DayBreaks for 5/15/17 – Who Is It You Want?

DayBreaks for 5/15/17: Who Is It You Want?

John 18:3-5 – So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“Who is it you want?”  Jesus was always good at asking questions (still is)!  It isn’t that he didn’t know who they were coming for – he’d made it abundantly clear to his disciples that he knew exactly what was going to happen – and when – and even why.  Jesus asked questions to make those around him probe their real motives and purposes, and to make them think deeply.  His questions often make us uncomfortable – try to imagine how Judas must have felt when he first saw Jesus and Jesus asks this question.  Faced with a phalanx of armed and hostile soldiers and temple officials, calmly asks a question designed to make them contemplate what they’re doing.  It appears that they (especially the officials from the temple) didn’t recognize him – which strikes me as strange since Jesus had been in Jerusalem many times.  He’d been very open in his teaching in the temple in the past.  But they don’t seem to recognize him even though he’d been in their midst often. 

It makes me wonder how often we fail to recognize Jesus.  It was Mother Theresa who once suggested that she did what she did because when she helped the poor and dying in the steaming streets of Calcutta that in their faces she saw Jesus in a distressing disguise.  Some people see Jesus often – in acts of love, compassion, mercy – others rarely, if ever see him or recognize him. 

But as haunting as that may be, the real question is plain, and it echoes through 2000 years and it is a question that we must answer today, because Jesus asks is.  “Who is it you want?”  What a great question!  Who is it that you really want?  Do you want Jesus?  Or do you want yourself?  Or do you want your own idea of what Jesus is? 

Those who Jesus called to himself in life were called in ways that we might find shocking – almost as if Jesus really didn’t want people to come to him.  Consider the rich young ruler – who was told that he had to sell everything he owned, give it to the poor, and then come follow Jesus.  Or the man who said he had to bury his father, but was told by Jesus to “let the dead bury the dead –  you, come follow me!”  But then he’s said it to all of us, hasn’t he: Take up your cross daily and follow me.  In each case, people have to decide who it is that they really want – do we want Jesus, the real Jesus, badly enough that we’re willing to take the challenge he puts before us with this question: “Who is it  you want?”

The question is just as valid today as when Jesus asked it in the garden of Gethsemane.  They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  Yes, they wanted him, but not for a good purpose.  The question that Jesus didn’t ask them was why they wanted him.  He already knew.  But we need to ask the question of ourselves again: “Why do I want Jesus?  Do I want him so he’ll make me feel better about myself?  So that he’ll give me a home in heaven when I die?  So I’ll have a friend?”  Those are all things that Jesus can, and will do for us, but they are not the reason we should want him.  We should want Jesus because in the life of Christ is embodied the kingdom of God – the RULE of God – throughout the universe but especially in the human heart.  We should want Jesus because of Who He IS, and not what he can do for us.  That’s what it means when Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind…and then our neighbors as ourselves.  God does care about your eternal destiny, but He’s operating on a much greater scale than just individual hearts and minds.  He’s operating on a cosmic scale to reconcile everything to Himself again through Christ.  And that’s why we should want to find Jesus.

How can I tell who it is that I really want?  Probably the best way is to look at what things in life that I chase after.  How much time do I spend reading the word, praying, memorizing scripture, sharing my faith, in developing a relationship with Jesus instead of reading fantasy novels, watching TV, going to the movies, playing sports, shopping?  Time is perhaps the most precious thing we have – and how we spend it very clearly says something about our priorities and what is truly important to us.  And I need to test my motives for why I want him, too.  In both these areas, I must remember that I cannot fool Jesus – even though I may fool myself very well, thank you.  But when I finally do come face to face with Jesus, I’ll not be able to pretend – like the soldiers, I’ll fall backwards onto the ground with the perfect knowledge that he has seen through me, and always has.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to want you more than anything else in the universe.  Help us to want you for all the right reasons, and for none of the wrong ones.  Thank you for wanting us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 1/13/16 – The Implications of “Seek First”

DayBreaks for 1/13/16: The Implications of “Seek First”

Galen is back but recovering from jet lag! New DayBreaks to resume shortly!

Matt 6:33 (NIV) – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Is your life just filled with all kinds of distractions?  I try hard to not have my life be that way, but I’m not sure I’m very successful at keeping my life simple.  Some things are certainly more important than others.  What do you think is the most important thing in your life?  If you’re a husband, you may think that it is providing for your family.  That’s a God-given responsibility, so it is important.  If you’re a wife, you may think it is loving and caring for your family – another important, God-given duty.  If your mind happens to be thinking about business when you are reading this – it might be how to save your struggling company, or how to make wise business decisions so you can grow the business.  If you’re a student, it might be passing the next chemistry exam, graduating from high school or college.  There are plenty of things to distract us.

No one less than Jesus tells us what our first priority should be: seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness.  That’s it.  That’s #1 – and it’s not even a close competition.  There isn’t anything else that we need or ought to pursue.  Why?  Because there’s nothing else that’s anywhere nearly as important, nor is there anything we will lack if we DO pursue His kingdom first and only in our hearts. 

So, what does it really look like, this business of seeking first HIS kingdom and righteousness?  Soren Kierkegaard mused on that topic and came up with this really profound way of looking at it.  He said, should a person get a suitable job in order to exert a virtuous influence?  His answer: no, we must seek first God’s kingdom.  Then, he asked, should we give away all our money to feed the poor?  Again comes the answer: no, we must first seek God’s kingdom.  So, should we go out and preach this truth to the world that people are to seek first God’s kingdom?  No, we are first to seek the kingdom of God.  Kierkegaard concluded: “Then in a certain sense it is nothing I shall do.  Yes, certainly, in a certain sense it is nothing, become nothing before God, learn to keep silent; in this silence is the beginning, which is, first to seek God’s Kingdom.”

Here’s the key: focusing on the kingdom of God will produce an inner reality as His kingdom is formed within our hearts and souls.  Nothing else can be first and foremost.  It can’t even be the desire to get out of the rat race so we can go pursue the kingdom – it must be the kingdom itself. 

Want to simplify your life?  Focus on one thing: the kingdom of God!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, our lives are so fractured and divided – and so are our loyalties.  We are so busy that we barely think of Your kingdom, let alone take time to seek it or find it!  Please teach us how to simplify.  Teach us how to trust in You to “add” all those other things to us that we need after we seek You first.  But Lord, please don’t add those things to us first – only add them once we’ve truly given Your kingdom first place.  Help us to each as individuals understand that that means specifically for ME today.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 10/30/15 – Be Careful What You Wish For

DayBreaks for 10/30/15: Be Careful What You Wish For

Wednesday night at choir practice, one of the sopranos shared a story of good fortune. Just that day her mother-in-law won $1,000,000 playing the lottery! What made it all the more touching is that the woman who won the lottery had raised four or five boys by herself after she was left alone. She struggled and scraped her entire life to raise and provide for her children. Isn’t God good?

Such things have probably prompted us all to thing: “Wouldn’t it be great if I won a million dollars?!” I was at one time both happy to hear of this woman’s good fortune, but at the same time was thinking, “Why couldn’t it have been me” (aside from the small detail that I don’t play the lottery)?  I also found myself being envious of the lady who shared the story: she and her husband have the potential of a nice inheritance some day. Envy is easy to come by – if we are envying people for the wrong things.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so great. Not everyone has the same idea of a great time. One person’s wish may be another’s nightmare. Take, for example, the story of three men who were sailing together in the Pacific Ocean. Their vessel was wrecked and they found themselves on an island. They had plenty of food, but their existence was in every way different from what their lives had been in the past. The men were walking by the seashore one day after they had been there for some months and found an ancient lantern. One man picked it up. As he began to rub it and clean it, a genie popped out and said, “Well, since you have been good enough to release me, I will give each of you one wish.”

The first man said, “Oh, that’s perfectly marvelous. I’m a cattleman from Wyoming and I wish I were back on my ranch.” Poof! He was back on his ranch.

The second man said, “Well, I’m a stockbroker from New York, and I wish that I were back in Manhattan.” Poof! He was back in Manhattan with his papers, his telephones, his clients and his computers.

The third fellow was somewhat more relaxed about life and actually had rather enjoyed life there on the island. He said, “Well, I am quite happy here. I just wish my two friends were back.” Poof! Poof! Everybody’s idea of a “great time” isn’t the same!

So is it true? How many Americans (perhaps you are among them) sitting around wishing, “Now wouldn’t it be great …if I won the lottery…if I had my dream house…if I was famous….”

As Christians…as the people of God…what if instead of wishing for money or fame or success or more “things,” we could just as earnestly wish with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength that we could love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves? There is no greater treasure than to know Him, yet we act as if everything else is of greater value because we spend so much time pursuing those other things and so little time getting to know Him!

Genesis 15:1 (KJV) – After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

TODAY’S PRAYER: You are the treasure we should seek, Lord. Help us to not seek after worldly joy, but after that which will delight us for all eternity! 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 7/30/15 – Life Substitutes

DayBreaks for 7/30/15: Life Substitutes

There’s a story found in the Chronicles of Narnia. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth volume of that series, Mary, Edmund, their cousin Eustice, and some of the colorful creatures of Narnia, come upon a crystal clear pool of water with what appears to be a golden statue of a man at the bottom. Only, they discover that it is a magical pool that turns everything into gold that touches the water. It appears that the statue at the bottom of the pool is a man who either didn’t know about the pool’s magic powers, or he was so consumed with accumulating gold that he ignored its dangers. Even though the characters of the story are awed at the magic of the pool, they recognize that such a place is far more dangerous than it is beneficial, and so they swear themselves to secrecy and wipe their memories clean of that place.

You see, when you waste your energies seeking to fulfill the hunger for things that perish, what you’ll find all too often is that you’ll still be dissatisfied, and your dissatisfaction will usually put you deeper into the hole you’re digging for yourself. Whatever piece of the pie that you’re hungering for – whether it’s a bigger slice of acceptance or riches or gratification of your urges – you’re going to find yourself hungry for more and more and more, until you’re so out of control that you can’t back-peddle fast enough. In our consumer-driven world, in which many people literally work themselves to death accumulating a never-fully-satisfying abundance of things, Jesus’ words challenge our society’s misguided substitutes for “life.”

What are you giving in exchange for your life?

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36 (NIV)

PRAYER: God, I know I only have so many hours allotted to me.  Please help me spend them in pursuit of real Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 08/05/13 – Just One More

DayBreaks for 08/05/13 – Just One More

arcadeEWhat an interesting time and place we live in!  We are afraid that we’re all going to die because of all the chemical additives that are put into our food, yet because of medical advances we are living longer.  We talk a lot about community yet most people don’t know the names of their next door neighbors.  More and more people have bumper stickers on their cars that say “Co-exist” but it seems the world has gone mad with killing. What’s going on?  And more importantly, why?

Here’s my humble opinion: We’re killing ourselves on junk food – we watch mindless drivel on TV with vulgar displays of sexuality and horrific scenes of violence; we listen to endless chatter on the radio with never-ending conflict and criticism; we chase after every conceivable form of entertainment and pleasure; all the while, coming up empty and, ironically, craving for more.

We’re like little children in a video arcade – no matter how many quarters or tokens they are given, when the last game’s over, what do they do?  You know: they always ask for “just one more.” There’s no end to it. In the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick, we’re “rich in things and poor in soul.”

What’s the answer? The answer is that we need to get back to the basics and re-establish our priorities. In a word, we need to put God first. We need to follow the Great Commandment, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt. 22:37-39) It’s as simple as that: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mt. 6:33)

Any time that any thing other than God has first place in our life we will be out of balance, off kilter, confused, frustrated and dominated by times, events and seasons.  We will not have any stability and we will not have anything to constrain our selfishness.  In short, we will be like the world that lacks God.  How tragic!

PRAYER: I sometime wonder if any of us really know and understand what it means to truly “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”!  We need to know what that means and what it looks like for us, Lord Jesus.  You have shown us by your live and willingness to die for the kingdom what it looks like.  Give us the courage, strength and stamina to live it out!  In Your 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 working as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising 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 and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name 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 (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. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 07/18/13 – Right Place, Wrong Button

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DayBreaks for 07/18/13 – Right Place, Wrong Button

3595582857_1f7bc4694bHave you ever been in a hurry and buttoned up a long overcoat with lots of buttons and when you were done, found out that the coat was uneven? That happened to me with a shirt just recently and I never noticed it until after I had settled into the office and my wife (who happened to be with me that day) noticed it.  I guess at my age maybe it’s getting to be true that my wife has to help me dress!

What went wrong? It’s pretty simple, really.  If you start out wrong, if you don’t get the first button in the right hole, all the rest of the buttons are out of sequence too, right?!

That’s a parable about life. Jesus said it this way in the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33) If the Lord is not the high priority in your life, then, like the overcoat, so many other things in life will be out of whack as well. 

If your life is all messed up right now, could this be the reason? Might it just be that you’re not seeking His Kingdom first in your life, that you’ve let other things sneak into that top priority slot?

Let’s all check our buttons.  Frequently!

PRAYER: I find that my priorities are often misaligned and worst of all, misaligned to Your priorities not just for my life but for the world.  Re-align us according to Your will, Lord.  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 working as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising 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 and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name 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 (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. 

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!