DayBreaks for 8/03/17 – Lessons From a Little Child

Charlie

DayBreaks for 8/03/17: Lessons From a Little Child

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:

My oldest son, Doug, recently wrote this in his blog:

“My four-year-old son and I went for a swim at our neighborhood pool on Saturday in the early evening. Though it was still quite warm out, we had the place to ourselves. After our swim we pulled up a couple chairs to sit and dry, facing toward the declining sun. It was a lovely scene: the still, shadowed water of the pool surrounded by an ivied fence; the tall eucalypti and willows stirring languidly in the breeze; the hummingbirds darting through the flowered margins of the grounds; the playful cries of a pair of hawks dashing through the treetops.
We sit silent a moment or two and then my son folds his hands on his lap and says, “Let’s have a conversation.”
“All right,” I say. “What should we talk about?”
“You decide, Papa.”
“Okay. So tell me,” I say, recalling a conversation we had that morning, “do you really think you’d like to be a fireman on a train when you grow up?”
“Yes, a fireman, who shovels the coal and fires it up to keep the train moving.”
“That sounds like a good job.”
“Yes, but I won’t have any little boys or girls or a wife when I’m a fireman.”
“You won’t?”
“No… Can a fireman be married and have little boys and girls?”
“Well, yes, he can.”
“But how can he if he’s always working on the train?”
“He comes home sometimes, you know.”
“Oh… Can all workers have wives and little boys and girls?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“I didn’t know that.”
I stretch my legs out in front of me while my 4-year old son digests this new revelation. He pulls his chair closer and rests his hand on my arm. We sit quietly for half a minute. I take a deep breath and sigh.
“You know,” I say, “I think it’s wonderfully relaxing just to sit here and listen to the wind and the songs of the birds, don’t you?”
“You know what I like better, Papa?”
“What?”
“To sit in a very uncomfortable rocking chair outside and listen to the sounds of forklifts!”
“Really?” I ask, astonished. “An uncomfortable chair? Forklifts?”
“Yes,” he answers. “But what can a forklift lift, and what can a forklift not lift? You tell me.”
“Well,” I say, “a forklift can lift a pallet stacked with heavy boxes and things, but a whole house would be too heavy for it.”
“Yes, but I bet a house wouldn’t be too heavy for an elephant-sized forklift.”
“You mean a forklift so big it could only be operated by elephants? That kind of a forklift?”
“Yes, by elephants. That kind.

“I suppose you’re right, son.”

Galen’s Thoughts:

FIRST: I am struck by my grandson’s commitment to his passion.  Even though he labored under the illusion that a fireman on a train couldn’t have children or a wife, he has a passion in his heart to be such a fireman regardless of the cost.  The apostle Paul describes people who came to Christ, but who then turned back because they loved the things of this world more than they loved Jesus.  They weren’t willing to give up the things of this world to follow the Lord.  Charlie was ready to give up all future hope of a family to fulfill a passion.  Where is my passion, where is yours?  What is it worth to you?  What will you give up to follow Him if He calls you?

SECOND: I don’t think my grandson really believes, at 4 years of age, that elephants can run forklifts.  But he thinks big.  Age has a way of making us think small – and smaller as time goes by.  We limit not only ourselves, but more importantly, the actions of God because we have concluded in advance that a situation is impossible – so we never step out in faith to watch God do HUGE things.

THIRD: it is a good thing to have conversations with your dad.  The day comes when you can’t.  It’s even better to talk with God while we have the chance.  We’ll learn amazing things if we listen to His voice – and we will be delighted with the conversation, just as my son delighted in this conversation with his own boy.

FINALLY: maybe you’ve had a tough week.  I hope this story brought a smile to your face and will remind you that not everything in the world is a deadly serious as we sometimes make it out to be.  Enjoy your weekend!

PRAYER:  Oh, Lord!  Fire the passion in our hearts, give us hearts ready and eager to give up everything to follow You when you call.  Help us to believe – and to expect great things from You through Your great power.  Delight us with Your voice and Presence, and let us laugh and rejoice more than we do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/13/17 – The Yoke of the Rabbi

DayBreaks for 7/13/17: The Yoke of the Rabbi

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

I remember what it was like working in the business world.  I loved the people I worked with, but I must say that I never enjoyed that work as much as what I now do.  I recall how I’d be given an assignment by the VP that I reported to and it would seem to be an impossible request.  And, if the truth be told, at times it was.  You just couldn’t get there from here.  Yet, there was an expectation on his part that somehow, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, what it was that he desired would magically appear.  Sometimes it happened (by God’s goodness!), but at other times, the rabbit was stillborn.

Expectations.  Instructions.  They can be crushing, can’t they?  If you work or have ever worked, or even if you haven’t, you have had expectations placed upon you that at times were easy to live up to, and at other times were like a 10,000 pound load of bricks.  Such things weigh heavily on our minds, bodies and souls.

Enter a young rabbi from Nazareth.  One day, after his teaching had been rejected at Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, Jesus pronounced a woe on those cities for their failure to turn from their sin to the sinless God.  It wasn’t a pretty scene.  But then comes one of the best known of Jesus’ statements: Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

What is the yoke that Jesus is describing?  In the Jewish culture, every rabbi had what was referred to as a “yoke of teaching.”  Simply put, a rabbi’s yoke was their teachings, his instructions.  Jesus was saying that his instructions were easy, that as opposed to the teachings of the other rabbis (especially the Pharisees with their emphasis on rules and obedience), his teachings were light. His burden was one that could be carried!

I fear that many churches have not been teaching the yoke of this Rabbi.  We make it far too hard for people to enter the kingdom.  In Matthew 23:13 Jesus takes the Pharisees to task specifically for not allowing their students to enter the kingdom.  Their concept of admittance to the kingdom was based on people being good enough to qualify, to earn God’s favor.  That is NOT the message of Jesus Christ!  This perverted view of what Christianity is about has kept many men and women from the kingdom.  And the curses that Jesus pronounced on the Pharisees for laying that heavy yoke on those who sought rest will fall today on those who likewise raise barriers to admittance to the kingdom of God.

Jesus said his yoke of teaching was light, that it fits perfectly.  It doesn’t rub or chafe, resulting in ulcerated, bleeding sores.  It is comfortable, barely noticeable.  His teaching was summarized in two commandments and a statement: Love God, love your fellow man.  Believe in me and my work on your behalf.  That’s it.  He offers a relationship, not rules.  He offered grace, not impossibilities.

Are you trying to carry a back-breaking burden of teaching and rules?  Lay it down.  Pick up the yoke that Jesus would give you.  And stop bleeding.  

PRAYER:  We are so grateful, Jesus, that you know and understand our weak frame.  You know that we could never carry the burden of holiness on our own shoulders, nor reach a level of obedience that would qualify us for Heaven.  Thank you for a light burden that is a perfect fit.  May we lay down the heavy load and take up the light yoke of Your teaching.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/30/15 – Great Expectations

DayBreaks for 12/30/15: Great Expectations

In just two days the new year will come screaming in like a newborn baby. We don’t have much choice about it – there’s nothing we can do to stop its arrival. You may face the coming year with a bit of anxiety or even fear. No one can tell you what the new year will hold for you and your loved ones. We shall have to wait and see.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t all have hopes for the new year, and dare I say it, even expectations? Most all of us expect that our health will probably be about the same as it was in 2015. Most will be correct about that expectation. Some will not. Most of us expect to have another Christmas season to spend with our loved ones, but some will not have that blessing. Most expect that they’ll continue to be employed, but some will certainly receive pink slips in the coming year. Some who are sick now may be better by the end of 2016. Some who are now single will find love and life-time companions for the journey. Some are expecting little bundles of joy and will receive them.

Expectations are common to all of us. But what happens when our expectations are not fulfilled? How will you deal with the frustrated expectations you will experience this coming year? They may be related to your marriage, your children, your work, your school, friendships or other matters. One thing for sure is that you will have some unmet expectations.

Let me suggest this: don’t let them shatter your faith! Dreams may be broken, but that doesn’t mean you faith needs to be busted and destroyed. It is important to remember this about expectations and faith: faith increases when Jesus, rather than an expected outcome or result, is the object of our faith.

Here’s one expectation that we would all do well to hold tightly to this coming year: Jesus will never either leave us or forsake us. We may feel at times during this coming year that he is not there – but that’s more a problem with our expectation of how we sense his presence than the reality of his presence and concern.

Don’t let broken expectations break your faith. Hold tightly to it – and to Jesus!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father God, as we prepare for what the coming year may hold, we ask you to keep our expectations in check and our response to unmet expectations serve to strengthen our faith rather than weaken or destroy it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 10/22/15 – This Messiah Does!

DayBreaks for 10/22/05: This Messiah Does!

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

It is no secret that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day didn’t think that Jesus was the Messiah.  It wasn’t that they didn’t want the Messiah to come – Israel had prayed for the Messiah to appear for 1800 years.  They desperately wanted Him to come!  But what they got wasn’t what they’d expected, and that led to His rejection.  Israel wanted a Messiah who would rule with a rod of iron from David’s throne in Israel, that would free Israel from the Roman domination that irked them so.  They wanted a Messiah that was so clearly the Messiah that there would be no questions.  Perhaps they expected that the Messiah would come throwing thunderbolts at the Samaritans and Gentiles.  After all, some of the Jewish Rabbi’s taught that the reason God had created Gentiles was so that He’d have enough fuel to keeps the fires of hell burning with them!

We often don’t get what we hope or expect.  I can remember the first time when I didn’t get what I’d hoped I’d get for Christmas.  Even today, if there’s something that I really want for Christmas, if I don’t get it, there is a tinge of sadness and disappointment.  Shame on me for that, but it’s true.  It’s not a very comfortable feeling to long for something, and then when you finally get it, it’s not as exciting or fun or fulfilling as you’d dreamt it would be.

And so it was with Jesus.  No, he didn’t come throwing thunderbolts to fry His enemies.  This Messiah came to seek and save – not to destroy with hunderbolts.  The messiah they’d expected would come and put sinners in their place.  But that’s not what Jesus did.  This Messiah came, not to put sinners in their place, but to take them out of their place and give them a home in His Place.  The religious leaders said that no prophet of God would allow themselves to be touched by a leper, to talk to a Samaritan, to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors, nor to die in the place of His enemies. 

But the truth is that they didn’t know This Messiah.  This Messiah loves with an unfailing love; this Messiah not only touches lepers but also women with issues of blood and dead bodies.  Instead of those contacts making Him unclean, those touches made the leper, the woman and the dead body clean and well and alive.  The Messiah shouldn’t heal on the Sabbath – but This Messiah does.  The Messiah should be a stern authoritarian – but This Messiah is a servant.  The Messiah that showed up spoke about an easy burden, about giving rest and unbearable rules, and He gave love to all those that had for so long been told in word and action that they were not loved, couldn’t not be loved for they were too sinful, and who had given up hope as a result.

Jesus withholds no good thing from us.  Does He love you?  This Messiah does.  Does He weep for you?  This Messiah does.  Will this Messiah come into your broken, bloody and checkered life?  This Messiah will.  This is the kind of Messiah that we long to have, but for which we had no right to dream.  And once again, God has given us something far better than we could ever have dreamt or imagined.  Praise be to His name for THIS Messiah!

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to place our faith fully and completely in you.  Help us not to project our own limitations and small-mindedness onto You and the things You can do.  Help us to remember that our Messiah loves us with a love that will not let us go.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

Isaiah 55:2 (NLT) Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.

A preacher recently told a story about when his grandmother died.  Some time after her death, his mother received a notice from the bank that her grandmother had left not just one, but two, safe deposit boxes in their vault and that the contents would now be passed along to the preacher’s mom. 

The family was astounded by this and wondered what might be in the boxes?  The grandmother’s husband had died 20 years prior, and the family speculated that perhaps the grandmother had set aside cash or jewelry or other items such as stocks or bonds to help cover her own living expenses as she aged.  The mystery and excitement grew as time passed and the family was finally able to get to the bank.

After clearly everything legally and with all the paperwork done, the family was escorted into the vault where they first box was opened and much to their surprise it contained nothing but air.  Air is valuable, but it is not what they were hoping for.  Yet, one box still remained.  They moved to that box and opened it fingers crossed (mentally if not physically!) only to find that it, too, contained nothing but air!

Their hopes and dreams had been disappointed.  It is part of the human condition.

As people, we search for meaning and worth and love…often coming up with nothing but air as a result of the pursuit.  We keep thinking that “Surely, this is the one!” or “This is my ticket to wealth!” only to find that it turns out to be nothing but vapor. 

What is the cost?  The emotional toll is very high…and we can spend our entire life looking in the wrong places, opening one box after another after another, never finding anything that satisfies, nothing that was worth the effort.  Yet we persist opening boxes, looking everywhere but the one place we can truly find satisfaction and joy. 

God offers us the very best – He offers us Himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  Isn’t it about time to give Jesus a try?  Isn’t it time to stop running from box to box, place to place, lover to lover and to run to the only Lover who will never abandon you? 

He’s waiting for you!

PRAYER: Jesus, forgive our foolish pursuits! Open our hearts to Your love, to the riches that are hidden only in a relationship with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises 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!

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DayBreaks for 02/03/14 – An Equal Opportunity Disappointer – Disappointment #4

DayBreaks for 2/03/14 – An Equal Opportunity Disappointer – Disappointment #4

Proverbs 23:17-18 (NLT) Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD. 18  You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.

Christians are not immune from disappointment. The gospels are full of people who were disappointed with Jesus – both good and bad people. John the Baptist (whom was the greatest of those born to women according to Jesus himself) was disappointed. He couldn’t see the signs that he expected to see from the Messiah, so while he languished in prison, he sent messengers to try to clarify about this Jesus. John was not a milquetoast. He lived in the desert, at locusts and honey, dressed in camel hair, was homeless apparently. He was not the kind to have his spirit broken by a prison cell. He knew the fate that befell most of the prophets. I doubt he was surprised at his incarceration at all. But his spirit was broken. Where was the evidence of this Messiah who was his earthly cousin? It didn’t seem very Messianic at all.

In Matthew 3:1-2, John told people what to expect of Jesus: he would gather the grain and burn he chaff with unquenchable fire. But what was Jesus doing? Wandering the hillsides of Galilee, healing people, preaching good news. John had done his job of preparing the kindling for Jesus by preaching repentance, but Jesus didn’t seem interested.

It is one thing when we are disappointed by our tax return (or lack thereof), or when we have to settle for stir-fry for dinner instead of a thick, juicy steak. Or when the weather was supposed to be nice but takes a sudden, unexpected shift for the worse. We know life is disappointing and that we will be disappointed often.

But we expect better treatment at the hand of God, don’t we? Theology tells us that God never changes – that he is always reliable. But even good theology can lead us to bad practices if we are not careful. That’s part of our problem, as John Koessler (The Surprising Grace of Disappointment) points out: we “confuse reliability with predictability…because we think God’s mind and ours are the same, we set goals for God.”

Cases in point: we pray for a healing but the person dies. The promotion we prayed and work towards for years is given to someone else. The person we have fallen for head over heels doesn’t even notice we exist, or if they do, they don’t love us in return.

Koessler continues: “Our difficulty is not that we have set the bar so high that we must now come to terms with God’s inability to come through for us. The problem is just the opposite. We know what God can do. We believe that He can live up to our high expectations…We are not troubled because we have misread the signals. What really bothers us is that we have misread the sender. We are deeply disturbed, not merely because God has failed to do what we wanted Him to do. Not even that He failed to do what we expected Him to do. We are haunted by the fact that God hasn’t done what we know in our hearts that He should have done.”

So, what’s the point? Koessler argues that we are disappointed so often with Jesus and God because we are too worldly minded. Our disappointment springs from the fact that we are primarily interested in a comfortable, easy earthly life and we are troubled by earthly sorrows. If we are to overcome earthly disappointments, we must do so by remembering that there are worse sorrows ahead (hell) and also better joys (heaven) that cannot even be described using earthly terms. When Jesus was asked why a man was sick – was it his sin or his parent’s sin? – Jesus said it was neither, but it was done so God could be glorified. I doubt that was much consolation to the man or his parents, but it was true if we can believe Jesus.

In summary, we, like John, are disappointed with Jesus because we can’t see what He is really doing. “…we have been laboring under a major misapprehension. Jesus came for us, but that does not mean he came to please us. Jesus came for us, but He does not answer to us. Jesus came for us, but He will not subject Himself to our agenda, no matter how good that agenda might be.”

When face with great disappointment, we want explanations. We think they’ll make us feel better. Maybe they wouldn’t…maybe they’d make us feel even worse. What does Jesus give us when we want an explanation? The same thing Job found when he demanded to have a reason: God just gave Job Himself…and Jesus offers us Himself, period.

The truth? Jesus disappoints everybody.  Everybody, that is, except for One. And that is the only One that matters, the One who holds sway over all creation, all events, and who will one day see to it that all things are made right according to His will and purpose. We may be disappointed now by how we see Him managing the universe, but we won’t be disappointed once we curtain has been lifted!

PRAYER: Lord, disappointment haunts us in our sleep and in our waking hours. I am grateful that you, in your incarnation, knew and understood disappointment, too. Strengthen our faith in Your will being perfect for us! 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 12/11/13 – I Expect More of You!

DayBreaks for 12/11/13 – I Expect More of You

NOTE: Galen will be traveling the week of 12/8.  New DayBreaks will resume the following week.

From the DayBreaks Archive, 2003:

Matthew 11:20-24 (MsgB)  – “Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.  21″Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had seen half of the powerful miracles you have seen, they would have been on their knees in a minute. 22At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you. 23And Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had had your chances, the city would still be around. 24At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you.”

Just like the tri-city area in Minneapolis and other locations around the country, the land of Palestine had a famous tri-city area, too.  In this passage, the three cities that Jesus addresses are Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.  What do we know about these cities?

Chorazin: we don’t know anything more about this city as it is not mentioned anywhere else.  It is believed to have been 2 miles from the city of Capernaum.

Bethsaida: this was the location of the miracle of the feeding of the 6000, of the blind man who received his sight and numerous other healings of those who were sick.  It was also the home of 3 of the apostles.

Capernaum: this city was Jesus’ home once he began his public ministry.  As such, it is a place where he commonly taught in the synagogue, and there are several passages that refer to this.  In addition, it was the location of the healing of the centurion’s servant, of Peter’s mother-in-law, of the paralytic who was healed, the casting out of an evil spirit/demon, and the healing of a child.  Because this was the home of Jesus during his ministry, this was the most favorable place on earth, a city with tremendously exalted privileges.

What caused Jesus’ anger to be directed against these three cities?  Simply this: these 3 towns were the location of nearly 50% of the recorded miracles that Jesus performed.  If I may take the liberty of paraphrasing what Jesus was saying, it’s this: “I expect more of you than this…”.  After all, having witnessed such testimonies to the fact that he was the Son of God, they should have responded better to him than they did.  In fact, of the three heathen cities he referred to (Tyre, Sidon and Sodom), it is said that they’ll fare better in the day of judgment than Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.  It should not surprise us, therefore, to learn that all 3 of the cities in Galilee that Jesus mentioned no longer exist…they are merely piles of rubble where life once thrived.

But, while all this is interesting (at least I think it is!), I would be guilty of a huge oversight if I fail to apply the word to my life.  I’ve seen God do many things in my lifetime, many mighty and wonderful things, and what has been my response?  If you are a child of His, you’ve seen great things, too.  How have you responded?  What would Jesus say to us, if instead of naming towns, he named names that included you and I?

Luke 12:48 (NLT)  – “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”

Copyright by 2003 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: God of mercy, Lord of grace – we are speechless because of your goodness!  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 make either a one-time or recurring (monthly) donation for his support.  If you have any questions, call 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 and Guidestar.

Thank you!