DayBreaks for 2/22/17 – Searching for the Light

Image result for blazing torch

DayBreaks for 2/22/17: Searching for the Light

NOTE from Galen: Sorry about the inconsistent delivery of DayBreaks lately. We’ve been battling internet issues (still are)!

John 18:2-3 (NIV) – Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Oh, my goodness!  How many times, O Lord, have I read this passage and not seen it?  Sometimes the most amazing truths of scripture are in the most innocent and innocuous phrases and words.  The passage, of course, describes the horrible moment when Judas leads the soldiers and officials out from Jerusalem, across the Kidron valley, to the garden of Gethsemane to earn his 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus.  It is not Judas alone – but an attachment of soldiers (quite a few according to the other gospel accounts.)  But that’s what I’ve always known…but notice the last sentence: “They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.” 

Do you see the great irony?  Loaded with torches and lanterns, they go seeking for the One who is the Light of the World.  How many lessons are here?  I don’t know, but here’s a few thoughts:

FIRST: it is easier to see light in the darkness.  It would have been easier to find Jesus if they had put their own lights out long ago and heard the seen the message that was Jesus.  “The light shines in the darkness” John had written.  He wasn’t in hiding.  The darker the night the brighter the light shines.  On this night, the light was at its brightest, even as darkness raged in the flickering shadows.

SECOND: they carried weapons.  We know they had at least one sword among them – and almost certainly, many more than one.  But the deadliest weapons they carried that night weren’t swords and spears, but hatred, prejudice, learnedness, jealousy and envy.  Those are the weapons that take lives away from the living and leave them as walking corpses! 

THIRD: Jesus was not in hiding.  They didn’t need to search for him.  They didn’t need the lanterns and torches to find him, not really.  Lanterns and torches are merely aids to help feeble human eyes to get past the darkness, to be able to apprehend what is at the edge of our vision.  What is it that we bring when we search for Him?  Are we bringing armfuls of human creations, human reasonings as we come looking for the Light of the World?  Would we not be better to come, as the old song put it: “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling”?  What we need most to bring to Jesus is not the light of human mind or thought, nor even human will, but to simply bring our darkness and the night of our blighted souls to Him to be seen and healed by the Light Himself.

PRAYER:  God, we are so evil and wicked.  And sometimes we come to Jesus armed with all sorts of human creations, even those we have made to make ourselves look or seem more presentable to You.  Help us to understand that what you wish us to bring to the Light of the world is our darkness, to leave it with Jesus and to remain in the Light all the days of our lives.  Forgive us for our foolish pretension and prideful arrogance.  May we come to you humbly in our brokenness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 4/11/16 – Judas’ Greatest Downfall

DayBreaks for 4/11/16 – Judas’ Greatest Downfall

Matthew 27:3 (NLT) – When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.

Judas. That one word is all that often needs to be spoken. It is often spoken in anger and pain after someone has been betrayed and the label their betrayer with that one, single word. And everyone knows what they mean.

There are people in history we would all love to be like – to emulate them and their achievement. We honor their legacy cherish their memories. I don’t know of anyone who consciously wants to emulate Judas, but I suppose there are some who do.

Judas has gone down in history as one of the greatest traitors of all time. That’s how we remember him…traitor, betrayer, unworthy of the love and trust that Jesus had placed in him.

Could it be that Judas’ greatest downfall, his greatest failure, was not his betrayal of Jesus but his inability to conceive of a God that was big enough and willing for forgive his sin? He realized, according to Scripture, that he was a sinner. But he’d given up hope that the one who he had betrayed would ever forgive him. Without that understanding of God’s fundamental desire and nature, life holds little joy and the future is hopeless. Someone once said that the person who knows himself or herself to be a sinner and does not know God’s forgiveness is like an overweight person who fears stepping on a scale.

It is quite possible that over the weekend you did something that you feel is so shameful and unforgiveable that you, too, have lost sight of the immensity of God’s love for you and not just His capactity, but His eagerness to forgive you. My advice to you is this: don’t be a Judas!

PRAYER: God, our enemy wants us to believe that we are so awful and sin-stained that You cannot even look at us but only turn away from us in disgust and anger. Don’t let us emulate Judas and believe those lies from Satan! Let us cling tightly to the unlimited goodness of Who and What you are, and Your burning desire to forgive us of all our sin because of Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/04/15 – A Deadly Kiss

DayBreaks for 12/04/15: A Deadly Kiss

From Bizarre News, 11/30/05: SAGUENAY, Quebec – Sometimes a kiss is more than just a kiss.  In the case of 15-year-old Christina Desforges, a kiss from her boyfriend meant her death. Desforges’ boyfriend had just eaten a peanut butter snack before giving her a kiss. The problem – she was allergic to peanuts and it caused a severe allergic reaction, hospital officials said.  Desforges was taken to the hospital and given a shot of adrenaline, but doctors were unable to treat the reaction.

Life, sometimes, is just plain hard.  We’d like to believe that such a thing could never happen.  Certainly, no harm was intended by the kiss and none was anticipated.  It wasn’t a pre-meditated attempt to kill the poor girl.  Yet, as tragic as it is, all we can do is shrug our shoulders and grieve that such things happen.

Judas, however, was not possessed of pure motives when he greeted Jesus with a kiss.  His motives were clear because he’d arranged the sign in advance with those who would arrest and kill Jesus.  He could have chosen any of a number of different signs, but he chose this one.  Why?  My guess is that Jesus and his followers often greeted one another with a kiss – it was part of the customary greeting of that time.  But Judas doesn’t appear to have kissed any of the other disciples in greeting – if he had, it would have been confusing to those who came to apprehend the Christ.

I want to believe that I would never betray Jesus with a kiss.  With a symbol of friendship when deep down inside, not only am I not a friend, but I can be hostile to Jesus and his cause – just like Judas was.  We are prone to words of flattery, playing “nicey-nice” one moment and then the next, backing away pointing at him as if he were an enemy.

Perhaps the most deadly thing about what Judas did is to have presumed on the friendship of Jesus.  He knew that Jesus wouldn’t step back and pull away.  He took advantage of that which was familiar – and that makes the betrayal all the more grievous.

When is the last time that I betrayed Jesus with a kiss?  With my silence?  With my speech that sounded all flowery while my heart was filled with betrayal?

May our love for Jesus be genuine so that the life he wants to impart to us isn’t snuffed out.

Copyright 2005 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, we try to deceive you and we certainly want to deceive ourselves.  Help us never to betray you with signs of friendship while we remain your enemies deep in our hearts.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 01/08/14 – Sitting By the Enemy’s Fire

DayBreaks for 01/08/14 – Sitting by the Enemy’s Fire

https://daybreaksdevotions.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/3496d-bukowskifire.jpg

Luke 22:54-55 (NLT) So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55  The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.

How quickly we are humbled!  How quickly we can turn from proud and confident followers to betrayers! Mere hours before, Peter had said with full confidence in himself, that he would never betray Jesus. Now, the deed that echoes through the centuries is done in a heartbeat.  Note the progression: long before the first denial, Peter had gone from standing beside Jesus, sword drawn and flashing in the dancing torch light to “following at a distance”. No one had yet accused him of anything…but he was at a distance. Notice the next statement: Peter even joined the same guards he’d seen in the garden and sat beside them at the fire!

What happens when we let distance come between us and the Lord? Other things grab our attention. In this case, it may have been the guards who were roughly handling Jesus in the garden that first caused Peter (even after chopping off an ear!) to perhaps duck and hide, bob and weave, through the night shadows from one olive tree to another.  It may have been the number of swords that were drawn. It may have been the suspicion of what would happen at the trial.  We don’t know what all went though his mind, but this we do know: he followed “at a distance.”

How often I follow at a distance! How easily my pride can be destroyed by a threat of personal harm. How easy it is to find myself sitting in the enemy camp by a warm fire rather than standing with my Lord!

We will all face choices today regarding whether we will stand with Jesus or sit by a warm fire with the enemy. Which will you choose?

PRAYER: Forgive me, Lord, for the times I’ve sought the comfort of the fire to standing with you in a cold and terrifying position! Forgive my pride that makes me think from time to time about how strong my faith might be and about what a committed follower I am! Give me courage, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen serves as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to support Galen in his ministry, you can donate (one-time or recurring) 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 a link 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 12/30/13 – Villains and Betrayals

DayBreaks for 12/30/13 – Villains and Betrayals

Luke 22:47-48 (NLT) But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48  But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

I know it is not Easter week, Maundy Thursday or even Good Friday, but in my quiet time this morning I was looking at this passage from Luke and a few thoughts struck me that I’d never really pondered before.

There have been many who bore the title of “villain” throughout history. We know the names of some of them and sadly many lived in the past 100 years: Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Mao – to name just a few. There are others who are also villains because of their involvement in school shootings, mass murders, drug or human trafficking and other notorious events. Sadly, it seems that there is nearly always at least one tyrant on the world stage at any given moment in time. And we must remember that villainy is also somewhat a matter of perspective: George Washington would have been considered a villain by the British, and Lincoln by the Confederates.

There was another villain in today’s text: Judas Iscariot. Was his betrayal of Jesus the darkest event in human history? I don’t even know how a finite human being could judge such a thing. Is one betrayal worse than any other? Of course, the betrayal of an innocent person seems worse to us than another kind of betrayal. Jesus was innocent, so you could argue that Judas’ betrayal was worse than say, Peter’s. But how many times have I betrayed Jesus? Given that I have almost certainly lived longer than Judas, I have probably betrayed him many more times than Judas did. No, I didn’t directly sell him to the authorities, but I, by my sin and betrayal of God, am complicit in His death.

Why did His plan include a human betraying Jesus? He could have simply been arrested in the temple (as Jesus himself said in the context) with no betrayal by Judas or anyone else involved, at least not an explicit one. I don’t know the answer to this question, but perhaps it was because we needed to see the dark underbelly of human nature at it worst in war against the God who created us. We needed to see and understand the depths to which any one of us could, and do, descend.

If you have thoughts on why a human betrayal was part of the plan, I’d love to hear from you!

Perhaps we should be more cautious in our judgment on Judas, for each of us is a betrayer, too.

PRAYER: If you counted our sins, who could stand? Not only have we like sheep gone astray, but we have all betrayed you, too. Thank you for your incredible forgiveness and being willing to die for us even as we betray you. 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 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 11/21/13 – A Bad Christian but True Lover

DayBreaks for 11/21/13 – A Bad Christian but True Lover

Have you ever had a conversation like this with yourself (and with God eavesdropping in on your thoughts?)  “Why did I do that?  I know better than that!  I’m so sick and tired of this.  I know I shouldn’t do this but I just am so weak.  I’m a miserable worm of a human being, a spineless, weak failure.  I’m sure God can’t love me or accept me anymore because I can even love or accept myself.”

I would have to imagine that perhaps two people in history had that conversation REALLY seriously: Judas and Peter.  The betrayer and the denier.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been both.  And Peter betrayed Jesus right after boldly and confidently proclaiming that he would NEVER deny Jesus, even if he had to die right alongside of Him!

Yes, Peter could have really gotten down…and I know he did, because Scripture says he went away and wept bitterly after the third crowing of the rooster on that fateful Good Friday. 

I’ve struggle in life with those feelings myself.  I can’t understand how I can listen to “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman and weep tears every single time I hear it because I’m so in awe of God and His great love and mercy…and then turn right around and betray and deny Him mere moments later, either through my thoughts or actions.  Why, God, why?  How is it possible for a human being to be so torn and two-faced?

I love the way William Barclay explained it in his Daily Study Bible commentary on Luke 22: “Even in spite of his denial he (Peter) was fundamentally loyal. H. G. Wells once said, “A man may be a bad musician, and yet be passionately in love with music.” No matter what Peter did, however terrible his failure, he was nonetheless passionately devoted to Jesus. There is hope for the man who even when he is sinning is still haunted by goodness”.

That’s me in spades.  Even while sinning, I am haunted by goodness.  Perhaps that’s what makes my sinning so painful. 

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus.  I am a denier and betrayer and a bad disciple and Christian, but I do love you passionately!  Thank you for loving me, just as you loved Peter, and covering my terrible failures with  your blood.  Thank you for this encouraging perspective on our failure and Your goodness! 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 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 make either a one-time or recurring (monthly) donation for his support.  If you have any questions, call 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 and Guidestar.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 08/16/13 – The Judas Goat

DayBreaks for 08/16/13 – The Judas Goat

judas-goatFrom the DayBreaks archive, August, 2003

Matthew 27:3-4 – When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.

The following is from Life on the Edge, in which James Dobson shared about a documentary he once saw:  The documentary followed the life of – of all things – a sheep!  The sheep’s life ended in the “slaughterhouse”, where a “Judas goat” is used. A Judas goat is a specially trained goat that leads the herd of sheep up the ramp that leads into the slaughterhouse. Step by step the Judas goat leads on, stopping every few steps to look back at the sheep to make sure they’re following. Once one sheep starts following the rest do the same, as their herd mentality leads them to their death.  You see, sheep aren’t likely to take the lead themselves.  They are by nature, followers.  They get nervous if they have to “lead” – they much prefer to follow and find a lot more peace and calmness when there is someone, or something to follow.  Hence, the Judas goat that betrays them into a false sense of security and leads them to their doom.  And by the way – the Judas goat doesn’t get butchered, but is taken back to lead another group of sheep down the pathway to their doom.

Here’s a couple of applications to this story: 

FIRST: in this story we can see an application about leadership.  People often behave just like those sheep. We find some level of security when we can look around us and see that we’re headed the same way as everyone else.  It makes us feel just a bit more comfortable to know that we’re not alone and that perhaps our judgment and direction is right.  The implication of this for Christian leaders is to be very diligent to own our responsibility to lead people in a positive direction, to make sure that we are not becoming a “Judas” goat that is leading them the wrong way to possible destruction. 

SECOND: there are lessons here about peer pressure, choices, and popularity.  We humans often behave just like those sheep.  However we need to beware that we are not joining the herd in following a “Judas goat”.  We need to pray for discernment and to be willing to make choices that “cut us off from the herd” so that we may follow the path to true and abundant life.

PRAYER: Father, keep us from being, or following, Judas goats!  Let us clearly hear the Good Shepherd’s voice and follow Him!  In Your 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 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!