DayBreaks for 09/14/18 – A Shaken Soul

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DayBreaks for 9/14/18: A Shaken Soul

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

From Michael Card, From the Studio:

(Peter) went in and found that many had assembled; and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”  Acts 10: 27-28 NRSV

“Jesus can make anyone clean, even the last person on earth Peter would expect to be clean: a Roman soldier, [possibly] one of the very ones who had crucified Jesus.  What an earthquake in Peter’s soul!  It was direct assault on his most basic beliefs.  But Jesus had come to shatter and redefine everything.  Certainly it is a shattered Simon who makes his way, for the first time in his life, into a Gentile dwelling.  He will find there men and women like himself who want nothing less than to eat the true bread of heaven.  People who, though they live in darkness, have nonetheless seen a great Light!

“The crowd Peter would have crossed the street to avoid, would have denied meal fellowship with, seems now bathed in a new light.  He sees bright eyes and hungry faces. He looks out at men and women, boys and girls who will suffer every bit as much as he will in the years to come for their allegiance to Jesus. He looks out on brothers and sisters.”

Galen’s Thoughts: how would you and I have reacted if we had the chance to preach the gospel to the crucifixion detail that crucified Christ?  How would you and I have reacted if invited to preach to the high priest and scribes who had Him arrested, beaten, spit on and condemned?  Would we have done it, or would we have pulled back in revulsion?

Each one of us knows someone that we just find, well…repulsive.  Someone who has done something so heinous either to ourselves or to someone we loved, that we can’t even stand the thought of being near them.  Would you share the gospel with them?  If not, why not?  Do you believe that’s how Jesus would have acted?

Let us remember that we’re not called to go into all the world and preach the gospel only to those who are fine, upstanding citizens and likeable folk.  For the most part, those people didn’t listen to Jesus (in fact, it was the upstanding citizens of Judea who had him arrested and put to death).  The repulsive – those with leprosy, the lame and mute (who everyone believed were sinners or they wouldn’t have had those ailments – even the dead and the sick of many stripes and colors, were the ones who listened to Jesus and responded to him.  If we want to fulfill the great commission, we must carry the gospel to everyone – everyone – even the Hitler’s, bin Laden’s, Pol Pot’s and mass murdering rapists.  That’s our job.  How they respond is their choice.  God won’t ask us if we convinced them – but will ask only if we “went” in obedience to the command. 

PRAYER: Keep us from prejudice and pride that might lead us to not share the good news with those who are most eager to receive it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18 – Preferring the 99

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DayBreaks for 4/11/18: Preferring the 99

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV) – What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

This is a painful passage for me. Sadly, while I think it should also be a challenging and painful passage for the church, I think in many cases we read it and fly right past it.

This passage gets to the very core of God’s heart. Who is it that owns the sheep in the passage? It is God, certainly. And while he has a sheep-fold full of sheep, he isn’t content with that. He knows there is still one out there that hasn’t come home with him, that is lost and in grave danger.

So what does he do? He goes out looking for it. There is no guarantee that he will be able to bring it home…for the passage says And if he finds it…. Some sheep don’t want to be found, and perhaps even more sadly, some perish before they are found.

Pay attention to the last sentence. He is not willing that ANY of these little ones should be lost. It’s not that he’s content if just a handful are lost…he’s not willing for even a single one to perish.

Which brings me to the painful part. Why does my heart not beat with the same passion for the lost sheep?

I fear that the church as a whole (I know there are many exceptions) prefers the ninety-nine. We prefer the comfort of the sheep-fold and seldom, if ever, venture out. We like to hang with other Christians (at least, I hope we do!) But if we lose sight of the heart of God from this passage, we may have missed God entirely. This is precisely why Jesus came: not to celebrate with the 99 but to “go out”. Does Jesus like it when Christians enjoy each other? Of course. But he will quickly leave us behind to find a single lost one.

When is the last time you brought someone to Christ – not just to church – but to saving knowledge of Christ? We should all have the urgency of Oskar Schindler who when the war was over, was heartbroken that he’d not done more, that he could have saved one more. Where is that passion in us?

Church, let us be challenged. Let us go out with the great Shepherd to find the lost so that not ANY should be lost!  

PRAYER: Jesus, I confess that it is far easier to sit in the pew than to leave the sheep-fold to find a lost lamb. I confess I have done far too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. Change us, give us your passion, fill us with your mission, let us hear your heartbeat clearly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/26/17 – Living Within a Yard of Hell

DayBreaks for 9/26/17: Living Within a Yard of Hell

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

I feel that I’ve been very fortunate in my life in many, many ways.  One of them is that I’ve lived in quite a few different places.  I was born in Iowa and raised as a farm boy for about the first 9 years, then moved to Florida, then southern California, then northern California.  After graduating from high school, I went back to Florida for college, then back to California, then to North Carolina, then back to northern California.  We lived in several cities in northern California before moving to Maine in 2003, and now we find ourselves back in northern California once again…but in a different place. 

I have enjoyed living in all those places – different scenery, different customs, different accents, different weather, different friends and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed living in every place I have ever lived.  I believe that of all the places we’ve lived, that Maine takes the cake for beauty – but other places have better weather.  For example, I’ve never slipped on the ice in the shopping center in Cloverdale, CA, which is more than I can say for living in Maine!  The leaves in Maine are like nowhere else on earth when they turn color, but Cloverdale is ringed with vineyards that turn colors, too, after the grapes are harvested. 

If you could live anywhere that you wanted to live, where would it be?  I found an interesting quote that I’d like to share with you.  It’s from C. T. Studd, and here’s what they had to say: “Some wish to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.”

Wow.  That draws me up short and really makes me think about how selfish I can be (and am!)  It also forces me to take stock of what matters the most to me.  Sure, who wouldn’t love to live close to the church and be constantly surrounded by other believers who are committed to loving one another and loving God?  But, such a scenario can have its drawbacks: it’s possible to love each other and God so much, but not love the world of unbelievers around us and therefore not make an effort to reach them because of their differences from us. 

What really makes me ashamed is to ask the question: “Where would Jesus have lived?”  Think about it.  If ever anyone was living in the sound of church bells (or choirs), Jesus had that luxury in heaven for all eternity.  He could have just stayed sitting on the throne of heaven and reveling in the music and praises of the angels.  But, instead, he chose to live within a yard of Hell by coming here and living with us. 

Does this mean that you have to feel guilty and move to a slum or inner city or jungle in order to fulfill your Christianity?  No, not at all.  Hopefully, you are where you are because God has called you to that place.  Besides, everywhere in this world is within a yard of Hell – just look around and you’ll see people queuing up to pass through its gates.  And, we may be the last chance any of them get at hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER:  Lord, we thank you for where you have placed us.  Help us to never grow complacent or become too introverted as your family, the church, that we forget the mission we are called to!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/18/16 – Titanic Story, #1

DayBreaks for 8/18/16 – Titanic Story, #1

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2006:

This is from a letter to the editor of August ’97 Focus on the Family recounting a story about the sinking of Titanic and a man by the name of John Harper:

“…John Harper, who was on the Titanic and traveling to Chicago to become the pastor at Moody Memorial church.  In the icy water, Harper won his last convert just before he drowned – a young Scotsman who survived.  He later told how Harper called out – while clinging to a floating spar – “Are ye saved, mon?” and quoted Acts 16.31 just in time.”

Galen’s thoughts:

I wonder how I would have spent my last few minutes before dying in the icy water of the north Atlantic.  I might have had my mind occupied with my wife and children, parents or other family and friends.  I might have cried and been pleading with God to save me from drowning.  I don’t know if I would have been focused on trying to share my faith with someone else, but when you think of it, what better time could there possibly be to share your faith when those around you are on the verge of dying?

Isn’t that the sad part?  Because it is true that people all around us are dying and they are dying in their sins.  We, through the grace and goodness of God and for no other reason, have the life raft that they all need.  We just don’t see them as drowning, dying people.  We see them as laughing, shopping, working, studying, ordinary every day people who are just going casually about their business.  But without the saving blood of Jesus Christ, they are adrift in the cold waters that will take their life for all eternity. 

Part of the problem is that they, themselves, don’t realize that they are dying.  They think that they are just fine. That they are “unsinkable” and that all is well.  How sad and tragic! 

I’m reminded by a gospel hymn that was written long ago (I don’t remember the name of the composer) as he was aboard a ship that was sinking because the lighthouse wasn’t working.  The words go as follows, and they serve as a challenge to each one of us:  “Let the lower lights be burning, send a gleam across the wave, some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save.” 

We are the lighthouse.  We are to be set upon a hill so that the light can’t be hidden.  Let your light shine and rescue those who are dying.  Is your light shining bold and brightly?  This may be the last day you will have to reach a certain person, to touch them with the love of the Lord.   Throw out the lifeline to someone today!

PRAYER:  Give us Your sense of urgency for those who are lost and dying.  Give us boldness to speak words of truth. Your Words are truth and they are life.  May we never forgive that.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 7/15/16 – Let Me Be That Kind of Bum

(Note: the above picture is not Oscar Childs!)

DayBreaks for 7/15/16 – Let Me Be That Kind of Bum

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2006:

Tony Campolo was at a conference I attended and he told a story about a bum in Sydney, Australia.  It seems that for a period of about 9 years, there was a particular bum who always hung around the train station in Sydney.  It seems that as people would be waiting for their train, he would approach them, cautiously but respectfully, and ask them a question: “If you died tonight, do you know where you’d spend eternity?”  Then he’d disappear. 

Apparently, Campolo traveled to Sydney from time to time, and twice while he was there, he encountered two different men, 2 years apart, who shared a story with him about a bum that they’d encountered at the train station who had made them think about life and death, and who had reached them for Christ with a simple question.

Some years later, on another visit to Sydney, Mr. Campolo was on a radio show, being interviewed, and someone told him the story of a man named Oscar Childs.  Oscar Childs was a bum who hung around the train station, asking people if they knew where they would spend eternity.  In a matter of minutes, the phone lines of the radio show were flooded with calls as hundreds of people phoned in to tell stories of how Mr. Childs had helped lead them to Christ as they’d waited in the train station.  It seems that Mr. Childs had just died.  He was a bum, just a bum, and he died as a bum…but what a legacy he left behind him (or actually carried with him) for eternity!  In this world Mr. Childs had little to nothing, but he wasn’t primarily concerned about this world.  He was concerned about the next and about taking as many people with him to heaven as possible.  Talk about meaning and purpose in life – talk about doing something that will live on after we’re long gone!  Mr. Childs died a happy man and he will live in eternity with many friends he made in a train station in Sydney.

PRAYER:  In our hurry, Jesus, we get carried away with the rush to get somewhere, to achieve something.  And in most cases, what we’re trying to achieve isn’t very important at all.  And we sacrifice the things that are truly important for a handful of dust.  Give us hearts that are eager to share You and your love with those who so desperately need to know You.  Thank You for examples of people like Mr. Childs, a brother we have never met, but whom we someday will.  Give us courage like lions for you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/8/16 – Things We Won’t Do in Heaven

DayBreaks for 4/08/16 – Things We Won’t Do in Heaven

How much time do you spend thinking about heaven? My guess is that we don’t spend enough, though there is a danger that we can become so “heavenly-minded that we’re of no earthly good”! God told us about heaven because He wants us to long for it, to strive for it, to persevere to reach it. It is motivational.

When you stop to think about it, what are things that we do here that we won’t do in heaven? Some of them come readily to mind:

We won’t age.

We won’t get sick.

We won’t die.

We won’t cry tears of pain or sorrow.

And, of course, there’s another big one: we won’t sin.

All of those things will be nothing more than echoes (if even that) of a long distant, forgotten past. And not one of us will more their passing. Sure, there won’t be taxes or bills to pay, either, but those pale in comparison to the “big ones”.

But on Sunday, the preacher also made another observation that I’d not thought about before. You see, when we get in heaven, we won’t be witnessing any more. Our chances to do that will be over and gone. In heaven there won’t be anyone to witness to in the sense that we talk about witnessing to someone in order to win them to Christ – because everyone there will already have been won to Christ!

We aren’t there yet, through, are we. In the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, the rich man is in torment after his demise. He begs to be able to go back and witness to his family, to tell them the truth…but he is told it is not possible. How his heart must have been crushed at those words!

If you’re reading this, you’re not in heaven yet. That means you still have a chance to witness to not just your family and friends, but anyone who will give you the time of day.

What good reason can you think of not to witness? I can’t think of one, either.

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, make us bold! Give us Your power! Let us be your witnesses wherever we go and at all times while we still can! For our loved ones who are wandering, we plead Your intervention. For our friends who don’t know You, give us the courage to speak as so if possible, to bring them to glory forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/7/16 – Take it and Play It

DayBreaks for 4/07/16 – Take It and Play It

You may not know the name, but Fritz Kreisler was one of the world’s greatest violinists. His first violin was made from a board, strings and a cigar box. When he was four, he was given a child’s violin and he proceeded to stun those around him by playing the Austrian national anthem in perfect pitch and rhythm. His talent was a God-given gift – he rarely practiced after the age of twelve.

Kreisler was, by all accounts, a very generous man, and though he made a very good living, he gave a lot of money away to worthy causes, leaving himself with a much less comfortable living than he could have had.

Being a maestro on the violin, he knew a good instrument when he saw one. One day he was with a dealer of fine instruments when he was shown a truly extraordinary violin that Kreisler desperately wanted. Not having the funds with him, he went home and in some period of time managed to put together the funds necessary to buy the instrument.

He hurried back to the dealer with great anticipation and excitement, but when he arrived, he was dismayed to learn the violin had already been sold to a collector. Not willing to let the violin go, Kreisler got the name of the collector from the dealer and went to visit him in an attempt to convince him to sell Kreisler the instrument.

Much to his dismay, the collector refused, saying it was the prize possession of his collection. After multiple attempts to talk the collector into selling, Kreisler saw the resolve in the man and said that if the man wouldn’t sell the violin, would he be willing to let Kreisler play it once before he left. The collector agreed and Kreisler took the violin and began to play.

The music that flowed from the instrument and the musician was unlike anything the collector had ever heard before, and deeply touched, he said to Kreisler, “I have no right to keep it to myself – you take it and play it for the world.”

Do you see how this relates to our life as believers? Jesus has something that is precious to him…so precious that he died for it…and he has put it in our hands and said, “You have no right to keep this to yourself.  Go, give it to the world.” What is it that he has given us? It is the most beautiful music the world will ever hear – it is the love song of the Creator who became flesh, died for us and rose for us – so that anyone who believes can have eternal life.

It is a love song too good and too beautiful to keep to ourselves. Will we play the love song for the world?

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, let us carry the love song you died to write to the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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