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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/12/14 – Forgiving the Inexcusable

DayBreaks for 9/12/14 – Forgiving the Inexcusable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

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

DayBreaks for 9/11/14 – The Danger Within

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

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

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

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

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

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 9/10/14 – It Cannot Be Undone

DayBreaks for 9/10/14 – It Cannot Be Unwritten

Luke 7:41-43 (ESV) A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42  When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

In the old classic movie, The Ten Commandments, Yul Brynner (who played the pharaoh Rameses), could be heard at various points issuing decrees with a flourish that ended with “So let it be written, so let it be done!”  And, as pharaoh, he got his wish.

There is a great story about the account books of a certain Scottish doctor that were examined after his death.  The examination revealed that there were a number of names and accounts with balances which had a line drawn through them with an accompanying note: “Forgiven–too poor to pay.”

You might think that would be the end of the story, but the physician’s widow decided that these accounts must be paid in full and she proceeded to sue for money. When the case came to court the judge asked but one question. “Is this your husband’s handwriting?” When she replied that it was he responded: “There is no court in the land that can obtain a debt once the word forgiven has been written.”

And isn’t that precisely the Good News of the Gospel story?  God has taken your sin and my sin, not just some of them but in their whole entirety, and written “Forgiven – too poor to pay” on our ledger.  Can there be a sweeter fact to the human mind?!

PRAYER: Glory and praise to You forever more for having taken our debt and paying it for those of us who are too poor to pay!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/09/14 – People Shaming

DayBreaks for 9/09/14 – People Shaming

Perhaps you have seen them on Facebook, or in an email that managed to land in your inbox.  They are hilarious and very, very cute!  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about those images about “dog shaming”, where a dog is in a picture with a note hung around their neck or held in their teeth about something bad that they did and for which they are supposedly “ashamed”.  I must say that they are among the funniest things I’ve seen on the web for a long, long time!

What may be funny with animals, though, is not funny with people.

James Twitchell, author of the book, For Shame: The Loss of Common Decency in American Culture, suggests that making people feel bad and shaming them is one of the cures for what ails us. As is painfully obvious to everyone who watches the reports of criminal trials, not every problem can be solved with judicial solutions, so some folks have taken to shaming those who have made mistakes.  It is becoming increasingly popular.

It isn’t new: in colonial days they used to put public offenders in stockades in the public square, making them feel embarrassed and singling them out as “shameful” members of the community. Fortunately, our society has evolved from that kind of treatment since everyone has certain inalienable rights. But, since our judicial system seems to be waning and less likely to actually enforce justice and find perpetrators guilty, there is a trend that appears to be going the other direction.

In Florida, for example, repeat convicted drunk drivers are required to use special license plates or bumper stickers alerting others to their status. And in Rhode Island, child abusers have their photo appear in the local newspaper with the caption, “I was convicted for child molestation.”  Some towns have posted signs by the roadway that list the names of the local drug offenders.

Shaming people publicly is becoming an accepted practice. The belief is that someone who commits an offense will experience enough shame and embarrassment that it will help turn their lives around. In other words, according to Twitchell, there is a social good in making troublemakers feel bad.

If you or someone you love were hurt by a child molester or drug offender or any other kind of crime, you may applaud this type of action.  And I am not here to judge you or anyone else, but from a Scriptural standpoint, I cannot see Jesus agreeing with that philosophy.  Can you?

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

PRAYER: Our vengeful hearts often overcome us, Lord, and we try to hurt those who have hurt us.  Help us to learn that there is freedom only in forgiveness, not in shaming others or in harboring our hurts!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/08/14 – Prisons of the Heart

DayBreaks for 9/08/14 – Prisons of the Heart

 

John 8:36 (NLT) - So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

“In England, police questioned a man about the assault of an 86-year-old woman; then he disappeared the next day. They never gave up their search for him, periodically popping into his home.  On one of those visits, eight years later, they caught him.  It seems he’d been hiding in a six foot by two foot hole under the floorboards of his living room. He hid so well, that even his children didn’t know he was there, out of fear they might mention it to friends.  For the first two years of his self-imposed imprisonment he never saw the light of day; then he began coming out occasionally. 

“How much easier would it have been, had he only surrendered at the beginning?  What a miserable existence for eight years; so close to what you love, but unable to enjoy it. That reminds me of so many folks who live in prisons of their own making: slaves to addictions, in bondage to sin, imprisoned by choices. It’s certainly not how God wants us to live!  In contrast, I think of visiting a young man in jail a few years ago.  He was facing life in prison, with all the stress and fear that would bring to anyone.  Then he shared this, “In jail, I found a freedom I’ve never known.  I’m actually more free now– in jail– than I was on the outside…because now I have Jesus.” – Barney Cargile, Barney’s Bullets, 9/4/14

We are constantly constructing prisons for ourselves through our actions.  As in the case of the man in the story, we often build them to “protect” ourselves from criticism, shame, fear of being caught or of being found out.

Some prisons have steel or iron bars on the outside to keep people in.  Surely, such prisons are difficult, but they are not as difficult as the ones we may carry inside as we go about our day by day activities.  It is easy to see a physical prison and know why someone cannot respond to an invitation, but it is impossible to see the spiritual and emotional prisons that people carry inside.  Because we can’t see them, we often judge people as being self-centered, disinterested, stuck-up or aloof….when in reality, they may be locked in a prison.

Jesus and God want us to live in freedom.  After all, Christ died to purchase that freedom for us!  Let him free you from the prison bars of your own heart!

PRAYER: Whatever prisons we carry with us that lock in our hearts and spirits, Lord, we invite you to tear through those bars and let us walk as free women and men in Your 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!

 

DayBreaks for 9/05/14 – The Old Man and the Scorpion

DayBreaks for 9/05/14: The Old Man and the Scorpion

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 9/03/2004:

Henri Nouwen told a story about an old man who sat on the edge of the Ganges River in India, meditating every morning.  On one particular morning, after he was done with his meditation, the old man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion struggling for its life in the water nearby.  As the waves washed the scorpion closer to the shore, the old man reached out a withered old hand to save the scorpion.  As he touched the scorpion, the scorpion stung him painfully on the hand.  Pulling his hand back, the man watched the scorpion continue to struggle.  After about a minute, the old man felt compassion again on the struggling creature, and once again, he reached forward with his hand to save the animal.  This time, the scorpion stung him so badly that his bloody hand swelled grotesquely and the old man’s face was contorted in pain.

A passerby watched this with fascination, and shouted, “Old man, what’s wrong with you?  Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature.  Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man turned his head and looking into the stranger’s eyes, said “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”

What a tremendous parable to explain God’s action towards us.  How many times have we “stung” Him as He’s reached out to us!!!!  And yet, wasn’t Jesus’ response much like that of the old man: “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they’re doing.”  Praise God that it was His nature to save, regardless of our nature to hurt Him!

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

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for Your nature to save!  In Jesus’ name, Amen