DayBreaks for 9/06/18 – Great Liars

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DayBreaks for 9/06/18: Great Liars

From the DayBreaks Archive, September 2008:

I have recently had a very precious sister in the Lord tell me that she wouldn’t be coming to church anymore because she felt the Lord was calling her to a time of withdrawal and study.  I must say, I’m perplexed.

I know people who, when I call them, will tell me that they just didn’t “feel” like going to church on the Sunday past.  I must say, I’m perplexed.

I know people who see someone in need but will pass them by, and if asked why, will respond with something along the line of “I didn’t feel led to help.”  I must say, I’m perplexed.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be.  For in all those instances, and hundreds more that could be spelled out, people these days seem to be more interested in their “feelings” about things than about God’s commands.  We might be tempted to say, “It would be dishonest for me to go to a place of worship and praise God when I don’t feel like it.  I would be a hypocrite.”  Yet, when I look at Psalm 122: 4 (NIV), the motivation that Israel was to have to go up to the temple to worship was not because they FELT like it, but because it was according to God’s COMMAND: That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.

In his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson said this: “I have put great emphasis on the fact that Christians worship because they want to, not because they are forced to.  But I have never said that we worship because we feel like it.  Feelings are great liars.  If Christians worshiped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship.  Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith.  Paul Scherer is laconic: ‘The Bible wastes very little time on the way we feel.’

“We live in what one writer has called the ‘age of sensation.’  We think that if we don’t feel something there can be no authenticity in doing it.  But the wisdom of God says something different: that we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting.  Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.”

Pause now for a few moments of reflection.  As you look at your life and your activities – do you determine what you will do based on how you feel, or on what God’s Word decrees?

PRAYER: Holy God, forgive us for letting our feelings become conditions on obeying Your commands!  Let us be led not be our feelings, but by all Your truth.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/22/16 – Too Little, Too Late

DayBreaks for 4/22/16 – Too Little, Too Late

From the DayBreaks archive April 2006:

“UNIONTOWN, Pa. – A man was so angry that his girlfriend wouldn’t heat up sandwiches that he threw a microwave at her and then proceeded to beat her to death. Walter Fordyce told police he argued with his live-in girlfriend, Mary McCann, when things escalated. He threw her to the floor, hurled a microwave oven onto her chest, and then stomped on her chest and banged her head against the floor. However, Fordyce claims his intent wasn’t to kill her. “It was an accident.   I didn’t do it on purpose,” police quoted Fordyce as saying.  He apparently ran to a neighbor’s for help, but nobody was home. He came back home and discovered she had no pulse, but found the time to go downstairs and drink a beer before going to another neighbor’s home to have them call 911.” 

Sometimes stories just don’t make sense.  Sometimes it is easy to tell if someone is telling the truth or making things up.  But sometimes, it isn’t all that easy to know.  In the case of Mr. Fordyce, his story just doesn’t hold water.  His lack of urgency showed that he really wasn’t concerned that his girlfriend might die. 

I wonder how the Lord feels about our “stories.”  I don’t mean the tale of our lives, but the stories we concoct to attempt to fool God.  King Saul tried it when he brought back spoils of war instead of leaving them behind and destroying them all.  God didn’t buy his excuse.  Moses tried excuses with God, too.  God didn’t buy them, either.

When is the last time you made up some crazy excuse to offer God for your disobedience?  I’ve done it far too often.  No, I don’t even speak them out loud, just inside my head, but God hears them just the same and knows that I’m just trying to cover my tracks. 

Mr. Fordyce got around to calling 911 after wandering around the house, having a beer and wasting a lot of time.  It was too little, too late.  When Christ appears again in glory, there will be all kinds of stories offered to him about why people didn’t take action sooner, to declare their faith and put their trust in him before the pulse stops.  Don’t be one of those who makes excuses.  It’ll be too little, too late.  Forever.

PRAYER:  Help us, Lord, to never try to fool you with clever stories and excuses for our disobedience.  Help us to understand the urgency of “coming clean” before you, of seeking your help and salvation while there is still time.  Help us also to realize that not only is our time for action running out, but that of our friends and neighbors and family members, too.  Give us your wisdom to live accordingly to this great truth.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/07/15 – The Day the Whining Stops

DayBreaks for 01/07/15 – The Day the Whining Stops

 

Do you ever get tired of people whining and giving excuses?  I think we all do.  And I know that I far too often catch myself being guilty of excuses for what I either did or didn’t do.

Fred Craddock, a respected preacher and professor, was reflecting on this one time as he was talking about the gospel of John and what John had to say.  Here’s a bit of his reflection:

What’s frightening about listening to John preach is that he puts you in the presence of God. And that’s what everybody wants, and that’s what everybody doesn’t want. Because the light at the altar is different from every other light in the world.

In the dim lamps of this world, we can compare ourselves with each other, and all of us come off looking good. We convince ourselves that God grades on the curve, and what’s the difference? We’re all okay.

And then you come in the presence of God, and you’re at the altar, and it’s all different. For if our hearts condemn us, think of this – – God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. There’s no way to modulate the human voice to make a whine acceptable. The whining is over. The excusing is over. {No more…}”It’s the school, it’s the church, it’s the board, it’s the government.” It isn’t! All that’s over. It just stops. Like waking from a dream of palaces and patios to find the roof leaks and the rent’s due. Like shutting off the stereo, and you hear the rat gnawing in the wall. That’s just the fact of it.

In my mind, I serve God. But there’s another force in my life, and I say, `I’m going to do that.’ I don’t do it. I say, `I’ll never do that.’ I do it. Crucified between the sky of what I intend and the earth of what I perform. That’s the truth.

What will you say on the day the whining stops and you stand at the altar before God?  There will be no more blaming anything on anyone else, no rationalization of our actions because so-and-so did this-and-such.  God isn’t going to listen to whining or excuses or rationalizations.  The responsibility for what we did, and didn’t do, will be squarely where it belongs: on our own heads!

Romans 14:11: For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.

PRAYER: God, we are not what we would like to be.  We are not even what we imagine ourselves to be.  We are creatures of excuses, rationalizations and passing of the buck.  Remind us of the truth that we WILL stand before You excuseless…and that we will have no hope other than Your mercy and grace because of Jesus!  Let us be honest with You, others and ourselves! 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 9/12/14 – Forgiving the Inexcusable

DayBreaks for 9/12/14 – Forgiving the Inexcusable

“God, I can never forgive what he did to me.  What he did is inexcusable!  There is no possible justification other than just pure evil and meanness!”

My guess is that if we haven’t all thought those specific words, we’ve thought things close to them.  Right now, my guess is that the families of the American journalists who were beheaded by ISIS/ISIL have felt those things.  What possible justification is there for what happened to their sons?  What makes any human think that sawing the head off of another human being can be excused for any reason?

How easy it is for us to fall into the trap of thinking that our own wrong-doings are excusable: “Lord, you made me the way I am”, or “Lord, you can’t blame me because my spouse just pushed me too far this time!”  We are all geniuses when it comes to creating excuses for our own actions and thoughts.  And we all have a hard time understanding the motives of others – and an even harder time excusing them and forgiving them.

But, as he often does, C.S. Lewis put it in just one sentence that challenges us in our thinking and attitudes: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

God truly has forgiven the inexcusable in each of us.  Will we do likewise for others?

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT) – Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

PRAYER: Thank you for forgiving us when we have no excuse for what we’d done!  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 3/05/14 – How It Must Sound to God

DayBreaks for 3/06/14 – How It Must Sound to God       

Genesis 3:7-13 (MSG) Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves. 8  When they heard the sound of GOD strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from GOD. 9  GOD called to the Man: “Where are you?” 10  He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.” 11  GOD said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?” 12  The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.” 13  GOD said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?” “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”

I recall when our children little how they would get in trouble for doing something wrong and when they were “caught” or confronted with it, they gave us some hum-dingers of excuses.  Sometimes they made me laugh.

But what’s not so funny is how many times I’ve given really lousy excuses to someone for why I did or didn’t do something. It is shameful, really.  Consider this story from NEWS OF THE WEIRD, dated 3/4/14:

An alcohol-hammered Troy Prockett, 37, was arrested in January near Hudson, Mass., after his car spun out of control on Interstate 290 and he fled on foot, pursued by State Troopers who followed him to a tree, which he had climbed to about 30 feet up. Playing innocent, Prockett asked if the Troopers had yet ‘caught the guy who was driving.’ The driver was still loose, Prockett said, even though only one set of footprints led to the tree (but, Prockett explained, that was because the real driver was carrying him piggyback!). Finally, as firefighters were arriving to climb after him, Prockett (according to the Troopers’ report) ‘rambled on about being an owl.‘” [WCVB-TV (Boston), 1-9-2014]

I have to admit that Mr. Prockett deserves an “A” for effort, but an “F” for the believability of his excuses. When I read this, though, my thoughts drifted quickly to how foolish our excuses must sound to God. It’s been that way since Adam and Eve both tried to pass the buck in the garden. Adam, in typical manly fashion, blamed the woman. Eve quickly decided to pass the blame on along to a talking serpent. If it hadn’t been for the seriousness of what had happened (which, by the way, didn’t surprise God), I would have imagined that God may have laughed at the frivolous excuses proffered by the first couple.

Our excuses, like those of our kids, may seem funny at times, but when we are trying to pass off the blame for our actions (“My wife doesn’t meet my needs so I had to find someone who would,” or “My husband always forgets our special days and never has time for me, but my co-worker thinks I’m terrific so I fell into an affair”, etc.) to someone or something else, God won’t let us get away with it. And our sinfulness is never a laughing matter.

Fortunately, when we are woman or man enough to own up to our failures, God is merciful and gracious, and eager to forgive when we turn from our wrong and move back to Him.

PRAYER: Lord, I imagine that our excuses and explanations sound frivolous to You, but the actions and thoughts that prompt them are never funny. Remind us again of the seriousness of sin and the certainty of our own responsibility for choosing that which is wrong.  Thank You for being so gracious and forgiving and patient with our foolishness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

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 10/31/13 – What Can, and Can’t, Be Changed

DayBreaks for 10/31/13 – What Can, and Can’t, Be Changed

Luke 1:37 (MSG)  Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.

You hear all sorts of things as a pastor.  Some of them make you laugh inside that someone could actually believe or have done the things they describe.  Some break your heart at the pain their actions have brought home to roost.  Some just frustrate the heck out of you, doggone it!!! 

Here’s a case in point (and I’ve had this said to me on multiple occasions by numerous people): “I can’t change.  I’m too old (or in an alternative explanation, “too set in my ways.”)  Well, if I were given to the use of foul language, there’s a thing or two I’d say about that kind of attitude.  I won’t tell you what the first thing would be, but the second would be something like this: “What!?!? That’s not a Christian attitude at all!  Have you never read the Bible?” It is enough to make a pastor want to punch them in the nose (and that’s a very unpastor-ly thing to say!)

A famous preacher once said, “When people tell me that human nature cannot be changed, I am moved to reply that in light of my experience, human nature may well be the only thing that CAN BE CHANGED!”  

I believe that the preacher nailed it.  We can’t change the courses of the moon or the sun or stars. We cannot change or suspend the laws of physics. We cannot change the ebb and flow of the ocean.  We cannot change where we were born or where and when it is appointed unto us to die. That being true, the pages of the Bible reverberate with testimonies of the lives, purposes, events, and habits which have been changed and which can be changed.  At the top of that list is the human heart and our behavior.

Jesus didn’t come so we could and would stay the same.  He came to transform us, to renew us.  God doesn’t give us a pass when we get older.  He doesn’t give us a pass because we’re too set in our ways to change.  If anything, as we get older, we should be more and more conformed to the image of His Son, not making excuses for our failure in that regard! 

Time to stop making excuses for our bad behavior, because that’s precisely what “I can’t change!” is doing!

PRAYER: With you, all things are possible.  With you, anything situation can be changed!  Change our attitudes from defeatism to a victor’s attitude.  Change our hearts to be completely committed hearts.  We want to be done with excuses for our human weakness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

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 support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations 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 donate to his support.  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. 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 the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 07/26/13 – Ain’t No Good Excuse

DayBreaks for 07/26/13 – Ain’t No Good Excuse  

02_01_banquetLuke 14:15-20 (NLT) Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!” 16  Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17  When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18  But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19  Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20  Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’

The man sitting at the table with Jesus (do you think he had any idea what a privilege that was!?!?!) had it right: what a blessing it will be to feast at the banquet in the Kingdom of God! 

It is hard to believe there are those who reject the invitation.  Why would they do such a thing?  The reasons they give are frivolous, but perhaps that’s the point: any excuse that a person uses for not coming to such a banquet makes no sense when compared with what they are missing.  Excuses are just excuses…they don’t hold water in the final analysis, nor do they make much sense when exposed to the light of day.

But what of the excuses I make for not being with the Lord more than I am?  Do they hold water any more than the excuses given to the giver of the banquet for not coming to the feast?  Every time I choose something else over Him, I’m giving an excuse.  All the excuses started with a key word: “I”….  That’s been our problem since day one, hasn’t it?

PRAYER: Thank you for the invitation to come to you and dine and fellowship!  Open our eyes to see the great privilege you have extended to us and forgive us for the excuses we give for why we cannot spend time with you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is working as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  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 for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

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