DayBreaks for 5/16/19 – God’s Intent

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DayBreaks for 5/16/19: God’s Intent

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

Good intentions.  My goodness, I’ve certainly had enough of them to last a lifetime.  Do those intentions always translate into right actions?  Well, um, no.  But just because the action didn’t follow the intent, it doesn’t mean that anything was wrong with the intent.  It’s the execution of a good intention that leads to good actions.

There is an interesting passage in Ephesians that speaks about one of God’s intentions.  Here it is: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Ephesians 3:10-11 (NIV)

Maybe it seems strange to think of it in this way, but at least for the present time, God’s intentions don’t always work out, either.  They will eventually, but in the meantime, they can get sidetracked, too.  They don’t get sidetracked because God changes His mind or because He can’t execute His plan.  It’s just that He chooses to make some of His intentions intertwined with the actions of human beings like us.  And that’s why His intentions don’t always get fulfilled right away.

It was God’s “intent” that His wisdom should show forth God’s wisdom.  How is your church doing at showing forth God’s wisdom?  But let’s make it a bit more personal than that…for we are the church.  The question could therefore be asked, “How well am I doing at letting God’s manifold wisdom be seen through my life?” 

Many churches are too busy fussing and fighting to show much of anything that would resemble God’s character.  But when a diverse group of people can not only co-exist, but love one another and let God’s wisdom (not the wisdom of the church leaders) be seen – then something amazing happens.  People in this world see something that doesn’t come from this world: God’s wisdom.  Even then, however, this display of wisdom from the church isn’t primarily for human eyes – it is for the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  They are watching – and believe it or not, they see the wisdom of God in His plan to involve humans as His family.

You are the church.  Does your life showcase your wisdom, or His? 

Prayer: Father, forgive us for our foolishness and for wanting to show how smart and wise we are in our human thinking.  May we live as your church so that the angels and demons give You praise for Your wisdom in creating the church!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/02/19 – The Reason to Live…and Die

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DayBreaks for 5/02/19: The Reason to Live and Die

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

God created humans to live a life of love.  There was an article in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine that confirmed this truth. The article described a very successful man that I’d never heard of, and you probably haven’t either.  His name is David Kelley, and he is the founder of what many regard as the premier design firm in the country—Ideo—and has been a respected professor at Stanford University for more than 30 years.  The man is enormously creative – a genius.  Suddenly, at 56 years of age, Kelley learned he had cancer.  In the Fast Company article, Linda Tischler wrote:

“What ensued was sheer hell. Chemo, surgery, radiation. Mouth sores. A throat so raw he could barely swallow. Nausea so severe he couldn’t concentrate enough to read or even watch TV. “I spent nine months in a room trying not to throw up,” he says. The treatment wrecked his saliva glands and his taste buds. He lost 40 pounds.

“Kelley is happily married and has one daughter. This is where the idea of being created for love comes in. As Kelley struggled through the difficult emotions that come with this kind of experience, he discovered his reason to live. Kelley says about his daughter:

“At first, you think, ‘I don’t want to miss her growing up.’ That’s motivating, but not that motivating. It’s when you manage to get out of yourself and start thinking of her that you get the resolve to continue. When you think, ‘I don’t want her not to have a father’—then you want to stay alive.

“What gave Kelley a reason to endure the suffering of his treatment was not the pleasure he would get out of experiencing life with his daughter, as wonderful as that would be. Kelley realized that what truly motivated him was the benefit he could bring to his daughter. What motivated Kelley at the deepest level was selfless sacrifice for another—love. We were made for this.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I will confess this: having had one episode of cardiac bypass surgery, I am not eager to contemplate ever having such surgery again, although it is probably in the cards for me somewhere down the road.  Many have been the times that I’d considered what I’d do if the doctors were to tell me some day “You need another bypass operation.”  Would I do it?  My thinking has run along these lines: if it were just me, probably not.  But I now am richly blessed with 6 grandchildren, and I’ve told myself “Yes, I’d do it because I want to watch them grow.”  That is a selfish motive (not necessarily a bad one, but self-centered nonetheless.)  It would be much better to say, “I don’t want then growing up without their Pop-pop.” (That’s me!)  That switches the motivation and focus away from me and my wishes, to them and their needs. 

After all, isn’t that the motivation that led Jesus to the cross?

Prayer: Lord, give us wisdom to find the way to love others properly, to find our motivation for living and life, death and dying, in loving service to them and You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/17/19 – Easter and Fatigue

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DayBreaks for 4/17/19: Easter and Fatigue

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Crash and burn.  That’s what most of us do each night.  We crash, memories and thoughts burning about the calamities of the day.  But we’re so tired that we can’t maintain the frantic mental pace for long…and we mercifully find sleep’s embrace – but only for a short time.  Before you know it, it’s morning and the cycle starts all over again. 

What is it that haunts us?  We spend our numbered days running from meeting to meeting, airport to airport, hither, thither and yon doing our jobs or errands.  Often it’s at a job that we hate.  But deep down, I think Max Lucado was right, when he suggested that what really haunts us is the question: “Is it worth it?  When I get what I want, will it be worth the price I paid?”  Good question.  Perhaps the answer has more to do with whether what we want is worthy of so much wanting.

In Six Hours One Friday, Max told a story about a San Antonio lawyer: “Successful, well-paid,  new wife, remodeled house.  But apparently it wasn’t enough.  One day, he came home, took a gun out of his vault, climbed into a sleeping bag, and took his life.  His note to his bride read, ‘It’s not that I don’t love you.  It’s just that I’m tired and I want to rest.’”  Tiredness.  Fatigued to the extreme.  If that doesn’t describe most people I know, I don’t know what does.

It’s that mountain of weariness that makes the Words of Christ so compelling and inviting: Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  So, what was there about Jesus that makes us think we can believe he can do anything about our fatigue?  After all, he is a penniless rabbi – he can’t provide an economic stimulus (i.e, “bailout”) to the nation.  He doesn’t have the ear of the President or the NATO leaders.  He holds no diploma and has never written any best-selling self-help books on how to prioritize and get control of your life.  But that doesn’t matter – he looks weary people straight in the face and says, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The tiredest thing about us isn’t our bodies, as tired as they may be.  It’s our souls that are threadbare and worn.  It was the weariness of the attorney’s soul that led him to pull that trigger – not just bodily tiredness. 

Those who accepted the invitation to “Come unto me” found that when they brought him their weary souls they found something wonderful in return. They found a Lord who loved them.  A Lord who knew all about their everyday challenges and struggles.  A Lord who understood their frustrations with wanting but not finding satisfaction in the getting.  A Lord that they could call Savior, because he did for their souls what no night’s sleep could ever accomplish. 

Yes, we are tired when we go to bed, and often we are reluctant to rise in the morning.  If we take Jesus’ invitation and come to him for rest for our souls, each day and morning is laden with possibilities of a day spent in the presence of the Living God, an adventure of the highest order.  Do you need refreshing?  Do you need rest?  Maybe you’re so tired because you have spent so much energy trying to run and live your own life that you forgot that Jesus wants to live His life through you.  Let him.  You’ll be eager to rise!

Prayer: We are weary and tired, Lord, and we come to You for rest.  Let us lay down the futility of trying to find meaning and purpose in getting and having.  Pour Your Spirit of renewal and power into our lives that we will find the rest that can only be found in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/07/19 – I Created YOU

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DayBreaks for 01/07/2019: I Created You

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09:

This past Christmas was not an easy one for many people for a variety of reasons.  Many have recently lost jobs, others fear a pink slip in the near future.  Some have had diagnoses that take one’s breath away and leave them trembling and numb with fear.  Some spent the holidays for the first time in decades without a beloved spouse, parent, child or sibling.  There are many causes of pain and hurt in this world.  And we often get angry at God and wonder, “Why don’t You do something about all this, God?”

In his book, Holy Wild, Mark Buchanan relates a story in a letter that he got from a missionary couple he knew in Brazil.  When I read this the first time, I wept: “Driving through the Christmas traffic, fighting the drizzling rain, I chanced on a four-year-old little girl.  She was wet and cold and shaking.  Her clothes were ragged, her hair was matted, and her nose was running.  She walked between the cars at the stoplight, washing headlights because she was too short to was windshields.  A few gave her coins, others honked at her to get away from their vehicles.

“As I drove away only some fifty cents poorer, I raged at God for the injustice in the world that allowed the situation.  ‘God, how could you stand by, helpless?’  Later that evening, God came to me softly with that still small voice and responded not in kind to my rage, but with tenderness, ‘I have done something.  I created you.

We will all likely face a world of hurt and pain this year.  It has been so from the beginning – with some periods of time being more painful than others.  I’m not a prophet like Isaiah, but I think this year will be a very painful year for humanity.  Rather than rage at God in bitterness and anger, let’s remember that He created us for a purpose – for good works in Christ.  May we be about our Father’s business in the midst of a sea of hurt.

1 John 3:11-14 (NIV) – This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. Qe know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

Prayer:  Father, we are fearful as we enter this new year.  We are fearful for the pain our loved ones may face, for the pain that we may face personally.  It is so easy for us to become paralyzed by our fear and pain and to be so afraid that if we give something away to those who are needy, that we may have a shortage ourselves later.  Help us to remember that we were created not to be selfish, but to love one another – not just in heart, but in deed as well.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/29/18 – Not for Two Minutes

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DayBreaks for 8/29/18: Not for Two Minutes

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I have a lot of questions that I’d like to ask God.  I know that I have no right to ask Him anything – except that He seems to welcome our questions and He seems to even encourage them.  That doesn’t mean He always tells us the answer.

One of the most difficult questions that anyone can ask God is posed when they stand over the casket of a child.  Marshall Shelley, at one time an editor for a Christian magazine (Leadership), had a baby boy named Toby who was born at 8:20 p.m. on 11/22/91.  Toby died two minutes later, at 8:22 p.m..  Here’s what Marshall had to say: “My wife Susan and I never got to see him take his first steps.  We barely got to see him take his first breath.  I don’t know if he would have enjoyed softball or software, dinosaurs or dragonflies.  We never got to wrestle, race, or read…What would have made him laugh?  Made him scared?  Made him angry?”

It turns out that Toby was born with a very rare genetic disorder.  Three months after Toby died, Marshall and Susan’s two-year-old daughter, Mandy, died.  Understandably, in their deep grief, the Shelleys wrestled with their faith and their God.  “Why,” Marshall wrote, “did God create a child to live two minutes?”

I believe that God gave Marshall the answer that he and his wife needed to hear – an answer that I would not have anticipated.  Marshall shared that answer: “He didn’t.  [And] He didn’t create Mandy to live two years.  He did not create me to live 40 years (or whatever number he may choose to extend my days in this world).  God created Toby for eternity.  He created each of us for eternity…”

It seems that whenever we lose someone we love, or even a pet, we ask “Why?  Why is life so short?”  We are so earth-bound that we can’t see (or we fail to remember) that God didn’t create any of us for just a few minutes, years or decades on this earth.  We are all created to live in eternity and that is His desire for us.  It doesn’t take away the pain of loss that we feel in our hearts, but it gives us a different perspective with which to see the things that happen to us.  And perspective is something we so often lack in this world.

God made you for eternity.  For now, you are here.  Let’s make the most of the present while preparing for forever.

 PRAYER:  We are thankful, Father, that You didn’t just create us to live and few years and then be gone like the morning mist, but that You formed each of us for eternity.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/15/18 – Singleness of Heart

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DayBreaks for 8/15/18: Singleness of Heart

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Every so often it seems that an individual, or group of people (even as large as a nation at times), gets it into their head to do something and they are driven to do it.  Such was the case with Kennedy’s challenge to put men on the moon by the end of the ‘60’s.  If some of our politicians who are running for office today are to be believed, we can do all sorts of things if we just decide to do it. 

I’m not quite as convinced.  While the elimination of hunger and poverty are good and worthy goals and we all should work as hard as we can towards those ends, Jesus himself said that “the poor will always be with you.”  And how about eliminating war?  Scripture says that in the end times there will be wars and rumors of wars.  How I wish it were not the case, but it is. 

Still, it is fascinating to read of wholehearted human endeavor—amazing stories of total dedication and commitment to a cause or purpose.  For example, the U.S. Marines have a super secret sniper program that is run out of Quantico, Virginia.  The sniper school admits 25 people for an eight-week course consisting of 16-hour days of training and practice.  Very few who enter the program will pass.  To graduate, each must go on a mock mission into a well-defined area where instructors search for the sniper.  If they can find him, they can fail him.

To get within range of the target, the sniper may have to move forward at a rate of only one inch per hour.  They may sit or lay in position for days – absolutely still, despite cold, rain, insect bites, and fear.  No one gets out of the Marine Corps sniper school without singleness of heart.

We expect that kind of intensity from Olympic champions, concert pianists, neurosurgeons and everyone else at the highest levels of human achievement.  Somehow, we’ve gotten it into our head that since our God is a very loving and forgiving God (very true) who wants no one to be lost (also very true!), that we can have a lukewarm commitment and dedication to Him.  Not so.  God expects single-mindedness and complete dedication when we come back to Him.  God deserves such singleness of heart because He is God! 

Sadly, many intend to come back to God—sometime.  But they may well fail because their intention never becomes intense.

How committed to living as godly of a life as possible are you?  What can you offer as proof and evidence of that kind of single-hearted dedication?

Jeremiah 29:13-14 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.

PRAYER: Our hearts and minds are so easily distracted, Lord!  Help us to have single vision – and to focus that vision on the cross!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/31/18 – Living an Accidental Life

DayBreaks for 7/31/18: Living an Accidental Life

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

From one day to the next, we form plans only to find that the day seldom goes as we’d planned.  Some things that we set out to do actually get done more or less as we’d planned them, but if your day is like mine, there are more unplanned things that happen in my life every day than I could ever anticipate.  There are interruptions that are totally unexpected – phone calls, drop-in visits, unforeseen actions by others that totally change the trajectory of my day.  It will happen to you today – bet on it.

There are many who live life this way on purpose, I believe – whose lives seem to careen from one accident to another.  And, if you buy the current thinking, I suppose it makes perfect sense.  As Neil Postman said about the scientific view of life and origins, in Science and the Story That We Need to Tell: “In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require.  Its story of our origins and our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory.  To the question, ‘How did it all begin’, science answers, ‘Probably by an accident.’  To the question, ‘How will it all end?’, science answers ‘Probably by an accident.’  And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living.”

Are you content thinking that your existence here on earth is purely accidental?  That when this world is all done with, that it will have all been an accident?  That your children happen to be yours by accident?  That whatever you achieve in life isn’t really an accomplishment, but an accident?  Where is there any hope or meaning in living an accidental life?

God has a much different view.  We are not accidents – God knew us before we were born.  The universe is not an accident, your mind is not an accident, your family and children are not accidents. 

Yes, we make our plans, and our days are full of what seem to be accidental encounters and events.  We can believe that if we choose.  But I, for one, cannot find any meaning in that, nor comfort.  I choose not to life an accidental life – or at the very least, to believe that my life – and yours, are not accidents, but rather generated in the thoughts and purposes of God.

PRAYER:  With each person that we meet and each event that crosses our pathway, may we seek Your purpose and wisdom!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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