DayBreaks for 10/31/19 – He Knows the Shepherd

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DayBreaks for 10/31/19: He Knows the Shepherd

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

I have been preaching a series on the 23rd Psalm.  I’ve come to appreciate much about this song of David that I never had seen or apprehended before.  Not only did David know about the life of a shepherd, he knew the Shepherd about whom he was singing.

There is a story told about a famous actor who at a gathering was asked to recite something for those gathered there.  The actor was somewhat taken aback about what to recite when an old preacher who was in attendance suggested the actor recite the 23rd Psalm.  The actor did a great job in his oration and when he was finished, received a long round of applause.  Then the actor turned to the old preacher and suggested that he, too, should recite the Psalm.  The old man, in a weak voice that quivered as he spoke, recited the same words the actor had just quoted.  When the old preacher was done, no one clapped.  It was quiet…except for the sound of sobs as those in the audience subtly began to wipe tears from their eyes.  The actor rose once more to his feet and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I communicated with your ears and your eyes. I know the words. But my old friend here communicated with your hearts. He knows the Shepherd.”

I find myself constantly asking myself the question: do I really know the Shepherd, or do I just think I do?  Do I really know Him, or do I just amass facts about Him?  If I knew Him better, would my witness for Him be more powerful – as were the words of the old preacher in the story?  I must admit that I don’t always like the answers to those questions.  I am convinced that if we really knew the Shepherd as did David or the old preacher man, our testimony and sharing of Him would be more powerful because He would be more powerfully present within us. 

Have you asked yourself lately if you really know the Shepherd or not?  We will never know in full about Him for He is infinite.  But at the same time, we can never know Him too much!

PRAYER: May we come to truly know You, the only One who has the words of life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/30/19 – What Will It Be?

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DayBreaks for 10/30/19: What Will It Be?

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 5:1-2, NIV)

To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (2 Cor. 2:16, NLT)

Did you take a shower or bath this morning or last night?  Why?  If you really get down to it, most of us shower not so much for purely hygienic reasons, but because we don’t want to…well…smell!  No one wants to walk around stinking.  I’ve been in a closed car with passengers who were from the street or who were homeless and I must say, at times the smell was nearly unbearable – especially in the colder time of the year when the windows couldn’t be put down.  It’s not pleasant!  A little sweat if you’ve been playing basketball or some other sport is one thing, but the odor of a human body that hasn’t been washed perhaps for a few weeks can be overpowering. 

There is a story about a time that Dr. Lyman Beecher had received a letter which was critical of him, and when he was asked about why he didn’t reply to the letter, this is what he had to say: “One evening as I walked through a field toward my home, I encountered one of nature’s most undesirable of all creatures. I had several books in my hand which I began to throw at the creature. Unfortunately, the result of my actions was a horrible smell produced by that animal—a skunk. I determined that such an animal should be left alone.”

To a large extent, how we respond to situations determines whether or not we give off a life-giving perfume or the rotting smell of dead flesh.  There will always be unbelievers (those who are perishing, according to the 2 Cor. 2:16 passage above) who will find anything to do with us to be offensive (because we carry a message that they don’t want to accept).  We can’t compromise that message.  But how we deliver it can also either be sweet smelling, or downright repugnant.  Dr. Beecher understood that it was his actions that caused the skunk to release its powerful odor.  He could have ignored the creature, but his own actions were hostile and elicited the release of “skunk perfume.” 

If we choose to respond to attacks and criticism in a fleshly, non-Christian way, only evil will result.  Even if we respond in a Christian way, we may still be persecuted and the persecution may increase.  But at least if we respond as Jesus would have responded, we will present ourselves as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  And after all, isn’t He who we want to please? 

Let’s not be vindictive and small minded.  There are greater things at stake than just our own comfort.  Jesus took the nails – the least we can do is take some criticism in a God-honoring way.

PRAYER: Our nature, Lord, is to strike back any time that we are hurt, criticized or offended.  Let us learn to place all such things at your feet and trust you to deal with them in due time so that we may present ourselves to you as a fragrant offering!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/29/19 – With Healing in His Wings

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DayBreaks for 10/29/19: With Healing in His Wings

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.  (Deut. 22:12, NASB)

This passage is from God’s instructions to His people, Israel.  It seems like a strange command to us, but the tassels were there to remind Israel that they were to be a kingdom of priests to the world.  The Israelites used everything (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) to remind themselves of the One to Whom they belonged.  These tassels were to be a visual reminder of their identity and role.  Here’s the key point: the Hebrew word that was used for these tassels was kinof.  Remember that…you’ll see it again just a bit later in this message.

But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. (Malachi 4:2, NLT) 

This prophecy was about the coming Messiah, the “Sun of Righteousness.”  At first glance, it may appear to have nothing to do with the passage from Deuteronomy, but that’s only because we don’t speak Hebrew.  In the passage from Malachi, the word “wings” is also kinof…the same word that is used in Deuteronomy to describe the tassels that were located at the four corners of a garment.

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

Here’s where it gets interesting!  This poor woman who had suffered for 12 long years, is in the great crowd that surrounds Jesus and is pressing in on him.  As she comes closer and closer, she reaches out to touch Jesus’ garment.  Why?  Because this woman either realized or certainly suspected that He was the “Sun of Righteousness” from Malachi who would have power in his “wings” (kinof) to heal!  Is it any wonder that Jesus said to her, “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace”? 

The good news, of course, is that Jesus still has healing in his “wings.”  We just need to get close enough to touch even the hem of his garment.  Our problem is that we are fearful and reluctant to get that close.  Could it be because we really aren’t that eager to be healed?  Is it because of what we may have to give up?  Or do we just not have the faith this woman had to take the risk?  She could have looked very foolish if she was wrong.  I find it interesting that she wanted the healing without the risk of being exposed for her faith if she was wrong about who this man was.  In the press of the crowd, if Jesus didn’t have healing in his “wings”, no one would know if she touched him and nothing happened.  But, of course, that’s NOT what happened.  Jesus wouldn’t let her faith remain hidden, but let it be known to the entire crowd that was gathered there.

I’m sure that we all need some healing today.  Jesus is within reach.  Reach out, take the risk, and find the power in his wings!

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for being our healer.  We need the faith to reach out to you in our brokenness.  Thank you for coming to be within reaching distance!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/28/19 – The Sounds of Silence

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DayBreaks for 10/28/19: The Sounds of Silence

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

Snap.  Crunch.  Crack.  Creak.  Pop.  No, I’m not talking about the sounds that Rice Crispies make when you pour milk over them in your cereal bowl.  I’m talking about the sounds my bones and joints make when I get up in the morning.  For some of you, it may not be a timid little “snap” sound – it may be more like a thunderbolt when you move!  When Simon and Garfunkel sang about the “Sounds of Silence”, they certainly didn’t have old age in mind!  (And I even left out a few of the worse sounds, like moaning and groaning!)

Aging.  We see it as an enemy.  I’ve written before about all that we to do forestall this unwelcome intruder into our lives: we inject botox, get our faces, chins and foreheads sculpted.  We lift here, tuck a bit there to tighten up the skin and remove wrinkles (they even have creams now – and they’re not cheap!) – that claim to do as much if not more than botox injections.  We join gyms to sweat and strain in order to keep our bodies functioning a bit more like they did in the good old days when we were young (isn’t it interesting how the “good OLD days” are always referring to when we were YOUNGER!?) 

Maybe we’re missing the point.  Maybe aging isn’t as bad as we make it out to be.  After all, it seems that aging, like being birthed, is also God’s idea and not some invention of a demented human mind.  This interesting perspective is from Max Lucado who contemplated the idea that aging is one way that God keeps us “heading homeward.”  He has this to say about it: “We can’t change the process, but we can change our attitude…What if we looked at the aging body as we look at the growth of a tulip?  Do you ever seen anyone mourning over the passing of the tulip bulb?…Of course not…we don’t mourn the passing of the bulb; we celebrate it.  Tulip lovers rejoice the minute the bulb weakens.  ‘Watch that one,’ they say, ‘it’s about to blossom!”

What a great perspective to have about the aging process that takes place within us!  As each new gray hair appears, instead of trying to pull them out or cover them over with Grecian Formula 16, we should realize (and celebrate) that we are getting that much closer to reaching our full blossom!

What a wonderful perspective this brings to life!  Instead of saying, “It’s no fun growing old!”, we should be reminding ourselves and everyone else that they need to keep an eye on us because before long, we will be blossoming in a way we never could otherwise.  We are getting closer to being home – where the snap, crackle and pop will be gone forever and where the Lamb will be the Light!

PRAYER: Lord, help us to age gracefully and to blossom into full bloom in Your garden!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/25/19 – Prayerful Considerations

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DayBreaks for 10/25/19: Prayerful Considerations

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

I have to admit that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about prayer and trying to learn how to pray more effectively.  That is a deficiency in my spiritual walk that I need to work on.  Let me share a couple of things about prayer that recently caught my attention and which I (and perhaps you) need to think about.

FIRST: assume the right posture.  I don’t necessarily mean that you have to bow your head, bend your knees, clasp your hands together in a prayerful posture, but more that we need to be humble before our God.  If we don’t humble ourselves, He will see to it that we are humbled!  We must remember that when we come to Him in prayer that we come making requests…not demands.  We are in no position to make demands upon God.  We are clearly invited to bring our cares to him, and we certainly need to bring our thanks to him as well. 

SECOND: the attitude with which we pray is important.  We are to let him know what it is that we want – we must ask as His children would ask a Father – and yet always be willing to accept what He deems to be wise and good for us.  Again, Max Lucado put it this way (paraphrasing): “Ask for what you want, pray for what is right.”  I know that what I want isn’t always (maybe not even often) what is right.  I just am not smart enough to know what is right in all the situations I face in life.  God doesn’t suffer from my limitations.  He always knows what is right and He will only do what is good for His children.

When I keep these two points in mind in my prayer life, I find that my relationship with Him is much smoother and I am much more at peace.  In both cases, I am acknowledging that I am not divine but that I have a Divine Friend who can be totally and utterly trusted!

PRAYER: Lord, it’s hard to submit our wants to what is right.  We deceive ourselves into thinking we’re wise enough to know what is right and good for us, but we are so blind that we often are wrong!  Help us to bow before You and Your omniscience at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/24/19 – The Bridge: When Faith Comes Hard

Weaving the Bridge

DayBreaks for 10/23/19: The MBridge – When Faith Comes Hard

It isn’t easy to always have faith and even hard to act on that faith. I suspect that it grows even harder as more and more is at stake. For instance, if you are being asked to deny your faith and the life of your family is at stake if you don’t, acting on faith in that case would perhaps be at the most extreme test possible.

The education system today calls faith into question, placing it on the scales to determine if it makes sense or not. We want to reduce everything to mathematical equations and certainties. The world is uncomfortable with uncertainty and things that cannot be proved, hence faith itself is deemed foolish and those who cling to it are ridiculed and proclaimed to be idiots.

Perhaps what Dr. Paul Brand wrote sheds a bit of light on this subject: “I have stood before a bridge in South America constructed of interlocking vines that support a precariously swinging platform hundreds of feet above a river. I know that hundreds of people have trusted that bridge over the years, and as I stand at the edge of the chasm I can see people confidently crossing it. The engineer in me wants to weigh all the factors—measure the stress tolerances of the vines, test any wood for termites, survey all the bridges in the area for one that might be stronger. I could spend a lifetime determining whether this bridge is fully trustworthy. Eventually, though, if I really want to cross, I must take a step. When I put my weight on that bridge and walk across, even though my heart is pounding and my knees are shaking, I am declaring my position.

“In my Christian walk I sometimes must proceed like this, making choices which involve uncertainty. If I wait for all the possible evidence, I’ll never move.” Dr. Paul Brand, Fearfully and Wonderfully

For those who have taken “the step” of faith and have found it true, we heartily assert it is not foolish. Those who have tasted the goodness of God’s love and compassion know it is real. Those who never take the step will never know, nor could we expect them to know, how solid the Bridge and Bridgebuilder is.

I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.

PRAYER: Give us the courage to believe and to act in faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/23/19 – The Message of the Oil of Anointing, #3

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DayBreaks for 10/23/19: The Message of the Oil of Anointing, #3

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

Sheep tend to be very docile creatures.  Most of the time, they are very content to just eat grass, sleep, drink clean water and lay down to rest.  There is a reason that people don’t hook sheep up to wagons to pull them, nor to a plow to create furrows for farming.  Sheep don’t run and jump over hurdles like a horse.  No one keeps sheep as “guard sheep” – the very idea is laughable.  Sheep aren’t very good for much except for wool, living lawn mowers, or if you are so inclined, lamb chops. 

There is an exception to the docile nature of sheep, however.  That is the when mating season rolls around and the rams get rambunctious as they compete for the attention and affections of some of the ewes.  Almost inevitably, if there is more than one ram in the vicinity, the rams will square off and with a sharp crack that fills the air, plunge head-long into one another, smashing their horns together until one or the other gives us and relinquishes his interest in the ewe in question. 

As you might imagine, it is relatively easy for the rams to become injured in those contests of masculinity.  It is possible for a ram to suffer a very severe injury or to even die.  In rare cases, sometimes the rams horns will become locked, and if the sheep are out in a pasture where they are not tended, the rams can die of starvation before they can get unhooked from one another.

This is another use for the oil of anointing – the shepherd uses the oil to try to prevent injuries to the rams.  He coats their heads and massive horns with slippery oil so that when the rams butt heads, their horns slip off their opponent harmlessly.  The result: the rams live to try again.

It’s easy for us to butt heads with others over silly things.  Very seldom do our disputes with other people come about because of big, significant things, but they typically start out from smaller confrontations or slights: we weren’t invited to someone’s home while others were, we weren’t recognized for some small thing we did.  Women may be hurt that their spouses didn’t recognize and comment positively on a new hair style or dress.  Men get hurt that their work isn’t noticed by the boss or because they’re not thanked for taking out the garbage at home.  We have a choice then: we can butt heads, or we can let the smaller and less significant things just slide off before we, or an “opponent,” get hurt.

How do you respond when you suffer what you perceive to be a slight of some kind?  Do you attack?  Do you let the Shepherd’s oil keep you from injury?

PRAYER: Keep us from hurting others or ourselves because of slights and minor hurts!  Give us the grace to be gracious!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>