DayBreaks for 4/14/17 – He Was Never More Immanuel

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DayBreaks for 4/14/17: He Was Never More Immanuel

As we participated in a Maundy Thursday service last night, I was struck once again with the pathos of this week. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions!

But even more, as I thought about the entire life of Jesus, I couldn’t help but be drawn to contemplate his experience. The Eternal One from glory, becoming a human babe, laid in a manger and helpless. The very one who spoke the universe into existence couldn’t utter a single word – just a noisy cry. Yet even in that stage of his life, he was Immanuel – God with us. We just couldn’t recognize him.

As he grew he was like any precocious kid, I imagine, never sinning, but I can imagine he was as full of mischief as any other boy of his age. Yet even in that stage of his life, he was Immanuel – God with us. We just couldn’t recognize him.

As he began his ministry, people began to notice that there was something about him that was different: the way he taught was unlike anything they’d ever heard before. The way he healed, the way he loved even the most outcast of people. And they began to wonder if this was Immanuel – God with us. But there were only a few who recognized him.

And then comes Holy Week. From raucous cheers and disciples high with hope that this would be the time when he took the throne of David and overthrew the crushing Roman rule, to feasts with friends, eating food and drinking like any man. And they hoped this was Immanuel – God with us. At least for a few days.

Then comes good Friday. They no longer wanted Immanuel, and when they saw him arrested, beaten within inches of his very life, marched to Calvary where the nails would pierce his hands and feet – he didn’t look at all like Immanuel.

I think, however, that there was never a time where he was MORE Immanuel than on Good Friday. Everyone can identify with a jovial, joke cracking, eating and drinking human – that’s easy. Jesus apparently loved feasts and a good meal and a little wine. He loved parties. And he identified with us in that sort of joy. But the ultimate identification with mankind was when he died like one of us. He didn’t look at all like Immanuel then, but can there be any disagreement that it was when he drew his last breath that he most fully was Immanuel – identifying himself with us in the event we all fear the most?

The lifeless body hung on the cross for some time, bruised, bloodied, exposed and so very much alone. Yet even in death, perhaps more so than ever, he was Immanuel. No one recognized him as Immanuel, not then. But it didn’t change the facts of the matter one iota. The proof would be forthcoming.

As much as we speak and sing of Immanuel at his birth, it was at his death that he was most like us, that he was unlike every before, Immanuel, experiencing even that sting so that he could identify with all we must deal with on this mortal coil. Glory be to God for his great love.

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus! My heart breaks for what you experienced on this day – for me and those I love and those I don’t even know. I’m so sorry. Thank you for this ultimate identification of Immanuel. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/20/16 – He Can’t Look Away

DayBreaks for 12/20/16: He Can’t Look Away

Matthew 1:20-21 (NLT)  As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew doesn’t want Joseph or any of us to get stuck in the dream. Matthew wants to bring us back down to earth, back to our waking reality, by invoking the name of Immanuel. Because if the Jesus, whose name was given to Joseph in a dream, is to do us any good, he’d better meet us and be with us in all those times when dreams end and when the crushing weight of a miserable world comes crashing down around our shoulders again. If he is only Jesus, the one who saves us from our sins, it would still be too easy to turn him into the one who also saves us out of the real world. But if he is Immanuel, then we realize we don’t have to go anywhere to meet him other than the hurly-burly reality of our Monday mornings and our Thursday afternoons. We don’t have to go find him in some other realm because he has already found us in exactly this realm and this world.
Immanuel is God-with-us in the cancer clinic and in the Alzheimer’s ward at the local nursing home. Immanuel is God-with-us when the pink slip comes and when the beloved child sneers, “I hate you!” Immanuel is God-with-us when you pack the Christmas decorations away and, with an aching heart, you realize afresh that your one son never did call over the holidays. Not once. Immanuel is God-with-us when your dear wife or mother stares at you with an Alzheimer’s glaze and absently asks, “What was your name again?”
Ever and always Jesus stares straight into you with his two good eyes and he does so not only when you can smile back but most certainly also when your own eyes are full of tears. In fact, Jesus is Immanuel, “God with you” even in those times when you are so angry with God that you refuse to meet his eyes. But even when you feel like you can’t look at him, he never looks away from you. He can’t. His name says it all.

PRAYER: I am thankful that you never look away from me, that you cannot look away because that would mean you are not Immanuel. Help me to look at you more often and find in you all I ever could need or want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/19/16 – Christmas in One Word

Graphic by Tim Etherington, https://i2.wp.com/www.byfarthersteps.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Immanuel.png?zoom=2

DayBreaks for 12/19/16: Christmas in One Word

G. K. Chesterton, the noted British poet and theologian, was a brilliant man who could think deep thoughts and express them well. However, he was also extremely absent-minded and over the years he became rather notorious for getting lost. He would just absolutely forget where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing. On one such occasion, he sent a telegram to his wife which carried these words: “Honey, seems I’m lost again. Presently, I am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” As only a spouse could say it, she telegraphed back a one-word reply “HOME!”

This is precisely what this classic passage in the first chapter of Matthew does for us… it brings us home…

— Home to the real meaning of Christmas
— Home to the most magnificent truth in the entire Bible
— Home to our Lord’s greatest promise
— Home to the reason we celebrate Christmas

Namely this: “GOD IS WITH US!” When we accept Christ into our lives, nothing, not even death, can separate us from God and His love. It is what Christmas is about. God is with us. The great people of faith have always claimed that promise. Just think of it:

Moses caught between the Pharaoh and the deep Red Sea in a seemingly hopeless situation believed that God was with him and he went forward and trusted God to open a way and He did!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went into the fiery furnace into a seemingly hopeless situation and they trusted God to be with them and He was!

Little David stood before Goliath. What chance could a small boy with a slingshot have against this giant of a warrior? But David believed that God was with him and it made all the difference!

Now, it’s interesting to note that when the writer of Matthew’s gospel wanted to capture the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of the Christ event, the meaning of Jesus in a single word, he did a very wise thing. He reached back into the Old Testament, pulled out an old word, dusted it off, and used it to convey the message. The word was Immanuel.

Carry that Word with you this week, let the meaning sink deep into your heart. You may just find that your outlook on life is different.

PRAYER: Immanuel, thank You for being with us and in us! When we are lonely, afraid, discouraged, desperate – let your name and promise be sufficient for every situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/08/15 – God’s Eternal Journey

DayBreaks for 12/08/15: God’s Eternal Journey

I suppose you could say that it started before the foundation of the world, when God decided to make people in his own image.  He then walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, although it appears that He withdrew from them from time to time – at least, that seems to have been the perception of the garden-dwellers.

Thousands of years pass and God called a people for His own out of the slave-filled mud pits of Egypt.  And during that time, God was with His people as a pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  His Presence dwelt in the tabernacle, but that Presence wasn’t to be visited by the ordinary man or woman – but only by the high priest and only once a year.  The Psalmist would later write about how God was near to those who were broken-hearted and who feared His name – but no one could see Him or feel Him.  God was getting closer to His creation during this period of time, but it wasn’t close enough for Him.

And so, on a night in Palestine about 2000 years ago, He got closer.  He wasn’t content to just move among them like a cloud or roaring pillar of fire, He wanted to be seen and touched and present in a way that He’d never been before in history.  So, He became one of us – a human.  And, as John put it: We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of God.  People, for the first time in history, could touch God.  But only those who were close enough could do that.  And so, it still wasn’t close enough for God.  He couldn’t stand the distance that continued to separate us.  He had to do something further, something even more dramatic than becoming human.

It happened on Pentecost and has been happening ever since.  God came, not just as Immanuel (God-With-Us), but as God-Within-Us.  Now, because He is in us, we can hear Him, we can sense His presence and have access to His mind and thoughts.  Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…  And God saw that it was good.  Through the indwelling of the His Spirit in us, God was available not only to those in close physical proximity to Jesus, but to all of us – anywhere in the world – once we call upon His name.

Isn’t it great to know that God wouldn’t settle for “close enough?”  From before the beginning of the world, He began to approach us – and He’ll continue to stand at the door of our hearts, knocking, until we finally get to experience His Presence fully and completely.  As much as He wants to be with you – does your heart desire that same Presence?

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, I’m so grateful that you have never given up on us.  That you have kept pursuing us from the halls of heaven.  Thank you for the Spirit through which we can all experience Your wondrous Presence within us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/17/14 – Where Two Worlds Meet

DayBreaks for 12/17/14 – Where Two Worlds Meet

From the DayBreaks archive, 12/16/2004:

In the person of Jesus Christ, two worlds met.  One was the visible world populated by men and women, boys and girls, animals and minerals.  It was an old and tired world – worn down from millennia of suffering and pain.  It was a world that was in desperate need of hope, or a hand to lift it up once again.  It seemed, to those who were looking, as if it were the older of the two worlds, but it wasn’t.  The other world was populated by God and Satan, angels and demons, principalities and powers.  And contrary to popular opinion, it was by far the older of the two worlds.  Yet it, too, had been waiting.  It, too, had been agonizing over the fallenness of the visible world of humans.

But at the manger, the two worlds met in the Person of Jesus.  All the promises of the Old Testament, beginning in the garden of Eden, found their “Yes” and “Amen!” in the New Testament and the Incarnation.  And after so long of a wait, as Michael Card put it in Immanuel – Reflections on the Life of Christ – “It was good news to finally be able to embrace the Promised One.  But far and away the best news of all is that He embraces us.  That was the reason for His coming.  Most of us describe our coming to faith by saying, ‘I’ve asked Jesus into my life.’  We should really say He has invited us into His life.

“That was the reason for Simeon’s song.  Deep inside his tired old heart, he knew that the infant he held in his arms was in truth the One who had been holding him all his life long.”

As you run head-long into this holiday season, how is your world intersecting with Christianity?  Do their paths cross in visible ways, or are you trying to keep your faith hidden from sight?  The two worlds meet in each of us who are disciples.  Which one will you show to the world this Christmas?

Luke 5:32 (NLT) – I have come to call sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think they are already good enough.

PRAYER: Thank you, God, for caring about us!  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 12/20/13 – It’s All In the Name

DayBreaks for 12/20/13 – It’s All In the Name                  

Matthew 1:23 (NLT)  “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Matthew, when writing his gospel, didn’t want Joseph or any of us to get stuck in pie/sky dreams. He wanted to bring us down to earth, to our waking reality, and he did so by invoking the name of Immanuel. Because if Jesus, whose name was given to Joseph in a dream, is to do us any good, he’d better meet us and be with us in all those times when our dreams go up in smoke and when the crushing weight of this world of misery comes crashing down around our shoulders – again. If he is only Jesus, the one who saves us from our sins, it would be too easy to turn him into the one who also saves us out of the real world. But if he is Immanuel, the “God With Us”, then we realize we don’t have to go anywhere to meet him other than the craziness of our Monday mornings and our Thursday afternoons. We don’t have to go find him in some other realm or space because he has already found us in exactly this realm and this world.

So where is Immanuel? Immanuel is God-with-us in the cancer clinic and the Alzheimer’s ward. Immanuel is God-with-us when the pink slip is put into your hand and when the child you love sneers viciously at you and says, “I hate you!” Immanuel is God-with-us when you pack the Christmas decorations away and realize that your one son never did call over the holidays. Not once. Immanuel is God-with-us when your dear wife or mother stares at you with an Alzheimer’s glaze and absently asks, “What was your name again?”

Ever and always Jesus stares straight into you with his two good eyes and he does so not only when you can smile back but most certainly also when your own eyes are full of tears. In fact, Jesus is Immanuel, “God with you” even in those times when you are so angry with God that you refuse to meet his eyes. But even when you feel like you can’t look at him, he never looks away from you. He can’t. His name says it all. – Adapted from Scott Hoezee

PRAYER: Thank you for your magnificent name that gives us comfort and hope and which describes perfectly Who You Are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help 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 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!

DayBreaks for 12/13/13 – Once in Every Universe

DayBreaks for 12/13/13 – Once In Every Universe

NOTE: Galen will be traveling the week of 12/8.  New DayBreaks will resume the following week.

From the DayBreaks Archive, 2003:

“Once in every universe

Some world is worry-torn

And hungry for a global lullaby.

O rest, poor race, and hurtle on through space –

God has umbilicaled Himself to straw

Laid by His thunderbolts and learned to cry.” – Calvin Miller, A Symphony in Sand

If there was ever a world that was worry-torn and hungry for a global lullaby, it would be this strange and confused little planet called Earth.  From the beginning in the garden when Adam and Eve fell and the curses were pronounced upon them and their descendants, worry has racked this planet.  Our guilt and shame have led us to sleepless nights and weary spirits, leading us to seek answers from science, medicine, politics, social change – only to find that they couldn’t deal with our guilt and shame.  And so we have longed as a creation for a lullaby to put us to sleep and thereby put us out of our pain, if only for a short while.

And for centuries – even millennia – this little planet continued to spin, people continued to sin, and the grief and hunger for rest went on…and on…and on.

What a glorious day it was when God attached Himself to the straw of the manger, laid aside his awesome power, and for the first time – perhaps in all eternity – learned to cry.  And he didn’t just cry as a baby cries.  As he grew, as a man he cried over other things…at the graveside of a good friend, over a city that refused to come to him to find relief and forgiveness.

It was necessary for God to learn to cry.  To learn to understand what it means to be the created, not the Creator.  To see life from human eyes, to live it with human skin and bone and feelings.  No, he never felt the weight of his own sin – but he carried the weight of all our sin.

What if God had chosen to not learn to cry?  We’d still be crying hopelessly, we’d still be worry-torn and hungry for the lullaby that only He could sing.

Copyright by 2003 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for sharing our tears!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations 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 (monthly) donation for his support.  If you have any questions, call 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. 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 the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!