DayBreaks for 6/22/17 – Sins Borne of Myopia

DayBreaks for 6/22/17: Sins Borne of Myopia

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007, from my oldest son’s blog:

Safe in Egypt we shall sigh
For lost insecurity;
Only when her terrors come
Does our flesh feel quite at home.

“The quote is from Auden. Perhaps you can relate. That we experience this dual attraction towards the security of peace and the ecstasy of danger eloquently illustrates our unsettled condition. In his 1998 essay, A Taste for Danger, Theodore Dalrymple maps out the phenomenon nicely. He opens with reflections on a gallery display of Vietnam-era photojournalism:

“These photographers hated the war, but they loved it too: for it gave meaning to their lives or at the very least provided a temporary relief from those nagging questions about the meaning of life that even the most complacent of us sometimes ask…

“Dalrymple goes on to describe his own experience working in conflict zones and the difficult withdrawals that follow an addiction to personal peril:

“The problem with having lived too long or too frequently in dangerous situations is that one ceases to care very much about the actual content of the existence one is so anxious to preserve. Danger absolves one of the need to deal with a thousand quotidian problems or to make a thousand little choices, each one unimportant. Danger simplifies existence and therefore…comes as a relief from many anxieties.

“This business of daily life can be rather dull, can’t it? Peace is uninteresting. It’s a crime we should ever find it so, but sometimes we do. Worse, when we lack for outward threats we tend to manufacture them: spiritual or intellectual crises, superfluous interpersonal conflicts, flirtations with sin. And when these manufactured dangers fail to satisfy we borrow threats and conflicts from others through gossip, consumption of sensationalized media and mass entertainments.
“Boredom, lust for distraction and attraction to danger are, more often than not, sins born of myopia. Corrective lenses are available. But these are very old temptations, so deeply rooted in the soil of our social and personal lives that it’s difficult to imagine where we might be without them.  Perhaps a certain garden in the east.”

Galen’s Thoughts: it has been said that 20th and 21st century Americans are the most bored people in earth’s history.  The word, boredom, wasn’t even in use much (if at all) until the last century.  Isn’t it interesting that boredom came upon the scene with humanism, modernism, relativism and the great scientific explosion?  Up until those things happened, people would contemplate and posit God as the central aspect and concern of existence.  Sadly, when God “disappeared” from social consciousness and discourse, we became self-centered as a species, and we became myopic (strange how that word starts with “my”, isn’t it?).  Can we turn our focus back to God, away from self?  Not fully in this life.  We can’t go back to the garden in the east, but we can journey to the garden in heaven, where the Tree of Life will once more be found and enjoyed.

PRAYER: Lord, may we not become disinterested in the actual content of existence and those who inhabit this realm with us.  May we not be so myopic that we fail to see the greater picture and cause outside of our own lives.  May our meaning, here and in eternity, be found in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 2/10/14 – Disappointment #6 – the Struggle in the Storm

DayBreaks for 2/10/14 – Disappointment #6 – The Struggle in the Storm

ship in storm 007 Fishing Boat in Trouble

Luke 8:23-25 (NLT) – As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. 24  The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! 25  Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

Thus ends the story of Jesus and his disciples in the midst of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, intriguingly, is sleeping. The disciples are not – they’re frantic. They are about to write their own epitaphs. And, they are clearly upset with Jesus. In Mark’s version, their question is a bit more pointed: “Don’t you care if we drown?!” Jesus woke, spoke a few words, and the storm was still. At least the storm on the sea. But the storm in their hearts was a storm of another kind.

Think about this a minute. Why were the disciples so surprised? And secondly, if they didn’t think he could do something to help, why did they awaken him? Why not let him go to the bottom in peaceful slumber?

I think John Koessler (The Surprising Grace of Disappointment) nailed it when he said he thinks these questions are the map of the landscape of our spiritual lives and our struggle with doubt. Jesus’ response: Where is your faith? is not easy to understand. Was he upset for being awakened? Probably not. He was used to interruptions, and even seemed to welcome them. Maybe he felt they were over-reacting. Most likely not, though, because these were men who knew these waters and knew how to survive in the storms that often swept up the lake. And Luke says the boat was being swamped. This was not faux danger…it was real, a life-and-death situation.

The disciples had demonstrated faith in Jesus by waking him. They clearly thought he’d do something. So what can Jesus’ statement mean: Where is your faith? Koessler suggests that perhaps what Jesus meant was Where is your faith in yourselves? In other words, Jesus may have been chiding them for not taking action, urging them to stop crying about the situation when they already had the skills they needed to tend the sails, man the oars, bail out the water. Could Jesus have been urging them to do all that they could before they came running to him?

God seems often to not do things except through the ordinary means of people and their own effort first. Jesus could have created fish and chips on the mountainside without any human involvement, but he used a boy with his own lunch to work the miracle.

Still, in this case, I think Jesus wasn’t talking about faith in their own efforts.  They seem to have done what they could and were at the end of their proverbial rope. They’d reached the end of what they could do and the boat was still being swamp, swallowed up by the storm.

But, get this, because it relates to our own struggles with faith and disappointment: to understand Jesus’ question about their faith, we need to take into account the their exclamation after he stills the storm: Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him! What does that tell us: that their cry in the storm was an expression of their need, but not of faith.

Bear in mind that it was Jesus who was responsible for their predicament: he’d set the plan in motion (at his request) to go across the lake to the other side to start with.  Much like the Israelites who complained to Moses in Exodus 14:11 about their predicament in the wilderness, the disciples statement was really a criticism of Jesus’ plan.

But Jesus statement explains the rebuke when seen in this light. He wasn’t upset because he’d been awakened, or was he upset with them seeking his help. He was disappointed with their lack of faith.  As Koessler said: Jesus was asleep in the boat, but He was not asleep at the wheel.

We know from the story what Jesus did for the disciples. But our uncertainty is whether or not He will do something for us. Not everyone who ever cried out to Jesus on the sea has survived. He doesn’t always speak to the wind and flying water and make it quiet. Sometimes, the ship goes down.

What are we to make of such things, especially when it involves those we love? Come back tomorrow and we’ll pursue this together further!

PRAYER: I can’t help but wonder, Lord, how many times you’ve looked at me and wondered, “Where is your faith?” I thank you for the reminder that you are always open to being awakened by my cries and that you do respond as you see fit. Thank you for the comfort of knowing that at the times I think you may be sleeping, you are not asleep at the wheel that directs my life. 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 02/19/13 – The Lord in the Crisis

DayBreaks for 02/19/13 – The Lord in the Crisis             

healing of royal guyJohn 4:46-50 (NLT) – “As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.  48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”  49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.”  50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.”

This is a story that I have always loved.  As a father myself, I can identify with the anguish and angst of the father who comes to Jesus to try to save his son’s life.  This was a powerful  man – a government official.  He had come from Capernaum to Cana to find Jesus – a journey, uphill, of about 20 miles – a good, long day’s journey.  He left his son behind in his desperation to get Jesus to come and save his boy.  That’s truly desperation.  What father would not want to be home with his child at such a time?

And so he arrives in Cana, hot and weary – but he goes straight to Jesus.  Notice what happens, though.  He has the proper plan already worked out in his own mind – Jesus is to come from Cana to Capernaum with him in order to heal the boy.  Isn’t that how we often respond when we find ourselves in a crisis?  We come to Jesus – but we come with the plan in place of what He is to do and when He is to do it.  In short, we come playing God and as Jesus to play the role of submissive servant to our dictates.

Jesus would have none of it.  He even offers a gentle rebuke about people not believing without signs and wonders.  He doesn’t even acknowledge the request to start with.  But the faith of the father is persuasive, his desperation touches the heart of Jesus.  Instead of doing as the man asked (going with him to Capernaum), Jesus essentially says, “No, I won’t go.  But you go home and your boy will live!” 

Why did Jesus not go with the man?  Jesus never seemed to busy or pre-occupied to help those who sought him out, so why not go with him?  Because Jesus may have wanted the man to understand that Jesus was not subject to him, but the other way around.  It was Jesus who was Lord – in and out of the crisis – and the man needed to understand that.

When you face a crisis this week, how will you approach Jesus?  Or will you approach Him at all?  If you do, come to Him with palms upturned, not telling him what He should do, but with prayers and thanksgiving just letting Him know your request and then trusting that He has the best solution to the crisis – not you.

PRAYER:  For all the times in crisis when I’ve tried to give you directions and explain the right plan to You, Lord Jesus, I’m sorry.  Forgive my arrogance and haughty spirit.  I bow before Your greatness and Divinity.  Help me to trust in You more!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started work as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org).  He needs to raise his own support.  DayBreaks has always been free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation to Medical Ambassadors on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made online at http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Go to that link and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section and look for the link for Galen Dalrymple.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his account.  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.

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient in many ways for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!