DayBreaks for 6/28/17 – Held Captive

DayBreaks for 6/28/17: Held Captive

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007

Now I would like to stop the world for just one minute and ask you to think back. Think back with me to the first century. Think about those 50 years after Jesus’ death and what it must been like for Jesus’ disciples. Before the last one died their efforts had brought 500,000 men, women, and children into the ranks of the church. But what they had to suffer in order to accomplish this task is seldom discussed. We like the outcome of their discipleship but we don’t want to hear the cost of discipleship. So for the record here is the cost: History tells us…
1. John died of extreme old age exiled to the island of Patmos.
2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.
3. Peter was crucified; head downward, during the persecution of Nero.
4. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, a Grecian Colony.
5. James, the younger, son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.
6. Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.
7. James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem.
8. Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the East Indies.
9. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis.
10. Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.
11. Simon died on a cross in Persia (what we now call Iran.)
12. Matthew was first stoned and then beheaded.
What sacrifices! And I ask you why? Why did they choose to die this way? Why desert your father and mother, your wife and child, and your home? Why put up with the constant humiliation, and hunger, and persecution, and defeat town after town after town?
I’ll tell you why, because, in the words of Apostle Paul, they were held captive by the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is Paul’s way of saying they were slaves to Christ. But this wasn’t a begrudging slavery – they were so thankful that this master had set them free from their former captor – that they considered it a privilege and honor to be His slave.
1 Timothy 2:4-6a (MSG) – He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out.

Romans 1:1 (MSG) I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. I write this letter to all the Christians in Rome, God’s friends.

The question that haunts me is: how do I feel about being a slave of Jesus? Does it stir my soul as it did that of the first disciples? If not, why?

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you freed us. Stir in our hearts the same passion that ignited the imaginations and actions of those you chose in the first century that we might be held captive by You and nothing else! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 3/17/17 – Would I Say Yes?

DayBreaks for 3/17/17: Would I Say Yes?

There are moments that grab us by the throat and really force us to take a HARD look at ourselves in the mirror. More often than not, I don’t like what I see when that happens.

This past Sunday our lead teacher was telling us about a trip he’d taken the prior week to Lima, Peru to meet with a set of pastors from around the world. These pastors meet once a year and have done so for about ten years now. He shared with us some of the ways the discussion had changed over those ten years.

He said that when they first met, the subject of the Muslim population and faith came up and there was a sense of resignation and desperation. Based on the statistics that were available at that time, they were told that in 100 years, based on the birth rate in Muslim countries and the pace with which the Muslim faith was growing that the population of the world would be 99% Muslim in 100 years. The pastors, all Christians, found that to be discouraging because as Christians we believe that the only way to the Father is through Jesus (John 14:6). There was a sense of despair among the Christian pastors.

In between that time and the meeting they held this past week, much in this world has changed. This year, the reports of the pastors from some of the darkest parts of the world we quite different. They spoke of how literally millions of Muslims are coming to Christ – in unprecedented numbers. Why is this happening? There were two factors:

FIRST: because of thousands upon thousands of visions that are being given to Muslims around the world. These aren’t just happening in one country or two – but all over the world, where men and women who didn’t have any knowledge of Jesus had a vision (or visitation) by Jesus that has led them to faith. I’ve read stories about these visions and they are incredible. We must never think that God is not at work.

SECOND: the rise of radical, militant Islam is driving people from the faith in which they grew up. The vast majority of Muslims are repulsed by the actions of ISIS and other such groups. ISIS was trying to terrify people into becoming Muslims, but God is using that horrible group (and others like it) to bring millions to know Jesus.

Prior to the teaching time, there was a baptismal service where several people were baptized. They were asked the normal questions that the church has always asked those who are desiring to become Christ-followers. And every person who was asked gave the expected response that they recognized that they were sinners who could be saved only by the grace of God and that they believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is always wonderful to witness such things.

But here’s what grabbed my attention at the start of the teaching time. As our lead teacher shared the stories about Muslims coming to faith, he also shared that the stories they heard about the persecution of Christians and the church were heartrending. Millions are coming to Christ, but thousands upon thousands are being martyred for their commitment to Christ. And because it is a fact of life in Muslim countries, when someone wants to become a Christian, the church asks the usual questions, but then the church in those places adds another question that goes something like this: “Are you ready and willing to die for your faith in Jesus Christ as a martyr?” If those wanting to become Christians say no, the church (at least in some places) tells them they are not ready to become followers of Jesus.

That question was not asked of me when I became a believer, and I doubt that it was asked of you, either. And I asked myself: how would I answer that question? Am I ready and willing for martyrdom just to follow Jesus? Are you? And if I had been asked that question, would I have proceeded with the decision to become a Christian? Just because it wasn’t asked doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t all be ready to say yes. After all, we are all asked to take up our cross…and follow in his footsteps, even if they lead to death.

PRAYER: Jesus, I know that I should be willing to die for you because you already died for me. I am grateful that I live in a land where I am not confronted with that as an ever-present reality. I pray for those for whom martyrdom is a very real possibility at any given moment on any given day. I thank you for their faith, for their example to us. And I pray, Father, for their steadfastness even as I beg your forgiveness for my own lack of obedience and fear. Give us God-sized faith that will stand in any test, I pray, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/01/14 – Held Captive

DayBreaks for 7/01/14 – Held Captive

Philippians 3:8 (NIV)  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

We have brothers and sisters who will die today because they hold tightly to their profession of faith.  It is very hard to get accurate numbers for how many Christians are martyred each year.  Even a casual search indicates that there are anywhere from 8000 to 100,000+ per year (that’s anywhere from 22 to 274 who this VERY DAY will face the choice to either confess or deny under the most difficult of circumstances!) who walk that road because of their commitment to Christ.  We don’t see or know it in the United States, though on occasion we hear news stories about churches in places like Nigeria or Egypt being burned and some “Christians” being killed, but we don’t know those people and we wonder if they really are Christians or if they are just identified that way politically.

Regardless, I’d like to encourage you to stop your world for just one minute and ask you to think back with me to the first century. Think about those first 50 years after Jesus’ death and what it must been like for Jesus’ disciples. Before the last of the Twelve died their efforts had brought 500,000 men, women, and children into the ranks of the church. But what they had to suffer in order to accomplish this task is seldom discussed. We like and are astounded at the outworking of their discipleship but we don’t want to hear about the cost of discipleship – certainly we don’t want to think about it for ourselves, let alone for theirs. So, for the record here is the cost of what history/tradition tells us about the apostles…

1. John died of extreme old age exiled to the island of Patmos.

2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.

3. Peter was crucified; head downward, during the persecution of Nero.

4. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, a Grecian Colony.

5. James, the younger, son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle of the

Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.

6. Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.

7. James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem.

8. Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the East Indies.

9. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis.

10. Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.

11. Simon died on a cross in Persia (what we now call Iran.)

12. Matthew was first stoned and then beheaded.

What sacrifices! Why did they suffer these things, to die these ways instead of live? Why desert your father and mother, your wife and child, and your home? Why put up with the constant humiliation, and hunger, and persecution, and defeat town after town after town?

I’ll tell you why, because, in the words of Apostle Paul, they were held captive by the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.  And because they counted everything else as rubbish for the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus.

Would you be willing to walk that same road?  Would I?  What holds us captive with such tenacity?

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for great examples of faith and commitment that can inspire and challenge us to consider our own walk with you.  Grow faith inside us!  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 putS090 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 03/12/13 – Life and Death in Nigeria

NigeriaAdToday is a first for DayBreaks.  I normally will offer up some passage of Scripture and share some thoughts on it, often with an illustration or two.  It’s a rather typical format for a Christian devotion, I guess. 

But today I’m not doing that.  I hope you’ll understand why if you take the time to watch the video (link provided below). 

Today is about faith…and about life and death and how the three intersect in the real world.  This video is about a man named Dayo and it outlines what is happening with Christian brothers and sisters in his homeland.  This is not Hollywood or make-believe fantasy or sci-fi stuff.  This is the real deal.  Our brothers and sisters are dying, being raped, beaten, having their homes and churches burned to the ground.  It is happening NOW. 

Dayo just happens to be a co-worker of mine.  We’ve not yet met face to face, but in a few weeks we will meet at an internship I’ll be attending in Africa where he is the host.  Dayo and I have exchanged several emails…and I can’t wait to meet this giant of faith in person.  I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to meet Abraham, David, Moses or Daniel.  I have a suspicion based on what I know of this man, that he’s cut from the same fabric as those men.  I will learn much from him, I’m sure. 

So, today, I ask you…no, I BEG you, to watch this video.  It’s long – about 20 minutes.  But you need to see it.  Everyone needs to see it.  The purpose of this video is to raise awareness of what is happening and hopefully bring enough attention to the matter that the persecution and oppression will come to an end.  Dayo is fully aware that in making this video and by not remaining silent, that he may well have signed his own death warrant – and he’s at peace with that.  Of course, we hope and pray that it won’t come to that, but if it does, Dayo is ready. 

Watch the video.  Then pray for those being persecuted and those who are doing the persecuting.  Pray specifically for Dayo and his family.  And pray for yourself – for faith such as this.  The day may come when we’ll need it ourselves. 

Share this video with your friends and church family and relatives.  Let the world know what is happening and that there are great men of faith (and women, like Dayo’s wife who is in agreement with his decision) walking the face of this planet.

Here’s the link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/nigeria.html

PRAYER: Father, we lift up Dayo and his family to You.  We lift up our brothers and sisters in Nigeria (and elsewhere) who are suffering, giving the last full measure of devotion to You with their own blood.  We pray that you protect them and give them strength, courage but more than anything else, a clear and persistent vision of Your Presence and the peace that comes with that awareness.  May they see Your glory and deliverance.  We pray for those who are persecuting them, that they may realize how wrong it is and may become disciples themselves.  Forgive us for our weak faith and strengthen us so that if we ever face such persecution, we can bring You glory.  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 07/19/11 – How Serious Are We?

DayBreaks for 07/19/11 – How Serious Are We?

I don’t know any Christian who wants to be a “bad Christian.”  We all want to be good Christians.  In fact, if the truth be told, most of us probably think we are pretty good Christians.  And what makes us think that?  We go to church every Sunday.  We give every Sunday.  We pray.  We read our Bibles from time to time.  We don’t swear.  We honor our marriage vows.  We take our responsibilities as mothers and dads serious.  We sing songs about how much we love Jesus.  And maybe, once in a while, we sing some of the old songs of the faith “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “Rock of Ages”, “Amazing Grace”, and “Just As I Am.”

It is very easy to do things and not really have the right attitude in our heart.  It is very easy to fool other people – and even easier to fool ourselves about our level of goodness and love for God.  And then the Bible pulls us up short.

In Psalm 63, the composer of that psalm put it this way: Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. (vs. 3)  Can you say that and mean it?  Really?  Have you thought about the implications of that verse and what the psalmist wrote?  He’s said that God’s love is better than life.  What does he mean by that?  I think he’s saying that if it came to one or the other of two alteratives – either keeping God’s love or letting the mortal body die – that his choice would be to die rather than lost the love of our God.

So, let us ask ourselves the question: do we love God?  Do we love Him enough that we’d rather die than be without His love?  Or, how many of us would choose to keep our mortal lives in the hope that we’ll eventually come to love God more – perhaps even enough that someday we would rather die than be without a relationship with Him.  That’s the choice the martyrs faced – it is what made them martyrs.  They didn’t die so they could have a home in heaven – they died because they know that life itself wasn’t as sweet as the love of God.

How serious are we when we tell God we love Him?

PRAYER: Keep us from frivolous proclamations of love!  Grow real love in us so that we can join with the Psalmist in his wild and reckless delight in Your love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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