DayBreaks for 9/09/19 – Handmade in Heaven

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DayBreaks for 9/09/19: Handmade in Heaven

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:

You’ve read the labels before: “Handmade in Italy.”  “Made by hand in Ireland.”  “Handmade in China.”  Do all three of those statements give you the same feeling?  For many years, “handmade in China” would not stir one to think all that highly of the product, unless it was some special type of pottery or other work of art.  For a long time, “Made in Japan” and “Made in China” had reputations of suggesting poor quality.  To some extent, that has change in more recent times, but problems with toxic paints on toys and other manufacturing issues have once again made us skeptical of things made in places such as China.

On the other hand, “Handmade in Italy” probably would cause one to think that the product is worth something extra.  There is a higher reputation for things made in Italy (for example) versus China.  And the “handmade” part of the label leads one to suspect that an artisan made that particular product. 

What would be the most priceless artifact in history?  It might be hard to say, but I’d venture a guess that if there were a table or chair or some article made out of wood that could be verified as being handmade by Jesus that it would be the most priceless treasure ever found.  Bids would become astronomical!  Alas, no such artifact has ever been found. 

That is not to say, however, that we have nothing that was handmade by Jesus.  We do – plenty of things that were handmade by Him.  The sun, moon, stars, the oceans, mountains, animals…all were made by Him (John 1:3).  Truly, we live in a world of wonders! 

But the very best news is what John 1:3 implies: it means that you are handmade by Jesus!  Scripture speaks about this in many places, including Job 10:10-11 and Psalm 139 (my favorite Psalm).  Now what does THAT say about you?  You are priceless…far more so than a table formed under the blows and gouging planes that Jesus once held in His hands.  Jesus never died for a table or chair, though they’d be priceless today if they could be located.  But He did die for you. 

You are “Handmade by the Lord” and infinitely more precious than anything else in this world!

PRAYER: Thank You for forming us and shaping us by Your precious hands!  May we be worthy representatives of Your handiwork and bring glory to our Maker!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 3/19/19 – Use versus Value

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DayBreaks for 3/19/19: Use Versus Value

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Oswald Chambers devotion for February 21 had this to say: “To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we look, out of fear of offending God…”but perfect love cast out fear…” once we are surrendered to God (I John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.”

Wow. Pretty profound. Consider:

“Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves…” We should pay attention to personal holiness, right? Sure. But should be worry over it? No. Why? Well, to borrow a few words from Jesus: which of us by thought or effort can make ourselves holier than God has already made us? If we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, you just can’t get any holier than that! Yet we stare at the face in the mirror and get overwhelmed by the guilt-stricken individual that we see. When will we learn to fully trust Christ’s work for us on the cross? That the cleansing isn’t temporary or partial or incomplete, but that it is full, complete and eternal? We spend too much time looking at ourselves and our failings and not nearly enough looking at what God has done. We need to surrender our concern about our holiness to Him because He is the One who has pronounced us righteous and holy.

As to the usefulness statements: does it hurt you to know that you aren’t of use to God? Well, I mean, in a way, when you get right down to it, He doesn’t need anything that we can do for Him. He doesn’t need us to make money so He can continue to live surrounded by heaven’s luxuries, He doesn’t need us to make Him dinner, He doesn’t need us at all. He is Self-sufficient. How can you be of use to anyone who is absolute in all regards? You can’t. But as Chambers notes, there is a huge difference between being of use and being of value. Think about it: how much usefulness is there in a 3-day old baby? Not much. They can’t do anything for you. They are helpless and dependent. But now let us ask the other question: how much value does that 3-day old baby have to you? Get the point?

God doesn’t need either me…or you. But does He value you? Absolutely! He places such a high value on you that He bankrupted heaven of its greatest treasure just for you!

Prayer: Help us to trust in the completed work of Jesus and the cleansing You have given us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 11/12/18: Paying Too Much for Too Little

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DayBreaks for 11/12/18: Paying Too Much for Too Little

From the DayBreaks archive, 10/20/98:

From “The Necklace” by Guy Demaupassant: “A couple of moderate means was invited to a lavish company party. The wife, Mathilde, so wanted to impress the guests that she borrowed what she supposed to be a very expensive necklace. They had a great time, and she was proud of the necklace, but the evening was ruined when she arrived home and discovered the necklace had been lost without notice.

“In order to pay for the lost necklace, the couple moved into a cheap, run-down apartment, and both worked at whatever jobs were available. It took them 10 long years to repay the debt. Old and worn down, the wife saw her friend from who she had borrowed the necklace. Unrecognized, Mathilde told her friend the truth about what had happened. Great was her shock when her friend Jeannie told Mathilde the necklace was only cheap glass – an imitation, worth only a few dollars.”

Galen’s thoughts: There are sharply contrasting lessons for us here:

FIRST – the couple reminds me of humanity. I respect their integrity to replace the necklace. But they spent far too much for something that had little value. They shelled out 10 years of their life for an imitation of the real thing. But haven’t we all been there? Investing time in the wrong places and things – thinking that things had great value only to discover too late that they were cheap imitations? We pay a great price for things of no value, but are we truly willing to spend our entire life for the true pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45-46) – knowing God and being known by Him?

SECOND: before buying anything, we consider the price/value relationship – at least at some level. Is it well made? Will it last? Will it do what I want? How badly do I want it compared to what must I spend to get it? Consider for a moment the price God paid for humanity. If you are like me, you’re tempted to say, “He paid too much for too little” – we don’t do what He wants and we are prone to great failures. But God has a different perspective on it than we do. What loving father wouldn’t give his own life to save his child? God knows better than we how great the cost was – and we weren’t cheap.

Let’s make sure that what we are living (and dying) for is worth what we’re paying for it. And let’s also make sure that the life we’re living is worthy of His investment!

PRAYER: Help us recognize the genuine article and discern that which is fake and useless! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/22/18 – Paying Too Much for Too Little

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DayBreaks for 10/22/18: Paying too Much for too Little

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

From “The Necklace” by Guy Demaupassant: “A couple of moderate means was invited to a lavish company party. The wife, Mathilde, so wanted to impress the guests that she borrowed what she supposed to be a very expensive necklace. They had a great time, and she was proud of the necklace, but the evening was ruined when she arrived home and discovered the necklace had been lost without notice.

“In order to pay for the lost necklace, the couple moved into a cheap, run-down apartment, and both worked at whatever jobs were available. It took them 10 long years to repay the debt. Old and worn down, the wife saw her friend from who she had borrowed the necklace. Unrecognized, Mathilde told her friend the truth about what had happened. Great was her shock when her friend Jeannie told Mathilde the necklace was only cheap glass – an imitation, worth only a few dollars.”

Galen’s thoughts: There are sharply contrasting lessons for us here:

FIRST – the couple reminds me of humanity. I respect their integrity to replace the necklace. But they spent far too much for something that had little value. They shelled out 10 years of their life for an imitation of the real thing. But haven’t we all been there? Investing time in the wrong places and things – thinking that things had great value only to discover too late that they were cheap imitations? We pay a great price for things of no value, but are we truly willing to spend our entire life for the true pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45-46) – knowing God and being known by Him?

SECOND: before buying anything, we consider the price/value relationship – at least at some level. Is it well made? Will it last? Will it do what I want? How badly do I want it compared to what must I spend to get it? Consider for a moment the price God paid for humanity. If you are like me, you’re tempted to say, “He paid too much for too little” – we don’t do what He wants and we are prone to great failures. But God has a different perspective on it than we do. What loving father wouldn’t give his own life to save his child? God knows better than we how great the cost was – and we weren’t cheap.

Let’s make sure that what we are living (and dying) for is worth what we’re paying for it. And let’s also make sure that the life we’re living is worthy of His investment!

PRAYER: Give us the wisdom to recognize true value in life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/01/17 – What to Value

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DayBreaks for 12/01/17: What to Value

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Can you believe it?  Tomorrow is the first of December.  I both hate and love this time of the year.  I love the smells of Christmas – cookies, hot apple cider, turkey and pie.  I love the sounds of Christmas – carols have always been among my favorite music – the laughter of children, the sound of friends greeting one another with “Merry Christmas!”  I love the sights of the holidays – the colorful lights up and down the main street and on the homes in town, the decorations on the tree.  I love the feel of Christmas – the cold nip in the air, the freshness and the feeling of warmth while bundled up in spite of the temperature outside, the fire in the hearth.  What’s not to love?

Well, for ministers, this is a very, very busy time of the year.  Each year, my wife and I say, “Let’s keep it simple this year.”  We’re not talking about just our own Christmas, but also the Christmas that we will share with the congregation God has blessed us with.  Yet, there are certain expectations – Christmas music, perhaps a skit or play, decorations, and the thing I dread perhaps more than any of the rest of it: putting together Christmas sermons!  I don’t mind the shopping that much, but it is the busyness that floods over my soul, and so by the time the holidays are over, I’m worn out, worn down and flat.

It is enough to make one pause to reflect on what is really important. 

It was reported that 11 millionaires went down on the Titanic.  Major A. H. Peuchen left $300,000,000 in money, jewelry, and securities in a box in his cabin.  “The money seemed a mockery at that time,” he later said.  “I picked up 3 oranges instead.”

This year, I pray we will have the sense to pick up oranges – to stay focused on what is of value and what brings the peace and joy that we are to find in this season of remembrance.  Let us value the Who of Christmas.  Let us let go of other things that have so little value as to be meaningless in light of the coming of the One promised from the garden of Eden to take away our sins. 

I know it’s rather early for a Christmas DayBreaks, but if you don’t enter into this month with firm conviction and principles about how you’ll live this month, you’ll likely find yourself right back in the same frantic rush – and perhaps miss the real Value.

PRAYER: Give us discerning hearts, dear Father, to do what is important and not do anything that has no real value, especially at this time of the year.  Give us the wisdom to say “No” when we need to in order to stay focused on the things which really mean something!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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.

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.  ><}}}”>