DayBreaks for 12/13/19 – Two Impossibilities

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DayBreaks for 12/13/19: Two Impossibilities

When we stop to consider the workings of God throughout history, we are challenged over and over to try to grasp the actions of a God who not only isn’t fazed by “impossible” things, but who specializes in making the impossible possible.  How can one simply speak and things come into existence?  It is a mystery to me.  How can One take the dust of the earth and form a being that is as complex as a human – and then give that dust and clay life?  The questions could go on and on: how can barren wombs and the womb of a virgin give birth?  How can a blind man receive sight by just a word?  How can one escape a den full of ravenous lions without a scratch, or the flames of a furnace without even a hint of smoke?  How can a fisherman walk on water?  How can a few fish and loaves feed over 5000 with more left over than when the entire undertaking started?  How?  Because God’s hand was in each and every one of those things.

Some folks work desperately hard to keep God out of their lives and out of their world.  They cry “separation of church and state” in an effort to eliminate any conversation about God.  They must deliberately choose to believe that which is truly unbelievable: that all that exists in its nearly infinite complexity and beauty “just happened.”  (Where’s the logic in that?) 

I liked this when I read it: “Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.

It was at Christmas that the wooden manger held the baby that came from the virgin’s womb – and there could be “no entrance” that way as we all know.  All of us, that is, except God, Who wasn’t fazed by the complexities of that at all.  And it was a wooden cross that put Him in a tomb in death – a door marked “No Exit”.  Again, to God it was no more than a mere technicality – and the “No Exit” sign over the tombs of all was removed once and for all. 

Don’t ever think that it is impossible for God to enter the hearts of even those who are most closed to Him.  He came into the world in an “impossible” way and He can come into hearts in miraculous ways, too.  And He has certainly shown that the “No Exit” that hangs over the tomb is nothing more than a wet paper tiger that He tore to shreds at his resurrection. 

Pray for Him to make entrance to hearts that are sealed off against Him and draw comfort that He opened the way through his life, death and resurrection, to eternal glory.

PRAYER: We thank You that there is nothing too hard for You – whether it is to come into the world in an impossible way, or to give life to the dead!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/31/18 – Pick and Choose Morality

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DayBreaks for 10/31/18: Pick and Choose Morality

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/09/98:

James 3:11-12: Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Our country is suffering a real trauma. For months, accusations against President Clinton were on the front pages, along with denials from the president himself. As events have sadly shown, they weren’t just accusations or rumors – they were true (by the president’s own admission). It is sad and heartbreaking. We need to pray for the president just as we would for anyone who has been overtaken by sin – pray for true repentance so forgiveness can be given. But I don’t really want to focus on the president or the political issue per se. In J. Budziszewski’s article in the August 22 issue of WORLD magazine, he was discussing the president’s situation and the fact that many Americans believed Mr. Clinton was lying, but many go on to say he was doing a good job as president. Budziszewski asked, “What could they be thinking?” and then went on: “Through diligent listening, I’ve compiled some possibilities: ‘Who am I to judge?’, ‘Everyone lies about sex’, ‘All I care about is the economy’, ‘The other politicians are just as bad’, ‘If his wife can put up with it, so can I,’, ‘I’m so disgusted I’ve stopped paying attention.’ “Have these thoughts any common thread? Yes: they all express the idea that character doesn’t count – that you can be a bad man and yet a good statesman. I doubt that many people would swallow that notion whole. But they do tend to swallow a big part of it – the belief that you can be a bad man in some ways, yet a good statesman.”

Budziszewski calls this the “Pick and Choose Delusion”. It is a disease I think we all suffer from. He says, “We believe that we can pick and choose our sins; persistent disobedience to God in one area of life leaves the others unaffected. This delusion is like thinking, ‘I’m not going to do anything about my cancer. After all, it’s only in my lymph glands!’ The truth is that we cannot pick and choose our sins. Untreated by repentance, disobedience to God spreads from organ to organ until it reaches the heart.”

We can’t pick the areas of our life that we are willing to let God clean. We can’t choose to be holy in some areas and unholy in others. In fact, it is precisely those areas that we might choose to be “unholy” that God most wants to clean in us. You can’t be a good Christian but a bad father or mother, or a faithful follower of God and be unfaithful to your husband or wife. Yes, we all sin and all need forgiveness, but we can’t pick and choose morality. “No man can pick and choose his sins, because sin is never satisfied. Like the fire, it spreads; like the leech, it devours.” And like the cancer, it kills. “Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve….

PRAYER: You know our secret sins and weaknesses even better than we do, Lord. We need your help to be clean! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/21/17 – A World of Impossibilities

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DayBreaks for 12/21/17: A World of Impossibilities

Matthew 1:18 (ESV) – Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

This is a story of impossibilities. Consider the impossibilities Mary faced in this story: she is a virgin and pregnant – she is having a child while she is a virgin. Impossible! No way! Won’t happen! Joseph has to follow through on the marriage after he discovers Mary is pregnant. Impossible! Mary must avoid being stoned to death when the neighbors hear the news. Impossible!

Consider the impossibility Elizabeth faced. She was well past the childbearing age, and yet God says she is going to conceive and bear a child. This impossible news left old Zechariah speechless. Impossible! No way! Won’t happen!

This is a story of biblical impossibilities. We love to ponder them because we all long for some impossibilities in our own lives, don’t we? But, what are the impossibilities in our world? What would you label “impossible” in your life? Peace in our world. Impossible! No way! Won’t happen! Christian values returning to our nation, morality becoming the norm? Impossible! Our church reaching our surrounding community and making our world different? Impossible! Restoring relationships, healing past hurts in our lives. A relative or friend entering a relationship with Christ. Breaking an addiction and overcoming past hurts and disappointments? Impossible!

We find ourselves with the same troubled mind as Mary, wondering over the impossible. We even ask the same question Mary asked, How will this be? To us it seems impossible! No way! Won’t happen! The real question for people today is “How can the impossible become possible?”

Let me encourage you to take heart this season if you are facing what seem to be impossibilities. This season is a reminder that nothing – absolutely nothing – is truly impossible!

PRAYER: Father, we delight in knowing you are the Master of all that is impossible and that the word doesn’t even exist in your vocabulary. Help us to not lose hope even for the things that seem impossible, because if this season shows us anything, it is that there is no such thing when you are inclined to intervene. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 02/20/12 – You Don’t Understand

DayBreaks for 02/20/12 – You Don’t Understand

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 2/20/2002:

Matthew 10:37-38 – “37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

As C. S. Lewis grieved for his wife (whom he refers to as “H” in A Grief Observed), he eventually came to write of a great conundrum: “Am I, for instance, just sidling back to God because I know that if there’s any road to H., it runs through Him?  But then of course I know perfectly well that He can’t be used as a road.  If you’re approaching Him not as the goal, but as a road, not as the end, but as a means, you’re not really approaching Him at all.  That’s what was wrong with all those popular pictures of happy reunions ‘on the further shore;’ not the simple-minded and very earthly images, but the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End.

“Lord, are these your real terms?  Can I meet H. again only if I learn to love you so much that I don’t care whether I meet her or not?  Consider, Lord, how it looks to us.  What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, ‘No toffee now.  But when you’ve grown up and don’t really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose?’

“If I knew that to be eternally divided from H. and eternally forgotten by her would add a greater joy and splendor to her being, of course I’d say, ‘Fire ahead.’  Just as if, on earth, I could have cured her cancer by never seeing her again, I’d have arranged never to see her again.  I’d have had to.  Any decent person would.  But that’s quite different.  That’s not the situation I’m in.

“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer.  But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’  It is not the locked door.  It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze.  As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question.  Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”

What is the price we pay to be reunited some day with our loved ones?  It is simply this: to love God and serve Him above all else.  Is that such a great price to pay?  Lewis’ point is well made, however – we must be genuine in our love for God for He won’t settle for us to just to use Him as a highway for the purpose of our reuniting with family and friends.  He must be the First and Foremost – the reunion with loved ones comes as a by-product of the greater blessing – coming to know Him.

There are times we have all experienced when we have asked God questions and received the ‘no answer’ that Lewis spoke of.  When that happens, we shouldn’t be surprised, or think the door to the Throne has been locked and we have been barred.  Rather, God must sometimes be puzzled at what to say to us.  How can the Infinite One explain His actions and purposes to us in a way we could understand?  In the midst of all this confusion, He wants us to have the peace that comes only from trusting Him with everything!

PRAYER: Lord, we are full of foolish questions and notions, even confused about what it is that our hearts really long for.  Though we don’t understand Your workings and ways, let trust take root and may we pursue You above any earthly or any eternal diversion.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/25/11 – Attempting the Impossible

DayBreaks for 05/25/11 – Attempting the Impossible

Attempting the impossible...

There were times when as a child, I tried to fly.  Sometimes I would jump off a ladder (but only from a few rungs up).  Sometimes I would jump out of the hay mow on the barn (but only into deep, cushiony snow several feet deep).  There were times when I tried to walk on water, but only when I knew I could stand up in the water if I were to fail.  It is interesting how as a child we will attempt “impossible” things, but as we age and become adults, we migrate more towards certainties and sure things.  What a loss we experience when we stop attempting the impossible!

I wonder if we simply had more faith as children.  It wasn’t faith in ourselves so much (though there is something to be said for the idea that as we get older and recognize our limitations that we don’t have as much faith in ourselves) as it was faith in God.  I reasoned that if God could make Peter walk on water, or Jesus ascend into the heavens, surely He could do it for me, too.  So I tried to fly and walk on water.  I was disappointed when I fell or sank.  My theology wasn’t formed enough then to understand that God is not a trickster of the parlor-trick variety who performed impossible feats just to entertain youngsters.

Gary Waldecker has written a titled, Toward a Theology of Movements: Missiology from a Kingdom Perspective. In it, he develops a theology of movements around seven subordinate movements. The third, “The Outward Movement,” is a work of God’s Spirit whereby we drink of Christ and one small sip produces whole rivers which flow out of us to bless those around us. Gary states, “the task before us is not difficult – it is impossible. However, the Lord will do the impossible through us. As the Lord commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it out, as he commanded the paralytic to stand and walk, and as he commanded Peter to walk to Him on the water, so we must attempt the impossible trusting only in the supernatural power of Christ, refusing dependence on ‘safer’ methods. This is the work that can be accomplished only in the power of the Holy Spirit.

What are the impossible tasks that lay before us that God has appointed?  Surely they must include things such as these: loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate/hurt us, forgiving the unforgiveable and those we deem undeserving, being transformed from being sons of the dust to sons of the Most High, from having our own minds to having the mind of Christ, carrying the gospel to the entire world, and to be holy even as He is holy.

I suspect that we need again to recapture the wild-eyed faith that led us as children to attempt impossible things.  Except this time, may we not forget that the task before us is impossible for us.  But not impossible for Him.  Therefore, let us risk boldly and attempt the impossible trusting fully in the “supernatural power of Christ, refusing dependence on ‘safer’ methods.”

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

PRAYER: Let us believe enough in the power of the Spirit to once again attempt the impossible trusting only in You and refuse to depend on safer, saner methods of human construction.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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