DayBreaks 2/28/11 – Propped Up on the Leanin’ Side

DayBreaks for 2/28/11 – Propped Up on the Leanin’ Side

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.- Luke 6:47-49, ESV

Battered by the storms...

A good friend sent this to me, and I thought it was well worth posting.  I unfortunately don’t know the author’s name:

“Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old fellow who always prayed, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side.’ After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

“He answered, ‘Well sir, you see, it’s like this…. I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time; it’s withstood a lot of weather; it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years.

“It’s still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit.

“So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall.

“Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn.  I’ve been around a long time…I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms. I’ve withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing too.

“But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, ’cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

“Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t . So we need to pray, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord.”

Galen’s Thoughts: One of the unpredictable things about storms is which way the wind will blow.  Most places have a prevailing wind that puts pressure on the side of buildings and trees that makes them lean in a downwind direction.  Those are the kinds of winds that we have grown familiar with all our lives: the particular temptation that plagues you, the hurts that seem to recur over and over and over.  Then, every once in a while, the wind shifts direction and catches us off balance.  We don’t expect it – we find an unexpected pressure beating on us.  Perhaps it is in those moments that we are even more in perilous straits.  It doesn’t really matter where the storm comes from.  What does matter is the foundation and support we have when it strikes.  It does no good to prop yourself up with 2×2’s when you need a steel pole.  Jesus is the one support guaranteed to never collapse or fail you, no matter how strongly the winds beat against you.

If you stare at the picture of the barn for a bit, you will see Who will help us stand straight and tall again. Do You See HIM?  (I don’t know who made up the picture, or I’d give them credit for it, too.)

PRAYER: God, it seems like there has been an abundance of storms and strong winds lately sweeping across our lives and across the world.  At times we are tempted to think that everything is going to come crashing down, taking us with it.  Help us to remember that it is not “what” that holds us up, but “Who.”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 2/25/11 – The Intelligence of Sheep

DayBreaks 02/25/11 – The Intelligence of Sheep

Isaiah said it: All we like sheep have gone astray. – Isa. 53:6a  We are all “like sheep.”  That’s not a compliment in case you are wondering.

A professor of animal husbandry, Warren Gill, has been asked if sheep are dumb.  His answer was very interesting: “It depends on how you define intelligence.  A sheep has precisely the correct amount of intelligence it needs to function as a sheep.”

At first glance, that seems rather obvious – a statement that doesn’t even need to be made.  There is no sheep in this world that can function as an astronaut, a lawyer, or doctor.  Sheep just aren’t meant to do those things.  We have enough intelligence, as humans, to act like the “sheep” of His pasture are expected to act.  You have precisely the right amount of intelligence you need to function as you.

To continue with the sheep analogy, Jesus said, I know my sheep, and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. Do you see how this relates to the intelligence a sheep has?  We have enough intelligence to recognize and know the Good Shepherd and to recognize His voice.  We don’t have enough intelligence to lead the sheep.  We don’t have enough intelligence to be the shepherd.  But we do have enough to recognize Him.

Sheep, by nature, are not leaders.  Sheep are followers.  We will follow someone, something.  If there is no shepherd around, sheep will follow the sheep that is in front of them…and they will follow them right over the edge of a cliff.  Who are you following?  Are you hearing the voice of other sheep, or the voice of the Shepherd who longs to lead you into green pastures where you will be safe, cared for and loved.

PRAYER: Free us from our tendency to close our ears to the voice of the shepherd, and to follow would-be shepherds who would lead us to disaster and death.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 02/24/11 – Just Today

DayBreaks 02/24/11 – Just Today

 

Just today...one day at a time...

Tony Campolo wrote: “At Eastern University, where I taught for so many years, I would constantly encounter students who would ask a simple question: How can I know what God wants me to do with my life? What a question! But I could never answer the question because I’m not sure that Jesus wants us to look that far ahead. I’m convinced that what Jesus calls us to do is to solve this problem: What should I be doing today? He says quite pointedly, “Take no thought for tomorrow what ye shall eat, what ye shall drink. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

“Are you going to do what God wants you to do today? That’s the ultimate question. Everyday you should get up and say, “This is the day that the Lord has made. What does God want me to do? What does God want me to achieve this day?”

 

Galen’s thoughts: it’s interesting to me how we wonder so much about the future and what we will do if this or that were to happen.  We’ll create and play out scenarios in our minds, trying to envision and plan for all possible deviations and contingencies.  I suppose we do it because it makes us think we have control over the situation and the future.  I believe what Jesus was trying to tell us in the passage that Campolo quoted in the first paragraph was simply this: if we are paying enough attention to today and all the opportunities and possibilities to serve Him and others, we won’t have time enough to worry about what comes next.  Perhaps we would see far more opportunities to be useful in the Kingdom this day if we weren’t thinking so much about the next.

PRAYER: May we see each opportunity for serving You today and be fully engaged in them while we trust You for what will come tomorrow!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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The Most Powerful Treadmill

DayBreaks 02/23/11 – The Most Powerful Treadmill

Are you into exercise?  Do you go to the gym and climb on a stair-stepper, elliptical or treadmill?  Such devices are literally, life-savers for many.  Well, maybe that’s a bit strong – they can’t save a life, but they can prolong it.

 

The most powerful treadmill...desire.

I don’t like treadmills.  I was in a health club in Atlanta during the holidays in which an entire wall was lined with treadmills so that the people exercising on the treadmills were all facing the same direction.  On the wall that we were looking at, a movie was being shown, so the room was appropriately dark.  One person came in to get on a treadmill and failed to notice that the last person who had used the treadmill didn’t turn it off, so when she stepped onto the treadmill, she did a nose-dive as she flew off the back of the treadmill!  It was a strong, powerful machine…and it got the better of her because she was unaware that it was running.

 

While treadmills can cause injuries, there’s another kind of treadmill that is even worse – in fact, it is the most powerful treadmill in the world.  What is it?  It is the treadmill of desire.  Humans seem to be insatiable for stuff – possessions, material things.  We aren’t content with a single burger, we have to have it supersized.  We aren’t happy with the things we possess and we want more.  Advertising experts are constantly reminding us that we can’t really be happy without what they’re hawking, and we sure seem to agree with them.

Are you on that treadmill?  Are you looking for completion, satisfaction and fulfillment for the wrong things?  Jesus came to give us fullness of life – in all the ways that really matter.  He knows that what we long for isn’t really anything we can buy, but something that only His Spirit can produce in us and give us.

Don’t let the treadmill of desire throw you.  Redirect your desires to the things which are above!

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. – Colossians 3:2

PRAYER: We need You to change our desires, Lord, to turn us away from the things that tempt us to remain in this world.  Change our hearts to long for those things that can only come from Your Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/22/11 – The Law of the Garbage Truck

DayBreaks 02/22/11 – The Law of the Garbage Truck

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43-48, ESV

 

Some people dump all over you...

 

Barbara Turpish describes how she learned “the law of the garbage truck”:

“One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!

“The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’

“This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’

“He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you.

“Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

“The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so…love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!”

Chances are good that today someone will try to dump garbage on you.  How will you respond?

PRAYER: Give us grace this day to treat others who are struggling with their lives in a way that honors you, Lord, and teach us to pray for those who treat us wrongly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/21/11 – Looking in the Right Places

DayBreaks 02/21/11 – Looking in the Right Places

Do you remember playing “hide and seek” as a kid?  I always enjoyed being the one who did the hiding, not the one who did the seeking.  Now that I’m older and more forgetful, it seems I do a lot of “seeking” for things – I can’t remember where I put them or where it was that I last saw them!

 

Looking in the Right Places

In Matthew 6:17-34, Jesus talks about vision and light – where we look and what we look for.  One way to look at this section of Scripture is to see it that it describes how we view the world and our existence.

 

The first part talks about where we put our treasure, what we value – because that is what we will pursue (our heart will be where our treasure is.)  Then, verses 22-24 give us a clue about how our hearts form their treasure: it is what we put our eye/focus on.  If we have an unhealthy focus and look at the wrong things in life, we will be full of darkness.  If we look at the Light of the World, we will be full of light.

The remaining verses deal with our fears about what will happen to us if we put our eyes on the right things: will I have food, shelter, clothing?  Birds sing their song all day long and never worry about such things because God provides and they apparently trust in that.  (Which, as a side note makes me wonder: do birds and other animals have awareness of God?  They must – or otherwise this doesn’t make much sense – if they are just unthinking creatures, what is the point of saying that they don’t worry?  They would have to have the capacity to worry or this is a pretty meaningless statement by Jesus.)

Finally, verse 33 is the statement of what our focus and vision, and therefore our hearts, should be set upon: the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  This isn’t thinking about how righteous God is – it’s about the outworking of His righteousness in us!

It’s not easy in a world that bombards us with visual imagery of material things at every turn: billboards, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, television…all drawing our eyes away from spiritual things and trying to get us to focus on worldly things – food, clothing, raiment, power, position and worldly glory.  Fixing our eyes on those things is a symptom of a spiritual issue: that we think we must take care of ourselves because we don’t trust God to do it.

How do you set your eyes on the right things?  The heart of Jesus must be formed in us so that we see the world with His eyes and not our own.

PRAYER: Lord, how attracted we are to things that are destined to pass away!  Give us eyes to see value and worth and importance as You see it!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 02/18/11 – The Eagle and the Fish

DayBreaks 02/18/11 – The Fish and the Eagle

There is a story that illustrates a Biblical principle.  The story goes like this:

Once there was an eagle which hovered over a lake and suddenly swooped down and caught a two-foot long fish in its talons. Slowly, the bird rose with its ten pound catch, but when it reached about 1,000 feet, it began to descend, until it splashed into the water. Later, both the bird and fish were found dead. Apparently the fish was too heavy for the eagle, but it could not let go, for its talons were embedded in the flesh of the fish. The truth is that what we grab, grabs us. When we grab alcohol, drugs, or sex, it grabs us and brings us down to death.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

The simple truth is that when we involve ourselves in evil, we will become weighed down by it and it will bring us down.  Evil is toxic – and it is sticky.  We are far better off to have nothing to do with the “unfruitful works of darkness.”  (Ephesians 5:11)

PRAYER: We cannot fight evil on our own, Lord.  We need your Spirit to be alive and working in us and to say “No” to sin for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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