DayBreaks for 10/16/20 – The Scariest Verse in the Bible

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What do you think is the most frightening, scariest and terrifying verse in the Bible?  It could be about the fate that awaits liars, cheats and others: the lake of fire. That would be a good candidate because we all know we are liars, cheats, etc. It could be one about the very existence of hell itself. I suppose there are many possible candidates.

Perhaps, though, it is this one: Genesis 6:6 (ESV) – And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  

Think about that for a minute. Here’s a God who made man who is now wishing he hadn’t. The implications of that are frightening. With the kind of power God wields, he could do anything he chooses that doesn’t contradict his nature. And there – in those last five words is our only hope!

God’s nature was perhaps best said by the apostle John with three simple words: God is love. God cannot act against his love. It was his love that caused the hands to fashion the cross and then send his son there in our place. Rather than undoing the creation of man he chose to redeem mankind instead.

Perhaps there’s also a bit more to this verse than meets the eye: …the greatest of these is love. In context, it speaks of faith, hope and love…with love being the greatest. Is God’s justice greater than his love? I don’t think it can be or his justice would prevail and we’d all get what we deserve – eternal damnation. He is a God of justice – but found a different way to act against evil than obliterating us: he sacrificed himself because his love wouldn’t let him do the unthinkable to us. Bottom line: the scariest verse in scripture is more than tamed by those three words from John: God is love.

PRAYER: Father, I’m so grateful for your love and that love is what defines you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/09/20 – Fear, Part 3

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NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Who have you let down already today?  Maybe no one, so ask yourself that question again tonight when you go to bed and see if your answer has changed! 

We all have been guilty of letting others down.  Sometimes we get over it, sometimes we don’t. 

Noble Doss was a football player – an excellent one.  He dropped lots of passes throughout his career, but in spite of all he caught, he painfully remembered one he dropped.  In 1941 he was part of the University of Texas football team that was ranked #1 in the nation heading into a matchup with their conference rival, Baylor University.  They held hopes for an undefeated season, but for that to happen, they would have to win the game against Baylor.  In the 3rd quarter of their game, Doss’ team was ahead 7-0 when the Longhorn quarterback hurled a long pass to Doss, who was wide open.  The only thing I had between me and the goal was 20 yards of grass, Doss recalls.  The pass was right on target and as one, the Longhorn fans rose cheering to their feet.  Doss locked his eyes on the ball and reached out for it, but somehow, it slipped through his hands.  With just seconds remaining later in the game, Baylor tied the score, Texas lost their top ranking, and their chance to go to the Rose Bowl and to have a perfect record.  Until he died in 2009, Doss said: I think about that play every day.  He felt, keenly, that he’d disappointed his teammates and let their fans down, too.

Sure, he had plenty of other memories: he was married more than 60 years, was a loving father, grandfather, and he served in the Navy during WW2.  He’d been on the cover of Life magazine with his Texas teammates, he intercepted 17 passes during his college years – a UT record that stands to this day.  He went on to win 2 NFL championships with the Philadelphia Eagles.  By all accounts, Doss was a man of great integrity and honor – that’s what everyone said about him – even while he was still living!  But while most people remember the life he lived, the plays he made and the TD’s he caught, Doss remembered the one he didn’t catch.  In fact, when he once met a new UT Longhorn’s head coach, Doss told him about that play, and he wept when he spoke of it. 

Fear of failure is crippling.  Because we are afraid we may fail (and let ourselves and others down) we may never get into the action at all.  Or, perhaps because of a failure in your past, you no longer are involved in ministry, outreach or fellowship.  You may have withdrawn, and like Doss, you fear you will carry that disappointment with you until you die – and that it will often bring tears when you think of it.

You fear that you may disappoint God – and that may be the deepest fear any of us carry.  After all, if we disappoint God – well, let’s just say that’s not a good thing to do.  We fear that God may give up on us.  Yet He knows our make-up – that we have deceitful hearts, that the imaginations of our hearts are evil continually, that no good thing dwells within us.  He knows all those things about you and me – and He still died for us.  Does that sound like Someone who is going to give up on you?

PRAYER: Father, we are so grateful that You love us with a love that refuses to give up or let go of us!  Help us get over our fears of failure, of disappointing You, and trust in Your amazing grace and love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/14/20 – Crushing Snakes

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Genesis 3:15 (NIV) – And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Crushing and killing snakes is not something to take lightly. I detest rattlesnakes – always have – but it my hatred for them grew exponentially a number of years back when one bit both of our dogs the same morning. I killed that snake 1000 times in my anger. But this passage is certainly speaking of the work of Jesus and the ultimate retribution on Satan for the serpent’s work in the garden.

If you’re at all like me, you are ready to stand up and cheer vociferously when Jesus crushes Satan’s head. Can you imagine a new world without murder, greed, abuse, injustice and the like? Won’t that be wonderful!!!!

So, how will the head of the serpent be crushed? I think that there is a “now – but not yet” aspect to it. The ultimate demise of Satan is decreed and shall come to pass, but there’s a part of it that I believe happens now. Here’s what I mean:

Every time that a believer denies temptation and chooses obedience instead, it’s a tiny wound on the head of the serpent. Every time we do an act of kindness, right a wrong, choose justice and love over injustice and indifference, we inflict wounds on the head of the serpent. Certainly, as humans, we cannot crush the head of the serpent. But as Christ lives within the believer, whenever we choose God’s ways over Satan’s ways, we are participating in the crushing the head of the serpent.

Let’s go out today and crush a few snakes and look forward with excitement and anticipation to the day when the final blow will be inflicted by the One who was foretold long ago.

PRAYER: Lord, let us not be fearful of Satan, for you are far greater than he. Let us slay snakes today in your name and for your glory through our acts of obedience and love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Crushing Snakes, a song by Crowder featuring Taya.

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

DayBreaks for 7/01/20 – The Invitation to Come Home

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DayBreaks for 7/01/20: The Invitation to Come Home

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Years ago, I read a moving story about a young man who had quarreled harshly with his father and left home in his anger.  During the years he was gone, he continued to stay in touch with his mom, and he wanted very badly to come home for Christmas, but he was afraid his father would not allow him.  His mother wrote to him and urged him to come home, but he did not feel he could until he knew his father had forgiven him.  Finally, there was no time for any more letters.  His mother wrote and said she would talk with the father, and if he had forgiven him, she would tie a white rag on the tree which grew right alongside the railroad tracks near their home, which he could see before the train reached the station.  If there was no rag, it would be better if he went on.

The young man decided this was a risk he could take, so he started homeward.  As the train drew near his home; he was so nervous he said to his friend who was traveling with him, “I can’t bear to look.  Sit in my place and look out the window.  I’ll tell you what the tree looks like and you tell me whether there is a rag on it or not.”  So, his friend changed places with him and looked out the window.  After a bit the friend said, “Oh yes, I see the tree.”  The son asked, “Is there a white rag tied to it?”  For a moment, the friend said nothing.  Then he turned, and in a very gentle and quivering voice said, “There is a white rag tied to every limb of that tree!”

That, in a sense, is what God is saving in John 3:16 and 17. God has removed the condemnation and made it possible to come freely and openly home to him.  God didn’t tie white rags to the tree – He had himself nailed there.  The cross is our sign that it is safe to come home to the Father!

PRAYER: For the welcome You give us, we, in our desperation for our Father’s love, thank You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/26/20 – The Greatest Protest

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DayBreaks for 6/25/20: The Strongest Protest

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

Isn’t that what God did at Calvary?  The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed not only what kind of world we have, but also what kind of God we have: in a world of gross unfairness we have a God of sacrificial love.

The Father could have taken a different form of protest rather than the cruciform way.  He could have obliterated mankind in the blink of an eye.  He could have stopped the rain and plants from growing and watched while sinful humanity slowly, painfully, starved to death or died of thirst.  It is His world – He can do what He wants to with it.  But His love wouldn’t let Him do any of those things.  In many ways, there wasn’t much else He could have done and been the Being that John described when he said, “God is love.” 

PRAYER: We rejoice to have a God whose Name is Love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/9/20 – There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

Unstoppable Love Easter 2015 – Freedom Hill Community Church

DayBreaks for 6/09/20: There Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love

When I was young, I recall a dilemma that fascinated me and it was primarily related to a physics problem: What would happen if an unstoppable force collided with an immovable object? To this day I don’t know, but I suppose the answer might be something like this: there is no such thing as an unstoppable force or an immovable object. With enough energy applied, anything is stoppable or immovable.

At least in the physical realm. If the Bible teaches us anything about God it is that His plan is unstoppable. It may seem to us mortals that it is being thwarted left and right but we surely can’t see the entire story or recognize all the force at work.

As I was walking the dog the other day, I had Crowder as my walking companion (via my Alexa-enabled headphones) and I was struck by a portion of the lyrics to the song Golgotha Hill (King of Love) that made realize that there is one unstoppable force in the universe and that is the love of God.

When you think about it, what is the intent of God’s plan? It is to be reunited with his very good creation in love and peace.

What if our own love were like that unstoppable love of God? There would be no child, spousal or elder abuse. There would be no divorce. There would be no war, no stealing, raping, racial injustice, no hearts crushed by infidelity and no families destroyed.

I wish it was as simple as saying, “God fill me with your unstoppable love!” I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is that easy for me. I do believe that the day will come when his love is all that remains and it will fill us, envelop us, and pour out of us. Until that day my prayer will be to know and experience more of his unstoppable love towards me so that I can love others even as he does.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (CSBBible) – Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:37-39 (YLT)but in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us; for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of god, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

PRAYER: Father, I would know and be possessed by your unstoppable love and I would have that love for others! Our world so desperately needs your unstoppable love right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/3/20 – A Plea to Reverse Babel

Genesis 11:9 (CSBBible) – Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth.

Our nation is torn and bleeding…literally. A man, made in the very image of God, killed by those who are charged with upholding and enforcing the law and the rights of every human being. As a result of that, countless thousands protesting peacefully, while others (I won’t call them protestors, for the aren’t protesting, but rioting and looting) destroy the life work of fellow citizens and violently attack humans in the streets, businesses, and even trying to force their way into homes to wreak havoc and harm. Flames and smoke ascend to the heavens.

A long time ago in a place far, far away, a people thought too highly of themselves and tried to ascend into heaven. In response to their hubris, God confused their language and they scattered over the face of the earth. And it seems we have been scattered ever since.

Right now in America, we have people who speak the same literal language, but who are in no way unified. And sadly, through much of the life of the country and especially in the last week, it seems that the church as been all too silent. Should not the church be a voice crying in the wilderness for peace and unity, dialog and reason, that calls us to love one another regardless of whether the person next to you is red, white, black, brown, green, purple, polka-dotted or striped?

We should all be speaking to each other, hearing one another’s pain and fear and understanding what each human longs for and desires.

On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, tongues of fire descended from heaven to earth and Peter spoke in a language that everyone heard – and understood in their own tongue – a universal language if you will. That’s how the church started. Where is that universal language in the church today? At this moment, tongues of fire ascend in the opposite direction as the flames of burning cities lick the heavenly sky. With one united voice, the church needs to be speaking against what God hates – racism, abuse, hatred, falsehood, misogyny, abuse of power – and to speak and bring his love to all humanity even as God does.

As always, it starts with me. And with you. For we are the church. Let us raise a common language for reconciliation and for healing and ask forgiveness for our own blindness.

PRAYER: Almighty God, where once you confused the language or mankind, we pray now that your Spirit will enable the church to speak with one voice of the preciousness of every human on the face of the earth. We ask you now to restore a common language filled with love and compassion, not hatred and rage. Search our hearts to reveal to us our own prejudices and forgive us for our hardness of heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/30/20 – The Truth About an Eclipse

Total solar eclipse to be visible in Central Texas in 2024

DayBreaks for 4/30/20: The Truth About an Eclipse

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2010:

I’m sure that you’ve seen an eclipse of the moon.  Probably of the sun, too.  It is interesting the way that we talk about a solar eclipse.  We often refer to it as the sun being darkened.  Of course, in reality the sun isn’t darkened at all, is it?  It only seems like it has been darkened because the moon has come between the earth and the sun thus blocking out some of the light rays from the sun and making it appear as if much of the sun’s blazing inferno has been extinguished.

I remember a fairly major eclipse of the sun a few years back.  It took place while I was at work early in the afternoon in the summer time.  While it didn’t get dark, the light certainly was different – rather eerie in fact.  It didn’t have the same intensity and it was darker and cooler.  It was very, very strange.

The prophet Joel spoke of a time when the sun and moon would be darkened in Joel 3:15-16 – The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble.  But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.  In this passage, Joel describes a time of judgment – it will be a trying time for the earth and creation.  But rather than leaving His people in fear, God tells them that He will be a refuge for them.

How does this relate to us today?  We are prone to times of darkness, aren’t we?  I have NEVER met anyone who didn’t have to deal with fear, discouragement, disappointment, failure and the darkness of the pit of sin.  It is simply part of the human condition.  And when times get bad, really bad, what is our first reaction?  We wonder what has happened to God – why He hasn’t “fixed things”.  We begin to wonder (probably not consciously for we would be afraid to mouth the words out loud) if God has lost His power or His capacity to care and be moved by the plight of mere humans.  He seems distant, cold.  And we assume that “God must not love me any more.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  We make the false assumption that the God who has demonstrated His love to us before has changed.  That His love no longer shines fully for us.  Why?  Because the world has grown cold and dark.  But we need to remember the truth about eclipses: the sun hasn’t change.  The only thing that has happened is that something has come between us and the sun, blocking it’s light and warmth.  Many times (not always, but usually) when life grows dark, we assume the Son has changed.  He hasn’t.  He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He CANNOT change – God is immutable (a theological term meaning He can’t change).  So when your world next seems dark and cold, think about the eclipse.  Look to see if there is something that has come between you and the Son.  If so, MOVE!  Get back into his Light once again and let it dispel the darkness. 

God’s love for you doesn’t change.  It burns brightly all the time – even when it seems to be dark.  If you are feeling abandoned, like your prayers aren’t reaching Him and His love isn’t reaching you, my guess is that you either haven’t been looking at things right or there is something that has come between you and Him.  Don’t let it stay that way.  The Light is much better than the darkness!

PRAYER: Fill our lives with the fire or the Light this day and encourage us in our present darkness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2020, Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/06/20 – That Real Love Requires

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DayBreaks for 3/6/20: What Real Love Requires

“‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk. 12:31)

That verse from Mark’s gospel is not Jesus expressing a desire, a preference or a wish for us, but it is a command.

Have you ever really thought about the why  behind the giving of this command? I don’t mean “Why does Jesus want us to love one another?” as the answer to that should be blatantly obvious. I mean, why did Jesus feel the need to command us to love our neighbor?

I could be wrong, but here’s my thinking: true love requires a command because otherwise we probably wouldn’t do it. That may sound strange because we might think that love is something that just “happens” to you on a starry summer night when you meet that certain someone and – boom! – you’re hooked and in love and will live in love happily ever after.

Anyone who has had any experience at all with love will tell you that’s a load of bunk. If it were only that easy and permanent! Look around – divorce and broken families abound – because love just ISN’T that easy nor permanent. Neighbors don’t love one another. Love is hard…and when the going gets hard it is a fact that too often the person we thought we’d love forever and who’d love us forever gets “going” to..right out the door.

Our culture has created a fantasized caricature of love that you see on the movie screens, read in the trash novels and on TV. It’s all glorious, glamorous, wonderful and passionate – until it no longer is and then it’s time to find a new person to love.

But that’s not God’s way. God wants us to grow in love, not surrender it when it no longer feels romantic. Thus the command that we are to love our neighbor as ourself. Would you abandon yourself? No. Like it or not, we’re stuck with ourselves. We need the command of God to remind us that our love is to stick it out through thick and thin and not look for reasons to stop loving.

PRAYER: Lord, deliver us from foolish romanticized notions of what it takes for love to last and let us learn to obey your command to always love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/27/20 – An Unending Honeymoon

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DayBreaks for 2/27/20: An Unending Honeymoon

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

If you are married, think back to your honeymoon.  I would certainly hope that it was a time of great joy for you and your beloved.  Honeymoon’s are supposed to be that way – a time when you can simply focus on one another and the delight that fills the heart and put away all other concerns.  It’s great while it lasts, isn’t it?

In his book The Pleasures of God, John Piper shares why God’s love is superior to any love we will find here on earth:

“Sometimes we joke and say about marriage, “The honeymoon is over.” But that’s because we are finite. We can’t sustain a honeymoon level of intensity and affection. We can’t foresee the irritations that come with long-term familiarity. We can’t stay as fit and handsome as we were then. We can’t come up with enough new things to keep the relationship that fresh. But God says his joy over his people is like a bridegroom over a bride. He is talking about honeymoon intensity and honeymoon pleasures and honeymoon energy and excitement and enthusiasm and enjoyment. He is trying to get into our hearts what he means when he says he rejoices over us with all his heart.

“And add to this, that with God the honeymoon never ends. He is infinite in power and wisdom and creativity and love. And so he has no trouble sustaining a honeymoon level of intensity; he can foresee all the future quirks of our personality and has decided he will keep what’s good for us and change what isn’t; he will always be as handsome as he ever was, and will see to it that we get more and more beautiful forever; and he infinitely creative to think of new things to do together so that there will be no boredom for the next trillion ages of millenniums.” – John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Multnomah, 2000), p. 188

I wish I could be on a honeymoon with my bride forever and never have to worry again about the cost of eyeglasses or dental work or mortgage payments or the rising price of everything else.  I wish I could be creative enough to find new ways to express my delight in her each and every moment for as long as I live.  Alas, as she’ll tell you, I’m not that creative.  But God is.  The honeymoon love of God for us will never end nor will we ever tire of it, for our love for Him will be perfected, too.

Long ago when I first married my wife, I couldn’t conceive of a love that would get more and more beautiful as time passed.  Now, from the perspective of a few years, I can understand that such a thing can be true.  But I still can’t conceive of a love that gets “more and more beautiful forever” – yet that is precisely what we will find in Him!

PRAYER: How we long to fully experience your creative, unending, exciting, joyful, beautiful love forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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