DayBreaks for 7/29/19 – Just Try to Imagine It

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DayBreaks for 07/29/19: Just Try to Imagine It

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

A 2009 movie, New in Town, tells the story of Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger), a high-powered consultant who loves her Miami lifestyle, who is sent to New Ulm, Minnesota, to oversee a restructuring at a blue-collar manufacturing facility.  Eventually, she’s ordered to shut down the plant, putting the entire community out of work.  At that point, Lucy is forced to reconsider her goals and priorities.  When she arrived in New Ulm, a small, freezing city with one red light and a population of 13,595—a city where people “drag Jesus into regular conversation”—Lucy is met by her new executive assistant, Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon, who is a real-life Christian).  In this scene Blanche asks Lucy one personal question after another, culminating in a question concerning Jesus.

“Are you a scrapper?” Blanche asks. When Lucy is confused, Blanche clarified: “Do you keep a scrapbook?”

It is soon clear that Blanche is quite the scrap booker. She actually has a “mini” scrapbook in her purse, filled with pictures of Winston Churchill—her now-dead dog who was a “bit of a drooler.”

“Are you married?” Blanche asks. “Do you have children?”

“No,” Lucy answers, though visibly uncomfortable because of Blanche’s line of questioning.

“Not to worry,” Blanche insists. “You’re still young. You still have time—I suppose.” After a brief pause, Blanche continues: “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

Lucy, eyes bulging, replies, “Isn’t that what you’ve been doing?”

Unfazed, Blanche tenderly asks, “Have you found Jesus?”

“Well, I didn’t know he was missing,” Lucy replies with a laugh.

Blanche drops her head. Noticing she has hurt Blanche with her response, Lucy says, “It was just a joke.”

“Normally we don’t joke about Jesus around here,” Blanche replies. “But I can see how you could think that was sort of funny.” Then, with a look of concern, Blanche ponders out loud, “Imagine Jesus gone missing. Imagine.” – New in Town (Lionsgate Pictures, 2009)

Have you ever tried to imagine if Jesus had gone AWOL?  If, on the way from heaven to earth he’d decided to take a detour to somewhere else in order to avoid his mission?  Or, if on his way to Jerusalem for that last fateful visit, he’d headed north and disappeared into Gaul instead?  Or, if his body had gone missing and there were no after-death appearances to prove the resurrection?  Not a pretty picture, is it?

Has Jesus gone missing from your life and conversation with co-workers, family, friends, neighbors?  If so, bring him back today!

PRAYER:  What a wonderful Savior You are, Jesus!  Thank You for being part of our lives.  May we invite You into every relationship and conversation we have!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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

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DayBreaks for 7/31/17 – A Lack of Presence

DayBreaks for 7/31/17: A Lack of Presence

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

Prayer is such a strange thing.  It is talking.  It is listening.  It is listening to a voice that isn’t heard out loud by others.  It is richly rewarding but often terribly troubling.  Prayer is so vital that we cannot do without it, not really.

From time to time I have people ask me questions about prayer and praying.  Some wonder if it really makes a difference.  Some wonder if God will hear them.  Some wonder if I believe that God does miraculous healings in response to prayer, as if my belief in it makes the difference.  Some ask me to pray for them.  I’d much rather pray with them. 

In his book, Prayer – Does It Make a Difference?, Philip Yancey talks about those times when we don’t even want to call upon the Lord in prayer for whatever our reason may be  As always, I appreciate his refreshing honesty about his own emotions and thoughts: Sometimes I come to God out of sheer determination of will, which may seem inauthentic.  When I do so, however, I need not put on a mask.  God already knows the state of my soul.  I am not telling God anything new, but I am bearing witness to my love for God by praying even when I don’t feel like it.   I express my underlying faith simply by showing up.

When I am tempted to complain about God’s lack of presence, I remind myself that God has much more reason to complain about my lack of presence.

I wonder how many times God has thought: “I wonder why Galen won’t come and talk with Me about this.  I just wish he would!” 

For all the complaining we do about how God just doesn’t seem to be present, there have probably been 10 million times more that I have failed to show up in His throne room with my cares, concerns, fears and praises. 

Bottom line: I think our problems with prayer are not due to God’s failure to show up, but with ours!

PRAYER:  I thank you, Lord, for inviting us to bring all our cares and concerns to You.  Help our faith to grow so that we realize You are always there, eager and waiting for us to show up, and that You long to do far more than we can imagine or possibly believe.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 02/11/14 – Disappointment #7 – the Struggle in the Storm

DayBreaks for 2/11/14 – Disappointment #7 – The Struggle in the Storm

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)  For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Yesterday, we looked at the story of the storm which was calmed by Jesus after it threatened to sink the boat in which he and his disciples were traveling. In that case, the lives of all aboard were saved. But that is not always the case and the storm sometimes claims lives.

We tend to think that if God really was actively engaged in guiding us that we would not find ourselves in the middle of a storm (especially we Christians think like this, though actually unbelievers are prone to this, too, witness how they are ready to quickly blame God and rail at him when a natural disaster occurs). So, when we are surrounded by the winds and waves and the ship is about to go down (or it has gone down!), we conclude that if God were truly guiding us then the storm would not have come upon us. And there’s our mistake: we think the storm means that God has forsaken us. We think that smooth sailing is no guarantee that we are navigating the right course.

We also think that getting what we want is always a blessing. It can be a curse. Helmut Thielicke contemplated God’s actions of judgment and said that God “by no means judges merely – or better, he hardly ever judges, by smiting the transgressor with a stroke of lightning or some other disaster: on the contrary He judges him by letting him go in silence.”

Disappointment rarely means that God has turned his back on us.  If, as we have posited, disappointment comes from not getting what we want or expect, we are in good company when we are disappointed. Abraham died before seeing God’s promises fulfilled. Moses was refused entry into the Promised Land. The prophets were nearly all frustrated in the refusal of the people to heed the word of God. Paul didn’t get the healing he wanted. Jesus didn’t what he wanted in the garden, but it was not wrong of him to ask for what he wanted.  The Father refused his request (as He has with many of our own requests), but the refusals are never, ever arbitrary decisions on His part. He notes our tears and stores them in a bottle.  He does not dismiss them.  And whenever He thwarts our desires, He does so for a very good reason.

But, it can be frustrating. St. Theresa of Avila expressed it well when she said to God, “If this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.” Still, in every disappointment, we must allow for and take into account God’s sovereign, all-knowing will.

What can we learn from these things? Simply this: that in our disappointment to receive, we need to remember that hope deferred is not the same thing as hope denied.

The fact that Jesus had charted the course across the lake didn’t make the disciples feel any better about their situation. And ask the disciples asked in Mark’s version, it wasn’t just that Jesus didn’t act, but that they felt he didn’t care.  So how should we interpret his lack of action? It wasn’t his absence or an indication that he didn’t care. It was perhaps simply a sign of his great peace.  When we talk about the peace of God, we usually think of it in terms of something He gives us.  But there’s something that comes before that: God/Jesus can’t give us something that He doesn’t possess Himself. God/Jesus live in absolute, perfect peace. Christ was neither anxious nor afraid in the boat. He was certain of the future. The disciples couldn’t see the future and they interpreted his inaction as a sign of not caring (how like us!), rather than his absolute certainty and knowledge of the future. 

Henry Drummond said this: “Christ’s life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that was ever lived: tempest and tumult, turmoil and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there.

It helps me to know that when we are in turmoil and tempest ourselves and we think that God doesn’t seem to care and He’s not joining us in our panic, that it isn’t because He is indifferent or MIA. He just isn’t ruffled because of His perfect peace…and indeed, perfect control of the outcome.

PRAYER: I rejoice in Your perfect peace and its implications for us in our struggles. What a comfort to know that you do care, you do not panic, and that you firmly hold the times and outcomes of our lives (even when lived in the storm) firmly in your hand! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 01/28/14 – When God Is AWOL – Disappointment #3

DayBreaks for 1/28/14 – When God Is AWOL – Disappointment #3

Hebrews 13:5-6 (MSG) – Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” 6  we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?

I have known many believers who have grown incredibly disappointed with God and His perceived absence or lack of involvement in a time of struggle or suffering. It just doesn’t seem to ring true with the promise of God, does it? You may have experienced it yourself. Psalm 139:7-12 tells us that it is impossible for us to escape from His Presence, right? But the fact He is everywhere and always everywhere doesn’t mean we’ll sense His Presence. It seems that our experience of God in this world is as much an experiencing of His absence as His presence.

Why do we experience this? One reason is the way sin has intruded into Divine and human relationships. We would do well to remember that it was Adam and Eve who fled from His presence, not the other way around. God came seeking out those two sinners! It isn’t God who wants to maintain a safe distance from mankind, but we humans who seek that distance.  While our relationship with one another and God were not entirely destroyed by sin, it was twisted. And it was our doing that has erected the walls to keep God at bay.

Absence, is, after all, a normal part of any and all relationships. Anthony Bloom noted that we often employ a mechanical approach that tries to force God to show us His presence by drawing near. When we do that, however, he suggests that our efforts have more to do with idolatrous worship than the worship of the Living God: “We can do that with an image, with the imagination, or with the various idols we put in front of us instead of God; we can do nothing of the sort with the living God, any more than we can do it with a living person.”

Is it always the case that the sense of God’s absence is brought about by human shortcoming and sin? I think not. I think we shouldn’t be surprised that mere mortals cannot always detect His presence. If we can’t always detect the presence of another human in our home for example, what makes us think we will always be able to detect the Presence of One who is invisible?

We believe He is real, yet we’ve never seen Him. We believe He is real because of the evidence of creation and the Word. We believe He is good because He has told us He is, in spite of disasters and disease. We believe He is eternal and hasn’t died because He has told us He is eternal. We believe He can’t be tempted with sin and that is it impossible for Him to lie to us. So on what basis would we not believe His promise about His Presence, too? We may not see Him, we may not “feel” Him, we may not “hear” Him, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t closer to us than our own skin.

It is a call for the demonstration of faith. And all who come to God must come through faith!

PRAYER: In the hours and moments of isolation and aloneness, let our faith in Your promised Presence hold strong! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!