DayBreaks for 12/26/19 – Twice Wrapped, Twice Freed

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DayBreaks for 12/26/19: Twice Wrapped, Twice Freed

It was during the night that the Savior was born. In the darkness. How ironic that the Light chose to be kindled in the dark, but also how meaningful!

There are those today who have set up elaborate and expensive arrays searching for life in the universe. It is a hot topic among astronomers and astrophysicists to name a few. Many movies have been made speculating on whether or not the life that might be out there is friendly or if it will be hostile toward humanity. As a Christian, though, I have to say that we already know there is intelligent life out there in the universe– and we know what that Life is like. It is not filled with hate – but it is filled with love. We know that because of the event we celebrated yesterday – the birth of a baby, wrapped in “swaddling clothes” who came to bring Light and Life, to seek and save the lost. We saw that life, that love, because we have seen Jesus.

Now, however, Christmas is over. The baby in swaddling clothes will be packed up and stowed away for another year. But if Christmas means anything, it is in how it points forward to the next great “holy day” of the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday.

We don’t know when Christ was actually born, but we do know much more certainty about when he died. Again, the irony strikes me: at his birth he was wrapped tightly in strips of linen cloth (that’s what swaddling clothes were in the first century) and when he died, he was once again wrapped tightly in linen strips even as he was at his birth.

As with the birth, so with the death: he quickly left the swaddling clothes behind and he likewise burst forth from the second set of wrappings in great glory.

The end of Christmas starts the great story rumbling forward and points to the coming celebration of his death, burial and the defeat of death for us.

As we leave Christmas behind, let us begin even now to look forward to our next great celebration.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we have celebrated your birth but we cannot stay at the manger. Even as the swaddling clothes held you only temporarily, we look toward the grave wrappings that could not bind you any more than death could, in total awe and wonder for your finished work on our behalf. Help us start now to prepare for the rest of your story. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/13/19 – Two Impossibilities

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DayBreaks for 12/13/19: Two Impossibilities

When we stop to consider the workings of God throughout history, we are challenged over and over to try to grasp the actions of a God who not only isn’t fazed by “impossible” things, but who specializes in making the impossible possible.  How can one simply speak and things come into existence?  It is a mystery to me.  How can One take the dust of the earth and form a being that is as complex as a human – and then give that dust and clay life?  The questions could go on and on: how can barren wombs and the womb of a virgin give birth?  How can a blind man receive sight by just a word?  How can one escape a den full of ravenous lions without a scratch, or the flames of a furnace without even a hint of smoke?  How can a fisherman walk on water?  How can a few fish and loaves feed over 5000 with more left over than when the entire undertaking started?  How?  Because God’s hand was in each and every one of those things.

Some folks work desperately hard to keep God out of their lives and out of their world.  They cry “separation of church and state” in an effort to eliminate any conversation about God.  They must deliberately choose to believe that which is truly unbelievable: that all that exists in its nearly infinite complexity and beauty “just happened.”  (Where’s the logic in that?) 

I liked this when I read it: “Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.

It was at Christmas that the wooden manger held the baby that came from the virgin’s womb – and there could be “no entrance” that way as we all know.  All of us, that is, except God, Who wasn’t fazed by the complexities of that at all.  And it was a wooden cross that put Him in a tomb in death – a door marked “No Exit”.  Again, to God it was no more than a mere technicality – and the “No Exit” sign over the tombs of all was removed once and for all. 

Don’t ever think that it is impossible for God to enter the hearts of even those who are most closed to Him.  He came into the world in an “impossible” way and He can come into hearts in miraculous ways, too.  And He has certainly shown that the “No Exit” that hangs over the tomb is nothing more than a wet paper tiger that He tore to shreds at his resurrection. 

Pray for Him to make entrance to hearts that are sealed off against Him and draw comfort that He opened the way through his life, death and resurrection, to eternal glory.

PRAYER: We thank You that there is nothing too hard for You – whether it is to come into the world in an impossible way, or to give life to the dead!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/20/19 – Alaska Lessons #4 – Life

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Tree in Denali National Park, September 2019. Photo by Galen Dalrymple. 

DayBreaks for 9/20/19: Alaska Lessons #4 – Life

I sat on the porch of our cabin in Denali National Park one afternoon in silence and listened to the rustling of the leaves. Fall was coming to Denali, or maybe more correctly, winter was just around the corner. In the one week we’d been there, the fall colors had changed dramatically and the trees that surrounded our cabin shed copious amounts of leaves. As I sat there, listening, I watched them fall quietly to the ground. Winter comes quickly to the tundra – and in human life.

The story of life is portrayed in seeds and by deciduous trees that sprout leaves each spring, bearing them gloriously throughout the summer, yet surrender them to the inevitable in the fall. During winter, they appear dead.

I am well into the fall, perhaps early winter, of my life. I can look back across the years and recount memories of faces and places that are incredibly dear to me. I have lived a wonderful life!

But I know that the season of my life is well along. Many of the leaves of my life have spent themselves and fallen due to the inexorable march of time.

That’s not bad. In fact, it’s a good thing. We spend so much time fighting the inevitable but I think we should embrace it. You see, even as the leaves fall from the tree in fall and the tree, though just slumbering, appears dead in winter, the kernel of life is still harbored within, to be awakened by the gentle warmth of the sun when the right time has come.

For me, the time will come when I, too, appear to be dead, lifeless. But just as the tree “comes back to life” with the sun warms the earth, I will also come back to life when the Son shines his brightest.

All seasons of life should be cherished for the wonder that they are, the treasures they hold, and the promise that lies hidden within.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (NKJV) – But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for each season of life, including this season I am presently in. Let me welcome the winter because I know that after the sleep, life will erupt immortal! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/22/19 – When Jesus Crashed the Party

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DayBreaks for 4/22/19: When Jesus Crashed the Party

We sometimes give Satan way too much credit. We need to remember that he is just a created being – an angel, although the leader of the fallen angels – and as such does not know everything. The angels, we are told, didn’t know what God was doing in the greatest story ever told. Let your imagination dive into the day Jesus crashed Satan’s party.

For millennia, Satan had been engaged in a war against God. Many times it appeared he’d gained the upper hand, only to be proven wrong. But when Jesus died, a great party must have started among the fallen angels. Satan, undoubtedly, was leading the revelry that proclaimed Satan’s victory of God. I feel confident he was boasting of how he’d outsmarted God and had gotten Jesus killed, foiling God’s plan. And for a period of something like 36 hours, the party in hell knew no limits as Satan ranted and bragged and proclaimed his great victory and God’s defeat.

But then, early in the Sunday morning quiet of a sealed tomb, Jesus crashed Satan’s party in the quietest possible way when his dead heart beat once. The twice, then building up to a steady rhythm and his first gasping breath as the lungs what had been breathless filled.

We tend to think that no one witnessed the resurrection. That’s not true. The angels saw it…including Satan. Perhaps the first breath almost skipped notice, but as Satan realized what happened, he must have screamed in terror, knowing that his boasting had all be a lie. With that first heartbeat, the first breath, Satan knew he’d been outsmarted – again – by the Almighty God, and that with that first breath, Satan was not only doomed, but eternally, irrevocably and utterly defeated. Hell must have become truly deathly silent  as the reality of their predicament became undeniably clear to all.

I hope you’ll take time to listen to this song, His Heart Beats, by Andrew Freeman. The lyrics are here. Check the lyrics as you listen to the song.

And now, because of Jesus’ heart that started to beat, it is our turn to join the party that will last forever.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for defeating death, the grave and Satan! Let the eternal celebration of your great victory come soon! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for Easter Sunday, 4/21/19 – This Was More than Just a Man

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DayBreaks for 4/21/19: This was More than Just a Man

Today is a glorious day because we focus on the greatest event ever – the resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today I want to share a song that has come to bless me in so many ways. I pray it will enrich your appreciation of His being risen as you worship him this day.

Hope is Alive – Kristine DiMarco

Hope is Alive – Kristine DiMarco (concert version)

Matthew 27:54 (NIV) – When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Prayer: All glory and praise to the Lord Jesus forever and ever! Thank you that our hope, You, are alive today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

 

DayBreaks for 4/3/19 – A Lesson in Gravity

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DayBreaks for 4/03/19: A Lesson in Gravity

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

I recently had the great blessing of spending the day with my best friend in his classroom and talking with some of the students about design and creation and how it is an evidence for the existence of God.  He teaches conceptual physics at a Christian school in California.  I have a confession to make here, though: I never took a physics class in my life!  Never really wanted to, either. But I must say, I found it very interesting.  And I even managed to learn some things along the way.

As I sat there thinking about people like Hawking, Einstein and Newton, I began to think about gravity and what a fascinating thing it is.  It’s invisible, yet there is no doubt about its “attraction.”  Just a day or two before, our newest granddaughter (who is 5-1/2 months old), managed to roll off her folks bed and discovered gravity for the first time.  (She was fine – but scared – so her mom and dad calmed her with a banana dessert!)  The little girl found the pull of gravity irresistible, just as all of us have been bound by it for all of our lives.  After all, there’s that old saying, that “What goes up, must come down.”  Because Sophia had gone up on the bed, gravity wasn’t going to make an exception in her case and let her rise up further in the air or even to float at bed-top level.  No, she had to come down, and come down she did.

It is true that what goes up, must come down.  Baseballs, footballs, golf balls, jets, rockets (assuming they don’t achieve escape velocity)…all will come tumbling down.  Some flights of fancy may last longer than others, but they’ll still all come back down to earth again.

There has only been one exception.  Our Lord Jesus Christ left heaven – he came down as the Word says.  In a very literal way, he fell into the tomb…but in His case, what comes down MUST go up!  Nothing could contain Jesus in the tomb. Gravity couldn’t hold him like it does all other dead bodies.  He “rose” from the dead!  And because He came down and suffered death, God “raised Him up” – exalted him over all powers and authorities in heaven and on earth.  That’s God’s way!

There will, of course, come a day when we too shall no longer be bound by gravity and we will rise…never to fall back again.  Won’t that be a great day?

As Easter comes nearer, remember that in God’s way of seeing things, “What goes down, must come up!”  Humble yourself before the Lord, that in due time, He may exalt you!

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.  James 4:10 (KJV)

Prayer: Lord, we long for the day when You shall lift us up from the dust of this earth and we shall be forever free!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/21/19 – I AM #7: The Resurrection

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DayBreaks for 2/21/2019: I AM #7: The Resurrection

John 11:25 (CSBBible) – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.

We often think about powerful people or things. At least I do. There is a saying that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That was never less true than in the case of Jesus.

As the mourners were gathered around Jesus as he stood outside of Lazarus’ tomb that day, they weren’t just in the presence of a craftsman’s son from Nazareth – they were in the presence of the greatest power the world ever has or will see. They were in the presence not of the one who would bring the resurrection, but of the One who IS the resurrection. The mourners gathered at the tomb never expecting to see Lazarus again for he was dead – certifiably dead as he’d been in the tomb long enough that, according to Jewish thought, the spirit would have left because the corpse was no longer identifiable. Yet standing shoulder to shoulder with them was the power of life over death, the power to turn corrupted flesh into vibrant, pink tissue, the power to restart a heart.

The Jews had a very troubled history by the first century: defeat, captivity, slavery, oppression and no or very little vindication, yet they had an unshakeable conviction that they were the people of God and given His character, they reasoned that there must be world beyond where all would be made right and the dead would live again in peace.

This raising of Lazarus is a foreshadow, but a poor one, of what our resurrection will be. Lazarus was going to die again. Our resurrection (and his second one!) will be into immortality.

I don’t know about you, but I need that kind of power in my life not just for the future, but for the now as well. I need the power of one who can transform my sinful self into something new and living. And the one who can do that is not just standing shoulder to shoulder with me at a graveside, but he lives within. All I need do is to hear his voice and “come forth”.

PRAYER: Lord, let us live in your resurrected power not just for eternity, but in the now as well! In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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