DayBreaks for 12/30/16 – Sightless Eyes

DayBreaks for 12/30/16: Sightless Eyes

From the DayBreaks archive, 1999:

A while back, I received a call from the county sheriff’s office asking if I was available to go with one of their deputies to notify a woman that her husband of many years had died. I went down to the emergency room at the local hospital to meet the officer before going to the home and he took me into the room where the man’s body was. The man had died only minutes earlier, apparently of a heart attack while driving. He was alone in the quiet room, surrounded by medical equipment and signs of the lost battle that had been waged to keep him alive. His eyes, sightless, were open – staring at the ceiling.

I was reminded of the words of God through Jeremiah the prophet in Jer. 5:21-22: “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” As I stood gazing at the body of this man, I couldn’t help but wonder what his “eyes” were seeing at that instant. Was he beholding the face of the Redeemer or was he seeing the reality of a horrifying destiny for eternity? It added a sense of urgency to tell others about Christ.

In Matthew 13:13-15, Jesus spoke about sightless eyes and as usual, got to the heart of the problem. The people couldn’t see for the simple reason that they had closed their eyes. They didn’t WANT to see. What they saw (Jesus!) made them uncomfortable because he revealed what man was meant to be and what God demanded – holiness! And the sad part of it is that if we walk in rebellion long enough, we do become blind (Romans 1).

Think about it: what happens to you if you close your eyes? It isn’t long before you start getting hurt. There was a group of Pharisees who were referred to as the “blind and bleeding Pharisees” because when they were walking on a public street and a woman came along, they would close their eyes so they wouldn’t lust – with the inevitable result that they got bloody when they began bumping into buildings and other things in the street! That wasn’t what Jesus meant, but it illustrates the dangers of closing our eyes.

We have a choice. We can close our eyes if we want to – and when we do we run the risk of being hurt – not to mention we can’t see our brother or neighbor in need (remember the Good Samaritan and those who passed by the injured traveler?). But the worst thing we can do is close our eyes when we look into the mirror of the Word of God (James 1:23-25) and refuse to see the truth about ourselves, what we are and what we do, and what we can become through Jesus.

How is your vision? Is it clear and sharp? Are you closing your eyes in rebellion? By closing our eyes to failures and imperfections, we are only blinding ourselves – not God.

PRAYER: Keep us from willful blindness, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/03/15 – Blind Spots

DayBreaks for 12/03/15: Blind Spots

Ps 19:12 (NLT) – How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?  Cleanse me from these hidden faults.

One of the things that truly amazes me is how often I misplace something and can’t find it.  It happens in my office quite a bit (that probably says a lot about my organizational/messiness!)  Just today, I was looking for my Bible.  I often put it in a box with my papers for the coming Sunday (I use electronic versions of the bible when I’m home working on my computer.)  So, I looked in the box and couldn’t find it.  I looked around the room behind me and on the credenza.  No luck.  Then, I looked at my desk, where I’d just been sitting, and it was no more than 10 inches from my right elbow.  These things I often lose – they are easy to miss, but they’re there nearly all the time if I only knew where to look.

Charles Steinmetz was a genius electrical engineer that retired from General Electric.  After he’d been retired for a while, GE had a breakdown in a complex series of machines and their engineers couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Steinmetz was asked to consult on the problem.  He arrived, walked around the machines for a few minutes, took a piece of chalk out of his pocket and made a cross mark on one particular piece of one particular machine.  When the engineers took the machine apart, they were amazed to find that where Steinmetz had put the mark was the exact location of the breakdown.  Steinmetz sent a bill for $10,000 to General Electric – an unheard of amount of money in that day and age.  They requested that he itemize the expenses, so he did: $1.00 for making one cross mark, $9999 for knowing where to put it. 

When I come to God in prayer, I often think I know what God will say to me – what things He’ll point out when I ask Him to “search my heart and see if there be any evil way in me”.  But then – surprise! – God points out exactly the place that I’d been blind to.  If we try to figure out our own sins, we will put the mark in the wrong place almost always.  Usually, when I’m confessing my sin to Him, I point out specific acts that were wrong.  But what He shows me is not just the act, but much more than that: my heart attitude or motivation that led to the sin in the first place.  And that, as they say, is priceless. 

David got it right when he said we can’t even detect all the sin in our hearts.  There’s too much of it and we’re too fond of it to be honest about it.  Confession must start with putting ourselves under the protection of God and asking him, through His Spirit, to put the cross mark on the right spot(s) in our lives.  Only He knows the truth.

Copyright 2005 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, we need your help.  Help us by showing us the truth about our hearts, reveal to us our blindness about our own sin and our motives.  We promise to confess the sin to you and ask forgiveness as You reveal to us our wickedness.  Thank You for Your concern that we should be holy for You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2005 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/30/15 – THE Question

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DayBreaks for 3/30/15: THE Question

Mark 10:51a (NIV) – “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The verse above comes for the story of the healing of the blind man that Jesus encountered along the Jericho road.  Bartimaeus had been doing what he had done for many years – in fact, it was the only thing he could do: sit by the roadside and beg for money.  Jericho was a prosperous area, so Bartimaeus may have done fairly well, especially considering the Jews considered it righteous to give alms to the poor and disabled. 

Still, day after day, month after month, year after year, he would sit by the road and call out as he heard people passing by.  Some would give, others, I’m sure, walked right past him, either all engrossed in their own conversation and thoughts, or pretending not to notice him.  Thinks really haven’t changed much in 2000 years, have they?

Bartimaeus yells out to Jesus who hears him, stops, and instructs the disciples to have the man come to him.  The blind man jumps up, throws his coat aside (which probably was what he used to collect donations) and goes to where he’d heard the voice of Jesus.  And then Jesus asks the question – the question that at the surface seems so silly: this is a blind man after all…what do you think he would like you to do for him, Jesus?

Don’t rush past that question.  It is an important one – a very important one!  Wrestle with it.  Jesus didn’t just ask it of Bartimaeus.  I think He is asking it of each of us or it wouldn’t have been recorded in Scripture.

It is oh, so easy, to rush to give the approved Christian answer, but please don’t.  What is it that your soul really wants and longs for?  What is it that you think would really, truly bring you satisfaction and peace?  You may think it is a certain career.  You may believe it is the “perfect” spouse for you.  It may be that a child that you and your spouse long for.  Those things aren’t bad.  But are they really the thing you want Jesus to do for you?

I would imagine Bartimaeus though the question strange, but if he did, he didn’t let it show.  I suspect that we, like Bartimaeus, don’t really know what it is that we are longing for.  Bartimaeus thought it was his sight.  But what happens after he gets what he asked for shows that he learned a lesson that we may not have grasped: when Bartimaeus answers the question, he says “Rabbi…”  This isn’t the typical word used for a rabbi – a teacher.  This was a special word that was usually only used when addressing God in prayer.  The blind man, you see, is the only one who was seeing with crystal clarity: the man before him was God.  And then, after he received his sight, it says he “followed Jesus along the road.”  The verb tense is that he continued following Jesus.  And in doing so, I believe he found what it was that he really wanted. 

When this sermon was preached at church on Sunday, I asked myself how I would answer the question.  I honestly am not sure what my answer would be, or is.  I know what I’d hope it would be, what I think God wants it to be – but is that really what my heart soul is longing for? 

How about you?  What is it that you really want from Jesus this holy week and beyond?

PRAYER: Jesus, cause us to honestly seek for what You created us to long after and not just to give the trite, pat answer we think we should say!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/31/14 – More Beautiful Than I Ever Imagined

DayBreaks for 3/31/14 – More Beautiful Than I Ever Imagined

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/31/2004:

From Things Unseen, by Mark Buchanan:

“William M. Dyke became blind when he was ten.  When he was in his early twenties and attending graduate school in England, he met the daughter of a British admiral, and they fell in love and decided to marry.  But before he agreed to give his daughter’s hand in marriage, the admiral insisted that William submit to what was at that time a risky surgery to restore his sight.  William agreed, but he also had a condition: he did not want the gauze removed from his eyes until the moment he met his bride at the altar.  He wanted her face to be the first then he beheld on their wedding day.”

“The surgery took place.  The wedding day was set.  William’s father led his son to the front of the church, and the bride’s father led her down the aisle.  As she came, William’s father stood behind his son and unwound the gauze from his eyes.  No one knew if the surgery had been successful.  When William’s bride stood before him, the last strand of gauze was pulled away, and he was face-to-face with his bride.  He stood there speechless, and everyone waited, breathless.  And then he spoke: ‘You are more beautiful than I ever imagined.”

“One day that will happen to us, only the roles will be reversed.  ‘Now we see but a poor reflection in a mirror,’ Paul says, ‘then we shall see face to face.  Now I know (Him) in part, then I shall know (Him) fully, even as I am fully known’ (1 Cor. 13:12).  One day, the Bride of Christ, near blind now, will stand before her Bridegroom at the Wedding Feast, and the veil will be removed, the scales will fall away, and we will see Him face-to-face and know Him even as we are fully known.”

“And he will be more beautiful than we ever imagined.”

There is a song that takes my heart and puts it in my throat every time I sing it, called “I Can Only Imagine”, by Bart Millard.  It goes like this: 

“I can only imagine

What it will be like

When I walk

By Your side.

 

“I can only imagine

What my eyes will see

When Your face

Is before me,

I can only imagine.

 

Chorus:

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel

Will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of You be still?

Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall,

Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all?

I can only imagine.

 

“I can only imagine

When that day comes

And I find myself

Standing in the Son

 

“I can only imagine

When all I will do

Is forever,

Forever worship You…

I can only imagine.”

Copyright by 2004 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, how we long to see you face-to-face in our heavenly home! I long to see You in Your glory and for faith to become sight! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html. Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 09/02/13 – First Sight

DayBreaks for 09/02/13 – First Sight

John 9:6-7 (NLT) Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7  He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!

The text above describes the healing of a man who had been born blind.  One of the easiest things to do is to read a familiar text and pass it by too quickly.  Let me ask you to do something: re-read those verses and try to imagine yourself as the blind man.  The entire episode must have been somewhat bewildering.

First, a stranger who is passing by, without even being asked, stops to make mud with spit and starts to smear it on your eyes.  You wouldn’t be able to watch him to it, so try to imagine what was happening in the man’s mind.  From a Jewish culture standpoint, saliva was believed to have healing properties, but still – having mud made from spit smeared onto your eyes could not have been a very pleasant thing. 

Then, the man gives you orders.  You’re still blind, so someone had to lead him to the pool of Siloam.  This took faith on both the part of the person who would lead him to the pool, but also on the part of the blind man.

But what I really want to consider is what the man must have thought when he first opened his eyes and saw things clearly.  He’d never seen another human.  He’d never seen color.  He’d never seen a tree or a dog or a house.  He’d never seen anything.  And all of a sudden his retinas are receiving images and the optic nerve is firing and the brain is trying to make sense out of this new deluge of sensory input.  But somehow, the man makes enough sense out of it to find his way back to Jesus.

That’s how it is when we begin to see the truth…we want to find our way back to Jesus!  When we start to see the reality of what we are and what we’ve done and when our hearts and minds can make sense of it, we know where we need to go. 

But I wonder: how many of us really are seeing clearly?  Can you make sense of what you’re seeing spiritually in your life?  One thing is really important if you are just starting to see truth about yourself: don’t shut down because you don’t like what you’re seeing.  Instead, keep your eyes wide open…and find you way to Jesus who will help you make sense of your life.

PRAYER: We sometimes don’t want to see all the ugly truth about ourselves and we’ll close our eyes so we don’t have to see it all, Lord.  Help us trust that no matter what we see, if we find our way to you, we can be healed and forgiven!  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 08/29/13 – RX: Cataract Removal

DayBreaks for 08/29/13 – RX: Cataract Removal

Luke 18:9-13 (NLT) – Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else:  “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!   I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13  “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

When we read this parable, we are quick to think about how brash and proud the Pharisee was and think that we’d never, ever make such bold statements to God!  And we probably wouldn’t (though I’ve heard many people say, “I’m a good wo/man, so I’ll go to heaven” which is only a slightly tamer version of the attitude of the Pharisee in the story!)  I certainly have never heard anyone pray that way.  BUT…how often do we compare ourselves to others and come away feeling proud about our level of righteousness versus theirs?  We may have hearts and minds full of angry thoughts, lustful thoughts, bitterness and prejudices, but because we’re not shooting up or smoking crack, because we are clean and not filthy and smelly, we look down on those who do those things.  Our sins may be invisible while theirs are highly visible.  And somehow, we think that makes us better than them.  We wouldn’t say that to God, but we think it in our hearts.  And that makes us just like the Pharisee in this story from Jesus.

When is the last time you were on your knees, beating your breast over your sinfulness?  Are you even aware of your sinfulness, or have the eyes of your heart become so covered with sin cataracts that you can’t see it in yourself anymore?  It happens to all of us…as the result of continuous sinful practices, one sin at a time, followed by a repetition of those acts.  Blindness is the result.  We need cataract removal!!!!

PRAYER: God, remove the scales from our eyes as you did with Saul of Tarsus, that we may see ourselves clearly in the blazing Light of your holy Presence!  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 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!