an honest report”.

What you say and how you say it can make the difference in how others live – and in some cases, even in whether they live or not. Being bold in the truth is important. We need more people to take a stand for truth in our churches, families, schools and various levels of government. Will you be one of them?

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to be the reason someone become frightened when confronted with what I say. I want to speak truth lovingly – but without wavering. Help all Your children to be as bold as Caleb and may we see Your blessing as a result. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/22/17: He Is My All?

 

DayBreaks for 5/22/17: He Is My All?

There is a Christian song that we sing at church sometimes, in fact, we sang it just yesterday, titled All To Us. At the end of each verse are these words, “We believe, You’re all to us” (verses 1 & 2) and then verses 3 & 4 end with, “Jesus You, are all to us.”

We are told that when we sing we are to sing with both the Spirit and the understanding. I wonder how often we really do that. We know so many of the songs by heart that we can sing them in our sleep – and I fear that perhaps we are often sleeping through the words we are singing in worship as a result. It is a very powerful claim to be making that “Jesus, You’re all to us.” How I hope it is true – and I hope we aren’t singing those things mindlessly because God is listening and knows whether it is true or not. The person standing next to you probably can’t tell if it’s true or not, but God knows. Every. Single. Time.

As one of our worship leaders wrote: “When someone or something is our “ALL” or our “EVERYTHING”, it’s obvious to those around us. There’s no mistaking it. They are the topic of our conversations. They occupy much of our mental real estate. Our decisions hinge greatly upon this person or this thing. There is NO doubt when one is impassioned…driven…consumed.

“Now, fill in the blanks:

“I often find myself weaving ______ into my conversations.”

“Countless times a day I realize I’m lost in thought, thinking of ________.”

“When making a decision, I take _____ into account before deciding.”

“How do you fill in the blank: your family, a spouse, children, your job, your to do list? Was it money, status or climbing the ladder of success? Now, place “Christ” into the blanks. What does that look like?”

How did you do with that simple little test? When you make the claim that Jesus is everything to you, that he is all that matters, it should be obvious to everyone around us. Does putting the word “Christ” in those blanks really sound like the real you? Does it ring with truth, or does it reveal to your heart that perhaps He isn’t your all, your everything? Is it just something you sing or say mindlessly?

I realize that we must grow into loving someone or something as time passes. I have found in my own life that the love I had for my wife or children or grandchildren has only grown with the passage of time. Is the same true for my love of Christ? I hope and pray that it is so and that it will be even more true was each new day passes. Until then, perhaps I should be a bit cautious when bragging how much Jesus means to me until my life reflects it a bit more.

PRAYER: Jesus, for all the boastful things I have said about my love and devotion for you, please forgive me. Let it be true that someday I can honestly say that you are my everything. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.