DayBreaks for 5/13/15 – The Town With No Shoes

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DayBreaks for 5/13/15: The Town With No Shoes

There is a story by Hugh Price Hughes titled, “The City of Everywhere.” In this story a man arrives in a city one cold morning. As he gets off the train, he sees that the station is like any other station except for one thing everyone is barefoot. No one wears shoes.

He notices a barefoot cab driver. “Pardon me,” he asks the driver, “I was just wondering why you don’t wear shoes. Don’t you believe in shoes?”

“Sure we do,” says the driver.

“Why don’t you wear them?” asks the man.

“Ah, that’s the question,” the driver replies. “Why don’t we wear shoes? Why don’t we?”

At the hotel it is the same. The clerk, bell boys, everybody is barefoot. In the coffee shop he notices a nice looking gentleman at a table opposite him. He says, “I notice you aren’t wearing any shoes. I wonder why? Don’t you know about shoes?”

The man replies, “Of course I know about shoes.”

“Then why don’t you wear them?” asks the stranger.

“Ah, that’s the question,” says the man. “Why don’t we? Why don’t we?”

After breakfast he walks out on the street in the snow but every person he sees is barefoot. He asks another man about it, and points out how shoes protect the feet from cold. The man says, “We know about shoes. See that building yonder? That is a shoe manufacturing plant. We are proud of that plant and every week we gather there to hear the man in charge tell about shoes and how wonderful they are.”

“Then why don’t you wear shoes?” asks the stranger.

“Ah, that’s the question,” says the man.

Dr. Robert E. Goodrich told this story in his book, What’s It All About? Then he asks, “Don’t we believe in prayer? Don’t we know what prayer could mean to our lives? . . . Of course we do; we know about prayer. Then, why don’t we pray? Ah, that’s the question. Why don’t we pray? . . . Why don’t we?”

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV) – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

I’ve just come back from two weeks of conferences on international missions and I was with many missionaries from closed access countries.  Let me tell you, if there ever was a time to pray for the persecuted saints, it is now.  It is coming to a town near you, too, and you’d like them to pray for you.

PRAYER: Lord, teach us to pray! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 7/17/14 – The Un-askable Question

DayBreaks for 7/17/14 – The Un-askable Question

Matthew 13:36 (NLT) Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”

For a moment, set aside the above verse and listen to a story about a young anthropologist named Connie who works among aboriginal people in Australia. The community where she lives has a rich tradition of storytelling as do many pre-literate cultures. Everyone gathers at night, a story is told, and then another, and another. It is not only a form of entertainment for them, but also of education, culture and informs them about the unbroken links to their ancestors and the earth.  Connie feels extraordinarily privileged when she is asked to join in this activity.

The first story told one evening was about the animal ancestor of this community and its adventures at the beginning of time. The story overflowed with detail, action, imagery.

At the end of the story, Connie was thoroughly delighted and asked, “May I ask a question? What does it mean?”

All eyes instantly turned to look at her. The elder looks at her gravely and says, “That is the one question you cannot ask.” A long time passed before she was invited to come again to hear stories. She has asked the wrong question.

“What does it mean?” was the wrong question for Connie to ask about the aboriginal myth. It may seem strange that such a question would not be welcome, but must consider, as in today’s text, whether or not it could be the wrong question for us to ask about the story of the sower, or any of the stories told by Jesus. “What does it mean?” is the wrong question if we think that by having an answer, we can somehow get a handle on this story, domesticate it, make it safe. The stories Jesus tells are not subject to our control. He tells these stories so that we can be transformed. He tells these stories, not so that we can ask questions about them, but so that the stories can ask questions of us.

Jesus wants us to learn from him and his teaching. But what one story teaches me may teach you something different.  And one parable may speak a certain lesson to me at one point in my life but in another season of time has much different, and perhaps much greater, meaning.

Instead of wanting spoon-fed answers, we need to be more content to wrestle with the Spirit and let Him instruct us!

PRAYER: How majestic and mysterious is Your Word, how rich beyond our ken! Thank You for Your Spirit that teaches us in marvelous ways! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 01/30/13 – What Questions Are You Asking?

DayBreaks for 01/30/13 – What Questions Are You Asking?

question1I’m full of questions.  I know that there’s an old saying about there not being such a thing as a bad question.  I don’t believe that’s really true.  I think that there are good questions – ones that lead us to grow – and bad ones that lead us to rationalize and try to escape our duties.

Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged us to ask the right questions when he said: “Cowardice asks the question: is it safe?  Expediency asks the question: is it politic?  Vanity asks the question: is it popular?  But conscience asks the question: is it right?  And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular – but one must take it because it’s right.

What kind of questions do you ask when faced with a moral/social issue?  Do you seek safety or what is right?  Do you desire to “do the right thing” and give in to expediency?  Do you ask yourself what it will make others think about you if you take a stand?  Or do you simply ask, “What is right?”  I have a hunch that’s what Jesus asked and then he set about doing it.  It’s what he would have us do, too.

PRAYER: Keep us from evading the truth by asking the wrong questions, Lord.  Give us not only the desire, but ability to do what is right!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 04/26/11 – The First Question

DayBreaks for 04/26/11 – The First Question

You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:3

It seems that many Christians are in to hypothetical questions.  One of the most popular might be something along this line: If you were told you would be shot if you don’t deny Christ, what would you do?  Would you go ahead and die?  We all know precisely how we would like to answer that question – even what our answer should be.  But the simple fact of the matter is that we just don’t know for sure what we’d do under those circumstances until, and if, we ever face them.  It can get worse, too: what if they weren’t threatening to kill you, but had a gun to the head of your child or spouse?  What then?

I don’t know why, but when we are dealing in hypotheticals, we leap to the worst possible case scenario.  We don’t have to go that far to learn some things about ourselves and what is really in our hearts.  For example, remember the rich young man who came to Jesus claiming he wanted to inherit eternal life, boasting about his having kept the commandments since he was a kid?  Jesus told him to go and sell all he had and give it away to the poor and then come follow him.  And the young man’s face fell and he walked away sad “because he had great possessions.”

Here’s the scenario/hypothetical: What if Jesus asked you or I to do that? Would we?

Again, from Radical, David Platt suggests we’re chasing down the wrong question again.  The FIRST question we need to wrestle with is not whether we’d sell what we own and give it away to follow Jesus, but this one: Is Jesus Lord?

There is a question that should come before all others...is He Lord?

If he is Lord, then no matter what he asks of us, we are duty bound (if we are to be disciples) to do it.  

PRAYER: Reveal our false gods to us, those things in our lives that we bow our knees to rather than to your Lordship, Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 03/11/11 – The Question From the Cross

DayBreaks for 03/11/11 – The Question From the Cross

Mark 15:34 – “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 

"Why have you forsaken me?"

If there is a more heart-rending passage in Scripture, I don’t know what it is.  The very idea of the Son of God, His “beloved Son” being abandoned by the Father is shocking.  The idea of it is revolting.  In my entire life, I don’t believe that I ever felt abandoned by my earthly father – so it is inconceivable to me that God could have abandoned Christ.  Yet the emptiness that Jesus felt is palpable as he screams the question from the cross to the darkening sky.

 

Michael Card noted that this question from Jesus is the only expression from the cross that is recorded in all four of the gospels.  What does that say?  It says that I am not the only one who was moved by Christ’s agonized cry.  It made an impression on all who heard it.  In fact, Jesus’ words mixed two languages, which might be a sign of the extremity of his suffering.

Michael Card goes on to say: “My God, my God, why…?”  It may be the most painful question any human can ask.  Often, at its most visceral level, it is not a request for information so much as a howl of anguish.  As far as we know, it was the only time Jesus ever asked his Father, ‘Why?’

You and I know the answer: Jesus was forsaken at Golgotha because of our sin.  Now, because of the redemption Jesus purchased for us in darkness, we can live forever in God’s light.  Because of the separation he endured for us, we – who have so often turned our back on our Father – have the guarantee that He will never forsake us.”  – Michael Card, A Violent Grace

No doubt at some point in your life you have asked the same question that Jesus did: “Why, God?”  Jesus, knowing the mind of God, already knew the answer.  You and I don’t have the same luxury.  That’s where trust comes into play – that the same God that ultimately answered Jesus’ cry will someday answer my questions and yours.  Not because He is obligated to (although as the One who is responsible for us being here, He has taken on an obligation to us), but because He wants to.

You may be asking the same question now.  I can’t answer the “Why?” question that you are asking God.  Only He can answer the question.  But perhaps you can find some comfort in knowing that Jesus understands the “Why?” that is in your heart and on your lips.

PRAYER: Lord, all the “Why?” questions we face in life are greatly disturbing and we struggle to understand.  Thank you that Jesus wrestled with the same perceptions and sought answers from You.  Help us to seek the answers that trouble us at Your throne, and even if the answers aren’t granted to us, to trust in Your goodness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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