DayBreaks for 3/23/16 – Remain and Watch

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Gethsemane, January 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple

DayBreaks for 3/23/16 – Remain and Watch

Mark 14:34 – My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death, remain here and keep watch.

Jesus, of course, spoke those words to his disciples on the night of his betrayal after he’d led them across the Kidron into the garden of Gethsemane.  He was in agony.  I don’t believe it was because of fear of death at all.  Countless men and women have gone heroically, stoically and quietly to their deaths for various causes throughout history.  Why should we believe that Jesus didn’t have the composure to face death?  Certainly, he was not afraid of death for he holds the keys to “death and hades.”  But he was deeply, deeply grieved. 

As I thought about the verse from Mark, I was again reminded of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.  The five foolish ones had run out of oil and were gone when the bridegroom came to the wedding feast and they were shut out.  They had not kept watch faithfully until the bridegroom showed up.  Scriptures are full of admonitions to be awake, be alert, be on guard, to keep watch.  Why?  Because we have a tendency to be sleepy, to lose our focus, to get distracted by all sorts of other things of lesser value.

As I thought about Mark 14:34, I thought that he could have repeated those words as he ascended, and I also thought about what Jesus would say to us today.  As he sits enthroned at the right hand of God above the circle of the earth and as he looks down at us, I think he would repeat the same thing he said in the garden: “My soul is deeply grieved…remain here and keep watch.”  He is grieved by what he sees – the hatred, the greed, the abuse and immorality.  But he would reiterate to us our mission: “remain here and keep watch.”  We are his representatives here on this planet.  He’s left us here to continue his work and to keep watch for his interests…and for his return.  What are you watching and waiting for?  How are you spending the time he’s given you here?

TODAY’S PRAYER:  There is so much to distract us from terrorist bombings to toothaches and we are so easily distracted, Lord.  Help us to see the things you see, to care about the things you care about, to do the work that you’ve given us to do.  Help us to watch, and wait, faithfully.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple

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DayBreaks for 08/07/13 – When Facing Mortal Danger

DayBreaks for 08/07/13 – When Facing Mortal Danger

imagesIt is hard to get people’s attention these days.  Why?  Because so many things are clamoring for our attention that we tend to just shut down the input and switch off all except that which is of most interest to us, or that which we cannot shut down for some reason or another.  Some things we shut down pose great dangers to us!

A U.S. Army officer told of the contrast in his pupils during two different eras of teaching at the artillery training school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (Home of the Field Artillery). In 1958-60 the attitude was so lax that the instructors had a problem getting the men to stay awake to hear the lectures. During the 1965-67 classes, however, the men, hearing the same basic lectures, were alert and took copious notes. What made the difference in the class of 65? They knew that in less than six weeks they would be facing the enemy in Vietnam.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about spiritual warfare.  You know the verses: Ephesians 6:11-12 (NLT)- Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  You see, the problem is that we apparently don’t think that those evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world are after ME.  They are very active, we’d say, in those who bomb, kill and maim innocent men, women and children.  They are active in those who pledge to wipe entire nations off the map.  They are active in the woman who straps her children into their car seats and lets the car roll into a lake, or who drowns them in a tub.  They are active in the man who abducts young girls and holds them prisoner in a cell in his home for years, abusing them in every way imaginable (and some unimaginable).

All those things are true.  It is equally true that those evil powers are interested in you and me.  It’s time we start to believe it and wake up, pay attention and take notes or before we know it, we’ll find ourselves locked in mortal combat unprepared and unable to respond.

If you knew that Satan was coming after you this very night, what would you change?  News flash: he is coming.  You’re not going to avoid it unless you die first.  Are you paying attention? 

PRAYER: I fear, Lord, that one of Satan’s greatest weapons against us is to lull us into a sense of safety and security that causes us to drift off and be spiritually and intellectually lazy!  Blast the trumpet and awaken us to the raging warfare in which we are engaged!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 09/05/11 – Stay Awake

DayBreaks for 09/05/11 – Stay Awake

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. – Luke 21:36

The year was 1983.  Australia was hosting their ultramarathon, a grueling 573.7 mile foot race from Sydney to Melbourne. It takes days to run, and great professional runners from all over the world came to participate. Just before the race started, a 61-year-old farmer named Cliff Young, wearing overalls and goloshes over his boots, walked up to the registration table and requested a number to enter the race. The people at the registration table thought he was joking and they laughed. But Young was adamant, “No, I’d really like to run.” So they gave him a number and pinned it to his old overalls.

Young walked over to the start of the race with all the professional runners, who were decked out in all their running regalia.  They looked at him like he was crazy.  The crowd laughed at him.  They laughed even louder when the gun went off and the race began, because the professional runners had sculpted bodies and beautiful strides, but not Cliff Young. He ran with an awkward, goofy-looking shuffle. Someone from the crowd yelled, “Get that old fool off the track!”

Five days, 14 hours, and four minutes later, at 1:25 in the morning, Cliff Young crossed the finish line of the 573.7 mile ultra-marathon – he had won.  He didn’t win by a matter of minutes or even an hour or two. The second place runner was nine hours and 56 minutes behind him. Young had set a new world record for the ultra-marathon. The press mobbed him wondering what kind of special running shoes he must have used, they rummaged through his backpack wondering what he’d survived on (he’d lived primarily on pumpkin seeds and water) and then they discovered the secret to his success: Cliff Young had shuffled his way to victory without ever sleeping. The other runners would run for 18 hours straight, and then stop and sleep for three or four hours. He endured running five days, 14 hours, and four minutes at the age of 61 without a minute of sleep.

It is so easy to get sleepy when it comes to our faith.  We cat-nap for even a few moments and you can bet that the enemy will be sneaking up behind you with some temptation.  And if we aren’t alert, if we don’t stay awake, we risk, as Jesus said, not having the strength to escape what is to come and to stand before the Son of Man.  That’s too much to risk.

Staying awake includes being aware of what is going on in our world and how it relates to a Biblical (I won’t say Christian because far too Christians don’t have a Biblical world view) world view.  The enemy is clever and packages things in such a way that they sound good and slide right past us if we aren’t awake.  We need to be alert to his schemes.  We tend to think that sleep makes us stronger (and that may be true physically), but Jesus says that when it comes to spiritual things, sleep is dangerous!

PRAYER: Satan is clever, God, and he wears us down and wearies us.  We grow deaf to the real meaning behind his cleverly disguised phrases that are meant to lull us to sleep and not stand for righteousness.  Wake us up and help us stay awake!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 06/24/11 – The Sandman of Gethsemane

DayBreaks for 06/24/11 – The Sandman of Gethsemane

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

The Sandman of Gethsemane

I really don’t know where the concept of the sandman came from.  Every parent knows about the “sandman”, and quite often prays for the sandman to come and visit the kids on those nights when the children are full of energy!  The sandman is tasked with bringing sleep to the weary.

Sometimes the sandman is welcome – and then again, there are times when the sandman isn’t welcome – if you are sitting in church, at your desk in school or at work, or when driving a car.  At times like those, the “sandman” is not our friend – he is our enemy.  The “sandman” isn’t new in the 20th century.  Long ago, in a garden on a hillside, the disciples were struck by this untimely visitor as described in Matthew 26:40: “40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.

Have you ever, with the best and most noble intentions, risen up early or stayed up late to spend time in the word or in prayer but fell asleep?  Or, perhaps at a very critical time in your life, when you really needed to talk with God and hear from Him, you start to pray…and pray…and pray…and fall asleep.

Satan is not only the father of lies, but he uses other stratagems to keep us from the things that will strengthen our souls, including weariness that brings either spiritual or physical sleep. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 reminds us that we are to be different: “5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

I’m sure that when the disciples got to Gethsemane, they had no intention to fall asleep during Jesus’ hour of need.  But you see, they had no idea that Jesus was coming into his time of need.  And therein is the challenge.  Perhaps there is someone right now that really needs you and your support.  You may have the greatest of intentions – but when the time of need comes, be aware that Satan will do his best to get you to shut your eyes and miss the opportunity.  Don’t let him lull you to sleep in such a way that you forsake your obligations and miss your opportunities.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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