DayBreaks for 4/24/19 – The Magic Princess and the King

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DayBreaks for 4/24/19: The Magic Princess and the King

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

The great castle at Disneyland looms over the landscape and causes little girls and boys alike to squeal in delight.  If you’re lucky, Cinderella…gorgeous, every hair in place, flawless skin, a beaming smile…will appear.  In one true story told by Max Lucado, it happened just that way, and all the children rushed to her, drawn like steel to a magnet.  Each wanted to touch the beautiful Princess and be touched by her.  All the children ran to her…all, that is, except one.

Alone, on the other side of the castle, was a solitary boy – 7 or 8 years old.  It was hard to tell his age because his body was so twisted and disfigured.  He was very small and fragile, yet he stood watching quietly and wistfully, holding his older brother’s hand. 

You know what he wanted…he wanted to be with all the rest of the children, to be able to run and be in the middle of the group reaching out to Cinderella – calling out her name, seeking her attention.  But you can also feel his fear – the fear of yet another rejection, of being taunted, made fun of, being shoved aside by those who were bigger, stronger…who weren’t disfigured.  Don’t you wish Cinderella would go to him?  Well, that’s exactly what she did.

Looking over the heads of the adoring little children, she noticed the little boy and immediately began walking in his direction.  Politely, but firmly, she inched her way through the adoring crowd of children, and finally broke free.  She walked quickly across the floor, knelt down at eye level with the stunned little boy and placed a kiss on his face.

This is like another story – about another royal figure.  The names are different, but aren’t the stories almost the same?  Rather than a princess of Disney, this other story is about the King of Kings.  Rather than being about a disfigured boy in a castle, this story is about you and me.  In both cases, a wonderful gift was given.  In both cases, love was shared.  In both cases, the lovely one performed a gesture beyond words for the disfigured and cast aside one.

But Jesus did much more than Cinderella.  Cinderella gave only a kiss.  When she stood to leave, she took her beauty with her.  The boy was still deformed.  What if Cinderella had done what Jesus did?  What if she’d assumed his state?  What if she had somehow given him her beauty and taken on his disfigurement?  That’s what Jesus did.

He took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us…He was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did.  The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. (Is. 53:4-5)

Make no mistake:

  • Jesus gave more than a kiss – he gave his beauty.
  • He paid more than a visit – he paid for our mistakes.
  • He took more than a visit – he paid for our mistakes.
  • He took more than a minute – he took away our sin.

Prayer: Lord, all we can do is stand in our brokenness and hope that You will notice us and come to us with a sign of Your favor.  We give You praise for seeing our disfigurement and having compassion on us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 4/16/19 – Easter and Rejection

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DayBreaks for 4/16/19: Easter and Rejection

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Can you remember how it felt the first time you were rejected?  It may have been that you weren’t “wanted” on the team.  It may have been the first time you asked out that little red-headed, freckle faced girl and she turned up her nose at you and said (loudly!): “Eewwww!  I’d never go out with you!”  Rejection hurts.  Rejection hammers at the spirit and the heart and hope.  Rejection is a killer.

The woman was from Samaria.  She knew all about rejection.  She’d been married 5 times – and she’d heard the door slammed behind her 5 times as her husband of the moment threw her out and yelled at her, “And don’t come back!”  Even her friends had rejected her – after all, it could damage one’s reputation to hang out with such a woman who seemed not to have any scruples or moral fiber.  And so, when she went to the well, she went alone, carrying her water jar on her shoulder.  It was in the blazing heat of the day – so strong was her rejection by others that she didn’t dare go in the cool of the morning when other women would go – no, they wanted nothing to do with her, no matter if her heart cried out for someone, anyone, to care. 

Only on this day, there’s a man at the well.  She wonders if she will be safe.  Could he be violent?  A bandit, or even worse, a rapist waiting to fall upon a woman alone?  She proceeds, and when she gets there, this man looks at her and in a pleasant voice, asks for water, but she still was suspicious that he might have had something else in mind.  She was partly right – for he begins to ask her questions that plumbed the depth of her lonely, aching heart that had known so much rejection.  He even knew about her past…and yet he spoke to her with a tone of respect.  And then he offered her something that could quench the burning, not in her throat, but in her soul. 

As the questioning proceeded, she must have expected more rejection once she told him about her checkered past.  But she didn’t get criticism or any kind of lecture.  Jesus hadn’t come to the well seeking perfection, but honesty.  And finally, she said that she didn’t know where to go to find God, unaware He was talking with her that very moment.  Can you imagine the smile that crept across Jesus’ face and heart as he heard those words?  Here he was, in Samaria – and he’d found a hungry, thirsty heart for God.  And, it was not just any Samaritan, it was a woman.  And who would have thought that a 5-time “loser” in marriage would be so thirsty for God?  Jesus did.  This was perhaps the most outcast and rejected person in the area. 

And then a remarkable thing happened.  Jesus said to her, “I AM the Messiah.”  He could have gone to Rome and told that to Caesar and made Caesar bow down when he heard the words.  He could have gone to Herod and told him that He was the real King.  He could have gone to the religious leaders and told them the truth and opened their eyes and made believers out of them.  But he didn’t.  He revealed himself to the most rejected, broken, outcast person of all.

But what we often miss in this story is what happens next.  The woman got up, raced off and told others.  What is significant is what she left behind.  She left behind the water jar, to be sure – Scripture says so.  This water jar is a symbol of all the burden of shame, guilt and rejection she’d felt for year after year after long, lonely year.  She left it behind and ran into the town to talk to others – something she wouldn’t have dared do before coming to the well and meeting Jesus.  Why?  Because the very One who had the most right to reject her was the One that she discovered loved her the most.

Are you feeling rejected this Easter season?  Meet Jesus at the cross.  Let the one who was despised and rejected fill you with the Living Water.  The one who wouldn’t let this woman be alone in her rejection take you in his embrace and give you the love and welcome that you are so thirsty to find.  Let your rejection be healed by his welcome!

Prayer: Hallelujah, for Jesus is the friend of sinners, unafraid to meet us in our loneliness and rejection, the One who speaks words of life into the most shattered heart!  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.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 2/14/19 – I AM #3: The Good Shepherd

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DayBreaks for 2/14/2019: I AM #4: The Good Shepherd

John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

We’ve all seen people who obviously work just because they want the money. Their attitude, effort and words make clear that they will do as little as they can to avoid being fired and they’re happy as long as their check shows up.

The Good Shepherd is quite the opposite. He’s no hireling. He is deeply invested in each lamb in his flock. He bought them and paid for them, perhaps watched each one being born and rejoiced to see them join “his family”. This is how the Good Shepherd feels about his sheep!

Being absolutely responsible for the welfare of the sheep, in ancient times, if anything happened to the sheep that were in his care, the shepherd was required to show proof that it was not his fault. In Amos, the shepherd was even required to bring a piece of a leg or an ear from the very mouth of the lion or wolf if necessary as proof of the reason for the loss.

The shepherd was sent out among the flock just as soon as he was old enough to go and the animals became his companions and yes, even friends.

Here’s the big difference between the shepherd and the hireling: the shepherd served because of his love for the flock in his care while the hireling only wanted money. Jesus called us his friends and wasn’t just willing to lay down his life for the poor flock in his care, but actually did lay it down. And that’s why he’s not just a good shepherd, he is THE Good Shepherd.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for shepherding us with love and rejoicing over each one of us! In your name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/10/19 – The First Miracle

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DayBreaks for 01/10/2019: The First Miracle

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2009:

One of the craziest questions that is asked (at least on television shows or movies about beauty pageants – at least in “Miss Congeliality”) relates to what the individual would do if they could have the power to change anything – but only one thing – in the world.  The right answer, according to that movie, is to say, “World peace.”  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  But what about you?  What would you do if you had the power to change any one thing in the entire world?  You might say, “Cure cancer”, “Eliminate heart disease”, “End poverty”, “Make sure no one goes to bed hungry” or any of a number of things.  And who among us wouldn’t love to have the power to be able to do something like that?

Well, Jesus did have the power.  He still does.  And so it is all the more interesting that when it came time for his first miracle, it had nothing to do with erasing wars, poverty, or disease.  It had to do with helping someone who had run out of wine at a wedding feast. 

I don’t for one minute think that Jesus chose a “low-level” nearly invisible miracle as his first one because he wasn’t sure he could pull it off – he wasn’t just “testing the water” (pun intended!) to see if he had power left over from before the Incarnation.  He chose this time and place, and this specific miracle rather than anything else that had global impact.  Why?

There are the obvious social things: it was expected that wine would be plentiful – not to encourage drunkenness, but because to the Jews, wine was a sign of joy – and what is more joyful than a long-awaited wedding?  It is true that those present would go away and tell others about what Jesus did, but wouldn’t it have been more newsworthy and would have been on more front pages if he’d started out with raising the dead?  The resurrection of Lazarus was pretty flashy, after all, and certainly got the attention of a lot of people! 

I think this was the first miracle because again, God was trying to say, “I care about you and what you care about.”  Jesus’ friend (assuming he knew the host, which he almost certainly did) was at risk of embarrassment (heavens, no!).  It wasn’t like his friend was about to die of embarrassment or be cut off from his family forever because of this faux pas.  It seems a relatively minor thing.  But to Jesus it wasn’t.  It was enough to make Jesus exert Divine power on behalf of his friend.

Jesus cares.  He really does.  He showed it by turning water into wine as his first miracle instead of ensuring world peace.  The latter would have been just as easy for him as the first.  His choice for miracle number one was very telling.  What does it tell you about your situation right now?

Prayer:  Blessed be Your name, o Mighty God, for all Your goodness and care for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/21/18 – An Other-worldly King

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DayBreaks for 11/21/18: An Other-worldly King

Perhaps you have heard this story. It’s a great story: Many years ago, when Hitler’s forces occupied Denmark, the order came that all Jews in Denmark were to identify themselves by wearing armbands with yellow stars of David. The Danes had seen the extermination of Jews in other countries and guessed that this was the first step in that process in their countries. The King did not defy the orders. He had every Jew wear the star and he himself wore the Star of David. He told his people that he expected every loyal Dane to do the same. The King said, “We are all Danes. One Danish person is the same as the next.” He wore his yellow star when going into Copenhagen every day in order to encourage his people. The King of Denmark identified with his people, even to the point of putting his own life on the line.

It’s a wonderful story with a powerful point. The only problem is it isn’t true. It’s an urban legend. It’s been around for a long time and told thousands of times over. And now with the internet we are getting a lot of these legendary stories retold. Too bad! What an image for a king, identifying with his people.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked. “Is that your idea,” Jesus said to him, “or did others talk to you about me?” That’s how these legends get started. Other people talking about what other people have said. Jesus was essentially crucified on gossip and rumor. An urban legend had developed around his ministry that he was going to lead a revolt against Rome.

In his conversation with Pilate, Jesus finally does imply that he is a king. “My kingdom,” he explains, “is not of this world.” Not of this world. That’s what it takes. That’s what it takes to find a King who identifies with his people. A King of heaven, a King of kings from some place other than this world.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for being a King who can identify with the common man and with our common struggles. Let that thought bring us comfort this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/23/18 – So Alike Yet So Different

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DayBreaks for 10/23/18: So Alike Yet So Different

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

On 10/18 my wife and I flew back from Boston where we were visiting our youngest son (middle child) and his family – including our newest granddaughter, Sophia.  She was 3-1/2 weeks old when we got there and the amount she changed during the two weeks we were there is astonishing.  But, rest assured that during the entire time we were there she was the perfect addition to our family, and we now have another blessing from God to love and serve as grandparents.

While I was there, I couldn’t help but be struck by several things:

FIRST: It’s fascinating to see just a tiny bit of myself, my wife, our son and his wife, in the looks of Sophia.  Sure, she’ll change a lot as she grows and gets older, but she’s got her mother’s eyes and hair, our son’s (and grandmother’s) hairline, and arguably she has some aspects of my appearance, too (although most would argue she’s way to beautiful to have anything in common with her Pop-pop [that’s me]!)  As I thought about that, I thought about how in each of us there are glimpses of our Father.  Yes, they can be very hard to see and sometimes we may not be able to perceive them at all, but there is no way that we can avoid some of His characteristics.  They may only be seen when we’re at our very best (which still isn’t very good!), and it may be necessary to look long and deep to identify them, but they are there.  In the most distressed appearance you could imagine, Mother Theresa saw Jesus.  Who do you see?  Do you even try to see Jesus, or some semblance of the Father, in each person He’s created?  If we did, instead of just seeing things we don’t like, we might find this world a much more fascinating and beautiful place.  Some folks just need a bit of help to let those resemblances blossom and flourish.  Maybe we can help them.

SECOND: It’s easy to forget how tiny and small new babies are.  I was amazed at how tiny the little hands, fingers and toes were – how short the little arms are.  Compared to Sophia, I’m a huge monster.  She’s not a little baby – she was eight pounds something when she was born, and she’s been packin’ on the chub ever since – but she’s SO TINY!  And that made me think of how we must appear to God.  With a baby as small as Sophia is at present, it creates a desire inside of me to want to protect her, to hold her, to keep her safe from bumps, bruises and the hurts the world could inflict without even noticing.  As I looked at Sophia, I felt like a giant.  When God looks at us, He must be even more impressed with how tiny and fragile we are.  And yet, He picks us up and holds us ever so gently so as not to break us.  Anyone who can call a universe into existence simply through the power of a spoken word is so far beyond us in power and strength that we can’t begin for one second to wrap our little minds around His greatness and power.  And He’s put that power at our disposal so that when we are walking in harmony with Him, there’s no limit to what He can do through such tiny little babies as us.

THIRD: It’s easy to forget how helpless little babies are.  It’s not that Sophia doesn’t want to be able to feed and clothe herself.  I quite honestly don’t know if she does or not, but when she’s hungry and wants to eat and she can’t feed herself – she lets the world know.  But she just isn’t able to do that yet.  She is still trying to figure out what those things are that show up near her face every once in a while that have five little worm-like things on each one (her fists).  She can’t do a single thing for herself except cry.  Once again, God looks at us and sees people who are totally helpless, who are dependent on the Father for everything – whether they realize it or not.  Does Sophia know that she’s dependent on mom and dad?  No, she just knows when she needs changing or is hungry or when something hurts.  But the concept of dependence, I’m convinced, hasn’t yet developed in her mind.  Hopefully, someday she’ll come to recognize her dependence on the great and perfect Father.  The Father, meanwhile, sees us thrashing wildly around, helpless to do the things that must be done…and so He has undertaken to do those things for us.

Praise be to God, the Father of us all!

PRAYER: Your gentleness is overwhelming with us, Lord.  Thank you for your tender yet powerful hands that pick us up when we fall.  Thank you that you’ve done for us all the things we cannot do, and for remembering our frailty and smallness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>