DayBreaks for 2/21/18 – An Imitation of the Master

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DayBreaks for 2/21/18: An Imitation of the Master

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

So, how do you plan to spend your day today?  Did you create a “laundry list” of things that you need to get done or should do?  How’s it going so far?  Has the list gotten smaller or bigger as the day progressed?  How much time do you spend planning out your next day? 

It seems that no matter what I do or how meticulously I might try to plan things, it never seems to quite work out like I’d planned.  Perhaps that’s what the writer of Proverbs had in mind when he wrote in Proverbs 19:21 (NLT) – You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.  I think I’ve got my day all figured out, but NOT!  I often look at the things that come along in the course of a day as being unwelcome events…after all, I’ve got a plan and if I can just run it like clockwork, it’s the best thing, right?  Not really.  Why should I think that my well-laid plans are the best thing for me to do each day, or the best way to do them, or even that they’re the most important things to do on any given day? 

We need to learn to welcome interruptions.  Mark Buchanan says that the devil seeks to distract, but God seeks to interrupt, and how quickly we fall prey to Satan’s distractions but how we equally quickly grow oblivious to God’s interruptions.  Satan wants us to become distracted from God and godly things, but God wants to interrupt our schedules and plans with things which are more important.  Who am I to say that the interruption by the person in the next cubicle is not a portion of a God-directed plan for something greater than the accomplishment of my little plans?  Isn’t that perhaps what the writer of the Proverb was saying?

Jesus’ life was dominated by purpose – he came to offer his life as a ransom.  Reading the gospels, especially John, one gets the sense that Jesus entire life was spent moving towards Jerusalem and the cross.  And indeed, it was always his purpose.  But along the way, many things happened to him that we would consider interruptions.  It isn’t clear that Jesus kept anything like a detailed itinerary of his daily schedule.  In fact, his daily life seemed to be lived by interruption: a woman who touches his clothes and is healed, a dead son begin wept over by his mother, a dinner at a taxpayer’s house, a wedding feast in Cana, a leader of Roman soldiers who entreats him for a healing, little children who wanted to be held, storms on the sea, fishing with his buddies, questions from the scribes and Pharisees – and the list goes on virtually endlessly.  He always found time for telling stories, for people along the route to the cross who hadn’t scheduled a moment of his time. 

So what was Jesus’ secret and what dictated Jesus’ schedule?  How did he number his days aright?  Perhaps Jesus came the closest to answering that himself in Mt. 11:1-11, when he said, The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  Jesus listened and watched the Spirit – and did what the Spirit directed.

Peter, after saying Jesus is the Lord of all, describes how Jesus spent his days: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good.  (Acts 10:36, 38) 

There you have it: the sum of Jesus’ earthly vocation is that he wandered and he blessed.  Jesus was a vagabond physician, the original doctor without borders.  His purpose was crystal clear – but his methods appear to be random.  Henri Nouwen observed something like this about his own life: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I discovered the interruptions were my work.”

PRAYER: May we discern Your interruptions, Lord, and may we go with You to do what You want us to do together.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/13/17 – Prone to Wander

DayBreaks for 4/13/17: Prone to Wander

From the Holy Week devotional guide from our church:

“Have you ever found yourself off track, out of sorts or just in la-la-land, not paying attention to people and life around you? It’s as if you had wandered off and forgot how you got to where you are? For example, my family of six lives in a townhome. It is skinny and tall with three flights of stairs. We come and go through the first floor and it never fails that by the time I get to the car to leave, I have forgotten something essential for that day. I run back up the stairs on a mission and once I finally reach the third floor (out of breath, of course), I have no idea what I raced up there to get. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts, lost in yourself: wandering. It happens to the best of us.

“In the beloved hymn, Come Thou Fount, we sing these words ‘Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love!’ I bet for most devout followers those are difficult words to sing and something we would never want to happen, or think could happen.
“It can happen. It does happen. It did happen.

“It’s a Thursday evening and celebration is in the air. The disciples are eating the Passover meal with Jesus and it has all the typical elements: a roasted lamb, unleavened bread with bitter herbs, wine, the host telling the Exodus story and people singing Psalms. Jesus said something that changed the tone of the celebration. He said, One of you who is eating with Me will betray Me tonight. Sorrow fills the room and each one starts asking, Is it I?

“Later on that night while walking to the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells the disciples, I will be struck down and you will all fall away. Peter speaks up instantly and says, …even though they fall away I will not.  It is then Jesus says to Peter, Before morning you will deny me three times. It is clear that the men closest to Jesus, the men who gave up everything to follow Him, are prone to wander and even leave the God they love. Betrayal, denial, abandonment.

“We are prone to act and react just like the disciples who were closest to Jesus. Wandering from Jesus can happen in your mind, your life, and your body. It can be unintentional or it can be intentional. Sometimes, if we are honest, we want to wander. We need to wander because we think it is better. It is not. Jesus is better!

“Today, as we observe Maundy Thursday, we want to come back to Jesus. He wants us to come home! To sit at His table. Recline. Eat. Rejoice. And focus on Him. So let’s ask God to tune our hearts and fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the good Shepherd, the author and perfector of our faith. Let’s ask Him to bind our wandering hearts to Him.” – Ryan Van Kirk, worship leader, Perimeter church

PRAYER: Lord, you know our hearts. We are indeed, prone to wander. We are prone to leave the God we love. Take our hearts and seal them for Your courts above. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/07/14 – Shrek, the Sheep

DayBreaks for 10/07/14 – Shrek, the Sheep

A friend of mine posted this story on Facebook Monday morning and I thought it was an excellent illustration and lesson (unfortunately, I didn’t find the name of the author):

“This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

“This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

“When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

“I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

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.

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