DayBreaks for 11/5/18 – What Is It About Laws?

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DayBreaks for 11/05/18: What Is It About Laws?

In a cartoon, Frank and Ernest are standing in front of row after row of shelves of books. On top of one of the shelves is a sign, which reads, “Law Library.” Franks turns and says to Ernest: “It’s frightening when you think that we started out with just Ten Commandments.”

It is sort of frightening isn’t it? We started out with 10 and now we have an estimated 35 million laws on the books in the United States alone. Some of them are very good and deeply needed. But there are some that probably need to be repealed.

For example: Did you know there is a law in Florida that makes it illegal for a woman who’s single, divorced or widowed to parachute out of a plane on Sunday afternoon?

In Amarillo, Texas, it is against the law to take a bath on the main street during banking hours. (Apparently it’s OK at other times!)

In Portland, Oregon, it is illegal to wear roller skates in public restrooms.

In Halethorpe, Maryland, a kiss lasting more than a second is an illegal act.

And in St. Louis, there used to be a law that if your automobile spooked a horse, you had to hide the car. And if hiding didn’t work, you had to start dismantling it until the horse calmed down.

As humans, we have a love/hate relationship with laws. We love the laws that protect us, but disdain laws we don’t like. Why do we have 35 million laws on the books in the US? I think there’s part of us that craves rules because they tell us what we can and can’t do. But I think we like them more because they tell us what’s off limits – and we interpret that t mean we can do anything right up to crossing that line. We assume if there’s not a specific law against something, we can do it, so we push the limit. But here’s the problem with the The Greatest Commandment: it would undo all that fallacious reasoning if we take it to heart and love God more than anything else in the world. THAT would truly change our behavior.

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t know if we know how to love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Forgive us for the times we push the limits assuming if something isn’t forbidden then it is permitted – even though we know it would not be your choice for us. In Jesus’ name, men.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 10/15/18 – Pick and Choose Morality

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DayBreaks for 10/15/18: Pick and Choose Morality

From the DayBreaks archive, 1998:

James 3:11-12: Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Our country is suffering a real trauma. For months, accusations against our president were on the front pages, along with denials from the president himself. As recent events have sadly shown, they weren’t just accusations or rumors – they were true (by the president’s own admission). It is sad and heartbreaking. We need to pray for the president just as we would for anyone who has been overtaken by sin – pray for true repentance so forgiveness can be given. But I don’t really want to focus on the president or the political issue per se. In J. Budziszewski’s article in the August 22 issue of WORLD magazine, he was discussing the president’s situation and the fact that many Americans believed Mr. Clinton was lying, but many go on to say he was doing a good job as president. Budziszewski asked, “What could they be thinking?” and then went on: “Through diligent listening, I’ve compiled some possibilities: ‘Who am I to judge?’, ‘Everyone lies about sex’, ‘All I care about is the economy’, ‘The other politicians are just as bad’, ‘If his wife can put up with it, so can I,’, ‘I’m so disgusted I’ve stopped paying attention.’ “Have these thoughts any common thread? Yes: they all express the idea that character doesn’t count – that you can be a bad man and yet a good statesman. I doubt that many people would swallow that notion whole. But they do tend to swallow a big part of it – the belief that you can be a bad man in some ways, yet a good statesman.”

Budziszewski calls this the “Pick and Choose Delusion”. It is a disease I think we all suffer from. He says, “We believe that we can pick and choose our sins; persistent disobedience to God in one area of life leaves the others unaffected. This delusion is like thinking, ‘I’m not going to do anything about my cancer. After all, it’s only in my lymph glands!’ The truth is that we cannot pick and choose our sins. Untreated by repentance, disobedience to God spreads from organ to organ until it reaches the heart.”

We can’t pick the areas of our life that we are willing to let God clean. We can’t choose to be holy in some areas and unholy in others. In fact, it is precisely those areas that we might choose to be “unholy” that God most wants to clean. You can’t be a good Christian but a bad father or mother, or a faithful follower of God and be unfaithful to your husband or wife. Yes, we all sin and all need forgiveness, but we can’t pick and choose morality. “No man can pick and choose his sins, because sin is never satisfied. Like the fire, it spreads; like the leech, it devours.” And like the cancer, it kills. “Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve….”  

PRAYER: Lord, we are all great sinners and in desperate need of your blood and grace. Help us choose, with whole hearts and minds, to surrender to your cleansing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/03/18 – The Missing Son

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DayBreaks for 9/03/18: The Missing Son

Matthew 21:28-32 (CSBBible) – What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’  He answered, ‘I don’t want to,’ but later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.
For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.

If this passage doesn’t trouble you, you’ve missed the point. If it is just another parable to you, you’ve missed the application.

What we see here are two sons. One is outwardly rebellious, much like the prodigal son in the parable by the same name. He shows no respect for his father, is arrogant and deceitful. He flatly refuses to his father’s face to go work in the vineyard.

The second son appears respectful and says he’ll go – but it was a lie – he never gets to the vineyard to work for the father.

In context, the first son was like the tax collectors and prostitutes – they initially may refuse the invitation to work for the Lord, but when they have a change of heart they do his bidding. The second son was representative of the religious leaders (think pastors and elders of our day) who say all the right things but then don’t do them.

Why is this so disturbing? Because my guess is that we all see ourselves as having said yes to Jesus’ calling, but have we really done what we say and sing we’ll do?  “All to Jesus I surrender..”  “Lord, you are my everything, the Lord of my life!”…but then is he really? What about when saying yes to him causes us to lose the favor and respect of others? What about when saying yes will cost us financially? What about when saying yes will cost you time and energy you feel you cannot spare? How many of  us sit in services, sing the songs and pat ourselves on the back thinking our relationship with the Father is so wonderful, but when called on to demonstrate in action and word that He truly is “everything to me”, pull back? So one huge question is: which son/daughter am I REALLY?

But there is a missing son here, too. The son who says yes and then goes immediately into the father’s vineyard and gets to work no matter what it costs. If you look high and low and try to find this son between the lines, but he’s not there. But he is. That son was the one who was telling the story. He is the son who, when the Father asked him to go work in his vineyard (the world) said, “Yes!” and immediately went regardless of the cost. That is the son/daughter we want to be like who says, “Here I am, father, send me!” 

PRAYER: Help us be true sons and daughters who say yes and then go into the world just as the One who told this story long ago. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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

DayBreaks for 8/24/18 – Soaring with the Turkeys

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(Yours truly in the blue suit)

DayBreaks for 8/24/18: Soaring with the Turkeys

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

On Tuesday night this week, I went to an indoor skydiving company (iflyworld.com – they have locations in lots of places!) and experienced what it would be like to skydive (without the risk of falling thousands of feet and smashing into the ground). They have a vertical cylinder that is maybe 40 feet tall and it has a net for the floor. There must be some very powerful fans below the netting that force air up at tremendous speed (the speed varies depending on your weight and how high you will be flying – the top speed I saw for some experienced flyers was 120mph!) so that you can “float” inside the cylinder. It was a great experience and a lot of fun! How did I do? OK, I guess. But I don’t think that any Navy SEAL’s are fearing that I’ll take their job away (though this place does help train the military).

While there was a “flight instructor” in the cylinder with those of us novices, I made a major discovery. It was harder to stay in the proper position than I would have ever imagined. When the wind is whistling past you at 90 miles per hour, it doesn’t take much to make you veer to one side or another. Something as easy as a bent leg, even just tipping your head downward or raising/tipping a hand slightly in one direction or another could send you spinning out of control. Fascinating…and you also had to think in reverse: instead of trying to make yourself as flat as you could to maximize the air pressure against your body, you really tried to make yourself smaller by arching your back.

What’s the point? Scripture talks about the wide path and the narrow path. It’s harder to stay on a narrow path than a wide one. And remember how James says that the tongue is an unruly evil – that like a small rudder it can turn an entire ship so it could even crash on the rocks? I found the same true with my “sky diving” adventure. And I was struck by James’ words.
It’s really easy to get our lives out of balance. It’s even easier to drift off the narrow path into sin. All it takes is a brief moment of mis-directed movement and you’re going to start to crash.

The warnings of Scripture are good warnings. Let’s pay attention, straighten up and fly right!

PRAYER: Father, it is easy for us to let our lives take us in directions we shouldn’t go. Keep up on the straight and narrow for your name’s sake! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/16/18 – The Word Subverted

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DayBreaks for 8/16/18: The Word Subverted

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I’ve ranted and raved before about the way language is used today.  In some cases, language riles folks up, while in other cases, it is purposely designed to salve our consciences and to try to do away with any sense of guilt or shame we may have about our actions.  Today, I want to share something with you that Eugene Peterson wrote in Reversed Thunder about how Satan uses the printed word to accomplish some of his purposes.  Certainly, the invention of the printing press and the ability to print the Word in many languages and by the millions of copies has been a great blessing.  But as is often the case with Satan, he will take a good thing and somehow find a way to twist it and make something dark out of it.  Listen:

“The subtlest and most common attack in the satanic assault on God’s ways among us is a subversion of the word.  This subversion unobtrusively disengages our imagination from God’s word and gets us to think of it as something wonderful in print, at the same time that it dulls any awareness that it is spoken by a living God.  It has been an enormously successful strategy: millions of people use the Bible in which they devoutly believe to condemn people they do not approve of; millions more read the word of God daily and within ten minutes are speaking words to spouses, neighbors, children, and colleagues that are contemptuous, irritable, manipulative, and misleading.  How does this happen?  How is it possible for people who give so much attention to the Word of God, to remain so unaffected by it?  Not, surely, through unbelief, but through lack of imagination: the enemy subverted the spoken word into an ink word…they go through the minds of the readers like water through a pipe.”

A couple of pages later, he continues to drive home the point: “If the Revelation is masterful in getting us involved in a living response to scripture, it is also unavoidable in its claim that scripture is God’s word to us, not human words about God.  Reading scripture as if it were the writings of various persons throughout history giving their ideas of experiences of God, is perhaps the commonest mistake that is made in reading scripture.  And the deadliest.”

What is your attitude towards the word?  Do you eagerly say, “Yes, I believe Scripture is God’s word and it’s inspired and the only sure and safe guide for faith”?  Do you still say the same thing when you find it says something you don’t agree with, or which you don’t like?  Does it, at those moments, become less than inspired for you?  It is precisely at those moments when we discover something in the word which makes us uncomfortable and which is convicting to us that we need to bow the knee before the Word, realizing it’s not just someone’s opinions or a gentle suggestion about what God wants – it is His very WORD!

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) – For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

PRAYER: Give us the wisdom to rightly divide Your word and to apply it to our lives.  Give us the courage to read it at face value, humbly, knowing we are reading the very words of God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/27/18 – Our Deadly Commonsense

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DayBreaks for 7/27/18: Our Deadly Commonsense

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to email.

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

From Don Everts’ God In the Flesh: “We call you, Lord, Lord’ and do not do what you tell us because you tell us to do such strange things.

“Consider a few of his teachings there in Luke 6: the poor are lucky.  The rich are unfortunate.  Congratulations to those who mourn today.  Give to everyone who begs from you.  Bless those who curse you.  Do for others what you would want them to do for you…And that’s just a sampling.

“Why do we not do what Jesus tells us?  Because (when we’re perfectly honest) our common sense makes more sense to us than the words of Jesus.  His teachings may be well intentioned and inspirational, but it doesn’t seem like they would really hold in everyday life. 

“Blessed are you who are poor” sounds sort of nice and spiritual, but when it comes right down to it, it’s really the rich whom we think are lucky.  ‘Give to everyone who begs from you’ is inspirational talk, but it’s overly simplistic and doesn’t really work on the streets of our broken cities.  ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ is admirable sounding, but when I’m really honest about what I want done to me (lots of gifts, surprise parties, regular encouragement, care about my needs, a ready ear to listen to me), I realize what an impossibly high standard of love this is.

“Why do we call you ‘Lord, Lord’ but not do what you tell us to do?  Because when we’re really honest, we have to admit that you sound genuine, but what you tells us to do is just undoable.  It will destroy our lives.  It’s not good advice, Jesus.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We must ultimately decide whether we will put more trust in our own common sense, or in the words of Jesus.  Why is it that we think we’re smarter and know better than He does?  How long will we call him, “Lord, Lord” and not do what He says?

PRAYER:  In our pride, Lord, we trust our own common sense and not Your words.  Help us to understand that we can’t call you Lord, and not do what you say.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/15/18 – The Lifestyle of a Tourist

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DayBreaks for 6/15/18: The Lifestyle of a Tourist

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

It was only about a month ago that I was a tourist.  My wife and I were on vacation in Florida, at the world’s number one vacation city: Orlando.  We lived in Florida many years ago, but I was stunned at how much Orlando had changed.  The air was still hot and humid, but everything else had changed.  The orange groves that used to blossom and smell so sweet were nowhere to be seen.  But there I was, in my shorts and touristy-looking shirts.  I’m sure that wherever we went, we were quickly spotted as tourists. 

Tourists live a different lifestyle than residents.  Tourists don’t have to get up and go to work in the mornings.  Tourists don’t have to cook, mow the grass, wash the car or water the lawn.  When you’re a tourist, someone does all that for you.  And that’s not bad.

But what is sad is when Christians start to live all their lives as if they are tourists.  By that I don’t mean living as sojourners in a strange land – for we are to live like that!  What is bad about being a Christian living as if you’re a tourist is that tourists are often living on a tight schedule – too many things planned to see and do and not enough time to really enjoy any of it.  And so tourists want shortcuts – shortcuts through the lines at DisneyWorld, shortcuts through security at the airport, shortcuts to getting your luggage and to hit the road for adventure. 

Christians live like tourists when we want shortcuts through the life that God has designed and given to us.  We want instant sermons, shorter worship.  People seem to want a list of things they can do that will earn them instant credit at the gates of heaven.  People, Christians – don’t want to take the longer way and learn things as they go.  We are far too impatient for results and don’t focus nearly enough on the process and what it is meant to teach us.  It is interesting that, of all people, Friedrich Nietzsche (who was certainly no friend of Christ or Christianity) saw this so clearly: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”  And the world tries to crush that “long obedience in the same direction” out of us, leading us to despair and give up.

Yes, we are like nomads in this world.  But we are not to be tourists.  We are residents here.  We are to engage in the sometimes long and painful processes that shape us, and which in turn, shape the world.  God isn’t looking for heavenly tourists – he wants folks who are coming to the kingdom to stay! 

PRAYER: Jesus, you persevered so much in this world and have given us an illustration of what it means to live as a stranger in a foreign place, yet remain fully engaged with life.  Help us to be patient – to see the blessing in the process and not just in the ending.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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