DayBreaks for 8/5/20 – The Thirsty God

Western shore of the Sea of Galilee from atop Mt. Arbel, January 2016, by Galen Dalrymple

I love the stories in the bible of creation, of the flood, of the plagues on Egypt, the preservation in the wilderness, the miracles of the taking of the Promised Land, of Daniel in the lion’s den, the three Israelite boys in the fiery furnace, the virgin birth, the raising of Lazarus and the raising of Jesus. Why do we love those and other stories like them? Because they remind us of how incredibly powerful and awesome God is!

We should also be indebted, however, to the gospel writers who recorded Jesus’ weariness after teaching all day. How he got tired after traveling with the disciples and he stopped at a well in Samaria while the disciples went in search of food. And then there’s being so bone-weary tired that he was sleeping through a raging sea in a tossing boat and only was awakened not by the noise of the sea or wind, but by the terrified cries of the disciples.

And then we come to the messages spoken from the cross. They are messages of compassion: “Forgive them”, “Today you’ll be with me in Paradise”, “Mother, behold your son”, and the powerful “It is finished! Into your hands I commit my spirit!”. Then there’s one that just doesn’t seem to fit the mold of the other proclamations: I’m thirsty.

Why did they record “I’m thirsty”? I suspect that the Spirit knew that in all our adoration of Jesus that we needed to be reminded that not only was he God, but he was very, very human. 100% human, in fact, “fully human and fully God”.

It helps me to know he understands the boredom and dullness that can come from being house-bound on a very ordinary day, or of working your fingers to the bone, of dealing with unhappy customers, of complaining neighbors. We need to remember that his divinity didn’t protect him from any of those things or any of the other things that pierce us day after day. He knows. He experienced it. He understands. And that is comforting.

One misty, cool morning in January 2016, I sat on top of Mt. Arbel overlooking the sea of Galilee’s western shore. I saw where Magdala was, Capernaum and other towns from Scripture. And as I sat there, I tried to make out a human form walking on the beach. It struck me that had I sat there perhaps 2000 years earlier, I might have seen Jesus walking on that beach and thought he was just another human instead of God walking there. And I’d have been right – he was human – and all too many missed him because he didn’t appear to be God in the flesh. It was only his actions and words that revealed the God inside of him. I would have dismissed him as just another human walking on the beach. Maybe that’s how he prefers to show himself to us – as the son of man – so we’d know he knows. It is only then that we can also appreciate him as the Son of God.

PRAYER: Jesus, visit us in our afflictions. Comfort us with your knowledge of human life. And let us see you as the Son of God as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/24/20 – The Lord Among the Dogs

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There are many people – adults and children alike – who are afraid of dogs.  I am not generally among that number, though I must confess that if I meet a large canine barking furiously with drool dripping from its jaws, I could be very intimidated! 

The fear of dogs is relatively common.  One such person who had a great fear of dogs was Louis Pasteur.  He was more afraid of dogs than most people, virtually quaking with fear every time the sound of a distant bark was heard.  He had good reason for his fear: as a child, a mad, rabid wolf tore through the boyhood village where he grew up.  The wolf brought quick death, or slow and agonizing death, from its rabid bites.  Many of his friends and neighbors suffered greatly or died.  In explaining his fears, Pasteur said, “I have always been haunted by the cries of those victims.”  Yet amazingly, in 1882, when he was past the age of 60, the brilliant Pasteur gave up all his other studies and research in an intense search for a cure for rabies.

For three long years, in spite of his deeply seated fears, he risked his life living with mad dogs.  In the end, he came up with a vaccine to cure the victims of rabies. On a warm July night in 1885, he tried the first injection on a little boy whose life seemed doomed. The boy lived. The remembered agony of his neighbors spurred Louis Pasteur to find a cure for this dread disease.

Is this story not akin to that of Jesus?  Jesus, though knowing he would as a human feel the fear of the crucifixion and anguish of the garden, still chose to live among those who were so sick from the poisonous bite of sin.  Jesus lived among the “mad dogs” for approximately 33 years, even giving himself over to their attacks, and in the end, he, too, came up with a cure – a cure for a disease that no scientist could invent – the disease of sin and death. 

PRAYER: Lord, how deep the disease of sin lies in our fleshly nature!  All glory to Your Son, Jesus Christ, the great Physician who has brought us healing by His sacrifice!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/22/20 – Why I’m Not Like Jesus

Let’s get one thing clear up front: I’m so far short of being like Jesus that it stings to contemplate. I also know this: I’ve got plenty of company, in fact, every other human on the face of the planet joins me in that condition.

The crucifixion of Jesus is described in Luke 23. Here was God made flesh, nailed naked to a tree, in excruciating agony of body and soul. All around him were looky-loos. That’s one thing, but there were many who “sneered” at him and “hurled” insults at him.

You know the pain of words. They can hit us like heavy stones, bruising and breaking us. They are meant to inflict damage to the body and psyche.

One must wonder what kind of people these were. We know some were the so-called religious leaders which would seem shocking if not for the fact the gospels have shown us their character already. One was a thief who was dying beside Jesus. But what troubles me is what Max Lucado pointed out in No Wonder They Call Him the Savior: they were jeering a dying man who was in agony. As Max wrote, who among us would jeer and hurl insults at a man sitting in the electric chair as he convulses in agony? We wouldn’t think of it – it is beyond the pale of human decency. Yet they did that to the Christ.

His response: Father, forgive… One might expect that he’d hurl taunts back: “Just you wait until after I rise from the dead!” or “I’ll get you back when I return in glory and you’ll fry for eternity!” But that’s not Jesus. That would be me. Even if I didn’t say it, I probably would have thought it.

As Max said: “Sometimes I wonder if we don’t see Christ’s love as much in the people he tolerated as in the pain he endured.” One of those he tolerated is me. Another one is you. Therein we see love.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for tolerating us and begging God to forgive us even though we hurt you over and over. Help us all to be more like you this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/13/20 – WHAT is Jesus to You?

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DayBreaks for 3/13/20: What is Jesus to You?

The title of this DayBreaks may seem strange. More often than not we would ask, “Who is Jesus?” In fact, Jesus asked his disciples who people were saying he was, and then he asked who they thought he was and Peter gave his outstanding confession of Jesus as the Son of God.

While it is vitally important to understand who Jesus is, it is also instructive to consider what  he is. The answer may vary from person to person depending on where Jesus has met them in their lives and in their need, but I love the way that Zach Williams puts it in his song, Chain Breaker. Here’s what he has to say in the chorus of the song:

“If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker.”

As with most of us, we scurry about life taking things for granted and we don’t think often enough about what others have done for us. What is Jesus to you? Take a moment now to think about what Jesus is to you and what he has done for you. Has he met you in your pain? Has he found you when you were wandering in a world of sin and despair and led you out? What has he freed your from? Once you’ve thought about it, pause for a while and give him the thanks and praise he deserves for all he’s done for you.

Link to Chain Breaker on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TtqFg4dzyI

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for the pain in my life you’ve taken, the shame and guilt you’ve lifted and how you found me when I was lost. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to YouTube video with coronavirus (COVID-19) facts, symptoms and prevention tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/07/20 – Why Don’t We Get Better

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DayBreaks for 2/07/20: Why Don’t We Get Better?

Romans 7:18 – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out.

That’s the apostle Paul who said that. Quite a statement coming from him, don’t you think?

Why is it that year after year, decade after decade, most of us struggle with specific sins in our lives? We wrestle them, beg forgiveness and tell God that we’ll try harder to stop sinning in those ways. We weep over them. We may beat our selves as a way to discipline ourselves into obedience. Then, when we finally feel like we’ve achieved a measure of success, well, we blow it again.

I think Steve Brown in A Scandalous Freedom may be on to something when he wrote: “The greatest cause for our not getting better is our obsession with not getting better.” Here’s his reasoning:

“When Paul talks about the abolition of the law in the book of Romans, he gives us a powerful way to get better, because he knew that getting better wasn’t the point. Our relationship with God is the point, and that is the place where we ought to get obsessive. When I am obsessed with being better instead of being consumed with God’s love and grace, I become prideful if I can pull it off and self-centered if I can’t…Holiness hardly ever becomes a reality until we care more about Jesus than about holiness.”

Don’t get Steve wrong – holiness is important and God says we must be holy as he is holy – but where does that holiness come from? From being good? From defeating my sin? No, for we will never be that holy. It comes from receiving Jesus’ holiness as our own through God’s mercy and grace.

If we could become as obsessed about really knowing Jesus’ mercy and grace as we are about our sin problem we will have taken a huge step forward.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to really know you and not just know about you, and in knowing you understand what it means that we are already clothed in your holiness as we stand before God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/05/20 – If You Want to Know God

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DayBreaks for 2/05/20: If You Want to Know God

Cancer. Pain. Abuse. Injustice. Racism. Brokenness. We all experience some of these painful things. Based on our experiences, we tend to form a picture of what God is like. When we suffer, intellectual answers about the problem of pain don’t help much because at such times we have broken hearts, not broken heads and we need heart medicine, not head medicine.

You see, the mind believes what it has learned but our heart believes only what it has experienced. And if our lives have been wracked with pain our perception of God is often askew.

Most of our ideas and beliefs about God come from a heart, not head, perspective. When we’re suffering, we don’t look at the facts, check the Scripture or do much thinking. Instead, we draw our opinions about God from the things we experience (good and bad) in our lives. But that’s not what we should rely on. Only one source will do at such times.

If you want to know what God is like, the one sure way is to look at Jesus. As Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom, “If you want to know how God reacts to people, look at how Jesus reacts to people. If you want to know what God thinks, how he acts and who he is, don’t get with a group of people and vote on it. One doesn’t discover divine truth with an election. If you want to know the truth about God, don’t get a book on theology, listen to a preacher, or even read a book like this one. For God’s sake, go to Jesus.”

The young woman was married with three kids and tons of responsibility and burden. It got to be too much for her so she ran as far and fast as she could from her husband and family to another state and another life.

Her husband eventually found her, called and told her he loved her and their children loved her. But she’d heard it before so she hung up.

Not long after, at great expense physically, emotionally and financially, he traveled to her place where she was living in rebellion, pain and loneliness He begged her to come home and she melted in his arms.

Later, when he asked her why, after begging her on the phone she’d not come home, her answer echoes that of every Christian who has ever rebelled at the pain and ran from the source only to come home:

“Before it was only words,” she said. “Then you came!”

Jesus came to join in our human pain as he was fully human even as he was fully God. If you want to know God, get to know Jesus and see and feel his heart for you, even in the middle of your pain.

PRAYER: Jesus, it is hard sometimes in the middle of pain to remember the truth about you and what you are like. When we doubt the goodness of God, let us see it in your words, actions and face. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/14/20 – A Suitable Household Pet

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DayBreaks for 1/14/20: A Suitable Household Pet

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

In late September, one of our dogs died.  She’d been with us for nearly 13 years.  She is missed.  Within 2 months after her passing, my wife had a new puppy scampering around the house.  Her name is Lucy, and for those who care, she’s a yellow lab.  (If my recent messages have had typos, it’s because I’m a bit sleep deprived due to the puppy getting me up at night!) 

When people pick pets, they weigh lots of things: cost, is there adequate room for this wee beastie, how will they blend in with other pets or with the family, do we want to go through the challenges of raising and housebreaking a dog again, etc.?  In short, people are trying to determine if the new prospective pet will be a suitable pet for the household.  That’s all well and good, and as it should be.  We all want calm, safe, and non-threatening pets!

Some people seem to approach Christianity and their faith in Jesus as if He were going to be some sort of household pet.  Do we think it’s important for our kids to have exposure to spiritual things?  If so, what kinds of things and does it fit with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or other religion best?  What is best in keeping with my own belief system and worldview?  There are many factors that some consider, and again, that’s not bad.  But there’s one problem with it: Jesus is not calm, safe and non-threatening. 

In Philip Yancey’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew, he states: “Two words one could never think of applying to Jesus of the Gospels: boring and predictable.  How is it, then, that the church has tamed such a character – has, in Dorothy Sayers’ words, ‘very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies?’”

What kind of a Jesus are you following?  What kind of Jesus do you want?  Do you really want a Jesus who kow-tows to what you want, who is subservient and so boringly predictable that there is no mystery left in the Son of God?  I don’t want that kind of Jesus.  Thank goodness we don’t have to settle for that kind of Lord!

PRAYER: You are so far beyond our grasping, Lord!  Be the God of mystery and surprise in our lives each and every day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/04/19 – If Jesus Were Not There

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DayBreaks for 12/04/19: If Jesus Were Not There

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE Lord YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38 (NASB)

If you have been a Christian for even a short time, chances are you know this verse well.  It is, I suppose, the single greatest thing that we are to try to do with our life: learn to love God desperately.

Can you remember when you were first falling in love with someone?  I do.  I can never forget the sickness in my stomach and heart at parting from my beloved wife-to-be.  I literally ached inside my chest when I saw her turn her back to go into her home at night, or when she left me to get in her car to drive back to her college.  It was hard to breathe, hard to want to do anything except see her again.  We’d write letters nearly every day, we’d call and talk on the phone nearly every day.  (I never asked my folks about how much the phone bill was, even though our calls were long distance – and to their great credit, they never mentioned it to me, either!)  Love hurts.  But what a wonderful hurting it is!

Jesus statement takes on a new dimension when I think about it compared to the love of my life and how we were when we were falling in love.  In Christian circles we are expected to say, “I love Jesus!” – and we should love him, no doubt.  But while it is one thing to say it, it is another thing entirely to really love Him.  The author, John Piper, in God is the Gospel, confronts us and challenges us to think about whether or not we are truly in love with God.  If you are squeamish, you may not want to read what he had to say: “The critical question for our generation – and for every generation- is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?

Worth pondering, don’t you think?  I’m not sure how I would answer that question at times.  All of the things that Piper said are things we all love and long for.  It’s harder to love someone you’ve never seen.  It’s hard to love someone who lived 2000 years ago.  Admire them?  Yes.  Want to emulate them?  Certainly.  But love them? 

I want to be able to say that heaven will be nothing, that all those things we could have as Piper described them, would not be nearly enough if Christ was not there.  The point is: Christ is what makes heaven worthwhile.  It won’t be all those other things.  Sure, they’ll be great, but they won’t even qualify as icing on the cake. 

May we learn to love Jesus more than all other things that we might love combined.

PRAYER: Jesus, we aren’t omniscient like you.  You see us – but we’ve never set eyes upon you.  It is hard to love someone from afar.  Help us to draw close to you, to love you more than anything and everything else for you will be our greatest joy in heaven.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/13/19 – Incarnational Revelation

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DayBreaks for 11/13/19: Incarnational Revelation

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

There has never been a better “asker” of questions than Jesus!  And there has never been a more important question than when he asked, But what about you?  Who do you say I am? Matthew 16:15 (NIV)  Upon the answer to that question hangs our eternity!

Jesus said He came so that we might see the Father, or to put it in another way, to know what God is like.  In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason posed a series of questions that are related to the incarnational experiences of Jesus that reveal to us who He is.

“If God alone ‘treads on the waves of the sea’ (Job 9:8), what must we conclude from the fact that Jesus did the same?

“If God is ‘the Maker of the Bear and Orion and Pleiades’ (vs. 9), what could be more fitting than that a brand-new star should be created to announce the birth of His Son?

“If God ‘performs wonders that cannot be fathomed’ and ‘miracles that cannot be numbered’ (vs. 10), then of course this description also fits the ministry of Jesus.

“If it is true of God that ‘when he goes by, I cannot perceive him’ (vs. 11), then it follows that Jesus too would have the power to make himself invisible in a crowd (as He does, for example, in John 8:59).

“If no one can say to God, ‘What are you doing?’ (vs. 12), then in the life of Jesus, too, it would come to pass that ‘no one dared ask him any more questions.’  (Mk. 12:34)

“If ‘God does not restrain his anger’ (vs. 13), then Jesus too might be expected to show anger.

“Finally, if ‘the cohorts of Rahab [the powers of darkness] cower at [God’s] feet’ (vs. 13b), then for Jesus, too, it would happen that ‘whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out.’  (Mk. 3:11)

“What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrait of the earthly Jesus!  Or was it the other way around?  That is, did Jesus Christ, having been born into this world, set out deliberately to spend His life painting a visible and tangible portrait of His unseen Father as described in the Old Testament?”

Jesus claimed to be God.  He did things only God can do.  He deserves not just our love, but our obedience as Almighty God.

PRAYER: For the awesome mystery of God made flesh and living among us, we give You our praise!  May we obey Jesus from the heart with the full understanding that He is God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/29/19 – Just Try to Imagine It

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DayBreaks for 07/29/19: Just Try to Imagine It

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

A 2009 movie, New in Town, tells the story of Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), a high-powered consultant who loves her Miami lifestyle, who is sent to New Ulm, Minnesota, to oversee a restructuring at a blue-collar manufacturing facility.  Eventually, she’s ordered to shut down the plant, putting the entire community out of work.  At that point, Lucy is forced to reconsider her goals and priorities.  When she arrived in New Ulm, a small, freezing city with one red light and a population of 13,595—a city where people “drag Jesus into regular conversation”—Lucy is met by her new executive assistant, Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon, who is a real-life Christian).  In this scene Blanche asks Lucy one personal question after another, culminating in a question concerning Jesus.

“Are you a scrapper?” Blanche asks. When Lucy is confused, Blanche clarified: “Do you keep a scrapbook?”

It is soon clear that Blanche is quite the scrap booker. She actually has a “mini” scrapbook in her purse, filled with pictures of Winston Churchill—her now-dead dog who was a “bit of a drooler.”

“Are you married?” Blanche asks. “Do you have children?”

“No,” Lucy answers, though visibly uncomfortable because of Blanche’s line of questioning.

“Not to worry,” Blanche insists. “You’re still young. You still have time—I suppose.” After a brief pause, Blanche continues: “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

Lucy, eyes bulging, replies, “Isn’t that what you’ve been doing?”

Unfazed, Blanche tenderly asks, “Have you found Jesus?”

“Well, I didn’t know he was missing,” Lucy replies with a laugh.

Blanche drops her head. Noticing she has hurt Blanche with her response, Lucy says, “It was just a joke.”

“Normally we don’t joke about Jesus around here,” Blanche replies. “But I can see how you could think that was sort of funny.” Then, with a look of concern, Blanche ponders out loud, “Imagine Jesus gone missing. Imagine.” – New in Town (Lionsgate Pictures, 2009)

Have you ever tried to imagine if Jesus had gone AWOL?  If, on the way from heaven to earth he’d decided to take a detour to somewhere else in order to avoid his mission?  Or, if on his way to Jerusalem for that last fateful visit, he’d headed north and disappeared into Gaul instead?  Or, if his body had gone missing and there were no after-death appearances to prove the resurrection?  Not a pretty picture, is it?

Has Jesus gone missing from your life and conversation with co-workers, family, friends, neighbors?  If so, bring him back today!

PRAYER:  What a wonderful Savior You are, Jesus!  Thank You for being part of our lives.  May we invite You into every relationship and conversation we have!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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