DayBreaks for 8/14/19 – How Can it Be?

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DayBreaks for 08/14/19: How Can It Be?

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:

“O love of God, how can it be, that You my King, should die for me?”

How much has been written about the love of God?  It really doesn’t matter – even if the entire universe were filled with the writing, it wouldn’t be enough to cover the subject!  We believe in His love (most of the time), and we certainly WANT to believe in it always, but there are times when we just find it hard to believe that although John says He is love, that He loves ME. 

Why?  Why should He love you?  Why should He love me?  Is there something deep within you that requires Him to love you?  Is there something special about my character that causes Him to love me?  While we are all unique and special, is there something about us that God finds irresistible that compels or forces Him to love us? 

The question of “How could he love me?” is a common one, even when it lies unspoken on the lips.  It is also a question that I don’t think we can answer.  I know that I often don’t find myself all that lovable.  How can He find me lovable after all the things I’ve done?  Sure, we can say it’s because we’re made in His image…and it is true that we are made in His image.  But I don’t think that is sufficient to provoke love in His heart for us. 

In his book, The God I Don’t Understand, Christopher J. H. Wright said, “We will never understand why God has chosen to love us, other than the revealed truth that God is love.  It is simply and essentially God’s character and nature to love.  That states the truth, but it doesn’t explain it. … The love of God is generated and motivated within God’s own being, just as the light and warmth of the sun that we feel on planet Earth is generated within the sun itself and owes nothing to anything the earth or its inhabitants can do – other than to be orbiting within reach.”

It is probably just that simple: God loves us because He is God.  Period, over and out.  And if He is truly love, as John proclaimed, it should not be a surprise that He can love even one like me!

PRAYER:  Of all the things that You could have been, how grateful I am that in Your deepest nature, You are love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 6/21/19 – The Certain Reality of Love

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DayBreaks for 06/21/09: The Certain Reality of Love

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2009:

They say that only death and taxes are certain.  Well, there is some truth to that, but it’s not the whole truth.  There are other things that are certain, too, whether everyone wants to admit them or not: God’s Word is sure and certain, Judgment Day is real and will certainly happen, God’s promises are certain.  I’m sure that there are other things that are certain (they all have to do with God in some way or form – except for taxes, that is!)  What has struck me recently (probably given the episode with Casper that I described in yesterday’s DayBreaks) is the certainty that if you love something, love will break your heart.

As I held Casper and watched him go limp in my arms and his eyes dilate, my heart was breaking.  Why?  This was only a dog, after all.  But I love this scamp of a dog with all my heart.  And it hurt to think I was going to hold him as he died and that he would be gone.  I pleaded with him to come back, to not go away.  Perhaps the reason he came back wasn’t because of my CPR, but because God heard my desperate plea not to take Casper away while he’s still such a young dog.

If you love another human, you better believe there will be hurt and pain and heartbreak.  Vast loads of it.  Cascading mountains of it.  Not because we set out to hurt those we love – we just do it anyway through our thoughtlessness, our selfishness, our busted human nature.  On the day I promised Laurel that I would love, honor and cherish her until death do us part, do you think for one moment that I ever intended to cause her so much pain in the years we’ve been married?  Never!  But the truth remains that I’ve caused her pain, my children pain, my friends pain, my co-workers pain…and my God pain.

I have sometimes wondered why God created love knowing it would be so painful.  Eventually I came to the point of view that God didn’t actually create love because love existed before He created anything.  It existed in His very own nature, and in the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  So God didn’t have to create love – it always has been because He always has been.  Perhaps that is also true of faith and hope, given the fact that Paul said that long after tongues and other things have passed away, three things will remain: faith, hope and love – with love being the greatest.  All of those things, I believe, are as eternal as God Himself because they find their Source in Him.  He is faithful, He hopes for His creation (including us), and He loves all He has made. 

Nonetheless, as I contemplated the certainty of a broken heart because of love, I was drawn once more to the cross and the broken heart of God over our waywardness.  If we feel pain so much over the possible loss of a dog, how much more does God feel pain as a result of things we, the objects of His love, do?  Perhaps His pain over our sin is as infinite as His love.

Prayer: Lord, I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused You – the One who loves me more than anyone or anything else could possibly love me.  Forgive me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 6/12/19 – The Rock and the Sunlight

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DayBreaks for 6/12/19: The Rock and the Sunlight

I love a quotation and paraphrase of Martin Luther: “Can a rock that has been in the sunlight all day not fail to give off warmth and heat at night?”

Think about it: a rock that has been in the warmth and heat of the sun all day will not fail to give off warmth and heat. In the same way, can a Christian who has lived in the sunlight of God’s love not fail to give off warmth and love? No. That is why it is so important that we have first things first. It’s pointless to others to just say, “Start loving each other. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice.” No, no, no – that will not work. First, we need to live in the sunlight of God’s love. We need to bake in the sunlight of God’s compassion. We need to absorb God’s light into us. And then…we start to give off the love that has warmed our hearts.

This is why all the love songs and peace songs that were ever sung have never resulted in real peace or love. Without the Sonlight of God’s love to thaw out our frozen hearts and fills them with the warmth of God that changes us so we can love others as he has loved us, there will be no lasting change in this world. PRAYER: May your love shine on us, God, so that there will be peace in our family and on the earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/10/19 – Someone Who Loves You

DayBreaks for 6/10/19: Someone Who Loves You

In his book, Disappointment with God, writer Philip Yancey relates a touching story from his own life. Once while visiting his mother–who had been widowed years earlier before Philip’s first birthday–they spent the afternoon together looking through a box of old photos. A certain picture of him as an eight-month-old baby caught his eye. Tattered and bent, it looked too banged up to be worth keeping, so he asked her why, with so many other better pictures of him at the same age, she had kept this one.

Yancey writes, “My mother explained to me that she had kept the photo as a memento, because during my father’s illness it had been fastened to his iron lung.” During the last four months of his life, Yancey’s father lay on his back, completely paralyzed by polio at the age of twenty-four, encased from the neck down in a huge, cylindrical breathing unit. With his two young sons banned from the hospital due to the severity of his illness, he had asked his wife for pictures of her and their two boys. Because he was unable to move even his head, the photos had to be jammed between metal knobs so that they hung within view above him–the only thing he could see. The last four months of his life were spent looking at the faces he loved.

Philip Yancey writes, “I have often thought of that crumpled photo, for it is one of the few links connecting me to the stranger who was my father. Someone I have no memory of, no sensory knowledge of, spent all day, every day thinking of me, devoting himself to me, loving me . . . The emotions I felt when my mother showed me the crumpled photo were the very same emotions I felt that February night in a college dorm room when I first believed in a God of love. Someone is there, I realized. Someone is there who loves me. It was a startling feeling of wild hope, a feeling so new and overwhelming that it seemed fully worth risking my life on.”

Someone is there who loves YOU.

PRAYER: Help us to believe and trust in the fact that You love us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/30/19 – Love or Hate?

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DayBreaks for 5/30/19: Love or Hate?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

How many times has someone spoken to you about a “loved one” that they are fearful are not believers?  Almost certainly, you have loved ones yourself that are not disciples of Jesus.  And it seems that when that is the case, many times the believers in their lives are afraid to say anything to their friends about their spiritual condition.  That may be just due to not really knowing how to tell someone about Jesus, but I think that more often than not, there’s another reason.  To tell someone about Jesus isn’t complex: just tell them what Jesus has done for you.  You don’t have to make erroneous claims such as “I’ve never been tempted by sin again after I became a disciple,” or “Everything has been great since I became a Christian.”  Please don’t say such things: they identify you right away as a liar.  Be honest about your sin, be honest about your present struggles and how hard it is to live a Christian life, but tell them about the peace and joy and love and hope that has taken over your heart because of HIS goodness, and HIS promises…not your goodness or perfection.

Sometimes God has used unbelievers to make some of the most significant statements about faith and people of faith that I’ve ever read.  Take Nebuchadnezzar, for one, Darius for another.  Even the demons make amazing statements: “I know who Jesus is, but who are you?”  They know, all right.  And even they call Jesus “Lord”.

I recently ran across this statement by Penn Jillette, who is not only an atheist, but a foul-mouthed comedian to boot.  But this is worth reading because perhaps it shows us that perhaps our fears of telling someone about Jesus need to be replaced by something else: a recognition that failure to tell them about Jesus shows that we really don’t love them very much at all. 

“Atheist Penn Jillette is one half of Penn and Teller, a duo that has been headlining Vegas shows for years with comedy and the art of illusion. Penn has never been shy about his disbelief in God, often writing about his conviction in articles and best-selling books. Yet in an on-line video blog that can be found on YouTube, Penn shares a story about the time a gracious Christian businessman gave him a Bible as a gift. Penn goes on to use the story as an opportunity to point out that Christians who don’t evangelize must really hate people. Here’s the direct quote from his video blog:

“I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who do not proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, uh, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize, [saying] “Just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself”—uh, how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize them? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond the shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming to hit you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”  – Bill White, Paramount, California; source: “Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible,” YouTube.com 

More important, indeed.  Let’s get our perspective right and start to tell people about Jesus!

Prayer: Oh, Father, we invite your Spirit to search our hearts and to convict us of our great need to share Jesus with those we know and love – in fact, with everyone we possibly can!  Let our hearts burn hot with enough love that we will tell the truth and entrust the results to You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/02/19 – The Reason to Live…and Die

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DayBreaks for 5/02/19: The Reason to Live and Die

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

God created humans to live a life of love.  There was an article in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine that confirmed this truth. The article described a very successful man that I’d never heard of, and you probably haven’t either.  His name is David Kelley, and he is the founder of what many regard as the premier design firm in the country—Ideo—and has been a respected professor at Stanford University for more than 30 years.  The man is enormously creative – a genius.  Suddenly, at 56 years of age, Kelley learned he had cancer.  In the Fast Company article, Linda Tischler wrote:

“What ensued was sheer hell. Chemo, surgery, radiation. Mouth sores. A throat so raw he could barely swallow. Nausea so severe he couldn’t concentrate enough to read or even watch TV. “I spent nine months in a room trying not to throw up,” he says. The treatment wrecked his saliva glands and his taste buds. He lost 40 pounds.

“Kelley is happily married and has one daughter. This is where the idea of being created for love comes in. As Kelley struggled through the difficult emotions that come with this kind of experience, he discovered his reason to live. Kelley says about his daughter:

“At first, you think, ‘I don’t want to miss her growing up.’ That’s motivating, but not that motivating. It’s when you manage to get out of yourself and start thinking of her that you get the resolve to continue. When you think, ‘I don’t want her not to have a father’—then you want to stay alive.

“What gave Kelley a reason to endure the suffering of his treatment was not the pleasure he would get out of experiencing life with his daughter, as wonderful as that would be. Kelley realized that what truly motivated him was the benefit he could bring to his daughter. What motivated Kelley at the deepest level was selfless sacrifice for another—love. We were made for this.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I will confess this: having had one episode of cardiac bypass surgery, I am not eager to contemplate ever having such surgery again, although it is probably in the cards for me somewhere down the road.  Many have been the times that I’d considered what I’d do if the doctors were to tell me some day “You need another bypass operation.”  Would I do it?  My thinking has run along these lines: if it were just me, probably not.  But I now am richly blessed with 6 grandchildren, and I’ve told myself “Yes, I’d do it because I want to watch them grow.”  That is a selfish motive (not necessarily a bad one, but self-centered nonetheless.)  It would be much better to say, “I don’t want then growing up without their Pop-pop.” (That’s me!)  That switches the motivation and focus away from me and my wishes, to them and their needs. 

After all, isn’t that the motivation that led Jesus to the cross?

Prayer: Lord, give us wisdom to find the way to love others properly, to find our motivation for living and life, death and dying, in loving service to them and You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/25/19 – Love You Forever

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DayBreaks for 4/25/19: Love You Forever

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

Ah, the promises of endless love! How they sweep us off our feet when we are young…and how they comfort us in our declining years. Endless love has been immortalized in endless love songs. It seems that the world simply cannot get enough of the idea of a timeless, endless love. We want to believe in a love that will never die, will never end, will never fade or lose it’s luster. We want to believe that our love – and those things we love – will go on beyond the grave.

When my children were little, there was a book that I loved to read to them, even though I struggled to read it each time because it nearly always made me cry. The name of the book is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  It is the story of a mother’s love for her little boy, from his earliest days, right through the period called “the terrible twos”, through the rebellious teen years and on into the boy’s middle age. No matter what the boy’s age is, the mother is always consistent: she gathers the sleeping form of her son into her aging arms and holds him with the tenderness that only a mother can muster. As she holds the sleeping baby/child/boy/man, she sings the same song over and over to him: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

It is a beautiful book, and a beautiful thought. Don’t we all long to be loved like that? But there is one problem with what the mother has to say – not so much a problem, but a lurking reality that can’t be escaped: “…as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Implied in the words of the song is the inevitable specter of death and the reminder that at some point she will die and no longer be able to sing her love song to her “baby.”

For those who know Jesus, the words could be sung to us: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my child you’ll be.” Only when Jesus sings that to us it takes on an entirely different meaning, for the phrase “as long as I’m living” takes on real meaning when applied to Christ. For him, it’s not haunted by a shadow of his potential demise, but rather becomes a reminder that we will indeed be loved forever, liked for always and that we shall forever and eternity be his beloved child! God lives, and God loves, forever.

Do not fear…do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:16-17)

Prayer: Lord, in your embrace we find peace and love everlasting for neither your love, nor you, will ever die.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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