DayBreaks for 9/23/14: Green Pastures, Still Waters

DayBreaks for 9/23/14 – Green Pastures, Still Waters

Psalm 23:2 (NKJV) - He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

I’ve been to Israel and I can tell you, I sure didn’t see many green pastures.  Perhaps it was the wrong time of year – and the green pastures would have been higher up on the mountain ranges or perhaps we were just in the wrong places – but water seemed to be rather scarce, and precious.

The Shepherd of David’s beloved psalm knows where to find the green pastures.  He leads his sheep there…and then, he “makes” them lie down.

How do you make sheep lie down?  You sure don’t do it by yelling at them, smacking them with a staff or chasing them around until they’re so tired that they collapse.  No, those things won’t work with sheep, and chasing them can even lead to their demise.  You see, sheep are very timid and frightened creatures.  And that’s what makes this statement even more wonderful.

The shepherd knows what sheep are like.  The way to get them to lie down is to take them into a peaceful place, to even sing to them, to talk soothingly to calm their fearful little hearts.  That’s how you make sheep lie down!  Jesus makes us lie down in utter peace and stills our racing hearts.

And he doesn’t make us lie down in the middle of the desert, but he has surrounded us with sustenance.  The sheep aren’t worrying about where their next meal will come from because the shepherd has always taken care of them and they trust he will…after all, just look around!

Last night, did you “lie down” in peacefulness?  Or was your heart racing, wondering how you and your family will survive, or how you’ll do this-or-that?  Were you worrying about where the next meal will come from?  The sheep don’t manufacture the grass that surrounds them in verse two.  When talking about the shepherd in this Psalm, it is the shepherd Himself who manufactures the grass, waters it, and provides it in abundance.  All the worrying of all the sheep in the flock can’t produce a single blade of grass.

And the still waters?  Sheep are terrified of flowing water: they can’t swim well at all, especially when their wool is thick.  They need still water: this, too, the Shepherd knows.

Still water, green meadows, laying down to rest – what a wonderful Shepherd we have!

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus, let us rest in your meadow this day and forevermore may we be comforted by your Shepherd song to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/19/14 – The Journey

DayBreaks for 9/19/14 – The Journey

NOTE: Galen is traveling.  Here’s a DayBreaks from the archive, dated 9/10/2004:

“Jesus draw me ever nearer

As I labor through the storm.

You have called me to this passing

And I’ll follow though I’m worn.

 

“May this journey bring a blessing

May I rise on wings of faith

And at the end of my hearts testing

With Your likeness let me wake.

 

“Jesus guide me through the tempest

Keep my spirit staid and sure

When the midnight meets the morning

Let me love You even more.

 

“Let the treasures of the trial

Form within me as I go.

And at the end of this long passage

Let me leave them at Your throne.”

(Words by Margaret Becker, copyright Modern M Music, from the album In Christ Alone by Margaret Becker, Maire Brennan, Joanne Hogg)

I am writing this DayBreaks on 9/3 (yes, I often write them in advance!)  I believe today may have been a watershed day in my life.  No, nothing so earth-shattering as being visited by angels (at least not visible ones), or even aliens.  Something even more happened.  Sometimes the most earth-shattering things though, are the things that shatter our hearts and leave us trembling before the throne of the most gracious, almighty God of heaven.

Sometimes God has a very hard time getting through to us, past our self-defenses and rationalizations.  One of the things that I find can penetrate my self-constructed armor is truth that is put to music.  Sometimes my desire for God’s will is not what it should be.  Sometimes I really struggle to want to do what He wants, to live like He wants me to live – and that’s not a good thing for a pastor to say.  But it’s true.  And you know what?  It’s true of your pastor, too.

This song (actually the entire album) says what my spirit can shout “Amen!” to.  From somewhere deep inside me, the Spirit touched me today and renewed my desire to be fully obedient to God, to drop my armor, admit my failings, and then to simply bask in the wonder and glory of His love and forgiveness.

The weariness of this world is a burden that breaks us.  The ever pressing enemy is relentless.  The number of rationalizations we can construct are phenomenal.  But bottom line is the question: what is the truth about my life and God?  Deep within me I discovered that I still want to awake some day with His likeness hiding all of me, after my testing is through.  And I long to rise on wings of faith and stop my staggering steps.  With each morning, I want to love Him more as the sun kisses the earth and the darkness disappears.  I need to see that there are treasures in the trial – treasures that lay up in heaven, not on earth, and that each day, each part of the trial forms those treasures in me.  But I shall not carry them forever – at the end of the passage, I will forever leave them at the pierced feet of the One who sits on the throne.

Rev. 5:13b (NLT)  – Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.

Psalm 113:1-9 (NLT)  – Praise the Lord!  Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord.  Praise the name of the Lord!  Blessed be the name of the Lord forever and ever.  Everywhere—from east to west—praise the name of the Lord.  For the Lord is high above the nations; his glory is far greater than the heavens.  Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high?  Far below him are the heavens and the earth.  He stoops to look, and he lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump.  He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people!  He gives the barren woman a home, so that she becomes a happy mother.  Praise the Lord!

Copyright by 2004 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Father, thank You for being all-sufficient for the journey and for accompanying us as we travel!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/17/14 – Wanting for Nothing

DayBreaks for 9/17/14 – Wanting for Nothing

Ps. 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

This is perhaps the best known verse in all Scripture.  Even little children now it by heart.  If they have gone to church, or been read Bible stories at all, they’ve seen pictures of Jesus carrying a lamb, or Jesus surrounded by children and lambs.  They may not know what a shepherd is, but they love the imagery and get the sense that it is something good, something safe…and that Jesus is a welcoming character, not a forbidding one.

David certainly understood what a shepherd was and what the job entailed.  He must have been picturing himself as a sheep when he wrote this passage.

What did he mean by “I shall not want”?  After all, if you read the Psalms, there were many things that David wanted: he wanted peace, he wanted his pursuers to be destroyed, he wanted a clean heart…read them for yourselves.

I don’t think that he was so much stating something about himself, though, when he wrote this.  I think it is more a statement of his faith and trust in the shepherd.  He wasn’t claiming that he didn’t want things, but that he knew the Shepherd would give him what he needed – and that was good enough for him.  It is a statement that he is trusting the Lord, his Shepherd, for the future.

I confess that I often struggle to trust the future to Him.  I try to figure out what I will do to make so-and-so happen, or what I’ll do “if” happens.  David seems to be content, at least as he wrote this verse, to let all that go and let his Shepherd worry about it.

Wise decision.

PRAYER: Father, let us not worry about what You will give us, but trust in Your goodness to give us all we need!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines

DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines

Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV) Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

We have heard this verse many, many times, especially the part about “choose this day whom you will serve.”  It is emblazoned on plaques, place settings and paintings.  I have absolutely no problem with that at all.

But look more closely at the context.  It is the end of Joshua’s long and distinguished career.  He had huge shoes to fill…and he filled them admirably.  I look forward to meeting him some day.  He must have been quite a man.

But what does he say?  He says, “Put away…”, not “You have put away…”  Do you get it?  The children of Israel that he’d led into Canaan were still carrying with them some of the gods that their fathers had worshipped in Egypt. This was a good number of years after they’d left Egypt and none of their ancestors (with the exceptions of Joshua and Caleb) who had tasted the whip and slavery in Egypt were alive any longer.  So the current generation had not worshiped those gods, but neither had they gotten rid of them.  They’d clung to them.  And, it would appear, they were still worshiping them.

This puts Joshua’s challenge to them in a new light.  These weren’t just polite, encouraging words.  Joshua was scolding them.  In effect, if you will, Joshua was telling them “Stop playing around with your faith! Get serious!  Make a decision!  If you want to keep worshiping those old gods, go ahead.  If you want to worship God, do so!  But whatever you do, make a decision and be done with your waffling!”

What would you have done if you’d been one of the Israelites?  Does Joshua’s challenge apply to you and me today?  You bet it does, perhaps more so in our country than ever before.  We must decide…and we must decide this day for we may not have another one!

PRAYER: We are prone to play with our faith and dabble with false idols.  May we take these words to heart, Lord, and with your help, resolve to be done playing games with our faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/15/14: A Dying Psalmist’s Final Message

DayBreaks for 9/15/14 – A Dying Psalmist’s Final Message

_MG_4675

Harp at the entry to the City of David archaeological site, Jerusalem. Galen C. Dalrymple, August 2014

I suspect that we have all imagined the end of our lives: what will it be like?  What will I feel?  What will I think?  Where will I be?  What will be my final words?  What will the legacy I leave behind be like?

We are probably less prone to think about the last days of the lives of others – especially those we have never met and who may have lived long before us.  What were the final days of Adam like as he looked back on his life?  Noah?  Abraham?  Moses?

We don’t really know in may cases, though we have a hint with some of the ancient Bible characters.  We have some of Moses’ final words in his charge to Israel – and the same is true with his successor, Joshua.  We know Jesus’ last words.  Whether or not you realize it, we have something close to that with the Psalmist, David.

As he sat down his harp and quill for the last time, as he contemplated his life in the rear-view mirror, what might he have been thinking?  I would imagine his mind swept back over the decades to the early days in the field with the flocks and with battle with wild animals he killed while defending the sheep.  Certainly, he would have thought of the famous encounter with Goliath…the first person he killed and a great victory by any measure.  He may would have perhaps relived the pursuit by Saul, the first stirrings of love for his first wife.  And, then, things would have changed. 

His mind would have replayed the infidelity with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, the death of the son, the rape of his daughter by her brother, the rebellion of Absalom as he tried to wrest the throne from his father.  David would have considered the suffering and deaths of thousands that God visited upon Israel for David trusting in the might of the army instead of God. 

So, what would David’s final Psalm have to say?  Psalm 145 is believed to be the last of the psalms that were written by the shepherd-singer-warrior-king.  Does David bemoan his mistakes?  Does he confess to God his wrong-doings and plead for mercy? 

No.  Assuming that David wrote this very near the end of his long life, he doesn’t have time for that.  As he senses the coming inevitability, there is only time for what is most important and the words begin to flow from his pen: Psalm 145:1-3 (NLT) I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.

The scarred and weary king has only one thing on his mind: the greatness of God.  And he should know.  David doesn’t seem to have a shred of a doubt about God and about what would happen to his own soul, in spite of his failure and sin.  Why?  Because he knew this God – a God of greatness, a God full of compassion and mercy (read on in the psalm to see these things).

I can only hope and pray that I, when my time comes, will be able to look back at my life and see it in its full sweep and know that, in spite of my failings, God will not fail me when I draw my last breath.  I only hope and pray that I will know Him well enough that I will rest easy in His promises to be faithful, in His love for me, and the truth of His forgiveness.  As with David, it won’t be because I deserve it, but because of one thing and one things only: He is good!

PRAYER: God, how great and wonderful You are!  May our final hours be filled with Your praise and let us proclaim Your goodness and greatness with our final breath!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/12/14 – Forgiving the Inexcusable

DayBreaks for 9/12/14 – Forgiving the Inexcusable

“God, I can never forgive what he did to me.  What he did is inexcusable!  There is no possible justification other than just pure evil and meanness!”

My guess is that if we haven’t all thought those specific words, we’ve thought things close to them.  Right now, my guess is that the families of the American journalists who were beheaded by ISIS/ISIL have felt those things.  What possible justification is there for what happened to their sons?  What makes any human think that sawing the head off of another human being can be excused for any reason?

How easy it is for us to fall into the trap of thinking that our own wrong-doings are excusable: “Lord, you made me the way I am”, or “Lord, you can’t blame me because my spouse just pushed me too far this time!”  We are all geniuses when it comes to creating excuses for our own actions and thoughts.  And we all have a hard time understanding the motives of others – and an even harder time excusing them and forgiving them.

But, as he often does, C.S. Lewis put it in just one sentence that challenges us in our thinking and attitudes: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

God truly has forgiven the inexcusable in each of us.  Will we do likewise for others?

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT) - Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

PRAYER: Thank you for forgiving us when we have no excuse for what we’d done!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/11/14 – The Danger Lurks Within

DayBreaks for 9/11/14 – The Danger Within

Romans 7:20 (MSG) My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

The famous French author, Victor Hugo, has a short story titled, “93.” In the midst of this tale a ship at sea is caught in a terrific storm. Buffeted by the waves, the boat rocks to and fro, when suddenly the crew hears an awesome crashing sound below deck. They know what it is. A cannon they are carrying has broken loose and is smashing into the ship’s sides with every list of the ship. Two brave sailors, at the risk of their lives, manage to go below and fasten it again, for they know that the heavy cannon on the inside of their ship is more dangerous to them than the storm on the outside.

So it is with you and I. In spite of all the external problems we may have in our lives or in the world around us, the problems within are often much more destructive to us than the problems without.

PRAYER: Lord, how desperately we need You to change us from the inside out, to remake our hearts and minds into things which bring you glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!