DayBreaks for 11/29/16 – Psalm 23 for the Advent Season

DayBreaks for 11/29/16: Psalm 23 for Advent

Here is a version of the 23rd Psalm that ought to be mandatory reading each day of Advent. Maybe it’ll speak to you as it did to me:

The Lord is my pace setter . . . I shall not rush

He makes me stop for quiet intervals

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here

His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility

My cup of joyous energy overflows

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.

PRAYER: Lord, even as David spoke great truths about you in Psalm 23, may this remind us in our own busy and frenetic lives that when we abide in you we shall always have your peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/29/14 – At Home

DayBreaks for 9/29/14 – At Home

Psalm 23:5 (NKJV) – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

I have recently seemed to become a road warrior.  No, not like the old Mel Gibson movie, but a frequent traveler.  I’m not done yet.  I won’t be for a few weeks.  But right now, today…I am home.  And it is wonderful!!!  Though I was blessed with my most recent trip, how grateful I am to be home again!

What is home?  It is, to be sure, the walls that surround us to protect us from the elements.  It is the roof overhead that keeps things from falling on us and shields us from the hot sun or cold snow.  It is a warm room, cozy and bright on a cold day, with adequate sustenance in the larder.

But those things aren’t really “home”, are they?  They may be a “house”, but a house is not “home”.  Home is the arms of your loved one(s), the lilt in their voice, the catch-light in their eyes, the upward curl of the corners of their mouth when they see you.  Home is (at least it should be) being surrounded and enveloped in love.

I’ve been to Jerusalem and seen what they believe are the ruins of king David’s palace at the City of David.  It was situated nearly at the point of a hill commanding a spectacular view.  But it wasn’t really the home that David was longing for.  I’m sure there were many times he came home from battle, perhaps even bearing wounds from the fighting, and he was very, very glad to enter his palace again.  But I suspect that in the back of his mind, he always had a better, grander home-coming in mind: the day that he’d walk into the house of the Lord…forever.

In this Psalm David has talked about the goodness of the Shepherd and rightfully so, but for every blessing (not wanting, green pastures, still waters, restored strength and soul, His presence in the dark valley, the feast table set in the presence of the enemies), there is a subtle reminder that these are blessings which are offset by needs: things we need for live, food, water, weariness, mortality and enemies who surround us. 

But, when David walks through that valley (in the Presence of the Shepherd and under his guidance and protection), he will wind up in the house of the Lord.  And never again will David be hungry, thirsty, tired, or have enemies who can threaten.  Never.  Again.  Ever. 

That residence isn’t held out as an option only for kings, queens and princes.  It is held out for the ordinary human, the beggar, even for thieves dying on crosses.  It is there.  It is real.  It is just barely out of my sight now, but growing slightly more clear and closer with each passing year.

At the end of a life, what a delight to know as we take our last breath: “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord….forever.” 

PRAYER: Jesus, Lord God, Holy Spirit…how delightful it is to contemplate being home in Your house and never, ever having to leave!  We praise You for Your promises and for the words of our brother, David!  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!

 

DayBreaks for 9/26/14 – Showing My Enemies

DayBreaks for 9/26/14 – Showing My Enemies

Psalm 23:5 (NKJV) – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

When I think of enemies right now, my mind is filled with pictures of ISIL/ISIS followers, a bloody knife in one hand and the head of someone they just beheaded in the other.  It’s an ugly picture, but it is a picture that many are facing right now as ISIS forces have surrounded towns and villages, attacking, looting, raping and killing – all in the name of a god they claim to serve.

And if I can be honest here, the images and videos of the beheadings seem to at least have awakened the sleeping sensitivities of the world against such barbarism.  At least for the time being.  And it makes us cry out for retribution, for some way to show the enemy is wrong.

The Psalmist had many enemies – and many times they were seeking to kill him.  As he wrote what we call verse 5 in the 23rd Psalm, I wonder if he had them in mind – and if he penned this verse as a way of claiming vindication.

Who appears to have the power in northern Iraq and portions of Syria?  It’s ISIS, right? People are running, understandably, for their lives.  But the families who have had members raped and killed and beaten want their faithfulness to God to be shown to be worth something.  And so, enter verse 5.

It will be God Himself and no other, who prepares the table, inviting us as His honored guests, to sit at a feast He has set for us.  The enemies will be there, but they are not invited to sit, to partake.  And because it is God and not some helpless villager in the midst of some desert, the enemy will be absolutely, totally and forever powerless.  They will be on the outside.  God is showing our enemies who really is in the right and who is favored.

Here David is showing that he will be vindicated by God.  But that’s not all: “Vengeance is Mine, I SHALL repay..” is the rest of the bargain that God has forged with us.  As surely as God will spread the table with the choicest of fare, He will as surely exact vengeance for every cut of the knife, every woman violated, every home destroyed and every life injured.

God has a plan for us – a wonderful, marvelous plan!  He also has a plan for His enemies.

PRAYER: Lord, keep us from pride or gloating over the fate of Your enemies.  Help us to pray for Your Spirit of the love of Jesus to sweep like a Mighty Wind through the hearts of those who are so evil and violent that they may, by the same sheer grace that will save us, turn from their evil and sit at the table!  Thank You for the table and festive celebration that awaits us!  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!

 

DayBreaks for 9/23/14: Green Pastures, Still Waters

DayBreaks for 9/23/14 – Green Pastures, Still Waters

Psalm 23:2 (NKJV) – He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

I’ve been to Israel and I can tell you, I sure didn’t see many green pastures.  Perhaps it was the wrong time of year – and the green pastures would have been higher up on the mountain ranges or perhaps we were just in the wrong places – but water seemed to be rather scarce, and precious.

The Shepherd of David’s beloved psalm knows where to find the green pastures.  He leads his sheep there…and then, he “makes” them lie down.

How do you make sheep lie down?  You sure don’t do it by yelling at them, smacking them with a staff or chasing them around until they’re so tired that they collapse.  No, those things won’t work with sheep, and chasing them can even lead to their demise.  You see, sheep are very timid and frightened creatures.  And that’s what makes this statement even more wonderful.

The shepherd knows what sheep are like.  The way to get them to lie down is to take them into a peaceful place, to even sing to them, to talk soothingly to calm their fearful little hearts.  That’s how you make sheep lie down!  Jesus makes us lie down in utter peace and stills our racing hearts.

And he doesn’t make us lie down in the middle of the desert, but he has surrounded us with sustenance.  The sheep aren’t worrying about where their next meal will come from because the shepherd has always taken care of them and they trust he will…after all, just look around!

Last night, did you “lie down” in peacefulness?  Or was your heart racing, wondering how you and your family will survive, or how you’ll do this-or-that?  Were you worrying about where the next meal will come from?  The sheep don’t manufacture the grass that surrounds them in verse two.  When talking about the shepherd in this Psalm, it is the shepherd Himself who manufactures the grass, waters it, and provides it in abundance.  All the worrying of all the sheep in the flock can’t produce a single blade of grass.

And the still waters?  Sheep are terrified of flowing water: they can’t swim well at all, especially when their wool is thick.  They need still water: this, too, the Shepherd knows.

Still water, green meadows, laying down to rest – what a wonderful Shepherd we have!

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus, let us rest in your meadow this day and forevermore may we be comforted by your Shepherd song to us!  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!

 

DayBreaks for 01/20/14 – God Came Close

DayBreaks for 1/20/14 – God Came Close

Psalms 23:1 – The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

This is perhaps the most beloved passage of Scripture in the entire Bible. It is small wonder. It stirs with its beauty and imagery, but also with the profundity of truth it conveys. But it wasn’t until l/14 as I was reading The Question That Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey, that he pointed out something new about it that I’d never picked up on before.

David starts out the Psalm describing idyllic scenes: meadows, streams, being guided and led in good pathways. It is the kind of setting and life we would all like to live and have for ourselves and our loved ones. And in those first verses, He talks about God as “He”. Toward the end of the passage he calls him “You”. 

What leads to the transition? It starts with walking the darkest valley and David gives us the answer at the end of that verse. “…for you are close beside me.” It was then that God drew close. God let David do things such as laying in a meadow.  But now God has come near – and he will stay near “all the days of my life” and beyond for we shall dwell in His house when this life ends.

Did David long for the darkest valley? No. Do we? No. But it is often there that God becomes more real to us than ever before, where His Presence and power become palpable. We may find ourselves reacting as Job did: “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

For Job, for David, for countless generations of believers who have lived and died before us, that is the hope, the longing, and that alone may be the sufficient reason for the “…darkest valley.

PRAYER: Lord, I confess that like most everyone, I am terrified of what I may face in the darkest valley in my life. I fear the agonies that may await there, not so much for my own sake, but for the sake of loved ones whose suffering may be the cause of that valley. We try to hold on to our hope and when we enter that valley as we surely will, may we, like David, find that You have never been closer than at that moment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2003, 2013 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!