DayBreaks for 4/15/17 – Silence

DayBreaks for 4/15/17: Silence

From the Holy Week devotional guide from our church:

“The silence is excruciating. He’s dead. That’s all the disciples knew. They couldn’t try to distract themselves with busyness because it was the Sabbath. They just had to sit in it – the pain of loss weighing down on them with no escape. We had hoped He would be the One to redeem Israel, some of his followers said after he died (Lk. 24:21). We had hoped. Losing a loved one is devastating (and none of them had ever experienced love the way Jesus had loved them) but they not only lost him, they lost hope. Hope that they would be redeemed by him, hope that he was who they thought he was. But now he was dead. The apostles had staked their whole lives on him being the one to redeem, but then in his greatest act of love, they ran away from him, piling guilt on top of their pain of loss. Afraid and ashamed. Now they’re trapped in the painful silence of Saturday.

“But Saturday isn’t the whole story. We know that. We know that there is incredible hope: real, true, eternal redemption nearly bursting through seams of that dark, silent Saturday. On Sunday that hope explodes onto the scene of history as a reality to experience with joy and wonder in the face of the Risen Savior. On Saturday that hope is a reality in the form of a promise to be trusted in, amid the silence, the doubt and the pain. A promise from the lips of Jesus: I will rise again on the third day. A promise from the beginning: that the serpent’s head will be crushed (Genesis 3:15), sin will be conquered, that death will be put to death and that redemption will be accomplished by the One who came to redeem – not just Israel – but all who would believe in Him.

“That promise should have given great hope to Jesus’ followers in the painful silence of Saturday. And it should give hope to us when we feel like we’re living hrough that same kind of painful silence day after day. One this side of history, we have more than a promise. He has Risen and conquered sin and death and given us His Presence. But all things are not yet the way they’re supposed to be. There is still a promise to be fulfilled. Jesus is coming again to deal the final deathblow to death, to rid the world of sine and to wipe away the last tears of grief (Rev. 21:19-20).

“Maybe you find yourself overwhelmed with the silence of a question that has gone unanswered; a loved one who stands at a distance, resistant and angry; a realization that your shame is ever before you. There is hope. Jesus has overcome all our Saturdays. You don’t have to live in the dark, silent shadow of Saturday. You can live in the amazing hope of Sunday.” – Ryan Brown, discipleship director, Perimeter church

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for providing all we need. Thank you for not abandoning us in our times of painful silence. Facing days of undertainty knowing that You are with us, calms our anxieties and our fears. We look with hope to Your coming when You will make all things right. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/29/16 – The Language of God

DayBreaks for 3/29/16 – The Language of God

From the DayBreaks archives:

(By Doug Dalrymple) – In the RSV translation of this psalm, we hear the same phrase repeated in v1 and v5: For God alone my soul waits in silence  Later, in v8, we’re told, “…pour out your heart before Him.”

We’re tempted to imagine that these two are mutually exclusive: “waiting in silence” and “pouring out our hearts.”  But in our life before God, I think there is a sense in which each of these is necessary for the other to be effective.  Without a spirit of silence before God it is difficult to pour out our hearts to Him; and we can only truly pour out the contents of our hearts to Him if we nurture a spirit of silence.

Someone once said, “The language of God is silence. Everything else is a bad translation.”  For us, silence is one of the most difficult things in the world.  On the one hand, we desire silence, stillness, rest.  But at the same time we can’t stand it and always feel as though we need to fill up the silence with something, almost any kind of noise, whether in our thoughts or through constant speaking or through some outward means of distraction like television or reading.  Even when we force ourselves to sit still in a quiet room and shut our mouths, our minds fight against real silence.  I know mine does.

But in the context of our life in Christ, silence is about more than simply being quiet.  It is about real prayer, about listening, about expectation, about being fully present, in communion with the God who in His grace calls us into communion with Himself.  I think of psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.”  I think of the verse from psalm 131: “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast.”  I think of the example of Mary the sister of Lazarus who “chose the good portion” and sat in silence at Christ’s feet while Martha served distractedly.  I think of the image of St. John with his head on Christ’s breast at the last supper, listening to the all-encompassing heartbeat of the incarnate God.

When we wait in silence on God, not only do we open ourselves to hear God, but our heart can begin to pour itself out to Him without need of words.  Words, in fact, often get in the way.  There is a place for words in prayer, of course.  But too often we concern ourselves overly much with finding the right words for prayer and fitting our heart’s contents into prefabricated verbal boxes.  Too often we lie to ourselves in our words, in what we say and think of ourselves, of others, and of God.  But practicing silence before God fosters humility of heart, and a humbled heart speaks for itself.  Beyond words, in silence, as St. Paul writes, the Holy Spirit prays for us on our behalf.

Habakkuk 2:20 (NIV) – But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Father, teach us to speak and understand Your language.  Help us to come to You with hearts prepared to listen and learn.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/19/15: Learning to Hear the Voice

DayBreaks for 6/19/15: Learning to Hear the Voice

There is a positive message to be learned from these words of Jesus. The lesson is that we must keep ourselves alert to the way God is working in the world. Remember that those who were seeking to discredit Jesus were religious people. Their problem was that they just didn’t expect God to be acting as Jesus said he was acting, so they missed the movement of God in their midst, and in fact, they called it evil. Today God may be speaking to us in causes that are unpopular, or in political events that cause us to feel threatened and insecure. The cries for justice and fairness in the world may come from quarters that we are not accustomed to listen to. We need to exercise diligence so that we don’t miss the voice of God today just because it happens to be spoken by unfamiliar lips.

A man once sat in on a class with his wife who taking in music appreciation. The instructor was asking the class members to listen for the recurring theme as it was passed from one instrument to another and was modified. The man quickly lost it, but others in the class, who had benefited from their training, were able to keep track of the theme and even state which instrument was playing it.

It is a law of life that we hear what we have trained ourselves to hear. What we must do is to train ourselves to listen for the voice of God in areas where we have not expected to hear it. We hear that voice only by attentive listening: by asking ourselves whether there is a valid message in those things which make us uncomfortable.

Jesus spoke of an unforgivable sin, not because any act is unforgivable, but to warn us that our own hardness of heart can close the channels through which God’s forgiveness flows and, as a consequence, leave us feeling alienated. Let us, therefore, affirm the good that is in others, so that our own hearts become generous and accepting of others, even as God is generous and accepting of us.


PRAYER: It is hard for us to hear Your voice, God, when we surround ourselves with too much cacaphony! Teach us to hear and recognize Your voice of guidance and comfort. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 12/11/14 – A Time for Listening

DayBreaks for 12/11/14 – A Time for Listening

Barbara Brown Taylor tells about the day the great poet, W. H. Auden, read some of his works at Princeton . The hall was packed with hundreds of students and faculty. They had come to hear “the great one.” But when Auden (then an old man) began to read, his voice was so soft that even the microphone couldn’t pick him up. So people began whispering to their neighbor: “What did he say?” And those who thought they had heard a part of what he’d said, whispered back the part they’d heard – or what they remembered from a prior reading of Auden, triggered (in that moment) by what they thought they’d heard. While others, not quite hearing – and not quite knowing – guessed at what he was saying. And pretty soon, the whispers drowned out the poet.

Isn’t that sad? They were at least partly responsible for their own frustration. On reflection, though, doesn’t that sound a bit like what happens in many churches today?  Why is it that there be so much interest in the word of God, yet so little clarity about the word of God and what it teaches? Perhaps, like those students and faculty at Princeton, we are better at whispering than at listening and in all our own noise-making, we have drowned out what God wants us to hear.

There have been many times in my life that I wish God would scream. Or shout. At least raise his voice. Getting in my face, as it were. As to why God doesn’t, I have no answer. I wish I did. I don’t know why He speaks so softly…unless, of course, His voice would kill us if we even heard Him in a normal voice (which is probably true). Perhaps it is just a measure of His tenderness toward us.

What I do know is what we know about the Incarnation and the birth of the Christ Child. God came to the world (with the barest hint of a whisper) in the form of a child. A speechless child.

How is your hearing?

Proverbs 20:12 (NLT) – Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD.

PRAYER: God, I’m grateful that You don’t yell at me, though there are times I wish I could hear You better. Open my ears to hear You! 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 8/05/14 – Allowing Your Soul to Grow Up

DayBreaks for 8/05/14 – Allowing Your Soul to Grow Up

Galen is traveling through 8/5/14…new DayBreaks will resume after he returns. 

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/03/2004:

We are a go-fast generation.  Nothing is ever fast enough.  It wasn’t that long ago that we relied on “snail mail” (see how we’ve even attached the connotation of slowness to the postal service – which is now faster than ever) instead of email.  But even with email, haven’t you been frustrated when you know someone sent you a note and you are WAITING for it to come through?  It isn’t fast enough!!!!  We want our food fast.  We want our shopping experience to be fast.  Our retirement or vacation can’t come fast enough.  We rush, rush, rush and get behinder and behinder and behinder!  We’re so tired from rushing everywhere in an effort to just try to stay even with everything that demands our attention that we are too tired to get up in time and so we have to rush to make up for that extra wink of sleep each morning.  So begins another day on life’s treadmill.

We don’t like to wait.  Whether it is for a meal or for character change in ourselves or others.  Sue Monk Kidd (who describes herself as a “quickaholic”), spoke with a monk about her penchant to always be doing something, to never be waiting.  Here’s what the wise monk told her: “When you are waiting you are not doing nothing.  You’re doing something.  You’re allowing your soul to grow up.  If you can’t be still and wait, you can’t become what God created you to be.

There is perhaps nothing as trying to our patience as waiting upon God.  Sometimes it seems that we think we have to defend God’s honor.  Psalm 46:10 (NIV) seems to put an end to that concept: Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  Rather than thinking that we have to defend God, He reminds us that our job is to be still and rest in that one fact: He WILL be exalted – with our without us.  He doesn’t need our puny muscles to bring glory to Himself.  He can just create more stars that sing His glory.  He will be exalted in the earth!

At other times, I think we may have trouble waiting because we’re afraid we’ll miss out on something – that the BBQ at the wedding feast will run out before we get to the table, or that if we don’t get what we want NOW, perhaps someone else will snatch it out from under our noses.  Psalm 37:7 (NLT) seems to me to lay waste to this last concern: Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.  Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.  We don’t need to be afraid of the evil that people may plan, or purpose, towards us.  It isn’t up to us to squelch their evil schemes.  David says we should be still in God’s Presence and wait for HIM to act.  For us to act is futile and useless.  For God to act is Divine!

Are you too busy?  Can’t wait another minute?  Let your soul grow up as you wait on Him.

Copyright by 2014 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: God, help us to be patience in our growing and our listening!  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 4/19/14 – Sounds of Silence

DayBreaks for 4/19/14 – The Sound of Silence

This is the forgotten day of the Easter story.  It is easy to skip from Friday to Sunday.  But this day was as real as those two days and perhaps it was the darkest of them all.

Inside the tomb there is no light – it has been blocked by the massive stone at the entrance.  It is silent.  There is no sound.  There is no movement of the air.  There is only a dead body lying still, growing ever colder and more stiff with each passing hour.  It is the body of the man called Jesus. 

The body is wrapped, but due to the lateness of the hour, the final actions were not able to be completed before the Sabbath.  Even in death it seems that time had run out. 

During the long day, the disciples must have hidden themselves from prying eyes, stunned into silence themselves by the events of the previous 24 hours.  Slowly, surely, the reality set in: Jesus, the One they had thought could be the Messiah, the one that had called them from their fishing boats and tax collection booths, was encased in a stone tomb, wrapped in darkness and silence.

How could life go on?  What were they to do now? 

As the sun sank in the sky and darkness grew deeper on this night, it was not just the body of Jesus that was a mess…the disciples were a mess, too, as they had to wrestle with their own cowardice and betrayal.  They needed time to come to grips with all that had happened.

And all the while on this day, inside the tomb it was like every other tomb in ancient Jerusalem: dead, black, silent, filled with the scent of decaying flesh.  A God-forsaken place bereft of hope.

And the world waited….for nothing.

PRAYER: Jesus, it should not have happened to you!  It should have happened to me instead! 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 raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help 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 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 11/14/13 – The Sounds of Silence

DayBreaks for 11/14/13 – The Sounds of Silence

From the DayBreaks archive dated 11/21/2003:

If you are like me, growing up in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, you lived through a period of musical giants.  The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Monkees.  Oh, yes, and let us not forget Simon and Garfunkel.  There were few who burned as brightly on the popular music scene as those two.

On 11/6/2003, I had the wonderful experience of going to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Old Friends” concert in Oakland, California.  I felt like I was seeing and listening to old friends again – even though I’d never seen them in person before.  Their words and music were as familiar as a conversation with an old friend…and as comfortable.  As I sat and listened to them play and sing one monster song after another, I found myself being transported back to the feelings I had as a young man when I heard those songs for the first few times.  I felt young again.  I felt full of hope and excitement and enthusiasm about life – the way we probably all did when we were young and naïve.  Strange how time changes us…

The words of some of the old songs struck me: “Hello, darkness my old friend, I’ve come to speak with you again…”, “…and the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they’d made, and the sign flashed out its warning, in the words that it was forming, and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains, within the sounds of silence.”  Silence can be a symptom of peace…or a sign of despair.  I don’t think it was peace that Simon and Garfunkel were singing about when they wrote that song.  This is a song about empty hollowness.  Perhaps that is why it spoke so powerfully to the culture of that period in our history.

Equally powerful was “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.  I hadn’t ever really thought about how so much of that song could be descriptive of the way Christ deals with us – the way he shadows us through our lives and helps us when we need it.  “When you’re weary, feelin’ small, when tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all…”.  And when friends can’t be found, the singer of the song promises us that he’ll be right there, like a bridge over troubled water to ease our passage.  Scripture reminds us that God Himself will wipe every tear from our eye.  What tremendous parallels to Christianity!  Though all our friends may abandon us, Christ won’t.  When we reach the troubled waters of life (and they come frequently), we need a bridge to carry us over, to bear us up and put us safely on the other side.

Jesus, my friend, is that bridge.  He is the only one who can bridge the chasm that our sin has created and which separates us from God.  Again, I don’t believe that Simon and Garfunkel had any intention of carrying the message of the gospel in some of the words to their songs, but isn’t it amazing how God works?  How after these many years, He can give us new insights and helps us to understand where real hope and excitement come from?

It was a great concert, but not as great as the one we will someday participate in as singers ourselves.  The only sounds of silence then will be of holy reverence and awe for our Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Psalm 46:1 (NIV)  – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 43:2 (MsgB)  – “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.  When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.”

Habakkuk 2:20 (MsgB)  – “But oh! God is in his holy Temple!  Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!”

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for being our oldest and best friend, for bridging the troubled world of sin to deliver us into heavenly glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations 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 donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. 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 the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!