DayBreaks for 2/12/18 – The Spirit and the Wind

DayBreaks for 2/12/18: The Spirit and the Wind

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

John 3:8 (NIV) – The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Without a doubt, the aspect of the Trinity that we know the least about would be the Spirit.  Even His name, “Spirit”, seems strange and mysterious to us compared to Father or Son.  We long to lay our eyes upon the Father and upon the Son, but how often have you heard anyone say, “I can’t wait until I see the Spirit!”

As you probably know, the word for Spirit in Greek is pneuma.  It’s translated as breath, wind, spirit.  In John 3:8, it is the word that Jesus uses when speaking of the Holy Spirit.  That just makes it all the more mysterious, don’t you think?  You cannot see the wind itself, but you can see its effects.  So it is with the Spirit.  Jesus says the wind blows where it decides to go, and so does the Spirit.  The wind can be gentle or powerful, so it is with the Spirit.  It is interesting to me, that in Genesis 1:2, the Spirit of God is introduced, and as the KJV puts it, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” – just like the wind that moves over land and sea. 

I have been focusing a lot lately in my life on trying to see and perceive God more clearly though the things that He has created.  Sometimes my eyes are covered and I struggle to see Him in things, but at others, I wonder if I sometimes go a bit too far with my perceptions.  We live in a time when we have a scientific explanation for everything, where even the human genome has been fully mapped, where earthquakes are no longer believed to be an act of God (or the gods to the pagans), where eclipses are understood to be naturally occurring celestial events rather than a sign of displeasure from on high.  Solomon said that “to everything there is a season” but modern man in all our supposed wisdom, says “To everything there is an explanation.”  Something great has been lost, I fear.  Mystery has been subsumed by the mundane and de-mystified.

Here’s my point: what if, just for sake of conjecture, we were to think of the breeze, the wind as being the Spirit passing by instead of being caused by competing areas of high and low pressure in the atmosphere?  After all, the wind and Spirit are used interchangeably in some Biblical texts.  Maybe it isn’t just the movement of air molecules that brushes your face when you step outside today – maybe it’s the breath of the Spirit, or the caress of His hand as the Spirit moves around you. 

Would that not be a better way for us who are believers to think of the wind?  While I’m not possessed of enough wisdom and insight to know whether or not it is true, Scripture says that the Lord will never leave us – and where the Lord is, the Spirit is.  And if we were to start to think of the wind as the Spirit every time we sense the breeze, if we let it draw our thoughts to God would we not be better off than explaining it away as just the difference in atmospheric pressure?

PRAYER: Sometimes, Lord, we listen too much to science and not nearly enough to Your Spirit, that we confess is mysterious indeed to us.  Teach us through the things that You’ve created, capture our imaginations and hearts anew with the awe and wonder we once knew as little children, and direct our thoughts toward You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/28/16 – He Is Thinking Of Me Right Now

DayBreaks for 1/28/16: He Is Thinking of Me Right Now

From the DayBreaks archive, January 2006:

Ps 40:17 NLT – As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now.  You are my helper and my savior.  Do not delay, O my God.

The ancients really didn’t think much of their gods.  They believed that the gods weren’t very favorably disposed towards humans.  They believed that the gods made people largely to dig ditches and to irrigate the fields so that the gods didn’t have to do that kind of work themselves.  In that sense, they felt they were slaves to the gods, oppressed by them.  And the gods rarely, if ever, gave much thought to humanity after they been relieved of the menial tasks of farming and growing food. 

What a contrast to the God of Israel!  But we need to understand the context: David was the king!  As far as the masses of humanity were concerned, he was neither poor nor needy.  Most Israelites could look at the lights aglow in his palace and think how rich David was, how blessed!  He surely didn’t have to go to bed hungry each night nor wonder where his next meal would come from – but they did.  But even the great king was forced to recognize how needy he was before God. 

The implication of the Lord thinking about him even as he wrote those words was twofold:

FIRST: God was not ignorant of David’s plight and certainly wasn’t blind to David’s existence.  How sad it would be if God was impressed by human position and wealth!  But He isn’t – in fact, over and over Scripture extols God for His concern for the poor, destitute, oppressed and betrayed.  And that just about describes us all, doesn’t it? 

SECOND: the fact that God was thinking about him gave David the confidence to ask a favor of God “Do not delay, O my God.”  There would have been no sense in asking a favor of a god who couldn’t hear you, or who didn’t think about you at all, except as a slave to till the soil of his planet.   What a blessing to know that there is never even a moment when He (the Lord Himself – not some underling vassal or angel) isn’t thinking of me!!!!

When I am depressed, I need to remember that the Lord is thinking of me that very moment.  When I am desperate, I need to remember that the Lord is thinking of me.  When I am being tempted to sin, and even when I am in the midst of sin, I must remember that the Lord is thinking of me even then.  Perhaps, if I can, through the power of the Spirit, remember that He’s thinking of me when I’m sinning, or being tempted to surrender to Satan and the flesh, I would have a double-check in my heart that would help to keep me from falling and sinning against the Lord.

As you go through your day today and experience laughter, discomfort, fear, joy, anger, temptation, love and hate – remember, the Lord is thinking of you – right then!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, what a blessing it is to know that You are thinking of us – not just at moments during the day, but at all moments during the day!  What relief that should bring us, and what encouragement to persevere in the face of temptation!  Help us to think more often of You, dear Lord, even as You think of us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 6/27/14 – He Thinks About You

DayBreaks for 6/27/14 – He Thinks About You

Psalm 8:3-4 (MSG) I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?

Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?

I wonder if there has ever been any human being in full possession of their faculties who has not sat under the starry sky on a dark night and been spellbound with amazement?  Sure, the ancients had no concept of how many stars there are in the universe nor of the vast distances that their light has traversed to paint their image on our retinas, but I’m nearly certain that we’ve all been captured by the majestic night sky!

When I sit under the stars with all the lights far away, even with my fading vision, I feel so infinitesimally small and insignificant.  If my body were to be thrown into space by a sudden upheaval of the earth’s crust, I’d be far smaller and occupy a much tinier space than a grain of sand in the Pacific Ocean.  And I echo the words of David, “Why?  Why, God, do you even both to take a second look in my direction?”  There is perhaps nothing more humbling.  Maybe that’s why He created space so immense – to teach us the difference between us and Him.

Helmut Thielicke says that during World War II, his students often wrote from the battlefield saying, “I am so exhausted from marching, my stomach is so empty, I am so plagued with lice and scratching, I am so tormented by the biting cold of Russia and so dead tired, that I am totally occupied, without the least bit of inner space for any speculative thinking.” Sometimes they would write that they were too weak to leaf through the Bible and were even lazy about the Lord’s Prayer. Dr. Thielicke would reply, “Be thankful that the Gospel is more than a philosophy. If it were only a philosophy, you would just have it as long as you could keep it in mind and it could afford you intellectual comfort. But even when you can no longer think about God, he still thinks about you.”

Today you may feel small.  Insignificant.  Microscopic.  Unimportant.  Worthless.  Alone in a vast sea of humanity and cosmic dust.  If Scripture is to be believed (and I do believe it), though we are small, we are not insignificant to God.  Though we are microscopic, we are not invisible to Him.  Though we are unimportant in the great scheme of things, we matter to Him.  Though we are worthless in comparison, He finds us priceless.  And though we may feel alone…we never are.

We are held in not just His thoughts, but in His heart, not just for now, but for forever!

PRAYER: Thank You for “seeing” and thinking of us and believing we are of such great worth that You gave everything for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 07/09/12 – Dangerous Affinities

DayBreaks for 07/09/12 – Dangerous Affinities

It is relatively easy to be caught up in rumors on the Internet.  It has happened to me more than once.  It is interesting that there are even sites that exist (Snopes, Urban Legends, etc.) that debunk false rumors that go around.  Sadly, I find that many Christians are the quickest to be caught up in such things, especially when it concerns something that is strongly connected to our faith and practice (i.e., taking preaching off the airwaves, etc.)  We can fall in love with bad news and jump at the chance to spread it around without checking to see if it is true.

Ever hear about the dihydrogen monoxide hoax? It’s been around, but back in 1997 it got a lot of media when a 14-year-old student named Nathan Zohner circulated a petition to ban the substance as part of a high school science fair. According to Zohner, dihydrogen monoxide “may cause severe burns, accelerates the corrosion and rusting of many metals, and has been found in the excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.” Despite these risks, he further noted, the nefarious chemical is often used “as an industrial solvent and coolant, in the production of Styrofoam, and as a fire retardant.”

By now some of you have figured out that dihydrogen monoxide is the technical name for H2O, also known as water.

While this is rather humorous, it reveals an important truth: as humans, we can develop and strongly hold to a lot of misconceptions – some of which may be very dangerous because they are about familiar things that seem harmless.

Tragically, one of the “familiar things” that seem harmless to us is our own favorite besetting sin.  We are so familiar with it (because of our frequent engagement with it) that it seems harmless.  Other things might be selected from our culture – things that the culture sees as harmless (or even good!) which the Word clearly disapproves of.

We need to carefully watch our attitudes towards familiar things to be certain that we’ve not fallen in love with something harmful and hurtful.

PRAYER: Lord, we are so easily deceived, even self-deceived!  We are like sheep who so easily go astray and wander down the wrong pathways!  Keep us close to you, teach us your word that we might know your mind, the truth, and be set free from dangerous affinities we might be tempted to develop!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/24/11 – Act Accordingly

DayBreaks for 10/24/11 – Act Accordingly

He always sees...and so does the world

Proverbs 15:3 – “3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Scripture is full of statements about the things that mankind does, and how that the Lord sees them all.  In fact, the phrase “the eyes of the Lord” occurs 88 times in the New International Version.  I think God is trying to tell us something – that He is watching, and that He sees both the good and the bad that we do.  But He isn’t the only one who is watching.  The apostle Paul indicated that God wasn’t the only one who was watching, nor is He the only one we should be conscious of: 2 Corinthians 8:21 – “21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, seemed to understand this and put it in his own words: “Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you and act accordingly.

The key is in the second phrase – even if you are doing something that will only be known to yourself – do it as if the entire world will be seeing what you do.

What are you contemplating doing today or this week or this month that you wouldn’t want everyone to see?  Please, don’t do it.  If you wouldn’t do it on the stage in front of the entire world, Paul tells you not to do it.  Act accordingly!

PRAYER: Lord, keep us from sinning in the secret places in our lives and in our hearts.  Help us to everything in such a way that we could be seen without shame by anyone at any time!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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