DayBreaks for 3/30/15 – THE Question

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DayBreaks for 3/30/15: THE Question

Mark 10:51a (NIV) – “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The verse above comes for the story of the healing of the blind man that Jesus encountered along the Jericho road.  Bartimaeus had been doing what he had done for many years – in fact, it was the only thing he could do: sit by the roadside and beg for money.  Jericho was a prosperous area, so Bartimaeus may have done fairly well, especially considering the Jews considered it righteous to give alms to the poor and disabled. 

Still, day after day, month after month, year after year, he would sit by the road and call out as he heard people passing by.  Some would give, others, I’m sure, walked right past him, either all engrossed in their own conversation and thoughts, or pretending not to notice him.  Thinks really haven’t changed much in 2000 years, have they?

Bartimaeus yells out to Jesus who hears him, stops, and instructs the disciples to have the man come to him.  The blind man jumps up, throws his coat aside (which probably was what he used to collect donations) and goes to where he’d heard the voice of Jesus.  And then Jesus asks the question – the question that at the surface seems so silly: this is a blind man after all…what do you think he would like you to do for him, Jesus?

Don’t rush past that question.  It is an important one – a very important one!  Wrestle with it.  Jesus didn’t just ask it of Bartimaeus.  I think He is asking it of each of us or it wouldn’t have been recorded in Scripture.

It is oh, so easy, to rush to give the approved Christian answer, but please don’t.  What is it that your soul really wants and longs for?  What is it that you think would really, truly bring you satisfaction and peace?  You may think it is a certain career.  You may believe it is the “perfect” spouse for you.  It may be that a child that you and your spouse long for.  Those things aren’t bad.  But are they really the thing you want Jesus to do for you?

I would imagine Bartimaeus though the question strange, but if he did, he didn’t let it show.  I suspect that we, like Bartimaeus, don’t really know what it is that we are longing for.  Bartimaeus thought it was his sight.  But what happens after he gets what he asked for shows that he learned a lesson that we may not have grasped: when Bartimaeus answers the question, he says “Rabbi…”  This isn’t the typical word used for a rabbi – a teacher.  This was a special word that was usually only used when addressing God in prayer.  The blind man, you see, is the only one who was seeing with crystal clarity: the man before him was God.  And then, after he received his sight, it says he “followed Jesus along the road.”  The verb tense is that he continued following Jesus.  And in doing so, I believe he found what it was that he really wanted. 

When this sermon was preached at church on Sunday, I asked myself how I would answer the question.  I honestly am not sure what my answer would be, or is.  I know what I’d hope it would be, what I think God wants it to be – but is that really what my heart soul is longing for? 

How about you?  What is it that you really want from Jesus this holy week and beyond?

PRAYER: Jesus, cause us to honestly seek for what You created us to long after and not just to give the trite, pat answer we think we should say!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/12/15 – The Nature of Fear and Sin

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DayBreaks for 2/12/15: The Nature of Fear and Sin

 

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2005:

Did you know that, according to John Ortberg, there are 366 verses in Scripture that essentially say, “Fear not!”?  That’s one verse for every day of the year, including leap years!  God must have known something, eh?  We should note that more often than not, it is stated as a direct command, and usually at the point God is asking someone to do something that will take them so far out of their comfort zone that they’d be nuts not to be at least a little afraid.  Yet He tells His servants over and over “Fear not!”, “Don’t be afraid!”

I remember how my little kids would stand on the edge of the pool and I’d encourage them to jump into the pool while I caught them.  Their little bodies stood on the edge, their arms held tightly to their little, shivering bodies, often with their fingers near their mouth so they could chew on their fingernails while they debated the invitation.  They were shivering – but not because it was cold.  It was because they were afraid.  There was a titanic struggle going on inside their little hearts and minds, a struggle between the will and the want.  You see, they wanted to jump.  They wanted to be brave.  They figured that it must be kind of fun or people wouldn’t be jumping into pools all the time.  They wanted to believe that I’d not drop them or miss them if they left terra firma behind.  But the will, oh, the will – it surrenders hard when fear comes around the corner! 

In If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg argues that fear is the #1 thing that keeps us from obedience to God.  It may be fear that we will be dropped, fear of failure, fear of success, fear that we’ll be revealed as something other than what we’ve pretended to be for so long – it could also be fear of the unknown. 

In sin, I think one of two things happens.  Either the want says, “God, I want to take the leap with You!”, but the will isn’t ready to jump, or both the want and the will are refusing to go with God.  Either way, when fear wins, we lose – but more important than that, God loses, too.  When we fail to do what He wants, we have made ourselves unavailable to Him as a servant.  And then what happens to what God wants to accomplish?  Oh, He’ll probably find a way to accomplish what He wants in the lives of others, but as long as we are blocked by fear, He is blocked in accomplishing what He wants to accomplish within us. 

Are you letting fear make you unavailable to God?  Consider the Father who is asking you to jump into His arms and see if He isn’t trustworthy!

PRAYER: God, help us to will and to want to leap out with You in faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/01/12 – Where Discontent Goes to Die

DayBreaks for 08/01/12 – Where Discontent Goes to Die

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  (Ps. 23:1)

Come with me to the world’s most oppressive prison.  Just ask the inmates; they will tell you.  They are overworked and underfed…No prison is so populated, no prison so oppressive, and what’s more, no prison is so permanent.  Most inmates never leave.  They never get released…The name of the prison?  You’ll see it over the entrance.  Rainbowed over the gate are four cast-iron letters that spell out its name:  W-A-N-T.

“They don’t want much, mind you.  They want just one thing.  One new job.  One new car.  One new house.  One new spouse.  They don’t want much.  They just want one.” (Max Lucado, Traveling Light)

Max has pretty much hit it on the head.  We just want one thing, don’t we?  What I want is probably quite different than what you want.  And what you want is different than that for which your friend wishes.  And when I get that one thing – that very special thing that I’m wanting – am I happy?  Yes.  If truth be told, I am.  That is, until I find out that somewhere, someone has invented a better gizmo than I bought.  Or until the car no longer smells new, or until the new model year comes out and I like the looks of it even better.  Then I’m stuck.  And what I wanted is not as fun anymore – and it creates the beginnings of an ache in me to want again.  Max continued: “If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink or digest, then face it – you are in prison, the prison of want.  The good news is you have a visitor and your visitor has a message that can get you paroled…look across the table at the psalmist David.  He motions for you to lean forward.  ‘I have a secret to tell you,’ he whispers, ‘the secret of satisfaction.  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want’ (Ps. 23:1).

“David has found the pasture where discontent goes to die…as if he is saying, ‘What I have in God is greater than what I don’t have in life.

“Let me remind you of two biblical truths:

YOUR STUFF ISN’T YOURS: Ask any coroner.  Ask any embalmer.  Ask any funeral home director.  ‘Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, he departs.  He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.’  (Eccl. 5:15) 

IT’S NOT YOU.  Who you are has nothing to do with the clothes you wear or the car you drive.  Jesus said, ‘Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.’  (Lk. 12:15)

Are you a prisoner in this prison?  No?  That’s good, if that’s what you think.  But let me pose to you the two questions that will really put a clear vision in your mind, ones that Max posed in his book: “What is the one thing separating you from joy?  How do you fill in this blank: ‘I will be happy when ______________’?

Now, with your answer firmly in mind, answer this: if your ship never comes in, if your dream never comes true, if the situation never changes, could you be happy?  If not, then you are sleeping in the cold cell of discontent.  You are in prison.  And you need to know what you have in your Shepherd.”

It is interesting that David’s declaration of contentedness is not coupled with verses two or three of Psalm 23, but is the logical extension of the first phrase as if saying: “The Lord is my shepherd, therefore I shall not want.”  David’s lack of wanting had nothing to do with what he possessed, except for the shepherd himself.  If we have God, can anything else compare?

If we think that having something will make us happy, then we have a false god to whom we bow.

PRAYER: We are people of insatiable appetites, Lord.  Teach us to be content with “enough” and please kill our spirits of discontent!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/03/11 – The Disease of the Not-Enough Soul

DayBreaks for 10/03/11 – The Disease of the ‘Not Enough’ Soul

What do you really WANT?

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. – Philippians 4:11

Miroslav Volf, a theologian from Yale University, suggest that there are two distinct kinds of richness in life: “richness of having” and “richness of being.”  The differences between them should be fairly obvious on the surface.  Richness of having is external and it is the type of richness we usually focus on.  Richness of being is internal and involves our experiences.

Strangely, though few would suggest it out loud, most think that true happiness lies in the richness of having.  Our language reveals our belief: “If only I could have my dream house” or “If only I made more money” or “If I just had that car” or “If I only have enough money to retire.”  We spend lots of time pursuing those kinds of things.  As John Ortberg put it, We seek richness of having, but what we really want is richness of being.  While we may talk about the houses, cars, etc., what we really want is to be happy, joyful, content, free from anxiety.  The truth remain: we scramble after richness of having because we think it will produce richness of being…but it fails to deliver what we really want.

The result of this, Volf says, it that we are “not-enough people.”  Such people have no lasting satisfaction.  Doesn’t this advertisements tag line have the right of truth to it: Yesterday I didn’t know it existed; today I can’t live without it.  That is the characteristic symptom of one who has a “non-enough soul”.

No matter what is happening in your life, richness of being is always available.  It isn’t dependent on circumstances, but on being and living out of who and what God means for us to be.

What kind of richness are you spending your time and effort to achieve?  Paul could say what he did in Philippians 4:11 because he sought the richness of being, not of having.

PRAYER: Give us hearts that long to be filled with the richness of being Your child, fed and guided by Your Spirit, that we can become the people You mean us to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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The Most Powerful Treadmill

DayBreaks 02/23/11 – The Most Powerful Treadmill

Are you into exercise?  Do you go to the gym and climb on a stair-stepper, elliptical or treadmill?  Such devices are literally, life-savers for many.  Well, maybe that’s a bit strong – they can’t save a life, but they can prolong it.

 

The most powerful treadmill...desire.

I don’t like treadmills.  I was in a health club in Atlanta during the holidays in which an entire wall was lined with treadmills so that the people exercising on the treadmills were all facing the same direction.  On the wall that we were looking at, a movie was being shown, so the room was appropriately dark.  One person came in to get on a treadmill and failed to notice that the last person who had used the treadmill didn’t turn it off, so when she stepped onto the treadmill, she did a nose-dive as she flew off the back of the treadmill!  It was a strong, powerful machine…and it got the better of her because she was unaware that it was running.

 

While treadmills can cause injuries, there’s another kind of treadmill that is even worse – in fact, it is the most powerful treadmill in the world.  What is it?  It is the treadmill of desire.  Humans seem to be insatiable for stuff – possessions, material things.  We aren’t content with a single burger, we have to have it supersized.  We aren’t happy with the things we possess and we want more.  Advertising experts are constantly reminding us that we can’t really be happy without what they’re hawking, and we sure seem to agree with them.

Are you on that treadmill?  Are you looking for completion, satisfaction and fulfillment for the wrong things?  Jesus came to give us fullness of life – in all the ways that really matter.  He knows that what we long for isn’t really anything we can buy, but something that only His Spirit can produce in us and give us.

Don’t let the treadmill of desire throw you.  Redirect your desires to the things which are above!

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. – Colossians 3:2

PRAYER: We need You to change our desires, Lord, to turn us away from the things that tempt us to remain in this world.  Change our hearts to long for those things that can only come from Your Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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