DayBreaks for 11/28/17 – I Have Returned Alive

Image result for shoichi yokoi

DayBreaks for 11/28/17: I Have Returned Alive

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Shoichi Yokoi was a soldier, conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941 and sent to Guam shortly thereafter.  In 1944, as American forces reconquered the island, Yokoi went into hiding.
On January 24, 1972, Yokoi was discovered in a remote section of Guam by two of the island’s inhabitants.  For 28 years he had been hiding in an underground jungle cave, fearing to come out of hiding even after finding leaflets declaring that World War II had ended.  “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive,” he said upon his return to Japan, carrying his rusted rifle at his side.

There is no question that the Japanese soldiers during WW2 were incredibly loyal and committed to their cause.  Much of the fiercest fighting of the war took place in the Pacific theater.  One of the things that the Japanese had drilled into them through their culture for centuries is that you never surrender.  To surrender was the greatest possible insult and shame that a soldier could face.  If you were a Japanese soldier, there were only 2 ways that you could return home honorably: either as a victor at the war’s end or as a corpse.  Hence, Mr. Yokio’s comment: “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive.”  The poor man had stayed at his post, alone and in hiding on Guam, for nearly 30 years.

Many thoughts run through my mind as I read this story:

I’m impressed with such dedication to a cause, such loyalty.  It makes me wonder about my commitment to the cause of the cross. 

I’m intrigued by the mindset that coming home alive is a shame.  Then, I stop to think about our Lord’s instructions that we must lose our lives if we hope to find life.  We must die to who we are in our sinful human natures.  And to come home, to stand before God’s judgment bar in heaven without having fully died, would be a great shame.  I think that I must redouble my prayers and efforts to “put to death” the old man so that a new One can live inside of me.

In spite of the shame of not truly dying to myself as I should in this life, Jesus will see to it that I do come home alive.  And when I do, it will be to a welcome, not to shame.

PRAYER:  Help me to die, Lord, that I may live.  And let that life be in the glory of Your Presence, that we may not be ashamed!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 5/01/17 – Obedience

DayBreaks for 5/01/17: Obedience

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Listen to this story.  I don’t know the source of the story, but here it is:

“How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master!  Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire.  Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened.  Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him.  That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest.  His faithful friend understood, for that’s exactly what he did.  Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left.  But he didn’t move.  He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word.  With tearful eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.”

Galen’s Thoughts: Loyalty.  Character.  Perseverance.  Courage.  Faithfulness.  These are all words that come to mind.  Sounds like a super-hero.  And then I have to stop myself and remember that I’m talking about a DOG!  But what lessons that dog can teach us!

I’m heart broken by this story for several reasons:

FIRST: I grieve for the dog’s sake.  I can’t imagine what it was like – how great the temptation must have been to cut and run through the forest away from the heat and torment of the flames – yet the dog stayed put.  I mourn the loss of the dog, but at a deeper level it makes me mourn my own lack of courage in obedience to the one I call my Master.

SECOND: I mourn that I am not more broken hearted by the loss of eternal souls than I am in the loss of the dog.  What is wrong with me, with us, when we have deeper feelings about the loss of a dog, albeit a tremendously loyal one, than the lives of those that surround us every day?

FINALLY: I am haunted by the final words of the dog’s master: “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.”  What would my Master say about me?  Oh, how I wish Jesus could say, “I always had to be careful what I told Galen to do, because I knew he would do it!”  Instead, in my fear and weakness, I far too often run from the heat of the struggle into perceived safety.  But it is only perceived safety and it certainly isn’t obedience.

The love of the dog’s owner is clear in his tears – he loved his dog.  The pride of the owner is clear in his words – he was justifiably proud of the obedience of his dog.  I look at Jesus and see his tears for me and I know He loves me with all his heart.  I just wish my obedience was loyal enough that Jesus could be proud of me.

PRAYER:  Lord, forgive my lack of obedience and loyalty!  It seems to take no more than even the slightest distraction to pull me away from you sometimes.  Help me to have the kind of character you wish to develop in me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 1/20/17 – A Flower in Life

DayBreaks for 1/20/17: A Flower in Life

Note: Galen is traveling this week so he’s recycling some old DayBreaks.

FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:

There is a very poignant tale in chapter 19 of John about Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  These were two very prominent men – both part of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council in Jerusalem), and both were men who had opportunity to hear Jesus teaching.  Nicodemus even came to Jesus by night once to discuss matters relating to the kingdom of God but was confused when he was told that he needed to be born again.  Joseph is unknown to us until Jesus’ death when he boldly goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus so he can bury him in his own unused tomb.

These men were not the typical Jewish leaders.  We are told that Nicodemus was a man seeking the kingdom of God.  That’s high praise coming from the gospel writers.  It indicates a heart that is searching for Godly things, for His will and His rule in the world and the hearts of men.  I think that they were good men who were secret admirers, perhaps even to some extent, secret followers, of Jesus.  And that is where the tragically sad part of this story begins.

In John chapter 19.38-42 we find Joseph taking the body of Christ and Nicodemus bringing burial spices.  This is, of course, after Jesus has been crucified and died.  Have you ever thought about what Nicodemus and Joseph did while Jesus was on trial before the Sanhedrin?  Why is there nothing in scripture that shows them standing up in his defense or speaking out to give him the benefit of the doubt?  Did they excuse themselves from that meeting or were they there but just too afraid to say anything?  Perhaps, though we don’t know, like many so-called leaders today, they didn’t have the courage to speak what they believed at critical times. 

Now, however, they are finally paying tribute to the one who they had failed to stand up for in life.  As William Barclay put it: How much greater would loyalty in life have been than a new tomb and a shroud fit for a king!  One flower in life is worth all the wreaths in the world in death.

How often am I like Nicodemus and Joseph?  I know who He is.  It is obvious to anyone who will really take the time to examine His claims and teaching.  Christ is on trial before my peers and the world every day.  What am I saying in His defense?  Am I saying nothing like Nicodemus and Joseph did?  Do I excuse myself from the discussion? 

Jesus wants us to live with him forever.  He waits for the day when he can hold us in his arms and welcome us home.  Those things will happen.  But he also wants my loyalty in this life – before I get to heaven.  Let us give him our tribute now and it’ll only make heaven that much sweeter!

PRAYER:  Lord, we need Your courage to stand for Jesus, to put our feet squarely on the ground and boldly proclaim the truth about Him.  Help us not to be afraid of what others may say, think, or do to us.  May we honor You not just in eternity, but in this life as well.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 08/03/15 – The Loyal Friend

DayBreaks for 8/03/15: The Loyal Friend

From Barney’s Bullets (by Barney Cargile):

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

“In August of 1936 a sheepherder in Ft. Benton, Montana fell ill, and died a few days later.  His body was placed in a crude crate and loaded on a train heading east. There was no funeral, no stores closed, and no one came out to say good-bye…except for one faithful friend.  He stood silently watching as the train doors slammed shut and the locomotive disappeared over the horizon. Then his friend returned the next day…and the next…and the next.  For nearly six years the sheepherder’s faithful friend would come to the depot each day, staring at the spot where he had said good-bye.  Then tragedy struck on January 12, 1942.  Slipping on an icy rail, the friend fell beneath the wheels of the inbound 10:17 train.  No one remembers the name of the sheepherder, but everyone around Ft. Benton knows the name of his famous friend: Shep the sheepdog.

“The faithfulness of Shep has been immortalized in Ripley’s Believe It or Not and on Paul Harvey’s radio broadcast.  While alive, fan-mail poured in to the tiny post office by the hundreds.  Today a bronze statue of Shep stands in Ft. Benton’s town square, honoring its most famous citizen; a tribute to a faithful friend’s devotion.  How many of us could claim to have a friend this loyal?  How many of us could lay claim to being this loyal of a friend?  Friendship is essential to life. That’s how God designed us.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, With a friend you can face the worst.

“Years ago, Mike Correll of Atlanta, built a healthy business by literally buying friends for people.  For those too busy to build friendships, he would hook you up with a BFF for a mere $1200.  That speaks volumes to the relational bankruptcy of our culture.  In our age where the bar of “friendship” has been brought so low that “friends” can literally be bought (in real life and on Facebook), we need to be reminded of what true friendship looks like; we need to know that friendship is still alive; we need a model of a faithful friend…even if it comes in the form of four legs and shaggy fur!”

Galen’s thoughts: What kind of a friend are you to those around you? More importantly, what kind of a friend are you to Jesus?

PRAYER: Teach us to be faithful friends. Thank you for being the greatest friend to us in our greatest need! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/07/11 – The Dogged Fidelity of Jesus, Trust #7

DayBreaks for 12/07/11 – The Dogged Fidelity of Jesus, Trust #7

From the DayBreaks Archive, dated 11/15/2001:

My first publisher told me the story of a summer afternoon when he was driving along the New Jersey Turnpike.  One hundred yards ahead in the same lane was a Lincoln Town Car.  Tom was shocked when he saw the right rear door of the Lincoln, still moving at full speed, swing open.  The passenger threw a collie onto the pavement.  The dog hit the concrete and rolled into a ditch.  Bleeding profusely, the collie got up and started to run after the car and the owner who had cruelly abandoned him.  His relentless faithfulness was not conditioned or diminished by the abuse and callous disregard of his master.

The dogged fidelity of Jesus in the face of our indifference to his affection and our rampant ingratitude for his faithfulness – he is ALWAYS faithful, for he cannot disown his own self (2 Tim. 2:11) – is a mystery of such mind-bending magnitude that the intellect buckles and theology bows in its presence.  Humbly acknowledging our limitations, we are driven to the fervent prayer, ‘Lord, I do believe!  Help my lack of trust!’” – Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust

How many times have I hurled Jesus out of the back-seat of my life so I could pursue my own roadmap for my life?  Of course, Jesus shouldn’t have been relegated to the back seat of my life – he should have been at the steering wheel, but that’s beside the point.  The point is simply this: like the dog longed to be with his owner even after being so badly abused, Jesus longs for our company.  In fact, he longs for it so much that he chases us down over and over and over again.  Is it any wonder that he has been called “the hound of heaven”?  Forever loyal.  Forever loving.  Ever chasing after us when we leave him behind.

It begs the question: if Jesus has that much fidelity to us, that much faithfulness, how can we believe that he doesn’t love us enough to care for us?  How can we believe that he would do anything that was harmful to us?  It is us that throws him out of our lives – not the other way around.  That isn’t the way God operates.

2 Tim 2:11-13 – “11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.  If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.  

PRAYER: Thank You for never giving up on us, for pursuing us with an endless love!!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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