DayBreaks for 4/11/18 – Preferring the 99

Image result for jesus seeking the lost sheep

DayBreaks for 4/11/18: Preferring the 99

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV) – What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

This is a painful passage for me. Sadly, while I think it should also be a challenging and painful passage for the church, I think in many cases we read it and fly right past it.

This passage gets to the very core of God’s heart. Who is it that owns the sheep in the passage? It is God, certainly. And while he has a sheep-fold full of sheep, he isn’t content with that. He knows there is still one out there that hasn’t come home with him, that is lost and in grave danger.

So what does he do? He goes out looking for it. There is no guarantee that he will be able to bring it home…for the passage says And if he finds it…. Some sheep don’t want to be found, and perhaps even more sadly, some perish before they are found.

Pay attention to the last sentence. He is not willing that ANY of these little ones should be lost. It’s not that he’s content if just a handful are lost…he’s not willing for even a single one to perish.

Which brings me to the painful part. Why does my heart not beat with the same passion for the lost sheep?

I fear that the church as a whole (I know there are many exceptions) prefers the ninety-nine. We prefer the comfort of the sheep-fold and seldom, if ever, venture out. We like to hang with other Christians (at least, I hope we do!) But if we lose sight of the heart of God from this passage, we may have missed God entirely. This is precisely why Jesus came: not to celebrate with the 99 but to “go out”. Does Jesus like it when Christians enjoy each other? Of course. But he will quickly leave us behind to find a single lost one.

When is the last time you brought someone to Christ – not just to church – but to saving knowledge of Christ? We should all have the urgency of Oskar Schindler who when the war was over, was heartbroken that he’d not done more, that he could have saved one more. Where is that passion in us?

Church, let us be challenged. Let us go out with the great Shepherd to find the lost so that not ANY should be lost!  

PRAYER: Jesus, I confess that it is far easier to sit in the pew than to leave the sheep-fold to find a lost lamb. I confess I have done far too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. Change us, give us your passion, fill us with your mission, let us hear your heartbeat clearly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/22/15 – Who’s Voice Is It?

DayBreaks for 9/22/15: Whose Voice Is It?

Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. – John 10:1-5

This is a rather terrifying passage for several reasons. First, there are those who will intentionally put forth great effort to steal the sheep. Satan, of course, does this. I’m not talking about merely taking people from one congregation to another, though that is often referred to among pastors as “sheep stealing.” What Jesus is describing is far more insidious. It is done with malicious intent or there would be no need to sneak over the wall into the sheep enclosure. We can’t forget that there are those who want the church to decline, and there is at least one who wants our souls to die for all eternity.

The scariest part, though, is that it makes me wonder how well I hear Jesus’ voice, and how well other “Christians” hear it today. What do we hear and who is saying it? Our Supreme Court has seemingly taken it upon themselves to be the arbiter of morality and to decide matters relation to life and death and marriage. We must never forget that the voice of the Supreme Court (even the majority of the judges) is not the same as the voice of God. Where God has spoken the Supreme Court has no authority over the Christian. It is one of those situations where we must, as did Peter, say “We must obey God rather than men.”

Everything we read in the mainstream press about trends in our culture, about what is good or bad, needs to be filtered against the voice of the Shepherd – and NO ONE else’s voice (including mine!)

Even though the majority of the US populace may be in favor of something, God’s Kingdom is not a democracy where right or wrong are determined by polls. We might do well to remind ourselves that when we look at the stories of God’s people in Scripture, more often than not, the majority of His people were always in the wrong and while there were a few righteous prophets who railed against the popular thinking for one reason and one reason only: they’d heard the Shepherd’s voice and understood that their highest calling was to do as He commanded.

It broke their hearts to see the condition of their land. It should break ours, too. But we should not despair. God was able to restore His people many, many times…and He can restore our nation, too…but not if the prophets amongst us stop listening to the voice of the Shepherd and stop calling us to repentance.

PRAYER: Jesus, we want to hear your voice when it whispers peace to us, but seldom do we want to hear it when what you say doesn’t please us or tickle our ears. Change us to welcome ALL your words! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 11/03/14 – The Plea of a Broken Hearted King

DayBreaks for 11/03/14 – The Plea of A Broken-Hearted King

2 Samuel 24:15-17 (NLT) So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. But as the angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel, he said to the LORD, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family.”

David was at the end of his reign and life when he rashly counted the children of Israel.  While we don’t know his motive for doing so, one could assume that it was because he was proud of the size of his army and it caused him to be confident in the strength and numbers of his soldiers, not in the favor of God.

God had explicitly said that the kings should not number the people.  God was not pleased with David and gave him the choice through the prophet Gad, as to the punishment that would be meted out: three years’ famine, three months of being pursued by enemies or three days of plague.  David chose to trust in the mercy of the Lord rather than the other options so he chose the three days of plague.

The price of David’s sin was great: seventy thousand died in the plague.  David was shattered, and makes the plea: I am the one who has sinned and done wrong!  But these people are as innocent as sheep – what have they done?  Let your anger fall against me and my family.  These are the words of a broken heart, a man deeply repentant.  But here’s the thing that is easy to miss: David sees the people of Israel as innocent sheep…and he begs for their shepherd (himself, the king) to be the one who is stricken in their place.

David, of course, had no way of knowing how prophetic his words would be.  In Matthew 26:31, Jesus applied this to himself, telling his followers that on that very night the Shepherd (Jesus) would be stricken rather than the sheep (the people) being slaughtered.

Jesus asked God to let him be smitten rather than Him striking you and I.  He was willing to accept the punishment himself rather than the “sheep” having to bear it.

I wonder if I would have had the faith and courage of David if I had been in his place.

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for being willing to be stricken so the “sheep” could be spared. 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 10/07/14 – Shrek, the Sheep

DayBreaks for 10/07/14 – Shrek, the Sheep

A friend of mine posted this story on Facebook Monday morning and I thought it was an excellent illustration and lesson (unfortunately, I didn’t find the name of the author):

“This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

“This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

“When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

“I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

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. -Matthew 11:28-30

PRAYER: Thank you for the rest and relief you give us as we struggle here in this world!  Give us the good sense to stay close to our Shepherd!  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 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!