DayBreaks for 9/16/15 – Who Counts

DayBreaks for 9/16/15: Who Counts

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2005:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer or deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

The world is full of critics and nay-sayers. For every person who tries to do good, there are critics. I read this past week about one of the Christian publishers who has made arrangements to donate up to 100,000 bibles to survivors of hurricane Katrina. Sounds like a great idea, right? Well, when word of it got out, some of the responses were extremely vehement. They were accused of gross stupidity, of insensitivity, of being out of touch with the reality of the situation. They earned some swear words by those who criticized them. It seems that they felt that all that was needed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama was food, water, clothing and shelter. And let’s be clear: those things were desperately needed. But is there any greater need than the needs of our souls? Especially after such a disaster. 

I don’t know if those who were so critical of this Christian publishing company had done anything to help provide the food and water and clothing that they had determined were more important than the Living Water or the Bread of Life. They may have been very involved, but their perspective seems to be a very closed one. 

It seems that just about everything that Christians try to do these days is challenged and criticized and we’re quickly labeled and vilified. That’s OK. People have been doing that to God for ages. They did it to the prophets. They did it to Jesus. Hallelujah if they do it to us because it means we’re being true to the Lord. So, go ahead and do what GOD wants you to do and let the chips fall where they may. Whether you are successful or not isn’t all that important – it is a question of faithfulness that we are faced with – not success. The success part belongs to God. Our part is obedience. May we never be those with “cold and timid souls.” Make your life and this day of it, count for God!

Deut. 4:39-40 (NLT) – Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

PRAYER: Lord, let us be counted among those who are in the arena of the conflict, representing the Truth without concern for the consequences. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

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DayBreaks for 6/03/15 – The Servant Under Attack

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DayBreaks for 6/03/15: The Servant Under Attack

Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever been misrepresented? Has anyone ever taken your words and motives and twisted them around and used them against you? If you live long enough in this world you are going to face that kind of a personal attack.

One preacher (I think anyone of us who has stood in the pulpit has had similary experiences) recalled an instance in another church when a certain group in that church took his preaching tapes and listened to them to find words and phrases they disagreed with. Those disagreeable sayings were brought up in a business meeting and used to attack him personally. It hurt at the time, but he concluded that it was a good lesson for him. It served to remind him that God’s servants will be attacked. It also reminded him to think more carefully about his words before saying them because he might be called on to give an account of them.

For the entire duration of his earthly ministry, Jesus was surrounded by constant controversy. Nearly everyone He met misunderstood Him and what He came to this world to do. Nearly everyone was guilty of misrepresenting His words and His works. The things He did and said in love were used to attack Him in hate!

What can we do about such things?  Can we stop people from attacking us?  No.  People will not act fairly just because we wish they would.  We can learn to watch our actions and words to minimize the opportunities we might be providing others to attack us, but in the final analysis, if they want to find something to criticize us, they will find something. 

About the only other thing I can suggest about this is to accept that it will happen, and know that you’re in the very best company (Jesus’) and know that He sees and understands.  Take comfort from His Spirit and act graciously toward all.  In the final analysis, His opinion is the only one that counts.

PRAYER: It isn’t easy, Lord, when we are attacked unfairly, and we often respond very poorly.  Help us not to strike back or seek retribution, but to act like you did when it happened to you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 10/30/14 – Jesus’ Criticisms (and Mine)

DayBreaks for 10/30/14 – Jesus’ Criticisms (and Mine)

Romans 14:10 (MSG) – So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit.

Let’s face it: it is very easy to be critical about things, isn’t it?  I’m not saying that it isn’t deserved, or even right at times, to be critical.  People are critical of politicians (rightfully so!).  We criticize our partner’s looks or their cooking or driving.  We criticize our children when we think they don’t put forth enough effort at school or at their chores or sports.  We can, it seems, criticize just about anything and everything.  And we feel justified for it, too, don’t we?

Often we criticize things or people we don’t understand.  Often we don’t make much of an effort to understand them, either.  We just listen to the criticisms others espouse and jump on the band wagon.

As I said, though, criticism isn’t necessarily wrong.  Jesus shared some criticism toward the religious leaders of his day.  I think it might be instructive to see the kind of things he criticized and see how our criticisms stack up:

Here is a list of Jesus’ criticisms about religious leadership in his day:

They did not practice what they taught (hypocrisy).

They put heavy burdens on others but not themselves (legalism).

They sought and loved public recognition (pride).

Status, respect and titles were important to them (arrogance).

They locked people out of the kingdom (judgmental).

They established laws to benefit themselves (greed).

They neglected to emphasize justice and mercy (bias).

They were accomplices to silencing the prophets (oppressive).

Kinda makes the things I criticize seem very small and petty by comparison.  Maybe Jesus wants me to learn something about the art of criticizing and speaking out against the right things – things that have eternal significant and not things that really don’t matter.

PRAYER: Jesus, I’m sorry for the many times that I have criticized foolishly or in anger.  Let me weigh my words and attitudes in light of the things that really matter! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to 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.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 10/10/14 – First in the Kingdom

DayBreaks for 10/10/14 – First in the Kingdom

Mark 9:35 (KJV) – And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

A young minister graduated from seminary just before World War I and he was appointed to a church in a very small town. He had been there only a couple of weeks when he received the call every new minister dreads — the call to do his first funeral. The person who had died was not a member of his church. She was, in fact, a woman with a very bad reputation. Her husband was a railroad engineer who was away from home much of the time. She had rented rooms in their house to men who worked on the railroad and rumor had it that she rented more than just rooms when her husband was away. The young preacher, faced with his first funeral, found no one who had a good word to say about this woman, until he entered the small old-fashioned grocery store on the day before the funeral. He began to talk to the store owner about his sadness that the first person he would bury would be someone about which nothing good could be said. The store owner didn’t reply at first and then, in his silence, he appeared to make a decision. He took out his store ledger and laid it on the counter between him and the preacher. He opened the ledger at random and, covering the names in the left-hand column, he pointed to grocery bills written in red – groceries that people had bought on credit — and then the column that showed the bill had been paid.

He said, “Every month, that woman would come in and ask me who was behind in their grocery bills. It was usually some family who had sickness or death — or some poor woman trying to feed her kids when her husband drank up the money. She would pay their bill and she made me swear never to tell. But, I figure now that she is dead, people ought to know — especially those who benefited from her charity who have been most critical of her.”

Matthew 21:31 (NLT) – Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.

PRAYER: Father, take away our tendency to criticize other and to consider ourselves better!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to 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.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

Sometimes It Is Enough

Karen Spears Zacharias is a gifted writer and bloggess who challenges my thinking frequently.  In one recent blog, she talked about how we can often get frustrated with what we are able to accomplish, or with what we could not achieve.  I thought her reflections were worth sharing with you.  The background to this blog post described her encounter with a young woman who was walking with groceries through a torrential downpour – getting soaked to the bone.  Karen’s first reaction was not to help…but she felt convicted that she was to help this young woman get home.  After hearing the woman’s story, Zacharias felt frustrated that she couldn’t do more to help this woman with her many struggles and challenges.  She expressed her frustration at not being able to do more – and the young woman replied that what she’d done was enough.  Here’s what she had to say about her thoughts after that conversation:

“Of course, I meant more — how could I be of more help?

“Those of us who follow the promptings are often too hard on ourselves.  I know my friend Hugh gets frustrated that he can’t do more for his homeless friends.  My husband is one of the best people I know and he’s hard on himself. After nearly 30 years of teaching and coaching, he frets that he hasn’t done anything really important in life.

“Veterans who survive the war are hard on themselves. They live their lives in service to others, trying to find a way to apologize for making it through the war that killed their buddies.

 

The Burden

“Pastors are hard on themselves. It’s not enough to pray and prepare, now they have to have a brand, be market savvy, have an online presence, if they expect to grow a community. And once they get that community grown? Then what? How can they possibly manage to shepherd so many?

 

“Moms and dads are hard on themselves. It’s not enough to nurture a child. Now you have to push them to excel in everything because, well, left to be children, they will undoubtedly turn out to be slothful and homeless.

“Life’s hard.  It rains on the person walking and the person with a car.  We should look each other in the eye more often and acknowledge that sometimes the good we do is enough.  For now.”

We cannot solve all the world’s problems.  We shouldn’t feel that we have to in order to be pleasing to God.  He knows we can’t solve them all – and He doesn’t ask us to.  Many of the world’s problems require a God-sized solution that only He can, and will, one day provide.  While we shouldn’t be so kicked-back that we don’t try to solve the problems we can, we should realize our limitations as humans, pray for God’s direct intervention to fix what we cannot, and realize that even a cup of cold water is a blessing – and it helps.

Here’s the direct link to Zacharias’ account of her encounter with the young girl: http://www.patheos.com/community/karenspearszacharias/2011/01/18/when-the-good-we-do-is-enough/

PRAYER: Help us be aware of our limitations, but also to know that “With God all things are possible” and that we can do “all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us.”  Give us willing hearts, eager to help those in need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>