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!

 

DayBreaks for 10/15/14 – Faith Walking #3

DayBreaks for 10/15/14 – Faith Walking #3

In Joshua 5:12-13, we read: When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”  “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.

Get the scene: Israel is about to go to war against the inhabitants of Canaan, starting with Jericho.  It seems that Joshua was perhaps spying on the city from verse 12.  It only makes sense that he would do so, don’t you think?  What military commander doesn’t want to know the terrain, the defenses of the enemy, their preparedness for battle?  I doubt that Joshua was any different.  So he was perhaps lying on his belly behind a rise of dirt to conceal his presence.

But, as he lay there on the ground, he looks up and there is someone standing before him – with a drawn sword in his hand.  It would be a startling visage and one that probably made Joshua at least a bit concerned – he had no idea who this was.  Was it a soldier from Jericho who had caught him spying?

So Joshua approaches (hand on the hilt of his own sword, perhaps?) and inquires as to the nature of the man’s visit: have you come to join us or to kill me?  And then Joshua gets an answer he didn’t expect.

Who was this “commander of the Lord’s army”?  One could argue about who this visitor was that Joshua encountered, but it appears that it was a theophany – a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.  Why do I say that?  Well, in every other instance in which people have fallen on their face at the sight of angels, the angel always tells them to get up because they don’t deserve worship.  Not so with this commander – he seems more than content to receive the reverence of Joshua.  Another reason to believe it was the Lord is that the ground became holy in his presence – something that doesn’t happen with mere angels.

So, what’s the point of this strange visit?  Joshua was seen by the people of Israel as the commander of the Lord’s army.  Perhaps Joshua himself needed to be reminded that he wasn’t really the commander – the Lord was/is.  Unless Joshua was the “commander of the Lord’s host” he may not have had the strength or courage for the coming battle…or, he might has trusted in his own wisdom and plan of attack which, as we know, turned out to be quite different than what God had in mind!  Joshua needed this encounter with the Lord to go on his faith walk into the Promised Land.

Joshua, before undertaking this huge venture of waging war up and down and throughout the Promised Land, needed this encounter with the Lord.  And therein is another secret of faith walking: we must spend time with the Lord – lots of it.  Jesus spent the night before Good Friday on his knees in prayer in the Garden – even he needed the Presence to face what the future held.

Why is it that we who want to think we have faith (and a fair degree of it!) enough to go on a faith walk with God just can’t seem to find much time to spend with him?  Why is it that we let everything else crowd HIM out of our day instead of letting HIM crowd everything else out?  Is our time really so precious that we are willing to sacrifice being in His presence and spending significant amounts of time with him listening and learning his will?

Perhaps it was during this encounter that the commander of the Lord’s army explained the battle plan to Joshua: “Go and get a bunch of trumpets and walk around the city blaring away…”  At some point, God had to reveal this plan to Joshua – and it likely took place right here in this setting.  One thing is for sure: Joshua never dreamed up that battle plan on his own!

And one thing is sure for us, too: we will never dream up God’s plan for our life.  We have to let him tell us.  Are you willing to be with him enough to wait for that message that is so vital for your faith walk?

PRAYER: I confess, Lord, that I let too many things crowd you out of my schedule and my life.  I know that I need you and that I need to spend time with you…but I struggle to do so consistently.  Re-order our priorities to permit us to commune deeply with 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 10/14/14 – Faith Walking #2

DayBreaks for 10/14/14 – Faith Walking #2

There is a very strange passage that is interspersed between the entry into the Promised Land and the attack on Jericho.  It is recorded in Joshua 5:1-9.  If you recall, way back in the time of Abraham, God had given to Abraham and his descendants the sign of the covenant, circumcision.  For a long time the ceremony seems to have been observed, but sometime while Israel was in Egypt, it seems that the practice was largely lost.

As Israel left Egypt in the exodus, we are told that the people who grew up in the wilderness after their elders had died had not been circumcised.  And now, mere days before attacking Jericho, God tells Joshua that it is time to have all the men circumcised.

What?!?!?!?!  These men are going to have to go into battle!  They will need to be nimble and quick, agile.  They were camped probably no more than 4-5 miles from the enemy would not have made the Israelites feel comfortable.  If they followed God’s direction to Joshua and the enemy decided to come out and attack, Israel would be easily defeated and destroyed.  Before they engaged in their first battle in the Promised Land, what would they do?  Would they listen to God or to their own common sense?

This was a leap of faith.  Why did God choose this time and place when it could have been done right after Moses died (or even before)?

Our faith walk doesn’t require us to exercise faith in total blindness, but it invites us to look backwards to God’s promises – and even more, to his faithfulness to keep his promises.  God had promised to give this land to their ancestors.  And he had given them this particular sign of that promise.  By asking them to take this step, God was reminding them of the promise he’d made long ago, but also to trust him at this moment and in this instance by renewing the sign of the covenant again on their part – to trust that even as they acted in faith, God would not fail to keep his promise.

Is God asking you to do something that is terrifying to you?  Something that makes no sense at all?  What promise of his can you claim that will help you as you face your choice about whether to walk in faith or not?

PRAYER: Lord, your ways sure don’t make much sense to us sometimes.  We look at what you ask and it seems absolutely looney to our human mind and thinking.  When we are faced with a decision on whether or not to walk in faith, let us look at your track record…and begin to walk!  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 10/13/14 – Faith Walking, #1

DayBreaks for 10/13/14 – Faith Walking #1

What does it mean to walk by faith?  What does it take?

Our minister is speaking on the topic of faith walking and we are all being challenged to consider our own walk with god and to learn to walk more and more by faith.  What does it mean?  It means listening to the guidance of the Word and Spirit, with a willing heart to do whatever He directs, believing that God has already made the way and then resting in supreme peace as we wait for Him to act.

The question was posed: if you could give one thing to God, just one, what would it be?  Would it be some huge, heroic and incredible act of faith, such as Moses demonstrated at the Red Sea, or Elijah on Mount Carmel, the Zarepath widow, or the widow who gave her last two mites to God?

We all would love to be able to rise to such a pinnacle of faith, wouldn’t we?  But the greater gift to God might very well be an entire lifetime of faith, well lived.  The problem is that those humongous acts of faith may well be disguised as a tiny thing: surely such was the case with the widow and the two mites.  I doubt that she saw it as such a great thing – she probably felt it was a small, simple act of obedience.  And Jesus was mightily impressed!

The truth is that unless our faith encounters challenges and obstacles that are truly difficult for us to deal with, we quickly tend to slide backwards from walking by faith into walking by sight.  And that is just not something that God is asking for.

As we walk through this sermon series, I’ll share more of the concepts of a faith walk with you.  I’m being challenged by it…and perhaps it will challenge you, too.

But let’s just start with these two questions:

  1. If you could give God just one gift, what would it be?
  2. How much of your life are you spending walking by sight instead of by faith? 

Hebrews 11:6 (NLT) - And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. 

PRAYER: Jesus, we tend to believe in what we can see and touch.  Help us to trust in you when we can’t see you or touch you and to walk in faith and not by sight!  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 10/10/14 – First in the Kingdom

DayBreaks for 10/10/14 – First in the Kingdom

Mark 9:35 (KJV) - And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

A young minister graduated from seminary just before World War I and he was appointed to a church in a very small town. He had been there only a couple of weeks when he received the call every new minister dreads — the call to do his first funeral. The person who had died was not a member of his church. She was, in fact, a woman with a very bad reputation. Her husband was a railroad engineer who was away from home much of the time. She had rented rooms in their house to men who worked on the railroad and rumor had it that she rented more than just rooms when her husband was away. The young preacher, faced with his first funeral, found no one who had a good word to say about this woman, until he entered the small old-fashioned grocery store on the day before the funeral. He began to talk to the store owner about his sadness that the first person he would bury would be someone about which nothing good could be said. The store owner didn’t reply at first and then, in his silence, he appeared to make a decision. He took out his store ledger and laid it on the counter between him and the preacher. He opened the ledger at random and, covering the names in the left-hand column, he pointed to grocery bills written in red – groceries that people had bought on credit — and then the column that showed the bill had been paid.

He said, “Every month, that woman would come in and ask me who was behind in their grocery bills. It was usually some family who had sickness or death — or some poor woman trying to feed her kids when her husband drank up the money. She would pay their bill and she made me swear never to tell. But, I figure now that she is dead, people ought to know — especially those who benefited from her charity who have been most critical of her.”

Matthew 21:31 (NLT) - Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.

PRAYER: Father, take away our tendency to criticize other and to consider ourselves better!  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!