DayBreaks for 1/16/18 – The Prescription for an Untroubled Heart

Image result for troubled heart

DayBreaks for 1/16/18: The Prescription for an Untroubled Heart

John 14:1(ESV) – Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Troubled hearts are everywhere. My guess is you have something that is troubling your heart. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. Scripture tells us to not be anxious – but just like this verse from Jesus, that’s far easier to say than to do. So how do we go about getting an untroubled heart?

Believe in God; believe also in me. Seven simple words, the longest consisting of just seven letters and two syllables. So how does it work?

First, think about what is troubling your heart. Is it fear of illness? Loss of job or home? A child who is in rebellion? A marriage that is falling apart? Ability to pay the bills? My guess is that you can come up with several things. It really doesn’t matter what it is, the cause of troubled hearts is found in this passage, this one little verse. Our hearts are troubled when we believe that God doesn’t know, care, or is powerless and indifferent to do anything. It is much harder to believe in someone or something you can’t see (like God), so Jesus makes it much more personal (“believe also in me”). The disciples had seen, touched and smelled Jesus and had seen his care and concern.

The hard part, of course, is always that we do not know what God will specifically do in any given situation. Will he heal? Will be lose our job? Will we go broke? Will someone die? Will the company be sold or go under? I don’t know the answers to those questions in my own life, let alone yours. But if our faith is based on some specific action that God will do, rather than His character and His promise to make all things work for our good, we aren’t really trusting or believing in God.

We need to also believe in His power. If I were to say to you, “Believe in Galen, believe in me for a trouble-free heart!” would you take that advice to heart? I would hope not! I have neither the power to fix what’s troubling you nor the wisdom to make sure that whatever is going on in your life will work out for your good and not harm. God, and Jesus, however, have both the power to fix it but also the wisdom to know whether or not it would be good for you if they fixed it in the way you want them to fix it.

It’s still easier said than done. But the key is to believe in God and in Jesus. Believe in their power, but even more in their wisdom to do what is right. No matter what happens in life, that is the key to a trouble-free heart.

PRAYER: Lord, we all need to heed your advice to us because our hearts are all troubled! Help us, we pray, to believe in You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 1/4/17 – The God Who Runs Away

DayBreaks for 1/04/17: The God Who Runs Away

John Thomas Randolph offers a relatively modern story of running and returning to illustrate our Lord’s circumstances.

Here is the difference between cowardice and heroism. The coward runs away and stays away. The hero runs away but he always returns at the appropriate time.

There is a biography of General Douglas MacArthur that was written by Bob Considine. The picture on the front cover shows the general standing like a boulder, looking off into the distance, with that famous corncob pipe in his mouth. You can almost hear him telling the people of the Philippines, “I came through and I shall return.” Ordered to make a strategic withdrawal, his promise to return became the rallying cry for a whole country. MacArthur had to “run away” for a while, but he would “return” – and it was the returning that mattered most.

My copy of the Bible entitles a section of Scripture, “The Flight into Egypt.” Cruel Herod the king had been threatened by the birth of Jesus, apparently fearing that Jesus would become a competitor for his own crown. Since that was an intolerable possibility to him, and since he could not be absolutely sure which baby boy was Jesus, he ordered that all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two-years old or under be killed. Thus it was that an angel of the Lord directed Joseph to take Jesus and Mary and to “flee to Egypt.”

Can you imagine it? God on the run! Jesus, the Christ, fleeing for his life!… He is running for his life…

If this scene is shocking for you then hold on, for there is more to come. We can imagine Joseph escaping into Egypt with the baby Jesus. But, surely, we think, if Jesus were only a full-grown man, he would not run from Herod. The evidence, however, does not completely support our thought.

There were times, even as an adult, when Jesus ran away. During the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem one winter, some people wanted Jesus to tell them “plainly” if he was, indeed, the Christ. When Jesus answered, I and the Father are one, they took up stones to stone him. We read, Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. (John 10:39) Notice that word, again”; apparently Jesus had to run away on other occasions, too.

There is no getting away from it: Christmas tells us that God chose to make himself vulnerable when he revealed himself in a person who, sometimes, at least, had to run away from people like Herod and the stone-throwers.

The vulnerability of Christ is a great thing because it makes it easier for us to admit our own vulnerability. We may like to think that we are super men and women, but we are not. There are powers and people who can hurt us and destroy us. There are times when we need to run away! You see, running away is not always cowardice as many of us have been taught to believe. Running away, at times, may he part of a very wise strategy. As the old saying goes: “He who runs away lives to fight another day.”

There are times, of course, when we cannot run away. There are times when we must not run away. There are times when running away is cowardice. Jesus did not run away from his betrayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus did not run away from the cross or the grave. There are times when we must stand our ground, no matter what the cost.

Nevertheless, there are other times when it is wise to run away. Timing has a lot to do with it. So do our intentions about returning. For after the time of running away, there should always be a time of returning. All of our running away, as Christians, should be with the ultimate goal of returning.

Why do we run away? When I look at my own experience, I find that I usually run away for one of three reasons: I am frightened; I am fatigued; or I am frustrated. Isn’t that why you run away too?

PRAYER: May we always have the courage to return to the fight after we have run away. Let us be people of discernment so we wisely choose when to run – and when to stand! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/5/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again

DayBreaks for 7/05/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

At a conference I attended in February, Tony Campolo told about a survey that was done with a group of people who were 95 years old.  They asked these people to reflect on how they’d do their lives over again if they could – what changes they might make.  Their responses reflected the wisdom that can only come from having lived so long, and we would do well to listen and learn from them.  Here’s their top three responses:

FIRST: We’d reflect more – create a “thin place”.  Rather than jumping to conclusions and judgments, rather than rushing so hard to get through each day and onto the next task, they would stop to think more about the beauty of a flower, the sound of the birds, the meaning of life and what makes it worth living.  They found that busyness was not a satisfactory answer – they’d done too much of that and wished they’d taken more time to create a place where they could be near to important things and to God;

SECOND: We’d risk more – This may seem like a contradiction of the first item.  Reflection would tend to make us think that we’d take less risk, not more.  But what they were really saying is that when we become so concerned about ourselves that we’re afraid to give, afraid to love, afraid to dare and dream great things, we become smaller people who die a bit faster.  The human body ages not because the cells die, but because they stop dividing.  They become more “self-centered”, afraid to risk dividing and giving and “taking a chance.”  How tragic when we let our fears keep us from attempting things of value – great things for God.

THIRD: We’d do more that would live on after we’re gone.  Oh, this one makes me draw in my breath.  We are so very busy with just trying to maintain our standard of living, to keep the bills paid, that we don’t invest much time in our children, our grandchildren, the lives of our neighbors, co-workers and loved ones.  The things you do at work every day may or may not live on after you’re gone.  But know this: only those things which are done for others, and especially for God, will live on after you have died.  And since people are the only things that will go on into eternity from this world, it is in people that we should invest like there is no tomorrow – because there may not be.

Will we have the wisdom to learn from these aged sages and to make the changes we need in our lives to think more, to risk more and to do more that will outlive us? 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, slow us down.  Bring us into the quiet place where we can meet with you and hear your voice telling us how you want us to re-order our lives.  Help us to remember that You are the Lord of great things and that You were the greatest risk taker who has ever lived.  And help us to live wisely so that we will invest in things that live on long after we are a faded memory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/01/16 – Wise Philosophy

DayBreaks for 7/01/16 – Wise Philosophy

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Psalms 39:4-7 (NLT) – LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.  My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.  We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth for someone else to spend.  And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.

Our congregation has been hit hard recently with unexpected illnesses.  Some have been to parents of members who are well advanced in years.  Somehow, those things are not as surprising as when they happen to little ones.  We have a family in our church right now who has a little boy (3-1/2 years old) who is lying in Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care unit at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, waiting for a heart transplant.  This little boy suffers from a fatal heart disease and the only hope for him (barring God’s miraculous intervention which we are all praying for) is a heart transplant.  He suffered cardiac arrest around the first of the month and has been on a respirator since then and since having a partial “artificial heart” implanted to help keep him alive until a suitable transplant heart becomes available. 

That just isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen.  When unexpected things happen to little ones, we’re shocked, stunned and grieved beyond words.  Why do these things happen?  I’m not really looking for an answer in the philosophical/religious sense, but I think that one of the many lessons we can, and should learn from these types of things is this one: life is short and so very precious.  It doesn’t really matter if it’s someone in their 80’s or 90’s (life is still short, even if you do live to be that age) or a newborn. 

Someone once came up with this insight:

“Live for Him today – for tomorrow may be too late” versus “Live for today – for tomorrow may never come.”

What a difference between the two attitudes and outlooks.  One is very self centered – living for today implies that we are living for ourselves, for our own existence, and that if we don’t live for today we may regret it when tomorrow comes because we will have missed out on experiences that we could have enjoyed in this life.  The other is outward focused – living for Him – and not worrying about experiences we might miss out on.  In reality, it’s trading one set of experiences in life (and eternity!) for another based on a value judgment that we make. 

We must decide, given the few frail years that we are allotted, where we will place our greatest value and attention.  On ourselves and living for what we can get out of life here and now (because tomorrow may not come), or for Jesus because if we don’t live for him today, we may never live for him (or with him)!

Which of these two philosophies best represents the way you live your life?  What evidence do you have to back up your thinking?

PRAYER:  We have so much to learn, Lord, and we are so prone to trying to learn from all the wrong sources.  Thank you for the reminders in your word that life is uncertain, that death is certain, and that eternal destinies are realities that we must all come to grips with.  Help us to have wisdom to live for You today, trusting that in the end, it will have been absolutely the wisest, and best thing to do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/06/16 – From YHWH to Daddy

DayBreaks for 6/06/16 – From YHWH to Daddy

Exodus 3:14 (NIV) – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’

As Moses was having this encounter with God, he naturally wanted to be able to say Who was sending him back to Egypt. Why? Because the task he was being asked to do would require authority. But I suspect that there was also another reason: the Israelites had become idol worshippers during their 400 years in Egypt and all the Egyptian gods had names. So it would be expected that they would ask the name of the God that sent this dude in from the wilderness to tell the Israelites that it was time to leave.

This is the first time that God gives His personal name in Scripture. The Jews came to so revere this name that it became known as the tetragrammaton. They so revered God that they wouldn’t pronounce the name Yahweh, or Jehovah. Instead they removed the “vowels” and shortened it to YHWH or JHVH. They were not to even pronounce it when thinking about His name because His name was so holy and elevated that humans were not thought worthy to speak it or think it so great was their fear of this mighty God. That is fairly understandable, is it not? They’d witnessed how He’d laid waste to Egypt and they would see His blessing and would taste His displeasure with them in the wilderness and they didn’t want to risk offending him. They came to know him as a “consuming fire” (Dt. 4:24) during the time of Moses. That is why both David and Solomon at different times made the observation that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

And then something happened.

The incarnation changed many, many things forever.  God became flesh…and dwelt among us. And when he was asked by his followers how they should pray, he told them to pray thusly: “Our Father who art in heaven….”  The word, Father, is Abba – it’s not a lofty, power filled word, but simply what a little child calls out: “Daddy!”

In such a short span of about 30 years we moved from YHWH to Daddy because we learned something else about this God that Israel had worshipped: He loves us like precious little children! What cause it? The incarnation…when mankind could finally look into the eyes of God face to face, when we could witness him raise the dead son of a grieving widow, when he touched the unclean lepers, when he gently and graciously spared the woman caught in adultery, when he fed the hungry people of Israel and healed the sick gave sight to the blind.

David and Solomon had a point: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but to my way of thinking, it is only the beginning of wisdom, not the end. The end comes when we have learned to trust him and love him as our Daddy.

PRAYER: Abba, what a blessing it is to call you by that name and to run to your mighty arms and be lifted high and hugged tightly to your heart of love! Thank you for becoming personal to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/15/16 – What Were You Thinking?

The Darwin Awards

DayBreaks for 2/15/16: What Were You Thinking?

Chances are good that if you have been around the internet and have had email for longer than a month, you know what the Darwin Awards are. It has been around since 1994 and they describe themselves (more correctly their winners, this way: Winners of the Darwin Award must die in such an idiotic manner that “their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive.”

I want to be respectful of those who die, and those who loved them, but some of the stories are totally ridiculous. Here’s a case in point: Double Darwin Award: Two men in Kenya were capturing selfies with a wild elephant when they were trampled to death by the irate pachyderm who proceeded to bury the corpses with brush. The two men were actually touching the elephant’s face while taking the photos. Charles Darwin cautions, “When taking sensational selfies, remember the Photoshop option.”

At the end of nearly every one of the Darwin Award stories, I find myself wondering: What were you thinking? How could you possibly have been so stupid?!?!

We sit around thinking we’d never do something so foolish, that we’d never act in such an ignorant or thoughtless way. But that’s where it gets interesting, isn’t it?

I would imagine that God looks at the things we do – at the voices and advice we listen to and act upon – and shakes His head and says to no one in particular: What were you thinking? I gave you so many warnings in the Word about the effect of sin on your life and you choose to do it anyway!

What are you doing these days that is spiritually foolhardy? Does not God give better advice than anyone else you could possibly ask?

While the Darwin Awards may make us wonder – and perhaps laugh at some of the stories – who is the greater fool: someone who does something that knowingly endangers their physical life, or someone who disregards the warnings of the Word and the offer of grace and forgiveness that can bring us from death to life eternal?

Ephesians 2:1-5 (MSG) – It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, you know our hearts. You know how we want to hear that which we want to hear rather than Truth. You know how quickly we run rashly to let the world tell us how to live instead of listening to You. Have mercy on us and give us wisdom that we can know and follow the Truth and live!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 04/11/13 – When I Was Young (and Foolisher)

DayBreaks for 04/11/13 – When I Was Young (and Foolisher)

01NOTE: I am on a missions trip/internship to Africa and will be gone until 5/25.  Please pray for God’s work to go forth mightily, for protection for myself and those with whom I will be working, and for my wife in my absence!  Thank you…I cherish your prayers!  You will be receiving DayBreaks as usual (from the archive) until I’ve returned.

When I was young, I was so certain of all that I knew.  I was so certain that what I knew was right, that all my opinions and my logic was impeccable.  I was full of fire and vinegar!  I was confident of my self-control, and believed that I could do anything I willed myself to do.  In my youthful exuberance I preached sermons against the sinfulness of smoking and all the other vices.  I look back at those times now and cringe at my judgmental heart and attitude.  I had zeal – but where was the wisdom and gentle character of the One I claimed to serve?

Now that I’m older, however, I’ve learned a few things.  I have learned that I cannot trust myself and the things which I was once so certain of have been systematically destroyed, my ivory and steel towers have been torn down.  In fact, now that I’m older, there are very few things of which I am certain.

In my older years, the one thing (perhaps the only thing) of which I can say I’m certain is this: Jesus loves me.  Of that one, I’m sure.

As the moment inexorably draws closer when my spirit will be freed from this “body of death” and it will launch out into eternity, I realize that when I leave this world I will leave it with nothing in my hand.  All the certainties of earth will be stripped away, and only the certainty of eternity will loom before me.  And at that instant when I leave this life behind, my hope will be in nothing except His love and mercy.

Ps 31:14-16 – “14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”  15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.  16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

Ps 143:8 – “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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