DayBreaks for 9/10/18 – Ready to be Interrupted

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DayBreaks for 9/10/18: Ready to be Interrupted

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008 – Michael Card’s “From the Studio”, 8/23/08:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – COLOSSIANS 4:5

“My friend and pastor Denny Denson was in the middle of a sermon one Sunday morning when a young man he had been witnessing to for months slipped into the back of the church. The young man was a victim of crack cocaine and had more than once tried to get off the drug, promising to someday attend our church. When Denny saw him walk in that morning, he was hopeful and excited that he had come.

“After a few minutes the young man got up and walked back outside. Denny understood at once what he needed to do. He stopped in the middle of his sermon and asked the congregation to go to prayer. With that, he followed the man outside and caught up with him a block from the church. After perhaps fifteen minutes the two of them came back inside with good news. The young man had finally accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The remainder of the service was spent in worship. Denny never finished his sermon!”

Isn’t it interesting how we get set on a course of argument or action and are loathe to deviate from it in ever the slightest ways?  As I read Mike’s account of his friend, Denny, I tried to picture myself on a Sunday morning as I deliver a message, and I asked myself, “What would I have done in the circumstance described?”  I’ll be honest…I’m not sure what I would have done.  Part of me is ruled by “order” and “the plan” and I might have foolishly kept on preaching when I should have stopped.  Preachers are very prone to thinking that whatever they are talking about is the most important thing at the moment – that people have come to listen to what’s being said.  And I’m sure that there’s a certain amount of truth in that mindset – a preacher should have a message from God for the people – they shouldn’t be speaking at all.  But, “church” isn’t about the sermon – church is about Jesus and humans who need Him. 

Denny Denson recognized that fact and had the wisdom and courage to stop in the middle of his prepared remarks.  It didn’t matter that the prepared sermon wasn’t finished – Denny acted out a far more important sermon by stopping and going to the young man.  It’s what Jesus would have done, I believe.

How willing are you to be interrupted from your carefully laid plans in order to be responsive to human need and the leading of the Spirit?  Will you stop what you’re doing today and truly love someone like Jesus if the opportunity arises?  Jesus was being interrupted all the time – and we never hear him complain about it even once.  May we become more like him!

PRAYER: Jesus, don’t let us become slaves to the plan we’ve formulated for our day, but rather let us be open to Your plan for us this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 8/20/18 – From the Perspective of Years

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DayBreaks for 8/20/18: From the Perspective of Years

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

At the risk of being premature and appearing to be wise and all-knowing, I’d like to share something with you that I think I have finally managed to learn in my 56 years of treading this earth.  Are you ready?  Here it is: life is not about now.  Oh, I know that there are bills that must be paid NOW, there are decisions that must be made NOW, there are chores and responsibilities that have to be met NOW.  Oh, yes…don’t forget taxes that must be paid!

But that’s not the stuff I’m talking about.  I’m talking about important things, things that I just wasn’t emotionally, mentally or spiritually equipped to even begin to grasp until now.  Perhaps it’s because I’m starting a new sermon series about all the things that Scripture talks about as being unseen that it’s just now coming clearer to me.  Still, I’ve struggled to find a way to express it myself, and then I finally ran across something that Elie Wiesel wrote in From the Kingdom of Memory that seems to me to say it perfectly.  (Wiesel, of course, is a holocaust survivor who has written and spoken eloquently about that horrific time in history, and about life in the aftermath.)

Here’s what Wiesel had to say that seemed to put this all into perspective for me: “Well, yes, at the time I was too young to understand that eternity does not exist except in relation to the present.  I was not mature enough to understand that it is eternity which lends this moment its mystery and its distinction.”

We are so preoccupied with living life to the full in the here and now, thinking that it is what is happening to us that gives life meaning and direction.  It is not so.  Surely, it must not be so!  It is what lies ahead that gives our lives now meaning and purpose, for we were not meant to live this life forever.  If the amount of time we spend here on earth versus in eternity is any indication of the relative importance, it is eternity that must dominate our consciousness and our thinking.  We must find the way to do this without abandoning the present, but also without ever making the fatal mistake of thinking that this life is what it is all about.

Have you noticed the context for this passage from 1 Corinthians 13:9-12? – For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

In the context, Paul seems to be speaking, at least partly, of eternity – it is then that we shall see face to face, we won’t be trying to hold on to foolish things of this world any longer.  All that occupies us here, tends to be childish compared to ultimate realities.

PRAYER: God, give us eyes to see this life through the clearer glass of eternity that our priorities and attention is focused on things above and not things below!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Father, help us choose the things that are beautiful to you and that lead to life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/26/16 – King and Country

DayBreaks for 4/26/16 – King and Country

I confess that I am baffled by the current crop of national candidates for the highest office in our land. I realize that politics is an incendiary topic and I seldom write about it. Don’t worry – I’m not really writing about it today, either, so it is safe to read on!

I find myself dismayed at the choices before us. Where have the great leaders gone to? Why and how did we get to this point in our history where we seem to have such a shortage of genuine, true leaders? I can’t know the realities in their hearts regarding their faith, but I do see signs that I find deeply disturbing about nearly every single one of our presidential candidates and I am struggling with the question of “Who will I vote for?” if so and so are the nominees.

On Sunday, one of the teachers at our church spoke on this issue as so many are wrestling with the same things I’m feeling. His message was: King and Country and focused on may passages that talk about what God has to say about living as a citizen in this world.

The preacher didn’t tell us who to vote for, but he did try to help put things into a well-informed, Biblical perspective for us. Here are some of the things he had to say:

  1. Our frustrations have grown to a fever pitch because we have placed our hope in government, not God. If we are counting on government and human leaders to deliver us, we will be disappointed 100% of the time. What we are longing for is the Garden – the way things were created to be originally;
  2. Jeremiah 29:7 describes the Israelites in Babylonian captivity and they wondered how they should live there. God’s answer, through His prophet Jeremiah, was that our role in exile should bless the place where we live and pray for it – be in it, but not part of it;
  3. He illustrated it by having two boxes on stage. One was a large box that represented the Kingdom of God, the smaller box represented America. He reminded us that it is the Kingdom of God that is the greater of the two and that our lives as Americans is not the pre-eminent thing, it is our life as Christians that encloses our life as Americans, not the other way around;
  4. The Kingdom of God demands our highest level of allegiance and all that we are to carry out our responsibilities as citizens of any earthly kingdom in light of His kingdom;
  5. The Kingdom of Jesus is not only our ultimate security, but our ONLY security.

I don’t know who will be the president-elect after November 4, 2016. Thank goodness I don’t have to know. Our fate as a nation is dependent on God and His plan, not some puny president. America is not God’s “chosen people”. That title once belonged to Israel. Now it belongs to all believers of any nation. And that’s the nation we should, and must be most concerned about!

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord for the reminder of priorities and of where our hope should rightfully rest! Let us find peace in our hearts even in the midst of this tumultuous time in our country, and help us as Your people to humble ourselves and pray so that You may heal our nation! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/21/16 – Finding the One Needful Thing

DayBreaks for 4/21/16 – Finding the One Needful Thing

From the DayBreaks archive, 4/21/2006:

Luke 10:41-42 (NLT) – But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details!  42 There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her.

As I write this, it is Easter Sunday afternoon.  As was true of churches all over America, we had more people in church today than on almost any other day of the year.  It happens that way every year.  It is at one and the same time both a delight to every preacher and a frustration.  It’s a delight to see people that you’ve not seen come for some time when they come through the door.  It’s great to meet new people who may need to know about Jesus.  And it’s great to get to preach the Word at any time. 

But it’s also frustrating because it points out how frivolously some people take their faith.  They will show up for Easter and Christmas…and other than a funeral or wedding throughout the year, that’s about it.  Why?  I’m sure there are a lot of reasons, and while I know that in the verse above, Jesus rebuked Martha for being “upset” over many details, I think he would criticize many of us for being “obsessed” by so many things.  Perhaps distracted is more accurate.

I look at families who are extremely irregular in their church attendance.  They often have kids who are involved with soccer, football, baseball, gymnastics, cheerleading and other things.  It used to be that sports leagues had the decency to not have such things on Sunday because there was a respect for Sunday as a day of worship.  No longer.  And so many of these parents yield their God-given responsibility to raise their kids in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” so that their kids can participate in sports or hobbies.  The parents often believe that they’re just being supportive of their kids, and, in a way, they are.  But are they being supportive in the things that really matter?  What’s more important – God and worshipping him, learning about Christ and the faith, or kicking one more goal?  I fear greatly for many of these kids.  They are learning from their folks many wrong lessons – such as, “There are many wonderful things in life you can do, and church is just one of them.  But if you decide you’d rather participate in some organized activity rather than going to church, I’ll support your decision.”  For most of those kids, the day will come when their parents wonder why their children have no faith – certainly not a faith that will sustain them when life gets hard and the enemy spreads his lies.  The answer will be simple: it will be because their parents failed in their God-given responsibility to model the Christian life and to insist that their children attend church and participate in spiritual things as a priority over earthly pursuits. 

Jesus told Martha that there was only one thing worth being concerned about…and that Mary, by sitting at Jesus’ feet and learning and worshipping, had chosen that one thing.  The one thing that is needful for each generation is not to play organized sports or be part of some club, but to know Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead.  I fear a dreadful judgment for parents who fail in this most sacred of responsibilities, and for the children whose parents didn’t have the spiritual insight to see how their “support” for what their children wanted to do could cost them in eternity.  If children haven’t established a faith in Christ by the time they are 18, the odds are that they never will come to know Him.

What are you teaching your children is the one needful thing in life?

PRAYER:  We are so easily distracted, Lord, from being with you.  We find and use every excuse to abandon you and fail to worship and fellowship with other Christians.  Open our eyes to the effect that our actions have on our children.  Help us to hunger and thirst after righteousness and not vicarious experiences through our children’s lives.  Forgive us and renew our commitment to putting You first, now and forever, in our lives.  We pray that you’ll draw our children to you and that they will come to know you, love you, and follow you all the days of their lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/16/15 – The One Who Stayed

DayBreaks for 10/16/15: The One Who Stayed  

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called “The One Who Stayed.”  The story in the poem is about a Pied Piper who came along and piped all the children away.  His music was enchanting, and the kids followed him dancing, twirling and spinning happily on their way.  That is, all the children except one followed the Piper.  That one child went back home and stayed there.  His dad was proud of the son for not following – for not listening to the Piper’s tantalizing music.  But the son, deep in his heart, knew that he’d stayed behind for the wrong reason, and that for his entire life he would regret his decision:

“I cannot say I did not hear

That sound so haunting hollow –

I heard, I heard, I heard it clear…

I was afraid to follow.”

Perhaps the boy was simply afraid of leaving home.  Perhaps he was afraid of leaving his parents.  Maybe he was afraid to go because he didn’t know where the Piper would lead him, or what would happen to him when they arrived at their destination.  Or, perhaps the boy had too much at home and he was reluctant to give up his video games, fast car, and fancy clothes for a life on the road with an itinerant Piper.

A similar message was extended long ago to a rich young ruler who decided to stay home, too.  And we’re told that he went on his way sorrowful.  We know why he stayed home, and I believe, like the boy in the story, that he regretted that decision for the rest of his life. 

Today there are fathers who will applaud their child’s decision to stay home – to stay away from church, to ignore the calling of the Holy Spirit in the life of their children.  “Oh, I’m proud of you for deciding for yourself what you want.  Good for you.”  I fear for those children – and for those parents – who don’t have enough common sense to encourage their children to go to church, to live the adventure for which God created them.  For those parents who don’t do all that they can to help their children find their way to God – I tremble in fear for the questions they will face from God when they finally stand before His throne.  What kind of message are you communicating to your children when you let them not go to church so that they can play sports every Sunday, or to stay home and watch movies or play video games?  Aren’t you sending a message that says: “I’m proud of you for not going to church.  Games and movies are much more important that listening to the call and command of God.” 

Mom and dad: don’t think for a second that your children aren’t watching what you choose to do on Sunday, too.  They watch – they see – and if your actions make it clear that everything else in the world is more important than worshipping God and being with His family – don’t be surprised when your child winds up with no faith, or if they listen to the wrong piper and wind up in broken marriages, jail and perhaps even hell.

PRAYER: Lord, being a parent is a huge responsibility. Help us realize that we will be held accountable not just for what we are doing ourselves, but for how we are molding and influencing our children! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 8/19/15 – A Higher Priority

DayBreaks for 8/19/15: A Higher Priority

At the Olympic games in Paris in 1924 the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.

As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill’s wife would give birth to her first child about the time that Bill would be competing in the Paris Games. In 1924 there were no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow-moving ocean-going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife’s side when their first child was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain behind. Bill’s wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, he had been working towards this for all these years. It was the culmination of a life-long dream.

Clearly the decision was not easy for Bill to make. Finally, after much soul searching, Bill decided to withdraw from the competition and remain behind with his wife so that he could be with her when their first child arrived. Bill considered being at her side a higher priority than going to Paris to fulfill a life-long dream.

To make a long story short, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal at the Paris Olympics. And Bill’s wife was late in giving birth to her first child. She was so late that Bill could have competed in the event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.

People said, “What a shame.” But Bill said he had no regrets. After all, his commitment to his wife was more important then, and it still was now.

The story of Bill Havens is a story of how one man paid a high price to fulfill a commitment to someone he loved.

But the story doesn’t end there. The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they named Frank. Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read, and I quote it exactly: “Dad, I won. I’m bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be born.”

Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the canoe-racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but never did.

There is a sequel to our acts of commitment as well, our commitments to one another, and our commitment to God. We reap the abundant harvest of righteousness. We reap a harvest of joy and peace that endures forever.

What is your highest priority? What will you NOT surrender or give up because it is of too great of value to you? Is it Jesus and His Word?

PRAYER: Commitment is a hard lesson to learn, Lord. My will power is not strong enough and I need Your help! Help me hold fast to that which I know in my heart should be my highest priority! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 1/14/15: Dining Al-Desko

DayBreaks for 01/14/15 – Dining Al-DeskoOn average, most Americans gained six pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That, my friends, is the “average.” Some of gained a lot more. Have you noticed how since the holidays ended that nearly every other commercial on TV or banner-ad online is about some kind of weight loss program? We are a nation collectively cringing about our six weeks of binging  and feasting.

But, behold! I bring you good tidings of great joy: don’t feel guilty about it (at least not too much!) Here’s an “indulgence” that may make you feel better for all your indulging. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s we have more face to face meals with families, co-workers, community members, and even strangers, than we do at any other time of the year. We eat together. We join together. We share food and ourselves, together. We party together. We bake together. If that costs us a few extra calories, it is not a bad thing. As J. R. R. Tolkien put it in The Hobbit, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

You may not have heard of it yet, but one of the newest words in this year’s lexicon is “al-desko.” That term is used for describing a busy office worker who is forced to eat their lunch and/or dinner at their desk. (Yes, I have been dining al-desko for decades!) When we cannot find the time to break away and have a meal with family or friends, we dine “al-desko.” Dining “al-desko” is quite probably a far worse problem than any holiday weight gain. The fact that dining “al-desko” is now an actual definition, reveals a new epidemic, one even worse than the flu.

In Corinthians, when Paul launches into his teaching about rules for what can and can’t be eaten and why, we cringe and shy away from his message because to our ears it sounds like a long lecture on moralism. Paul starts out talking about food rules. Then he shifts over to issues of sexual morality. Here are two things we surely do not want to hear about. But really what Paul is emphasizing to the Corinthians, and to every future generation of Christians, is that what we do with our physical body matters. Matter matters…and even taking time to be with people instead of eating at your desk matters. It may matter far more than you could ever guess because someone’s eternity may depend on the relationship! Let’s not make getting more work done more important than taking the time to build relationships.

PRAYER: Lord, I confess that I have been guilty of this so many times because of an overly developed sense of priority, thinking that getting more work done is more important and building relationship! Forgive me for my insensitivity! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise 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 put S090 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! Your support would be deeply appreciated!