DayBreaks for 9/12/18 – The Fallacy of Powdered Christians

Image result for baby powder

DayBreaks for 9/12/18: The Fallacy of Powdered Christians

You might remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. When he first came to the United States from Russia he was not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, “On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk–you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice–you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, “What a country!”

Smirnoff is joking but we make these assumptions about Christian Transformation-that people change instantly at salvation. Some traditions call it repentance and renewal. Some call it Sanctification of the believer. Whatever you call it most traditions expect some quick fix to sin. According to this belief, when someone gives his or her life to Christ, there is an immediate, substantive, in-depth, miraculous change in habits, attitudes, and character. We go to church as if we are going to the grocery store: Powdered Christian. Just add water and disciples are born not made.

Unfortunately, there is no such powder and disciples of Jesus Christ are not instantly born. They are slowly raised through many trials, suffering, and temptations. One might wonder if it is worth the struggle, but that won’t be a question we even contemplate once we step out of this world into the next.

PRAYER: Jesus, let us be patient with you and with ourselves in the transformation. Keep us from despair and discouragement on the journey home! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 11/16/16 – The Flesh Will Not Die Quietly

DayBreaks for 11/16/16: The Flesh Will Not Die Quietly

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2006:

In my capacity as a pastor and as a former associate chaplain for the police department in the town where we used to live, I have had the occasion to be present at several deathbeds to watch people die and leave this world behind.  Some have been old, others young, some of the deaths were expected, some were not.  But one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how hard the body fights to continue to live.  Even those who are dying of horrible diseases, who have suffered tremendous indignity and pain for years untold, seem to have the same thing happen when the time actually comes: the body fights to stay alive.  The flesh seems to have a mind of its own at those moments.  I know that some of those who I watched die would much rather have departed and gone a long time ago, but the flesh would not die quietly.  I think it is because we were not made to die in the beginning – and it is a vestige of that fact that makes the body fight to the bitter end.

We will all die someday, and we all hope our passing will be peaceful and calm – and quick.  But Paul, the great warhorse missionary, put it in a different perspective in 1 Cor. 15:31 when he wrote: I die every day–I mean that, brothers–just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.  In what sense did Paul die every day?  I believe he was stating his goal, even his desire, that each and every day he would die to himself, to his wanting his own way and desires more than he wants those of the Lord.  And certainly, it is true that THIS part of the flesh doesn’t die quietly.  It fights to the very end to dominate our spiritual selves.  Paul understood something that we may not yet have grasped: that if we want to have life after this life, we need to die before we die. 

You know the verses as well as I: if we strive to save our lives, we will lose them, and if we lose our lives for Jesus sake, we will find real life.  Other verses talk about putting to death the old man, the old nature that is fleshly and out of alignment with God and things of the Spirit.  The flesh dies hard.  But it must die if we are to be fully pleasing to Him.  

PRAYER: Father, when pride fills our hearts about something we’ve done, please let us glimpse Jesus.  Let us see His glory and be put into a proper sense of perspective that we may be truly humble before You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/28/16 – What I Struggle to Believe

DayBreaks for 4/28/16 – What I Struggle to Believe

I suppose all of us have our struggles with faith. It seems to be a fairly normal part of the human condition. There are those who don’t believe in a Creator but who choose to believe that somehow, something came out of nothing and exploded with tremendous force without an apparent cause. This would seem to contradict the laws of cause and effect and it certainly doesn’t explain how something (matter) came to exist in the first place. But that’s not what this is about.

You see, I, and most Christians I know, don’t really struggle to believe in a Creator – the God of the Bible. We may hold different opinions on how God did that which He did do – was it via a big bang that He created the universe (after creating the matter) or did He do it some other way? True believers have differences of opinion on that, but true believers also believe in a Creator.

I have no problem believing in the Creator. None whatsoever. That which exists just won’t let me deny His work in creation. So what is it that I have a hard time believing?  Read on.

I struggle to believe that in this vast created universe, that God even knows that I exist, and even more so, that not only does He know I exist, He loves me and cares about me.

What is it that makes me feel or doubt those things?

For the first subject, I suspect that running the universe in all its immensity and complexity, is a big, BIG job. God Himself said as much in Job. He doesn’t say that it is a job that is too big for Him – not at all!  But can you imagine how big of a job it must be? I know when I’m very busy, I don’t think that often about other people – even those most important to me. I get caught up in my work and thinking about it. So, I am really imposing my own human limitations on an unlimited being when I think He’s too busy to notice me.

As to the second point, even if He does know I exist somewhere in the vastness of the universe, why should He care about me and love me? Ah, now there’s the rub, isn’t it? What have I done to commend myself to Him and His good will? Nothing, really. Sure, I know that Scripture says I am made in His image, but what a flawed image of Him I reflect! But, Scripture says it – and even more than that – Christ’s crucifixion is proof of it!

You see, what we struggle to believe most of all is the truth that we can see on Calvary through the eyes of faith. What a truth it is! It is our challenge to believe it, accept it and be forever grateful for it!

Isaiah 43:1 (NLTse) – But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name; you are mine.”

PRAYER: Father, You know our struggle with faith and how because of our sinfulness we struggle to believe You love us. I am thankful that our little faith doesn’t threaten You or cause You to love us less. Let us accept the wonderful truth that You are aware that we are here in the vastness of space and that You love us enough that You died for us to prove it to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/26/16 – Hitting the Wall

DayBreaks for 1/26/16: Hitting the Wall

From our Sunday worship bulletin:

“It has happened in my life. Maybe it has happened in yours. I have had relationships in which I have had a struggle. I have had relationships that are hard. It does not matter if it was “me” or “them” in terms of the cause of the struggle or the “hardness”. I can say that because we are human, “struggle” can happen in a variety of ways. But if I am honest, it has mostly been me. And sometimes when struggle has come, by me or them, I have “hit a wall” and think I cannot go on. I want to walk away. Ugh.

“So, I need help. The reminder of “help” recently arrived when my good friend (name omitted for privacy) sent this to me from Mike Mason’s book, Practicing the Presence of People:

“Marathon runners speak of ‘hitting the wall.’ Often encountered around the twenty mile mark, the wall is a phase of excruciating pain during which the runner feels sorely tempted to give up. By pushing through the wall, runners learn to expand their pain threshold and so overcome all obstacles. They choose their pain in the form of running, but the effect of making hard choices in this discipline carries over into other areas. ‘Everything I know about life,’ observed one marathoner, ‘I learned at the wall.’ Sooner or later every human relationship comes to the wall. To choose the pain of involvement with others, rather than merely enduring it, is empowering. To choose the difficult people in one’s life is the beginning of love.”

“As I reflected on the quote, I realized that deep down, I really do want to love. That is the goal. In order to do that, I need to choose the pain of involvement with others and that is a good thing. Note that Mason says the pain of involvement, rather than enduring. Enduring people is like détente. It is like tolerance. It smells like indifference. On the other hand the pain of involvement, through the gospel, is empowering. Bringing the gospel to bear with people at the wall is where we learn to love.

“That is what Jesus did and does. He came to make relationship with us through excruciating pain. He came by choice. Would you take an inventory today and highlight relationships that you have that are a struggle? Then would you decide to go on a journey to the wall? As you do, ask yourself, ‘Do I want to love?’ and commit, by His power to do so.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, see what God will do. I believe He can and will do a great work because He went through the pain of involvement for the sake of relationship with you.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Help us to bear the pain of involvement, even with those we don’t like, we don’t think will respond with kindness, who might even seek our harm…because You went to the wall for relationship with us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/20/14 – Where Is the Victory?

DayBreaks for 11/20/14 – Where is the Victory?

The famous American editor, Horace Greeley, once told of receiving a letter from a woman who wrote: “Our church is in dire financial straits. We’ve tried everything to keep it going: a strawberry festival, an oyster supper, a donkey party, a turkey dinner, and, finally, a box social. Will you please tells us, Dr. Greeley, how to keep a struggling church from disbanding?” Dr. Greeley wrote back to her a message in two words: “Try Christianity!”

There are many in our world (and country) today who rail against Christianity, claiming that it has been the source of untold misery in the past 20 centuries.  I don’t agree with them in this regard: it was Christians (or so-called Christians) who caused the misery of the Crusades, etc., but that was not Christianity.  Unfortunately, Christianity is not practiced by perfect people.

But what did Mr. Greeley mean when he said, “Try Christianity!”  Look at it in this way. The ancient world failed to help men and women meet the problem of life, because, although their wise men could teach, they could not supply the power to put it into practice. The Old Testament prophets could explain the Law of Moses, but were unable to provide the power needed to fulfill it. Then, into the midst of the ages, came this man Jesus and, before the wondering eyes of men and women, he declared, I am the way, the truth, and the life. These people saw truth coming alive in his amazing personality; and, when his enemies finally killed him and he ascended back to the Father, his great Spirit was liberated to be wherever needy souls cried out for him. In all the ages since, for all those who have received him as the bread of life by committing their lives to him, he has brought power over their every weakness, victory over every failure, and conduct and character that have made the world a better place in which to live.

But is that the reality of your experience?  Do you find power over every one of your weaknesses, or victory over every failure?  I don’t.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I am quite sure I am not!  If find myself more aware of my feebleness and failings every day as I grow older.  I find that victory over my temptations and failure is not all that easy – if in fact, I manage to experience it at all.  So where is this power and this victory?

I think that as Christians, having victory over every failure and power over every weakness doesn’t at all mean that we won’t fail or fall through our weaknesses, nor does it mean that we will experience that in reality.  I suspect that what it really means is that victory and power isn’t ours at all nor was it meant to be ours…that it is purely, simply this: that Christ has already defeated that sin and paid for it…and the victory we have is His victory extended through grace to us!  I, for one, have pretty much given up on the idea of experiencing victory over my temptations as long as my lungs suck earthly air.  That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced some level of diminishing temptation or that some temptations no longer plague me.  But there is a part of me – a stubborn, tenacious, fleshly part of me – that knows I will not have the full victory in this life. 

How grateful I am that on the day I die that I don’t have to be perfect, but can rest in the knowledge that His grace, His power, His mercy…and most of all, HIS victory count for me, and that His forgiveness is perfectly full and complete!

PRAYER: Lord, if not for your great victory, we are all defeated! 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 10/08/14 – Our Hope Through All Our Terrors

DayBreaks for 10/08/14 – Our Hope, Through All Our Terrors

Saw this story and thought it worth sharing:

“Several summers ago I spent three days on a barrier island where loggerhead turtles were laying their eggs. One night while the tide was out, I watched a huge female heave herself up on the beach to dig her nest and empty her eggs into it. Afraid of disturbing her, I left before she had finished. The next morning I returned to see if I could find the spot where her eggs lay hidden in the sand. What I found were her tracks leading in the wrong direction. Instead of heading back out to sea, she had wandered into the dunes, which were already as hot as asphalt in the morning sun.

“A little ways inland I found her: Exhausted, all but baked, her head and flippers caked with dried sand. After pouring water on her and covering her with sea oats, I fetched a park ranger who returned with a jeep to rescue her. He flipped her on her back, wrapped tire chains around her front legs, and hooked the chains to a trailer hitch on his jeep. Then I watched horrified as he took off, yanking her body forward so that her mouth filled with sand and her neck bent so far back I thought it would break.

“The ranger hauled her over the dunes and down onto the beach. At the ocean’s edge, he unhooked her and turned her right side up. She lay motionless in the surf as the water lapped at her body, washing the sand from her eyes and making her skin shine again. A wave broke over her; she lifted her head slightly, moving her back legs. Other waves brought her further back to life until one of them made her light enough to find a foothold and push off, back into the ocean. Watching her swim slowly away and remembering her nightmare ride through the dunes, I reflected that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.

“Our hope, through all our own terrors, is that we are being saved. But this does not mean we lie down before the terrors. For as long as we have strength to fight, it is both our nature and our privilege to do so. Sometimes God’s blessing does not come until daybreak, after a full night of emptying ourselves and wandering in the wrong direction. Our job is to struggle with the terrors, neither surrendering nor stealing away until they have yielded their blessings.” – Barbara Brown-Taylor

Psalm 30:5 (NLT)  For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

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 8/29/14 – Of Dead Ducks and Hurting Christians

DayBreaks for 8/29/14 – Of Dead Ducks and Hurting Believers

Bob Hodges, a Presbyterian minister in Rogersville, Tennessee, tells about duck hunting with a friend of his on Cherokee Lake in East Tennessee. His friend, Riley, who had just recently become a believer, started asking some serious questions about his Christian experience. Riley’s old friends were making it very difficult for him to remain consistent in his obedience and commitment to Christ. They seemed to delight in trying to get him to fall back into the old patterns of life. They ridiculed him for spending so much time with “the preacher.” Riley asked, “Why is it that I’m having more trouble since I became a Christian than I ever did when I was lost? Everything seems to go wrong. I’m having such a struggle!”

Bob Hodges spoke up, “I’ll tell you why, Riley. A couple of ducks fly over and you shoot. You kill one and injure the other. They both fall into the lake. What do you do? You have to get out of the boat and go pick up the ducks, but which one do you go after first?”

“Well,” Riley drawled, “that’s easy. I go after the injured one first. The dead one ain’t goin’ nowhere!”

Hodges said, “And that’s the way it is with the devil. He goes after injured Christians. He’s not going to bother with the man dead in his sin. But the minute you give your life to Christ, you’d better get ready; the devil is going to come after you. He is going to chase you; he’s going to make it hard on you.”

If you find your Christian walk to be very difficult, if Satan isn’t giving you a moment’s worth of peace, perhaps this is why.  Satan is not a fool.  He won’t go after “dead” believers, but he recognizes wounded ones easily and goes after them with a vengeance.

How different from the ways of the Lord!   Isaiah 42:1-3 (NLT) Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.

Knowing how he operates won’t necessarily make it easier, but it may help you understand the reason the journey is so difficult.

PRAYER: We need strength, Lord, for all the times that Satan attacks us!  We are weak and we pray that in the times of our great weakness that Your Spirit will come speedily to our aid!  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!