DayBreaks for 11/29/18 – But I am Watching

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DayBreaks for 11/29/18: But I Am Watching

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

I love to preach the good news!  I love to preach about freedom, healing – I love to talk about joy and meaning, purpose and love.  Those are all biblical themes.  But a preacher can’t just talk about the good, fuzzy-feeling things.  It is necessary to also preach about judgment, sin, punishment, righteousness, holiness, perseverance.  It’s easy to get in a rut and only talk about the good stuff.

The Word, however, has a way of pulling us up short and reminding us that there is not only a loving God who is eager and quick to forgive, but that this God is ever vigilant, watching all things.  This past week in my quite time, I ran across a passage that reminded me that God watches, that He sees…that He doesn’t miss a single thing.  Hosea 7:1-2 (NLT) – I wanted to heal Israel, but its sins were far too great. Samaria is filled with liars, thieves, and bandits! Its people don’t realize I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them; I see them all!

I was grateful for this reminder, and you should be, too.  It is a warning, and maybe you don’t need warnings any more, but I still do and I suspect that you do, too.  It is good to be reminded that God wants to heal.  It is also good to remember that He sees us and our sinful deeds – he sees “them all!”   

It is important to remember that God not only watches and sees what we are doing, but what we aren’t doing, too.  We can sin both ways.

Today I will make choices about what I say, what I do, what I don’t say and what I don’t do.  So will you.  Remember this: God is watching.

Prayer: May we live in a constant acknowledgement this day that You are watching, and You see all.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 11/07/17 – Someone is Watching

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DayBreaks for 11/07/17: Someone is Watching

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Syndicated New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a keen observer of world trends, devoted a recent column to the idea that technology has made everyone a potential paparazzo.  Here’s his thinking in a nutshell: anyone we encounter could have a cell phone with a camera that could record our actions.  If we’re rude or misbehave, we could end up on the offended party’s blog or MySpace website for the whole world to see.  “We’re all public figures now,” concludes Friedman.

For support, Friedman cites the new book How by Dov Seidman.  Its thesis: in this world of new and potentially revealing technology, how we live our lives and conduct our businesses has become far more significant than what we do.  “We do not live in glass houses (houses have walls); we live on glass microscope slides…visible and exposed to all,” writes Seidman.

I think as children we were all intrigued with the concept of a glass house.  We were too young then to think about all the downsides of such a living arrangement – we only thought about how cool it would be to be able to have 360 degrees of vision at all times. 

You’ve seen his point proven on the news nearly every night – a hidden camera captures a thief robbing a convenience store, kidnapping someone, showing the shaking caused by an earthquake.  If you look closely at the stop light poles in your town, you’ll notice lots of little cameras.  Or in department stores, they hang from the ceiling in glassed-over little orbs.  Whether you want to be or not, you’re constantly being watched.  It can be a bit unnerving if you’re aware of it – and even if you aren’t, it can be unnerving afterwards when you think, “I probably was on camera when I was doing that.”

Long before video cameras were invented, long before the first human eyes were fashioned by the fingers of God, there was a God who sees.  Hagar met this God in the wilderness as she fled from her mistress, Sarah.  And knowing that He saw her in her distress and isolation, gave her the strength she needed to return once again to her mistress. 

We should remember that the God who sees is greater than the camera that sees.  We shouldn’t alter our actions and behavior to please the camera, but to please God.  Why does God watch us?  I think He probably watches us for the main reason that I spent so much time watching our children or grandchildren: I delighted in them and wanted to protect them.  I certainly didn’t watch them mostly to catch them doing something wrong so I could punish them.  I delighted in watching them.  I’m convinced that God delights in watching His children, too, even though we will occasionally do things that cause Him grief.

PRAYER: Thank You that You are the God Who sees, and yet the God Who loves those He sees.  May we be increasingly aware each day of Your eye upon us, and rather than resent it, come to love You for caring so much about us that we are never out of Your sight!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/3/16: If I Should Die…

DayBreaks for 8/03/16 – If I Should Die…

Many of you are familiar with the childhood prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep, ” but I was little surprised to learn that it is a shortened version of an Old English prayer, which goes like this:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,

bless the bed that I lie on.

Before I lay me down to sleep,

I give my soul to Christ to keep.

 

Four corners to my bed,

four angels there aspread,

two to foot, and two to head,

and two to carry me when I’m dead.

 

I go by sea, I go by land,

the Lord made me by his right hand.

If any danger comes to me,

Sweet Jesus Christ, deliver me.

 

He’s the branch, and I’m the flower,

pray God send me a happy hour.

And if I die before I wake,

I pray that Christ my soul will take.

 The prayer has an important refrain, that Christ is the keeper, the caretaker of our soul. And, when we slip into the unconsciousness of the night I suppose, on a daily bases, we are never nearer death. It was out of this fear of sleep that this prayer was written. At night, when we are vulnerable, we want someone watching over us. During the daytime when we are afraid, we want someone watching over us. When we come to die, we want someone watching over us.

The wonderful news: Someone is!

PRAYER:  Thank you for never sleeping or taking your eyes off us for even a single moment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/23/16 – Remain and Watch

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Gethsemane, January 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple

DayBreaks for 3/23/16 – Remain and Watch

Mark 14:34 – My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death, remain here and keep watch.

Jesus, of course, spoke those words to his disciples on the night of his betrayal after he’d led them across the Kidron into the garden of Gethsemane.  He was in agony.  I don’t believe it was because of fear of death at all.  Countless men and women have gone heroically, stoically and quietly to their deaths for various causes throughout history.  Why should we believe that Jesus didn’t have the composure to face death?  Certainly, he was not afraid of death for he holds the keys to “death and hades.”  But he was deeply, deeply grieved. 

As I thought about the verse from Mark, I was again reminded of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.  The five foolish ones had run out of oil and were gone when the bridegroom came to the wedding feast and they were shut out.  They had not kept watch faithfully until the bridegroom showed up.  Scriptures are full of admonitions to be awake, be alert, be on guard, to keep watch.  Why?  Because we have a tendency to be sleepy, to lose our focus, to get distracted by all sorts of other things of lesser value.

As I thought about Mark 14:34, I thought that he could have repeated those words as he ascended, and I also thought about what Jesus would say to us today.  As he sits enthroned at the right hand of God above the circle of the earth and as he looks down at us, I think he would repeat the same thing he said in the garden: “My soul is deeply grieved…remain here and keep watch.”  He is grieved by what he sees – the hatred, the greed, the abuse and immorality.  But he would reiterate to us our mission: “remain here and keep watch.”  We are his representatives here on this planet.  He’s left us here to continue his work and to keep watch for his interests…and for his return.  What are you watching and waiting for?  How are you spending the time he’s given you here?

TODAY’S PRAYER:  There is so much to distract us from terrorist bombings to toothaches and we are so easily distracted, Lord.  Help us to see the things you see, to care about the things you care about, to do the work that you’ve given us to do.  Help us to watch, and wait, faithfully.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple

DayBreaks for 08/27/12 – If God Knows

DayBreaks for 08/27/12 – If God Knows

 

(NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next week and will have very limited access to email to respond to comments/questions.  Thanks for your understanding!)

Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”

Sometimes I think it would be much easier to actually work for the Lord, not for men.  And just as I begin to think that, there’s a part of me that shouts: “Galen!  You DO actually work for the Lord!”  You see, it is He who will judge our work habits as well as our honesty, faithfulness and service.

A. J. Cronin wrote about a district nurse that he had known when he was engaged in his medical practice.  For over 20 years, alone, she plied her healing skills to all within a 10-mile radius.  “I marveled,’ he says, “at her patience, her fortitude and her cheerfulness.  She was never too tired at night to rise for an urgent call.  Her salary was most inadequate, and late one night, after a particularly strenuous day, I ventured to protest to her, ‘Nurse, why don’t you make them pay you more?  God knows you are worth it.

If God knows I’m worth it,” she answered, “that’s all that matters to me.”  She was working, not for men, but for God.  And when we work for God, prestige will be the last thing that enters into our mind, for we will know that even our best is not good enough for him.”  (Wm. Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, The Daily Bible Study Series)

What a wonderful attitude this nurse demonstrated!  We all like recognition – we all seek it and to varying degrees, feast on it.  But this industrious woman seems to have found the secret of the recognition that really matters.  Think about it: if God were to praise you, could anyone else’s praise mean more to you?

It is hard to work as unto the Lord, for it appears that he has little say in our merit increase or compensation level, right?  Wrong!  He has everything to do with it!  He rewards the faithful (1 Sam 26:23) – “The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness.”  You see, it is only the review that God fills out that ultimately and finally matters.  It may not mean more money in this world, but He has promised to reward those who are righteous and faithful!

What will his review of your work habit and commitment say?

PRAYER: Lord, some day are very hard to remain tuned in to the fact that we are working for you.  The first work day of the week, in particular, can be very hard to approach with thankfulness, joy and energy.  Let us see you in our boss and seek to please you with our work offering this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 06/12/12 – Lessons in Human Nature #2

DayBreaks for 06/12/12 – Lessons in Human Nature #2

Mt. 27:55 – 55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.

The various descriptions of human behavior around, or at the time of the crucifixion, are fascinating.  Here, we learn that there were many women who were followers of Jesus (after all, they’d followed him all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem) were witnesses to the crucifixion.  This is not surprising, I suppose.  Just as in modern times, it seems that women are often the first to follow Jesus, and a visit to a local church will find more women than men in attendance.  So, first of all, let’s give women their due.  There is a great deal that we men can, and should, learn from them!

But here, we find the women “watching from a distance” – what a description!  Why were they at a distance?  It wasn’t apparently because women weren’t allowed to be close to the actual site, for Mary, Jesus’ mother, was at the foot of the cross.  I suspect it was a combination of fear and revulsion.

The revulsion part comes in to play at any gruesome scene.  Consider cars passing by a fatal accident on the road.  There is a fascination with what is going on, but does anyone really want to stick their head inside the car and witness the carnage if you don’t have to?  No.

The fear part is obvious.  Death and crucifixions were afoot.

The lesson here is this: we want to be involved with Jesus, to see him and his story and hear his words, but only from a distance.  When we get too close to Him, the temperature rises and the water gets hot, just as Peter learned in the courtyard of Pilate.  These women were most likely very interested and concerned about what was happening, but also terrified – Romans didn’t care if they crucified men, women or children – and these women may well have been terrified for their lives so it is hard to blame them.

That makes me ask: what would you and I have done?  Would we have been there at all?

PRAYER: Lord, I know you don’t want followers who follow at arm’s distance, but disciples who are covered in your dust, disciples who have your blood fall on them from the cross, not who stand at a distance.  Forgive us our quaking fears for our own safety over the advance of Your Kingdom.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 has just launched another project: to put in a water system for what will be the only pediatric hospital in all of Rwanda!  If you are interested in learning more, go to our blog: http://iam2.org/blog to read about it and learn how you can help! We are trying to raise up a massive army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us deliver this water system through our partner, BeyondPoverty.org.  The budget for this water system is $8300.  Every gift matters…and every gift is appreciated!  They ALL make a difference!

Also, don’t forget our other project, Bright Future Children’s Home.  You can read the latest update about them at the blog, too, and can help us move forward with the feeding, clean water and protection these 37 kids in Kenya need to not just live, but grow!!!  We still need to raise a bit over $4000 to fulfill our mission.  Donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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DayBreaks for 11/23/11 – We Stand and Watch

DayBreaks for 11/23/11 – We Stand and Watch

We stand and watch...

3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm 82:3-4

If you have been a Christian for a while, you’ve heard the story of the gospel over and over.  You know the entire story, you have all the information.  You’d think that it would be easy for us to see and recognize Christ at the King.  But do we?  How do you recognize Jesus as the King?  Or do you?  We American’s are an “independent, stand on our two feet, nobody tells us what to do, rugged” kind of people.  Because of that we may have trouble recognizing Jesus at times.

In Luke’s story of the crucifixion it seems that there is nobody on the scene who recognizes Jesus as the king.  As Luke weaves the story about those of his time, he has taken the liberty of painting us into the story as well.  He describes people who were there that day but who did nothing except to stand there and watch: And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” – Luke 23:35

Did you see yourself there?  “And the people stood by, watching.” That’s us, isn’t it?  All around us grinding poverty and immorality is slowly destroying our youth and we just stand by and watch, preferably from a safe distance, preferably from inside a gated community. We watch the world turn secular and get busier and busier – all while we know that there is a spiritual side to life but we just can’t seem to find a crack our tightly wound schedules to grow spiritually.  We think about a Bible study but just can’t tolerate the idea of one more thing to attend. We won’t even pull off the road to watch a sunset for fear that we will be late to the next appointment. In trying to do everything, we are doing nothing of lasting value for our souls. When a king passes by in your life, you don’t just stand and watch. You respond.

Have you seen the King?  Do you recognize Him?  Or do you just stand and watch, letting opportunities and life pass you by?

PRAYER: Lord, when we see you, help us recognize you and not be counted among those who “stand and watch!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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