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!

 

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DayBreaks for 9/17/14 – Wanting for Nothing

DayBreaks for 9/17/14 – Wanting for Nothing

Ps. 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

This is perhaps the best known verse in all Scripture.  Even little children now it by heart.  If they have gone to church, or been read Bible stories at all, they’ve seen pictures of Jesus carrying a lamb, or Jesus surrounded by children and lambs.  They may not know what a shepherd is, but they love the imagery and get the sense that it is something good, something safe…and that Jesus is a welcoming character, not a forbidding one.

David certainly understood what a shepherd was and what the job entailed.  He must have been picturing himself as a sheep when he wrote this passage.

What did he mean by “I shall not want”?  After all, if you read the Psalms, there were many things that David wanted: he wanted peace, he wanted his pursuers to be destroyed, he wanted a clean heart…read them for yourselves.

I don’t think that he was so much stating something about himself, though, when he wrote this.  I think it is more a statement of his faith and trust in the shepherd.  He wasn’t claiming that he didn’t want things, but that he knew the Shepherd would give him what he needed – and that was good enough for him.  It is a statement that he is trusting the Lord, his Shepherd, for the future.

I confess that I often struggle to trust the future to Him.  I try to figure out what I will do to make so-and-so happen, or what I’ll do “if” happens.  David seems to be content, at least as he wrote this verse, to let all that go and let his Shepherd worry about it.

Wise decision.

PRAYER: Father, let us not worry about what You will give us, but trust in Your goodness to give us all we need!  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 01/01/14 – Let There Be No Doubt

DayBreaks for 01/01/14 – Let There Be No Doubt

One of the striking features of John’s gospel is how John pictures the life and ministry of Jesus. The other gospels tell us stories about Jesus so we, like the disciples, we are left to ask what seems the obvious questions, “Who is this, that wind and sea obey him? Who is this who feeds the multitude on a couple of loaves and a few fish?” But in John, there’s no doubt who Jesus is  because both John and Jesus tell us who He is! Usually Jesus did so with a statement that starts with “I am.” Put him in a situation and he will clarify who he is and what he has come to do.

If you put him in a desert surrounded by people who are chronically unsatisfied, and Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

If you put him in the midst of confused people who ask, “Who are you, Jesus? What makes you different from all the other gurus, rabbis, and religious leaders?” Jesus replies, “I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (10:7, 9).

If you find him at a graveside surrounded by grief-stricken people, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (11:25).

On the other hand, if you put him in the middle of people who feel disconnected by life’s difficulties, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5).

You see, in the Gospel of John, in situation after situation, Jesus defines himself and says, “This is who I am….” In the eighth chapter, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12). His words echo the opening words of the Fourth Gospel, where the writer defines the person and work of Jesus in terms of light. “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (1:3-4, 9).

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” That, my friends, is wonderful news – just the kind of news that we would hope to hear with Christmas in the rear view mirror and a New Year staring us in the face.  Let Him be the Light of your world in 2014!

Happy New Year, everyone!  “Walk in the light even as He is in the light…”

PRAYER: Thank you for not leaving us in the dark about Who You Are and thank You for the assurance that You enter this new year with us and that nothing it holds is hidden from Your sight or beyond Your control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you are led to support 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 either a one time or recurring 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!

DayBreaks for 07/31/12 – God the Shepherd

DayBreaks for 07/3112 – God the Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd…” (Ps. 23:1a)

I have often thought about the metaphors that scripture uses to describe God.  There are many!  God is simply too large to be contained in one single metaphor or analogy.  In Traveling Light, Max Lucado takes a look at the 23rd Psalm and he (as usual) had some interesting insights.

When I have thought about the concept of the shepherd, my mind (as is humanly selfish) is often drawn to what that analogy means about ME.  I spent my first 8 years or so on a farm with sheep and other animals, and I can tell you that being described as a sheep is not flattering.  Sheep are stubborn.  Sheep are stupid.  Sheep are fearful.  Sheep are prone to wander off.  Sheep, to put it delicately…stink.  And their wool doesn’t lend itself to cleanliness.  Sheep aren’t much good for anything except eating, shearing, being eaten or sleeping.  Sheep need someone to lead them.  Not a bad description of us as humans, right?

But Max turned the concept around and instead of focusing on what the sheep metaphor means about us he probed on what it means about the Shepherd.  Listen to his thoughts about this analogy: “Couldn’t David have thought of a better metaphor?  Surely he could have.  After all, he outran Saul and outgunned Goliath.  Why didn’t he choose something other than sheep?

“How about: ‘The Lord is my commander-in-chief, and I am his warrior.’  There.  We like that better.  A warrior gets a uniform and a weapon, maybe even a medal.

“Or, ‘The Lord is my inspiration, and I am his singer.’  We are in God’s choir; what a flattering assignment.

“Or, ‘The Lord is my king, and I am his ambassador.’  Who wouldn’t like to be a spokesman for God?

“Everyone stops when the ambassador speaks.  Everyone listens when God’s minstrel sings.  Everyone applauds when God’s warrior passes.

“But who notices when God’s sheep show up?  Who notices when the sheep sing or speak or act?  Only one person notices.   The Shepherd.  And that is precisely David’s point.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to make too much of scripture focus on ME (the sheep) when I should be focusing on what it is saying about GOD (the Shepherd).  God, the Shepherd, is the one who notices.  No one else does.  But He is enough!!!

PRAYER: Let us be content to be Your sheep and to keep the focus on You, our Shepherd.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks 2/25/11 – The Intelligence of Sheep

DayBreaks 02/25/11 – The Intelligence of Sheep

Isaiah said it: All we like sheep have gone astray. – Isa. 53:6a  We are all “like sheep.”  That’s not a compliment in case you are wondering.

A professor of animal husbandry, Warren Gill, has been asked if sheep are dumb.  His answer was very interesting: “It depends on how you define intelligence.  A sheep has precisely the correct amount of intelligence it needs to function as a sheep.”

At first glance, that seems rather obvious – a statement that doesn’t even need to be made.  There is no sheep in this world that can function as an astronaut, a lawyer, or doctor.  Sheep just aren’t meant to do those things.  We have enough intelligence, as humans, to act like the “sheep” of His pasture are expected to act.  You have precisely the right amount of intelligence you need to function as you.

To continue with the sheep analogy, Jesus said, I know my sheep, and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. Do you see how this relates to the intelligence a sheep has?  We have enough intelligence to recognize and know the Good Shepherd and to recognize His voice.  We don’t have enough intelligence to lead the sheep.  We don’t have enough intelligence to be the shepherd.  But we do have enough to recognize Him.

Sheep, by nature, are not leaders.  Sheep are followers.  We will follow someone, something.  If there is no shepherd around, sheep will follow the sheep that is in front of them…and they will follow them right over the edge of a cliff.  Who are you following?  Are you hearing the voice of other sheep, or the voice of the Shepherd who longs to lead you into green pastures where you will be safe, cared for and loved.

PRAYER: Free us from our tendency to close our ears to the voice of the shepherd, and to follow would-be shepherds who would lead us to disaster and death.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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