DayBreaks for 7/24/19 – What Martha Needed to Learn

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DayBreaks for 07/24/19: What Martha Needed to Learn

Luke 10:38-42 (CSBBible) – While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Poor Martha. She was doing what she could to serve her honored guest. She was working hard to serve him. But she missed the point, much like me.

What was the one thing that was necessary? In the final analysis it wasn’t serving Jesus. It was letting Jesus serve her needs. It is why Jesus said he came (Mt. 10:45).

It is easy to understand Martha’s position. Who wouldn’t want to serve God if he showed up at your doorstep? The point is that Jesus came there not to be served, but to serve them.

A teacher serves by teaching his students. Jesus was serving by teaching – and Mary understood that was what she needed, in fact, it is what we all need.

Are you so busy serving Jesus that you’re not letting him serve you through his Spirit, his Word, his family and worship? Let’s take a lesson from Martha and let Jesus serve us.

PRAYER: Forgive our frantic rushings-about and let us receive the fulness of what you came to give to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 7/5/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again

DayBreaks for 7/05/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again

Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

At a conference I attended in February, Tony Campolo told about a survey that was done with a group of people who were 95 years old.  They asked these people to reflect on how they’d do their lives over again if they could – what changes they might make.  Their responses reflected the wisdom that can only come from having lived so long, and we would do well to listen and learn from them.  Here’s their top three responses:

FIRST: We’d reflect more – create a “thin place”.  Rather than jumping to conclusions and judgments, rather than rushing so hard to get through each day and onto the next task, they would stop to think more about the beauty of a flower, the sound of the birds, the meaning of life and what makes it worth living.  They found that busyness was not a satisfactory answer – they’d done too much of that and wished they’d taken more time to create a place where they could be near to important things and to God;

SECOND: We’d risk more – This may seem like a contradiction of the first item.  Reflection would tend to make us think that we’d take less risk, not more.  But what they were really saying is that when we become so concerned about ourselves that we’re afraid to give, afraid to love, afraid to dare and dream great things, we become smaller people who die a bit faster.  The human body ages not because the cells die, but because they stop dividing.  They become more “self-centered”, afraid to risk dividing and giving and “taking a chance.”  How tragic when we let our fears keep us from attempting things of value – great things for God.

THIRD: We’d do more that would live on after we’re gone.  Oh, this one makes me draw in my breath.  We are so very busy with just trying to maintain our standard of living, to keep the bills paid, that we don’t invest much time in our children, our grandchildren, the lives of our neighbors, co-workers and loved ones.  The things you do at work every day may or may not live on after you’re gone.  But know this: only those things which are done for others, and especially for God, will live on after you have died.  And since people are the only things that will go on into eternity from this world, it is in people that we should invest like there is no tomorrow – because there may not be.

Will we have the wisdom to learn from these aged sages and to make the changes we need in our lives to think more, to risk more and to do more that will outlive us? 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, slow us down.  Bring us into the quiet place where we can meet with you and hear your voice telling us how you want us to re-order our lives.  Help us to remember that You are the Lord of great things and that You were the greatest risk taker who has ever lived.  And help us to live wisely so that we will invest in things that live on long after we are a faded memory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 2/22/16 – Either Way You’re Out

DayBreaks for 2/22/16: Either Way You’re Out

Galen is traveling. Today’s message is from the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

I’ve spoken before about my maternal grandfather.  Even though for nearly all his life he was an Iowa farmer, he saw so much change during his lifetime!  He was born in the 1800’s and lived for 102 years.  Consider all the change he saw in that time: cars, jets, nuclear power, two world wars (plus other wars), tractors, insect-resistant plants and seeds, space travel, moon landings…you get the idea.  It’s hard for me to realize that he undoubtedly saw and knew some people who fought in the Civil War. 

One day when I was just a young pup, I was helping him and one of his friends on the farm “put up hay.”  It was a hot, humid Iowa summer day, and I remember that we were sitting in the shade of a tree as we waited for the next load of hay to come in from the field, pulled by a tractor on a large hay wagon.  As we sat there, we talked about many things.  I asked him about some of the changes he’d seen in his life.  He wasn’t a very talkative man, but I’ll never forget something that he said to me.  As he talked about his life and the fact that he was still working hard (he lived alone and worked on the farm until he was 95 years old!), he told me “I’d rather wear out than rust out.” 

That impressed me.  I made it my own mantra, at least at times.  It sounded good.  Who wants to rust out – to be cast aside as useless?  When we think about our deaths, my guess is that we picture ourselves going out in a blaze of glory – doing something we love or something worthwhile.  None of us want to go out sitting alone in a chair – solitary figures passing into the shadows.

But now, I’m not so sure.  The great plague of our day is busyness – we have far too much that we try to do.  And we seek “balance” in our lives.  The problem, you see, with my grandfather’s advice, was that regardless of whether you wear out or rust out – you’re still out, and it doesn’t really matter how you got there.  We need to have ordered hearts – ready to do His bidding – but not hearts that are overwhelmed with busyness.  Too much to do can lead to ulcers and breakdowns.  To little leads to despair and emptiness. 

Are you looking for balance in your life?  Don’t.  Look to have a heart ordered after God.  Read the descriptions about the apostle Paul and his sufferings (2 Cor. 11:23-29) and ask yourself if you think Paul’s goal in life was to find a happy balance, or to pursue Christlikeness and His kingdom with every ounce of energy he had.  For you, what is it that you want on your tombstone: “He was the most balanced person I ever knew”?  That’s not what I want.

God wants more from us than burnout or rusting out.  He has a great purpose for each and every one of us.  Are you up for it?

2 Corinthians 11:23-29 – Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked . Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

TODAY’S PRAYER:  God, we long to find meaning and purpose for our lives.   We are tired of busyness that doesn’t really count for anything.  We have bought into so many stories about what would make us happy and fulfilled.  And we have been very much deceived.  Help us to order our hearts and turn our ears to hear and do Your bidding.  Help us be all that You long to make us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/13/15 – Taking a Nap With Jesus

DayBreaks for 10/13/05: Taking a Nap With Jesus  

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2005:

Matt. 11:28-30 (NLT) – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.

I look around me and all I see are blurs.  People coming and going at warp speed.  How many people in the course of a week do I talk with who tell me how tired they are, how busy they are – that they don’t have time for one more thing on their plate!  I’m worried for them – and also for myself in the busyness of begin a pastor.  There are many good causes, there are many things to which we can give our time and our effort – and most of us have problems setting boundaries and saying “No.” 

We seem to have forgotten that the greatest Cause of all that to which we can offer our time and energy to is God.  You see, God knows about human limitations – after all, He built them into us.  And unlike us, He’ll readily admit that we have weaknesses and need rest.  We don’t want to admit that we need anything at all – even if it is just rest.  And so we drive ourselves to the point of exhaustion trying to be in twelve different places at once, doing twelve different things simultaneously.

In Messy Spirituality, Mike Yaconelli wrote: “Actually, we do know how to rest; we simply refuse to rest.  Rest is a decision we make.  Rest is choosing to do nothing when we have too much to do, slowing down when we feel pressure to go faster, stopping instead of starting.  Rest is listening to our weariness and responding to our tiredness, not to what is making us tired.  Rest is what happens when we say one simple word: ‘No!’  Rest is the ultimate humiliation because in order to rest, we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God’s work does not depend on us.  Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say ‘Yes!’  Only then might we find the reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him.  Only then might we have the courage to take a nap with Jesus.”

I’m not by nature a “napper.”  It seem that there’s too much to do.  But I need to learn the lesson that I am unnecessary.  God’s work will go on without me, as will the world itself.  When we’re so busy “doing,” it is hard to be sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning.

PRAYER: God, if we don’t slow ourselves down, I pray you will slow us down until we get our priorities in line with what is truly important! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/29/15 – Distractions or Realities?

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DayBreaks for 5/29/15: Distractions or Realities?

Some of us remember the days before interstate highways and massive traffic slowdowns when a leisurely drive to a relative’s house was as much about scenery as it was about getting places. Who cared if the highway weaved around curves and some hills were steeper than others? It was fun to see fields with cattle and sheep, and sometimes even a white hillside where turkeys and chickens roamed freely behind a fence.

Those were days when you could load up the car with expectation of the trip of a lifetime. Regardless of where you were starting from, the adventure would undoubtedly lead to parts of the country that you had only seen in books and magazines. From the east, west, north, or south, from the central plains, wherever it was you called home, there was a lot to be seen beyond your immediate area.

You’d just map out your itinerary to include places that you always wanted to see and those that any traveling partners would enjoy. Drive through the cornfields of Iowa or the wheat of the Dakotas.  Swing by that “new” arch structure called the Gateway to the West in St. Louis.

You can drive along the beaches of either coast, or into the mountains that soar into the sky. Enjoy the forests of redwoods or walk among the petrified trees of long ago. Sit on the banks of the Mississippi and you can almost see Tom Sawyer floating by on a raft. Climb the steps in Mesa Verde National Park and you sense the presence of the cliff dwellers who built their homes in the Colorado mountainside. On another mountainside in South Dakota, you can marvel at the danger and skill it took to carve the faces of four American presidents.

Using a little imagination, you can see huge herds of buffalo on the Great Plains.  And it takes no imagination, just wonderment, to appreciate the color and beauty of the Grand Canyon.

All those places are still there, and you can still see them and enjoy them, but how we travel has changed. If you choose to travel any great distance by car, you’ll probably be on interstate highways. And unless you can count seeing the World’s Largest Buffalo along I-94 in Jamestown, North Dakota, or other tall, man-made structures, you don’t see a lot. To get to those gems of scenery, you have to take a side trip. The old highway system went this way and that, connecting one small place to another, regardless of the hills that had to be climbed or the curves that had to be maneuvered. Interstate highways try to be the shortest distance between two points. They are straighter, less hilly, and, if necessary to accomplish their goal, will go right through the side of a mountain or under a water source.

But the highways are not totally to blame. People have changed as well. The simple yet amazing wonders that surround us become hidden from our view by all of our modern necessities that we carry with us. We feel like we’re interrupting something if we try to point out some beautiful scenic spot when the kids are listening to their CDs and the adults are watching a movie. Headphones in place, eyes closed, it’s like: “Don’t bother me with stuff outside. Just tell me how long before we get there.”

We have become so disoriented that we confuse the distractions in our lives with the realities. What we might perceive as distractions are actually the realities. To a young person riding in a car, the beautiful scenery is a distraction to concentrating on the music. To a caring and concerned onlooker, the music is the distraction to the world.

Has our focus in life become “just getting there” instead of living it as we go along? Are we able to enjoy the scenery along the way or do we shut it out because we don’t have the time to deal with it? Do we live only in the flesh, or do we allow God’s Spirit to dwell in us?

PRAYER: You have created a beautiful and wonderful world, but we are too busy to appreciate it, Lord.  Slow us down!  Open our eyes to You greatness and glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/27/14: Satan’s Worldwide Convention

DayBreaks for 3/27/14 – Satan’s Worldwide Convention

Ephesians 6:11 (ESV) – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

The day came when Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels. “Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds, “he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade them to work for long hours, to work 6 – 7 days a week, 10 – 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”

“Over stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, iPads, CDs and their computers going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.”

“Fill the coffee table with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogs, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services, and false hopes.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead.”

“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion.”

“Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.

Has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the JUDGE.

PRAYER: Save us from the busyness that keeps us from what is important! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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