DayBreaks for 10/20/17: Temporary

DayBreaks for 10/20/17: Temporary

“It’s just a temporary condition.  You’ll feel better in a few days.”  Those are comforting words when they come from our doctor or dentist, are they not?  Temporary, meaning that it will not last long.  It’s a passing thing. 

“It’s just a temporary setback.  We’ll get back on track soon.”  Those words are often spoken in the business world or even in a military setting when something bad has happened and we want to put on a good face and try to be encouraging to others who may really be upset and disturbed by the goings-on.  In that case, it’s meant to be a comforting word.

But there are things that we don’t want to be temporary: enjoying beauty, enjoying the love of a spouse, children and grandchildren.  We don’t want the mountain-top experiences of life to be temporary things – like fleeting shadows that are here for a moment or two and then gone.  There’s nothing comforting about hearing that someone’s love for you is temporary.  We want it to be permanent – lasting, a forever-thing. 

Isn’t it strange how we spend so much of our life’s energy chasing after temporary things?  Can you imagine how our lives would be if we spent our time, money, energy and spirits on pursing permanent things?  In his books, When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box, John Ortberg described an incident where a speaker stood in front of a large group of people.  He had a roll of stickers in his hand.  Behind him on the platform were all kinds of objects – tables filled with things from our lives – computers, dollhouses, desks, a Matchbox car, pots and pans, etc.  The speaker began to roam around the stage, placing red stickers on everything.  He explained to the crowd what he was doing: although they couldn’t see it from their vantage point, each sticker had the same word on it: TEMPORARY.  He said, “Everything that I’m putting a sticker on is temporary.  It will not last.  It will fade away.  We invest our emotions in them be3cause when we acquire it, it gives us a little thrill.  And we think the thrill will last.  But it does not.  It fades.  And eventually, so will what we acquire. 

“If you are living for what you see up here, then you are living for what is temporary.  Temporary satisfaction, temporary fulfillment, temporary meaning.  It will come to an end – but you never will.  It will leave you with a terrible emptiness.”

Wouldn’t it be easier to make better decisions in life if the things we pursue in this world all had that red sticker on them to remind us that they are temporary?  I have to think we might make different choices – at least some of the time. 

Later, the speaker did one more thing.  First, he said, “There is only one thing in this room that is not temporary.  There is only one item that you will be allowed to take with you from this life into the next.”  With that, he invited a little girl to join him on the stage, and he put a blue sticker on the collar of her dress.  “When you get to the end of your life and take in your last breath, what do you want your life to have been about.  What will make it rich in the eyes of God?”  The answer was obvious: people. 

Are you wise?  Are you building your life around temporary things or permanent, eternal things?  The next time you’re tempted to invest in something (large or small), try to picture the sticker – is it imprinted with “Temporary” or “Eternal”?

PRAYER:  Give us wisdom to see things as temporary, yet to see the people we encounter every day as eternal.  Please remind us of how we should invest our lives, and what we should invest them in.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 8/10/17 – Just Goblets

DayBreaks for 8/10/17: Just Goblets

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/7/2007:

Daniel 5:23 (NIV) Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.

Goblets.  Mere goblets.  Nothing more than metal fabrications, the skill of a craftsman who labored over them with pride in his/her workmanship.  The metal that made them was the same as any other gold or silver – the composition was identical, with perhaps slight variations for impurities.  There was nothing significant about them – except for one thing.  They had been in the temple of the Living God and were intended for use there. 

It’s an easy thing to take the things of God and make them into insignificant furnishings, places, objects, just like everything else.  But the things of God are different.  They are holy because they belong to Him, the One who is Holy. 

We are prone to see ourselves just like everyone else.  Most of us have two arms and two legs, 2 eyes, ears, feet and hands.  And we conclude that we’re just like all the other 7.442 billion or so people in the world.  But we are not.  We weren’t just “in the temple of the Lord”, but we ARE the temple of the Lord. 

This day is the day that He formed by His craftsmanship.  Will I take this day and make it like every other day, or will I seek to find the unique blessings that this day is to hold and that He wants to give to me to enjoy this day?  The tree outside my kitchen window is His tree.  The buzzard flying by the window in search of food is His buzzard.  The flowers growing in the planter box are decorated uniquely by Him and they lift their heads up to His glory. 

It is dangerous to take the things of God and make them ordinary.  It is dangerous to think we – or others – are ordinary.  When we see all things as His, we “honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways.”

I really don’t take enough time daily to meditate on the beauty and the wonder of all God’s things, to see them as His, created for His delight and glory.  I can easily take things for granted and minimize them into normalness rather than seeing them as holy because they are His.  And, more than anything else, I need to see and remember and understand that as the temple of the Holy Spirit, I, too, am holy.  The ordinary has gone for the Christian.  All is now holy because of Him!

What are you doing with God’s things today?

PRAYER:  Thank You, Jesus, for the wonder of a world that holds no ordinary things because they all belong to You.  Help us to see Your creation, and especially our fellow humans, as something wonderful, precious and special because we are the work of Your hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/2/16 – Still Valuable

DayBreaks for 8/02/16 – Still Valuable

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2006:

A man once stood up in front of a large group of people and pulled a crisp $20 bill out of his pocket.  Holding it up, he asked, “Whoever would like to have this $20 bill, please raise your hand.”  Virtually every hand in the room was raised.  The speaker then took the $20 bill and crumpled it up in his hand so it was no longer crisp and like new. “Whoever would like to have this $20 bill, please raise your hand,” he said.  All the hands went up again.  Next, the speaker took the wadded up $20 bill and tossed it onto the ground beside the podium.  He proceeded to step on the bill, grinding it into the floor, before he stooped over and picked it up.  Looking at the gathering, he asked one more time, “Now, whoever would still like to have this $20 bill, please raise your hand.”  All the hands were once again raised.

What’s the point?  Well, you and I can be an awful like that $20 bill.  We start out crisp and fresh – and when we’re that way, very few would debate that the tiny human life is worth a lot.  But as we grow, we encounter life’s turbulence and we get folded and spindled and somewhat mutilated.  We don’t look as good as when we were little, there are flaws in our appearance.  Ultimately, life (either as a result of some decision we make or situations beyond our control), grinds us into the dirt of sin and degradation. 

In the story, the people in the room had no doubt about the fact that the wadded up or stomped on $20 bill was still worth $20.  It could be redeemed anywhere for a fresh $20 or for goods and services.  It had value, and the value was the same whether it was brand new, slightly wrinkled, or heavily soiled.

Awful things may have happened in your life.  Your life may have been filled with pain and dirt and ugliness.  You may very well question how God could find anything in you that is of value.  Learn from the illustration – if the $20 bill still retains its value, don’t you?  Your value to God, your preciousness to Him – remains intact regardless of the things you have done or which have been done to you.  You are still worth the blood of the Lamb and all the wrinkles and dirt on your life don’t diminish your value.

God has already said He wants you to give your life to Him regardless of how ugly it has been.  Unlike the $20 bill, you also have a choice.  Will you accept that fact that He loves you and has put such a high price on your value, or will you refuse to believe that He still wants you after the life you’ve lived?

You are precious to Him!  (1 Pet. 1:19; 2:4)

PRAYER:  Thank you for your love for us that never ends and which knows no limits.  Help up to never confuse our brokenness and sinfulness with worthlessness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 10/30/15 – Be Careful What You Wish For

DayBreaks for 10/30/15: Be Careful What You Wish For

Wednesday night at choir practice, one of the sopranos shared a story of good fortune. Just that day her mother-in-law won $1,000,000 playing the lottery! What made it all the more touching is that the woman who won the lottery had raised four or five boys by herself after she was left alone. She struggled and scraped her entire life to raise and provide for her children. Isn’t God good?

Such things have probably prompted us all to thing: “Wouldn’t it be great if I won a million dollars?!” I was at one time both happy to hear of this woman’s good fortune, but at the same time was thinking, “Why couldn’t it have been me” (aside from the small detail that I don’t play the lottery)?  I also found myself being envious of the lady who shared the story: she and her husband have the potential of a nice inheritance some day. Envy is easy to come by – if we are envying people for the wrong things.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so great. Not everyone has the same idea of a great time. One person’s wish may be another’s nightmare. Take, for example, the story of three men who were sailing together in the Pacific Ocean. Their vessel was wrecked and they found themselves on an island. They had plenty of food, but their existence was in every way different from what their lives had been in the past. The men were walking by the seashore one day after they had been there for some months and found an ancient lantern. One man picked it up. As he began to rub it and clean it, a genie popped out and said, “Well, since you have been good enough to release me, I will give each of you one wish.”

The first man said, “Oh, that’s perfectly marvelous. I’m a cattleman from Wyoming and I wish I were back on my ranch.” Poof! He was back on his ranch.

The second man said, “Well, I’m a stockbroker from New York, and I wish that I were back in Manhattan.” Poof! He was back in Manhattan with his papers, his telephones, his clients and his computers.

The third fellow was somewhat more relaxed about life and actually had rather enjoyed life there on the island. He said, “Well, I am quite happy here. I just wish my two friends were back.” Poof! Poof! Everybody’s idea of a “great time” isn’t the same!

So is it true? How many Americans (perhaps you are among them) sitting around wishing, “Now wouldn’t it be great …if I won the lottery…if I had my dream house…if I was famous….”

As Christians…as the people of God…what if instead of wishing for money or fame or success or more “things,” we could just as earnestly wish with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength that we could love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves? There is no greater treasure than to know Him, yet we act as if everything else is of greater value because we spend so much time pursuing those other things and so little time getting to know Him!

Genesis 15:1 (KJV) – After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

TODAY’S PRAYER: You are the treasure we should seek, Lord. Help us to not seek after worldly joy, but after that which will delight us for all eternity! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/08/15 – Give Me Back My Songs

DayBreaks for 10/08/05: Give Me Back My Songs  

The French have a story about a millionaire in his palace who spent his days counting his gold. Beside the palace was a poor cobbler who spent his days singing as he repaired people’s shoes. The joyful singing irritated the rich man. One day he decided to give some gold coins to the cobbler. At first the cobbler was overjoyed, and he took the coins and hid them. But then he would be worried and go back to check if the coins were still there. Then he would be worried in case someone had seen him, and he would move the coins and hide them in another place. During all this, he ceased to sing. Then one day he realized that he had ceased to sing because of the gold coins. He took them back to the rich man and said, “Take back your coins and give me back my songs.”

The man in the story discovered that the shiny, valuable coins didn’t deliver on their initial “promise.” There is an old saying that “All that glitters is gold.” I don’t know who came up with that saying, or what they were thinking, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have started to believe that that which glitters is not gold. In fact, I think glitter is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against us in the first world.

It is the allure of glitter, whether it is bars of gold, silver, platinum or other precious metal, or the glitter of fame and the spotlight that goes along with it, or the glitter of a fancy title underneath your name on a business card that draws us away from the things which have real, lasting value.

Scripture tells us that there was nothing about Jesus that would have made him attractive to us in terms that the world would applaud: Isaiah 53:2 (MSG) – The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.

Where Jesus glittered and shone, and where we should seek to shine, is in the beauty of character and spirit. 1 John 2:15 (MSG) – Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.

All that glitters is not gold. Don’t let the world’s glitter distract you from love for the Father. If it has stolen your songs, ask God to give them back to you and let go of “the world’s goods!”

PRAYER: God, I know I am easily drawn to glittery things! Let me be drawn to You in love, for You are the far greater treasure! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/17/15 – Image Bearers

DayBreaks for 9/17/15: Image Bearers

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT) – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

I must confess that when I looked in the mirror this morning, what I saw didn’t look a whole lot like how I picture God. When I got to church on Sunday, I looked at the people there (who are great, and I love them all!), but quite frankly, they didn’t look a whole lot like how I picture God, either. And when we watched the news clips from New Orleans after the recent hurricane and we saw people stealing things that weren’t related to their survival, or shooting at rescue helicopters, well, that didn’t look like God, either.

Yet, Scripture is very clear about it: we are made in the image of God. That doesn’t mean that God looks like us, nor that we resemble him just by nature of our existence. It means that we’ve got something of the image of His character on and in us. What all does it mean? That’s hard to say, but certainly it must mean that we’ve got the ability to do good, to love, to be compassionate, to serve, to sacrifice. We are thinking beings who are destined to live eternally. The Scripture says that God created man (male and female) in His image. That doesn’t mean that God is male and/or female – but rather, I think that we should understand it to mean that God is a person, not an it

John Ortberg wrote, in God Is Closer Than You Think: “Of all creation, only people are said to be bearers of the image of God. So people have the capacity to be carriers of His Presence like nothing else. We take long trips to see marvels like the Grand Canyon. Engaged couples plan far ahead so that they can honeymoon at Niagara Falls. But if our eyes could see clearly, if our hearts were working right, we would fall to the ground in amazement at the sight of a single human being. They are the miracles. They are the God-carriers.”

It’s easy to become disillusioned and disenchanted with other humans. We’re easy targets, because we’re all so horribly flawed. And if we get disillusioned enough, we give up on one another, relegating others to the garbage dump of the universe. Of course, when we do that, we forget that we belong in the garbage dump of the universe, too. It’s only because of His image in us, His Presence that lives in the Christian, that our destiny is heaven and not hell.

Who is it that you will see today that you “can’t stand”? Is there someone that you’ve “given up on”? Give them another chance – though His image in them may have been defaced severely, they were still made in His image – and by His grace, it can be recovered.

PRAYER: Jesus, let us bear more of your image with each passing hour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/09/15 – Tried and Found Difficult

DayBreaks for 7/09/15: Tried and Found Difficult

It wasn’t an easy thing to put people on the moon. It takes herculean effort to reach the pinnacle of Mt. Everest.  Those are exceptional things – achievements that very few people who walk this earth have, or will, every accomplish.

Somehow, part of the glory of such things is the difficulty involved – the sheer magnitude of the effort involved and the overcoming of daunting challenges along the way. It is only when one has stepped onto the lunar soil or the peak of Everest that the sheer wonder and joy of the achievement can be fully relished. Sure, one can anticipate what it would feel like, but no one can truly imagine it. Yet, I’ve never heard of one lunar explorer or Everest conqueror say it wasn’t worth it.

When we attempt to live a life worthy of the Gospel it is because our understanding of “worth” is far different from that of the world. John the Baptist was not beheaded because he chose the easy path. John gave his life because of his commitment to what he understood to be worth the cost, much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his struggles with Nazism and Hitler. Being a pastor in the German Lutheran Church, Bonhoeffer was forced to choose between the worth of loyalty to God or to an insane ruler. He was executed in 1945 for the opposition he voiced to the satanic rule of Hitler.

As G.K. Chesterton so concisely wrote: “It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but tried and found difficult.” Life has many roads to travel. However, to be a Christian, we must choose the road on which the shadow of the cross falls. It always leads to freedom, joy and celebration when the final lap of the race has been run and the goal reached. Some 2000 years later, we speak of the reigns of the Herods and Caesars with pity and disdain, but the names of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ live on as those for whom life was lived with devotion and courage.

PRAYER: Give us the confidence, Lord, that the journey we have undertaken is truly worth the cost and that in the end, we shall stand in glorious celebration! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.