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.  ><}}}”>

 

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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 3/8/19 – 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 3/01/19 – Unwanted

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DayBreaks for 3/01/19: Unwanted

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

John 1:10-11 (KJV) – He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

How, I wonder, could Jesus come to his own, God’s chosen people Israel, and they not know or recognize him?  They had been prepared by God Himself throughout thousands of years for the Messiah.  They expected him to come – but tragically, they didn’t see him as anything except a carpenter from Nazareth, a child born out of wedlock, trained in a trade by Joseph.

A widow had children who left her one by one to go to the “new country” (as she called it.)  As they made their tearful farewells, she heard each of them promise her that they’d save money and that they would send for her “very soon.”  Time passed; the children married and had children of their own, but no mention ever came in a letter suggesting they were ready to send for their aging mother.  She deeply longed to see them, but thinking they lacked the means to bring her to the “new country”, she scrimped and saved up enough money to afford on her own to pay them a surprise visit.  She anticipated a joyful reunion with her children and she longed to see them and to meet her grandchildren. Upon arriving her reception was the reverse of what she had hoped and longed for.  Her children had indeed prospered, but seemed annoyed at the surprise visit, and they belittled her old-fashioned clothing and way of speaking.  They had no room for her in their hearts.  The disappointed woman returned home and took up residence in a home for the elderly, where she proved to be a blessing to all about her, pouring out the vast flood of love that her own children had rejected.  She wasn’t bitter.  “It seems to me that I knew what our Lord suffered,” she told a friend, “when He came to His own dear people and they gave Him the cold shoulder.  Just think!  He came unto His own and His own received Him not!  I can understand how that wounded His loving heart.”

Perhaps the Jews failure wasn’t so much that they didn’t recognize Jesus, but that they had no room left in their hearts for this lover of their souls. 

I think we’d best not be too hard on the Jews, however.  How many times have I not found room in my heart for Him when He comes calling?  How many times have I been ashamed or afraid to let people know where I stand, and Who I stand with? 

Jesus loves us.  He came to be with us.  Will we send Him back home alone – and unwanted?

Prayer: Jesus, don’t give up on us!  Keep knocking at the doorway to our hearts.  Transform our hard hearts into hearts that rejoice to see You when You arrive!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/11/19 – I AM #2: The Truth

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DayBreaks for 2/12/2019: I AM #2: The Truth

John 14:5-6 (ESV) – Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”

Webster’s says truth is “the body of true statements and propositions.” It seems we live in a time when truth is an endangered species. It has been taught in universities and colleges for long enough now that people believe truth is relative – that we each can have our own truth. Not even Webster’s agrees with that.

Jesus claims that he is literally the truth – not just that he told the truth. I like how the Webster’s definition fits with that statement. Jesus literally embodied and encompasses all truth. He didn’t bend the truth to make listeners more comfortable or to avoid conflict. He spoke the truth tenderly to those who were fragile, but forcefully to those who should have recognized truth.

In my experience, everything Jesus ever said is true. The Sermon on the Mount, the other discourses all are true statements when properly understood.

Think about what life would be like if Jesus were a liar. What, then, would you hang your hopes for life on? Your own truth? How many times has your own “truth” failed you? Mine has failed me more times than I can count!

Truth is absolute. It is not relative. It deals in the realm of facts, not hyperbole or guesses. It doesn’t vary from person to person. Our perceptions of say, a car accident, may vary, but the true facts don’t change with the telling of the story.

Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, and since he is the truth, that means that the truth he taught and his apostle taught under inspiration never change, either. And that’s a comforting thought!

PRAYER: Help us see and understand the truth that is embodied in you, Jesus, and not be fooled by our culture. In your name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/05/19 – Three Kinds of Faith

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DayBreaks for 2/05/2019: Three Kinds of Belief

From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:

In his recent book, Faith & Doubt, John Ortberg describes three kinds of “faith” and suggests we all practice three kinds of faith (or hold three kinds of convictions, if you please).

FIRST: Public faith/conviction: these are the things we say we believe when we’re surrounded by others, like what politicians say in order to win favor, curry votes and get elected.  No sooner is someone put into office than they backtrack on the things they said that they believed at one point or another in their campaign speeches.  A Biblical example of this kind of faith is King Herod, who told the wise men that after they’d found the baby Jesus, to come back to him and tell him where Jesus was so that “I can go and worship him, too.”  After all, it never would have endeared Herod to anyone if he’d said, so that “I can go and kill that baby.”  This is very hypocritical faith at best.  It changes based on who we’re around because we’re trying to impress them and make ourselves feel good.  And it can happen a LOT in churches and in Christian fellowships!

SECOND: Private faith/convictions: these are tricky because they are things that we truly believe that we believe, but when circumstances change, we find out that we really don’t believe it very much after all.  These are often things that we desperately WANT to believe, and we may even fool ourselves into thinking we do believe them.  A biblical example is Peter, “Lord, I’ll never deny you.”  I truly believe that Peter believed that of himself…but Jesus knew Peter’s heart better than Peter did.  And so, when the circumstances changed from the warm and friendly confines of the upper room to a courtyard of the high priest after Jesus’ arrest and shouts of “Kill him!” filled the air, Peter found out what he really believed at that point in time.  And it isn’t what he would have wanted to believe about himself, but it was the truth.

THIRD: Core faith/convictions: these are what we believe deep down inside, in spite of circumstances or surroundings.  These are the things for which we are willing to lay down our lives, if necessary. Ortberg says, we always act in accordance with what we truly believe when the chips are down.  That means we must become students of our own behavior – analyzing how we live, how we act, what we do in a wide range of circumstances and settings – and from that we’ll find out what we really believe.  Peter’s private faith became a core conviction later in his life when he was martyred for Jesus. 

So, here’s a brief summary:

Public faith/conviction: what we say we believe;

Private faith/conviction: what we think we believe;

Core faith/conviction: what we really believe as evidence by what we do.

What’s the point?  I fear that many of the things we think we believe are not core convictions.  For example, we say we believe God is everywhere and sees everything, right?  But, do we live as if we’re aware of His eye on us at ALL times?  Or, do we do things in secret that are shameful…and we do them because we really don’t believe He sees us while we’re doing them? We say we believe we should obey the law, yet did you speed today when you were driving?  We Christians say, “I’ve accepted Jesus as the Lord of my life,” but have we really?  If so, why don’t we obey him in caring for the needy (instead of pretending we don’t see them)? Scary, isn’t it, when we stop to contemplate what it is that we TRULY believe – even what we TRULY believe about God and Jesus.

In some things, we don’t know for sure what is a private conviction and what is a core conviction until our conviction is tested – and then it is revealed for what it truly is. 

PRAYER: Oh, Lord, with David we ask you to search our hearts and see if there is any deceitful way in them, reveal to us the truth about our faith that we might cling more tightly to Your Son and the forgiveness He gives us.  Help our private convictions regarding Jesus to become core convictions, and if necessary, to even survive the fires of martyrdom.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/4/19 – Two Generations Closer

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DayBreaks for 2/04/2019: Two Generations Closer

From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:

Bowing before the “god of open-mindedness,” this generation has been slow to admit that what we believe determines how we act. PBS film critic and columnist Michael Medved recently shared this anecdote out of his Jewish heritage:

“A few years ago, the illustrious Rabbi Jacob Kamenetzky made a trip to Israel accompanied by his teenage grandson. Ironically, these two deeply religious people had been seated in the airplane next to a prominent Israeli socialist leader and outspoken atheist, who had spent his whole life fighting against Orthodox values.

“After the plane reached its cruising altitude, the cynical atheist traveler couldn’t help noticing the way the teenage boy attended to the needs of his aged, bearded grandfather. He got up to get the old man a glass of water, helped him remove his shoes and put on some slippers, and otherwise demonstrated that the rabbi’s comfort represented his primary concern.

“At one point, as the boy got up for yet another errand on behalf of the old man, the skeptical stranger could contain himself no longer. ‘Tell me something,’ he asked the rabbi. ‘Why does your grandson treat you like some kind of a king? I have a grandson, too, but he wouldn’t give me the time of day.’

“‘It’s very simple,’ the old man replied. ‘My grandson and I both believe in a God who rules the universe and created all things, including the first man. That means that in the boy’s eyes, I’m two generations closer to the hand of God Himself. But in the eyes of your grandson, you’re just two generations closer to a monkey.’ “

Medved told this story as if it were true. I can’t vouch for that. But it certainly reflects truth. A person’s theology (what they think about God) determines what they think, and therefore what they do, about everything else. It should not surprise us that the behavior of people who don’t believe in God is so often ungodly. Could it be that to make our streets safe again, we need to be building more churches instead of more jails? – Richard A. Steele and Evelyn Stoner, comp., Bible Illustrations – Heartwarming Bible Illustrations, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1998), p 76-77.

Galen’s Thoughts: Some Christians think that it’s okay to believe in evolution, that there’s no harm in it.  I would agree with micro-evolution – we do change over time, but not from one species to another.  We’ve gotten taller in the past 100 years, we live longer than we did 100 years ago.  And those and other changes are even more pronounced the farther back in history that you go.  But amoeba to multi-celled organism to fish to reptile to monkey to man?  No, not now, not in 10 trillion years!  God said, “Let them bring forth after their own kind” – and that somewhat puts a limit on what any creature can do reproductively. 

The way the orthodox Jewish son treated his grandfather was related to his beliefs about life, God, creation – and the value of people.  If there is no God, or if we are not made in God’s image, there is no reason to spare a human life any more frequently than to spare the life of an ant.  In fact, both would be of equal value – nothing – if we’re just products of time and chance. 

I also like the grandfather’s perspective: “I’m two generations closer to the hand of God Himself…”  I’m two generations closer to the direct creative effort of God when He made man than my grandchildren are.  But by the grace of Jesus, we can be equally as close to going to His home!

Prayer: Lord, guard our hearts against human foolishness and let us treasure all that is the work of Your hands, but especially those made in Your image!    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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