DayBreaks for 10/27/14 – God and Lemonade Stands

DayBreaks for 10/27/14 – God and Lemonade Stands

 

2 Timothy 2:21 (NLT) –  If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

This was part of our Sunday worship bulletin yesterday and I thought it worth a share.  Sorry, I don’t know the author.

“On Sunday, a month or so ago, we showed a wonderful video about two little girls setting up a lemonade stand and cookie stand to raise money for charity.  What a sweet word picture ad call to be active in ministry it is!

“As I watched it, I reflected on my experiences with lemonade stands. Of course, as a kid I had one.  I assume most kids do, so you may be able to relate to preparing the lemonade, finding cups, making a sign, getting a “table” and figuring out how to make change for a dollar.  Therein lies the issue – money, dollars and bills.  You see, as I watched the video, I recalled the many times in recent years that I have driven past lemonade stands, not because I did not want to support kids making money for themselves or charity.  I drove past simply because I did not have any money with me.  Rarely do I carry cash.  I am like many people, using my debit card or credit card (paying it off at the end of the month), with no cash.

“I figured it out.  Those young entrepreneurs need to get with the times and put up a sign that says, ‘Credit and debit cards are accepted!’  They need one of those portable credit/debit card readers. If they did that, I would stop, and I might even top it up to $5 as the minimum.  Capitalism would be at work again.

“Do you know what the problem with that is?  Capitalism may be at work, but the gospel is not.  I can say all I want, ‘If they would just do x and y and z, then I would do b and d and q!’  The gospel does not work that way.  I need to be prepared when I leave home to bless those I come in contact with.  It is not their fault.  It is my lack of preparedness.  As opposed to driving by every lemonade stand for the next ten years, I can go to the bank get 20 one dollar bills out and keep them in my car.  When I see a lemonade stand, I can stop and bless those who are trying to make a difference, even if they don’t have a card reader.  It’s simple.

God has more for me, more for us here than lemonade.  There are other times in the day I say to myself, ‘If they would just do z, then I would…’  There is no need for that kind of self-talk.  I need to say, ‘How can I be prepared to bless them where they are with what they have?’  That is the language of the gospel.  The gospel is the work of Jesus Christ incarnate, blessing us where we are.  He came to earth, when we did not have a card reader. He came, and He lives a perfect life, died a brutal death and was resurrected from the dead.  This was all at no cost to us and we are called to live as His ambassadors.

“Can we ask you to recall the stand today and think about how the Lord might be asking you to give freely to those around in word, deed, service speech and even money?  Along the way, you’ll enjoy the lemonade!”

PRAYER: Lord, I am quick at times to make excuses for why I cannot help or give.  Help prepare not just my heart, but my hands to be quick to recognize and respond to opportunities to bless generously in whatever way I can.  Jesus, help us live life abundantly in You!  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!

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DayBreaks for 11/20/12 – Sharing the Bone

DayBreaks for 11/20/12 – Sharing the Bone

From the DayBreaks archive for 11/20/02:

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

2 Cor. 8:2-5 – “2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.   5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

Scripture is abundant with God’s promises to meet our needs.  It is also abundant in its exhortations to us to be givers – just like our Father.  It even tells us that if we are generous, we will receive generously, too.  (That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll get money in return – but we will be blessed!)

In the passage above from 2 Corinthians, a beautiful example is given to us by the Macedonian churches.  These people in Macedonia were not rich.  They weren’t even of average income, it would appear.  Paul says that “Out of the most severe trial…their extreme poverty” these people GAVE.  They didn’t just give what they could…they gave “even beyond their ability”.

How could they do that?  How could parents give when their own children may have been hungry?  The key is in verse 5: “They gave themselves first to the Lord…”.  They had entrusted themselves, their livelihoods, their next meal and the next meal of their children perhaps, to the Lord.  They had faith.  They trusted God to be as good as His word.

Generosity.  Giving charitably.  In America we may consider it a sacrifice to give up an extra $100 while we take our big paychecks to the bank.  And for some, that $100 is a sacrifice, no doubt.  God knows and God sees whatever sacrifice His children make for one another – and for His kingdom.  But we can also fool ourselves about our charity, too.  I believe it was Jack London who put it something like this: “Charity isn’t giving a bone to the dog.  It is sharing the bone with the dog when you’re just as hungry as he is.”  Do you get it?  The Macedonians were as hungry, or perhaps even more hungry, than those they gave to.

An incredible story, and incredible example.  How is your giving?  Join me in searching our hearts – knowing that God searches them knows the truth about each of us – and He also knows the name of every hungry, starving family across the world that will go to bed hungry tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after that.  God asks us to give ourselves first to Him, and then to get busy following the example of the Macedonians.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: When we look into our pantries, closets, homes and bank accounts, help us to see how rich we are…and to share the “bone”! Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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Want to help the poor children of the world?  Here’s a couple links to projects at I Am 2 Partners, Inc.:

To help feed and protect the 37 orphans at Bright Future Children’s Home in Migori, Kenya, click here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=RKR8ZNZX4UVPA

To help put in a purified water system for the Good Shepherd Pediatric Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda, click here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=B7U2JA5QSYCRC

Thanks!

 

 

DayBreaks for 11/09/11 – Demonstration of Divine Love

DayBreaks for 11/09/11 – Demonstration of Divine Love

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – 1 John 4:16

When the apostle John wrote that “God is love”, he is saying that the very nature of God is love.  Love is the very foundation of our faith and is to be the foundation of our practice of faith as lived out in the two great commandments.  Since God is love, in one sense it is literally true that Love makes the world go around, because all things consist and are held together by the one who is Love.

Sometimes we discover love in the places we would least expect it.  Mother Teresa ministered among some of the neediest people on earth – people who were literally starving to death.  She went into one hovel where she could see the hollowness of the children’s eyes and the emaciation of the parents. The family had not eaten in days.  Mother Teresa had brought a very small portion of rice to the family. When she gave the rice to the mother, the mother promptly and without hesitation, divided it into two equal parts, and then rose to leave the room. “Where are you going?” Mother Teresa asked. The woman answered “Next door they are hungry also.”

That mother did not enjoy the affluence that you and I take for granted, but she could teach us something about what it means to follow Jesus – and about the second great commandment.  If I were starving, if my children were starving, would I be so generous and loving?  Or would I have kept it all for myself?

Well, I’m not that woman, I’m not in that circumstance.  Instead, I’ve got food aplenty.  But there are people who won’t have food tonight.  Will I give them anything and demonstrate the reality of Divine Love to the world?

PRAYER: Lord, we are so selfish and ignorant – perhaps willingly so – to the great pain and need in the world.  Forgive us.  Let us demonstrate Your love to those in need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/22/11 – What God Will Never Say

DayBreaks for 03/22/11 – What God Will Never Say

I’ve been very challenged in my thinking and discipleship lately.  God has been revealing blind spots in my life as a Christian – in particular, as an American Christian.  One blind spot in particular that He’s really been working on in my life is my attitude toward the poor.

Americans don’t like to see suffering, especially suffering of little children who have not had adequate food or water and who are dying as a result.  When those images show up on our TV screens, we quickly get up to go to the fridge, or change the channel, or find some other way to divert our eyes from the very harsh and hard realities that exist in this world.  We don’t want to see that kind of suffering.  It makes us uncomfortable – and that’s a very good thing.  We need to be made uncomfortable, especially as Americans who own so much and spend so much of our income on cushy luxuries.  I don’t yet know specifically what it is that God wants me to do with what He’s been showing me.

Israel, long ago, observed feast days, multitudes of tithes of money, crops, wine, etc., they observed temple rituals and cleansings.  They memorized the Torah and recounted the great deeds of YHWH for generation after generation.  They thought that all those things would make them acceptable – even pleasing to God.  After all, God had commanded those observances.  But in the writings of the great prophet Isaiah, God filled them in on the truth about what mattered to Him: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. – Is.  58:6-8

God cares about the poor, the starving, the naked, the homeless.  He hears their cries.  He wonders if we hear them, and if we will respond to them.

While I don’t know what God wants me to do specifically about this blind spot in my life, I am sure of this as an American Christian: the day won’t ever come when I stand before God and hear Him say to me, “I wish you’d kept more of what I gave you for yourself.”

 

Give...and it shall be given unto you...

PRAYER: God, I confess my blindness and hard-heartedness towards the plight of the poor.  Forgive me for my selfishness, and set me free from the tyranny of possessions and money.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks, 02/02/11: What Skittles Can Teach Us About God

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! 5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. – Psalm 40:1-5

Ed Young tells this revealing and interesting story:  “I took my family to a high school football game. During the third quarter, my daughter Landra said, “Dad, can I have some money to buy some candy?” Now I’m not a big candy guy, but I said, “Landra, here’s $5. Go and buy some candy.” She came back with a sack full of Skittles. As I watched her eat them, I said, “Landra, can I have some Skittles?” She said, “No.” I said, “Landra, just give me a couple.” She said, “They’re mine.”

“My little daughter didn’t understand several things. Number one, she didn’t understand the fact that I was the one who bought the Skittles for her. Number two, she didn’t realize my strength. I’m strong enough to forcibly take those Skittles from her and eat every one of them. If I wanted to, I could have done that. Number three, she didn’t understand that I could have gone to the concession stand, put 300 packages of Skittles on a credit card, come back to her, and given her so many Skittles that she couldn’t have eaten them all in a year.

“We all have Skittles. Some of us have a pretty nice size pile of Skittles; others have a medium-size pile of Skittles; and some of us have little bags of Skittles. Our loving God comes to us and says, “Would you bring me some Skittles? Just a few Skittles?” What do you think our reaction is? “No! They’re mine!” God says, “Just bring me some Skittles.” But we still say, “Uh-uh. I made those Skittles. I own those Skittles.” Like my daughter, we don’t understand several things. God is the one who gave them to us. They’re his Skittles. He bought them. In an instant, God could take all of our Skittles. Also, we don’t understand that God could rain so many Skittles on our lives, we wouldn’t know what to do with them. We couldn’t possibly spend or enjoy all of them.”

We are not much different than Young’s little girl, are we?  “God, these are my Skittles.  I worked hard to earn them.  Thanks for the abilities you gave me, but I EARNED these and they’re mine.”  How foolish we are when we fail to understand how childish such thinking is!  The next time you are tempted to hold on to something you’ve been given (which is all that we have!) let us remember the lesson of Skittles…and hold our Skittles in an open palm!

PRAYER:  We are afraid of losing what we’ve got, God.  We are filled with selfishness and greed and fear of loss and being without.  May we join David in his Psalm and remember all Your mighty works and give you praise and our offering of thanksgiving!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>