DayBreaks for 12/31/14 – The Great I AM

DayBreaks for 12/31/14 – The Great I AM

One of the striking things about John’s gospel is how it depicts the life and ministry of Jesus. The other gospels tell us stories about Jesus. Then, like the disciples, we are left to ask, “Who is this, that wind and sea obey him? Who is this who feeds the multitude on a couple of loaves and a few fish?” But in the Gospel of John, there’s no doubt who Jesus is because he tells us – over and over. Usually he does so with a statement starting with “I am.” Put him in a any situation and he will clarify both his identify and his mission.

You can put Jesus in the desert surrounded by disgruntled people, and Jesus says, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).

Put him in the midst of a confused crowd who are asking, “Who are you, Jesus? What makes you different from all the other gurus, rabbis, and religious leaders?” And Jesus says, I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (10:7, 9).  He is defining himself.

If you place him at the graveside in the middle of people doubled over with grief and you will find Jesus saying, I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live (11:25).

Surround him with people who feel discouraged by difficulties and Jesus says, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5).

Where ever you look in John, in one situation after another, Jesus defines himself and says, “This is who I am….” In the eighth chapter, Jesus says, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12). His words echo the opening words of the Fourth Gospel, where the writer defines the person and work of Jesus in terms of light. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world (1:3-4, 9).

Jesus says, I am the light of the world. We might expect to hear this kind of statement in these days shortly after Christmas.  After all, not long ago we gathered together and heard the prophet Isaiah proclaim, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. We don’t know if Isaiah had any idea who or what he was talking about, yet we celebrate Christmas as a festival of light. We string up twinkle lights on fir trees. We illumine our houses. We burn candles in the windows and plug in GE bulbs on the shrubbery. We burn up the kilowatts because Jesus Christ is born. In the bleak midwinter, why not shine a little light?

In fact, why not shine that light all year long?  He is, after all, the Great I AM!  Whatever is going on in your life, may you find meaning in one of His great I AM claims!  He has a message for YOU….

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, we ask that you not let us forget the Great I AM throughout this year and for as long as we live! 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 12/29/14 – Cut Off at the Roots

DayBreaks for 12/29/14 – Cut Off at the Roots

It’s over for another year, this thing we call Christmas.  Are you breathing a sigh of relief?  Many are.  Perhaps now that the day-after-Christmas sales are over you feel you can relax.

There is something else that happens after Christmas is over and you can see the evidence of it all over the streets of America in the coming days or weeks: the Christmas trees will be put out by the curb to be picked up by the garbage disposal company.  Soon all those trees will be in landfills all over the country.

I’d be willing to guess, however, that long before you threw out your tree, something started happening to it: the needles started to dry out and fall from the tree, snagging themselves in the carpet pile and making it hard to clean up.  It doesn’t matter if you put sugar in the stand at the base of the tree or not, the needles will still dry out and drop.  Why?  Because the tree has been cut off and no nourishment really moves up the trunk – the roots are missing.

Perhaps as we face a new year that is pregnant with possibilities and uncertainties, we need to draw a parable from that dried out tree.  We’ve come through a season filled with songs about the nativity, people who seldom darken a church door went to a Christmas Eve service.  And now that Christmas is over, they may feel that their duty is done for the year (or at least until Easter).  And you may also feel that you can now forget about Jesus for a while.  If you do, you will soon find yourself like that Christmas tree – dried up, falling apart – for the same reason: you’ve been cut off from the root and have no nourishment.

Don’t let that happen!  Too much is at stake!  You will miss out on so much! Continue to grow and send down roots deeply into the soil of the life of Christ, drinking up all you can of the infinitude of what He has to give you!

PRAYER: Lord, let us not kick back and relax and forget about you now that the Christmas is over.  Let us use this new year to grow deeper and stronger in our relationship with you rather than drying up and withering away! 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 12/26/14 – We Can Barely Endure Candle Light

DayBreaks for 12/26/14 – We Can Barely Endure Candle Light

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From the DayBreaks archive, 2004: 

The great scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, once did something that was very dangerous and foolish.  As an experiment, he started at the image of the reflected sun in a mirror.  The rays, as you might imagine, burned his retinas and he suffered temporary blindness as a result of the experiment.  Even after hiding for 3 days behind closed shutters, the bright spot still wouldn’t fade from his vision.  “I used all means to divert my imagination from the sun but if I thought upon him I presently saw his picture though I was in the dark.”  He was lucky that he wasn’t blinded for life. 

But, as Philip Yancey notes in Disappointment With God, There is a parable in Isaac Newton’s experiment, and it helps illustrate what the Israelites ultimately learned from the wilderness wanderings.  They had attempted to live with the Lord of the Universe visibly present in their midst; but, in the end, out of all the thousands who had so gladly fled Egypt, only two survived God’s Presence.  If you can barely endure candlelight, how can you gaze at the sun? 

The prophet well described our dilemma so long ago in Isaiah 33:14a (NIV) –“The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?  How many times have we each longed for some special manifestation of God’s Presence?  Or even just that we could “feel” His Presence in those dark and lonely hours?  I think that every human being has had those feelings at some time or another, no matter how godly the woman or man.  Yet, we are all sinners in Zion and we may do well to learn from Israel.  I doubt that we could stand the Presence of God in all His glorious brightness.  As Yancey suggests, Is it possible that we should be grateful for God’s hiddenness, rather than disappointed? 

The next time you are disappointed that God’s Presence seems to be in hiding, remember Isaiah’s words, His greatness and our utter frailty.  Perhaps the verse in Isaiah gives us the best explanation of why it was necessary for Jesus to become human to live among us – we couldn’t have withstood the brightness of the unveiled presence of God Almighty! 

PRAYER: For your mercies we thank you, for a glimpse of you in glory, we long…and for now, we thank you for your veiled Presence! 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 12/25/14 – Paltry Gifts

DayBreaks for 12/25/14 – Paltry Gifts It is Christmas morning.  For most of us, there are presents under the tree and squeals of childish delight (not always coming from the little ones!)  We give gifts to those we love and appreciate on this day.  Why?  Well, it all started long, long ago in a village far, far away… 

Matthew 2:9-11 (NLT) After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

The wise men (or magi) came to see a king.  And they did.  Only it wasn’t the kind of king that they planned to encounter.  They found a King all right, but far more.  They had prepared to meet a king.  But, as Todd Agnew asks in his song, “How do you prepare to meet the Lord?” 

They brought with them perhaps the finest gifts they could think of or afford: gold, frankincense and myrrh.  They were not paltry gifts by earthly standards, but as Todd Agnew sang, “We brought Him gold, frankincense and myrrh, when riches untold he left behind…”  No one can possibly know how true of a statement that was!  As much as Mary and Joseph must have been stunned by the extravagance of the gifts, God wasn’t.  The baby in the manger wasn’t.  To Him, the presents were mere trifles.  

What have you brought to Jesus this Christmas season?  Have you brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, or their modern day equivalent?  Perhaps you feel that you gave Him gift by attending a Christmas eve service – that maybe you did Him a favor by doing so.  You haven’t.  You didn’t.  

God never wanted the gold and other presents.  What He wanted was the hearts of the wise men and Mary and Joseph and the shepherds in the fields.  And that is what He wants from you and from me…our hearts.  The wise men apparently “got it” as they came to worship Him…to give the praise of their heart and lips to the Christ Child.  

That, my friends, is what He wants from you and me not just today, but always and forever.  To God, that is the most precious gift in the universe that we could possibly give to Jesus.  Will you give it to Him? 

Full lyrics to “God With Us” can be found here.   To listen to the song, click here. 

Merry CHRISTmas to you all! 

PRAYER: Lord, it isn’t easy to give my heart fully, as much as I would like to!  I struggle to keep a bit of it for myself and I try to appease You with substitute gifts that are paltry and trivial.  As I go through this day, this coming year and the rest of my life, help me surrender more and more of my heart to You each day! 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 12/24/14 – Gabriel Trembled as Eternity Held Its Breath

DayBreaks for 12/24/14 – Gabriel Trembled as Eternity Held Its Breath

 

“She struck the angel Gabriel as hardly old enough to have a child at all, let alone this child, but he’d been entrusted with a message to give her, and he gave it. He told her what the child was to be named, and who he was to be, and something about the mystery that was to come upon her. “You mustn’t be afraid, Mary,” he said. And as he said it, he only hoped she wouldn’t notice that beneath the great, golden wings he himself was trembling with fear to think that the whole future of creation hung now on the answer of a girl.” – Frederick Buechner 

Have you considered how humble God is, to subject His eternal plan to the responses of mere humans?  What if Mary had said, “I’m honored, but no thank you”?  God would have found someone else, I suppose, and the point I that Mary didn’t say that.  Instead, she, too, humbled herself knowing the ridicule and taunts that would come her way.  She must have known how hard it would be.  

I’d not thought of Gabriel’s feelings and emotions at that moment.  What could he have said to the One who had sent him on this incredible mission if he’d had to report a negative answer from Mary?  And so Gabriel waited, perhaps holding his breath (if angels have such a thing), listening intently for the one little three-letter word, “Yes.” 

Perhaps all heaven could hear as he exhaled.  Perhaps all heaven (except for God) joined in that exhalation.  

Now, though, eternity holds its breath wondering what you will do with the One who was born into the manger.  Will you say no to His offer to you, or will you, like Mary, receive the offer with bowed head and open heart? 

PRAYER: My prayer, Lord, is for all my unsaved friends this Christmas – and there are many of them!  I pray that they will hear Your voice and welcome Jesus not just as the baby in the manger, but as the Lord of life and eternity! 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 12/23/14 – Consider the Possible Impossibilities

DayBreaks for 12/23/14 – Consider the Possible Impossibilities

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This is a story of impossibilities. Consider the impossibilities Mary faced in this story: She is a virgin and pregnant — she is having a child while she is a virgin. Impossible! No way! Won’t happen! Joseph has to follow through on the marriage after he discovers Mary is pregnant. Impossible! Mary must avoid being stoned to death when the neighbors hear the news. Impossible!

Consider the impossibility Elizabeth faced. She was well past the childbearing age, and yet God says she is going to conceive and bear a child. This impossible news left old Zechariah speechless. Impossible! No way! Won’t happen!

This is a story of biblical impossibilities. But, what are the impossibilities in our world? What would you label “impossible” in your life? Peace in our world. Impossible! No way! Won’t happen! Christian values returning to our nation, morality becoming the norm? Impossible! Our church reaching our surrounding community and making our world different? Impossible! Restoring relationships, healing past hurts in our lives. A relative or friend entering a relationship with Christ. Breaking an addiction and overcoming past hurts and disappointments? Impossible!

We find ourselves with the same troubled mind as Mary, wondering over the impossible (v. 29). We even ask the same question Mary asked, “How will this be?” (v. 34). To us it seems impossible! No way! Won’t happen! The real question for people today is “How can the impossible become possible?”

PRAYER: God, for all who need to believe in the impossible this day, during this season, may they find the hope they need in You! 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 12/22/14 – Among Crumbling Roman Columns

DayBreaks for 12/22/14 – Among Crumbling Roman Columns

 

Isaiah 45:22-23 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

“Every year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, there is displayed, beneath the great Christmas tree, a beautiful eighteenth century Neapolitan nativity scene. In many ways it is a very familiar scene. The usual characters are all there: shepherds roused from sleep by the voices of angels; the exotic wise men from the East seeking, as Auden once put it, “how to be human now”; Joseph; Mary; the babe — all are there, each figure an artistic marvel of wood, clay, and paint.

“There is, however, something surprising about this scene, something unexpected here, easily missed by the casual observer. What is strange here is that the stable, and the shepherds, and the cradle are set, not in the expected small town of Bethlehem, but among the ruins of mighty Roman columns. The fragile manger is surrounded by broken and decaying columns. The artists knew the meaning of this event: The gospel, the birth of God’s new age, was also the death of the old world.

“Herod’s know in their souls what we perhaps have passed over too lightly: God’s presence in the world means finally the end of their own power. They seek not to preserve the birth of God’s new age, but to crush it. For Herod, the gospel is news too bad to be endured, for Mary, Joseph, and all the other characters it is news too good to miss.” – Thomas G. Long

PRAYER: May our knees bow voluntarily, Lord, for You alone are worthy! 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!