DayBreaks for 1/31/20 – Standing Before God

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DayBreaks for 1/31/20: Standing Before God

My faith roots come from a very legalistic background. A common question posed to keep us in fear regarding salvation was, “If you sin and are run over by a truck and killed before you can ask for forgiveness, will you be saved?” The answer they wanted to hear was “No” because it was only fear that could keep us young people in line. We were taught (and this part is true) that God was always watching and we might be able to fool people but never God – and that some day the books would be balanced and we’d find ourselves in the most serious trouble imaginable. And so we cried and literally shook with fear for our sinfulness. 

But flip that argument around: are we any better if God is kind, but also safe and controllable? I think not. If God were kind, safe and controllable we have an entirely different problem: he wouldn’t be God at all.

You see, small gods do small things – because that’s all they can do. I like how Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom: “If you have never stood before God and felt afraid, then probably you have never stood before God. (Heb. 10:31) You have stood before an idol of your own making. Worse, your life will remain silly and superficial because you worship a silly and superficial God.”

At the same time, Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. How can he say that? Because as Aquinas said, the cross didn’t secure the love of God, but the love of God secured the cross. All who believe have been adopted. Not only have we been reconciled to that great and mighty and totally holy God by Christ’s sacrifice, but something else happened: we received Jesus’ righteousness – and not just a part of it, but all of it…ALL the goodness of Christ was credited to your account and mine.

What is the practical application of this wondrous truth? Here it is: if you are a Christian, it means that God will never be angry with you again. He has turned his wrath away from you because he credited ALL of Christ’s righteousness to your account. And here it is in a nutshell: how can God be angry at perfection?

It is a truth too good to be true – but it is true. Find freedom because Christ died to give it to you!

PRAYER: God, I can hardly believe you see me as holy and righteous as Christ because you’ve given me his righteousness as my inheritance as your child! No words can ever express enough gratitude for what you’ve done! Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>


DayBreaks for 3/24/17 – Once Again, Lord

DayBreaks for 3/24/17: Once Again, Lord

NOTE: Galen is traveling this week. This week’s DayBreaks will be from the May 2007 archives.

How many times in my life have I had a conversation like this with God: “Oh, God.  I’m so sorry.  I’ve done it again.  I’ve failed you.  I’ve let you down.  I’ve sinned again even after I promised you that I wouldn’t.  You must hate me.  I don’t understand why you continue to forgive me instead of striking me dead – which you have every right to do.  I’ve let you down so many, many times.”  If I had a penny (let alone a nickel) for every time I’ve had that conversation, I’d own all of North America by now.

It gets old, wearisome.  I know that God doesn’t want to hear that from me any more – I figure he must be at least as tired of hearing it as I am of saying it.  I am so grateful that He is a merciful and patient God!

Eugene Peterson recently was talking about this line of thinking and he had an interesting perspective on it that helped me.  Apparently, he, too, has had that conversation with God over and over and over.  He found himself saying it again to God not too long ago, when he said that he had an epiphany, and the Spirit set him straight about one thing.  He said it was as if God spoke these words to him: “No, you never let me down.  You never held me up.  I’m the one who holds you up.”

Wow.  Do you see how, even when we are in the midst of our conviction about our dreaded sinfulness and weakness, that we make it all about US in our human pride?  “I (capital, first person singular) let you down, God.”  It isn’t about me.  The story of the glory of salvation isn’t about my stopping letting God down.  That’s not it at all.  The glory of salvation is that He holds us up, covered in the blood of the Lamb, cleansed and forgiven. 

How foolish to think that I can hold God up, and I’d have to hold him up in order to let him down!  No, He is the lifter of my head, he is the lifter of my soul, the restorer of things broken.  May we learn to shift our thinking from what we can and have done, to glory in what God does!

PRAYER: Oh Lord, you are truly great!  We are nothing more than the sheep of your hand, the clay you have formed and fashioned, and that you have redeemed.  Thank you for lifting us up, for holding us up, for your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.


DayBreaks for 5/5/16 – These Wicked People

DayBreaks for 5/05/16 – These Wicked People

From the DayBreaks archives, May 2006:

Psalm 58:1-3, 10-11 – Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No, all your dealings are crooked; you hand out violence instead of justice. These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way…  The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.

This Psalm is a scorching tirade that reflects David’s deep frustration.  In case you’d not noticed, the world is not a fair place and perhaps it is only our foolish expectation that it will be fair and good that sets us up for disappointment and heartbreak.  While it seems David is ranting, he is only stating the truth.  Why should it offend us so?  Perhaps because it is in the nature of truth that it offends and stings and reveals our own brokenness to us so clearly. 

Verse 3 would seem to be directed against David’s enemies (“these wicked people are born sinners,” David virtually shouts), but in reality, it is a self-condemnation of us all.  We are all wicked people, we have all gone astray, there is none that is righteous, all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags.  We are quick to jump on others, perhaps even to join in David’s outpouring of anger and frustration, but we should slow down and see ourselves in the words of David.  If these words had been written by God, not David, would any of us have argued with them?  I think not.  (And weren’t they written by God?)

It is because of our recognition of our fallenness and inclusion in the “wicked people” that it is hard to accept the truth of verses 10 and 11.  But if the Scripture promises us one thing, it is that God loves us (even though we are “these wicked people”) and that He forgives us through our faith in Christ and that there will be justice against all those who remain in their wickedness.  The last sentence is difficult – we believe in the reward, but it is much harder to believe that there is a God who judges justly here on earth.  That part is hard to accept or believe, yet we cannot doubt that it will happen.

Passages like this should encourage us and make us more grateful that He’s changed His view of us from wicked ones to “the godly”.  What a transformation has occurred in His mind towards us! 

PRAYER: What a wonder it is, Lord, that you should have changed us from being your enemies to being not just your friends, but your very children – the apple of your eye!  Help us to not lose heart because your judgment is delayed upon this world of wickedness, but rather to see it as the perfect evidence of your incredible patience and desire for us all to come to believe in your Son, Jesus.  Help us to truly see ourselves as you see us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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


DayBreaks for 2/10/16 – The Tears He Wants

DayBreaks for 2/10/16: The Tears He Wants

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Luke 23:26-27 (NLT) – As they led Jesus away, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country just then, was forced to follow Jesus and carry his cross. Great crowds trailed along behind, including many grief-stricken women.

Some of the other translations say that the women who followed him as Jesus made his way through the streets of Jerusalem “mourned and lamented him.”  That means they were crying – and probably not a soft, barely audible sniffling and groaning.  Lamenting was loud.  It was accompanied by tears and shrieks and cries and the person gave vent to all that was in their hearts and the pain that was contained there. 

In the case of Jesus, the women weren’t weeping for themselves.  They were weeping for Jesus.  We would probably look at that scene and heartily approve of their tears and weeping.  We likely would have said it was only right that they should weep and lament Jesus.  What was happening was a travesty of justice.  What had happened – his beatings, the mockery, the scourging, the betrayals – had turned this lonely figure who stumbled down the streets into a bloody mess – and it had to be tremendously difficult for anyone who had known and loved him to witness what was happening.

But in the next verse, Jesus tells the women not to weep for him.  He says that their weeping is on target – but the cause was wrong.  He encourages them to weep for themselves – for they live in a world that is full of horror, all brought about by sin.  And so it is that Sigmund Brouwer wrote: It is easy to weep when we see Jesus with the cross.  But those are tears he does not want.  He wants us to cry for our sins.  He wants us to ask forgiveness. 

Point made.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Lord, help us to weep first and foremost for our sin, the sin that caused You to walk beneath the weight of the beam and to stumble and fall on your way to Calvary.  Help us to seek your forgiveness, for that is what we need the most!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/26/15 – If You Kept a Record…

DayBreaks for 10/26/05: If You Kept a Record…

Psalm 130:3-4 (NLT) – LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.

How many times have you been overwhelmed by your sense of wrongdoing, of your own sin? Maybe a better question is: how many times a day does your sinfulness “get you down”?

I don’t know what was going on in the life of the Psalmist when this was written, but clearly, the writer was stricken with a sense of guilt that led to the question, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins…who…could ever survive?”
What is the answer to that question? It’s a very simple one: no one. That is, IF God was the kind of God who kept record of our sins. The Psalmist is voicing things from a human perspective in the question, and anyone who believes in God and has even a rudimentary sense of sin, must have in the back of their mind all the failings and faults that accumulate like junk in an attic.

Then, however, the Psalmist lets us in on a great secret about God. Are you ready for this good news? He offers us forgiveness rather than a recitation of our laundry list of sins. He offers it…through Jesus and His completed work on the cross, but we have to accept it. But, once it is accepted, God takes that list of our wrongs and trashes them, burns them forever and removes them from us as far as the east is from the west!

I grew up in a very legalistic and conservative church, one that spoke a lot about condemnation and damnation. It was not pleasant to be bombarded by that week after week. Seldom, if ever, do I recall hearing these glorious words from the letter to the Romans 8:1: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Struggling with your guilt today, thinking that God has a massive data vault filled with a record of every sinful act, every sinful thought, every good deed that you failed to do? If you belong to Christ Jesus, that is not the case. They are gone forever, and you guilt and shame should be, too.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, thank You that You have taken our long list of sins and thrown them away, that you don’t keep a record of our sin any longer! Let us trust in these words of comfort and assurance! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/12/15 – When His Glory Departs

DayBreaks for 8/12/15: When His Glory Departs 

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

In Ezekiel chapters 8 through 10, a tragic story and scene unfolds around the temple.  The temple had been built by Solomon and on the day that the temple was dedicated, God’s glory came to rest in the temple.  As far as God and the Jews were concerned, it was His literal dwelling place on earth, from where He ruled over His creation and especially His people.  The tragedy comes in these chapters as His people have rejected Him in the hardness of their hearts and have worshiped idols made with hands.  And so, in Ezekiel’s vision, the visible glory of God departs from the temple.  Can you imagine what that must have been like for Ezekiel to witness – to see and know that the great God who had led them from the time of Abraham was withdrawing His Presence?  But it was more than just His Presence, it was His favor, His protection and His provision for them.  They were abandoned.

But, the worst part is that when the glory of God left the temple, instead of repenting and turning back to God, the sinfulness of the people of God increased.  Perhaps that shouldn’t surprise us, but it bothers me greatly.  I would have hoped that if I’d witnessed Him departing, that I would have fallen on my face and pleaded with Him to return, promising that I’d mend my broken ways and go back to my first Love.  But, I probably wouldn’t have, after all. 

Here’s the catch: as long as we feel or believe God’s Presence is near and real, we are restrained, at least to some extent, from doing all the evil of which we are capable.  This is how it works: when God is not perceived to be among us any longer, and when I’ve come to think of God in terms that really only apply to mankind rather than the all-powerful and holy Divine Being, when His glory in my mind and heart (since that is now the temple of the Holy Spirit) grows less, my sense of sin and its seriousness is lowered.  And since we don’t feel that sensitivity to our sin if we think God is removed from us, we sin more.  May God have mercy on us for our weakness and presumption of His grace! 

For ancient Israel, “Out of sight, out of mind” was a truism.  We are no different.  When we lose sight of His Presence, or even of the greatness of the Mighty One, we begin to slip into our sinful natures.  Perhaps this is part of the reason that we’re told to “set your minds of Christ Jesus”.  When our minds are on him, we’re less likely to cheapen his sacrifice for us by thinking that sin isn’t such a big deal. 

Ezek. 10:18-19 – Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the LORD’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

PRAYER: May your glory always be before our eyes that we may be aware of your Presence and turn from our sin! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/06/14 – What to Remember When We’ve Blown It (Again!)

DayBreaks for 10/06/14 – What to Remember When We’ve Blown It (Again!)

1 John 1:9 (NLT)  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Do you ever get so frustrated with you sinfulness that you are tempted to just give up, to think that there is no reason for you to continue to even try to be obedience and faithful any longer because yours has become a useless case? That you are a sinner beyond the reach of any hope?

Everyone I know who has ever tried to live the Christian life has felt that way at some point or another in their Christian walk.  I know that I have.  I’m willing to bet you have, too.

It is not a pleasant place to find oneself.  We believe in a forgiving God, but we put limits on Him, based on our experience with other humans (who all have limits).  We forget that God is not like us.

This Sunday morning during worship, I heard something that I think may be of profound benefit to us all when we are tempted to think that either we have finally done something to great that we cannot be forgiven, or that we have done something so many times that we have finally crossed the line in the sand of God’s forgiveness.

May I suggest that this is nothing more than a sense of idolatry?  When we feel that way, we are making our weakness and sinfulness greater than God, as if we’ve finally done something bigger than God’s ability to deal with.

Here’s what I heard and I want to share with you today: When we are struggling with our sinfulness we need to be reminded Who He Is and not what we are.  Our acceptance doesn’t depend on us pleasing Him, but on the fact that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross pleased Him.

Next time that you are feeling hopeless because of your sin, stopping thinking so much about your sin and how vast it may be….and remind yourself of who He is.  And your sin, though serious, will be so small in comparison that you may find comfort for your soul.

Isaiah 1:18 (NLT)  “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

PRAYER: Eternal praises to the One who is greater than all our sinfulness and whose love and forgiveness are beyond measure!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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