DayBreaks for 12/07/18 – Bones of the Past

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DayBreaks for 12/07/18: Bones of the Past

From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/8/98:

A few years ago, a large group of Vietnam veterans met in New York to commemorate the Vietnam War and its effect on their lives. Many were still suffering emotional wounds from that conflict. A Vietnamese Buddhist monk came to the gathering and told a moving story. During the war, a young Vietnamese woman was killed, leaving behind her husband and young son. The husband, needing to provide for himself and the boy, traveled far and wide looking for odd jobs. Often he left the child with neighbors. After one long trip looking for work, the man returned to find his village demolished and his neighbors gone. Searching through the rubble, he found some small bones scattered around. He was sure that these were the remains of his son. He wrapped the bones in cloth and carried them with him everywhere he went. Many years passed, and one night the old man heard knocking on his door. He called out, “Who’s there?” “It is your son! My kidnappers set me free and I have spent many years trying to find you!” The old man yelled, “You are a fake and a cruel man. My son is dead. Leave me alone!” He would not open the door. The pounding continued for a while, but then it stopped. The young man gave up and left.

A heartbreaking story. Here was a man who obviously loved his son deeply. Yet he was too afraid to give up the bones that he’d carried for years. He never found the happiness that was knocking at his door because he was so determined to hold onto the bones of the past rather than live in the joy of the present.

Are you holding onto the bones of your past so much that you are denying yourself the joy that Jesus intends for you to have today? If so, you need to let the bones go. They are only bones and they are relics from the past that need to be discarded so you can answer the knocking at the door of your heart. Perhaps they were very precious to you – like the bones of his son to this old man in the story. I understand. God understands. But they are from the past and we must not live there or we will miss the blessings and opportunities that God has designed for today. Isaiah 43:18 contains God’s instructions for us in this matter: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

God gives us the choice: live with the bones of the past, or live in the here-and-now with the Lord of the past, present and future.

Prayer: Lord, let me find and know your joy today!  Help me forget the former things as I anticipate what is to come!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 11/09/12 – Dry Bones Hear the Word

From the DayBreaks Archive:  DayBreaks for 11/18/02:

Ezekiel 37:1-6 – “1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’

This is one of my favorite Bible stories.  It has fascinated me since I can first remember.  I can’t imagine the vision that Ezekiel saw, and the power of the moment when the bones began to rattle and move by the power of the Word of God.

Picture it in your own mind, put yourself into Ezekiel’s place.  Can you see the dryness of the bones, the arid emptiness of the valley, blasted by the heat, bleached by the sun…and entire valley full of bones of dead men?  What is God’s message to the bones that were so “very dry”, so very dead?  “Dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!”  What would the result be of the bones hearing the Word of the Lord?  Breath would enter into them, and they will come to life!

There are so many lessons that could be drawn from this passage, but the one for today is simply this: dry bones can hear the Word and be brought back to life.  Many times our lives, our souls, can become much like those dry bones.  We are laid low by life, for all intents and purposes, the bones of our existence lay on the valley floor, scorched, bleached and seemingly very dead.  Life crushes, discourages and burdens us.   Like the bones of long ago in the valley of Ezekiel, our dry bones need to “hear the word of the Lord”…and when we do, just like the dry bones from so long ago, we will “come to life”!  All it takes for dry bones to live is to hear the Word of the Lord!  Oh, and don’t miss it: just in case we didn’t catch it the first time, God repeats it a second time: “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life”.  What’s the point of it?  THEN we will know that He is the Lord, THEN He will be exalted, glorified, THEN we will be moved to live like men and women who know and understand His power to transform dry, dull, dead lives into something that can shout His praises and do war with His enemies.

What was the secret for the dry bones in the days of Ezekiel?  No magic potion, no special incantations, no great works to perform – just “hear the Word of the Lord”.  It is the same today.  Are you dry and dead?  Listen to the prophet of God from so long ago: “Dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!”  That’s all it takes to give you life again! 

PRAYER: Lord, how desperately we need new life, for the Holy Breath of God to enter into our souls and make our bones rattle and move!  Blow on us, Spirit, and revive our lives again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/08/11 – Crushed Bones

DayBreaks for 07/08/11 – Crushed Bones

NOTE: Galen will be back Monday and new DayBreaks will be delivered starting 7/11.    Thanks for your understanding!

Crushed bones...

Psalm 51: “Let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Not too long ago we celebrated what we call Memorial Day.  It is a day where we honor the memory of those who gave their lives for our freedom and the freedom of others.  I used to work in an office area that was immediately across the road from Golden Gate National Cemetery.  It was a very quiet and green place.  But it bothered me.  There were far too many white tombstones and crosses.  I’ve seen pictures of the graveyards near the beaches of D-Day.  Again I was moved by the death and the magnitude of suffering.

We, as a race, have puzzled for millennia about suffering, about God, and how a loving God could allow such a thing.  In World magazine’s May 16, 2001 issue, Marvin Olasky wrote: “The continuing presence of persecution, suffering, and disease these days seems to embarrass some who profess belief in the Bible.  Couldn’t an all-powerful God prevent the need for Memorial Days?  Wouldn’t an all-powerful God?  It’s elementary, they say: Either God is weak or He is a mean-spirited spectator who hopes a driver will crash and die in the upcoming Indianapolis 500.

“C.S. Lewis, however, noted (in the Problem of Pain) that “The problems of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves is insoluble only so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the world love.’  God, Lewis observed, loves us enough to want to change our focus from the immediate to the long-range, even to eternity.  What is humanistically meaningless looks different from a theocentric view: See, for example, how Joni Eareckson Tada’s paralysis led her to God and inspired others.”

Dorothy Sayers wrote in The Whimsical Christian that understanding the honor of being chosen to suffer for a great cause gives Christianity “…it’s enormous advantage over every other religion in the world.  It is the only religion that gives value to evil and suffering.”  It does that by affirming the reality of evil and the need to confront it and strive to wrench good out of it, as Christ did when he suffered and died for all who believe in him.”

God doesn’t crush bones to leave them broken.  And he doesn’t crush us to take the joy from our lives, either.  He crushes the bones and then brings rejoicing as we begin to change from people possessed of a short-term view to those who can see through the portals of heaven to a Father that loves us beyond all comprehension and is dying (or rather did die) to welcome us to a home where suffering will not exist.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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