DayBreaks for 7/23/19 – In Green Pastures

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DayBreaks for 07/23/19: In Green Pastures

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

Psalm 23:2 – He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Such a simple statement.  So hard to do.  And there is much behind this simple statement from the quill of King David, who knew exactly what he was saying because of his own shepherding experiences.

In the area where David lived and tended sheep, green pastures don’t just appear normally or naturally.  It is a hot, dry, desert area.  The only way that green pastures exist in such a place is because the shepherd has labored to create a green pasture.  The shepherd would tear out the rocks that might harm the sheep, he would clear away the brush and burn it.  He would dig deep into the earth to create a well and would use the water to irrigate the plot of ground where he planted grass seed.  Finally, when a pasture had been created, he would bring the sheep there to find rest. 

Here’s what David could have said, “He makes me to lie down in His finished work.”  In Christ, that takes on an entirely new meaning.  He is the Great Shepherd who leads all of God’s flock into His finished work.  It is a special place where we find rest from our sin, guilt, shame, fear.  It is made possible only by His completed work on the cross.

Are you finding your rest in the finished work of the Shepherd, or are you still struggling to do the work yourself?

PRAYER: We can never repay You, our Shepherd, for all that You have done for us!  May we rest completely in what Jesus has accomplished and provided for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 7/22/19 – He Knows Us Only Too Well

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DayBreaks for 07/22/19: He Knows Us Only Too Well

From the DayBreaks archives, July 2009:

Does God know our hearts and tendencies, or what!?!?!  This past Sunday I spoke on the topic of weariness…we are bone tired, mentally worn out, emotionally drained and spiritually weary.  All because we have neglected to trust Him and have tried to take things into our own hands in order to provide for our needs and future. 

While God only needed 5 words in the 10 Commandments to condemn murder and 5 more to condemn adultery, He needed only 4 words to condemn stealing, but his finger must have worn out when it came to the command (not suggestion!) to rest.  Here’s what God had to say on that subject: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV)

Here is the testimony to how well God knows our hearts.  He could have stopped after the first 8 words above: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”  But He knew if He stopped there, we’d begin to rationalize: “OK, I won’t work, I’ll stop and honor God that way.  But I’ll have my son do the work.”  God says, “No, not your son, either.”  “My daughter then.”  “No, not your daughter.”  “Well, I’ll hire someone to run the store or shop in our absence.”  God says, “No, no servants will work that day.”  And just in case the debate were to continue, we aren’t to make animals work, nor strangers and aliens who are under our control or in our land. 

Yet we do.  Why?  Because we are afraid that if we don’t work, if we aren’t making sales calls, if we aren’t studying for the upcoming exam – that our world will crash down around us in failure.  And that’s where the last verse comes into play: God reminds us that He worked for six days making all that is, and that He then paused to “rest”…and you know what? When He did, the universe didn’t stop running…and if the universe didn’t stop when God took a rest, how dare we think that we’re more important than He is and that the world we live in will collapse if we rest!  This is the height of presumption!

Get some rest.  If you’re too tired to do God’s work, or if you have no time left to give to the Lord’s kingdom, you are simply too tired, period.

PRAYER: Forgive us for thinking that we and our actions are indispensable.  Forgive us for thinking we can’t trust You when you have promised to meet ALL our needs!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/17/18 – Only One Qualification

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DayBreaks for 5/17/19: Only One Qualification

I have been working pretty much full time for 46 years. While I think I’ve had a tremendous life, I am tired. Many of my friends are retired and I have strong hopes of joining them one of these days, but not yet.

My guess is that you’re tired, too. Physically we scurry around like squirrels, hoping to find that one more bit of something to fulfill our seemingly insatiable wants and needs. We work hard. We play hard. And we’re tired as a result.

Physical tiredness is one thing – and it seems to be an inevitable part of getting older as I can attest. But the worst tiredness is brought about by worry, fear and relationships. We worry about the stock market and our portfolios. We worry if we’ll have war with Iran. We worry about the intentions of North Korea. We worry about the politics in our own country and what the future may hold. We worry about our health. We worry about our kids and grandkids and other loved ones. We get frustrated by our relationships many times and wonder if we can ever be happy. The newspapers and nightly news only feed this tiredness.

Perhaps that’s why this promise of Jesus is so meaningful: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matt. 11:28-29 (ESV)

It is soul tiredness that wears on us. Jesus doesn’t say that we can find rest if we bring a large enough portfolio to him first. There is only one qualification: that we are weary and in our weariness we come to him.

How does he alleviate our weariness? By telling us we can trust his promises, that God knows our needs and will meet them. By telling us we don’t have to worry about the events of the world or the future because it is all going to work out according to his plan – his good and perfect plan. By telling us that we are his children and there’s a dwelling place that the Carpenter himself has made for us just waiting around the next bend. 

PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for this great invitation! Give us the wisdom to understand that rest won’t come to us until we come to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/17/19 – Easter and Fatigue

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DayBreaks for 4/17/19: Easter and Fatigue

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Crash and burn.  That’s what most of us do each night.  We crash, memories and thoughts burning about the calamities of the day.  But we’re so tired that we can’t maintain the frantic mental pace for long…and we mercifully find sleep’s embrace – but only for a short time.  Before you know it, it’s morning and the cycle starts all over again. 

What is it that haunts us?  We spend our numbered days running from meeting to meeting, airport to airport, hither, thither and yon doing our jobs or errands.  Often it’s at a job that we hate.  But deep down, I think Max Lucado was right, when he suggested that what really haunts us is the question: “Is it worth it?  When I get what I want, will it be worth the price I paid?”  Good question.  Perhaps the answer has more to do with whether what we want is worthy of so much wanting.

In Six Hours One Friday, Max told a story about a San Antonio lawyer: “Successful, well-paid,  new wife, remodeled house.  But apparently it wasn’t enough.  One day, he came home, took a gun out of his vault, climbed into a sleeping bag, and took his life.  His note to his bride read, ‘It’s not that I don’t love you.  It’s just that I’m tired and I want to rest.’”  Tiredness.  Fatigued to the extreme.  If that doesn’t describe most people I know, I don’t know what does.

It’s that mountain of weariness that makes the Words of Christ so compelling and inviting: Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  So, what was there about Jesus that makes us think we can believe he can do anything about our fatigue?  After all, he is a penniless rabbi – he can’t provide an economic stimulus (i.e, “bailout”) to the nation.  He doesn’t have the ear of the President or the NATO leaders.  He holds no diploma and has never written any best-selling self-help books on how to prioritize and get control of your life.  But that doesn’t matter – he looks weary people straight in the face and says, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The tiredest thing about us isn’t our bodies, as tired as they may be.  It’s our souls that are threadbare and worn.  It was the weariness of the attorney’s soul that led him to pull that trigger – not just bodily tiredness. 

Those who accepted the invitation to “Come unto me” found that when they brought him their weary souls they found something wonderful in return. They found a Lord who loved them.  A Lord who knew all about their everyday challenges and struggles.  A Lord who understood their frustrations with wanting but not finding satisfaction in the getting.  A Lord that they could call Savior, because he did for their souls what no night’s sleep could ever accomplish. 

Yes, we are tired when we go to bed, and often we are reluctant to rise in the morning.  If we take Jesus’ invitation and come to him for rest for our souls, each day and morning is laden with possibilities of a day spent in the presence of the Living God, an adventure of the highest order.  Do you need refreshing?  Do you need rest?  Maybe you’re so tired because you have spent so much energy trying to run and live your own life that you forgot that Jesus wants to live His life through you.  Let him.  You’ll be eager to rise!

Prayer: We are weary and tired, Lord, and we come to You for rest.  Let us lay down the futility of trying to find meaning and purpose in getting and having.  Pour Your Spirit of renewal and power into our lives that we will find the rest that can only be found in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 4/01/19 – He Speaks to All

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DayBreaks for 4/01/19: He Speaks to All

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Galen’s Thoughts: Everywhere I look I see weary people. People who are weary of the commute, the rat race,  the pressures of raising kids who don’t seem to care or love in return, of politics, of religion, of sickness. We are a weary race! And burdened? You bet! How we long for a respite! We long for the day we can (hopefully) retire and lay some of our burdens aside.

There is one who extends the rest to us. Strangely enough, at the same time he offers rest, he offers a yoke. The yoke, however, is not a crushing load. The yoke is to learn from him, to learn to be gentle in heart as he was gentle in heart, to be humble as he was humble. To learn total and absolute trust and dependence upon God. Only – I repeat – only, when we have done that, when we have taken his yoke, will we find peace for our souls. Only through learning from Him can we learn what life is meant to be like and how to live it.

Sometimes, however, we may be tempted to think that Jesus’ words weren’t for us, that they are for those who are starving, who are at the point of a mental or physical breakdown, who literally can’t face one more day. Not so. Listen to these words of wisdom and comfort from Elton Trueblood in The Book of Jesus: “It is not easy to be a human being. Human life carries with it marvelous possibilities of joy, but there are, at the same time, untold ways in which it can go wrong. Even after we have learned all that we can of the literature of tragedy, we have but an imperfect sense of the sorrow and frustrations which occur in countless lives…

“The universality of human sorrow and need is one of the reasons for the great attractiveness of the words of Jesus which appear at the end of the eleventh chapter of Matthew. When Jesus says, ‘Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden.’ He is really speaking to all.”

Jesus’ invitation is to you. It’s for today, right now. What will you say? How you answer will make the difference between finding rest for your soul or continuing to live a life that is heavily burdened. He wants you to be at peace and know the rest that only He can give to you.

Prayer: During this stressful and tiring time, Lord, may we shoulder Your yoke and find the burden that is easy!  Let us lay down the burdens we put on ourselves for performance and achievement that we can receive the rest You want to give to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 2/19/18 – The Worst Hallucination

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DayBreaks for 2/19/18: The Worst Hallucination

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

We tend to think of hallucinations as the result of mind-altering chemicals – either when naturally occurring chemicals in the brain are out of balance, or when controlled substances are put into the body.  Some hallucinations are terrifying – people imagine they are being hunted down by some beast or a person intent on killing them.  Others are tamer, and some are hallucinations of beauty.  Regardless of the subject matter, the truth about hallucinations is that they’re, well, hallucinations.  They are not real.  And while the hallucination itself can’t harm us, we may do something in response to the hallucination that can be hurtful…or even deadly.

As bad as some hallucinations may be, the worst ones are probably spiritual in nature.  Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God, suggests that the worst hallucination that humans can have is the conviction that we are God.  No, most of us would never dare to say such a thing out loud, or even to think it consciously.  But, his point is that our actions speak louder than words when it comes to this topic.  It is our busyness that reveals who we think is in charge of our lives and who our present and future depends upon. 

Why is it busyness that reveals this to us?  Because it shows us that our actions say that we believe our destiny and security and fate is all dependent upon us and what we do – that it’s in our own hands to make our break our future.  It is as if we have reached the conclusion that “If I don’t take care of myself, no one will,” and so we are always pushing, worrying, stressing out over the myriad things that call our name and demand our attention.  That’s why rest, Sabbath and sleep are so important.  They remind us that things do go on without us. 

Spiritual hallucinations are like all other hallucinations in some ways: they aren’t real, they can harm us and in fact, can be deadly.

PRAYER: Keep us, we pray, from hallucinations about our own greatness and importance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/16/18 – The Jewish Sabbath Secret

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DayBreaks for 2/16/18: The Jewish Sabbath Secret

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Luke 23:50-54 (NIV) – Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t know at least something about the Jewish Sabbath.  Anyone who knows the Ten Commandments is familiar with the command to set one day aside to rest and be recreated.  Yet because of cultural differences between the ancient Jews and modern day people, we miss some key elements that we should not miss.

The passage above from Luke 23 tells us the reason that Jesus was taken down from the cross in such a rush – and in John, it also tells us that the approaching Sabbath was the reason the legs of the thieves were broken and Christ’s side was pierced.  The Jews didn’t want such things happening on the Sabbath – it would have been flat wrong to their way of thinking and belief. 

Bear in mind the time of day when Jesus died…it was in the late afternoon, shortly before 6 p.m.  Sabbath would begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. because the ancient Jews counted time from sundown onward.  Today, we use the convention that a new day starts just after midnight, but the Jews felt it started the evening before.  In reality, even though our clock tells us a new day starts at 12:01 a.m., for all intents and purposes, most of us think of the new day starting when the sun comes up.

Why is that important?  And what does it have to do with the meaning and purpose of Sabbath itself?  A lot, I think, and it has spiritual ramifications: we start the day out with getting ready to go to work, to begin our labors.  The Jews, on the other hand, started their day out with a time of feasting and giving thanks, and then with sleep.  What difference does that make?  I think it says a lot about who is in charge of our lives and our times.  The Jews began their day with a meal and thanksgiving to God, and then instead of working, they laid down to sleep through the night.  On the other hand, we start it out with a quick breakfast (often hurried without time for leisurely giving of thanks) and running off to work to control our destinies.

By worship and then sleeping, the Jews were acknowledging that this new day was from God, and that they could rest in that knowledge.  Sleep is a very real kind of self-relinquishment or self-abandonment.  When we’re sleeping, we’re helpless.  Someone could steal in and murder us or rob us and we’d be oblivious to it.  When we are sleeping, we relinquish all attempts at making money, controlling life, controlling others, being successful.  When we sleep, we are acknowledging our weakness – that we MUST rest.  But the God who watched over Israel (and over us) never sleeps nor slumbers.  And by sleeping first in the day, the Jews showed their trust in God for all that each day would bring.

I know that we aren’t going to be able to change the way the world views time these days, but in our hearts, maybe we’d be wise to recognize our laying down to sleep as the start of a new day – reminding ourselves that we can rest in, and because, of God who never takes His eyes off of us.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for new days and new beginnings, and for inviting us first and foremost to rest in you, knowing you are ever vigilant!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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