DayBreaks for 8/01/18 – The Hope of a New Beginning

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The Raising of Lazarus, Vincent Van Gogh, 1890

DayBreaks for 8/01/18: The Hope of a New Beginning

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

“Yellow is not my favorite color. But now that I know the story of Vincent van Gogh, I have come to value yellow differently. This famous Dutch painter, sadly, tossed away the truth imparted him in his Christian home and sank into depression and destruction. By the grace of God, as he later began to embrace the truth again, his life took on hope, and he gave that hope color.

“The best-kept secret of van Gogh’s life is that the truth he was discovering is seen in the gradual increase of the presence of the color yellow in his paintings. Yellow evoked (for him) the hope and warmth of the truth of God’s love. In one of his depressive periods, seen in his famous The Starry Night, one finds a yellow sun and yellow swirling stars, because van Gogh thought truth was present only in nature. Tragically, the church, which stands tall in this painting and should be the house of truth, is about the only item in the painting showing no traces of yellow. But by the time he painted The Raising of Lazarus, his life was on the mend as he began to face the truth about himself. The entire picture is (blindingly) bathed in yellow. In fact, van Gogh put his own face on Lazarus to express his own hope in the Resurrection.

“Yellow tells the whole story: life can begin all over again because of the truth of God’s love. Each of us, whether with actual yellows or metaphorical yellows, can begin to paint our lives with the fresh hope of a new beginning.” – Scot McKnight, The Jesus Creed, Paraclete Press, 2004

Galen’s Thoughts: One of my very favorite verses in Scripture is in Revelation, where Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new.”  We like “new”, don’t we?  Whether we’re talking about a car, a new recipe, a new friend, a new home.  We like new things.  In the English the word “new” is deceptive.  The Greeks had 2 different words for new: chronos (new in time) and kairos (new in kind).  In the Revelation passage, Jesus uses “kairos”, as if he’s saying, “I will be making everything new – like nothing you’ve seen before.”  Jesus gives us new beginnings – a beginning like we’ve never had, one with a different outcome than our first “beginning.”  

When will it happen and we obtain the new beginning?  At two different times, actually.  We receive some of it now when we accept Christ, but we receive it in full when the “new world” that Jesus makes come to pass.  It’s when Matthew 25:34 (NIV) becomes a reality: Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

Don’t miss that last phrase: “…the kingdom PREPARED FOR YOU since the creation of the world.”  God’s kingdom is to be our kingdom…it has been prepared for us.  We normally think of the kingdom as being God’s…but as His children, we inherit all things along with Christ. 

Are you ready for the new kingdom?  Are you ready for a new beginning, as Van Gogh found?  Paint your world with hope and joy, for the kingdom awaits you!

Luke 12:31-32 (NLT) – He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.’”

PRAYER:  How can we get our minds around what You have done for us?  That You should choose to give us the kingdom that rightly belongs to You is incomprehensible.  Thank you for new beginnings, for new worlds and new heavens in which righteousness, and we, will dwell!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 6/20/18 – Was James Crazy?

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DayBreaks for 6/20/18: Was James Crazy?

In James 1:2-4, James wrote, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Did you catch what James is suggesting?  “Consider it all joy”?  I mean, how many of us really wake up in the morning and say, “God, please send me trials today that I can be joyful!”  You’re much more likely to think: “James, you’re a nut.  Give me a break.  Every0one knows that trials are things to be avoided, not embraced!” 

Did James mean what he wrote?  Yes, I believe he meant EXACTLY what he said.  Pay close attention to his words or we’ll misunderstand what he’s trying to teach us.  He did not say: “Consider yourself lucky when trials rain down on your life a cloudburst.”  What he did say was this: “Consider it all joy.”  There is a difference between happiness and joy.

Larry Crabb perceptively wrote in his book, Shattered Dreams, “People who insist on happiness never find joy.”  We have a tendency to think that happiness and joy are the same thing.  They are not.  Happiness results when things we like and enjoy come to pass, but it is transient – it comes and goes.  Joy, however, is not something the comes and goes with the changing of circumstances.  Joy is a calmness that runs beneath life’s storms, it is a delight that settles the heart and gives the soul an anchor that holds fast in the midst of the greatest storms of life. 

May you experience both joy and happiness…but don’t confuse the two.  And if you can have only one – choose the joy that can rule in your heart even in the midst of various trials!

PRAYER: We thank You, God, for joy.  We thank you that in the midst of trials, we can have joy even though happiness seems far away.  May we have that joy knowing that in our trials, you are perfecting us and completing us as You please.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/12/18 – No Longer Enslaved

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DayBreaks for 6/12/18: No Longer Enslaved

I have never been a slave. Well, let me qualify that statement. I have never been physically enslaved and I hope that I never will be physically enslaved. I cannot imagine what that would be like.

But I have been enslaved. Romans 6:6 (ESV) – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, my old boss/owner killed me: Ephesians 2:1 (ESV) – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

Hopefully, you know the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would have said): we who are believers are no longer slaves to sin, we have been brought from death to life by Christ and his resurrection, grace and forgiveness of our sin.

But…but…are you still a slave to the idea that God just has had it with you? That you are a wretched, hopeless, lost cause? I grew up in a church where I was taught I could go to hell if I sinned after I last prayed and before I could pray again. I grew up with the concept that you vacillated between being lost and being saved by the moment and what you thought, did, or didn’t do in that moment. It was like living on a razor’s edge and it was awful. I was often afraid of the eternal fires of hell. But thanks be to God I learned the truth from Romans!

I am no longer a slave to fear. Do I have momentary gaps in my confidence because of something I’ve done or thought? Sure. But I’m not enslaved by it because I have been set free from the power of sin and death and there is therefore no condemnation for me.

The marvelous series our preachers have been delivering on Sunday morning on Romans 8 has been powerful to say the least. And re-assuring as well. This past Sunday we sang three very powerful songs: Glory is Yours was the first, reminding me that the battle is over and the victory has been won and I will rise again and he’ll get the glory. The second was Who You Say I Am and we were reminded that “Who the Son sets free, Oh is free indeed. I’m a child of God, Yes I am!
In my Father’s house, There’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, Yes I am!” And finally, No Longer Slaves that told us “You unravel me, with a melody, You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies Till all my fears have gone. I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God…I am surrounded by the arms of the father. I am surrounded by songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated from our bondage.
We’re the sons and the daughters. Let us sing our freedom.”

I don’t know about you but those three songs lifted my spirits to the heavens in an incredible way. Maybe today you are full of fear about your destiny and salvation. Read Romans 8. Listen to the three songs I linked above. And then – then go – and sing your freedom! For God loves you…and his love is perfect.

PRAYER: Lord, give us ears to hear your voice, and your voice alone! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/25/18 – One Week in Heaven

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DayBreaks for 5/25/18: One Week in Heaven

As of last night (5/24/18) my mom has been in heaven for one week. I don’t have anything special or profound to say today, but thinking about her there as brought me joy and peace. You see, she’d struggled with dementia for about the past 6-7 years and it had gotten really, really bad. It was one of those situations where you pray for the Lord to relieve the suffering and bring wholeness to her body and soul. And I believe he has done so.

I find myself wondering what it is like to transition from this earth to heavenly spheres. I don’t believe that for His children that they are ever alone because we have his very solemn promise to never leave or forsake us. So I don’t believe my mom was afraid or left alone for even a nanosecond. I believe she saw the Lord immediately and that he gently took her hand and walked her home.

I wonder how quickly we see our loved ones who have gone before. Does God give them a “heads-up” that someone they love is coming home so that they can meet them right away and have an unearthly celebration? I’d like to think so, but I really don’t know. I find comfort in believing that we do see the right away – and it seems just like God to do something like that for us. So I choose to believe that my mom has seen my dad again, that they’ve both been reunited with the little girl they lost in infancy, and with their parents.

How long does it take to meet the favorite characters from Scripture? (In a way, talking about “how long” is rather silly because there is no time there, but I can’t wrap my mind around that reality.) Has mom met Mary, Esther, Abraham, Daniel, Moses, Peter, John and David already? My daughter rather humorously mused that perhaps those folks have an appointment book so you can schedule time to meet them. I rather doubt that, but who knows?

So what is the point of all this? I guess it is simply this: the life to come will be utterly unlike this one. It will be incredibly glorious. It will be free from dementia, cancer, tears, pain and death. I believe those things because the Word declares them to be true. But I can’t imagine it. All I can do is get excited about this: 1 Corinthians 2:9 – That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 

That is all I need to know to understand that whatever heaven is like, however it all works, will be absolutely terrific. What our loved ones who have gone before have seen and experience exceeds our wildest imaginings.

Mom, I love you and miss having you here, but I’m sure you are enjoying your one week anniversary in a place we cannot begin to even dream of.

PRAYER: How comforting are your promises, how great your assurances are to us, Lord. I thank you for leading my mom safely home and for the place you prepared for her. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/14/18 – Robbed of Joy

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DayBreaks for 5/14/18: Robbed of Joy

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008

There was once a man who had lived a long time.  Someone once asked him what it was that had robbed the most joy from his life.  The old man never hesitated, but answered simply, “Things that never happened!”

How much of my life have I spent worrying about things that might happen but which never did?  I can become frozen with fear and not let my children play in the front yard.  I can refuse to leave my house for fear of being in a traffic accident on my way to work.  I can never shake someone’s hand or hug someone or give anyone a kiss for fear of disease.  I can stop drinking water or eating food because it might be poisoned!  We all would tend to say that doing those things would be silly, yet we worry about many things.  Jesus knew someone like that and her name was Martha: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk. 10:41-42).  What had Mary chosen? Jesus!

Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will take care of itself.  We need to be focused on where we are right now in this day that God has made (Matt. 6:34).   The apostle Paul also counsels us to: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).  Paul doesn’t say that we shouldn’t care about things – just that we not be anxious about them.  How do we do that?  We take everything to God as a request – and then we leave it there, with Him.  The result: His peace will guard and protect our hearts and minds.

Here’s three keys to happiness that you may find helpful in your walk with Him today (and tomorrow!!!):

Fret not – for He loves you, John 15:9: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love”  He loves you now and forever!

Faint not – for He holds you, Psalm 139:10: …even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  No one can snatch you from his hand!

Fear not – for He keeps you, Psalm 121:5: The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand…  He will not slumber nor sleep, but always watch over you!

Don’t let things that you only imagine in your mind rob you of your joy in Christ!  It is that very joy that may draw your neighbors to Him through you!

PRAYER: Fill our minds with the joys of your promises and the certainty of your goodness so we don’t worry about things we shouldn’t. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/18/18 – A Home We’ve Never Visited

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DayBreaks for 4/18/18: A Home We’ve Never Visited

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/18/2005:

I am often possessed by a sense of great sadness at the amount of pain in the world.  No one – not one – is immune to the suffering, pain and disappointment.   It searches us out as a mother looks for a lost child.  And it always finds us.  Yet there is still nothing like going home.  For anyone who had anything approaching a normal upbringing, “home” is sweet music to our world-weary souls.  It promises remembrances of safety, of love, of belonging and being cherished.  It fires joy into our hearts and longing into our spirits.  Home.  Perhaps the finest place on earth.  But there is only one place that is home, and much of the rest of the world is brutal and heartbreaking.

Philip Yancey, in Disappointment With God, wrote: “For people who are trapped in pain, or in a broken home, or in economic misery, or in fear – for all those people, for all of us, heaven promises a time, far longer and more substantial than the time we spent on earth, of health and wholeness and pleasure and peace.  …The Bible never belittles human disappointment (remember the proportion in Job – one chapter of restoration follows forty-one chapters of anguish), but it does add one key word: temporary.  What we feel now, we will not always feel.  Our disappointment is itself a sign, an aching, a hunger for something better.  And faith is, in the end, a kind of homesickness – for a home we have never visited but have never once stopped longing for.”

 T.S. Eliot put it like this:

“And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

Rev. 21: 1-4 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.  I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.

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

PRAYER: It is hard to understand the requests of the disciples until we put ourselves in their place, Lord, and realize that we would have likely done the same thing.  Help us not to seek our glory, but yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 3/16/18 – My Father’s World

 

DayBreaks for 3/16/18: My Father’s World

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008:

“This is my Father’s world, and too my listen ears, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.  This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought, of rocks and trees of skies and seas, His hand the wonders wrought.” 

I’ve always loved that song.  I remember on the morning after my father died and I was waiting for the train that was bringing our oldest son home from Seattle, that as I wandered around the train station and the marshland nearby (there was a walking trail through it), I sang this song inside my head.  It felt strange to sing it, for my father was no longer in this world and I felt that loss very keenly. 

As I sang it to myself, over and over, I knew and understood that as much as I would miss my dad and his being in “my world”, that I was not Fatherless.  This was still my Father’s world, and even as He’d given that gift to my dad, He’d also given that same world to me – to all of us. 

This song should be a daily part of our worship, I think.  I don’t know about you, but I find it all too easy to get down on the world – to just see the ugliness of it, the greed and rape and killing and abuse.  Let us not forget, however, that it is God’s world – made with the words of His mouth.  It is not the world that is bad, it is men and women.  If nothing else, singing this song should fill us anew with the wonder of God’s creative power, and we need to remember that this is His world – it is not a wasted effort by God that He hates and which He will someday throw out in the trash.  No, I rather think God loves His creation and if I read this verse correctly, He’s at work redeeming it, not planning to trash it: Colossians 1:19-20 (NASB) – For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Did you catch that?  He’s working to reconcile ALL THINGS to Himself – whether things on earth or things in heaven.  And this: Romans 8:22-23 (NIV) – We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  The creation groans…it awaits its own redemption, just as we await the fullness of our deliverance.

I hope to remember to sing this song to myself much more often in the future.  It matters how I see the world.  If I see it as something horrendous that must be avoided at all costs, from which I must distance myself, I’ll not have God’s own heart for the creation and people that He declared good and that “He so loved”.  Just as some people refuse to watch the news because it’s just too ugly and painful (as a result they become out of touch with life lived on this sphere), we’re tempted as believers who are so repulsed by the evil we see and sense all around us to just shut it off.  We can’t – we mustn’t – if we are to be followers of the Rabbi.

PRAYER: Lord, have mercy on our souls.  Fill us with the wonder of your world, with love for its people, with hope for its future, with praise for your greatness and confidence in your work to redeem all things to yourself.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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