DayBreaks for 12/05/18 – The God Who Does

Image result for listening to god

DayBreaks for 12/05/18: The God Who Does

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him? –  (Ps. 8:4, KJV)

David was neither the first, nor the last, who asked the question of God (my paraphrase here): “Why would you pay attention to us?  Why would you waste a precious moment of your time on creatures like us?”  All it takes for me to be lost in the wonder of David’s question is to lay on the deck at night gazing up into the seemingly inexhaustible reaches of space and I find it hard to believe that God even knows I exist.  Have you ever had the same feeling?  Sure, I know what his word says and I believe it – well, most of the time at any rate.  there are moments when it is hard to grasp.

There are those who, regardless of what the Bible says, believe that God takes no notice of us.  Some believe that because they’ve asked him for something and never heard from him in a way that they expected.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “Earth’s crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees takes off his shoes.”  There is wisdom in these words: for those who are tempted to think that God would not communicate with measly humans are not likely to hear from Him at all.  They are not able to hear His voice.  That shouldn’t surprise us: think about how often we fail to hear the voices of human who are speaking to us.  It may be a crowded room, or just that we’re distracted by something else at the moment.  Each of us is bombarded with radio and television signals 24 hours a day – those signals are passing through our physical bodies constantly, and yet we can’t even hear them at all.  A receiver that is properly tuned to those frequencies has no problem picking up those signals and “hearing” them at all. 

We are like those receivers, and God is like the “broadcaster.”  We are constantly being showered with His messages – and like the radio and TV waves, they pass through us unnoticed because we are not attuned properly to hear His voice.  We have been attuned to science to observe nature and think of molecules, chemicals, physical laws, and matter/energy, but not to pick up the signals of God’s voice that are being broadcast by nature 24 hours a day (“The heavens announce the glory of God” – Ps. 19).  Nor do we hear the special communication directed by God to each of us as individuals. 

As Dallas Willard put it in Hearing God, “Some of Jesus’ deepest teachings are about hearing.  He taught in parables so those who did not really want to hear the truth could avoid it.  He realized that not everyone has ears for the straightforward purpose of hearing but that some use their ears to sift out only what they want to hear, leaving the rest aside.  One of his most repeated sayings was, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”  But he also urged his hearers to make a great effort to hear, assuring them that what they received would be proportional to their desire and effort (Mk. 4:23-24).”

Yes, we are tiny specks in the universe.  Just as only those who see take off their shoes at the burning bush, only those who unplug their ears can hear, for God does communicate with His creation – even tiny specks of humanity in a vast universe.

PRAYER: Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts eager to obey.  Thank you for your Word to us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

Advertisements

DayBreaks for 8/25/16 – Lazarus’ Unexpected Experience

DayBreaks for 8/25/16 – Lazarus’ Unexpected Experience

In spite of all the “near death experiences” and stories about what happens after you die, we really just don’t know. There are those who say that at least some of these experiences are real…and then there are those who say they are nothing more than the dying embers of the brain firing on whatever cylinders are left. As Christians, we believe in life after death. I know, I certainly do. But do I know precisely what happens when one dies? I’m not talking about the physical process of dying – I think I understand that fairly well. I’m referring to the question of will we be conscious or not?

There are clues scatted around the bible that might cause us to believe we’ll be conscious (like the story of Lazarus and the rich man, etc.), but there are others that tend to imply that we won’t be conscious. I don’t know. I rather suspect we will be conscious, but that’s all beside the point.

In the story of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11, I would be willing to bet that when Lazarus drew his last breath that he didn’t expect his next experience to be hearing Jesus’ voice call him back to life. But because we have that story in Scripture, I can also know that if I am unconscious after I die that the next voice I may hear will be the voice of Jesus calling me out of my grave, too, or his face greeting me on “the other side”.

Sort of puts a bit more excitement and anticipation into the concept of dying as I see it!  

PRAYER: Jesus, while we don’t know what it will be like to die, it is tremendously comforting to know that your face or your voice will be our next conscious experience! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/18/16 – They Still Know His Name

_MG_2319

Photo Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016, Sea of Galilee at sunset.

DayBreaks for 1/18/16: They Still Know His Name

“Grander earth has quaked before

Moved by the sound of His voice

Seas that are shaken and stirred

Can be calmed and broken for my regard…” – It Is Well, Bethel Music (link to YouTube for this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI)

It was less than two weeks ago that I found myself on a boat crossing the sea of Galilee. I’d seen it before, but never been on the water. A gentle breeze was blowing and I found myself in thought about what had happened on that body of water 2000 years ago, when a man fell asleep in the back of the boat in the middle of a storm. The waves and wind screamed out in their torment while he slept peacefully.

Those with him feared for their lives – the boat, they would tell him after waking him, was sinking and they would all drown. His reaction was to speak – to tell the wind and sea to be calm – and instantly the storm was over. Why? Because they recognized the voice and name of the One who had made them and to Whose will they were still subject. And at that realization, the fear of the disciples changed from the storm to Whomever this was that was in the boat with them.

You’ve heard the story so many times before. You’ve thought about the implications – about the storm on the sea as an analogy for the storms in our lives and how Jesus calms us. But being on the sea makes it come alive with new meaning.

I have had storms in my life. I, like those in the boat with Him, have been afraid. I have called out to Him in the storm. Sometimes it seemed as if He couldn’t hear me over the raging of the storm. Sometimes I doubted that He would answer even if He could hear me – for I was too sinful. Sometimes it seemed as if He wasn’t even there (if he ever had been there), and I trembled in frustration and fear and pain.

Yet in hindsight, I can see that even at those moments, He was there. He did hear. And as with the disciples in the boat, He did care. He took action out of regard for the disciples, and he took action for me, too, not just that day He was on the boat with them, but on ALL those days when I so desperately needed Him.

I find myself not as fearful these days after having the luxury of being able to look back over 63 years of life and seeing that He has never once really let me down or let me drown. And now there is a quieter spirit in my soul that believes, ever so slightly more, that He never will fail me or let me down.

Why do I have that comfort? Not because my faith is so much stronger or that I deserve it more or because there are not storms in my life, but because of two things: 1) I have seen His faithfulness, but even more because 2) the wind and the waves still know His name, and they must yield to Him.

Mark 4:37-41 (NLT) But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, how comforting it is to know that the same winds and seas that knew your voice and authority 2000 years ago still know who you are – and they still obey you instantly. In the shrieking storms that assail our lives, let us take comfort in knowing that everything in heaven and on earth and in all creation MUST yield to your voice when you speak – and that you act and speak on our behalf throughout our entire lifetime. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 9/22/15 – Who’s Voice Is It?

DayBreaks for 9/22/15: Whose Voice Is It?

Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. – John 10:1-5

This is a rather terrifying passage for several reasons. First, there are those who will intentionally put forth great effort to steal the sheep. Satan, of course, does this. I’m not talking about merely taking people from one congregation to another, though that is often referred to among pastors as “sheep stealing.” What Jesus is describing is far more insidious. It is done with malicious intent or there would be no need to sneak over the wall into the sheep enclosure. We can’t forget that there are those who want the church to decline, and there is at least one who wants our souls to die for all eternity.

The scariest part, though, is that it makes me wonder how well I hear Jesus’ voice, and how well other “Christians” hear it today. What do we hear and who is saying it? Our Supreme Court has seemingly taken it upon themselves to be the arbiter of morality and to decide matters relation to life and death and marriage. We must never forget that the voice of the Supreme Court (even the majority of the judges) is not the same as the voice of God. Where God has spoken the Supreme Court has no authority over the Christian. It is one of those situations where we must, as did Peter, say “We must obey God rather than men.”

Everything we read in the mainstream press about trends in our culture, about what is good or bad, needs to be filtered against the voice of the Shepherd – and NO ONE else’s voice (including mine!)

Even though the majority of the US populace may be in favor of something, God’s Kingdom is not a democracy where right or wrong are determined by polls. We might do well to remind ourselves that when we look at the stories of God’s people in Scripture, more often than not, the majority of His people were always in the wrong and while there were a few righteous prophets who railed against the popular thinking for one reason and one reason only: they’d heard the Shepherd’s voice and understood that their highest calling was to do as He commanded.

It broke their hearts to see the condition of their land. It should break ours, too. But we should not despair. God was able to restore His people many, many times…and He can restore our nation, too…but not if the prophets amongst us stop listening to the voice of the Shepherd and stop calling us to repentance.

PRAYER: Jesus, we want to hear your voice when it whispers peace to us, but seldom do we want to hear it when what you say doesn’t please us or tickle our ears. Change us to welcome ALL your words! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 11/11/12 – No Rear View Mirrors

DayBreaks for 11/11/12 – No Rear View Mirrors

Philippians 3:13-14 – “13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It is easier said than done to forget what is past, isn’t it?  Some people – Christians are who I’m talking about – really struggle to be freed from their past.  Perhaps they feel that they failed in raising their children, they may have failed in their business, they may have failed in their devotion to Christ.  I don’t imagine that Peter found it easy to forget about his triple denial of Christ.  And now in Philippians, we see Paul was somehow able to put behind him his own past – the past where he persecuted the church of Jesus, where he imprisoned men and women, broke up families, and even put to death one of the first deacons of the church, Stephen.  That’s quite a bit to put behind you.  But that’s exactly what Paul says he’d managed to do.

I like what Warren Wiersbe had to say (I’m going to paraphrase him): You can’t move ahead by constantly looking in the rear view mirror.  The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you down.

I like that.  Think about it: if you are driving your car and you spend all your time looking in the rear view mirror, what will happen?  You’ll not go very far forward before you get into a serious wreck.  Why?  Because you’re focusing on what is behind you instead of looking forward to where your attention should be focused.  It works that way in life, too.

Getting us to focus on our past to the point that we become discouraged and want to give up is one of Satan’s most successful and persistent strategies.  I like what someone else said: “Satan reminded me of my past.  I reminded him of his future!

Wow!  That’s rich.  Don’t let Satan pull your vision away from Christ who LEADS us.  Follow him and his leading – not Satan’s taunting.

PRAYER: Jesus, we want to hear Your calling today, not the taunts of our enemy, Satan.  Tune our ears to hear Your voice!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

Want to help us save children and give them a life?  Donate now through I Am 2 Partners, Inc., where Galen serves as director of operations: http://www.iam2.org/donate   Thanks!

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.

DayBreaks for 10/09/12 – Who Ya Gonna Listen To?

DayBreaks for 10/09/12 – Who Ya Gonna Listen To?

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. – Mt. 16:16-17

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” – Mt. 16:22-23

On Sunday, the preacher was talking about Matthew 16:13-26.  One of the advantages about not being the preacher for a change is to be able to listen and think about passages and someone else’s thoughts about them.  And sometimes, as you ponder the text, you get a new insight that you’d not seen before.  That happened to me this past Sunday.

Jesus and his followers are in Caesarea Philippi, a place that was a hotbed for idol worship.  Jesus poses the question to his disciples to find out what people are saying about him (he already knew – but he had a higher purpose, as usual).  The disciples reply, but then Jesus gets to the real point: he wants to know who they think he is…and Peter makes a great confession.  Jesus told Peter that he’d not come to that conclusion by listening to his own mind, but by hearing the voice of God.

Then, just a few verses later, Peter is trying to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem where he would die.  At first glance, we might be tempted to applaud Peter because of his concern for the Lord’s well being.  Peter, I’m sure, thought he was doing a good thing, a right thing, by trying to forbid the prevent the death of his friend.  But this time Jesus is not thrilled.  He sharply rebukes Peter.  Why?  He wasn’t listening for God in this instance, but was hearing the thought of his own origin.

How quickly, how rapidly!, we can traverse from hearing the voice of God to listening to our own voice again, or the voice of another human!  The mind of man cannot possibly think the thoughts of God on its own.  We cannot hear Him when our minds are full of our own reasoning and thinking.  He ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts like our thoughts (Isa. 55:8).  We should never confuse the two!!!

PRAYER: I fear that I listen more closely to my own thoughts and inner voice rather than listening for Yours, Lord.  Help me to remember where hearing my own thoughts has taken me as a way of reminding me to wait to hear You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 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” link at the bottom of the email.