DayBreaks for 9/19/18 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me (#???)

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DayBreaks for 9/19/18: Lessons My Dog Taught Me            

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

Lesson: It’s important to try to communicate our love as often as possible.

Oftentimes throughout the day (and night!) Casper (my white boxer) comes to wherever I am at and either stands or sits, looking at me with those large, soulful eyes that are characteristic of the breed.  He is totally irresistible when he does that!!!!!  I can’t help myself…I simply MUST respond to him.  I take his head in my hands, stroke his neck, pat the top of his head, rub his back, scratch his chest…and start talking.

What do I say?  Well, since I can’t speak dog, and he can’t speak English, I just speak to him in my own language…I tell him over and over again what a good dog he is, that he’s a good boy, and more often than not, I find myself telling him, “I love you so much!  Do you know how much I love you?”  I say that over and over and over.  Do you know why?  Because I want to be sure that he KNOWS he is loved and that I’m crazy about him.  Does he understand me?  His soulful eyes leave me wondering if he grasps any of what I’m saying.  I honestly don’t know.  I hope he understands, but regardless, he sure seems to like it!

As I thought about this, I thought about God’s dilemma in trying to tell us how much He loves us.  The analogy isn’t a perfect one, for surely God can communicate in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German or any other language He chooses…but since He doesn’t audibly speak to most of us, He usually communicates His love to us in other ways. 

God’s native language is the language of heaven, while ours is one of the languages of earth.  So God, for thousands of years, attempted to communicate His love to mankind through blessing, through beauty, through a thousand-and-one tender and loving gestures…but we didn’t get it. 

At least, not many got it…until Jesus came and then God could literally take our head in his hands, look us in the eye, and say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should have everlasting life.”  Even in Jesus, God’s gestures were the greatest proof of His love – the cross being pre-eminent among them. 

And, I wonder: how many times a day is God trying to tell me in one way or another “I love you so much!  Do you know how much I love you?”  And I wonder, in the same fashion that I wonder if my dog understands my love for him, if I even begin to grasp the ways and times and depth of God’s love and how He tries to communicate it to me.

This much I do know: I will keep telling Casper how much I love him every day.  God keeps telling me, too, if I only have ears to hear it.  And I need to tell those around me how much I love them – and make sure they understand that God loves them, too!

PRAYER: I thank You, God, for my dog and for love.  I thank You that You never tired of trying to show and tell us how very much we are loved.  Give us ears to hear it and hearts to believe it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/04/18 – The Creation Groans

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DayBreaks for 9/04/18: The Creation Groans

From the DayBreaks Archive, September 2008:

About 10 days ago, at 3:11 a.m. in the morning, I was awakened by the sound of a tree splitting and falling somewhere near our property.  We’ve had a tree come down on one of our outbuildings once before – and I must say, it is impressive what a tree can do when it falls on a structure.  And, living on a hillside as we do, there are trees up above our home and others that surround it.  At 3:11 a.m. it was far too dark to know where the tree fell – even though I got up to make sure that it hadn’t fallen on a car or part of the house.  I couldn’t see where the tree was, but when I stuck my head out the patio door, I could smell the scent of dust in the air and knew it couldn’t have been too far away.

But what struck me was the awful, cracking, splitting and sighing of the wood under strain as it gave way and fell, pulled by gravity.  It was as if the tree had fought as long and hard as it could, only to finally give up the struggle.  The groaning made me recall the passage from Romans that describes the “entire creation” groaning and moaning as a result of the fall, longing for relief.  And, after returning to bed, I lay there thinking that perhaps the sound of breaking tree branches is part of this groaning. 

There is a verse that struck me as I thought about the time when the creation will be completely released from its suffering.  It’s found in 2 Peter 3:10 (NIV) and it says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

I’d never pondered before what the cause of the roar would be, but I have a couple of thoughts.  It could be the roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah which will resound throughout the vanishing universe.  Or, it could be a roar let out by the creation itself as it is finally released from the frustration in which it has been held for these innumerable years.  After all, if the stones could have cried out in adoration of the King during his entry into Jerusalem, why not think that it will cry out in relief when it is set free?  Behold, I make ALL THINGS new is the promise.  The Psalmist spoke of the language of the stars that fills creation with speech.  Won’t it be something when we hear them set free to sing their song of praise to the Creator?

PRAYER: We join our hearts and prayers in longing and anticipation of the great moment when all will be set free from the bondage that has come upon the universe because of sin and evil.  May we prepare ourselves to join in the great shout of deliverance that will take place when we lift our eyes to the sky and see our Redeemer!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/30/18 – An Excellent Question

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DayBreaks for 8/30/18: An Excellent Question

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I love a good question!  Good questions (and many DayBreaks readers have posed some really good ones to me in the past 11 years!) make one think!  And thinking is good, methinks!

It turns out that Blaise Pascal, a 17th century mathematician, philosopher and theologian, had a pretty good noggin and thought some pretty deep thoughts.  And, he asked some excellent questions. 

I have noticed in my life that no matter how good things are, or how happy I may be, that there always still seems to be something missing.  Even at my most happiest moments, there is an aching inside my heart that tells me that there is an absence that hasn’t been filled.  Why is that? 

That’s one of the things that Pascal wrestled with, too (hey – I’m in good company!), but he came up with an explanation for it that is worth pondering.  In the manner of great thinkers, he posed his answer in the form of a question so that we could wrestle with it on our own.  He said (paraphrasing): Do you miss something you’ve never had?  Here’s an example: have you ever grieved the loss of being able to fly?  No – while you may wish you could fly, it’s not something you’ve ever been able to do, so you can’t grieve the loss of it.  Have you ever grieved losing your third eye, or a third leg or arm?  No.  Why?  Because you’ve never had them to start with. 

But we do grieve a loss that we feel inside, this nameless and relentless longing for something that we no longer have.  And what is it that we are missing?  I think there are probably several things that we did once have, but which we have lost:

FIRST: innocence.  We were born and formed in the womb as innocent beings, but all too soon we lost our innocence and we grieve that loss.  Shame and guilt took the place of that initial innocence – and they stick with us!

SECOND: the full image of God that we were meant to bear was lost when we sinned.  We were meant to be more like Him than we are – surely Adam and Eve knew what this image was like when they walked and talked in the garden with God – being to being, in sinlessness.  We can’t do that in the same way now that they did – at least, not until we depart this world.

THIRD: the awareness of His Presence, heaven and home.  We came from God.  I don’t know where our souls were before we were conceived, or if they were created at that moment, but this I do know: we have a longing for a better place.  Where could that longing have come from if it were not implanted into our awareness by God?  Why would He do such a thing?  As a beacon, it calls us back to our true home and our true Father. 

Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NIV) – I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

PRAYER:  Lord, you have put eternity in our hearts and we don’t comprehend it.  But we have a longing for Home, for our True Father.  May we follow that yearning beacon to Your (and our!) heavenly home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/24/18 – Soaring with the Turkeys

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(Yours truly in the blue suit)

DayBreaks for 8/24/18: Soaring with the Turkeys

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

On Tuesday night this week, I went to an indoor skydiving company (iflyworld.com – they have locations in lots of places!) and experienced what it would be like to skydive (without the risk of falling thousands of feet and smashing into the ground). They have a vertical cylinder that is maybe 40 feet tall and it has a net for the floor. There must be some very powerful fans below the netting that force air up at tremendous speed (the speed varies depending on your weight and how high you will be flying – the top speed I saw for some experienced flyers was 120mph!) so that you can “float” inside the cylinder. It was a great experience and a lot of fun! How did I do? OK, I guess. But I don’t think that any Navy SEAL’s are fearing that I’ll take their job away (though this place does help train the military).

While there was a “flight instructor” in the cylinder with those of us novices, I made a major discovery. It was harder to stay in the proper position than I would have ever imagined. When the wind is whistling past you at 90 miles per hour, it doesn’t take much to make you veer to one side or another. Something as easy as a bent leg, even just tipping your head downward or raising/tipping a hand slightly in one direction or another could send you spinning out of control. Fascinating…and you also had to think in reverse: instead of trying to make yourself as flat as you could to maximize the air pressure against your body, you really tried to make yourself smaller by arching your back.

What’s the point? Scripture talks about the wide path and the narrow path. It’s harder to stay on a narrow path than a wide one. And remember how James says that the tongue is an unruly evil – that like a small rudder it can turn an entire ship so it could even crash on the rocks? I found the same true with my “sky diving” adventure. And I was struck by James’ words.
It’s really easy to get our lives out of balance. It’s even easier to drift off the narrow path into sin. All it takes is a brief moment of mis-directed movement and you’re going to start to crash.

The warnings of Scripture are good warnings. Let’s pay attention, straighten up and fly right!

PRAYER: Father, it is easy for us to let our lives take us in directions we shouldn’t go. Keep up on the straight and narrow for your name’s sake! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/17/18 – The Hummingbird and the Vulture

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DayBreaks for 8/17/18: The Hummingbird and the Vulture

There are two birds that fly over our nation’s deserts: one is the hummingbird and the other is the vulture. The vultures find the rotting meat of the desert, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

That is the essence of Paul’s teaching: In life, there are two birds. The one bird looks for foolishness and stupidity, the other looks for wisdom. The vultures seek to fill themselves with the rotting flesh of drunkenness and debauchery, the hummingbird sobriety, freshness, and the Spirit. In the desert of this world you have your scavengers who are angry and ungrateful, but you also have those who hum a grateful hymn of thanksgiving. The irony is that you find what you are looking for.

In the fifth chapter of Ephesians Paul outlines proper behavior for good living. In this short passage he admonishes his readers to be careful how they live. He is brief and to the point. Three things we must do: be wise, be sober, and be thankful. It’s a short list but if we can orient our daily lives around these three-be wise, be sober, be thankful-we will transform not only our lives but also the lives of our family, friends, church, and neighbors.

PRAYER: Father, help us choose the things that are beautiful to you and that lead to life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/26/18 – What a Mystery!

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DayBreaks for 7/26/18: What a Mystery!

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to email.

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Immanuel = God with us.

John 14:16 (KJV) – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…

In Revelation 4:8, we have a description of the worship of the angels: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.

In his excellent little book, God in the Flesh, Don Everts has focused on the “black” letters of the gospel story – not the red letters that were the words of Jesus, but the black letters that form the screenplay and commentary that captures the details that took place around Jesus, and the things that others said about him.  At one point, in a chapter on worship and how people reacted to Jesus (those of clean hearts universally worshiped him!), Everts asks a very serious and probing question: “Is it really Yahweh who lives inside me?  I mean, really.  The Spirit of Jesus that has made a home within me – is it the real presence of fiery, jealous, powerful, divine Yahweh?  Or is it a cute, lesser, diminished part of the Trinity?”

At one level, theologically and intellectually we have a very quick answer to that question: yes, it is Yahweh who lives within us.  And yet…and yet…have we really grasped that the One who is worshipped by untold myriads of angels and the four living creatures day and night, who sing without ceasing to the worship and glory and praise of Yahweh – have we grasped that this is the One who lives in me?  In you?  How can it possibly be????  “That’s a mystery,” wrote Everts.

What difference would there be in how we live if we were able to really grasp Who it is that lives inside us?  What if we really did die to ourselves so that Jesus could live HIS life through us?

PRAYER:  We can scarcely believe your promises to us, to never leave us, to abide in us.  These are great promises and we feel and act weak and defeated at the first hint of temptation.  May we become possessed by the knowledge of your life within us, empowering us, leading and directing us, and giving us victory over sin.  May we get ourselves out of the way by dying to ourselves so that You may live Your perfect life through us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/13/18 – If There Were No Tomorrow’s

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DayBreaks for 7/13/18: If There Were No Tomorrows

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

I’ve already got plans for tomorrow…and for numerous days after that.  I am sure that you do, too.  It is a normal and very human thing to do.  As far as I know, humans are the only thing on the earth that formulates plans.  My dog may decide he’s hungry, so he gets up and walks over to bury his face in the food bowl, but that’s not planning.  I don’t think that he has ever had a thought like this: “Tomorrow I’ll get up, look out the window, bark at some birds, wander outside and chase lizards for 15 minutes to get exercise, take a nice, long cool drink, and then come in and slobber all over Galen.”  If he had thought such things, that would have been planning. 

My plans for tomorrow are varied.  Some will be just pure enjoyment, others are having to do with duties, and still others may or may not happen depending on how everything else works out and what might come up unexpectedly.  It isn’t necessarily bad to have plans: we’re told in the Proverbs that we should look at the ant and learn to prepare for the storms of life that may head our way – and that requires some planning.  We’re also told not to trust in our own plans, for they are flawed and our ways are not God’s ways.  If our plans for our lives and His conflict, guess whose plan will lose?

So, in planning, we need to always be aware that our plans are subject to Divine review and change.  There are some things, however, that I don’t think God would ever remove from our plans.  Obedience to the first and greatest commandment and to the second greatest commandment are two examples of such things.  Those things are always good – and delight God’s heart. 

Maybe that’s what makes it so sad (and vitally important) to contemplate the question: what if there were no tomorrows?  What relationships in my life would I want to improve?  What disobedience would I seek forgiveness for?  What repentance is needed?  Who would I talk to that I’ve been avoiding because of some silly disagreement or upset in the past?  Who would I want to see one more time?  Who would I want to tell about Jesus before my tomorrows ran out? 

The problem, of course, isn’t really in answering those questions I just posed, but in believing that some day our tomorrows will run out – and we just never know when that day will be upon us, like a lion on a wildebeest.  But, that day will come.  It’ll come for me, and it’ll come for you.  Like the children’s game of hide or seek, that time will come with the words, “Ready or not, here I come!”  And then we’ll be in its clutches. 

Since we don’t know when that day will come, doesn’t it make sense today – this VERY DAY – to begin taking care of some of those questions listed above, to fixing some of the broken things in your life?  What is ONE THING you will do today to start working toward the point that when the times comes that there are no more tomorrows for you, that you won’t leave this world behind with regrets?  You can’t fix it all in one day, but you can fix it one day at a time…as long as you have even just one tomorrow left. 

PRAYER:  Give us wisdom to know where to being to work with Your Spirit to fix up the brokenness we might leave behind if we have no more tomorrows.  Give us the courage to live each moment, let alone each day, as if it were our last.  Put the people on our heart that You have prepared to hear about Jesus, and let us speak His name to them while we still breathe.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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