DayBreaks for 7/30/19 – Vanished From Sight

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DayBreaks for 07/30/19: Vanished from Sight

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

A recent story from the Associated Press told a fascinating story about hoarding which holds Christian implications.  “Jesus warned against piling up money on earth, because money comes and goes. A sad reminder of the vulnerability of money came with the June 2009 news story of an elderly woman in Israel who had hidden her life savings of one million dollars in her bed mattress. Every night she slept on one million in American dollars and Israeli shekels. She must have felt very secure with her fortune literally inches away, holding her up each night—especially since 2008 and 2009 had been disastrous years for banks and financial institutions as the world economy suffered its worst recession in decades. What’s more, she had had a bad experience with a bank and had lost trust in them. Whom could she trust? No one! In fact, she did not tell even her own daughter where all that fortune was hidden.”

And that was the wealthy woman’s big mistake. One day her daughter decided that the mother needed a new mattress. Who knows, maybe she sat on the bed, and it felt a bit lumpy—one of those ten thousand dollar lumps perhaps—and she thought, “What a cheap bed this is!” She decided to replace the mattress. She wanted to present the new mattress as a surprise gift, so the new mattress was delivered without her mother’s knowledge, and the old, lumpy mattress went into the garbage.

How pleased the daughter must have felt as she watched the delivery men put the new mattress in place and haul the old mattress out to the truck. Imagine the smile on her face when she brought her mother into the bedroom and presented her surprise gift. Somehow her elderly mother did not put two and two together right away. After a night of sleep on her new mattress, however, she woke up and suddenly realized what had happened to her life savings. She literally screamed.

A video news report of this story showed the daughter walking through a garbage dump hunting for the lost mattress. News reports showed workers combing through the trash as bulldozers moved piles of garbage attempting to uncover the lost treasure.

Truly there is no sure way to safeguard our worldly treasures – and they will all be taken from us at one point or another by life or death. 

PRAYER: Help us to truly believe that the only things in life that are worth pursuing are the eternal ones.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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

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DayBreaks for 10/17/18 – When You Are Satisfied

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DayBreaks for 10/17/18: When You Are Satisfied

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/13/2008:

Never have a people had more luxury or such an accumulation of creature comforts than the American people. Sure, there are hungry in this country who need food and there are homeless who need shelter. But by and large, we are a nation of great and incredible wealth and plenty.

In Deuteronomy 6:11b-12, Moses gives a solemn caution to the children of Israel. He looks forward to the certain future, when God will have kept His promise and given them the land He promised 400 years earlier to Abraham. They will possess the land and live in cities they didn’t build, drink sweet water from wells they never dug, and have wine and olives from vineyards they didn’t plant. Then Moses says, “…then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt…“.

Moses, inspired by God, understood a lot about human nature. He’d tended flocks and seen how they grew lazy when their bellies were full – they would lay down to rest and that was the very time that they were the most vulnerable to predators. Their eyes would grow heavy and their attention would weaken. Moses says, “When your bellies are full and you are satisfied – be careful! That is when you will forget the Lord!”

Our nation has forgotten the Lord. We have eaten and become satisfied. We would do well to heed Moses’ warning. How easily we settle for food, shelter and some comforts! We are far too easily content to be taken care of physically. And we are too easily satisfied – and therein lies the problem. We should never be satisfied until we have reached the holiness He desires for us. We should never be satisfied with the things in this world. But we can be content!

I hope and pray that God makes you hungry today – not for food, but for Him! May we never be satisfied with a belly full of food, but only with a heart filled with Him!

Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

PRAYER: Awaken in us again a hunger for the Bread that fills and the Water that gives life and keep us from the love of this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/9/17 – ‘Tis Foolishness

DayBreaks for 8/09/17: ‘Tis Foolishness

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/7/2007:

I’ve been thinking about contentment lately.  Mind you, I’m not content with my thinking on the topic!  But I’m trying to learn to be more content in my station in life in various venues, but especially in the area of possessions.  It seems that much of what we struggle with in this world as far as contentment goes has to do with things – stuff – possessions. 

I recall when our kids were little.  They’d hear about a new toy in a Happy Meal, or a new video game, or some new action hero figure, and they would ask for it.  Sometimes I gave it to them, sometimes not.  My decision certainly wasn’t all based on “need” – they really didn’t need any of it.  Sometimes I withheld the gift solely to help them learn lessons related to happiness and contentment.  Sometimes, if they really wanted something, they’d say words to this effect: “If you get it for me, I promise I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever!!!!”  Yeah, right.

Of course, none of us adults would be so silly as to think that a change in circumstances or possessions would bring lasting contentment, would we?  Maybe not.  Someone once said that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.  There’s more truth to that than I want to admit.  In Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg observes: “All day long we are bombarded with messages that seek to persuade us of two things:

  1. That we are (or ought to be) discontented, and
  2. That contentment is only one step (or change or purchase) away.”

These two things are at the heart of all marketing.  They try to make us believe that the only thing that stands between us and the girl or guy of our dreams is our toothpaste (as if all our other problems were already fixed!) – and that if we buy a certain brand of toothpaste, we’ll get that girl or guy and live “happily ever after.”  We may have jobs that we’re competent at and that we love, but the promise and allure of “more money” makes us discontent and leads us to jump ship into a position that will mean we sacrifice family time or values.  That one new car may seem like a siren calling your name – and if you had it, you just know you’d be forever happy. 

It’s all a pack of lies.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Doesn’t even your own experience and life tell you that such marketing drivel is not true?  The pursuit of such things, indeed of happiness in this world, is trivial pursuit.  The pursuit of the Kingdom of God bears everlasting dividends, and the promise of happiness and joy that is not made by marketers who have something to gain, but by God, who can’t gain a single thing from us.  How much better for us to seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness…and in due time, all that He has will be ours!

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) 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.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.  Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/27/16 – In Search of the Real Me

DayBreaks for 10/27/16 – In Search of the Real Me

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

British style writer Neil Boorman has decided to burn every branded thing in his possession.   I am addicted to brands,” he confessed in a magazine article:

“From an early age, I have been taught that to be accepted, to be loveable, to be cool, one must have the right stuff.  At junior school, I tried to make friends with the popular kids, only to be ridiculed for the lack of stripes on my trainers.  Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes, I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law.

Boorman finally realized that the happiness found in his possessions is hollow and short-lived, leaving him with a “continual, dull ache.”  So he’s taking drastic action and turning to a life of simplicity.  He summarizes: The manner in which we spend our money defines who we are. … In this secular society of ours, where family and church once gave us a sense of belonging, identity, and meaning, there is now Apple, Mercedes, and Coke. … So, this is why I am burning all my stuff.  To find real happiness, to find the real me.

I am torn over this poor man’s actions.  He sounds like he’s recognized a problem in his life, and that’s good!  We spend much of our lives in denial that we have problems.  And when a problem does come up, we always try to find someone else to bear the blame for “our” problem.  So, in short, we usually are still in denial that we have problems that need to be fixed.  It’s a good thing that Mr. Boorman looked deeply into his heart and saw that something was broken that needed fixing. 

And it’s a good thing that he’s divorcing himself from the pride and vanity that go along with designer clothes, Air Jordan’s, the latest and greatest brand names, etc.  Those things invariably cost more than non-name brands, and chances are that they don’t last any longer.  They can’t make us younger, and wearing the name label clothes won’t work magic on how much we weigh (or where we carry that weight!)  I wonder if anyone has ever calculated, over the course of a lifetime, how much money could be saved and used in better ways (feeding the hungry, helping build houses for the homeless, etc.) if we bought generic instead of name brands.  It might be an interesting exercise.

But, I think Mr. Boorman is destined for frustration in his pursuit to “find the real me.”  He seems to think that by just getting rid of things that he’ll discover the real self.  It can help, but the real self is only seen when we look into the perfect law of liberty and let it speak to us about the real us, the ideal us, and how God loves the real us, sees the ideal us, and is at work to make the real us something that glorifies Him.  And is “real happiness” to be discovered by finding the “real me”?  I don’t think so.  The real me isn’t very pretty.  What God knows I will someday become – now that’s something to bring happiness to us!  But in the meantime, what I really need to find in order to have happiness in this life is the understanding of the grace and mercy of God that sees the real me, and loves me enough to not leave the real/sinful me alone, but sheds His blood, light and grace into my life to enable me to not become despondent in this world as I wait for the next. 

PRAYER:  Father, help us to see ourselves as you do, and to know that you love us infinitely.  May be find our happiness in serving you, other and in becoming more like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/16/16 – Glass, Mirrors and the Power of Silver

 

 

DayBreaks for 9/16/16 – Glass, Mirrors and the Power of Silver

An enormously rich man complained to a psychiatrist that despite his great wealth which enabled him to have whatever he wanted, he still felt miserable. The psychiatrist took the man to the window overlooking the street and asked, “What do you see?” The man replied, “I see men, women, and children.”

The psychiatrist then took the man to stand in front of mirror and asked, “Now what do you see?”

The man said, “I see only myself.”

The psychiatrist then said, “In the window there is a glass and in the mirror there is glass, and when you look through the glass of the window, you see others, but when you look into the glass of the mirror you see only yourself. The reason for this, “said the psychiatrist, “is that behind the glass in the mirror is a layer of silver. When silver is added, you cease to see others. You only see yourself.”

Whenever your devotion to money and material things causes you to be self-centered, you in essence deny God’s intention for your life. It is also a denial of the Christ, for Jesus came into the world so that we might be in union with God.

Jesus talked more about money than any other subject in the Scriptures. I always thought it was because it was too easy to make it our idol and to pursue it too strongly. The story of the rich man I relayed above gives me pause to reflect a bit more deeply about it. Perhaps the danger of silver (a metaphor in the story for money) is that it only allows us to see ourselves and not the needs of those around us.

PRAYER: God, I confess to you that all my life I’ve been far too concerned about money.  I confess I’ve not been a good steward.  I confess it is far too easy for me to see only myself and my wants and wishes rather than to see those all around me who could benefit from my generously (and hopefully wisely!) giving what you have already given to me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 8/4/16 – Scratching the Itch

DayBreaks for 8/04/16 – Scratching the Itch

When I was a kid, I sometimes got into poison ivy. The key to poison ivy, once you have it, is not to scratch. Restraining yourself is hard, for your skin itches and you want relief. But scratching only makes poison ivy worse.

Greediness works the same way. We get infected, and we want to scratch, although we know we shouldn’t do so. Possessing more and more appears to provide relief, but only makes the situation worse. We keep scratching, but it’s no solution and it certainly doesn’t solve the real problem in our souls.

Jesus issues a warning inspired by a squabble over inheritance, but one that all of us need to hear. He says: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Clarence Jordan’s translation of this verse brings out its original earthiness. Here’s what Jesus says according to Jordan: “You all be careful and stay on your guard against all kinds of greediness. For a person’s life is not for the piling up of possessions.”

In these few words, Jesus rejects much of what keeps our society humming. He warns us against greed, avarice, the desire to possess more than we need, more than we can use, more than we want. In other words, the more we scratch the itch, rather than getting better…it just gets worse!

PRAYER: Father, you have been so generous with us, but it seems we are never satisfied and we keep on scratching the itch and wanting more. May we learn to be grateful…and content. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 5/22/15 – Love Not

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DayBreaks for 5/22/15: Love Not

The Bible talks a lot about love – and in fact, the new command that Jesus gave us was to love one another as He has loved us.  So when you read a verse that tells us not to love something, we should take it to heart.

My wife and I live in a 32 foot long Fifth Wheel, in a nice RV Park in Georgia. A few years ago, we were renting a house and realized that with our current jobs, we could live wherever we wanted as long as it wasn’t too far from an airport that could accommodate my somewhat frequent work traveling.  We had often talked about living in an RV after we retired so we could be able to travel across the country to see all of our kids and grand kids. At that point, we realized that we could do just that without waiting to retire. So, we seriously pared down our belongings, bought a truck and Fifth Wheel, and became vagabonds. The idea was to move back and forth every six months or so. However, traveling was more expensive and more uncomfortable than we had anticipated. My wife also discovered that although she liked living in the Fifth Wheel more than she had anticipated, she liked traveling much less than anticipated and discovered the need to “nest”.  So, after several trips across country and changes in some circumstances, we settled in Georgia for the time being.

There are some disadvantages to living in a Fifth Wheel, but a lot of advantages also. It is less expensive than renting, for one. But one of the biggest advantages is that it makes life a lot simpler. There is no yard work and since we have much fewer belongings, it takes much less time and effort to take care of what we do have.  Less stuff creates the possibility of a simpler life.  Oh, we both still have our cravings – I love electronics and gizmos, while my wife loves clothes and jewelry.  But I have come to see more and more of how pursuing material things became an idolatrous pursuit for me – and idolatry is our greatest problem as humans – putting anything of this world ahead of the One who truly deserves our attention and worship.

Also, one of the wonderful things is that you live more closely connected to the nature around you and to weather. You are in closer proximity to the “outside”. It’s nice. One thing we realized from when we lived in a nice rental house a few years ago is that we almost never opened the windows. Living as we do now, we have a refreshing breeze blowing through almost whenever we want it, if the weather allows.

Now, don’t get me wrong – we didn’t do all this out of lofty spiritual motivations so please understand: we acted out of motivations of self-interest to be sure.  But sometimes even the things we do selfishly can teach us valuable and worthwhile lessons.

What did we learn?  Several things, I believe: we learned that if you never take a chance, you may lose forever something that could be great.  How much do we lose by never having an adventure – especially an adventure with God? What does material stuff and our desires for more of it potentially take away from our enjoyment of life? What is really most important? How do we decide how we want to live – and how should we decide how we want to live?  These are not issues of less or greater sin – these are issues of less or greater life.   These are just some questions for you to think about…

1 John 2:15 (ESV) – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

PRAYER: Lord, I still have so far to go in detaching myself from things in this world.  Will you help me, please, to understand that pursing such things is futility and a chasing after the wind? In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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