DayBreaks for 10/31/14 – The Holiday of Pretending

DayBreaks for 10/31/14 – The Holiday of Pretending

Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV) – You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Halloween is the ultimate holiday of “pretending.”

On Halloween we dress up and “pretend” to be someone or something other than ourselves.  On Halloween we “pretend” to believe that the people jumping out at us and scaring us in the haunted houses” we paid $25 to get into are monsters and zombies. On Halloween we happily “pretend” that the scariest stuff in life are those things that “go bump in the night.” On Halloween we revel in “pretend” bumps instead of bumping into the terrifying realities of evil and cruelty that appear on any street, in any office, at any school, in broad daylight, on any given day – and that’s just a rundown of the terrors of the last two weeks.

Yesterday, the day after “All Hallows Eve,” is known in the liturgical calendar as “All Saints Day.” “All Saints” is a celebration and commemoration of those who were never about pretense, but who devoted their lives to expressing true faithfulness and genuine piety. The church lives, not by the majesty of its beliefs but by the manifestation of its manifold witness through the magnificence of its “communion of saints.”

Who are these “all saints?” The “all saints” are all the everyday, ordinary men and women who live lives of humility and service in Jesus’ name and for his sake. They never “dressed up” or “dressed down” in order to exhibit some “pretend” piety. They never paraded their piety in peacock plumage. Generation after generation of these “all saints” make up the great “Cloud of Witnesses” (the church had “The Cloud” before Microsoft) who make it possible for the historic Jesus of the first century to become the living Christ of the twenty-first century.

The community of “all saints” didn’t need to play “pretend.” Their lives witnessed to the living presence of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who made them all into “transformers,” transformers of lives, transformers of hopes, transformers of dreams, transformers of the world in which they lived.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all were simply clothed with Jesus?

PRAYER: Clothe us in Your righteousness, Jesus, and take away from us our many pretenses. 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 10/30/14 – Jesus’ Criticisms (and Mine)

DayBreaks for 10/30/14 – Jesus’ Criticisms (and Mine)

Romans 14:10 (MSG) – So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit.

Let’s face it: it is very easy to be critical about things, isn’t it?  I’m not saying that it isn’t deserved, or even right at times, to be critical.  People are critical of politicians (rightfully so!).  We criticize our partner’s looks or their cooking or driving.  We criticize our children when we think they don’t put forth enough effort at school or at their chores or sports.  We can, it seems, criticize just about anything and everything.  And we feel justified for it, too, don’t we?

Often we criticize things or people we don’t understand.  Often we don’t make much of an effort to understand them, either.  We just listen to the criticisms others espouse and jump on the band wagon.

As I said, though, criticism isn’t necessarily wrong.  Jesus shared some criticism toward the religious leaders of his day.  I think it might be instructive to see the kind of things he criticized and see how our criticisms stack up:

Here is a list of Jesus’ criticisms about religious leadership in his day:

They did not practice what they taught (hypocrisy).

They put heavy burdens on others but not themselves (legalism).

They sought and loved public recognition (pride).

Status, respect and titles were important to them (arrogance).

They locked people out of the kingdom (judgmental).

They established laws to benefit themselves (greed).

They neglected to emphasize justice and mercy (bias).

They were accomplices to silencing the prophets (oppressive).

Kinda makes the things I criticize seem very small and petty by comparison.  Maybe Jesus wants me to learn something about the art of criticizing and speaking out against the right things – things that have eternal significant and not things that really don’t matter.

PRAYER: Jesus, I’m sorry for the many times that I have criticized foolishly or in anger.  Let me weigh my words and attitudes in light of the things that really matter! 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 10/29/14 – A Walking Sermon

DayBreaks for 10/29/14 – A Walking Sermon

1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NLT) - We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.

One of the finest stories of humility I know is that of a man who arrived in 1953 at the Chicago railroad station to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He stepped off the train, a tall man with bushy hair and a big mustache. As the cameras flashed and the dignitaries approached with hands outstretched to meet the famous man, he thanked them quietly and politely. Then he asked to be excused for a minute. He walked through the crowd to the side of an elderly black woman struggling with two large suitcases. He picked them up, smiled, and escorted her to her bus, helped her get on, and wished her a safe journey. Then Albert Schweitzer turned to the crowd and apologized for keeping them waiting. It is reported that one member of the reception committee told a reporter, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.”

We’ve been given a great task – to live in harmony, to weep with the mournful, to laugh with the joyful, to not be conceited. Especially, we are called to be righteous, but not self-righteous. We are to be humble.

Could your life be described as a “walking sermon”?  What would need to change in your attitude, speech, or actions?  What WILL you ask God to change in you?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I want to live a life that will point others to You.  Help me do that, please! 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 10/28/14 – Agreement or Obedience?

DayBreaks for 10/28/14 – Agreement or Obedience?

In the book of 1 Chronicles chapter 21 there is an interesting story.  Here’s part of the text:

1 Chronicles 21:1-2 (NLT) - Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”

First, let it be noted that there was nothing wrong with counting the Israelites.  In fact, God told Moses to count them on two different occasions.  So that wasn’t the problem here.  But why did David want to count the people?  What was his attitude?  I think it probably had to do with where and what David was trusting.

Here’s the situation: things were stable, in fact, they were good for the Israelites.  David had just finally defeated his mortal enemies (the Philistines) and Israel was pretty much at peace.  And when things are stable, that’s a pretty vulnerable place in which to be.  It was for David, and I have found it to be true in my own life, too.  As a result, he had time on his hands and decided it was time to take a census.

What David was given in to was a form of idolatry.  He was trusting in the strength and size of his army, not the God who had made him king.  And idolatry could simply be defined as “Anything good or bad that a person counts on other than Jesus, to find life and satisfaction.”

And so David had the people counted.  As the pastor put in on Sunday: “What we count, we typically will count on.”

What was the problem?  It was this: God had said not to do it…for whatever reason.   That should have been all that was necessary.

It’s easy to criticize David in this situation.  But are we really that much different?  Nowadays, many Christians seem to think that if something doesn’t hurt someone else and if it seems beneficial to us, we will likely do it even if God has said not to.  And that’s a problem.  Why: because people who make a decision based on that reasoning aren’t obeying.  Here’s the gist of the problem: if we agree with God on something and it makes sense to us, we will obey.  But if we don’t agree, they will go ahead and do what they want to do because they don’t agree with what God said.

David knew what God had said, but he didn’t agree with it, so he disobeyed and Israel paid a huge price for his disobedience.

Are you an obedient Christian, or a Christian who obeys only when you agree with what God has said?  Remember: God hasn’t asked us to agree…just to obey!

PRAYER: Lord, help us understand the difference between obedience and agreement.  Let us obey, even when we don’t understand or agree! 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 10/27/14 – God and Lemonade Stands

DayBreaks for 10/27/14 – God and Lemonade Stands

 

2 Timothy 2:21 (NLT) –  If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

This was part of our Sunday worship bulletin yesterday and I thought it worth a share.  Sorry, I don’t know the author.

“On Sunday, a month or so ago, we showed a wonderful video about two little girls setting up a lemonade stand and cookie stand to raise money for charity.  What a sweet word picture ad call to be active in ministry it is!

“As I watched it, I reflected on my experiences with lemonade stands. Of course, as a kid I had one.  I assume most kids do, so you may be able to relate to preparing the lemonade, finding cups, making a sign, getting a “table” and figuring out how to make change for a dollar.  Therein lies the issue – money, dollars and bills.  You see, as I watched the video, I recalled the many times in recent years that I have driven past lemonade stands, not because I did not want to support kids making money for themselves or charity.  I drove past simply because I did not have any money with me.  Rarely do I carry cash.  I am like many people, using my debit card or credit card (paying it off at the end of the month), with no cash.

“I figured it out.  Those young entrepreneurs need to get with the times and put up a sign that says, ‘Credit and debit cards are accepted!’  They need one of those portable credit/debit card readers. If they did that, I would stop, and I might even top it up to $5 as the minimum.  Capitalism would be at work again.

“Do you know what the problem with that is?  Capitalism may be at work, but the gospel is not.  I can say all I want, ‘If they would just do x and y and z, then I would do b and d and q!’  The gospel does not work that way.  I need to be prepared when I leave home to bless those I come in contact with.  It is not their fault.  It is my lack of preparedness.  As opposed to driving by every lemonade stand for the next ten years, I can go to the bank get 20 one dollar bills out and keep them in my car.  When I see a lemonade stand, I can stop and bless those who are trying to make a difference, even if they don’t have a card reader.  It’s simple.

God has more for me, more for us here than lemonade.  There are other times in the day I say to myself, ‘If they would just do z, then I would…’  There is no need for that kind of self-talk.  I need to say, ‘How can I be prepared to bless them where they are with what they have?’  That is the language of the gospel.  The gospel is the work of Jesus Christ incarnate, blessing us where we are.  He came to earth, when we did not have a card reader. He came, and He lives a perfect life, died a brutal death and was resurrected from the dead.  This was all at no cost to us and we are called to live as His ambassadors.

“Can we ask you to recall the stand today and think about how the Lord might be asking you to give freely to those around in word, deed, service speech and even money?  Along the way, you’ll enjoy the lemonade!”

PRAYER: Lord, I am quick at times to make excuses for why I cannot help or give.  Help prepare not just my heart, but my hands to be quick to recognize and respond to opportunities to bless generously in whatever way I can.  Jesus, help us live life abundantly in 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 10/24/14 – To Discover I Had Not Lived

DayBreaks for 10/24/14 – To Discover I Had Not Lived

From the DayBreaks Archive, 10/28/2004:

There are days when my wife asks me a simple question to which the answer often is difficult and troubling.  That question is an innocent one, and it’s simply this: What did you do today?  When she asks me that, I face a moment of panic when I have to evaluate and admit one of two things: 1) that I had a very exciting, filled day that was challenging and thrilling, or; 2) that I can hardly remember what I did all day long.  It’s easy to answer her question in the first situation, but much more difficult to talk about the day when I realize that I’ve been on autopilot all day and have to really think about what it was that I accomplished.  I don’t like that feeling.

The same thing happens sometimes when we drive.  I’ve driven for hours sometimes and when I stop, I realize that I’ve pretty much been oblivious to what I’ve been doing, where I’ve been and what I’ve seen.  Can you identify with me?  It’s scary.

Henry David Thoreau (who is not especially someone to look up to and admire for a variety of reasons), was explaining why he lived the way he did and he said something worth thinking about: I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

I think that God would applaud that sentiment.  I believe that God wants us to live deliberately – and by that I mean consciously, aware of God, the world around us, the Spirit within us.  And I do believe with all my heart that He does want us to really live!  How sad it would be for a Christian to lie on their deathbed and be overwhelmed with a sense that they’d not lived life the way God wanted them to – to embrace life fully, the victories and failures, the good and bad, the joy and the pain – and to have digested those things and savored each one for the blessing that they are.

I believe that this is nothing more or less than the abundant life that Christ came to give us.  Are you living it?  Go out – and live!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us live life abundantly in 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 10/23/14 – Love that Overcomes the World

DayBreaks for 10/23/14 – Love That Overcomes the World

Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV) - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Love is a word that is bandied about and used cheaply in our culture today.  Many confuse love for a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Others confuse it for physical attraction.  There are at least three different words used in the Bible for “love”, each having a very specific and very different meaning.  But I like what Frederick Buechner had to say about four different demonstrations of love:

“The love for equals is a human thing — of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.

“The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

“The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

“And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.” – Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

I have read before about prisoners who become infatuated with their captors.  But I don’t know if I’ve heard of it between the one who is tortured and those doing the torturing.  But that’s how Buechner frames God’s strange and amazing love for us: we are the torturers through our spurning His love each time we do hurting things to one another or reject Him.  He is the tortured.  And yet, it is the Tortured who has love.  And if we love Him in return, it is only because He first loved us and revealed the extent of His love to us through Jesus hanging with nails in his hands and feet.

I find it relatively easy to love my friends and relatives and certainly my family.  I find it relatively easy to love the less fortunate.  It is more difficult to love the more fortunate rather than to envy and begrudge them. 

But the love for the enemy?  That one has pretty much escaped my grasp.  Maybe that’s why Jesus had to command us to have this kind of love.  But how do you love someone just because you’re commanded to do so?  You can’t.  It takes a supernatural work of God in the heart to enable a person to love their enemies…again, only made possible because we’ve seen it modeled for us in the love God has for you and me!

PRAYER: Jesus, I have a hard time truly loving those who I envy for their apparent life of ease and comfort, free from worries about money and all it can buy!  But I struggle much more to love my enemies.  Teach me how to do that, please!  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!