DayBreaks for 1/17/19 – There Is No Other Stream

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DayBreaks for 01/17/2019: There Is No Other Stream

There’s a story in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis about a girl named Jill Pole, and Aslan, the great Christ-figure lion in the story.  Jill has grown thirsty in the forest, and she hears the sound of the stream in the distance.  Her thirst drives her to find the stream so she can drink.  She knows that a great lion is afoot, so she’s cautious.  Finally, she sees the stream, but is terrified by what she sees.  Her thirst is like a fire, but sitting by the stream of water is Aslan, the huge lion, very much alive, though sitting very still.  She waits until she’s nearly crazed from thirst, hoping he’ll go away, but he doesn’t budge.

Suddenly, he spoke: “If you are thirsty, you may drink.”  Jill is startled and holds back.  “Are you not thirsty?, said the Lion.

“I am dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the lion.

“May I..could I..would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.  The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl.  And just as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.  The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her near frantic.

“Will you promise not to – do anything to me, if I come?”

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.  Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

“Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion.  It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry.  It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh, dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer.  “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.”

I’ve been thirsty before – what I considered (at the time) as desperately thirsty, although I’m sure it was nothing compared to what some have endured.  I like this story from The Silver Chair because it describes the decision that we must all make: the God of Scripture is a wild, untamed God who has crushed empires literally overnight.  He is a God who does as He pleases, for the reasons that suit His purposes, for His glory – and not for ours.  He is a God who makes no excuses (and because He is God and Sovereign) and who needs no excuses to be made for Him or offered up for Him.  He simply is God – God Almighty and no one can thwart Him in anything He decides to do.  He is alternately terrifying and the tender One who holds little children on His lap and blesses them.  He is everywhere at all times and at times disturbingly silent and seemingly absent.  He is a God who is not content to have just created – but a God who chooses to insert Himself into His creation when and if it pleases Him – but who at other times is maddeningly distant.

What will happen if we come to the river to drink?  This God is frightening – just ask Jill Pole.  But there is no other stream – there is no fountain of youth and there is no other fountain of Life than that which flowed from the veins and mercy of Christ.  Come to the stream – drink – be refreshed and know that He remains God – and you are not He.

John 4:10 (NIV)Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

John 4:13-14 (NIV)Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

PRAYER: You are high and lifted up, Lord God Almighty.  We tremble in fear of Your great power and come timidly before You where we are encouraged by Your welcome and invitation to drink – and find not death, but Life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 1/16/19 – When the Wine Runs Out

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DayBreaks for 01/16/2019: When the Wine Runs Out

The world famous Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway was a person who went for it all. A newspaper reporter, ambulance driver during WWII, involved in the Spanish Civil War, friend to bullfighters as well as authors–he did it all. And, when he did it he did it to the fullest. In a manner of speaking he enjoyed the wine of life. But there came a day when the wine of joy ran out.

Carlos Baker records it in his biography of Hemingway in this way: Sunday morning dawned bright and cloudless. Ernest awoke early as always. He put on the red “Emperor’s robe” and padded softly down the padded stairway. The early sunlight lay in pools on the living room floor. He had noticed that the guns were locked up in the basement, but the keys, as he well knew, were on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. He tiptoed down the basement stairs and unlocked the storage room. It smelled as dank as a grave. He chose a double barreled shotgun with a tight choke. He had used it for years to shoot pigeon’s. He took some shells from one of the boxes in the storage room, closed and locked the door, and climbed the basement stairs. If he saw the bright day outside, it did not deter him. He crossed the living room to the front foyer, a shrine-like entryway five feet by seven feet, with oak-paneled walls and a floor of linoleum tile. He slipped in two shells, lowered the gun butt carefully to the floor, leaned forward, pressed the twin barrels against his forehead just about the eyebrows and tripped both triggers.

What are you going to do when the wine runs out? Hemingway turned to the easy way out, but it was the way out to what? He turned to a gun to deal with his pain. I would rather turn to Jesus and godly friends to help me through the pain. I hope you will, too.

Prayer: Father, in your children’s pain, let us feel your presence and love as never before and give us the wisdom and strength to run to your arms! Help us remember that the pain is only fleeting and that joy comes again in the eternal morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/15/19 – In the Presence of Resurrection

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DayBreaks for 01/15/2019: The Presence of Resurrection

I love the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  The pathos in the story is nearly palpable as they recount to Jesus the events that he seemed (to their way of thinking) ignorant of: the happenings in Jerusalem in the past 5 days or so.  That they’d had their hopes dashed is clear from their words: We had hoped He was the one…we had thought He was the Messiah come to save Israel. (Luke 24:21) The despair is virtually dripping from their hearts and lips.

How long they walked we don’t know, but the distance from Jerusalem to Emmaus was about 7 miles and at a normal walking pace on a flat road (which the road wasn’t) it would take about 2 hours to cover that distance.  What would you have given to walk with Jesus for two hours?  Yet, Jesus was not recognized by them because God, it says, had concealed his identity from them.  (That makes me wonder, too – why would God ever choose to conceal his identity?)  And so they walked and talked for some hours…and all the time they were in the presence not just of a risen one, but of resurrection itself. 

Are you a Christian?  If so, you are walking in the Presence of Resurrection, too.  Yet I go through my day often totally unaware of my constant Companion.  How did the story end for the Emmaus disciples?  The last word in verse 26 is “glory”.  The story ends in glory!  What began in despair and bewilderment finds culmination in glory!  That is the story of our life, is it not?  Much of life is a journey from the bliss of infant unawareness to the burden of adulthood and the increasing burden of advancing age.  All through life, the Resurrection walks beside us.  And our story will end in glory!

John 11:23-26 (NIV) – Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Prayer:  As you turned the hearts of the Emmaus disciples from bewilderment to glory, we open our hearts to you today, Lord, that you may do the same for us this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/11/19 – The Radical Ordinary

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DayBreaks for 01/11/2019: The Radical Ordinary

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2009:

At the end of the gospel of John is a scene that has puzzled and troubled me.  Momentous events have transpired in Jerusalem, in the life of Christ, and certainly in the lives of the disciples.  Events so huge and significant that you’d expect they would have all been changed dramatically and for all time.  But where do we find the disciples?  They’re back in a boat on a familiar lake doing what they had done all their lives up until Christ invited them to “Follow me!”  They’re fishing.  This is what these men had done for a livelihood.  And they’re back at it – even after Jesus had told them he’d make them fishers of men – they went back to being fishers of fish. 

I have always assumed that this didn’t reflect well on the disciples.  Yet when Jesus meets them on the beach and makes breakfast for them, he doesn’t criticize them.  I assumed that the disciples did this because they didn’t know what to make of things – that they still weren’t sure about this Jesus, what it was He was trying to accomplish, and what their part in it was supposed to be.  And that may be the reality of the situation. 

Eugene Peterson, in Living the Resurrection, had a different thought on this interesting scenario.  Resurrection had always had something to do with life in the next world, the next life.  But the resurrection of Jesus somewhat broke that rule and that line of thinking.  His resurrection took place here in this world, on this planet, in this lifetime…and he was alive and out there walking around somewhere.  So, resurrection had to be taken out of the sphere of the future and made into a reality in the present.  Here’s what Peterson had to say: “This is a radical thing.  It is as radical for you and me as it was for them.  This might account – at least, this is what I think – for why the seven former fishermen were back fishing that night.  They were beginning to get the sense that Jesus’ resurrection had everything to do with their ordinary lives.  They needed practice in this reorientation, and they plunged into ordinariness – the old familiar workplace or sea and the fishing boat.”

I don’t know if Peterson is right nor not, but the point he makes is valid.  Scripture talks about how we have already been made alive in Christ – we died with him, we were raised with him.  Our soul has experienced the resurrection already – even if our bodies have not.  What difference does it make in how you will live your life today as you drive to the office or factory, the school, the gym?  How are you, and how can you, practice the resurrection of Jesus and experience it TODAY? 

PRAYER: Jesus, we struggle to grasp the reality of our new life in You.  You have said we are born again to a new and living hope, that we now live in you and that whoever believes in you will never die!  Let us live life’s moments in that reality that others may see your glory and our joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/04/19 – The Passing of the Shadow

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DayBreaks for 01/04/2019: The Passing of the Shadow

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09 (modified):

Whew.  The holidays are now over.  It is a bittersweet feeling, isn’t it?  On the one hand, I love the excitement and joy of the holidays, and the chance to share that with family, loved ones and friends.  I love the Christmas carols and was surprised to find some of them playing in the malls this year. I love the bright lights and colors, and yes, the nuts and chews of Christmas from See’s Candies!

But it isn’t long and the holidays that have been so long awaited are over and done with.  The family has returned to their own homes and gone back to work, the Christmas decorations have been pulled down and boxed away for another year, the candy is gone (thank goodness!) and the Christmas carols and tree have been tucked away for 11 months.  And – I’m tired. 

As I was reflecting on this one day, I was watching our old dog, Rainie.  She’s 12 years old now and she’s clearly winding down.  She walks with a strange, stiff gait because of some arthritis in her hips, and if you look into her eyes, they are not dark and clear – they are milky and a bit subdued.  She is afraid, or in a bit too much discomfort, to hop up on the bed as easily as she used to.  Now, at night, when she comes back into the house, she will whimper and whine before even attempting her leap of faith up to the top of the mattress.  And she huffs and puffs a lot more than when she was younger.  It saddens me to see this happening before my very eyes and to be powerless in the face of the inexorable march of time.  And then I realize, I am on the same march, head down as I trudge the pathway before me.

The passing of the holidays and the winding down of life have parallels that can teach us.  We start out exuberant, full of excitement and energy.  We hurry here and there because the world is so big and there is so much to see and do and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  But then, as with Christmas, the holiday is over before you are even fully aware that it has begun.  Old friends and family are no longer around.  We find ourselves more fearful of running around too far from home, and we also whimper and whine as we rise or recline on our bed.  Not to mention the eyesight. 

This is the way of all flesh.  This is what makes our God and His promises so precious – He does not grow old, tired, and weary.  He doesn’t get cataracts.  His bones don’t ache and generate the whimpers that accompany old age.  And He promises us that the day will come when we will be like Him in that regard.  We try to imagine a life without any sort of pains or sadness and we cannot grasp even the tiniest crumb of that reality.  But we do long for it.  The life we so longed to live when we were younger has been spent somehow, somewhere – like a shadow passing in the night, soundlessly and quickly, not even leaving footprints behind.  Hold on to the fact that the shadow is passing, but it isn’t passing from daylight to darkness, but instead the shadow is passing to daylight, from earth to heaven, from mortality to immortality, from death to life.  And there shall be no more weeping.

PRAYER:  Lord, life often feels like both a blessing and a burden.  Thank you for the promise that you will make our joys even greater than anything we have experienced in this lifetime, and that you will remove our sorrows eternally.  Thank you, that Jesus “is the life!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 01/03/19: Smiley Face Stickers and the Cross

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DayBreaks for 01/03/2019: Smiley Face Stickers and the Cross

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/01/99, by Tim Dalrymple:

A verse that has been haunting my thoughts recently is Mark 15:34: And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ I had always found this passage extremely disturbing. Could it be? Jesus was left alone, abandoned, forsaken, precisely when he needed the Father most. In his moment of deepest pain and agony, Jesus could not feel the comforting presence and gentle embrace of his Father. Certainly, in the theological sense, Jesus was not abandoned by the Father, the Father still loved him, and didn’t cast him out of His grace. But, at the least, Jesus felt a frightening and agonizing distance from his Father when he was on the cross.

Although this passage always disturbed and even scared me, I’ve come to consider it one of the most profound in all of Scripture. It tells me that when we hear, “By his stripes we are healed”, we should remember that his “stripes” were both physical and spiritual. We do not see a tranquil, dispassionate Jesus easily enduring physical suffering. Jesus comprehends more than just my physical pain – he comprehends my loneliness and abandonment as well.

It would be easy to brush aside this passage, and like a good American, paste a smiley-face sticker on the cross. But this is very dangerous. There is definitely something beautiful in the cross, for it is a profound demonstration of the depth of God’s love for us.

There is also, however, something very terrible: the suffering and abandonment of a crucified God. We gild our crosses with gold and we wreath them with roses, but we should never forget that the cross is, in the final analysis, an extraordinarily ugly and painful thing.

To wipe away the blood from the cross, to polish away the splinters, is to divest the cross of its incredible power. We should never rob the cross of its ugliness and pain, because it is precisely through that ugliness and pain that Jesus identified with, and overcame, our ugliness and pain. We will never walk further (or even as far) down the path of suffering and abandonment than Jesus walked. There is no extent of pain, loneliness, even distance from God, that Jesus cannot understand. It is because of his excruciating suffering that he is ‘God with us’ when we are facing trials. It is because of his sense of abandonment – by the disciples and by the Father – that he is ‘God with us’ even when we are most lonely and forsaken. Jesus walked the length of the path of physical and spiritual suffering so that he could be with you every step of the way. And you’ll never walk further than he can walk with you.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we thank you for walking with us and for carrying us when we have no strength of our own, and for the amazing demonstration of love that took place on the cross.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/11/18 – Life in the Blood

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DayBreaks for 12/11/18: Life in the Blood

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/8/98:

In Leviticus 17:11 and Deut. 12:23, the Israelites were told not to eat the blood of animals because “the blood is the life”. I’m sure that the Israelites didn’t understand exactly what God was getting at, especially as it relates to the life that we receive through the blood of Christ. Indeed, as this excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair shows, His blood is our life! Aslan, the Christ-figure in the story, is talking to some children as they stand beside a stream that contains the body of the dead King (the human ruler of Narnia).

“Son of Adam,” said Aslan, “Go into that thicket and pluck the thorn that you will find there, and bring it to me.”

Eustace obeyed. The thorn was a foot long and sharp as a rapier.

“Drive it into my paw, son of Adam,” said Aslan, holding up his right forepaw and spreading out the great pads towards Eustace.

“Must I?” said Eustace.

“Yes,” said Aslan.

“Then Eustace set his teeth and drove the thorn into the Lion’s pad. And there came out a great drop of blood, redder than all redness that you have ever seen or imagined. And it splashed into the stream over the dead body of the King. At the same moment the doleful music stopped. And the dead King began to be changed…His eyes opened, and his lips both laughed, and suddenly he leaped up and stood before them.”

Galen’s Thoughts: What a marvelous picture of the gospel story! The “son of Adam” (humanity) at one and the same time is the very one who pierces the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the one who needs His sacrifice (the dead king). It is only through the shedding of blood that sin is removed (Heb. 9:22).

Slowly, surely…as we have been drawn into contact with the blood of Christ, our lives begin to change. What was dead in us (our God-image) comes to life and what was alive in us (our sin-nature) dies!

Who would have thought on the night that he was born, that it would come to this kind of a shedding of blood? Only Jesus and the Father understood that what began that night in the stable would end on a blood-stained cross and that he’d be pierced by the very ones He had come to save.

Does it matter to you that He was pierced for your iniquities? Does it matter enough to keep you from piercing Him again tomorrow?

PRAYER: As we draw nearer to the celebration of your birth, may we not forget the reason for your coming to our rescue, Lord Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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