DayBreaks for 4/17/17 – Into Thin Air

DayBreaks for 4/17/17: Into Thin Air

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

I recently finished reading Into Thin Air, about the tragic ascent on Mt. Everest that was attempted 2 years ago this month.  A horrible storm swept in while several teams were making their final ascent on the summit.  The result: the highest single death toll for any mountain-climbing incident in history. 

In the May 9 issue of World magazine, Kevin Cusack wrote an article “When Strength Fails”.  Kevin was a friend and climbing partner of Scott Fischer, the man who led the American assault on the summit.  Scott was one of the many who died, frozen to death high up on the side of Everest.  Kevin told of a climb he’d made with Scott about 20 years ago in the Wind River Range of Wyoming:  “The next day, Scott, another climber and I set out on a particularly difficult climb.  After a few hours we found ourselves…on a very narrow ledge.  Below us lay about 3,000 feet of “free space”, commonly known as air.  In front of us lay a 4-foot gap, and above that and to our right was a very smooth nose, which we had to make our way around in order to continue to climb higher.  The move required us to drop across the 4-foot gap, grab a fingertip ledge about 18 inches above our heads, and work our way around the nose using only our fingertips.”

“Because the rock was so smooth, we were unable to find any crack into which to clip our rope; therefore the first climber had to attempt the move unroped, since if he were to fall he would take the 2 other climbers roped to him with him.  All was very quiet as each man waited for someone else to volunteer to go unroped.  Scott’s boldness was being challenged, and in the end he agreed to go first.  Then he did a very curious thing.  He knelt on that thin ledge on one knee for a few seconds, made the sign of the cross, and stood up.  Surprised, I asked, “Scott, what’s the deal?”  He simply replied, “Sometimes you never know.”  …Scott knew many things, but he did not know the answers to life’s most important questions.  One of Scott’s teammates on his fatal Everest climb 2 years ago said, ‘Scott was like a god to us, so strong, fast, and bold, but in the end he was only Scott and he died.'”

Galen’s Thoughts: Scott Fischer was called by Newsweek “one of the strongest climbers in the world”.  He was the guy to be with when you were in a difficult spot.  His confidence got people through the scariest times.  He led people into thin air.  But “he was only Scott and he died”.  Many people today are leading others into dangerous places – into thin air spiritually – rejecting Scripture, presenting a sinful Jesus and telling us that we can determine on our own what is right and wrong, that we only answer to ourselves.  An intoxicating doctrine.  But it is the same lie Satan told Eve.  In the end, these people are only people…and they will die, as Scott died.  Trusting them will be fatal.

Scott hadn’t been a believer.  Kevin prays that while Scott was alone on the wind-swept summit in the -100 degree temperatures that he reached out to God.  We won’t know until the dawn of eternity what happened with Scott.  What can we learn from the fatalities?  Simply this: if your faith is in your strength or anything but God, it will fail you.  2 Tim 4:18: The Lord will rescue me…and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.

PRAYER:  Father, we put far too much trust in our own wisdom, knowledge and abilities.  Forgive us, Father, for such foolishness.  Help us realize that only in You is found safety.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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 3/17/14 – Junior Jesus

DayBreaks for 3/17/14 – Junior Jesus

From my minister friend, Barney Cargile: “A block from our church building lies Montgomery Village, a huge open-air shopping center.  In an effort to draw in shoppers, the center provides free concerts on Saturdays during summer months.  Mostly these concerts consist of “knock-offs” of famous bands, such as The Beatles, Santana and the Pointer Sisters (called “The Poyntless Sisters”…seriously).

“Recently I was at The Village and noted that the weekly concert featured ‘The Rolling S’ Tones’. Their tag-line reads,’The unauthorized version of the Rolling Stones’ (which is code for: ‘The Rolling Stones don’t have a clue we even exist’).  Since I grew up in the hey-day of the Stones and like their music, I decided to check it out.  As I rounded the corner and the band came in view, I froze in my tracks.  There before me on stage stood lead singer Mick Jagger!  No, not really…but he could’ve been his twin.  This guy looked just like Mick Jagger: his face, his hair, his clothes, his moves.  He’d even had collagen pumped in his lips to appear more ‘Jagger-like’.  (I feel certain of that because no one else on the planet could have been born with lips that look identical to Jagger’s!)  As I stood there gaping, it occurred to me, that this dude’s entire identity was wrapped up in trying to imitate someone else.

“Then the reality dawned on me.  Isn’t that our calling as disciples of Jesus?  The word ‘disciple’ carries with it much more than just a ‘follower’; it’s an imitator.  Young Jewish disciples, attempting to imitate their rabbi, would copy his speech, mannerisms, even his style of walking.  When we come to Christ, we’re given a new identity (II Cor.5:17).  In Galatians 2:20 Paul exclaims, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  That’s amazing!  I surrender my identity and lose my sense of ‘self’ in him.  He now defines who I am.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col.3:3).  He takes over my body, my mind, my emotions, my spirit.  I become a walking, talking, moving, breathing ‘Junior Jesus’.

“My encounter with the ‘twin Mick Jagger’ taught me something.  The entirety of my life consists of one simple purpose: to lose my identity in Jesus; for me to decrease and allow Jesus to live his life through me.

PRAYER: Jesus, teach me to walk like You walked and live as You lived! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 06/13/12 – Lessons in Human Nature #3

DayBreaks for 06/13/12 – Lessons in Human Nature #3

Watching from Afar

Mt. 28:9-10 – 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

Today’s text describes Jesus meeting Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” in garden after his resurrection.  How I would have loved to be there to witness the scene, to see the tenderness and joy of the dawning realization that Jesus was no longer dead, but alive!

Jesus was in the city (or just outside of it), and the “my brothers” (the apostles-to-be) were in hiding somewhere in the city.  They were terrified for their own skin ever since the crucifixion.  Jesus was eager to meet with them, to let them see him – alive-forever-more, vibrant with eternal life.  So why not just go into Jerusalem and meet them right then?

Certainly it wasn’t because Jesus was afraid of running into the Romans or the priests and religious leaders who had crucified him.  Jesus wasn’t afraid of them to start with, and now, risen in glory and imbued with all power from the Father, he certainly had nothing to fear from them now.

So, why the instruction to go to Galilee?  It was a long, perilous journey on food or donkey.  Perhaps it’s because if we want to see Jesus, we need to make some effort.  We need to go where He can be found rather than waiting for Him to come to us.

Does Jesus come to us?  Yes.  Must we come to Him?  Yes.  We usually want to meet Jesus on our terms, on ground of our choosing, at times of our choosing.  Jesus, not us, is LORD.  He is the one who chooses the times and seasons o matter how much we might want to think otherwise.

Are you ready to follow his instructions, even when it seems there is a simpler, easier way?  It could be that he is just wanting you to know whether your are truly a follower, one who will go great distances, to be with Him.

PRAYER: Jesus, I know that many times I want you to come to me on my terms, in my timing.  I want the simplest way possible, I want to resist the long, arduous and dangerous journey and I’d rather sit in my recliner and wait for you to come to me.  Re-mold my heart to undertake any journey you lay in front of me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 has just launched another project: to put in a water system for what will be the only pediatric hospital in all of Rwanda!  If you are interested in learning more, go to our blog: http://iam2.org/blog to read about it and learn how you can help! We are trying to raise up a massive army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us deliver this water system through our partner, BeyondPoverty.org.  The budget for this water system is $8300.  Every gift matters…and every gift is appreciated!  They ALL make a difference!

Also, don’t forget our other project, Bright Future Children’s Home.  You can read the latest update about them at the blog, too, and can help us move forward with the feeding, clean water and protection these 37 kids in Kenya need to not just live, but grow!!!  We still need to raise a bit over $4000 to fulfill our mission.  Donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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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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DayBreaks for 07/12/11 – The Signs of a Disciple

DayBreaks for 07/12/11 – The Signs of a Disciple

Matthew 25 contains frightening images of judgment.  It speaks of the time when Christ will come again in glory and He will separate all humanity into those who were his disciples and those who were not.  It is an interesting scenario that Jesus himself (who will do the separating) describes.  During my recent road trip, I was pondering this passage and was rather astounded at what I saw.

If you were to be put on trial, wouldn’t you find it to be a great advantage to know what the criteria for your judgment would be?  It would certainly help you prepare for your defense, wouldn’t it?  And if you knew it far enough in advance, you could change your life to comply with what you knew the judgment criteria would be.  Talk about an advantage heading into a trial!!!!

So, look closely at Matthew 25:31-46.  What you find may shock you.  Not once in that entire passage describing the judgment criteria does Jesus mention anything about frequent attendance at church, never does he mention the topic of correct doctrine or orthodoxy or practice, how generously we give, how much we pray.  He doesn’t mention memorizing Scripture, having a daily quiet time, teaching Sunday school or leading a small group.  No, those things don’t even appear in the list at all.  I suspect that if they did appear we’d feel a lot better about things because the church has majored in such things in America.

So what is there, in the criteria for judgment day?  Feeding the hungry, providing shelter, water, clothing.  Visiting those in distress and hurting alongside those suffering.  These are the things that, according to Jesus’ own words in Matthew 25, will form the criteria on judgment day.  Now how do you feel?

Don’t misunderstand my point: it is GOOD to be in regular worship, to give generously, to pray constantly, to have solid doctrine (while remaining humanly humble at our limited understanding of the things of God!), to memorize the Word, have quiet times and be involved with church service.  Those are all good things: but not the kind of things that save us, or others.

So, what does feeding others, giving water, clothing and companionship have to do with salvation?  I’m still thinking all that through, but here must be part of it: James tells us that God is love.  Jesus tells us that we are to love God above anything else, and our neighbor like ourselves…and that if we do those things, we have kept the law because all the rest of it is based on those two things.  Feeding the hungry in an effort to be saved won’t cut it (it’s an attempt to be saved by works) – but feeding them because we love them is something else entirely.  If we have that kind of love for others that we extend ourselves for them, not only are we obeying the second command, we are opening the door to spiritual discussions that can lead to their acceptance of God’s grace as they see it lived through us.  And, as an extra bonus, we will have conducted our lives in such a way that we’ll be better prepared for the judgment!

Why does Jesus look at those manner of things in judgment rather than orthodoxy and high levels of obedience?  Is it not because God is love…and the things Jesus will be looking at are measures of love and compassion?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for showing us what the day of judgment will be like, and what matters to your heart.  Give us the courage to live so we can please you by helping those in need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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