DayBreaks for 11/29/18 – But I am Watching

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DayBreaks for 11/29/18: But I Am Watching

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

I love to preach the good news!  I love to preach about freedom, healing – I love to talk about joy and meaning, purpose and love.  Those are all biblical themes.  But a preacher can’t just talk about the good, fuzzy-feeling things.  It is necessary to also preach about judgment, sin, punishment, righteousness, holiness, perseverance.  It’s easy to get in a rut and only talk about the good stuff.

The Word, however, has a way of pulling us up short and reminding us that there is not only a loving God who is eager and quick to forgive, but that this God is ever vigilant, watching all things.  This past week in my quite time, I ran across a passage that reminded me that God watches, that He sees…that He doesn’t miss a single thing.  Hosea 7:1-2 (NLT) – I wanted to heal Israel, but its sins were far too great. Samaria is filled with liars, thieves, and bandits! Its people don’t realize I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them; I see them all!

I was grateful for this reminder, and you should be, too.  It is a warning, and maybe you don’t need warnings any more, but I still do and I suspect that you do, too.  It is good to be reminded that God wants to heal.  It is also good to remember that He sees us and our sinful deeds – he sees “them all!”   

It is important to remember that God not only watches and sees what we are doing, but what we aren’t doing, too.  We can sin both ways.

Today I will make choices about what I say, what I do, what I don’t say and what I don’t do.  So will you.  Remember this: God is watching.

Prayer: May we live in a constant acknowledgement this day that You are watching, and You see all.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/16/18 – Can’t You See?

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DayBreaks for 4/16/18: Can’t You See?       

From the Perimeter worship bulletin (this forms an introduction to a series of sermons and DayBreaks from the book of Habakkuk that I’ll share in the coming weeks):

“Can’t you see, oh can’t you see, what that woman, she been doing’ to me? Can’t you see, can’t you see, what that woman, Lord, been doing’ to me?” – lyric from the Marshall Tucker band

It was a question the Marshall Tucker band asked in the 1970’s. Waylon Jennings asked the same question. More recently, the Zac Brown band asked it. The writer is upset because his woman left him, and did not say goodbye. He is at the point of despair. He is “…gonna take a freight train, or find a hole to craw in” because he has no relief. He is asking why the Lord can’t see his misery, or that he’s been “done wrong.”

Have you ever felt that way or asked the question, “Can’t you see, God?” I have asked the Lord that on numerous occasions. It seems funny as I write it, that I would actually ask the omniscient God if he can see. The gentle but firm reality is that he can see. I am the one who cannot see. He may not be telling me what he does see. Be assured that he sees. Sometimes in our frustration at life’s situations, we want to be all knowing and all seeing. Something has not been granted to us, and so we ask, “Can’t you see?” Underneath that question we add a corollary, “Won’t you deal with what I see?”

There is a problem with doing that. Because we don’t fully see, we may not know how to tell him the right thing to do. A word picture may help. Sit with your back to a window, then try to recall everything that is outside the window. You may be a few things correct, but birds are flying, leaves are falling, and the sun is rising. Things change and often they are in your blind spot, where you cannot notice them. God sees all, all of the time. One pastor put it this way, “We may have a point of view, but God has view!”

So, this week…we wonder if you can praise the Lord for having view, resting in the fact that he has it, he sees it, and he knows just want needs to be done. Yes, he knows “what that woman (or man) been doin’ to you”, so there is no need to take a freight train!

PRAYER: God, sometimes we think we see and understand better than you do. Keep us from this foolish way of thinking and help us learn to trust you and your vision above our own! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 08/28/13 – The Invisible Man

DayBreaks for 08/28/13 – The Invisible Man

Isaiah 48:8 (NIV) – You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.

The Pharisees and other leaders intently watched Jesus and heard his words but they could not see his meaning. They could not see the issues as Jesus saw them, so they set themselves against him rather than making an alliance with him. They were so hung up on rules, laws and ceremonies, that they missed the heart of faith: God’s forgiving love that frees one to live as son or daughter of God.

It’s similar to the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. We know Bach as one of the genius musical masters of all time. But it was not so for his contemporaries. The parishioners at St. Thomas Church where he worshipped and composed often complained about the strange and innovative music that Bach wrote for the choir and organ each Sunday. They didn’t know what a gifted musician was in their midst. After his death, the music of Bach was seldom performed until Felix Mendelssohn began a revival of appreciation that has lasted into our own time. So the people of Bach’s time watched him, but they didn’t see him. 

Wallace Kirby suggests this: “I would insist that we have a good understanding of Jesus and what he was about but I don’t think we have great insight. Christians today must be careful in their confidence. We can know that we are saved but we never know if our behavior is completely acceptable. We watch Jesus, but we do not see him. We are acquainted with him, but his rich meaning is not yet part of our lives. Occasionally we confess this when we sing in worship: 

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; open the eyes of my heart.  I want to see You, I want to see You.”

Our overarching confidence can be a symptom of deep pride.  We may choose not to see Jesus as He is because it would require changes within us.  We may not see him because we are just too busy to take the time.  I think we can only see so much of him because it is like saying, “I saw Mt. Everest” when you only have seen it from one side, and in fact can only see it from one side at a time.  There is too much of Jesus to take in with our earthly vision, but we should try to humbly see, hear and understand him for all he’s worth!

PRAYER: We do ask You to open our eyes so we can see more of your truth and beauty each day, Lord!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/22/12 – What We See

DayBreaks for 08/22/12 – What We See

Have you ever had the experience of observing something while standing next to someone else, and then when you talk about it later, your recollections are rather different?  Perhaps you focused on the people in the situation.  The other person may have focused on the sounds, the smells, the movement.  When it comes to being a witness in a court of law, it can be pretty amazing how differently people see the “same” thing.

Robertson McQuilkin shared an interesting story: “…that fact is illustrated by an interesting experiment conducted by a research psychologist.  He placed two different pictures in a stereoscope.  The left eye was to see a bullfighter; the right eye, a baseball player.  Then he asked some Mexican subjects and some American subjects to peer through the instrument.  Most of the Mexicans saw the bullfighter, most of the Americans saw the baseball player.  What is behind your eyes often has more to do with what we see than what is before our eyes.

In the context, McQuilkin is talking about our humility as we approach the study of the Word: “Therefore, we must develop a healthy suspicion of ourselves and of our own ideas, and a view of the Bible that separates it from our own past thinking and experience (insofar as humanly possible) to let it speak not what we already believe or want to believe, but what it says…the surrendered heart wants to know what the Bible says, not what it can be made to mean.”  (Understanding and Applying the Bible)

Wasn’t the experiment McQuilkin described fascinating?  We see what we expect to see, or rather that with which we are most familiar. How sad when we approach the Word of God that way!  For instead of seeing a new, previously undiscovered truth, we often approach His priceless Word with our preconceived notions of what God is teaching and saying in a given passage, thinking: “Oh, I know what this says already.”  And we may miss a great blessing, a stunning new revelation from the Spirit of what that passage is communicating.

I pray that God will open our eyes to see all of His truth that it is possible for humans to see and grasp.  May the scales fall from our eyes, as they did from Saul of Tarsus so that we may see truth – and nothing but the truth.

PRAYER: There is so much you want to tell us, to teach us and you are so eager for us to learn!!  Erase our pride of thinking we know all about your marvelous Word and that we’ve got it mastered!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/23/12 – In the Darkest Night

DayBreaks for 03/21/12 – In the Darkest Night

33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. Luke 11:33

Have you ever sat in a lighted room at night, reading or talking, and suddenly the lights go out? What’s the first thing you say? Usually everyone says, “Who turned out the light?”

In this age of electricity, light is something we take for granted. Few of us ever experience total darkness. In the city, we have street lights which come on automatically as soon as it begins to get dark. In the country, most farms have a mercury vapor light that stays on all night for security reasons. Consequently, most of us never get a good look at the stars as we used to when all the lights went out at night.

Some of the soldiers who came back from the first Persian Gulf War told about the absolute darkness they experienced in the desert. One soldier said, “The darkness on nights with no moon or star light was so total you could have been standing right next to someone and not known it.”

This text from John’s gospel is about darkness and light: “And this is the judgment,” John says, “that the light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”

When I read about the experience of the troops with literal night-time darkness in the Persian Gulf War, being unable to see someone standing next to you, I was forced to consider how often someone has stood or sit or walked right next to me and never knew I had light because I had put it under a bowl so no light shone out of my life.  I didn’t like the answer I heard inside my head.  I want to be a brighter light for Jesus.  I hope you do, too!

PRAYER: Break whatever devices we use to hide the Light so that never again will someone walk beside us and not see the Light!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/28/11 – Seeing the Rabbit

DayBreaks for 07/28/11 – Seeing the Rabbit

There is a story from the Desert Fathers about a young monk who asked one of the old men of the desert why it is that so many people came out to the desert to seek God and yet most of them gave up after a short time and returned to their lives in the city.

The old monk told him, “Last evening my dog saw a rabbit running for cover among the bushes of the desert and he began to chase the rabbit, barking loudly. Soon other dogs joined in the chase, barking and running. They ran a great distance and alerted many other dogs. Soon the wilderness was echoing the sounds of their pursuit but the chase went on into the night.

After a little while, many of the dogs grew tired and dropped out. A few chased the rabbit until the night was nearly spent. By morning, only my dog continued the hunt. “Do you understand,” the old man said, “what I have told you?”

“No,” replied the young monk, “please tell me father.”

“It is simple,” said the desert father, “my dog saw the rabbit.”

Jesus told a parable about a man who one day in the market place saw the pearl of great price. The merchant understood at once the value of the commodity before him and he sacrificed everything to obtain it.

Have you seen Jesus?  There is a great difference in seeing Christianity and seeing Christ.  If we look at Christianity as modeled by Christians, we see something that is a far cry from seeing the Risen One.  If we are drawn to someone who is making “noise” for Jesus (someone who has seen Him and been ignited by that experience), we will weary of the pursuit of Christ.  We need personal, first-hand exposure and vision of Jesus, our Lord and King, if we are to have the energy and strength to pursue Him until that great morning breaks!!!

PRAYER: Jesus, I want to see you!  I want to hear your voice, feel your touch in my moments of pain and anxiety, to pursue you with all I am.  Help me to never get discouraged to the point that I stop in that pursuit!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/26/11 – Two Ways of Seeing

DayBreaks for 05/26/11 – Two Ways of Seeing

Someone told this story on themselves:

“My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.

‘My wife asks, “Do you know her?”

“Yes,” I sighed, “She’s my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn’t been sober since.”

“My goodness!” says my wife, “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?”

Yes, it’s true: there are at least 2 ways of looking at everything.  We can see life as a blind, unguided wandering from non-existence to light of day to unknowing blackness again – all brought about by curious combinations of chemicals, time and energy, or we can see it as a journey from being designed and formed for a purpose that has a destiny beyond the blackness of death the other way of seeing suggests.

We can see events that happen to us as chance events or as part of an intricate tapestry under the guidance of a loving God.

We can choose our responses to events and circumstances and either shake our fists and rage into the abyss, or give praise to the all-wise Father of Lights.

Which will you choose today?

PRAYER: I want to choose You, Lord God.  I choose to believe in Your existence, Your guidance, Your goodness, even at those times when things seem to suggest the opposite.  Help me to have eyes to see things in the right way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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