DayBreaks for 9/10/18 – Ready to be Interrupted

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DayBreaks for 9/10/18: Ready to be Interrupted

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008 – Michael Card’s “From the Studio”, 8/23/08:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – COLOSSIANS 4:5

“My friend and pastor Denny Denson was in the middle of a sermon one Sunday morning when a young man he had been witnessing to for months slipped into the back of the church. The young man was a victim of crack cocaine and had more than once tried to get off the drug, promising to someday attend our church. When Denny saw him walk in that morning, he was hopeful and excited that he had come.

“After a few minutes the young man got up and walked back outside. Denny understood at once what he needed to do. He stopped in the middle of his sermon and asked the congregation to go to prayer. With that, he followed the man outside and caught up with him a block from the church. After perhaps fifteen minutes the two of them came back inside with good news. The young man had finally accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The remainder of the service was spent in worship. Denny never finished his sermon!”

Isn’t it interesting how we get set on a course of argument or action and are loathe to deviate from it in ever the slightest ways?  As I read Mike’s account of his friend, Denny, I tried to picture myself on a Sunday morning as I deliver a message, and I asked myself, “What would I have done in the circumstance described?”  I’ll be honest…I’m not sure what I would have done.  Part of me is ruled by “order” and “the plan” and I might have foolishly kept on preaching when I should have stopped.  Preachers are very prone to thinking that whatever they are talking about is the most important thing at the moment – that people have come to listen to what’s being said.  And I’m sure that there’s a certain amount of truth in that mindset – a preacher should have a message from God for the people – they shouldn’t be speaking at all.  But, “church” isn’t about the sermon – church is about Jesus and humans who need Him. 

Denny Denson recognized that fact and had the wisdom and courage to stop in the middle of his prepared remarks.  It didn’t matter that the prepared sermon wasn’t finished – Denny acted out a far more important sermon by stopping and going to the young man.  It’s what Jesus would have done, I believe.

How willing are you to be interrupted from your carefully laid plans in order to be responsive to human need and the leading of the Spirit?  Will you stop what you’re doing today and truly love someone like Jesus if the opportunity arises?  Jesus was being interrupted all the time – and we never hear him complain about it even once.  May we become more like him!

PRAYER: Jesus, don’t let us become slaves to the plan we’ve formulated for our day, but rather let us be open to Your plan for us this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 7/20/15 – Course Changes

DayBreaks for 7/20/15: Course Changes

So, let me ask you: what are your plans for today? Have you got your day fairly well regimented and planned out? There are those who think that should be how we all live our lives. And, I’m sure there is some truth to that. However, “life” has a way of altering our plans and forcing us to change from one course to another. Or is it “life” that changes such things, or is it perhaps something much greater?

Jesus and the disciples had been headed for Bethsaida when the evening’s storm blew them to Gennesaret instead. Notice our Lord’s response. He does not tell the Apostles to set out to sea and try again to get to their originally planned destination. Instead, he disembarks where they landand begins to minister to the people around him. Christ’s response is to see the storm as God’s will and to minister appropriately wherever he lands.

How do you and I respond when our day is blown off course? Do you respond to daily (or even major life-changing) “inconveniences” by looking for God’s purposes or do you become angry and frustrated at the “interruption” of your carefully thought through plans and purposes?

I have found that the higher my personal agenda, the more wrapped up that I am in my own thinking and the more insistent I am on setting my own direction, the less I am able to see God’s purpose in my daily “interruptions.” Yet, I have also found that when make myself available to “Deus Interruptus,” incredible and miraculous things frequently happen. Have you ever considered beginning your day by giving God permission to alter your agenda at any moment and any time?

“Dearest God, feel free to interrupt my agenda today with yours at any time or in any place.”

PRAYER: Lord, I pray that today and every day that you will feel free to interrupt my agenda with things that you want me to do and with the people you want me to speak to! Help me to see such “interruptions” not as inconveniences, but as part of the plan you are working out in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 01/31/13 – One’s Real Life

DayBreaks for 01/31/13 – One’s Real Life

dndLuke 6:17-19 (NLT) – When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and Jesus also cast out many evil spirits. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

I don’t know about you, but interruptions can really bug me at times.  If I’m doing something that I am really into, that I dearly love, or if I’m concentrating really hard in thought, I don’t like interruptions.  Perhaps that’s because I’m getting old enough now that I can easily forget what I was doing or thinking when the interruption came barreling down on me!

For a couple of years now, I’ve been spending my quiet time in what I can “The Jesus Exploration”.  I’ve been working my way through all four gospels, a tiny bit at a time, expressly for the purpose of trying to get to know Jesus and his heartbeat better.  You know one thing that has consistently jumped out at me over and over again?  Here it is: it’s the way he always had time for people – for interruptions.  It might have been little children gamboling around his feet; a rich young man who came to learn what he needed to do to inherit eternal life; a Pharisee named Nicodemus who was full of questions; a large crowd of sick and broken people; a Roman centurion who had a sick servant; a funeral procession along the road out of Nain; or even religious leaders who Jesus knew were plotting his demise.  It didn’t matter who they were – or even what they wanted – He spent time with them.

I think about how often I give short-shrift to the clamoring of those round about me.  I pretend not to hear sometimes.  I pretend not to see.  I don’t want the interruption.

But is that really the problem?  Is it really that I don’t want the interruption or that I don’t want to have to get involved with other people – especially if they seem to have a problem and I won’t want to get sucked in to it?  I fear that it is far more often that I don’t want to get involved.  I want to live my own life in my own way – choosing the interruptions I want to honor and those I want to ignore.

Jesus didn’t give himself that luxury, apparently.  Should we give it to ourselves?  What we often think of as interruptions may in fact be the very reason for us being in a given place at a given time.  Consider this bit of wisdom from C. S. Lewis: “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” – C.S. Lewis, from a letter to Arthur Greeves, 20 December 1943

Perhaps we have been mis-lead about what constitutes our “real life”.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to see interruptions as possible Divine interventions to shake us out of our self-life into the life You intend us to live!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/09/12 – Remember the Task

DayBreaks for 02/09/12 – Remember the Task

Stay focused on the main task...

 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. – Colossians 1:28

Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. – Psalm 107:2

Charles R. Swindoll, in his book Dropping Your Guard tells of Flight 401 bound for Miami from New York City with a load of holiday passengers. As the huge aircraft approached the Miami Airport for its landing, a light that indicates proper deployment of the landing gear failed to come on. The plane flew in a large, looping circle over the swamps of the Everglades while the cockpit crew checked out the light failure. Their question was this, had the landing gear actually not deployed or was it just the light bulb that was defective?

To begin with, the flight engineer fiddled with the bulb. He tried to remove it, but it wouldn’t budge. Another member of the crew tried to help out…and then another. By and by, if you can believe it, all eyes were on the little light bulb that refused to be dislodged from its socket. No one noticed that the plane was losing altitude. Finally, it dropped right into a swamp. Many died in that plane crash. While an experienced crew of high-priced and seasoned pilots messed around with a seventy-five-cent light bulb, an entire airplane and many of its passengers were lost. The crew momentarily forgot the most basic of all rules of the air — “Don’t forget to fly the airplane!”

There are many, I’m sure, who have watched movies of someone on an airplane who did a heroic job of piloting the airplane after the pilot got sick or injured, directing the aircraft to a safe landing.  I’ve thought about it when I’ve been on an airplane.  Could I do it?  Well, my qualifications are somewhat suspect in spite of the fact that I used to play a computer game where I flew an F-16 somewhat successfully.

As we maneuver through our daily lives there are many distractions.  Some require attention, some don’t.  We often don’t distinguish well between those two poles.  But in our distraction, we lose sight of the realities around us.  The result is much like that of Flight 401: we crash and burn.

This is a day that will be filled with challenges because every day is that way.  There is no avoiding it.  There will be forms to fill out, calls to make, tasks to perform.  In all those activities (which can be frantic at times) we can lose sight of the primary task: to love God above all, and to love others as we love ourselves.  In the rush of “things I must do today” we forget that it is the people around us who are the main thing and we have the means given to us by God, to see that they land safely at the eternal city!

PRAYER: Keep us from majoring in minors, of getting so caught up in life’s activities that we forget why You have given life to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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