DayBreaks for 3/7/19 – A Personal Friend

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DayBreaks for 3/07/19: A Personal Friend

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

Much is said these days about being friends with God or Jesus.  It was not always so.  For many long years (centuries probably, and millennia possibly) mankind was so much in awe of the Divine Creator that some groups wouldn’t even dare to pronounce His name.  Others held that the gods were disinterested in the doings of mere mortals…except to use us as their playthings for times when they got bored.  And, of course, there have always been those who blasphemed and spoke ill of their “gods”, too.   

But when Jesus came, he turned those notions upside down.  He said he would not longer call his disciples servants, but friends.  He taught His disciples to pray using the term, Abba (Daddy), when speaking to the Father. 

Yet, how does one really get to know God personally?  In his book, Reaching for the Invisible God, Phillip Yancey wrote: “In Jesus’ day the answer was shocking simple: you know him the same way you know anybody.  You introduce yourself, shake hands, strike up a conversation, inquire about his family.  Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy.  Does God really want close contact with us?  Jesus gave up Heaven for it.  In person he reestablished the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.”

In the Old Testament, God is spoke of and called “Father” a total of 11 times.  But what a change when we get to the New Testament, that refers to God as our Father a stunning 170 times! 

How do you get to know God personally?  Get to know Jesus.  Read the gospels, but don’t just read them.  On each page are jewels to be gathered about the nature of Jesus, of the things that stirred his heart, the way little things caught his attention and the way he reacted to people, places and things.  You can read his words.  And, through the Spirit, He is with us still.  While you may not be able to shake his hand as the disciples long ago did, you can still talk to him – and listen to him.  Oh, how much we miss by not asking him to speak with us more than we do!  Somewhere we got this infernal idea that prayer is about talking.  It’s not.  It’s to be far more about listening, I believe.

Yes, Jesus is a friend and a personal one at that.  But he’s also far more than just a personal friend, this friend is God.

Prayer: What a friend we have in Jesus!  We give you glory Father God for such a perfect revelation of Yourself!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 4/25/17 – Don’t Beat Your Donkey

DayBreaks for 4/25/17: Beating Your Donkey

Note: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

The story of Balaam and his talking donkey is in Numbers 22.  Balaam was on his way to do something wrong, riding happily along on his donkey, when the way was blocked by an angel that the donkey could see but that Balaam couldn’t.  (That should have been the first clue that Balaam was blind to spiritual things!!!)  Because Balaam couldn’t see the angel and he was impatient, he started to beat the donkey.  Imagine his surprise when the donkey asked why he was beating her (vs. 28)!  Well, if it wasn’t humbling enough for Balaam to be questioned by a donkey, in Numbers 22:32, he is asked by God’s angel (who Balaam can now see): Why have you beaten your donkey…?  I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. 

In a World Magazine, May 2, 1998 article titled “Donkey Talk”, Jay Grelen noted how a friend told him that he (Jay) acted as if he had a “sense of entitlement”, i.e., that he deserved to be treated a certain way, to be given certain privileges and treatment.  Jay was shocked, but came to see the words from his friend like the words from the donkey of Balaam.  Note what he says in his article: “Here’s what He (God) tells believers throughout the Bible: ‘I have redeemed you, yes, but I still hate, yes, with a burning passion, the sin in you as much as I hate the sin in those yet unredeemed.’  I needed to hear that.  I had convinced myself that my sins, especially the “small ones”, were less reprehensible in me than in others.”

“God exposed my superior attitude (which I kept neatly hidden even from my view) and showed how my sense of superiority led to my Sense of Entitlement.  ‘Of course I deserve more money, a better house, a book deal, a Pulitzer Prize, a comfortable life.’  ‘Why do you want to with a Pulitzer Prize?’, God asked.  “You know, God, so we can have believers succeeding in secular journalism.  So I can be a witness of You.’  ‘Tell me again?’  ‘Um, so I can make more money and be famous and rich and have a book deal.'”

“…a Sense of Entitlement fuels discontent and ingratitude – but I needed a reminder that when I think I deserve more, I’m saying God hasn’t given me enough.  In complaining about my situation, I’m biting the Hand that blesses me by already giving me more than enough…”

Galen’s Thoughts:  In the Old Testament, Shimei, one of Saul’s descendants was spitting on and mocking David as he fled from Absolom’s rebellion.  One of David’s men wanted to kill Shimei for disrespecting the king, but David wouldn’t let him.  David said, in essence, “No.  He may be right.  God may want me to hear what Shimei is saying.  I may need to hear it – no matter how uncomfortable it is.” 

Is God using some of your two-legged friends in your life as a “talking donkey” to give you a message you might not otherwise hear?  If so, don’t beat them – thank God for them!  You may be headed down a crooked and perverse path and He is warning you – perhaps even through the words of a donkey!

PRAYER:  Thank you, Lord, for the many ways you try to break through to us, to get our attention and turn us back to your ways.  Let us have ears that hear, hands that are willing, and hearts that are eager to obey.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 9/26/16 – Can You Believe It?

 

DayBreaks for 9/26/16 – Can You Believe It?     

There are verses in the bible that are not all that exciting. For example, you can find a lot of them in Numbers! But then there are verses that blow us away…or at least, they should. Here’s one such passage:

Romans 8:30-31 (NLT) – And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Please pay special attention to the last sentence and the first five words: If God is for us…  Paul isn’t really asking the question or posing a hypothetical. He is stating a fact based on the truth of the preceding verse where he declares what God has done for us through Jesus…and he’s calling those verses in context to witness to the fact that God IS for us…the “If” is only there to be juxtaposed against the last six word: ..who can ever be against us?

But here’s the question: do you believe God is for YOU? Can you believe that He is NOT against you? Far too many, even Christians, think of God as sitting upon the circle of heaven looking down at us with a cosmic flyswatter just waiting for us to make the slightest mistake so He can squash us like a fly. And then they picture God laughing over whatever remains of us. Or, they see Him as furiously angry with them – eager to destroy as the scent of souls in hell fill is nostrils.

But that is 180 degrees opposite of what Paul has proven. If God is against us, would He have given His Son to die in agony for us? Would God has put Himself through the torture of watching His only begotten Son writing in agony if God was not for us? No way! 

What does it mean that God is for you? It means several things:

FIRST: God is not your enemy. Not once you have come home to him.

SECOND: God is not working against you nor wishing/causing bad things to happen to you. He works FOR you…so powerfully that even the bad things that do happen He is working out for your good.

THIRD: God will not let any enemy stand against you successfully. Not even the ruler of hell.

Perhaps you’re feeling like God can’t possibly be for you…a horrible sinner full of evil acts and even more full of evil thoughts and inclinations. But He is for you. And because of that, you’ve got the best Friend in the universe and He is absolutely crazy about you!

If you struggle to believe this good news, repeat to yourself over and over, day after day, until you come to believe it: God is FOR me!

PRAYER: We struggle to believe You could possibly be for us, God, because we do see our sin and frequent failures. Give us the faith to believe these inspired words from Your Spirit and let us rejoice in the this incredible truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/31/16 – God, Horses and Friends

DayBreaks for 5/31/16 – God, Horses and Friends

From the DayBreaks Archive, May 2016:

Deuteronomy 5:27 (NIV) – Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.

A friend sent this to me a while back and I thought it was worth sharing:

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if one stops the car, or is walking by, one will notice something quite amazing.
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
Listening, one will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, one will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her bridle is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.
As one stands and watches these two friends, one sees how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.
Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by God and those whom he places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to see God.
Good friends are like stars…..you don’t always see them, but you know they are always there. – Author Unknown

PRAYER:  Jesus, there are times when we really need to hear your voice more than anything in all the world, and there are times when you want us to help others.  Give us the wisdom and strength to do both at every opportunity.  Thank you for the way you always lead us so gently.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 4/19/16 – I Need Somebody

DayBreaks for 4/19/16 – I Need Somebody

When was the last time you needed somebody?  If you live in America, it may have been a while since you have really needed someone.  I mean REALLY NEEDED someone.  With so many of life’s necessities and even luxuries so readily available to us, we can usually just go and get our food from the store, our clothing, just about anything that we “need” or want.  It is dangerous, because it creates an illusion of self-sufficiency that can be very harmful.

And so, the times when we really need someone are typically times when we are afraid.  When we face something that is bigger than we are, that we can’t just wrestle to the ground with our muscles or figure out with our brains.  Fear, perhaps like nothing else, can drive us to look to someone or something for help. 

The story is told of a little boy who became very frightened one night when he heard and felt the thunder shake the house.  Like most of us did when we were little, he ran to his parents bedroom and begged them to let him sleep in their bed.  “I’m scared,” he said, “I have to sleep with you.”  His parents leaned over and said, “Go back to your room and remember that Jesus is with you.  There’s no reason to be scared.”  The little boy stared at them with a pleading look on his face and said, “I know Jesus is with me, but right now I need somebody with skin on!”

How wonderful – and how honest.  First of all, when we are afraid, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus “had skin on” – Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) – Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  We can find His grace and mercy when we are in need – whether it is need of provision or deliverance from fear.  That’s why God gave us Jesus and became one of us!

Secondly, there are times in this world where we walk by faith and not by sight, when we need someone with “skin on.”  And that’s why God gave us one another!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  God, please help us to run to Jesus when we are afraid, and help us to be someone with “skin on” for those who are around us who are frightened and who need comfort.  Clothe us in Jesus’ likeness that we can minister to those held captive by fear and need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/18/16 – Friend or Fan?

DayBreaks for 3/18/16: Friend or Fan?

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2011:

As many of you know, I have a son who is involved with an evangelical Christian web site.  There is frequently quite a bit of interesting stuff on the site, and here’s part of a blog post from Alyce McKenzie, dated 1/20/2011, that makes a very good point:

“I was on Facebook the other day and I saw a notice that George Strait wanted to be my friend. My pulse quickened. I am not especially partial to Georg Strait’s music, but he is famous and he wants to be my friend! I briefly wondered how he found out about me. Maybe he’s started reading my blog. Maybe he has found out that I just started taking guitar lessons and knows how good I will one day be. I looked more closely and saw that George Strait wanted me to be his fan. What would that involve? Learning the tabs to all his songs? Memorizing his life story? I don’t think I have time for that right now. How ridiculous for me to think for a moment that a famous person would want to be my friend!

“I like Facebook, but I have somehow ended up with lots of friends I don’t even know. Maybe that’s how Jesus feels. Lots of people ask to be his friends, and when he confirms them, they never give him another thought. Lots of people claim to be his friends and really are barely acquainted with his life story and body of teachings, much less willing to live by them.” – Fans or Friends: Reflection on Matthew 5:1-12, Alyce McKenzie, Patheos.com, 1/20/11

Galen’s Thoughts: Interestingly, while I am convinced that Jesus had quite a number of friends, the only time I can find where he personally addressed a single individual as “my friend” was on the night he was betrayed.  He wasn’t addressing Peter, James or John…he was addressing Judas.  And remember in the garden when they finally reached Jesus to arrest him?  What did Judas do?  He approached him and gave him a kiss of friendship as a pre-arranged signal that “This is the one you want.”

The appearances of friendship are really pretty easy to fake – even the hugs and kisses can hide a dark and scheming heart.  The reality of friendship and of being a real friend is much more challenging. 

Is Jesus your friend?  Or are you just a fan of his?

PRAYER: Jesus, we want to truly be your friends, and to have you as our closest friend.  Help us to understand the difference between being just your fan versus what friendship with you really means.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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

DayBreaks for 4/28/15 – The Meaning of “Friend”

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DayBreaks for 4/28/15: The Meaning of “Friend”

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

A man who has friends must himself be friendly.  Prov. 18:24 (NKJV)

Friend.  It’s a term that sometimes we use a bit loosely.  We may, in casual conversation after meeting someone, even go so far as to call them a friend, or to say “Well, my friend, have a good afternoon.”  When we use the term that loosely, though, it can lose some of its specialness, just as if we misuse and cheapen the meaning of the world love.  The word “friend” is one that perhaps we should cherish more than we do. 

I have friends.  And I love my friends.  As I hope does everyone, I have a best friend.  I can’t begin to tell you how precious that friendship is to me.  The word “friend” doesn’t seem to be enough to describe it.  But since I’m not a great linguist, it’ll have to do by adding the adjective “best” in front of it. 

Friends should be very special to us.  Before the white Europeans arrived on the shores of North America, the American Indians had no written language.  Their language, though, was not primitive in the least.  Many of the Indians had as many words in their language as their English and French explorers had in theirs.  Some of their words were much more picturesque and carried great images along with them.  For example, the English word “friend” to the Indians was “one-who-carries-my-sorrows-on-his-back.”

I like this Indian “definition” because it not only tells me what a friend is, but what a friend does.  The friend is a person, but they are more than an acquaintance.  They carry my sorrows on their back, and hopefully, as I wend my way through this life, I can carry theirs on my back, too.

How are your friendships?  Are you wanting people to be a friend to you, but you’re not willing to carry their sorrows in return?  I’m reminded of Jesus calling his disciples “friends”.  At his trial and beatings, they didn’t carry his sorrows on their back – they were to preoccupied with their own.  But later they did carry his sorrows – by taking up his cross daily and following him.  I want more than anything to be Jesus’ friend.  And I need him, more than anything, to be mine.  When I carry the concerns of Christ for this desperate world, I am carrying his sorrows on my back, even as he bore mine.

PRAYER: May we all come to know You better as we could have no better Friend! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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