DayBreaks for 11/17/14 – Wormwood’s Work

DayBreaks for 11/17/14 – Wormwood’s Work

In the book The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, a devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, in a series of letters, on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. In his writings, the devil says that the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent. This higher devil cautions Wormwood that he must keep the patient comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much about truly important things because it could cause indigestion. And then the devil gives this instruction to his nephew: “I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.”

I saw on the news just today that a third American has apparently been beheaded by ISIS.  Do you know what?  I’ve not been praying about this rising evil very regularly.  I’ve not been calling on God to stretch forth His arm to deliver His children who have been suffering at the hands of this group or at the hands of others.  Why?  Because it is “out of sight, out of mind.”  Is that a good excuse?  No, it isn’t.  I fear that when it comes to this topic and so, so many others like it, I have fallen into Wormwood’s trap and I just simply don’t care enough.

Revelation 3:16 (NLT)  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Those who don’t care enough don’t pray enough.  And Jesus’ word are a strong warning to us.  God, give us ears to hear and hearts to care!

PRAYER: God, forgive me for growing too comfortable while so many others are suffering because of Jesus, or disease, or evil.  Stir us to pray without ceasing for those in such desperate need of Your deliverance!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

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DayBreaks for 11/14/14 – Musings On Carrying Crosses

DayBreaks for 11/14/14 – On Carrying Crosses

Matthew 16:24-25 (NLT) – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Let’s face it: we are not very fond of the above verse, are we?  I mean, how many people do you know who have ever said, “I want to be a Christian because I want to carry my cross and follow Jesus!”  No, we may all want to follow Jesus, but very few, if any, have ever wanted to have to carry a cross to do it.  Crosses lead us to deadly places.  Wouldn’t it have been much more enticing if Jesus has said, “Come, sit in your easy chair and follow me!”  But he didn’t.  And then he just had to go and throw in that bit about giving up our life for His sake in order to save our life.  Some folks just don’t seem to know how to attract followers!

As I thought about this, I thought about why my cross was/is.  I must say that it is a bit hard to identify what it is while living in a country that, at least until now, still lets us worship in freedom for the most part.  Bearing one’s cross in a country that is blatantly hostile in deadly ways to a profession of Christianity is much more clear, I think.

As I contemplated this issue, it became clear to me that there is another cross that I was destined to bear: the cross that is demanded by my sin.  That cross kills not just the body but the soul for eternity.  And then I realized that I don’t have to carry that cross, because just as Simon of Cyrene carried the physical cross of Jesus (the symbol of judgment and punishment for his imagined crimes), Jesus carried my cross to Calvary.  Why?  Because there is no way I could bear it?  No, that’s not it.  God could have required each and every human being to carry that cross and bear our own punishment for our wrongs…but He didn’t do that.  He couldn’t do that.  His innate nature of love would not permit Him to sit idly by while every one of the billions of people who have ever lived or will live on this planet carry their cross of punishment into the grave and into hell.

So, Jesus stopped beside me one day while watching me struggle under the weight of my cross and guilt, and without even asking me first, took that cross off my back and carried it for me…to Calvary.

As a result, when Jesus asks me to carry my cross now, it’s a much lighter cross, no matter where it might lead or what it might cost.  My burden has been lifted.  My punishment has been borne by Another – the One who carried MY cross for me!  Whatever cross He may ask me to carry is light in comparison to the one I might have had to carry!

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus!  How I long to see you and fall at Your feet and weep out my gratitude to You for carrying MY cross – the one You knew I could never bear! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 11/13/14 – The Greatest Enemy of Faith

DayBreaks for 11/13/14 – The Greatest Enemy of Faith

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) – This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

If someone were to ask you what is the greatest enemy of faith, what would you say?  We tend to think in terms of polar opposites when asked such a question, so one might say “doubt.”  I can understand that way of thinking – it has a certain simple clarity to it, doesn’t it?  And, there are many in the Christian family who think doubt is a dirty word.  I, for one, don’t.  I think doubt leads to questioning and truth never has anything to fear from questions.  It is doubt that propels people to accept the old standard answers and formulas to find and discover new thoughts and insights.  The Old Testament prophets and King David certainly had no compunctions about expressing their doubts to and about God!  But, that’s not really what I want to talk about today.

I recently came across this insight: “The greatest enemy of faith is not doubt; the greatest enemy of faith is fear. Most of the world is controlled by fear, petty and big. Petty fears control people; great fears control nations. We could feed all the people in this world if we would stop building arms, but we are afraid. In the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount) Jesus said, “Those of you who make peace will be happy. You will be God’s own.” Yet even Christians are preoccupied with fear and protecting ourselves because we don’t believe what Jesus said. The Sermon on the Mount is an antidote to fear. But we have never seen fear as the crucial issue, only “doubt.”

I don’t think that I’ll ever think of the enemy of faith the same way again.  We are afraid that God won’t really will show up or if that He’ll leave us hanging out there all on our own.  It is fear of what will happen to us if God doesn’t do something that freezes us: we don’t want to look foolish, to sound foolish and we certainly don’t want to be persecuted or antagonized by those who might mock us for trying to act on faith.  Fear, not doubt, is what causes us not to take the first step on the faith walk.

PRAYER: Let us boldly be on the gentle offensive, filled with the certain knowledge that neither Satan nor all his demons will have the victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 11/12/14 – Living in the Shadow of Death

DayBreaks for 11/12/14 – Living in the Shadow of Death

From the DayBreaks archive, 2004:

Luke 1:76-79 (NIV) – And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

For who knows how long now, every man, woman and child who has lived has done so in the shadow of death.  And every man, woman and child has also died there, with two notable exceptions: Enoch and Elijah.  But it is our destiny to be covered someday with the shadow of death, only it won’t be just a shadow then for it will have substance.  An uninvited guest will have come to take us.

It is hard to believe, as I sit here in the Alexander Valley of northern California and look out on the vineyards below, that I’m living in the shadow of death.  The sun is shining brightly, birds are practicing their aerial acrobatics and the leaves are doing their shimmying dance on the trees.  Life appears to be good.  All appears to be well – as if it would continue that way forever.  It is good that we are reminded that we live in the shadow of death.  Just last week a man in our valley was run off the road and killed.  As I drive into town, the failure of any number of mechanical components could cause me to go careening to my demise.  Perhaps in the internal workings of my body, a monster is growing unseen from human eye.  Perhaps the next food I eat will be tainted with some undetectable poison and I will eat it, only to succumb to the reality of death.  Some guests knock – death walks right in.  We are living in the shadow of death, whether we like to think about it or not.

But best news, however, is that even though we live in the shadow of death, we also live in the circle of Light that the Son brings into the lives of those who love and trust Him.  And as the verse notes, when that happens, our feet, even though we live in the shadow of death, are guided into a path of peace.  This is a blessing only known and experienced by the redeemed.  Others may hope – even long – for it.  Some may dream of it, and some may expect it.  But far too many will never experience it.

And that is the other benefit of being aware that we live in the shadow of death: a sense of urgency.  A sense that “TODAY is the day of salvation” – tomorrow will not do, for tomorrow your uninvited guest may arrive.  And if the guest doesn’t come for you tomorrow, it may for your friend, your neighbor, your spouse, your child, your parents or grandparents.  How will you help those you know be ready?  The same way John did: “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God…”.

When the light shines, the shadow goes away.

Copyright by 2004 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Let us boldly be on the gentle offensive, filled with the certain knowledge that neither Satan nor all his demons will have the victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 11/11/14 – Hunker Down?

DayBreaks for 11/11/14 – Hunker Down?

This was in our worship bulletin this past Sunday, and I think it speaks loudly to what is going on in the world today and how we may feel and react to it:

“I recently read an email from a fellow Christian decrying certain things going on in our nation.  The email concluded with ‘You should be very afraid,’ and frankly I was a little taken back by this, because the Scripture often encourages us to ‘fear not.’  Now perhaps, if the person would have used the word, ‘concerned,’ maybe I would have received the message a bit easier.  To be ‘afraid’ or ‘fearful can easily produce, at least in me, withdrawal, the need to protect myself, the desire to ‘hunker down’.  On the ‘fight of flight’ syndrome, if I feel threatened, I can easily move toward ‘flight’.

“When I read Matthew 16:18, ‘I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’, I am struck that the church is on the offensive, not the defense.  Have you ever thought of the verse in that way? In essence, the church is on the move, which doesn’t strike at withdrawal of ‘flight’.  No, the church is moving forward, walking by faith, even amidst fear or concern.

“Maybe certain members of the church (here in America_ want to withdraw out of fear and protect themselves.  Maybe, they don’t want to get involved in challenges because it’s uncomfortable or hard.  I get that.  Yet, here is this verse in Matthew, suggesting the church is in ‘fight’, not ‘flight’ move, a ‘fight’ which is not an aggressive, in  your face, confrontation approach.  No, ironically ‘fight’ becomes about serving, giving and sacrifice.  It becomes about ‘being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.’ (1 Peter 3:15)  ‘Fight’ becomes about being ambassadors for Christ because His love compels us. (2 Cor. 5:14, 20)

“So, how do we do this?  Well, Ephesians tells us to ‘put on the full armor of God,’ (Eph. 6:13) implying that we are in a battle, but also God has given us tools to combat the spiritual forces of darkness.  This includes His Spirit at work within us, empowering us to be one of His witnesses. 

“Maybe ‘messages’ from TV, radio, social media, or even other Christians, produce fear or concern in us.  However we receive it, may it cause us to not permanently withdraw from our mission, ‘ut rather may it motivate us to g…go and make disciples of all nation.’  May we as a church not ‘hunker down’, but go in the power of the Spirit.  The gates of hell will NOT prevail.”

PRAYER: Let us boldly be on the gentle offensive, filled with the certain knowledge that neither Satan nor all his demons will have the victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 11/10/14 – For the Times You Can’t Believe It

DayBreaks for 11/10/14 – For the Times You Can’t Believe It

Jude 1:24-25 (NIV) To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– 25  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. 

I suppose it is a common feeling among those of us who wear the name “Christian”, this feeling of “I’m just afraid I’m not going to make it.”  It’s a feeling born of the thousands upon thousands of failures, falls and sins that have plagued us from the time we were old enough to know what is right and what is wrong.  It is a feeling of hopelessness, unworthiness and utter despair.  To feel like we have blown it not just one time too many, but hundreds or thousands of times.

And when that happens, Satan has been playing with our heads.  That is precisely the way Satan wants us to think.  He wants us to believe things are hopeless.  He wants us to doubt that God could be “that” merciful, “that” loving, “that” forgiving.  He wants us to think that either God is not willing to forgive us that many times, or that He is, because of His holiness, unable to forgive us for such a huge pile of failure.  When we think those thoughts about our God, Satan smiles.

How do we know that it isn’t true?  Read today’s passage again – slowly – especially verse 24.  “To Him WHO IS ABLE to keep your from falling, and to present you before His glorious presence WITHOUT FAULT and great joy…”  Are there any sweeter or more promising words in all of Scripture?  

When we think the despairing, hopeless thoughts, we are playing into Satan’s hand and his strategy.  God is neither unable nor unwilling to forgive you…over and over and over again.  And there’s another wonderful part of that passage that also very much deserves our attention and which lifts my spirits.  And here it is: not only is He able to keep me from falling and to present me before God’s glorious presence without fault…but he will do so with “…GREAT JOY…”  What does that mean?  It means that Christ won’t begrudge me that forgiveness.  He won’t look at me and shake his head from side to side and say, “Boy, it pains me to say this, but come on in.”  There will be none of that.  There will be only great joy on His face, on the face of Christ…but especially on mine.  I will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I didn’t deserve it – but he will insist upon it, with a loving hug, a warm smile, and a pat on the back, and the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Enter into the joy of your Master!”

So, for those times when you just can’t believe that this will happen to you, go back to this verse in Jude…and smile, knowing HE is able! 

PRAYER: I am so filled with hope in knowing YOU are able…and not only are YOU able, YOU will finish this according to Your promise!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 11/07/14 – Life Killing Comparisons

DayBreaks for 11/07/14 – Life Killing Comparisons

From the DayBreaks archive, 11/3/2004:

I love the story of Elijah and the priests of Baal.  When I read it, I almost want to stand up and shout “Yea, God!”  The suspense builds and builds in the story until it is palpable, and then, just when you can hardly stand it any more, down comes the fire from heaven and God and His prophet, Elijah, are vindicated!  I think it would make a great Hollywood movie! 

It would be awesome if that’s where the story ended, but it also wouldn’t be accurate.  Elijah hears that Jezebel is ticked with him, and in fact, she’s promised to do him the great honor of relieving his shoulders from the burden of carrying his head – very, very soon.  Elijah, this great and mighty man of God, full of faith…runs.  Not just a little ways, he runs.  And he’s not jogging – he’s running.  He might have beaten Lance Armstrong on a flat track! 

Why?  It may have been a couple reasons:

FIRST: his fear for his life.  Jezebel wasn’t a slouch – she was a woman to be reckoned with.  But Elijah didn’t feel up to the task.  That’s OK.  He shouldn’t have.  His problem was that he thought he needed to be up to the task rather than trusting that God would take care of puny little Jezebel. 

SECOND: for this possible reason, we need to look at 1 Kings 19:3-4 – Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”  I’d never noticed it before, but Elijah’s complaint wasn’t that Jezebel was hot on his trail, but that “I am no better than my ancestors.”  Elijah, you see, was comparing himself with those who had come before him.  Perhaps his goal in life was to be better than Moses.  I don’t know.  But whoever he idolized, Elijah was despairing not because of Jezebel, but because he felt like a failure when he compared himself to others he thought of more highly than himself.  

Comparison can be life-killing.  We look at others who are more beautiful, and the life seeps out of us.  We see others who have bigger bank accounts and huge retirement funds set aside – and we feel like dismal failures.  We reflect on Daniel, King David, Paul, Peter…and we shrink back into our surrender to “I’m a failure” thinking.  “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, so I eat worms.”  How sad.  Understandable, but sad.  

Did God ever tell Elijah that he had to be greater than his ancestors?  No.  Did God love Elijah just the way he was – even when he was beating a hasty retreat from Mt. Carmel?  Certainly.  Did God expect Elijah to be or do more than he could?  No.  All God asked out of Elijah was to be faithful with what he had been given.  And that’s all He’s asking of your and me.  My little corner of God’s flock may never be a large flock.  Will that mean I’m a failure because I’m not as good as my “ancestors” in the faith – Billy Graham, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, or others?  Absolutely not.  And God doesn’t want me comparing myself, nor you to compare yourself, to others to figure out our worth and preciousness.  We are priceless to Him for one reason, and only one reason: we are His kids. 

Let’s play. 

Copyright by 2004 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”> 

PRAYER: What a delight to know that You delight in us…just as we are and that You don’t sit around comparing us to others! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!