DayBreaks for 9/27/16 – Sleeping on the Job

DayBreaks for 9/27/16 – Sleeping on the Job                 

Can I make a confession, hoping that you’ll not judge me for this one? Ready? Here it is: I sometimes have a hard time staying awake when I’m praying. I don’t have that problem often when I’m sitting or standing, but when I’m laying in bed at night before going to sleep, I will sometimes drift off to sleep. And that makes me feel guilty and ashamed! Why in the world can’t I stay awake? And at those moments, I suspect God must be peeved with me.

Then I remind myself of a couple things:

FIRST: I’m in good company. The disciples, in the garden, were supposed to watch and pray. They probably did, but you know the story: they fell asleep not just once that night, but multiple times. So, I am in the same class of folk as Peter, James and John, plus about 8 other ones (I’m assuming Judas came along later with the soldiers.)

SECOND: when I think more about the character of the Father and remember that I’m His little child, I suspect that God isn’t so peeved with me after all. Why? Well, simple really: do you remember what it was like for your little ones to fall asleep when you were carrying them or when you would lay down and talk with them? Were you peeved with them for falling asleep? Did you ever slap them in frustration and yell at them for going to sleep? Of course not! Why? Because you loved them so much and understood their need for sleep and their frailty/weakness. It wasn’t something you got angry about – it was precious. How I loved to carry our little ones at times like that!

I’m convinced that if we, as very flawed humans, find it precious that our little ones fall asleep and if we can be as understanding of it as we are – how much more does God find it precious if we drift off? He knows it isn’t a sign of disrespect. It is a sign of our humanness and how small and weak we are. And He understands that.

From now on, if I fall asleep “on the job” of prayer, I’m not going to feel badly about it. God understands! And He may well turn to one of His angels and just whisper, “Isn’t he precious! Look how tired he is!” – and then He’ll kiss me goodnight.

PRAYER: Thank You for being such a wonderful, loving and understanding Father who knows my weaknesses and understands them! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/3/16: If I Should Die…

DayBreaks for 8/03/16 – If I Should Die…

Many of you are familiar with the childhood prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep, ” but I was little surprised to learn that it is a shortened version of an Old English prayer, which goes like this:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,

bless the bed that I lie on.

Before I lay me down to sleep,

I give my soul to Christ to keep.

 

Four corners to my bed,

four angels there aspread,

two to foot, and two to head,

and two to carry me when I’m dead.

 

I go by sea, I go by land,

the Lord made me by his right hand.

If any danger comes to me,

Sweet Jesus Christ, deliver me.

 

He’s the branch, and I’m the flower,

pray God send me a happy hour.

And if I die before I wake,

I pray that Christ my soul will take.

 The prayer has an important refrain, that Christ is the keeper, the caretaker of our soul. And, when we slip into the unconsciousness of the night I suppose, on a daily bases, we are never nearer death. It was out of this fear of sleep that this prayer was written. At night, when we are vulnerable, we want someone watching over us. During the daytime when we are afraid, we want someone watching over us. When we come to die, we want someone watching over us.

The wonderful news: Someone is!

PRAYER:  Thank you for never sleeping or taking your eyes off us for even a single moment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 10/01/15 – Sleepy Devotion

DayBreaks for 10/01/15 – Sleepy Devotion

When are you most likely to get sleepy?  I know that when I’m driving on a long trip, the worst time for me to drive is the first couple of hours after lunch.  My belly is full (too full, most of the time!), the warm sunshine is pouring through the window, I am starting to get tired and I’ve already heard the news on the radio about 10 times, and I can’t find much to talk about (I’m a man of few words – except, as the congregation would tell you, when I’m preaching!) 

I also can get tired and sleepy in meetings.  Especially a meeting which is poorly run and seems to have no direction or real purpose.  Or, if it’s about something I really don’t care about.  In my previous career in the computer/data field, I have to confess that I sat through more meetings than a skunk has stink!  And, I often found myself nodding, not in approval, but with drowsiness!  I would shift in my chair from one side to the other, uncross my legs and cross them again, lean forward or back, force myself to take notes and all sorts of other ingenious activities to keep from falling on the floor in a loud snore.  Not good, I know.  But honest. 

Our devotion to God can get pretty sleepy, too.  If we think we’ve got it figured out already, or if we think “I’ve already heard from God.  What else is there that He could possibly tell me?”  Well…plenty.  The more willing I am to listen to God, the more He tells me!  And I’m afraid that I’m an unending project for God – the rest of you may “get it” as soon as the gates of heaven swing open for you, but I’m convinced that God’ll still be working on me 732 trillion years after I get there!!!!!

Frank Laubach said, “If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are.”  Good point.  If your Christianity is dull, boring and as interesting as an aimless, wandering, unimportant meeting, then you aren’t experiencing a God-centered relationship, or you’re cherishing sin in your heart.  Ask Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John, Peter, Paul, Mary, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Job, Mary Magdalene, Dorcas or anyone else in Scripture if their life was sleepy because of the relationship they had with God.  I’m sure they, like us, had ups and downs where their devotion waxed and waned, but it would be hard to characterize the life of any one of those people as boring, unexciting, dull or sleepy!

When you stop to think about it, how could a life that is sold out to God be a boring life?  God never gets tired – and He’s a creative, energy-filled God who has plenty for us to do!  But the best part isn’t even the doing – it’s being with Him, becoming like the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega – that’s exciting!

Don’t settle for a dull, boring journey through this life as a Christian.  Live it on the edge with God, and you’ll never get sleepy again!

PRAYER: Lord, lead us on in a great adventure with You, and renew us with the excitement of constantly being in Your Presence and walking with You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/11/15 – Sleeping Through a Revolution

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DayBreaks for 2/11/15: Sleeping Through a Revolution

Luke 22:39 (NIV) – Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

In Luke’s account, Jesus prayed but the disciples didn’t.  Or at least, not for long, if at all. They had fallen asleep. With their heads in the clouds, they drifted off into an unconscious state. They’d just celebrated the Passover with Jesus – the highlight of the Jewish year, and they were still “in the dark” so to speak about what was happening. 

Remember the story of Rip Van Winkle? He fell asleep one day in a quiet spot on the banks of the Hudson River and he didn’t wake up for twenty years. When he went to sleep, the sign above his favorite tavern read: “King George III, King of England.” He was a subject of the British crown. When he woke up, King George was replaced by a different George – George Washington – and he was an American citizen. The tragic part was that he slept through a revolution.

While he snored, oblivious to his surroundings, fantastic, earth-shaking events had taken place. This is what happened to the disciples. They were oblivious to all that was taking place. Don’t be too critical of the disciples at this point. Many times we have our heads in the clouds, enclosed in our own little world and losing sight of the larger world, and sleep through great events. How many times are we preoccupied with our own self-importance? We become the prisoners of our own little world of trivialities.

We were created for greater things that trivialities.  We have been invited to be participants in the greatest revolution in all of history: helping fight the battle to set people free from sin and death and introducing them to the God who loves them and wants to set them free…and to eventually bring them home safely. 

We have a choice: we can sleep through “our own little world of trivialities” or we can stay awake with Jesus and for Jesus and join His revolution of peace and love.  It is easier to sleep that stay awake – but staying awake is far more exhilarating.  How do you want to spend your life – consumed with minutiae?  What will your choice be?

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 09/05/11 – Stay Awake

DayBreaks for 09/05/11 – Stay Awake

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. – Luke 21:36

The year was 1983.  Australia was hosting their ultramarathon, a grueling 573.7 mile foot race from Sydney to Melbourne. It takes days to run, and great professional runners from all over the world came to participate. Just before the race started, a 61-year-old farmer named Cliff Young, wearing overalls and goloshes over his boots, walked up to the registration table and requested a number to enter the race. The people at the registration table thought he was joking and they laughed. But Young was adamant, “No, I’d really like to run.” So they gave him a number and pinned it to his old overalls.

Young walked over to the start of the race with all the professional runners, who were decked out in all their running regalia.  They looked at him like he was crazy.  The crowd laughed at him.  They laughed even louder when the gun went off and the race began, because the professional runners had sculpted bodies and beautiful strides, but not Cliff Young. He ran with an awkward, goofy-looking shuffle. Someone from the crowd yelled, “Get that old fool off the track!”

Five days, 14 hours, and four minutes later, at 1:25 in the morning, Cliff Young crossed the finish line of the 573.7 mile ultra-marathon – he had won.  He didn’t win by a matter of minutes or even an hour or two. The second place runner was nine hours and 56 minutes behind him. Young had set a new world record for the ultra-marathon. The press mobbed him wondering what kind of special running shoes he must have used, they rummaged through his backpack wondering what he’d survived on (he’d lived primarily on pumpkin seeds and water) and then they discovered the secret to his success: Cliff Young had shuffled his way to victory without ever sleeping. The other runners would run for 18 hours straight, and then stop and sleep for three or four hours. He endured running five days, 14 hours, and four minutes at the age of 61 without a minute of sleep.

It is so easy to get sleepy when it comes to our faith.  We cat-nap for even a few moments and you can bet that the enemy will be sneaking up behind you with some temptation.  And if we aren’t alert, if we don’t stay awake, we risk, as Jesus said, not having the strength to escape what is to come and to stand before the Son of Man.  That’s too much to risk.

Staying awake includes being aware of what is going on in our world and how it relates to a Biblical (I won’t say Christian because far too Christians don’t have a Biblical world view) world view.  The enemy is clever and packages things in such a way that they sound good and slide right past us if we aren’t awake.  We need to be alert to his schemes.  We tend to think that sleep makes us stronger (and that may be true physically), but Jesus says that when it comes to spiritual things, sleep is dangerous!

PRAYER: Satan is clever, God, and he wears us down and wearies us.  We grow deaf to the real meaning behind his cleverly disguised phrases that are meant to lull us to sleep and not stand for righteousness.  Wake us up and help us stay awake!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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