DayBreaks for 03/22/11 – What God Will Never Say

DayBreaks for 03/22/11 – What God Will Never Say

I’ve been very challenged in my thinking and discipleship lately.  God has been revealing blind spots in my life as a Christian – in particular, as an American Christian.  One blind spot in particular that He’s really been working on in my life is my attitude toward the poor.

Americans don’t like to see suffering, especially suffering of little children who have not had adequate food or water and who are dying as a result.  When those images show up on our TV screens, we quickly get up to go to the fridge, or change the channel, or find some other way to divert our eyes from the very harsh and hard realities that exist in this world.  We don’t want to see that kind of suffering.  It makes us uncomfortable – and that’s a very good thing.  We need to be made uncomfortable, especially as Americans who own so much and spend so much of our income on cushy luxuries.  I don’t yet know specifically what it is that God wants me to do with what He’s been showing me.

Israel, long ago, observed feast days, multitudes of tithes of money, crops, wine, etc., they observed temple rituals and cleansings.  They memorized the Torah and recounted the great deeds of YHWH for generation after generation.  They thought that all those things would make them acceptable – even pleasing to God.  After all, God had commanded those observances.  But in the writings of the great prophet Isaiah, God filled them in on the truth about what mattered to Him: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. – Is.  58:6-8

God cares about the poor, the starving, the naked, the homeless.  He hears their cries.  He wonders if we hear them, and if we will respond to them.

While I don’t know what God wants me to do specifically about this blind spot in my life, I am sure of this as an American Christian: the day won’t ever come when I stand before God and hear Him say to me, “I wish you’d kept more of what I gave you for yourself.”

 

Give...and it shall be given unto you...

PRAYER: God, I confess my blindness and hard-heartedness towards the plight of the poor.  Forgive me for my selfishness, and set me free from the tyranny of possessions and money.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 03/21/11 – You Will Call, I Will Answer

DayBreaks for 03/21/11 – You Will Call, I Will Answer

I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again! 14 Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death. 15 You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. – Job 14:13-15

 

Listening for the call..

Job certainly had a way with words – a way formed in the crucible of suffering and wrestling with his understanding of God.  He was plagued by many of the questions that still plague us today.  He wrestled with the “Why?” questions, and he wrestled to find meaning and purpose in all that was happening to him.  And, he wrestled with the concept of life after death.

 

Though Job asks if the dead can live again (he was far from possessing the certainty one can possess in the aftermath of the resurrection), he was a wise man, claiming that if it were possible for the dead to live again, it would give him hope “through all my years of struggle” and even that he could “eagerly await the release of death.”  Some may criticize Job for that statement – but who among us can claim to have the same unwelcome acquaintance with torment that was equal to that of Job?  I shall not criticize him for I am unworthy to challenge a man who lived through what he did.  I don’t have to have suffered as much as he did to understand that feeling that at times leads one to eagerly await the “release of death.”  Who, over the age of 40 or so, hasn’t at times felt that?  I’m not talking about being suicidal, but simply longing for an end to the “years of struggle.”

But it is verse 15 that really is the most shocking.  When God does call us to return to Him, we will answer.  We will not refuse.  We will not be able to refuse the power of the One who spoke stars into the sky and commands the sun to march across the sky.  Why will He call us?  That’s the shocking part: because He years for ME…for YOU…because we are His handiwork.

Perhaps you’ve not given much thought to the yearnings of God.  Why does a God who has everything and who can create anything His heart desires long for us?  Astounding, isn’t it?  Yet God does yearn for you.  Oh, that we should yearn as much for Him!

PRAYER: God, we scarce can believe that You even pay attention to us, let alone yearn for us!  May we hear Your call not just when it comes our time to die, but when it comes time to serve You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 03/18/11 – The Music of the Spheres

DayBreaks for 03/18/11 – The Music of the Spheres

His music fills the universe...

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? – Job 38:1-7

 

When middle C is struck on the piano the piston of bones in your inner ear vibrates exactly 256 times a second. Each day you think about 50,000 different thoughts. When you flex your hand you are using seventy different muscles. On the surface of your body there are as many bacteria as there are people on the surface of the earth. (I should have skipped that one.) The mystery of your birth, the mystery of the love you feel, the mystery of the deepest part of you are all most improbable. You are an incredible contingency.

Sam Keen wrote, “I suspect that we are all recipients of cosmic love notes. Messages, omens, voices, revelations, and appeals are all part of each day’s events. If only we know how to listen, to read the signs.” Our everyday life isn’t everyday. The surface of what we see and hear isn’t all there is. When you laugh, when you cry, when you feel something happening inside, open yourself to the possibilities. The potential of the life that we have been given is breathtaking. Open your eyes. Listen carefully. Pay attention.

The music of the Presence of God is everywhere…if only we open our ears, we will hear it!

PRAYER: For Your glory and majesty, for the beauty of the works of Your hands, for Your song that fills the universe, we give You our praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 03/17/11 – Choosing a Hero

DayBreaks for 03/17/11 – Choosing a Hero

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

 

Heroes must be chosen carefully...

In the summer of 1941, Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross for climbing out onto the wing of his Wellington bomber at 13,000 feet above ground to extinguish a fire in the starboard engine. Secured only by a rope around his waist, he managed to smother the fire and return along the wing to the aircraft’s cabin. Winston Churchill, an admirer as well as a performer of swashbuckling exploits, summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street. Ward, struck dumb with awe in Churchill’s presence, was unable to answer the prime minister’s questions. Churchill surveyed the unhappy hero with some compassion.

 

“You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence,” he said.

“Yes, Sir,” managed Ward.

“Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours,” returned Churchill.

These days people pick really bad role models and terrible heroes.  It seems that the worst humans draw the greatest attention…and for some strange reason, they are turned into heroes.  Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the difference between “hero” and “zero” is just one small letter.

Churchill knew he was in the presence of a real hero. So did the disciples. In fact, they knew they were in the presence of someone whose significance went beyond celebrity, even beyond heroic. He was their Lord, their Master, their King. If we are wise, he will be our Lord, our Master, our King. If we are wise, Christ will be our Hero, too.

PRAYER: Jesus, be our hero!  Let us look to you as one we can emulate in all things and in all ways!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 03/16/11 – He Has Called Your Name

DayBreaks for 03/16/11 – He Has Called Your Name

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. – Isaiah 43:1

He knows YOUR name!

Harry Emerson Fosdick was one of the greatest American preachers. He described his own preaching as counseling on a large scale. Few people knew that as a young seminary student Fosdick reached the breaking point after working one summer in a New York Bowery mission. After his summer mission was through, he went home and was overcome by deep depression. One day he found himself standing in the bathroom with a straight razor to his throat. He thought about taking his own life. And then – at that very moment – he heard his father in the other room calling his name, “Harry! Harry!” His father’s voice called him back to his senses – and to life. He never forgot it. It was like the voice of God calling him.

Remember that during those dark times in your life when you are in the wilderness, trying to find your way through, when temptation comes and offers you the wrong choice — the wrong use of power, the wrong way to popularity, the wrong kind of partnership — then you need to remember that God has called your name: “This is my beloved son, my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” And, you remember that because God has called your name He will see you through.

PRAYER: Thank You for knowing our name, and for calling us Your beloved!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 03/15/11 – A Self-Preservative

DayBreaks for 03/15/11 – A Self-Preservative

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. – Psalm 138:7

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winning author and a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, tells a very moving story of a teacher, a good and just man, who came to the ancient city of Sodom, determined to do everything possible to save its inhabitants from sin and punishment. Night after night and day after day he walked the streets and the markets protesting against greed and theft, falsehood and indifference. In the beginning, people listened politely and smiled ironically; then they stopped listening, as his words began to annoy them and they found that they were no longer amused by what he had to say.  The killers went on killing; the wise kept silent, as if there were no just men in their midst. One day a child, moved by compassion for the unfortunate teacher, approached him with these words: “You shout, you scream. Don’t you see that it is hopeless?” “Yes, I see,” answered the just man. “Then why do you go on?”

“I’ll tell you why,” said the just man. “In the beginning …I thought I could change them; today I know that I cannot. If I shout, if I still scream, it is not to change them. It is to prevent them from changing me.”

It is easy to become discouraged when one shares their faith.  In the beginning, some people will listen politely just out of curiosity or even just because they are being polite.  But eventually hearing the Word starts to rankle – and they will either soften their hard-heartedness, or they will cut off the messenger.

The teacher in the story has learned a valuable lesson – that we, too, need to be preserved as we tell the story.  There is something magnetic about sin and those who revel in it and unabashedly enjoy it.  They are not content to engage in it themselves – but they begin to see a challenge and some will make efforts to draw even those who have come to rescue them into their folly.  We need to remember that the Truth isn’t just for others, but it is the Truth that preserves us as well!

PRAYER: Lord, even as we try to serve you and speak your words of life to the lost and dying, don’t let us forget our own deep need for your Word to preserve us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.

DayBreaks for 03/14/11 – The Indian and the Snake

DayBreaks for 03/14/11 – The Indian and the Snake

Iron Eyes Cody was a Native American actor who in 1988 told an old Indian legend to Guideposts magazine. It goes like this: many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world.

He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke.

“I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

“No,” said the youth. “I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.”

“Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.”

The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg.

“But you promised…” cried the youth.

“You knew what I was when you picked me up.” said the snake as it slithered away.

 

You know what it is...

Galen’s Thoughts: How easily we give in to the voice of the serpent ourselves when he tells us that “you are special”, and that while others might be harmed if they did what we were doing, that by some magical means, we won’t be hurt by it.  We start to believe Satan’s “press” and to believe that we can carry sin around in our hearts and minds and souls and not be hurt – not really hurt – by it.  When will we learn that Satan is, and always has been, untrustworthy, breathing out lies and intent on killing us!!  We know what he is…let’s not pick him up!

 

They spit venom like deadly snakes; they are like cobras that refuse to listen, 5 ignoring the tunes of the snake charmers, no matter how skillfully they play. – Psalm 58:4-5

PRAYER: Keep us from foolishly thinking that we are strong enough to handle temptation and even to engage in sin without it really harming us!  Help us to see sin, and Satan, as it really is!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on either the Subscribe button at the top of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at the top and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.