DayBreaks for 4/13/16 – Costly Gratitude

DayBreaks for 4/13/16 – Costly Gratitude

Luke 7:36-38, 44-47 (NLTse) – One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them…Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

How much does it cost to be grateful? We’re inclined to think that gratitude is more a feeling than an action. I’m not so sure, though, that we’re really all that grateful if there isn’t also some action attached to it. It’s easy to say how grateful we are, but it’s an entirely different thing to show how grateful we are.

Pastor Victor Shepherd tells the story of a missionary surgeon he met who was rather gruff and to the point. On one occasion the surgeon was speaking to a small group of university students about his work in the Gaza Strip. He was telling us that we North American “fat cats” knew nothing about gratitude. Nothing! On one occasion he had stopped a peasant hovel to see a woman on whom he had performed surgery. She and her husband were dirt poor. Their livestock supply consisted of one Angora rabbit and two chickens. For income the woman combed the hair out of the rabbit, spun the hair into yarn and sold it. For food she and her husband ate the eggs from the chickens. The woman insisted that the missionary surgeon stay for lunch. He accepted the invitation and said he would be back for lunch after he had gone down the road to see another postoperative patient. An hour and a half later he was back. He peeked into the cooking pot to see what he was going to eat. He saw one rabbit and two chickens. The woman had given up her entire livestock supply–her income, her food, everything. He concluded his story by saying us that we North Americans (and perhaps Christians as a whole) knew nothing of gratitude. He wept unashamedly at the price of their gratitude.

There is another incident concerning gratitude that will never be forgotten. It’s about a woman who poured costly perfume over our Lord as she wiped his feet with her hair. Make no mistake–the perfume was expensive, three hundred denarii, a year’s income for a laborer in Palestine.

Enough to keep a family alive for twelve months.

What has Jesus done for you? What has he done for me? How am I showing my gratitude?

PRAYER: Jesus, in my heart I am grateful to you for so many things. Help me to show my gratitude with my hands and life as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 2/27/15 – Two Kinds of Dogs

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DayBreaks for 2/27/15: Two Kinds of Dogs in Worship    

If you are a Christian, chances are good that about 48 hours from now, you’ll be headed to worship somewhere.  At least, for God’s sake (and His glory!), I hope so.  Worship is challenging.  True worship is very challenging.  We forget what it is about and why we do it.  But I thought that this illustration was a good one and might be helpful:

There are two kinds of dogs in this world. There are the dogs who eat everything and anything (like our yellow Lab!) – toss them a scrap of anything, meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, shoe leather – and they will literally snap it out of the air and scarf it down without hesitation – in the twinkling of an eye!

Then there are the dogs that approach every tidbit offered to them with suspicion. They stop, they sniff, they consider, and then they finally — they either accept the goodie offered to them or simply turn and walk away.  The spoiled doggie message being sent here is that the gift you offer is accepted with the attitude that “I am doing you a favor by eating this.”

The “scarf hounds” joyously gulp down whatever comes their way from our hands because they trust that we are always offering them something good, something that they want and they need.

The “spoiled dogs” also show up for treat time, but they convey an attitude that suggests that we need them to be there and, indeed, are fortunate that they did us the favor of showing up to entertain us. These pampered pooches take their invitation as a given, and their finicky feeding manners emphasize that they are “gracing us” with their presence and their acceptance of what we offer to them.

When you go to worship on Sunday, will you be going as a “scarf hound” or as a “spoiled dog”? Will you be there because your soul trusts in God’s providence and presence, and hungers for the divine gift of being able to draw near to God? Or are you here because you are doing God a “favor” by showing up? Do you somehow imagine that God needs your presence and the witness of your worship in order to validate God’s divinity?

PRAYER: May we all be hungry for our encounters with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 06/15/12 – How Quickly We Forget

DayBreaks for 06/15/12 – How Quickly We Forget

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow…

Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV) – Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

How are things going for you right now?  Is life all you wish it could be?  How’s your health?  How’s your employment situation?  How’s your marriage and your relationships with your family members and friends, co-workers and fellow students?  Are your finances solid and do you feel secure?  How do you feel about our country and the direction it is headed morally?

What kinds of things do your mind tend to entertain?  Does your mind flow to the things that are wrong and troubling you, or to the things that are good, holy, pure and full of faith?

This passage in Psalm 103 is a great reminder for us, especially in verse 2: “O my soul, forget not all his benefits.”  When we are distressed, when we are sick or troubled, we do precisely what the Psalmist says we shouldn’t do: we forget all his blessings.

When is the last time you really recounted to the Lord (and to yourself!), all the benefits you have received from His hand?

On Sunday we had a lesson on thankfulness.  Remember the healing of the 10 lepers – where only one came back to thank Jesus?  I suspect that the other 9 were thankful, but they never took the time to tell Jesus how they felt for what He’d done for them.  Let’s not be like that.  He deserves far more from us than just hearts that might say to themselves, “He knows my heart.  I don’t need to tell Him how thankful I am.”  Wrong.  Take some time right now to start the practice and discipline of thankfulness!

PRAYER: Jesus, how many and great are the benefits you give to us!  Let us demonstrate our thankfulness to you like the leper did, no matter what our circumstances, no matter what the cost. 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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