DayBreaks for 02/20/12 – You Don’t Understand

DayBreaks for 02/20/12 – You Don’t Understand

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 2/20/2002:

Matthew 10:37-38 – “37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

As C. S. Lewis grieved for his wife (whom he refers to as “H” in A Grief Observed), he eventually came to write of a great conundrum: “Am I, for instance, just sidling back to God because I know that if there’s any road to H., it runs through Him?  But then of course I know perfectly well that He can’t be used as a road.  If you’re approaching Him not as the goal, but as a road, not as the end, but as a means, you’re not really approaching Him at all.  That’s what was wrong with all those popular pictures of happy reunions ‘on the further shore;’ not the simple-minded and very earthly images, but the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End.

“Lord, are these your real terms?  Can I meet H. again only if I learn to love you so much that I don’t care whether I meet her or not?  Consider, Lord, how it looks to us.  What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, ‘No toffee now.  But when you’ve grown up and don’t really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose?’

“If I knew that to be eternally divided from H. and eternally forgotten by her would add a greater joy and splendor to her being, of course I’d say, ‘Fire ahead.’  Just as if, on earth, I could have cured her cancer by never seeing her again, I’d have arranged never to see her again.  I’d have had to.  Any decent person would.  But that’s quite different.  That’s not the situation I’m in.

“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer.  But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’  It is not the locked door.  It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze.  As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question.  Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”

What is the price we pay to be reunited some day with our loved ones?  It is simply this: to love God and serve Him above all else.  Is that such a great price to pay?  Lewis’ point is well made, however – we must be genuine in our love for God for He won’t settle for us to just to use Him as a highway for the purpose of our reuniting with family and friends.  He must be the First and Foremost – the reunion with loved ones comes as a by-product of the greater blessing – coming to know Him.

There are times we have all experienced when we have asked God questions and received the ‘no answer’ that Lewis spoke of.  When that happens, we shouldn’t be surprised, or think the door to the Throne has been locked and we have been barred.  Rather, God must sometimes be puzzled at what to say to us.  How can the Infinite One explain His actions and purposes to us in a way we could understand?  In the midst of all this confusion, He wants us to have the peace that comes only from trusting Him with everything!

PRAYER: Lord, we are full of foolish questions and notions, even confused about what it is that our hearts really long for.  Though we don’t understand Your workings and ways, let trust take root and may we pursue You above any earthly or any eternal diversion.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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DayBreaks for 02/17/12 – A Place in the Choir

DayBreaks for 02/17/12 – A Place in the Choir

There is room for you in the heavenly choir...

2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. – Matthew 22:2-10

Do you have a good singing voice?  Perhaps your answer depends on what you consider a good singing voice!  Do you sing, for example, better than your next door neighbor, or your spouse?  Can you carry a tune in a bucket at best?  Do you have the voice of Celine Dion or Andrea Bocelli?  (Who does, right?)

Sometimes we don’t even attempt things because we’re embarrassed.  Sometimes we don’t because we’re ashamed.  Sometimes we don’t because we’re afraid of failure.  Sometimes we sit and twiddle our thumbs because we’re either too lazy or too tired to anything else.  Sometimes, we just think we don’t fit, that we’re not worthy.

There’s a great children’s song that’s entitled, “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.” The chorus says, “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir, some sing low and some sing higher. Some sing out loud on a telephone wire and some just clap their hands or paws or anything they’ve got.”

Instead of that old message, “No Oddballs Allowed,” let’s proclaim the message that Christ demonstrated during his life.  He ate with publicans and sinners, with cheating tax collectors, with lepers, drunkards…and prostitutes.  What was Jesus trying to tell us?  Perhaps simply this: “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.” There’s room for everyone in God’s Kingdom.  Even me.

PRAYER: Thank you for making a place for us in the choir, Lord, and for saving our seat until we get there!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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

 

DayBreaks for 02/16/12 – It Isn’t Always About Winning

DayBreaks for 02/16/12 – It Isn’t Always About Winning

Winning isn't everything..

14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. – Hebrews 3:14

We live in a time that is perhaps more highly competitive than any other time in history.  Sure, there have always been competitive people (Cain and Abel, for example – at least from Cain’s point of view!)  And there always will be.  That competitive culture causes us to think that life is about winning.  That’s not always the case.

When you think about the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, you probably don’t think about Paula Barila Bolopa, in fact, you probably never even heard of her. Paula was the women’s 50 meter freestyle swimmer from Equatorial Guinea. She had also never been in a 50 meter swimming pool until she arrived in Sydney to compete.

How did Paula qualify for the Olympics? She is a person who can barely swim across the pool and doesn’t even get her face wet when she swims freestyle. She had never stood on a starting block before the Olympics. In fact, Paula didn’t even have a swimsuit when she arrived in Sydney.

She was invited to participate in the competition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC has a program that reaches out to athletes from developing nations who might not otherwise have the opportunity to join in the world-famous games. Why in the world would Paula travel to Sydney to compete in an event she had no possible chance of winning? Not only did she have no chance of winning, it actually took her more than three times longer than it took the women’s freestyle gold medalist, Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands to finish the 50 meter race!

It isn’t always about winning. When Paula finished her heat in 1 minute and 3.97 seconds, the crowd gave her a deafening round of applause. “I got very tired at the end, but the crowd urged me on,” Paula confessed in a recent Sports Illustrated article.

Which will carry you farther in life, a gold medal or undaunted courage?  Scripture is clear: the race isn’t always to the fastest or strongest, but to the one who just keeps at it, day after day, struggle after struggle.  Someday, those people will hear the cheers of the heavenly host when they walk through the gates of that city!

PRAYER: We get so tired, Lord!  We get weary of the struggle.  We feel there’s no way to survive, like we may drown in the deep end of the pool before the race is over.  Give us courage to keep fighting!  Give us courage to keep trying!  At those moments, give us a foretaste of the cheering hosts of heaven to keep us going!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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

DayBreaks for 02/15/12 – But I Thought

DayBreaks for 02/15/12 – But I Thought

Misery, expectations, ministry and joy...

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3

This past week I was talking with someone who was rather despondent about the activities in their life that have led them to be discouraged.  This was someone who has a deep spiritual nature – and someone who loves God with all their heart.  This person often puts me to shame when it comes to spirituality and insight into spiritual truth – and I’m a pastor/former pastor.  I suspect that is true of many who sit under the teaching of a pastor.

Anyway, things just weren’t working out in this person’s life in the way they had hoped.  And they made a comment to me: “But I thought that if I was doing what God wants that He would take care of me.”  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Don’t we all think that if I am doing what God has asked me to do that all the other things will be peachy?

Before we go too far down that path, let’s remember the martyrs. Let’s remember the persecutions that befell Paul and the other apostles.  Let’s remember the persecutions of the early church.  Let’s remember Jesus – whose request in the Garden was turned down.  All were doing the will of God – and they paid a price for it at the same time that they reaped the rewards for it (though some of the rewards would only come after this life.)

Dr. Fred Craddock states that in this passage we see a central theme of Mark’s Gospel and a hallmark of Jesus’ ministry, “He (Jesus) is not seeking to be a star, known for relieving people of burdens and difficulties. All the way to the cross Jesus will be trying to get those who think, ‘where the Messiah is, there is not misery’ to accept a new perspective — ‘where there is misery, there is the Messiah.’”

Misery and ministry are often linked hand in hand.  But so are ministry and joy.  We may not be spared what appears calamitous at first glance.  But we will be rewarded if we persevere in doing what is right and don’t grow faint!  If Jesus was “a man of sorrows” it is likely we will know our fair share of sorrows to the extent we follow in his footsteps, but we will also reap the Kingdom for our home!

PRAYER: Keep us from human delusions that would tempt us to be discouraged, and to see things from your perspective, Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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

DayBreaks for 02/14/12 – Even the Worst

DayBreaks for 02/14/12 – Even the Worst

The worst...and the best

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. – Matthew 23:37

Listen to the story about Michael Wayne Hunter who was put on death row in California in 1983, in San Quentin Prison: after his third year on death row something happened. One day while getting ready to spend time exercising when the guard said, “You’re going to miss Mother Teresa. She’s coming today to see you guys.” Yea, sure, he thought to himself, “just one more of those designs they have on us.” A little later he heard more commotion about it and thought it might be true.

Another guard said, “Don’t go into your cells and lock up. Mother Teresa stayed to see you guys.” So Michael jogged up to the front in gym shorts and a tattered basketball shirt with the arms ripped out, and on the other side of the security screen was this tiny woman who looked 100 years old.  It was, indeed, Mother Teresa.

This hardened prisoner wrote about his experience, he said, “You have to understand that, basically, I’m a dead man. I don’t have to observe any sort of social convention; and as a result, I can break all the rules, say what I want. But one look at this Nobel Prize winner, this woman so many people view as a living saint, and I was speechless.”

Incredible vitality and warmth came from her wizened, piercing eyes. She smiled at him, blessed a religious medal, and put it in his hands. This murderer who wouldn’t have walked voluntarily down the hall to see the Warden, the Governor, the President, or the Pope, stood before this woman, and all he could say was, “Thank you, Mother Teresa.”

At one point Mother Teresa turned and pointed her hand at the sergeant, “What you do to these men,” she told him, “you do to God.” The sergeant almost faded away in surprise and wonder.

That day was a turning point in the life of Michael Wayne Hunter. This San Quentin Death Row prisoner was cleansed by that experience. Life changed. Suddenly there was meaning to it. So drastic was the change a new trial was set and the death penalty was not sought. The verdict was guilty on both counts of first degree murder but a new sentence was given: Life without the possibility of parole. Prosecution did not seek the death penalty because Mr. Hunter was now a model prisoner and an award-winning writer. He is one other thing: A testimony that Christ still is willing to heal, still willing to touch the untouchable, and to make us whole.

Jesus longed to welcome even Jerusalem, the city that had murdered the prophets.  No one is beyond hope!

PRAYER: I am so thankful that even I am not beyond hope, beyond your grace!  Let us never give up on even the most hardened sinners until after they have drawn their last breath, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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

DayBreaks for 02/13/12 – Coming to Grips

DayBreaks for 02/13/12 – Coming to Grips

1 Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” – Matthew 8:1-2

A few years back, a former Mouseketeer, Billie Jean Matay, 52 years of age, sued Disneyland.  It’s a fascinating story.  Mrs. Matay sued her former employers in the Disney organization after being robbed in the parking lot of Disney’s Anaheim amusement park.  She says that she and her three grandchildren were held for hours by security officers.  And she was asking damages because her three grandchildren saw some famous Disney characters getting out of their costumes.  The children were allegedly traumatized to discover that the Disney characters weren’t real, but simply human beings in disguises. Now forget the lawsuit.  We don’t even know how it was resolved.  Focus instead on the three children. They were forced to come to grips with what they believed about Mickey and Goofy and all the rest of the Disney characters.

The passage from Matthew 18 tells us about a man, a leper, who had to come to grips with what he really believed about Jesus.  Did he believe Jesus could heal him, or not?  You’ll note that the man spoke these words to Jesus before Jesus said word one to the man.  You see, the man had already concluded what he believed about Jesus…and it was that belief in who Jesus was and what He could do that caused him to come to Jesus in the first place.

Maybe you are on a faith-stretching adventure with God right now.  Perhaps you’ve taken a huge risk of faith in the past only to fail.  And it caused you to wonder about God – and what you believed about Him.  Remember that passage about how God knows the plans He has for us – plans for good and to bless us, and not to harm us?  It’s rather hard to believe that, isn’t it, when the job vaporized, when you’ve taken that step of faith only to fail.

This text shows us that there are times when we, like the leper, must come to grips about what we really believe about God.  I like what the preacher said about it just this past weekend: If you are doing something that you truly believe is God’s work and you are doing it with the right motives, you may still fail.  But you will be better off than if you’d not done it anyway.  Do you really believe that?  Do I?

PRAYER: Lord, I am sure that we all have lots of misconceptions about You.  I know there are times when we must really decide what we believe about You and the things You do, or don’t, let happen to us.  May we have the faith of the leper – trusting in Your will to be what is best, and not demanding our own solution.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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

 

DayBreaks for 02/10/12 – They’re Not, But I Am

DayBreaks for 02/10/12 – They’re Not, but I Am

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.-  Galatians 6:10

Gorman Williams spent most of his life as a missionary to India. In 1945 he purchased tickets for a long-awaited vacation back to the United States. He had counted down the months and days until he would be home. A few days before he was to leave he heard about some Jews who had escaped the wrath of the Nazis. They had traveled by boat to India seeking refuge. Since it was a time of global war, the Indian government denied their request to immigrate. They were granted permission to stay for a short time in the lofts of the buildings near the dock. Their living conditions were wretched. But it was better than being sent to a concentration camp in Germany.

It was Christmas Eve when Gorman Williams heard about the plight of these Jews. Immediately he went to the dock, entered the first building and called out, “Merry Christmas! What would you like for Christmas?” The response was slow. “We’re Jewish,” someone called out. “I know,” Williams said, “but what would you like for Christmas?” The weary Jews, fearful for their very lives, replied, “We would like some German pastries.”

At that point Gorman Williams sold his ticket to the United States and purchased more German pastries than anyone had ever seen. He brought lots and lots of them and carried them in large baskets.

Later he told this story to a group of students. One brash, judgmental young man reprimanded him. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he said, “they were not even Christians.” “No they weren’t,” the wise missionary quietly replied, “but I am.”

Have you been a Christian this week?  Look back at your week and how you treated others.  Is there enough evidence to support your claim to wear His name? 

PRAYER: We will never be worthy to wear Your name by our own goodness, but you have placed your name upon us anyway.  Help me this day to wear your name with honor and integrity, but even more, to act out of Christian love for all people.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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