DayBreaks for 3/28/19 – Walking on Water

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DayBreaks for 3/28/19: Walking on Water

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

From WORLD Magazine, February 13, 1999: “Disneyland-style special effects are coming to the Holy Land. A private contractor will build a submerged bridge on the Sea of Galilee so pilgrims can walk on water. “It will not be too kitschy,” claimed Zeev Margalit of Israel’s National Parks Authority. This man-made miracle will arrive in Capernaum next August as part of Israel’s preparations for an anticipated 4 million visitors arriving for millennium celebrations. The crescent-shaped floating bridge will be 13 feet wide, 28 feet long, and hold up to 50 people at once. For full effect, it will sit two inches below the water – with no railings. Instead, when people fall off the bridge, boats and lifeguards will rush to save them.”

We’ve all wished we could walk on water. Maybe it was to get across a freezing-cold mountain stream without getting wet, or to avoid getting soaked in a rain puddle. Either way, it would be a great “trick”, wouldn’t it?

When I read this story about “walking on water” at the Sea of Galilee, it struck me that this is no different than what most of us do every day: we are constantly trying to elevate ourselves to “God” status. You see, only God can walk on water without help. Yet in his undertaking, Mr. Margalit is going to be creating the illusion that we can do what God does. Well, here’s a hot scoop right off the press: we can’t. It’s no different than the lie Satan told Eve in the garden: “You will be like God…”.

We want to appear holy – we can’t; we want to decide what is right and wrong – we can’t because it’s already been decided; we want to walk on water – but it’s not our calling. Or at least, not until August 1999. And even then, it will be artificial.

When we pretend to be God, we’ll fall and need to be rescued, just like those who will fall off this submerged bridge. When we try to play God, we get all wet!!!

Romans 12:3 says: “…I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment….”

We need to learn to be what we are and stop pretending to be who we aren’t. We aren’t divine. We cannot do the things that God can do. Whenever I get too big for my britches, I’m bound to fall into the water and need someone to rescue me.

Let’s let Him do the things only He can do – like saving us, forgiving us, judging, and walking on water! Let us stop fighting Him for supremacy in our life and let Him rule in our hearts as we humble ourselves before Him.

Prayer: Lord, we give You our worship as You alone are God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 1/18/19 – The Braggart

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DayBreaks for 01/18/2019: The Braggart

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2009:

I recently took a “fun” quiz that was forwarded around on the Internet, and one of the questions was to name a characteristic that you hate.  I have to admit that I struggled with that one.  I don’t enjoy being around complainers (fortunately, there are very few of those in my life!) or those who are always trying to impress someone with their talk or wisdom.  Maybe that’s because I can get easily confused and I’m not smart enough to follow their big words.  People who are always talking “big talk” to impress are generally very insecure people, and they remind me of this rather humorous story:

A man was driving through the countryside when suddenly his car stalled.  He got out to see what was wrong, and as he bent over the motor, he heard a voice say, ‘That trip to Japan was wonderful last spring.’  He looked around but saw no one.  All he could see was an old horse standing in the meadow.  The horse looked straight at him and said, ‘Yes, that trip was almost as good as the one to Paris and Rome the year before.’

Well, the man became almost hysterical with excitement.  He ran to the farmhouse at the edge of the meadow, pounded on the door, took out his billfold and said, ‘I want to buy that horse at any price.’  Calmly, the farmer replied, ‘Oh, you mustn’t pay too much attention to that horse.  He hasn’t been to half the places he talks about.’

Why is it that we have such a strong tendency to promote ourselves and talk about ourselves in ways that are intended to do nothing but try to impress others?  I think James 3:13-16 gives us some really good clues: If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.

Bottom line: we either are bragging about the good things we do (and why would we do that? – to get the praise of humans!), OR we are jealous and full of selfish ambition and so we brag about what we’ve done and how good we are – the “worst kind of lie” as James put it.  Such things are not motivated by God or by trying to bring Him glory, but by the Devil!

How much better off we’d be if no one was trying to impress others!!!!  Let us be content to be what and who God created us to be.  When we live that way, we bring Him glory!

PRAYER: Father, may we trust in You to honor those who are genuine in Your time and may we not pursue the praise of other humans.  Help us to be content to be what You have made us to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/25/18 – Three Poison Pills

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DayBreaks for 10/25/18: Three Poison Pills

During the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, “Sir, I am a corporal!” The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, “Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again.” With that George Washington got back on horse and rode off.

Where did Washington learn such leadership skills? I have no doubt he learned them here in these words of Jesus: Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. The young corporal had these words modeled to him from the man at the top. The disciples, likewise, receive from their leader a picture of servant hood.

Mark 10:35-37 (ESV) – And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

This heartbreaking text comes at a crucial time in the life of Jesus – and by now you’d think the disciples might be imitating their leader just a bit. But when this happens, it is only five days before Jesus’ crucifixion. Four days before his betrayal and trial. One day before the clearing of the temple. A few hours before the Triumphal Entry. If the disciples are going to start appropriating Jesus’ teachings in their life it ought to be now. But it doesn’t happen. Moments before the most crucial events in their life they are a bickering, petty, bad-tempered quarrelsome lot. We need to learn from this not-so-flattering moment in the life of the disciples.

How is it that critical moments can be so close at hand and we are wondering what’s in this for me? It has to do with the three poison pills of position, prestige, and power.

Let’s all check ourselves to see if we’ve swallowed any of those poison pills.

PRAYER: Lord, keep us from pursuing position, prestige and power. Let us recognize poison when we see it!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/19/18 – Fit to Stand in White Robes

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DayBreaks for 3/19/18: Fit to Stand in White Robes

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008:

Power.  How we are fascinated, yet sometimes revolted by it.  We are a species fascinated by power.  We woke up this morning in a world infatuated with it, and yet also a world where many are terrified of it.  Power will be exercised today in your home, in your school, on the playground, in courts, businesses, hospitals, in the halls of political power.  Some will use their power this day to abuse and mistreat other human beings – lording their power over them in the cruelest ways possible.  Others will use their power to feed hungry bodies, comfort broken souls and hearts, to dig wells to quench thirst.

To the human eye, it appears that evil is winning.  Good seems to be on the scaffold, while evil sits enthroned in the hearts of men and spiritual beings throughout the universe.  Our very own experiences reveal the persistence of the power of evil.  One must question (especially at times when we are suffering from the slings and arrows of evil) what will rule the day.

In the first century, if a boxing announcer had been present during the trial of Jesus, he might have said something like this: “In this corner, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the undefeated, invincible, indomitable Roman Empire!  And in the other corner, a Galilean carpenter in his first professional fight, Jesus of Nazareth.”  It appeared to all present to be no contest.  No one was betting on Jesus.  Rome and their mighty army looked to be a sure winner.  Even Satan, hidden from view, appeared to heavenly forces to be on the edge of yet another victory over righteousness and holiness.  But things aren’t always what they appear to be…

There is wonderful power in the Cross of Christ. It has power to wake the dullest conscience and melt the hardest heart, to cleanse the unclean, to reconcile him who is afar off and restore him to fellowship with God, to redeem the prisoner from his bondage and lift the pauper from the dunghill, to break down the barriers which divide [people] from one another, to transform our wayward characters into the image of Christ and finally make us fit to stand in white robes before the throne of God.” John Stott, The Preacher’s Portrait 

There is a power far beyond anything this world has understood or seen.  That power was unleashed at the cross.  It is a power that can change blackened hearts, not just dark actions.  It is a power that can dump guilt and shame into the depths of the sea, never to surface again.  It is the power that can make people like us – sinners all on a great magnitude of scale – “fit to stand in white robes before the throne of God.”  Believest thou this?

PRAYER: We fall before your cross in wonder that such love exists.  May we never deny the power of the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/7/18 – The Horns of Pride

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DayBreaks for 3/07/18: The Horns of Pride

NOTE: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive,  March 2008:

Pride and self-confidence are very dangerous things.  Witness this story: “Pali, this bull has killed me.”  So said Jose Cubero, one of Spain’s most brilliant matadors, before he lost consciousness and died.  Only 21 years old, he had been enjoying a spectacular career.  However, in this 1958 bullfight, Jose made a tragic mistake.  He thrust his sword a final time into a bleeding, delirious bull, which then collapsed.  Considering the struggle finished, Jose turned to the crowd to acknowledge the applause.  The bull, however, was not dead.  It rose and lunged at the unsuspecting matador, its horn piercing his back and puncturing his heart.

The matador trusted in himself to have killed the bull.  It appeared to be dead.  Jose was only focused on one thing at that time: hearing and acknowledging the applause of the crowd.  His pride did him in – it caused him to become careless and it cost him his life.

Romans 8.13b-14: … but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 

In his contest with the bull, Jose with his own sword and power thought he’d put to death the beast.  There are many parallels and some differences between his struggle and ours:

FIRST: it was possible for him to kill the beast under his own power.  You and I proudly think we can defeat sin on our own, but we cannot.  The Romans passage quoted above says we must “by the Spirit” put to death the sin-beast.  If we trust in ourselves and our strength to do it, it will rise up again;

SECOND: the creature Jose fought was external while ours is internal.  The bull could be watched and probably as it rose to it’s feet while he had his back turned, the crowd went wild trying to get his attention and warn him.  Jose probably thought that they were just cheering even louder, so he took more bows, unaware of the danger behind him.  Our fight is with the pride within us.  Sometimes, no one can see it but us, but that doesn’t mean pride isn’t deadly.  In some ways, because our pride may be invisible to others, it is all the more deadly because it is so insidious.  We, like Jose, may be too busy taking our bows for some great act or service when that which we thought was dead comes back to haunt us;

THIRD: if we are too attuned to the crowd (the world) we will fail to see the danger of our pride.  The world doesn’t care if we are proud – it just wants us to fall.  The world (and Satan) wants us to rely on ourselves and our power and to grow prideful.   

FOURTH: when we attempt to stop sinning it is like thrusting the sword into a bleeding, delirious bull.  Satan will become enraged with our desire to serve God and be done with sin.  He will find any way possible to get back at us, including using pride about our “victory”.

Just when we think we are done with pride and we turn to accept the congratulations of the crowd, pride stabs us in the back.  We should never consider pride dead before we are.

PRAYER: Teach us humility, Lord, and drown out the cheers of the crowd around us so we can hear only Your words of love and warning.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/04/18 – Spiders, Flies and the Crowd

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DayBreaks for 1/04/18: Spiders, Flies and the Crowd

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008:

Ephesians 5:5-6 (NIV) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

Job 15:31 (NIV) – Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return.

We are easily deceived.  There are probably many reasons for it, but I think the main reason we are deceived is because we want to believe something strongly enough that we allow ourselves to be convinced it is true.  And as Job points out, we don’t necessarily have to be deceived by others – we’re plenty good at deceiving ourselves.  We deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re better than we really are, that we are smarter, more holy, more righteous than someone else and therefore God must like us better.  We deceive ourselves into thinking that we’ve accomplished whatever we’ve managed to accomplish by our own wisdom, smarts and talent – forgetting the Source of the talent.

But what really bothers me these days is how easily the people of God get deceived by the world and the smooth-talking salesmen of perversity.  Evil is made to sound good, and good to sound evil and even hateful.  The world has gotten very good at telling its story – I fear it is much more skilled at telling its story than we are at telling the story of what God has done. 

Once a spider built a beautiful web in an old house.  He kept it clean and shiny so that flies would patronize it.  The minute he got a “customer” he could clean up on it so the other flies would not get suspicious.  Then one day this fairly intelligent fly came buzzing by the clean spider web.  Old man spider called out, “Come in and sit.”  But the fairly intelligent fly said, “No, sir.  I don’t see other flies in your house, and I am not going in alone!”  But presently he saw on the floor below a large crowd of flies dancing around on a piece of brown paper.  He was delighted!  He was not afraid if lots of flies were doing it.  So he came in for a landing.  Just before he landed, a bee zoomed by, saying, “Don’t land there, stupid!  That’s flypaper!”  But the fairly intelligent fly shouted back, “Don’t’ be silly.  Those flies are dancing.  There’s a big crowd there.  Everybody’s doing it.  That many flies can’t be wrong!”

Well, you know what happened.  He died on the spot.  Some of us want to be with the crowd so badly that we end up in a mess.  What does it profit a fly (or a person) if he escapes the web only to end up in the glue?

May you be wise to the ways of the world because you are wiser to the ways of God!

 

PRAYER:  Give us discerning hearts and minds, O Lord, so that we are not led astray by the voice of the masses or by false appearances.  May we heed the warnings that You have given us in Your Word and through Your Spirit.  Preserve and protect us, we pray!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/14/17 – A Theology Lesson from Dr. Seuss

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DayBreaks for 12/14/17: A Theology Lesson from Dr. Seuss

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

How’s your world going today?  When you got up out of bed, did you leap up full of joy and excitement, or did you stub your toe or arise with a headache?  There are things you plan to do today, right?  Chances are, either formally or informally, you’ve got your day somewhat planned out.  You know some things that are “must-get-done’s” and others that you can do if you get around to it.  You know some of the people you’ll probably be talking with and what you’ll talk about.  You may be filled with trepidation about some of those meetings, or excitement at the prospect of spending some time together with them.  Either way, you have a schedule, a plan, in your mind for how you’ll spend your day. 

We like to think that we are in charge of our lives – that we have a significant say-so in how the day unfolds, how our interactions will turn out, and what we’ll do and where we’ll go.  And, to some extent, we do have some control over some of it – at least, we have an illusion of control.  We like to think that we are masters of our destinies – even if it’s just a small, insignificant destiny like planning to stop at Starbucks for a cup of joe on the way to work.  Our little fiefdom, over which we rule…or so we think. 

One of the best commentaries about this is in a book on political science theory by a “theologian” you may have heard of, named Dr. Seuss.  It’s a book called Yertle the Turtle.  A little pond of turtles is ruled—or so he thinks—by Yertle, who’s a turtle.  One day, he decides his kingdom needs extending. 

Yertle, the turtle, the king of them all,

Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small. 

“I’m ruler,” said Yertle, “of all that I see. 

But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.

With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond.

But I cannot look down on the places beyond. 

This throne that I sit on is too low down. 

It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown. 

“If I could sit high, how much greater I’d be! 

What a king! I’d be ruler of all I could see!”  

And so it happened that Yertle the Turtle sent out a decree that all the turtles that lived in his pond should be stacked up to be his throne—to extend his power and glory.  The whole pond scrambles to obey; first dozens, then hundreds of turtles were positioned underneath Yertle, who rose higher and higher into the air until finally he was so high up that he could see for miles. 

I’m Yertle the Turtle, Oh marvelous me,

For I am the ruler of all that I see! 

Yep, Yertle thought he had it made.  He was “on top of the world”, overseeing his little domain, inflated with a sense of his own importance, overflowing with prideful arrogance.  He believed he had everything under control and that his reign in his little realm was as secure as could be, but in the end, it wasn’t:

For the turtle on the bottom did a plain little thing. 

He burped, and that burp shook the throne of the King.

And today, the great Yertle, that marvelous he –

Is the King of the Mud. That’s all he can see.

And that’s where all who lift themselves up eventually wind up – back down in the mud.  We are all just one little burp away from reality.

We think it’s about us: my family, my work, my friends. We want to fashion our lives into a kingdom we control. But every once in a while, there’s a little “burp” someplace and we’re reminded of reality. 

Luke 18:14 (KJV) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

PRAYER:  Give us this day the wisdom to keep You on the throne and may we be content to be Your servants!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.