DayBreaks for 6/21/19 – The Certain Reality of Love

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DayBreaks for 06/21/09: The Certain Reality of Love

From the DayBreaks archives, June 2009:

They say that only death and taxes are certain.  Well, there is some truth to that, but it’s not the whole truth.  There are other things that are certain, too, whether everyone wants to admit them or not: God’s Word is sure and certain, Judgment Day is real and will certainly happen, God’s promises are certain.  I’m sure that there are other things that are certain (they all have to do with God in some way or form – except for taxes, that is!)  What has struck me recently (probably given the episode with Casper that I described in yesterday’s DayBreaks) is the certainty that if you love something, love will break your heart.

As I held Casper and watched him go limp in my arms and his eyes dilate, my heart was breaking.  Why?  This was only a dog, after all.  But I love this scamp of a dog with all my heart.  And it hurt to think I was going to hold him as he died and that he would be gone.  I pleaded with him to come back, to not go away.  Perhaps the reason he came back wasn’t because of my CPR, but because God heard my desperate plea not to take Casper away while he’s still such a young dog.

If you love another human, you better believe there will be hurt and pain and heartbreak.  Vast loads of it.  Cascading mountains of it.  Not because we set out to hurt those we love – we just do it anyway through our thoughtlessness, our selfishness, our busted human nature.  On the day I promised Laurel that I would love, honor and cherish her until death do us part, do you think for one moment that I ever intended to cause her so much pain in the years we’ve been married?  Never!  But the truth remains that I’ve caused her pain, my children pain, my friends pain, my co-workers pain…and my God pain.

I have sometimes wondered why God created love knowing it would be so painful.  Eventually I came to the point of view that God didn’t actually create love because love existed before He created anything.  It existed in His very own nature, and in the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  So God didn’t have to create love – it always has been because He always has been.  Perhaps that is also true of faith and hope, given the fact that Paul said that long after tongues and other things have passed away, three things will remain: faith, hope and love – with love being the greatest.  All of those things, I believe, are as eternal as God Himself because they find their Source in Him.  He is faithful, He hopes for His creation (including us), and He loves all He has made. 

Nonetheless, as I contemplated the certainty of a broken heart because of love, I was drawn once more to the cross and the broken heart of God over our waywardness.  If we feel pain so much over the possible loss of a dog, how much more does God feel pain as a result of things we, the objects of His love, do?  Perhaps His pain over our sin is as infinite as His love.

Prayer: Lord, I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused You – the One who loves me more than anyone or anything else could possibly love me.  Forgive me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 6/13/18 – Of Dogs, Tickets and the Devil

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DayBreaks for 6/13/18: Of Dogs, Tickets and the Devil

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:

AVONDALE, Ariz. – An Arizona man said his 3-year-old Labrador retriever was so excited for the Super Bowl that he devoured two very expensive tickets to the game.  

Chris Gallagher, of Avondale, Ariz., said he asked that a courier slip the envelope containing two Super Bowl XLII tickets under his doormat but the envelope was instead inserted under the door — and into the waiting jaws of his dog, Buddy, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Gallagher said the tickets, which he purchased for friends, were valued at $900 apiece. However, he said the seller assured him that the tickets can be replaced in time for game day. The dog owner said the tickets were only the latest of Buddy’s many victims, which have included sunglasses, shoes and footballs. “He’s a trouble-maker,” Gallagher told the Republic. “But he looks at you with those big eyes and you can’t be mad for long.”

If you’re a long-time DayBreaks reader, you’ll know I love dogs.  In fact, as I sit here writing this, my wife’s dog is sleeping at my feet, and mine is curled up on his favorite chair (he thinks of it as his “throne”) about 8 feet away.  So, don’t get me wrong – I love dogs.  And their big eyes can melt my heart and resistance in the tick of a clock!  And that, I’m quite convinced, is fine.

Sadly, in one way, Satan is a lot like my dog.  While Casper (my dog) can be full of mischief and playfulness, Satan can also appear as innocent as can be…looking at us with big eyes, tricking us into thinking he’s not dangerous.  “Aw, come on!  This’ll be fun!” 

Why is it that I can go from being furious at Satan one moment to falling for his stories and his big eyes the next?  Casper (my dog) wants nothing more than to be loved and to play.  Satan hates me.  He hates you.  He doesn’t want to bring us happiness or joy.  He’s great at the bait and switch – let us think something will bring us happiness – and then when we’re into it too far to easily get out, he lowers the hammer on us.  Satan doesn’t want to play.  He wants to kill.  Don’t fall for his “soulful eyes”!

PRAYER: God, we are so easily misled by the innocent look of temptation!  Let us see Satan as he truly is and not be fooled by his deceit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/15/15 – Joy, Dogs and God’s Children

 

 

DayBreaks for 12/15/15: Joy, Dogs and God’s Children

SPOKANE, Wash. – “Washington state researchers report discovering what might be the sound of dog laughter. Nancy Hill, director of Spokane County Animal Protection, said she was skeptical when researchers first told her noise would affect other dogs. “I thought: Laughing dogs? A sound that we’re gonna isolate and play in the shelter? I was a real skeptic…until we played the recording here at the shelter.”   Hill said when the scientists played the sound of a dog panting over the loudspeaker, the shelter’s resident dogs just continued barking.  But when they played what they believe is the dog version of laughing, all 15 barking dogs became quiet within about a minute.”

There are many things in our world that are contagious and most of them scare us: bird flu, ebola, AIDS, hepatitis, STD’s, malaria, the plague, terrorism and even the common cold.  Chances are that none of us will ever get those things (except, of course, for colds!), but they are all highly contagious once they break into human contact. 

There is perhaps one thing in the world that is more contagious than disease: joy.  All it takes is for someone to start to smile in a room full of people, and others will soon follow suit.  Laughter, as Reader’s Digest reminds us, is “the best medicine.” 

1 Peter 1:8-9 talks about the kind of joy we have because of our trust in Christ: You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  Your reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Is your life characterized by glorious, inexpressible joy?  What affect do you have on others who are stressed, angry, hateful?  There are people “barking” all around us who need to know about the joy that is in the heart of the children of God, especially during this time of the year.  Chances are that they’ll never see it if it isn’t visible on our faces and if it isn’t heard in our own laughter and words. 

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, may our lives and faces be changed to demonstrate what knowing you does for our disposition.  May our faces reflect your glory, may our presence reflect your joy, and may we overflow with joy each day for the rest of our lives, knowing that our future is safe and sure in your nail-scarred hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/21/15 – Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #34

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DayBreaks for 4/21/15: Lessons My Dog Taught Me, #34

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2005:

If you’ve been around DayBreaks for any length of time, you’ll know about my love affair with dogs.  Mostly, I wrote about our boxer, Ramses, who died on December 30, 2003.  Ramses was what is called “brindle” in coloring.  Some boxers are a light brown with white markings, but others, the brindle ones, are dark brown with what appear to be black stripes and white markings on their underside.  Ramses was very dark colored, and his beautiful coat was shiny and smooth.  I thought he looked great.  Well, that is, unless it was in the middle of the night.  You see, in the middle of the night, because he was so dark in color, I couldn’t see him if he was laying on the floor, and I stepped on him or almost hit the deck after tripping on him more than once.  He was deadly in the dark because he couldn’t be seen!

Our new boxer puppy, Casper, is quite different.  He’s an all white boxer – fairly rare.  I’ve never had a white dog before, and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about having a white dog.  It was especially hard for me to picture a white boxer.  But he’s really cute.  One of the things that surprised me about him, and I found it a pleasant surprise at that, was that when he gets up in the middle of the night and wants to go out, I can see him!  I don’t usually put my glasses on when I get up to let him out, but because he is white, as he ambles in four-footed puppy way, articulating his way up and down the hallway, I can see him, even in the darkness of a moonless night. 

As I was walking him down the hallway the other night, it struck me how important it is for us to be visible in the darkest of places and at the darkest of times, too.  How does it happen?  It’s important to remember that we don’t have light in ourselves.  Casper doesn’t emit light.  The colors we perceive are only the result of wavelengths of light bouncing off of surfaces.  The varying wavelengths cause the different colors of light we perceive.  So when I see Casper perambulating down the hallway on the floor in front of me, I’m seeing whatever light happens to be bouncing off of his fur.  Let’s be clear: we have no light in and of ourselves, either.  John made it pretty clear when he said: “This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.”  (1 John 1:5)  John didn’t say that we are the light, but that God is light.  We must reflect His glory if there is to be light visible from us in the darkness.

Is it important that His children are visible in the darkness?  I go back to my problem with Ramses: because he wasn’t visible, I tripped and stumbled many times.  When God’s children aren’t visible, we cause others to trip and stumble, too. 

I sure doesn’t take much light for Casper to be visible.  Or should I say, the darker it is, the more visible he seems to be.  That’s the way it should be with all who wear the name of Christ.  May His light shine through and because of us, so that others can see the pathway to the One who is the Light!

PRAYER: Let us shine for You, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 2/27/15 – Two Kinds of Dogs

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DayBreaks for 2/27/15: Two Kinds of Dogs in Worship    

If you are a Christian, chances are good that about 48 hours from now, you’ll be headed to worship somewhere.  At least, for God’s sake (and His glory!), I hope so.  Worship is challenging.  True worship is very challenging.  We forget what it is about and why we do it.  But I thought that this illustration was a good one and might be helpful:

There are two kinds of dogs in this world. There are the dogs who eat everything and anything (like our yellow Lab!) – toss them a scrap of anything, meat, cauliflower, mushrooms, shoe leather – and they will literally snap it out of the air and scarf it down without hesitation – in the twinkling of an eye!

Then there are the dogs that approach every tidbit offered to them with suspicion. They stop, they sniff, they consider, and then they finally — they either accept the goodie offered to them or simply turn and walk away.  The spoiled doggie message being sent here is that the gift you offer is accepted with the attitude that “I am doing you a favor by eating this.”

The “scarf hounds” joyously gulp down whatever comes their way from our hands because they trust that we are always offering them something good, something that they want and they need.

The “spoiled dogs” also show up for treat time, but they convey an attitude that suggests that we need them to be there and, indeed, are fortunate that they did us the favor of showing up to entertain us. These pampered pooches take their invitation as a given, and their finicky feeding manners emphasize that they are “gracing us” with their presence and their acceptance of what we offer to them.

When you go to worship on Sunday, will you be going as a “scarf hound” or as a “spoiled dog”? Will you be there because your soul trusts in God’s providence and presence, and hungers for the divine gift of being able to draw near to God? Or are you here because you are doing God a “favor” by showing up? Do you somehow imagine that God needs your presence and the witness of your worship in order to validate God’s divinity?

PRAYER: May we all be hungry for our encounters with You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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