DayBreaks for 11/29/17 – The Hardest Part is Getting in the Water

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DayBreaks for 11/29/17: The Hardest Part is Getting in the Water

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Have you ever competed in any kind of sports?  When I was in high school, I played basketball, tennis, football and ran a little track.  I found the competition very exciting.  I loved basketball above all other sports.  I remember one game, I was fouled with 2 seconds to play.  We were behind by 1 point so I had a chance to win the game.  The opposing coach called a timeout, intent on “icing” me – making me think about whether or not I’d be able to make the shots or whether I’d miss.  We were playing in the opposing team’s home gym.  The crowd was pressed all around the court and they were yelling.  The official blew the whistle and we walked back onto the court and I took my position at the free-throw line.  I missed the first shot, and then I missed the second shot.  I had failed.  I felt awful – like I’d let my teammates down, my coach down, my school down.  I wanted to bury my head in the sand and never come up again.

The next week, we were playing a different team, this time in our home gym.  Can anyone say “Déjà vu?”  Unbelievably, the scenario was repeated.  Down by 1 with just a few ticks of the clock, and I was fouled while shooting.  Once again, the opposing team coach called timeout.  My mind was spinning with the irony of it all – and the horror at what had happened the previous week.  After the timeout, I went to the free-throw line and made the first free-throw.  At least now the game was tied and at worst, we’d go into overtime.  The second free-throw also went through and I was a hero for the rest of the day. 

What made the difference between the first game and the second?  Hard to say.  But one thing I know: in the intervening time, I made a determined effort to shoot a LOT of free throws at every practice.  After practice, I’d go home and shoot free throws at the hoop on the back patio.  I can’t begin to guess how many free throws I shot between the first and second game.  To this day I don’t know if that’s why I made the shots during the second game, or if it was just God’s blessing.  And frankly, at the time, I didn’t care too much why – I was just relieved.

Kim Linehan held the world record in the Women’s 1500-meter freestyle.  According to her coach at the time, Paul Bergen, said his 18-year old was the leading amateur woman distance swimmer in the world.  She would exercise endlessly, swimming 7 to 12 miles a day.  Someone once asked her what was the hardest part of her regimen.  She replied: “Getting in the water.”

It is difficult to make strong beginnings.  It is difficult, day after day to get in the water, to step up to the free throw line and practice.  It is difficult, day after day to step up to the plate and take swings at being a Christ-like man or woman.  It would be so much easier to just stay in bed, to skip the practice, to circumvent the discipline.  But one thing is sure if we do that: we’ll never know or experience victory.  All we’ll know is defeat. 

Maybe this morning you feel as if you’ve just about had it.  You’re ready to surrender to that temptation that just keeps nagging you.  You’re ready to throw in the towel on your marriage.  You’re sick and tired of working so hard and getting so little recognition for it. 

Get in the water.  Once you do, good things start to happen.  Practice the spiritual disciplines that will equip you to win when hard times come, that hone your responses to a fine, shining point.  And never forget that it isn’t really you that gains any victory, it’s Jesus!

PRAYER:  When we are weary, God, tempted to not make the effort to be what you want us to be and to do what you want us to do, change our hearts and charge us with new fire from above.  Help us to do our part and get in the water and leave it up to you whether we walk on the surface or swim!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/23/13 – The Race We Are In

DayBreaks for 10/23/13 – The Race We Are In

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT) – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3  Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

Let me tell you a story about someone that I’ve never met and only just read about, but I deeply admire her: one day, at age 42, in beautiful downtown Cleveland, this woman ran a marathon by accident (all 26 miles, 385 yards of it). Her name is Georgene Johnson.  You may have heard her story, how she lined up with the wrong group at the starting line. Not the 10K group, where she belonged. But the 26 mile group, where she didn’t.

It wasn’t until the four mile mark that she realized her mistake. So she just kept going, finishing the race in four hours and four minutes. But it’s what she said later (by way of explanation) that struck a chord within me.  Said Georgene: “This isn’t the race I trained for. This isn’t the race I entered. But, for better or worse, this is the race I’m in.”

Isn’t that how life is?  Think about the single mother, struggling to make ends meet.  Think of the addict with the needle in his/her arm, the prostitute or starving.  None of them ever hope to be such things when they were starting out in life. 

You may find yourself in a similar situation.  You may be doing something for work that you never thought you’d be doing – a step down from your early aspirations.  You may find yourself worn out at day’s end from little children dogging your every step, demanding every ounce of energy and attention you have to offer. You may have thought you’d be living in a comfortable retirement but due to the downturn a few years back, that dream is largely gone up in smoke.

This is the race I’m in.”  No matter what season of life we are in, relatively few of us are exactly where we figured we’d be….doing exactly what we figured we’d be doing. But we are where we are, and (for better or worse) we’re keeping our feet moving.  Why?  Perhaps it is because we have no choice.  Perhaps it is because we are still grasping a thread of hope for better times in front of us.  But the best motivation of all is to understand that where ever we are right now, we are to serve the King.  We are where we are as part of a plan that He’s working out in our lives. We can make a difference right now, right where we are.  I may not have become the neurosurgeon that I dreamed of being, but I’m something better.  I’m a disciple of Jesus.  I’m a child of the King!  The question is what will I do with this day of the race I’m in?  What will you do with yours?

How do we do it?  The answer is in the passage above: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus…” not on broken hopes or dreams.  We aren’t even to set our eyes on the finish line, but on the person of Jesus, who will carry us over that finish line!  What do you see as you face your day?  Jesus?  Or just another day of living?

PRAYER: Jesus, we can so easily despair about what has become of our hopes and dreams for our lives.  Give us the wisdom to realize that no matter what and where we are now, that You have invited us to join You in Your work – to make the best of this and every day for as long as we draw breath.  Lift our eyes to see you rather than our problems!  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!

DayBreaks for 09/23/13 – Don’t Stop Yelling too Soon!

DayBreaks for 09/23/13 – Don’t Stop Yelling to Soon

Luke 18:35-40a (NLT) –  As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. 36  When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. 37  They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. 38  So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39  “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40  When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him…

I wonder how often we fail to really try to get God’s attention.  Here was a blind man who had to ask what all the commotion was about.  He is told and starts yelling for Jesus.  He’s told by all the other people to shut up (we humans are so quick to give advice to others) but it only made him yell louder.  He wasn’t going to give up until he got the attention of the rabbi from Nazareth.

How’s your prayer life?  How quickly do you “give up”?  We may pray without passion.  We may blithely say repetitive words and say that we’ve “prayed” today.  We may pray about something a few times and give up.  We may get advice from others who either 1) mean well, or; 2) have their own selfish interests at heart, and as a result we slink back into our corner or pursue the bad advice (like shutting up once we’ve asked God for something) and the result is we never have that life-changing encounter with Jesus.

When told to “Shut up!”, this man got louder.  He refused to be ignored.  I think God wants us to be the same way, to pray “without ceasing” – not just all the time, but not quitting!

Did Jesus heal every blind person, lame person, leprous-skinned person he met or encountered during his life?  We don’t know, but probably not.  Does our yelling out to God mean we’ll get what we want, too?  No necessarily.  But if we don’t quit yelling, we may have a better chance of it.

PRAYER: May our prayers be real and spring from honest hearts and may we never stop striving to have a closer encounter with you, Jesus!  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!