DayBreaks for 2/6/19 – The Pathway to Rain

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DayBreaks for 2/06/2019: The Pathway to Rain

From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:

Jeremiah 14:1-11 (NLT) – This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: “Judah wilts; her businesses have ground to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are afraid; they, too, cover their heads. The deer abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass. The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass to eat, but there is none to be found.”  The people say, “LORD, our wickedness has caught up with us. We have sinned against you. So please, help us for the sake of your own reputation.  O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble! Why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like someone passing through the land, stopping only for the night?  Are you also confused? Are you helpless to save us? You are right here among us, LORD. We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now!” So the LORD replies to his people, “You love to wander far from me and do not follow in my paths. Now I will no longer accept you as my people. I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.”  Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore.”

We are in the middle of a drought right now here in California.  How foolish if we think that the Lord no longer holds back the rain for the same reason He withheld it in the past!  Yes, he sends rain on the just and unjust, but He is also equally able to withhold it at any time He chooses. 

But what I found especially intriguing about this passage was in verses 7-9 where the people plead with the Lord to help them.  It is a wonderful sounding plea, also reflecting some of our own doubts and confusion about why God acts as He does.  I know there have been plenty of times when I was confused by what God was doing or not doing, when it seemed He was a stranger or powerless to do anything (that, by the way, is a horrible assumption – just because He doesn’t act certainly doesn’t mean He’s powerless to do so!)  Pay careful attention to the reason the people approach the Lord: they say that their wickedness has caught up with them and that they’ve sinned, but they beg for His help for the “sake of Your own reputation.”  They never ask for forgiveness – they only get as far as a confession, which is short and not very convincing.  They never get past the confession to asking for forgiveness and they show no inclination towards repentance.  Instead, it is as if they are trying to convince God that it’s in His own best interest to just forgive them and send them rain.   

How many times have I tried to appeal to God’s self-interest thinking I could manipulate Him into a certain desired behavior?  I’m not even sure that God can have “self-interest”!  My repentance had better be real.  True repentance moves the heart of God but fake repentance, even when there are lots of fine sounding words, never does.  And if God’s mercies don’t rain down upon us, we will all die of the drought.

PRAYER: Father, we say things hoping we can get You to “fall” for them as if You were another human from whom we can hide the truth.  Lord, we have sinned against you.  We ask you for forgiveness.  We desire to repent from the evil we do and to experience once again the refreshing mercies that fall from Your throne of grace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 2/21/18 – An Imitation of the Master

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DayBreaks for 2/21/18: An Imitation of the Master

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

So, how do you plan to spend your day today?  Did you create a “laundry list” of things that you need to get done or should do?  How’s it going so far?  Has the list gotten smaller or bigger as the day progressed?  How much time do you spend planning out your next day? 

It seems that no matter what I do or how meticulously I might try to plan things, it never seems to quite work out like I’d planned.  Perhaps that’s what the writer of Proverbs had in mind when he wrote in Proverbs 19:21 (NLT) – You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.  I think I’ve got my day all figured out, but NOT!  I often look at the things that come along in the course of a day as being unwelcome events…after all, I’ve got a plan and if I can just run it like clockwork, it’s the best thing, right?  Not really.  Why should I think that my well-laid plans are the best thing for me to do each day, or the best way to do them, or even that they’re the most important things to do on any given day? 

We need to learn to welcome interruptions.  Mark Buchanan says that the devil seeks to distract, but God seeks to interrupt, and how quickly we fall prey to Satan’s distractions but how we equally quickly grow oblivious to God’s interruptions.  Satan wants us to become distracted from God and godly things, but God wants to interrupt our schedules and plans with things which are more important.  Who am I to say that the interruption by the person in the next cubicle is not a portion of a God-directed plan for something greater than the accomplishment of my little plans?  Isn’t that perhaps what the writer of the Proverb was saying?

Jesus’ life was dominated by purpose – he came to offer his life as a ransom.  Reading the gospels, especially John, one gets the sense that Jesus entire life was spent moving towards Jerusalem and the cross.  And indeed, it was always his purpose.  But along the way, many things happened to him that we would consider interruptions.  It isn’t clear that Jesus kept anything like a detailed itinerary of his daily schedule.  In fact, his daily life seemed to be lived by interruption: a woman who touches his clothes and is healed, a dead son begin wept over by his mother, a dinner at a taxpayer’s house, a wedding feast in Cana, a leader of Roman soldiers who entreats him for a healing, little children who wanted to be held, storms on the sea, fishing with his buddies, questions from the scribes and Pharisees – and the list goes on virtually endlessly.  He always found time for telling stories, for people along the route to the cross who hadn’t scheduled a moment of his time. 

So what was Jesus’ secret and what dictated Jesus’ schedule?  How did he number his days aright?  Perhaps Jesus came the closest to answering that himself in Mt. 11:1-11, when he said, The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  Jesus listened and watched the Spirit – and did what the Spirit directed.

Peter, after saying Jesus is the Lord of all, describes how Jesus spent his days: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good.  (Acts 10:36, 38) 

There you have it: the sum of Jesus’ earthly vocation is that he wandered and he blessed.  Jesus was a vagabond physician, the original doctor without borders.  His purpose was crystal clear – but his methods appear to be random.  Henri Nouwen observed something like this about his own life: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I discovered the interruptions were my work.”

PRAYER: May we discern Your interruptions, Lord, and may we go with You to do what You want us to do together.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/30/16 – Jesus’ Definition of Blessing

DayBreaks for 9/30/16 – Jesus’ Definition of Blessing                 

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

First of all, let me say, “I’m guilty.” “Guilty of what?” you might ask.  Well, I’m guilty of saying to folks from time to time: “Blessings to you,” or “God bless you,” or “May God shed his blessings on you.”  No, those aren’t bad things to say, but sometimes I feel as if they’re rather hollow – just a phrase that we repeat mechanically without any depth of soul to it.  For example, when someone sneezes and we say, “God bless you!”, we really don’t mean that in the way those words should be spoken and understood. 

When you say “Bless you” to someone, or ask for God’s blessings, what are you thinking of?  Most of the time we equate blessing from God with having “things”: good health, a home, working cars, hot water, food on the table and clothes in the closet, a decent bank account and a 401k that we hope will see us through our retirement years.  Are those things bad?  No, not necessarily.  But what Americans would consider blessings from God and what the third word Christian would consider blessing are two radically different things.

From PreachingToday.com, Brian Larson, 9/18/06, made an excellent point that I’d never really thought about or considered.  Let me share it with you: “Jesus made a number of general statements about what kind of people are blessed, but how often did he tell someone directly that he or she was blessed? I searched my memory and then did another search with BibleWorks (far more reliable) and came up with only two occasions. Once Jesus told Peter he was blessed, and elsewhere he told the group of his disciples they were blessed, and on both occasions their blessedness consisted in God giving them the ability to understand the truth: He turned to his disciples and said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it‘” (Luke 10:23-24; for Peter see Matthew 16:17).

“With Jesus now in glory, this blessedness applies in large measure now to those who have the Word of God and understand it. I don’t take this for granted. Sometimes I pray, Thank you, Lord, that I was given the Bible. Thank you for giving me understanding into its meaning. Thank you for those who have taught me the Scriptures. Thank you for illumining my mind through the Holy Spirit so that I know and believe your Word. Thank you for giving me a love of your Word.

This is truly a different twist on understanding what constitutes blessedness from Jesus’ point of view.  But it makes sense, doesn’t it?  What is the greater blessing: to have a house and full refrigerator, or new car and boat, or to see and understand the truth that all these things are passing away and that there are much more important matters that demand our attention?  Ah – there is the true blessedness, to see this world as transitory and not to get too much in love with it.

PRAYER: I fear, Lord, that my vision of blessedness needs to be re-aligned.  Thank you for the Light of the World who was also the truth, the way and the life, that shows us what is true and right and real.  Help us to live like those who have seen the light and to live in it so we can be freed from the things this world uses to tempt us.  Please continue to give us more light as we walk this pathway with you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/30/15 – Be Careful What You Wish For

DayBreaks for 10/30/15: Be Careful What You Wish For

Wednesday night at choir practice, one of the sopranos shared a story of good fortune. Just that day her mother-in-law won $1,000,000 playing the lottery! What made it all the more touching is that the woman who won the lottery had raised four or five boys by herself after she was left alone. She struggled and scraped her entire life to raise and provide for her children. Isn’t God good?

Such things have probably prompted us all to thing: “Wouldn’t it be great if I won a million dollars?!” I was at one time both happy to hear of this woman’s good fortune, but at the same time was thinking, “Why couldn’t it have been me” (aside from the small detail that I don’t play the lottery)?  I also found myself being envious of the lady who shared the story: she and her husband have the potential of a nice inheritance some day. Envy is easy to come by – if we are envying people for the wrong things.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so great. Not everyone has the same idea of a great time. One person’s wish may be another’s nightmare. Take, for example, the story of three men who were sailing together in the Pacific Ocean. Their vessel was wrecked and they found themselves on an island. They had plenty of food, but their existence was in every way different from what their lives had been in the past. The men were walking by the seashore one day after they had been there for some months and found an ancient lantern. One man picked it up. As he began to rub it and clean it, a genie popped out and said, “Well, since you have been good enough to release me, I will give each of you one wish.”

The first man said, “Oh, that’s perfectly marvelous. I’m a cattleman from Wyoming and I wish I were back on my ranch.” Poof! He was back on his ranch.

The second man said, “Well, I’m a stockbroker from New York, and I wish that I were back in Manhattan.” Poof! He was back in Manhattan with his papers, his telephones, his clients and his computers.

The third fellow was somewhat more relaxed about life and actually had rather enjoyed life there on the island. He said, “Well, I am quite happy here. I just wish my two friends were back.” Poof! Poof! Everybody’s idea of a “great time” isn’t the same!

So is it true? How many Americans (perhaps you are among them) sitting around wishing, “Now wouldn’t it be great …if I won the lottery…if I had my dream house…if I was famous….”

As Christians…as the people of God…what if instead of wishing for money or fame or success or more “things,” we could just as earnestly wish with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength that we could love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves? There is no greater treasure than to know Him, yet we act as if everything else is of greater value because we spend so much time pursuing those other things and so little time getting to know Him!

Genesis 15:1 (KJV) – After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

TODAY’S PRAYER: You are the treasure we should seek, Lord. Help us to not seek after worldly joy, but after that which will delight us for all eternity! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/01/15 – Ask, Hope, Dream!

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DayBreaks for 6/01/15: Ask, Hope, Dream

Psalm 144 is one whale of a powerful prayer!  Let me share a portion of it with you from verses 12-15:

May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;

May our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce;

May our sheep bring forth thousands and then thousands in our fields;

May our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;

May there be no cry of distress in our streets!

Blessed are the people to whom rich blessings fall!

Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

As one of the elders at our church says: “He [the psalmist] is praying big!”

Is it wrong to ask the Lord to bless us?  No. David was a man after God’s own heart and he prayer for it, as did many of the Bible “greats.”  It is not prosperity theology to ask for God’s blessing; it is good theology.  He, and He alone in His wisdom, will decide in His providence whether our youth will be like plants or our sheep bring forth thousands.  He is the One who can silence the streets of cries of distress.  Those things are in His hands, not ours.

Our role, our position, our duty is to ask, to hope, to dream.  So can I encourage you, even as this new week begins, to pray that prayer?  In our day and age it may go like this in the 21st century: “Lord, let my children and grandchildren be solidly rooted in You.  May my work produce income.  May what I have dominion over expand for Your glory, not of my renown.  May you help those who live in my city and are in distress, so their wailing can turn to dancing!”

We are blessed, are we not?  His blessings fall like rain on us and we are blessed because He is our God, and He is the Lord of all!

Ask boldly!  Hope fervently!  Dream mightily!  He is the Mighty God!

PRAYER: God, hear our prayer for Your blessing on our families, our endeavors and for our communities, for as Your children, we call out to You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 10/03/13 – These Hands

DayBreaks for 10/03/13 – These Hands

1 John 3:2 (NIV) – Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

“Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn’t move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands. When I sat down beside him he didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat, I wondered if he was OK. 

“Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK.

“He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine.  Thank you for asking,” he said in a clear strong voice. 

“I didn’t mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to him.

 “Have you ever looked at your hands,” he asked.  “I mean really looked at your hands?”

 “I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making. Grandpa smiled and related this story: “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled, and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.  As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer.  They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.  They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.  They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.  Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.  They trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and walked my daughter down the aisle. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.  They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw.  And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

“These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life.  But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home.

“And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.” – Author Unknown

We often talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus.  We should take that seriously…and let these hands, which will one day touch the face of God, touch others here on earth to be conductors of His blessing!

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the simple things in life we take for granted, like the hands to hold and be held.  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 07/15/13 – Learning a New Prayer

DayBreaks for 07/15/13 – Learning a New Prayer

beatitudes-1Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21  God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22  What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23  When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way. – Luke 6:20-13 (NLT)

For me, this is one of the hardest passages in Scripture – “beatitudes” make me nervous.  From my work with I Am 2 and now with MAI, it is clear to me that from a human perspective there are few blessings to being poor or oppressed.  What might they be?  Clarity, for one thing.  When life is stripped of all its extravagances and accoutrements, when it comes down to walking for hours every day just to get water to drink (let alone cook, bathe, wash, etc.) or to digging under the searing sun all day to try to find a root you can mash up and feed to your 6 hungry children, there is clarity – what is important comes more clearly into view than for the busy business man/woman with their social clubs, gym memberships, golf/bridge dates – all while their children are home without them.

Second thing: I’m hard pressed to think of one.

Jesus’ blessing isn’t pronounced in such a way as to make one think it will be received here on earth.  Out of the blessings, the only one which is in the present tense is that the Kingdom of God is theirs.  The rest are “will” – future events, and clearly the last is the heavenly reward, only received after this life is over. 

Is the promise of that able to make people satisfied and laugh in the here and now?  I don’t know from personal experience.  To the American mind it is incomprehensible and unimaginable.  But I’ve seen it in Haiti and India.  At least glimpses of it.  That means it is possible, but it calls for a re-alignment of an entire way of life and worldview that I’m not sure American Christians are capable of on our own.  We need to add something to our prayers, I believe: “God, break my idol of happiness that thinks it is found in what we possess, instead of Who possesses us.  Let us be satisfied with the promises that await and press forward to that day and hour when we truly take hold of happiness and can laugh for all eternity.”

PRAYER:  Lord, we want to receive your blessings – whatever they may be that you intend for us – both in the here and now and in the future!  Hold us firmly, help us persevere in the hard times so we can experience them in their fullness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is working as a missionary 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 link: 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. 

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