DayBreaks for 7/31/20 – A Sign in the Subway

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From the DayBreaks archive, July 2010:

A while back on a subway platform in one of our Eastern states was a large, printed sign proclaiming boldly: “God Answers Prayer.”  Right below that message, some experienced person had scrawled these words: “Sometimes the answer is NO!”  This is one of the challenges that we have to deal with in any discussion of prayer.

If you have talked with any skeptic, or even some Christians, you have undoubtedly heard someone say something like this: “I felt the need of God.  I prayed for something to happen, for Him to give me a sign, or just to answer me, and it didn’t happen.  Prayer failed.” 

Is that really a fair statement to make?  I don’t think so.  As Carveth Mitchell said: “I suggest that you did not want God – you wanted God to do something, and that’s different.”

Far too often I think we think of prayer primarily when we want something from God.  We want someone to be made well, we want more money, we want a child or a job or a house.  And so we pray for those things – asking Him for what we want.  And we tend to pray for what we want, but seldom do we pray for what God wants.  It is very possible that we have missed the primary purpose of prayer: to be in harmony with God, to be keenly aware of His hovering and indwelling Presence, to feel the assurance that God is aware of, encompassing and is far greater than any circumstance we may be encountering, and that no matter what else happens, that we will still belong to Him and that underneath us are the everlasting arms of God that never quiver or are weary. 

Mitchell also observed: “Prayer is not a trading post, but a line of communication.”  Let’s be more aware of the purpose of our praying and not treat it like a bartering session with a Father that loves us.  He is eager to give good gifts…but only what is good, never what is harmful.

PRAYER: In our prayers, Lord, may we want You more than anything else!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 7/9/20 – The Forgetfulness of God

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DayBreaks for 7/09/20: The Forgetfulness of God

The story of the creation and fall of man in the garden is ancient history. It is intriguing in so many ways. But even as it is ancient history, it is as new as this day’s sunrise.

There is no secret in Scripture that Satan and God are at odds with one another and they work for different goals. Yet, it is intriguing in the temptation narrative from the garden how Satan seeks to manipulate the situation.

He starts by asking what appears to be a very simple, harmless question: Did God really say…? That question alone is fascinating, but the name Satan uses for God is even more intriguing. Satan doesn’t use the word Yahweh-Elohim (the Lord God) as God is described in Genesis 2, but simply uses the term Elohim (God). What’s the big deal? Satan is removing the relational Yahweh from his language. The implication Satan is making is that there’s a distancing, that God is not a Supreme Being that one can know and engage in a relationship, but a theoretical idea to ponder. Deitrich Bonhoeffer noted this when he said, “Satan does not…fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.”

It is only after planting a seed of doubt about God at all to challenging and contradicting what God said about pending punishment should they disobey.

And the very first thing they learn after seeking to be like God is that they are in fact exceedingly vulnerable. There was no sense of being empowered to a greater position or of being enlightened other than to their miniscule-ness. They are ashamed and try to hide.

Satan is a smart cookie. He’s no fool and no one should play him as a fool. He’s certainly not on an equal footing with God, but he’s no idiot. And rather than seeking to get us to hate God, he’s quite content with getting us to forget God. Once we forget God and his omniscience, we are freed from boundaries (or so we believe) because the thought of a watchful God has vanished from our minds, giving us permission to do in secret things we’d never do in the light.

The secret, I suspect, to living a Godly life has more to do with mindfulness of God than any sort of human willpower and determination to “do good”. 

How is Satan seeking to make you forget God? What will you do to see to it that you remember Him more often?

PRAYER: Father, we are so prone to Satan’s sneakiness and we so quickly forget you, even as Israel did of old. We beg you to fill us with awareness of your presence and existence and watchfulness so that we can never forget you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/29/20 – Flight from Reality

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DayBreaks for 5/29/20: Flight from Reality

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – “Police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online, authorities said.  The couple fed their 3-month-old daughter once a day between marathon stretches in a local Internet cafe, where they were raising a virtual child in the fantasy role-playing game Prius Online, police told local reporters Friday.

Prius Online is a 3-D game in which players nurture an online companion, Anima, a young girl with mysterious powers who grows and increases her skills as the game progresses.

“Police have not identified the 41-year-old father and 25-year-old mother, who lived in Suwon, a suburb south of Seoul. But the father apologized, speaking to reporters.  “I wish that she hadn’t got sick and that she will live well in heaven forever. And as the father, I am sorry,” he said.  The baby reportedly died five months ago.

“South Korea has one of the world’s fastest broadband networks. Seoul has won international awards for e-governance.  Online gaming teams are sponsored by major conglomerates and 24-hour, high-speed Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, dot every urban neighborhood.  Police said the couple had lost their jobs and used the game as an escape from reality, especially after the birth of their premature baby.  “They instead played an online game in which they raised a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby,” Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, told Yonhap News Agency.

“South Korea remains a very conservative society so people who fall outside the norm can come under severe stress and pressure,” said Michael Breen, the Seoul-based author of “The Koreans.” 

“The Internet has provided such people with a paradise to escape to and simply get lost in.” – Andrew Salmon, CNN, 3/7/10 

This is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time.  Any time a child (or person) dies from needless starvation it makes me deeply disturbed.  And it happened because the parents were using a silly game “as an escape from reality.”  Instead of raising their real live offspring, they devoted their time and energy to the care and feeding of a virtual character.

We can easily be distracted into spending our energies and attention on foolish things – things which are not real, things which will never happen, imaginary and pretend things, while letting our life with God and our relationship with Him and those made in His image starve for the attention that they rightfully deserve.  There is no shortage of things which will call for our attention.  The enemy is an expert at distraction.  Don’t let your relationship with your Father die for lack of attention.  Don’t let your relationships with others die as you try to flee reality into a make-believe world.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:1-2

PRAYER: Father, keep our hearts and minds focused on You and on those You love.  Keep us from the deception of Satan.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/15/19: His DNA

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DayBreaks for 1/15/20: His DNA

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Lee Eclov told this story, shared by permission of the Foote family:

“In August, 2009, we got a rather amazing email from my wife’s youngest brother, Jon. Six or seven years ago, when Jon and his wife, Lori, were working with a youth group in Nebraska, they met Amanda—a teenage girl the same age as their son, Wesley. Amanda came from a terribly abusive home and was eventually taken from her parents by the state. She has been part of Jon and Lori’s family ever since.

“After conferring with their two sons, Jon and Lori legally adopted Amanda. She is 22, and her name is now Amanda Foote. She will even get a new birth certificate! Now Jon and Lori have three legal heirs, and Amanda has two new brothers. She no longer has any legal claim upon her former parents, who disowned her—nor they upon her. The process was relatively simple.

“They had thought of Amanda as their daughter for a long time, but I asked if anything felt different after that day at the courthouse. Jon said, “Absolutely! When it was official there was a huge change in Lori and me—sort of like when you see your newborn for the first time. And for Amanda, there was a change in her, too. Now she knew she belonged. She knew we were her parents.”

“The beauty of it all made me offer a word of thanks to the way-clearing of our Elder Brother Jesus, God’s Beloved Son. God has given us a new name (his), a new legal standing (we are his responsibility and his heirs), and a new family (brothers and sisters in Christ, and God as our true Father). But God went even further. He gave us something that Jon and Lori can’t give Amanda. God gave us his Holy Spirit. In some ways it’s like God gives us his DNA. But even more than that, God implants in us his heart, his mind, his passion, his holiness—and people even look at us and say, “My how you bear a striking resemblance to your Father!”

Today in courts all over the world, DNA is used to prove relationships or identity.  When you think about it, isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is within us?  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:13-14 Our inheritance is assured because of our Paternity, and the Holy Spirit is the guarantee, the identifying method if you will, that shows we are His.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the incomparable gift of your Holy Spirit that You have placed within us.  Teach us to hear His voice and follow His leading!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 10/4/19 – He Knows Your Name

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DayBreaks for 10/04/19: He Knows Your Name

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

A true story: “A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all the cash from the cash drawer.  After the cashier put the cash in the bag, the robber saw a bottle of scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf.  He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but he refused and said, ‘Because I don’t believe you are over 21.’  The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because he didn’t believe him.  At this point the robber took his driver’s license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk.  The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and he put the scotch in the bag.  The robber then ran from the store with his loot.  The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he got off the license.  They arrested the robber two hours later.”

If I’d been the clerk, I probably would have forgotten the name and address before I could tell it to the cops.  We have probably all experienced times when someone forgot our name.  It’s embarrassing for everyone when that happens.

Have you ever thought about what it will be like to stand before God?  Have you ever wondered if there will be a “foul up” in heaven and that out of all mankind that has ever lived, you will be the only one whose name should have been found in the book of life (Rev. 20:12) but wasn’t?  That somewhere, just as in a human courthouse, there will have been a transcription error and your name will be missing?

It won’t happen!!!  Never!  You see, God knows you, He calls you by name, He knows every word that has ever been in your mouth before you spoke it, He knows how many hairs there are on your head at any moment in the day or night.

Consider Isaiah 49:14-16a: But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’  Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands….

Though I might forget someone else’s name, I’d never ever forget my child’s name!  You see, God knows a whole lot more about you than you do about your own children, and He never has amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease.  What’s even better than all that: he loves you with a love that will never go away, grow weak or get tired.

Your name will be written there if you have believed and trusted in Christ…He knows you (that’s good news!!!) and He loves you, too!  Rejoice today knowing that He does!

I am not now, nor will I ever be, a stranger to God!

PRAYER: May we find complete and utter rest in knowing that You know us and we are not strangers to You!

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

DayBreaks for 3/7/19 – A Personal Friend

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DayBreaks for 3/07/19: A Personal Friend

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

Much is said these days about being friends with God or Jesus.  It was not always so.  For many long years (centuries probably, and millennia possibly) mankind was so much in awe of the Divine Creator that some groups wouldn’t even dare to pronounce His name.  Others held that the gods were disinterested in the doings of mere mortals…except to use us as their playthings for times when they got bored.  And, of course, there have always been those who blasphemed and spoke ill of their “gods”, too.   

But when Jesus came, he turned those notions upside down.  He said he would not longer call his disciples servants, but friends.  He taught His disciples to pray using the term, Abba (Daddy), when speaking to the Father. 

Yet, how does one really get to know God personally?  In his book, Reaching for the Invisible God, Phillip Yancey wrote: “In Jesus’ day the answer was shocking simple: you know him the same way you know anybody.  You introduce yourself, shake hands, strike up a conversation, inquire about his family.  Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy.  Does God really want close contact with us?  Jesus gave up Heaven for it.  In person he reestablished the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.”

In the Old Testament, God is spoke of and called “Father” a total of 11 times.  But what a change when we get to the New Testament, that refers to God as our Father a stunning 170 times! 

How do you get to know God personally?  Get to know Jesus.  Read the gospels, but don’t just read them.  On each page are jewels to be gathered about the nature of Jesus, of the things that stirred his heart, the way little things caught his attention and the way he reacted to people, places and things.  You can read his words.  And, through the Spirit, He is with us still.  While you may not be able to shake his hand as the disciples long ago did, you can still talk to him – and listen to him.  Oh, how much we miss by not asking him to speak with us more than we do!  Somewhere we got this infernal idea that prayer is about talking.  It’s not.  It’s to be far more about listening, I believe.

Yes, Jesus is a friend and a personal one at that.  But he’s also far more than just a personal friend, this friend is God.

Prayer: What a friend we have in Jesus!  We give you glory Father God for such a perfect revelation of Yourself!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/22/19 – I AM #8: The Bread of Life

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DayBreaks for 2/22/2019: I AM #8: The Bread of Life

John 6:35 (CSBBible) – I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.

Bread (symbolically representative of food to the people of Jesus’ day) is that which is necessary for life to go on. But elsewhere Jesus tells us in John 17:3 that to know God and Jesus is life with a twist – it is eternal. So, there is existence inherent in life – but there is much more. There is relationship with the Creator. When Jesus claimed to be the bread of life, it is true that the very food we eat this gives us existence comes from his provision, but there is more to the life that comes from this “bread” than just existing. That hardly qualifies to be life. Stones exist – but they don’t have life.

So it is with the bread of life. We can either just exist by not knowing God, or we can take in the bread of heaven that came down from above and in doing so, we have a new life that is primarily defined by knowing God and Christ Jesus whom he sent. Without Jesus there is existence, but no relationship. With Jesus, we have both. It is that relationship that on the last day when all shall end that will keep us secure and safe.

We need daily bread. Sure, we can survive for a while without it, but not indefinitely. How long has it been since you have taken in the bread of life and really devoured it? Why would you rob yourself of the life it gives?

“Take and eat.”

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for providing the bread that not only feeds our mouths but our hearts and souls. Fill us so we are never hungry again! In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

 

DayBreaks for 9/26/17 – The Reality of Now

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DayBreaks for 9/26/18The Reality of Now       

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

John 17:3: Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Lk. 17:20-21: The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.

If you are like most of us, we think of heaven as being “out there” somewhere in the future.  The place of heaven isn’t so much of a topic for thought as is the time when we shall arrive there.  We can easily trust that heaven will not only meet, but infinitely surpass our wildest imaginings.  And perhaps that’s why, when life caves in, we long and hunger for it to come soon.  I think such things are only normal and natural.

But God has a way of not operating in normal or “natural” ways.  And the things that the inspired writers of Scripture captured for us deserve more attention.  Jesus, in his own words, says that eternal life is “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  Isn’t that interesting?  Heaven is not a particularly a place (although there is such a place), but what makes heaven heavenly is the knowing of God and Jesus which we will experience.  And, by the way, it is available, and present, now…not just out there in the future.

The Luke passage is even more stunning: it won’t be something we see coming, this kingdom of God, but it is within us.  A kingdom is the place where a king rules, where he lives.  We might think of the kingdom of God as being heaven (and that’s not incorrect) but the fact is that God’s rule is everywhere…and His Presence is, believe it or not, within us.  That means that His kingdom is also within us…now. 

As Mark Buchanan said in Things Unseen: “There is something about heaven that we must grasp, because if we don’t, we’ll miss everything else.  We’ll read the music but never sing, study the choreography but never dance.  It’s this: heaven starts now.

“Eternity is not primarily a measure of time – chronological time stretched to infinity.  It is not first and foremost a place.  Eternity is primarily a quality of relationship.  It is first and foremost a presence; to know God and Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the one claim Christianity makes that is the most offensive to the world and presents the greatest stumbling block is that there is only one why to God…and that way is belief in Jesus (not in Mohammed, Buddha, or any other person).  All a Christian has to do is say, “Christianity, Jesus Christ, is the only way to God,” and you’ll instantly be branded as a closed-minded, bigoted person.  But when you understand that eternal life is to know Jesus (as Jesus said in John 17), it makes perfect sense.  If eternal life is to know him, if you don’t know him – there cannot be eternal life.  Heaven is intimate knowledge, not of something, but of Someone – the only true God and Jesus Christ, the one He sent.

PRAYER: Almighty Lord, we long to know you better, to experience in greater measure and purity the eternal life that only comes from knowing You.  Keep us from the pride in our hearts and minds that might tell us that we already know you, guard us so that we don’t stop seeking to learn to know you better each passing day.  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.