DayBreaks for 2/10/17: A Fresh Grave, A Fresh Garden

DayBreaks for 2/20/17: A Fresh Grave, A Fresh Garden

From the blog of Doug Dalrymple, 2/07/07:

Why should you be surprised that the human race’s wickedness can hinder the fertility of the earth? For our sake the earth was subject to corruption, and for our sake it will be free of it. It exists solely for us, to serve us. Its being like this or like that has its root in this destiny… What happens to the world happens to it for the sake of the dignity of the human race. – John Chrysostom

If the current occupant of the throne in the Phanar has earned for himself the title of “Green Patriarch,” perhaps he’s simply following in the steps of his sainted predecessor. Perhaps. But Chrysostom’s is a different sort of environmentalism, isn’t it?
God is the true life of man. St John suggests that man is, in turn, the life of the created order. It depends upon us. It follows us into exile like a devoted slave, rejoicing in our honor, glorying in our beauty, weeping in our sorrow, dying in our death.
The created order is a mirror of man. Eden has fallen because Adam has fallen. When we look upon the world we behold our own conflicted reflection: an image of God, full of dignity and glory, obscured through sin, fallen into decay and dissolution, a field of conflict, a fresh grave, but sprouting with flowers.
“What happens to the world happens to it for the sake of the dignity of the human race.” This sounds absurd to us. But I wonder: if Adam wept when he left the Garden, perhaps his tears were due in part to a transformation -difficult for us to conceive but utterly apparent to him- which he had wrought upon creation through his disobedience, the abdication of his calling to “tend and keep.”
“…[F]or our sake it will be free…” Scripture teaches us that all things in heaven and on earth will be brought together and transformed in the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The whole creation, we read, groans under the burden of our fallenness, in anticipation of the revelation of the Sons of God, which is mankind resurrected, made fully alive, a royal priesthood, a new creation in Christ.
Eden was a seed entrusted to a child; heaven is the full-grown garden promised to the man.

PRAYER: Lord, in our fall we have marred your world, and mar it still.  Forgive us.  We long for the full-grown garden.  Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/29/16 – The Cost of the Fall

DayBreaks for 7/29/16 – The Cost of the Fall

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2006:

When we stop to contemplate the story of the fall in the early chapters of Genesis, we see humanity being affected by the fall and the creation itself being affected as it is cursed.  And, we naturally think of the cost of the fall on Christ – it was because of the fall that the cross was even necessary.

Perhaps, we minimize (I’m sure we do) the effect of the fall on God Himself.  Philip Yancey had something interesting to say about that in his book, Finding God in Unexpected Places, when he wrote: “Throughout the Old Testament, God seems to alternate between Spectator and Participant…The New Testament, though, shows the God who selflessly shared the dignity of causation by descending to become its Victim.  He who had the right to destroy the world – and had nearly done so once in Noah’s day – chose instead to love the world, at any cost.

“I sometimes wonder how hard it has been for God not to act in history.  How must it feel to see the glories of creation – the rain forests, the whales, the elephants – obliterated one by one?  How must it feel to see the Jews themselves nearly annihilated?  To lose a Son?  What is the cost of God’s self-restraint?

“I had always thought of the Fall in terms of its effect on us humans, namely the penalties outlined in Genesis 3. This time I was struck by its effect on God.  The Bible devotes only two chapters to the glories of original creation. All that follows describes the agonizing course of re-creation.”

Galen’s thoughts: What took God 6 days to create, merely by speaking, has now taken at least thousands of years to “re-create”.  And, as we can tell by looking around us, it’s got a long way to go before the glory of the original creation is again visible. The process of re-creation must be much more difficult (or seemingly so) than making the stuff originally.  At least, God thinks that the process of re-creation is worth the time and effort to make it happen – even if it takes thousands of years.  

But we find parallels in our human relationships, too.  A reputation can be destroyed in an instant by sinful actions or by gossip or slander, and it takes a long, long time for that reputation to be rebuilt and regained, if it ever can be fully restored.  It also appears that it is not God’s fault that re-creation, at least as far as it applies to us personally, takes so long.  We are quite pathetic when it comes to “straightening up” and “flying right” – we love our sin too much to give it up so easily and quickly.

The fall was tremendously costly to us.  It was costly to the original creation.  But it won’t prevent God’s ultimate completion of the re-creation of our souls and the glorious universe He made to begin with.

2 Peter 3:13 (NLT) – But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God.

PRAYER:  We confess, Lord, that we tend to think of ourselves far too often and not think nearly enough about what we do and how it affect you. We’re too selfish and small-minded to think outside of ourselves very often.  Thank You that You believe we are worth all the trouble of re-creating us, and that You will re-created a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness (and we) will dwell.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2006:

 

DayBreaks for 12/07/12 – Musings on Adam and Eve

DayBreaks for 12/07/12 – Musings on Adam and Eve

creation-hands1

Romans 5:18-19 (NLT)- Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

As I was driving yesterday, I pondered the early days of Adam and Eve.  I wondered what a delight it must have been like to live in a perfect world – a world where there wasn’t any death.  A world before the Fall.  It must have been spectacularly glorious.

But then, the rebellion.  I wonder what was the first sign to them that the entire cosmos had suffered as a result of their rebellion?  I wonder what first caught their attention?  Was it a cat pouncing on a mouse and biting it until it died?  Was it a bird falling dead out of a tree?  Did an ill wind literally start to blow that took their breath in a gasp as they realized that something dreadful had happened?

And how did they then feel?  What would it have been like to have been Adam and Eve and know because of what YOU did, the entire cosmos entered into disarray and things started dying and animals (and people) started killing one another?  What would it be like to realize that you were the cause of all that?

I feel badly enough when I fall into sin.  But I’ve never experienced a perfect world.  As a result, I suppose that I don’t feel the weight of my sin as heavily as Adam and Eve felt theirs.  Perhaps I should feel it just as heavily as they did, but my guess is that we don’t begin to approximate the understanding or comprehension of the effect of our sin.

I’m glad I wasn’t Adam.  I wish I wasn’t a sinner.  How grateful I am for the second Adam who will one day restore that perfect world and we will all know what it was like for Adam and Eve in the beginning before sin ruined everything.  I long to see and experience that world.  I’m willing to bet you do, too!

PRAYER:  Lord, we long to see what the perfected heavens and earth will be like, to see Your creation in its perfected splendor.  For what we have done to deface Your creation in our day and age, we repent in dust and ashes!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/24/12 – I Shall Arise

DayBreaks for 08/24/12 – I Shall Arise

One of my greatest fears is falling from a great height.  I am terrified of high places.  One of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in my life was the photos of men and women who were trapped in the World Trade Center who apparently leaped out of the building to their deaths to avoid being burned by the fires raging inside.  In one particular instance, a man and woman jumped together – hand in hand – to their certain death.  I can’t imagine ever being able to do that – but then again, I wasn’t there and don’t know the agony they endured inside the building.  I hope and pray that I’ll never fall from a height of more than about 3 inches.

There are worse things than falling physically.  We can fall spiritually as well.  And that is something that we’ve all done.  “Not me!” you say?  Yes, you.  Every time we sin it is a spiritual fall.  And every time we sin and fall, Satan erupts in laughter and celebrates our fall.  His greatest hope is that we’ll fall and not be able to get back up.

The wonderful news that Scripture has to share with us is that even though we may someday fall and physically not be able to get back up, that spiritually our prospects are much more certain: “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I shall arise.”  (Micah 7:8)

Let Satan have his little moments of rejoicing when I fall.  I don’t care because I will arise, by the grace and kindness of the very God that died for me to save me.  And you shall arise, too.  God Himself will stoop down to lift you back up.  He knows our frailty and our penchant for going the wrong way.  He loves us regardless.  He loves us with a love that will never stop.  And, if He gave Jesus’ life up for us, what possible reason could we have to think that He won’t give us everything else that is good?  (Romans 8:31-32 – “31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”)

Stumbling a bit right now?  Don’t despair.  Make Micah 7:8 your theme song for the next month, the next year, the next decade.  You will arise!!!!

Psalm 51:8 – “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

PRAYER: Raise us up, Lord, both today and in eternity, to sing Your great praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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