DayBreaks for 3/20/19 – Listen Slowly

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DayBreaks for 3/20/19: Listen Slowly

Matthew 17:5 (CSBBible) – While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!”

Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. He was snapping at his wife and children, choking down his food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated every time there was an unexpected interruption in his day. He recalls in his book, Stress Fractures, that before long, things around their home started reflecting the pattern of his hurry-up life style. He said the situation was becoming unbearable. Then it happened.

After supper one evening his younger daughter, Colleen wanted to tell him something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, “Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.”

Suddenly realizing her frustration, Swindoll answered, “Honey, you can tell me — and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.” He has never forgotten her answer: “Then listen slowly.”

Can’t you hear God’s voice in a new light, saying to Peter, James, and John: “This is my Son, listen to him! Slow down. Don’t be so quick to move things your way, to shape the world as you see it Peter. Don’t be so quick to climb the corporate ladder, to join the rat pack and be number one John. Don’t try to beat your colleagues to the first position James. Slow down. My Son is trying to show you another way, another world, another kingdom. If you will listen slowly.”

Let’s resolve speak less quickly and be slower listeners to Jesus!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to talk less and listen to you more slowly!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 3/19/19 – Use versus Value

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DayBreaks for 3/19/19: Use Versus Value

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Oswald Chambers devotion for February 21 had this to say: “To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we look, out of fear of offending God…”but perfect love cast out fear…” once we are surrendered to God (I John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.”

Wow. Pretty profound. Consider:

“Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves…” We should pay attention to personal holiness, right? Sure. But should be worry over it? No. Why? Well, to borrow a few words from Jesus: which of us by thought or effort can make ourselves holier than God has already made us? If we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, you just can’t get any holier than that! Yet we stare at the face in the mirror and get overwhelmed by the guilt-stricken individual that we see. When will we learn to fully trust Christ’s work for us on the cross? That the cleansing isn’t temporary or partial or incomplete, but that it is full, complete and eternal? We spend too much time looking at ourselves and our failings and not nearly enough looking at what God has done. We need to surrender our concern about our holiness to Him because He is the One who has pronounced us righteous and holy.

As to the usefulness statements: does it hurt you to know that you aren’t of use to God? Well, I mean, in a way, when you get right down to it, He doesn’t need anything that we can do for Him. He doesn’t need us to make money so He can continue to live surrounded by heaven’s luxuries, He doesn’t need us to make Him dinner, He doesn’t need us at all. He is Self-sufficient. How can you be of use to anyone who is absolute in all regards? You can’t. But as Chambers notes, there is a huge difference between being of use and being of value. Think about it: how much usefulness is there in a 3-day old baby? Not much. They can’t do anything for you. They are helpless and dependent. But now let us ask the other question: how much value does that 3-day old baby have to you? Get the point?

God doesn’t need either me…or you. But does He value you? Absolutely! He places such a high value on you that He bankrupted heaven of its greatest treasure just for you!

Prayer: Help us to trust in the completed work of Jesus and the cleansing You have given us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/18/19 – Rowing Into the Wind

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DayBreaks for 3/18/19: Rowing Into the Wind

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

John 6:16-21: When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Isn’t this a great passage?  I love the simple, yet timeless lessons buried in it!  Consider:

FIRST: Did you notice how the waters grew rough right after it says, “…and Jesus had not yet joined them.”  It is not insignificant that the waters in our own life are always tougher to navigate when we try to make our own way through the waves without Jesus. 

SECOND: It is interesting that, even though they saw someone walking on the water towards them, that they weren’t willing to take the person into the boat until they knew it was Jesus.  I suppose that makes sense – after all – what normal human could walk on water, and I imagine that they thought he was a spirit of some kind.  Yet, sometimes, even when we know that Jesus is coming to us, we still aren’t willing to let him into the boat of our lives!

THIRD: As soon as Jesus is in the boat, the safety of the shore is reached.  As soon as we take Jesus into the boat of our lives, our destiny is safely delivered, not because of the result of our labor, but as the result of having Jesus “aboard”.

FOURTH: It appears the disciples were headed to Capernaum because that’s where Jesus told them to go and that he would join up with them there.  Shawn Craig, writing in “Between Sundays” said this: “Obedience to God’s will does not mean everything will go smoothly, that the wind will always be at our backs and that the journey will be easy.  Jesus told his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake, even though he knew the wind would be working against them.  Despite the wind’s contrariness, they struggled on, because they knew they were doing his will.”

If Jesus has sent you on a mission (and if you are a Christian, you’ve been sent on a mission to love God and our fellowman enough to share the gospel), the wind will work against you.  It is important that we don’t lose heart in the effort.  Perhaps it was just at the point that Jesus came to them that the disciples were ready to give up – I don’t know.  But miracles happen when Jesus shows up!  Let’s keep rowing – that’s our job – and let’s let him do his job – to get us to the destination safely!

Prayer:  Journey with us, Lord, as we navigate the shifting seas of life!  May we work in concert with Your Spirit at all times!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/14/19 – How Jesus Waits

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DayBreaks for 3/14/19: How Jesus Waits

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Oh, boy.  As I write this, I’m waiting for a phone call that I hope won’t come.  It is Friday night and I’m finally home and this is the last thing I have to do this week before I can take some time off.  But…I got a phone call not long ago.  I may have to take someone down to the emergency room.  I hope not – I don’t want this person to be injured (they are, but the question is whether or not they need to go to the emergency room because of it), and selfishly, I must confess, this has been a hectic week and I’m tired and I’ve been looking forward to a quiet evening at home with my wife and two dogs and maybe playing with my camera a bit (one of my hobbies).  Waiting…tick, tock, tick, tock…I don’t like waiting.

This morning I waited for my wife to get ready to drive to Santa Rosa.  At the store, we had to wait in line to buy a couple books.  Then, we had to wait in line at Circuit City (they were having the final 2 days of their going out of business sale and it was a madhouse).  We went to Jack in the Box (a cheap date meal!) and had to wait there.  I wonder how much time we spend on average in waiting? 

We are an impatient lot.  If we wait for what we consider to be too long of a time, we get angry and insolent.  After all, we have places to go and things to do and people to see, right?  Waiting…tick, tock, tick, tock…I don’t like waiting.

I don’t like people to have to wait on me.  Let me be 20 minutes early rather than 10 seconds late.  I’m happy that way!  But then I often have to wait anyway because the person I was to meet with isn’t ready for me yet!!!!  Aarrrghhh!!!!

Have you ever thought about Jesus and how he must wait?  He’s waiting to hear the word, “Go!” from the Father to return to the earth and sift the wheat and tares.  He’s waiting to cast Satan and his angels into the pit.  And here’s a shocking one: in the Lord’s Prayer, he prayed “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  I think he’s still waiting for most of that to come true, too, don’t you?

How does Jesus wait?  Calmly, patiently.  Of course, he has an advantage over us: time has neither hold on him nor bearing over him.  We have finite time.  Maybe that’s why we get so impatient.  But we need to learn to emulate Jesus in our waiting as well as in our walking.  We can redeem the time we spent waiting by meditating on a passage of Scripture, on singing a song to the Lord in our head or out loud (depending on the circumstances).  We can read a Christian book (please, preferably not fiction – but something with some real meat to it).  We can talk to those around us about how much joy and peace we have – and who knows, maybe the conversation will lead to the point we can share our faith.  It’s a much better way to wait than by fuming.

Prayer:  Jesus, may we learn to redeem our waiting time and to honor you in it!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/13/19 – It’s the Truth

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DayBreaks for 3/13/19: It’s the Truth

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  – Matthew 9:9-13 (NIV)

I recently received an email from a believer in which this person was a bit despairing about their Christ-walk.  On the one hand, I find that encouraging.  It says that the Spirit is still speaking to them – and that they are listening.  It is important that we listen to the Spirit and His take on our walk.  But, I have found in my own experience that the enemy can also attempt to convince me that because I’m not walking as close to Christ as I should and because that’s been true of nearly all my life, that I should just give up now and stop trying.  After all, if I stop trying, I’ll stop feeling guilty, right?  I’ll lose my shame, right?  No…those things are emotions that are planted deep within us.  We would just be in denial.

Then, I was thinking about this passage in Matthew.  I love what Jesus says, For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  Who, after all, would there have been for Jesus to call if he’d come to call the righteous?  No one!  His expectation for is that this: we are sinners.  We will be sinners until the day we die.  We will always be sinners as long as we breathe the atmosphere of this world.  He knows it, he expects it and isn’t shocked by it.  If you are a sinner, Jesus came to call you…and He calls you still, day in and day out through the loving voice of the Spirit.  The Spirit will never encourage you to give up your faith walk.  Only the enemy will do that.  The Spirit will point out to you and to me our need for greater righteousness, but He is a comforter, a friend, who encourages us to walk forward into greater holiness and obedience. 

So, if you’re feeling down about your sinfulness and poor Christian walk, determine if you’re hearing from the enemy who wants to defeat you in your walk with Christ because you are a sinner, or the Spirit who wants to encourage you in your walk with Christ even though you are a sinner.  There’s a world of difference…and that’s the truth.

Prayer:  What a comfort it is to know, Lord, that you know we’re sinners and you came for us and you come to us over and over through your Spirit to encourage us and lead us into greater obedience, love and holiness.  Give us the wisdom to discern the voice of the Spirit and to distinguish it from the voice of Satan!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/8/19 – The Heart of the Scandal

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DayBreaks for 3/08/19: The Heart of the Scandal

From the DayBreaks archive March 2009:

Why was Jesus such a stumbling block to the Jews?  Why is he such a hurdle for modern man to overcome and welcome?  There probably are as many excuses (and perhaps reasons) as there are folks who refuse to accept him – then, or now.  I can think of several reasons:

FIRST: no one wants to be told they have to die to themselves.  After all, haven’t we been raised with the encouragement to “follow your own heart”?  And doesn’t that seem like good advice?  “Be true to yourself.”  But….this is not biblical advice AT ALL!  The heart is “desperately wicked”, Scripture says.  Why follow it?  If anything, we need to lead our hearts to the cross over and over and there kneel down in the dirt realizing that our most righteous acts smell like dirty, rotten, filthy socks or underwear (“rags” as Scripture puts it.)  To follow our hearts will get us in trouble every time.  Jesus said we need to die to ourselves – we don’t want to do that.

SECOND: Jesus says our focus should be on things above – and our concern should be for the coming and completion of the kingdom of God.  Again, this takes the focus off of us.

THIRD: while we aren’t saved by obedience, Jesus made it clear that God cares about holiness.  Sadly, too many of us care more about our own “fun” – which usually means we are doing things which may be unholy that are momentarily fun but which are unholy and deadly in the long run.

FOURTH: here’s the point I really want to make about why Jesus is hard for many to accept.  Do you recall the 1996 song by Joan Osborne titled, “What If God Were One of Us?”  There were those who found the song sacrilegious, and I can understand that.  But that is the very same reason that so many rejected Jesus in his life – including friends and family members – they felt he was sacrilegious when he claimed to be God – “like one of us.”  Phillip Yancey said, “By any measure Jesus led a tragic life: rumors of illegitimacy, taunts of insanity from his family, rejection by most who heard him, betrayal by friends, the savage turn of a mob against him, a series of justice-mocking trials, execution in a form reserved for slaves and violent criminals.  A pitiful story, to be sure, and that is the heart of the scandal: we do not expect to pity God.”

That the Messiah would suffer and die was never in the Jewish psyche.  The Messiah, they thought, would never do those things.  They couldn’t live with a Messiah who would suffer and die – so they killed him to be sure.  And we can’t live without such a Savior. 

Prayer: Who would have believed our report, that the Son of God should suffer and die for sinners!  Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit – thank you for this wonder and mystery of your love for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/7/19 – A Personal Friend

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DayBreaks for 3/07/19: A Personal Friend

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

Much is said these days about being friends with God or Jesus.  It was not always so.  For many long years (centuries probably, and millennia possibly) mankind was so much in awe of the Divine Creator that some groups wouldn’t even dare to pronounce His name.  Others held that the gods were disinterested in the doings of mere mortals…except to use us as their playthings for times when they got bored.  And, of course, there have always been those who blasphemed and spoke ill of their “gods”, too.   

But when Jesus came, he turned those notions upside down.  He said he would not longer call his disciples servants, but friends.  He taught His disciples to pray using the term, Abba (Daddy), when speaking to the Father. 

Yet, how does one really get to know God personally?  In his book, Reaching for the Invisible God, Phillip Yancey wrote: “In Jesus’ day the answer was shocking simple: you know him the same way you know anybody.  You introduce yourself, shake hands, strike up a conversation, inquire about his family.  Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy.  Does God really want close contact with us?  Jesus gave up Heaven for it.  In person he reestablished the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.”

In the Old Testament, God is spoke of and called “Father” a total of 11 times.  But what a change when we get to the New Testament, that refers to God as our Father a stunning 170 times! 

How do you get to know God personally?  Get to know Jesus.  Read the gospels, but don’t just read them.  On each page are jewels to be gathered about the nature of Jesus, of the things that stirred his heart, the way little things caught his attention and the way he reacted to people, places and things.  You can read his words.  And, through the Spirit, He is with us still.  While you may not be able to shake his hand as the disciples long ago did, you can still talk to him – and listen to him.  Oh, how much we miss by not asking him to speak with us more than we do!  Somewhere we got this infernal idea that prayer is about talking.  It’s not.  It’s to be far more about listening, I believe.

Yes, Jesus is a friend and a personal one at that.  But he’s also far more than just a personal friend, this friend is God.

Prayer: What a friend we have in Jesus!  We give you glory Father God for such a perfect revelation of Yourself!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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