DayBreaks for 1/04/19 – The Passing of the Shadow

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DayBreaks for 01/04/2019: The Passing of the Shadow

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09 (modified):

Whew.  The holidays are now over.  It is a bittersweet feeling, isn’t it?  On the one hand, I love the excitement and joy of the holidays, and the chance to share that with family, loved ones and friends.  I love the Christmas carols and was surprised to find some of them playing in the malls this year. I love the bright lights and colors, and yes, the nuts and chews of Christmas from See’s Candies!

But it isn’t long and the holidays that have been so long awaited are over and done with.  The family has returned to their own homes and gone back to work, the Christmas decorations have been pulled down and boxed away for another year, the candy is gone (thank goodness!) and the Christmas carols and tree have been tucked away for 11 months.  And – I’m tired. 

As I was reflecting on this one day, I was watching our old dog, Rainie.  She’s 12 years old now and she’s clearly winding down.  She walks with a strange, stiff gait because of some arthritis in her hips, and if you look into her eyes, they are not dark and clear – they are milky and a bit subdued.  She is afraid, or in a bit too much discomfort, to hop up on the bed as easily as she used to.  Now, at night, when she comes back into the house, she will whimper and whine before even attempting her leap of faith up to the top of the mattress.  And she huffs and puffs a lot more than when she was younger.  It saddens me to see this happening before my very eyes and to be powerless in the face of the inexorable march of time.  And then I realize, I am on the same march, head down as I trudge the pathway before me.

The passing of the holidays and the winding down of life have parallels that can teach us.  We start out exuberant, full of excitement and energy.  We hurry here and there because the world is so big and there is so much to see and do and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  But then, as with Christmas, the holiday is over before you are even fully aware that it has begun.  Old friends and family are no longer around.  We find ourselves more fearful of running around too far from home, and we also whimper and whine as we rise or recline on our bed.  Not to mention the eyesight. 

This is the way of all flesh.  This is what makes our God and His promises so precious – He does not grow old, tired, and weary.  He doesn’t get cataracts.  His bones don’t ache and generate the whimpers that accompany old age.  And He promises us that the day will come when we will be like Him in that regard.  We try to imagine a life without any sort of pains or sadness and we cannot grasp even the tiniest crumb of that reality.  But we do long for it.  The life we so longed to live when we were younger has been spent somehow, somewhere – like a shadow passing in the night, soundlessly and quickly, not even leaving footprints behind.  Hold on to the fact that the shadow is passing, but it isn’t passing from daylight to darkness, but instead the shadow is passing to daylight, from earth to heaven, from mortality to immortality, from death to life.  And there shall be no more weeping.

PRAYER:  Lord, life often feels like both a blessing and a burden.  Thank you for the promise that you will make our joys even greater than anything we have experienced in this lifetime, and that you will remove our sorrows eternally.  Thank you, that Jesus “is the life!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 5/24/18 – Less or More?

 

DayBreaks for 5/24/18: Less or More?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

How are the old bones doing these days?  Are you creaking just a bit more than you did a couple of years ago?  How’s the muscle tone?  Still got those six-pack abs that you had when you were in college?  Does that old wedding dress or tuxedo still fit you perfectly?  Is the hair as thick as it once was?  How about the color of your hair these days?  Has the old “get up and go” gotten up and gone somewhere and left no forwarding address? 

If so, you’re being Biblical!!!!  The apostle Paul aptly described our physical condition in 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV) when he wrote: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

How are you doing with Paul’s statement, “we do not lose heart”?  Paul was describing his outward condition and the sufferings he’d been placed under for his stand for the faith.  It seems to me that many (including myself from time to time) lose heart as we see our bodies failing with higher frequency and greater severity.  My medicine cabinet has been pretty full of medications since my bypass surgery at 49 years of age.  I can only look forward to it getting even more congested as time passes and other things start to go bonkers on me.  It would be easy to lose heart – if my physical body is all that constitutes “me.” 

But Paul goes on to point out that though we are physically wasting away, inwardly we are not.  Inwardly we can be renewed day by day.  Eugene Peterson in Run With the Horses said it very well: “One of the supreme tasks of the faith community is to announce to us early and clearly the kind of life into which we can grow, to help us set our sights on what it means to be a human being complete.  Not one of us, at this moment, is complete.  In another hour, another day, we will have changed.  We are in process of becoming either less or more.  There are a million chemical and electrical interchanges going on in each of us this very moment.  There are intricate moral decisions and spiritual transactions taking place.  What are we becoming?  Less or more?”

In response to his own question, Peterson notes that 1 John 3:2 gives us the answer: Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  We are children; we will be adults.  We can see what we are now; we are children of God.  We don’t yet see the results of what we are becoming, but we know the goal, to be like Christ, or in Paul’s words, to arrive at mature manhood, to the measure of the statue of the fullness of Christ.  (Eph. 4:13)

“We do not deteriorate.  We do not disintegrate.  We become.” – Eugene Peterson

How’s your “becoming”?

PRAYER:  What wonderful news, Father, that we don’t deteriorate spiritually – but that we are becoming mature persons in Christ!  Shelter us safe as we grow and get strong in You, even as our bodies get weak and fail.  Help us to remember that we are not destined for deterioration, but for becoming!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 01/27/14 – Borrowed Time

DayBreaks for 1/27/14 – Borrowed Time  

Acts 17:30-31 (MSG) – God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. 31  He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.

When we say that someone is living on borrowed time, we mean that they should have died, but for some reason, they didn’t. But with each day, each hour, each heartbeat, they are “living on borrowed time.”

Usually when people know they are living on borrowed time, they live differently. They live more wisely. Often, they live more considerately of others. There is something about living on borrowed time that sounds a clarion deep within that gets our attention.

Sunday morning on our way to church, my wife and I were discussing something that has been disappointing to her about life. I, coming from a pastoral background, was trying to comfort her by saying that it would be different in heaven and that what was causing the disappointment would be gone. Then I said something to the effect that we only have to put up with it for a few more years. I don’t know what prompted me to say that, other than the fact that it’s true. When I was younger, the idea of having to put up with something for decades was incomprehensible and seemed a daunting, if not impossible, challenge. But now, we’re in our sixties and we don’t have decade after decade of life still staring us in the face. The duration of time that we have to put up with anything anymore is not that long – and it seems possible.

Back in 2001 I had an unexpected heart surgery. The surgeon said that my lungs were pink as those of a baby (I was 49 at the time), that I had the heart of a 30-year old, but my cardiac arteries were those of a 70-year-old man. So, the quad bypass circumvented some of that, but if he was right, some of my other arteries are now like those of an 82-year old man. And it dawned on me as I sat there in the car, that I am one of those who is living on borrowed time. Every heartbeat could literally be my last.

I don’t say that for sympathy. I say it because it is true, and once you’ve been diagnosed with cardiac artery disease, you are more keenly aware of that tick-tick that sounds like thump-thump inside your chest. David said that the days of our lives are known to God. With each heartbeat, I am one heartbeat closer to that day of reckoning.

But I’m not alone. The same applies to you. Because we are all sinners, we deserved to die when we committed our first sin. We die because we are human, heirs of Adam. The clock is ticking down for all of us.  We are all living on borrowed time.

The question is: what will I do with the time that is left? What will you do with your remaining heartbeats? Make them count. Spend them wisely. They dwindle so rapidly…and then, like the vapor, we are gone to our eternal destiny.

James 4:14 (MSG) – You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.

PRAYER: Father, we need perspective to realize we are all on borrowed time. Whatever days our hours may lie before us, let us make them count. Thank You for Your kindness and mercy in sparing us to this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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Thank you!

DayBreaks for 05/17/11 – Born Old

DayBreaks for 05/17/11 – Born Old

Born old...

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

One of the things I love about elderly Christians is that they tend to be much more thoughtful, kind, patient and loving than younger saints. Through years spent imitating Christ they have grown more and more into his image – and it is a beautiful sight. As a normal human reaction to declining physical health, to eyes that need cataract surgery, ears that need hearing aids, it isn’t uncommon to hear older people (Christians and non-Christians alike) to get down about the losses that accompany aging.  Paul reminds us that we have no reason to lose heart. Why? “The inner nature is being renewed every day.” And these saints, though their bodies are bent and wrinkled and weary, are more lovely than they have ever been.

But for those who resent the passing years, an intriguing thought was suggest by Charles L. Allen. He wrote, “Just suppose the process were reversed. You would start living at an old age and every day be a little younger. Now that would be terrible. Every day you would know a little less than you knew the day before. You would start off with your grandchildren but in a few years they would all be gone. Your family, instead of growing, would constantly be diminishing. You would eventually get to the age where you start to college. You would start off a senior and end up in the first grade. Now, little first graders are cute with their short pants or little pink dresses, but I would hate to think I would have to be one again.

“Tottering old age has its drawbacks, but being a tiny baby is a lot worse. If you were getting younger, you would have to look forward to losing everything and end up by being a helpless baby with a bottle. Finally, you would just fade away into nothing. Babies do not have a previous existence, so complete oblivion would be the end.

This very scenario was portrayed in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  It was a profoundly insightful and thoughtful film.

Put that way, isn’t it better to grow older rather than the other way around?  In the spiritual realm, who would want his faith to grow weaker and more immature each day, to see her Christ-like qualities diminish with time? Who would want to lose the personal testimony of how God has proven His faithfulness time and again in one’s own life?

Experience is a great teacher. We are confident that: They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

PRAYER: Thank You for ordering our lives so wisely and for the growing grace and beauty that can come in our advancing years!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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