DayBreaks for 4/04/18 – The Undoubting Doubter

Image result for doubting Thomas

DayBreaks for 4/04/18: The Undoubting Doubter

If I were to mention the names of certain disciples to you and ask you to write down the first word that comes into your mind, it is unlikely you would come up with the same words. If I were to mention the name of Judas many of you would write down the word “betray” or “betrayer” but not all of you. If I were to mention Simon Peter, some of you would write down the word “faith,” but not all of you. If I were to mention the names of James and John, some of you would write down the phrase “Sons of Thunder,” but not all of you. But when I mention the word Thomas, there is little question about the word most everyone would write down. It would be the word doubt or the label, “doubter”. Indeed, so closely have we associated Thomas with this word, that we have coined a phrase to describe him: “Doubting Thomas.”
You may be interested to know that in the first three gospels we are told absolutely nothing at all about Thomas. It is in John’s Gospel that he emerges as a distinct personality, but even then there are only 155 words about him. There is not a lot about this disciple in the Bible but there is more than one description.

When Jesus turned his face toward Jerusalem the disciples thought that it would be certain death for all of them. Surprisingly, it was Thomas who said: Then let us go so that we may die with him. (Interestingly, Thomas is said by tradition to have died a martyr’s death in India, having angered local religious authorities by his preaching of the gospel, they ran him through with a spear. How ironic that he would die in that manner after having placed his hand in the spear wound in Christ’s side!)

It wasn’t Peter who said …let us go so that we may die with him. It wasn’t John or Jesus’ half-brother James. Thomas’ words were courageous, yet we don’t remember him for that. We also fail to point out that in this story of Thomas’ doubt we have the one place in the all the Gospels where the Divinity of Christ is bluntly and unequivocally stated. 

It is interesting, is it not, that the story that gives Thomas his infamous nickname, is the same story that has Thomas making an earth shattering confession of faith? How did Thomas move so quickly from the bold confessor to the doubting one? I think it may be that those who are the most hopeful fall hardest when those hopes appear shattered and belief comes hard – if at all. But look at his confession after seeing the risen Christ: My Lord, and my God. Not teacher. Not just Lord. Not Messiah. But God! It is the only place where Jesus is called God without qualification of any kind. It is uttered with conviction as if Thomas was simply recognizing a fact, just as 2 + 2 = 4, and the sun is in the sky. You are my Lord and my God! These are certainly not the words of a doubter. Again, it wasn’t Peter, James or John who uttered those five huge words so laden with meaning.

Today, however, I want to ask you this question: who is Jesus to you? Is he your favorite moral and ethical teacher? Do you call him Lord? He is so much more than just Lord, as Thomas noted: he is God.

If you aren’t willing and ready to let him be both your Lord and God – with all that entails in terms of absolute, utter obedience to even the slightest thing he may ask or command – then we need to rethink our relationship with him. Too much is at stake to not think seriously about this!

PRAYER: Jesus, open our eyes to this profound truth that you are both Lord and God and there is no excuse to not follow every word that came out of your mouth and to commit ourselves unreservedly to humble obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 3/30/17 – Who Do You Really Want?

DayBreaks for 3/30/17: Who Do You Really Want?

John 18:3-4 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

Of course, Jesus knew the answer to the question he asked, but as he always seemed to do, the question was not to gain knowledge for himself, but to cause those who had come to arrest him to consider their actions and what they were doing.  They had the right answer: “Jesus of Nazareth.”  They wanted Jesus, all right, but not for the right reasons.  They didn’t want him as Lord or even as a rabbi.  They wanted him as a captive – a prisoner.

The question is very valid nearly 2000 years later, and it is still Jesus who asks it: “Who is it you want?”

Let’s not be too quick to chime in, as did the soldiers: “Jesus of Nazareth.”  That’s the obvious Christian answer, the expected response that upholds our status as believers.  But do we want Jesus as a captive who we would put in a box and call him forth to perform for us on demand?  Do we want a Jesus of Nazareth that is a construction of our own mind and wishes, or are we willing to accept the Jesus of Nazareth that calls us to carry our cross daily, to die to ourselves, to be poured out for others even as He was poured out? 

I fear that far too many of us, indeed all of us, have distorted visions of Jesus.  American culture has made him a warm, fuzzy creature, a best buddy.  And there is some truth to that, but American culture doesn’t want much, if anything, to do with the other part of Jesus: a Lord that confronts us with demands. 

Who is it that you want?  Why do you want him?  He refuses to be a magic genie or talisman that we can pull out when we want him.  We must surrender to him.  Are we really willing to do that?

PRAYER: Jesus, we often don’t really mean it completely when we say that we want you.  We want you as our Savior, but not necessarily as our Lord.  Help us to learn that your greatest blessings are reserved for those who obey you and submit themselves to you.  Give us submissive hearts that want you just because of who you are in all your fullness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 7/08/14 – The Mystery of Sovereignty

DayBreaks for 7/08/14 – The Mystery of Sovereignty

Exodus 33:19 (NIV) And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Romans 9:20-21 (NLT) No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?

Lord, I do not understand.  Please understand that I’m not complaining here – far from it! – just humbled and mystified.  I am so grateful that You, the Sovereign God of the Universe, chose to spare the life of our son over the weekend.  But I know that there are others who lost loved ones over the weekend…and You didn’t spare them or extend grace and mercy to them (as we perceive it.)  I try wrestle with the “why’s” of it but all I can grasp is air. 

I know, deep inside, that our son was not one bit more deserving of Your mercy and grace than anyone else in the world.  Our son is a sinner – saved by grace – but a sinner nonetheless.  I also know this: that You love our son, but You don’t love him any more than you love everyone else in this world.  It wasn’t because of a special love toward him that You saved him and “took” others. Yet You spared him.  Oh, grateful heart toward our Almighty God!

For those You didn’t spare I have no explanation nor words that can salve their pain.  It is what it is: a mystery woven by Your infinite wisdom and plan, unintelligible to mortal creatures such as us.  Why did You spare a son of my flesh yet take home a young mother of two little girls, or the baby that was sleeping peacefully in her crib only to be cold and still in the morning?

It doesn’t seem fair to us and we are prone to complain and rail at You when You choose not to spare a life or cure a disease or refuse to send a child to those who long to cradle a little one.  Yet, who are we, mere humans, to argue with You?  Why should we expect to understand Your thoughts or Your ways when we are told that we cannot? 

It is hard being in the dark on such matters, Lord.  It forces us into a position of total and utter reliance on You, to trust that You do know what You are doing and that You have perfect reasons for every decision You render.  Help us to truly believe fully in Your goodness and Your plan that You tell us is for good and not for harm.

Thank You for reminders that we are but clay and that our bodies shall all return to the dust from which we came and our souls shall stand before You to give answer for the things we have done in this world.  Thank You for wake-up calls and reminders that You graciously shower on our way to remind us of our frailty and dependence on You for every single heartbeat.  Were it not for such things we might delude ourselves into thinking we are already immortal and invincible – and that is a very powerful and deadly delusion!

Thank You, for this undeserved measure of Your mercy, grace and love.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the fact that in You is light and there is no darkness at all, even when it seems contrary to our understanding! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises 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!

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DayBreaks for 02/19/13 – The Lord in the Crisis

DayBreaks for 02/19/13 – The Lord in the Crisis             

healing of royal guyJohn 4:46-50 (NLT) – “As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.  48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”  49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.”  50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.”

This is a story that I have always loved.  As a father myself, I can identify with the anguish and angst of the father who comes to Jesus to try to save his son’s life.  This was a powerful  man – a government official.  He had come from Capernaum to Cana to find Jesus – a journey, uphill, of about 20 miles – a good, long day’s journey.  He left his son behind in his desperation to get Jesus to come and save his boy.  That’s truly desperation.  What father would not want to be home with his child at such a time?

And so he arrives in Cana, hot and weary – but he goes straight to Jesus.  Notice what happens, though.  He has the proper plan already worked out in his own mind – Jesus is to come from Cana to Capernaum with him in order to heal the boy.  Isn’t that how we often respond when we find ourselves in a crisis?  We come to Jesus – but we come with the plan in place of what He is to do and when He is to do it.  In short, we come playing God and as Jesus to play the role of submissive servant to our dictates.

Jesus would have none of it.  He even offers a gentle rebuke about people not believing without signs and wonders.  He doesn’t even acknowledge the request to start with.  But the faith of the father is persuasive, his desperation touches the heart of Jesus.  Instead of doing as the man asked (going with him to Capernaum), Jesus essentially says, “No, I won’t go.  But you go home and your boy will live!” 

Why did Jesus not go with the man?  Jesus never seemed to busy or pre-occupied to help those who sought him out, so why not go with him?  Because Jesus may have wanted the man to understand that Jesus was not subject to him, but the other way around.  It was Jesus who was Lord – in and out of the crisis – and the man needed to understand that.

When you face a crisis this week, how will you approach Jesus?  Or will you approach Him at all?  If you do, come to Him with palms upturned, not telling him what He should do, but with prayers and thanksgiving just letting Him know your request and then trusting that He has the best solution to the crisis – not you.

PRAYER:  For all the times in crisis when I’ve tried to give you directions and explain the right plan to You, Lord Jesus, I’m sorry.  Forgive my arrogance and haughty spirit.  I bow before Your greatness and Divinity.  Help me to trust in You more!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started work as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org).  He needs to raise his own support.  DayBreaks has always been free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation to Medical Ambassadors on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made online at http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Go to that link and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section and look for the link for Galen Dalrymple.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his account.  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 (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.

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Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 04/26/11 – The First Question

DayBreaks for 04/26/11 – The First Question

You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:3

It seems that many Christians are in to hypothetical questions.  One of the most popular might be something along this line: If you were told you would be shot if you don’t deny Christ, what would you do?  Would you go ahead and die?  We all know precisely how we would like to answer that question – even what our answer should be.  But the simple fact of the matter is that we just don’t know for sure what we’d do under those circumstances until, and if, we ever face them.  It can get worse, too: what if they weren’t threatening to kill you, but had a gun to the head of your child or spouse?  What then?

I don’t know why, but when we are dealing in hypotheticals, we leap to the worst possible case scenario.  We don’t have to go that far to learn some things about ourselves and what is really in our hearts.  For example, remember the rich young man who came to Jesus claiming he wanted to inherit eternal life, boasting about his having kept the commandments since he was a kid?  Jesus told him to go and sell all he had and give it away to the poor and then come follow him.  And the young man’s face fell and he walked away sad “because he had great possessions.”

Here’s the scenario/hypothetical: What if Jesus asked you or I to do that? Would we?

Again, from Radical, David Platt suggests we’re chasing down the wrong question again.  The FIRST question we need to wrestle with is not whether we’d sell what we own and give it away to follow Jesus, but this one: Is Jesus Lord?

There is a question that should come before all others...is He Lord?

If he is Lord, then no matter what he asks of us, we are duty bound (if we are to be disciples) to do it.  

PRAYER: Reveal our false gods to us, those things in our lives that we bow our knees to rather than to your Lordship, Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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