DayBreaks for 3/14/19 – How Jesus Waits

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DayBreaks for 3/14/19: How Jesus Waits

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Oh, boy.  As I write this, I’m waiting for a phone call that I hope won’t come.  It is Friday night and I’m finally home and this is the last thing I have to do this week before I can take some time off.  But…I got a phone call not long ago.  I may have to take someone down to the emergency room.  I hope not – I don’t want this person to be injured (they are, but the question is whether or not they need to go to the emergency room because of it), and selfishly, I must confess, this has been a hectic week and I’m tired and I’ve been looking forward to a quiet evening at home with my wife and two dogs and maybe playing with my camera a bit (one of my hobbies).  Waiting…tick, tock, tick, tock…I don’t like waiting.

This morning I waited for my wife to get ready to drive to Santa Rosa.  At the store, we had to wait in line to buy a couple books.  Then, we had to wait in line at Circuit City (they were having the final 2 days of their going out of business sale and it was a madhouse).  We went to Jack in the Box (a cheap date meal!) and had to wait there.  I wonder how much time we spend on average in waiting? 

We are an impatient lot.  If we wait for what we consider to be too long of a time, we get angry and insolent.  After all, we have places to go and things to do and people to see, right?  Waiting…tick, tock, tick, tock…I don’t like waiting.

I don’t like people to have to wait on me.  Let me be 20 minutes early rather than 10 seconds late.  I’m happy that way!  But then I often have to wait anyway because the person I was to meet with isn’t ready for me yet!!!!  Aarrrghhh!!!!

Have you ever thought about Jesus and how he must wait?  He’s waiting to hear the word, “Go!” from the Father to return to the earth and sift the wheat and tares.  He’s waiting to cast Satan and his angels into the pit.  And here’s a shocking one: in the Lord’s Prayer, he prayed “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  I think he’s still waiting for most of that to come true, too, don’t you?

How does Jesus wait?  Calmly, patiently.  Of course, he has an advantage over us: time has neither hold on him nor bearing over him.  We have finite time.  Maybe that’s why we get so impatient.  But we need to learn to emulate Jesus in our waiting as well as in our walking.  We can redeem the time we spent waiting by meditating on a passage of Scripture, on singing a song to the Lord in our head or out loud (depending on the circumstances).  We can read a Christian book (please, preferably not fiction – but something with some real meat to it).  We can talk to those around us about how much joy and peace we have – and who knows, maybe the conversation will lead to the point we can share our faith.  It’s a much better way to wait than by fuming.

Prayer:  Jesus, may we learn to redeem our waiting time and to honor you in it!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 12/5/17 – Faith, With Nike’s On

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DayBreaks for 12/05/17: Faith, With Nikes On

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

It never ceases to fascinate me when I pause to consider how different people are from one another.  Some are tall, others short.  Some fat, some anorexic.  Some laugh and find a lot of joy in life while others are grim, depressed and seem to be captivated by the negative side of things. 

I am the kind of person who likes chaos.  You’d know that about me if you ever saw my office when I worked in the computer world, or even now!  My desktop usually looks like Katrina had just blown through the office.  Piles here, stacks there – I suppose to any outsider looking at it, they’d think it was totally in disarray and that no one could ever find anything in that mess.  But somehow, I do just fine in that environment.  My high-tech job at the end was very diverse, I had many wonderful managers working under my direction on all kinds of products and services.  If I was ever allowed to spend more than about 20 minutes at time on any particular topic, I’d start to get bored.  I love chaos.  I function well under chaos.  But not all people do.  And that’s OK, too!

Sometimes it isn’t just our desktops or purses or garages that get chaotic, it’s life itself.  Just a few days ago, we learned that one of my wife’s cousins went into the hospital and has found out now that she’s got stage 4 cancer.  Between Saturday and Monday, her world and life was turned upside down.  A huge wind blew in and rearranged everything.  She’d been planning to sell her house (it’s on the market, but here in California right now, that doesn’t mean a thing), she was looking forward to retirement (that’s the main reason she was selling the house – so she could retire and start to draw her retirement checks) and to watching her grandchildren grow.  All of that suddenly was ripped away from her in one hugely chaotic moment, with just 3 words: “You have cancer.”

A friend of mine (and brother in Christ) is going to be divorced soon – his wife chose to leave him and took the two little children with her, moving clear across this great land that we call home – breaking her home in the process.  She doesn’t want to be married to him anymore.  His world, too, has become chaotic. 

Compared to those two people, my life is a piece of cake. 

But what are we to do when the winds of chaos howl and blow through our lives?  We’re to do the same thing we do when only the slightest breeze ruffles our lives.  Here’s how Andre Seu put it: The alternative is to remember that the fundamental things apply in cataclysms as well as calm times.  To wit: Do the right thing; one foot in front of the other; one piece of the problem at a time; take lunch, exercise, sleep.  I remember the counselor Jay Adams saying that the trouble is not usually that we don’t know what to do but that we don’t do it long enough.  We give up just before the breakthrough would have come.  Like Screwtape said, “It is so hard for these creatures to persevere.”  But persevering is what it’s all about.  Persevering is just faith with Nikes on.  – Andre Seu, World Magazine, 12/1/07

In times of chaos, do the right thing – one step at a time, one piece of the problem at a time, persevere.  In times of calm, do the right thing – one step at a time, one piece of the problem at a time, persevere.  It was Jesus’ model, and it works.  Strap on your Nikes!

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NIV) – May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

PRAYER:  Father, may we be at peace even in the storm, may we be prepared to run the distance and finish well regardless of chaos or calm.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/15/17 – It Takes a While

DayBreaks for 8/15/17: It Takes a While

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:

God certainly has different ways than we do.  We all like to do things in the easiest, most simple way possible.  We aren’t given to wanting to work harder or longer than we absolutely have to.  And so, we take shortcuts and labor hard to find the quickest way to get somewhere. 

When we go on vacation and have a specific destination in mind, I tend to be pedal to the metal until we get there.  I’ll look at the map and find the shortest and most direct route to get where we’re going.  In fact, I not only look at the mileage, but the amount of time each route will take.  I really want to get there!  I’m often not much for appreciating the journey itself.  Just this past summer (2006), my wife and I drove to Iowa for a family reunion.  No dilly-dallying around.  We high-tailed it as fast as we could.  We didn’t have a lot of time, nor a lot of money, to lolly-gag on our way.  “Interstate 80, here we come” – all the way from California to Iowa. 

God, it is clear, has other ways of “traveling”.  Take Israel, for instance, as they came out of Egypt.  The most direct route would have taken Israel northeast along a path that curved around the southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea.  The distance would have been a mere 200 miles or so.  Even with a group as large as the nation of Israel, such a trek could have been managed in 2-3 weeks at most. 

But God had a “better idea.”  I can’t imagine how Israel felt on the first morning when the pillar of cloud headed not to the northeast, but to the southeast.  The Bible even tells us why this happened.  It wasn’t because God had a bad sense of direction.  It was because God knew that along the route would be strong armies that Israel would have to fight.  And God knew that if they encountered such difficulty, things could be really bad.  Here’s what the Word says: (Exodus 13:17-18 (NIV) – When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.  For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”  So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.

You see, it wasn’t that Israel didn’t have weapons to do battle – it explicitly says they left Egypt “armed for battle.”  So the problem wasn’t armaments, it was a heart problem.  For 400 years, Israel had been slaves.  They thought of themselves as slaves – a subordinate, powerless, third rate people with a God that had been on vacation for 4 centuries.  Sure, some of them remembered the stories of how God had dealt with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, but they had not had personal experience of God at work.  At least, not that they could see. 

So, the point is that Israel didn’t know God and had no reason (as far as they were concerned) to trust Him if they encountered an enemy.  They needed to learn to follow and believe in Him and His goodness.  And that takes time.  As someone once said, “It took one night to get Israel out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel.” 

I sometimes get frustrated with the rate at which I make spiritual progress.  I know others who feel the same way.  I hear it often: “I feel I should be a better Christian by now,” or “I feel like I should not still be struggling with this issue.”  I hear it all the time.  But the point is that God is as patient with us as He was with Israel, and that He will choose the route to the Promised Land that ensures us that when we get there, we’ll have learned to trust Him. 

It takes a long time to get Egypt (earth) out of our focus and onto God as all that we need.  How are you doing?

PRAYER: Father, thank you for choosing the right pathway for each one of our lives as we traverse this world.  Thank you for leading us out of slavery, through the desert, and into a place of learning and trusting in you.  Help us to learn our lessons well, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/15/16 – The Ways of Endurance

DayBreaks for 6/15/17: The Ways of Endurance

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007, from my wife’s mission blog to India:

 “Oh my. I decided to work on “India Trip” stuff today (Memorial Day) and I started out making a calendar page for the dates I’ll be gone. As I looked at the finished product with only July 4th and July 20th filled in (“leave home”, “arrive home”) and all the blank (so far) places on the dates in between, I looked up to the picture part of the July page of the calendar from which I had copied my sheet. On it there was a picture of a large rock with the ocean around it. The top of the rock was filled to overflowing with plant life; trees, shrubs, undergrowth; all the way to the edges of the rock and down its sides. Between the rock and the ocean, however, you can see that the water has worn away the rock so that it is deeply indented all around. It looks like a huge, wide, roundish head full of green bushy hair sitting on a very skinny neck. Underneath the picture is the caption “ENDURANCE” in large letters. Underneath that is the quote, “Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened”.  

Hmmm.  I don’t like the fact that “endurance” is the subject for July when I’m on the trip; it’s too apropos and more than a little daunting.  I also don’t like the picture analogy.  I would think that a symbol of endurance should show something that looks very shaky, sitting on something that was very solid underneath while ocean waves pounded away.  That’s what endurance is supposed to do, isn’t it, give your soul more solidity? Thinking about it though, it is probably a better picture analogy than I would like.  God is the only rock which is solid.  I am the one who looks more stable than I really am.  Life eats away, revealing to me the truth of my fragility and dependence.  Experiences of endurance such as this trip will show it to me in a much more obvious way than my normal routine does.  Am I scared? Yep!!
“There is a large contingent of mostly younger people who are going to be working on landscape architecture and the large food garden on our team. One young woman showed us her plans and they were truly awesome and inspiring. She is planning and putting into place the landscape with the children playing and monsoon season in mind as her Senior Project in college at Davis. Quite a combination to plan for, isn’t it? The kids and the others there are going to love it! There will be elevated places for hide and seek and other natural play-encouraging landscape plans. Another person from UC Davis is in charge of setting up a huge food garden at the compound in India.  He’s lived in the Congo before and I’m sure that helps. He told us about a fruit he loves which smells horrible and tastes heavenly.  For anyone who would still like to help Little Flock and this trip in some way, this young man was discouraged to find out that he still has a lot of money to raise for his trip. Apparently some money he thought was coming isn’t coming, or something like that.  If anyone would like to help him out with a donation for his trip cost, his name is “Tim”, he’s on Team One and he’s the one in charge of the food garden project. I know he would be very, very grateful.”

Galen’s thoughts: endurance is a trait we admire, but not many of us long for it, for endurance can only be developed by having to “endure.”  Sometimes, it’s enduring suffering or hardship, sometimes it’s waiting…as in the case of “Tim” – waiting for God to provide all that we need.  And Laurel’s right – we deceive ourselves into thinking we are stable, strong, unmovable, and all the time life is chewing away at us until we learn that we’re actually very fragile and delicate and easily destroyed.  There is only on thing that never wears down or wears out or lacks for anything: Almighty God.  It is a lesson we need to learn, and learn well.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for all who answer the call to “Go!”  Thank You for the lessons in endurance.  Help us to learn them well – and as quickly as possible!  Please bless this team that goes to show and share Your love with orphans and widows and provide for every need both before they go and while they are gone.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/31/17 – Broken

DayBreaks for 1/31/17: Broken

1 Corinthians 15:53-55 (ESV) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Adapted from our worship bulletin for 1/29/17:

“It’s the message you do and don’t want to hear. I was ready for my flight to take off for an important visit. We were loaded, bags on board, seatbelt fastened. The pilot came on the intercom and said, ‘We have a small lead in the hydraulic. Until maintenance clears us, we will not be able to depart.’

“Ugh. Now I faced the immediate future sitting with a bunch of other people who were ready to depart. No, I did not start sharing the gospel because in a flash the pilot made it works. ‘This plane is not fixable, so  you all have to deplane and we will get you another one as soon as we can!’

“So, we got off, sat and waited. In fact, as I write, I am still sitting. You see this is an unfinished story, Not every story has a neatly tied bow. Some are open ended.

“The good news is someone saw the flaw before a catastrophe happened. So, I am thankful for that. I will arrive, just later than I thought.

“So, where do you want to go? What are you pressing towards? Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like the plane to take you to your destination had arrived, and it broke? Are you having to wait? If so, now is the time to look around at your present surroundings but more importantly, look up! He knows where you are. He providentially has you there. Further, there are unseen and mysterious things going on that you don’t see. The best place for you, in His economy, is where you are. Eventually, you will move, so enjoy the grounding.”

Galen’s thoughts: I’ve been in that same spot – waiting for a broken plane to be fixed. I, too, was grateful that they found the problem while on the ground. Broken things lead to delays and they can be deadly unless the are addressed and rectified.

Life is like sitting on the tarmac. We are waiting the launch into the air, but we are broken. We need fixing first or otherwise the result will be catastrophic. Jesus is in the process of fixing us so that we can safely take wing and fly.

It calls for patience. It involves some pain and frustration. But the eventual outcome is that we will reach the destination that we long for. And it will have been worth the wait!

PRAYER: Help us wait patiently for the perfection you are creating in us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 6/10/16 – Raising Redwoods

DayBreaks for 6/0/16 – Raising Redwoods

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

On Memorial Day this year, my wife and I hopped in the car and drove from our home to Mendocino, California on the Pacific coast.  On the way across highway 128 are some lovely redwood groves.  The road winds its way through the majestic giants, in some places with the darkness of the shadows so deep that it’s hard to remember that the day is still young and not ending.  We stopped, opened the sun roof, reclined our seats and lay back, looking up at the underside of the treetops, swaying slowly in the wind.  

For hundreds of years these trees have stood the test of time, weather and road making machinery.  They inspire an awe that is at best, impossible to describe.  There is something very, very spiritual about this place that God has made.  One can’t help but wonder if what you think is the sound of the trees is the very breath of God.

In our yard, by our driveway, is another redwood tree.  It’s not nearly as imposing as it may some day get to be.  It’s just a mere baby – perhaps a hundred years or so old.  It’s probably not more than 40 feet tall at present, if that.  As I stand on the carpet of forest detritus that surrounds the base of the huge redwoods of the forest, I think about what it takes to raise a redwood – the patience, the constant care and attention, that someone, even if it is just God, must pay to such an undertaking.  It needs the right amount of sun, of water, of nutrients, it needs protection from the fires and infestations that might bring it down at a young age. 

Suddenly, I am stricken by the realization that raising redwoods to become all that they can be must be a lot like raising children to grow tall and straight in the Lord, to have their roots go down deep by the stream of Life that flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 22).  And I am even more amazed to realize that God goes through this process with each one of His children – watching over us day and night, protecting, sheltering, nurturing – with tremendous patience, dreaming of the end result that will be a spectacle to behold.  

PRAYER:  Almighty Creator, our only true Father, how can we possibly express our gratitude to You for Your incredible patience and love as You grow us from seedlings to Spirit-filled men and women?  How terrifying that You should entrust the lives and souls of our little ones to people such as us.  Gift us with the diligence and patience to raise them as You raise us up.  And thank You for seeing – and dreaming – of what we may become through Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/5/16 – The Dirtiest Four-Letter Word

DayBreaks for 4/05/16 – The Dirtiest Four-Letter Word?

Acts 1:4 (ESV) – And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father…

If you are like me, there are words you hear that just make your teeth grate against one another. Perhaps it is the word itself, sometimes maybe just the tone of voice or the attitude of the one speaking, but they are not life-giving words.

We have words in our English language that we call “dirty” words, but nowadays it seems that fewer and fewer consider them dirty and use them even in public.

But those are not the words I’m thinking of. On Sunday, the pastor said that he thinks one of the dirtiest words in the English language is this one: wait.

Think about it. When you are little, you are told that you have to wait to get ice cream. You are told you have to wait until you are older to drive a car, to go on a date. When a nervous young man gets down on his knees and proposes, he has to wait for an answer (and maybe she has been waiting to hear the words for a long time!) And maybe the answer to his question will be “Wait.” Then you take your college entrance exams, or your medical boards or some other test and you want to know if you’ve passed, but the answer is that you have to wait to find out. You go to the doctor and have a test run and you want to know if it is benign or malignant…and you are told you must wait.

Waiting isn’t easy. It’s not part of our culture any more.

Yet long ago in the vicinity of Jerusalem as Jesus was giving his disciples his final earthly directions before ascending to the Father, he told them that they had to go to Jerusalem and…wait.

Maybe you’ve been praying for a friend of family member to come to Christ. And then you have to wait…and wait…and wait, wondering if they will ever come to be a disciple of Jesus.

Maybe you are wrestling with a boss who plays favorites and who seems to delight in torturing you. You’ve asked God what you should do, and He said, “Wait.” And you don’t get it. It makes you angry and frustrated. And maybe, just maybe, God is trying to teach you to get over being frustrated when things don’t go your way when you want them to….so maybe the waiting is part of the cure.

We don’t like cures. They are often distasteful and painful. But they are necessary. Healing and recovery take time. And so we must wait.

We must even wait for the deepest longing of our soul – to be at home with our Maker.

I’ve found that most things that you have to wait for are worth it. Things that come quick and easy are disappointing in the long run.

Wait. It may be a dirty word…but it is a good one that we all need to get comfortable with.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Curb my impatience, Lord, and my frustration with you when I have to wait! Teach me to truly believe that your timing is perfect, always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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