DayBreaks for 7/23/19 – In Green Pastures

Image result for lie down in green pastures

DayBreaks for 07/23/19: In Green Pastures

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

Psalm 23:2 – He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Such a simple statement.  So hard to do.  And there is much behind this simple statement from the quill of King David, who knew exactly what he was saying because of his own shepherding experiences.

In the area where David lived and tended sheep, green pastures don’t just appear normally or naturally.  It is a hot, dry, desert area.  The only way that green pastures exist in such a place is because the shepherd has labored to create a green pasture.  The shepherd would tear out the rocks that might harm the sheep, he would clear away the brush and burn it.  He would dig deep into the earth to create a well and would use the water to irrigate the plot of ground where he planted grass seed.  Finally, when a pasture had been created, he would bring the sheep there to find rest. 

Here’s what David could have said, “He makes me to lie down in His finished work.”  In Christ, that takes on an entirely new meaning.  He is the Great Shepherd who leads all of God’s flock into His finished work.  It is a special place where we find rest from our sin, guilt, shame, fear.  It is made possible only by His completed work on the cross.

Are you finding your rest in the finished work of the Shepherd, or are you still struggling to do the work yourself?

PRAYER: We can never repay You, our Shepherd, for all that You have done for us!  May we rest completely in what Jesus has accomplished and provided for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 5/23/19 – Someone With Skin On

Image result for frightened child

DayBreaks for 5/23/19: Someone With Skin On

The story goes like this: There once was a little boy who was afraid and couldn’t sleep. He kept getting up and going to his parent’s room. Finally, they sent him back to his room saying, “You’ll be fine; God loves you, and He’s in there with you to protect you.” The little boy answered, “I know that, but right now, I need someone with skin on ‘em!”

Perhaps truer words have never been spoken by a young child. We all desperately need somebody to show us God’s love in the flesh. Victor Hugo who wrote, Les Miserables, once wrote that “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.”

When we’re afraid we need someone with skin on. I remember as a child when I would be frightened at night, my dad’s presence always comforted me.

When I feel rejected or am wounded, it helps to have someone with “skin on ‘em” to put their arms around me and let me know that they care and support me.

The truth behind this idea of needing someone with “skin on ‘em” is the incarnation. Jesus created us and he knew our tendencies to insecurity, fear, despair…and so he put on skin so that we’d know he understood. It is revealing how often the gospels talk about Jesus reaching out and touching someone.

We can also be the one with skin on who mimics the incarnation on behalf of others. By our actions, we can help calm a distressed friend, neighbor or relative by letting them know they are loved and that not only we, but God cares.

John 15:12 (CSBBible) – This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.

Prayer: Let us imitate you in your incarnation so that we may be better able to help others!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/22/19 – His Peace

Image result for peace

DayBreaks for 5/22/19: His Peace

One of my favorite newspaper cartoons of all time is Calvin and Hobbes. One day Calvin and Hobbes come marching into the living room early one morning. His mother is seated there in her favorite chair. She is sipping her morning coffee. She looks up at young Calvin. She is amused and amazed at how he is dressed. Calvin’s head is encased in a large space helmet. A cape is draped around his neck, across his shoulders, down his back and is dragging on the floor. One hand is holding a flashlight and the other a baseball bat.

“What’s up today?” asks his mom.

“Nothing, so far,” answers Calvin.

“So far?” she questions.

“Well, you never know,” Calvin says, “Something could happen today.” Then Calvin marches off, “And if anything does, by golly, I’m going to be ready for it!”

Calvin’s mom looks out at the reading audience and she says, “I need a suit like that!”

That’s the way many of us feel as we see the news and deal with life. Sometimes this world seems quite violent and people seem to be at each other’s throats. A suit like that would help, so we can say with Calvin, “Whatever may come my way, I’m going to be ready for it! Bring it on!”

Well, I don’t have a suit like Calvin’s to give you this morning, but I do have word for this morning: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

There is a defining phrase in that statement. One that tells us what kind of peace it is that Christ gives us: my peace.

Have you thought about what that means? Do you think Christ is afraid of anything? Do you think he worries at night about the events of the next day and how he’ll handle them? He’s not even fearful of death because he’s looked it in the eye and defeated it.

This is the peace Jesus wants to give you today. Grab hold and never let go!

Prayer: Lord, help us appropriate the peace you give to us for every situation we face not just today, but for the rest of our lives!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/27/19 – True Contentment

Image result for cow chewing cud

DayBreaks for 3/27/19: True Contentment

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Growing up on a farm put a lot of images in my mind. Some are pictures of hard work that never seemed to be done, but others were more peaceful and relaxing. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the privilege of watching a cow chew her cud, but I have. They just kind of lay down in the green grass (after having eaten a bellyful of the stuff), transfer some of the grass from one of their stomachs to their mouth, and contentedly lay there, looking around, chewing away without a care in the world. It is a picture of contentment.

You see, unlike us, cows are far too smart to worry about where their next meal will come from. They don’t worry about what they will wear to the next church social or how the payment on the farm is going to be made. They are content just being cows. They probably look at us people and wonder why we scurry about so busily.

1 Tim 6:6-8 says: But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

We believe that we will be content someday. We tend to think that it will happen when we get to heaven, and I’m sure we will be content there. But we can learn to be content now. It is a mindset that comes from understanding the realities of life and this world. We need to remember that we came into the world with nothing and that is exactly how we’ll leave. With nothing in our hands.

I like what Mother Theresa had to say about being content in the here and now: “Being happy with (God) now means: Loving as he loves, helping as he helps, giving as he gives, serving as he serves, rescuing as he rescues, being with him 24 hours, touching him in his distressing disguise.”  What is the distressing disguise she talks about? I think she means people – he “disguised” himself with the tent of flesh, and sometimes the people he created don’t appear very appealing, either. Yet, Christ was content to do the Father’s will. He spent his lifetime touching us (mankind) in our distressing appearance. It takes a mindset that is focused on eternal things to be able to do what Christ did. Why else would anyone do it? We must have our minds focused on eternal things – and people are eternal. What else have you ever touched on this earth that is eternal except for some other person?

Let us learn to be content, not just when heaven arrives, but now, by being like Him.

Prayer: Let us find our happiness in You and in being Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 12/26/18: Not Like the World Gives

image.png

From my friend, Barney Cargile, Barney’s Bullets:

Christmas Day, 1863. America’s poet laureate, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, found himself in a deep state of depression. America was embroiled in the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in our history. A devout abolitionist, his heart was broken by the terrible war. But even worse, his personal grief was overwhelming.  A month earlier, his oldest son was critically wounded in battle. Two years prior, his wife Fannie burned to death right in front of him, when her clothes caught fire. Longfellow was severely injured in an effort to extinguish her, and carried severe scars for the rest of his days. 

Looking out his window in Cambridge, Mass, in intense despair, he ruminated on the angel’s words to the shepherds in Luke 2:14, “Peace on earth, good will to men”. He scoffed, “There is no peace on earth. These tragic events mock God’s promise of peace.”  

But then, a Christmas miracle occurred. In an instant, everything changed, and Longfellow penned these words: 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day. 

Their old familiar carols play. 

And wild and sweet, the words repeat 

of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Through the church bells, God reminded Longfellow of the big picture; the TRUE peace that the baby in the manger brings to earth. God is not dead, nor does he sleep. He hasn’t abandoned us. The Prince of Peace still triumphs, even in the midst of war and personal tragedy, bringing peace that passes understanding: peace with God.  

Face it, if Jesus came to rid the world of war and suffering, he did a pretty lousy job! But what if…he brought something greater? What if, he did more than anyone ever dared imagine? What if he delivered a unique kind of peace, a peace so great, it transcends external circumstances? That’s the peace that inspired Longfellow to compose this cherished Christmas poem. Jesus promised, “The peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.” (John 14:27)

Our world and lives today abound with conflict and turmoil. Like Longfellow, we have a choice: cave in to despair, or embrace the peace Jesus offers. Longfellow “heard the bells on Christmas day” and his life was changed forever.

I know it’s the day after Christmas, but one more thing about the peace that Jesus gives: it is a lasting peace and it can fill your heart for the rest of your life. Embrace it!

PRAYER: Lord, we are nearly at the new year and we pray that we will know your special peace throughout the year no matter the circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 12/24/18 – Searching for Hope

Image result for Bethlehem shepherds and sheep

DayBreaks for 12/24/18: Searching for Hope

(NOTE: This was written by a dear friend of mine, Janine Boyer, earlier in December. Used by permission.)

Our trip to Israel had already exceeded my expectations and then I saw them. “Look! Look! Those are real sheep and a real shepherd,” I said to Dave from inside our bus. As we passed the hills of Bethlehem, they were just like I had pictured in my mind, a mixture of grass and rocks, steep for those cute little sheep and windy for a donkey to have to travel. Tomorrow I would get to visit the place where Jesus Christ was born.

But in a matter of a day, the scene changed. There was some unrest in Bethlehem overnight, and it wasn’t safe to visit. I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip and experiencing what it must have felt like for Mary and Joseph over 2,000 years ago.

Things didn’t work out as I had expected; and almost a year later, I can still feel that disappointment. But as I thought about that, I also thought about how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Because of the census being taken, they had to leave behind everything that was familiar to them and start over in a new place. What did it feel like when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, desperately looking for a place to stay, only to be turned away?

I imagine Mary was not only searching for a place to deliver her baby, but also desperately searching for relief from that pain, searching for rest and searching for help. Who of us cannot relate to those feelings in one way or another? Our lives can change in a moment, often times leaving us feeling desperate and disappointed. But if we stop there, we miss the blessings of the unexpected.

Mary and Joseph continued searching for a place to stay. What did they find? A stable. Straw would become the blanket upon which Jesus Christ would be born. Not soft and comfy like the blankets on our beds, but itchy and scratchy for this tiny baby. Maybe that’s not what they were looking for, but that is what they found.

Often times what we are looking for is different than what we find too. Life’s circumstances can change the way we feel. But we can’t stop there. We desperately need to keep searching for God in the midst of all we feel. While Joseph and Mary searched, they never lost hope. As a result, what did they find? They found God turned that stable into a place of glory, a place that was lit up by a star in the sky, a place where people who were desperately searching, would find hope and peace. A place for all of us.

I don’t know what you are feeling this Christmas season. I don’t know your life events. But God does. That tiny little baby, God’s Son, felt everything we feel. “For unto us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for giving us a place to come and find hope and peace. Give us the courage to choose to make room for you no matter how we feel today, whether we be full of joy or full of sorrow. Help us to feel the amazing wonder of Your Son and His birth, His life and even His death. Help us to be like Mary and take the stable that was offered to her and turn it into a place where YOU, King of all Kings, would be born. In Your Hopeful name we pray, Amen.

DayBreaks for 10/01/18 – Sitting in the Wrong Seat

Image result for empty seats

DayBreaks for 10/01/18Sitting in the Wrong Seat           

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

In her book Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit, author and speaker Beth Moore recalls a particularly insightful moment in her life:

“I will never forget watching an evening talk show featuring the story of the parents and killer of a young college student. The killer was his best friend. The weapon was high alcohol content inside a speeding automobile. …

“What made this particular feature prime-time viewing? The parents had forgiven the young driver… And if that was not enough, they had taken him in as their own. This young man sat at the table in the chair which was once occupied by their only son. He slept in the son’s bed. He worked with the victim’s father, teaching seminars on safety. He shared their fortune and supported their causes. He spoke about the one he had slain in ways only someone who knew him intimately could have. …

“Why did these parents do such a thing? Because it gave them peace. The interviewer was amazed; I was amazed. I kept trying to put myself in the parents’ position—but I could not. Then, as the tears streamed down my cheeks, I heard the Spirit of God whisper to my heart and say: “No wonder you cannot relate. You have put yourself in the wrong position. You, my child, are the driver.” God was the parent who not only forgave, but also invited me to sit at His table in the space my Savior left for me. As a result, I have peace.”

May His peace fill your heart today as you sit at His table!

PRAYER: Give us perspective to realize that we are the killer, not the one who has lost a loved one, but that we are the person who ran roughshod over Your heart of love through lives and deeds of sin!  Thank You for taking us in after what we have done to Your beloved Son!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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