DayBreaks for 8/14/18 – Where the Fire has Been

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DayBreaks for 8/14/18: Where the Fire Has Been

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

One of the great threats in California this year (and almost every year) has been wild fires.  Surely, you’ve heard or read stories about it in the news.  There was a strange night of lightning storms that swept California a while back, and over 800 fires were running amok around the state.  Even to this date, some are still burning. 

Wild fires are nothing new.  Back in the days of the pioneers, there were times when the owners of a log hut would look contentedly out over the miles and miles of swaying, tall grass when they would catch a glimpse of a dark cloud out on the far distant horizon.  As they watched it over a period of time, they could see that behind the apparent cloud was a fierce, fiery glare.  Although it was still a long way off, there could be no doubt about what it was – the prairie is on fire and the winds were driving it straight toward the settlers.

Driven by the wind, the fire would approach at speeds of fifteen miles per hour or more.  What could they possibly do to stop it?  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  There were no flying bombers that could drop tons of flame retardant chemicals, no helicopters that could chopper off to the nearest water hole and fill a huge bucket with water that could be dropped on the fire.  It was true that wise pioneers build a firebreak around their little settlements, but such fire breaks were only effective for an ordinary grass fire, but not for any kind of safety from a massive wild fire sweeping across miles and miles of grassy plain. 

Men and animals with terror–stricken eyes would flee from the onrushing cataclysm for their lives.  No time for thinking was left.  What can be done?  Was there to be no escape, no deliverance?  Would all inevitably perish?

There was one—and only one—hope of escape.  What is it?  How is it accomplished?  It involved the very element (fire) that was pursuing them and threatening them!  If the pioneers struck a match and lit the grass at their feet, the new fire, blown by the wind, would move ahead of them as if fleeing from the oncoming torment itself.  This new fire would burn the prairie ahead of the fleeing pioneers, consuming all before it, leaving the ground, blackened and bare.  As soon as a patch of the prairie was burned, the men and animals could then pass onto the scorched ground into a zone of safety.  Why were they safe?  Because there was nothing left to consume!  The fire started by the pioneers had already burned over the place once, leaving nothing for the approaching flames to burn when they arrived!  The pioneers were then safe and secure from the devouring fire which now raged around them but which could not touch them itself! 

Because of our sins, the fires of hell sweep towards us, seeking to consume and burn us until we are dead.  But, as believers, we can do something about it: we can so burn the knowledge of the Word of God into our lives that the flames of the outside world and hell itself will have no influence!

1 Jn 2:15-17 (NIV) – Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

PRAYER: Thank You for the Word, the Life, that has prepared a safe place for us where we can be secure from the fire to come!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 6/01/17 – Run to the Rock!

Rafting on the American River (above).

DayBreaks for 6/01/17: Run to the Rock!

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Psalms 61:2 (NIV) – From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

On the 19th of this month, I had a new experience: I went white-water rafting with some other fellows from our church.  We were on the South Fork of the American River, above Sacramento.  It was a LOT of fun!  The water flow was high and rapid and it was a great time of fellowship and fun.

Before we began our white-water adventure, the guides went though a great deal of instruction in order to be sure we’d be as safe as possible.  We received directions about how to get someone back into the boat in case they fell out, about what to do with your feet if you fell out (keep them up, not down as they could catch between rocks and you’d be pulled under!), and what we were to do if the float raft slammed up against a rock. 

Now, it is rather counter-intuitive, but if you see your boat being swept into a large rock, what would your first reaction be?  Most people would instinctively move away from the side of the boat that will be struck by the rock.  They want to get as far away as possible from the edge that will soon be kissing granite!  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  But it’s the wrong thing to do.  Instead, everyone was instructed that if it happened, the thing to remember was this: run to the rock.  With all the weight on the high side of the boat, it won’t flip over, but if everyone went to the side below the rock, it would surely tip and everyone would be overboard. 

It struck us that we should “run to the rock” because it has obvious spiritual parallels.  Jesus, we are told, is the Rock.  He is the one to whom we should run for safety.  It may not be intuitive, in fact, we may be tempted to run to things we can see, taste, hear, smell or touch instead of a God Who is a Spirit.  But in times of trouble, if we want our little boat to stay afloat and not get dumped out into the swirling waters of life, remember: “Run to the Rock!”

PRAYER: Lord, help us to remember that there is no place that is safer than to be as close to You as possible.  Give us the wisdom, and the spiritual insight, to run to the rock!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/23/16 – How Do You Define Peace?

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DayBreaks for 8/23/16 – How Do You Define Peace?

The Olympics are over. They are to be a peaceful celebration…a chance to act towards one another in a more civilized way. But, what is peace? How much peace do you have in your life? Do we even know what peace is all about?

“Peace” comes from the Latin, pax. To the Romans, it meant a stoppage of hostilities between the conqueror and the vanquished, with the conqueror dictating terms to the defeated. Pax, even in Rome, was temporary because it depended on who was in a position fo strength. One day it might be one group, the next day someone else.

The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, mean much, much more. It has a rich meaning: wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity. It carries the idea not or transitoriness, but of permanence.

To Christian, shalom is the state of those who are assured of their present and future salvation in Christ. It gives contentment to those who have it – no matter their earthly lot or circumstance.

Note these differences between pax and shalom:

One person can dictate peace (pax); shalom is a mutual agreement.

Pax is temporary; shalom is a permanent covenant.

Pax is the absence of commotion; shalom the presence of serenity and wholeness.

I think that this is true: sometimes we are more than ready to just settle for détente. And when we aim so low, we miss what is best.

Don’t settle for anything less than shalom – not with relatives, friends, neighbors, employers…but most of all, not with God.

Where do we find shalom? Isaiah 9 tells us Jesus is the Prince of Peace…and of the greatness of his governance and peace there will be no end!

How is his peace different? Isaiah 53 tells us that ..the punishment that brought us SHALOM was on him and by his wounds we are healed.

It seems a bit strange to say this, perhaps, but without war there can be no shalom. Isaiah says to: the punishment that brought peace was laid on him. The full war came raging down on Jesus as the spiritual weapons of mass destruction pummeled Him…because of our sin. The war of God on sin was waged on the cross of Christ. Justice was served. War over!

Shalom came on that day by mutual agreement of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is what we have been freely given. If you want shalom, you can find it in the Prince of Peace. It will enable you to fear nothing from God – and to be content with your earthly lot – whatever that lot may be.

PRAYER: Prince of Peace, fill us with your shalom! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 4/15/16 – So Much for Locking the Door

DayBreaks for 4/15/16 – So Much for Locking the Door

One of the fastest growing, most profitable investment ventures in today’s economy is . . . . Anything having anything to do with security. You couldn’t have lost money in the last twenty years if you invested in storage or security: national security, personal security, home security, financial security, Internet security. The dangers of this world seem to be breathing hotter and closer down our necks. Any offering that promises to cool that threat down is welcomed with open arms and wallets.

We gladly invest in “LifeLock” and “Life Alert” and “Alert Life”- hoping to safeguard both our fiscal and physical lives. Instead of scripted shows by the Blue Angels at air-shows, we are sending long-range spontaneous shows of strength in the form of stealth bombers over South Korean airspace, which offends North Korea. We have “apps” on our smartphones that enable us to watch our front doors at home and our backdoors at work, to turn on our lights and turn off our heat, to be on-guard and on-point, even when we are off-site. We are desperately trying to contain the chaos of the cosmos.

In John’s gospel, Jesus’ first appearance to his disciples is when he comes to them behind closed, locked doors. Despite the vision of the empty tomb, despite the version of the resurrected Jesus Mary Magdalene had reported to them, the disciples were still shuttered and shuddering – clamped down and closed off from a threatening world. Then Jesus blasts through their ADT security system, blows out their “LifeLock,” and suddenly stands in their midst.

Don’t you love that about Jesus? How he just sometimes busts in on us and breaks through all our defenses to show Himself to us?

If you are looking for security, don’t try to lock Jesus out of your life and your heart. Not only is that exactly the wrong thing to do, but it just may not work anyway!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us find that You are the only true security in a very insecure world! Help us find our peace in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/14/16 – We Walked Together

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DayBreaks for 3/14/16: We Walked Together

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:

Psalm 55:1-14 (NLT) – Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me, hunting me down in their anger. My heart is in anguish. The terror of death overpowers me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me. I can’t stop shaking. Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest. I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape— far away from this wild storm of hatred. Destroy them, Lord, and confuse their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city. Murder and robbery are everywhere there; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets. It is not an enemy who taunts me— I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.

Many see reference in verses 12-14 of the betrayal of Christ by Judas, and perhaps it is rightly so.  However, verse 13 makes that seem difficult – certainly Judas was not an equal to Christ, even if he did sit in the place of the intimate friend at the last supper.  Perhaps that’s just my own hang-up: we are joint heirs with Christ and will inherit all things with Him, He is our elder brother – we are related by blood – His blood – and we bear His image (as defaced as it may be in us from time to time.)  He calls us “friend”, not “slave” or “servant.”  Those things, as incredible as it may sound, speak of equality – an equality that is not based on inherent worth, but worth imputed to us by a gracious Father through the blood of the Lamb.

While it may be that we should see Judas in verse 13 and the bitterness of the betrayal, I think I again more properly see here Messianic language: verses 4-5 seems to speak of the agony of the Garden where the terror of death and what was about to come to pass was becoming a crushing weight on Jesus’ spirit.  Verse 6 reminds me of Revelation, where the woman who gives birth to the child flees to the wilderness, a place of quiet and safety, prepared beforehand by God for her.  The Israelites fled to the wilderness in their exodus – and because God was there with them, it was a place of relative safety for them, in spite of their many rebellions.  As Christ hung on the cross, did he see the city of Jerusalem (vs. 9) that had become full of violence that had led to the slaughter of the Lamb of God?  (I must admit that I struggle with how the first part of verse 9 fits!)  The city was walled…and history showed that it would not fall to the Romans until 70 AD, but the fall had already started and was sure to happen because of the wickedness inside.  Murder (the killing of the innocent Lamb), the religious leaders robbing God of His due (both worship and the blood money that was paid to Judas belonged to God and they’d stolen both from Him), all were visible to His tear-filled eyes.  Yet, Jesus knew it was not his enemy who was afflicting him (vs. 12), but rather that He was smitten by God for our sins and offenses!  How he must have longed to walk in equality again to the house of God, side by side with the Father, freed from the humiliation of the fleshly nature that he bore to the cross!

The range of emotions that must have flowed through Christ on the cross is incomprehensible.  Perhaps it is best that we are spared the knowledge of most of what went through his mind – except for the few utterances that passed his lips.  Yet, lest we make him too human and not enough God, we shouldn’t speculate too far.  He died very quickly – as far as crucifixion goes.  Indeed, as verse 8 hints, he did escape quickly by dismissing his Spirit into the hands of the Father.  Certainly, this world is enveloped in a raging storm of hatred and Christ experienced it more than anyone else ever has.  This is such a humbling passage – it cuts to my heart.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, how I wonder about all the thoughts that went through your mind as you hung suspended between heaven and earth.  Did you think about me?  What did you think of when my name flashed through your mind?  What do you think of me today, Lord?  Are you pleased with me?  Reveal to us your thoughts and direction for our lives.  How we long to walk together with you into the House of God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/12/13 – In the Hands of Christ

DayBreaks for 12/12/13 – In the Hands of Christ

NOTE: Galen will be traveling the week of 12/8.  New DayBreaks will resume the following week.

From the DayBreaks Archive, 2003:

John 10:28-29 (NIV)  – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

There have been times in your life, I am sure, when you felt that there will be no mansion for you in heaven.  You just can’t picture God being able to be merciful enough, and gracious enough, or forgiving enough to overcome all of your sins and failings.  I understand.  I’ve been there, too.  When I do, I go back and revisit this verse.

What do I like about the picture this verse paints?  Several things:

FIRST: it is Jesus who gives me eternal life.  Not some angel, not some intermediary, but it is the very Son of God who has given me such a gift!  Somehow, I just don’t think that he makes mistakes!

SECOND: the picture is that we are held within the hand of Christ Himself, as if he has taken our lives, put them in the palm of his hand and closed his fingers tightly, yet gently, around us to prevent anyone prying us loose.

THIRD: Jesus gave me eternal life, but God is the one who has given us to Christ.  Do you think that Christ will not be careful with a gift that the Father has given to him?  I rather think he’ll treat it as the most precious thing he has!!!!

FOURTH: not only are we in Jesus’ hands, but the Father has His almighty hand wrapped around the hand of Jesus as a double-guarantee of our safety as we journey toward our eternal destination!

John R. Moreland wrote this:

“The hands of Christ

Seem very frail

For they were broken

By a nail.

 

But only they

Reach heaven at last

Whom these frail,

Broken hands hold fast.”

Rest in his hands today!

Copyright by 2003 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: We bless you, Jesus, for your broken hands that hold us fast!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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Thank you!

DayBreaks for 11/01/12 – The Rock Never Moved

DayBreaks for 11/01/12 – The Rock Never Moved

O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! 2 From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, 3 for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. 4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! – Psalm 61:1-4 (NLT)

We have just witnessed perhaps the most destructive storm to ever hit the United States, hurricane Sandy.  While the winds weren’t the strongest that we’ve experienced, the sheer size of the storm, combined with other meteorological phenomena joined forces to create what some called “Frankenstorm.”  Dozens in the US perished, and who knows what the property damage totals will become?

We often find ourselves at the mercy of the forces of nature and the forces of life.  We can’t control the wind, the waves, the heat or cold.  We can’t control gravity or change the laws of physics in order to spare our lives or keep us and our loved ones from danger.  When you stop to really think about it, life could be terrifying.  Who knows if an unknown meteor will smack into the earth in the next week?  Or if the sun will go super-nova well ahead of schedule?  Can anyone guarantee you that tomorrow you will not be injured or killed in an accident, terrorist act, fire or other catastrophe?  No.  No one can give you that guarantee.  Nor can anyone guarantee that you won’t be deeply wounded tomorrow by someone you work with, or by someone you thought was a friend or companion.  It happens all over the place, every day.  It can happen to any of us at any time.

Should we be terrified?  We should if those things that I’ve mentioned were all we know about life and creation and this world.  But we have been given glimpses into the behind-the-scenes working of this world.  Because of that tiniest of glimpses, we can live without paralyzing fear.

There’s a story about a storm that goes like this: “A storm wrecked a ship. The only survivor was a little boy who was swept by the waves onto a rock. There he sat all night long. In the morning he was seen and rescued. One of his rescuers asked him, “Did not you tremble while you were on the rock during the night?” His answer: “I surely did tremble but the rock did not.”

“We are human. We cannot help but tremble, but the Rock on which we stand never does.” – Practical Bible Illustrations From Yesterday and Today.

No one wants the winds to howl in their life or for the rain to fall.  No one wanted hurricane Sandy to wash away their homes and jobs and lives.  It is tragic, sad and lamentable.  It could have been us.  This time it wasn’t.  But we need not fear, for there is a Solid Rock that will sway the future.

PRAYER:  Jesus, for all the times I have complained about my cross, I’m sorry.  I nearly always forget how blessed I am!  Help me to not carry a chip on my shoulder, but rather to shoulder the crosses you send my way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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