DayBreaks for 4/08/19 – Fear Him

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DayBreaks for 4/08/19: Fear Him

DayBreaks for 4/08/19: Fear Him

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Fear.  I don’t know anyone who likes feeling fear.  But the Bible has a lot to say about fear.  More often than not, it encourages us to not be afraid.  God knows what fearful creatures we are.  But the Bible doesn’t say that all fear is bad.  In fact, some fear is very beneficial.  What keeps a sane person from jumping out of a plane with no parachute?  What keeps you from sticking your hand into the flames that are on the stove burner?  Fear…fear of the pain or outcome of those actions. 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 1:7 says.  It should be obvious to us why this is so, but just in case we missed it somewhere along the line, let us remind ourselves of his words:

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. – 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 (NIV)

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28 (NIV)

 

I recently was pondering the fear of the Lord as I was preparing a message on the wrath of God as part of a series of messages on aspects of God’s nature.  As I prepared for the message that Sunday, I ran across a “paraphrase” of the passage from Matthew 10 that is quoted above that I thought put this whole aspect of the fear of the Lord into proper perspective.  Here’s what it had to say, “Fear Him, Who when you’re dead, isn’t finished with you yet.”

That is a sobering thought.  It should cause anyone to pause and consider – even believers.  All the people in this world who may have been a pain in the neck, who may have caused you endless trouble, will not bother you after death – but God will still be there, and He will be waiting for you and for me.  When we die, God is far from finished with us.  We would do well to keep that thought in mind as we wind our way through this world. 

Prayer: We resist authority and having to answer to anyone, even You, Lord.  Shake us out of our sleepy lethargy to realize that it is wise to fear You and that You are the Ultimate One with Whom we have to deal!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 4/02/19 – A Burned Patch of Ground

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DayBreaks for 4/02/19: A Burned Patch of Ground

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

In the early days of American life on the great plains, if a wildfire was started by a thunder strike or a careless settler or Native American, the results could be incredibly catastrophic.  If you’ve never seen the great plains, they are largely flat and windswept.  And therein lies the problem.  Once a fire started on the prairie, if there was any wind, it would move across the plains with startling rapidity.  The stronger the wind, the faster the destruction would travel, sweeping every living thing from its path. 

Settlers could often see the smoke from an approaching wildfire.  That wasn’t the problem.  There weren’t enough trees or hills to block the view.  So they could see the fire that was coming there way.  The problem was that if the wind was strong enough, there was simply no way to outrun the fire – not even on horseback.  Some other solution had to be found.

So it was that the settlers did the only thing that they could: they would light a match and burn a patch of ground as large as possible, but large enough to hold the family and their livestock (if they had time!).  Once that patch of ground was burned, the terrified family would huddle together in the center of the scorched earth and watch as the wildfire raged onward towards them.  As the fire reached the scorched earth, it found nothing to consume in the burned patch of ground and so the flames would simply “split” and move past the huddled family and animals, moving on its way, leaving the family behind, alive. 

God’s Holy Word says that there is a wildfire coming – a wildfire of the Lord’s own making: And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 (NLT)  And again: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. – 2 Peter 3:9-10 (KJV)

Yes, the fire is coming.  No one will be able to outrun it. No one will be able to hide from it.  We need to find a safe place to stand when it happens so that we are not swept away.  The good news is that God created that safe place for us.  At the foot of the cross is the only patch of scorched earth where we can and will be safe.  Let us rush to the safety that God offers, for the fire may be much closer than we think.

Prayer: You are our Shelter, Lord Jesus.  At the foot of the cross we run to You for deliverance from the fire that is sweeping our way.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 9/15/15 – A Memo From Reality

DayBreaks for 9/15/15: A Memo from Reality

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

You always know it is bad news when the phone rings at 5:00 in the morning. Phones aren’t supposed to ring at that time of day. In fact, I think that if someone invented a phone that had a time sensor in it that could be programmed not to ring between certain hours, that the phone would never ring at 2, 3, 4 or 5 in the morning.  But when it does, you reach for it with a sense of dread.

So it was at our home in Cloverdale on Tuesday morning, 9/6. My wife reached for the phone and I could tell that it was her brother, Rick. Laurel and Rick’s dad has had Alzheimer’s disease for over 5 years now. The call was to let us know that he had passed away at about 4 in the morning on 9/6. It wasn’t expected – even though he’d been admitted to the hospital on 9/4, they believed that he’d be discharged and sent home on 9/6. Well, he went home, all right, but not to any home in this world. As a Christian, he’s now entered his mansion, met the Lord, and joined the heavenly choir of praise.

Still, this phone call was a memo from reality. Memos are to remind us of things we might otherwise forget. And how quickly we “forget” the things that we don’t want to contemplate, like death. Our daily existence is uncertain – the nurse had been in to see my father-in-law and take his vitals at 3:30 a.m., and he was fine. She returned at 4 to give him some medication, and he was gone. For all the plans that had been made to bring him home from the hospital that morning, those plans were frustrated by God’s intervention. We can make all the plans we want, but God is sovereign and can change them overnight.

As we gathered with some of my wife’s relatives lately to remember and celebrate the life of her dad, my wife commented to me that some day, our children would gather in such a setting for one (or both) of us – to remember, and hopefully celebrate, our life. It struck me as a very sobering truth. I will die, I will leave my children and grandchildren behind.

It isn’t wise to deny what we know to be true. The truth ultimately wins out.  And Jesus is truth. 

We all deny some aspects of reality, fleeing from it as if it were a leper. What truth are you hiding from today? Is it some sin that you are ignoring in your life while still practicing it? Maybe you’re fooling yourself by thinking that while others sins will find them out, yours will stay hidden. It won’t – it will be revealed, just like my sins will be revealed. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that you’re still young and you have a lot of time and that you don’t have to surrender your lifestyle to the Lord until you’re much older. How many have gone to hell for that very way of thinking? 

I hope and pray that when God gives you a memo from reality (perhaps even this DayBreaks will serve that purpose in your life), that you’ll read it carefully and apply it to your life by facing the truth it contains.

Job 17:1 – My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for reminders that You send us from heaven to remind us of reality! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/01/14 – Don’t Go Over the Edge!

DayBreaks for 10/01/14 – Don’t Go Over the Edge

Hebrews 12:25 (MSG) – So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings?

In every cliffhanger action movie, at some point in the chase scene an enormous chasm suddenly appears before the hero as he flees the bad guys. The only way across is an incredibly narrow, rickety, mostly-rotten bridge. The way forward looks terrible. But the way back is certain death. So, of course, our hero bravely steps or drives forward and steels himself to cross the abyss on the frail and shaky bridge.

“Cliffhangers” being appropriately named, the results are pretty predictable. Although the hero always manages to make it, the bridge itself collapses or is cut down by the bad guys, and the way across is lost for all time.

There is a reason bridges strike such fear into us at the thought of crossing over on them.

I have no problem driving a car across a bridge going 50-60-70 mph. Have you ever had a problem? When I’m going across I know there are huge drop-offs on either side of the bridge, but I never once have hugged the guard-rails or bumped into an iron barrier one on the way across. I’m never tempted to get close to the edge, and when a car edges me to the side, I negotiate the side of the bridge as if there were no safety rails.

But take away the scaffolding — take away the guard rails, the concrete and steel side girders, the bumper-barricades on the bridge – and I’m now a different driver. I’m crawling across that bridge 5 or 10 mph at best. Without any protection to keep my car from driving right off the bridge, I’m not sure I could even make it 100 yards across any bridge.

We all need guard rails and barriers. They help us get across the chasms and abysms of life. But the guard rails and barriers work best when they aren’t noticed, or celebrated, or even acknowledged. If they’re there, you don’t need them. If they’re not there, you and I can’t move, frozen in fear, or we risk going off the deep end.

PRAYER: Forgive our anger that does not work the righteousness of God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 5/10/11 – Kicking the Dog

DayBreaks for 05/10/11 – Kicking the Dog

Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. – Proverbs 8:33

In his book Resolving Everyday Conflict, Ken Sande tells a very revealing story about a time he watched a visually impaired woman resist the repeated warnings of her loyal and protective guide dog:

“One day during my morning run I noticed a blind woman walking on the other side of the street with her Seeing Eye dog, a beautiful golden retriever. As I was about to pass them, I noticed a car blocking a driveway a few paces ahead of them. At that moment the dog paused and gently pressed his shoulder against the woman’s leg, signaling her to turn aside so they could get around the car.

“I’m sure she normally followed his lead, but that day she didn’t seem to trust him. She had probably walked this route many times before and knew this was not the normal place to make a turn. Whatever the cause, she wouldn’t move to the side and instead gave him the signal to move ahead. He again pressed his shoulder against her leg, trying to guide her on a safe path. She angrily ordered her to go forward. When he again declined, her temper flared.

“I was about to speak up … when the dog once more put his shoulder gently against her leg. Sure enough, she kicked him …. And then she impulsively stepped forward—and bumped square into a car. Reaching out to feel the shape in front of her, she immediately realized what had happened. Dropping to her knees, she threw her arms around the dog, and spoke sobbing words into his ear.” – Ken Sande, Resolving Everyday Conflict (Baker Books, 2011), pp. 99-100

How many times have I read or heard the warnings in the Word, only to turn from them when I have an opportunity?  Why is it that we don’t take the warnings more seriously?  Do we believe they were issued by a God who long ago ceased to care, or Who lacks the power to follow through on His Words about how judgment falls on the wayward?  Is it just because we, like Adam and Eve, didn’t drop dead the moment we first sinned and we thereby conclude that this sin thing isn’t all that big of a deal to God anyway?

Warnings are just that: they caution us against crashing and burning, against impending disaster.  We would do well to commit Proverbs 8:33 to heart!

PRAYER: Thank You for the warnings You have given us.  May Your Spirit burn within us to follow them!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 03/24/11 – The Agony of Defeat

DayBreaks for 03/24/11 – The Agony of Defeat

 

Not all defeats are truly defeats...

For years as a young boy, I watched ABC-TV’s “The Wide World of Sports” religiously.  I have always loved sports in nearly every incarnation.  It didn’t matter if you were talking hunting, fishing, climbing, or any other sport – I would turn it on and watch!  One of the most memorable parts of the show was the opening sequence, that described “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  The agony of defeat was well illustrated with a clip of a painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The skier seemed to be in great shape coming down the ramp to attempt his jump, but then, for no apparent reason, the skier tumbles head over heels off the near side of the jump, bouncing off the supporting structure as part of his horrific crash.

 

What viewers never knew what that the skier in the clip chose to fall rather than make the jump. He explained why he did it later: the ramp had become too fast, and when he was about half-way down the ramp, he knew that if he went ahead with the jump that he would land on the level ground, well beyond the safely sloping landing area.  To land on the level ground could have been fatal, or could have snapped his spine like a twig, so he purposely aborted the jump..

As it turned out, the skier suffered no more than a headache from the tumble though for all intents and appearances, one would think he must have broken a dozen bones.

To change course in life can be a dramatic and painful, but change is better than a fatal landing at the end.  The wise will hear the warnings of the Lord and will change, before it is too late.

The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin. – Proverbs 10:8

PRAYER: Help us see truth, to recognize danger, and to make the changes in our life that You show us before we crash and burn!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.