DayBreaks for 8/08/18 – The Signature of His Presence

Image result for men's fragrance

DayBreaks for 8/08/18: The Signature of His Presence

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

It seems like America is fascinated with forensics.  There’s CSI spin-offs, NCIS spin-offs, and other mystery/detective shows that talk a lot about forensics. Much of the gist of those shows is trying to figure out who was the murderer, and that means that they’ve got to place the killer in the room or woods or on the boat with the victim at the time the murder was committed.  Often, the way that they make that link is through DNA evidence: a piece of hair, some bodily fluid that was left at the scene or on a cup that was left in the room.  It can be other small things, too, like dirt from a shoe, a tire tread left in the mud, some little bit of evidence that would be overlooked entirely if you weren’t looking for such details.

Perhaps you’ve known someone who wore a distinctive fragrance (or maybe they just had a strange smell, period).  If they’d just left the room, you could probably tell that they’d been there because of the scent in the air.  We leave clues everywhere we go.

What was the signature of Jesus’ presence?  If a forensic scientist were looking for clues to indicate if Jesus really had come to earth, where might they look, and what might they look for? 

Some might start looking at the temple in Jerusalem – after all, Jesus was Jewish, and that was the supreme place of worship for the Jews.  Some might want to look in the king’s palace.  But if they did that, they’d not find what they were looking for.  In his book, Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg suggests: “His raggedness became the very signature of his presence.  ‘And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’”  (Luke 2:12)

Jesus wasn’t afraid of raggedness.  To become like us, he had to become ragged, indeed.  We’re so full of concerns about how we look, how we’re perceived, what people think of us and what they might say about us behind our backs that we try to hide all the raggedness that surrounds us.  We want to appear properly groomed and turned out for the occasion.  We’re more concerned about appearances than substance.  Jesus wasn’t.  We shouldn’t be, either.

PRAYER: May we put away foolish notions of appearance and strive for true beauty in the inner soul.  May we not only accept our own raggedness, but revel in the raggedness of Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 4/09/14 – Winner or Loser?

DayBreaks for 4/09/14 – Winner or Loser?

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT)  For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

What does a Christ-like mind look like as we live in the world? We can see it clearly in the great saints and martyrs, such as Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer. I’m drawn as well to the idea William Placher suggests in his book Narratives of a Vulnerable God as he uses an illustration from the world of basketball. Professor Placher writes, “In basketball the players who are always asking, ‘How am I doing? Am I getting my share of the shots?’ Those are the ones who never reach their full potential. It is the players who lose themselves who find themselves. And it’s that kind of self-forgetfulness that makes the best players.” And isn’t that the case with all of us in whatever we do?

Joanna Adams wrote: “I read about one of the fastest growing churches in the world, with branches in 32 countries already. It is called the Winners Church, and according to its leaders, it lives by a motto that comes from America’s religious culture. Here’s the motto: “Be happy. Be successful. Join the winners.” People flock to that kind of church, I guess. But it all depends, doesn’t it, on how we define winning? I wonder what kind of church you would have if your motto were “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.” Or about this one for a motto, “Those who want to save their lives will lose them and those who lose their lives for my sake, will find them.”

Would you join a church like that? On Palm Sunday, it looked like Jesus was going to be planting the “Winners Church”, didn’t it?  The crowds were adoring, voices raised in raucous celebration of the one that they welcomed to the city!  If anyone looked like a winner that day, it was Jesus!

Five days later he looked nothing like a winner as he stood before the masses, stripped, beaten and bloodied, a crown of thorns on his head, spit (from others) dripping off his face.  Hardly the picture of a winner at all.

Yet, we have Jesus’ promise that the way to win is to lose.  It proved true in his case.  On Sunday morning none of the spit lingered as he rose in glory – the greatest Winner in the history of the universe.  This Winner is eager to share his victory.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to attend a church that called itself something like this: “Servant of All Church”, or “The Victorious Fellowship of Losers”? 

Remember: what looks like victory to the world is not victory.  Don’t be fooled by false values!

PRAYER: Lord, ! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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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 03/26/13 – Short and Beautifully Ugly

DayBreaks for 03/26/13 – Short and Beautifully Ugly                 

concerning-uglinessWe are drawn to beauty!  Whether it is a sunrise or sunset, a flower, a mountain scene or waterfall, we love to see beautiful things. 

Every year some magazines come out with an edition that identifies the “most beautiful” people in the world.  I don’t follow such things, but I believe Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and this year, Beyonce, have been on the list, if not atop the list for their gender.  (The only reason I know about Beyonce is that I looked it up for this DayBreaks!)  There is a saying that “beauty is only skin deep” and there’s a lot of truth to that, but when it comes to ranking the most beautiful people in the world, I don’t believe you’ll see Mother Theresa’s name, or that of Billy Graham, in the list because of the beauty of their souls.  It’s the external that we are fixated on.

Even Jesus, when we see him in movies, is made to look attractive.  Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth, cut a rather striking figure, as did Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ.  More often than not the Jesus of the movies has deep blue eyes, neatly kept hair and clothing, and speaks with a proper British accent, has perfectly proportioned features and a well-balance physique.  I suspect that such a representation of Christ is way off base: remember, he was a homeless man without even a pillow and but one set of clothes.

Eugene Peterson, in putting the words of Isaiah 53:1-3 into The Message, put it this way: Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought GOD’s saving power would look like this? 2 The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.  He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

The second-century Roman writer, Celsus, records that Jesus was “short and ugly”.  If we begin to see Jesus that way, to think of him as short and ugly, perhaps we begin to understand why it was that Jesus seems to have been so drawn to the maimed, the cripples, the blind, the lepers.

Here’s the best part: Jesus saw far deeper than the layer of our epidermis.  He saw into the maimed and tortured souls we carry around hidden inside our “jar of clay” and when he saw the ugliness there, he was moved with compassion.  Though he himself was sinless, he perhaps understood ugliness and beauty far better than we ever have.  He didn’t care that much what people looked like, but he care enormously about turning the ugliness in our hearts to something beautiful.  And he was willing to die to make that happen.  There has never been a more beautiful human being than Jesus, even if he was short and ugly.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV) – Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

PRAYER: !  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started working with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this linke: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 8/23/11 – Of Fig Trees and Pharisees

DayBreaks for 08/23/11 – Of Fig Trees and Pharisees

The fig tree and appearances...and reality.

In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. 20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” 21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” – Matthew 21:18-22

I know that Jesus used this to teach a lesson to his disciples.  The lesson Jesus draws is about faith and doubt.  It is hard to miss that part of the story because Jesus makes it so explicit.  Perhaps we should just leave it at that in the interest of pure exegesis.

But I think that there’s also another lesson that isn’t usually associated with this passage.  Jesus looks at the tree and curses it because the tree was all show – and no substance.  It was much like the Pharisees – with whom he’d had a confrontation the day before – beautiful on the outside, but there was no substance.  They looked good, but weren’t good.  It is so easy to get down on the Pharisees because Jesus allows us to see them as He saw them.  Lest we get too carried away, however, I need to remember that it is probably easier to be like the Pharisees than different from them.

I try (who doesn’t?) to look good on the outside – physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually.  When it comes to spiritual matters, I can say my “Praise the Lord!” when someone experiences something good, so that I sound like I’m always thinking about the Lord and how good He is (and He is!)  Another case in point: I can pray in public when I go out with other Christians to eat at a restaurant, making a show of bowing my head so it’s obvious what I’m doing, even suggesting we pray if others don’t bring it up first…but what if in my heart of hearts it is all a show?  I mean, if I don’t normally give thanks for each meal when I’m at home by myself or with my family, one must ask themselves the question: why am I doing this in public?  What’s my motivation?  Is it truly thankfulness, or am I just putting on a show because I think my Christian co-diners expect it, or because I want them to think I’m spiritual?  And what about watching my language when I’m around other Christians, but not when I’m with foul-mouthed co-workers?  Aren’t those things nothing more than pretending to be fruitful, to present a look of a fruitful Christian but not the reality in my heart?

Pharisees are a dime a dozen.  Real followers, real disciples, are rare treasures.  Which am I?  Which are you?

PRAYER: Lord, we can be such hypocrites – and never even really think about how hypocritical we are!  Open our eyes to our own attempts to appear holier than we are and humble us before your cross.  Grow us into being real followers and not just show-boats.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 4/21/11 – The Smell of Eternity

DayBreaks for 04/21/11 – The Smell of Eternity

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. – Isaiah 57:15

The following was written by an unknown Christian woman: “It was a day when the threat of rain hung in the air.  I drove up to a drive-through market in Stony Brook, Long Island, to buy milk and was waited on by a man wearing a turban.  Handing me my change through the car window, he said, with the trace of an Indian accent, “Ah!  The smell of eternity is in the air.”

I was impressed, assuming his mystical words were either the Indian equivalent of “It feels like rain,” or a philosophical observation akin to “The end is near.”  I smiled politely and said nothing.

But he continued, “Eternity,” he repeated.  “Aren’t you wearing Calvin Klein Eternity perfume?”

This is a funny story, but it illustrates several key things for us:

FIRST: things aren’t always what they seem – as the disciples found out on a Sunday morning 2000 years ago.

SECOND: up until Jesus rose from the dead, a far different scent permeated the air of this planet – the smell of death.  It hung heavy over all of humanity like a second skin, one that couldn’t be washed off of peeled away.  But on Easter morning, the scent of eternity burst forth from a tomb near Jerusalem and has filled not only the air but our hearts ever since.

THIRD: as each day passes, the scent of eternity should grow more and more pronounced.  Time is passing, my friends…and each day pulls us that much closer to the dawning of our eternity.  We must make proper preparations for it!

FOURTH: I would hope that as we traverse the ridges and valleys of this life that the scent of eternity around us grows stronger and that we’ll share it with others.

PRAYER: Lord, you are beautiful!  Let us reflect your beauty and bear your loveliness to the nations and those who surround us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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