DayBreaks for 12/24/18 – Searching for Hope

Image result for Bethlehem shepherds and sheep

DayBreaks for 12/24/18: Searching for Hope

(NOTE: This was written by a dear friend of mine, Janine Boyer, earlier in December. Used by permission.)

Our trip to Israel had already exceeded my expectations and then I saw them. “Look! Look! Those are real sheep and a real shepherd,” I said to Dave from inside our bus. As we passed the hills of Bethlehem, they were just like I had pictured in my mind, a mixture of grass and rocks, steep for those cute little sheep and windy for a donkey to have to travel. Tomorrow I would get to visit the place where Jesus Christ was born.

But in a matter of a day, the scene changed. There was some unrest in Bethlehem overnight, and it wasn’t safe to visit. I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip and experiencing what it must have felt like for Mary and Joseph over 2,000 years ago.

Things didn’t work out as I had expected; and almost a year later, I can still feel that disappointment. But as I thought about that, I also thought about how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Because of the census being taken, they had to leave behind everything that was familiar to them and start over in a new place. What did it feel like when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, desperately looking for a place to stay, only to be turned away?

I imagine Mary was not only searching for a place to deliver her baby, but also desperately searching for relief from that pain, searching for rest and searching for help. Who of us cannot relate to those feelings in one way or another? Our lives can change in a moment, often times leaving us feeling desperate and disappointed. But if we stop there, we miss the blessings of the unexpected.

Mary and Joseph continued searching for a place to stay. What did they find? A stable. Straw would become the blanket upon which Jesus Christ would be born. Not soft and comfy like the blankets on our beds, but itchy and scratchy for this tiny baby. Maybe that’s not what they were looking for, but that is what they found.

Often times what we are looking for is different than what we find too. Life’s circumstances can change the way we feel. But we can’t stop there. We desperately need to keep searching for God in the midst of all we feel. While Joseph and Mary searched, they never lost hope. As a result, what did they find? They found God turned that stable into a place of glory, a place that was lit up by a star in the sky, a place where people who were desperately searching, would find hope and peace. A place for all of us.

I don’t know what you are feeling this Christmas season. I don’t know your life events. But God does. That tiny little baby, God’s Son, felt everything we feel. “For unto us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for giving us a place to come and find hope and peace. Give us the courage to choose to make room for you no matter how we feel today, whether we be full of joy or full of sorrow. Help us to feel the amazing wonder of Your Son and His birth, His life and even His death. Help us to be like Mary and take the stable that was offered to her and turn it into a place where YOU, King of all Kings, would be born. In Your Hopeful name we pray, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 01/01/15 – Who are YOU Looking For?

DayBreaks for 01/01/15 – Who Are YOU Looking For?

 

John 18:4-7 (NLT) Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. 5  “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I AM he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) 6  As Jesus said “I AM he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! 7  Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

Chaim Potok was an intensely religious Jewish man who explored the dimensions of faith in our lives. From an early age, Potok knew he wanted to be a writer. But his mother wasn’t so sure. When he went away to college she said, “Son, now I know you want to be a writer. But I want you to think about brain surgery. You’ll keep a lot of people from dying. And you’ll make a lot of money.” To which Potok responded, “No, Mama, I want to be a writer.”

But, “No,” is not what Mama wanted to hear. So, every vacation break for four years she would repeat her comments about his becoming a brain surgeon and keeping people from dying and making a lot of money, and always his response was the same. Finally the son had enough, and, when the same mantra began, he cut off his mother with exasperation, and with great passion he told his mother, “Mama, I don’t want to keep people from dying, I want to show them how to live.”

In the gospel of John, there were some folks who were out looking for Jesus (for rather nefarious reasons).  As they are searching, they come upon Jesus, but apparently don’t recognize him – for some reason which has been kept from us.  What we hear next is Jesus asking a question – a strange, penetrating question. But it is the question that bears meaning for each of us as we enter the new year: “Who are you looking for?”

Is your key focus this coming year to look for Jesus, or to look for promotions, larger portfolios of stocks and bonds and cash, a nicer car or home?  The question Jesus asked so long ago should haunt us today.  Will we waste this year looking for things or other humans instead of Jesus?  You may believe you’ve already found Him, and indeed, you may have.  But there is more of Him to discover than you’ve already found.  I hope that we will all look for Him above all else this coming year.  The world certainly needs it!

PRAYER: Jesus, keep asking us who we are seeking so that we can keep our priorities properly aligned as we enter into this new year. 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 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

DayBreaks for 6/25/14 – Frustrated Expectations and Empty Searches

Isaiah 55:2 (NLT) Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.

A preacher recently told a story about when his grandmother died.  Some time after her death, his mother received a notice from the bank that her grandmother had left not just one, but two, safe deposit boxes in their vault and that the contents would now be passed along to the preacher’s mom. 

The family was astounded by this and wondered what might be in the boxes?  The grandmother’s husband had died 20 years prior, and the family speculated that perhaps the grandmother had set aside cash or jewelry or other items such as stocks or bonds to help cover her own living expenses as she aged.  The mystery and excitement grew as time passed and the family was finally able to get to the bank.

After clearly everything legally and with all the paperwork done, the family was escorted into the vault where they first box was opened and much to their surprise it contained nothing but air.  Air is valuable, but it is not what they were hoping for.  Yet, one box still remained.  They moved to that box and opened it fingers crossed (mentally if not physically!) only to find that it, too, contained nothing but air!

Their hopes and dreams had been disappointed.  It is part of the human condition.

As people, we search for meaning and worth and love…often coming up with nothing but air as a result of the pursuit.  We keep thinking that “Surely, this is the one!” or “This is my ticket to wealth!” only to find that it turns out to be nothing but vapor. 

What is the cost?  The emotional toll is very high…and we can spend our entire life looking in the wrong places, opening one box after another after another, never finding anything that satisfies, nothing that was worth the effort.  Yet we persist opening boxes, looking everywhere but the one place we can truly find satisfaction and joy. 

God offers us the very best – He offers us Himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  Isn’t it about time to give Jesus a try?  Isn’t it time to stop running from box to box, place to place, lover to lover and to run to the only Lover who will never abandon you? 

He’s waiting for you!

PRAYER: Jesus, forgive our foolish pursuits! Open our hearts to Your love, to the riches that are hidden only in a relationship with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises 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 deeplyy appreciated!