DayBreaks for 7/26/17 – A Giant, a Kid, a God

DayBreaks for 7/26/17: A Giant, a Kid, a God

I’m sure you remember the story of David and Goliath. For many, it is their favorite bible story (maybe especially for kids!). I always loved the story as a little boy – I think every little boy who heard it thought of themselves in the role as David!

I recently heard something that I thought was really good and wanted to pass it along. It will come at you in three parts, so let’s get started!

What is the perspective of the world when it comes to this story? Or, one might ask, what was the perspective of the Israelites as they stood there with the monster of a man, taunting them? Their reaction was: He’s too big to hit! Just think of what he might do to me if I were to hit him! He’d squash me like a bug! So, I think I’ll just leave Mr. Goliath alone because I don’t want to get squashed! I can understand that mindset, can’t you? If you’ve ever been faced with a bully, a BIG bully, you know precisely how it feels.

What is the perspective of David? It may have been something like this: He’s too big to miss! I couldn’t possibly miss him if I tried. Why, he’s bigger than my father’s stable! This is a no-lose situation! Let me at him! I think, from the way that David expressed himself, that he was full of confidence.

But, as interesting as both of those are, I think that this next perspective is the one that is the most intriguing. What was God’s perspective? Goliath is too small to matter. Watch what I’m going to do with him through a scrawny shepherd kid. I’ll squash him like a bug.

I like having that kind of God with that vantage point, don’t you?

PRAYER: Thank You for being such a BIG God who sees things for what they really are! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 6/30/17 – The Hidden Possibilities

DayBreaks for 6/30/17: The Hidden Possibilities

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

Agostino d’Antonio, a sculptor in Florence, Italy, labored diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble.  After much effort and time, Mr. d’Antonio pronounced his verdict: “I can do nothing with it.”  But, rather than just throwing the large piece of marble out, other sculptors tried their hand at it at making something of the chunk of rock, but they too gave up the task.

For forty years that large slab of stone lay in a huge pile of rubbish, until one day, another sculptor was out walking and spied the stone.  He immediately gave orders to have the marble brought to his studio, and he began to work upon it at once – falling on it with the hammer and chisel, laboring to release the image within the stone.  Ultimately, his work and labor met with success.  From that seemingly worthless stone that had been cast into the rubbish pile, Michaelangelo carved one of the world’s greatest masterpieces of marble sculpture, the statue known to us as David!

What was it that made the difference between Agostino d’Antonio and Michaelangelo’s work on the same piece of marble?  The secret lay in the sculptor, not in the stone. 

As we look at the great men and women of Scripture, we might be tempted to draw contrasts with our own lives.  The lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Moses – they look like giants made out of granite.  They seem to tower over us and make our own lives seem small and significant by comparison.  Our lives seem to be full of disappointments while their lives seem bolder than life, full of color and vibrancy.  We see all that God has accomplished in them, and probably see little of what He’s done in our lives.  What is it that made such people so strong and great?  It wasn’t the nature of who they were.  It was all in the Sculptor who worked within them. 

The same Sculptor is at work in all those who have entrusted their lives to them.  What can we expect?  We can expect Him to produce a masterpiece out of your life because you know the quality of the work of the Sculptor, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 44:24 (NIV) – This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself…

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, that You are trustworthy to make us and chisel away the dross to form us into the image of Your precious Son, Jesus.  May we yield to the hammer and chisel until we reach the design You have for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/5/16 – These Wicked People

DayBreaks for 5/05/16 – These Wicked People

From the DayBreaks archives, May 2006:

Psalm 58:1-3, 10-11 – Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No, all your dealings are crooked; you hand out violence instead of justice. These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way…  The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.

This Psalm is a scorching tirade that reflects David’s deep frustration.  In case you’d not noticed, the world is not a fair place and perhaps it is only our foolish expectation that it will be fair and good that sets us up for disappointment and heartbreak.  While it seems David is ranting, he is only stating the truth.  Why should it offend us so?  Perhaps because it is in the nature of truth that it offends and stings and reveals our own brokenness to us so clearly. 

Verse 3 would seem to be directed against David’s enemies (“these wicked people are born sinners,” David virtually shouts), but in reality, it is a self-condemnation of us all.  We are all wicked people, we have all gone astray, there is none that is righteous, all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags.  We are quick to jump on others, perhaps even to join in David’s outpouring of anger and frustration, but we should slow down and see ourselves in the words of David.  If these words had been written by God, not David, would any of us have argued with them?  I think not.  (And weren’t they written by God?)

It is because of our recognition of our fallenness and inclusion in the “wicked people” that it is hard to accept the truth of verses 10 and 11.  But if the Scripture promises us one thing, it is that God loves us (even though we are “these wicked people”) and that He forgives us through our faith in Christ and that there will be justice against all those who remain in their wickedness.  The last sentence is difficult – we believe in the reward, but it is much harder to believe that there is a God who judges justly here on earth.  That part is hard to accept or believe, yet we cannot doubt that it will happen.

Passages like this should encourage us and make us more grateful that He’s changed His view of us from wicked ones to “the godly”.  What a transformation has occurred in His mind towards us! 

PRAYER: What a wonder it is, Lord, that you should have changed us from being your enemies to being not just your friends, but your very children – the apple of your eye!  Help us to not lose heart because your judgment is delayed upon this world of wickedness, but rather to see it as the perfect evidence of your incredible patience and desire for us all to come to believe in your Son, Jesus.  Help us to truly see ourselves as you see us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 11/03/14 – The Plea of a Broken Hearted King

DayBreaks for 11/03/14 – The Plea of A Broken-Hearted King

2 Samuel 24:15-17 (NLT) So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. But as the angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel, he said to the LORD, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family.”

David was at the end of his reign and life when he rashly counted the children of Israel.  While we don’t know his motive for doing so, one could assume that it was because he was proud of the size of his army and it caused him to be confident in the strength and numbers of his soldiers, not in the favor of God.

God had explicitly said that the kings should not number the people.  God was not pleased with David and gave him the choice through the prophet Gad, as to the punishment that would be meted out: three years’ famine, three months of being pursued by enemies or three days of plague.  David chose to trust in the mercy of the Lord rather than the other options so he chose the three days of plague.

The price of David’s sin was great: seventy thousand died in the plague.  David was shattered, and makes the plea: I am the one who has sinned and done wrong!  But these people are as innocent as sheep – what have they done?  Let your anger fall against me and my family.  These are the words of a broken heart, a man deeply repentant.  But here’s the thing that is easy to miss: David sees the people of Israel as innocent sheep…and he begs for their shepherd (himself, the king) to be the one who is stricken in their place.

David, of course, had no way of knowing how prophetic his words would be.  In Matthew 26:31, Jesus applied this to himself, telling his followers that on that very night the Shepherd (Jesus) would be stricken rather than the sheep (the people) being slaughtered.

Jesus asked God to let him be smitten rather than Him striking you and I.  He was willing to accept the punishment himself rather than the “sheep” having to bear it.

I wonder if I would have had the faith and courage of David if I had been in his place.

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for being willing to be stricken so the “sheep” could be spared. 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 10/28/14 – Agreement or Obedience?

DayBreaks for 10/28/14 – Agreement or Obedience?

In the book of 1 Chronicles chapter 21 there is an interesting story.  Here’s part of the text:

1 Chronicles 21:1-2 (NLT) – Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”

First, let it be noted that there was nothing wrong with counting the Israelites.  In fact, God told Moses to count them on two different occasions.  So that wasn’t the problem here.  But why did David want to count the people?  What was his attitude?  I think it probably had to do with where and what David was trusting.

Here’s the situation: things were stable, in fact, they were good for the Israelites.  David had just finally defeated his mortal enemies (the Philistines) and Israel was pretty much at peace.  And when things are stable, that’s a pretty vulnerable place in which to be.  It was for David, and I have found it to be true in my own life, too.  As a result, he had time on his hands and decided it was time to take a census.

What David was given in to was a form of idolatry.  He was trusting in the strength and size of his army, not the God who had made him king.  And idolatry could simply be defined as “Anything good or bad that a person counts on other than Jesus, to find life and satisfaction.”

And so David had the people counted.  As the pastor put in on Sunday: “What we count, we typically will count on.”

What was the problem?  It was this: God had said not to do it…for whatever reason.   That should have been all that was necessary.

It’s easy to criticize David in this situation.  But are we really that much different?  Nowadays, many Christians seem to think that if something doesn’t hurt someone else and if it seems beneficial to us, we will likely do it even if God has said not to.  And that’s a problem.  Why: because people who make a decision based on that reasoning aren’t obeying.  Here’s the gist of the problem: if we agree with God on something and it makes sense to us, we will obey.  But if we don’t agree, they will go ahead and do what they want to do because they don’t agree with what God said.

David knew what God had said, but he didn’t agree with it, so he disobeyed and Israel paid a huge price for his disobedience.

Are you an obedient Christian, or a Christian who obeys only when you agree with what God has said?  Remember: God hasn’t asked us to agree…just to obey!

PRAYER: Lord, help us understand the difference between obedience and agreement.  Let us obey, even when we don’t understand or agree! 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 9/15/14: A Dying Psalmist’s Final Message

DayBreaks for 9/15/14 – A Dying Psalmist’s Final Message

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Harp at the entry to the City of David archaeological site, Jerusalem. Galen C. Dalrymple, August 2014

I suspect that we have all imagined the end of our lives: what will it be like?  What will I feel?  What will I think?  Where will I be?  What will be my final words?  What will the legacy I leave behind be like?

We are probably less prone to think about the last days of the lives of others – especially those we have never met and who may have lived long before us.  What were the final days of Adam like as he looked back on his life?  Noah?  Abraham?  Moses?

We don’t really know in may cases, though we have a hint with some of the ancient Bible characters.  We have some of Moses’ final words in his charge to Israel – and the same is true with his successor, Joshua.  We know Jesus’ last words.  Whether or not you realize it, we have something close to that with the Psalmist, David.

As he sat down his harp and quill for the last time, as he contemplated his life in the rear-view mirror, what might he have been thinking?  I would imagine his mind swept back over the decades to the early days in the field with the flocks and with battle with wild animals he killed while defending the sheep.  Certainly, he would have thought of the famous encounter with Goliath…the first person he killed and a great victory by any measure.  He may would have perhaps relived the pursuit by Saul, the first stirrings of love for his first wife.  And, then, things would have changed. 

His mind would have replayed the infidelity with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, the death of the son, the rape of his daughter by her brother, the rebellion of Absalom as he tried to wrest the throne from his father.  David would have considered the suffering and deaths of thousands that God visited upon Israel for David trusting in the might of the army instead of God. 

So, what would David’s final Psalm have to say?  Psalm 145 is believed to be the last of the psalms that were written by the shepherd-singer-warrior-king.  Does David bemoan his mistakes?  Does he confess to God his wrong-doings and plead for mercy? 

No.  Assuming that David wrote this very near the end of his long life, he doesn’t have time for that.  As he senses the coming inevitability, there is only time for what is most important and the words begin to flow from his pen: Psalm 145:1-3 (NLT) I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.

The scarred and weary king has only one thing on his mind: the greatness of God.  And he should know.  David doesn’t seem to have a shred of a doubt about God and about what would happen to his own soul, in spite of his failure and sin.  Why?  Because he knew this God – a God of greatness, a God full of compassion and mercy (read on in the psalm to see these things).

I can only hope and pray that I, when my time comes, will be able to look back at my life and see it in its full sweep and know that, in spite of my failings, God will not fail me when I draw my last breath.  I only hope and pray that I will know Him well enough that I will rest easy in His promises to be faithful, in His love for me, and the truth of His forgiveness.  As with David, it won’t be because I deserve it, but because of one thing and one things only: He is good!

PRAYER: God, how great and wonderful You are!  May our final hours be filled with Your praise and let us proclaim Your goodness and greatness with our final breath!  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 4/29/14 – Not a Single Miracle

DayBreaks for 4/29/14 – Not a Single Miracle

Miracles.  They are the stuff of Bible stories and wonder, are they not?  There are those who dismiss them outright as being preposterous, and even some Christian theologians do so, much to my chagrin.  But, don’t we have to admit that miracles, by definition, strain the rules of the universe and nature and make us not just amazed but puzzled and wondering?  I mean, walking on water is not something that I’ve ever seen anyone demonstrate.  Calming the storm, turning water into wine..those just don’t happen…at least not usually.  I have never been witness to someone rising from the dead, or who was blind since birth being given sight by someone rubbing muddy spittle on their eyes.  Maybe you have…but me?  Not.

Miracles.  I believe in them.  I know people who desperately pray for them and expect them. Perhaps that’s why I’ve not seen them…I may not expect to.  I have faith in God’s power to do a miracle whenever and wherever it suits His purposes…and not to do them at my request.

There are those that don’t receive the miraculous answer they pray for.  Let’s face it: if God granted every request for a miraculous healing, would anyone ever have died on the face of this earth?  (There may be a few, but most who are loved and cherished have someone beg God to heal them as they lay on their sick bed or death bed.)  Does that mean that there isn’t enough faith in the requestor?  No.  Does it mean there’s not enough power in the God they pray to?  No.

Do you realize that in the entire story of David, the man after God’s own heart, that there is not even one single miracle?!  Does that mean that God was not in the story of David, or that God was uninvolved in the life of the man after His own heart?  Absolutely not.  God was at the center of every plot twist, every event and in every detail of David’s life, but He was usually silent and seemed to be hidden based on many of David’s psalms of lament and complaint.

Why?  As Eugene Peterson said in his book about David, Leap Over a Wall, the story of David is the story of everyman.  It is a story that doesn’t go outside the bounds of the ordinary, the everyday life of a perfectly flawed human being.  God didn’t do a miracle for David from the outside, but He did from the inside – patiently, steadily, and in secret.  Why not miracle we could see?  Perhaps it is because we needed to see someone just like us – alternatingly prideful yet humble, arrogant but meek, driven by passions and impulsive…a human full of flaws who was forced to come to grips with faith and life and God without miracles.  In short, it is because we needed to see that it is possible for every person to wear the description: a person after God’s own heart.

Miracles?  You don’t need it.  David didn’t.  If God wants you to have a miracle, you will see it.  But just because you don’t get one doesn’t mean your faith is weak or that you don’t matter to God.  You do!  

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for your wisdom in how you treat us and change us miraculously from within! 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!