DayBreaks for 11/8/17 – The Crushing Weight

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DayBreaks for 11/08/17: The Crushing Weight

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

How do you deal with pressure?  Some folks love it, others hate it.  Pressure can come from a variety of sources: it can be imposed from someone in authority telling you want to do and when it has to be done, or from having wasted precious time when you could have been working on something important.  It can be generated by the manipulative expectations of parents, children, spouses or friends.  We can generate our own pressure based on unreasonable and impossible expectations we place on ourselves.  Other pressures are more physical: that squeezing of the chest that indicates a heart attack or the weight of a car falling on top of you. 

The following comes from Sidney Greidanus’ book, Preaching Christ from Genesis: “The nuclear submarine Thresher had heavy steel bulkheads and heavy steel armor, so it could dive deep and withstand the pressure of the ocean.  Unfortunately, on a test run in 1963, the Thresher’s nuclear engine quit, and it could not get back to the surface.  It sank deeper and deeper into the ocean.  The pressure became immense.  The heavy steel bulkheads buckled; the Thresher was crushed with 129 people inside.

“The Navy searched for the Thresher with a research craft that was much stronger than submarines.  It was shaped like a steel ball and was lowered into the ocean on a cable.  They finally located the Thresher at a depth of 8,400 feet: one and a half miles down.  It was crushed like an egg shell.  That was not a surprise, for the pressure at that depth is tremendous—3,600 pounds per square inch.

“What was surprising to the searchers was that they saw fish at that great depth.  And these fish did not have inches of steel to protect them.  They appeared to have normal skin, a fraction of an inch thick.  How can these fish survive under all that pressure?  How come they are not crushed by the weight of the water?  They have a secret.  Their secret is that they have the same pressure inside themselves as they have on the outside.  Survival under pressure.

“John assures us, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  We will be victorious in the battle against Satan because Jesus poured his Spirit into our hearts.  “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

If we don’t have the Spirit functioning inside of us, we, like the Thresher, will be crushed by the enemy.  Alone, we are not able to sustain our lives under his relentless pressuring attacks.  Is it any wonder that we fail when we struggle against Satan in our own strength and wisdom?  We must be filled with the overflowing of the Spirit to survive, and not just to survive, but to thrive in our situation. 

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV) – For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

PRAYER: Daily, Lord, we are put under pressure to compromise and surrender the ground You’ve given us to protect.  Fill us up completely, so that not only are we equal to the pressure, but that the Spirit within us will flow out of each pore of our bodies and souls that Your glory and goodness may abound!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 7/14/15 – The Squeeze of God’s Hand

DayBreaks for 7/14/16 – The Squeeze of God’s Hand

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2006:

Many of us have been conditioned to think of God as a doting Parent whose function is to shield us from unpleasant circumstances.  No wonder we’re disappointed. – Helen Grace Lescheid, “The Place of Acceptance”, Discipleship Journal, Issue 60

Why do we get mad at God when there are hard times in life?  When you think about it, a parent isn’t tasked with keeping children from unpleasant circumstances in spite of what many today seem to believe.  A parent is supposed to teach children how to live with and through both pleasant and unpleasant circumstances because both are part and parcel of life.  Unpleasant things can either knock us off kilter or teach us about what to avoid.  A parent who never lets their child experience the negative consequences of inappropriate behavior is a parent who is failing to teach their child that sin has consequences. 

That doesn’t mean that those circumstances are fun.  But perhaps it will help you to think of them in the same way that Helen Lescheid described them in Issue 76 of Discipleship Journal: Sometimes trouble or hardship is an indication that the hand of God is on our lives…I sometimes say to myself, ‘The pressure I feel right now is but the squeeze of God’s hands on my life as He’s shaping me.’ 

I like that.  Scripture uses the analogy of the Potter and the clay (Rom. 9:21).  The clay cannot be formed without pressure.  Sometimes, depending on what the Potter is forming, the pressure comes from without, but sometimes from with – pressing us outward until we take on the shape He wants for us. 

If you are feeling pressure in your life right now, try to think about it as the hand of the Master shaping the clay of your life.  Rest assured that the Potter doesn’t make junk and doesn’t make mistakes.  In spite of any pressure you may feel – if you belong to Christ, you are not a failure and you are not a mistake.  You are being formed into a vessel for His use and His glory. 

PRAYER:  Father, you are the Potter and we are nothing more than clay.  Help us to remember that is not for the clay to determine what it should become, to try to dictate to You what You’ve done well or what to make of us.  May we yield gracefully, full of loving trust in you, to the gentle pressure of your hands on our life as you shape us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/08/16 – The Effects of Pressure

DayBreaks for 7/08/16 – The Effects of Pressure

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Pressure.  It’s everywhere, even though we don’t think about it all the time.  There’s atmospheric pressure, the weight of the earth’s atmosphere that presses down upon us all at sea level with the same force: 14.7 pounds per square inch.  You don’t feel it, do you?  There’s pressure in the water lines that bring water into your home, there’s pressure in the lines that run to the brakes on your car, in the hoses that carry water from your radiator to your engine.  There’s pressure when you dive into the water and you feel it as you go deeper, pressing down on your eardrums.

Then there’s the other kind of pressure: the kind that others and we, put on ourselves.  It’s pressure to perform, pressure to reform, pressure to conform.  Some of it comes from bosses, teachers, parents, even kids – who are trying to pressure us into conforming into what they want done or what they want us to be like.  Sadly, it happens in marriages, too – we pressure our spouses to be more like we want them to be.

I believe it was Hudson Taylor who reflected on the effects of life’s pressures on our relationship with God when he observed: “It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is.  What really matters is where the pressure lies – whether it comes between you and God or presses you nearer His heart.”

You are under pressure today.  It might be from any of a thousand different sources or people.  What is it doing to you?  The pressure to be noticed and get the promotion to the next run of the ladder can come between you and God – it can become an idol that you are pursuing rather than more time with Him and His Word and His people.  The pressure to change – to lose weight, to talk more intelligently, to have cosmetic surgery – those things can fill our minds so much that we have squeezed God out of our hearts and minds.  Or, as Mr. Taylor suggested, those pressures can drive us closer to His heart and the things His heart desires for us.  We need to test what we’re being pressured about and see if it is producing good fruit in our lives by forcing us to re-calibrate the things we’re chasing after to see if they are Godly or things of the world.

The pressures of this world will die when we do.  God won’t.  Don’t let something temporary separate you from Something eternal.

PRAYER:  Every day, Lord, we carry about pressures within and upon us.  Help us to carry nothing but our cross for You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/08/15 – The Heat Is On

DayBreaks for 7/08/15: The Heat Is On

Brett Blair shares the following story told by Lloyd J. Ogilve, in his book Life without Limits, a story of a pastor who in the space of one week heard the following comments from various people:

A woman said, “I’m under tremendous pressure from my son these days. I can’t seem to satisfy him, however hard I work. He really puts me under pressure.”

A young man said, “My parents have fantastic goals for me to take over the family business. It’s not what I want to do, but their pressure is unbearable.”

A college woman said, “I’m being pressured by my boyfriend to live with him before we are married. You know…sort of try it out…to see if we are right for each other.”

A husband said, “My wife is never satisfied. Whatever I do, however much I make, it’s never enough. Life with her is like living in a pressure cooker with the lid fastened down and the heat on high.”

A secretary said, pointing to her phone, “That little black thing is driving me silly. At the other end of the line are people who make impossible demands and think they are the only people alive.”

A middle-aged wife said, “My husband thinks my faith is silly. When I feel his resistance to Christ, I wonder if I’m wrong and confused. As a result, I’ve developed two lives; one with him and one when I’m with my Christian friends.”

An elderly woman said, “My sister thinks she has all the answers about the faith and tries to convince me of her point of view. I feel pressured to become her brand of Christian, but I keep thinking if it means being like her, I don’t want it at all. When she calls, I just put the phone on my shoulder and let her rant on while I do other things. A half-hour later, she’s still on the line blasting away, but I still feel pressure.”

A young pastor at a clergy conference said, “I hardly know who I am any more. There are so many points of view in my congregation, I can’t please them all. Everyone wants to capture me for his camp and get me to shape the church around his convictions. The pressure makes me want to leave the ministry.”

All of these persons have one thing in common. They are being pressured by other people. We all, at one time or another, experience people-pressure.

That is the question Herod faced in Mark chapter 6. After making an oath to a pretty young girl that she could have up to half of his kingdom, she surprised him and asked for the head of the Baptist. Mark 6:26 reveals that the King was thrown into distress, he knew it was wrong, but because of his oath and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.  He sent the executioner and on a platter was delivered the head of a holy man.   

The question today is: how will you deal with the pressure today? How will you let it affect your judgement and decisions?

PRAYER: Lord, I know that today we will all come under varying degrees of pressure – pressures to compromise and take the easy way out rather than doing what we deep down inside know is right.  Help us be strong through Your Spirit! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/06/15 – A Lesson in Pressure

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DayBreaks for 3/06/15: A Lesson in Pressure    

 

NOTE: This week DayBreaks are from the archive as Galen is out of the country.  He will respond to messages after he returns. 

Sent in by a DayBreaks reader (thanks, Bridget!):  If you were to climb into a submarine you might think that, as long as it held watertight, you could glide on down to the bottom of the ocean. Sadly, if you tried to do this you’d soon discover how mistaken you are. Submarines can only go so deep before the pressure of the water crushes them like an empty soft drink can crumpled by your hand. Indeed, a number of years ago submarine called the Thresher went down too deep. The water pressure rose to the point that the submarines heavy steel bulkheads were crushed.  The sub was torn apart, leaving pieces of debris scattered across the ocean floor for searchers to find.

If you want to go down really deep you need a specially designed research vessel shielded by heavy armor. Now imagine you jumped into one of these heavily clad research vessels and headed down to the ocean depths. Guess what you’d find? Fish. Fish! Fish with skin just millimeters thick.

How is it that fish with just a thin skin covering can survive the pressure of such great depths, where a submarine with thick steel plates cannot? 

The answer is quite simple: fish have equal and opposite pressure inside them. Submarines do not.

When confronting the pressures of sin some Christians try to become like a submarine, shielding themselves from the outside world, strapping themselves into a narrow space where they are safe from external pressures. They make rules which are designed to reinforce them against temptation. But unfortunately, the deeper into life we go the more inadequate this approach will be. The external pressure will just become too great.

This is why we need to be like the fish, to develop positive pressure inside ourselves. Rather than simply resisting the outward pressure of temptation we need to combat it by building up positive spiritual pressure within, replacing the values the world would impose with the Spirit developed character of Christ.  – Adapted from the Internet, Author Unknown

Is your life being properly balanced?  If you seem to be losing the fight to external pressures, fill the inner sanctum of your soul with the presence of the Spirit and the Word He delivered.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Fill us with Your Spirit so we can withstand the pressures of this world and go deeper with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/27/11 – It’s What’s Inside

DayBreaks for 10/27/11 – It’s What’s Inside

When the pressure is on...

At church once, one of my Christian brothers shared a devotion that I thought was very profound in all of its implications.  His thoughts were inspired by Wayne Dwyer, a motivational speaker.  The gist of the message was as follows:

If you take an orange and squeeze it, what happens?  You get orange juice!  It never has resulted in anything other than orange juice.  No one has ever squeezed an orange and had tomato juice come out.  Neither does lemonade come out – only orange juice?  Why?  Because it is an orange and orange juice is what is inside.

It doesn’t matter whether you squeeze the orange with your hands, place it under a board and jump up and down on it, or even if you have an elephant stand on it.  Whatever is on the outside exerting the force doesn’t change what is inside the orange.  It only works to cause what is inside to come out.  The pressure exerted on the outside of the orange is what causes what is inside to be produced and revealed.

This is, of course, a parable of life itself, and we as Christians, are like the orange.  Life presses in on us, squeezing hard.  And whatever it is that is inside of us is what will come out when the pressure gets strong enough.

The question, of course, that we must ask ourselves, is what comes out when life presses in on you?  When someone cuts you off in traffic, when someone cuts in front of you in a line at the store, when you hit your thumb with the hammer, when you witness someone being ridiculed for taking a stand for righteousness, when you see injustice – what comes out?  When you find yourself without a job, when your health is stricken, when a loved one dies, when debts pile up – what comes out?  Do words of praise, seasoned with grace, flow from your lips?  Or do bitter words, swear words, ungrateful phrases pour forth?

It depends on what is inside.  If your life has been filled, truly filled, with the love and grace of God, the things that come forth will be words and actions that bring glory and praise to Him.  On the other hand, if something else comes out, it is an indicator that what is on the inside still needs work.

Prov. 23:7 – “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

Luke 6:43 – “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

PRAYER: Jesus, we complain about being squeezed, but help us understand that the squeezing only reveals what is contained on the inside – and we need to know the truth about ourselves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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