DayBreaks for 8/26/15 – The Power of Pretend

DayBreaks for 8/26/15: The Power of Pretend

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/25/2005:

Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:3)

It won’t be long now until The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe finds its way to the big screen. I don’t know if you’ve seen previews of it, but it looks great. It is, of course, based on the book of the same name which is part of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. How fitting (and delightful) that it should come to the big screen. Of course, I’ve not see it so I can’t vouch for the content, but what I’ve seen by way of previews looks very exciting, indeed. Already there are Christian books springing up in anticipation of capitalizing on the movie and the books that Lewis wrote. I even bought one.

In Aslan’s Call – Finding Our Way to Narnia, by Mark Eddy Smith, the author was speaking about the power of pretend, and how that sometimes, when in moments of weak faith, pretend seems to be able to convey truth that sometimes we miss in the middle of real life. Of course, the author points out, Narnia and Aslan are pretend, while earth, heaven and Jesus are very real, indeed. Nonetheless, he wrote concerning the verse above: “The specific childhood virtue to which he alluded is humility, but it cannot have escaped his attention that the thing for which children are best known is their ability to pretend, to make believe that they are mothers or fathers, Davids or Goliaths, camels or coyotes. When someone tells them there’s a man who can walk on water, their eyes go wide and they gasp in astonishment, just as if they had seen it themselves. The next time they’re at the beach, they give it a try; and their disappointment when they sink is profound…The stories in the Bible tell us we can change the world, indeed that we must, and maybe we long to believe them, but it’s hard because of the sinking we did when we were children.”

I remember trying to walk on water as a child, and failing. Was I disappointed? Yes, I was. In many things since my childhood, I’ve tried to take a step in faith. Sometimes it was successful (although it isn’t really about me and my success as much as it is my willingness to say, “Yes, Lord!” when he asks me to take a step), many times I failed. When I failed, it was usually because whatever I was trying to do didn’t make sense to me, or rather, I concluded that it would never work and didn’t take that step of faith because I was afraid that I’d sink, just like I did when I tried walking on water as a little kid. “It didn’t work then, it won’t work now,” might as well have been my mantra. And sadly, there are still times in my life now when I don’t try to walk on the water anymore. And that is a tragedy, because life lived with Jesus calls for walking on water, for the power to imagine what could be, for the excitement and amazement of the adventure that beckons us onward. If Jesus walks on water, and I am to follow him, doesn’t it stand to reason that I must walk on water at least part of the time, too? Of course, I’ll only be able to walk on the water if I’m walking with him and through his uplifting power and Presence. 

Imagine. Imagine what God could do through you. If you need to pretend in your head first, fine…go right ahead. But don’t let it stop there. After the Spirit puts the vision in your heart and confirms it, live it!!!!

PRAYER: Lord, we long for a great adventure, but are afraid to take the first step because we’ve failed so often. Help us to take the first step when Your Spirit shows us the direction! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

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DayBreaks for 8/17/15 – The Except for Me Syndrome

DayBreaks for 8/17/15: The Except for Me Syndrome

There are optimists and there are pessimists and there are realists.  It seems that to some extent we have a predisposition one way or the other, and that’s OK.  I like to think of myself as a realist, but optimists would say I’m a pessimist, and pessimists would say I’m too optimistic.  I can live with that when we’re talking about the sorts of things that happen in this world. I’ll joke around about winning the Publisher’s Clearing House contest, but realistically, I’m not holding my breath. When I’m driving around and see billboards talking about what the lottery prizes are for the week, I may joke about getting a ticket, but I don’t – not because I’m a pessimist, but a realist. I know that I’m not going to win that $117 million dollars even if I did buy a ticket (which I won’t)! I suspect there are lots of people like me, who believe that great things will never happen.

The problem is when we carry that over into our relationship with God.  We can fall into what I am calling the “Except for Me Syndrome.” Think about these passages and see if you’ve ever had thoughts like these:

Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. – Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)  I hear myself sometimes say, “Yes, Lord, I believe that, except for me…you can’t possibly love me that way after all I’ve done.”

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NIV)  Are you thinking, “Yes, Lord, I’m sure that’s true for everyone except for me…I am far too sinful.”

However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. – John 6:37 (NLT) “I’d love to believe that, Lord, and I do…except for me. I’ve done too much to ever be accepted.”

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are… – 1 John 3:1a (ESV) “Everyone in the pew with me on Sunday is your child, except for me.  You couldn’t possibly be referring to someone like me as your child!”

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. – Revelation 21:7 (KJV) “This is true of Christians, except for me, because I not much of an overcomer.”

For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NLT) “How I wish I could believe this, Lord, that you aren’t angry with me ad that you’ll save me so I could live forever with you. I’m sure that you’ll save Billy Graham and Mother Theresa and good folks like that, most Christians, in fact, except for me.

My friends, if those words, except for me, are in your head when you think of the promises of God and the extent of his love and grace towards you, stop. Move those words out of your mind and your heart. God’s promises are either true or they are not. He is no respecter of persons. He never changes. He has never broken a promise or told a lie. He cannot do either. If He is able to save anyone and remove their sins as far as the east is from the west, He can do it for me, and for you. Not only can He, He has already done so for those who are in Christ!

PRAYER: God, as much as we’d love to dare to hope in your promises, we struggle sometimes to do so because we don’t really know you well enough! Help us lay hold of your promises and live in great celebration as children of the Great King! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

 To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 4/06/15 – Love Unfailing

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DayBreaks for 4/06/15: Love Unfailing

I don’t know about you, but I am not ready for Holy Week to be over.  When I was pastoring a small church in northern California, this was by far my favorite week.  I loved preaching Easter-related messages.  I loved the deep meaning of the services and the contemplation of the reality that is the theme of the week.

The services for Holy Week 2015 have come and gone and the calendar has moved on, but I haven’t.   I want to linger in the mystery. 

I have just finished reading a book, The Insanity of God, (I’ll write about it in a few days) that has challenged me and my understanding of Jesus’ call upon our lives.  It has opened my eyes to truths about myself to which I was at least partially blind and in denial.  And it has, in spite of everything, left me rattled to the core as to my walk and understanding of what it means to be a disciple.  Suffice it to say, I’m not sure I have a clue what it means to be a disciple of His. 

That’s a scary thing to have to admit.  And it makes me wonder about my salvation in a way.  Oh, I know in my head that my salvation isn’t dependent on how “good” of a Christian I am, or how much I may sacrifice for Him.  It’s all about what He’s sacrificed for me and His mercy and grace.  But still…there’s that nagging voice of the enemy in the back of my mind that says, “You’re worthless.  Compared to some of those other folks who have given it all for Jesus, you’ve given nothing.  You’ve sacrificed nothing.  You will not be recognized on the day of Judgment.”  Deep inside, I know that’s Satan’s voice – not Jesus’.  Yet it is a loud voice and it is fairly convincing.

And so it was that two simple words we sang at our Easter celebration at church came leaping out at me with such force: love unfailing.  The song is This Is Amazing Grace, and here’s what it says in the chorus:

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me.

As I was celebrating, the concept of unfailing love washed over me and blew through my heart like the freshest breeze ever.  I had been dwelling on my failings and shortcomings…and not on His unfailing love for even someone like me!

My wife, bless her heart, is a saint.  And though I have to readily admit that my failings in love FAR outnumber her few failings in love towards me, there have been times when her love has not been all that I think it could have been.  I say that not to take her down in any way, but rather to lift her up – she is truly amazing.  But the hard truth is that every love of every human on this earth has at one time or another failed me.  And I have most certainly failed others many times over!

The problem comes when I think of Jesus’ love for me as if it were simply the love of another human being that will fail me when I stand before the throne of God.  It shall not be so!!!!!  Listen to His words: John 6:39 (NLTse) – And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 

Lest we think that Jesus may love us, but the Father is angry with us, it is the beloved apostle John, who wrote these words: John 1:14, 17 (NLTse) – So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son…For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

On the day of judgment, I shall be saved.  Not because I’m something great or did anything at all of significance.  Not because I was or wasn’t a martyr.  Not because I was imprisoned for my faith or because I lived a life of little or no persecution.  I shall be saved because of unfailing love – a love that cannot now, nor ever, fail!

PRAYER: Jesus, we have never experienced love like yours upon this earth, and so we are tempted to believe that every love fails.  Let us lean with all our might into your unfailing love and trust your own words that you will not lose a single one!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 1/22/15 – Who Is He? Really?

DayBreaks for 01/22/15 – Who Is He?  Really?

John 7:40 (NIV) – On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?

 Just before the verses cited above, Jesus claimed to be the Living Water.  He had shaken up the religious world of Jerusalem with his teaching, lifestyle and actions.  It was only natural that there would be different opinions about who he was.

It is significant that some said he might be “..the Prophet.”  They at least recognized that he was not just “a prophet”, but possibly one for whom they had been waiting for.  Others thought he was “the Christ” – the Anointed One.  They were right.  But others didn’t accept it because of his origins.

These verses prompted me to think a bit about my own response to Jesus.  Do I believe Jesus is THE prophet or the Christ?  While the people who did believe he was “the Prophet” meant well by it, they didn’t see him (the Messiah) as the Son of God.  We limit Jesus so very quickly and easily to make him fit an image we have in mind of what He should be rather than what He is.  If I don’t expect him to be the Son of God and to therefore ACT like God, I will not ask for much and hence will receive little.  I will not believe for much and will experience little in that case. Sometimes the limitation we place on him (or even on other people we encounter) are driven by nothing more significant that their hometown or the color of their skin or the way they dress or the level of their education.

The people were divided because of Jesus.  He is still dividing people today, and if we are not divided because of Him and His claim on us, we are not recognizing Him as the Son of God.

Matthew 10:32 (NIV) – Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.

PRAYER: Father, I am sure that even though we are convinced we believe that Jesus is Your Son, we often don’t act like it.  Show us the reality about our faith, and help us in our unbelief!  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! Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 8/07/14 – Can You Believe It?

DayBreaks for 8/07/14 – Can You Believe It?

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Sea of Galilee, July 31, 2014

I have just returned from about an 8 day venture in Israel.  It was partly work, partly vacation, but it was all an incredible experience.  It was an interesting time to be there with all that was going on in Gaza, that’s for sure!

We had three days where we were very graciously provided with personal tours of many of the main Jewish and Christian historical sites in that amazing country.  Israel is a small country – smaller than New Jersey.  Yet, there is so much history – both biblical and non-biblical – in the country that you can’t really turn around without bumping into something or some place historical, and often, miraculous.

As I stood in Nazareth, Bethlehem, on the Mt. of Olives, in the Garden, inside the walls of Jerusalem, at Megiddo, at the Sea of Galilee, as I looked at Mt. Tabor and other sites, I was struck with how many miracles that God had done in such a confined space as Israel.

It is easy as a child, then later as an adult, to read the stories of God’s miraculous intervention time and time again for His people of all dispensations.  It is also easy to say we believe in them, and perhaps in our minds we somewhat picture the settings and it is almost as if we believe they happened in some fairy-tale land or setting.  But, when you stand in the place where the sun stopped moving, or where a man once walked on the water, or where a legion of demons ran into the swine and then over the cliff into the Sea of Galilee, when you stand atop the Mt. of Olives where Jesus lifted off from planet earth, you see that it wasn’t a fairy-tale land with fairy-tale people.  It was a real place in a real time and one must decide if you really believe all those incredible stories of God working miraculously or not.  And the One, Jesus, looked like everyone else at all those places where these things happened.

I do believe those miracles…but it put faith into a new perspective for me.  When I put my hand into the Sea of Galilee, it sure didn’t feel as if it would bear the weight of a human body.  Yet, I do believe that it did.  Whether or not Christ was really born in the spot in the Church of the Nativity or not is largely irrelevant.  What is important is whether or not he was born of a virgin as the Son of God made Incarnate.  Standing inside the small, stone synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read the scroll from Isaiah that riled up the people to the point they wanted to cast him off the cliff made the story come alive…and forced me to test whether or not I really believed God had stood inside those walls or not.

We may tend to think that faith would come easier to us if we could see all those places.  Actually, for me at any rate, it was a test of faith.  Perhaps it helps that the Jewish people I was with are so certain of all that the Bible records.  Their faith helped give me faith in some of the miracles.  I have come to the conclusion that you can’t really have faith unless what you believe is unbelievable to start with in the normal course of things.  It takes no faith when things are so believable that they’re not even called into question.  All that takes is trust.  Faith is a different animal entirely.

Can I believe 5000 ate from a boy’s lunchbox when I’ve seen the place it happened and it all looks so, well, ordinary?  Can I believe a human being can rise up into the air and disappear from view when the location looks like any other mountain top?  Can I believe that a man came walking across the water in the middle of a dark, stormy night and terrified a bunch of people in a boat when the water looks like any other body of water I’ve ever seen?

Yes.  A thousand times yes!!!!

Mark 9:24 (NLT) The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

PRAYER: God, what mighty things You have done for Your people throughout history!  Help us to believe when reason may whisper to us that we are fools for doing so.  And help us to look for Your miracles I each day in the everyday mundane world.  Help us overcome our unbelief! 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!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 7/31/14 – Life in Two Worlds

DayBreaks for 7/31/14 – Life in Two Worlds

Galen is traveling through 8/5/14…new DayBreaks will resume after he returns. 

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/30/2004:

If you could take someone from the middle ages in Europe and bring them into the modern world, or take a modern human and plop them into the middle of medieval Europe, what kinds of differences do you think would be most noticeable?  Surely the speed of life would be different, the hardships different in nature, travel would be different, communication would be radically different (no TV/internet, etc.).  Philip Yancey, in Rumors of Another World, posed this question and came up with a fascinating insight from which we can learn much:  “A peasant in medieval Europe oriented life around two worlds.  Although the world around him contained much hardship – poverty, disease, crime, near-constant warfare – he took solace in the images of another world portrayed in his place of worship.  The scenes painted in the Sistine Chapel, or on the walls of his village church, he accepted as literal truth.  He understood life on this physical planet as one small slice of eternity and sought to make connection with the spiritual world he could not see.  He believed that God has revealed how we ought to live, and will one day hold us accountable.

“In contrast, the average citizen of modern Europe perceives only one world, the here and now.  She assumes that rational people make society’s rules based on a common good…at the moment of physical death, existence ends, and there is no God to hold us accountable.

“Which view of the world, the medieval or the modern, more closely resembles that articulated by Jesus?  “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” – if Jesus was in fact visiting this planet from another dimension, he could not have asked a more penetrating question.  Apparently, to him, a connection with the spiritual world had more value than all the material goods put together…Jesus bluntly rejected a one-world outlook on life.”

What world do you think of the most?  What world do you truly value?

We may feel lucky to live in the modern world for a variety of reasons: better medicine and longer lives, being able to communicate with loved ones who live far away, less hard physical labor, etc., but I’m not sure we’ve got the better end of the deal.  While we may be grateful that we didn’t live in medieval times, I tend to think that what the modern world has lost, the sense of wonder and amazement and solid belief in another world where a God awaits to hold us accountable, is far more valuable than all the modern conveniences and medicines combined.  May we weep for what we’ve lost.  God does.

Psalm 96:10 (NLT) – Tell all the nations that the Lord is king.  The world is firmly established and cannot be shaken.  He will judge all people fairly.

PRAYER: Father, correct our thinking and beliefs and make them in harmony with Yours!  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!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 7/28/14 – It Must Be Believed to Be Seen

DayBreaks for 7/28/14 – It Must Be Believed to Be Seen

Galen is traveling through 8/5/14…new DayBreaks will resume after he returns. 

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/21/2004:

John 20:25-29 (NIV) – So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I was listening the other day to a U2 album and I caught a phrase that I’d missed before about a “place that must be believed to be seen”.  We usually, like Thomas, say something like this: “I won’t believe it until I see it.”  But where’s the faith in such a saying?

God desires faith from us.  He desires that we trust Him implicitly.  But we don’t, do we?  Let’s face it: our ability to trust God implicitly is affected by the fact that we’ve never been able to trust anyone that way without disappointment.  But that’s because we’ve never really dealt with anyone even remotely like God.  God simply CANNOT fail.  His plan can’t fail.  His will can’t fail.  His Word can’t fail.  His promises can’t fail.  And when Jesus told his followers that he was going to prepare a place for them – a place that other passages tell us cannot be described for it’s glory – and that he’d eventually come back and take us to be there with him – you can be sure of it!

Does heaven exist?  Sure, it does.  But it is one of those places that you must believe in in order to see it!

PRAYER: For the mystery of faith and the power of belief, we thank You!  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!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!