DayBreaks for 12/21/18 – The Priest’s Sacrifice, #4

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DayBreaks for 12/21/18: The Priest’s Sacrifice, #4

Finishing off the theme of Sacrifice for this week preceding Christmas, I’m sharing some thoughts from the message at church this past Sunday.

Our fourth, and final, sacrifice as Christian priests and priestesses is found in Philippians 4:18 (ESV) – I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

Paul says that the gifts which were sent to him from the church at Philippi weren’t just gifts, but sacrifices that pleased God.

The privilege we have as believers is that God supplies all our needs. Every good and perfect gift starts with him for our enjoyment, yes, but also to pass through our fingers into the hands of others in need.

The responsibility of such a privilege is that we are empowered by his generosity to meet kingdom needs and human need.

I was struck by the fact that the first gifts given to Jesus at his birth by the magi didn’t really come from the magi, but from the Father who provided it for the magi to bring to the stable. Yet, I believe that the myrrh and frankincense (and gold) the magi were sacrifices that were fragrant offerings that pleased the Father immensely as he stared down at the son in the manger – and also into the hearts of the magi.

God gave the most perfect gift of all time, the most urgently needed gift, in the person of Jesus. If you have the means at all this season, you’ll give gifts to family and friends. Question: what will you give to those who may be your enemies? After all, isn’t that what God did for us with the child in the manger?

PRAYER: Let us give freely, not only to those who are friends and family, but to our enemies and strangers as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 9/11/18 – But I Do

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DayBreaks for 9/11/18: But I Do

If we believe in Jesus, we know the boundaries are erased inside and out, for there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. Fred Craddock tells the story of a missionary sent to preach the gospel in India near the end of World War II. After many months the time came for a furlough back home. His church wired him the money to book passage on a steamer but when he got to the port city he discovered a boat load of Jews had just been allowed to land temporarily. These were the days when European Jews were sailing all over the world literally looking for a place to live, and these particular Jews were staying in attics and warehouses and basements all over that port city.

It happened to be Christmas, and on Christmas morning, this missionary went to one of the attics where scores of Jews were staying. He walked in and said, “Merry Christmas.” The people looked at him like he was crazy and responded, “We’re Jews.” “I know that,” said the missionary, “What would you like for Christmas?” In utter amazement the Jews responded, “Why we’d like pastries, good pastries like the ones we used to have in Germany.” So the missionary went out and used the money for his ticket home to buy pastries for all the Jews he could find staying in the port. Of course, then he had to wire home asking for more money to book his passage back to the States.

As you might expect, his superiors wired back asking what happened to the money they had already sent. He wired that he had used it to buy Christmas pastries for some Jews. His superiors wired back, “Why did you do that? They don’t even believe in Jesus.” He wired back: “Yes, but I do.”

We might be tempted to think that what the missionary did was insignificant and a waste of money. I bet God didn’t feel that way about it.

PRAYER: Open our eyes to opportunities around us today to demonstrate that we are changed people who love others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/18/15 – Something More Than Mere Kindness

DayBreaks for 9/18/15: Something More than Mere Kindness

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2005:

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about happiness and God and His purposes, about suffering and evil and how that all fits together with God. And one of the common thoughts that I’ve run into is that God didn’t create an evil world…He did create beings with the potential for evil and He had to if He were to have a creation in which real love could exist. You can’t coerce love or it isn’t love – it’s intimidation, or something other than love by definition. No, love must be freely chosen and freely given and received. And for that to happen, the choice for sentient beings had to be made available.

And yet we sometimes have a very distorted idea of God. We sometimes wish, in the middle of our sinning, that we wish God would approve of what we’re doing, that He’d give it His big heavenly stamp of approval. C.S. Lewis put it this way in The Problem of Pain: “What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of the day, ‘a good time was had by all.’” We somehow think that such would be what a God of love would be like – kind and benevolent.

Lewis goes on and draws a difference between love and kindness. Love, he says, is “something more stern and splendid than mere kindness…Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering…If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt.”

It is possible to be kind but full of contempt. It is not possible to be loving and full of contempt. Love, God’s love, insists on making us better than we are (although He loves us just as we are) because it is what is best for us. Kindness isn’t worried about making someone better – only about doing some kind deed to minimize discomfort.

As you think about how you relate to others, are your relationships more concerned with kindness or with love?

PRAYER: I am thankful for Your kindness, Lord, but even more thankful for Your love! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/13/15 – The Greatest Holiness

DayBreaks for 01/13/15 – The Greatest Holiness

 

Once upon a time long ago, a young man decided he wanted to become a saint. He left his home, family, and possessions and journeyed into the hot sands of the desert where he eventually found a dark cave. He thought, “I can find God here. I will be alone and nothing will disturb me.” He prayed day and night in the cave, but God sent him many temptations. He imagined all the good things in life and wanted them desperately, but he was determined to give up everything and be with God alone. After many months, the temptations stopped and the young man was finally alone with God. 

Then one day God called to him, “Leave your cave and go to a distant town. Look for the local shoemaker. Knock on his door and stay with his family for a few days.” The holy hermit was puzzled by God’s request, but nonetheless left the next morning. He walked far across the desert sands and by nightfall had reached the village. He found a small house, knocked on the door and was greeted with a smile and a welcome. The hermit inquired if the man was the local shoemaker. Hearing that he was, the hermit was pleased, but the shoemaker, seeing that the hermit was tired and hungry invited him in to stay. The hermit was given a hearty meal and a clean place to sleep. The hermit stayed with the shoemaker and his family for three days. The two men talked quite a bit and the hermit learned much about the shoemaker, but he revealed little about himself, even though the family was quite curious about him. 

Then after three days the hermit said good-bye to the shoemaker and his family and retraced his steps back across the desert to his cave, wondering all the while why God had sent him on this mission. When he arrived back at the cave, God questioned the hermit. “What was the shoemaker like?” The hermit answered, “He is a simple man; they have a small home. He has a wife and a baby. They seem to love each other greatly. He has a small shop where he makes shoes. He works very hard and makes very little, but he still gives money and food to those who are less fortunate. He and his wife pray each day; they have lots of friends.” God listened to the hermit and replied, “You will be a great saint, as you wish, but the shoemaker and his family will be great saints as well.” 

This legend of Saint Antony of the Desert describes what sainthood is all about.  According to Jesus’ description of the judgment found in Matthew 25:34-36, we learn what pleases Jesus.  In fact, the greatest saints amongst us may not be the ones with the ability to preach a convincing sermon or give the best apologetic defense of the gospel, but the one who is the most generous to those in need.  Perhaps we have been impressed by the wrong kind of things, but Jesus isn’t. 

Matthew 25:34 (NLT) – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 

PRAYER: Give us compassionate hearts and help us understand what it is that You truly value and want from 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 9/09/14 – People Shaming

DayBreaks for 9/09/14 – People Shaming

Perhaps you have seen them on Facebook, or in an email that managed to land in your inbox.  They are hilarious and very, very cute!  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about those images about “dog shaming”, where a dog is in a picture with a note hung around their neck or held in their teeth about something bad that they did and for which they are supposedly “ashamed”.  I must say that they are among the funniest things I’ve seen on the web for a long, long time!

What may be funny with animals, though, is not funny with people.

James Twitchell, author of the book, For Shame: The Loss of Common Decency in American Culture, suggests that making people feel bad and shaming them is one of the cures for what ails us. As is painfully obvious to everyone who watches the reports of criminal trials, not every problem can be solved with judicial solutions, so some folks have taken to shaming those who have made mistakes.  It is becoming increasingly popular.

It isn’t new: in colonial days they used to put public offenders in stockades in the public square, making them feel embarrassed and singling them out as “shameful” members of the community. Fortunately, our society has evolved from that kind of treatment since everyone has certain inalienable rights. But, since our judicial system seems to be waning and less likely to actually enforce justice and find perpetrators guilty, there is a trend that appears to be going the other direction.

In Florida, for example, repeat convicted drunk drivers are required to use special license plates or bumper stickers alerting others to their status. And in Rhode Island, child abusers have their photo appear in the local newspaper with the caption, “I was convicted for child molestation.”  Some towns have posted signs by the roadway that list the names of the local drug offenders.

Shaming people publicly is becoming an accepted practice. The belief is that someone who commits an offense will experience enough shame and embarrassment that it will help turn their lives around. In other words, according to Twitchell, there is a social good in making troublemakers feel bad.

If you or someone you love were hurt by a child molester or drug offender or any other kind of crime, you may applaud this type of action.  And I am not here to judge you or anyone else, but from a Scriptural standpoint, I cannot see Jesus agreeing with that philosophy.  Can you?

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

PRAYER: Our vengeful hearts often overcome us, Lord, and we try to hurt those who have hurt us.  Help us to learn that there is freedom only in forgiveness, not in shaming others or in harboring our hurts!  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 07/10/12 – A Kindness Returned

DayBreaks for 07/10/12 – A Kindness Returned

1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NLT) – See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.

Shortly after the tragedy of 9/11, a wonderful story of giving was reported by Page Ivey of The Associated Press. It emerged from a school-house in Columbia, South Carolina.

First you have to have some historical perspective. Two years after the Civil War, with much of Columbia still in ruins, some of the bitterness over the North-South conflict was put aside by a single gesture: New York firefighters set out to collect pennies to buy Columbia a fire truck.

On February 17, 1865, a devastating blaze…had devoured over 36 blocks, or about one-third of the city. Columbia had lost most of its firefighting equipment during the Civil War and desperately used bucket brigades in their attempt to douse flames.

Not long after, New York City firemen, many of them former Union soldiers, raised $5,000—mostly in pennies—and put a hose-reel wagon on a steamship bound for Columbia, South Carolina. It was March of 1867. On the way, the ship sank, but instead of giving up, they took up another collection and sent a second hose-reel wagon in June of that same year.

So overwhelmed was former Confederate Colonel Samuel Melton that he made a promise on behalf of South Carolina’s capital city to return the kindness “should misfortune ever befall the Empire City.”

After 9/11, White Knoll principal Nancy Turner and her teachers were trying to find some tangible way their students could respond to the attacks. The children were too young to give blood, and no one liked the idea of simply sending money to an impersonal national fund. Eventually the decision was made to collect money to buy a fire truck.

Then Turner stumbled on records of New York’s long-ago gift while researching the cost and what type of truck to buy. It was easy to get city leaders and the state governor, Jim Hodges, to join in. Columbia’s fire chief was a New York native. The effort was renamed “South Carolina Remembers.” After 134 years, the day to remember came and the children of Columbia took it on themselves to honor that pledge.

They collected pennies at football games, held bake sales, and sold T-shirts in a drive to raise the $350,000 needed to replace one of the dozens of New York City firetrucks destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.

The idea began from a lesson in giving. Donations poured in. One donor wrote: “When I was growing up in Columbia, Mama always said you need to return a kindness. I know she’d be as glad as I am to be part of this wonderful thank-you gesture.”

In notes to the students, donors told personal stories connecting them with loved ones who died on 9/11, to firefighters, and in one case, to Confederate soldiers.

In her article, Page Ivey tells about one of the most unforgettable donations, coming from Russell Siller of Rockville Centre, New York. Siller’s brother, Stephen, was part of the elite firefighter force Squad 1. He died that terrible day. Siller wrote: “At a time like this, when the whole nation is still mourning its loss, what a powerful and poetic message your efforts send to all of us. I am proud that New York’s bravest sent you a fire truck in your city’s time of need. … To think that you would honor a pledge made so many years ago! The new fire truck will become a symbol for your love for your country, and for New York’s bravest.”  –  “A Kindness Returned-134 Years Later,” Building Adult Ministries (3-31-08); taken from an Associated Press story by Page Ivey

What a wonderful story!  Now let’s get personal: do you repay evil for evil, or seek to do something good for all people, including those who may have hurt you directly?  It’s a tough challenge, but it is in the imitation of Christ, and we are commanded to live that way!

PRAYER: Jesus, we need your heart and mind in this matter!  We are far to prone to strike back at those who have caused us injury or pain rather than seeking to bless them with something good.  Change our natures, change our hearts and minds, until we see, and act, as you would!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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