DayBreaks for 1/30/15 – Especially in the Wilderness

DayBreaks for 01/30/15 – Especially in the Wilderness

From the DayBreaks archive, January, 2005:

 

Matthew 22:36-38 (NLT) – “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  Jesus replied, ” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Think of all that Israel went through in the Old Testament.  Although we tend to think that their lives were always hard, they did have good seasons, especially during the reigns of David and Solomon and a few of the other godly kings.  And I would imagine that at the time the greatest commandment was given in the Law of Moses, it was a pretty good time, too.  And if not, at least I’m convinced that Israel found it much easier to love God above anything else in all existence when things were going well for them as individuals and as a nation.  Why do I believe that to be true?  Simply because it’s that way in my own life.

But things aren’t always great, are they?  There were plenty of times that Israel found themselves besieged by the enemy at the gates, being carted off to captivity because of their indiscretions, and punished severely.  Did they find it easy to love God at those times?  Not if they were like us, they didn’t.  At least not to start with.  They railed against Him, beat upon Him with their fists and words, assailed Him in their hearts and minds – and loved Him little, if at all, during those times.  But over time, their tune changed and they repented and fell in love again. 

Frederich Buechner wrote: To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken.  But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless.  Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love Him.

I’ve got a good friend right now who is in the wilderness.  His father recently died – very unexpectedly.  Just shortly before that, they’ve learned that one of their children may have a very, very serious disease, and that the future for her may be uncertain.  Within the past year he also lost his job, moved twice, changed churches due to the move, left their friends behind in their old town.  In short, just about every major life change has happened to them in the past 12 months.  They are living in the wilderness.  The wilderness is dry, dusty and windblown.  It’s full of strange sounds, sights and creepy things that make your skin crawl.  Yet, through it all, they are loving God and trusting Him.  They have understood the great commandment – and kept it, even in the wilderness.

It’s easy to love God in the Land that Flows with Milk and Honey.  It’s hard in the wilderness – and this is where we meet our truest test, where we learn the most about ourselves, but more importantly, about our God.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, we don’t like the wilderness and we don’t like struggle and hardship.  Teach us the lessons of the wilderness that You need us to learn that we might learn and grow.  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 1/29/15 – Walking on a Moonless Night

DayBreaks for 01/29/15 – Walking on a Moonless Night

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John 8:12 (NIV) – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

When I was younger, I used to do a fair bit of camping.  There is something about being out in the edges of Yosemite National Park with the sights and smells of nature all around that is enlivening.  Perhaps part of it is that we are forced to contemplate the great creation hand-wrought by the Creator. 

My eyesight isn’t so great – and it hasn’t been for a long, long time.  I’ve worn corrective lenses of some kind of another since I was in second grade.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but on a moonless night when even the stars are masked off by cloud cover, it is very, very dark in the woods.

Walking in the darkness is no fun, especially when one has bad eyesight!  Not only is it no fun, it can be very dangerous.  It is one thing to walk in one’s own home during the night after living there for years.  You know where everything is.  But to be in the wilderness on a moonless, overcast night where there are wild animals that could rend you, or cliffs where steep drop-offs beckon – walking in the darkness can be more than dangerous – it can be deadly.  Jesus didn’t come to give us death – but to restore us to life by letting us walk in the Light – even as He is in the Light.

As a young man, I felt invincible, even in the dark.  Now that I’m “older”, I no longer feel invincible, especially in the dark.  It seems as if the darkness wraps us in a blanket and would smother us if it could.  But it is just darkness and has no malevolent intent.  It just is the absence of light.

Of course, the darkness Jesus speaks of is spiritual darkness.  That darkness is far more sinister than the darkest night in Yosemite or anywhere else.  Because this darkness does have intent – it is more than just the absence of light.  It has a goal – the obliteration of the Light and everything that is good. 

Still, we need not fear if we are close enough to Jesus to walk in his footsteps.  We have His promise that if we do so, we will never walk in darkness.  Why?  Because Jesus cannot walk there and He will never lead us there.  He leads us not only into green pastures, but into the light of life!

PRAYER: Thank you for not just leading us into the light, but for being the Light!  Give us courage during the darkness until the full Light of heaven dawns upon us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI).  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 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 1/28/15 – Jesus, Demons and God’s Design for Us

DayBreaks for 01/28/15 – Jesus, Demons and God’s Design for Us

In Mark 5, Jesus encounters Legion – and the man that was possessed by Legion.  Interestingly, that man with the unclean spirit (or at least Legion!) understood who Jesus was better than anyone else Jesus had encountered in the gospel up until that point in time. This poor man was on the very margins of society and perhaps even beyond the margins of sanity, but make no mistake – he knows exactly who Jesus is. Even the disciples don’t figure it out until Mark 8, when Peter says, “You are the messiah, the one sent by God.” This man of unclean spirit is way ahead of everyone, and he wants to know, in essence, “What are you going to do with people like me? Are you going to destroy us?”

“Be silent and come out of him!” Jesus commands. And then the man convulses and cries out loudly and the unclean spirit leaves him. I’ve had some interesting discussions about spirits with other Christians, and while I may not fully understand what an unclean spirit is, it is clear that Jesus believed in them – and I am impressed with Jesus’ power over them! Mark’s gospel still hasn’t told us a thing about what Jesus taught, but he has showed us that Jesus had a power over things that people label as unclean.

I believe Mark is making this point: that God’s will and purpose as present in Jesus is engaging and fighting against all the purposes of evil that exist among humanity. This battle is not fought just at the highest levels of government or industry, but right in the middle of common folk like us. The battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, life versus death even happens amidst the people who are gathered for worship.

Christ came to shatter all the domineering designs and forces that shackle people to lower standards for life than God intends for us. Christ has come to free us not just from real demons like Legion, but also from demons like prejudice and pride, greed and guile.

Christ is among us, whenever we gather in church, to demonstrate a power among us. If we devote ourselves to anything less than a divinely directed destiny, we have missed the goal of faith.

PRAYER: Help us to see, understand and grasp by faith all that You intend for us!  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 1/27/15 – The Power of One

DayBreaks for 01/27/15 – The Power of One This past Sunday, we had a visiting preacher from Poland at our church.  He gave a very simple, but very understandable and meaningful illustration about the power of the indwelling Christ. 

He started out talking about how many of us feel worthless, that we have no power in life to change or really do anything meaningful.  Even many Christians feel that way – and some might say that Christians in particular, because of our keen understanding of sin and its consequences, feel lower than dirt because we recognize how sinful we are…and we struggle because we can’t seem to overcome our “besetting sin.”

We see ourselves, he said, something like this: 0000000000…., i.e., we have no value, we have no power, we are empty and meaningless.  But just because we feel that way, it doesn’t mean it is true.  We DO have value, if for no other reason than the virtue of being made in the image of God, and we are not zeros.  We may be more like this: 000000001.  The addition of that one number give something value!  It may not be great in the scheme of things, but it is not a zero, either!

The more we recognize and put to work the abilities and skills that God has given us, that number may look more like this: 000000010, or 000000100.

But this is where the magic comes into play!  When we are indwelt by Jesus, when we “put on” Jesus and His righteousness, the number is more like: 100000000.  And the beauty of it: we have been given access to His unlimited power at work in us!  How does it happen?  We could perhaps take a clue from John the Baptist who said, “He must increase, I must decrease.”  As long as we are trying to be the BIG one, we will remain miniscule.  The Greatest, after all, is the Servant of all.

You are not a zero.  I am not a zero.  Jesus is everything. With Jesus, the sky is the limit!

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV) – And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

Ephesians 6:10 (NIV) – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

PRAYER: Thank You for giving us value – significant value – and access to your mighty power that is at work in us for Your glory!  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 1/26/15: It Doesn’t Take a Genius

DayBreaks for 01/26/15 – It Doesn’t Take a Genius Christopher Langan

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers tells the strange story of Christopher Langan, a genius with a staggering IQ of between 195 – 210. (For perspective, Einstein’s IQ was 150.) In high school, Langan could ace any foreign language exam by skimming the textbook 2-3 minutes before the test.  He got a perfect score on his SAT, even though he fell asleep at one point.  But Langan failed to use his exceptional gifts and ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri.  According to Gladwell, Langan never had a community to help him capitalize on his gifts.  Gladwell summarized the story of Langan in one sentence: He “had to make his way alone, and no one– not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses– ever makes it alone.” (Source: preachingtoday.com, 2/14/11)

“Remember the old adage in Proverbs 27:17, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another?  The Lord created us, not only with a God-shaped hole, but an “others-shaped hole” as well.  We need others to stimulate us to become everything God intends for us to be.  Hebrews 10:24 challenges us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (NIV).  The NLT reads, “encourage one another to outbursts of love…” The Message puts it, “let’s see how inventive we can be…” and the NAS uses the word “stimulate”.  I guess the good old King James is my favorite when it reads, “to provoke” one another (sort of like a spiritual cattle prod).  Any way you unwrap it, we need to intentionally seek out a community of believers who can stimulate, encourage and, yes provoke us, to become all that God desires for us.  And you don’t have to be a “genius” to figure that out!” – Barney Cargile

PRAYER: Thank You for giving us community with one another!  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 1/23/15 – Go Fish

DayBreaks for 01/23/15 – Go Fish

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club.

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a symbolic life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

That’s a pretty graphic tale of some folks who forgot what they were supposed to be about. Sometimes I think we are like those folks. It’s as if we think Jesus didn’t really mean it when he said, “Go fish.” We think other things he said are surely important, but not reaching out and bringing people to Jesus Christ.

“Go into all the world…”  That’s our mission – and it is mission possible!  Let’s get busy and “go fish”!

PRAYER: Thank You for entrusting to us the greatest mission in history!  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 1/22/15 – Who Is He? Really?

DayBreaks for 01/22/15 – Who Is He?  Really?

John 7:40 (NIV) – On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?

 Just before the verses cited above, Jesus claimed to be the Living Water.  He had shaken up the religious world of Jerusalem with his teaching, lifestyle and actions.  It was only natural that there would be different opinions about who he was.

It is significant that some said he might be “..the Prophet.”  They at least recognized that he was not just “a prophet”, but possibly one for whom they had been waiting for.  Others thought he was “the Christ” – the Anointed One.  They were right.  But others didn’t accept it because of his origins.

These verses prompted me to think a bit about my own response to Jesus.  Do I believe Jesus is THE prophet or the Christ?  While the people who did believe he was “the Prophet” meant well by it, they didn’t see him (the Messiah) as the Son of God.  We limit Jesus so very quickly and easily to make him fit an image we have in mind of what He should be rather than what He is.  If I don’t expect him to be the Son of God and to therefore ACT like God, I will not ask for much and hence will receive little.  I will not believe for much and will experience little in that case. Sometimes the limitation we place on him (or even on other people we encounter) are driven by nothing more significant that their hometown or the color of their skin or the way they dress or the level of their education.

The people were divided because of Jesus.  He is still dividing people today, and if we are not divided because of Him and His claim on us, we are not recognizing Him as the Son of God.

Matthew 10:32 (NIV) – Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.

PRAYER: Father, I am sure that even though we are convinced we believe that Jesus is Your Son, we often don’t act like it.  Show us the reality about our faith, and help us in our unbelief!  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!