DayBreaks for 3/08/17 – Moses’ Journey to the Promised Land

View from Mt. Nebo.

DayBreaks for 3/08/17: Moses’ Journey to the Promised Land

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2007:

In Exodus 33, as Israel comes near the end of their wilderness wanderings, Moses grows concerned about whether or not the Presence of the Lord will go with them.  He even tells God that he doesn’t want Him to let them move forward even a foot without the assurance of God being with them.  God gives Moses assurances – more than one – but Moses still seems to be beset with doubts.  And so he asks to see God.  Amazingly, God agrees.

On the surface, this story could be about any one of us who struggles with doubts about God’s Presence at times in our lives.  Some moments His Presence is so palpable that no one possessed of a sound mind would doubt it.  But then there are those other moments, aren’t there?  Moments when He no longer seems present, and we may even start to wonder if He ever was at all, or if it was all just a mind-trick we played on ourselves.  Let’s be honest.  Sometimes it is a struggle to believe at such times.

And so Moses doubted God’s presence, but he also knew that he wanted God’s Presence more than anything – even more than going to the Promised Land without Him.  Moses asked to see God’s glory, but instead, God showed Him His goodness. 

Sometime later, Moses trekked up the mountain called Nebo.  He didn’t make the journey alone.  He sat on the mountain top with the very God who had shown him His Presence once before.  God showed him all the land “from Gilead as far as Dan.”  And I suspect that it was a marvelous spectacle.  But somehow, I think it really didn’t matter that much to Moses.  As Moses sat there on top of the mountain in the sunshine and viewed the Promised Land with God, Moses was already in the Promised Land that he’d longed for – he was in God’s Presence.  And as Moses lay down upon the top of that mountain and died, at that moment, he needed and wanted nothing else.

You can’t go to the promised land with God.  And as long as you are with God, you are in the promised land.

Genesis 15:1 – After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.”

PRAYER: As much as we long for heaven, Lord, may we never mistake the place for the Inhabitant.  May we find in You our peace when we live, and when we lay down to die. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/24/17 – Where Is Jesus?

DayBreaks for 1/24/17: Where Is Jesus?

John 12:26 (NLT) – Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

The meaning of disciple is “follower”. For most, when we think of a disciple, we think of a disciple of Jesus, but a disciple can be any person who follows a teacher or a teaching or a way of life.

Jesus is very clear: if you want to be his disciple, you have to follow him. It isn’t an optional statement or something he said “off the cuff” without thinking it through. If you want to be his disciple, you “…must be where I am.”

Of course, we are familiar with the verse about Jesus that scares us all out of our minds: that we must take up our cross and follow him. But that’s not the point here today. It may sound strange, but I think we need to ask the obvious, simple question: where is Jesus?

Jesus is in your work place today. He is in your school. He is in the hospital. He is in the church. He is in your home. He is on your playground and fitness club. He is in the restaurant where you will eat today. He is in your neighborhood. He is…everywhere.

Jesus isn’t in all those places just for curiosity’s sake or because he’s spying on folks. He is there because he wants to do something there – to touch someone’s life and change them forever. He is there because there is human need wherever there are humans. And you must be there with him – imitating him, doing the things he is doing to comfort and confront, challenge and uplift, encourage and engage people with the reality of who he is and of what he wants for them.

Are you up to the challenge? You must be where he is, doing what he does. If you aren’t, the question must be asked: are you truly a disciple?

PRAYER: Let us be with you all day today, Lord, and with each interaction, help us to imitate you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/20/16 – He Can’t Look Away

DayBreaks for 12/20/16: He Can’t Look Away

Matthew 1:20-21 (NLT)  As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew doesn’t want Joseph or any of us to get stuck in the dream. Matthew wants to bring us back down to earth, back to our waking reality, by invoking the name of Immanuel. Because if the Jesus, whose name was given to Joseph in a dream, is to do us any good, he’d better meet us and be with us in all those times when dreams end and when the crushing weight of a miserable world comes crashing down around our shoulders again. If he is only Jesus, the one who saves us from our sins, it would still be too easy to turn him into the one who also saves us out of the real world. But if he is Immanuel, then we realize we don’t have to go anywhere to meet him other than the hurly-burly reality of our Monday mornings and our Thursday afternoons. We don’t have to go find him in some other realm because he has already found us in exactly this realm and this world.
Immanuel is God-with-us in the cancer clinic and in the Alzheimer’s ward at the local nursing home. Immanuel is God-with-us when the pink slip comes and when the beloved child sneers, “I hate you!” Immanuel is God-with-us when you pack the Christmas decorations away and, with an aching heart, you realize afresh that your one son never did call over the holidays. Not once. Immanuel is God-with-us when your dear wife or mother stares at you with an Alzheimer’s glaze and absently asks, “What was your name again?”
Ever and always Jesus stares straight into you with his two good eyes and he does so not only when you can smile back but most certainly also when your own eyes are full of tears. In fact, Jesus is Immanuel, “God with you” even in those times when you are so angry with God that you refuse to meet his eyes. But even when you feel like you can’t look at him, he never looks away from you. He can’t. His name says it all.

PRAYER: I am thankful that you never look away from me, that you cannot look away because that would mean you are not Immanuel. Help me to look at you more often and find in you all I ever could need or want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/19/16 – Christmas in One Word

Graphic by Tim Etherington, https://i2.wp.com/www.byfarthersteps.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Immanuel.png?zoom=2

DayBreaks for 12/19/16: Christmas in One Word

G. K. Chesterton, the noted British poet and theologian, was a brilliant man who could think deep thoughts and express them well. However, he was also extremely absent-minded and over the years he became rather notorious for getting lost. He would just absolutely forget where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing. On one such occasion, he sent a telegram to his wife which carried these words: “Honey, seems I’m lost again. Presently, I am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” As only a spouse could say it, she telegraphed back a one-word reply “HOME!”

This is precisely what this classic passage in the first chapter of Matthew does for us… it brings us home…

— Home to the real meaning of Christmas
— Home to the most magnificent truth in the entire Bible
— Home to our Lord’s greatest promise
— Home to the reason we celebrate Christmas

Namely this: “GOD IS WITH US!” When we accept Christ into our lives, nothing, not even death, can separate us from God and His love. It is what Christmas is about. God is with us. The great people of faith have always claimed that promise. Just think of it:

Moses caught between the Pharaoh and the deep Red Sea in a seemingly hopeless situation believed that God was with him and he went forward and trusted God to open a way and He did!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went into the fiery furnace into a seemingly hopeless situation and they trusted God to be with them and He was!

Little David stood before Goliath. What chance could a small boy with a slingshot have against this giant of a warrior? But David believed that God was with him and it made all the difference!

Now, it’s interesting to note that when the writer of Matthew’s gospel wanted to capture the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of the Christ event, the meaning of Jesus in a single word, he did a very wise thing. He reached back into the Old Testament, pulled out an old word, dusted it off, and used it to convey the message. The word was Immanuel.

Carry that Word with you this week, let the meaning sink deep into your heart. You may just find that your outlook on life is different.

PRAYER: Immanuel, thank You for being with us and in us! When we are lonely, afraid, discouraged, desperate – let your name and promise be sufficient for every situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/29/16 – Psalm 23 for the Advent Season

DayBreaks for 11/29/16: Psalm 23 for Advent

Here is a version of the 23rd Psalm that ought to be mandatory reading each day of Advent. Maybe it’ll speak to you as it did to me:

The Lord is my pace setter . . . I shall not rush

He makes me stop for quiet intervals

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here

His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility

My cup of joyous energy overflows

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.

PRAYER: Lord, even as David spoke great truths about you in Psalm 23, may this remind us in our own busy and frenetic lives that when we abide in you we shall always have your peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/04/16 – This Terrifying Aspect of His Nature

DayBreaks for 11/04/06: This Terrifying Aspect of His Nature

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2006:

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?”1And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?”   Mark 4:35-41 

From Michael Card’s Devotions From the Studio:

“Whenever Jesus is revealed in a new way, he has to tell the disciples not to be afraid. (Matt. 8:26, 14:27, 17:7, 28:10, Mk. 4:40, 5:36, 6:50, Lk. 5:10, 8:50, 12:32, Jn. 6:20, 12:15, 14:27) Too often we simply think of Him as “gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” But this is only a small facet of His infinite character. If we look closely at the gospels, we will see that those who were closest to Jesus we often terrified by His power, so frightened were they that He had to continually tell them, “don’t be afraid.”

“If He is the same yesterday, today and forever, where has this terrifying aspect of His nature gone? He is no less powerful now than He was then. What has become of this “disturbing presence” of Jesus?”

Galen’s Thoughts: Michael asks some good questions.  When, can I honestly say, was the last time that I was afraid of Jesus?  Have I given him cause to be angry with me?  Have I hurt him repeatedly and knowingly as if he didn’t even exist?  Perhaps one of the reasons that the 12 were so committed to their task of obeying Jesus by carrying the Word to the uttermost parts of the earth that they had so often been afraid by the demonstrations of his power.  And though they’d seen his love, they’d seen his power destroy a fig tree, calm the storm, overpower demons and raise the dead to life.  What could such a One do if he put his mind to it?  Were there any limits to his power? 

May Jesus become disturbing to us – just as disturbing as we need him to be to help keep us on the right pathway!

PRAYER:  Jesus, it is a comfort to know that you have all power in heaven and on earth.  It is a blessing to know that you will use your power to do what is right and just, and what is in our best interests.  Help us to never become complacent around you, but to always hold you in the highest regard.  We give you permission to disturb us time and time again when we forget your greatness and wander off into the pathway of sin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 8/22/16 – Misunderstanding Life – and the Father

 

DayBreaks for 8/22/16 – Misunderstanding Life – and the Father

There is no greater example of the gospel than that found in Luke 15 where Jesus tells three stories: the lost sheep, the lost coin…and the “prodigal son” story (and that’s a huge misnomer!) So, my dear, dear friend…this is a story for you…

Luke 15:17-20 (ESV) – But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

Our lead teacher (Randy) has been doing a series on this chapter and it has been so rich! Sunday, he spoke about this son – this younger, prideful, rebellious son and about his return home. There were some key points that I wanted to share from his message because they blessed me and I think they’ll bless you, too.

FIRST: this young, headstrong and inconsiderate man thought that in license there would be freedom. He wanted to cast off the restraints of living in the presence of the father, thinking that if he could only go and do what he wanted, to be in charge and control of his own life, that he could find happiness. But, as Randy noted, “License always ends in bondage.” We think that the lack of restraints is what will not only bring us joy, but bring us freedom. It won’t. It ends in bondage. License doesn’t set you free – the Truth is what sets us free!

SECOND: the son totally misunderstood the father. He is hoping against hope to be welcome to serve as a hired hand in the father’s house and business. That’s all he could aspire to, all he could imagine after what he’d done to his father. But this just shows how badly he misunderstood the father. There is no way that the father would take his son back as a hired hand! No! This son was treated to the father’s very own rob, to shoes for his feet, a ring for his hand…but far more than that, what was the greatest gift of the father was his embrace and kiss. Fathers don’t embrace and kiss hired hands…but they do their sons and daughters. This son had no idea how much he was loved by the father until the embrace and kiss took place!

THIRD: perhaps most importantly – and I hope you don’t miss this one – the embrace and kiss are NOT given to the son because he came home.  They are given because he was a son…a child so deeply loved by the father that no other response from the father was even possible! The embrace and kiss had to be given because the father couldn’t not constrain his love.

In order to come home, we have to believe in the love of the father. The young man believed – or rather hoped – that there was some compassion in the heart of his dad.  He just didn’t know the love that was in the father’s heart.

And so it is with you and me. We won’t come home (not to a physical or metaphysical place) but into the relationship of the Father’s person, unless we begin to believe He loves us. And when we make the first step, oh sweet joy! – the Father runs to us, encircles us with His almighty arms, and gives us a “welcome home” kiss!

Are you away from “home”, thinking that maybe if you’re super lucky, that the Father might let you inhabit the darkest corner of heaven as a sweeper of the golden street? Forget it! You will be welcomed as a beloved child – and the greatest celebration of all eternity will begin – and never end!

PRAYER: Oh, Father, Father, Father! Your love is so overwhelming! Help us believe that You love us like this – even more than this – and that we are welcome in the home of Your embrace forever! In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.