DayBreaks for 1/25/19 – A Slave’s Integrity

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DayBreaks for 01/25/2019: A Slave’s Integrity

From Booker T. Washington’s writings, Up From Slavery:

“I found that this man made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labour where and for whom he pleased.

“Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there.  When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars.  Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.

“In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken.  He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise.”

Freedom and promises must go hand in hand.  How can anyone enjoy freedom if they’re bound by promises they’ve not kept?  No one can be truly free in spirit under such conditions. 

When we accepted Christ as our Lord, we made a promise: that we were accepting Him as the Lord of our life.  Through Jesus’ actions, He set us free, but have we kept our promises to him?  If not, is it because we just take our freedom for granted, that perhaps we think we don’t owe Jesus anything for the freedom He’s given us?  If that’s how we feel, perhaps, instead of walking to Virginia, we should walk to a hillside in Israel called Calvary…and make amends.

Prayer: We have so much to thank You for!  Though we can’t be worthy of the freedom you’ve given us, let us keep our promises to you nonetheless.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 6/12/18 – No Longer Enslaved

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DayBreaks for 6/12/18: No Longer Enslaved

I have never been a slave. Well, let me qualify that statement. I have never been physically enslaved and I hope that I never will be physically enslaved. I cannot imagine what that would be like.

But I have been enslaved. Romans 6:6 (ESV) – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, my old boss/owner killed me: Ephesians 2:1 (ESV) – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

Hopefully, you know the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would have said): we who are believers are no longer slaves to sin, we have been brought from death to life by Christ and his resurrection, grace and forgiveness of our sin.

But…but…are you still a slave to the idea that God just has had it with you? That you are a wretched, hopeless, lost cause? I grew up in a church where I was taught I could go to hell if I sinned after I last prayed and before I could pray again. I grew up with the concept that you vacillated between being lost and being saved by the moment and what you thought, did, or didn’t do in that moment. It was like living on a razor’s edge and it was awful. I was often afraid of the eternal fires of hell. But thanks be to God I learned the truth from Romans!

I am no longer a slave to fear. Do I have momentary gaps in my confidence because of something I’ve done or thought? Sure. But I’m not enslaved by it because I have been set free from the power of sin and death and there is therefore no condemnation for me.

The marvelous series our preachers have been delivering on Sunday morning on Romans 8 has been powerful to say the least. And re-assuring as well. This past Sunday we sang three very powerful songs: Glory is Yours was the first, reminding me that the battle is over and the victory has been won and I will rise again and he’ll get the glory. The second was Who You Say I Am and we were reminded that “Who the Son sets free, Oh is free indeed. I’m a child of God, Yes I am!
In my Father’s house, There’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, Yes I am!” And finally, No Longer Slaves that told us “You unravel me, with a melody, You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies Till all my fears have gone. I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God…I am surrounded by the arms of the father. I am surrounded by songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated from our bondage.
We’re the sons and the daughters. Let us sing our freedom.”

I don’t know about you but those three songs lifted my spirits to the heavens in an incredible way. Maybe today you are full of fear about your destiny and salvation. Read Romans 8. Listen to the three songs I linked above. And then – then go – and sing your freedom! For God loves you…and his love is perfect.

PRAYER: Lord, give us ears to hear your voice, and your voice alone! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/27/18 – The Prison and the Prisoner

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DayBreaks for 3/26/18: The Prison and the Prisoner

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2008:

Thomas Costain wrote a book called The Three Edwards, and in it he tells about an historical event from the 14th century.  Two brothers, Raynald and Edward, were bitter enemies.  Edward mounted war against Raynald, captured him and imprisoned him in Nieuwkerk Castle. 

But this was no ordinary prison.  The room was relatively comfortable and there was no lock on the door – no bolt, padlock or crossbeam.  Raynald, though a prisoner, was free to come or go at will.  In fact, it was better than that: Edward promised Raynald full restoration of all rights and titles on a single condition: that Raynald walk out of his cell.

There was only one problem: Raynald couldn’t walk out of his cell.  The door was smaller than a typical door…and Raynald was enormously fat.  He was so fat that he could not, no matter how much he squeezed and heaved and pushed, get himself through the doorway to his cell. 

So, in order to walk free and reclaim all he’d lost, he only had to do one thing: lose weight.  That would have come easily to most prisoners that were fed bread and water.  But it didn’t come easily to Raynald.  Edward has disguised a great cruelty in his apparent act of generosity to Raynald.  Every day, Edward had Raynald serve the richest, sauciest foods, sweet and tasty, along with as much ale and wine that Raynald could drink.  Raynald ate and ate and grew larger and fatter.  He spent 10 years trapped in that unlocked cell, and was freed only after Edward’s death.  By that time, his health was so ruined that he died soon afterwards.

As I read this tragic story, I was struck by several truths:

FIRST: Satan takes us prisoner by capitalizing on our desires, weaknesses and tastes.  He doesn’t need to create those things in us, he just takes advantage of our appetites.  And then he sets out to do his best to see to it that we stay sated with the pleasures of sin.

SECOND: Raynald had a choice – he could only eat as much as was truly necessary, he could have exercised in his cell, and he could have walked through the cell door after losing enough weight.  But Raynald was too fond of his sweets and tasty delights – thereby becoming his own warden, held in a prison only by his own weaknesses.  The same is true for us – Satan can’t keep us in the prison.  It is our choice – to continue to smother ourselves and indulge in our passions and sin, or to leave the prison behind.

THIRD: We think that the things we long for in our human nature are what will make us happy – that if we have enough of something, then we will be free at long last, not realizing (or at least not admitting to ourselves) that we are only perpetuating our imprisonment.  Freedom awaits us outside the imprisonment of our desires.  What would you rather have: freedom or another piece of cheesecake?

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross. – Jesus

PRAYER: Father, our hearts and stomachs and eyes lie to us about what it is that we really want and what it is that is really good for us.  Give us the strength through Your Spirit that lives within us to deny ourselves for that which is far better and which will never fade away.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/03/16 – A Long Slavery

DayBreaks for 10/03/16 – A Long Slavery           

Galen is traveling this week…

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

“CANTON, Ohio – Ester Strogen’s family is amazed that she has spent as much as $14,666.40 to lease two rotary-dial phones from AT&T since 1964. Strogen and her late husband paid $29.10 a month for more than 40 years to lease the phones.  

“In the 1960s, when rotary dial phones were new and expensive, it was not uncommon for customers to choose leasing options instead of purchasing. Strogen’s granddaughter, Barb Gordon, fears there are others like her grandmother who do not realize they are paying thousands of dollars for an inexpensive technology. “I’m outraged,” Gordon said. “It made me so mad. It’s ridiculous. If my own grandmother was doing it, how many other people are?”

“Strogen’s family insisted she discontinue payments to AT&T, and the company demanded she return the phones.” 

I remember the days of “rented” phones from the phone company.  I recall the transition from a phone that hung on the wall with a ringer dial on the side (like you see in the old movies) that we had in our farmhouse in Iowa when I was little, to rotary dial, to touch tone – and now smartphones.  I must be getting old!

When I read about Ester Strogen, I had several thoughts:

FIRST: I was upset that the phone company would have continued for over 40 years to charge this family for a rented phone.  Surely, they must have had some way to recognize what was happening, but greed seems to be the motive of the day.

SECOND: I thought about how much we pay for things in our lives.  When they started renting a phone, it probably seemed like a good deal and a good idea.  It was about the only way you could get one back then.  And so they got used to paying the $29.10 a month – each and every month – for more than 480 months in a row, without ever questioning the value of what they were getting.  There are so many things in life that seem desirable to start with, but which take up residence in our “house” and eventually eat us up.  We sometimes forget about them (they must not have read their phone bill in any detail for a long, long time!), and you’d think that they’d wonder why all the stores had phones for sale (in some cases for less than they were paying per month to rent a rotary-dial phone!)  Ah, but we are such creatures of habit.  It’s hard to change – it scares us and intimidates us, so we settle for the known status-quo rather than trying to find something better.

Have you been struggling for 40 years or more with life, paying the evil piper his dues each and every day?  Isn’t it time to make the change to something better – to Jesus?  Break out of the long slavery that has held you in its grip and move into the freedom of the Son!

PRAYER:  Father, we are so very foolish – and so very scared.  Help us to see that the changes you want to make in our lives are for our good and that what you want for us is far better than anything else that we could find.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/01/15 – Of Slaves and Freedom

DayBreaks for 9/01/15: Of Slaves and Freedom

“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – John 8:33-36 (NLT)

I was born a free citizen in a country that has historically loved and honored freedom. I am very grateful for it. I have never known someone who was a slave to another human being. Powerful movies (Twelve Years a Slave, The Color Purple, and Alex Haley’s Roots to name a few) give us amazing images related to the horrors of slavery – and yet I suspect it is even worse than those images could begin to portray.

Human trafficking and slavery is a huge topic around the world – and rightly so. It is an abomination and every decent human being longs for its eradication.

However – according to Jesus, we are all slaves. Everyone who sins is a slave to it – and that encompasses us all. There is nothing we can do about it. This is a depressing statement and would be enough to crush our spirits if not for what Jesus says next: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. There is a mystical transaction that takes place in the heavenly places where our slavery to the power of sin (both our constant desire to give in to temptation) and the domination of sin over us through death, is broken. It is broken by the Son, not by our obedience. Our job then is to hold to his teaching (as best we can), knowing that the power of sin has already been dealt with so we do not have to carry that questioning around with us.

Ready to cast off your bonds of slavery? Jesus came for that very purpose – to remove our chains and set us free!

PRAYER: Thank you for breaking the chains we have forged with our sin and for setting us free! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 5/18/15 – What’s Your Tennis Ball?

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DayBreaks for 5/18/15: What’s Your Tennis Ball?

My friend, Barney Cargile (Barney’s Bullets) has a really good insight into living a meaningful life:

“It’s graduation time.  Across our land, commencement speeches present platitudes and promises, with a dose of wisdom mixed in as well.  In 2013, Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, in addressing the grads of MIT uttered these words concerning happy and successful people: ‘They’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them.  They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball: Their eyes go a little crazy, the leash snaps and they go bounding off, plowing through whatever gets in the way…So it’s not about pushing yourself; it’s about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you.’ 

So, what’s your ‘tennis ball’? What lights your fire; what gets you out of bed in the morning?  You’ll always work harder for a cause you believe in than merely a paycheck.  Life’s too short to endure the drudgery of a job you hate.  But what if you’re stuck in a job you hate, and opportunity isn’t exactly beating your door down?  Try this: Don’t work for your employer; work for Jesus.  He’s invited you to partner with him in his work of redeeming a world trapped in darkness.  Paul told first century slaves ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men’ (Col.3:23). Even in a job you hate (I think ‘slavery’ would qualify), don’t see yourself as a ‘just a slave’ but as part of God’s ‘larger story’.  Seeing your small story as part of God’s larger story, transforms work from drudgery to excitement, because you’re joining God in the most meaningful cause in history.”

I especially like the idea of seeing your small story as part of God’s larger story. Did Rahab the prostitute see herself as contributing to the gene pool of the incarnate God? Did Ruth? I doubt it. They did what God put in front of them to do and then left the results up to him. I think that when the epic of our existence is played out, we will be surprised to find out what meaning some of our seemingly insignificant actions really had.

PRAYER: Jesus, how desperately we need single-minded focus to recall that in the final analysis, we work for no one but You!  Help us find meaning in all we do as we learn to do it for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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