DayBreaks for 1/24/17 – Where Is Jesus?

DayBreaks for 1/24/17: Where Is Jesus?

John 12:26 (NLT) – Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

The meaning of disciple is “follower”. For most, when we think of a disciple, we think of a disciple of Jesus, but a disciple can be any person who follows a teacher or a teaching or a way of life.

Jesus is very clear: if you want to be his disciple, you have to follow him. It isn’t an optional statement or something he said “off the cuff” without thinking it through. If you want to be his disciple, you “…must be where I am.”

Of course, we are familiar with the verse about Jesus that scares us all out of our minds: that we must take up our cross and follow him. But that’s not the point here today. It may sound strange, but I think we need to ask the obvious, simple question: where is Jesus?

Jesus is in your work place today. He is in your school. He is in the hospital. He is in the church. He is in your home. He is on your playground and fitness club. He is in the restaurant where you will eat today. He is in your neighborhood. He is…everywhere.

Jesus isn’t in all those places just for curiosity’s sake or because he’s spying on folks. He is there because he wants to do something there – to touch someone’s life and change them forever. He is there because there is human need wherever there are humans. And you must be there with him – imitating him, doing the things he is doing to comfort and confront, challenge and uplift, encourage and engage people with the reality of who he is and of what he wants for them.

Are you up to the challenge? You must be where he is, doing what he does. If you aren’t, the question must be asked: are you truly a disciple?

PRAYER: Let us be with you all day today, Lord, and with each interaction, help us to imitate you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/21/15 – Choosing Whom to Follow

DayBreaks for 7/21/15: Choosing Whom to Follow

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/19/2005:

Bizarre News, 7/9/2005: ISTANBUL, Turkey – “It all started when one lone sheep jumped from a cliff to its death. Then Turkish shepherds watched stunned as nearly 1,500 others followed suit, each leaping off the same cliff. When it was all over, 450 dead sheep lay on top of each other in a white, furry pile. “There’s nothing we can do. They’re all wasted,” Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam. The sheep suicide is bad news to families in the town of Gevas, who are suffering an estimated loss of over $100,000.”

No one has ever accused sheep of being smart.  Smelly?  Oh, yeah.  Sheepish?  Sure.  Stupid?  Definitely!  Let me assure you that these sheep that leaped off the cliff didn’t do so because they had confidence in their leader.  Sheep tend to not follow anything very well – it’s sort of like herding cats.  Sheep usually just put their head down and keep walking in the direction of the “leader”.  Sadly, in this case, the sheep hadn’t all made a suicide pact – they just were following the wrong leader.

It is so common today to pick a leader and follow them no matter what.  We see it happening in politics.  We see it happening in businesses, in school, and in churches.  Someone who is charismatic and charming, witty and personable, who has a gift for making others relax and who can communicate a vision is a prime candidate for leadership.  The lead sheep in this story had a vision perhaps – it may have seen the green grass far below and thought how great it would be to be able to fly to the pasture land to munch on some of that green stuff.  But it was a bad vision, if that was the case.

As we choose those we will emulate from a spiritual standpoint, I hope and pray that God will give us discernment to follow not the sheep, but the Shepherd.  It’s so easy to get caught up in a charismatic leader with an exciting vision.  Let’s just be sure that it is the Lord’s vision, not the leader’s vision.  Otherwise, we may wind up at the bottom of a hill in a pile with a lot of other dead sheep. 

Ps. 80:1-3 – Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Israel like a flock.  O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.  Show us your mighty power.  Come to rescue us!  Turn us again to yourself, O God.  Make your face shine down upon us.  Only then will we be saved.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Let us hear Your voice clearly and resolve to only follow You and those who are true to the Word of Life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/16/12 – And Lead Me

DayBreaks for 03/16/12 – And Lead Me

...and lead me in the way everlasting.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. – Psalm 139:23-24

Psalm 139 has been my favorite for as long as I can remember.  It starts out inviting God to examine our hearts, goes into His infinite and total knowledge of everything about us.  Then, it concludes with again asking him to know our hearts and our thoughts.

This morning during worship, we read together the verses above, and I’ve often thought about the parts which invite God to search my heart and to know it.  Truth be told, I’m not sure I know my own heart all that well.  I know at some level what I want to be true of my heart.  Sadly, I seldom live up to what I want to be and do.  All of which makes me wonder if I really know my heart at all.  Therefore, it is wise for us to ask God to search our hearts…and then to point out to us what He finds there.

But the part of the verses that struck me this morning was the last phrase: “and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”  Do we want God to lead us along that pathway?  Really?  God won’t lead us unless we are willing to be led.  We think of being led as a bad thing, implying that we aren’t capable of finding our own way or of getting to where we want to go.  It seems to suggest that there is something deficient in us if we have to be lead.  When it comes to our own wisdom and ability to successfully navigate a pathway from this temporal life to an everlasting life, aren’t those things true?

Are you willing to not be in charge, to put your hand in His and let Him lead you?  If not, there is no way you will ever reach that everlasting and eternal home.

PRAYER: Lord, our vision is so limited, yet we think we see clearly the pathway of life.  Give us humility that we can yield to Your lead in peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/25/11 – The Actions of a Disciple

DayBreaks for 11/25/11 – The Actions of a Disciple

"Follow me..."

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. 20 Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!” Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.” 21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.­ – 1 Kings 19:19-21

This past week I was given new insight to this story by Kyle Idelman’s Not a Fan.  I’d read and heard the story before, but never in this context.  The great prophet Elijah (considered by the Jews themselves to be the greatest of the prophets), was told that he should select Elisha to be his disciple and successor as prophet in Israel.  When Elijah finds him, Elisha is out plowing his fields with 12 yoke of oxen.  This is a sign of Elisha’s great wealth.  By far the vast majority of people in his time were too poor to own an ox, or if they had an ox, they had AN OX – just one.  Not Elisha.  Elisha as 12 yoke (at least 24!) of oxen.  When Elisha receives the invitation to follow after Elijah and be his disciple, he doesn’t try to keep his business going on the side or negotiate the terms of his discipleship.  Instead, Elisha slaughters all 24 oxen, puts all his plows together and burns them.  The people of the community were invited to come and he barbecued the oxen and fed all his neighbors.  He was making a very clear statement that he would not be looking backwards with longing.  He was committing himself to give God his full attention – no holds barred, nothing held back.  Elisha understood a truth that we try to avoid: that God desperately wants us, but he won’t share us.

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

Jesus, the very Son of God, has said to us, “Follow me!”  Will we be placing limits on our discipleship? Or will we destroy and get rid of everything in our lives, IMMEDIATELY, to follow?

PRAYER: It is hard to let go of our wants, of our very selves, so that we can follow you without looking back.  Give us the courage to burn our plows so there is nothing to entice us backwards!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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