DayBreaks for 2/08/18 – Trying to Get Our Attention

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DayBreaks for 2/08/18: Trying to Get Our Attention

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Have you ever known someone (maybe it was you!) that felt that God was trying to whisper something to you in order to get your attention?  I’ve met quite a few people who have had that experience, and I’ve had it myself.  I’ve felt that God was trying to get my attention so he could tell me what it was that he wanted me to do.  And that’s not bad – we should have “ears to hear” and be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit so we can discern when God is speaking to us and what it is that he wants us to do.

But perhaps we’re making too many assumptions when we say, “I think God is trying to tell me something – I believe there’s something He wants me to do.”  It is important that we consider another possibility: perhaps God is just trying to get our attention, period.  He may not have something that he wants us to do.  It may be that its been so long since we just sat quietly at his feet and reflected on Who and What He Is.  Certainly, if God wants something done, He can get it done – with or without our cooperation. 

I know that when my kids come home for a visit that I’m not interested in all the things that they can do for me while they’re here.  I don’t have a list of projects stuck on the refrigerator for each of them.  What I want when they come home is to be able to spend time with them, to share moments in time that will never come again, to reconnect and re-affirm.  I think more often than not, when we feel God is trying to get our attention, it’s not because He has something for us to do – it’s because he wants that connection with us, that closeness that is not there when we’re “gone”. 

Give him your attention today – and every day.  Even if it’s just for a few minutes.  It’ll change your entire day!

PRAYER: Mighty God, thank you that you so desperately desire our attention.  Help us to welcome yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/04/14 – Total Concentration

DayBreaks for 9/04/14 – Total Concentration

Matthew 15:21-28 (NLT) Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master’s table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

The famous one-time Catholic monk, Martin Luther, was legendary not just for nailing a piece of paper to the door of his home church citing 95 things that needed to be changed about it. He wrote and lectured extensively to his students at the university as well. Some of his students were very good learners, and others were not so good. But a few of his students realized that some of the most valuable instruction that Luther gave was not in the classroom, but was in the dining hall over a meal and a few drinks. His students began taking notes on what Luther told them in that relaxed atmosphere, and they eventually published these notes in what was known as Martin Luther’s Table Talks.

One such example of the profound insight and truth Luther gave his students happened one day after class in the dining hall and they were all sitting around eating their meal and talking on the subject of prayer. A student of Luther’s by the name of Viet Dietrich preserved Luther’s words for us:

“When Luther’s puppy, Tölpel, happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, Luther said, ‘Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise, he has no thought, wish, or hope’” (Table Talks, May 18, 1532).

Martin Luther’s puppy reminds me of the woman in today’s Gospel lesson from Matthew. Although this woman was a Gentile, she was intensely focused in her request from Jesus. Jesus wasn’t being hard-hearted towards her – I believe he knew all along what he would do, but he wanted to teach us a lesson about concentrated faith and determined “asking”.

I fear we often throw our requests out to Jesus in our prayers in a rather haphazard, lackadaisical way that is not likely to meet with a response from him.  We need concentration and focus!  That means we have to take time to set aside for conversation with him – just as you would with your most beloved friend on earth.

PRAYER: With so much clamor, Lord, we are rush and get easily distracted.  Help us concentrate on You when we talk with You and give You our requests so that we can hear Your voice!  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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DayBreaks for 11/11/13 – The Reward for Faithfulness

DayBreaks for 11/11/13 – The Reward for Faithfulness

Exodus 20:6 (NLT)  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

Has it ever seemed to you that God isn’t noticing what you’ve been up to?  I don’t mean the sins – we all seem to have a pretty good notion that God is seeing those, don’t we!  I am talking about the good things that you’ve been doing.  Sometimes it seems as if that faithfulness is not being noticed, let alone rewarded.

That’s how it was with Zechariah and Elizabeth, I suspect.  Zechariah was a priest, a Levite.  He and his wife, Elizabeth, are described in Luke 1 as “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.”  Then comes the kicker: “But they had no children because Elizabeth was barren and they were both well along in years.”

I am sure that this first century Jewish couple didn’t start out their marriage hoping to be childless.  By this time in their lives, they probably expected that not only would they have had their own children, but that their grandchildren and possibly great-grandchildren would be happily playing on the living room floor.  But, it hadn’t happened.

I can’t help but wonder if perhaps they felt that God hadn’t noticed the faithful service of Zechariah, or the piety and purity of Elizabeth.  Perhaps He’d not noticed their faithfulness at giving their tithes, at observing the Sabbath and feast days.  After all, aren’t the righteous supposed to enjoy God’s blessing?  But Elizabeth was barren – something that bore a stigma – that you’d done something terribly sinful to not have a child.

Can you identify?  Perhaps you’ve taught Sunday school for years, but you, too, are barren.  Or you’ve been an elder or deacon for years and years but your child has now turned against God and rebelled against your teaching and example.  Or your spouse has had an affair (or you have), and your marriage is on the rocks.  A death-sentence diagnosis may have been given to you or one you love…and you’re wondering “Well, God,  how about it?  How about that blessing that is to come to the ones You love?”

The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth may give us a clue: first came the long, bitter years of disappointment when every month there was no child.  Then comes the big announcement: but the timing wasn’t what Zechariah/Elizabeth would have chosen for themselves.  At their age, it would be a question of whether they would need more diapers than the baby boy the angel promised them.  That is usually the sequence: obedience, disappointment, timing.

The sermon today speaks to this nagging feeling that God isn’t rewarding our obedience.  Based on today’s verse (above), I am reminded that God may reward my grandchildren and great-grandchildren for my faithfulness today.  I may never see that blessing, but would I rather that God withheld it from my grandchildren or great-grandchildren just so I could see it today myself?  God forbid!!! Never in a million years would I wish such a thing!  I doubt that Zechariah and Elizabeth lived long enough to hear their son, John the Baptist, preach a single sermon, or to see the hearts of the nation turned back to God because of his work.  But it was a reward for their faithfulness, was it not?

Discouraged that God’s not noticing you and your labors for Him?  Don’t be.  It is all a matter of timing and the reward will appear…perhaps even for a thousand generations! 

PRAYER: Jesus, that you that you are faithful to reward obedience!  Grant us the grace to be contented to believe and trust in Your promise, even if we never see that reward in our lifetime!  We ask You to bless and reward our descendants to the thousandth generation according to You promise! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 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 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 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 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. 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 the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 01/31/13 – One’s Real Life

DayBreaks for 01/31/13 – One’s Real Life

dndLuke 6:17-19 (NLT) – When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and Jesus also cast out many evil spirits. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

I don’t know about you, but interruptions can really bug me at times.  If I’m doing something that I am really into, that I dearly love, or if I’m concentrating really hard in thought, I don’t like interruptions.  Perhaps that’s because I’m getting old enough now that I can easily forget what I was doing or thinking when the interruption came barreling down on me!

For a couple of years now, I’ve been spending my quiet time in what I can “The Jesus Exploration”.  I’ve been working my way through all four gospels, a tiny bit at a time, expressly for the purpose of trying to get to know Jesus and his heartbeat better.  You know one thing that has consistently jumped out at me over and over again?  Here it is: it’s the way he always had time for people – for interruptions.  It might have been little children gamboling around his feet; a rich young man who came to learn what he needed to do to inherit eternal life; a Pharisee named Nicodemus who was full of questions; a large crowd of sick and broken people; a Roman centurion who had a sick servant; a funeral procession along the road out of Nain; or even religious leaders who Jesus knew were plotting his demise.  It didn’t matter who they were – or even what they wanted – He spent time with them.

I think about how often I give short-shrift to the clamoring of those round about me.  I pretend not to hear sometimes.  I pretend not to see.  I don’t want the interruption.

But is that really the problem?  Is it really that I don’t want the interruption or that I don’t want to have to get involved with other people – especially if they seem to have a problem and I won’t want to get sucked in to it?  I fear that it is far more often that I don’t want to get involved.  I want to live my own life in my own way – choosing the interruptions I want to honor and those I want to ignore.

Jesus didn’t give himself that luxury, apparently.  Should we give it to ourselves?  What we often think of as interruptions may in fact be the very reason for us being in a given place at a given time.  Consider this bit of wisdom from C. S. Lewis: “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” – C.S. Lewis, from a letter to Arthur Greeves, 20 December 1943

Perhaps we have been mis-lead about what constitutes our “real life”.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to see interruptions as possible Divine interventions to shake us out of our self-life into the life You intend us to live!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 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 has started work as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org).  He needs to raise his own support.  DayBreaks has always been free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation to Medical Ambassadors on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made online at http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Go to that link and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section and look for the link for Galen Dalrymple.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his account.  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 in many ways for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

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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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