DayBreaks for 5/29/17: Big Things With Small, Still Voices

DayBreaks for 5/29/17: Big Things With Small, Still Voices

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Job 38:4-7 (NIV) – Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Psalms 19:1-2 (NIV) – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

From The Scrivener blog by Doug Dalrymple, 4/20/07:

“Quite literally, as it turns out – the sun is singing: snagging orchestra seats for this solar symphony would be fruitless, however, as the frequency of the sound waves is below the human hearing threshold. While humans can make out sounds between 20 and 20,000 hertz, the solar sound waves are on the order of milli-hertz—a thousandth of a hertz.”

We know that whales sing and birds sing, and well, even some of us humans try to sing with varying degrees of success.  Dogs bark, cats meow, rivers roar and even the heavenly objects, so Scripture says, “sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” 

When did all this happen?  We might be tempted to think that it happened before the fall of Satan and the realization of evil in the created universe.  After all, wouldn’t it make sense that God’s glorious creation would praise him?  Should we be so arrogant to think that only humans and angels can do so?  It may be true that they sang for joy at the creation and before the fall, for we’re also told through the word that the entire creation now groans and travails in pain, awaiting deliverance that will some day surely come!

But in the meantime, if we’re quiet enough for long enough, you’ll still hear singing.  You’ll hear it with your ears as the animals, wind and sea sing, you’ll hear it with your heart as you look up at the starry canvas on a warm summer night.  And, for those who have ears to hear, we can hear it in the sub-human range of the song of the sun and other stars that sang in the very beginning. 

It’s interesting that something as huge as the sun has such a small voice.  We’d expect it to be huge – a mighty roar as the gasses combust and the flares soar.  But it is a sound too low for us to even hear!  And, as I think about it, perhaps that’s how it really should be anyway.  The voice of God on the mountain was so mighty that people feared Him and fled.  But that’s not his only voice: he also spoke in a whisper to Samuel as a young boy, and in my own personal favorite – he spoke to Elijah in a “still small voice”, that literally translated is something like the sound of falling snow.  As Doug put it: “There’s just something marvelous about big, big things with still, small voices.”

When we were little, our dads were big, but when they pulled us close in their powerful arms and we heard the song, “I love you!” come pouring from their lips, it was marvelous.  And now, with my earthly father gone some 20 years, I’m enthralled when I hear God’s voice, through Jesus, saying, “I love you, son.  I’m so proud of you.  I’ll never let you down!  You’re safe here with Me.”

Big Things with small voices, indeed!

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the music of the spheres and for the song of love that You sing to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 4/28/17 – Why Christ HAD To Rise

DayBreaks for 4/28/17: Why Christ HAD to Rise

Note: Galen is traveling this week.

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

Easter is over, but Christ is still risen!  It seems that many forget in the hustle of everyday life that such an earth-shattering event really did take place.  Maybe saying it was earth-shattering is a bit strong – many alive on the face of the earth at the time never heard about it in their lifetimes – they just didn’t have that opportunity.  And being such scientifically minded moderns as we are, we find it a bit hard to believe that something that happened so long ago in the days of yore when science was, well, rather unscientific, we may be a bit skeptical about the resurrection. 

In John 20, it says (talking about the disciples after Jesus resurrection and before Jesus had appeared to them), They did not yet understand the Scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead.  I can hardly blame them, even though Jesus had told them numerous times, in very plain language, that he would rise from the dead on the third day. 

But this year, as I read that passage, I was struck by the simple word “had”.  It is a significant word – the writer could have said that they didn’t understand that Jesus would rise from the dead, but that’s not what he said.  John said Jesus “had” to rise from the dead.  And that got me thinking.  Why did Jesus have to rise?  Several reasons, I think:

FIRST: If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, it would mean that there was something (death) in the universe that is more powerful than God, which is impossible given the definition of God and His omnipotence.  If Jesus (God with us) could not raise himself from the dead, he couldn’t possibly have been God.  But if he could raise himself from the tomb, then surely He must be God!

SECOND: Life has, in spite of appearances, always been stronger than death.  Consider how it works with a grain of wheat: one grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, but that one grain of wheat gives life eventually to thousands of grains of wheat in subsequent generations.  Think of the great people of the past and what comes to mind?  Is it not their life, and not their death?  We speak of such people as “living on” in their deeds, words, thoughts.  And, who hasn’t seen a seed that has sprouted and grown through inches of asphalt, cement or even rock?  Why?  Because life is stronger than death, and Jesus was “the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE.”

FINALLY: I preach and teach about the cross a great deal.  I make no apologies for that.  But recently I have wondered if I’ve emphasize that too much and underemphasized the resurrection of Christ.  After all, the apostles went everywhere teaching and preaching the resurrection.  Many people were crucified during the time of Christ – but what made him unique was the resurrection!  What good would it have been if Jesus had lived a sinless life and if God had accepted Jesus’ sacrificial death for us, but Jesus hadn’t risen?  Paul is clear in Corinthians: if Christ isn’t risen, then there is and will be no resurrection for anyone.  Here’s the point: if Jesus perfect life ended with the grave, our sins could have been forgiven, but so what?  If he didn’t rise, we won’t rise.  We’d lie in the grave and become dust and remain dust – eternally.  And those are some of the key reasons Jesus had to rise from the dead.

Let me share the brilliant observation by theologian Jaroslav Pelikan: “If Christ is risen from the dead, then nothing else matters; if Christ is not risen from the dead, then nothing else matters.”  You see, it all depends on Christ and his resurrection.

PRAYER: I thank You, Father, for the little word “had” – that Jesus “had” to rise from the dead.  Thank You that He did rise, and that because he has risen, nothing else in this universe really matters.  The reality of His resurrection is the dominant fact of all the universe.  May we live as if we truly believe He is risen from the dead!.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/21/17 – Listen to the Birds

DayBreaks for 4/21/17: Listen to the Birds

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

Romans chapter 1 (starting with about verse 20) makes it clear that God has revealed His existence to man through the things that can be seen – His creation.  But mankind has decided that God doesn’t exist: Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  (Rom. 1.28)

Suppose for a second that a student were to write on a physics exam that she didn’t believe in atoms because she couldn’t see them.  No one would blame the professor for failing the student!  The existence of atoms is clearly undeniable on the basis of their recognized effects.  Just ask anyone who lived through Hiroshima or Nagasaki and they’ll tell you that atoms exist – they’ve seen their effect.  Yet man persists in insisting that God doesn’t exist because we can’t see, smell, hear, taste or touch Him.  Silly, isn’t it?!

Job 12:7-9 has this to say: But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 

In the movie, Doctor Doolittle (I think that was the name of it), the good doctor was supposed to be able to talk with the animals.  Scripture tells us that the animals will tell us about the God who formed them – and we don’t have to learn to speak their language! 

Why is it that “they (mankind) did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God”?  I don’t think it is because most of mankind really doesn’t want to believe there is a God, but rather that they don’t want to believe in the kind of God who would tell them not to practice sinful lifestyles – who would cramp our style!  We want to believe in a God who would tell us that we can do whatever we want and that because He loves us that He’ll just look the other way.  But that isn’t the God of the Bible.  He couldn’t look the other way precisely because He does love us too much. 

1 Pet 1:8-9 puts it this way: Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 

Like the atom, God is unseen.  Like the atom, He is powerful.  Like the atom, He is real.  How tragic that the greatest thing in all of God’s creation and that which He loves the most (mankind) is the one thing in all the universe that denies His existence and which rejects Him.  Let’s all go outside and listen to the birds sing their melody about the greatness of God – and maybe we, too, can learn how to praise Him from the animals that He made!

PRAYER: For the wisdom behind the creation, we thank You and give You praise.  May we hear and sings songs of greatness to Your glory this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 11/24/16 – Thanksgiving Questions

DayBreaks for 11/24/16: Thanksgiving Questions

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I love this holiday. I hope you do, too. I realize you may have had a very difficult year, and if so, I am sorry for the pain you’ve had. Yet, we all have things to be thankful for, don’t we?

A group of Moms got together and composed a list of things they are thankful for. They wrote that they were especially thankful:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after dinner snacks.

“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

“For children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.

“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.”

And finally, “For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”

Each of us would have our own list of the things for which we are thankful. Most of us are mature enough in our faith to recognize that Thanksgiving is a most dangerous holiday. When we give thanks for our good health, what does that say to people who do not have a healthy body? Does that say that we are more deserving than they, or that somehow God loves us more?

When we thank God for our nice homes or our families or our freedom as Americans, what does this say about good, decent God-loving people around the world who do not share these blessings?

I have no ready answers for such questions and neither does anyone else. I would prefer, however, as we give thanks this Thursday and all the rest of the year, that we do it for the right reasons.

What are some of the things that every Christian, regardless of his or her circumstance, in every corner of the globe can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season? What are some of the things that you can be grateful for today that you might not typically think to give thanks for? Search out a few – and thank God for them today!

PRAYER: We have much to thank You for today, God! I pray that You will be the unseen, yet honored guest of honor at our tables and in our hearts on this Thanksgiving day! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.  All rights reserved.

 

DayBreaks for 10/11/16 – Now Thank We All Our God

 

DayBreaks for 10/11/16 – Now Thank We All Our God             

You can even be thankful during the most difficult of circumstances in life. It’s true! We see an especially inspiring example of a brave and thankful heart in the story behind one of the church’s most popular hymns, “Now Thank We All Our God.” This particularly hymn was written during the Thirty Years War in Germany, in the early 1600s. Its author was Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran pastor in the town of Eilenburg in Saxony.

Now, Eilenburg was a walled city, so it became a haven for refugees seeking safety from the fighting. But soon, the city became too crowded and food was in short supply. Then, a famine hit and a terrible plague and Eilenburg became a giant morgue.

In one year alone, Pastor Rinkart conducted funerals for 4,500 people, including his own wife. The war dragged on; the suffering continued. Yet through it all, he never lost courage or faith and even during the darkest days of Eilenburg’s agony, he was able to write this hymn:

Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom the world rejoices
…[So] keep us in His grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

Even when he was waist deep in destruction, Pastor Rinkart was able to lift his sights to a higher plane. He kept his mind on God’s love when the world was filled with hate. He kept his mind on God’s promises of heaven when the earth was a living hell. Can we not do the same – we whose lives are almost trouble-free, compared with the man who wrote that hymn?

Whom can you say “thank you” to? What can you thank God for this day? It is said that the seeds of discouragement won’t grow in a thankful heart. Let’s be thankful people!

PRAYER: God, for all you have done, for all you have given, for all those things for which I’ve not said “Thank you”, I say it now. You have blessed us in every possible way…and we are thankful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/21/16 – In the Smallest Detail, Delight

DayBreaks for 6/21/16 – In the Smallest Detail, Delight

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

Psalms 37:23-24 (NLT) – The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Mornings are not kind to me.  I don’t like them.  I get tired of having to shave every day.  I get tired of having to pay the bills each month.  I get tired of how fast my hair is turning a lighter shade somewhat akin to gray.  I get tired of having to pay for gasoline, of having to go through the same routines of life, day in, day out, week in, week out.  Somewhat like Solomon of old (though far less wise than he!), I can find life to be monotonous.  The myriad of details is stupefying.

What a contrast to my heavenly Father!  Psalm 37:23 says that rather than finding my life boring and dull, He delights in “every detail”.  How can I grasp this?  Is there anything in my human experience that enables me to begin to understand this intense interest and joy that He finds in my life?

Perhaps it works like this: I can sit and watch my grandchildren for hours on end.  I wouldn’t need to say a word, nor would they.  It doesn’t matter if they’re awake or asleep (although, there are times when the quiet of their sleep-filled breathing is welcome!), playing or eating, sitting or standing, jumping or rolling on the floor.  I am captivated and fascinated by them.  And I felt the same things about their parents before them – and I still do.  I could sit in a room with my kids and never say a word and be perfectly delighted just to be near them, to be able to see them.

I think that God delights in every detail of my life – and yours – in the same way.  We don’t have to be climbing Mount Everest or binding the hands of Satan for His delight to rest upon us.  He delights in watching each breath we take – whether we’re awake or asleep.  He loves to watch us eat and enjoy the flavors of the food.  He loves to watch me shave in the morning and comb my hair (subtracting in His heavenly record book the number of hairs that fall out each day!)  He loves to watch me paying the bills.  Why?  For one reason: He loves me.  He never leaves my side because He doesn’t want to miss a single event, a single miniscule detail of my life.  How do I know?  Because I’d do the same if I were Him.  I’d never have my kids or grandkids or wife or dogs out of my sight – not for an instant if I had the choice and power – not because I have to watch over and worry about their safety, but for the sheer delight of beholding them each moment of each day. 

I fear we frequently lose the wonder and delight that God put in us about life itself. 

God delights in you.  He is delighting in even the smallest parts of your life that you may think is the least significant thing you’ll do all day.  Every word.  Every detail.  Isn’t it awesome to have a Father that loves us so?

PRAYER:  What love you have poured out upon us, Father!  Help us this day to see life a bit more like You see it rather than the way we usually see it.  May this day be a majestic wonder as we take each step, breathe each breath, because we know You are watching, and You are delighted in us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/1/16: Holy Land Lessons – The Stones Will Cry Out

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Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel. Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016.

Luke 19:39-40 (KJV) – And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

It was what we call the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The crowds were cheering the man from Galilee. No doubt many were thinking that this was the time when Rome would be overthrown and the Jewish people would once again be freed from the oppression of the great empire. One thing that galled the people was that the temple which had been constructed by Herod was overshadowed on one side by the fortress Antonia, from which Roman soldiers could peer down into the temple grounds to keep a close eye on those worshiping there. 

But on this day, there was cheering. The ruling clique of religious leaders in Jerusalem were very distressed about all the noise and clamor. The Romans didn’t like boisterous crowds (except in the Coliseum and at their own revels) and would often react with great and swift violence to quell any possible disturbance. That is probably at least part of the reason the religious rulers were disturbed by the noise. 

I believe they were also disturbed because Jesus was getting so much attention. The masses of people in Israel despised their own religious leaders with good reason, for they were corrupt and in cahoots with Rome whenever it suited their purposes. 

But none of that is the point. The point is that Jesus’ statement about the stones along the road crying out gives me pause to think. I, like most people, like it when people sing my praises. In such a situation we don’t mind being the center of attention. Jesus, as the incarnate Son of God, had created those stones that were along the side of the road. It seems that Jesus is suggesting that even the inanimate things of creation know their Creator and will give him praise.

And that gives me reason to ponder my own attitude of praise toward Jesus. Do I find myself so compelled by wonder and love and appreciation that I give him the praise He is due? In today’s photo that I took inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it seems as if the stones of that building are reaching skyward to sing glory to His name. While I was there, did I? Barely. And that shames me, for He certainly is worthy of my shouts of praise!

PRAYER: Jesus, You deserve every bit of praise that my poor soul can lift to You. Let my entire life be a song of praise, an offering of love and devotion, to You for what You have done for us all! Forgive my silence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.