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 3/12/19 – When the Light Dawns

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DayBreaks for 3/12/19: When the Light Dawns

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

You know how you feel when you re-read a certain passage of Scripture and discover in it a thought that you’d never seen before?  That happened to me as I prepared recently for a sermon on God’s love.  I’ve been preaching a series on the nature of God – trying to understand and know Him better so that we can rest confidently and with peace in Who He Is and what we are to him.  Unless we can rest in assurance that God is every bit as good as His word and unlike people who flip-flop daily, we will never be willing to risk much for a God who is flaky and unreliable.  Why should we?  He might fail us when we need Him most, or He may decide to change the rules of the “game” of life capriciously and viciously.  He is, after all, under no obligation to tell us if He did such a thing.  So, if He’s not trustworthy in Who He Is and what He does, we’re in a world of trouble if we risk anything on or for him.  When I came to the section on dealing with God’s love, I read 1 John 4:19 again (for probably the hundredth time or more) but saw something new in it this time.  You’ve gotta love how the Spirit works!!!

Where does love come from?  1 John 4:19 tells us: We love because He first loved us.  Whenever I’d read this verse previously, I automatically assumed that it was taking about us loving God in response because He loved us first – sort of a cause and effect thing like “Every action demands and equal and opposite reaction.”  But let me encourage us to look more closely at what this verse says.  It doesn’t say that we love God because it’s a response to His love towards us.  It simply says, “We love because He first loved us.”  Was John perhaps telling us something about from where love springs?  Why do we love AT ALL?  Because He loved us first – in the beginning – at the very start of our existence.  Was John trying to tell us that God put the hunger and our need for love within us along with the very image of God Himself?  Maybe you’ve heard the arguments for God’s existence that run along these lines: we have no way to explain the idea of good and evil without there being a Source of good in the universe and a source(s) of evil.  But, because there is good – there must be a God.  I’ll grant you that it’s not the strongest argument for God’s existence, but it is a valid one, I think. 

In a similar vein, I think John was trying to tell us that His love is what awakens love in us at all – otherwise, we’d know nothing of love, period.  Love wouldn’t exist at all in the absence of God.  The lovesickness that often pervades our hearts is there because we are haunted by the memory of God’s love that was put into our souls when He created us.  This love isn’t just mushy sentiment.  It is the kind of love the Father to the prodigal son showed when he hitched up his robes, cast aside his own dignity and ran to meet the returning prodigal. 

Have you ever considered yourself in the story of the prodigal?  Who is it that runs to greet you?  Is it not Christ, risen, yet bearing the scars in his hands and feet and on his back from the scourging and his head from the crown of thorns?  Is it not this Christ who has hitched up his robes and comes running to meet you while you are yet far away?

I love it when the Light of the Word dawns on us!

Prayer:  The mysteries and depth of Your Word is astounding!  We rejoice in the truths You show us about the reality of the world in which we live and the truth about the universe You have created!  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 3/04/19 – The Word Became Flesh

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DayBreaks for 3/04/19: The Word Became Flesh

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

One of the most amazing statements in Scripture is found in the gospel of John: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…  Here is a great mystery: that the Divine Word became flesh.  There are those who have puzzled over how this could be true, those who question the virgin birth and the fact that Jesus was begotten by the Spirit.  It is a rather remarkable fact.  But that’s not the most wonderful or amazing question that could be asked.  Instead of asking “How”, I believe we’d be better to ask the “Why?” question. 

John doesn’t leave us hanging on that point, either.  It was because the Word became flesh that we saw the glory of God in the person of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.  Surely, it was the kind of thing that mankind had longed for from the time of the creation – to see the glory of God.  Even those who saw Jesus saw only a bit of the glory that belongs to God because it would have been too much for humans to bear to be exposed, in our flesh, to the fullness of the glory of God Almighty.  But a portion of it was made visible to us, and it should be enough.

The great Christian scholar and theologian, Karl Barth, had an interesting observation regarding this passage, which brings us to the point I want to consider today.  Here’s what he had to say: “The Word became flesh – and then through theologians it became words again.” 

Yes, Jesus became flesh.  He’s not here any longer in a fleshly form, but he is here in those of us who have fleshly forms.  The Word took up residence in human flesh when Jesus came, and the Spirit has taken up residence in human flesh in all believers.  The question is: has the Word remained incarnated in us, or have we turned the truth of the Spirit and of God into just words once more?  Is the Spirit of the risen Lord dwelling actively in you?  Are you listening to His promptings, taking action as He directs?  Is He a personal acquaintance with whom you have a relationship?  Or, has your faith just become a matter of words once more, drained of the vitality of the One Who is Life itself?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

The Word still dwells in flesh.  Only this time it is our flesh.  Let it dwell in you RICHLY!!!!

Prayer: What an amazing thing, Jesus, that You became flesh!  How humbling that You still choose to live in our human flesh through Your Spirit.  May you dwell in us richly, Lord Jesus!  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 2/25/19 – I AM #9: Living Water

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DayBreaks for 2/25/2019: I AM #9: The Living Water

John 7:37-38 (ESV) – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

While Jesus doesn’t explicitly use the “I AM” phrase here, his claim is equally strong: he is the source of living water. What was living water? It was moving water – safe to sustain life – as opposed to stagnant water such as that in the Dead Sea.

Jesus makes this statement during the feast of tabernacles which the people referred to as “the season of our gladness,” for it marked the completion of the harvest. Josephus called it “the holiest and the greatest festival among the Jews”. It wasn’t just for the rich; it was for everyone – the rich, the poor, the stranger, the widow and servants – all were to share in the universal joy.
During this festival, a priest took a golden pitcher which held about two pints of water and went down to the Pool of Siloam where it was filled. He carried it back through the Water Gate while the people recited Isa 12:3: With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. The water was taken to the Temple altar and poured out as an offering to God. As that was taking place, the Hallel—that is, Ps 113-118—was sung to the accompaniment of flutes by the Levite choir. When they came to the words, “O give thanks to the Lord” and again to the words, “O work now then salvation”, and finally to the closing words, “O give thanks to the Lord”, the worshippers shouted and waved their palms towards the altar. The whole ceremony was a vivid thanksgiving for God’s good gift of water, an acted prayer for rain, and a memory of the water which sprang from the rock when they travelled through the wilderness. On the last day the ceremony was doubly impressive for they marched seven times round the altar in memory of the sevenfold circuit round the walls of Jericho, whereby the wails fell down and the city was taken.

Against this background and perhaps at that very moment, Jesus’ voice rang out: If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.” It is as if Jesus said: “You are thanking and glorifying God for the water which quenches the thirst of your bodies. Come to me if you want water which will quench the thirst of your soul.” He was using that dramatic moment to turn men’s thoughts to the thirst for God and the eternal things.

The concept behind “living water” is water that is moving, flowing. Such water is safe to drink as opposed to stagnant water such as was found in the Dead Sea. It would be cooler and more refreshing – it was the kind of water that could sustain life.

Jesus’ claim is that he is able to provide us with the refreshing, safe water we long for and more – that we will become channels for that water to flow out to others. But like the Dead Sea, we can’t be channels of blessing unless we stop just taking in water – we must let it flow through us as the water from the Jordan flows through the sea of Galilee. Let it flow through you today!

PRAYER: Lord, our spirits are thirsty until we drink deeply of you! Let us let your water flow through us to the parched spiritual desert in which we live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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