DayBreaks for 11/21/14 – What Evil Can’t Touch

DayBreaks for 11/21/14 – What Evil Can’t Touch

From the DayBreaks archive, 11/15/2004:

1 Cor. 1:25 (NLT)  – This “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.

1 Cor. 1:27 (NLT)  – Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

The mystery of the cross is mind-numbing.  That the life of a single Nazarene carpenter should have affected the world the way it has defies logic.  Yes, some think he was a good man, a great teacher, a wise prophet perhaps, and they put him in the same classification as Buddha, Mohammed or Moses, in an attempt to say, “See, he’s like they were.”  But they’re wrong.  Those folks are still in their tombs.  Jesus isn’t.

But the power of God is a fascinating thing.  There are two kinds of power – right-handed power which is direct and is clearly visible as power, and what Martin Luther referred to as “left-handed power”.  Left-handed power may not even be seen and recognized as power to those who aren’t looking closely.  It was a marvelous mix of both right-handed and left-handed power that was on display in the life of Jesus Christ, but it is largely the left-handed power that puzzles us, but which also truly changed the world in a way that we still struggle to understand.

In his book, Parables of the Kingdom, Robert Farrar Capon wrote about this left-handed power: “Left-handed power, in other words, is precisely paradoxical power: power that looks for all the world like weakness, intervention that seems indistinguishable from nonintervention.  More than that, it is guaranteed to stop no determined evildoers whatsoever.  It might, of course, touch and soften their hearts.  But then again, it might not.  It certainly didn’t for Jesus; and if you decide to use it, you should be quite clear that it probably won’t for you, either.  The only thing it does insure is that you will not  – even after your chin has been bashed in – have made the mistake of closing any interpersonal doors from your side.

“…when you come to think of it, it is power – so much power, in fact, that it is the only thing in the world that evil can’t touch.  God in Christ died forgiving.  With the dead body of Jesus, he wedged open the door between Himself and the world and said, ‘There!  Just try and get me to take that back!’”

Straight-line, or right-handed power, may be exercised by those who attempt to make converts to a religion by the edge of the sword.  And while the numbers of their followers may grow, they’ve not really made converts in the heart.  Therein lies the great mystery of Christ: through his left-handed power that looked for to all the world as total weakness and lunacy, hearts have been changed.  People have been reborn.  Pasts have been washed away.  It is a mystery that takes place in the heart – where for a long time only God can see it growing.  But the martyrs died with songs on their lips and glory in their hearts while their souls were far from the touch of evil.  May we know his left-handed power in all its fullness today!

PRAYER: Lord, if not for your great victory, we are all defeated! 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 11/20/14 – Where Is the Victory?

DayBreaks for 11/20/14 – Where is the Victory?

The famous American editor, Horace Greeley, once told of receiving a letter from a woman who wrote: “Our church is in dire financial straits. We’ve tried everything to keep it going: a strawberry festival, an oyster supper, a donkey party, a turkey dinner, and, finally, a box social. Will you please tells us, Dr. Greeley, how to keep a struggling church from disbanding?” Dr. Greeley wrote back to her a message in two words: “Try Christianity!”

There are many in our world (and country) today who rail against Christianity, claiming that it has been the source of untold misery in the past 20 centuries.  I don’t agree with them in this regard: it was Christians (or so-called Christians) who caused the misery of the Crusades, etc., but that was not Christianity.  Unfortunately, Christianity is not practiced by perfect people.

But what did Mr. Greeley mean when he said, “Try Christianity!”  Look at it in this way. The ancient world failed to help men and women meet the problem of life, because, although their wise men could teach, they could not supply the power to put it into practice. The Old Testament prophets could explain the Law of Moses, but were unable to provide the power needed to fulfill it. Then, into the midst of the ages, came this man Jesus and, before the wondering eyes of men and women, he declared, I am the way, the truth, and the life. These people saw truth coming alive in his amazing personality; and, when his enemies finally killed him and he ascended back to the Father, his great Spirit was liberated to be wherever needy souls cried out for him. In all the ages since, for all those who have received him as the bread of life by committing their lives to him, he has brought power over their every weakness, victory over every failure, and conduct and character that have made the world a better place in which to live.

But is that the reality of your experience?  Do you find power over every one of your weaknesses, or victory over every failure?  I don’t.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I am quite sure I am not!  If find myself more aware of my feebleness and failings every day as I grow older.  I find that victory over my temptations and failure is not all that easy – if in fact, I manage to experience it at all.  So where is this power and this victory?

I think that as Christians, having victory over every failure and power over every weakness doesn’t at all mean that we won’t fail or fall through our weaknesses, nor does it mean that we will experience that in reality.  I suspect that what it really means is that victory and power isn’t ours at all nor was it meant to be ours…that it is purely, simply this: that Christ has already defeated that sin and paid for it…and the victory we have is His victory extended through grace to us!  I, for one, have pretty much given up on the idea of experiencing victory over my temptations as long as my lungs suck earthly air.  That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced some level of diminishing temptation or that some temptations no longer plague me.  But there is a part of me – a stubborn, tenacious, fleshly part of me – that knows I will not have the full victory in this life. 

How grateful I am that on the day I die that I don’t have to be perfect, but can rest in the knowledge that His grace, His power, His mercy…and most of all, HIS victory count for me, and that His forgiveness is perfectly full and complete!

PRAYER: Lord, if not for your great victory, we are all defeated! 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 11/19/14 – On That Day

DayBreaks for 11/19/14 – On That Day

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Today, I’m not writing anything other than this brief introduction because this photo says it far more eloquently than words ever could.  I shall let this photo and Scripture speak for themselves.

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Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT) – I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

PRAYER: Let us engage with vigor in Your service! 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 11/18/14 – Play Your Piccolo!

DayBreaks for 11/18/14 – Play Your Piccolo!

1 Corinthians 12:18-28 (NLT) – But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.  And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.

Sir Michael Costa, the celebrated conductor, was holding a rehearsal. As the mighty chorus rang out, accompanied by scores of instruments, the piccolo player, a little pint-sized flute, thinking perhaps that his contribution would not be missed amid so much music, stopped playing. Suddenly, the great leader stopped and cried out, “Where is the piccolo?”

The sound of that one small instrument was necessary to the harmony, and the Master Conductor missed it when it dropped out. The point? To the Conductor there are no insignificant instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes the smallest and seemingly least important one can make the greatest contribution and even if it doesn’t seem to make that big a difference to the audience at large, THE CONDUCTOR KNOWS IT right away!

In the Church the players and the instruments are diverse – different sizes, different shapes, different notes, different roles to play. But like the piccolo player in Sir Michael’s orchestra, we often in our own sovereignty decide that our contribution is not significant. Our contribution couldn’t possibly make a difference. And so we quit playing. Stop doing that which we’ve been given to do. We drop out. But the Conductor immediately notices. From our perspective, our contribution may be small, but from His, it is crucial.

I am sure that there are some (if not all) piccolo players reading this today who have dropped out of the orchestra for whatever reason(s): pain, exhaustion, insecurity, criticism, laziness, misbehavior. Perhaps you are convinced that your contribution doesn’t mean a hill of beans in the bigger scheme of things and that you are unimportant, insignificant and perhaps even unnecessary. And that may have led you to bury your talent in the ground.

For all piccolos who won’t play, or at least aren’t playing, Jesus has something to say in Matthew 25:25-30 (NIV) - So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The point: play your piccolo!  Put it to use!

PRAYER: Let us engage with vigor in Your service! 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 11/17/14 – Wormwood’s Work

DayBreaks for 11/17/14 – Wormwood’s Work

In the book The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, a devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, in a series of letters, on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. In his writings, the devil says that the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent. This higher devil cautions Wormwood that he must keep the patient comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much about truly important things because it could cause indigestion. And then the devil gives this instruction to his nephew: “I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.”

I saw on the news just today that a third American has apparently been beheaded by ISIS.  Do you know what?  I’ve not been praying about this rising evil very regularly.  I’ve not been calling on God to stretch forth His arm to deliver His children who have been suffering at the hands of this group or at the hands of others.  Why?  Because it is “out of sight, out of mind.”  Is that a good excuse?  No, it isn’t.  I fear that when it comes to this topic and so, so many others like it, I have fallen into Wormwood’s trap and I just simply don’t care enough.

Revelation 3:16 (NLT) - But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Those who don’t care enough don’t pray enough.  And Jesus’ word are a strong warning to us.  God, give us ears to hear and hearts to care!

PRAYER: God, forgive me for growing too comfortable while so many others are suffering because of Jesus, or disease, or evil.  Stir us to pray without ceasing for those in such desperate need of Your deliverance!  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 11/14/14 – Musings On Carrying Crosses

DayBreaks for 11/14/14 – On Carrying Crosses

Matthew 16:24-25 (NLT) - Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Let’s face it: we are not very fond of the above verse, are we?  I mean, how many people do you know who have ever said, “I want to be a Christian because I want to carry my cross and follow Jesus!”  No, we may all want to follow Jesus, but very few, if any, have ever wanted to have to carry a cross to do it.  Crosses lead us to deadly places.  Wouldn’t it have been much more enticing if Jesus has said, “Come, sit in your easy chair and follow me!”  But he didn’t.  And then he just had to go and throw in that bit about giving up our life for His sake in order to save our life.  Some folks just don’t seem to know how to attract followers!

As I thought about this, I thought about why my cross was/is.  I must say that it is a bit hard to identify what it is while living in a country that, at least until now, still lets us worship in freedom for the most part.  Bearing one’s cross in a country that is blatantly hostile in deadly ways to a profession of Christianity is much more clear, I think.

As I contemplated this issue, it became clear to me that there is another cross that I was destined to bear: the cross that is demanded by my sin.  That cross kills not just the body but the soul for eternity.  And then I realized that I don’t have to carry that cross, because just as Simon of Cyrene carried the physical cross of Jesus (the symbol of judgment and punishment for his imagined crimes), Jesus carried my cross to Calvary.  Why?  Because there is no way I could bear it?  No, that’s not it.  God could have required each and every human being to carry that cross and bear our own punishment for our wrongs…but He didn’t do that.  He couldn’t do that.  His innate nature of love would not permit Him to sit idly by while every one of the billions of people who have ever lived or will live on this planet carry their cross of punishment into the grave and into hell.

So, Jesus stopped beside me one day while watching me struggle under the weight of my cross and guilt, and without even asking me first, took that cross off my back and carried it for me…to Calvary.

As a result, when Jesus asks me to carry my cross now, it’s a much lighter cross, no matter where it might lead or what it might cost.  My burden has been lifted.  My punishment has been borne by Another – the One who carried MY cross for me!  Whatever cross He may ask me to carry is light in comparison to the one I might have had to carry!

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus!  How I long to see you and fall at Your feet and weep out my gratitude to You for carrying MY cross – the one You knew I could never bear! 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 11/13/14 – The Greatest Enemy of Faith

DayBreaks for 11/13/14 – The Greatest Enemy of Faith

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) - This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

If someone were to ask you what is the greatest enemy of faith, what would you say?  We tend to think in terms of polar opposites when asked such a question, so one might say “doubt.”  I can understand that way of thinking – it has a certain simple clarity to it, doesn’t it?  And, there are many in the Christian family who think doubt is a dirty word.  I, for one, don’t.  I think doubt leads to questioning and truth never has anything to fear from questions.  It is doubt that propels people to accept the old standard answers and formulas to find and discover new thoughts and insights.  The Old Testament prophets and King David certainly had no compunctions about expressing their doubts to and about God!  But, that’s not really what I want to talk about today.

I recently came across this insight: “The greatest enemy of faith is not doubt; the greatest enemy of faith is fear. Most of the world is controlled by fear, petty and big. Petty fears control people; great fears control nations. We could feed all the people in this world if we would stop building arms, but we are afraid. In the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount) Jesus said, “Those of you who make peace will be happy. You will be God’s own.” Yet even Christians are preoccupied with fear and protecting ourselves because we don’t believe what Jesus said. The Sermon on the Mount is an antidote to fear. But we have never seen fear as the crucial issue, only “doubt.”

I don’t think that I’ll ever think of the enemy of faith the same way again.  We are afraid that God won’t really will show up or if that He’ll leave us hanging out there all on our own.  It is fear of what will happen to us if God doesn’t do something that freezes us: we don’t want to look foolish, to sound foolish and we certainly don’t want to be persecuted or antagonized by those who might mock us for trying to act on faith.  Fear, not doubt, is what causes us not to take the first step on the faith walk.

PRAYER: Let us boldly be on the gentle offensive, filled with the certain knowledge that neither Satan nor all his demons will have the victory! 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!