DayBreaks for 10/10/19 – Praying When it Hurts

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DayBreaks for 10/10/19: Praying When it Hurts

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

How do you pray when you are hurting?  Maybe a better question would be, “How can you pray when you are hurting so badly that you can’t even think straight?”  Have you ever experienced so much hurt (regardless of the reason) that you just couldn’t find words to say?  I have.  And sometimes I didn’t make the effort to pray because it was just too hard.  Those were the moments when I had to trust the Spirit to make intercession.

The bible makes great claims for the power of prayer (Jn. 14:12-14 – I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Do you believe it?  Really?  Was Jesus just being hyperbolic?  It is an incredible promise from Jesus’ own lips!  When you think about it – he had reason to be so positive and sure – wherever he went in life and saw people in pain, he did something about it.  Should we think that because he is no longer here on earth that he is now powerless to do anything about it?  No!  We know that prayer connects us with the One who can heal.  But it is the times when the “healing” doesn’t come that trouble us.  As Brother Lawrence wrote: “Even when miracles seem in very short supply, when emotional problems remain unresolved or a tumor does not shrink, prayer is never wasted…many times when the specific healings I’ve prayed for have not materialized, but the situation changed in other ways.  These, too, are answers to prayer.” 

Then, he made a good observation: “We have not matured as men and women of prayer because we have not put a fraction of the time, thought and effort into learning to pray which we readily invest in our work, our hobbies, our human relationships…  If we are retarded in prayer, then we ourselves suffer for it – but so does the world.  The world needs us to be prayer therapists.  Prayer is God’s appointed way by which we become channels of His healing power.”

 “Prayer is a key which unlocks the blessings of the day and locks up the dangers of the night.”  (Anon.)  If your day could use more blessing, if your night could use more peace, prayer is the key!

PRAYER: Forgive our lack of time in speaking and listening to You in prayer.  May our desire to be with you in prayer grow and increase constantly so we may come to know you and love you more each moment!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/19/19 – Alaska Lessons #3 – Peace

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DayBreaks for 9/19/19: Alaska Lessons #3 – Peace

I suppose in a way this DayBreaks is mislabeled. It’s about peace in a way, but more accurately the deceitful appearance of peace when there is none.

At one point during our time in Alaska, a naturalist led a small group I was with out onto the tundra and up onto a  hillock. We ate lunch there (after careful instructions to keep our eyes peeled for bear and not to leave anything behind). When we were sitting there, we watched a mother grizzly and her cub on a sloping hillside opposite us (they were quite a distance away!) We all sat in silence, just watching the majestic animals move.

Then, at one point, our guide said, “Just listen. What can you hear?” To be honest, all I could hear was the sound of the wind on occasion, the sound of my own breathing, the sound of blood rushing through my ears and the occasional bird calling. It was so peaceful and quiet. That started me thinking about the peace that is to be found on the vast slopes and tundra of Alaska.

But that peace is deceptive. That very afternoon, the mother grizzly may have taken down some animal for dinner. The moose cow will vigorously defend her calf with her very sharp and hard hooves – even taking on full grown bears. Wolves will chase caribou for miles in pursuit of a meal and a golden eagle swoops down from on high to snatch an unsuspecting and unwary rabbit or pika. Bull moose fight with one another, sometimes to the death, to gain mating rights with a harem of cows. The wild of Alaska may sound and even look peaceful, but it is deceptive.

The bible warns us: Jeremiah 8:11 (NIV) – They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. In context, God is excoriating the leaders – political and religious – who pretend that nothing is wrong, that there is nothing that threatens harm due to their conceit and greed.

We need to be careful to not be lulled into a lack of alertness for danger surrounds us at every bend, over every hilltop. We have an enemy who doesn’t slack off when we are weak or wounded – he attacks. But he wants us to think the world is just fine, thank you, and that we don’t need to be worried or wage war against a culture that has discarded God’s truth. 

We also need to be careful that we are not guilty of emulating those God rails against in Jeremiah and lulling others into a false sense of wellness.

Let us be alert at all times, for the enemy seeks whom he may devour!

PRAYER: Help us be vigilant and not mislead by our own desire for peace when there is none. Give us discernment to recognize false claims that would lull us into comfort! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/23/19 – In Green Pastures

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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.  ><}}}”>

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.