DayBreaks for 6/24/19 – Under His Wings

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DayBreaks for 06/24/09: Under His Wings

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2009:

He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge. – (Ps. 91:4)

You may have seen this, but the story is worth repeating. National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God’s wings by describing a forest fire in Yellowstone. After the fire, rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their mother’s wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had herded her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, perhaps instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her little ones. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother remained steadfast.

The obvious lesson from this story is how the mother was willing to give her life to protect her precious little ones. As long as they stayed under the refuge of her wings, close to her beating heart, they were safe. But if they had ventured out, death would have been certain. As long as we stay close to God (under His protection), we are safe. But the moment we leave His loving embrace, we are fair game for all the terror that is in the world.

I couldn’t help but think of Luke 13:34 when I read this story: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Jesus probably spoke these words from the road through Gethsemane as he approached Jerusalem for the crucial event in his life: the crucifixion.

His words are poignant for several reasons:

FIRST: God’s heart is on display. We must never forget the pain that God feels over humanity gone wrong and how it touches and evokes His love. Rather than shrug His shoulders and turn away, God’s reaction is to reach out to save us!

SECOND: Jesus described Jerusalem as the place where prophets were killed. He wasn’t crying out about the righteous in the city and inviting them to run to him for shelter. He was seeking the losers, the killers, the murderers of prophets and even those who were to soon scourge, beat, spit upon and crucify himself. In his love, he wanted to save even them.

What is your response to this one who offers you the safety of His protection? If you understand what He has done for you, it MUST make a difference in your life. Has it?

Prayer: For Your protection this day, we plead.  Hold us close to Your sheltering wings in safety and peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 6/21/19 – The Certain Reality of Love

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DayBreaks for 06/21/09: The Certain Reality of Love

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2009:

They say that only death and taxes are certain.  Well, there is some truth to that, but it’s not the whole truth.  There are other things that are certain, too, whether everyone wants to admit them or not: God’s Word is sure and certain, Judgment Day is real and will certainly happen, God’s promises are certain.  I’m sure that there are other things that are certain (they all have to do with God in some way or form – except for taxes, that is!)  What has struck me recently (probably given the episode with Casper that I described in yesterday’s DayBreaks) is the certainty that if you love something, love will break your heart.

As I held Casper and watched him go limp in my arms and his eyes dilate, my heart was breaking.  Why?  This was only a dog, after all.  But I love this scamp of a dog with all my heart.  And it hurt to think I was going to hold him as he died and that he would be gone.  I pleaded with him to come back, to not go away.  Perhaps the reason he came back wasn’t because of my CPR, but because God heard my desperate plea not to take Casper away while he’s still such a young dog.

If you love another human, you better believe there will be hurt and pain and heartbreak.  Vast loads of it.  Cascading mountains of it.  Not because we set out to hurt those we love – we just do it anyway through our thoughtlessness, our selfishness, our busted human nature.  On the day I promised Laurel that I would love, honor and cherish her until death do us part, do you think for one moment that I ever intended to cause her so much pain in the years we’ve been married?  Never!  But the truth remains that I’ve caused her pain, my children pain, my friends pain, my co-workers pain…and my God pain.

I have sometimes wondered why God created love knowing it would be so painful.  Eventually I came to the point of view that God didn’t actually create love because love existed before He created anything.  It existed in His very own nature, and in the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  So God didn’t have to create love – it always has been because He always has been.  Perhaps that is also true of faith and hope, given the fact that Paul said that long after tongues and other things have passed away, three things will remain: faith, hope and love – with love being the greatest.  All of those things, I believe, are as eternal as God Himself because they find their Source in Him.  He is faithful, He hopes for His creation (including us), and He loves all He has made. 

Nonetheless, as I contemplated the certainty of a broken heart because of love, I was drawn once more to the cross and the broken heart of God over our waywardness.  If we feel pain so much over the possible loss of a dog, how much more does God feel pain as a result of things we, the objects of His love, do?  Perhaps His pain over our sin is as infinite as His love.

Prayer: Lord, I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused You – the One who loves me more than anyone or anything else could possibly love me.  Forgive me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 6/12/19 – The Rock and the Sunlight

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DayBreaks for 6/12/19: The Rock and the Sunlight

I love a quotation and paraphrase of Martin Luther: “Can a rock that has been in the sunlight all day not fail to give off warmth and heat at night?”

Think about it: a rock that has been in the warmth and heat of the sun all day will not fail to give off warmth and heat. In the same way, can a Christian who has lived in the sunlight of God’s love not fail to give off warmth and love? No. That is why it is so important that we have first things first. It’s pointless to others to just say, “Start loving each other. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice.” No, no, no – that will not work. First, we need to live in the sunlight of God’s love. We need to bake in the sunlight of God’s compassion. We need to absorb God’s light into us. And then…we start to give off the love that has warmed our hearts.

This is why all the love songs and peace songs that were ever sung have never resulted in real peace or love. Without the Sonlight of God’s love to thaw out our frozen hearts and fills them with the warmth of God that changes us so we can love others as he has loved us, there will be no lasting change in this world. PRAYER: May your love shine on us, God, so that there will be peace in our family and on the earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/10/19 – Someone Who Loves You

DayBreaks for 6/10/19: Someone Who Loves You

In his book, Disappointment with God, writer Philip Yancey relates a touching story from his own life. Once while visiting his mother–who had been widowed years earlier before Philip’s first birthday–they spent the afternoon together looking through a box of old photos. A certain picture of him as an eight-month-old baby caught his eye. Tattered and bent, it looked too banged up to be worth keeping, so he asked her why, with so many other better pictures of him at the same age, she had kept this one.

Yancey writes, “My mother explained to me that she had kept the photo as a memento, because during my father’s illness it had been fastened to his iron lung.” During the last four months of his life, Yancey’s father lay on his back, completely paralyzed by polio at the age of twenty-four, encased from the neck down in a huge, cylindrical breathing unit. With his two young sons banned from the hospital due to the severity of his illness, he had asked his wife for pictures of her and their two boys. Because he was unable to move even his head, the photos had to be jammed between metal knobs so that they hung within view above him–the only thing he could see. The last four months of his life were spent looking at the faces he loved.

Philip Yancey writes, “I have often thought of that crumpled photo, for it is one of the few links connecting me to the stranger who was my father. Someone I have no memory of, no sensory knowledge of, spent all day, every day thinking of me, devoting himself to me, loving me . . . The emotions I felt when my mother showed me the crumpled photo were the very same emotions I felt that February night in a college dorm room when I first believed in a God of love. Someone is there, I realized. Someone is there who loves me. It was a startling feeling of wild hope, a feeling so new and overwhelming that it seemed fully worth risking my life on.”

Someone is there who loves YOU.

PRAYER: Help us to believe and trust in the fact that You love us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/02/19 – The Reason to Live…and Die

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DayBreaks for 5/02/19: The Reason to Live and Die

From the DayBreaks archive: April 2009

God created humans to live a life of love.  There was an article in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine that confirmed this truth. The article described a very successful man that I’d never heard of, and you probably haven’t either.  His name is David Kelley, and he is the founder of what many regard as the premier design firm in the country—Ideo—and has been a respected professor at Stanford University for more than 30 years.  The man is enormously creative – a genius.  Suddenly, at 56 years of age, Kelley learned he had cancer.  In the Fast Company article, Linda Tischler wrote:

“What ensued was sheer hell. Chemo, surgery, radiation. Mouth sores. A throat so raw he could barely swallow. Nausea so severe he couldn’t concentrate enough to read or even watch TV. “I spent nine months in a room trying not to throw up,” he says. The treatment wrecked his saliva glands and his taste buds. He lost 40 pounds.

“Kelley is happily married and has one daughter. This is where the idea of being created for love comes in. As Kelley struggled through the difficult emotions that come with this kind of experience, he discovered his reason to live. Kelley says about his daughter:

“At first, you think, ‘I don’t want to miss her growing up.’ That’s motivating, but not that motivating. It’s when you manage to get out of yourself and start thinking of her that you get the resolve to continue. When you think, ‘I don’t want her not to have a father’—then you want to stay alive.

“What gave Kelley a reason to endure the suffering of his treatment was not the pleasure he would get out of experiencing life with his daughter, as wonderful as that would be. Kelley realized that what truly motivated him was the benefit he could bring to his daughter. What motivated Kelley at the deepest level was selfless sacrifice for another—love. We were made for this.”

Galen’s Thoughts: I will confess this: having had one episode of cardiac bypass surgery, I am not eager to contemplate ever having such surgery again, although it is probably in the cards for me somewhere down the road.  Many have been the times that I’d considered what I’d do if the doctors were to tell me some day “You need another bypass operation.”  Would I do it?  My thinking has run along these lines: if it were just me, probably not.  But I now am richly blessed with 6 grandchildren, and I’ve told myself “Yes, I’d do it because I want to watch them grow.”  That is a selfish motive (not necessarily a bad one, but self-centered nonetheless.)  It would be much better to say, “I don’t want then growing up without their Pop-pop.” (That’s me!)  That switches the motivation and focus away from me and my wishes, to them and their needs. 

After all, isn’t that the motivation that led Jesus to the cross?

Prayer: Lord, give us wisdom to find the way to love others properly, to find our motivation for living and life, death and dying, in loving service to them and You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/25/19 – Love You Forever

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DayBreaks for 4/25/19: Love You Forever

From the DayBreaks archives, April 2009:

Ah, the promises of endless love! How they sweep us off our feet when we are young…and how they comfort us in our declining years. Endless love has been immortalized in endless love songs. It seems that the world simply cannot get enough of the idea of a timeless, endless love. We want to believe in a love that will never die, will never end, will never fade or lose it’s luster. We want to believe that our love – and those things we love – will go on beyond the grave.

When my children were little, there was a book that I loved to read to them, even though I struggled to read it each time because it nearly always made me cry. The name of the book is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  It is the story of a mother’s love for her little boy, from his earliest days, right through the period called “the terrible twos”, through the rebellious teen years and on into the boy’s middle age. No matter what the boy’s age is, the mother is always consistent: she gathers the sleeping form of her son into her aging arms and holds him with the tenderness that only a mother can muster. As she holds the sleeping baby/child/boy/man, she sings the same song over and over to him: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

It is a beautiful book, and a beautiful thought. Don’t we all long to be loved like that? But there is one problem with what the mother has to say – not so much a problem, but a lurking reality that can’t be escaped: “…as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Implied in the words of the song is the inevitable specter of death and the reminder that at some point she will die and no longer be able to sing her love song to her “baby.”

For those who know Jesus, the words could be sung to us: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my child you’ll be.” Only when Jesus sings that to us it takes on an entirely different meaning, for the phrase “as long as I’m living” takes on real meaning when applied to Christ. For him, it’s not haunted by a shadow of his potential demise, but rather becomes a reminder that we will indeed be loved forever, liked for always and that we shall forever and eternity be his beloved child! God lives, and God loves, forever.

Do not fear…do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:16-17)

Prayer: Lord, in your embrace we find peace and love everlasting for neither your love, nor you, will ever die.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/15/19 – Perfect Love

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DayBreaks for 3/15/19: Perfect Love

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  –  1 John 4:16-18 (NIV)

I think that this passage says more about love than I’ve ever realized or appreciated.  It starts out talking about how we know and rely on God’s love for us, followed by John’s short but simple declaration: God is love.  Isn’t that wonderful news?  What if it had not been so?  What if all John could say about God was something like, “God is anger” or “God is unstable” or “God is vindictive.”  Thank goodness that God is not those things, but that primarily over and above anything else, He is love. 

Secondly, if we live in love, God lives in us.  That suggests, as I wrote about a week ago, that without God we cannot love at all.  He first loved us…and when we live in that knowledge and awareness, then we can love – but not before.  Love is made complete in us (nothing lacking) so we can have confidence that when the judgment rolls around, we have nothing to fear. 

But then comes the point I want to look at today.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  If you are like me, you’ve probably taken this verse about perfect love casting out fear and berated yourself because you fear of God.  First, let me say that it is not such a bad thing to have a healthy respect/fear of God – Jesus in fact told us to fear the one (God) who can cast both body and soul into hell.  Fear, it seems, is not an unwarranted response to the immensity of God’s power. 

That being said, perfect love casts out fear, taking away our fear of punishment in the judgment.  I’ve asked myself over and over many times, why do I remain fearful of God?  Partly it is because I know my sins, and as David put it, they are “ever before me.”  No matter how hard I try to pretend, they are real and they are very, very many.  Partly it is because my love for God is not yet perfected – so my love is not “perfect”, it has holes in it – largely because all human loves have always carried pain with them and we have to protect ourselves from being hurt too badly and too deeply. 

But, as I thought about this passage, I think I’ve got another point of view on it, too.  What love is perfect, or maybe a better way to put it would be “Whose love is perfect?”  Certainly not mine or yours.  There is nothing about us that is perfect or complete.  Only God’s love is perfect.  This phrase “perfect love drives out fear” may be talking more about God’s love for me than of my love for Him.  His love is the only perfect love.  His love drives out the fear that comes from impending and fearful punishment.  It is, as John said, God who lives in us. 

I need to apprehend the love of God more in order to drive out the fear that sometimes invades my soul.  My own love will never be perfect enough to drive it away, but His can…and will.

Prayer:  Amazing love, how can it be, that You my Lord should die for me!  May we apprehend the perfect love You have for us as our Father that will drive away our fear!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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