DayBreaks for 11/20/17 – In Due Time

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DayBreaks for 11/20/17: In Due Time

NOTE: Galen is traveling…again.

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly, somewhere over the rainbow, why then, oh why, can’t I?”  Every heart carries dreams and hopes and ambitions.  I’ve always wanted to be able to fly (without being in an airplane.)  I know other people who have dreamed of sailing the south Pacific or climbing some of the earth’s tallest mountains.  Others dream of being a police officer, astronaut, explorer, singer, dancer or actor.  Hopes and dreams are an essential part of life. 

In Discipleship Journal, Carole Mayhall tells of a woman who went to a diet center to lose weight.  The director took her to a full-length mirror.  On it he outlined a figure and told her, “This is what I want you to be like at the end of the program.”  Days of intense dieting and exercise followed, and every week the woman would stand in front of the mirror, discouraged because her bulging outline didn’t fit the director’s ideal.  But she kept at it, and finally one day she conformed to the longed-for image.  – Daily Bread, August 8, 1990

For a long time, as a child, I wanted to be either a brain surgeon or astronaut.  When I started off to college, I was torn between pursuing a career in medicine or in ministry.  For over 25 years, I did neither, although I took classes that could have led in both directions.  The thrill of holding someone’s physical life in my hands during surgery was intoxicating.  The adventure and wonder of flying through space to the moon caught my imagination. 

What we dream of and long for help to shape what we actually become.  That’s partly why Scripture says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  (Phil. 4:8)  We’re also told that we are what we think about in our hearts.  We’re told what our vision should be: to lock our eyes on to Christ and to become like him.  Pretty heady stuff, when you think about that one!

The absence of dreams (a vision and focus for life) can be equally serious: we can wind up just drifting along and one day we bump into shore and we are something that we never wanted to be, stuck somewhere in a place we never wanted to be.  God wants more for us, for you, than that. 

I have been out of high school now for a staggering 47 years (as of 2017).  Even if I’d pursued a career in medicine, I would have been out of college for 35 years or so.  Are there days when I still wish that I was a neurosurgeon or astronaut?  Yeah, there are.  But they’re a lot less frequent now.  Here’s what I want to be when I grow up: I want to be Christ-like.  It is hard to imagine that such a thing is possible, but Peter says it is in 2 Peter 1.  2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) says: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Like the woman in front of the mirror who saw the shape of what she wanted to be gradually became the shape she actually was, let us all fix our eyes on the perfect Image, the exact Image, of God.  And in due time, if we don’t grow weary, we will take on that Image to His everlasting glory.

PRAYER:  Jesus, it’s hard to believe that we could come to look like You.  Help us to keep looking at You and to You, our perfect example.  May we regain what we were meant to be that we have lost through sin.  Help us to be patient with ourselves, even as You patiently shape us.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/03/17 – A Few Hours Before Sunset

DayBreaks for 11/03/17: A Few Hours Before Sunset

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

Time fascinates, yet haunts me.  I am far too driven by time as a general rule.  If I have any paranoia or obsession, it is that I can’t stand to be late for anything.  Not even one second.  My wife, bless her heart, has had to put up with this now for 37 years.  And I must admit, it has at times been a source of conflict between us because she does NOT share my obsession about timeliness.  A couple of years ago, I bought a watch that automatically resets the time every night based on a signal that is transmitted via satellite from the atomic clock in Colorado.  After all, time is important, right?

Some things make time more than important, they make it priceless.  Moments come and go and can be remembered, but never recovered nor fully relived.  They are gone – period. 

We like to celebrate moments.  After all, that’s what birthdays and anniversaries are all about.  People do it, nations do it, and even holidays such as Christmas are celebrations of the moment when Jesus was born.

Seldom, methinks, do we give time the respect that it deserves, even though we (and something like 47 other nations around the world) observe Daylight Savings Time in an effort to preserve time – at least the daylight hours. 

It is good that we celebrate moments – the Jews certainly celebrated lots of things that took place in the matrix of time and space.  God even directed them to do so, therefore it can’t be a bad thing.  But what of all those other moments that we don’t celebrate?  How do we fill them?  Don’t they have equal value to the bright, shining moments that highlight our days?  It is really those moments that pass by uncelebrated and forgotten that form the bulk of our time on this earth.  And it is those uncelebrated moments that we need to convert, to save, to redeem.  I was struck by the words of Amy Carmichael, who noted: We will have eternity to celebrate the victories, but only a few hours before sunset to win them.

Only a few hours to win the victories, but eternity to celebrate.  Very wise.  Let’s focus our efforts on redeeming the time of our lives as fully as we possibly can.  Then, in the Presence of the Lamb, we’ll be able to celebrate not only His victory, but the victories He allowed us to win for His kingdom.

Colossians 4:5 (KJV) – Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to have the wisdom to live not in the light of the sun, but in the Light of the Eternal Son.  Thank you for inviting us to redeem the times in which we live.  Help us to win victories for You before the sun sets.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/14/16 – It’s All About Exile

DayBreaks for 10/14/16 – It’s All About Exile

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

1 Chronicles 29:15 – We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV) – Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

From Doug Dalrymple, in his blog:

“In the 2nd century Christian apologetic, the Letter to Diognetus, we read:

“For Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech…
Yet although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man’s lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other manners of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their commonwealth. They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land.

“To amend Khomiakov, if I may: Do not harness your heart, then, to anything but the Cross of Christ.

“Or, as we read in Hebrews: ‘Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.’  – Exile, my friends. It’s all about exile.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We should never get too comfortable in this “home” (or even too alarmed about current events) because that’s exactly what this world is NOT: home.  Sure, we were born here, grew up here, and we will die here, but it is not home.  Not for the Christian.  It is nothing more, and nothing less, than enemy territory, a foreign land that we must traverse before we leave for Home.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV) – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

We need to be focused and looking for that same city, living as responsible citizens in the here and now and helping others look for that City, too.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the allure of this world for us humans is overwhelming.  We must accept the unseen by faith, while here we can see, taste, touch, smell and hear the sounds of life, or what passes for life in our experience.  Help us to fix our eyes on our Father’s land.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

 

DayBreaks for 10/04/16 – You Are Mere Men

DayBreaks for 10/04/16 – You Are Mere Men               

Galen is traveling this week…

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Psalms 82:5-8 (NLT) – But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! And because they are in darkness, the whole world is shaken to the core.  I say, `You are gods and children of the Most High. But in death you are mere men. You will fall as any prince, for all must die.’  Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.

The first part of this Psalm talks a lot about the oppressors and powerful people in this world.  Truly, the world is full of powerful people.   Some are good, some are evil – most are the latter.  Maybe it’s just me in my advancing years, but it seems that the world grows more and more corrupt each day, and that those who are evil draw power to themselves like a magnet draws iron shavings.  Should we be surprised?  Shouldn’t we expect that the father of lies and evil would give power to those who demonstrate to him their willingness to serve him and use it to further his purposes? 

But that makes me ask: how much more is God willing to give His infinite power to those who serve Him?  Yet God does it not through political power or will, but through other means.  Were there been more powerful or influential people in the 20th century than Mother Theresa or Billy Graham?  You see, God’s power isn’t manifest in high office, but in high service. 

The Psalmist then reminds us that all are, at least by virtue of origin, children of the Most High, but in death they are nothing more than any other human – dead human flesh.  As Solomon encouraged us, it is good to remember our destiny – that we will all one day lie in death’s embrace.  The question of the hour is: will we rise from that death to take up a new residence in heaven or in hell?

I’ve seen so much sickness and disease lately, and I’m forced once again to examine my own mortality and that of others.  It needs to give me a greater sense of urgency for eternal souls than I currently have.  For a while after my bypass, I was keenly aware of my mortality.  But now that I’m nearly 15 years into my re-plumbed heart, I’ve lost some of the sense that I’m mortal.  Yet, as I see my breathing after walking up hill become more labored again, I’m reminded that I shall not pass this way again, and that I need to get it right the first time through.  God will judge the earth – and that includes you and me.

PRAYER:  Lord, awaken us to our greatest needs and help us to put trivial pursuits aside for that which will last forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/22/16 – The Appointed Hour

DayBreaks for 6/22/16 – The Appointed Hour

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

A former Navy man told this story:

“Most Friday nights at the Naval Station in Bermuda, we would assemble at the officer’s club after work.  One Friday, Rick, a newly married ensign, insisted he had to leave at 6 p.m.  We all tried to talk him into staying, but he’d promised his bride he’d be home by six.  I offered to call home for Rick.

“When his wife answered the phone, I said, “Rick has been kidnapped.  Put five dollars in small, unmarked bills in a plain brown bag and throw it in the door of the officer’s club.”  I then hung up.

“A short time later, a waiter brought a grocery bag to our table.  In it were Rick’s baseball glove, a tennis racket and a teddy bear.  Attached to the bear was a note: ‘Rick can play kidnapped until 7 p.m.  Then he must come home.’”

I have to admit, I like the ingenuity of Rick’s wife.  She sounds delightful!

I also thought about the story of Hezekiah – who had an appointment with God to “come home.”  But after prayer, God granted him more time.  There was still a “coming home” time that was set and which needed to be followed, but God was gracious.

Whether we like to think about it or not, we all have an appointed rendezvous with God.  When that time comes, like Rick, we “must come home.”  I’m sure that Rick thought about it as the time approached. 

How much are you and I thinking about our going home? 

PRAYER:  Thank you for the very gift of life.  Thank you for the length of our days – however long or short that number may be.  Help us live this day in the light of eternity, and help us to be ready to come home at our appointed hour.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/17/16 – The Speed God Walks

DayBreaks for 5/17/16 – The Speed God Walks

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

On Wednesday mornings, I teach a bible study at a senior apartment complex.  It’s a small group that gathers, but they’re tremendously faithful and very serious students of the Word.  This bible study group is truly one of the highlights of my week every week!  There is one lady that I get to help from her apartment to where we meet in the fireside room.  She’s 92 years young, sharp as a tack, even if she’s a bit hard to understand because her voice is very gravelly.  She moves very slowly – she uses a walker to get around in her apartment and I get her wheelchair ready for her and push her down to the meeting.  I make sure and get there in plenty of time in order to allow for how slowly she moves.

I sometimes am a little impatient – although I don’t think I let it show.  I try to imagine how it must be to be 92 years of age, with bones and muscles that creak and groan.  I hope, that if I do live that long, that there will be someone who is loving and patient with me.

Theologian Kosuke Koyama described God in a wonderful way.  As he reflected on his days spent in the peaceful rice fields of Thailand, he was moved to write these word: “God walks ‘slowly’ because he is love.  If he is not love he would have gone much faster.  Love has its speed.  It is an inner speed.  It is a spiritual speed.  It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed…It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, whether we are currently hit by storm or not, at three miles an hour.  It is the speed we walk and therefore it is the speed the love of God walks.”

There’s a lot to contemplate in that paragraph: 

FIRST: love moves slowly, and because God is love, He moves slowly.  Why did God take 400 years before He led Israel out of Egypt?  Why did He take thousands of years before sending Christ?  Why has He waited so long to complete His plan for us and make all wrongs right?  If I read scripture correctly, the answer is love: it is his love that leads to his patience, not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9)

SECOND: Love has to move slowly in order to notice that which is beloved.  When you’re moving at warp speed, you can’t notice the curl at the corner of the mouth that signifies happiness, the smell of someone’s hair, the wonder of their mind and thoughts.  Love must give and receive – and those things both take time to give and receive wisely.

THIRD: Humans walk about 3 miles per hour – give or take a bit, depending on circumstances.  How interesting that he says that love walks at 3 miles per hour.  He’s suggesting that where we go, love goes…at 3 miles per hour.  At least, this is to be the case for all believers – if God is within us then he moves with us…at 3 miles per hour. 

He’s not in any rush to make His way through this day.  Let’s not be trying to move at a greater speed than love demands.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NLT) – Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer in large, clear letters on a tablet, so that a runner can read it and tell everyone else.  But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

PRAYER:  How wonderful it is to know that You love us so unreservedly and so intimately!  Thank you for taking the time to always be slow enough to notice us – our joys, our pains, our fears and our delights.  Thank you for making the petals of each flower to delight us.  Thank you for making people so vastly different and complex.  Help us to take the time to walk slowly this day and see, and be, love wherever we go.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 6/15/16 – Appreciating the Flying of Time

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DayBreaks for 6/15/15: Appreciating the Flying of Time

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. – Psalm 71:9 (KJV)

Take a look at today’s illustration.  It’s a Salvador Dali painting, showing a clock that is sliding off the table and another one is bent backwards on a tree branch. It is called “The  Persistence of Memory.” I am neither an art scholar nor an aficionado, and I apparently can’t tell good art from bad (because I’d never pay what some people pay for so-called “art”), so I’m not sure what this painting has to do with memory.  But it does cause me to pause and think about something.

We all know that even on a hot Georgia summer day, clocks just don’t bend or melt, nor do they assume the positions as we see them in Dali’s painting. But stop for a moment at the beginning of today and this work week and ponder these kind of questions: what might this painting it be saying about time? What happens to time? Where does it go? Time flies, time melts away, time disintegrates, things fall apart. You may not like Dali’s painting, but you cannot help but think about it. How do you feel about time and life?

Just yesterday my wife said to me, “Do you ever find it hard to believe we’ve lived as long as we have?” My answer was a bit painful, but honest: “Yes, I sure do!”  You see, we are both in our 60’s now. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t imagine being in my 20’s, let alone 60!  Why, even when I turned 50 I could not imagine being 60! Where does the time go? In the “spent” pile, and you can’t dig it back out and spend it again. As the clocks in the painting infer, it melts away and we are left with wrinkled skin, failing hearing and eyesight, less strength even as our bones get more brittle.

That could be cause for great consternation were it not for one thing: with each passing day, or more precisely, with each tick of the clock, I am that much closer to home and my father/Father. I am that much closer to talking with Daniel, Abraham, Jeremiah, Peter, Mary, Esther…and my Jesus. I’ve never met anyone who died for me before. When the full realization of Who stands before me strikes me, how will I feel? Perhaps I’ll melt like the clock in the picture and fall on my face as though dead. But, if I understand Scripture and what it implies, I won’t be there for long. Just as the Father in the Prodigal Son ran to meet his son as he returned home, so, I believe, the Father will run to greet me, to lift me up off the ground, put His robe on me and welcome me home.

Were it not for that, the fleeting of time would be something to fear. But with that scene from the story of the Prodigal firmly implanted in my mind, the fleeting of time becomes nothing more than a countdown to a long awaited place in the Father’s home.

What will you do with your time this week?

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11 

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t know how much more time I have here. That is in your hands and only you know the answer. But I pray that you will help me to live it well!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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