DayBreaks for 12/13/19 – Two Impossibilities

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DayBreaks for 12/13/19: Two Impossibilities

When we stop to consider the workings of God throughout history, we are challenged over and over to try to grasp the actions of a God who not only isn’t fazed by “impossible” things, but who specializes in making the impossible possible.  How can one simply speak and things come into existence?  It is a mystery to me.  How can One take the dust of the earth and form a being that is as complex as a human – and then give that dust and clay life?  The questions could go on and on: how can barren wombs and the womb of a virgin give birth?  How can a blind man receive sight by just a word?  How can one escape a den full of ravenous lions without a scratch, or the flames of a furnace without even a hint of smoke?  How can a fisherman walk on water?  How can a few fish and loaves feed over 5000 with more left over than when the entire undertaking started?  How?  Because God’s hand was in each and every one of those things.

Some folks work desperately hard to keep God out of their lives and out of their world.  They cry “separation of church and state” in an effort to eliminate any conversation about God.  They must deliberately choose to believe that which is truly unbelievable: that all that exists in its nearly infinite complexity and beauty “just happened.”  (Where’s the logic in that?) 

I liked this when I read it: “Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.

It was at Christmas that the wooden manger held the baby that came from the virgin’s womb – and there could be “no entrance” that way as we all know.  All of us, that is, except God, Who wasn’t fazed by the complexities of that at all.  And it was a wooden cross that put Him in a tomb in death – a door marked “No Exit”.  Again, to God it was no more than a mere technicality – and the “No Exit” sign over the tombs of all was removed once and for all. 

Don’t ever think that it is impossible for God to enter the hearts of even those who are most closed to Him.  He came into the world in an “impossible” way and He can come into hearts in miraculous ways, too.  And He has certainly shown that the “No Exit” that hangs over the tomb is nothing more than a wet paper tiger that He tore to shreds at his resurrection. 

Pray for Him to make entrance to hearts that are sealed off against Him and draw comfort that He opened the way through his life, death and resurrection, to eternal glory.

PRAYER: We thank You that there is nothing too hard for You – whether it is to come into the world in an impossible way, or to give life to the dead!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/24/18 – The Last Word

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DayBreaks for 10/24/18: The Last Word

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

Last things.  A final word.  A last goodbye.  A condemned man’s last meal.  A final hug of a pet or loved one.  Last things stick in our minds and it should be so.  Last things are important.  Maybe more important than first things, and as such they deserve our attention.

As humans, we are conditioned to think of last things as being the end, the swan song.  We are conditioned to think in terms of time and space, possibilities and impossibilities, probabilities and improbabilities.  In this, as in all other things, we need to have our minds reshaped by the power of the Spirit to see things that our human minds cannot perceive on their own.

Enter Revelation – that book that is revered and feared, loved and hated, and sadly, all too often ignored by believer and unbeliever alike.  Revelation is the last book of the Bible and the last one which was written – another of those “last things.”  And as such, it deserves our attention.

Revelation is not about prediction: Jeanne Dixon and Nostradamus were into prediction.  Predictions may or may not come to pass.  Revelation is not a book of prediction, but of eschatology.  Most think of eschatology as being about “last things” and rightly so, for that is what the word itself means – the study of last things.  But if Revelation is eschatological, it is only eschatological in the worldly sense, for in the great book of John, the key eschatological message is that as the last breath of the earth is gasped out, the heavenly reality is that the future is breaking in upon us. 

In Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson (note: Eugene passed to glory on 10/22/18, with his last words reportedly being, “Let’s go!”) noted: Eschatology involves the belief that the resurrection appearances of Christ are not complete.  This belief permeating the Revelation makes life good, for when we are expecting a resurrection appearance we can accept our whole present and find joy not only in its joy but also in its sorrow, happiness not only in its happiness but also in its pain.  We travel on through either happiness or pain because in the promises of God we see possibilities for the transient, the dying and the dead.

How are your expectations today?  Are you living in great expectation of another post-resurrection appearance of the Christ, or have you resignedly condemned yourself to a life of mundane trivialities?  The expectation of his appearing and of the infinite possibilities his coming hints at are worthy of our meditation and great expectation that this day, as likely as any other day, can be changed from an ordinary day into a day and lifetime of endless anticipation.

PRAYER: Lord, teach us to expect not just Your power through the Spirit, but the appearing of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Let this expectation transform us from victims into victors, from depressed creatures buffeted by life into glorified saints full of joyful exuberance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/27/18 – I’ll be a Horse!

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DayBreaks for 8/27/18: I’ll be a Horse!

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Meg F. Quijano related the following incident relating to her 5-year-old daughter, Lisa. When Lisa greeted her mom with the news that when she grew up she wanted to be a nurse, Meg was a bit taken aback. There was a time when nursing was thought by many to be a “woman’s job”. Quijano told Lisa she could be anything she wanted to be. “You can be a lawyer, a surgeon, a banker, President of the United States – you can be anything.” Lisa looked a little dubious. “Anything? Anything at all?” She thought about it, and then her face lit up with ambition. “All right!” she said, “I’ll be a horse!”

I ask a lot of kids what they want to be when they grow up, and I’ve never had one tell me that they wanted to be a horse. But I think there is something beautiful in that 5-year-old’s faith in what her mom told her. Her mom did say “anything”, didn’t she? And if mom said it, that was good enough for Lisa.

Jesus taught about the world of little children and their pure faith and trust – how they receive things on faith because someone they believed in said it was true (Mark 10:14-15). As we grow older we become less believing. Why? Because people and things we trusted let us down. We find out that mom and dad, big brother or big sister, grandma or grandpa didn’t keep their word about something. And that begins our journey into distrust. We no longer trust others – so we turn to the only one we believe we can trust – ourselves. And then things happen that we can’t handle. And again our faith is broken. We can no longer even trust ourselves. We get cynical and skeptical. Then along comes Jesus.

What is it that he wants from us? Simply to believe anything he tells us – like we once did with our parents. Does it seem foolish? Well, after you’ve been let down by humans many times, it probably does. Is it crazy? Maybe so. But let me ask you one question – and don’t answer it right away. Spend some time to REALLY THINK about this one, OK? Here it is: can you point to a single event or moment in your life where God failed to keep His promise to you? I can’t. There are times where I wondered if He was there, there were times where I wondered why He let things happen the way He did, but I can’t identify a single time He ever failed to keep a promise. And you know what? He never will.

Do you remember that old saying, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”? Well, I guess that just about says it. That doesn’t mean our faith needs to be a totally blind faith at all. It just speaks to the reality and solidity of God’s pronouncements. If God said He would set you free from sin’s power – believe it! When He says He has forgiven your sin – believe it! With God’s help you can become anything – anything at all!

PRAYER:  How desperately we need to have faith like that of little children, Lord!  Give us eyes to see and hearts to believe that with you, all things are possible!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/30/17 – The Hidden Possibilities

DayBreaks for 6/30/17: The Hidden Possibilities

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

Agostino d’Antonio, a sculptor in Florence, Italy, labored diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble.  After much effort and time, Mr. d’Antonio pronounced his verdict: “I can do nothing with it.”  But, rather than just throwing the large piece of marble out, other sculptors tried their hand at it at making something of the chunk of rock, but they too gave up the task.

For forty years that large slab of stone lay in a huge pile of rubbish, until one day, another sculptor was out walking and spied the stone.  He immediately gave orders to have the marble brought to his studio, and he began to work upon it at once – falling on it with the hammer and chisel, laboring to release the image within the stone.  Ultimately, his work and labor met with success.  From that seemingly worthless stone that had been cast into the rubbish pile, Michaelangelo carved one of the world’s greatest masterpieces of marble sculpture, the statue known to us as David!

What was it that made the difference between Agostino d’Antonio and Michaelangelo’s work on the same piece of marble?  The secret lay in the sculptor, not in the stone. 

As we look at the great men and women of Scripture, we might be tempted to draw contrasts with our own lives.  The lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Moses – they look like giants made out of granite.  They seem to tower over us and make our own lives seem small and significant by comparison.  Our lives seem to be full of disappointments while their lives seem bolder than life, full of color and vibrancy.  We see all that God has accomplished in them, and probably see little of what He’s done in our lives.  What is it that made such people so strong and great?  It wasn’t the nature of who they were.  It was all in the Sculptor who worked within them. 

The same Sculptor is at work in all those who have entrusted their lives to them.  What can we expect?  We can expect Him to produce a masterpiece out of your life because you know the quality of the work of the Sculptor, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 44:24 (NIV) – This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself…

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, that You are trustworthy to make us and chisel away the dross to form us into the image of Your precious Son, Jesus.  May we yield to the hammer and chisel until we reach the design You have for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/22/14 – Promising, But Alas…

DayBreaks for 4/22/14 – Promising, but Alas…

Do you recall this NT story of Jesus and the disciples? The disciples come upon a fig tree which was flourishing with a burst of leaves. Jesus went to the tree and looked among the leaves, but found no figs. It is the nature of the fig tree to get its fruit before the leaves, so Jesus had an expectation of finding fruit!

This is an illustration of the age-old story of promise without fulfillment. Charles Lamb shared an anecdote about a certain man in whose life, he said, there were three stages. When he was young, people said of him, “He will do something.” As he grew older and did nothing, they said of him, “He could do something if he tried.” Towards the end of his life they said of him, “He might have done something, if he had tried.”

That could be the epitaph of too many Christians…and too many churches.  What will your epitaph say?  What will God say of what you did with the potential that He created and placed inside of you?

PRAYER: Father, teach us to eagerly pursue living up to all the amazing potential you have placed in each and every one of us, and help us to encourage others to live up to the potential that you created in them, too! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/20/11 – Still Kickin’

DayBreaks for 07/20/11 – Still Kickin’

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. – Psalm 28:7

Still kickin' long as you're alive, there's REAL hope!

Many of our American slang sayings are very interesting when you stop to think about them.  I don’t know where all of their origins spring from, but I have a pretty good idea where the saying, “Still kickin’” comes from.  It’s like the chicken who has its head chopped off in the barnyard – they can run about and even fly for a little while…they’re still moving (sans head).  To say that someone is still kicking means that they’re not all the way dead yet – their legs are still twitching.  It’s a rather morbid saying when you get right down to it.

Living the Christian life isn’t easy.  It is, in fact, doggone tough.  Christianity isn’t for wimps.  It is so tough that many finally shrug their shoulders and give up because they just can’t seem to ever live a more holy life (which, by the way, shouldn’t surprise us too much since the author of Romans says that there is NO ONE who does what is good).  So, those folks just lie down somewhere along life’s pathway waiting to die because of their colossal, stupendous failings.

One of the most wonderful things about the gospel story is this truth: If you’re not dead, you’re not done.  You’re still kickin’.  God still has a purpose for you being here…and that gives your life and existence tremendous purpose.

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, in the context of Christianity and their need to change, “I can’t change,” I would own vaster holdings than the British royal family.  I have, from time to time, even said it myself (I’m sad to say.)  But let’s think about that for a minute: when I say “I can’t change” or “I’ll never change” or “I’ll never amount to anything”, what are we really doing?  Aren’t we just making excuses for our actions because we don’t want to put in the effort to let the Spirit change us (and maybe we really don’t want to change and stop that sin that gives us so much delight)?  Craig Groeschel put it this way: “If you keep making excuses, you’re insulting God’s power.” (The Christian Atheist, pg. 137)

As long as you’re “kickin’”, you can change.  God can change you.  The question is never with His ability – it is always about our willingness.

PRAYER: Prevent us from falling prey to fatal discouragements and deadly excuses, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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