DayBreaks for 9/01/16 – Martha and I – the Practical Twins

Image result for martha and mary

DayBreaks for 9/01/16 – Martha and I – the Practical Twins

John 11:38-40 (ESV)Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

I really like Martha!

Martha was very much like me, or rather, I am very much like Martha. She was a woman of practicalities. When Jesus comes to dinner, it is Martha who is busy with the cooking and preparations while her sister sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to the teaching of the Master.

Here, in this passage, Martha is worried about something else. She is worried about the stench emanating from her dead brother’s corpse. Quite frankly, I would be worried about it, too, if I had been Martha or if I were in a parallel situation with Jesus. I have not smelled a decomposing human after four days, but I am told it is an unforgettable, sickening odor. Jesus, of course, knew about the stench. For some inexplicable reason, I’d always assumed that when the stone was rolled back and Lazarus came forth, it was as if Jesus had sprayed some heavenly Lysol in the air and there was no stench. But the Scripture doesn’t say that when the stone was moved away that there wasn’t a stench that was released from the enclosed space where Lazarus had been decomposing.

Martha, I’m sure, thought Jesus just wanted to cast one more glance on the face of her dead brother and was trying to let him know that not only wouldn’t it be a pretty sight, it wouldn’t be a pretty smell, either. She was a practical woman – she wasn’t expecting an entirely impractical resurrection. It just isn’t practical to let oneself hope for a resurrection. Such things don’t happen, so don’t even start to get your hopes up.

God, however, isn’t concerned with such trivialities as what is practical and what isn’t. For him, there is no impractical or impossible thing. Everything serves his purpose. Jesus is the God of the practical and impractical. Perhaps it is only my lack of faith that prevents me from seeing more impractical things become reality in my own life.

I am grateful that Jesus loves even practical people like Martha – and me!

PRAYER: Lord, I believe you can do anything you choose to do. Yet I know my practicality often leads me to not even expect things from you, rather than to expect amazing things when you are “on the scene”. Keep me from being so impractical that I don’t believe you can do far more than we can ask or even imagine! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 8/26/16 – The God Who Weeps

DayBreaks for 8/26/16 – The God Who Weeps

Jesus wept. – John 11:35

This is probably the first verse that most of us ever memorized. Why? Because it was short and easy. But short and easy can make it more likely that we’ll miss the incredible power of God’s word to tell us something important in just 9 letters combined into two words.

I have often wondered why Jesus wept. I’ve heard many different interpretations, but the most common are that 1) he was moved by the grief of his friends; 2) he was grieving himself over the loss of Lazarus; 3) he was agonizing over the effects of the fall on humanity – and death was included as part of that fall. I don’t know for sure why he wept, but I rather doubt it was the second one – after all, Jesus knew perfectly well what he was going to do in Bethany that day. But whatever we do, we shouldn’t let our not knowing why Jesus wept distract us from the fact that he did weep.

The shortest verse in the Bible is probably also one of the most poignant and important verses of all time. Some ancients believed that the gods lacked emotions. Their reasoning was that if the gods had emotions then they could be swayed by people and events and that they would no longer be gods. So, they held that the gods must be stoic and untouched emotionally from human affairs. Jesus destroys that notion. Jesus shows us a God who weeps. This is important for at least two reasons: 1) it gives me hope that my prayers can move God, just as God was moved by the requests of Moses and David and many others throughout history; 2) it comforts me to know that Jesus understands heartbreak caused by living in the human condition. It makes me able to go to him and know he “gets it”. And it gives me hope that when I weep, he weeps with me, even as he wept with his friends in that cemetery in Bethany.

You may need someone to weep with you, to share your sorrow and grief. Jesus is that Person you need. He is “the man of sorrows”, “acquainted with grief.” Scripture doesn’t tell us those things just to be telling us facts about Jesus, but to know he sympathizes with us to the point of sitting beside us and crying himself.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, thank you for inspiring John to record that Jesus wept. May all who weep today find comfort in His Presence beside them! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 8/25/16 – Lazarus’ Unexpected Experience

DayBreaks for 8/25/16 – Lazarus’ Unexpected Experience

In spite of all the “near death experiences” and stories about what happens after you die, we really just don’t know. There are those who say that at least some of these experiences are real…and then there are those who say they are nothing more than the dying embers of the brain firing on whatever cylinders are left. As Christians, we believe in life after death. I know, I certainly do. But do I know precisely what happens when one dies? I’m not talking about the physical process of dying – I think I understand that fairly well. I’m referring to the question of will we be conscious or not?

There are clues scatted around the bible that might cause us to believe we’ll be conscious (like the story of Lazarus and the rich man, etc.), but there are others that tend to imply that we won’t be conscious. I don’t know. I rather suspect we will be conscious, but that’s all beside the point.

In the story of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11, I would be willing to bet that when Lazarus drew his last breath that he didn’t expect his next experience to be hearing Jesus’ voice call him back to life. But because we have that story in Scripture, I can also know that if I am unconscious after I die that the next voice I may hear will be the voice of Jesus calling me out of my grave, too, or his face greeting me on “the other side”.

Sort of puts a bit more excitement and anticipation into the concept of dying as I see it!  

PRAYER: Jesus, while we don’t know what it will be like to die, it is tremendously comforting to know that your face or your voice will be our next conscious experience! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/27/15 – What Troubles God

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DayBreaks for 3/27/15: What Troubles God

My favorite Bible story growing up would change from time to time.  Daniel in the lion’s den, the story of Joseph, even Job and his troubles were from time to time my favorite story.  But for a long, long time now, it is the story of the raising of Lazarus that has held my heart enthralled and my mind intrigued.  I recently received a reflection on that story and I believe it is worth sharing.  This is from Fr. Robert Barron’s Lenten Reflections this year:

“The story of Lazarus is rich in meaning for us, especially during Lent. At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus “groaned in spirit.” Jesus’ trouble here is the result of his identification with sinful humanity. He goes all the way to the bottom of it, letting its truth affect him. Jesus does not just love us abstractly or from a distance. He comes close to us.

“More to the point, this groaning of Jesus signals the pain that God feels at our imprisonment. If his glory is our being fully alive, then his agony is tied to our sin. How salvific it can be to listen to this groaning of the Lord at our own lack of life.

“In the same vein, Jesus weeps for his friend. There is something heartbreaking about this for it is the only time in the Scripture that Jesus is described as weeping. Whatever form death takes within us – physical, psychological, spiritual – it is something deeply troubling to God.

“One detail is particularly moving: Jesus asks, “Where have you laid him?” Sin alienates us from our God, making us strangers to him. Just as in the book of Genesis, God looked for Adam and Eve, who were hiding from him, so here God incarnate doesn’t know where his friend Lazarus is.

“Then the Lord comes to the tomb. We hear that it was a cave with a stone laid across it. When things are dead, we bury them away, we hide them. When we feel spiritually dead, we lock ourselves up in the darkness of our own anxiety and egotism and fear. But there is a power, a divine power, sent into this world whose very purpose is to break through all such stones. “Lazarus, come out!” Are there any words more beautiful and stirring in the whole New Testament? From whatever grave we are lying in, Jesus calls us out.

“And the dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth.” Lazarus comes out with all of the signs of death still clinging to him. So Jesus says “Untie him and let him go.” Here we see it: Whatever limits, binds, controls, orders, dominates us – these are the enemies of God.”

PRAYER: Father, it is good to know that what troubles us causes You distress, too, and that You call us out of the graves in which we lay!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 4/11/14 – Neither Casseroles Nor Condolences for Jesus

DayBreaks for 4/11/14 – Neither Casseroles Nor Condolences for Jesus

John 11:21-26 (NLT) – Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 23  Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24  “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25  Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Pastor Bishop Kenneth Ulmer from Inglewood, CA, envisions the animating, life-fulfilling power of the Holy Spirit as something like the transformation that comes over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon figures as they’re inflated. Without any air these huge balloons lay flat on the floor, limp, and featureless figures. But when the wind starts whipping up inside those balloons, they begin to rise, fill out and stand tall. They become individuals, people and creatures that we recognize and love. Once on the parade route, these balloons take on even more life, for they are animated not just by the air within them, but by the winds that buffet and bolster them down the street.

In John 11, Jesus doesn’t appear before Martha and Mary – who are in agony over the death of their brother Lazarus – carrying a casserole and condolences. Jesus doesn’t mutter platitudes or concede that Lazarus’ death is a tragedy that could have been avoided if Jesus had gotten there earlier.

Instead, Jesus bypasses their house and goes straight to his best friend’s tomb and calls out, “Lazarus, come forth!” As experienced by Ezekiel and the psalmist, once again the animating spirit of God moves with power and precision, and brings a dead man walking (or levitating as he’s still bound hand and foot) right out of his tomb!

Instead of condolences, this is what God settles for!!!! Miracle, rebirth, deliverance from the pit, and eternal redemption. God doesn’t define winning as not losing. God doesn’t settle for anything less than joy unbounded, and glory filled dreams fulfilled.

Will we all see our dreams fulfilled in this life on earth? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be super-fulfilled in the life we shall one day possess in fullness. Will it be worth waiting for?  I can’t tell you from personal experience one way or the other, but this I can say: if God is as good as His word, it will be far better than we could ever imagine!

PRAYER: Lord, I’m so grateful that you don’t define winning as not losing, but your idea of winning is beyond our wildest dreams! I am so grateful that nothing can deny you your victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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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 1/23/14 – She Laughs Now Alfred

DayBreaks for 1/23/14 – She Laughs Now, Alfred           

Revelation 20:13-14 (NLT) – The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire…

Less than one year ago, I spent two months in Africa, learning and experiencing that land and the people who live and suffer there, so that perhaps we might be able to help them and others like them around the world live better lives spiritually and physically. I came to be very good friends with several of those I was with, but the closest is Alfred, from Liberia. Alfred’s last name is Collie, which in Liberian means “leopard.”

Today, Alfred is not feeling like a leopard, but is weeping over the sudden, unexpected death of his 7-year old granddaughter. He is crushed, weeping without ceasing, in deep anguish of heart and mind. Death has taken another victim. I cannot image the grief of a parent who has lost a child, nor that of a grandparent who loses a grandchild. It is too overwhelming to grasp, to deep to understand – and I can barely stand to contemplate it, let alone go through such gut-wrenching agony.

Alfred is not alone in his grief today. Many today are facing the death of a loved one. Estimates range from 150,000-300,000 people die each day around the world. How many tears per day is that? Yet it is Alfred on this day that has my heart and prayers. He is so far away (or is it I who am far away?) in this time of need and I wish with all my heart I could be there to weep with him.

Early in his career, American playwright, Eugene O’Neill, wrote the imaginative play Lazarus Laughed. It’s about Lazarus’s life after Jesus raised him from the dead. Near the beginning of the play, friends are gathering for a banquet in Lazarus’s honor. They are all eager to hear what Lazarus has to say about his experience. As they are being seated, one guest says, “The whole look of his face has changed. He is like a stranger from a far land. There is no longer any sorrow in his eyes. They must have forgotten sorrow in the grave.” Another guest, one who had helped roll the tombstone aside, recalls the scene after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead beautifully:

And then Lazarus knelt and kissed Jesus’ feet, and both of them smiled, and Jesus blessed him and called him “My Brother” and went away. And Lazarus, looking after him, began to laugh softly like a man in love with God. Such a laugh I never heard! It made my ears drunk! It was like wine! And though I was half-dead with fright, I found myself laughing, too.

Death. We don’t even like to say the word. It has a coldness to it, a finality. There is no life in it. I hate it. You hate it. God hates it. And God will destroy it – totally, utterly, and finally. On the day that happens I will praise Him yet anew. And I shall rejoice to see death cast into hell. Then I, Alfred, his granddaughter and all His children, will laugh.  Until then: Comfort, oh comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1 (MSG)

PRAYER: Father, only You can comfort us in the face of such devastation as death. I pray Your comfort today on my friend, Alfred. Please, Father, send Jesus back soon to crush this terrible enemy forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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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 09/25/13 – Lazarus at the Gate

DayBreaks for 09/25/13 – Lazarus at the Gate

Luke 16:19-25 (NLT) – Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20  At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21  As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22  “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23  and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. 24  “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ 25  “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.

There is an old story about a botanist who was studying the heather bell plant that is found in the highlands of Scotland.  One day, while looking through his microscope at this beautiful flower, a shepherd approached him and asked what he was looking at.  Rather than trying to explain, the scientist invited the shepherd to look through his microscope and see for himself.  When the shepherd saw the wonder of the flower, he exclaimed, “My God, and I have been tramping on them all my life!”

Is that a word of warning we need?  Wake up!  Pay attention!  Look around you.  You may be tramping on the heart of someone nearby.

Who is the Lazarus at your gate?

PRAYER: Every day we pass by such beauty that is concealed in the people we see – and we miss it!  Help us, Lord, not to trample on people!  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!