DayBreaks for 10/15/19 – The Longest Distance in the Universe

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DayBreaks for 10/15/19: The Longest Distance in the Universe

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

If you’ve ever driven across the United States, you know how far it is!  And America is a relatively small land mass compared to Asia or the length of Africa.  Even flying overseas to other countries can be a long, long haul!  Traveling takes time.

I suppose that the longest distance that one could travel and remain on earth would either be around the equator, or the north/south meridian that would take one around the globe in a north to south direction.  I hate to think how long such a trip would take.

Some time ago, I read a statement that the longest distance in the world is the 18 inches between the human mind and the human heart.  What did they mean?  They meant that it’s easy to accept something with the mind and intellect, but very hard to really accept it and believe it with the heart.  For example, the Word tells us that we are no longer his enemies, nor even his servants, but His children.  But does it always feel like it to you?  After you’ve been doing things that you know you shouldn’t have been doing it is hard to believe that he welcomes us.  His promise from 1 John 1:9-10 to forgive us if we confess our sins is easy enough to memorize and tuck away in the gray matter of our brains, but it’s not as easy to really believe we’re forgiven and then to live like it.  And while we nod our heads in the affirmative when he tells us that greater is the One that is in us than the one that is in the world, and that we have His power at our disposal – it is much more difficult to act as if it is true because though we have head knowledge, our heart acceptance is woefully lacking. 

What difference does all this make?  We are hampered by the fact that what we know hasn’t traveled the 18 inches to our hearts.  We know we are to love Him, and that if we do love him, it will mean that we will obey Him – we don’t ever seem to really get to around to obeying him as if we love him. 

I wish there was a silver bullet that would enable all that head knowledge to make the journey to our hearts so we could live it out.  I don’t know of such a silver bullet, other than taking what He says on faith – and then to start to live like we believe it.  That means we will take more risks and step out more on faith than we have in the past.  It means we will take on challenges that are too big for us – and which we know are too big for us – and then watch Him make it happen through His own power so He gets the glory – not us. 

How much of what He has said and promised to you has made that longest journey in the world to your heart?

PRAYER: We are so grateful for your patience with us – and we ask that you help us to live what we know intellectually and to live lives of faith, not hesitation!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/17/17 – Getting Close Enough

DayBreaks for 7/17/17: Getting Close Enough

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

Preachers face some interesting dilemmas.  It isn’t uncommon for us to visit the sick in the hospital.  And as you know, hospitals are rife with all sorts of disease and infections.  In some ways, it’s amazing that anyone comes out of a hospital alive.  Recent stories about drug-resistant staph infections are scary, aren’t they?  Yet, when someone is sick, you go, hoping and trusting that you won’t get infected.  After all, you may have to get up in the pulpit the next day and preach!!!  And, what if you’re too sick to be there?  I know things would always work out.  But it’s one of the crazy things that go through a minister’s head from time to time. 

Of course, the closer you get to someone who is sick, the greater the chance of infection and the spread of disease.  As I write this, my wife is winging her way to India where she’ll work at an orphanage for two weeks.  She’s got anti-malaria pills to take every day while she’s there, other things to fight dengue fever, special spray to put on her clothes in advance (that will survive 6 washings!!) to hold the mosquitoes in abeyance, and other stuff to protect her from diseases.  We Americans don’t have good immunity to numerous other diseases that are common in other parts of the world.  Proximity to Indian mosquitoes, for example, certainly increases your risk of getting those diseases. 

Proximity to other humans increases our chance of getting diseases they may have.  Sneezing, coughing, vomiting.  The tiny aerosols that spew from our mouths when we sneeze spread disease.  Other diseases are spread though bodily fluids, including sweat from a fever.  Getting close is dangerous.

How close should we get to others?  In Luke chapter 5, Jesus heals a leper.  Sometimes when Jesus healed people of disease or illness, he just spoke the word and the healing was accomplished!  He could heal at a distance – we know that from the healing of the Roman centurion’s son.  But in this case, Jesus specifically chose not to heal at a distance.  He touched the leper.

John Ortberg put it well when he noted that “…only when you get close enough to catch their hurt will they be close enough to catch your love.”  Jesus got plenty close to catch our hurt.  He felt it in his own flesh.  He experienced it in his own heart.  And he got close enough to catch our disease.  Instead, he healed our disease, discounting the risk, so we could catch his love. 

Will we get close enough to others so we can feel and catch their hurt so we can give them His love?

PRAYER:  Thank you, Jesus, for not being afraid to touch us.  Thank you for being willing to feel our hurt.  Thank you for the love you’ve given us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/5/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again

DayBreaks for 7/05/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

At a conference I attended in February, Tony Campolo told about a survey that was done with a group of people who were 95 years old.  They asked these people to reflect on how they’d do their lives over again if they could – what changes they might make.  Their responses reflected the wisdom that can only come from having lived so long, and we would do well to listen and learn from them.  Here’s their top three responses:

FIRST: We’d reflect more – create a “thin place”.  Rather than jumping to conclusions and judgments, rather than rushing so hard to get through each day and onto the next task, they would stop to think more about the beauty of a flower, the sound of the birds, the meaning of life and what makes it worth living.  They found that busyness was not a satisfactory answer – they’d done too much of that and wished they’d taken more time to create a place where they could be near to important things and to God;

SECOND: We’d risk more – This may seem like a contradiction of the first item.  Reflection would tend to make us think that we’d take less risk, not more.  But what they were really saying is that when we become so concerned about ourselves that we’re afraid to give, afraid to love, afraid to dare and dream great things, we become smaller people who die a bit faster.  The human body ages not because the cells die, but because they stop dividing.  They become more “self-centered”, afraid to risk dividing and giving and “taking a chance.”  How tragic when we let our fears keep us from attempting things of value – great things for God.

THIRD: We’d do more that would live on after we’re gone.  Oh, this one makes me draw in my breath.  We are so very busy with just trying to maintain our standard of living, to keep the bills paid, that we don’t invest much time in our children, our grandchildren, the lives of our neighbors, co-workers and loved ones.  The things you do at work every day may or may not live on after you’re gone.  But know this: only those things which are done for others, and especially for God, will live on after you have died.  And since people are the only things that will go on into eternity from this world, it is in people that we should invest like there is no tomorrow – because there may not be.

Will we have the wisdom to learn from these aged sages and to make the changes we need in our lives to think more, to risk more and to do more that will outlive us? 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, slow us down.  Bring us into the quiet place where we can meet with you and hear your voice telling us how you want us to re-order our lives.  Help us to remember that You are the Lord of great things and that You were the greatest risk taker who has ever lived.  And help us to live wisely so that we will invest in things that live on long after we are a faded memory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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


DayBreaks for 11/04/14 – Thou Shalt Not Be Ridiculous

DayBreaks for 11/04/14 – Thou Shalt Not Be Ridiculous

From the DayBreaks archive, 2004:

We tend to think of the 10 commandments as being the bedrock on which all laws and commands are based.  And I suppose, in a very real way, that’s true.  The everlasting principles of loving God, loving your fellow man, etc., are all encapsulated in those 10 little commands.  But there were many, many other specific commands that are given in the Old Testament, but also in the New.

Consider this passage from the quill of Paul, the apostle, from Eph. 5:15-18 (NLT) – So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

For all intents and purposes, Paul could have said, “Thou shalt not be ridiculous.”  I am always appalled by the way Christians are portrayed in the news media and the sound bites we see and hear over the airwaves.  Nearly every instance is less than flattering – not necessarily because of what the Christians are saying, but how they are saying it and how they are acting.  Just recently, I saw a news clip about a “Christian” in Korea (I think), who climbed into the lions enclosure to preach to them and save them.  He said he felt called by God to do it.  Well, suffice it to say, the lions didn’t convert and the man escaped with some mighty big fang marks in his leg.  It is a ridiculous thing for him to have done.  Anytime that well-meaning Christians don’t act in Christian ways, the message is lost in the ridiculousness of the behavior, and the cause of Christ is diminished in the eyes of the world.

But how can we reconcile the actions of those like Daniel, whose actions led him to the lions den?  And what of his buddies, Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego?  Were they being ridiculous, or courageous, in what they did?  As John Ortberg noted in his book about walking on water, “The line between ‘Thou shalt not be afraid’ and ‘Thou shalt not be ridiculous’ is often a fine one and not easily located.  Knowing when to get out of the boat and take a risk does not only demand courage; it also demands the wisdom to ask the right questions, the discernment to recognize the voice of the Master, and the patience to wait for His command.”

Much could be said on this subject, but I think Ortberg is right on track.  Consider your lifestyle.  Is the way you live and interact with others, the way you even hold out and defend your Christian beliefs – done in such a way as to make Christianity and it’s Christ attractive (in the right way – not in a compromising way), or are you just being ridiculous in how you attempt to take a stand for Christ?  The preaching of the cross is foolishness to the world, but even we foolish Christians need to be wise in how we live so we can capitalize on each and every opportunity for doing good in an evil world.

Copyright by 2004 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for being willing to be stricken so the “sheep” could be spared. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 11/16/12 – Christian Gamblers

DayBreaks for 11/16/12 – Christian Gamblers

Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. 26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. 28 So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you. 29 Welcome him with Christian love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve. 30 For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn’t do from far away. – Philippians 2:25-30 (NLT)

I love the way that there are “back stories” behind nearly every passage of Scripture!  This seemingly innocuous passage is quickly passed over in a rush to get through one’s daily Bible reading.  It doesn’t seem very spiritual, does it?  When I was a little kid, the local newspaper from the very tiny little Iowa town that was nearest to our farm would even include news about who got a phone call from someone else!  Or, who had out-of-town guests.  It may seem strange to people today, but it was a very personal and tight-knit little farming community.  So it is with this passage.

Epaphroditus had come to Paul from Philippi.  Paul was in Rome, in chains.  It was risky for Ephphroditus to come, because if Paul were to be killed for his preaching, Epaphroditus could be killed as a follower or “co-conspirator.”  But he came to Paul anyway.  While in Rome, he got sick – and nearly died.  Fortunately, he recovered and now Paul is eager to send him back to his friends in Philippi so they can rejoice in his recovery.

In verse 30, Paul uses an interesting Greek word to describe how Epaphroditus “risked his life” for Christ’s work.  The rather long Greek word was a gambler’s word that described staking everything on a single throw of the dice.  That’s how Paul describes what Epaphroditus had done for the sake of Christ.  But here’s the “rest of the story”:

In the Early Church there was an association of Christian men and women called the parabolani, the gamblers. They weren’t gambling for money.  Rather, their aim was to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. In A.D. 252 plague broke out in the city of Carthage.  In their distress and terror, the heathen tossed the bodies of their dead into the streets and fled the city in terror. Cyprian, an elder in the church in Carthage, gathered his congregation together and charged them to gather up the dead bodies, and to also care for those stricken by the plague in the city.  By doing so, they saved the city, at the risk of their lives, from destruction and desolation.  They were gambling everything on a single throw of the dice – risking their very lives for Christ and the love of their neighbors.

This “gambling” spirit should be in every Christian, an almost reckless courage which makes him ready to gamble with his life to serve Christ and others.  How are you doing?  What have you risked for Him?

PRAYER: We have become so security conscious that we’ve grown risk-adverse, even when it comes to serving You, Lord.  Start today to create a spirit of courage and boldness within us for there is much to be done!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 09/12/12 – The Fear of Risk

DayBreaks for 09/12/12 – The Fear of Risk

Henry Fairlie of the Washington Post, writing in the Tulsa World, states that the “fear of risk is killing the American Spirit.” He points out our over-reaction to Three Mile Island and the engine on one DC-10. He believes that the nation that won’t build a dam because of a small snail darter, or that will delay a carriage to the stars because it might fall like Skylab is in deep trouble. He asked, “Was the Mayflower seaworthy?” He contends that a group of Americans today would not have the heart to cross the Rockies as our ancestors did years ago. It would be too risky!

There is a lesson here for the church and for our individual lives. Many good works go wanting for fear of the risk involved. Some Christians will not share their faith because of the risk of ridicule. Others never give liberally because of fear of poverty. Elders refuse to exercise much-needed church discipline because of fear they will be criticized or that someone will leave the church.

No doubt but what the “fear of risk” has killed many good programs in the church.

There is no “fear of risk” for Christ. He knew that He came into the world to die for all. He asked his followers to deny themselves daily and take up their crosses and walk!

Faith doesn’t mean there is no fear associated with that step of faith.  It isn’t faith that casts out fear, it is perfect love that does that.  I am relatively certain that most all the martyrs had some fear as they took their stand for Christ.  But their knowledge of the love of Christ that would never surrender them gave them peace enough to take the risk of dying for Him.

What are you being asked or prompted to do to serve the King?  Are you letting fear freeze you and keep you from taking the risk?

PRAYER: How frightened we have become as your followers!  Help us to remember that when we are frightened, that You are bigger than our fears and Your kingdom is a greater cause than our own comfort!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/29/12 – Five Seconds Is All

DayBreaks for 03/29/12 – Five Seconds Is All

Five seconds can change everything...

From a sermon by Leonard Sweet: “A few years ago, just before Thanksgiving, Tom Lind, a salesman from Montana, was making his rounds, traveling his regular route along the southern Oregon coast. As usual he was in his older model pickup, piggybacked with his small camper. Looking to continue his route south and east, Lind made a fateful spur-of-the-moment decision. He opted to take the scenic route. Only a few miles on this blue highway, however, the elevation rose rapidly and good ol’ Oregon drizzle transformed into swirling snowflakes. Tom was in his big pickup, so he kept going. But the snow kept coming. Soon Tom found himself in the middle of a blizzard whiteout.

“Forced to pull over, Tom stopped for the rest of the day. By nightfall his pickup was a slightly discernible lump of white in a vast landscape of snow. Still Tom wasn’t terribly worried. He was in his big pickup Soon the road-clearing crews would be along and would help him escape the cold clutches that held him and his truck captive.

“What Tom didn’t realize was that the scenic route he had chosen was closed after the first winter snowfalls. The Forest Service didn’t maintain that road in any way. They would not be coming up that way until spring thaw.

“But Tom didn’t know that. Convinced that someone would be along as soon as there was a break in the weather, Tom determined to do the smart thing: stay in his big truck. Avoid the risks of exposure or getting hopelessly lost in a snow drift by hunkering down in his big truck.

“As soon as he failed to arrive at his next sales appointment, family and friends, state and local police forces began searching for Tom. No one thought to venture up the little used, completely snow-blocked back track Tom had chosen. When the weather cleared and blue skies and sun shone down on Tom’s trapped vehicle, the salesman opted to continue being smart and safe: he stayed with his big truck.

“It seems impossible to understand now, but Tom stayed with that big truck for over eight weeks. He kept a journal of his thoughts, his hopes, his fears, his considered options. But still he sat in that big truck. Eventually he grew too weak to have any real options anymore. By Christmas he couldn’t have walked out if he had wanted.

“At the end of January a group of back-country skiers inadvertently came across Tom and his safe haven big pickup truck. Tom’s journal revealed he had finally died sometime around January 15. His emaciated, dehydrated body was still in his truck. In trying to minimize his risks, Tom thought he was opting to stay safe. It turned out Tom was opting out of life.

“Like Tom and his big pickup truck, we may believe that seat belts, FDA regulations, security alerts, and smoke detectors can keep us safe. But the truth is we’re fragile, fallible, fractured creatures whose lives are always hanging in the balance. Every one of us is only one breath away from eternity. Five seconds is all that separates us from forever.”

PRAYER: Our fears often paralyze us, Lord, into inactivity.  Remind us that You have not called us to sit back and see what will happen, but to walk where You lead us and to do what You have given us to do!  Give us the wisdom to know when to wait on You, and to hears to hear Your voice when You call us to move!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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