DayBreaks for 5/30/19 – Love or Hate?

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DayBreaks for 5/30/19: Love or Hate?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2009:

How many times has someone spoken to you about a “loved one” that they are fearful are not believers?  Almost certainly, you have loved ones yourself that are not disciples of Jesus.  And it seems that when that is the case, many times the believers in their lives are afraid to say anything to their friends about their spiritual condition.  That may be just due to not really knowing how to tell someone about Jesus, but I think that more often than not, there’s another reason.  To tell someone about Jesus isn’t complex: just tell them what Jesus has done for you.  You don’t have to make erroneous claims such as “I’ve never been tempted by sin again after I became a disciple,” or “Everything has been great since I became a Christian.”  Please don’t say such things: they identify you right away as a liar.  Be honest about your sin, be honest about your present struggles and how hard it is to live a Christian life, but tell them about the peace and joy and love and hope that has taken over your heart because of HIS goodness, and HIS promises…not your goodness or perfection.

Sometimes God has used unbelievers to make some of the most significant statements about faith and people of faith that I’ve ever read.  Take Nebuchadnezzar, for one, Darius for another.  Even the demons make amazing statements: “I know who Jesus is, but who are you?”  They know, all right.  And even they call Jesus “Lord”.

I recently ran across this statement by Penn Jillette, who is not only an atheist, but a foul-mouthed comedian to boot.  But this is worth reading because perhaps it shows us that perhaps our fears of telling someone about Jesus need to be replaced by something else: a recognition that failure to tell them about Jesus shows that we really don’t love them very much at all. 

“Atheist Penn Jillette is one half of Penn and Teller, a duo that has been headlining Vegas shows for years with comedy and the art of illusion. Penn has never been shy about his disbelief in God, often writing about his conviction in articles and best-selling books. Yet in an on-line video blog that can be found on YouTube, Penn shares a story about the time a gracious Christian businessman gave him a Bible as a gift. Penn goes on to use the story as an opportunity to point out that Christians who don’t evangelize must really hate people. Here’s the direct quote from his video blog:

“I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who do not proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, uh, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize, [saying] “Just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself”—uh, how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize them? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond the shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming to hit you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”  – Bill White, Paramount, California; source: “Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible,” YouTube.com 

More important, indeed.  Let’s get our perspective right and start to tell people about Jesus!

Prayer: Oh, Father, we invite your Spirit to search our hearts and to convict us of our great need to share Jesus with those we know and love – in fact, with everyone we possibly can!  Let our hearts burn hot with enough love that we will tell the truth and entrust the results to You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 09/14/18 – A Shaken Soul

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DayBreaks for 9/14/18: A Shaken Soul

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

From Michael Card, From the Studio:

(Peter) went in and found that many had assembled; and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”  Acts 10: 27-28 NRSV

“Jesus can make anyone clean, even the last person on earth Peter would expect to be clean: a Roman soldier, [possibly] one of the very ones who had crucified Jesus.  What an earthquake in Peter’s soul!  It was direct assault on his most basic beliefs.  But Jesus had come to shatter and redefine everything.  Certainly it is a shattered Simon who makes his way, for the first time in his life, into a Gentile dwelling.  He will find there men and women like himself who want nothing less than to eat the true bread of heaven.  People who, though they live in darkness, have nonetheless seen a great Light!

“The crowd Peter would have crossed the street to avoid, would have denied meal fellowship with, seems now bathed in a new light.  He sees bright eyes and hungry faces. He looks out at men and women, boys and girls who will suffer every bit as much as he will in the years to come for their allegiance to Jesus. He looks out on brothers and sisters.”

Galen’s Thoughts: how would you and I have reacted if we had the chance to preach the gospel to the crucifixion detail that crucified Christ?  How would you and I have reacted if invited to preach to the high priest and scribes who had Him arrested, beaten, spit on and condemned?  Would we have done it, or would we have pulled back in revulsion?

Each one of us knows someone that we just find, well…repulsive.  Someone who has done something so heinous either to ourselves or to someone we loved, that we can’t even stand the thought of being near them.  Would you share the gospel with them?  If not, why not?  Do you believe that’s how Jesus would have acted?

Let us remember that we’re not called to go into all the world and preach the gospel only to those who are fine, upstanding citizens and likeable folk.  For the most part, those people didn’t listen to Jesus (in fact, it was the upstanding citizens of Judea who had him arrested and put to death).  The repulsive – those with leprosy, the lame and mute (who everyone believed were sinners or they wouldn’t have had those ailments – even the dead and the sick of many stripes and colors, were the ones who listened to Jesus and responded to him.  If we want to fulfill the great commission, we must carry the gospel to everyone – everyone – even the Hitler’s, bin Laden’s, Pol Pot’s and mass murdering rapists.  That’s our job.  How they respond is their choice.  God won’t ask us if we convinced them – but will ask only if we “went” in obedience to the command. 

PRAYER: Keep us from prejudice and pride that might lead us to not share the good news with those who are most eager to receive it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 4/11/18 – Preferring the 99

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18: Preferring the 99

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV) – What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

This is a painful passage for me. Sadly, while I think it should also be a challenging and painful passage for the church, I think in many cases we read it and fly right past it.

This passage gets to the very core of God’s heart. Who is it that owns the sheep in the passage? It is God, certainly. And while he has a sheep-fold full of sheep, he isn’t content with that. He knows there is still one out there that hasn’t come home with him, that is lost and in grave danger.

So what does he do? He goes out looking for it. There is no guarantee that he will be able to bring it home…for the passage says And if he finds it…. Some sheep don’t want to be found, and perhaps even more sadly, some perish before they are found.

Pay attention to the last sentence. He is not willing that ANY of these little ones should be lost. It’s not that he’s content if just a handful are lost…he’s not willing for even a single one to perish.

Which brings me to the painful part. Why does my heart not beat with the same passion for the lost sheep?

I fear that the church as a whole (I know there are many exceptions) prefers the ninety-nine. We prefer the comfort of the sheep-fold and seldom, if ever, venture out. We like to hang with other Christians (at least, I hope we do!) But if we lose sight of the heart of God from this passage, we may have missed God entirely. This is precisely why Jesus came: not to celebrate with the 99 but to “go out”. Does Jesus like it when Christians enjoy each other? Of course. But he will quickly leave us behind to find a single lost one.

When is the last time you brought someone to Christ – not just to church – but to saving knowledge of Christ? We should all have the urgency of Oskar Schindler who when the war was over, was heartbroken that he’d not done more, that he could have saved one more. Where is that passion in us?

Church, let us be challenged. Let us go out with the great Shepherd to find the lost so that not ANY should be lost!  

PRAYER: Jesus, I confess that it is far easier to sit in the pew than to leave the sheep-fold to find a lost lamb. I confess I have done far too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. Change us, give us your passion, fill us with your mission, let us hear your heartbeat clearly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 9/26/17 – Living Within a Yard of Hell

DayBreaks for 9/26/17: Living Within a Yard of Hell

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

I feel that I’ve been very fortunate in my life in many, many ways.  One of them is that I’ve lived in quite a few different places.  I was born in Iowa and raised as a farm boy for about the first 9 years, then moved to Florida, then southern California, then northern California.  After graduating from high school, I went back to Florida for college, then back to California, then to North Carolina, then back to northern California.  We lived in several cities in northern California before moving to Maine in 2003, and now we find ourselves back in northern California once again…but in a different place. 

I have enjoyed living in all those places – different scenery, different customs, different accents, different weather, different friends and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed living in every place I have ever lived.  I believe that of all the places we’ve lived, that Maine takes the cake for beauty – but other places have better weather.  For example, I’ve never slipped on the ice in the shopping center in Cloverdale, CA, which is more than I can say for living in Maine!  The leaves in Maine are like nowhere else on earth when they turn color, but Cloverdale is ringed with vineyards that turn colors, too, after the grapes are harvested. 

If you could live anywhere that you wanted to live, where would it be?  I found an interesting quote that I’d like to share with you.  It’s from C. T. Studd, and here’s what they had to say: “Some wish to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.”

Wow.  That draws me up short and really makes me think about how selfish I can be (and am!)  It also forces me to take stock of what matters the most to me.  Sure, who wouldn’t love to live close to the church and be constantly surrounded by other believers who are committed to loving one another and loving God?  But, such a scenario can have its drawbacks: it’s possible to love each other and God so much, but not love the world of unbelievers around us and therefore not make an effort to reach them because of their differences from us. 

What really makes me ashamed is to ask the question: “Where would Jesus have lived?”  Think about it.  If ever anyone was living in the sound of church bells (or choirs), Jesus had that luxury in heaven for all eternity.  He could have just stayed sitting on the throne of heaven and reveling in the music and praises of the angels.  But, instead, he chose to live within a yard of Hell by coming here and living with us. 

Does this mean that you have to feel guilty and move to a slum or inner city or jungle in order to fulfill your Christianity?  No, not at all.  Hopefully, you are where you are because God has called you to that place.  Besides, everywhere in this world is within a yard of Hell – just look around and you’ll see people queuing up to pass through its gates.  And, we may be the last chance any of them get at hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER:  Lord, we thank you for where you have placed us.  Help us to never grow complacent or become too introverted as your family, the church, that we forget the mission we are called to!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/9/16: Saving John Doe

DayBreaks for 8/09/16 – Savind John Doe

From the DayBreaks Archive for August, 2006:

Have you seen “Saving Private Ryan”? It is supposedly about as graphically realistic (at least in the first 26 minutes or so) about the horrors of war as you can get in a movie. I don’t like that kind of stuff at all. Veterans, by and large, say it is pretty realistic – but they say it just doesn’t go far enough in picturing the awful human carnage of war. But the message is somewhat clearer because of the brutal visual honesty of the movie: victory is costly. Dwight Eisenhower, who ordered the D-Day invasion depicted in the first part of the movie, had this to say: “There are no victories at discount prices.”

In the cross we see only what our sin cost God. What if we could see that awful carnage of sin through God’s eyes? Because we can’t see the future, we sometimes can’t see how our sin maims, cuts, pierces and destroys our relationships with those around us and the world we live in, let alone God. We can’t see, in graphic terms, the way our selfishness tears out hearts and leaves people bleeding in our wake of sin. We can’t see the effect of our sins on our children and grandchildren (Ex. 20:6). And it isn’t just the sin of things we do that will affect them, but the sin of the things we don’t do that will possibly have an even greater impact on future generations.

Another thought: if I am trying to gain victory over some sin in my life – I shouldn’t think the victory will be cheap. It will come hard. What am I willing to lose to gain the victory? We want the victory to come easily, cheaply – but when it comes to defeating sin issues in our lives, we have to be ready to go to war with that sin.

How far am I prepared and willing to go to play a role in the “salvation” of others? Would I do what the troops did on D-Day to save someone’s soul? To use a crude analogy, Jesus stormed the fortified beach of sin and took all the bullets for me. Would I take even a single bullet for the soul of my best friend, let alone my enemy?

Of course as Christians we picture the horrible carnage of the cross and the beatings that preceded it, and rightly so. It was at one and the same time the ugliest and most beautiful even that ever happened. I hope we never forget the ugliness of what our sin cost God.

PRAYER:  Are there words, Lord, to thank You for coming to rescue us, to save us?  Help us to be able to grasp even a fraction of what sin does to You, and what it does to us.  Help us be holy, even as you are holy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 7/15/16 – Let Me Be That Kind of Bum

(Note: the above picture is not Oscar Childs!)

DayBreaks for 7/15/16 – Let Me Be That Kind of Bum

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2006:

Tony Campolo was at a conference I attended and he told a story about a bum in Sydney, Australia.  It seems that for a period of about 9 years, there was a particular bum who always hung around the train station in Sydney.  It seems that as people would be waiting for their train, he would approach them, cautiously but respectfully, and ask them a question: “If you died tonight, do you know where you’d spend eternity?”  Then he’d disappear. 

Apparently, Campolo traveled to Sydney from time to time, and twice while he was there, he encountered two different men, 2 years apart, who shared a story with him about a bum that they’d encountered at the train station who had made them think about life and death, and who had reached them for Christ with a simple question.

Some years later, on another visit to Sydney, Mr. Campolo was on a radio show, being interviewed, and someone told him the story of a man named Oscar Childs.  Oscar Childs was a bum who hung around the train station, asking people if they knew where they would spend eternity.  In a matter of minutes, the phone lines of the radio show were flooded with calls as hundreds of people phoned in to tell stories of how Mr. Childs had helped lead them to Christ as they’d waited in the train station.  It seems that Mr. Childs had just died.  He was a bum, just a bum, and he died as a bum…but what a legacy he left behind him (or actually carried with him) for eternity!  In this world Mr. Childs had little to nothing, but he wasn’t primarily concerned about this world.  He was concerned about the next and about taking as many people with him to heaven as possible.  Talk about meaning and purpose in life – talk about doing something that will live on after we’re long gone!  Mr. Childs died a happy man and he will live in eternity with many friends he made in a train station in Sydney.

PRAYER:  In our hurry, Jesus, we get carried away with the rush to get somewhere, to achieve something.  And in most cases, what we’re trying to achieve isn’t very important at all.  And we sacrifice the things that are truly important for a handful of dust.  Give us hearts that are eager to share You and your love with those who so desperately need to know You.  Thank You for examples of people like Mr. Childs, a brother we have never met, but whom we someday will.  Give us courage like lions for you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/26/16 – Of Clouds and Charlie Brown

DayBreaks for 5/26/16 – Of Clouds and Charlie Brown

Sometime ago in the “Peanuts” comic strip as Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown looked up to the sky, Lucy said, “You can see lots of things in the clouds.” Then turning to her companions, she asked “What do you see, Linus?”

“Well,” he said, “those clouds up there look to me like the map of Belize, the little nation in the Caribbean.” Glancing in a different direction, “That cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that cloud formation over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Steven; why I can see Saul of Tarsus standing to one side.”

“Uh huh,” gasped Lucy, “That’s good.” “And, what do you see Charlie Brown?” Clearing his throat, Charlie timidly replies, “Oh, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I’ve changed my mind.”

You may smile at Charlie Brown. Yet in a more profound way, he reminds me of the first disciples of Christ who had a hard time stretching their faith to see the coming of the Kingdom of God and the spiritual harvest around them. And in that way Charlie Brown also reminds me of me.

As I look around, I can either get discouraged thinking that the Kingdom of God is on a losing streak or I can choose to see these days as times of perhaps unprecedented opportunity for spiritual harvest.

And that leads to the next question: how am I gifted by the Spirit to engage in the harvest? We are all expected to be part of the great army of harvesters. We may not be the reapers – we may be sowers – but we are all to be engaged. We can’t, nor should we, wait until Jesus appears on his white horse to lead us into an engagement with the forces of darkness…we are to do it now – while we await his return.

What do you see when you look around you?

Let’s all commit ourselves to doing something each day to contribute to the harvest of souls.

Matthew 9:35 (NLTse) – Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

PRAYER: Jesus, I know that I can get so tied up in the business of each day that I seldom think about how white the fields are for harvest. Open my eyes to see how abundant it is and to understand the role you want me to play in it! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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