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!

DayBreaks for 10/22/14 – Faith Walking #5 – The Great Illusion

DayBreaks for 10/22/14 – Faith Walking #5 – The Great Illusion

I wrote a bit yesterday about risk.  I don’t know anyone who enjoys failure, do you?  I know people who learn from it and get better (I’ve even managed to do that a few times along the way!), but I don’t know anyone who either sets out to fail or who wants to fail.  Risk scares us because with risk there is always the possibility of failure.

At least, that’s how we humans see things.  I wonder if Moses, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Rahab, Deborah, Samson, Gideon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elisha, Elijah, Peter, Paul, Mary, David or any of the other great women or men of Scripture had second thoughts about how foolish they might look if they attempted something great for God…and failed.  Things like commanding the lame to rise us and walk, casting demons out of a boy (remember – the disciples failed at this one!), knocking a giant down with one stone, interpreting dreams all have inherent risk built into them.  Picture Jesus standing before the tomb of Lazarus and saying, “Lazarus!  Come forth!”…and nothing happening.  Jesus would have looked pretty bad, wouldn’t he?  In fact, his ministry would have crashed and burned on the spot.  The same could be said for all those I mentioned. 

But here’s the rub: it comes down to knowing God’s will and to having faith – real, vibrant, deep faith!  Jesus, of course, knew it wasn’t a risk because he operated totally and always in full harmony with God’s will, so it might be easy for us to dismiss his case as being unique.  We lack that kind of certainty.  He KNEW he was God and that all things were possible for Him!

We read it and have heard it over and over: With God nothing is impossible.  We focus on that word, impossible, a lot because we think things are impossible.  And if we’re just talking about mere humans, MANY things are impossible – in fact, most things, I suppose.  But there are three key words at the start of that verse: With GOD…so we’re not talking about mere humans doing things in their own power, but about an omnipotent God who has zero limitations.  And then perhaps the key word: nothing…no matter how impossible something looks or sounds to us, God laughs at it.  He has never yet met any challenge that even begins to tax His infinite resources and power. 

But the great illusion is that we think things are impossible.  We even tend to believe it in our hearts.  “God, I can’t heal someone.”  “God, I can’t possibly do this.”  To a degree those are true: WE can’t.  But if we are acting in faith on one of His promises, how can we even think it could fail?

Look closely at these words from Jesus: John 14:12-14 (NIV) I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  

And listen to that same verse from the Message: The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

So…is it an illusion that keeps us from faith walking?  How much do you believe those words of Jesus?  How much do you believe in Him?

PRAYER: My faith is so weak and frail, Lord!  I see impossibilities and not possibilities.  And I put the limits I see on You and I know that’s foolish and wrong, but I do it all the time. I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!  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 10/21/14 – Faith Walk #5 – The Ruthless Commitment

DayBreaks for 10/21/14 – Faith Walking #5 – The Ruthless Commitment

What, by the way, is faith walking?  Try this definition by Randy Pope, our minister: Faith walking is believing the Word of God, submitting to the will of God, acting as if God had already done what he had promised and then waiting on God while experiencing supernatural peace. It already sounds like a tall order, does it not?

But faith walking requires several things, not the least of which is a ruthless commitment to follow God’s procedures/ways, i.e., doing what He directs in the way He directed it to be done.

In the continuing case of the Israelites (chapter 6 of Joshua) as they are ready to tackle the challenge of Jericho, we should note that God always does things in a way that is designed to bring Him, not us, glory.  Any time we ask the question, “Why does God X?” (fill in X with any question about why God does anything), we can know the answer: it’s for His glory.  We may not understand how or why, and in fact, we may think it detracts from His glory, but that’s simple human thinking, not divinely inspired wisdom.  Can you picture the discussion that must have taken place between Joshua and the 12 elders of Israel when Joshua describes the plan of attack? 

“Well, we’ll walk around the city once each day, but say nothing.  We’ll do that for six days.  Then, get this ‘cause this is where it gets really good, on day seven we’ll walk around it seven times and when I tell you to shout, have all the people SHOUT!  Isn’t that a great plan?”

Their reply may well have been: “Uh, Joshua.  How long have you been out here in the sun today?  How about we try something more traditional, like uh, battering rams?  Or, here’s another good one: how about we just besiege the city and starve them out?  Or, set fire to the city and burn ‘em out!  Yeah, I like that one!”

I don’t know if that discussion took place, but I’d be shocked if the elders didn’t at least think about it!  But that wasn’t God’s way.  And Joshua was committed to a faith walk with God.  He’d resolved himself to do it God’s way in God’s timing.  Why?  Because that way God was sure to get the glory!!!

How committed are you to doing it God’s way?  Perhaps you have tried to take a faith walk before but it didn’t “work”.  Could it be that you were trying to do things your way, or in a way that would bring some measure of glory to you?  God will not honor that, I don’t believe. 

Of course, here’s the point: when faced with any kind of obstacle to our faith, don’t use the word impossible, but instead ask: Do I believe this is God’s will?  If the answer is “Yes”, then do it in faith!

PRAYER: God, we struggle with ruthless commitments to doing things in your way.  We are often eager for credit and some level of glory if the truth be told.  Help us to understand that if we act in accordance to your will, then it will be done, for You never fail!  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 10/20/14 – The Critical Calculation

DayBreaks for 10/20/14 – Faith Walking #4 – The Critical Calculation

“It makes no sense.  This just can’t work.”  “It’s impossible.”  “There is no way.”

Such statements can be heard in business meetings around the world every day.  These sentiments are not limited to just the business world, but can be found in academia, in science, politics, even in homes.

I suppose that one of the things God gave us was good sense – or at least enough of it to not take exorbitant risks that might cost us life and limb. We do, for the most part, want to survive, avoid untenable risk and keep body and soul together (though I do wonder about some folks who are into really extreme sports, etc.).

But there comes a point and time, however, where we are called to cast caution to the wind.  Those are the times when God has given us clear direction or promises – and then asks us to take some action prior to seeing His solution – even, and perhaps especially, when it makes no sense and seems impossible.

It is the capacity to trust God in spite of the severity and size of the obstacles that distinguishes faith from un-faith.  Consider just a few cases in point: David faced a 9-foot tall obstacle.  Elijah faced hundreds of prophets of Baal and an altar of extremely waterlogged wood.  For three young Hebrew boys it was a furnace of fire.  For the apostle Peter, it was the corpse of a dead girl.

Those obstacles are huge.  Can you imagine how Peter felt when confronted with the dead body of the young girl?  How much courage (or craziness, as some would say) does it take to go and stand at a bedside and tell her to “Rise”?  Can you think of either a greater risk or greater obstacle than death itself?  Yet, in each of those instances, the child of God chose to act in spite of the risks and the sheer lunacy of the situation.  They walked in faith.

How large, really, are the obstacles that stand in your way of walking in faith?  How large do the obstacles have to be before we throw up our hands and abandon all effort related to walking by faith? And one more question as we calculate the risk: is it really a risk when we have a promise of God and act upon it?

Luke 1:37 (NLT) - For nothing is impossible with God.

PRAYER: Father, I confess that it doesn’t take much of a threat or risk to get me to walk by sight and not by faith.  With each passing day, help me to walk with greater courage and faith in You and Your promises.  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 10/17/14 – God Always Loved You the Best

DayBreaks for 10/17/14 – God Always Loved You the Best

For those of you who remember the Smothers Brothers, they were a hilarious comedy act and singers (good ones, too) that I greatly loved!  They were very funny, and for a while they had a show on CBS…until they became a little too political for the censors and their show was sadly cancelled.  One of their common routines was that the would get into an argument about something totally unrelated that would devolve into a debate about who was the most loved by their mother.  It was usually Tommy (who played the buffoon) who would get flustered and at some point would turn to his brother, Dickie (who played the more rational one) and he’d say (as if to try to win the argument by distraction): “Well, mother always loved you the best!”

We have probably all felt, at one time or another, that our sibling was the darling of our parents’ eye – that they got special treatment and that favoritism was alive and well.  I know that there were times that I felt that way, and I’m sure my sister felt the same about me.  It seems to just be a common thing between siblings.

The great preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, once used this illustration: “A story has been often told of the fondness of parents for their children; how in a famine in the East a father and mother were reduced to absolute starvation, and the only possibility of preserving the life of the family was to sell one of the children into slavery.

“So they considered it. The pinch of hunger became unbearable, and their children pleading for bread tugged so painfully at their heartstrings, that they must entertain the idea of selling one to save the lives of the rest. They had four sons. Who of these should be sold? It must not be the first: how could they spare their firstborn? The second was so strangely like his father that he seemed a reproduction of him, and the mother said that she would never part with him. The third was so singularly like the mother that the father said he would sooner die than that this dear boy should go into bondage; and as for the fourth, he was their Benjamin, their last, their darling, and they could not part with him. They concluded that it was better for them all to die together than willingly to part with any one of their children. Do you not sympathize with them?

“Yet God so loved us that, to put it very strongly, He seemed to love us better than His only Son, and did not spare Him that He might spare us. He permitted His Son to perish from among men ‘that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.’”—C. H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon draws an interesting observation; “He seemed to love us better than His only Son…”  I’m sure that’s not true.  God’s love is perfect and can be infinite for all of us, but an outsider looking in would be tempted to think that God was playing favorites by saving us and not sparing His Son.  In reality, He loves us just as He loves His Son…no more, but certainly no less.  And that, my friends, is mind-blowing!

John 17:23 (NIV) - I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – Jesus

PRAYER: Thank You for being a God who knows when justice is called for and when mercy is appropriate! Help us not to question Your goodness when we don’t receive what we think is justice.  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 10/16/14 – Trying to Make Sense of God and Justice

DayBreaks for 10/16/14 – Trying to Make Sense of God and Justice     

Job 34:12 (NIV) - It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.

Justice, appropriately, is a timely and important topic.  We all want to be dealt with fairly, in a just manner by our fellow human beings.  And because of our tendency to project human traits onto God, we want and expect Him to deal justly with us.  Or do we?

When it comes to explaining the justice of God, there are several principles which we might help us as we ponder this aspect of God:

FIRST: as part of humanity, we are all responsible contributors to this being a broken and fallen world.  The world is, honestly, a war zone because of our brokenness…and we are all equal candidates for suffering and harm as a result.

SECOND: God has gone to great lengths to not mislead anyone (including His people) into thinking that for Him to be just, mankind should be exempt from intense heartbreak and suffering.

THIRD: God promises that for His people only, every single disease, experience or calamity that they experience in this world is designed to lead either to the refining of one’s character or to heavenly glory itself.

FOURTH: We should never, never, EVER ask God for Divine justice because all that sinful man would get would be judgment.

FIFTH: Though God’s people can’t escape suffering, injustice and death, they can experience unusual peace and assurance of God’s love in the midst of pain and suffering.

We can always count on the fact that God understands and knows what we are going through, and that injustice hurts.  It hurt Jesus, but it was part of the plan that enabled God to have mercy towards us rather than exacting justice for our sin.

PRAYER: Thank You for being a God who knows when justice is called for and when mercy is appropriate! Help us not to question Your goodness when we don’t receive what we think is justice.  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!