DayBreaks for 8/29/14 – Of Dead Ducks and Hurting Christians

DayBreaks for 8/29/14 – Of Dead Ducks and Hurting Believers

Bob Hodges, a Presbyterian minister in Rogersville, Tennessee, tells about duck hunting with a friend of his on Cherokee Lake in East Tennessee. His friend, Riley, who had just recently become a believer, started asking some serious questions about his Christian experience. Riley’s old friends were making it very difficult for him to remain consistent in his obedience and commitment to Christ. They seemed to delight in trying to get him to fall back into the old patterns of life. They ridiculed him for spending so much time with “the preacher.” Riley asked, “Why is it that I’m having more trouble since I became a Christian than I ever did when I was lost? Everything seems to go wrong. I’m having such a struggle!”

Bob Hodges spoke up, “I’ll tell you why, Riley. A couple of ducks fly over and you shoot. You kill one and injure the other. They both fall into the lake. What do you do? You have to get out of the boat and go pick up the ducks, but which one do you go after first?”

“Well,” Riley drawled, “that’s easy. I go after the injured one first. The dead one ain’t goin’ nowhere!”

Hodges said, “And that’s the way it is with the devil. He goes after injured Christians. He’s not going to bother with the man dead in his sin. But the minute you give your life to Christ, you’d better get ready; the devil is going to come after you. He is going to chase you; he’s going to make it hard on you.”

If you find your Christian walk to be very difficult, if Satan isn’t giving you a moment’s worth of peace, perhaps this is why.  Satan is not a fool.  He won’t go after “dead” believers, but he recognizes wounded ones easily and goes after them with a vengeance.

How different from the ways of the Lord!   Isaiah 42:1-3 (NLT) Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.

Knowing how he operates won’t necessarily make it easier, but it may help you understand the reason the journey is so difficult.

PRAYER: We need strength, Lord, for all the times that Satan attacks us!  We are weak and we pray that in the times of our great weakness that Your Spirit will come speedily to our aid!  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 8/28/14 – It Is Not I

DayBreaks for 8/28/14 – It Is Not I

Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It is said that St. Augustine was accosted one day on the street by a former mistress sometime after he had become a Christian. When he saw her he turned and walked the other way. Surprised, the woman called out, “Augustine, it is I”. Augustine as he kept going the other way, answered her, “Yes, but it is not I.”

It is an amusing story in a way, I suppose, yet also sobering – one that comes close to making the same point the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer made when he wrote “When Christ calls a man to follow him, he calls him to die.”

I don’t like the idea of dying.  Our flesh and fleshly spirit fight against it.  Yet we are all called to die if we choose to live, to lose our life in order to find it, to take up our cross and follow him.  And where does that following of Christ lead us?  Paul put it well in the passage above: My old self has been crucified with Christ.

We might be tempted to take up the cross and follow Jesus, much like Simon the Cyrene who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross.  But when it comes to the place of crucifixion, we’re happy to let Jesus get up on the cross rather than being nailed to it ourselves.  Paul shows us what carrying the cross really means: it means being crucified with Him, not skipping out on the nails and dying that must take place.

Augustine got to the core of it, too.  I’m still struggling to get there.

PRAYER: I know, Jesus, that the invitation to take up the cross and follow you is that it is my own cross that I’m to bear and that the journey will lead to the death of my fleshly nature so that I can take on Your nature.  Still it is hard, Lord!  Help!  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 8/27/14 – Devotees of the Easy Way

DayBreaks for 8/27/14 – Devotees of the Easy Way

There is a story about a young man, eager to make it to the top, who went to a well-known millionaire businessman and asked him the first reason for his success. The businessman answered without hesitation, “Hard work.” After a lengthy pause the young man asked, “What is the SECOND reason?”

Matthew 16:21-25 (NLT) From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. 22  But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” 23  Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” 24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Today, I want to think about the lure of the easy way. Jesus and His disciples were at Caesarea Philippi. Their ministry to this point had been a stunning success. Crowds pressed in on them everywhere they went. People eagerly reached out to touch this attractive young teacher from Nazareth. The disciples themselves were caught up in the excitement of it all. Jesus asked them, “Who do you say I am?” and Simon Peter answered enthusiastically, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” It was one of the most dramatic moments in the disciples’ pilgrimage with Jesus.

Then Jesus abruptly changed the subject. He began to tell them that the crowds would soon turn against Him; He would be crucified, on the third day he would be raised. The disciples didn’t know what to make of all this. Simon Peter took Jesus aside: “Forbid it, Lord, that these things should happen to you.” Jesus’ response to Simon Peter is as harsh as any words in the New Testament: Get behind me Satan! You are not on the side of God but of man.

Perhaps Jesus called Simon Peter ‘Satan’ because of Jesus’ experience in the wilderness immediately after His baptism by John. In today’s parlance, it was there that Satan revealed to Jesus the way to make a million dollars in three easy steps turn stones to bread, leap off the pinnacle of the temple, “Bow down and worship me!” I see Satan not as a red caped figure with a pitchfork but dressed in a $1000 suit and offering in a glib and polished tongue instant success, instant glamour, instant gratification. We can see Satan almost anywhere today. Jesus encountered him this time in Simon Peter: Forbid it, Lord, that you should have to suffer and die.

If there is any doubt that Jesus is resisting the lure of the easy way, listen to the words that follow: If any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

What way are you pursuing in your life?  How can you change today? 

PRAYER: Jesus, I know that I almost always seek the easy way, and that the easy way is very seldom Your way.  May I be more like You! 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 8/26/14 – The Secret Location of Knowing God’s Will

DayBreaks for 8/26/14 – The Secret Location of Knowing God’s Will

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

“God, what should I do for a career?”  “God, is this the person I am to marry?”  “Father, are we supposed to buy this house or not?”  “Lord, what should I say to my wife after the fight we had?”

Don’t you wish that you got really clear answer to questions like those above?  Sometimes we seem to, don’t we?  But sometimes we just are left with huge questions and no answers.

This past Sunday, the minister started a series about hearing God in a noisy world.  And in the message, he pointed out that the secret of knowing if we are making decisions in harmony with God’s will is found in the verses at the top.

Simply put, what the writer of Romans is saying is this: put yourself on the altar – your body (all that you are and do in life) and sacrifice yourself to God.  As we do, God will transform us into a different person by changing how we think.  It is then, the passage concludes, that we will know God’s will.

Bottom line: if we know we are on the altar and if we stay on the altar, we will know His will.  If we have made ourselves into living sacrifices, God will give us a mind that knows His will for us.

It isn’t easy.  We can deceive ourselves about whether we truly are on the altar or not.  To put ourselves on the altar is the hardest thing we will do in our lives.  But if we want to know His will for us, that is the requirement.  It is only when we have determined to sacrifice our will in favor of His, then He will show it to us.

PRAYER: Lord, we fight against crawling on the altar and it is not comfortable to stay there.  Help us remember what Jesus has done for us so that it is something we are not just willing, but eager to do!  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 8/25/14 – Still Singing After All These Years

DayBreaks for 8/26/14 – Still Singing After All These Years

NOTE: Galen and Laurel are relocating to Georgia this week, so warmed-over DayBreaks are on the menu.  New DayBreaks will resume later this week!  From 2004: 

  1. 4:2-9 (NLT) – And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it! The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.  Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads.  And from the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven lampstands with burning flames. They are the seven spirits of God.  In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal.  In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back.  The first of these living beings had the form of a lion; the second looked like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth had the form of an eagle with wings spread out as though in flight.  Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”   
  1. 5:11-14 (NLT) – Then I looked again, and I heard the singing of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “The Lamb is worthy—the Lamb who was killed. He is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They also sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”  And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped God and the Lamb.” 

The vision that John records in the book of Revelation (above) was very similar to a vision that the prophet Isaiah had 800 years earlier (Isaiah 6).  But there are differences, as Mark Buchanan noted in The Holy Wild: in the time of Isaiah, the only ones who sang were the angels.  It was an elite choir, to say the least.  But now, 800 years later, it’s different.  All of heaven and earth join in to sing the song.  That’s one difference, but not the biggest one. 

The second difference: in Isaiah’s vision, the seraphim around the throne use 2 of their wings to cover their eyes.  As holy as these beings are, they would appear to not gaze upon the holiness of God Himself.  It would have been too much, even for them.  In John’s vision, the creatures who surround God’s throne are covered with eyes – all over and on every side.  They still have 6 wings, but even the wings have eyes underneath them.  In short – they can’t help but look upon the Lord who is high and lifted up. 

What changed during those 800 years?  Here it is in a nutshell: “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne.”  This is the Lamb of God that John the Baptist declared took away the world’s sin.  

The difference: Jesus.  He is the difference.  Like Isaiah, we are still people of unclean lips and hearts.  But because of Jesus, that which not even angels once dared to look upon is made visible for all eyes to see, and in fact, God invites us to gaze upon the Son who died for us, but who lives forevermore. 

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!” 

PRAYER: Give us hearts that are ready and willing to surrender anything You ask of us, Lord!  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 8/22/14 – What Is Given Up

DayBreaks for 8/22/14 – What Is Given Up

NOTE: Galen and Laurel are relocating to Georgia this week, so warmed-over DayBreaks are on the menu.  New DayBreaks will resume again sometime next week!  From 2004: 

“Lord, it’s good to talk with you again.  Have you missed me?  I’ve missed You.  I love you, God.  I love You so much!  I’m sorry I’ve not spoken to you more regularly lately.  Let’s see, how long has it been?  Two weeks?  Really?  Well, I’ve been awfully busy, You know.  But, here I am now!  I know, God, that all that I have has come from You.  Thank you for this beautiful home You’ve given me, Lord.  And that You for the second job that You gave me so that I could make my house payments.  Oh, and did I ever thank you for the sports car in the driveway?  And God, I’m sure enjoying the swimming pool in the back yard when it is this hot.  Thank you!  Thank you that my prescription for Prozac is working and I’m finally being able to calm down and not feel so depressed and freaked out.  God, I’d like to have a new computer?  Can you also give me a raise so we can buy that bigger house with the in-ground pool?  And Lord, I don’t want to sound greedy, but my wife’s car is starting to make strange noises and it has 185,000 miles on it and we could sure use a new car.  Thanks, Lord.  

“Lord!  Did I just hear you right?  You want me to give up my beer and pizza night out with the guys?  How dare You ask such a thing!  That’s the problem with You, God, You always want me to give up something, and quite frankly, Lord, I’m getting sick and tired of it!  I’ll think about it, God, but please don’t ask me to give up any more of MY things. 

“Thanks, God, for listening.  I love You!” 

Does that sound like one of your prayers?  We sure ask God for a lot, but when He asks us for something – whether it is 10% of our income, our time, our talent, our energy, our intellect – we start to get defensive right away and we resent that He should have the nerve to ask us to give up anything. 

I like what Calvin Miller had to say in Once Upon a Tree:What is given up is never seen as a real sacrifice between lovers.”  If we truly love God as we profess to do, whatever He would ask us to give up would not really be seen as a sacrifice – it would be more of a gift that one gives to a lover.  Kinda makes me wonder how much we really love God… 

John 14:15 (NIV)  –  “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” 

PRAYER: Give us hearts that are ready and willing to surrender anything You ask of us, Lord!  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 8/21/14 – The Nature of the Kingdom

DayBreaks for 8/21/14 – The Nature of the Kingdom

NOTE: Galen and Laurel are relocating to Georgia this week, so warmed-over DayBreaks are on the menu.  New DayBreaks will resume again sometime next week!  From 2004: 

Luke 13:20-21 (NLT)  –  “He also asked, ‘What else is the Kingdom of God like?  It is like yeast used by a woman making bread. Even though she used a large amount of flour, the yeast permeated every part of the dough.’” 

If someone were to ask you what the status of the kingdom of God is in the world today, what would you say?  Do you believe it is expanding and growing?  Or do you believe that at the present time the forces of evil are gaining ground?  Why do you believe what you do?  What evidence do you have for your conclusion? 

Certainly, if we were to look around and see the evil of mankind on a global basis, we might be tempted to get pretty down about things.  After all, it isn’t a pretty picture that we’d see.  Wars.  Famines (some man-made out of greed).  Diseases.  Things once considered by everyone as being wrong now being declared okay and legal.  Terrorism and orange alerts.  Be-headings.  I could keep going, but the list doesn’t get any better.  You get the point. 

Jesus’ response to the question he asked about the kingdom of God should serve to encourage us.  Several things can be noted: 

FIRST: the kingdom starts from very small beginnings – the leaven isn’t nearly as much in terms of volume as the dough, yet it changes everything once it is applied.  Just because it looks like the kingdom is not faring well, we can’t judge by comparing sizes of the “armies”.  It’s not fair to the “dark side”! 

SECOND: the nature of the kingdom isn’t big and splashy and doesn’t come with fanfare.  The work of the kingdom goes on unseen – you can’t see the leaven as it works in the dough, but it’s there and it is making progress.  The kingdom IS moving forward.  We need to remember that what we see on the surface isn’t the way the kingdom works.  It works in the hearts and minds of people – one person at a time, from the INSIDE. 

THIRD: the dough is helpless to change itself.  It takes an infusion of a foreign agent from the outside to effect the change.  The world is a dark and hopeless place if left to its own devices.  But God wasn’t willing to leave it that way.  First, he started with just one – Jesus.  He then drew others to him as the leaven worked in their hearts.  They went out and preached the word and things happened as the leaven got further into the dough.  Now it’s our job to spread the leaven (not spread ourselves, but HIM!) into the dough that is the world.  That’s the only way it can ever be changed! 

The kingdom will move forward.  Will we move with it? 

PRAYER: Let our feet move in conjunction with Your Spirit to further the kingdom! 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!