DayBreaks for 7/17/17 – Getting Close Enough

DayBreaks for 7/17/17: Getting Close Enough

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

Preachers face some interesting dilemmas.  It isn’t uncommon for us to visit the sick in the hospital.  And as you know, hospitals are rife with all sorts of disease and infections.  In some ways, it’s amazing that anyone comes out of a hospital alive.  Recent stories about drug-resistant staph infections are scary, aren’t they?  Yet, when someone is sick, you go, hoping and trusting that you won’t get infected.  After all, you may have to get up in the pulpit the next day and preach!!!  And, what if you’re too sick to be there?  I know things would always work out.  But it’s one of the crazy things that go through a minister’s head from time to time. 

Of course, the closer you get to someone who is sick, the greater the chance of infection and the spread of disease.  As I write this, my wife is winging her way to India where she’ll work at an orphanage for two weeks.  She’s got anti-malaria pills to take every day while she’s there, other things to fight dengue fever, special spray to put on her clothes in advance (that will survive 6 washings!!) to hold the mosquitoes in abeyance, and other stuff to protect her from diseases.  We Americans don’t have good immunity to numerous other diseases that are common in other parts of the world.  Proximity to Indian mosquitoes, for example, certainly increases your risk of getting those diseases. 

Proximity to other humans increases our chance of getting diseases they may have.  Sneezing, coughing, vomiting.  The tiny aerosols that spew from our mouths when we sneeze spread disease.  Other diseases are spread though bodily fluids, including sweat from a fever.  Getting close is dangerous.

How close should we get to others?  In Luke chapter 5, Jesus heals a leper.  Sometimes when Jesus healed people of disease or illness, he just spoke the word and the healing was accomplished!  He could heal at a distance – we know that from the healing of the Roman centurion’s son.  But in this case, Jesus specifically chose not to heal at a distance.  He touched the leper.

John Ortberg put it well when he noted that “…only when you get close enough to catch their hurt will they be close enough to catch your love.”  Jesus got plenty close to catch our hurt.  He felt it in his own flesh.  He experienced it in his own heart.  And he got close enough to catch our disease.  Instead, he healed our disease, discounting the risk, so we could catch his love. 

Will we get close enough to others so we can feel and catch their hurt so we can give them His love?

PRAYER:  Thank you, Jesus, for not being afraid to touch us.  Thank you for being willing to feel our hurt.  Thank you for the love you’ve given us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 12/29/16 – Fixer Uppers

DayBreaks for 12/28/16: Fixer Uppers

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

From NEWS OF THE WEIRD by Chuck Shepherd, United Feature Syndicate: “A year ago, News of the Weird reported that a jury in Westminster had convicted Cal State-Long Beach engineering professor Elena Zagustin, 61, of massive health violations at her exceptionally odoriferous and messy home, which included many buckets substituting for broken toilets. By September, Zagustin had sold the house (at a discount for its conditions, but still, because of the California real estate market, $301,500), and when the buyers pried the door open, they found trash two feet high in every room.”

You’ve heard the term “fixer-upper”, right? It implies a building or car in less than ideal condition – one that needs lots of work to be useable. As horrible as the home in the story above may have been, if someone was willing, they could reclaim it and make it serviceable again.

Jesus faced this situation many times with the people that he met. Many people who were physically “unclean” and repulsive came to him. Matthew 8:2-3 tells of one of those encounters: “A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”

Did you notice the keys for the leper? First of all, he had to know who to go to with his problem – Jesus! It would have done him no good to go to anyone else. But there was an even more important key to his being “cleaned up”: Jesus had to be willing for the man to be cleaned. What if this rabbi from Nazareth was not willing?

Physical cleansing is one thing and Jesus responded to the struggles of people with disease and physical illnesses. Moral filth pervades humanity. We won’t all suffer leprosy or some other disfiguring disease, but we all suffer from moral filth. Our lives were in horrible shape – the rooms of ours heart and minds were filled with every kind of filth imaginable. The same two keys apply: will we go to the right place for cleansing, and is he willing to take the time to “clean” us?

Jesus specializes in fixer-uppers. He doesn’t care how dirty you might be. You don’t have to be cleaned up first before He’ll accept you. He comes into the home of your heart and begins the life-long process of cleaning up what he finds there.

Our prayer should be the same as the plea of the leper: “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Just know this: Jesus’ response to us will be the same as it was to the leper: “I am willing. Be clean!”

PRAYER: How reassuring it is to know that you not only can, but do, wish to heal us of all our infirmities – physical and spiritual! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 6/20/16 – The Blink of an Eye

DayBreaks for 6/20/16 – The Blink of an Eye

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (NLT) – What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever.  But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed.  It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will betransformed so that we will never die.  For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.

The amount of misery in a children’s hospital is breathtaking.  As much as the children may be suffering, it is a valid question to ponder whether they, or their parents, have the worst of it.  Listening to the stories of people from Louisiana who came for a heart operation for their child (83 days ago now, and counting) are heart-rending.  The details are sketchy to me for the conversation was brief, but suffice it to say that after 3 open heart surgeries, they are only now back to where they started.  They will be sent home with their little one, back to Louisiana, so he can recuperate and get enough strength to try it yet again.  The surgery that was intended to heal the little one didn’t – something went dreadfully wrong and he couldn’t “tolerate” what was done, so they had to open his chest again and undo the very thing that he came here for – and with it, the hopes of the parents were put on agonizing hold. 

Another family is present here who have four children.  Three of them were born with some deficiency in their liver that causes it to not produce a single enzyme that is necessary for them to live a normal lifespan. Right now, the only hope is a liver transplant.  One child has already had it, the other 2 will need it.  Genetic screening has since revealed that their parents carried “defective” genes and that there was only a 25% chance that any child would have this problem.  That 25% chance spiraled upward so far that 3 of the 4 children, including a baby born in February, are afflicted and face uncertain futures.  And the parents had no idea about all this until just before the fourth one was born – the disease often doesn’t manifest itself until a child is 10-15 years of age. 

As I sit here by the window at the hospital I am dumbstruck by both the suffering I see and have heard about, but also by the hope that rings in the voices of these parents.  And I think to myself, “What can ever stop this?”  And at that moment, I think I hear, far away and distant – as far away as heaven itself – the sound of someone warming up to play the trumpet.  And I am reminded that indeed, it is true that the day will come when there will be no more bad hearts, no more failing livers or lungs, no more widows or orphans.  It takes a power that only One who is truly God possesses to make such a thing a reality.  But it will come.  Most certainly.  Wouldn’t some trumpet music be great about right now?

Revelation 6:10-11 (NIV) – They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer…

PRAYER:  Father, the waiting is hard.  It’s not that we doubt Your promise, it’s that we question Your timing because we can’t understand Your working.  I thank You that You possess the power and the will to fix all this in a fraction of a second by a single thought. May that day be today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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