DayBreaks for 10/01/20 – Rag Tags and Ne’er Do Wells

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You are undoubtedly aware of “Who’s Who” lists that tout exceptional people. We may look up to them, may envy them and see them as the movers and shakers who change the world. What a waste – at least in God’s economy! Consider those rag tags and ne’er do wells that God chooses:

The father of the Jewish nation was an inveterate liar who twice said his wife wasn’t his wife. He traded his integrity for his own skin without a thought to what it would mean for Sarah. Where was his faith? Does that sound like a man who “believed God’s promises”? Who chose him to change the world and eternity as the ancestor of the Messiah? God.

A man 80 years old who looked like he’d live his life as a prince but who is now an outlaw – a murderer, in fact. On the run, hiding in sheep pens in the desert. Who would think of asking a killer to carry the Ten Commandments? God.

A shepherd boy who is sitting on a throne let his lust get the best of him. He got a woman pregnant and killed her husband in an attempt to cover things up. And then he went about his everyday life as if nothing wrong has taken place. Who would dare to say he was a man after God’s own heart? God.

A reluctant prophet is giving his calling but runs the opposite way, gets swallowed up by a fish and barfed out in the surf. Who would think he would be a good candidate to preach repentance to the enemies of his people? God.

Jacob was a shifty as they come. Gomer was a prostitute. Sarah laughed at God. Jesus’ ancestors were adulteresses, prostitutes and a woman who took baths in all the wrong places. Who would include such people in the ancestral line of the Son of God? God.

And you know, when I come to think of it, we’ve all traded our integrity for safety, hidden things we’re ashamed of, failed to act in faith, let our lust take over when it should have been put down.

What’s the point here? It’s not about the horrible those people did and not even about the horrible things I’ve done, but it is that God uses regular, ordinary, everyday people to change the world. Not superheroes. Why? Because whatever we lack in terms of perfection or righteousness, God makes up for it with his love.

You may long for God to use you but you block him because of your past (or present). Don’t give up on God because he won’t give up on you! Let him use you to change the world one encounter at a time.

PRAYER: I am comforted, Lord, knowing that you can still use a sinner like me to do your work. For those who doubt that you can use them, give them reassurance that they can be used just as they are to change the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/02/20 – Two Trees, Two Hills

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Jesus trudged up the hill of Calvary where he would be killed on pieces of a dead tree, accompanied by a crowd. Judas walked to another hill, another tree where he would die by a noose by himself.

Both had a purpose: one to grant forgiveness and pay for sin, the other to end his suffering because of his guilt and shame at what he’d done.

You and I will never walk up Calvary for the reasons Jesus did, but we have all walked in Judas’ footsteps, haven’t we? We don’t know why he betrayed Jesus – was it greed or disillusionment with the Messiah he’d hoped for? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that Judas couldn’t forgive himself for what he’d done.

We have all walked there: we’ve betrayed those we love, we have betrayed Jesus by promising him on Sunday that “I will never do that again!” and on Monday we’re back to wallowing in the mire. And we feel like Judas must have felt as we walk up our own hill of regret. We groan, we weep, we try to forget but the Spirit and our conscience won’t let us. As Paul said, Who will rescue me from this body of death?

The two trees 2000 years ago weren’t all that far apart. If only Judas had walked to the other tree where guilt and shame were paid for instead of to the hanging tree.

Yet I can’t be too hard on Judas, can you? I can’t criticize him too hard for the tree he chose. As Max Lucado said in No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, “To think that Jesus would really unburden our shoulders and unshackle our legs after all we’ve done to him is not easy to believe. In fact, it takes just as much faith to believe that Jesus can look past my betrayals as it does to believe that he rose from the dead.  Both are just as miraculous.”

Life, for Judas and us, is so close to the tree of hope.

Choose the tree you walk toward carefully and one will set you free and the other is full of regret.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us look to the tree where our shame dies and not focus with regret on our sins that you have already forgiven and paid for. In Your name I pray, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/24/20 – Chosen

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One of the most fun things to do with a family of children is to go to choose a puppy. We did that numerous times as a family when our children were little and I’ll never forget their excitement when they beheld the litter of romping, playing, happy puppies that they could choose from!  And it seemed to me that the puppies were every bit as happy to be chosen as the children were to be the choosers!

It is a wonderful thing to be chosen. It conveys a sense of being wanted! To not be chose is a rejection of sorts – just think back to your days in high school and PE class when teams were being chosen. I always felt badly for those who were poor at sports and were chosen last – there simply wasn’t any one else left to choose. It had to be crushing.

As Christians we have a great blessing. We know we are among the chosen – and we were picked from before the start of the world itself were chosen, long before we could prove our “worth” or capabilities! Ephesians 1:3-5 puts it this way (ESV) – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will

Perhaps you were one who was not chosen in gym class. Or you were not chosen to attend the college of your choice. Maybe you didn’t make it into med school or law school. Maybe you were not chosen to be someone’s spouse. It’s painful and it’s hard, but if you are a Christian, you were chosen not by an admissions board, a team captain or a young man or woman, but by the Creator of all that is!  And you weren’t just brought into the house as a play thing like a puppy – you were brought into His house as a son or daughter.

Rejoice that you were beloved before you were born, you are beloved now and will be forever his chosen beloved one!

PRAYER: Father, help us grasp the meaning you give to your lives by your choosing of us in Christ and let us accept and rejoice in the knowledge we have been wanted and chosen! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/20/20 – A Lot Can Change in One Day

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Time is an interesting thing. First, it’s an earthly construct because there is no such thing in eternity. It is said that God lives in the eternal present, perhaps that’s why he gives his name to Moses as “I Am”.

But for us mortals, time is important. Each tick of the clock marks the passage of our life from its beginning to its mortal end. Time matters to us as people – and it should.

We sometimes grow weary of time, or more accurately, of how long things take. It can lead to discouragement and despair, a loss of faith and hope that things will change.

I think the Bible has a lot to say to us about time if we just read a bit between the lines. Consider the events of the crucifixion week. One day Jesus enters as a triumphant hero. A few days later he’s despised and rejected. One day he is acclaimed and lauded and the next he’s spit upon and mocked. If that was all there was to the story it would be utterly depressing leading us to think that only bad things happen with the passing of time, but that would be wrong.

On Saturday of that week the talk of the town must have been the Nazarene’s crucifixion and the way the sky grew dark, the earth shook, the temple curtain tore from top to bottom and how those previously buried popped up out of the ground and walked around. For those who’d hoped in him it was a day of dark despair. But it was about to change.

On Sunday the stories changed. In the span of just one day things went from utter dejection to incredulous wonder and joy as stories of his appearing and the empty tomb wound their way through the streets.

What’s the point? Maybe you are despairing, thinking it is useless to even try anymore to hold on to hope. You may be thinking of cashing in all your chips and saying goodbye to this world. Please don’t! A lot can change in a day – from death to life, from unemployed to employed, from weeping to joyful laughter. A lot can change in a day and you have the promise from the Almighty Father that his plans for you are good ones so that you might prosper if you just hang in there.

Today may be a mess for you, but don’t give up hope. A new day is coming and it just MIGHT be the day it all turns around for you! Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss it?

PRAYER: Father, for those despairing today I pray you will give them hope again. Remind them of your love and your good plan even when it is too dark for them to see it. Let us never forget that one single day can make an eternity’s worth of difference! In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/19/20 – Keep Calling the Name

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There was once an old man who had a little spotted dog. The dog was a mixture of spaniel, collie, terrier and dachshund. He was a street-bred mutt, but the old man loved him because he was all he had. They were constant companions, going everywhere and doing everything together. Every night the dog slept at the foot of the old man’s bed.

Then one day the dog disappeared. He was playing in the yard one moment, and the next thing the old man knew he was gone. He searched everywhere for him, looked on every street, around every corner, and talked to every neighbor, but the dog was nowhere to be found. The old man searched all over the town, calling out the dog’s name as he went, listening in vain for his familiar bark. The next day was the same and the one after that . . . for weeks the old man searched till finally his neighbors and friends convinced him that there was no use in looking anymore. Surely the dog is dead, they said: hit by a car, no doubt, and crawled off by himself to die.

Still the old man would not give up hope. Every night, before bed, he went out on the porch and called out the dog’s name at the top of his voice. This went on for several months. The neighbors were certain that the old man had lost his mind. And then one night, as the old man was calling his name, the little spotted dog came home. The old man never knew where he had been or what caused him to stay away so long, but he was very glad that he had never stopped calling his name. – Brett Blair

I fear that we often give up too soon on many things.  We give up hope.  We give up dreams.  We give up on people.  We give up too soon.  Though the story about the man and his dog is possibly fictional, you know that it’s happened before in real life.  We’ve all heard such stories.  We are warmed by the dog’s return, by the man’s incessant hope and effort to find the lost creature.

I rather suspect that as the father in the story of the prodigal son scanned the horizon, he was at the very least calling his son’s name inwardly. 

I believe there are two main lessons here for us:

FIRST: God keeps calling we humans, each night, and people think Him crazy for it.  And perhaps crazy He is – crazy in love with us, driven by a passion for us that refuses to listen to those who think it is demeaning for a God to act in such a manner.  Though everyone else thinks He is pleading a lost cause, He isn’t willing to give up – and He won’t give up until the trumpet blast assails our ears.

SECOND: we give up on people to soon, too.  We may pray for someone to come to Christ daily for a year.  If no progress has been shown, we may give up.  If the subject of our prayers seems farther away than ever at the end of that year, we can’t afford to stop praying.  Far too much is at stake!  People may think you’re crazy, but keep at it.  Is it crazy for Christians to pray for a Hitler to become a believer?  Many would say so.  But what if we all united to pray for such a thing, and we kept at it for years and years?  Might it happen?  Surely, it might.  If God could reach Abraham without a phone, Jonah, Noah, Paul and you…He can reach anyone. 

Who are you praying for?  Just keep calling their name…

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. – Acts 5:42

PRAYER: Give us the strength to persist fervently for those who don’t know You until they have come within Your loving embrace!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for taking Jesus home and for preparing a home for us to join you there throughout eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 08/10/20 – Failure Doesn’t Have to be Fatal

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From the DayBreaks archive, August 2010:

In 2001, Reader’s Digest included the following anecdote about Jack Kilby.  Jack had applied for admission to the very prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but was turned down because they said that his math scores were too low to be admitted to their engineering school.  As a result, Kilby never received much training in physics and was not able to secure the education that he desired.  But on December 10, 2000 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences gave him the Nobel Prize in physics.  Why?  Because he invented something that has changed the life of virtually every human being on this planet: the microchip. 

Kilby could have given up after his rejection from MIT, but he didn’t.  He may have seen his not being accepted as a failure, but he refused to let that failure have the last word in his life.  He pressed on and did something extraordinary.  He, and many others in many walks of life, have shown us that failure doesn’t have to be fatal.

As Christians we feel rejected at times.  We know we’ve failed – and failed many, many times.  Some people let it destroy them and wind up wasting their God-given talent and ability because of some rejection.  Some feel like such failures when it comes to sin that they walk away from their faith.  There are times when failure can be fatal – but Jesus can even take dead things and breathe life back into them again. 

Have you suffered a moral or spiritual failure?  Jesus wants you to know that failures need not be fatal.  Run to Him, clothed in your failure, and receive His victory!

PRAYER: Thank you for second, third and many chances because of your love for us!  Thank you for the victory that is Yours which You share with us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/28/20 – The End of Hope

Hope. To some it means everything yet to others its one of those four-letter words. I firmly believe that as long as people have hope they can endure almost anything. Sometimes, it is those who give up hope who often are the most desperate, while for others it is utter desperation that drives them to dope.

The Bible talks a lot about hope and rightfully so. When we get our arms around the reality that the Bible teaches us about our utter sinfulness and how we are dead in our sins – well, that’s when we have no option but to cast ourselves on the promises of God and our hope springs anew and eternal.

In times like we live in this very day – surrounded by people who might infect us with a teeny, tiny virus that could snuff us out in a matter of days – we cling to hope. We hope for herd immunity, we hope for a workable and safe vaccine that has lasting efficacy, we hope for jobs and schools to rebound.

What do we do? We huddle at home, work virtually, educate virtually and wonder how long we can keep this up. We pray. We hope. And we have company.

In Revelation 6, we see another group huddling in heaven: the martyrs of the faith wondering how long they will have to wait. At least for now, waiting seems endemic to the human condition.

It is intriguing that one of the books of the Bible that never mentions hope even one single time is the book of Revelation, the book that gives us the greatest insight into how this whole creation and God’s plan works out. Why is hope not mentioned?  Because once things have been fulfilled there is no longer anything to hope for – it will all have come to pass in perfect completeness.

Until then, hope is the anchor of our souls.

Hebrews 6:19-20 (NIV) – We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

PRAYER: Jesus, we hope for many things yet long for the day when hope, like sin and death, is no more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/07/20 – Hope for Troubled Times

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DayBreaks for 7/07/20: Hope for Troubled Times

Daniel 2:44 (CSBBible) – In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.

What an amazing time we live in. Pandemics, scandals, demonstrations, riots, political division that is truly painful to see. It’s easy to lose our sense of balance in such a time.

I think Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream speaks to us at this moment, and every moment, in time. What Daniel tells the king (who was far and away the most powerful earthly ruler of his day) was this: a mighty kingdom is coming that will smash any earthly kingdom into smithereens. It’s not a kingdom of this world, but it is the kingdom of God himself.

As Jared Wilson put it in The Story of Everything: “It is the reality of the kingdom of God…that should comfort Christians today, not the rising and falling of popular opinion or the ways of the Supreme Court or the majority votes in Congress or the moral sanity of the president. All those people are sinners. We can root for them and persuade them and pray for them and hope for them – but we cannot hope in them, because none of them is not a sinner. Only Jesus Christ’s kingdom comes with perfect grace and peace and justice. And only Jesus Christ’s kingdom will remain.”

It may seem strange to think of the kingdom of Christ conquering all when we look around today. After all, when Christ came it was as a baby and he died not in a palace but on a wooden cross. When he came he didn’t come as a typical king does to fight and conquer and amass territory and wealth. Why didn’t he come that way? He didn’t have to. He already possessed it all. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”

Be reminded, Christian, not to put your hope or faith in the president or in an election or in the scientists working to prevent COVID-19 or in anything else in this world. The one thing that is worthy of our hope is the completion of the coming of the kingdom of Christ. And that is where our prayers and efforts should be focused.

PRAYER: Jesus, we long to see the mighty kingdom come in its totality and finality. Keep us from trusting in other humans for deliverance and look only to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/11/20 – The God Who Never Answers Prayers

DayBreaks for 6/11/20: The God who Never Answers Prayers

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

This past Saturday, we had a Celebration of Life service for one of the godliest and most grace-filled women I’ve ever had the chance to meet.  She’d been a faithful member of our congregation for a number of years before she finally lost her struggle to cancer.  It wasn’t her first bout with that enemy – I know she’d fought and defeated it at least twice before it rose up too strong to be overcome.  It was a wonderful celebration we had – this woman was truly a saint and it showed through those her life had touched.  It was a celebration – but also a reminder that there is an enemy named death.

In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the Underworld, the god of the Dead, was the most hated of all the immortal beings because he was held to be the only god who never answered prayer.  Never. 

The exception that proves the rule is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Orpheus was the greatest of mortal musicians.  When his beloved wife, Eurydice, died, he simply could not accept the finality of that loss.  So he took his harp and journeyed to the Underworld where he played so beautifully, sang so poignantly of grief and sorrow, that tears of molten iron ran down the normally immovable face of Hades, and for the only time ever recorded, he relented. Eurydice would be permitted to follow Orpheus back into the world of the living, the world of the sun. But he must not look behind him until they had both safely emerged from the darkness of Hades’ realm back into the sunlight.

So imagine Orpheus’ feelings as he begins the long walk by himself through the dark tunnel.  He sees the small point of light at the end, and he begins to hear faint footsteps, growing ever louder and more solid, as Eurydice begins to resume physical form and follow behind him.  He desperately wants to look backwards and see her again, to confirm that it is her footsteps that he hears approaching behind him!  But he dare not. 

At the point where they only had one more step to go before Orpheus’ quest to regain Eurydice would be completed, at that instant when one more step would mean his goal would have been achieved and her life would have been snatched back from stone-faced Hades, at that moment she stumbles against a stone and cries out in pain, and by instinct, without thinking, he turns to catch her and keep her from falling.  But he has broken the ban, he has violated the requirement, he has transgressed the taboo.  And so he turns only to see her for one intolerably heartbreaking moment reaching for him as she evaporates and fades back into the mist, forever lost in the darkness.

Perhaps the hardest thing about Death to accept is that impenetrable wall brutishly erected across your path, that steel door slammed in your face.  It simply doesn’t matter how important and essential the departed loved one has been to your life, you aren’t getting him back.  That is what makes it the great and final Enemy: “The last enemy to be defeated is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).

And that is what Jesus overcame not just by his own resurrection, but by raising Lazarus and the son of the widow from Nain!  Should it be any wonder to us that the people were filled with terror and awe when the dead man sat up and began to speak?!  

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. – John 5:28-29  This is the last, great and final hope of Christianity – that the stone wall will be shattered, that the steel door will be destroyed…and so we shall be forever with the Lord!

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

PRAYER: I thank You that YOU are a God who hears the prayers of those who cry out to You, and that You will one day answer even our prayers to see and be with Your saints of all ages once again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/06/20 – The One Hope

290 Hope Quotes That Will Empower You

DayBreaks for 5/06/20: The One Hope

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

The background: On Easter Sunday 2009, our nation was reeling. The mortgage crisis was in full swing. The roller—coaster nature of Wall Street was making everyone sick to their stomach. Long—trusted financial institutions were being shut down or bought out at an alarming rate. Unemployment rates were skyrocketing. Sensing heavy hearts in his congregation that Easter, John Ortberg, pastor of Menlo Church in Menlo Park, California, and author of a number of best-selling Christian books, offered a powerful reminder about the hope of Easter — a reminder that would serve us well still at this time. Ortberg said:

“I cannot think of an Easter in recent memory where there was a bigger need for hope, for something that would breathe life into the human spirit. A year ago, so many people … felt like they were on pretty solid ground. [Now they] find themselves in circumstances they never would have predicted.

“A lot of people … are feeling anxious. They have pressures … that they did not have [before]. They [regret] decisions they’ve made over this last year. They wonder where things will stand a year from now.

“Nobody ever wants a season of hard times … to come, but when they do, they have a way of making you … ask, What am I really counting on? Am I building my life on a foundation that’s solid enough that circumstances beyond my control cannot take it away? That’s why I’ve been looking forward to Easter … [a time when] we gather to remember the only hope capable of sustaining a human life through everything.

“People have not gathered for the past 2,000 years to say, “The stock market has risen. It has risen indeed.” They have not gathered to say, “The dollar has risen. It has risen indeed.” Or, “the employment rate has risen.” Or, “the gross domestic product has risen.” Or, “General Motors has risen.” Or “the value of your 401(k) has risen.” Here’s the one hope that has held up human beings across every continent and culture for two millennia of difficult times of poverty, disease, pain, hardship, [and] death itself: “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.”  

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, glorified above, hallelujah, for You live forevermore!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2010 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>