DayBreaks for 11/19/18 – Of Flowers and Birds

Image result for flowers and birds

DayBreaks for 11/19/18: On Flowers and Birds

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

Perhaps life wasn’t all that different in Jesus’ day.  Of course, I know that then they didn’t have planes, trains and automobiles, nor x-rays or space shuttles or many of the things which are part of the modern world.  But those things aren’t life and they shouldn’t be confused with it.  Life is about getting up and facing each day and doing the best you can – and about all the millions of things that happen each day emotionally, spiritually and physically.  That’s what I mean when I say I don’t think life was that different in Jesus’ day. 

There’s been a world (literally) of worry lately.  Global economic collapse, wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, fires, people fretting over the future because of the recent election – yep, there’s plenty of worry.  Many of my friends and congregants are retirees who had their retirement funds socked away in stocks and bonds, IRA’s and 401K’s.  Now, the retirement that they’d longed for and hoped for is either gone or mostly gone.  It’s enough to make anyone worry about the future.

It seems that there was plenty of worry to go around in Jesus’ day, too.   And believe it or not, they worried about the same things we do.  Just listen to these words from the sermon on the mount (Mt. 6:25-33, NIV):  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

You see?  They were worried about life, drink, food, clothing – the stuff of everyday life for all of humanity since the beginning of time.  Jesus’ prescription is simple, but not what you might expect.  He doesn’t say, “You should have put your money in temple bonds and stocks.  Take what you’ve got left and move it into temple securities.”  Instead, he says: “Go spend some time looking at and thinking about birds and flowers.  See what that tells you about God and life.”  He tells us that we don’t need to worry (it’s more like a command, “So do not worry…”) because the pagans run after the “stuff” that daily life demands….and our FATHER knows that we need those things, too.  And being the kind of Father that He is, He won’t fail us.  But there is a requirement: seeking His kingdom and righteousness first – and then all those other things will be given to us.

Are you fearful of a job loss/termination?  Wondering if you’ll ever be able to recover your funds in time to retire as you’d hoped?  Worried if your house will ever be worth more on it again than you currently owe?  Are you worrying about ANYTHING?

If so, stop.  If you can, go outside right now and look at some flowers or birds (if you live in the frozen tundra somewhere, look at the trees instead of flowers!)  Look good, look hard, and look long.  All of those plants and birds are sustained by the Father’s hand.  And you are of much greater worth, and are far more precious to Him, than all the trees of the field.

PRAYER: Teach us how to stop worrying, Lord.  Help us to trust our Father for all things needed for real life and true life, and keep us from confusing “stuff” such as possessions and retirement accounts for life itself.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 4/21/17 – Listen to the Birds

DayBreaks for 4/21/17: Listen to the Birds

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

Romans chapter 1 (starting with about verse 20) makes it clear that God has revealed His existence to man through the things that can be seen – His creation.  But mankind has decided that God doesn’t exist: Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  (Rom. 1.28)

Suppose for a second that a student were to write on a physics exam that she didn’t believe in atoms because she couldn’t see them.  No one would blame the professor for failing the student!  The existence of atoms is clearly undeniable on the basis of their recognized effects.  Just ask anyone who lived through Hiroshima or Nagasaki and they’ll tell you that atoms exist – they’ve seen their effect.  Yet man persists in insisting that God doesn’t exist because we can’t see, smell, hear, taste or touch Him.  Silly, isn’t it?!

Job 12:7-9 has this to say: But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 

In the movie, Doctor Doolittle (I think that was the name of it), the good doctor was supposed to be able to talk with the animals.  Scripture tells us that the animals will tell us about the God who formed them – and we don’t have to learn to speak their language! 

Why is it that “they (mankind) did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God”?  I don’t think it is because most of mankind really doesn’t want to believe there is a God, but rather that they don’t want to believe in the kind of God who would tell them not to practice sinful lifestyles – who would cramp our style!  We want to believe in a God who would tell us that we can do whatever we want and that because He loves us that He’ll just look the other way.  But that isn’t the God of the Bible.  He couldn’t look the other way precisely because He does love us too much. 

1 Pet 1:8-9 puts it this way: Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 

Like the atom, God is unseen.  Like the atom, He is powerful.  Like the atom, He is real.  How tragic that the greatest thing in all of God’s creation and that which He loves the most (mankind) is the one thing in all the universe that denies His existence and which rejects Him.  Let’s all go outside and listen to the birds sing their melody about the greatness of God – and maybe we, too, can learn how to praise Him from the animals that He made!

PRAYER: For the wisdom behind the creation, we thank You and give You praise.  May we hear and sings songs of greatness to Your glory this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 6/10/15 – Lessons Birds Have Taught My Wife, #3

Goldfinch lunch 3

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DayBreaks for 6/10/15: Lessons Birds Have Taught My Wife, #3

My wife says that her favorite birds are finches. They seem to be as curious about her as she is about them because sometimes they come perch on the window sill and look in at her. Finches can be bright yellow-gold and black to shades of red and brown. “Purple” finch males are very deep red. Finches seem, because of their songs and sociability, to be happy. But since bird feeders have only so many places from which to eat, they chase each other away constantly. Sometimes the younger, littler birds are on the ground looking for seeds that the bigger ones have dropped. All birds do that, I guess, and when a substantially larger bird comes close the smaller ones all fly away at once.

What is interesting is that they don’t fly away very far. It seems that the ones who still want to eat fly away to a nearby tree, perch, and wait. They wait until the bigger ones leave and then they come back to eat their fill. There is never any real fighting over the food – just the seemingly patient waiting, watching, and returning.  The big birds have the prize for the time being, but they always leave eventually.

How many times have I wanted something right now, and not been very gracious about waiting? How many times have I asked God “how long?” How many times have I pushed to get what I wanted when I knew it wasn’t the best timing?

Our self-will is very strong, which is why there is so much in the Bible about our need for patience. Our biggest foe in waiting isn’t others who are bigger or more powerful than us; our biggest foe – by far – is ourselves.

We should take a lesson from the little birds. There is nothing wrong with being persistent, but patience wins the day.

One other thought, too: when I get greedy, someone else may go hungry. I need to remember that and practice moderation and generosity!

PRAYER: Thank you for teaching us lessons through your creation, and giving us reminders that we need!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/05/15 – Lessons Birds Taught My Wife, #2

Singing Birds HQ Wallpaper

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DayBreaks for 6/05/15: Lessons Birds Taught My Wife, #2

Zechariah 2:10 (ESV) – Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD.

“Sing loud, sing often, and reply when others sing to you”.  Birdsong is glorious, especially where we live in the South. The weather is temperate and there are lots of trees and forested areas which make great bird habitats.  Bird songs are a constant background to our home life and she is trying to learn to identify the birds by their sounds.

Birds must be very social, in general. It’s obvious, when you listen, that different species repeat back their calls when they are in hearing distance of each other. They also call to each other. In case you think I’m being anthropomorphic, this subject been studied. It seems like birds must sing because they are joyful, but that’s not always the case. Birds also call out warnings to other birds when predators are near. There is a documented “early warning system”, in which calls were passed from birds to other birds in a forest at more than 100 miles per hour. These calls “ripple ahead of a predator minutes before it flew overhead, giving prey time to hide.” The other thing that is interesting is that while raptors can hear well at low frequencies, smaller birds call to each other at higher frequencies, which must make their warnings hard for the predator birds to hear. I find this amazing; the intricate way that God helps littler creatures protect themselves from those who would harm them.

Do we “sing” to each other enough? Do we spread our joy around for all to hear and rejoice in? Do we spread our warnings around also? Or do we keep ourselves to ourselves and not communicate?

On another note (no pun intended!), when birds hear the early warning system, they are smart enough to seek safety. When the Spirit gives us warnings either though the Word or inner promptings, are we smart enough to trust what we’re hearing? When God’s Spirit warns us against certain types of behavior – but we ignore it – what does that say about us?  Those warnings are put into the Word not because God is a cosmic kill-joy, but because He knows better than we what is good and what/who is out to kill us. We would do well to pay attention!

URL of the bird song article in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/science/decoding-the-cacophony-of-birds-warning-calls.html?_r=0

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for all we can look forward to at the end of life, and the end of time!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

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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