DayBreaks for 8/24/17 – On Rough Water, #3

DayBreaks for 8/24/17: On Rough Water #3

They say that the best way to tell if someone has learned anything is whether or not there has been a change in behavior. I’ve written twice recently about Peter and his adventures in water walking. And yesterday, I suggested that perhaps what Jesus meant when he said “O, you of little faith” to Peter wasn’t so much about Jesus power to keep Peter walking on the water (after all, Peter did cry out to a man walking on the water to save him!), but about whether Jesus might be willing to save a man who started sinking.

So, did Peter learn from this episode? I think he did. Consider:

FIRST: remember that Peter was the one who asked the Lord to invite him to walk on the water in the first place. Perhaps the last instance where Peter and Jesus interacted at the lake was after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, after the denial. Peter and the disciples had left Jerusalem and returned to Galilee as Jesus had instructed them…and they then went fishing. Early one morning as they were out on their boats, they witnessed someone walking on the shore who tells them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat and they take in a huge haul of fish. Jesus, we’re told, was on the shore cooking fish. As soon as Peter recognized it was Jesus, he didn’t shout out to Jesus to invite him to walk on the water to the shore. I think that this is a sign that he had learned some things about himself and his weaknesses.

SECOND: in the instance during the storm, Peter asked Jesus to invite him to come to him on the water. Not this time, however. Peter jumped right in and swam to shore. What that tells me is that Peter had learned something about the love that Jesus had for him…and he couldn’t wait to get to Jesus. Peter got wet the second time, but he was so eager to get to Jesus that he got wet of his own volition the second time.

Why did Peter now trust in the Lord’s love? After all, the denial had been sandwiched in between the walking on the water and jumping in to swim to Jesus. You’d think that if Peter had doubted Jesus’ love the first time, he’d surely doubt it after the denial. But he doesn’t appear to doubted at all. Why? What had changed? The crucifixion…the crucifixion changed everything. No one who stood there that day who had the slightest inkling of what was going on could ever doubt God’s love.

We who are alive today couldn’t stand on Golgotha the day Jesus died so we could see with our eyes the length and breadth of Jesus love. We can only see it through eyes of faith. Even though he stood far off, Peter saw it firsthand. And he never doubted Jesus’ love again. Neither should we.

PRAYER: Jesus, I wonder how much more we’d understand your love if we’d stood on Calvary’s hill as you died. Help us to see it with the eyes of our souls so we will leap into the water and swim to you rather than fear rejection. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 3/16/16 – Peter’s Strange Request

 

 

DayBreaks for 3/16/16: Peter’s Strange Request

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Luke 5:1-11 (NLT) – One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, we’ll try again.” And this time their nets were so full they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him.

Put yourself in the place of Peter.  He’d been a fisherman nearly all his life – probably from his childhood.  He and his brother, Andrew, appeared to have a successful fishing business.  Catching fish was how he made his living – no fish, no money.  As with everyone else, Peter had good days and bad days at work.  He usually worked the “graveyard” shift because that’s when the fish could be caught.  And he’d had a very bad night’s work on this night.

As daylight comes, Jesus is preaching and the boats have returned.  Jesus invites his disciples to go fishing again.  They do.  They fill their nets.  You’d think Peter would have been overjoyed – that he would have invited Jesus to join his fishing business, or to at least go fishing with him each day.  But no.  Peter responds in a way we would not have anticipated.  In his book, A Fragile Stone, Michael Card wrote: In response to the miraculous catch, Peter asks for what he really does not want – he asks for Jesus to leave.  He has become the frightened fish, thrashing in the net, wanting only to get away, or at least for Jesus to get away from him.  Peter has come face to face with the frightening possibility of complete success.  Failure, like their earlier empty nets, seems so much safer and predicable.

There is something about the power and glory of the Lord that produced this response in Peter.  While we may be tempted to criticize Peter for his request, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we’ve ever come close enough to Jesus to be so in awe of him ourselves?  We have probably managed to keep our distance from him so that we don’t have to come face to face with his greatness.  If you’d asked Peter if it was worth it to get close enough to Jesus to really see his power and glory, he would have said “Yes!”  May we get close enough to Jesus to be able to share that sentiment!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, we are afraid of closeness.  When we’ve gotten close to others, we’ve always been hurt and disappointed sooner or later, and so we have built barriers to keep others at bay.  Jesus, help us to drop our barriers and to get close enough to see your glory and power and be transformed by your Presence.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/10/16 – A Fragile Stone

DayBreaks for 3/10/16: A Fragile Stone

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

A stone.  A rock.  Solid.  Strong.  Cephas.  Peter.  It’s what the name Peter means, after all.  And what a rock he was!  Over and over again, whenever the disciples are with Jesus, it is Peter who is the spokesman – and I don’t think that was all because of his impetuousness.  It was because of the nature of the man.  He was a leader.  He was respected and acknowledged as the leader of the 12.  He had their confidence because he had earned it.  He would stand up in the midst of a hostile crowd that had killed Jesus and would preach words that stung their hearts and cut them to the quick – and they responded en masse to the power of the word that Peter was preaching.

He stood up to the religio-political leaders and refused to obey their dictates, boldly proclaiming, “We must obey God rather than men.”  He was a rock. 

But not even Peter was always a rock.  Consider these insights from Michael Card in his book, A Fragile Stone: Just as Paul is remembered as the one who persecuted the church before his own conversion on the road to Damascus, Peter is remembered forever as the apostle who denied Christ.  The Rock on whom Jesus would build his church proved to be a sand pile.  When he attempted to walk on water, the Rock sank like a stone.

“Peter rebuked Jesus when the Lord spoke of his impending death in Jerusalem, and Jesus called him ‘Satan.’  His various boasts about his unbending loyalty to Jesus proved hollow in the courtyard of the high priest Caiaphas.

We all would like to be like a Rock, wouldn’t we?  But aren’t we all more like the sand pile, or like a rock tossed into the water?  I have a hunch that as many times as Peter may have been called the Rock, that there were an equal, or greater, number of times that he was less than a rock.  But how Jesus loved him!!!!

Jesus loves sand piles and sinking stones just as he loves Rocks – and He loves you and me.  And that gives me comfort as I struggle to be what He wants me to be.   

TODAY’S PRAYER:  If there is one thing we should want to give You, Lord, may it be our faithfulness.  Thank you for dealing with us so gently because of our crumbling, sinking sinful natures.  Let us become people on whom You can count, may we become strong in Him!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/19/16 – Holy Land Lessons – My Father’s House

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Home of Simon Peter’s family, Capernaum, Israel. Photo property of Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/19/16: Holy Land Lessons: My Father’s House

I attended a church in my early years where we often sang the song, I’ve Got A Mansion, and the words to the first verse and chorus went like this: “I’m satisfied with just a cottage below, A little silver and a little gold. But in that city where the ransomed will shine I want a gold one that’s silver lined.
Chorus: I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop, In that bright land where we’ll never grow old, And some day yonder we will never more wander, But walk on streets that are purest gold.”

Let me go on record here that I never liked that song (but we sang it a lot in the churches I used to attend!!!) because it essentially says something to the effect of I’m miserable now, but someday I want You to make it up to me for all my sacrifice and suffering and give me a mansion and that’ll make it all worth it!” I think it misses the point entirely. The glory of heaven won’t be a shiny home – for God Himself is our very great reward – to be with Him and enjoy Him forever – not to live in a sparkling, huge, gold and silver home! Listen to what Jesus said to us (and I’m sure someone’s imagination took this out of the Hebrew/1st century context in which Jesus was speaking and came up with the idea of shining, metallic mansions): John 14:2 (KJV) – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

That’s how the King James put it. Unfortunately, it is a lousy translation and totally misses the point of what Jesus was saying as I learned during our journey to Israel this month. Fortunately, newer translations get to the core of what Jesus was saying. For example: John 14:2-3 (ESV) – In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that WHERE I AM YOU MAY BE ALSO.

Here’s the point: in today’s picture that I took in Israel, you can see a “family home”. This just happens to be the home of Peter that is located in Capernaum (authorities are nearly 100% certain it is the actual home of Peter). The inner circle was Peter’s primary area, but there are other circular structures outside of the inner circle that were divided by stone walls, but still part of the overall complex. Here’s the point: people back then didn’t have individual homes (unless they were very, very rich). They had communal or “family” homes. There were walls made out of stone dividing out the rooms, but all the people of the extended family basically lived in the same home. As the family grew, another room would be attached to the same basic structure – it just expanded to include family. They had their own rooms, but not their own mansions. So when Jesus said he was going to prepare a room for us (not a mansion!!!!), he was referring to the typical homes in which close, intimate family would reside.

What is Jesus saying? We will not live in our own mansion…we will live in HIS very own house, in a room of our own, but part of the intimate gathering of his family. We will be His children there, we can crawl up in our Father’s lap, we will join in the story-telling, the singing, the joyful feasting – and we won’t miss a minute of it because we will be RIGHT THERE.

Now, isn’t that far better than a gold and silver mansion? If you want a mansion somewhere on the edge of the New Jerusalem, I’m sorry if I’ve burst your bubble. But God has something far greater and more glorious than that in mind for you and me: Psalm 23:6 (ESV)Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD forever.

There, we shall find all our hearts and souls ever longed for (and more!!!) – forever!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for giving me a room in your house. I can’t wait to settle in and be part of the family that literally gathers at your feast table and sings and laughs together forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.