DayBreaks for 3/02/16 – Stand

DayBreaks for 3/02/16: Stand

Eph. 6.10-13 (NIV): Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your STAND against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to STAND your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND.

“When St. Patrick and his brothers were proclaiming Jesus to the pagan kings of Ireland,

My roots began their journey, threading their way into the gritty soil along Pescadero Creek.

My leaves peeked through the decaying litter of the redwood forest

And I began my climb toward the sky.

Oh, I’ve seen my troubles:

Fifteen hundred years of flames roaring up the canyon.

I’ve felt their crimson tongues lick at my bark until deep, bleeding wounds left me in naked agony.

My lower branches are centuries gone, victim to a hundred raging devastations.

And yet I stand.

I once looked up at my elders and wondered if I would ever be so high, and grand, and majestic,

Yet one by one they would totter and fall with a whoosh and a crash.

Beetles and windstorms

Fires and flood,

And yet I stand.

Wounded, yet I stand.

“Beautiful” would not describe me today, though perhaps “persistent”.

Blackened scars bear mute witness to my history,

Deep gorges touch my very soul.

Scar tissue and burls flow down my base like hideous lava to cover my nakedness,

And yet I stand.

“Tallest Tree” says the placard at my base,

“Two hundred twenty-five feet” the board declares.

Wrong.

For even at my age I’m still creaking and swaying and stretching, and I’ve grown some feet since then.

Huckleberries and tanbark oaks flourish far below,

The great-grandchildren of my great-great grandchildren tickle my knees with their greenery,

And yet I stand.

Jays and jackrabbits,

Foxes and field mice dart about in my shade, because I stand.

Stand in spite.

Stand because.

Stand for the forest that needs me.

Stand to proclaim the glory of God.

Stand a score of feet higher than my nephews and nieces.

Stand to see what they cannot in their wooded blindness.

Stand to feel the fog bathe my face.

Stand to drink in the morning sun.

Stand to serve.

Stand.

Stand.

Stand.

“Copyright by Ralph F. Wilson, used by permission, all rights reserved.”

Galen’s thoughts:

This poem makes me cry in shame to remember all the times that I’ve failed to stand during the firestorms of life, when I’ve let the wind of trial or temptation break and defeat me.  We’ve all been wounded in this life, none of us escapes the pain of the human existence.  But, will we stand?  When the enemy rages against me, will I stand tall and strong and feel the Son touch my face?  Will I fall with a crash?  Am I still growing and reaching ever higher and higher toward heaven?  Can those around me find shelter in His presence within me because I stand?  Am I a blessing to those seeking shelter from the pain of this life?

We must stand because the forest of humanity needs the Savior.  They must see Him in us.  We must reach a little higher than ever before so that others can see our example and be encouraged to stand, to grow and to reach towards heaven themselves.

Oh, God, I want to stand for You!  Lift me up, set me upright and make me stand!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Almighty Father, without you we are nothing.  Without you we fall before every wind that blows.  Thank you that you will not break the bruised reed, but will strengthen us so we can stand – moment by moment, day by day, make us strong in the power of your great might!  May we stand strong for you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

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Daybreaks for 9/07/15 – The Secret to Standing Up

Image result for daniel in the lions den images

DayBreaks for 9/07/15: The Secret to Standing Up

Do you remember when you were first trying to learn to walk? I don’t either, but I suspect our parents started us down the path to walking by helping us learn to stand up first. It’s a combination, I guess, of figuring out the crawling thing first, watching people walk, and standing on your own two legs.

There are times when standing up isn’t easy. I’ve been on the deck of a boat out on the ocean where the oncoming swells were up above my head. It wasn’t easy to stand at all (let alone keep my breakfast down!) There are other times when I was coming out of anesthesia and walking, at least in a straight line, was rather a challenge. I would imagine that in both those situations I appeared a bit comical (except maybe for throwing up over the boat railing)!

Spiritually, it isn’t easy to always stand up either. The sermon on Sunday was about Daniel chapter 6, where Daniel, who must have been around 80 years old at the time, was made one of the top three rulers in the Medo-Persian empire, and was about to be made the top guy after the king himself, when some of the other satraps and rulers grew jealous of him and set out to try to destroy him. They tricked the king into issuing a decree that no one could pray to anyone except to the king himself for the next 30 days. You see, they knew Daniel’s habit of prayer and unable to find any other fault in him, the had the king pass that self-honoring law.

Daniel didn’t forsake his prayer habit, even though he could have gone into his closet and prayed in the dark, or just “prayed in his heart” for 30 days. He stood a stand for what his conscience told him he needed to do. And how did he take that stand? By kneeling down three times a day to pray toward Jerusalem.

What would I have done? Do I even pray three times a day? Do you? What if I’d been faced with a life or death choice – stop praying or die? How important is prayer to me? Or rather, how important is my relationship with my God?

If someone offered all Christians $5,000,000 to stop praying for 30 days, my guess is that there would a many, many more Christian multi-millionaires. We could justify (or at least rationalize it) in a variety of ways. “Think of all the good I could do for others with that money…and God would be glorified!”

No. Daniel would have said “No!” How do I know that? Because something far more valuable to him than $5,000,000 was at stake – it was his life.

And he stood by kneeling down.

Sometimes the only way to stand is to get down on our knees and then do what we know will bring God glory, not what will bring us honor or glory.

PRAYER: Father, give us the courage to take a stand for You and Your honor and glory! May our knees grown calloused from prayer, for there is great need and penitence to be made for all the times we’ve refused to stand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/23/15 – Standing in the Darkness

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DayBreaks for 3/23/15: Standing in the Darkness

It was a rough week last week.  There were shootings in several places, bombings in others.  Protests, accusations, incriminations…you name it, the last week saw it.  Can I begin to explain how people strap explosive vests on their bodies, walking into a mosque or church, and detonate it, killing and wounding perhaps 500 people or more!??  No, I can’t.  It escapes me.  And it troubles me.

On Thursday night last week, I attended a dinner for the Jesus film.  I was moved by the dozens who have been martyred just because they showed that film.  I was touched by stories of indigenous people who, upon viewing the beatings and crucifixion of Jesus as depicted in the film, attacked the screen with arrows, spears and machetes in an attempt to stop the soldiers from their brutality.  But perhaps most of all, I was touched by the faith of brothers and sisters in Africa (and elsewhere) who are ready to hop on a motorcycle and take the Jesus film throughout Africa, including northern Africa, where they may lose their very lives for Jesus.  One brother had already been there with a partner.  They were arrested and the partner was executed, but this man had managed to escape.  Now, he has been provided a motorcycle…and where do you think he wants to go?  Back to the people who arrested him and killed his partner – to show them the movie, Jesus.

All of those things were on my heart this morning in worship as we sang songs about faith that went along with the topic of the sermon today.  But then we sang In Christ Alone, and came to the part that says: Till He returns, Or calls me home, Here in the Power of Christ we stand!

That is our calling, is it not?  Our calling is to stand…and above all, to stand.  We shouldn’t (easier said than done) fear the one who can kill the body but not the soul.  We need to stand.  We shouldn’t fear the drum beats of Satan’s army.  The church need not fear for the gates of hell shall NOT prevail!

But we must stand.  We must stand beside our Elder Brother and represent truth and righteousness, love and mercy, justice and grace.  We MUST stand. He stood alone for us once…let’s not leave him to stand alone again.

Ephesians 6:11Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…

PRAYER: Jesus, oh Lord, give us the courage of Your Spirit so we will not be afraid to stand!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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