DayBreaks for 12/14/16 – Deformed Feet

DayBreaks for 12/14/16: Deformed Feet

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

There are some people who capture the minds and hearts of the world.  Some do it because they have beauty (they even have pedicures or plastic surgery to make their feet pretty!) and others envy them for their looks or fame or wealth or grace.  Can you explain to me why else someone would find Donald Trump interesting???  Princess Diana captured the hearts of many while she was alive for a combination of things: she was something of a fairy-tale come true, beautiful, graceful, yet seemingly vulnerable all at the same time.  And when she died, the world was stunned, and wept. 

But then there are others who have also captured the hearts of many in the world.  They aren’t built the same way as the beautiful, statuesque Diana, or George Clooney.  They weren’t rich in this world like Donald Trump or Richard Branson.  Nor did they found a company like Bill Gates and become quite likely the richest man in history.  These run-of-the-mill people who have captured the world’s imaginations are the ones that I find to be far more fascinating than the rich, famous or beautiful.  Mother Theresa was such a person.  I think very few people envied her living conditions, her extreme poverty, the endless weight of the hungry, starving and sick of the back streets and roads of India. 

Shane Claiborne, who spent a summer in the slums of Calcutta with Mother Teresa, wrote the following about one of his experiences there:

“People often ask me what Mother Teresa was like.  Sometimes it’s like they wonder if she glowed in the dark or had a halo.  She was short, wrinkled, and precious, maybe even a little ornery—like a beautiful, wise old granny.  But there is one thing I will never forget—her feet.  Her feet were deformed.  Each morning in Mass, I would stare at them.  I wondered if she had contracted leprosy.  But I wasn’t going to ask, of course.  “Hey Mother, what’s wrong with your feet?”

“One day a sister said to us, ‘Have you noticed her feet?’  We nodded, curious.  She said: ‘Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone, and Mother does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst pair, so she digs through and finds them.  And years of doing that have deformed her feet.’  Years of loving her neighbor as herself deformed her feet.

“This is the kind of fasting that creates the divine longing for justice, where our feet become deformed by a love that places our neighbors above ourselves.”

What is your tendency when you have a lot of things to choose from?  Would you look for the best pair of shoes for yourself and give the left-overs to others?  Or, would you do like Mother Theresa and find the worst pair, take those for your own, and give the best to someone else?  I can hear my own mind rationalizing a decision to find the best for myself: “You know, you could minister better to people if your feet didn’t hurt and you could walk around more and get to more places without so much pain.” 

How are your feet looking these days?  Are they, like mine, too pretty?  Not deformed enough? 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, help us to be servants like You were a servant.  Help us to surrender our rationalizing and self-interest to walk in the path that you walked, for the benefit of others.  May we learn to put their interests ahead of our own that you may be glorified in them.  Give us deformed feet, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 01/14/14 – Faithfulness, Not Success

DayBreaks for 01/14/14 – Faithfulness, Not Success

NOTE: I am traveling for work this week so I’ll be recycling some DayBreaks from previous years.  New DayBreaks will resume again on 1/20/2014.  Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, 1/6/2004:

1 Cor. 4:5 (NLT)  – “So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether or not someone is faithful. When the Lord comes, he will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. And then God will give to everyone whatever praise is due.”

I must say that I really admire Mother Theresa.  I never met her, and I can only go by what I’ve read and been told by a friend who worked with her.  Don’t get me wrong – Mother Theresa wasn’t perfect and I know that.  I’ve been told by my friend that she was a woman with a wonderful heart, but that she could be stubborn and difficult to deal with, too.  After all, she was only human like the rest of us.  So it shouldn’t surprise us that Mother Theresa had her flaws.  But we can still learn from her – just like we can learn from any other human being.

I read somewhere that Mother Theresa had a saying in her office that was her “motto”, if you please.  It was simply this: “Faithfulness, not success.”  I really like that.  Especially in light of where I am in my own life right now – working to start a new congregation of believers in a town surrounded by New Age pop psychology and almost anything else you can think of.  The group that is helping us start this congregation has started over 90 churches and over 70 of them are still growing and going strong.  Recently, they started some churches that had attendance on their opening Sunday of over 500 people!  And I must admit, in my heart of hearts, that I want to be successful in this church-planting effort.  Whoa.  Stop me, Lord!   Pull me back to the motto: Faithfulness, not success.

Success can be defined many different ways: by bank accounts, stock portfolios, a house that looks like a castle, rising out of poverty to riches, getting that law or doctoral degree, starring in movies or having millions know who you are wherever you go.  Those are all measures of success that are fairly common in the world.  But those aren’t God’s measures of success.  Even preachers are tempted to think off success in terms of numbers: is our attendance rising?  How did our attendance count measure up on our first Sunday compared to others?  How is our giving?  Did it grow to match the goal?  See what I mean?

I hope that I’ll always remember that God’s goal for me is faithfulness, not success.  When I stand face to face with Him on the day when He opens the books and examines my life, He won’t ask me what a great success I was, and He won’t ask me for numbers or spreadsheets to prove my success.  What He will look over my life for is my faithfulness.  In fact, I need to learn a whole new definition of success based on God’s definition: to Him, faithfulness is success.  That’s it.  Pure and simple.  My life as a Christian, as a minister/missionary, and your life as a Christian (after all, you know your calling as a Christian takes priority over anything else you do in life), will be determined successful if, and only if, we are faithful.  If we do that one thing, we will be “successful” in God’s eyes.  On the other hand, if we “gain the whole world but lose our soul”, we will be the greatest failure possible.

What is your goal for success?  Is it in line with God’s goal for you – the goal of faithfulness?

PRAYER: Keep us from falling into the world’s trap of thinking that bigger is better, that success is about anything other than being faithful to You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen serves as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to support Galen in his ministry, you can donate (one-time or recurring) 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 a link 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 1/09/14 – Drawing Circles

DayBreaks for 01/09/14 – Drawing Circles

John 3:16 (NLT) For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

A Lutheran minister by the name of Roy Lloyd once interviewed Mother Teresa. He said that one of his questions and one of her answers stands out in his mind as “a bright sun burning in my mind.” He asked her, “What’s the biggest problem in the world today?”

Now, before we get to her answer, stop right here and think about how YOU would answer that question. What would your reply be? Would it be greed? Injustice? Terrorism? Moral decline? Prejudice? Too much tolerance? Not enough tolerance? Relativism? Post-modernism? A wrong worldview? Drugs? Violence? Oppression? Humanism?

To be sure, with all that we see and hear about that goes on around the world each day, there are hundreds of possible answers – and those answers may change from day-to-day given that day’s news.

This is what makes Mother Theresa’s answer so startling, so jolting. When asked that question, her response, without hesitation, was this: “The biggest problem in the world today is that we draw the circle of our family too small. We need to draw it larger every day.”

Do you see what she’s saying? She is saying that the problem is not so much with the world as it is with us. We need to see more people as our neighbor than we are currently do. We need to love the world as we love our dearest family. I suspect very few can honestly say that this is a kind of love which they have mastered, or even attempted. We spend most of our time drawing circles that are restrictive, not expansive. The circles we draw are more like fences to keep others out. Fences are hard to move once they are constructed. We need to not draw circles of exclusion, but of inclusion.

In a way, with Jesus’ baptism, he was doing this: in his baptism he included us in his righteousness, identified with us in our humanity and our need to be cleansed, and our need to be made pure. Through this act, and through his live and love, he was drawing the circle of god’s family larger and he now invites us to do the same.

PRAYER: It is so easy for us, Lord, to blame the world for all that is wrong when the problem lies within us for having failed to love others enough to draw them into your family. Fill our hearts with the love You have for the world. Create in us the same desire you have to see all people from every nation, tribe and tongue, come into your family! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 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 serves as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to support Galen in his ministry, you can donate (one-time or recurring) 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 a link 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 11/22/11 – One Drop Less

DayBreaks for 11/22/11 – One Drop Less

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ – Matthew 25:37-39

One interesting way to read Scripture and gain new insights is to emphasize different words when we read.  Then, meditate on each word, one at a time, to mine the riches buried in a passage.  I’ve used this technique before, but not in conjunction with the passage above.

I’ve read this story many times, but never using this tool…but what if we stop to think about the seemingly insignificant adverb, “when.”  ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or when did we see you thirsty, or when did we see you naked, or when did we see you sick?’  It is interesting that both those in the parable who see, and those who fail to see the needs of those around them ask the same question “When…?”  Also revealing is the fact that those who helped didn’t remember helping, while those who passed by didn’t remember passing by.  The common question that will be asked by both groups on the last day is “When? Lord?”

Mother Theresa once said, “I never look at the masses as my responsibility, I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. So you begin with one. If I didn’t pick up that one person, I wouldn’t have picked up 42,000. My whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if I didn’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.”

It takes a lot of water to fill the ocean.  But it can be filled – one drop at a time.  In this analogy, each act of kindness is a good thing done in love for someone else.  And to the person who receives that drop of water, it is life-giving and life-sustaining.

Find a way today to put a drop into the ocean of need and hurt that surrounds you.  Just as the world is diminished by each act of evil, it is blessed by each act of good.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us be influences of good, not evil this day.  Let us not lose heart because of the size of the task, but let us join in spirit with Your Spirit to help righteousness flourish!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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