DayBreaks for 10/02/17 – Between Intimacy and Fear

DayBreaks for 10/02/17: Between Intimacy and Fear

From our Sunday worship bulletin: “We live in irreverent times when people show less and less respect for positions, traditions, and institutions. At times, we even see this attitude in churches. Many have become very ‘casual’ about the things of God.

“Much of the current preaching heard in evangelical churches teaches us that God desires to have an intimate, personal relationship with us, and indeed He does (Jas. 4:8, John 15:15). We told that we can call God, ‘Abba’ (or ‘Daddy’), and rightfully so. However, there should be a balance between intimacy and awe. Right after James writes ‘Draw near to God’, he continues with ‘Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded’. While the Bible reveals God’s desire for intimacy with us, it also shows us His awesome holiness, majesty, and power. Much of what we find in Scripture is meant to create greater reverence for Him.

“A good example of the proper balance between intimacy and awe is found in the apostle John. He was one of Jesus’ closest friends, part of the ‘inner circle’ of disciples with Peter and James. Six times in his gospel, John calls himself ‘the disciple Jesus loved.’ If anyone had the right and privilege to be ‘chummy’ with Jesus, it was Joh, but in Revelation 1:10-20, when John sees Jesus in heaven in all his glory, with His eyes ‘like a flame of fire’ and His face ‘like the sun shining in full strength, he didn’t say, ‘Hey man! How’s it goin’?’John said, ‘When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead’ (Rev. 1:17).  Here’s someone who knew Jesus as well as anyone ever had, and yet, he was full of reverence and awe at the sight of his risen Lord.”

So, somewhere between casual friendship and terrifying fear, between being with a close friend and the Eternal Almighty God, we are to encounter Christ. I am confident there are times we are to come to Him like a little child and crawl up and snuggle in His arms, but there are also times we need to fall on our face as did the disciple that Jesus loved more than any other. To focus solely on one or the other is to deny the truth in a dangerous way.  

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may we know You in all Your fullness and may we know you both as Abba and as the great I Am! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 6/06/16 – From YHWH to Daddy

DayBreaks for 6/06/16 – From YHWH to Daddy

Exodus 3:14 (NIV) – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’

As Moses was having this encounter with God, he naturally wanted to be able to say Who was sending him back to Egypt. Why? Because the task he was being asked to do would require authority. But I suspect that there was also another reason: the Israelites had become idol worshippers during their 400 years in Egypt and all the Egyptian gods had names. So it would be expected that they would ask the name of the God that sent this dude in from the wilderness to tell the Israelites that it was time to leave.

This is the first time that God gives His personal name in Scripture. The Jews came to so revere this name that it became known as the tetragrammaton. They so revered God that they wouldn’t pronounce the name Yahweh, or Jehovah. Instead they removed the “vowels” and shortened it to YHWH or JHVH. They were not to even pronounce it when thinking about His name because His name was so holy and elevated that humans were not thought worthy to speak it or think it so great was their fear of this mighty God. That is fairly understandable, is it not? They’d witnessed how He’d laid waste to Egypt and they would see His blessing and would taste His displeasure with them in the wilderness and they didn’t want to risk offending him. They came to know him as a “consuming fire” (Dt. 4:24) during the time of Moses. That is why both David and Solomon at different times made the observation that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

And then something happened.

The incarnation changed many, many things forever.  God became flesh…and dwelt among us. And when he was asked by his followers how they should pray, he told them to pray thusly: “Our Father who art in heaven….”  The word, Father, is Abba – it’s not a lofty, power filled word, but simply what a little child calls out: “Daddy!”

In such a short span of about 30 years we moved from YHWH to Daddy because we learned something else about this God that Israel had worshipped: He loves us like precious little children! What cause it? The incarnation…when mankind could finally look into the eyes of God face to face, when we could witness him raise the dead son of a grieving widow, when he touched the unclean lepers, when he gently and graciously spared the woman caught in adultery, when he fed the hungry people of Israel and healed the sick gave sight to the blind.

David and Solomon had a point: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but to my way of thinking, it is only the beginning of wisdom, not the end. The end comes when we have learned to trust him and love him as our Daddy.

PRAYER: Abba, what a blessing it is to call you by that name and to run to your mighty arms and be lifted high and hugged tightly to your heart of love! Thank you for becoming personal to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/01/16 – Praying in Deepest Darkness

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Photo, Galen C. Dalrymple, 2013.

DayBreaks for 2/01/16: Praying in Deepest Darkness

I have always been tormented by the prayers of Jesus in Gethsemane. To think of the very Son of God in such anguish – brought about by things he didn’t deserve – and to know that he did it for me is unfathomable.

In the sermon on Sunday, the preacher was talking about prayer and he made reference to this prayer. Many times in prayer, we are formal and stiff in our language, as if we think that sounding proper and saying all the right things in the most pious and holy language we can must will somehow curry us favor with the Almighty. How foolish we are to think that.

The disciples once asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and he did. It was a prayer that is all of 13 seconds long. Jesus was no a pious windbag. He knew how to pray better than any of us. He didn’t use fancy words, but words that could easily fall from the tongues of a young child. “Our Father…”

And so we find this man of prayer prostrate in the garden, stretched out upon the ground, in the deepest pit of agony that any human has ever experienced. I know that others throughout history have died equally painful deaths on a cross and some perhaps even more painful. But the pain that most ripped Jesus’ that night was, I believe, already starting to settle on him: the pain of separation from God as he took on our sin. The darkness of all of history’s evil was falling on his soul. He was alone, and he was terrified.

So how did Jesus pray at that point? Did he summon up the highest theological language that he could (and he was the foremost theologian of all time – for he knew himself!)?

No, he didn’t even address God as YHWH, or Elohim. He didn’t string together lofty, wonderful adjective-lace terms such as Almighty God, Ancient of Days, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or God of our fathers. No, this was a child, this was a son, and he called out to not YHWH, but Daddy! In his anguish, this was a child begging, pleading with his daddy, to let this darkness pass, to let it be over, to let the Light once more be Light.

That is a lesson of prayer we need to learn. That is how we are to pray.

Maybe right now you are desperate for relief, for deliverance from some torment. Maybe you are so ashamed you feel you can’t go to God. Maybe you are afraid you will be rejected in your darkness of soul. Let Jesus teach you to pray, “Abba, daddy!! If it be possible, let this cup pass from me!”

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, when I think of the agony of your soul in the garden I am crushed and so ashamed for my sin that added to your darkness and suffering. In my own darkness and shame, I cry out to you, “Daddy, have mercy on my soul and forgive me!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.