DayBreaks for 11/22/13 – The Miracle of the Cross

DayBreaks for 11/22/13 – The Miracle of the Cross

There’s a true story that illustrates the power of the cross: the Archbishop of Paris once stood in the pulpit of Notre Dame Cathedral. He was there to preach a sermon, a sermon built around a story. Thirty years earlier, he said, three young tourists who had come into that very cathedral. All three young men were rough, rude, cynical, thinking all religion was nothing more or less than a racket. Two dared the third young man to go into the confessional box and give a made-up confession. The two bet him that he didn’t have the nerve to do as they dared.

The third young man did go into the confessional and tried to fool the priest. But somehow, the priest knew that what the young man was saying was a lie. There was a tone of arrogance in the young man’s voice that the priest noticed. After hearing the confession, the priest told the young man his penance. The priest said, “Very well, my son. Every confession requires a penance, and this is yours. I ask you to go into the chapel, stand before the crucifix, look into the face of the crucified Christ and say, ‘All this you did for me, and I don’t give a damn!’

The young man staggered out of the confessional to his friends, bragging that he had done as they dared. The other young men insisted he finish the performance by doing the penance, so the third man made his way back into the chapel, stood before the crucifix, looked up into the face of Christ and began, “All this you did for me and I … I … I don’t … I don’t give a ….” At this point in the story, the archbishop leaned over the pulpit and said, “That young man was this man who stands before you to preach.”

That’s the miracle of the cross. It changes things.  It changes us.  No honest person can look into the face of Christ on the cross and come away unchanged.  Once we begin to understand the love that brought the cross to take place, we want to change our relationship with God. We cannot remain the same, anymore.  How much difference is the cross making in your life?

PRAYER: For the pain, for the shame, for the anguish and for the death on the cross we thank You, Lord Jesus!  Thank you for making a change in this world – and in all who come to you! 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!

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DayBreaks for 10/01/13 – The Trembling Spider Web

DayBreaks for 10/01/13 – The Trembling Spider Web

Psalm 19:14 (ESV)  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

There is, of course, nothing that begins to approach the wisdom and truth of Scripture.  But every now and then one comes across some statement that strikes a chord and one can sense the wisdom in the words.  It seems that many believe that no one who is not a believer can ever speak truth, but that’s obviously not the case when one considers the words of King Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Xerxes and others in Scripture who spoke truth but were pagans.

Frederick Buechner is not an unbeliever…he is a highly respected theologian.  Someone sent me an email that had this tag line in it: “Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling…. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt.  Our lives are linked together.  No man is an island.” – Frederick Buechner

Think about his words.  Think about witnessing a spider web and how it trembles when the spider moves, or a fly lands on it, or even when the gentlest breeze blows upon the silky strands.  What Buechner is saying is simply this: what we do affects the world for good or ill, in a far wider circle than we can ever imagine.

In the movie, Gladiator, the character played by Russell Crowe makes an observation that echoes this, but also expands on Buechner’s words.  It goes something like this: “What we do in this life, echoes in eternity.”  Wow.  There’s a lot of wisdom and truth in those words, too.  And it reminds us that not only do our actions and words here affect this world, but they affect eternity as well.

We might all be well advised to traverse our daily lives with more care and caution.  It doesn’t mean we need to be stern-faced and somber.  It means we need to be thoughtful and wise with everything for every action has ramifications. What is your life weaving?

May God grant us the wisdom to live in ways that bring good, not evil, to time and eternity. 

PRAYER: We often flit through our days rather thoughtlessly and carelessly, Lord.  May we be more attentive to the implications of our words and actions on those You bring into our lives this day, 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 donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 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.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 09/03/13 – The Iron Brigade

DayBreaks for 09/03/13 – The Iron Brigade

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/3/2003:

Things didn’t always go well for the Army of the Potomac (the Union army) in the Civil War.  For a long time, in spite of the fact that they had many more troops, more weapons and ammunition, better supplies and medicine, they lost battles consistently and embarrassingly.  The most common result of battles was that the Union troops would run, abandon the field of battle, giving the victory to the Rebel troops.  This was almost universal, but it was certainly the case whenever they were across the field of battle from the great General Stonewall Jackson.  Stonewall Jackson had never lost a battle, never walked off the field defeated.  Until…

As it turns out, there was a brigade of troops that had been newly formed in the Union army.  They had spent many months in training, never being involved in any engagements with the enemy.  Their commander, seeking to help create an identity for his troops, bought them all black top hats, and they took on the nickname of “The Black Hats”.  They wore the hats with great pride.  Finally the day came when they got the order to march eastward where they would finally taste battle. 

This untested and unproven brigade marched throughout the day and finally in the evening, they came face to face with the enemy, across an open field, barely 60 yards apart.  It was a surprise engagement – both sides found themselves confronted without warning.  But the enemy the Black Hat brigade faced that day wasn’t just any enemy – it was the hardened, battle-proven troops of General Stonewall Jackson.  For three hours, the combatants stood on that field and fired volley after volley at each other.  The slaughter was brutal.  Finally, it got too dark to continue and both sides withdrew to safety.  Both commanders also decided that they’d had enough.  During the night, they took their troops and marched away from the battlefield.  It was the first time that Stonewall Jackson had not left the field of battle with a victory in hand.  He hadn’t lost, but neither had he won.  And more importantly, it was the first time that the Union hadn’t lost in disgrace. 

The commanders of the Union army were eager to learn what was different about this brigade of soldiers.  Why would they, an untested group, stand and fight when the older, more seasoned troops would run?  They were shocked at what they discovered.  They found out that this particular group was totally “green”, in other words, they had not a single veteran soldier from other engagements.  Why did that make a difference?  Because they hadn’t learned to run.  They didn’t have anyone who had bad habits. 

Because of their courage on the field of battle that day, this brigade got a new nickname they could wear with pride: The Iron Brigade.  As their fame spread, the Rebel troops would write home to their wives and sweethearts: “Looks like we have a battle tomorrow against the Iron Brigade.  That means we’re in for a tough fight.”

What is the application?  Simply this: “old” believers can be either a blessing or a curse.  Sometimes they can pollute new believers with bad habits – a lackadaisical approach to Christianity, unwillingness to take a stand and fight for principles because they’re too tired, a lack of faith and belief in what God can and will do.  When this happens, it can lead to the destruction and downfall of new believers and they’ll pick up the bad habits of older Christians. 

If you’ve been a believer for some time, take stock of your influence on new believers.  Are you a blessing?  Or a hindrance to their spiritual growth and well-being?

Matthew 9:17 – “Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (NIV)

PRAYER: Fill our hearts with iron courage, Lord, and help us not to learn bad behaviors that will cause others to fall!  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 donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 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.

Thank you!

DayBreaks 02/09/11 – Where Is the Church?

DayBreaks 02/09/11 – Where Is the Church?

 

You are the salt...You are the light...

 

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16, ESV

John Stott, from Great Britain and a leading Reformed theologian, has these challenging words to say to the church today:

“You know what your own country is like. I’m a visitor, and I wouldn’t presume to speak about America. But I know what Great Britain is like. I know something about the growing dishonesty, corruption, immorality, violence, pornography, the diminishing respect for human life, and the increase in abortion.

“Whose fault is it? Let me put it like this: if the house is dark at night, there is no sense in blaming the house. That’s what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, “Where is the light?”

“If meat goes bad, there is no sense in blaming the meat. That is what happens when the bacteria are allowed to breed unchecked. The question to ask is, “Where is the salt?”

“If society becomes corrupt like a dark night or stinking fish, there’s no sense in blaming society. That’s what happens when fallen human society is left to itself and human evil is unrestrained and unchecked. The question to ask is ‘Where is the church?’”

PRAYER: Forgive us for our hiding.  Forgive us for pretending that things we don’t see or personally experience don’t matter.  Forgive us for intentionally blinding ourselves from the need around us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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The Power of Example

Many years ago in Missouri, a minister of the gospel made a very bad mistake in moral judgment that came back years later to haunt him and to hurt many others.  Through a combination of trickery, conniving, and scheming, the minister stole a man’s dog.  That was bad enough all by itself, but to make matters worse, the minister involved his two little boys in the deception and theft.  After the dog had been stolen, the two little boys helped their dad disguise the dog so the rightful owner could not recognize or claim him. The boys thought it was fun and they enjoyed the trickery and plotting.  The boys thought it was great fun to take away the man’s dog.

Some years later, the minister came to a realization of the effect of that one deceitful act.  He had taught his sons how to steal and in doing so, he helped turn them away from the Christ-like spirit of love, kindness, goodness and respect for others.  And he reportedly said, regretfully: “It was a terrible mistake on my part.  I was able to keep the dog, but I lost my sons.”

The names of those two little boys were Frank and Jesse James and they grew up to become two of the most notorious outlaws and robbers of the old West. Their minister father never forgave himself.

This true example is dramatic but it is true, so true, that our children (and others!) do indeed watch us closely and learn so much from what we do.  Not just our children – but other adults watch us to.  What are they learning from watching you?

Everyone is setting an example...is yours a good one?

PRAYER: Keep us from deceit, from setting bad examples that others might see that would lead them from following you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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