DayBreaks for 10/23/15 – Flirting With Unbelief

DayBreaks for 10/23/05: Flirting With Unbelief

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

Faith is such an intriguing topic.  We pray for it.  We practice it (to varying levels of success depending on the severity of the circumstances.)  When not much is truly at stake, it’s easier to say, “Yes, Lord, I trust you with this.”  But when life itself is on the line and we stand on the precipice of the great divide between this world and the next, how then does faith respond?  Chances are, that unless we’ve stood on that tiny shelf and looked down into the chasm of death ourselves, we really can’t answer that question very well.  It is an intriguing thing for me, as a pastor who has access to people who are looking into the grave, to observe their faith as it passes through the ultimate test.  With the very next step, they may plunge into the pit – and what then? 

We pray for healings.  Sometimes no healing comes.  Well meaning people may say that the only reason healing wasn’t granted is because the faith faltered – that is wasn’t really faith, but at most, wishful thinking or hoping.  Such well meaning people may have destroyed the faith of many who needed to be helped to grow in faith.  Shame on us when we think we know the reasons why God does or doesn’t do anything in a given situation.

But what about the times when healing DOES come?  We have another problem, then.  We live in a scientific age where it’s easy to explain how bacteria, viruses or tumors divide, grow and, sometimes, die.  And when that happens, we tend to not really exhibit faith too well, either.  Sometimes, there’s a diagnosis by a doctor that says there is a shadow on the lung or in the breast or contained in the cranium.  So we pray, our prayer chains light up like a blazing fire, and when a second opinion is sought or when the specialist is called in, the shadow is gone.  What happened? 

In a recent article in World Magazine, Andre Seu wrote about a diagnosis that filled her with dread, but when the second doctor ran the tests, nothing was found.  Here’s what she had to say: Now when do you have a certifiable miracle? Well, never, if you claim a priori that miracles have ceased. And never if, like me, your mind leaps like a duck on a June bug to naturalistic explanation: Doctor A blew it. The latter theory is possible, of course, but on the other hand, what would it take, and how much proof, before I acknowledged the supernatural in my life? (Father Abraham says even raising a corpse wouldn’t do it for folks of a certain ilk. Luke 16:31.) Francis Schaeffer draws the line precisely here between the Christian mind and the non-Christian mind: “I am not a Bible-believing Christian in the fullest sense simply by believing the right doctrines, but as I live in practice in this supernatural world.” (True Spirituality)

My violent intercessor seems to think that since we prayed watchfully (Colossians 4:2), and since the request we sought was granted, it’s a no-brainer that I need to give public glory to God. There are precedents, of course: The leper is healed and forthwith told by Jesus to go show himself to the priest (Matthew 8:4). Still I protested vainly: “Many godly people pray and are not healed.” Violent replied, “You were. Shout it from the housetops”—plus words to the effect that it’s a dangerous thing to ask the Almighty for something, and then, having received it, to flirt with unbelief. There was no gainsaying that, and in the end I saw the truth of it, and yielded doubt to faith, and that is why I tell you this.”  (Andre Seu, World Magazine, Oct. 1, 2005)

Have you received from God something you prayed diligently for, but when you received it, you gave the glory to medicine instead of God?  When will we learn that all healing truly does come from God – even when it is administered through the hands of a physician?  And rather than explain away such things as healings as a mere reversal or outworking of body chemistry, let’s climb to the top of the roof and there sing His praises for yet another miracle!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, we are so prone to rational explanations for all that happens in this world that we fail to give you the glory for what You do.  Open our eyes to see Your greatness and Your hand even in the tiniest things and teach us to sing Your praises!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/03/15 – How a Fish Stick Changed the World

DayBreaks for 9/03/15: How a Fish Stick Changed the World

Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched. – Luke 24:35-43 (NLT)

Several days had passed since Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. There was no denying what had happened – and no one doubted he had died. The facts were obvious to all who were there. There was no expectation of a joyful reunion on earth. Such things just don’t happen – they didn’t then, and they don’t today.

And so let us be gracious to Jesus’ early followers. When Jesus does appear, there is fear galore, but not the tiniest inkling of faith. They recognized his form, his appearance, but they, like we, would probably make the assumption that a ghost looks like the person they once was (if we can speak of ghosts in such a way.)

What does Jesus do? He invites them to touch his body and thereby be convinced of his corporeal substance. This is flesh and bone, not as phantasm. You’d think that would be enough to convince them. The flesh, I’m sure, wasn’t cold and rigid, but warm and flexible. Yet it wasn’t enough to convince them. It probably wouldn’t have been enough to convince me, either.

So, Jesus asks for something to eat. They hand a him a piece of fish – a fish stick, if you will. And Jesus eats it. As Dave Buckley said in his blog post: “Enter the fish finger! This is the moment. The moment that a fish finger changed everything…As Jesus swallowed that fish finger, suddenly the idea of of him being alive again was easier to swallow too.”

That’s all it took – one fish stick. Their disbelief turned into a faith that would lead them all, save one, to martyrdom. That fish stick changed the world – and it has changed eternity because it turned doubters into absolute believers.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at a fish stick again in the same way because once the disciples saw a fish stick disappear, they never saw Jesus again in the same way.

PRAYER: Forgive us doubting humans, Jesus, for seeing and thinking with earthly eyes and minds. Don’t ever let us forget that You are the One who turns things from impossible into reality! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/22/15 – Who Is He? Really?

DayBreaks for 01/22/15 – Who Is He?  Really?

John 7:40 (NIV) – On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?

 Just before the verses cited above, Jesus claimed to be the Living Water.  He had shaken up the religious world of Jerusalem with his teaching, lifestyle and actions.  It was only natural that there would be different opinions about who he was.

It is significant that some said he might be “..the Prophet.”  They at least recognized that he was not just “a prophet”, but possibly one for whom they had been waiting for.  Others thought he was “the Christ” – the Anointed One.  They were right.  But others didn’t accept it because of his origins.

These verses prompted me to think a bit about my own response to Jesus.  Do I believe Jesus is THE prophet or the Christ?  While the people who did believe he was “the Prophet” meant well by it, they didn’t see him (the Messiah) as the Son of God.  We limit Jesus so very quickly and easily to make him fit an image we have in mind of what He should be rather than what He is.  If I don’t expect him to be the Son of God and to therefore ACT like God, I will not ask for much and hence will receive little.  I will not believe for much and will experience little in that case. Sometimes the limitation we place on him (or even on other people we encounter) are driven by nothing more significant that their hometown or the color of their skin or the way they dress or the level of their education.

The people were divided because of Jesus.  He is still dividing people today, and if we are not divided because of Him and His claim on us, we are not recognizing Him as the Son of God.

Matthew 10:32 (NIV) – Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.

PRAYER: Father, I am sure that even though we are convinced we believe that Jesus is Your Son, we often don’t act like it.  Show us the reality about our faith, and help us in our unbelief!  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 08/22/11 – Unbelief and New Things

DayBreaks for 08/22/11 – Unbelief and New Things

“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.- Isaiah 43:18-20

In Isaiah 43 (one of my favorite chapters of the OT), God says tons of amazing things.  In context, just before the passage above, He has reminded Israel that there is no god like Him by reminding them of all He’d done for them.  There is value in looking back – it helps us gain perspective and to understand ourselves and how we can prevent mistakes in the future.  But God doesn’t want us to keep looking back – no matter how amazing His past actions in our lives may be.  He wants us to focus on the present and future in order to see what He’s doing.

It is, He says, a “new” thing – something that’s not been seen or done before.  And what He is doing is far greater than what He’s done in the past.  While this is undoubtedly a Messianic reference, it also has meaning for us.

There are days when the disasters and discouragements of the day threaten to crush us like an ant.  On days like those, it is hard to see anything that God is doing, and it becomes easier to even get down on Him for not treating us like we suppose He should.  We fail to see His hand at work, we forget His words that He is still working out His perfect will and plan each and every day.  And we need to look for those things with great excitement and anticipation.

But, it’s hard to know what to expect when all we know is that it will be “new” and it will be even better than what’s happened in the past, isn’t it?  I am reminded of the prayer of the father in the NT: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

We need faith to belief in the unseen and un-understood “new” thing that God is doing in our lives each and every day.  That kind of faith can be very hard to come by depending on what is going on in our lives.  God decrees that He “will” make a pathway through the wilderness, that He “will” create rivers in the dry wasteland.  And we will be refreshed.

Perhaps there is nothing harder than to have belief in new things that as yet exist only in the mind of God.  But if they’re in His mind as part of His plan, those things are as good as done already.  Let us join our prayer to that of the father: “Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!”

PRAYER: Make us believers in things we can’t see – and even in things we can’t imagine – that You have decreed will come to pass.  Lord, we believe!  Help our unbelief!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/15/11 – The Key to Winning the World

DayBreaks for 08/15/11 – The Key to Winning the World

NOTE: I feel as if some of my DayBreaks recently have veered a bit off target by not delving enough into Scripture.  While I’ll still do stories about things in the news, etc., that are instructive, I will do more that are based solely on Scripture and Bible study that I’ve been doing.  Thanks for listening…and reading!!!!  – Galen

Wouldn’t it be great to know the secret to winning the world for Christ?  How many things have been tried by the church throughout the history since the times of Christ?  Churches are great on programs.  It seems to be one of the things that the church does best…”Let’s start another program!”  But programs are not the key to winning the world for Christ.  Programs can be good, but they can also become the reason for existence of a given congregation, rather than to serve and glorify Christ.

I think that Jesus has given us the key to winning the world.  He gave it to his disciples just before his betrayal in the garden.  He gave it to them as part of a prayer to the Father.  Here’s what he had to say:  I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching.  Father, I pray that they can be one.  As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us.  Then the world will believe that you sent me. (Jn. 17:20)

Do you see it?  Unity is the key.  Jesus said that if we are one, as he and the Father are One, then the world will believe that the Father sent Jesus.  In other words, if we are united with each other, then the world would know that Jesus is from the Father.  That doesn’t mean that everyone would become believers, just that people wouldn’t be able to deny His Sonship.  And that’s a great first step to winning the world.

Unity – not agreement, not uniformity of opinion or even doctrine, not negotiation, arbitration…but acceptance of one another with all our foibles and disagreements and diverse opinions, not because everyone is right, but because we have been accepted by the Perfect One even with our imperfections.

Unity finds its basis in grace.  It is only as we understand how much grace God has extended to us that we can extend it to others in our fellowship.  And when we do, the world will believe Christ came from the Father.  Sadly, the converse is also true: to the extent that we don’t have unity, the world will not believe there is anything special about Jesus – in fact, they’ll not be able to see He came from the Father at all.  All they’ll be able to see is a group of squabbling people.

PRAYER: Forgive us, Jesus, for all that we let divide us that causes the world to think you are nothing but a Jewish rabbi – and nothing more!  Help us grasp even a portion of the grace you’ve extended to us by accepting us, so that we can in turn extend it to others.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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