DayBreaks for 3/16/17 – The Power of Going the Second Mile

DayBreaks for 3/16/17: The Power of Going the Second Mile

Matthew 5:38-41 (ESV)“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Shortly after the battles ended the American Revolution, but before the peace had been negotiated, George Washington was with his troops in Newburgh, New York. But they began to grow very restless because they hadn’t been paid. Washington had begged the Continental Congress to do what they said they would do and pay the soldiers, but they refused.

Well, some of the officers began to organize a rebellion. They talked about marching on Philadelphia, which was at that time the seat of the reigning national government, and overthrowing that government and letting the army rule the nation.

With the fate of America in the balance, George Washington made a surprise appearance before these officers. After praising them for their service and thanking them for their sacrifice, he pulled from his pocket a copy of a speech that he wished to read. But then he fumbled with a paper and finally reached for a set of reading glasses-glasses those men had never seen him wear before. Washington made this simple statement: “I have already grown gray in the service of my country, and now I am going blind.”

Historian Richard Norton Smith wrote: “Instantly rebellion melted into tears. It was a galvanizing moment, and the rebellion…” and the rebellion was put down because they had seen before them a second miler.

Becoming a Christian is one thing; being a Christian is another one. Every chance you get for the glory of Jesus, for the goodness of others, and because of the grace of God, go the second mile.

PRAYER: Lord, we often resent even being asked go to one mile. Give us hearts that are willing to go not just that mile, but more, for Your glory and the benefit of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/07/17 – Replicating the Story of Jesus

DayBreaks for 3/07/17: Replicating the Story of Jesus

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2007:

I was recently blessed to hear Eugene Peterson speak at a conference I attended.  He is a humble, thoughtful man of seemingly bottomless wisdom.  He is slow to speak – weighing his words carefully to be sure they convey truth from the Truth.  I greatly appreciated being able to sit at his feet for a while and learn.

At one point he was talking about the church and how it is perceived by the world.  There is much that can be said on that topic, but what Peterson focused on was how the church itself replicates the life of Jesus.  Consider how Jesus could have come into the world: with great fanfare and leaflets falling from the sky that was magically translated into whatever language was spoken by the person who picked them up.  He could have come with a PowerPoint presentation that flashed across the underbelly of the clouds above our heads, replete with musical background, bold and contrasting colors and maybe some video clips of what hell is like so we’d all be scared straight.  Or, he could have come and spent his entire time upon this earth turning rocks into bread and obliterating hunger and disease so that no one on earth would every go to bed hungry or wake up sick again.  Wouldn’t those things have been spectacular?!?!?!

But, that’s now how Jesus came, is it?  Not one of those things happened when he showed up.  Here’s part of the point: Jesus never, during his entire 30+ years of life on this earth, left the world of poverty into which he was born.  He spent his life as one of the “people of the land” – despised by the ruling religious hierarchy because they were unlearned, sweaty laborers who couldn’t ever seem to put two cents together at one time, but who were always scrambling for their daily bread.  He was humbled, he was broken, he was in the midst of a very sinful people, he seemed powerless before the forces arrayed and conspiring against him.  And, he bled…and bled…and bled…from his hands, back, feet and side.

The church, just like Jesus, could have come in a different way.  God could have preached the first gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost by shouting out loud from heaven so that all the entire universe heard and understood every single syllable and word.  He didn’t.  He used a human mouth (just like He did with Jesus).  The church (like Jesus) exists in the middle of a very sinful people (and the church itself, being made up of people, is sinful).  The church seems powerless against the stratagems of Satan, and is made up of badly fractured, dislocated and broken folk.  And (if the church is true to its calling to be the very body of Christ on earth), as the body of Christ literally bled, the church will bleed, too.  We will bleed out mercy and compassion on the downtrodden like the blood of Christ.  We will bleed because of our stand for faithfulness, to accomplish the will of the Father, even as Christ’s blood fell for the same reason. 

Do you ever wonder why the church has such a bad reputation in the world?  Granted, some of it we bring on ourselves with our hypocrisy and leaders who fall like dominoes, but here, I think, is the core reason: Jesus was a stumbling block because he was broken, bleeding, appearing powerless and as one who associated with sinners.  And that is EXACTLY what the church is to be about, too.  We are to be a broken people (because that’s what we truly are – and once our brokenness is seen and admitted – we cannot be hypocrites any longer).  We are to bleed literally and figuratively because of our love for Christ and for the lost that He loves.  And the church appears powerless.  So, why does the church stink to the world?  Because the church, as Jesus’ body, takes on His nature of being a stumbling block. 

Each of us as Christians are to be “little Christ’s”.  Let’s get on with replicating his story and stop publishing our own!

PRAYER: God, we’ve got a long way to go to be very good reflections of Christ.  As His body here on earth, we feel powerless, we feel bloodied sometimes and broken.  Even as we struggle with what we see in the church and in ourselves, let us remember that you see us differently because we are “in Christ.”  If we are to be stumbling blocks to the world and individuals in it, let it be for all the right reasons – because we are living the story of Jesus visibly, out loud, each day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/13/17 – The Man Who Drove the Nails

DayBreaks for 1/13/17: The Man Who Drove the Nails

FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:

The Bible doesn’t tell us the name of the man (almost certainly a Roman soldier) who drove the nails into the wrists and feet of Jesus.  The Bible tells us the name of the man who betrayed him, but not of the man who actually crucified him.  It isn’t likely that it was the centurion who stated, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” because centurions typically stood around and directed activities and left the work to the private or corporal.  I wonder, though, what the man must have thought as the afternoon wore on and the skies darkened, the earth shook and Jesus died.  I wonder if I’d have been able to sleep that night.  If my wife asked me, “What did you do today, honey?”, what would I have told her?

As I was browsing a book today in the Christian bookstore (it looked real good but I didn’t buy it yet – you know, cash flow!), I was captivated by a thought in one of the books I read.  The name of the book was When God Weeps (I think that was it), written by Joni Earickson Tada and Steve Estes.  At one point in the book, they were reflecting on the crucifixion of Christ and God’s willingness to endure suffering like one of us rather than to distance Himself from what we have to experience. 

Christ had all power – for in him dwelt the fullness of God.  He could have called legions of angels at any time to do his bidding, for how could one of his angels not have obeyed his command?  But what I’d never quite pictured or thought about was this: Colossians 1.16b-17 tells us that everything that exists was created by Christ.  That includes the mountains, lakes, skies, earth, you, me, our dog, and yes, even the person who pounded the nails into his hands was created by the Crucified One.  But Colossians 1.17 also tells us that “…and in him all things hold together.”  I think that means exactly what it says.  At a subatomic level, what is it that makes all the particles of an atom hold together?  Christ’s power.  What is it that makes atoms bond together to form molecules, compounds and chemicals?  Christ’s power.  What is it that holds people together?  Christ.  What holds the universe in control so the moon doesn’t go spinning off into space, or the earth go spinning into the sun?  Science would say gravity – I would say Christ. 

But here’s the thought that I read that struck me: not only did God have to be willing to suffer as a man for man’s sake, but the same God who was suffering as the nails pierced his flesh was holding together the atoms of the man’s body that was doing the crucifying.  With just one thought, Christ could have willed the man’s atoms to dissociate from one another and the man wielding the hammer would have disintegrated and been no more.  According to Colossians 1.17, Christ was the one who held the man together, who willed the man to stay together, to finish the task that he had begun with the first swing of the mallet.

Commitment to purpose.  Commitment to mankind.  Commitment to obedience.  Commitment to love, no matter what the cost.  “Be imitators therefore of Christ…”

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the commitment of Christ to see the job through, to not just start the ball rolling for our salvation, but to drink the cup to the dregs.  Teach us to be more committed to you and self-controlled.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/9/16: Saving John Doe

DayBreaks for 8/09/16 – Savind John Doe

From the DayBreaks Archive for August, 2006:

Have you seen “Saving Private Ryan”? It is supposedly about as graphically realistic (at least in the first 26 minutes or so) about the horrors of war as you can get in a movie. I don’t like that kind of stuff at all. Veterans, by and large, say it is pretty realistic – but they say it just doesn’t go far enough in picturing the awful human carnage of war. But the message is somewhat clearer because of the brutal visual honesty of the movie: victory is costly. Dwight Eisenhower, who ordered the D-Day invasion depicted in the first part of the movie, had this to say: “There are no victories at discount prices.”

In the cross we see only what our sin cost God. What if we could see that awful carnage of sin through God’s eyes? Because we can’t see the future, we sometimes can’t see how our sin maims, cuts, pierces and destroys our relationships with those around us and the world we live in, let alone God. We can’t see, in graphic terms, the way our selfishness tears out hearts and leaves people bleeding in our wake of sin. We can’t see the effect of our sins on our children and grandchildren (Ex. 20:6). And it isn’t just the sin of things we do that will affect them, but the sin of the things we don’t do that will possibly have an even greater impact on future generations.

Another thought: if I am trying to gain victory over some sin in my life – I shouldn’t think the victory will be cheap. It will come hard. What am I willing to lose to gain the victory? We want the victory to come easily, cheaply – but when it comes to defeating sin issues in our lives, we have to be ready to go to war with that sin.

How far am I prepared and willing to go to play a role in the “salvation” of others? Would I do what the troops did on D-Day to save someone’s soul? To use a crude analogy, Jesus stormed the fortified beach of sin and took all the bullets for me. Would I take even a single bullet for the soul of my best friend, let alone my enemy?

Of course as Christians we picture the horrible carnage of the cross and the beatings that preceded it, and rightly so. It was at one and the same time the ugliest and most beautiful even that ever happened. I hope we never forget the ugliness of what our sin cost God.

PRAYER:  Are there words, Lord, to thank You for coming to rescue us, to save us?  Help us to be able to grasp even a fraction of what sin does to You, and what it does to us.  Help us be holy, even as you are holy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 5/30/16 – Remember Their Sacrifices

DayBreaks for 5/30/16 – Remember Their Sacrifices

Romans 13:7 (NIV) – Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

It is Memorial Day, 2016, here in the United States. To many, it is the “unofficial” start of summer. Many go camping or start vacations if their kids are out of school. The weather is warm and families get together. But let’s get first things first, can we?

Some seem to confuse this day with Veteran’s Day….both are very special and commemorate people to whom we owe our thanks. But Memorial day is set aside to remember those who gave their lives as a sacrifice for those they loved and cared for. We cannot possibly thank them, or their families, too much. We should be forever grateful for the men and women who laid down their lives or our freedom. Their sacrifice will, and should, be remembered and their memories honored.

As we worshipped on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus. He, too, laid down his life for us in the ultimate battle: the struggle between good and evil. And even as he rose, one day he will bring life to not only believers but all those who have died throughout all of history.

It is right for us to remember those who didn’t love their own lives to dearly to sacrifice it for those they loved more than life. That describes the fallen soldiers of our country, but also our Lord. 

Let us honor them all today as they deserve…but let us honor our Lord above all.

PRAYER: Jesus, we today remember the families of those who died for our freedom. We pray you bring the comfort and warm memories to the loved and lost. May we honor you for your sacrifice above all!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 4/6/16 – So the World Could Hear

 

DayBreaks for 4/06/16 – So the World Could Hear

It was January 21, 1930, and King George V of England was giving the opening speech at the London Arms Conference. His speech was being broadcast by radio over much of the face of the planet. It was to be a truly momentous occasion.

Very shortly before the King was to begin his speech, a CBS staffer tripped over an electrical wire that was laying on the floor and broke it in two. The result: the entire American audience was cut off from hearing what the King had to say. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Harold Vidian, the chief control operator for CBS grabbed one end of the bare wire in one hand and the other in his other hand, making his body the conduit for the electricity so that the audience back in the United States could hear the King’s words. Though the electricity that surged through his body was excruciating, Vidian held on until the King finish speaking.

There is an old Christian hymn wherein we ask the Lord to make us a channel of blessing. There are modern hymns where we pledge through our words to lay down our lives so he can live through us. It is easy to sing those words but far harder to really mean them.

We as believers are called to let the power of the Almighty God flow through us to the world. How can we do that? We can do it by living in such a way that our words take a back seat to His words. We do it by acting as He would in any given situation (as best we can ascertain what He would do). We do it by getting ourselves out of the way, grabbing hold of the “live wire” of the Spirit and grabbing hold of those in the world with the other and letting the energy and power flow through us.

It may hurt at times. There may be times we are tempted to let go, but it is our mission. It is our calling.

Grab hold…and don’t let go until the end. Someone needs to hear His words and to hear them through you and through me.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, when I’m afraid that my words aren’t good enough or that I’ll say the wrong thing, remind me that when I am in tune with Your Spirit that it is You at work through me with power to reach the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/15/16 – Break Me!

DayBreaks for 3/15/16: Break Me!

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Scripture: Ps 54:6-7 – I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good. For you will rescue me from my troubles and help me to triumph over my enemies. – NLT

This Psalm was written when David was in hiding, and the Ziphites had gone to king Saul and told him, “We know where David is hiding.”  He was being betrayed. 

It is interesting how this first verse is worded.  David could have simply said, “I will sacrifice an offering to You” and we would have said that it was good and fitting that he should do so.  But apparently, David realized that just an offering wasn’t good enough.  It was the nature of the offering that he drilled in on and which caught my eye. 

David says he’ll offer a VOLUNTARY offering.  It is only a voluntary offering that matters to God.  God, being the absolute power in the universe, could have demanded from David (and even today from us) offerings and He could have forced them from us.  He could have demanded our firstborn.  He could have demanded that we mutilate ourselves with fire and knives.  He could have demanded that at some point we take our own life – trusting that we would somehow be “caught” by Him in our descent to the nether world.  But God has clearly noted that what he wants is a voluntary offering – and in particular “a broken and contrite spirit.” 

We often think (or are afraid) that God wants some great thing from us – something that we may be unable (or unwilling) to give.  He doesn’t.  He wants broken hearts – like David’s when confronted by Nathan.  That’s all.  And that is only one of the reasons that God is good.  Could a truly “good” God demand anything further from us, knowing our weakness and our ability to deliver anything to Him except for our brokenness?

God’s specialty is binding up that which is broken (Isa. 61:1-3, NLT) – The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

I need to focus more on giving God what He truly wants from me – not just what I think He wants.  Brokenness for sin is a good thing – not a bad thing.  Break me, Lord Jesus!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  God, create in me a clean heart.  Show us our sin so we may confess and repent before You and there find Your tender forgiveness.  Help our sacrifices to You to be voluntary, born out of love and thankfulness rather than duty.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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