DayBreaks for 1/10/19 – The First Miracle

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DayBreaks for 01/10/2019: The First Miracle

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2009:

One of the craziest questions that is asked (at least on television shows or movies about beauty pageants – at least in “Miss Congeliality”) relates to what the individual would do if they could have the power to change anything – but only one thing – in the world.  The right answer, according to that movie, is to say, “World peace.”  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  But what about you?  What would you do if you had the power to change any one thing in the entire world?  You might say, “Cure cancer”, “Eliminate heart disease”, “End poverty”, “Make sure no one goes to bed hungry” or any of a number of things.  And who among us wouldn’t love to have the power to be able to do something like that?

Well, Jesus did have the power.  He still does.  And so it is all the more interesting that when it came time for his first miracle, it had nothing to do with erasing wars, poverty, or disease.  It had to do with helping someone who had run out of wine at a wedding feast. 

I don’t for one minute think that Jesus chose a “low-level” nearly invisible miracle as his first one because he wasn’t sure he could pull it off – he wasn’t just “testing the water” (pun intended!) to see if he had power left over from before the Incarnation.  He chose this time and place, and this specific miracle rather than anything else that had global impact.  Why?

There are the obvious social things: it was expected that wine would be plentiful – not to encourage drunkenness, but because to the Jews, wine was a sign of joy – and what is more joyful than a long-awaited wedding?  It is true that those present would go away and tell others about what Jesus did, but wouldn’t it have been more newsworthy and would have been on more front pages if he’d started out with raising the dead?  The resurrection of Lazarus was pretty flashy, after all, and certainly got the attention of a lot of people! 

I think this was the first miracle because again, God was trying to say, “I care about you and what you care about.”  Jesus’ friend (assuming he knew the host, which he almost certainly did) was at risk of embarrassment (heavens, no!).  It wasn’t like his friend was about to die of embarrassment or be cut off from his family forever because of this faux pas.  It seems a relatively minor thing.  But to Jesus it wasn’t.  It was enough to make Jesus exert Divine power on behalf of his friend.

Jesus cares.  He really does.  He showed it by turning water into wine as his first miracle instead of ensuring world peace.  The latter would have been just as easy for him as the first.  His choice for miracle number one was very telling.  What does it tell you about your situation right now?

Prayer:  Blessed be Your name, o Mighty God, for all Your goodness and care for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 9/07/18 – The Miracle of Stone Soup

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DayBreaks for 9/07/18: The Miracle of Stone Soup

I love the story of a Christian missionary hiking the high Andean trails to a remote village in Peru. He found a rock along the road, a curious geode, and put it in his backpack as a souvenir. That evening he strode into the village to a very unfriendly welcome. No one offered him a bed. No one asked him to sit by their fire. He learned that a famine had plagued the Indians for over a month. And the people were starving. Each was simply afraid to share amidst so much deprivation.

Praying to Jesus how to help them, he got an idea. Calling the Indians around a campfire he preached God’s loving care in Christ. Then he said, “I’m going to feed you by making some stone soup. Yummm! It’s tasty! I grew up on it! And you’ll like it just fine!” Then he opened his backpack and produced the rock he’d found that morning.

The Indians scoffed, “Stone soup! Why that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!”

“Trust me,” the missionary assured them. “See! I’ve brought the stone. But I’m going to need a pot to put it in.” An Indian woman quickly volunteered her pot.

“And I’ll need about two large buckets of water to boil the stone in.” A man, shaking his head, brought the water. So, in went the stone, in went the water, and over the fire the pot was suspended. Curious now, the villagers began to gather around the pot, peering into its contents. The missionary began to stir the pot and drool. “You know, stone soup sure is good with carrots!” To which an Indian said, “I’ve got six carrots!” He quickly fetched them and they were cut up into the pot. Then the missionary smelled deeply of the bubbly broth and sighed, “Some potatoes sure would add to the flavor.” From pockets and other hiding places came dozens of spuds. They were quickly added to the soup. Soon people were bringing onions, celery, and bits of meat to top off the pot of stone soup. And within the hour a community was formed around that stew pot. All ate. And all were filled and they heard the story of Jesus Christ.

Believe John 6:1-14 as a miracle of Jesus in multiplying the bread and fish, if you will, or believe Jesus’ miracle in the selfish human heart causing the multitudes to share. But above all, remember this: The next time you see a need or feel inadequate, don’t look at the hillside, look in the basket. Don’t count the difficulties presented. Look at the resources possessed. Don’t measure your problems. Measure God’s power!

PRAYER: We have been too concerned about our adequacy and resources, Lord. Help us to trust in the One who has no limits and then to act in His name! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/21/17 – On Rough Water #1

DayBreaks for 8/21/17: On Rough Water #1

Matthew 14:22-27 (ESV) – Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

I’ve been blessed to go to Israel and see the Sea of Galilee. In fact, I’ve crossed it in a boat. When we were there it was pretty peaceful, but strong winds can come up from the south that are funneled into the lake and they can be fierce…and deadly. It is amazing how having been there makes a story like this come alive.

The sea is about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. There are several other key facts that we must understand before diving into this story.

  1. We don’t know what time of day it was when Jesus put the disciples into the boat, but presumably it was still light as he’d just finished feeding the 5000. We know it was in the afternoon or evening because the feeding of the 5000 takes place late in the day. And the disciples had just witnessed that miracle.
  2. We don’t know what time of year it was so it may have been nearly dark when the disciples set out.
  3. We know that there were fishermen among those in the boat – men who had been on the lake for probably several decades with their dad’s, and now in their own boats.
  4. We don’t know how far the boat had been able to go in the storm, but they were a long way from land…certainly too far to swim in a raging storm.

So, now, somewhere between midnight and 3 a.m. (we know that because it was “the third watch”) these seasoned sailors and fishermen were desperate. The storm must have truly been fierce because it is only 8 miles wide at the widest spot and they’re still far from land. Try to imagine their weariness from fighting the storm, their growing fear for life and limb. And then, an apparition comes toward them across the water.

They believe it is a ghost, perhaps sent to collect their own souls. I don’t blame them for being terrified. I would have been, too. When is the last time you saw someone in a corporeal body walking atop the water?!

So, they cry out. I can picture them pointing as the apparition gets closer and closer. They can’t make out who it is – perhaps they were too afraid to look closely. They scream it is a ghost. And what is Jesus’ response? It says Immediately, Jesus spoke to them, “Take heart, it is I! Do not be afraid.

Yeah, right. If you read just a bit further, you’ll see they’re still not convinced about who it is, for Peter says, rather timidly, Lord, if it is you…invite me to come to you on the water.

What is important here isn’t Peter’s response, but how Jesus responded to their fear. He did so Immediately…and then he told them something that should have settled their fears: …it is I. In the Greek, what Jesus uttered were the words, “I AM”…the name of Almighty God. And he did so immediately to help quell their fears.

So, why should a name have quelled their fears? Because this is the One who made the wind and the waves. He doesn’t bow to them…they bow to Him.

But even more meaningful is what Jesus does NOT do: he doesn’t change their circumstances. Why? Good question. He could have just spoken the word or thought the thought: “Be still!” and it would have happened. He did it before and it worked.

No, I think perhaps he didn’t change the circumstances because he didn’t want them to trust in the circumstances when they change, but in Him. He wanted them to learn to trust in I AM, not in the wind dying or the waves decreasing.

I don’t know about you, but when I am afraid, I want God to change my circumstances. Sometimes he does, sometimes not. What God wants me to do is to trust I AM.

PRAYER: Lord, when we are afraid we hope and pray for things to change rather than praying for more trust in You. Help us remember that I AM is the master of all and that what is really important is trusting you is and not in changing circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/31/17 – It’s An Impossible Thing

DayBreaks for 5/31/17: It’s An Impossible Thing

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Daniel 2:10-11 (NLT) – The astrologers replied to the king, “There isn’t a man alive who can tell Your Majesty his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer!  This is an impossible thing the king requires. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live among people.

Nebuchadnezzar’s request was totally out of line with reality.  He not only wanted to know the meaning of the dream, he didn’t want to tell his advisors about the dream.  Putting myself in their place, I, too, would rant against the impossible and unreasonable request.  Life seems to make unfair demands upon us all the time.  Sometimes it is people who make the demands, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where every option and choice seems unfair.  The astrologers had it right – there isn’t a man alive who could tell them the dream…or so they thought.  Daniel was alive.  What can we learn from this?

FIRST: we think we’ve got our arms around situations and we think we know more than we really do.  They immediately concluded that what was being asked was impossible for any human.  They were right insofar as a human on his/her own couldn’t do anything to answer the king’s request.  This is what so often happens when God is taken out of the picture.  Our world faces seemingly impossible challenges – what about global warming?  What will we do when the oil runs out?  What can be done to stop diseases in this day of rapid travel?  How do we stem the tide of violence, greed, drugs and brokenness that we see all around us?  Some look to politicians for answers to these dilemmas, but they should take a page out of the astrologer’s book: “No man alive” can do these impossible things (even if they say they are the only person who can!)

SECOND: unfair things happen.  There’s not much we can do about them.  We should probably expect them, and while we may protest against them, in the final analysis, we didn’t ask for the situation nor do we have answers for it.  Such, as they say, is life.

THIRDLY: when God is put back into the picture, the impossible becomes possible.  And with Him in the picture, while we may still protest the unfairness, we can also understand that God’s hand has permitted it.

The astrologers, and our culture, desperately needed answers.  Sadly, neither look to the right place for them.  If our culture needs anything, it needs Jesus.  Some argue for putting the 10 Commandments back into the mainstream of life, arguing that if we could post them in schools and court houses, city buildings and corporate centers, then the “good life” would return and our country would get back on track.  While I agree it is sad and tragic that God’s words are banned from public places, simply displaying them won’t make a bit of difference.  God Himself, in the person of Christ, is the answer.  The indwelling Spirit of God, the Lamb of the World engraved on our hearts, is what America and the world need, not the 10 commandments or any other such list.  We need the change that comes only from within the human heart – that starts there and that changes what it finds there.  It is impossible for men to make the change in culture for one reason – we can’t even make the change in ourselves.  It is impossible for any person to do so – but let’s not make the mistake the astrologers did and forget that there is a God who can do all things that we humans find impossible.

PRAYER: Lord, today we’ll be faced with situations that, at the very least, don’t seem to be fair!  Help us to not think we know more than we do about such things, let us realize that even in the midst of unfair situations, we are still called to be and act like Your children, and let us never give up hope that You will act in due time.  Help us to be like the astrologers insomuch as we will never foolishly place our trust in man.  May we rest in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 11/21/16 – The Miracle of the Cross

DayBreaks for 11/21/16: The Miracle of the Cross

The Archbishop of Paris once stood in the pulpit of Notre Dame Cathedral. He was there to preach a sermon, and his sermon was built around a single story. Thirty years earlier, he told, there were three young tourists who had come into this very cathedral. All of the young men were rough, rude, and cynical persons, who thought that all religion was a racket. Two of these men dared a third to go into the confessional box and make a made-up confession to the priest. The two bet that the third young man did not have the nerve to do as they dared.

The third young man went into the confessional box and tried to fool the priest. But the priest knew that what the young man was saying was a lie. There was a tone of arrogance in the young man’s voice – which could not go without notice. After hearing the confession, the priest told the young man his penance. The priest said, “Very well, my son. Every confession requires a penance, and this is yours. I ask you to go into the chapel, stand before the crucifix, look into the face of the crucified Christ and say, ‘All this you did for me, and I don’t give a damn!’ “

The young man staggered out of the confessional to his friends, bragging that he had done as they dared. The other two young men insisted that he finish the performance by doing the penance. This young man made his way into the chapel, stood before the crucifix, looked up into the face of Christ and began, “All this you did for me and I … I … I don’t … I don’t give a ….” At this point in the story, the archbishop leaned over the pulpit and said, “That young man was this man who stands before you to preach.”

That’s the miracle of the cross. When we begin to understand the love on the cross, we want to change our relationship with God. We cannot remain the same.

PRAYER: God, may the miracle of the cross speak to us and change us forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/29/14 – Not a Single Miracle

DayBreaks for 4/29/14 – Not a Single Miracle

Miracles.  They are the stuff of Bible stories and wonder, are they not?  There are those who dismiss them outright as being preposterous, and even some Christian theologians do so, much to my chagrin.  But, don’t we have to admit that miracles, by definition, strain the rules of the universe and nature and make us not just amazed but puzzled and wondering?  I mean, walking on water is not something that I’ve ever seen anyone demonstrate.  Calming the storm, turning water into wine..those just don’t happen…at least not usually.  I have never been witness to someone rising from the dead, or who was blind since birth being given sight by someone rubbing muddy spittle on their eyes.  Maybe you have…but me?  Not.

Miracles.  I believe in them.  I know people who desperately pray for them and expect them. Perhaps that’s why I’ve not seen them…I may not expect to.  I have faith in God’s power to do a miracle whenever and wherever it suits His purposes…and not to do them at my request.

There are those that don’t receive the miraculous answer they pray for.  Let’s face it: if God granted every request for a miraculous healing, would anyone ever have died on the face of this earth?  (There may be a few, but most who are loved and cherished have someone beg God to heal them as they lay on their sick bed or death bed.)  Does that mean that there isn’t enough faith in the requestor?  No.  Does it mean there’s not enough power in the God they pray to?  No.

Do you realize that in the entire story of David, the man after God’s own heart, that there is not even one single miracle?!  Does that mean that God was not in the story of David, or that God was uninvolved in the life of the man after His own heart?  Absolutely not.  God was at the center of every plot twist, every event and in every detail of David’s life, but He was usually silent and seemed to be hidden based on many of David’s psalms of lament and complaint.

Why?  As Eugene Peterson said in his book about David, Leap Over a Wall, the story of David is the story of everyman.  It is a story that doesn’t go outside the bounds of the ordinary, the everyday life of a perfectly flawed human being.  God didn’t do a miracle for David from the outside, but He did from the inside – patiently, steadily, and in secret.  Why not miracle we could see?  Perhaps it is because we needed to see someone just like us – alternatingly prideful yet humble, arrogant but meek, driven by passions and impulsive…a human full of flaws who was forced to come to grips with faith and life and God without miracles.  In short, it is because we needed to see that it is possible for every person to wear the description: a person after God’s own heart.

Miracles?  You don’t need it.  David didn’t.  If God wants you to have a miracle, you will see it.  But just because you don’t get one doesn’t mean your faith is weak or that you don’t matter to God.  You do!  

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for your wisdom in how you treat us and change us miraculously from within! 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 09/10/13 – What the Servants Knew

DayBreaks for 09/10/13 – What the Servants Knew

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week.  DayBreaks this week are from the archives, September 2003:

John 2:1-9 –  On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”  4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”  5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.   7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.  8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. 

Some time ago now, I heard a brother, Phil Claycomb, give a devotion on this passage of scripture, and he pointed out something I’d never noticed before.  You know the story about the turning of the water into wine.  Jesus tried to avoid the situation, even replying to his mother that he didn’t really want to be involved, but in typical motherly fashion, she proceeded to get him involved anyway, telling the servants to do anything he asked them to do.  So, Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water and take them to the master of the banquet to sample the wine before it would be served.  The master was dumbfounded that the wine was the best.  But here’s the key: the master didn’t know where the wine came from, but the servants did.

Phil made the point that the master didn’t realize a miracle had taken place.  As far as he knew, it was just wine that had been bought or fermented and brought to the wedding.  But the servants knew it had just been water – and now it was excellent wine!  The servants knew a miracle had occurred.  It isn’t clear that anyone else at the wedding, except perhaps Mary and Jesus himself, knew a miracle had taken place.

Sometimes we may feel that God isn’t working.  Sometimes we don’t see the miracles that take place every day.  But those who are serving, who are truly servants, are privileged to see the miraculous hand of God at work daily. 

Seen any miracles lately?

PRAYER: We don’t much like the idea of being servants in our human hearts, Lord.  We’d rather be the master or someone other than a servant!  But we know you have called us to serve!  May we do so joyfully, and expectantly!  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!