DayBreaks for 10/23/18 – So Alike Yet So Different

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DayBreaks for 10/23/18: So Alike Yet So Different

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

On 10/18 my wife and I flew back from Boston where we were visiting our youngest son (middle child) and his family – including our newest granddaughter, Sophia.  She was 3-1/2 weeks old when we got there and the amount she changed during the two weeks we were there is astonishing.  But, rest assured that during the entire time we were there she was the perfect addition to our family, and we now have another blessing from God to love and serve as grandparents.

While I was there, I couldn’t help but be struck by several things:

FIRST: It’s fascinating to see just a tiny bit of myself, my wife, our son and his wife, in the looks of Sophia.  Sure, she’ll change a lot as she grows and gets older, but she’s got her mother’s eyes and hair, our son’s (and grandmother’s) hairline, and arguably she has some aspects of my appearance, too (although most would argue she’s way to beautiful to have anything in common with her Pop-pop [that’s me]!)  As I thought about that, I thought about how in each of us there are glimpses of our Father.  Yes, they can be very hard to see and sometimes we may not be able to perceive them at all, but there is no way that we can avoid some of His characteristics.  They may only be seen when we’re at our very best (which still isn’t very good!), and it may be necessary to look long and deep to identify them, but they are there.  In the most distressed appearance you could imagine, Mother Theresa saw Jesus.  Who do you see?  Do you even try to see Jesus, or some semblance of the Father, in each person He’s created?  If we did, instead of just seeing things we don’t like, we might find this world a much more fascinating and beautiful place.  Some folks just need a bit of help to let those resemblances blossom and flourish.  Maybe we can help them.

SECOND: It’s easy to forget how tiny and small new babies are.  I was amazed at how tiny the little hands, fingers and toes were – how short the little arms are.  Compared to Sophia, I’m a huge monster.  She’s not a little baby – she was eight pounds something when she was born, and she’s been packin’ on the chub ever since – but she’s SO TINY!  And that made me think of how we must appear to God.  With a baby as small as Sophia is at present, it creates a desire inside of me to want to protect her, to hold her, to keep her safe from bumps, bruises and the hurts the world could inflict without even noticing.  As I looked at Sophia, I felt like a giant.  When God looks at us, He must be even more impressed with how tiny and fragile we are.  And yet, He picks us up and holds us ever so gently so as not to break us.  Anyone who can call a universe into existence simply through the power of a spoken word is so far beyond us in power and strength that we can’t begin for one second to wrap our little minds around His greatness and power.  And He’s put that power at our disposal so that when we are walking in harmony with Him, there’s no limit to what He can do through such tiny little babies as us.

THIRD: It’s easy to forget how helpless little babies are.  It’s not that Sophia doesn’t want to be able to feed and clothe herself.  I quite honestly don’t know if she does or not, but when she’s hungry and wants to eat and she can’t feed herself – she lets the world know.  But she just isn’t able to do that yet.  She is still trying to figure out what those things are that show up near her face every once in a while that have five little worm-like things on each one (her fists).  She can’t do a single thing for herself except cry.  Once again, God looks at us and sees people who are totally helpless, who are dependent on the Father for everything – whether they realize it or not.  Does Sophia know that she’s dependent on mom and dad?  No, she just knows when she needs changing or is hungry or when something hurts.  But the concept of dependence, I’m convinced, hasn’t yet developed in her mind.  Hopefully, someday she’ll come to recognize her dependence on the great and perfect Father.  The Father, meanwhile, sees us thrashing wildly around, helpless to do the things that must be done…and so He has undertaken to do those things for us.

Praise be to God, the Father of us all!

PRAYER: Your gentleness is overwhelming with us, Lord.  Thank you for your tender yet powerful hands that pick us up when we fall.  Thank you that you’ve done for us all the things we cannot do, and for remembering our frailty and smallness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/09/18 – The Great and the Small

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DayBreaks for 3/09/18: The Great and the Small

NOTE: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive,  March 2008:

Rev. 20:12: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

I was talking with some new members in our church family and was really blessed by spending the time with them.  Godly men and women are so refreshing!  As it turns out, the wife is from British origin and still has a wonderful accent.  Being a “Brit”, she was deeply saddened by the death of Princess Diana.  In fact, they shared a story with me about the time that they were within about 10 feet of her while they were “on holiday” in England, and then the wife shared a story with me of a time when she went right up to the window of the Queen’s motorcar (how about that for another British term that I squeezed in here?!?!?) and snapped a picture of Her Royal Majesty.  Things like that wouldn’t happen in America – if you rushed the President’s motorcade to snap a picture, the Secret Service just might snap off a shot at you!

Nonetheless, we do tend to think in a special way about “nobility” or the powerful.  We really shouldn’t.  They are just men and women like the rest of us.  They eat, sleep, get sick, and if they are cut, they bleed just like us.  They even will die just like us.  And whatever special treatment they may have received here will stop at that moment in time when they pass from this world.  There is no reason to be envious of them.

General Robert E. Lee was a devout believer in Jesus Christ.  Not too long after the end of the Civil War, he was attending worship services at a church in Washington, D.C. and he knelt down next to a black man to pray.  After services were over, someone approached him and asked him, “General, how could you do that?  How could you pray next to a black man?”  The general replied, “All ground is level beneath the cross of Jesus.” 

On that great and final day when the kings, queens, princes, paupers and beggars are all gathered before the throne, degrees won’t matter nor will royal blood.  It won’t matter how many sales you made in this lifetime, how high you rose in the ranks of business or academia, how much money you had in the bank or how beautiful or handsome you were.  None of that will even be discussed.  You won’t be able to bribe God with your money, titles or with an autograph of your famous name.  On that day, the cross of Jesus will tower over everything else and your only hope will be to plead the blood of Jesus.  Princess Diana will be there and all the good things she may have done to benefit the starving or help children won’t mean a thing unless she knew Jesus as her Savior. 

Are you confusing success in one part of your life with spiritual success?  It is easy to do.  Just because you are successful in the physical realm doesn’t mean your spiritual life is great, too.  The ground will be level beneath his cross on the judgment day.

PRAYER: Remind us, Lord, that the small and great all must alike pass through death’s door and face judgment.  Help us to not confuse success in this world with faithfulness to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/24/15 – Lessons from Bethlehem

DayBreaks for 12/24/15: Lessons from Bethlehem

From Bishop Robert Barron, Word On Fire blog, 12/23/15:

“The prophet Micah says that Bethlehem-Ephratha is “too small to be among the clans of Judah” but “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2). Micah is himself one of the minor prophets and so it is only appropriate that he speaks of a small city, little Bethlehem, from which the great Messiah would come. 

“How common this is in the Bible: the reversal of expectations, the little giving rise to the great, wonderful things coming where you least expect them. The stuttering Moses speaks up to mighty Pharaoh, the slaves face down the Egyptian army, tiny David kills the giant Goliath.

“And this last connection is the important one here. Bethlehem is the city of David, the city of the shepherd King. When Samuel came to that town to find the new king, he went through all of Jesse’s splendid sons and then was told there was one more, little David out in the fields. And it was this overlooked one whom God anointed.

“This just seems to be God’s way, and that’s why the Messiah would be born in that tiny town, in an out of the way cave under the earth, because there was no room for him in the inn. Yet, through God’s amazing grace, great things can happen, including the birth of the Messiah.

“Looking at the small, insignificant town of Bethlehem teaches us three great messages: greatness comes from smallness, never give up hope, and trust always. With those three convictions in our hearts, we’re ready for Christmas.”

Galen’s Thoughts: it certainly does seem that God delights in little things and in exalting them. That’s one of the things that is the most amazing about the story of the Incarnation – that God in glory looked down through the incredible vastness of the universe to a planet that is no more than a dust speck in the great cosmos He’d created, and He saw tiny, puny, weak humans – and He loved us enough to go to incredible lengths to save such small things. But I guess that’s the way it is with great love – it doesn’t have to fasten itself onto something big and grandiose, but is drawn to the object of its love for the simple reason that he just can’t help himself but love us! In some ways, love is very irrational. And that just makes the mystery of it even greater!

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, you are a great mystery to us and your love for us is even more difficult to comprehend. Thank you that you didn’t find us too small to attract not just your attention, but to capture your heart! In His name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/14/15 – The Power of Small Things

DayBreaks for 10/14/05: The Power of Small Things  

Many have been the times that I wished I could do something great for Jesus. I think every believer at some point in their walk has felt that way. After all, he has done (and is doing!) amazingly great things for us. We want to reciprocate.

Yet most of us are not born to do “great” things. We don’t find ourselves in the position to change the world with the stroke of a pen or with a few words. Such is not our position. As a result, we can feel a bit dispirited and disappointed with the small things we can do.

The power of little things should never be underestimated. The power of the laugh of a little child to cheer a heart, the energy contained in the atom, a gentle and compassionate hug can lift the spirits of those in despair. As evidence, consider this true story:

A room-service waiter at a Marriott hotel learned that the sister of a guest had just died. The waiter, named Charles, bought a sympathy card, had hotel staff members sign it, and gave it to the distraught guest with a piece of hot apple pie.

“Mr. Marriott,” the guest later wrote to the president of Marriott Hotels, “I’ll never meet you. And I don’t need to meet you. Because I met Charles. I know what you stand for. … I want to assure you that as long as I live, I will stay at your hotels. And I will tell my friends to stay at your hotels.”

I don’t know if Charles was a Christian or not, but in this instance, he acted like one. It was just a card and piece of pie. Charles didn’t change the world that day, but he changed that day for someone who was grieving. And for all we know, that simple act of kindness and compassion may have changed eternity for the grieving guest. More important, that guest became a devotee of Marriott Hotels and an apostle to their friends on behalf of the hotel chain.

Today you will not nail 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg. Today you will not share your faith in Jesus before thousands of people gathered in a stadium. Today you will not feed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish.

We might say, “So, if those things are true, what’s the point of my trying to do anything for Jesus?” Jesus said it himself – that is we even give a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul, we’ve given it to him. He notices. He sees. And what little thing you may do today can change the world for someone today – and perhaps forever. They may even become a devotee of Jesus as a result of that cup of cold water.

Zechariah 4:10 (NLTse) – Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.

PRAYER: Lord, we have nothing great to offer you except small things. Let us never forget how great small things can be when given to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/18/11 – He Knows When the Piccolo Plays

DayBreaks for 11/18/11 – He Knows When the Piccolo Plays

Little things matter...to the Maestro

It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches. – Luke 13:19

Sir Michael Costa, the celebrated conductor, was holding a rehearsal. As the mighty chorus rang out, accompanied by scores of instruments, the piccolo (like a pint-sized flute)  player – thinking perhaps that his contribution would not be missed amid so much music, stopped playing. Suddenly, Costa stopped and yelled, “Where is the piccolo?”  The sound of that one small instrument was necessary to the harmony, and the Master Conductor missed it when it dropped out.

The point?  To the Conductor there are no insignificant instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes the smallest and seemingly least important one can make the greatest contribution and even if it doesn’t seem to make that big a difference to the audience at large, THE CONDUCTOR KNOWS IT right away!

In the Church the players and the instruments are diverse—different sizes, different shapes, different notes, different roles to play. But like the piccolo player in Sir Michael’s orchestra, we often in our own judgment decide that our contribution is not significant, couldn’t possibly make a difference and won’t be missed. So we quit “playing.”  We stop doing what we’ve been given to do. We drop out. But the Conductor immediately notices. From our perspective, our contribution may be small, but from His, it is crucial.

Do you think of yourself as a piccolo player?  You may be.  For whatever reason (pain, exhaustion, insecurity, criticism, laziness, misbehavior, etc.), you dropped out and stopped.  You may be convinced that what you have to offer isn’t worth a hill of beans compared to others.  It does matter.  The Master Conductor notices you!

The mustard seed planter was much like the piccolo player – what he had was small, but he used it and it grew into something great and beautiful.

PRAYER: May our lives make beautiful music for You, Lord Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/29/11 – It’s the Little Things

DayBreaks for 07/29/11 – It’s the Little Things

Little things are never as insignificant as they seem...

 The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen. – Isaiah 60:22

You may not recall, but once upon a time not so very long ago, the United State’s Space Shuttle program was grounded for weeks due to cracks in a fuel line.  And that’s not all: remember that bit about the tiny rubber o-ring that was just 3/10ths of an inch wide?  Such a tiny component on something the size of the space shuttle and booster rockets used to hurl it into space would seem insignificant – not impressive at all.

And yet 20 years ago two of those rings were placed in the aft field joint of the SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) to stop gases from escaping. No one knows for sure if it was the unusually cold weather on launch morning, a contaminate that was introduced into the zinc putty used on the o-rings, any of a variety of possible compression problems, or some human error that was injected during the manufacturing process, but those two little o-rings failed to do what they were designed to do, and the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded before a horrified watching world, 73 seconds into her flight, killing all seven aboard.

We are so easily impressed with big things because they’re so BIG and it’s hard to miss them.  Their very size and scope see to yell, “Look at me!”  But in truth, it’s the little things that usually make the biggest difference.  A tiny virus that is much smaller than the size of a pin head can kill.  Heart valves no larger than a man’s thumbnail and put one in the grave if they don’t function properly.  A single vote can turn an entire election.  One little word from a loved one can ruin a relationship.  The tiny atom has explosive potential.  Little things have tremendous power. Matthew 13 records the story Jesus told about the smallest thing His audience could identify with–a mustard seed, and then related it to our faith.

If your faith weak, small and fragile right now?  Do the things you do for Him seem to be invisible and insignificant?  Just as one word can ruin a relationship, a single word can bring about ever-lasting life: Jesus.

PRAYER: Help us, Lord, to trust in the value of small things that are put under your control.  Help us not to be enamored of big, flashy and glorious works done in your name, but to be faithful in the small things.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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