DayBreaks for 2/4/19 – Two Generations Closer

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DayBreaks for 2/04/2019: Two Generations Closer

From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:

Bowing before the “god of open-mindedness,” this generation has been slow to admit that what we believe determines how we act. PBS film critic and columnist Michael Medved recently shared this anecdote out of his Jewish heritage:

“A few years ago, the illustrious Rabbi Jacob Kamenetzky made a trip to Israel accompanied by his teenage grandson. Ironically, these two deeply religious people had been seated in the airplane next to a prominent Israeli socialist leader and outspoken atheist, who had spent his whole life fighting against Orthodox values.

“After the plane reached its cruising altitude, the cynical atheist traveler couldn’t help noticing the way the teenage boy attended to the needs of his aged, bearded grandfather. He got up to get the old man a glass of water, helped him remove his shoes and put on some slippers, and otherwise demonstrated that the rabbi’s comfort represented his primary concern.

“At one point, as the boy got up for yet another errand on behalf of the old man, the skeptical stranger could contain himself no longer. ‘Tell me something,’ he asked the rabbi. ‘Why does your grandson treat you like some kind of a king? I have a grandson, too, but he wouldn’t give me the time of day.’

“‘It’s very simple,’ the old man replied. ‘My grandson and I both believe in a God who rules the universe and created all things, including the first man. That means that in the boy’s eyes, I’m two generations closer to the hand of God Himself. But in the eyes of your grandson, you’re just two generations closer to a monkey.’ “

Medved told this story as if it were true. I can’t vouch for that. But it certainly reflects truth. A person’s theology (what they think about God) determines what they think, and therefore what they do, about everything else. It should not surprise us that the behavior of people who don’t believe in God is so often ungodly. Could it be that to make our streets safe again, we need to be building more churches instead of more jails? – Richard A. Steele and Evelyn Stoner, comp., Bible Illustrations – Heartwarming Bible Illustrations, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1998), p 76-77.

Galen’s Thoughts: Some Christians think that it’s okay to believe in evolution, that there’s no harm in it.  I would agree with micro-evolution – we do change over time, but not from one species to another.  We’ve gotten taller in the past 100 years, we live longer than we did 100 years ago.  And those and other changes are even more pronounced the farther back in history that you go.  But amoeba to multi-celled organism to fish to reptile to monkey to man?  No, not now, not in 10 trillion years!  God said, “Let them bring forth after their own kind” – and that somewhat puts a limit on what any creature can do reproductively. 

The way the orthodox Jewish son treated his grandfather was related to his beliefs about life, God, creation – and the value of people.  If there is no God, or if we are not made in God’s image, there is no reason to spare a human life any more frequently than to spare the life of an ant.  In fact, both would be of equal value – nothing – if we’re just products of time and chance. 

I also like the grandfather’s perspective: “I’m two generations closer to the hand of God Himself…”  I’m two generations closer to the direct creative effort of God when He made man than my grandchildren are.  But by the grace of Jesus, we can be equally as close to going to His home!

Prayer: Lord, guard our hearts against human foolishness and let us treasure all that is the work of Your hands, but especially those made in Your image!    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 9/04/18 – The Creation Groans

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DayBreaks for 9/04/18: The Creation Groans

From the DayBreaks Archive, September 2008:

About 10 days ago, at 3:11 a.m. in the morning, I was awakened by the sound of a tree splitting and falling somewhere near our property.  We’ve had a tree come down on one of our outbuildings once before – and I must say, it is impressive what a tree can do when it falls on a structure.  And, living on a hillside as we do, there are trees up above our home and others that surround it.  At 3:11 a.m. it was far too dark to know where the tree fell – even though I got up to make sure that it hadn’t fallen on a car or part of the house.  I couldn’t see where the tree was, but when I stuck my head out the patio door, I could smell the scent of dust in the air and knew it couldn’t have been too far away.

But what struck me was the awful, cracking, splitting and sighing of the wood under strain as it gave way and fell, pulled by gravity.  It was as if the tree had fought as long and hard as it could, only to finally give up the struggle.  The groaning made me recall the passage from Romans that describes the “entire creation” groaning and moaning as a result of the fall, longing for relief.  And, after returning to bed, I lay there thinking that perhaps the sound of breaking tree branches is part of this groaning. 

There is a verse that struck me as I thought about the time when the creation will be completely released from its suffering.  It’s found in 2 Peter 3:10 (NIV) and it says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

I’d never pondered before what the cause of the roar would be, but I have a couple of thoughts.  It could be the roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah which will resound throughout the vanishing universe.  Or, it could be a roar let out by the creation itself as it is finally released from the frustration in which it has been held for these innumerable years.  After all, if the stones could have cried out in adoration of the King during his entry into Jerusalem, why not think that it will cry out in relief when it is set free?  Behold, I make ALL THINGS new is the promise.  The Psalmist spoke of the language of the stars that fills creation with speech.  Won’t it be something when we hear them set free to sing their song of praise to the Creator?

PRAYER: We join our hearts and prayers in longing and anticipation of the great moment when all will be set free from the bondage that has come upon the universe because of sin and evil.  May we prepare ourselves to join in the great shout of deliverance that will take place when we lift our eyes to the sky and see our Redeemer!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 7/24/18 – The Original Truth

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DayBreaks for 7/24/18: The Original Truth

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to emails. 

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

Our assumptions and preconceptions are powerful things.  They can keep us from seeing truth that is right in front of our eyes because we try to interpret what we see in self-fulfilling ways so that it matches what we expect to see. 

From the time we were born and became aware of good versus evil, we’ve known we possessed not just the ability to do bad things, but that we’ve actually done them.  And somewhere, deep down inside, most of us know we still have even deeper capabilities for evil inside us than we’ve been guilty of committing.  We view ourselves as sinners, and justifiably so.  And we label ourselves “sinners” – at least if we’re Christians we do.  We should.  We are.

But we can easily get the wrong perspective on what we really were meant to be.  When God created Adam and Eve, He pronounced them “very good”.  How long did Adam and Eve wander through the garden with God, in direct personal relationship?  How long did it take Adam to name the animals even before Eve arrived on the scene?  I would imagine that took some period of time, wouldn’t you?  How long was it after Adam’s creation that God made Eve?  I don’t know…but this much is clear from a close reading of the creation account: there was some period of time that took place before the Fall.  And that is very significant!

Why?  It means that we were not created sinners.  We were not created in the image of a sinner, or in the image of Satan, the father of lies.  We were created in the image of God.  That is the most significant truth about us – not that we are sinners.  We were created in HIS image, His image of perfection, and for some glorious period of time in Eden, mankind was sinless and must have reveled in the glory of a sinless being created in the image of his Creator. 

You see, what we now are is not what we were meant to be.  We were created to be more, to be better, than we are.  And some day we will once again be more than we are, when Jesus completes his work of making “all things new.”  We will be restored to what we were meant to be – we will once more be sinless and freed from the effects of the fall, and the deepest truth about us will once again be the most visible truth about us: we are made in His image!

PRAYER:  God, thank You for the glory You created us to be and experience.  May we not become so discouraged by our sin that we believe the greatest truth about is us our sinfulness rather than that we bear Your image.  We long to be all You meant for us to be.  Thank You for the promise that all that was lost will be regained through Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/21/18 – Before and Now

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DayBreaks for 5/21/18: Before and Now

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

Through some recent reading, I’ve been led to contemplate the importance of the human concept of our origins.  I know the Biblical concept: man was made in the very image of God.  We come from Him, we are to live for Him, and we will some day return to Him – and at that time we’ll all have to give an answer for how we lived in this world (Heb. 9:27). 

It’s quite a different story if you reject the idea of creation and of the existence of a Divine Being.  Without believing in a Divinely ordained destiny for all of creation (including mankind), you are left to believe that everything is the product of chance and mathematical probabilities.  It means that you were born for no reason other than a chance meeting of reproductive materials.  It means that your life has no teleos – no goal toward which it is moving.  It means that when you die, it’s done, period, over and out. 

Jeremiah, at one point in his life, had an encounter with God that reveals the fallacy of such thinking.  In Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV), he wrote these words: The word of the LORD came to me, saying,  ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’”

God told Jeremiah wonderful things: “I knew you before you were even formed in the womb.  I didn’t just know that you were going to be, but I knew YOU.”  How could it be that God knew Jeremiah even before he was conceived?  It can only be that God had plans for a particular person (Jeremiah), and that God quite literally knew him.  That was the “before” in Jeremiah’s life.  And it was through understanding that he had a “before”, and a call for the present (he was consecrated) and that there was a purpose for his life (he was given as a prophet to the nations), that Jeremiah found meaning.  It is the “before” that gives the “now” meaning.

God didn’t just know Jeremiah before he was born.  He knew all of us.  David says that God knew every day that was appointed for him to live before he was born, that every thought he’d ever have and word he’d speak was known before he literally had a single thought.  In Ephesians, the great apostle Paul says that God chose us before the foundation of the world. 

What does all this mean for you and I?  It means that there is a definite purpose for our lives and that we are not to think our lives are meaningless, directionless and without value.  It means we don’t have to scurry around trying to find, or even to create, some kind of answers to life.  Instead, we can go to God to discover the reason and truth of our existence.   

Is it any wonder that there is so much despair among those who don’t know Christ?

PRAYER: Fill us, Lord, with the confidence that comes from knowing our before and how that shapes our now and directs our future.  Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/16/18 – My Father’s World

 

DayBreaks for 3/16/18: My Father’s World

From the DayBreaks archive, 2008:

“This is my Father’s world, and too my listen ears, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.  This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought, of rocks and trees of skies and seas, His hand the wonders wrought.” 

I’ve always loved that song.  I remember on the morning after my father died and I was waiting for the train that was bringing our oldest son home from Seattle, that as I wandered around the train station and the marshland nearby (there was a walking trail through it), I sang this song inside my head.  It felt strange to sing it, for my father was no longer in this world and I felt that loss very keenly. 

As I sang it to myself, over and over, I knew and understood that as much as I would miss my dad and his being in “my world”, that I was not Fatherless.  This was still my Father’s world, and even as He’d given that gift to my dad, He’d also given that same world to me – to all of us. 

This song should be a daily part of our worship, I think.  I don’t know about you, but I find it all too easy to get down on the world – to just see the ugliness of it, the greed and rape and killing and abuse.  Let us not forget, however, that it is God’s world – made with the words of His mouth.  It is not the world that is bad, it is men and women.  If nothing else, singing this song should fill us anew with the wonder of God’s creative power, and we need to remember that this is His world – it is not a wasted effort by God that He hates and which He will someday throw out in the trash.  No, I rather think God loves His creation and if I read this verse correctly, He’s at work redeeming it, not planning to trash it: Colossians 1:19-20 (NASB) – For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Did you catch that?  He’s working to reconcile ALL THINGS to Himself – whether things on earth or things in heaven.  And this: Romans 8:22-23 (NIV) – We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  The creation groans…it awaits its own redemption, just as we await the fullness of our deliverance.

I hope to remember to sing this song to myself much more often in the future.  It matters how I see the world.  If I see it as something horrendous that must be avoided at all costs, from which I must distance myself, I’ll not have God’s own heart for the creation and people that He declared good and that “He so loved”.  Just as some people refuse to watch the news because it’s just too ugly and painful (as a result they become out of touch with life lived on this sphere), we’re tempted as believers who are so repulsed by the evil we see and sense all around us to just shut it off.  We can’t – we mustn’t – if we are to be followers of the Rabbi.

PRAYER: Lord, have mercy on our souls.  Fill us with the wonder of your world, with love for its people, with hope for its future, with praise for your greatness and confidence in your work to redeem all things to yourself.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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.