DayBreaks for 05/31/11 – Saturated

DayBreaks for 05/31/11 – Saturated

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. – John 12:3

John’s vocabulary allows us to both see, and smell, this incident in the life of Jesus and Mary.  You’ve probably experienced something like it – someone was wearing a fragrance that was so strong that you suspected they had dumped the whole bottle on themselves!  Mary’s gift of perfume apparently nearly overwhelmed the people in the house. The smell “filled” the house, Luke says. The house was “filled with the fragrance. No one could escape it. If you had been allergic to perfume, you’d have had to leave. It was so strong, the smell surely stayed in the house long after Jesus left. For days after, the scent was a constant reminder that Jesus had been in their home, and that he’d made a profound difference in the way siblings related to one another. When Jesus becomes the focus of your family, the difference will saturate your home, too. It’ll fill every corner, and affect every relationship.

PRAYER: Fill our homes and our lives with Your Presence and heal our relationships! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/30/11 – No Greater Love

In honor of those who died for us...

Jesus said it: Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.  Those have become for many, a rule to live by and to die by.

Today we observe Memorial Day – it is a special time to honor men and women who took those words literally and then they lay down to die in service to their country.  Hal Moore, the colonel who led the U.S. troops in their first major battle in Vietnam (immortalized in the movie We Were Soldiers), said, that soldiers don’t die for freedom the words of presidents, or for apple pie or even for mom…they die for their comrades, for their love for one another.  Isn’t that what prompts one soldier to throw his body on a hand grenade, absorbing the punishing fragments of metal in his/her own flesh in order to save their fellow soldiers?  At that point, concepts such as freedom are not on the top of their thinking…but the life of the person next to them is.

I don’t know if I have, or ever have had, that kind of love except perhaps for my own family.  I suspect that one never really knows until that split-second moment arises and an instantaneous decision must be made.  There isn’t time to weigh the various options and alternatives – there is only time to act.  Perhaps there is a blessing in the quickness of it as there is not time for agonizing, protracted reflection and thought.

It makes what Jesus did all the more amazing.  He had eternity to contemplate his selfless act prior to its arrival.  And when the hand grenade (figuratively speaking, of course) landed in the foxhole where he was, he looked around and saw not friends, but enemies – those who wanted him to die, but not for the reason he chose to die.  They wanted him dead and gone so they could go on with their own affairs.  He wanted to die to save them.  And he did.

It is a special day.  I have never known someone physically who would up giving their life specifically for me, nor (obviously) have I ever done that for another.  It is a day for honoring those who gave their lives for their friends…and that includes not just soldiers in the military, but soldiers in the army of the Lord whose faith still shines as a beacon for us who were to follow, and it includes the Lord, our dearest friend of all.  Honor them all this day…and give thanks for them.

PRAYER: For such selfless love of our Lord and fellow man, we can only say we thank you and honor you this day!  Let us learn to love so deeply and widely that we would do the same if the need arises.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/27/11 – Making a Stink

DayBreaks for 05/27/11 – Making a Stink

A necessary offense...

It seems that there are those who believe that the gospel is all about making people feel better about themselves.  That’s a shame.  If anything, the gospel, when presented in truth, makes us feel worse about ourselves (because it will convict us of our sinfulness!) but better about God (who has taken our sinfulness away through Christ).  In the final analysis, the gospel surely is a positive, joy-affirming journey into the relationship with God, but unless we first understand our sinfulness and ever-present need to change, we will not be able to appreciate what grace is, and what it has done for us.

The fact is that if we are to be true to the gospel and our Lord’s teaching, the gospel has power built in to it by God Himself to cut our hearts to the quick (remember how that happened on Pentecost and on the road to Damascus?).  People don’t like that.  Perhaps it’s because we hear too many critical things about ourselves from others…others whom we believe we are superior to in terms of our reasoning, intelligence and faith-walk.  But we are not superior in any way, shape or form to Jesus…and he expects his gospel to be preached and taught faithfully – in its completeness.

Dorothy Sayers put it well: “I believe it to be a grave mistake to present Christianity as something charming and popular with no offense in it.”

Perhaps we should take solace in the fact that our preaching carries some offense.  Jesus wasn’t loved by everyone who heard him speak.  His words weren’t welcomed by all.  If our words find welcome embrace by all who hear them then we aren’t being honest with the Word.  Listen to the words from Paul, who certainly pulled no punches: But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us. – 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Who does this passage say it is that finds the truth offensive?  It is NOT those who are being saved, but those who are perishing!  Those who are being saved love the honest word because they know where the Word will lead them.

Perhaps you’ve tried sharing the Word only to have people find it offensive.  Look around you: you’re in good company with Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul…it’s a long list, but let’s not forget that the list also includes this name: Jesus. Rejoice and be glad – for your name is written in heaven!

PRAYER: We so want to be liked that we try too often to please people rather than You, Lord.  Let us not be offensive as your representatives, but let us be content to share the full truth that You are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/26/11 – Two Ways of Seeing

DayBreaks for 05/26/11 – Two Ways of Seeing

Someone told this story on themselves:

“My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.

‘My wife asks, “Do you know her?”

“Yes,” I sighed, “She’s my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn’t been sober since.”

“My goodness!” says my wife, “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?”

Yes, it’s true: there are at least 2 ways of looking at everything.  We can see life as a blind, unguided wandering from non-existence to light of day to unknowing blackness again – all brought about by curious combinations of chemicals, time and energy, or we can see it as a journey from being designed and formed for a purpose that has a destiny beyond the blackness of death the other way of seeing suggests.

We can see events that happen to us as chance events or as part of an intricate tapestry under the guidance of a loving God.

We can choose our responses to events and circumstances and either shake our fists and rage into the abyss, or give praise to the all-wise Father of Lights.

Which will you choose today?

PRAYER: I want to choose You, Lord God.  I choose to believe in Your existence, Your guidance, Your goodness, even at those times when things seem to suggest the opposite.  Help me to have eyes to see things in the right way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/25/11 – Attempting the Impossible

DayBreaks for 05/25/11 – Attempting the Impossible

Attempting the impossible...

There were times when as a child, I tried to fly.  Sometimes I would jump off a ladder (but only from a few rungs up).  Sometimes I would jump out of the hay mow on the barn (but only into deep, cushiony snow several feet deep).  There were times when I tried to walk on water, but only when I knew I could stand up in the water if I were to fail.  It is interesting how as a child we will attempt “impossible” things, but as we age and become adults, we migrate more towards certainties and sure things.  What a loss we experience when we stop attempting the impossible!

I wonder if we simply had more faith as children.  It wasn’t faith in ourselves so much (though there is something to be said for the idea that as we get older and recognize our limitations that we don’t have as much faith in ourselves) as it was faith in God.  I reasoned that if God could make Peter walk on water, or Jesus ascend into the heavens, surely He could do it for me, too.  So I tried to fly and walk on water.  I was disappointed when I fell or sank.  My theology wasn’t formed enough then to understand that God is not a trickster of the parlor-trick variety who performed impossible feats just to entertain youngsters.

Gary Waldecker has written a titled, Toward a Theology of Movements: Missiology from a Kingdom Perspective. In it, he develops a theology of movements around seven subordinate movements. The third, “The Outward Movement,” is a work of God’s Spirit whereby we drink of Christ and one small sip produces whole rivers which flow out of us to bless those around us. Gary states, “the task before us is not difficult – it is impossible. However, the Lord will do the impossible through us. As the Lord commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it out, as he commanded the paralytic to stand and walk, and as he commanded Peter to walk to Him on the water, so we must attempt the impossible trusting only in the supernatural power of Christ, refusing dependence on ‘safer’ methods. This is the work that can be accomplished only in the power of the Holy Spirit.

What are the impossible tasks that lay before us that God has appointed?  Surely they must include things such as these: loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate/hurt us, forgiving the unforgiveable and those we deem undeserving, being transformed from being sons of the dust to sons of the Most High, from having our own minds to having the mind of Christ, carrying the gospel to the entire world, and to be holy even as He is holy.

I suspect that we need again to recapture the wild-eyed faith that led us as children to attempt impossible things.  Except this time, may we not forget that the task before us is impossible for us.  But not impossible for Him.  Therefore, let us risk boldly and attempt the impossible trusting fully in the “supernatural power of Christ, refusing dependence on ‘safer’ methods.”

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

PRAYER: Let us believe enough in the power of the Spirit to once again attempt the impossible trusting only in You and refuse to depend on safer, saner methods of human construction.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/25/11 – A Morning Prayer

DayBreaks for 05/24/11 – A Morning Prayer

Lord, you are glorious and worthy of praise.

Give me this day eyes to see each petal of the flower and each person made in your image.

Give me this day ears to hear every birdsong and the cries of the needy.

Give me this day a tongue seasoned with grace that speaks love to all as my lips are filled with your praise.

Give me this day the gift of smelling sweet, fresh-mown hay and may those I meet detect upon me the scent of heavenly fragrance.

Give me this day the gift of touch that communicates compassion and love and never violence.

Let my feet be swift to do good, but slow to carry me into mischief.

Let my friends be exalted and my I rejoice in their exaltation and not be envious.

Let my work be for your glory and not mine.

Let those I meet today be blessed for us having met and communed.

Let my strength be spent in your service that I might rest well when night falls.

Fill my heart with longing for you and your courts.
May I be generous with all that I have, for you have given it to me to be shared.

When I lay down to sleep this night, may I know more of your grace, love and mercy than I do this morning, and should I meet you face to face this day, may I thank you for the best day of  my life.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/23/11 – How We Treat Jesus

DayBreaks for 05/23/11 – How We Treat Jesus

How would you treat Jesus?

What would you do if you opened the door to your house after hearing a gentle knock, only to find Jesus standing there?  What would you say?  How would you treat him?  What would you fix him for dinner?  What would you do for him if he asked?

In her blog, A Holy Experience, blogger Ann Voskamp recently posed the question, “How do we really treat Jesus?”  I’m fairly certain that if you’re reading this blog, you are thinking that you’d treat Him with the utmost respect…that you would do for him anything you could.  Right?

Really?

Voskamp included a line she read in a Frank Peretti book that started her chain of thought: “The depth of a person’s character is not measured by his or her physical strength, but by the depth of his or her nobility.”  She continues: “How do we treat those who are weaker?  We look in to each other’s eyes.  How do we treat those who are weaker? And then I read it out loud, the words of Jesus: The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Mt. 25:40

… and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Acts 9:4

“I peer into faces and I whisper it, the wonder, trembling truth of it: How we treat the weaker is our treating of Jesus.  Not like we treat Jesus.  Not similarly. But how we treat the weak IS our treating Jesus.

“When you gave a cup of water to one of these little ones, so you gave it to Me.  We can worship Christ in our sanctuaries and we can pray to God on our knees, but how we treat — or neglect – the person next door, the poor, every human being, this is how we truly speak to Christ and this is how we really treat Jesus.”

How do you treat the homeless beggar on the street?  Would you treat Jesus that way?  How do you treat the brothers and sisters in your church that you just don’t really care for all that much?  Would you treat Jesus that way?  How, husbands, do you treat your wives, who are weaker physically?  Would you treat Jesus that way?

It is a sobering thought: how we treat those who are weaker IS how we are treating Jesus.

PRAYER: Forgive us for not recognizing you in the disturbing disguise of the weakest and poorest among us.  Forgive us for how we’ve treated you, LORD JESUS!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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