DayBreaks for 7/12/18 – Out of the Kingdom of Darkness

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DayBreaks for 7/12/18: Out of the Kingdom of Darkness

The world watched with baited breath as a small army of divers and rescue personnel descended into a treacherous and deadly cave in an effort to rescue the “Wild Boars” – a soccer team and their coach, who had become trapped when monsoon rains flooded parts of the cave system. For a period approaching 10-12 days, the boys and their coach were in the cave with very little food. They drank water that dripped from the cave ceiling. And they were in darkness…total, utter darkness. I read that one of the boys in particular was terrified of darkness but he went with his teammates in an effort to overcome his fear. 

Fortunately, seemingly miraculously, all twelve boys and their coach made it out alive thanks to the sacrifices of their rescuers. Tragically, on Thai navy SEAL diver died during the effort to rescue these boys.

Colossians 1:13 (ESV) – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…

If you want to know what the kingdom of darkness looks like, just ask those boys. They know what darkness means. You can’t see. It is a place of fear. It is a place of want. It is uncomfortable and threatening. You long for light. It gnaws at you and causes you to give up hope and despair of rescue.

If you want to know what gratitude feels like, just ask those boys. Can you begin to imagine how their hearts leaped when the British divers with a headlight on their foreheads first popped up in the darkness and found the boys? Can you imagine how hope must have been reborn in that instant that they first saw light again? Can you try to imagine how each boy felt when at long last they exited the mouth of the cave that had held them captive and threatened them with certain death unless a miracle happened?

I don’t think most of us have a clue as to how dark was the kingdom that held us in its clutches. We don’t often see it as darkness because it is a darkness of the spirit brought about by the blackness of sin. The enemy of our souls makes it appear as light – he’s such a good liar – and we fall for it over and over again. For a sense of what it was like inside the caves, see this (and that was the easy part – try imagining even that without flashlights in passages as small as 15 inches wide!)

But miraculously, someone came searching for us, found us, and led us out of that inky black place into a kingdom diametrically opposite to that which held us. He is the Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

But just as with the twelve boys and their coach, someone gave their life to rescue us. Unlike that navy SEAL diver, though, the one who gave his life for us came back to life and now guides us through the darkness of the former kingdom to the light. He’s been through that blackness of death that would kill us and been victorious over it so that he knows the way out of the darkness. We need not fear. He will not fail us!  

We should be terrified of the darkness that surrounds us for when it is seen clearly it is terrifying. But we should never doubt our rescue or our Rescuer. 

And one more thing: our Rescuer has turned the tables on darkness. While it was dangerous for us as we were trapped there, now that we have been delivered not only do we no longer need to fear the darkness itself, but he has made us dangerous to the kingdom of darkness because now we have experienced the way out and can help others find the Light. 

It’s a dark, dark world. Let’s be brighter. 

PRAYER: Jesus, all glory to you for descending into the darkness, experiencing it, for your victory over it, so that you could lead us into your kingdom of Light and Life. May we never take the Light for granted! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18 – Preferring the 99

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18: Preferring the 99

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV) – What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

This is a painful passage for me. Sadly, while I think it should also be a challenging and painful passage for the church, I think in many cases we read it and fly right past it.

This passage gets to the very core of God’s heart. Who is it that owns the sheep in the passage? It is God, certainly. And while he has a sheep-fold full of sheep, he isn’t content with that. He knows there is still one out there that hasn’t come home with him, that is lost and in grave danger.

So what does he do? He goes out looking for it. There is no guarantee that he will be able to bring it home…for the passage says And if he finds it…. Some sheep don’t want to be found, and perhaps even more sadly, some perish before they are found.

Pay attention to the last sentence. He is not willing that ANY of these little ones should be lost. It’s not that he’s content if just a handful are lost…he’s not willing for even a single one to perish.

Which brings me to the painful part. Why does my heart not beat with the same passion for the lost sheep?

I fear that the church as a whole (I know there are many exceptions) prefers the ninety-nine. We prefer the comfort of the sheep-fold and seldom, if ever, venture out. We like to hang with other Christians (at least, I hope we do!) But if we lose sight of the heart of God from this passage, we may have missed God entirely. This is precisely why Jesus came: not to celebrate with the 99 but to “go out”. Does Jesus like it when Christians enjoy each other? Of course. But he will quickly leave us behind to find a single lost one.

When is the last time you brought someone to Christ – not just to church – but to saving knowledge of Christ? We should all have the urgency of Oskar Schindler who when the war was over, was heartbroken that he’d not done more, that he could have saved one more. Where is that passion in us?

Church, let us be challenged. Let us go out with the great Shepherd to find the lost so that not ANY should be lost!  

PRAYER: Jesus, I confess that it is far easier to sit in the pew than to leave the sheep-fold to find a lost lamb. I confess I have done far too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. Change us, give us your passion, fill us with your mission, let us hear your heartbeat clearly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/15/16 – Dead Man Sitting

DayBreaks for 12/15/16: Dead Man Sitting

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

“In October 2005, an elderly man passed away while sitting in his parked car in Melbourne, Australia.  He remained that way for several days before his body was found and identified by city officials.

“After the man’s death, however, and two days before the discovery of his body, a police officer gave him a parking ticket and attached it to the windshield of his car.

“The head of the Maroondah City Council later apologized for the incident, saying: ‘It must be just so sad for the family, and we extend our sincere sympathies to them.’  He added, ‘It is simply a case of the parking officer not noticing.’”  – ABCNewsOnline, 10/21/05

I wonder about this old man.  As he sat in his car, did he feel a squeezing in his chest, a shortness of breath?  A pain inside his head?  Did he know he was staring death in the face?  Or did it all happen so fast that he didn’t even have a chance to think or feel anything?  If he’d felt something, might he not have rolled down a window, opened a door, and called for help?  Not knowing the details of the situation, I can imagine and picture all sorts of possibilities and questions.  But I’m sure that the man would have hoped for help to come.

But to spend too much time wondering about the man is pointless.  What I should wonder about is where everyone else was when this man was dying.  Several days passed as he sat there in the car, stone cold, unmoving.  People must have noticed the car sitting there for several days and a person in it.  Didn’t one of them take the time to go see if the man was OK?  Apparently not.  And the officer who even wrote the ticket may have assumed the man was just sleeping and, being polite, didn’t want to wake him.  I just don’t know, and I just don’t understand.

Is it any different each and every day when I look around me at the lives of those who don’t know Jesus?  They may be sitting in the cubicle next to you, walking through your checkout lane at the store, cashing your check at the bank.  They are there – and they are dying. 

I hope that we will not be as careless and un-noticing as the police officer who saw the car, saw the man, wrote the ticket, but never said anything to the man.  If someone, ANYONE, who had seen this old man in the car had come to him early on, he might have lived.  But they didn’t come, and he died. 

One of my greatest fears about the day of judgment is that some lost person that I knew in this life will look at me on that day as they are being led away and say, “Why didn’t you check on me?  Why didn’t you help me?”

Genesis 4:9 – Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?”  “I don’t know!” Cain retorted. “Am I supposed to keep track of him wherever he goes?”

The answer is: yes.

PRAYER:  May we have Your passion for the lost.  Give us Your eyes to see their future possibilities, both for glory and for horror.  May we be moved by Your Spirit to keep track of one another at all times and in all places.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/16/16 – Titanic Story #2

DayBreaks for 8/16/16 – Titanic Story #2

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2006:

This is from a letter to the editor of August ’97 Focus on the Family recounting another story about the aftermath of the Titanic sinking:

“The scene outside the White Star office in Liverpool beggared description.  A great crowd of relatives of those who had taken passage on that ill-fated vessel thronged the street.  On either side of the main entrance a large board had been placed.  Above one was printed in large letters, KNOWN TO BE SAVED.  The other: KNOWN TO BE LOST.

“Every now and then, a man would appear from the office bearing a large piece of cardboard on which was written the name of one of the passengers.  As he held up the name, a deathly stillness swept over the crowd; it watched to see to which of the boards he would pin the name.”

Galen’s Thoughts:

           What a tragic scene that must have been.  The heart-wrenching wait to learn of the fate of loved ones and friends!  And as each name came out of the White Star office, the crowd hushed to know whether or not the person whose name was on that card was dead or alive.

           It was just a name – but the name was connected to a real person who lived, breathed, laughed and cried.  A person who loved and was loved.  Perhaps a father, mother, husband, wife, fiance, son or daughter, brother or sister.  People are so much more than just a name on a piece of cardboard and they all have an eternal destiny to be won or lost.

           The names of the lists was so telling.  As tragic as it would be to have your loved one’s name put under the list that said “KNOWN TO BE LOST”, it will be even more tragic if their name isn’t found in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 20.11-15). 

           I’m sure that each of us has someone whom we are related to or whom we love that doesn’t know Christ.  What can you do for them?  Pray.  Pray and pray and pray.  Love them.  Speak the truth of Jesus in love to them.  Let them see the love of Jesus in you.  Avoid loud and angry controversy – demonstrate His love.  Refuse to raise your voice in either anger or frustration.  Too much is at stake to blow your witness. 

           Last week I heard a great idea: a minister in a town not far from where I live has a fishbowl in his church auditorium that contains pictures of loved ones and friends for whom the congregation is praying for salvation!  What a wonderful idea!  Once someone comes into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, they take the picture out of the fishbowl.  Right now they aren’t doing anything with the picture, but they plan to put a fishnet up and put those pictures on the fishnet as people who have been “caught” by the Master Fisherman, who in turn makes us “fishers of men”!  Why don’t you do the same?  It’ll remind you to pray for their salvation and to be a witness to and for them.  Pray diligently that their name may be moved from the KNOWN TO BE LOST to the KNOWN TO BE SAVED!

By the way – what list is your name on?  1 John 5.13 tells us that we may KNOW that we have eternal life.  If you don’t have it, if you don’t know you have it, now’s the time to be sure – someday it’ll be too late!

PRAYER:  Lord, our unsaved friends and family weigh heavily on our hearts.  We pray today for their salvation – that they will have their names added to the book of life through their faith in Your Son, Jesus.  May we join Your invitation to become fishers of men.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 8/8/16 – The Gospel in Twelve Words

DayBreaks for 8/08/16 – The Gospel in Twelve Words

How would you tell someone about the good news? Some have developed tracts, some have written entire books to explain the gospel. But I like how our preacher put it these past few weeks. It’s so simple, so to the point, that I love it!

Here it is: We lost it all. Jesus paid it all. We get it all.

We lost it all: what did we lose? In Adam we lost our innocence, the ability to literally walk by God’s side and speak directly to him, we lost life and we lost eternity. It all happened so quickly that it takes your breath away.

Jesus paid it all: our sin incurred a penalty that would have to be paid. And we were destined to pay it forever separated from God’s presence. But instead of us having to pay for our own sins, Jesus left the glories of heaven for earth, suffered and died and paid the penalty for our sin.

We get it all: because of Jesus completed work (and what a key word that is!!!!), we got back everything (and what a key word that is!!!!) that was lost in the first place – and more. Yes, we were made in God’s image, we were his creation in the beginning, but now we are called his friends, his sons and daughters…and we will reign with him – all because of the middle step: because Jesus paid it all!

So, the next time someone asks you about the gospel, just remember those twelve words; We lost it all; Jesus paid it all; We get it all!

Now, go and celebrate!!!!

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus! The beauty of the good news takes our breath away! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/22/2015 – The One God Couldn’t Save

DayBreaks for 7/22/15: The One God Couldn’t Save

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

We often talk about nothing being impossible for God, and rightly so.  But that’s not really true.  He can’t lie.  He can’t sin.  He can’t die.  He can’t break His promises.  I don’t think he can make a circle have 373 degrees in it, not can He make a triangle have 6 sides.  Some things are just logical impossibilities (at least as far as I know).

There’s another thing in Scripture that is prophetic, yet haunting.  In Matthew 27:42 (KJV) we find these taunting words spoken by the little, pathetic souls standing before the cross: “He saved others; himself he cannot save.”  I’ve always wanted to take issue with them on that.  Could Jesus have saved himself if he chose to?  Well, my logic tells me he could have.  Could God have saved Jesus if he wanted to?  I think so.  But I’m troubled…

In a way, those words spoken ignorantly by those at the foot of the cross, are in a very real way, true.  Calvin Miller put it this way: “If death was to die and life was to really live, Jesus had to die.  For God, Christ’s death was an ‘either-or’ matter.  God could not save His Son if He was to save us.”  Miller goes on to tell about a book by the title of The Fall, by Albert Camus that described such a terrible quandary.  The hero of the book says, “Do you know that in my little village, during a punitive operation, a German office courteously asked an old woman to please choose which of her two sons would be shot as a hostage?  Choose! – can you imagine that?   ‘That one?  No, this one!’  The picture this suggest is that of a mother trapped between her love for her two sons.  She runs between them, embracing them, trying to make a hellish choice, for she has been told that she can save one of them, but not both.  Here is a soul-rending crisis of love.  Such a crisis ripped into the heart of divine love at the Cross.  Either we or Christ must die.  For all his love, God could not save both.”

It would appear that it wasn’t possible for God to save Christ and us.  What I can’t understand, not now and not in ten billion, billion years, is why God chose to save us.  It says something about love that is beyond our grasp, it says something about our value and worth to God that we find so unbelievable that we are tempted to reject it as heresy.  Yet there it is, in black and white…and red…His love spoken to us, recorded in blood.  We know what God chose.  We just can’t fully bring ourselves to believe it is true for it is so fantastical that it makes us dizzy to contemplate. 

There was only One in all history that God couldn’t save, and it was His Son.  Little did those at the foot of the cross know how right they were.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: God, I am speechless at what You suffered in watching Your beloved Son die!  All I can say is, “Thank You!” and “I’m sorry!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

 

DayBreaks for 10/03/14 – It’s How It Ends

DayBreaks for 10/03/14 – It’s How It Ends

I doubt that there is a believer alive who is not concerned about the eternal destiny of some close friend or relative. I don’t think that we should ever be apologetic about that.  It is right that we are concerned about them.  Love is a powerful motivator and it can lead us to share Christ with those we love and by so doing eternity can be changed! But it sure can be painful and cause many sleepless nights.

The great wit, C. S. Lewis, started out a doubter. He saw British Christianity as a pale and bloodless business. It did not excite him. In fact, to his reasoned, calculating way of thinking, Christianity made very little sense. It smelled of superstition and made promises about the future he was sure it could not make good on.

But C. S. Lewis came to see that he was missing something. He began to slide into a cynicism about life that frightened him. He wanted something to believe in. Someone who was on the Christian pilgrimage helped him to see that there was room for him in the parade. Not suddenly, but rather quietly, un-spectacularly, Lewis came into the Christian camp. We know the rest of the story: He became a great intellectual apologist for Christianity, writing and speaking to confound the critics of the Faith. He was the reverse of Ralph Vaughan Williams, taking on the critics of the Christian faith in Britain in a series of radio broadcasts which became enormously popular among a population growing steadily more indifferent to Christ.

A similar story can be told of Malcolm Muggeridge, a British thinker who in later life came to see that the Christian faith made far more sense to him than clinging to agnosticism. He, like Lewis, became an apologist for Christianity. He said “yes” to the invitation, after he first had said “no.”

It isn’t how the journey starts that counts. It’s how it ends that matters. The distance between those two points is one that no human can predict. The heartfelt agony of watching a loved one who once knew and professed faith but who appears to have rejected it is incredibly painful. In the middle of their journey (and ours!) let us not lose heart. God loves to swoop in at the last moment and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – some might even say it is His specialty. If there is a way into the heart of your loved one, God can find it.

As a movie put it: “Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay yet, then it isn’t the end.” Hang on to your prayers. Hang on to your faith that God can, and will, do something incredible in response to those prayers. Though the road may be very hard and difficult, though a life may be horribly misspent, it isn’t over until it is over. Never give up on anyone! Just ask the thief on the cross! 

PRAYER: Lord, we all have those we love who either have wandered from You or who don’t know You at all yet. Hear our pleas for their souls! Precious Father, You created them and love them more than we do and You want them to be saved even more than we do! Melt the hearts of stone that the Light may win the day in the end!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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