DayBreaks for 6/11/19 -The King is Listening

DayBreaks for 6/11/19: The King is Listening

In a far country lived a band of minstrels who traveled from town to town presenting music to make a living. They had not been doing well. Times were hard; there was little money for common folk to come to hear the minstrels, even though their fee was small. Attendance had been falling off, so one evening the group met to discuss their plight. ‘I see no reason for opening tonight,’ one said. ‘To make things even worse than they may have been, it is starting to snow. Who will venture out on a night like this?’ ‘I agree,’ another disheartened singer said. ‘Last night we performed for just a handful. Fewer will come tonight. Why not give back their meager fees and cancel the concert? No one can expect us to go on when just a few are in the audience.’ ‘How can anyone do his best for so few?’ a third inquired. Then he turned to another sitting beside him. ‘What do you think?’ The man appealed to was older than the others. He looked straight at his troupe. ‘I know you are discouraged. I am, too. But we have a responsibility to those who might come. We will go on. And we will do the best job of which we are capable. It is not the fault of those who come that others do not. They should not be punished with less than the best we can give.’ Heartened by his words, the minstrels went ahead with their show. They never performed better. When the show was over and the small audience gone, the old man called his troupe to him. In his hand was a note, handed to him by one of the audience just before the doors closed behind him. ‘Listen to this, my friends!’ Something electrifying in his tone of voice made them turn to him in anticipation. Slowly the old man read: ‘Thank you for a beautiful performance.’ It was signed very simply–‘Your King.’

Your King hears every song and cry of your heart – he never misses a word.

PRAYER: Thank you for how closely you pay attention to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/01/18 – Easter Reminds Me…

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DayBreaks for 4/01/18: Easter Reminds Me…

I am always loathe to leave Easter in the rear view mirror. I think that maybe the new year should start on Easter rather than January 1 because of all the Easter speaks to me. I suspect that I am not the only one who needs Easter reminders.

I struggle with a mother who no longer recognizes me but says that I remind her of her son. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle with a body that is aging and clearly on the decline. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to make sense of a world that seems to have lost all sense of balance, where people from one religion cut the heads off believers of another faith. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to understand why people are abused and belittled and subjected to so much injustice. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to understand why little children get cancer and die, tearing the hearts out of their parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to understand why some people never seem to find someone who will love and cherish them as beings made in the very image of God. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to understand why two people who promised to love each other until death parts them decide to forsake those vows. Easter reminds me that it wont’ be this way forever.

I struggle with not being able to see my father any more. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to make sense of the brutality of war and the death wrought by natural disasters. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle when I think of those without enough food who die of starvation and disease. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I struggle to be fully and completely freed from my guilt and sin and the effects of the fall in this world. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I rebel at the thought of saying goodbye to those that I love, to walk into the Lord’s presence but to leave them behind. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I long for all things to be made new and for the fallen to pass. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

I cannot see His face, except through a thick curtain of faith. Easter reminds me that it won’t be this way forever.

PRAYER: God, thank you that for all the struggles and trials and pains of this life, that it will not be this way forever because of the resurrection! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/27/16 – The Shadow and the Sun

DayBreaks for 9/27/17: The Shadow and the Sun

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

I sit here in the office that is our kitchen, I look out through a window over the world famous Alexander Valley.  World famous, you say?  Yes, any oenophile knows about it.  (In case you’re not familiar with the term, “oenophile” means “wine lover”.)  It is here in the rich soil of Sonoma County, that some of the world’s finest wines are grown.  Much of the wine that comes from grapes here, I’m told, is never sold in the United States, but is exported to other countries – like France and Italy. 

We live on a hillside overlooking part of the valley.  Today is one of those kind of days that I love: the sky is mostly blue, but there are puffy marshmallow clouds drifting in from the sea, taking a somewhat southerly bent as they cross the valley.  I look out and can watch their shadows move languidly across the green vineyards and through the forests.  It is a beautiful sight to see and it brings a calmness to my soul, which is often times troubled.

Where we live there are people who love the heat of the summer.  I’m not one of them.  Fall is my favorite time – the air cools down and imparts an energy to my body that makes me want to shout for the joy of being alive!  In the summer, we have virtually no clouds.  It doesn’t rain here in the summertime.  At best, we may get a morning fog blanket from the Pacific coast that is just a few miles over that-a-way as the crow flies.  But then the fog burns off and the heat of the sun’s rays make the grapes grow and get fat and rich with juice.

I prefer cloudy days.  Not totally cloudy, but the drifty-dreamy days of fall before the heavy rains come to quench the thirst of the parched earth. 

The shadows – the darkness.  Both are metaphors used in Scripture to describe difficulties, evil, sin, times that are not good and that bode ill for the future.  On the other hand, the sun and light are used as symbols of good and of life.  Life is filled with a mix of shadows and sun, good and hard, peacefulness and turmoil.  It seems as if some live in places in their souls where there is only shadow, or at the most, very little sunshine.  And it can lead to despair and depression when all you can see is the shadows. 

I like what Jonathan Foreman said: “The shadow proves the sunshine.”  If there is a shadow, there must be a source of light.  Otherwise, there can be no shadow. 

In the middle of our lives, on the days when the shadows are deep and long, remember this: if you can see the shadow, there is a Light!

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

PRAYER:  Father, when life’s shadows are long and our hearts are filled with despairing darkness, help us to remember that You cannot be far away or there would be no shadow!  Help us to persevere through the clouds of this day until we see the morning Light!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 6/23/16 – How Ships Float – and Faith

DayBreaks for 6/23/16 – How Ships Float and Faith

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

I recently spent some time talking and praying with a fellow pastor whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer.  They still haven’t settled on what the course of her treatment will be, and everyone is remaining hopeful that God will work a healing in her life, one way or the other.

As I sat talking with my friend, we got around to pondering the imponderables of life.  Although we are both people of faith, as is his wife, the questions still come about what purpose God has in this and why such things happen.  Sure, we both know the theological arguments for it, but when something hits that close to home, you do rethink things.

He shared with me an illustration that he’d read just recently about Romans 8:28 – you know, the verse we’re so fond of quoting about how “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord…”.  Here’s the illustration: if you were to take any of the individual parts of a huge ocean liner and throw them into the water, they would sink like the proverbial stone.  They just can’t float by themselves.  But when all the parts are organized and put into the right place and attached together in one finished product, the entire ship floats perfectly.  It is much more successful at floating than just the sum of its parts or than any one of its parts.  Why?  The key is in the verse from Romans 8:28: All things work TOGETHER…for good…”  Do you see?  Individually, any one part may not work at all, we would look at it and say “That can’t float!”  But somehow, when it works together with the rest of the parts, they ALL float magnificently.

And so it is with the things that happen to us in life.  I can’t explain how it works.  I can’t tell my friend why God has brought this trial into their life – but I can say that somehow, God takes all the individual pieces of our lives that would sink like a rock, puts them together in an intricate weaving of life, and he sees to it that in the end, it all WORKS TOGETHER for the best.

As you look at individual happenings in your life (like the striking of cancer, heart disease, losing a job, etc.) they look like nothing less than an unmitigated disaster of cosmic proportions.  But God sees all those things put together, working together, to make us something special that DOES work.  So, when you look at something that happens in your life that appears disastrous, remember that God is still working to fit it into the overall design that He has in mind for you, and that His design will do more than float…it will fly! 

PRAYER:  Lord, Your ways are so far beyond our understanding that we can only bow before you, knees knocking, and do our best to trust and believe that somehow, in a way that none of us can begin to fathom, You’re putting our life together perfectly.  May we rest in this certainty as we face the challenges and disappointments of life today and always.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/21/16: Holy Land Lessons – The Dangerous Desire for Ease

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Photo from the area of Dan of the worship complex. The metal stand in the center represents the believed location and size of the altar (significantly taller than a man). Photo by Galen Dalrymple, Golan Heights in Israel, January, 2016.

DayBreaks for 1/21/16: Holy Land Lessons: The Dangerous Desire for Ease

When the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, each tribe was assigned a certain “inheritance” in the land where they were to live. The tribe of Dan was assigned a territory along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, land held by the Phoenicians.

As it turns out, the Danites had a very difficult time with the Phoenicians. They proved to be a very touch adversary, and over time, the people of Dan grew tired of the difficulties they encountered in battling the Phoenicians and moved to a different part of the country where life would be easier.

But, there were problems with this. Dan was supposed to take the land they’d been assigned…but they failed. That wasn’t the biggest problem, though. The place that they moved may have been easier in terms of not having to fight to possess the land, but they moved right into the valley that was the heart of Baal worship. The physical struggle was less, but the spiritual battle was more difficult!

We often may complain about how difficult things are in our lives and we may seek relief from the struggles and difficulties. We actively seek out ease thinking that it is better for us and we envision how great life will be when things get easier.

There are many problems that come from a life of ease:

FIRST: when things are easy, we take things for granted and stop giving thanks or praying.

SECOND: ease causes muscles (physical and spiritual) to grow weak and flabby.

THIRD: when things are going our way, we tend to get prideful and give ourselves the credit for how we worked hard to get to that point of success and forget that it is God that gives success.

FOURTH: throughout Scripture, it was the poor who struggle who are more attuned to spiritual things because they realize that their hope lies not in a life of ease in this world, but of blessedness in the world to come.

I like ease. I’d rather sit in my La-Z-Boy than go to the gym. I’d rather not struggle. But I also realize it isn’t necessarily good for my heart – either physically or spiritually. There is growth in the struggle and it drives us to our knees in recognition of our need for God’s intervention. The people of Dan didn’t grasp that apparently. They became reviled among Israel because of their actions.

Don’t seek a life of ease. Be content with the life God has given you and the circumstances in which you find yourself. The struggle will make you stronger if  you let it.

Luke 12:19-21 (KJV) – And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Help us not to seek a life of ease, but of service and faithfulness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/23/15 – Flirting With Unbelief

DayBreaks for 10/23/05: Flirting With Unbelief

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Faith is such an intriguing topic.  We pray for it.  We practice it (to varying levels of success depending on the severity of the circumstances.)  When not much is truly at stake, it’s easier to say, “Yes, Lord, I trust you with this.”  But when life itself is on the line and we stand on the precipice of the great divide between this world and the next, how then does faith respond?  Chances are, that unless we’ve stood on that tiny shelf and looked down into the chasm of death ourselves, we really can’t answer that question very well.  It is an intriguing thing for me, as a pastor who has access to people who are looking into the grave, to observe their faith as it passes through the ultimate test.  With the very next step, they may plunge into the pit – and what then? 

We pray for healings.  Sometimes no healing comes.  Well meaning people may say that the only reason healing wasn’t granted is because the faith faltered – that is wasn’t really faith, but at most, wishful thinking or hoping.  Such well meaning people may have destroyed the faith of many who needed to be helped to grow in faith.  Shame on us when we think we know the reasons why God does or doesn’t do anything in a given situation.

But what about the times when healing DOES come?  We have another problem, then.  We live in a scientific age where it’s easy to explain how bacteria, viruses or tumors divide, grow and, sometimes, die.  And when that happens, we tend to not really exhibit faith too well, either.  Sometimes, there’s a diagnosis by a doctor that says there is a shadow on the lung or in the breast or contained in the cranium.  So we pray, our prayer chains light up like a blazing fire, and when a second opinion is sought or when the specialist is called in, the shadow is gone.  What happened? 

In a recent article in World Magazine, Andre Seu wrote about a diagnosis that filled her with dread, but when the second doctor ran the tests, nothing was found.  Here’s what she had to say: Now when do you have a certifiable miracle? Well, never, if you claim a priori that miracles have ceased. And never if, like me, your mind leaps like a duck on a June bug to naturalistic explanation: Doctor A blew it. The latter theory is possible, of course, but on the other hand, what would it take, and how much proof, before I acknowledged the supernatural in my life? (Father Abraham says even raising a corpse wouldn’t do it for folks of a certain ilk. Luke 16:31.) Francis Schaeffer draws the line precisely here between the Christian mind and the non-Christian mind: “I am not a Bible-believing Christian in the fullest sense simply by believing the right doctrines, but as I live in practice in this supernatural world.” (True Spirituality)

My violent intercessor seems to think that since we prayed watchfully (Colossians 4:2), and since the request we sought was granted, it’s a no-brainer that I need to give public glory to God. There are precedents, of course: The leper is healed and forthwith told by Jesus to go show himself to the priest (Matthew 8:4). Still I protested vainly: “Many godly people pray and are not healed.” Violent replied, “You were. Shout it from the housetops”—plus words to the effect that it’s a dangerous thing to ask the Almighty for something, and then, having received it, to flirt with unbelief. There was no gainsaying that, and in the end I saw the truth of it, and yielded doubt to faith, and that is why I tell you this.”  (Andre Seu, World Magazine, Oct. 1, 2005)

Have you received from God something you prayed diligently for, but when you received it, you gave the glory to medicine instead of God?  When will we learn that all healing truly does come from God – even when it is administered through the hands of a physician?  And rather than explain away such things as healings as a mere reversal or outworking of body chemistry, let’s climb to the top of the roof and there sing His praises for yet another miracle!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, we are so prone to rational explanations for all that happens in this world that we fail to give you the glory for what You do.  Open our eyes to see Your greatness and Your hand even in the tiniest things and teach us to sing Your praises!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/17/15 – Wait for ALL the Evidence

DayBreaks for 7/17/15: Wait for All the Evidence

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2005:

High profile trials catch our attention.  O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, Robert Blake…the list could go on for a long, long time.  What I find fascinating is that we all form our opinions of the guilt or innocence of these people based on what we’ve heard or what someone told us, without having access to the evidence that’s shown in a court room.  As a general rule, I think we often make up our minds on their probable guilt or innocence before the trial even begins!  While we could debate whether the legal system is very effective and accurate, those folks had their problems, and I’m sure that they wanted all the evidence to be weighed before the jury finally decided their fate.

We all have hardships, too.  It’s part of life that we just can’t ignore or wish away.  It just doesn’t work like that.  And sometimes, quite often, in fact, people blame God for the hard times.  Even Christians sometimes put the blame at His feet.  It’s hard to keep things in perspective when we’re hurting.  Consider Phillip Yancey’s comments from Rumors of Another World: “No one gets an exemption from hardship on planet Earth. How we receive it hinges on whether we believe in an alternate reality that transcends the one we know so well. The Bible never minimizes hardship or unfairness—witness books like Job, Psalms, and Lamentations. It simply asks us to withhold final judgment until all the evidence is in.

“Why would anyone choose to follow a God who promises more hardship, not less? I will let the apostle Paul answer that question. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal’ (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

“Paul had two pictures of himself. One image he could view in a mirror, and the insomnia, beatings, imprisonments, and deprivations must have left their mark in the gaunt and weary face that stared back at him from the crude Roman glass. The other image he could not see. Nevertheless he could sense his inward self being renewed and made more fit, tempered by hardship. Belief in another world cast hardship in such a different light that he could compile a list of his many personal calamities and call them ‘light and momentary troubles.’”

It isn’t easy to focus on things you can’t see, to bet your life – no, your eternity – on the fact that what we wait for is worth it, regardless of what we must deal with here on earth.  You may be struggling to hang on to the idea that God is good and that He wants only good for you.  You may be ready to sentence God to being fickle, unfair and perhaps even cruel.  Wait.  The evidence isn’t all in yet.  Someday, God will present the evidence that will show that He is totally good and loving.  Wait for that day.  Then you can see for yourself that He is good, always!

PRAYER: Lord, help us wait until we see your goodness with our own “eyes”, and we can also then see ourselves as you view us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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