DayBreaks for 6/15/16 – The Ways of Endurance

DayBreaks for 6/15/17: The Ways of Endurance

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007, from my wife’s mission blog to India:

 “Oh my. I decided to work on “India Trip” stuff today (Memorial Day) and I started out making a calendar page for the dates I’ll be gone. As I looked at the finished product with only July 4th and July 20th filled in (“leave home”, “arrive home”) and all the blank (so far) places on the dates in between, I looked up to the picture part of the July page of the calendar from which I had copied my sheet. On it there was a picture of a large rock with the ocean around it. The top of the rock was filled to overflowing with plant life; trees, shrubs, undergrowth; all the way to the edges of the rock and down its sides. Between the rock and the ocean, however, you can see that the water has worn away the rock so that it is deeply indented all around. It looks like a huge, wide, roundish head full of green bushy hair sitting on a very skinny neck. Underneath the picture is the caption “ENDURANCE” in large letters. Underneath that is the quote, “Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened”.  

Hmmm.  I don’t like the fact that “endurance” is the subject for July when I’m on the trip; it’s too apropos and more than a little daunting.  I also don’t like the picture analogy.  I would think that a symbol of endurance should show something that looks very shaky, sitting on something that was very solid underneath while ocean waves pounded away.  That’s what endurance is supposed to do, isn’t it, give your soul more solidity? Thinking about it though, it is probably a better picture analogy than I would like.  God is the only rock which is solid.  I am the one who looks more stable than I really am.  Life eats away, revealing to me the truth of my fragility and dependence.  Experiences of endurance such as this trip will show it to me in a much more obvious way than my normal routine does.  Am I scared? Yep!!
“There is a large contingent of mostly younger people who are going to be working on landscape architecture and the large food garden on our team. One young woman showed us her plans and they were truly awesome and inspiring. She is planning and putting into place the landscape with the children playing and monsoon season in mind as her Senior Project in college at Davis. Quite a combination to plan for, isn’t it? The kids and the others there are going to love it! There will be elevated places for hide and seek and other natural play-encouraging landscape plans. Another person from UC Davis is in charge of setting up a huge food garden at the compound in India.  He’s lived in the Congo before and I’m sure that helps. He told us about a fruit he loves which smells horrible and tastes heavenly.  For anyone who would still like to help Little Flock and this trip in some way, this young man was discouraged to find out that he still has a lot of money to raise for his trip. Apparently some money he thought was coming isn’t coming, or something like that.  If anyone would like to help him out with a donation for his trip cost, his name is “Tim”, he’s on Team One and he’s the one in charge of the food garden project. I know he would be very, very grateful.”

Galen’s thoughts: endurance is a trait we admire, but not many of us long for it, for endurance can only be developed by having to “endure.”  Sometimes, it’s enduring suffering or hardship, sometimes it’s waiting…as in the case of “Tim” – waiting for God to provide all that we need.  And Laurel’s right – we deceive ourselves into thinking we are stable, strong, unmovable, and all the time life is chewing away at us until we learn that we’re actually very fragile and delicate and easily destroyed.  There is only on thing that never wears down or wears out or lacks for anything: Almighty God.  It is a lesson we need to learn, and learn well.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for all who answer the call to “Go!”  Thank You for the lessons in endurance.  Help us to learn them well – and as quickly as possible!  Please bless this team that goes to show and share Your love with orphans and widows and provide for every need both before they go and while they are gone.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 6/14/17 – The Magnificent and the Mundane

DayBreaks for 6/14/17: The Magnificent and the Mundane

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007, from my wife’s India mission trip:

“It always feels so strange when I go to an India Trip meeting, when I first get home and then when I’ve been home a while.  When I’m at the meeting, the trip is everything around which life revolves.  I’m reminded of all the things I still have to get done, the little items I have to buy and how much time I have left to get ready.  When I come home I’m gung-ho and more than happy spending all my time on “India” related things. Then I get distracted with day to day/week to week chores, things at church or in the community that are going on.

“I do, after all, have to do my job; the stuff I’m obligated to do whether I’m paid for it or not.  I don’t want to, it feels like a distraction from what’s “really important”.  But I do it, of course.  The Relay for Life is this coming Saturday and a week and a few days after that is Vacation Bible Camp, and I have to have the music, words and hand motions ready for it.  The music for Sundays and the Chorus has to be practiced and planned.  Youth Group, Bible study, all the admin stuff I don’t really care for has to be attended or planned or taken care of it’s own way, not to mention housework, selling the house, etc.

“So much busyness and activity. So much that is “doing” and not “being”. I fall back into the routine and the India trip seems like a dream again.  

“Life revolves around duties and roles.  The grand adventure; the “quest”; the trip in which I hope to be used by God in such a wonderful way; the high and the noble is dulled by everyday routine.  I remind myself that everything I’m looking forward to with so much excitement and trepidation is only going to last sixteen days and then I’ll be  home again.  Back to the “same ol’ same ol’ things”.

“I don’t want it to be the same.  I want to come back changed.  I know it’s not about me.  It’s about doing Jesus’ work.  It’s about blessing because God has blessed me.  

“Why, when we know that He is here with us in the mundane day to day existence does it seem so, well, mundane?  Why, when we know that everyone matters to Him, the people here in town as well as the orphans in India, does it seem like such a letdown to come home?  I think it’s a matter of distraction and simply not seeing reality clearly.  I have a feeling that when we are in India where life and death is so naked and exposed; where hunger and need is so glaringly obvious what really matters will stand out in stark contrast to what doesn’t really matter.  When Galen and I came back from working in St. Bernard’s Parish, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina and heard someone complain about something petty and meaningless, we felt so disconnected from their vision of reality.  I want to remember what really matters after I get back from India.  I don’t want to get distracted with the “vanity of vanities, all is vanity”.  My prayer is that when I get back I will see clearly and never forget what is real.

Galen’s Thoughts: I remember well the bewilderment we felt coming back from Katrina.  It was unbelievable what some people complained about and the things they thought were important after seeing what we’d seen and meeting the people we met there.  Why was “home” so much of a letdown?  Because the need isn’t as visible – and certainly, the spiritual need is the same everywhere. We’d do well to remember C.S. Lewis who said that we’ve never met mere mortals.  Everyone we meet has an eternal destiny.  And each one we see, whether in Louisiana, India or Cloverdale, CA, has a spirit that needs what God alone can give.  Lewis’ said that if we could see one another as God sees us, either we’d be tempted to fall down and worship at the feet of those who are headed to glory, or to shrink back in horror at the fate of those headed toward destruction.  How desperately we need God’s vision to help us see the true needs all around us.

PRAYER: Father, I pray that You’d give us Your eyesight to see the need and the needy wherever we go.  Let us carry that cup of cold water with us and give it away freely wherever we go.  Teach us the value of the “mundane” and that there is no such thing in Your service.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/26/17 – A Proof of the Truth of Love

DayBreaks for 5/26/17: A Proof of the Truth of Love

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Tears.  Sorrow.  Grief.  Three words that we hope don’t come anywhere near us, for when they do they are always unwelcome visitors.  Would that life were always full of joy, happiness and laughter!  That is, after all, how God intended for life to be, and how it will someday again be for those who love Him! 

In the meantime, we are awaiting that revealing and dawning.  And as the ocean is full of water, so our lives are full of tears.  It doesn’t take much for me to cry.  I am sometimes embarrassed by my readiness to cry, wishing that I were more stoic, that perhaps things didn’t affect me as much.  Those are usually times when I am in a public situation, sometimes in the pulpit, or at the beside of a person in great pain and facing death. 

What can you say to someone who is crushed, broken hearted by loss or some great sorrow?  I know I struggle to find words.  They do, too.  They may be crying, and yet they still seem to be able to say, “I’m sorry for crying.”  I usually am quick to assure them that tears are not bad.  Jesus cried.  And I tell them that tears are a part of the language of love, for if we did not love, we would not weep with loss.

I found it interesting that my oldest son, Doug, was reflecting on this the other day in his blog, when he wrote: “Perhaps sorrow like this can be a kind of gift, too.  It is at least proof of the truth of love, and hope is never far from love.” (Doug Dalrymple, 5/10/07, The Scrivener)

The sorrow that produces weeping is a gift, for it reveals what is in our hearts, and if nothing else, surely it must be proof of the truth of a love that may have even gone unexpressed in happier times. 

Let your tears flow when you need to cry.  They are part of God’s heart, too.

PRAYER:  Lord, may we join in the weeping that comes from your heart for this broken and bloody world of darkness and loss.  May we weep unashamedly because of the love that you put into our hearts for You and those around us.  And may we also weep for our brokenness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 5/25/17 – The Loudest Noise Ever

DayBreaks for 5/25/17: The Loudest Noise Ever

Yesterday I wrote about Jesus’ triumphant cry from the cross, “It is finished!” Today I want to think about sound again, but in a bit different vein.

I love trivia and interesting facts. I even post tidbits of information on my photography blog. So, when I was recently musing about the loudest sound ever recorded, I “googled” it. Here are one item that many claim is the loudest noise ever on earth:

On August 27, 1883, the earth made a noise unlike anything since. On that date, on the island of Krakatoa, a volcano erupted violently. It threw rock and ash 17 miles into the atmosphere (reported by a geologist who witnessed the eruption), created a tsunami 100 feet high, and the noise was heard audibly over a mass equivalent to 1/13th of the entire world. Another way to put it is this: it was heard by people 3000 miles away! A British ship captain who was 40 miles from the volcano when it blew reported that the noise was so loud that over half of his crew had their eardrums ruptured by the volume of the sound. He wrote, “My last thoughts are with my dear wife. I am convinced that the Day of Judgment has come.” No wonder he felt that way – the sound is believed to have been equivalent to 100,000 hydrogen bombs exploding simultaneously.

As if that wasn’t enough, there comes a point at which a loud sound no longer travels “through” air – it literally “pushes” the air ahead of it. Such sound is not measured in decibel levels (though the decibel level 100 miles from the eruption registered 172 – 85 decibels can cause hearing loss and the pain threshold is around 120 decibels), but in pressure waves. The pressure wave from the eruption circled the world four times in each direction. For the next five days after the eruption, the pressure around the world spiked every 34 hours like clockwork as the pressure waves circled the earth over and over. Each city actually experienced as many as seven spikes because the sound came from both directions. The pressure wave was so great that even the waves as far away as San Francisco grew as a result – and then subsided as each spike passed. It was so great that it became known as the “great air-wave”. (If you want to get a sense for what a small pressure wave is like, watch this – just bear in mind that this is miniscule compared to Krakatoa’s eruption – and the boat was only 2.7 miles from the volcano in the video.)

As I was listening to the song, O Praise the Name (Anastasis) from Hillsong (link here), I was struck by a couple lines that described the resurrection of Jesus thusly:

Then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the King
.

It dawned on me that though the loudest noise ever recorded on earth may have been Krakatoa, the loudest noise in the universe must surely have been the roar the angels made when they realized that Christ had arisen! What a contrast it must have been to the stunned silence when they witnessed God’s Son die! Is it any wonder that they roared when he came back to life with the defeat of death firmly in his grasp?

I doubt that they’ve stopped roaring yet.

PRAYER: Father, how I long to hear the roar of praise for Jesus pouring from the mouths of the angels, and to join my own praise to that sound that will swell and grow forever and ever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 4/20/17 – Almost Home

DayBreaks for 4/20/17: Almost Home

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

The little town of Franklin, TN, was the sight of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  In the space of only 5 hours, 7000 men were killed and thousands of others wounded.  In that short amount of time, northern troops alone used up 100 wagon loads of ammunition.  Accounts written at the time described bodies being stacked six or seven deep for more than a mile along the Columbia Pike.  No one had ever seen anything like it.  The state of Tennessee didn’t have enough money to turn the entire area into a state park to commemorate the battle, but in the battleground stands the Carter house that now serves as a museum and memorial to this bloody battle. 

As terrible as the battle itself, there was one person who died on that day over 140 years ago that is arguably more tragic than the other 6999.  As the battle of Franklin raged, the Carters’ youngest son, Todd, was outside.  He was running for the shelter of home when he was struck down and died, virtually in the shadow of the house.  He was taken into the home dead.  Even today, more is probably written about that young boy who died in the battle than about any of the others who died. 

Several things about this story that struck me: 

First of all is the power of the death of the innocent.  It just doesn’t seem right when a young child is struck down because of the violence of adults.  Yet it happens.  And when the innocent die, people take notice.  An absolutely perfectly innocent person was struck down by our violence and sin.  And similar to Todd Carter, much has been written and said about him.  Jesus Christ, the innocent, was killed by us and for us.  He was almost home when he was “hit”, but he died willingly as a sacrifice – not running in terror. 

Secondly, I thought about how close we can come sometimes to being “home free” only to fail to actually arrive there.  We can’t control the people and events around us.  We know our intent – to get home safely – but sometimes things interfere with our well-laid plans, and in the shadow of the rooftop we fall.   I am very thankful that God is the One who will get us home.  I rejoice that He recognizes that I can’t make it on my own, that I alone would surely be cut down by Satan’s bullets.  He is able to handle our eternal destinies (2 Tim. 1:12).  We need to finish the race well, 2 Tim. 4:7-8, and not die in the home stretch.

The saddest thing, though, is to hear about those who are almost on the porch of the house and ready to enter, but who Satan snatches at the last moment.  The story of Paul’s defense before Agrippa is heart-wrenching, from Acts 26:28-29a: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  Paul replied, “Short time or long– I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am….”  There is no evidence Agrippa “made it home”.  How tragic and sad.

There are those today who are almost home but who aren’t quite there yet.  What a tragedy if we let them languish so close to heaven’s door. 

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the innocent Christ who died for us.  Help us to understand that we don’t control the events that swirl around our lives, but that in You, we are safe forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 3/30/17 – Who Do You Really Want?

DayBreaks for 3/30/17: Who Do You Really Want?

John 18:3-4 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

Of course, Jesus knew the answer to the question he asked, but as he always seemed to do, the question was not to gain knowledge for himself, but to cause those who had come to arrest him to consider their actions and what they were doing.  They had the right answer: “Jesus of Nazareth.”  They wanted Jesus, all right, but not for the right reasons.  They didn’t want him as Lord or even as a rabbi.  They wanted him as a captive – a prisoner.

The question is very valid nearly 2000 years later, and it is still Jesus who asks it: “Who is it you want?”

Let’s not be too quick to chime in, as did the soldiers: “Jesus of Nazareth.”  That’s the obvious Christian answer, the expected response that upholds our status as believers.  But do we want Jesus as a captive who we would put in a box and call him forth to perform for us on demand?  Do we want a Jesus of Nazareth that is a construction of our own mind and wishes, or are we willing to accept the Jesus of Nazareth that calls us to carry our cross daily, to die to ourselves, to be poured out for others even as He was poured out? 

I fear that far too many of us, indeed all of us, have distorted visions of Jesus.  American culture has made him a warm, fuzzy creature, a best buddy.  And there is some truth to that, but American culture doesn’t want much, if anything, to do with the other part of Jesus: a Lord that confronts us with demands. 

Who is it that you want?  Why do you want him?  He refuses to be a magic genie or talisman that we can pull out when we want him.  We must surrender to him.  Are we really willing to do that?

PRAYER: Jesus, we often don’t really mean it completely when we say that we want you.  We want you as our Savior, but not necessarily as our Lord.  Help us to learn that your greatest blessings are reserved for those who obey you and submit themselves to you.  Give us submissive hearts that want you just because of who you are in all your fullness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 2/07/17 – Child Saints and Resurrected Lizards

DayBreaks for 2/07/17: Child Saints and Resurrected Lizards

From the blog of Doug Dalrymple (my son!), dated 12/4/06 about his son (my grandson!):

You expect your children to see angels. Fresh and innocent as they are, how could they not see angels, right? You expect them, once sufficiently articulate, to spout forth little bon mots of ageless toddler wisdom that somehow suddenly make clear the ways of God and illumine the labyrinth of the human heart. But, no, children do not leap from their mother’s wombs straight into the full flush of sainthood. In my experience, children are just as likely to misapprehend the faith of their parents as to utter unsolicited spiritual profundities.
I have been equally charmed and horrified by what comes out of the mouth of my three year old son when he decides to talk theology. For instance, while considering a picture of the Crucifixion (with Mary and John standing to either side of Christ), my 3-yeard old son once explained to me that it was St. John himself, and no one else, who had taken up the hammer to nail Jesus’ hands and feet to the wood. A ghastly thought! I gently corrected him and changed the subject lest he say something even worse.
But every now and then something charming does pop out of his curious little mind. Not long ago we were out for a hike with his mother and sister, visiting a little farm tucked away into the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains. We approached a spot where he’d seen a dead lizard the week before. “Papa!” he said, “look – there’s a lizard over here – and it’s dead!” He ran ahead in his excitement, pointing the way. I followed and helped him to scan the ground for the unfortunate reptile. It was gone. “He’s not here anymore – where did he go?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe another animal ate him up,” I suggested. “No…” the boy answered, “but maybe God raised him from the dead!”
“Well…” I hesitated. “I don’t know…but, maybe He did.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We are all to quick to deny God’s miracles.  If we don’t see it, we think it didn’t or couldn’t have happened.  For all we know, God, when no one else was looking, raised that little lizard from the dead.  After all, that’s how He raised His own Son – in the dark of the tomb while no human eyes were watching.  Oh, for the faith of a little child once again!

PRAYER:  Thank you Father for giving to the little ones the eyes to see your wonders and to believe in your miracles.  Give us those kind of eyes, and faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.