DayBreaks for 3/09/18 – The Great and the Small

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DayBreaks for 3/09/18: The Great and the Small

NOTE: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive,  March 2008:

Rev. 20:12: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

I was talking with some new members in our church family and was really blessed by spending the time with them.  Godly men and women are so refreshing!  As it turns out, the wife is from British origin and still has a wonderful accent.  Being a “Brit”, she was deeply saddened by the death of Princess Diana.  In fact, they shared a story with me about the time that they were within about 10 feet of her while they were “on holiday” in England, and then the wife shared a story with me of a time when she went right up to the window of the Queen’s motorcar (how about that for another British term that I squeezed in here?!?!?) and snapped a picture of Her Royal Majesty.  Things like that wouldn’t happen in America – if you rushed the President’s motorcade to snap a picture, the Secret Service just might snap off a shot at you!

Nonetheless, we do tend to think in a special way about “nobility” or the powerful.  We really shouldn’t.  They are just men and women like the rest of us.  They eat, sleep, get sick, and if they are cut, they bleed just like us.  They even will die just like us.  And whatever special treatment they may have received here will stop at that moment in time when they pass from this world.  There is no reason to be envious of them.

General Robert E. Lee was a devout believer in Jesus Christ.  Not too long after the end of the Civil War, he was attending worship services at a church in Washington, D.C. and he knelt down next to a black man to pray.  After services were over, someone approached him and asked him, “General, how could you do that?  How could you pray next to a black man?”  The general replied, “All ground is level beneath the cross of Jesus.” 

On that great and final day when the kings, queens, princes, paupers and beggars are all gathered before the throne, degrees won’t matter nor will royal blood.  It won’t matter how many sales you made in this lifetime, how high you rose in the ranks of business or academia, how much money you had in the bank or how beautiful or handsome you were.  None of that will even be discussed.  You won’t be able to bribe God with your money, titles or with an autograph of your famous name.  On that day, the cross of Jesus will tower over everything else and your only hope will be to plead the blood of Jesus.  Princess Diana will be there and all the good things she may have done to benefit the starving or help children won’t mean a thing unless she knew Jesus as her Savior. 

Are you confusing success in one part of your life with spiritual success?  It is easy to do.  Just because you are successful in the physical realm doesn’t mean your spiritual life is great, too.  The ground will be level beneath his cross on the judgment day.

PRAYER: Remind us, Lord, that the small and great all must alike pass through death’s door and face judgment.  Help us to not confuse success in this world with faithfulness to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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


DayBreaks for 1/09/18 – In a Different Light Entirely

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DayBreaks for 1/09/18: In a Different Light Entirely

Hardly a day goes by without me comparing myself to someone else in one way or another. It might be as simple as comparing how tall (or in my case, short) I am to someone else (I’m delighted when I find people who are more vertically challenged than I!) or thinner. It might be looks (but I usually wind up on the short end of that stick, too). Sometimes, though, it takes a more serious and harmful bent. I can start comparing my faith to that of others, or my practice of daily spiritual disciplines or my integrity to others. And when I read all the stuff that shows up on the internet each day, or hear about the horrible actions of someone on the news, I can get rather puffed up about myself. That’s why it is so serious and harmful – because I have no room to get all puffy about myself.

The problem, you see, is that when we compare ourselves to others, we quickly go right past comparison into judgements. And judging others is a very, very serious and deadly business. It’s not only serious because we’re admonished “Judge not” and that we’ll be judged in the same way we judge others, but it’s deadly when we start to think that I’m okay as I am because after all, look how much better I am than Tom or Sally, George or Jane. And the result of that is that I start to think that I don’t need Jesus very much.

Here’s what Fred Craddock, a great Christian preacher, said: “What’s frightening about listening to John (the Baptist) preach is that he puts you in the presence of God. And that’s what everybody wants, and that’s what everybody doesn’t want. Because the light at the altar is different from every other light in the world. In the dim lamps of this world, we can compare ourselves with each other, and all of us come off looking good. We convince ourselves that God grades on the curve, and what’s the difference? We’re all okay. And then you come in the presence of God, and you’re at the altar, and it’s all different. For if our hearts condemn us, think of this – – God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. There’s no way to modulate the human voice to make a whine acceptable. The whining is over. The excusing is over. It’s the school, it’s the church, it’s the board, it’s the government. It isn’t! All that’s over. It just stops. Like waking from a dream of palaces and patios to find the roof leaks and the rent’s due. Like shutting off the stereo, and you hear the rat gnawing in the wall. That’s just the fact of it. In my mind, I serve God. But there’s another force in my life, and I say, `I’m going to do that.’ I don’t do it. I say, `I’ll never do that.’ I do it. Crucified between the sky of what I intend and the earth of what I perform. That’s the truth.”

Ouch. As they say, truth hurts.

Any human comparisons we make are vain, pointless and dangerous. There’s only one Light that shows reality: the Light that is bright enough to get past every one of our defenses and shows us for what we are so we will realize how desperately we need Him!

PRAYER: Spirit, we invite you to shine Your light into our lives and reveal our guilt in comparing ourselves to others and taking solace in what we see in that very dim light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/6/16 – A Changed Throne Scene

DayBreaks for 7/06/16 – A Changed Throne Scene

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

There is no other place in Scripture that gives us as good of a look through the gates of heaven into the throne scene than the book of Revelation.  The visions and pictures that were given to the apostle John stand alone in all of human history as the most complete and revealing look into God’s eternal home. 

Early in the book of Revelation, John describes the throne and the One who was sitting on it with these words: Rev. 4:3 (NLT) – The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones — jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.  Carnelian is also called sardius by some translations, and it is a red stone.  In the passage, God is pictured as jasper and carnelian, surrounded by an emerald-colored rainbow.  The color of green was the color of mercy to the Jews.  What a blessing that the throne scene is pictured as being overshadowed with a rainbow of mercy!  The carnelian stone, being red, was the color of judgment – probably because it was a blood color.  And the jasper is believed to be a diamond – clear, strong, pure.  So God is pictured as being filled with purity and holiness, without any contamination, but also possessed of the capability and responsibility of judgment, overshadowed by mercy.

Later in the book, after all the visions, plagues, bowls of wrath, trumpets, etc., John is once again shown the throne scene, but something has changed: Rev. 21:11-12 (NLT) – It was filled with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious gem, crystal clear like jasper.  God is now, after human history has wound down on planet earth, pictured again as a jasper – a pure diamond, but something is missing.  The carnelian/sardius color is gone.  Why?  Because judgment has been executed, sin is no more, and there is no longer any need for that aspect of God’s rule for all of eternity. 

I’m blessed to know that once we’ve been covered by the blood of the Lamb and our sins have been forgiven by the over-arching mercy of God, that there will be no more judgment for us.  This should bring us peace in a troubled time and world. 

PRAYER:  Lord, we do long for the day when faith shall be sight, and we shall see You seated upon the throne, high and lifted up, surrounded by glory!  Until that day, we give You our thanks for the holiness of Jesus that You have credited to us.  May He come back quickly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/24/14 – Without a Single Fault

DayBreaks for 11/24/14 – Without a Single Fault

I have a very easy, quick question for you, and you have about 1 second to think of the answer: Who is the only person to ever live a perfect live?  OK, you got it right: Jesus.

When you think about it, that’s quite a statement, isn’t it?  A perfect life.  Not once did he sin in thought, word or deed.  It’s inconceivable, isn’t it?

There is a subject in theological circles around what is called the “peccability” of Christ.  It is a theological topic for debate that asks the question: Was Christ capable of sin?  You might respond “Yes, of course.  He was tempted in all ways like we are – yet was without sin.”  That is true, but it doesn’t really answer the question: was he capable of sin?  On the one hand, he was fully human – he was able to be tempted as a human.  On the other hand, he was fully God – who cannot be tempted to do evil.  So, though we believe he didn’t sin, was he capable of it?  I’ll be honest: I don’t know.

I suspect, though I hope no one will hold me to it, that in his human nature he could have, but the God-nature (100% of it!) was totally incapable of it as He can’t be tempted to do evil nor can He do evil himself.  I think the God nature is so much stronger than the human nature that he may not have been able to.  But that doesn’t take anything away from his sinlessness…he was tempted so he knows what it feels like and how hard it is to resist.

So, back to the first question: the only person to ever live a perfect life was Jesus.  But did you know that you will be brought into the presence of God Himself, who ALONE is able to keep you from falling, and who WILL bring you into His own Presence without a single fault?!?!  Listen: Jude 1:24-25 (NLT) – Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

I like how Jude put it: he didn’t say that God was able to cause us to be without a single fault, but that He WILL see to it that it happens!  As far as God is concerned, when you show up, as a believer in Christ, YOU will be without a single fault.  Not one.  Not even a little one.  None!

Is it any wonder that Jude broke out into a doxology of praise in the final verse of his short book!!!???

Be at peace…

PRAYER: All glory, majesty, power, and authority to You, the Alpha and Omega, Who lives forever and ever, and who WILL present us to the Father without a single fault on our record! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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