DayBreaks for 10/31/11 – Going Away Hungry

DayBreaks for 10/31/11 – Going Away Hungry

He is the bread of life...will it be enough?

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

In John 6, Jesus preaches a sermon to a humongous crowd of people.  He is at the pinnacle of his popularity and word of his healings and teaching has spread like wildfire.  Thousands are present when Jesus preaches that day by the Sea of Galilee.  We don’t know much of what Jesus said that day – except that he taught all day and that by day’s end the crowds were hungry.  Jesus feeds them with five loaves and two fish.  It had been a day for the ages, one that must have made the disciples and Jesus very excited.  Another great sign: after dinner, the people camp out on the hillside so they can be with Jesus the next day, too!  These are enthusiastic admirers!  When morning dawns and they rise, they’re hungry again (just like we would be) and they look around for Jesus, but he’s gone.  During the night, he and his disciples sailed across the lake.  The people figure that out and hurry to catch up to them and when they do they’re really hungry.  But there will be no free pancake breakfast that morning.  Instead, he says to them, I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.

Jesus knew the truth about those people.  They were following him because they wanted more free food.  Jesus puts them to the test: what kind of food did they want?  Did they want Him, or just what He could do for them?  In verse 35, Jesus offers himself to them instead of loaves and fish, but the unspoken question was whether that would be enough for them.

Then Jesus Declared, ‘I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in my will never be thirsty.’  Do you see?  There isn’t physical food on the menu.  Jesus says HE is the bread of life.  There’s only one item on the menu: Jesus, and the crowd is faced with the question of whether they want Jesus more than they want food.  This is at the end of the chapter: From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

If I had been there, would I have turned and walked away, too?  I wonder if we can ever really determine how much we are in it for Jesus or for what He can do for us.  I sometimes don’t like the way I’d have to answer that question if I were being honest.

PRAYER: Lord, take my heart and change my desires!  Let me learn that physical bread can only go so far, but spiritual food nourishes forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/28/11 – Plugging In to the Power

DayBreaks for 10/28/11 – Plugging In To the Power

Luke 8:42-48 – “As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.  45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.  When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”  47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.

Consider the elements of this story:

FIRST: the woman had to recognize and admit her need for sickness.

SECOND: she had no power in her to heal herself – and to date, no power she’d found outside of her was able to heal her, either.

THIRD: she had the determination to take action.  She wasn’t content to sit and see what the future held.

FOURTH: she had to overcome her own shame when Jesus pressed the question, “Who touched me?”  She had to explain why she had done what she did.

All of the above things are true, but the key is that there was no power in Jesus’ robe.  The robe only had power because it was in contact with Jesus, the source of all power!  It is much like a lamp in a way – the lamp itself has no power to bring light.  Neither does the cord have the power to bring light.  The cord has to be in contact with the electrical outlet which in turn has to be connected to the power grid in order for the light bulb to light up.  What is the message here?  Simply this: that if there is to be healing from the things that plague us, we, too, need to be in contact with Jesus.

Each of us is broken and bleeding inside.  But we have to face that fact before we will go looking for a cure.  We can try all kinds of solutions to our problems – to no avail.  Why?  Because all those doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists and self-help books that leave God out of the picture just simply aren’t connected to the Source of power.  Those people and sources can be helpful, but they can’t fix what is deeply twisted and wrong with the human condition.  Each of us needs to risk the shame of admitting to our disease “in the presence of all the people” and Jesus will pronounce peace over us.

Are you in contact with the Source of eternal, everlasting power?  Plug in to the Power – reach out and touch the Power of God – and you will find the just as this woman was healed by her act of faith, that you will be, too.

PRAYER: We are so weak and frail, Father.  We can do nothing without you.  Help us to find the healing power of Jesus and to stay connected to him at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/27/11 – It’s What’s Inside

DayBreaks for 10/27/11 – It’s What’s Inside

When the pressure is on...

At church once, one of my Christian brothers shared a devotion that I thought was very profound in all of its implications.  His thoughts were inspired by Wayne Dwyer, a motivational speaker.  The gist of the message was as follows:

If you take an orange and squeeze it, what happens?  You get orange juice!  It never has resulted in anything other than orange juice.  No one has ever squeezed an orange and had tomato juice come out.  Neither does lemonade come out – only orange juice?  Why?  Because it is an orange and orange juice is what is inside.

It doesn’t matter whether you squeeze the orange with your hands, place it under a board and jump up and down on it, or even if you have an elephant stand on it.  Whatever is on the outside exerting the force doesn’t change what is inside the orange.  It only works to cause what is inside to come out.  The pressure exerted on the outside of the orange is what causes what is inside to be produced and revealed.

This is, of course, a parable of life itself, and we as Christians, are like the orange.  Life presses in on us, squeezing hard.  And whatever it is that is inside of us is what will come out when the pressure gets strong enough.

The question, of course, that we must ask ourselves, is what comes out when life presses in on you?  When someone cuts you off in traffic, when someone cuts in front of you in a line at the store, when you hit your thumb with the hammer, when you witness someone being ridiculed for taking a stand for righteousness, when you see injustice – what comes out?  When you find yourself without a job, when your health is stricken, when a loved one dies, when debts pile up – what comes out?  Do words of praise, seasoned with grace, flow from your lips?  Or do bitter words, swear words, ungrateful phrases pour forth?

It depends on what is inside.  If your life has been filled, truly filled, with the love and grace of God, the things that come forth will be words and actions that bring glory and praise to Him.  On the other hand, if something else comes out, it is an indicator that what is on the inside still needs work.

Prov. 23:7 – “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

Luke 6:43 – “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

PRAYER: Jesus, we complain about being squeezed, but help us understand that the squeezing only reveals what is contained on the inside – and we need to know the truth about ourselves!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/26/11 – He Doesn’t Wear a Watch

DayBreaks for 10/26/11 – He Doesn’t Wear a Watch

It's about time...and devotion.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. – Ecclesiastes 7:8

How many clocks do you have in your home?  Do you wear a watch?  Are you, like me, the proud owner of iPad, smart phone or other device(s) so you can keep your life’s schedule organized?  I’m afraid that we have an abundance of clocks and watches in our home.  I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.  Consider this writing from Calvin Miller in his book, Into the Depths With God:

“Time may be either the friend or the enemy of our surrender to Christ.  The Chinese sage summed up our clockish biographies in three words: hurry, worry, bury.  How often this trinity of words describes our surface churchmanship.  Church is so often the busiest of all madness.  We run from meeting to service and back again.  Exhausted by our frantic externalness, we collapse in bed at night, and for what?  Does our hurried religiosity cause us to lift up our eyes to our King?  Have we looked upon our small performance with spurious pride?  Have we signed over our small prayers and been satisfied?  All the while we know – deep in our hearts – there must be some deeper, more meaningful way to live for Christ.

“When we sum up our large professions and our little faith, we know we need to confess our spastic obedience to time.  ‘Lord Jesus, forgive us our hurry.  Help us to remember that across from hurry, worry, bury stands a loftier trio of words: cling, linger, and savor…Hurried Christians beget hurried disciples.  Hurried disciples become a hurried church – a hassled fellowship of disciples who serve the clock and call it God…Time itself must be surrendered to the pursuit of the depths of God.  God does not wear a watch.

I believe that one of the best things about heaven will be the lack of time as we know it.  Can you imagine not having to run off to some activity and instead finding yourself to be able to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus and listen to him speak?  Can you imagine being able to sit for eons and listen to the heavenly choir sing and not to have to worry about getting up to go somewhere and do something?

God doesn’t wear a watch and part of what we have to give to Him is our time.  You cannot develop a deep relationship with God without the investment of time.  Perhaps there is no greater gift that we can give Him than the time that He has blessed us with.

PRAYER: Slow us down, Lord.  Let us give you not just the best of our praise and worship, but the first portion of our time as well!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/25/11 – Time to Get Up

DayBreaks for 10/25/11 – Time To Get Up

"In case it was God coming..."

Author Isak Dinesen confessed that she liked being awakened with really important news.  One morning Kamante, her house help, woke her with the threat, ‘Msabu, I think you had better get up – I think God is coming.’  Ms. Dinesen wrote: ‘From the door-windows I now saw a strange phenomenon.  There was a big grass-fire going on out in the hills, and the grass burning all the way from the hilltop to the plain…I stood for some time and looked at it, with Kamante watching by my side, then I began to explain the thing to him…for I thought that he had been terribly frightened.  But the explanation did not seem to make much impression… ‘Well, yes,’ he said, ‘it may be so.  But I thought you had better get up in case it was God coming.’”

It is hard to understand how someone could have seen the fire in the distance and have thought it was God coming.  But doesn’t Scripture talk about God being a consuming fire, that He will come with flaming fire taking vengeance on those that don’t know Christ?  Perhaps Kamante had heard those verses from a mission school.  It doesn’t really matter where he heard it, but the key was what he felt his employer needed to do “…IN CASE it was God coming.”

Think about it.  Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night when you heard a sound?  What if it was God coming to your front door, or down the hallway?  Just in case it was He, what would you do?

Some day God is coming again.  And while Kamante seemed to think that Ms. Dinesen might have missed His coming, not a single human being is going to miss His return.

In case God were to come to your home today, what would you need to do?  What would you want to try to put away in some dark old closet so He wouldn’t see it?  What would you do with your spare time?  How would you change your life?

Hosea 10:12 – “12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

1 Peter 4:17 – “17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

PRAYER: Lord, if this is the day that You come, help us to be ready!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/24/11 – Act Accordingly

DayBreaks for 10/24/11 – Act Accordingly

He always sees...and so does the world

Proverbs 15:3 – “3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Scripture is full of statements about the things that mankind does, and how that the Lord sees them all.  In fact, the phrase “the eyes of the Lord” occurs 88 times in the New International Version.  I think God is trying to tell us something – that He is watching, and that He sees both the good and the bad that we do.  But He isn’t the only one who is watching.  The apostle Paul indicated that God wasn’t the only one who was watching, nor is He the only one we should be conscious of: 2 Corinthians 8:21 – “21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, seemed to understand this and put it in his own words: “Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you and act accordingly.

The key is in the second phrase – even if you are doing something that will only be known to yourself – do it as if the entire world will be seeing what you do.

What are you contemplating doing today or this week or this month that you wouldn’t want everyone to see?  Please, don’t do it.  If you wouldn’t do it on the stage in front of the entire world, Paul tells you not to do it.  Act accordingly!

PRAYER: Lord, keep us from sinning in the secret places in our lives and in our hearts.  Help us to everything in such a way that we could be seen without shame by anyone at any time!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/21/11 – Why It Takes a Lifetime

DayBreaks for 10/21/11 – Why It Takes A Lifetime

There's a reason it requires a living sacrifice...

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1

In a recent interview that one of my sons had with Richard Foster (and which was posted on Patheos.com), the subject matter was developing the discipline necessary to live an abundant Christian life.  There isn’t a Christian that doesn’t want to have an “abundant life”, though there may be huge differences of opinion about what that means depending on whether you’re a proponent of the prosperity gospel or not!  I, for one, don’t think God cares nearly as much about our material prosperity as he does our spiritual prosperity – and that’s the kind of abundant life we should be seeking.  Yet, I fear that far too few of us are living with the kind of spiritual discipline to really grasp that abundant living.  Here’s what Foster had to say:

“You say it’s not hard — and yet people do find it difficult. Why would people find it hard to enter into contemplative prayer in the midst of the busyness of modern life?

“It’s difficult in the sense that we have to make ten thousand choices as we move along, a few hundred each day, probably. Do we say yes to the Good and the True and Beautiful? Do we say yes to what is life-giving and no to what is death-giving? There will always be those decisions.

“Consider that passage from Paul, “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you submit your body as a living sacrifice.” But the problem with living sacrifices is that they’re always trying to crawl off the altar. That’s why they take a lifetime to be offered, and they have to be offered again and again. C.S. Lewis wrote that we make these decisions constantly, either moving us toward life or moving us toward death. And a lot of time we make conflicting decisions.”

Why does it take a lifetime to become mature in our faith?  Why can’t it happen overnight?  I suppose that on very rare occasions it may happen quickly, but usually it takes decades.  I think Foster nailed it when talking about living sacrifices and how “they take a lifetime to be offered, and they have to be offered again and again.”

We want it to be a one-time offering.  We don’t want to crawl back onto the altar of self-sacrifice and discipline over and over again.  But that is the price for mature Christianity and for victorious living in Christ!

PRAYER: Lord, rather than crawling onto the altar, we want to crawl off of it.  We want maturity without cost and pain.  Help us to realize that we can only grow in You as we die to ourselves…and as we stay on the altar as living, and dying, sacrifices to You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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