DayBreaks for 12/07/17 – Shattered Dreams

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DayBreaks for 12/07/17: Shattered Dreams

NOTE: Galen is traveling for the next few days.

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:

Who among us hasn’t had dreams that were destroyed by one of the twists and turns of life?  Dreams die hard, and they hurt when they die.  We must live with the knowledge and in the presence of that death for the rest of our days.  And sometimes, the ghosts of those dreams come back to haunt us.

I spoke today with a woman who recently became a Christian and who attends another church.  She told me that in her new congregation she doesn’t seem to find the power to overcome things that she once sensed in her prior church, and it has led her to wonder if God is angry at her, if He’s left her because of something foolish or accidental that she’s done.  I’m sure that we’ve all wondered where God was when life became too much to bear. 

Much of modern advertising is designed to convince us that if we have more in life that we’ll get more out of life.  Not so, says Larry Crabb, in Shattered Dreams: “Satan’s masterpiece is not the prostitute or the skid-row bum.  It is the self-sufficient person who has made life comfortable, who is adjusting well to the world and truly likes living here, a person who dreams of no better place to live, who longs only to be a little better—and a little better off—than he already is.”

When it comes to spiritual things, we are all bankrupt before the Father.  People who have true joy are God-dependant, not self-sufficient.  They yearn for a better relationship with Him through difficult times and find their joy in that relationship, not the fulfillment of their dreams. 

What gives you the greatest fulfillment in your life?  If it’s not God and His Kingdom, we need to rethink our priorities and dream different dreams.

Matthew 5:3 Matthew 5:3 (KJV) – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

PRAYER:  We humans have a hard time with contentment, Lord.  We want and do not have, and we don’t especially want the things that are best for us, like some medicine that might taste bad.  Help us learn to trust in Your wisdom for our lives and for what will bring us true joy and meaning.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 8/14/17 – Seeking God

DayBreaks for 8/14/17: Seeking God

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:

I love the story of the prodigal son.  It is my favorite story that Jesus told.  As a father, I can understand the emotions in the story.  As a wayward child, I can understand what it feels like to return home again.  As the older brother, I can see my envy and pride that keeps me from rejoicing with what is good.  There is one thing, though, that I think is unique about this story.  Jesus describes the father as running to greet his home-coming son.  To the best of my knowledge, I can’t think of another situation in the Bible where God runs to meet anyone.  That doesn’t mean He doesn’t meet them, or come to us.  After all, Jesus “came” to seek and save the lost.  We could not have bridged the gap ourselves by raising ourselves up to heaven to reach Him.  So it is necessary for God to come to us.  But run to us?  That’s something that a father just doesn’t do in the middle eastern cultures.

And while I love the idea that God, in Jesus, stooped so low as to come to us, Jesus also plainly encourages us to “SEEK and ye shall find…”  Elsewhere, we’re told that if we seek God with all our heart, that He will be found.  I find great comfort in that – sort of.  The question is: how do I know when I’m seeking him with ALL my heart?  I can easily deceive myself.

In Hearing God, Dallas Willard talks about our role in seeking God: “Generally speaking, God will not compete for our attention.  Occasionally, a Saul gets knocked to the ground and so on, but we should expect that in most cases God will NOT run over us.  We must be open to the possibility of God’s addressing us in whatever way he chooses, or else we may walk right past a burning bush instead of saying, as Moses did, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why they bush is not burned up…The reality of God’s voice does not make seeking for it unnecessary.  When I seek for something, I look for it everywhere.  It is when we seek God earnestly, prepared to go out of our way to examine anything that might be his overture toward us – including the most obvious things like Bible verses or our own thoughts – that he promises to be found (Jer. 29:13).  But we will be able to seek Him only if we honestly believe that he might explicitly address us in ways suitable to his purposes in our lives.”

I fear that many times I’m far too lazy.  I want God to do all the work.  And in a sense, He has.  But we must still seek Him while He may be found.  And if we do, it is then that I believe He runs to meet us.

PRAYER: Give us hearts and energy to seek you early in the morning, at noontime, at night, and always.  May we want You more than anything! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/12/17 – Who’s Your Daddy?

DayBreaks for 6/12/17: Who’s Your Daddy?

From the blog, Barney’s Bullets, 6/9/17 by my friend, Barney Cargile:

Walt Disney went to great lengths to ensure that his kids experienced a “normal life”. Instead of seeking the spotlight, he and his wife Lillian did everything in their power to shield their daughters from the typical Hollywood lifestyle.  Every day, Walt drove his kids to public school. He took them to swim class and dance lessons. He arranged his schedule so that he could be home with them as much as possible. 

This was so effective that their daughter Diane didn’t realize what her daddy did for a living. Somehow she never “connected the dots” with the possibility that her dad was the Walt Disney. To her he was just “dad”. Then one day at school a friend asked her, “What’s it like having Walt Disney as your Dad?” The question jolted her like a slap across the face. Later that day, Diane found her dad sitting in his favorite chair. She stood next to him, outraged and asked, “Are you the Walt Disney?” When he answered affirmatively, she asked, “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”  Then she did something really crazy. She asked her own dad for his autograph! For a week, Diane walked around in a daze. She found it hard to believe. She knew Walt Disney! More than that, she was Walt Disney’s daughter! Every time she saw a Disney cartoon or watched the Mickey Mouse Club she thought, “Walt Disney is my dad.” (Source: What If It’s True?, Ray Johnston)

Once Diane Disney understood the reality of her identity, everything changed for her. She became Walt’s motivation to create the film Mary Poppins. She even used her influence as his daughter to inspire him to launch Disneyland. Because she knew who her father was, her life was never the same.

That’s the sense of wonder God wants us to live in. Forget about Walt Disney…Our Father is the Creator of the universe! Once you understand the reality of who you are as God’s child; once that becomes your identity deep inside, you’re never the same.  Ephesians 1 says that those who are “in Christ” are God’s “delightful children”; that we are “holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence”; and that “the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us.” Unbelievable!  Once we “get” this; really get it, our lives will never be the same.  We can live in victory. Now that you know who your Father is, only one question remains. How are you going to live?

PRAYER: Open our eyes to the reality of who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 3/09/17 – Because You Have Met Me

DayBreaks for 3/09/17: Because You Have Met Me

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2007:

Exodus 4:4-5 (NIV) – Then the LORD said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.  “This,” said the LORD, “is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has appeared to you.

The nerve of some Biblical people amazes me.  Moses, while we’re told that he was the meekest man, was very bold at times with God.  His first known encounter with God in the wilderness at the burning bush shows how stubborn we as humans can be.  All of a sudden, out of the blue, Moses is drawn to the bush and told that God wants to send him on a mission to lead Israel out of 400 years of captivity and slavery in Egypt.  God speaks of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph – and the promises He made to them and how He intends now, in the time of Moses, to fulfill those great promises.  And what does Moses do?  He hems, haws, and otherwise tries to avoid the mission.  He gives God lots of excuses (not reasons) why he’s not the right person.  Moses would learn that it didn’t pay to argue with God.  But he hasn’t learned it yet.  And so he worries that Israel will not believe that God wants to relieve them of their slavery, and he asks God for signs to give to the people that will convince them.

And so, finally God makes the statement to Moses that’s found in Exodus 4:5, after having Moses’ staff turn into a serpent: This is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has appeared to you.

I’d missed this for nearly 55 years now.  It wasn’t the serpent that would convince people that Moses had been sent by God.  It was really nothing more than God telling Moses that the people will know that He sent Moses because Moses has met God.  (God has appeared to him.) 

Each day as I wander through the streets of town, go into buildings or stores, pull up to the gas pump, buy a Dr. Pepper – I wonder if people can tell that I have met God?  What kind of evidence is there that I’ve met Him – and He has met with me?  And it’s not just that I’ve met Him – He lives within me in a way I don’t know if He did with Moses!  The evidence of having met the Maker is radical and life-changing.  From this encounter onward, for as long as he lived, Moses was a changed man.  He still had moments of weakness and doubt, but the people would follow him because he knew the Lord’s name…another way of saying, he knew God. 

Having met God doesn’t make us perfect, but if it hasn’t changed us – RADICALLY changed us – perhaps we’ve never met him like Moses did in the wilderness.  We don’t have to have a burning bush in our life to meet Him.  Yet, He is all around us, and in us.  We need to learn to do what Moses finally did: stop arguing and fighting with Him and let Him have His way in us, to use us for His glorious purposes (which will, by the way, work to our benefit!) and to let others know we have met God and been sent by Him.

PRAYER: Sometimes, Father, much to our great embarrassment, we hide the fact that we have met You.  We are too fearful, weak-kneed and stubborn to bear witness for you.  May we truly meet You even now, may we be radically changed by that encounter, so that wherever we go, people will know you exist and that by our changed lives, they will know we have met the Living God.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/2/17 – Visiting With Isaiah, #4

DayBreaks for 3/02/17: Visiting With Isaiah, #4

Isaiah 6:5-7 (ESV) – And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

These verses take place right after the vision of the One who is seated on the throne. It isn’t surprising that Isaiah had this reaction given his description of the Throne Dweller. But as if often the case, if we forget the context of a passage, we miss nuggets that are priceless.

If you were to go back and read Isaiah chapter 5, you’ll hear woe after woe after woe pronounced by Isaiah to his listeners. He was dishing it out with seeming relish.

But now things have changed. He has not just heard the voice of the Lord but has been in the Presence itself. In spite of all the woes that he’d dished out, perhaps Isaiah needed to understand his own place and his own righteousness (which was no righteousness at all compared to that of the Lord) before he would be a fit servant and messenger for God.

When Doug Fell shared this passage, he described an incident with his young son who at the time was still using a pacifier (they call pacifiers “dummies” in South Africa). His son had come to his dad all excited. His dummy was still in his mouth but he told his dad how excited he was. When Doug asked him why he was so excited, he was informed that it was because his son and dropped his dummy but had washed it before putting it back in his mouth. Doug was rather pleased that his son had taken that initiative. Doug asked him where he had washed it and his son eagerly led his father into the bathroom. Doug was a bit perplexed because he knew his young son couldn’t have reached the sink. His worse fears were realized when his young son led him to the toilet bowl, pointed and said, “In there!”, then proceeded to take the dummy out of his mouth, swish it around in the toilet bowl and pop it back into his mouth before his dad could stop him.

That night, Doug said, when he was tucking his son into his bed, his little boy asked for a goodnight kiss. Doug confessed to a peck on the forehead that night rather than on the lips.
I am a man of unclean lips. We are all people of unclean lips, are we not? It is a symbol of our impurity, of the filth that clings to us on this mortal coil and it should be enough to revolt us. But not God.

God touches the lips of Isaiah with a coal from the altar – from the place of sacrifice. It is a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ that would cleans not only our unclean lips, but all of our iniquities.

Note one more thing: it is not Isaiah who takes the initiative to be made clean. Isaiah cannot get the coal for himself. It is God who takes the initiative to cleanse Isaiah’s uncleanness.

Why does God do such a thing, not just for Isaiah but for you and me, too? Isaiah 43:25 tells us the answer: I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

God gives us forgiveness not just for our own sake, and indeed, He is under no obligation whatsoever to do so. He does it for his own sake. What can God possibly gain to benefit from our forgiveness? Several things, but certainly it must include these:

FIRST: God’s reputation is at stake. Remember the confrontation between Satan and God in Job? What kind of a God would He be if He created us, knowing we would fall and be great sinners, and not do anything to redeem us? He would be a hateful God, a God who delighted in seeing His creation tortured in eternal flames if He left us hopeless for eternity. But His reputation is at stake and all his claims to be a loving, compassionate, merciful God of forgiveness and grace would be proven to be lies if He just left us as fallen creatures. Praise God He didn’t do that! And praise God that he acts for his own sake as well as ours!

SECOND: God is a God who longs for fellowship and relationship with His creation and creatures. He could not have relationship with us if he were to leave us as unclean people. He is too holy for sin to exist in His presence, so the only way he could have relationship with us was to do something about our uncleanness – so He did do something about it – for His own sake and His own delight so we could fellowship forever as holy, clean beings!

PRAYER: Thank you for acting for your own sake and for letting us reap the benefits of your actions! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/21/16 – The Miracle of the Cross

DayBreaks for 11/21/16: The Miracle of the Cross

The Archbishop of Paris once stood in the pulpit of Notre Dame Cathedral. He was there to preach a sermon, and his sermon was built around a single story. Thirty years earlier, he told, there were three young tourists who had come into this very cathedral. All of the young men were rough, rude, and cynical persons, who thought that all religion was a racket. Two of these men dared a third to go into the confessional box and make a made-up confession to the priest. The two bet that the third young man did not have the nerve to do as they dared.

The third young man went into the confessional box and tried to fool the priest. But the priest knew that what the young man was saying was a lie. There was a tone of arrogance in the young man’s voice – which could not go without notice. After hearing the confession, the priest told the young man his penance. The priest said, “Very well, my son. Every confession requires a penance, and this is yours. I ask you to go into the chapel, stand before the crucifix, look into the face of the crucified Christ and say, ‘All this you did for me, and I don’t give a damn!’ “

The young man staggered out of the confessional to his friends, bragging that he had done as they dared. The other two young men insisted that he finish the performance by doing the penance. This young man made his way into the chapel, stood before the crucifix, looked up into the face of Christ and began, “All this you did for me and I … I … I don’t … I don’t give a ….” At this point in the story, the archbishop leaned over the pulpit and said, “That young man was this man who stands before you to preach.”

That’s the miracle of the cross. When we begin to understand the love on the cross, we want to change our relationship with God. We cannot remain the same.

PRAYER: God, may the miracle of the cross speak to us and change us forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Daybreaks for 3/21/16 – The Jealous, Zealous God

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DayBreaks for 3/21/16 – A Jealous, Zealous God

Deut. 4:24 – For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God…

I grew up being taught that some emotions are not good ones. It is wrong to be envious, it is wrong to be hateful…and it was wrong to be jealous. And so it is that this verse always troubled me from my earliest days. If jealous was wrong, how could God be jealous and yet be perfect? There must be some kind of righteous jealousy, right?

Paul Copan, a philosophy professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University sought to explain it, likening us to a dog who drinks water out of a toilet bowl and concluding, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” So, we humans go on drinking water out of toilet bowls and grossly concluding it is great, yet God has so much more He wants for us. And it grieves His heart of love to watch us choose so foolishly to drink toilet bowl water rather than the Living Water He provides. It makes Him jealous in the finest, most loving way.

Copan writes: A wife who doesn’t get jealous and angry when another woman is flirting with her husband isn’t really committed to the marriage relationship. Outrage, pain, anguish – these are the appropriate responses to such deep violation. God isn’t some abstract entity or impersonal principle…We should be amazed that the Creator of the universe would so deeply connect Himself to human beings that he would open Himself to sorrow and anguish in the face of human rejection and betrayal.

In Scripture, the words jealous and zealous are basicially interchangeable – it’s the same Hebrew word. We equate zealous with intense enthusiasm – and that is why God is so possessive of us – He is filled with a consuming fire of love for us.

You may have experienced love – the way your passion was like a fire for the one you loved and how your thoughts – waking and sleeping – were consumed with those feelings. That is only a faint shadow of the way love controls the heart of God – love for YOU. So when we talk of God’s jealousy, it is more of a stars of the universe all bound together.

Your God is jealous – He wants your love and wholehearted commitment so much that He acted on His love for us by fighting for us each step of the way and refuses to let go.

PRAYER: I am grateful that you are jealous for me. I pray that you will make me as zealous for the closest possible relationship even as you want that with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.