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.  ><}}}”>

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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.

DayBreaks for 7/19/18 – Don’t Waste Your Bypass

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DayBreaks for 7/19/18: Don’t Waste Your Bypass

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

If you’ve been a DayBreaks reader for some time, you almost certainly know that I had a quad bypass at 49 years of age.  I wasn’t overweight, my cholesterol wasn’t bad – but my genes were/are!  I remember as a young child reading stories from Reader’s Digest about the first heart bypass operations and the amazing heart/lung machine.  I was fascinated by the stories and the technology, thinking it was wonderful – but I certainly never thought I’d be on the receiving end of it. 

Recently, Marvin Olasky, editor in chief of WORLD Magazine, found himself unexpectedly undergoing a bypass operation of his own.  Like mine, his was unexpected.  In the June 28 – July 5 issue, he wrote about his experience and the impact it had on his life.  I will vouch for what he says: it is an experience that DOES make you contemplate life – and death – and the things that are important and the things which are not. 

John Piper, a pastor and author from Minneapolis, was facing cancer surgery when he pointed out that “The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on Him.”  Olasky then goes on with some of his own musings and more of Piper’s thoughts: “Amen – because even if we take heart in percentages when we should not, we know that the long-range certainty (unless Christ returns first) is 100 percent fatality.  It’s disconcerting to attain the label ‘cardiac patient.’  But here’s chapter 40 of Isaiah: ‘All flesh is grass…the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.’”

“Bottom line: if you look in the mirror and see yourself as anything other than a future cardiac, or cancer, or something else patient, you’re fooling yourself.  Piper writes, ‘You will waste your cancer if you think that beating cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ….You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.’ 

“One of Piper’s most intriguing comments: ‘You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before…Pride, greed, lust, hatred, impatience, laziness, procrastination….All these things are worse enemies than cancer.  Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes.  Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are.’

Piper concludes, “You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.  Here is a golden opportunity to show that He is worth more than life.  Don’t waste it.”

We often think of suffering as a way in which we learn valuable lessons.  If you are facing cancer, cardiac disease or some other illness, or even if you’re just facing “life” (isn’t it interesting how we describe ourselves as facing life instead of facing death – when as Olasky noted, that’s the 100% certainty we all face), don’t waste the lessons that come with a whiff of fatality.

PRAYER:  Thank You, God, for the valuable lessons and reminders of the real certainties.  May we not run in fear from the valuable lessons that You send our way, but learn from them that we might live each day more wisely!   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/10/18 – The Longing for Belonging

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DayBreaks for 7/10/18: The Longing for Belonging

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

We all want desperately to belong to something.  It may be a bridge club, a sports team, a lover, a profession – we all want to have a place of belonging, where we are valued for who and what we are, where we find kindred hearts that beat with common interests and shared passions. 

Think about the things you’ve longed to be a part of in your life.  If you go back as far as you can in memory’s hallway,  you may find that you wanted first of all to belong to some club or team.  You wanted to be one of the kids that was liked and invited to the coolest parties or to go out on a date with someone you dared only worship from afar.  Later, you wanted to be admitted to a certain college or university, then to a company or business or organization where your interests could be matched with a need and where you belonged and could contribute.  We all want to be good for something – and wanted because of it. 

Alas, I was never allowed to be a cheerleader or pom-pom girl.  I didn’t have the right qualifications (but then I never wanted to be one either!!!!!!)  Nor was I ever admitted to medical school or the astronaut program.  I wish I had been, for both hold great fascination for me – even to this day.  All of my wishing that I’d belonged in those careers or callings cannot and will not make it so. 

Perhaps the most difficult, and possibly foolish thing, that we might try to do is to create the meaning of our own life instead of simply discovering it.  Here’s what I mean: in his book, Epic, John Eldredge observed: “Something preceded us.  Something good.  We’d much rather be included in something great than to have to create the meaning of our lives.  To know that life, ultimately, doesn’t rest on our shoulders, but invites us up into it.” 
How terrifying would it be to have to create the meaning of your own life?  What if you got it WRONG?  What if you couldn’t construct a satisfactory meaning to your own life? 

Thank God we don’t have to, nor can we, create the meaning for our own lives.  Simply put, God has created the sphere of meaning and purpose – all we have to do is to discover it.  And God has even made that easy, ultimately – His rule and kingdom is the meaning of our lives.  That means more than just saying, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” or “Praise God, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”  Both of those are biblical things to say – and both are true.  But for the kingdom of God to come in my heart is the purpose for which I was created and for which you were fashioned.  We cannot and will not be what we can and are meant to be, if we resist that kingdom and block it from our hearts.  If we resist the kingdom, we resist the King as well.  And we don’t even want to go there!  It is to God that I belong – and wonder of wonders, He belongs to me!  I have a place of belonging that nothing in this world can ever take away – no downturn in the economy, no loss of licensure, no failure on my part to rightly discern the mysteries that surround me, no President or law – nothing.  My belonging has nothing to do with those things – but only with His acceptance of me through Christ Jesus.

PRAYER:  Eternal Father, thank You for giving us meaning by giving us Your love and personal attention.  Thank You for giving us a place where we belong that we can always call home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/09/18 – Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Equation

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DayBreaks for 7/09/18: Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Equation

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

What lies at the heart of all things?  The answer you get will depend on who you ask and what their world view is.  An evolutionist would pretty much have to say that at the heart of all things is blind chance and some principle that came from who knows where, that champions “survival of the fittest.”  Given enough time, the evolutionist claims, all things are possible.  Theoretically, I suppose that’s true – but not nearly enough time has passed since the so-called “big bang” for the diversity and complexity of life as we can observe it on this planet alone to have taken place.  So – don’t let this next statement alarm you – we shouldn’t be here.

Closely akin to an evolutionary point of view is that of a more sophisticated scientist, or an atheist, such as the late Bertrand Russell.  It was Russell’s belief that if we were able to strip away all the mystery we see all around us in the universe so that we could get to the real heart of things, we would find a “mathematical equation.”  2+2=4, or something like that, only probably much more complicated.  Now isn’t that exciting?  Doesn’t that just warm the cockles of your heart to know that behind all this is math?  I hate math! 

I certainly don’t want to, nor do I believe, that this world and universe is all predicated on something that is as cold and impersonal as a mathematical equation.  I can’t accept that.  It isn’t possible to my way of thinking.  For one thing, it fails to explain this: if there is no Creator possessed of personality and intelligence but only cold math, how can human personality have come from something as totally cold and impersonal as that?  We speak of people having personalities (and I know some real characters!), we even talk about our pets having character.  On rare occasions we may even say that a building or some other non-living thing has “character”, but we mean it in a different way than when we’re talking about something alive and breathing.  Has anyone you’ve even known say of a rock in their yard that it has character, i.e., personality?  If they did, you’d gently put them into your car and drive them to a padded room somewhere.  How can personality come from something inanimate and as dead as a mathematical equation any more than personality is passed on to people by touching a rock?!

I prefer to believe that behind all the mystery of the universe is something much more than a mathematical equation.  I prefer to believe that there is a Creator possessed of infinite wisdom, capacity, of PERSONALITY that is not totally comprehensible, and that you and I have personalities because the Creator is a Personality, and He has given something of Himself to us – a spirit that is in His very image.  He made us all “characters” and gave us personalities so we could have a relationship, a personal relationship, with the One who made us.  Now that’s something to be excited about! 

PRAYER:  Thank you, Lord, for the delight of personalities!  Thank you for the rich variation in your creation.  Thank you that you want to have a relationship with us who were made from the dust of the earth – and given personality by the God who made it all!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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