DayBreaks for 4/17/17 – Into Thin Air

DayBreaks for 4/17/17: Into Thin Air

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

I recently finished reading Into Thin Air, about the tragic ascent on Mt. Everest that was attempted 2 years ago this month.  A horrible storm swept in while several teams were making their final ascent on the summit.  The result: the highest single death toll for any mountain-climbing incident in history. 

In the May 9 issue of World magazine, Kevin Cusack wrote an article “When Strength Fails”.  Kevin was a friend and climbing partner of Scott Fischer, the man who led the American assault on the summit.  Scott was one of the many who died, frozen to death high up on the side of Everest.  Kevin told of a climb he’d made with Scott about 20 years ago in the Wind River Range of Wyoming:  “The next day, Scott, another climber and I set out on a particularly difficult climb.  After a few hours we found ourselves…on a very narrow ledge.  Below us lay about 3,000 feet of “free space”, commonly known as air.  In front of us lay a 4-foot gap, and above that and to our right was a very smooth nose, which we had to make our way around in order to continue to climb higher.  The move required us to drop across the 4-foot gap, grab a fingertip ledge about 18 inches above our heads, and work our way around the nose using only our fingertips.”

“Because the rock was so smooth, we were unable to find any crack into which to clip our rope; therefore the first climber had to attempt the move unroped, since if he were to fall he would take the 2 other climbers roped to him with him.  All was very quiet as each man waited for someone else to volunteer to go unroped.  Scott’s boldness was being challenged, and in the end he agreed to go first.  Then he did a very curious thing.  He knelt on that thin ledge on one knee for a few seconds, made the sign of the cross, and stood up.  Surprised, I asked, “Scott, what’s the deal?”  He simply replied, “Sometimes you never know.”  …Scott knew many things, but he did not know the answers to life’s most important questions.  One of Scott’s teammates on his fatal Everest climb 2 years ago said, ‘Scott was like a god to us, so strong, fast, and bold, but in the end he was only Scott and he died.'”

Galen’s Thoughts: Scott Fischer was called by Newsweek “one of the strongest climbers in the world”.  He was the guy to be with when you were in a difficult spot.  His confidence got people through the scariest times.  He led people into thin air.  But “he was only Scott and he died”.  Many people today are leading others into dangerous places – into thin air spiritually – rejecting Scripture, presenting a sinful Jesus and telling us that we can determine on our own what is right and wrong, that we only answer to ourselves.  An intoxicating doctrine.  But it is the same lie Satan told Eve.  In the end, these people are only people…and they will die, as Scott died.  Trusting them will be fatal.

Scott hadn’t been a believer.  Kevin prays that while Scott was alone on the wind-swept summit in the -100 degree temperatures that he reached out to God.  We won’t know until the dawn of eternity what happened with Scott.  What can we learn from the fatalities?  Simply this: if your faith is in your strength or anything but God, it will fail you.  2 Tim 4:18: The Lord will rescue me…and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.

PRAYER:  Father, we put far too much trust in our own wisdom, knowledge and abilities.  Forgive us, Father, for such foolishness.  Help us realize that only in You is found safety.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/21/15 – Choosing Whom to Follow

DayBreaks for 7/21/15: Choosing Whom to Follow

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/19/2005:

Bizarre News, 7/9/2005: ISTANBUL, Turkey – “It all started when one lone sheep jumped from a cliff to its death. Then Turkish shepherds watched stunned as nearly 1,500 others followed suit, each leaping off the same cliff. When it was all over, 450 dead sheep lay on top of each other in a white, furry pile. “There’s nothing we can do. They’re all wasted,” Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam. The sheep suicide is bad news to families in the town of Gevas, who are suffering an estimated loss of over $100,000.”

No one has ever accused sheep of being smart.  Smelly?  Oh, yeah.  Sheepish?  Sure.  Stupid?  Definitely!  Let me assure you that these sheep that leaped off the cliff didn’t do so because they had confidence in their leader.  Sheep tend to not follow anything very well – it’s sort of like herding cats.  Sheep usually just put their head down and keep walking in the direction of the “leader”.  Sadly, in this case, the sheep hadn’t all made a suicide pact – they just were following the wrong leader.

It is so common today to pick a leader and follow them no matter what.  We see it happening in politics.  We see it happening in businesses, in school, and in churches.  Someone who is charismatic and charming, witty and personable, who has a gift for making others relax and who can communicate a vision is a prime candidate for leadership.  The lead sheep in this story had a vision perhaps – it may have seen the green grass far below and thought how great it would be to be able to fly to the pasture land to munch on some of that green stuff.  But it was a bad vision, if that was the case.

As we choose those we will emulate from a spiritual standpoint, I hope and pray that God will give us discernment to follow not the sheep, but the Shepherd.  It’s so easy to get caught up in a charismatic leader with an exciting vision.  Let’s just be sure that it is the Lord’s vision, not the leader’s vision.  Otherwise, we may wind up at the bottom of a hill in a pile with a lot of other dead sheep. 

Ps. 80:1-3 – Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Israel like a flock.  O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.  Show us your mighty power.  Come to rescue us!  Turn us again to yourself, O God.  Make your face shine down upon us.  Only then will we be saved.

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Let us hear Your voice clearly and resolve to only follow You and those who are true to the Word of Life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 8/01/14 – Triumph Comes Disguised

DayBreaks for 8/01/14 – Triumph Comes Disguised

Galen is traveling through 8/5/14…new DayBreaks will resume after he returns. 

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/31/2004:

John 11:50 (NIV) – You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.

John 19:30 (NIV) – When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Sometimes it is hard to recognize a victory when it stares you right straight in the face.  It is often much easier to see defeat than to recognize victory.  Such was the case with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  When he was killed, it wasn’t clear what would happen to the civil rights movement.  Would it hold together or fall apart?  Would violence flare up and consume the country?  At his funeral service, many people spoke out about Dr. King, but the most moving of them all was James Bevel.  He got up to the podium, heavy and stern-faced, and in a voice the grew and rose like a hurricane wind coming ashore, he said, “There is a false rumor going around that our leader is dead.  Our leader is not dead.  Martin Luther King is not our leader.”  He paused and let the words sink in, shocking as they were, for a funeral service for the slain leader.  Some wondered if he was using the moment to try to garner support for himself as the next leader, but then he went on:

“Our leader is the Man who led Moses out of Israel.  Our leader is the Man who went with Daniel into the lion’s den!  Our leader is the man who walked out of the grave on Easter morning.  Our leader neither sleeps nor slumbers.  He cannot be put in jail.  He has never lost a war yet.  Our leader is still on the case.  Our leader is not dead.  One of His children died.  We will not stop because of that.”

Powerful stuff.  He realized what many there perhaps had not realized: triumph is often disguised as failure.  As an end.  A conclusion.  When in reality it may just be the beginning of something new and better than we could possibly dream of.

In Jesus’ case, the leaders wanted him dead in order to protect the nation.  They feared what Rome might do because of the furor that Jesus’ stirred up with his preaching and teaching – that his followers may get out of hand and a disaster would result.  So they killed him.  It looked like disaster, but it was victory.  It looked like the end, but it was the beginning.

Our leader is not dead.  You may be facing what looks to be a defeat in your life.  Give it to God.  Let Him make it into a victory in His own way.  Our leader is not dead.  He will not leave you abandoned or broken.  Triumph, like joy, comes in the morning!

PRAYER: When we tend to withdraw from the struggle and fear failure, remind us, Lord, that You are our Leader and that You will never be vanquished!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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