DayBreaks for 12/17/18 – When the Sacrifice Began

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DayBreaks for 12/17/18: When the Sacrifice Began

If I were to start talking about sacrifice and how it related to the Jewish people, you’d probably garner up images of animal sacrifice in connection with the temple. Makes perfect sense.

If I were to ask you about sacrifice and how it relates to Christianity, my guess is that your instantaneous thought would turn to Calvary followed in short order by Easter, and that would not be wrong. As Christians, we do not believe that any more sacrifice for sin is needed because the New Testament makes it very clear that the blood of Jesus was the atonement for all sin – something the blood of bulls and goats could never do.

But as we enter this last week before Christmas arrives, I want to think about sacrifice. I believe that the sacrifice of Jesus began way before the crucifixion.

If we listen closely to these verses from Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT2) – You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

I believe this passage indicates that the sacrifice of Jesus began when he gave up his divine privileges. Think of it: eternal glory, never knowing pain or sickness, the temporary surrender of the adoration of the angels and four living creatures, the halls of glory were all surrendered for a manger and the brokenness of taking on human form.

We like to talk about how there is no longer need for sacrifice, and if we are speaking of sin, that’s true. We Christians are freed from the OT laws and rules that required sacrifice. But are we free from the need to make sacrifices? No, not at all.

In our teaching this past Sunday, our lead teacher talked about four sacrifices that we must offer. During the rest of this week, I’ll talk about one each day and figure out what they mean to us today and during this holiday season. But for today, look at this passage from 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Question: what does it mean to you as a believer that you are a priest or priestess?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice to accept the humiliation of human flesh and leave eternal glory behind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 12/9/16 – Make Way

DayBreaks for 12/09/16: Make Way

Can you imagine complete silence? It’s hard to in our culture today, isn’t it? We have televisions, radios, cell phones, etc. that are constantly blaring at us, demanding our attention. It used to be that we might listen to an album on a cassette tape or CD, but now you can stream music endlessly with a break! It’s hard to imagine complete silence for even a minute, let alone an hour. But try 400 years?!?!?! 

When John showed up on the scene, a silence of 400 years is broken. Don’t misunderstand me, not everyone was silent during this period. Women and men were talking, boys and girls were talking, animals were making their sounds, but for 400 years there was no prophet speaking the Word of the LORD. No one was truthfully saying, Thus says the LORD…

In reality two silences are broken when John began to preach and Jesus came to him at the Jordan to be baptized. One was the 400 year period without a prophetic Word from God and the other was a gap of approximately 30 years in the life of Jesus. Matthew skips directly from his birth and infancy narrative to an event that occurs approximately 30 years later. Both of those silences, however, were broken by the sound of John’s voice.

John the Baptist could rightly be called the last of the Old Testament Prophets. He is functioning as a Herald by announcing the coming of the King. In the ancient world, a herald was one who went ahead of a king’s chariot to prepare the road. He would command a crew which would smooth out the usually rough roads of that day by filling potholes and removing boulders. The herald would also go before the king shouting, “Make way, the King is coming!”

We now have less than 3 weeks until Christmas. What are the potholes and empty places in your life that need to be filled this year? What boulders are blocking your progress toward God that need to be shoved to the side? Are you ready to dig in and prepare the way for your King to come?

PRAYER: Lord, preparation is not fun – it is hard work. Often we think that we can just let the joy of the season come to us and we forget that the real challenge before us isn’t to be filled with joy per se, but to be ready for your arrival at each moment of each day in our hearts. Help us to fill the potholes and move the boulders out of the way so you can come into our lives and hearts more fully this year. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 11/28/16 – Awaiting the Light

DayBreaks for 11/28/16: Awaiting the Light

Sunday marked the first Sunday of Advent. Maybe this year it will hold special meaning for us all.

For millennia, the people of God awaited the Messiah, hinted at in the garden of Eden, prophesied about to Abram and many others in the Old Testament. None of those lived to see the Messiah (called the Light in the gospel of John) when He showed up. In fact, for almost all those thousands of years, darkness seemed to prevail and dominate. Yet the people of God never gave up their hope.

Advent is a time of hope. We are reminded of the long period of waiting from the time the concept of a Redeemer first appears in the Old Testament until the birth of the Christ child. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Hoping against hope, His people were often filled with despair and cried out to their God.

Is it all that different today? We read of atrocities in the middle east, just this weekend we heard about a shooting in New Orleans. We have many in our country who are terrified and horrified about the outcome of the election as they fear the future. Some of those are brothers and sisters in faith.

We should let this time of Advent remind us of the long period of waiting before the Light appeared – but He did appear even as it was foretold. God’s people were vindicated to have never lost their hope. We remember that at Advent.

But that’s not all that we hope for, is it? If so, we’re hoping for something that’s already happened and we don’t need to hope for it any longer.

We who are of the faith should also at Advent hope in the fact that the Light will come again. It was prophesied – as was His first appearance. The first hope was rewarded and met with its fulfillment – and our hope will be, too. We hope, in spite of all the events in the world, that this may be the day when the Light shines once more.

This next time that the Light appears, however, will be different than the first. In the first He came as a baby in a manger. In the second He will come as the victorious King of Kings. In the first He came to show us what the kingdom looks like. In the second he will bring the Kingdom in its fullness. When He came the first time, He knew He would have to leave and there would be a second coming. When He comes this next time, He will never leave again. And once He comes this next time we will never need to hope again for all wrongs will be righted, all injustice will meet with justice, all struggles and strivings will cease…forever.

This is the hope we celebrate on this first week of Advent. It hope it is your hope, too.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for the sure hope that we have in Your coming once again! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/08/15 – God’s Eternal Journey

DayBreaks for 12/08/15: God’s Eternal Journey

I suppose you could say that it started before the foundation of the world, when God decided to make people in his own image.  He then walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, although it appears that He withdrew from them from time to time – at least, that seems to have been the perception of the garden-dwellers.

Thousands of years pass and God called a people for His own out of the slave-filled mud pits of Egypt.  And during that time, God was with His people as a pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  His Presence dwelt in the tabernacle, but that Presence wasn’t to be visited by the ordinary man or woman – but only by the high priest and only once a year.  The Psalmist would later write about how God was near to those who were broken-hearted and who feared His name – but no one could see Him or feel Him.  God was getting closer to His creation during this period of time, but it wasn’t close enough for Him.

And so, on a night in Palestine about 2000 years ago, He got closer.  He wasn’t content to just move among them like a cloud or roaring pillar of fire, He wanted to be seen and touched and present in a way that He’d never been before in history.  So, He became one of us – a human.  And, as John put it: We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of God.  People, for the first time in history, could touch God.  But only those who were close enough could do that.  And so, it still wasn’t close enough for God.  He couldn’t stand the distance that continued to separate us.  He had to do something further, something even more dramatic than becoming human.

It happened on Pentecost and has been happening ever since.  God came, not just as Immanuel (God-With-Us), but as God-Within-Us.  Now, because He is in us, we can hear Him, we can sense His presence and have access to His mind and thoughts.  Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…  And God saw that it was good.  Through the indwelling of the His Spirit in us, God was available not only to those in close physical proximity to Jesus, but to all of us – anywhere in the world – once we call upon His name.

Isn’t it great to know that God wouldn’t settle for “close enough?”  From before the beginning of the world, He began to approach us – and He’ll continue to stand at the door of our hearts, knocking, until we finally get to experience His Presence fully and completely.  As much as He wants to be with you – does your heart desire that same Presence?

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, I’m so grateful that you have never given up on us.  That you have kept pursuing us from the halls of heaven.  Thank you for the Spirit through which we can all experience Your wondrous Presence within us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/30/15 – Felt, but Unseen

DayBreaks for 11/30/15: Felt, but Unseen

Romans 5:5 (NLT) – And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

From the worship bulletin yesterday: (author unknown):

“We are glad you are here today as we enter the Advent Season. Advent means “to come” and it speaks of the longing God’s people have for Christ to be present. In the Old Testament, our forefathers looked for the coming Messiah. He came in the person of Jesus.  Since His ascension into heaven, we look for His return. But waiting is easier said than done. It is hard to hope for something that is unseen. In anticipation, we light a candle and there’s no magic in that. It is simply a sign, an indicator, a visual help to let us know that the light of the world will return.

“But, if you are like me, it is hard to hope with joy and confidence. The future is an unknown, and the wait is long. We may not see much light, and when there is little light, it is dark and perhaps even scary. That can lead to despair.

“Having said that, today we want to proclaim what we know to be true, even though it is hard to believe and put into practice: we are those who have hope. We did not but it or earn it. It has been implanted in us. It is a seed buried in our souls that flourishes as we read, pray, sing and think about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we long for you to be filled with hope. The prophets said He would come, and He did. They also said (and we say) He will come again! So, we worship today as men and women with hope. We aspire to live as men and women with hope. It is a hope that is not dependent on our circumstances, our relationships, our money or anything else. It is a hope that is built on nothing less than Jesus’ past, present and future work, and a hope that is built on His blood and righteousness.

“Will you choose to hope with us?

“This day, He will do a work. This day, He will water the see of Hope that He put in you. And you will play a part: your part is to go as a bearer of hope, to go and tell others what has happened here, to go and be a beacon, a light, of the hope that we have in Christ.”

You see, hope is something that is felt, but unseen. If it is seen, it is not hope, but reality. Until it becomes seen to us, it remains hope – God’s gift to drive us onward to the coming Light!

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, fill us with the hope that originates in You and Your promises.  Keep us from wasting away in the desert of hopelessness as if we were not Your children! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

DayBreaks for 12/03/14 – Scrooge, Advent and Christmas

DayBreaks for 12/03/14 – Scrooge, Advent and Christmas

Every year as we draw closer to Christmas (yes, Thanksgiving is over, so it’s now “legal” to talk about Christmas!) a great number of people find delight in the delightful story by Dickens: A Christmas Carol.  Why?  Well, I suspect that there is something in the story that lures us back to it year after year; we never seem to grow tired of hearing its message. The main character is, of course, a surly old goat named Scrooge, who lives like a miser. He sees no benefit in being generous with the poor, or even paying a living wage to his poor workers.  He holds his money tightly in clenched fists.  He despises the thought of parting with any of his hard-earned cash.  But even more than his money, Scrooge withholds his entire being.  He withholds love and kindness, warmth and friendship. Then, one night, he is radically changed. He sees himself through the eyes of others. He has a vivid vision of his past; and then his present. But what is most frightful to him is when he is granted the opportunity of a lifetime. He is allowed to witness his future. But his future proves to be so dark and frightening, that it prompts within him a dramatic change. He undergoes a radical transformation and becomes an entirely new person. Rather than being cold and indifferent to people, he becomes generous and compassionate.

It is a heart-warming story. But even more than that, it is a hopeful story. It provides us all with the hope that we, too, can make needed and helpful changes in our lives. We can break free from the ruts we have burrowed and where we have wallowed, and from the negative behaviors we have cultivated throughout our lifetimes. We can become kind and compassionate, humble and hospitable, joyful and generous – no matter what we have been or how old we are.

I hope you have hope this Advent season.  There is no reason not to be people of hope when we know the One who holds all the cards!

PRAYER: Stir hope in our hearts this season, Lord.  It is not Your desire that we be people of despair but rather people of an overcoming joy and hope because You own the future! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to 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.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

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