DayBreaks for 11/30/16 – The Greatest Reunion in History

 

DayBreaks for 11/30/16 – The Greatest Reunion in History

Luke 23:50-56 describes some activities that went on after Jesus expired on the cross.  It is the story of Joseph of Arimathea who went to Pilate and requested permission to take the body of Jesus and bury him in his own tomb.  The story is told much as a journalist would report on any activity on a normal day.  Luke has a way of lulling us to a comfortable spot only to make us jump awake again.  But not in this instance.  Jesus was in the tomb – the hero of the story has been taken out of the picture for the time being.

As I pondered this passage, I found myself asking, “Where was Jesus when this was going on?  What was he doing? Is this when he descended into hades to preach to the dead? Was he in the Father’s Presence (“This day you shall be with me in paradise….”)? We can speculate, but we don’t know for sure.

But if we are to understand his words to the thief on the cross as I believe Jesus intended for us to understand them, I think he was in Paradise, and I found myself wondering what that reunion was like? Can you picture the reunion between the Father and Son and Spirit as they hugged in joyful reunion? Were there tears? What words were spoken between them? What must the song of the angels have been like at Jesus’ homecoming? (Not just now, but after the ascension, too!) We have no answers to these questions because ultimately, they are irrelevant. Our curiosity can distract us from what is important: Jesus’ substitutionary death, vicarious, bloody, sacrificial. Jesus (God) died. Nietizsche was right – but he just had the timing all wrong.  And he didn’t anticipate the events of the following Sunday.

PRAYER: Father, how You must have delighted to greet Your Son after His sacrifice and work was completed! I believe Your joy wasn’t just for Him, but also for us being able to be freed and cleansed from our sin! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/29/16 – Psalm 23 for the Advent Season

DayBreaks for 11/29/16: Psalm 23 for Advent

Here is a version of the 23rd Psalm that ought to be mandatory reading each day of Advent. Maybe it’ll speak to you as it did to me:

The Lord is my pace setter . . . I shall not rush

He makes me stop for quiet intervals

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here

His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility

My cup of joyous energy overflows

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.

PRAYER: Lord, even as David spoke great truths about you in Psalm 23, may this remind us in our own busy and frenetic lives that when we abide in you we shall always have your peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/28/16 – Awaiting the Light

DayBreaks for 11/28/16: Awaiting the Light

Sunday marked the first Sunday of Advent. Maybe this year it will hold special meaning for us all.

For millennia, the people of God awaited the Messiah, hinted at in the garden of Eden, prophesied about to Abram and many others in the Old Testament. None of those lived to see the Messiah (called the Light in the gospel of John) when He showed up. In fact, for almost all those thousands of years, darkness seemed to prevail and dominate. Yet the people of God never gave up their hope.

Advent is a time of hope. We are reminded of the long period of waiting from the time the concept of a Redeemer first appears in the Old Testament until the birth of the Christ child. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Hoping against hope, His people were often filled with despair and cried out to their God.

Is it all that different today? We read of atrocities in the middle east, just this weekend we heard about a shooting in New Orleans. We have many in our country who are terrified and horrified about the outcome of the election as they fear the future. Some of those are brothers and sisters in faith.

We should let this time of Advent remind us of the long period of waiting before the Light appeared – but He did appear even as it was foretold. God’s people were vindicated to have never lost their hope. We remember that at Advent.

But that’s not all that we hope for, is it? If so, we’re hoping for something that’s already happened and we don’t need to hope for it any longer.

We who are of the faith should also at Advent hope in the fact that the Light will come again. It was prophesied – as was His first appearance. The first hope was rewarded and met with its fulfillment – and our hope will be, too. We hope, in spite of all the events in the world, that this may be the day when the Light shines once more.

This next time that the Light appears, however, will be different than the first. In the first He came as a baby in a manger. In the second He will come as the victorious King of Kings. In the first He came to show us what the kingdom looks like. In the second he will bring the Kingdom in its fullness. When He came the first time, He knew He would have to leave and there would be a second coming. When He comes this next time, He will never leave again. And once He comes this next time we will never need to hope again for all wrongs will be righted, all injustice will meet with justice, all struggles and strivings will cease…forever.

This is the hope we celebrate on this first week of Advent. It hope it is your hope, too.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for the sure hope that we have in Your coming once again! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/25/16 – The Games People Play

DayBreaks for 11/25/16: The Games People Play

The 1960’s pop singer Joe South wrote a song that had these words:

Oh the games people play now

Every night and every day now

Never meaning what they say now

Never saying what they mean

And they wile away the hours

In their ivory towers

Till they’re covered up with flowers

In the back of a black limousine

Games…we love to play games. Board games, sports games, mind games, video games, computer games, word games, mathematical…the list goes on and on. As human beings we are fascinated by our games. Games are good-for games can and do provide physical exercise and mental stimulation as well as develop coping skills, management skills-not to mention providing a respite from the pressures of everyday life. Yes, we all love games-some of us too much. It has been said of Americans that we “play at our work and work at our play.” Yes, there are times when even the best of us take our games too seriously.

There are also games we play that we should not play. These are the games that we use to avoid life, to avoid dealing with the harsh realities that life can bring us. Back in the sixties Eric Berne wrote Games People Play–an analysis of the ways in which people relate to each other and why we do so. His basic thesis is that “games are substitutes for the real living of real life.” We play games because we do not want to get down to the real human business of honest to God interaction. We would rather live at a superficial level of societal games than to talk about who we are and what we feel.

What games are you playing that may be detrimental to your family, your work, your friends, your health? What games are you playing that weaken your walk with Christ? Don’t you think it may be time to stop playing some of those games and get real?

PRAYER: Father, may we take time to play – but give us the wisdom to know when to play and when to be serious! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/24/16 – Thanksgiving Questions

DayBreaks for 11/24/16: Thanksgiving Questions

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I love this holiday. I hope you do, too. I realize you may have had a very difficult year, and if so, I am sorry for the pain you’ve had. Yet, we all have things to be thankful for, don’t we?

A group of Moms got together and composed a list of things they are thankful for. They wrote that they were especially thankful:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after dinner snacks.

“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

“For children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.

“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.”

And finally, “For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”

Each of us would have our own list of the things for which we are thankful. Most of us are mature enough in our faith to recognize that Thanksgiving is a most dangerous holiday. When we give thanks for our good health, what does that say to people who do not have a healthy body? Does that say that we are more deserving than they, or that somehow God loves us more?

When we thank God for our nice homes or our families or our freedom as Americans, what does this say about good, decent God-loving people around the world who do not share these blessings?

I have no ready answers for such questions and neither does anyone else. I would prefer, however, as we give thanks this Thursday and all the rest of the year, that we do it for the right reasons.

What are some of the things that every Christian, regardless of his or her circumstance, in every corner of the globe can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season? What are some of the things that you can be grateful for today that you might not typically think to give thanks for? Search out a few – and thank God for them today!

PRAYER: We have much to thank You for today, God! I pray that You will be the unseen, yet honored guest of honor at our tables and in our hearts on this Thanksgiving day! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 11/23/16 – The Necessary Arrangements

DayBreaks for 11/23/16: The Necessary Arrangements

There is an Italian legend about a master and servant.

It seems the servant was not very smart and the master used to get very exasperated with him. Finally, one day, in a fit of temper, the master said: “You really are the stupidest man I know. Here, I want you to carry this staff wherever you go. And if you ever meet a person stupider than yourself, give them this staff.”

So time went by, and often in the marketplace the servant would encounter some pretty stupid people, but he never found someone appropriate for the staff. Years later, he returned to his master’s home. He was shown into his master’s bedroom, for the man was quite sick and in bed. In the course of their conversation the master said: “I’m going on a journey soon.”

“When will you return?”, asked the servant.

“This is a journey from which I will not return.” the master replied.

The servant asked: “Have you made all the necessary arrangements?”

“No, I guess I have not.”

“Well, could you have made all the arrangements?”

“Oh yes, I guess I’ve had time. I’ve had all my life. But I’ve been busy with other things…”

With that, the servant took the staff the master had given him years earlier and placed it beside the bed of the master. “Sir, he said, I have finally found someone more deserving of this staff than I.”

The moral of the story is quite obvious, isn’t it? But what isn’t so obvious to us is the extent to which we are like the master in this story. Perhaps for years you have made fun of those who clung to faith, thinking that they were stupid, foolish, superstitious and ignorant. The other thing which isn’t so obvious to us is how entrapped we have become in the pursuit of other things, those things which kept our hearts and minds from the ultimate question that we will face on our death bed. How tragic it would be to find ourselves in that position and not have made “the arrangements” necessary for the trip into eternity.

How are your preparations coming?

PRAYER: Lord, our enemy tries to keep us blinded and oblivious to the ultimate realities in life. He tries to keep us too busy to think about such things. Wake us up, Jesus, so that we and our loved ones can make the necessary arrangements so that when we are on our deathbed, we will have the confidence that comes from a relationship with You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/22/16 -The Language of Violence

DayBreaks for 11/22/16: The Language of Violence

We in America have just concluded the most rancorous election that those of us who are alive can recall. Though the election was nearly two weeks ago, people are still marching in the streets, calling one another by horrific names, ascribing the worst possible motives to why people voted as they did. People have called for assassinations because things didn’t turn out the way they wanted. It has been, in word, ungodly, to say the least.

Claude Brown, who wrote Manchild in the Promised Land, in an article, said that people under forty in our society have never lived in America where movie language was not liberally laced with obscenities. He said that profanity is rapidly replacing English as the language of the American people. Then he added this. He said, “Most people don’t know it, but profanity is the language of violence.”

People say, words can’t hurt you. We know better, don’t we? They can hurt you. Words can and do dehumanize. That’s why in war the enemy is always described in language that is dehumanizing. You will never hear the military referring to the enemy as “brothers and sisters,” or as “children of God.” They couldn’t kill them if they referred to them that way. You use language that describes the enemy as less than human, designed to make us think of the “enemy” as ungodly in the sense of “not being made in His image.” Somehow, it’s easier to attack, demonize and devalue others if we can find a way to not see them as being made in God’s image – no matter how well or poorly they reflect that image.

That is precisely the language that is being used in our cities today. The language that is used in our society now is the language that has been coined in warfare. There are words that dehumanize. There are words that make life cheap and ugly. There are words that hurt people. There are words that profane what is sacred and holy about human life. You use them and they will affect your life, and the life of those around you. And they will affect how you think of others.

But there are words that heal. There are words that build. There are words that create. There are words that unite. There are words that can redeem. There are words that can reconcile you to someone from whom you are estranged. There are words that lead to peace. Who will be the people in this society who speak the words of peace? Should it not first and foremost those who claim His image?

Jesus gave us an example of the power of healing words when He said to the thief on the cross: “This day you will be with me in paradise.”

You and I have a choice to speak words of peace and healing, or words that dehumanize those we don’t agree with. I hope we choose the path of healing!

PRAYER: Father, there is much frustration in our land and in our hearts and we try to make ourselves feel better by attacking those who don’t think or act in the same way we do. Let us never forget that even our bitterest enemy on this earth was made in Your image and can be redeemed by words that heal. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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