DayBreaks for 9/17/19 – Alaska Lessons #1 – Beauty

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Photo by Galen C. Dalrymple, September 2019

DayBreaks for 9/17/19: Alaska Lessons #1 – Beauty

My wife and I were recently able to cross an item off our bucket list: a trip to Alaska. It was all we’d every dreamed of and more!

The vastness and wildness of Alaska stirred a variety of thoughts within me and I wanted to share some with you.

The beauty of Alaska is stunning. It is what I can only imagine the world may have looked like when it was fresh from the Father’s hand and heart. I could hardly keep my eyes off the mountains and streams, glaciers and tundra as I drove along. And I found myself thinking about how God loves beautiful things. I’m quite sure that there are parts of Alaska where man has yet to set foot, yet they are beautiful and God created them that way. Why? Can there be any other explanation other than he did it for his own enjoyment since no one else was going to see it for millenia? 

And that got me to thinking about what God finds truly beautiful. While he loves mountains and oceans, raging streams and quiet woods, there are things he loves even more.

God loves the righteous: Ps. 146:7-8 (ESV) – …who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. He loves justice (Ps. 33:5), he desires honesty and truthfulness from us. He loves the humble heart.

As much as God loves nature’s beauty, he loves us more when he sees us acting like the King’s children.

PRAYER: Let us live in such a way that you see beauty in us and in what we do for you and our fellow man. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 8/2/18 – For the Love off the World

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DayBreaks for 8/02/18: For the Love of the World

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Can I tell you something?  In many ways, I love this world.  What do I mean?  I don’t mean that I love the “world” in the sense of fallen behaviors, sin, diseases, disasters and the like.  I am sick and tired of such things. So please understand that when I say that I love the world, I mean that I’m fascinated by the beauty of creation: the starry canopy above, the roaring power of the ocean, the sheer majesty of mountains, the gurgling of the brook, the touch of the wind.  There are so many places I’d like to see: the pyramids (this has been a life-long dream that may or may not ever come true), the African wildlife, the grandeur of Alaska and the Himalayas.  I’d love to watch kangaroos hopping around in Australia, to see the fjords of Sweden and Norway, to watch the cold waters of the North Sea crash against the coastline of Scotland.  I’d love to visit Machu Piccu in Peru and see the part of New Zealand where Lord of the Rings was filmed.  I would like to see the Great Wall – and I’d like to see Antarctica up close and personal.  Will I ever see all those places?  I’m sure I won’t – and in fact, I’m fairly resigned to not seeing very many, if any, of them at all. 

I love the world.  It is my Father’s world, after all.  He made it – and may I say, He did a pretty spectacular job of it. 

Why do we love this world so much?  As was true of so many things, I think C. S. Lewis was right on top of it when he wrote at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia: It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling.  He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: ‘I have come home at last!  This is my real country!  I belong here.  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.  The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.

There is it: …the old Narnia…sometimes looked a little like this.  The very finest things and places in this world enchant us so because they remind us of our real home…the real Narnia, where Aslan/Christ lives and rules and where sin has not touched even the tiniest blade of grass – nor will it ever do so.  My love of the things I’ve listed above is a reassurance to me that I will love what is in the Heavenly Kingdom that is still ahead of me. 

Can’t you hear the siren call in your soul to such places?  Let that pull you forward, out of the muck and mire of this world and lead us to be heavenly-minded children of the Great King.

2 Peter 3:13 (NASB) – But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

PRAYER:  Thank you, mighty God, for giving us a creation filled with such delights!  Thank you for the echoes of eternity you have placed in our hearts that call us home to you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/15/18 – Salvaged and Beautiful

Art Gallery of Guelph

DayBreaks for 2/15/18: Salvaged and Beautiful

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

There is a river that runs through the city of Guelph, located in British Columbia, Canada.  As with many rivers that are near or pass through cities, over time refuse accumulates in the river.  Every year in Cloverdale, CA, is a day when local citizens and service groups go out to the Russian River and pull debris from the river banks and river bed.  The same happens in Guelph, but there’s a slight difference.  Here in Cloverdale, the refuse that’s pulled out winds up in a recycling center or a landfill.  In Guelph, I’m sure that some of the same thing happens, but they also put some of it to a very different usage: they invite sculptors in to gather up items pulled from the river and to form them into works of art that are then put on display.  Some of the items recovered are appliances, automobiles, bicycles and motorcycles, bottles, bed springs and frames, barrels and miscellaneous other discarded items.

It is amazing what beauty can come from trash.  Some of the art that is made is truly amazing and beautiful – and it’s all made from refuse. 

What is it that lets these things that were one person’s trash become the beautiful artwork and treasure of another person?  It’s the eyes of the artist that makes the difference.  While someone sees that old refrigerator as something to be destroyed or gotten rid of, the artist sees it as the torso of a statue or a spaceship, and with tender and patient skill, the trash is transformed into something beautiful.

The analogy to the Christian life is clear: we had been discarded by our previous owner (Satan), thrown into the muck and mire by our sinfulness and futility.  And then along came Jesus, trolling through the deepest, darkest recesses of this world until his eyes and hands found us.  He lifted us up from the mud, cleaned us off, and then proceeds to make something “beautiful of my life.”  It isn’t because we deserve it, or because we’ve even asked for it to start with.  It’s because he sees in us, through his Divine eyes, what we can be made into and he delights in the changing of us according to his will.

I know many people who are discouraged, despairing, afraid to look in the mirror for fear of the horror that they see when they look into their own souls.  Sadly, many of those people are believers who struggle to accept that God loves them and that He is already engaged in the process of turning them into a beautiful work of art fit to be found on the streets of heaven.  Maybe you’re one of those people, or today is one of the days when you feel like a piece of trash.  Just remember: God has salvaged you and is shaping you into a unique – and beautiful – work of His art that He will one day display in the halls of His very own home!

PRAYER: God, give us a glimpse of what you are doing with our broken lives and fill us with joy to be your reclamation projects that you are turning into your very own masterpieces!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/14/17 – A Sight to Behold

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Photo of Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, 2006. Galen C. Dalrymple

DayBreaks for 7/14/17: A Sight to Behold

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?  It’s a tough question, isn’t it?  My first reaction would be to reflect on a high mountain meadow in the Sierra Nevada’s that I saw while hiking with my best friend, Ken.  Or, a sunset on evening as we were out in our little boat returning from a fishing trip in the San Joaquin delta when the water was as smooth as glass but as colorful as an artist’s palette.  Possibly, it would be Hidden Lake at the top of the continental divide in Glacier National Park – a spot you can’t see from the road, but you have to hike back to it over about a mile or two of snow, up past the shoulders of towering granite uprisings. 

I hope that I will never forget the beauty of those things.  I remember at the time, thinking that I wanted to remember them forever.  And I still can, but if I’m to be totally honest about it, the memories do fade a bit over time.  The colors in my imagination aren’t quite as bright as they were in reality.  I guess memory is like color film – it fades over time. 

So, those were my first inclinations in regard to the opening question.  However, as I thought about it more, perhaps the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is my children, or my grandchildren, as they sleep.  It might seem strange to some to say that the most beautiful thing I’ve seen is people.  People who are near and dear to me.  People that I’d gladly give my life for.

Try to imagine the blind man that Jesus healed.  He’s been blind since birth.  He’s never seen a bird, a flower, a sunrise or sunset.  He’s never seen his mother’s face, he can’t understand the concept of color in the sky or reflected off the water.  He has no point of reference, no sense of visual depth perception.  He’s never seen…anything.  And then one day, along comes Jesus of Nazareth, a man who has been reputed to give sight to the blind and to make the lame walk and the deaf hear.  The man’s mind must have been running at full tilt: could this be the day when he, too, would receive sight?

As it turns out, it was his “lucky” day.  And what to his wondering eyes should appear?  No, it wasn’t a sleigh full of toys and small reindeer.  It was Jesus.  Can you imagine the very first thing you ever see being the face of God?  Would anything ever again live up to that moment, to that sight?  This, truly, is a sight to behold.  It is the sight we all long to behold, if we are His. 

We will have to wait until God decides it is time for you and I to see Him.  Waiting…seeing now only by faith, but not by sight…it can be a long and difficult wait.  But it will be worth it ten thousand times over.  And nothing we will ever see again, not even the streets of gold in heaven itself, will equal the moment when we awaken from our dying moment only to see the Savior’s face. It will make the long, dark years of our “blindness” and waiting worth it.

PRAYER:  Lord of creation, we know You are not the creation itself, but the Maker of all.  Yet in the creation, we see glimpses, tiny flashes, of Your beauty and glory.  Thank you that we will someday see You in all Your risen glory, and that we will behold Your face throughout all of eternity.  How we long to see Your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 3/06/17 – Why Can’t I See the Beauty?

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DayBreaks for 3/06/17: What Can’t I See the Beauty?

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it when they perceive something as being truly beautiful. It could be a work of art, a piece of music, a flower or mountain meadow. There are people who are considered beautiful, though it is often said of us humans that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I was reading some of Ann Voskamp’s writing on Friday evening and she was taking about a disciple that she was forcing upon herself – that being learning to see and appreciate the beauty of what God has made and then giving Him thanks for it.

There are few things I enjoy more than the beauty of nature. Two of my most favorite memories of natural beauty took place when I was with my best friend, Ken. One was up in the high Sierra’s in California near Highlands Lake when we hiked up a ridge and sat at the top looking down into a meadow of wildflowers in a meadow with meltwater ponds. The second one was night when we were coming back in our small boat from fishing and we were heading due east as the sun was setting over the slivery smooth water and wake directly behind the boat.

I don’t find it too hard to see beauty. But as I thought about it, I wondered why it is that I don’t see beauty in the pinnacle of God’s creation: humans. It bothered me that I don’t perceive the people that I meet as being beautiful (I’m not talking especially here about physical beauty, but the more hidden kinds of beauty like intellectual beauty, emotional beauty or spiritual beauty. Why, if humans are made in the image of God Himself, is it that I struggle so to see the beauty in humans that God apparently sees in us?

It is possible that I can’t see it because of how the fall has made us all more than a bit ugly. I suspect that has a lot to do with my struggle. But then it dawned on me that perhaps the reason I can’t see the beautiful image of God in my fellow man may not be their fault so much as the fault of my own fallen nature that keeps me from seeing the image of God in others. Goodness knows I struggle to even find a scintilla of it in myself.

God saw/sees enough beauty in His creation, including humans, that He went to great lengths to redeem His creation. We are told that all of creation groans and travails for its redemption. We have never seen the creation in its perfected state so even the beauty we do see and appreciate so much is nothing compared to what it must have been like in Eden. We have never seen a perfected human, either. God has. And even in our fallen state, He loves us and died for us.

I need to work harder to see the image of God in others no matter how hidden or marred it may be by sin. After all, I’ve been marred, too.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to see the beauty in others that you see and to appreciate them more than we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 2/14/17 – And It Is Awesome

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Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana. By Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 2/14/17: And It Is Awesome

From the DayBreaks archive, 2007:

Where is your favorite place in the world?  What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?  I’ve not traveled that much outside of the United States, but my favorite place is Glacier National Park at the very northwest corner of Montana at the Canadian border.  If you have never been there, you’ve really missed out.  There is a road that winds through the center of the park, starting at the park entrance on the south, and traversing up through the park, over the pass, and down through the southeastern border of the park.  The road is fairly flat for the first few miles, winding along the side of Lake McDonald.  As you drive along, you are struck by the vistas of mountains behind the far end of the lake, and eventually pass along a mountain stream that is gorgeous.  But after a while, you start heading upward through lots of turns and curves, and with every passing moment, a different vista appears to take your breath away.  Just when you think it can’t get any more awe-inspiring…it does.  Finally, at the top of the pass is a visitors center where you can park and even hike up over a ridge to the left of center to Hidden Lake.  And that’s even more beautiful than what you’ve seen so far.  There is a 16-mile stretch of the road that has been called the most beautiful roadway in the world.  Whether that’s true or not, I couldn’t say, but it is the most spectacular and impressive scenery my eyes have beheld.   

We have beautiful sunsets behind the hills to our west.  I love to see the colors of the clouds as the sun dips into the unseen Pacific Ocean – about 20 miles due west of our home.  I love the colors of the vineyards below us in the fall as the leaves turn flaming reds, yellows and oranges.  And perhaps there’s nothing as beautiful to me as the faces of my grandchildren, hand crafted by God.

I know, I know.  As beautiful as the mountains, the ocean, the leaves, the sky are…they are all marred and flawed because they are a part of a fallen world, defaced by our rebellion against our Creator.  What would these things look like if they were still perfect, in an unfallen state?  I can’t imagine.

Yet, when you consider it, God is the only unfallen, perfect, non-flawed thing in the entire Universe.  We get teeny, tiny glimpses of His glory in all the things we see in this world that captivate and capture us with their beauty and awesomeness.  Of course, the place where we see the true glory of God is in the cross and resurrection of Christ.  Jesus himself said that the time of his glory had come on the night before his crucifixion.  As Christians, all of us should be able to echo the words of Bernard of Clairvaux: “I have seen a fraction of God’s glory, and it is awesome.”

PRAYER:  Almighty God, how our hearts long to see You more clearly!  Lift the scales from our eyes that prevent us from seeing Your glory all around us – not just in the mountains, trees and skies, but in the people You have created in Your image.  And may we be better reflections of Your glory to this physical realm.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 5/20/15 – Lessons Birds Taught My Wife #1

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DayBreaks for 5/20/15: His Beauty Calls Us

My wife enjoys birds. She really enjoys birds. By the way, she’s a “birder”, not a bird watcher. Calling someone who loves birds a bird watcher is like calling a Star Trek fan a “trekkie” instead of a “trekker” – it’s not kosher and it might earn you a whack upside the head (as they say here in Georgia!)

A few years ago, we moved to Georgia and she had not yet made any friends, so she was a little depressed. I asked her if there was anything she’d like to have or do that she thought might give her delight. After some consideration she said she’d enjoy having a bird feeder. Well, from a bird feeder and a pole – then a squirrel baffle, an extra part to make the pole longer and a “squirrel proof” feeder (because the squirrels were getting fat on the bird food) – on through a few Mother’s Days, Birthdays and Christmases, and she now has quite a set up consisting of no less than ten feeders! She and the birds are happier now and the squirrels are not quite so fat, though they get seeds and nuts from the ground that the birds carelessly dropped.

What does she enjoy about the birds? She says they have personalities; they are curious-landing on the window ledge to look in at her-and they are just plain pretty and fun to watch. In the past I have done some DayBreaks entitled, “Lessons my Dog Taught Me”. I asked her what were some things that birds have taught her. She paused a moment and said, “Color is good. Bright color is even better. God must love color.”

Birds, especially the males, are very colorful. In some species the male birds’ colors actually change and get even brighter as they come into mating season (such as goldfinches).  The brighter colors must attract the females and let them know the males are happy to see them.  What is there about birds (and all of us, actually), that we are attracted by bright colors? That we are attracted by beauty?

I believe that God himself is beautiful, and that he uses beauty to draw us to him. After all, who can explain why there is such a thing as beauty? Why do we even have the concept? Babies look at pretty sparkly things and are attracted to them even before they have words to express what they feel or see. Beauty, birds and color are mysteries, even as God is.

Just look at the description of the throne scene in Revelation 4:2: At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. [3] And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

Our beautiful God loves beauty.  And no matter how you look, you are His creation and He believes you are beautiful…and His beauty calls you to Him and to beautiful things as a testimony of the image of God in which you are made.

PRAYER: What will it be like, Lord, to see you in all your beauty?  Thank you for the beauty of the earth, the skies and all of creation!  Thank you for making everything beautiful in its own time! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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