DayBreaks for 6/05/17 – What To Do With Believers

DayBreaks for 6/05/17: What to Do With Believers

First, let me say that 20 years ago yesterday (6/04/97) marked the first ever DayBreaks. I thought about re-sharing the first DayBreaks I ever sent out, but decided against it. Instead, I just want to say this: I never expected DayBreaks would last so long. There have been times I’ve debated whether or not it was time to stop, but I never sensed a clear direction from the Lord to do that, so for now, we’ll continue on. But even more than that, I’ve come to love many of you who have written over the years, shared parts of your life (good and bad) with me as you wrote and told me your stories. I am humbled and honored at your trust. In addition, some of my best friends have come through DayBreaks – and I shall cherish our friendship and relationship as long as I live. Thank you to all who have shared this journey with me!

From the DayBreaks archive, June 5 ,2007:

An article I recently read by Mark Buchanan made an interesting observation about Jonah chapter 1 and Acts, chapters 27 and 28.  Both of those passages tell the story of a God-worshipper who is on board a ship, surrounded by unbelievers.  In both cases, a violent storm blows up on the sea and the “mighty ship was tossed” (to borrow a line from Gilligan’s Island!)  So severe was the storm in both cases, that the crew reached a conclusion that they would rather have not reached: all the cargo on the ship would need to be thrown overboard.  It wasn’t a case of their profits going up in smoke, but of their profits going down to Davey Jones’ locker.  But, at least in the case of Jonah, he was considered “cargo”.  Somehow, the pagans felt this disaster in the making was due to someone who had offended the gods, and Jonah was singled out. 

Remember: Jonah is on board because he’s fleeing from God.  When confronted by the pagan sailors, he’s boastful about himself and disdainful toward them.  As it turns out, there’s only one way for those pagans to survive the storm: they have to get rid of the God-worshiper – they have to throw him overboard.  And they do just that.

Not so in Acts.  There, the apostle Paul is on board the ship precisely because he has been following God.  He’s a prisoner of Rome, on his way via ship to be tried in front of Caesar, but even more important, he’s a man on a mission sent from heaven, who has been being obedient to that calling.  When the pagan sailors panic, Paul is wise, humble, and helpful – quite the opposite of his predecessor, Jonah.  Paul lets those terrified shipmates know that he cares deeply for them.  It turns out, there’s only one way for those pagans to survive the storm: they have to put the God-worshiper, the one who showed concern for them, in charge.

The point that Buchanan draws is this: the more that we genuinely care for the people in this storm-wracked world—the less we boast and denounce, the more we bless and serve—the more they will let us – and the Jesus we serve – into their lives and lives and souls will be redeemed and saved!

PRAYER: May we be the kind of God worshippers that You are pleased with.  May we answer Your call, may we be meek and humble, may we care and not denounce unnecessarily!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/17/17 – The Immanent or the Greater

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DayBreaks for 5/17/17: The Immanent or the Greater

Thanks to some writing by Mark Labberton, I’ve been fascinated again with the childhood story of Shadrach, Mescheh and Abednego.  I shared some insights in a DayBreaks before, but here’s one a friend had that I think is worth sharing.

I wrote before about how these young men had to discern the real danger when confronted with the choice of worshipping the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had built.  They had to decide for themselves if the greatest danger was in bowing down and worshipping the idol or in not worshipping the real and living God. 

As Hebrews, these three had been well versed in the 10 commandments, and I’m sure, could easily recite them by heart.  So, for them to truly be tempted to worship an idol, well, it probably wasn’t really a temptation for them at all.  Saving their lives might have been a temptation, but they certainly knew it was wrong to worship an idol.  But, here’s the thing: they believed that worshipping anything other than Yahweh was a greater risk and danger than worshipping the idol, however sometimes the immediate or immanent danger seems greater than the far off danger.  Even though they knew what was right and wrong, and they knew in their hearts that failure to be true to Yahweh was the greater danger, the heat from the fire was pressing against their skin, making itself felt RIGHT NOW, and the danger from not worshipping Yahweh probably seemed a long way off.

We are often tempted to compromise for a couple of reasons: we want immediate pleasure rather than delayed gratification, or we want to avoid the immediacy of pain and suffering.  The latter is just as dangerous as the first – and both can be deadly.

Is there some immediate suffering that you can foresee in your life that you’ve been wrestling with and trying to avoid by some compromise?  Are you thinking that you can set the record straight with God at some later point?  That’s very dangerous reasoning.  Remember the words of the writer to the Hebrews: (Hebrews 10:31, NLT) It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

PRAYER: In our foolishness, Lord, we often forget that it may be better to suffer now than to fall into Your hands later.  Give us courage and open our eyes to understand that just because one kind of suffering may be more immediate, that it doesn’t mean it is the greatest suffering we could encounter.  Let us have no other gods before You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 5/09/17 – The Believer’s Definitive Question

DayBreaks for 5/09/17: The Believer’s Definitive Question

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

So you struggle with being faithful. Join the crowd.  I don’t know a single person who doesn’t struggle with obedience, and even with their faith itself, from time to time.  It’s normal – and I think, at least to a certain extent – it is healthy to at least question faith once in a while to be certain that we don’t grow stale and complacent.  We need not fear the testing of faith.  There is greater danger in an untested faith when the time of trial comes.

There seems to be something about us humans that is a lot like a moth: we like to dance close to the flame.  In our case, it is the flame of temptation.  We seem to be drawn to certain things as individuals, and while it may vary from person to person, even as Christians we seem drawn to the flame.  The flame represents that which is familiar to us, something we’ve grown accustomed to and we find it to be predictable.  But, like the moth, we forget that the flame can burn us and kill us.  It’s a very dangerous place to be.

Still, many people show a tendency to get close to the flame of old temptations once again.  And not only do we have that tendency, we show an eagerness for it when we ask the question (when we clearly know the answer more often than not): “Would it be wrong for me to do this?” 

In his book, Grace Walk, Steve McVey suggests that the definitive question for the believer shouldn’t be whether or not we can do something, but instead, Am I abiding in Christ at this moment?  An unsaved person evaluates behavior on the basis of right and wrong, but the lifestyle of a Christian is to flow from the activity of Christ.  McVey’s point is that we have Christ in us and we are in him – so why would we even want to dance close to the flame?  Somehow, I can’t picture Christ walking around asking “Would it be wrong for me to do this?”, can you?  I think rather, he’d be focused on abiding in the Father’s love and not thinking about doing wrong, but about doing good. 

John 9:4 (NLT) – All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.

PRAYER: Lord, we know that we are to abide in You, to let you live Your life through us.  It’s hard to give up our own life, even to One as powerful as Your Spirit.  Help us to have the mind of Jesus that is concerned about abiding in Your love and acting out of that love for the world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/22/17 – The Time Has Come

DayBreaks for 3/22/17: The Time Has Come

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

John 17:1 – After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

“The time has come.” 

These words should haunt us, coming as they do from Jesus’ lips.  John, and the other gospels writers have taken us on an amazing journey of discovery of the Son of God.  His power has wowed us.  His love has stunned and surprised us.  His tenderness has given us hope.  And now, can’t you hear the weariness in his voice? 

How we view the arrival of something depends on what we anticipate that “something” will be like: good or bad, blessing or trouble, peace or distress.  I hate it when the appointment comes when I’m supposed to go to the dentist.  I’ve taken others to the hospital for major surgery, and the dread is palpable as we travel in the car.  We hate the moment when we are due to pile into the car for a trip to the funeral parlor for a service for a loved one who has died.  On the other hand, we rejoice when the time has come to leave for the airport to pick up your spouse or children or grandchildren whom you haven’t seen for a long time, or to go to Disneyland or for a much needed and long anticipated 3-day fishing retreat away from the noise and troubles of the world.  In either case, the anticipation can be excruciating. 

Either the sadness and dread can drive us into the ground, or the joy we anticipate gives us the butterflies in our stomachs that makes it hard to keep our feet on the ground when we walk.  In many cases, we don’t know what to expect – and the anticipation, the unknowingness involved – makes us nervous and anxious, hopeful yet not too hopeful lest we should be disappointed.
The time has come.  With Jesus, it wasn’t a question of anticipation for he knew fully what to expect.  He had known all his life – he knew why he’d come to this earth.  Every event of his life had led to this tipping point, this fulcrum.  And when the time comes, what does Jesus do?  He prays.  How did he feel about this “time” which had come?  We see mixed emotions:

FIRST: In the garden we see his human side, struggling and fearful of the great anguish and suffering that lay ahead, begging with the Father that this cup, and this time, could pass.  And who can blame him?  Think of your own most terrifying and dark moment – didn’t you cry out for it to pass?  Didn’t you cry out for God to take it away?  Jesus was as human as we are.  He had all the same feelings as we do.  His nerves fired pain impulses just every bit as exquisitely and perfectly as those of any other human being.  He made no exceptions for himself when it came to being able to identify with us in our humanity, he permitted himself no indulgences or luxuries to bypass human suffering.

SECOND: In Hebrews 12:2, and here, we see something about how the Divine side of Jesus dealt with this time.  He was God – every bit as much God as he was human.  As God, he could see the future outcome of events and happenings, and he could foresee the joy at the end of this “time” which had come.  And that joy was your face and my face.  It was being able to see us eternally before the throne of God in heaven in His Presence, and knowing that it was because of this “time which has come” that it would be made possible.  That joy, of seeing his brothers and sisters redeemed from the pit of hell and cleansed from the stench of sin, that gave Christ the power to move into this time which has come, and pray, Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.

The time has come…what does that mean for you and I?  It means the time has come for us to be done with our past lives of sin and rebellion, to put our faithlessness and infidelity to God in the past.  The time has come for us to walk by faith, not by sight.  The time has come for us to take up our cross and follow him.  The time has come for the church to rise up in the power of the Spirit and speak truth into the world once again.  And ultimately, the time will come for us to face our own death and destiny.  Jesus had prepared himself along the way for the moment when his time would come.  Have you?

PRAYER: For Jesus’ resolve in the hour of his trial, Father, we are eternally grateful.  For strength for our own time which has come, we beseech Thee.  For the courage to speak truth into the world and the lives of those around us, we plead.  For Your mercies, which are new every morning, we give You praise.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/11/16 – Vision Correction

DayBreaks for 3/11/16: Vision Correction

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

As of 3/9, a friend of mine just had his eyes operated on so that he will no longer have to wear glasses.  I’m so very happy for him – it seems to have been very successful so far!  Why did he do it?  He wanted better vision.  Maybe we all need better vision…

Psalm 57:1-3 (NLT) –  Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.  I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah.  God sends his love and his faithfulness.

This Psalm was written by David when he was hiding in the cave from Saul.  We may think of David as having a fairly idyllic life – a shepherd, a national hero, a king – the most beloved of all the Israelite kings.  I suppose we like to idealize heroes.  But David had a hard, difficult life – perhaps more difficulty than green pastures in sum total. 

I see two distinctly different thoughts in this passage.  First of all, we can all identify with the human emotions that David was feeling.  In verse 4 he claims to be surrounded by men (David calls them beasts in the first part of verse 4) with sharp teeth and arrows, just waiting to devour him.  Certainly our problems can be seen that way, if not our enemies, too.  And so it was for David – quite literally his enemies were waiting to cut him up and tear him apart – and his main enemy at that moment was the king of Israel!  Taking refuge in the shadow of God’s wings is a beautiful picture.  It reminds me of how the mother hens would take their little chicks under their wings at the first approach of danger.  That’s an image from my childhood on the farm that I’ll never forget.  Verse 2 reminds us that God’s purposes for our lives will be fulfilled, not by us, but by the One who has purposed for us.  This is a tremendous relief from responsibility in a way, since we control nothing and could not make His purposes work out for us even if we knew in advance what they were.  We’d make too many wrong choices along the way, have to many distorted and erroneous perceptions of what His purpose is for us.  So if it depended on us to fulfill God’s purposes for us, well, we’d be a sorry lot, indeed. 

The second view of this passage is to see it in a Messianic light:

  1. Christ, in the garden and on the Cross, sought refuge for his soul in His Father, pleading for mercy to allow the cup of sorrow to pass and the cup of God’s wrath that was poured out on Christ against our sin to be lifted from his shoulders if possible.
  2. He takes refuge in the shadow of God’s wings until the disaster has passed. What was the disaster? From one perspective, it could be the death of the Sinless for the sinful, the death of God for man.  (From a human perspective, however, it was anything but a disaster – it would have been a disaster for us if it hadn’t happened!)  We are told that darkness covered the face of the earth during the time that Christ was on the cross – could that have been the shadow of God’s wings passing over the scene of the mutiny against Love that was happening on the cross?  Once Jesus died, there is no indication that the darkness continued – once the “disaster has passed.” 
  3. He certainly cried out to God, and God fulfilled His purpose for the Incarnation upon the cross. Yet his cry was, “Where are You? Why have You forsaken me?!”  And in that very forsakenness, God had indeed fulfilled His purpose in Christ, in the Incarnation, for the separation was required due to the sin that Christ had become (2 Cor. 5:21).
  4. How did God send from heaven and save Christ? Through his death and his Spirit being committed into the hands of the Father. In so doing, by his relatively quick death (crucifixion could sometimes take days to snuff out a life), those who pursued Christ and fastened him to the cross were rebuked – they were deprived of prolonging the torturous scene and of tormenting Jesus even more, of taunting God Himself with their evil gloating and celebrations. 
  5. God sent his Love in the person of Christ and in the faithfulness of His promises being fulfilled – promises made to Adam/Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the prophets, i.e., to all mankind. And certainly, He sent His love to gather up the spirit of Jesus that was so recently committed into His care.

I’m all to prone to take the Psalms and try to apply them to myself.  Of course, when the writer penned these words, he didn’t know anything about Christ’s coming and suffering and death, so they were very personal to the one who wrote them so long ago.  It is in hindsight (even with hindsight, our vision certainly isn’t 20/20) that we can see the applications to Jesus.  As I read such passages as this and meditate on them, I need to remember that the story of the Bible isn’t about me and my myriad of problems – it’s about HIM and what He did for us!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  We are so prone to thinking that life and death and struggles and victories are all about us, Father.  We are so consumed with our own issues that our first inclination is to think about ourselves – rather than about You and what You have and are doing.  Help us see Jesus more clearly in the Word each day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

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 3/07/14 – That’s Temptation!

DayBreaks for 3/07/14 – That’s Temptation         

William Willimon, in his book What’s Right with the Church (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985), tells about leading a Sunday School class that was studying the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. After careful study and explanation of each of the three temptations, Dr. Willimon asked, “How are we tempted today?” A young salesman was the first to speak. “Temptation is when your boss calls you in, as mine did yesterday, and says, `I’m going to give you a real opportunity. I’m going to give you a bigger sales territory. We believe that you are going places, young man.’

“But I don’t want a bigger sales territory,” the young salesman told his boss. “I’m already away from home four nights a week. It wouldn’t be fair to my wife and daughter.”

“Look,” his boss replied, “we’re asking you to do this for your wife and daughter. Don’t you want to be a good father? It takes money to support a family these days. Sure, your little girl doesn’t take much money now, but think of the future. Think of her future. I’m only asking you to do this for them,” the boss said.

The young man told the class, “Now, that’s temptation.”

Temptation doesn’t have to be blatant. It may not appear as a temptress or in the form of a bottle or needle or any such obvious thing as that. One man’s temptation may not be tempting to another, but we all have our areas of weakness.  Have you taken good stock lately of the times when you’ve been tempted?  Of the times you’ve thought about compromising something? The temptation and sin of compromise is often overlooked by fine-sounding arguments that make it seem OK.

What’s your temptation?

PRAYER: Satan is very crafty, Lord, and can make even bad things sound good.  Keep us from falling! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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