DayBreaks for 10/18/19 – The Message of I AM

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DayBreaks for 10/18/19: The Message of I AM

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

One could consider the various names used in Scripture for God or Jesus or the Spirit for a long, long time before exhausting all the possibilities.  I’m sure that some of God’s names mean more to you than others and that is only natural.  From time to time, your favorite name of God may change because of the life situation in which you find yourself.  But of all the names of God, perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing was how He identified Himself to Moses and Abraham, and how Jesus referred to himself when responding to the Pharisees: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” 

We sing songs about the great “I AM”.  What’s the point of the name?  Obviously, it indicates someone who IS – not someone who was but is no more, nor someone who is “becoming” something that they are not at the present time.  It speaks, among other things, of the eternal nature of God in an exquisite way.

Still, there is something within me that has always felt like God stopped the sentence prematurely – that He intended to continue with a description of Himself that would be a bit more revealing than just saying, “I AM.”  And maybe that’s where the intriguing mystery of the name comes into play.

What could God have said?  He could have said that he was loving, long-suffering, patient, compassionate, merciful, eager to forgive, the Creator, the King…and the list could go on and on and on nearly for eternity.  But if God had said that, it wouldn’t have been fully accurate.  Love, righteousness, holiness, mercy, compassion…are all part of what God has created and they are part of His nature, but they are not God.  As Athol Dickson said in The Gospel According to Moses, “This is part of the reason God said Israel would know him as “I Am.”  That most personal name for God is significant as much for what it does not say as for what it does say.  For example, it does not say, ‘I am love,’ or ‘I am holy,’ or ‘I am righteous,’ or ‘I am just.’  That would be confusing the effect with the cause.  …When thinking about God’s essence, I must not think that he is love, for example, because even that noble idea leads to a limited conception of God.  God simply is.”

Why did God say that He was “I Am?”  Because it is the only words we lowly humans may have that can encompass all that is our God!

PRAYER: It is a great blessing, Father, to have a God is always has been, always is, and always will be, but it is equally wonderful to be lost in the wonder of Who You are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/20/19 – I AM #6: The Door

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DayBreaks for 2/20/2019: I AM #6: The Door

John 10:9 (CSBBible) – I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.

To understand this I AM statement, we need to understand shepherds and sheep. Earlier in chapter 10, Jesus referred to a gatekeeper. Near most villages there was a communal sheepfold that had a gate that could be locked and only the owner of that sheepfold had the key. But that’s not what Jesus is describing here.

Once out on the hillsides, there was no sheepfold like that. Instead, sheep would be herded into an enclosure most likely made of piled up rocks with a gap in the rocks at one place where a “door” was. But the door wasn’t made of wood – it was the shepherd who would lay down across the opening to prevent critters from entering or the sheep from leaving. None could cross without the awareness of the shepherd. Jesus claims that he is that shepherd, stretched out across the opening. He doesn’t rely on some sort of physical barrier to guarantee the safety of the sheep – any movement of the sheep in or out is only done with his knowledge and agreement.

But there’s another thing to note here: he says that the sheep can come in and go out. That would mean something very specific in the Hebrew language. To be able to have the ability to come in and go out indicated a life absolutely safe and at peace. That is the kind of life we have with Jesus as our gatekeeper. He watches over us, guides our steps, and seeks us out if we get lost.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the life of peace we can have with you as our gatekeeper! In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

DayBreaks for 2/14/19 – I AM #3: The Good Shepherd

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DayBreaks for 2/14/2019: I AM #4: The Good Shepherd

John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

We’ve all seen people who obviously work just because they want the money. Their attitude, effort and words make clear that they will do as little as they can to avoid being fired and they’re happy as long as their check shows up.

The Good Shepherd is quite the opposite. He’s no hireling. He is deeply invested in each lamb in his flock. He bought them and paid for them, perhaps watched each one being born and rejoiced to see them join “his family”. This is how the Good Shepherd feels about his sheep!

Being absolutely responsible for the welfare of the sheep, in ancient times, if anything happened to the sheep that were in his care, the shepherd was required to show proof that it was not his fault. In Amos, the shepherd was even required to bring a piece of a leg or an ear from the very mouth of the lion or wolf if necessary as proof of the reason for the loss.

The shepherd was sent out among the flock just as soon as he was old enough to go and the animals became his companions and yes, even friends.

Here’s the big difference between the shepherd and the hireling: the shepherd served because of his love for the flock in his care while the hireling only wanted money. Jesus called us his friends and wasn’t just willing to lay down his life for the poor flock in his care, but actually did lay it down. And that’s why he’s not just a good shepherd, he is THE Good Shepherd.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for shepherding us with love and rejoicing over each one of us! In your name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/11/19 – I AM #1: The Way

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DayBreaks for 2/11/2019: I AM #1: The Way

John 14:3-6 (ESV) – And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”

One can’t blame Thomas. Jesus had just said he was going away without saying where he was going. Bless his heart, Thomas wanted to find Jesus again once he’d gone away, so what Thomas was really asking was, “How will we find you? What path to what place must we follow?”

Jesus’ reply wasn’t what Thomas expected, I’m sure. Where was Jesus going? To death, to the tomb…and then ultimately back to pre-incarnation glory. If we want to find Jesus again after his going away, not only is he the destination, but also the way to get there.

What is a “way”? A path – like a path through the jungle or dense forest. Without pathways through such places we’d get lost and die. The irony here is that not only is Jesus the destination, and the path, but as long as we stay on the path we will not be lost for in addition to being the path, he has promised to never leave us – he walks the path with us.

Stay on the path with him and you will  find him…walking beside you all the way.

PRAYER: Lord, in our search for meaning and happiness and fulfillment we take so many detours off the path to the left and right, thinking “This time it’ll work!”, only to find that the only pathway to that which we hunger for is you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/25/15 – I Am Who I Am

DayBreaks for 9/25/15: I Am Who I Am

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

You know the story: Moses is trying to side-step the calling of God from the burning bush to go to Egypt and speak to Pharaoh.  I can’t blame him.  There may have still been a price on his head for murdering the Egyptian.  At any rate, it’s not likely that Moses would have wanted to take the chance.  I seriously doubt that he’d have returned to Egypt on his own.  After passing human judgment on God’s wisdom in choosing Moses, Moses starts to give his reasons for why God should re-think His plan: “I’m not able.  I am nothing.  I am not able to speak.  I’m not interested in the job.  I’m just a shepherd and that’s all I am and I’m not interested (or able?) to change.  I am what I am and that’s it.  Period.  End of story.” 

God’s response is interesting.  He doesn’t pump Moses up by giving him a pep talk.  He doesn’t say, “Moses, you’re being far too modest.”  Instead, God listens to Moses’ whining, and simply says, “I’ll be with you.”  What God was telling Moses was simply this: all your excuses for why you can’t do it should be answered by the fact that I’ll be with you.  It’ll be My words.  I made your mouth and I can make it speak clearly.  I can protect you, provide for you, and see you through it. 

But for Moses, that’s still not enough.  He wants nothing to do with this venture, and so he tries to worm his way out of it with another lame objection: “I don’t know Your name.” (paraphrased)  Do you think for a moment that God was going to let that stop Him?  No.  God tells Moses, “I am who I am.”  Put the emphasis there on the “I”.  Moses was saying he wasn’t adequate, not a smooth enough of an operator, “I am only a shepherd.  I can’t do it.”  God’s response, in essence, is this: “Moses, don’t tell me who you are or what you are.  I know all that already.  Instead of focusing on what you are or what you aren’t, focus on this: ‘I am who I am.’”  That should settle it! 

We often think about all our limitations, our failures and shortcomings.  Our inabilities.  God doesn’t think about those things at all.  Why?  Because He is who and what He is – He always has been those things, and He always will be Who He Is.  Our inabilities are not limitations in God’s eyes, nor should we let them be excuses for not doing what He asks us to do.  Knowing that the “I AM” is with us should be all we need to know.

Psalm 104:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

PRAYER: Almighty God, thank you that you never change, that you are still the great I AM and you have our welfare in the center of your heart and thoughts! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 12/31/14 – The Great I AM

DayBreaks for 12/31/14 – The Great I AM

One of the striking things about John’s gospel is how it depicts the life and ministry of Jesus. The other gospels tell us stories about Jesus. Then, like the disciples, we are left to ask, “Who is this, that wind and sea obey him? Who is this who feeds the multitude on a couple of loaves and a few fish?” But in the Gospel of John, there’s no doubt who Jesus is because he tells us – over and over. Usually he does so with a statement starting with “I am.” Put him in a any situation and he will clarify both his identify and his mission.

You can put Jesus in the desert surrounded by disgruntled people, and Jesus says, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).

Put him in the midst of a confused crowd who are asking, “Who are you, Jesus? What makes you different from all the other gurus, rabbis, and religious leaders?” And Jesus says, I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (10:7, 9).  He is defining himself.

If you place him at the graveside in the middle of people doubled over with grief and you will find Jesus saying, I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live (11:25).

Surround him with people who feel discouraged by difficulties and Jesus says, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5).

Where ever you look in John, in one situation after another, Jesus defines himself and says, “This is who I am….” In the eighth chapter, Jesus says, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12). His words echo the opening words of the Fourth Gospel, where the writer defines the person and work of Jesus in terms of light. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world (1:3-4, 9).

Jesus says, I am the light of the world. We might expect to hear this kind of statement in these days shortly after Christmas.  After all, not long ago we gathered together and heard the prophet Isaiah proclaim, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. We don’t know if Isaiah had any idea who or what he was talking about, yet we celebrate Christmas as a festival of light. We string up twinkle lights on fir trees. We illumine our houses. We burn candles in the windows and plug in GE bulbs on the shrubbery. We burn up the kilowatts because Jesus Christ is born. In the bleak midwinter, why not shine a little light?

In fact, why not shine that light all year long?  He is, after all, the Great I AM!  Whatever is going on in your life, may you find meaning in one of His great I AM claims!  He has a message for YOU….

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, we ask that you not let us forget the Great I AM throughout this year and for as long as we live! 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! Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 01/01/14 – Let There Be No Doubt

DayBreaks for 01/01/14 – Let There Be No Doubt

One of the striking features of John’s gospel is how John pictures the life and ministry of Jesus. The other gospels tell us stories about Jesus so we, like the disciples, we are left to ask what seems the obvious questions, “Who is this, that wind and sea obey him? Who is this who feeds the multitude on a couple of loaves and a few fish?” But in John, there’s no doubt who Jesus is  because both John and Jesus tell us who He is! Usually Jesus did so with a statement that starts with “I am.” Put him in a situation and he will clarify who he is and what he has come to do.

If you put him in a desert surrounded by people who are chronically unsatisfied, and Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

If you put him in the midst of confused people who ask, “Who are you, Jesus? What makes you different from all the other gurus, rabbis, and religious leaders?” Jesus replies, “I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (10:7, 9).

If you find him at a graveside surrounded by grief-stricken people, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (11:25).

On the other hand, if you put him in the middle of people who feel disconnected by life’s difficulties, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5).

You see, in the Gospel of John, in situation after situation, Jesus defines himself and says, “This is who I am….” In the eighth chapter, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12). His words echo the opening words of the Fourth Gospel, where the writer defines the person and work of Jesus in terms of light. “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (1:3-4, 9).

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” That, my friends, is wonderful news – just the kind of news that we would hope to hear with Christmas in the rear view mirror and a New Year staring us in the face.  Let Him be the Light of your world in 2014!

Happy New Year, everyone!  “Walk in the light even as He is in the light…”

PRAYER: Thank you for not leaving us in the dark about Who You Are and thank You for the assurance that You enter this new year with us and that nothing it holds is hidden from Your sight or beyond Your control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you are led to support Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make either a one time or recurring 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.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!