DayBreaks for 11/20/19 – Speaking a Foreign Language

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DayBreaks for 11/20/19: Speaking a Foreign Language

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

Just this morning, I heard that old familiar “Snap!  Crackle!  Pop!”  No – I’m not talking about Rice Krispies…I’m talking about the sounds of my bones and joints when I wake up!  The sounds of advancing age.  Do you hear them when you wake up?  I didn’t used to hear those sounds.  I think that I can still remember when my joints were freshly oiled and didn’t creak or make funny sounds, but maybe I can’t really remember that, either.

I was speaking this past Sunday on homesickness – how God has put eternity in our hearts.  In other words, we have a heavenly address stamped on our hearts – the address of God’s forever home – that we long for. 

The holidays are coming up.  People will travel across the country to be with family – to “go home.”  It is without doubt the most precious thing about the holidays – being with family to celebrate our thankfulness and the Incarnation.  Picture it: entering the house where it is warmly welcoming, leaving the cold outside behind the closing door.  The moment you enter, you smell the turkey and pies and stuffing as they cook in the oven.  You give and receive hugs from loved ones that you’ve not seen for some time.  Suddenly, your heart is at rest and your blood pressure drops like a rock in the ocean as your stresses waft away.  Home.  This is what it is supposed to be.

And that is what our forever home will be like.  I don’t know what language is spoken in heaven.  I seriously doubt that it is New Testament Greek or Hebrew or even Aramaic.  I have a hunch that it is a language and tongue that is unlike any we’ve ever heard and which will be more blissful than we can imagine.  But, for now, we speak a foreign language – the languages of this earth.  And though our language here varies from country to country or based on our nation of origin, we all speak one language here that we were never meant from the beginning to learn.  We were never meant to become so proficient at speaking the language of death and disease. 

I can’t wait to learn a new language – a language where those words are never to be heard because they describe things that will never again exist.  The day will come when I awaken to speak that new language.  In the meantime, we must deal with the vocabulary of this world and all the words that we hate: cancer, heart failure, H1N1, HIV/AIDS, abuse, murder, betrayal and the rest of the words of that ilk. 

While this is true, let us also be about learning to speak the new language of hope, joy, peace, contentment, happiness, love, mercy, grace – and the rest of the words of that heavenly language.  There are people all around us who need to hear them today.  Will you speak them?

PRAYER: Let us speak delightfully this day and uplift those around us as we let Jesus’ words flow through us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/25/19 – The View from the Far Country

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DayBreaks for 07/25/19: The View from a Far Country

For nearly six decades I have lived far away from the land where I was born: Iowa. Most of my sojourn has been spent in California which is very, very different from the plains of the mid-west. Recently, however, we have moved to Illinois and were in Iowa for a few days and it made me think about the far country and home.

No matter how long one has been gone, there’s always something endearing about returning “home”. My parents are no longer there, nor any of my aunts and uncles. Some of my cousins remain, but they have scattered, too. Still, it was sweet for me to be “home” again for a while.

Several thoughts:

FIRST: there is a built-in peacefulness for most of us about “home”. It is where we can relax, be ourselves. It is familiar. The far distant country, while it may have its appeals, isn’t the same. We often pretend to be something or someone we aren’t to impress in the far country. At home we know and are known intimately – and loved and accepted.

SECOND: for most, home holds precious memories. My mind is full of images of growing up on the farm and the carefree years of early childhood spent there. I long for that kind of peace and delight once more. Some day I shall have it.

THIRD: we are all in a far country whether we know it or not. And we are all on a journey “home”. The longer we have been gone from home, the sweeter the sound of “Welcome home!” becomes. I will see the face of my Father and my father, mother and a sister I never met, as well as other relatives and beloved friends.

FOURTH: as long as I am in the far country, my Father still expects me to act like His child. I may-and do-fail often, but even more than my earthly father still loved me when I let him down, so much more does my heavenly Father, and His welcome will be the sweetest of them all.

PRAYER: Thank you for our homes, both in this world and the world to come. Help me act like your child no matter when I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

DayBreaks for 11/27/18 – Frozen Fishermen (and Home)

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DayBreaks for 11/27/18: Frozen Fishermen (and Home)

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

It’s been some number of years now, but I used to take an annual 3-day fishing and camping trip with my friends, Ken, Larry and Tom.  We went different places each year, but it was always a highlight of our fall season.  We worked together at a company called Triad and had grown to be good friends over the years.  Our trips became so famous in the company that at company breakfasts after our get-away, we’d be asked about the trip or invited to show pictures! 

One year, we went to a place called Loon Lake.  We’d been there before and the fishing was usually pretty good, and at the time it was fairly isolated.  It was located at 6500 feet in the Sierra Nevada, about 50 miles off highway 50 that eventually goes into the south end of Lake Tahoe.  Having been there before, we thought we knew what we were getting in to.  We didn’t.

The weather was beautiful the first couple of days we were there and we had ice chests full of fish.  On our last night there, it was a bit cooler, and we crawled into the tent and our sleeping bags looking forward to one more morning of fishing. 

Morning dawned – cold and wet.  It had started raining during the night and we were as wet as we could be.  Temperatures had plummeted to near freezing.  As I recall, there were drips and drabs of ice mixed in with the rain.  As I had noted, we’d been to Loon Lake before and thought we knew what we were up against.  But since the weather had been nice before, none of us had brought rain gear.  But, being the manly men that we thought we were in our younger days, we still wanted to fish.  So, we cut neck and arm-holes in the trash bags we’d taken and put them on over our jackets and headed down to the lake to fish.  The only problem was that it was so cold that our fingers were too numb to bait the hooks.  So, two of the guys who were not as full of their “manliness” as the other two of us were, volunteered to keep their hands in their pockets to warm them up and then to bait the hooks while the other two of us fished.  We did that for a while – and the weather kept getting colder and windier and wetter.  It wasn’t long until we were all thinking the same thing: won’t it be great to get home and get a hot shower and warm up!

Well, we survived – no one lost any fingers or toes, and we left vast numbers of trout uncaught.  We were miserable, no doubt about it.  But how much more miserable would we have been if we didn’t have a clear picture of the homes and warmth to which we would return? 

So it is with this world.  This world is a white-out, a blizzard, trying to freeze the very life out of us.  And, for much of the time, we are to varying degrees and for varying reasons, miserable while here.  It is the heavenly vision, of the warmth of the Presence, of the warm welcome, of the place of comfort – that revitalizes us.  We don’t think of heaven enough, I fear.  Let the thought of heaven warm your heart and soul and give you the focus to keep going until you arrive at His house! 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the vision that has the power to keep us moving forward, for the promised place of rest and reward that will make this life and it’s struggles seem like nothing.  When we start to lose hope, to freeze over, warm us with the vision of your eternal love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/25/18 – One Week in Heaven

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DayBreaks for 5/25/18: One Week in Heaven

As of last night (5/24/18) my mom has been in heaven for one week. I don’t have anything special or profound to say today, but thinking about her there as brought me joy and peace. You see, she’d struggled with dementia for about the past 6-7 years and it had gotten really, really bad. It was one of those situations where you pray for the Lord to relieve the suffering and bring wholeness to her body and soul. And I believe he has done so.

I find myself wondering what it is like to transition from this earth to heavenly spheres. I don’t believe that for His children that they are ever alone because we have his very solemn promise to never leave or forsake us. So I don’t believe my mom was afraid or left alone for even a nanosecond. I believe she saw the Lord immediately and that he gently took her hand and walked her home.

I wonder how quickly we see our loved ones who have gone before. Does God give them a “heads-up” that someone they love is coming home so that they can meet them right away and have an unearthly celebration? I’d like to think so, but I really don’t know. I find comfort in believing that we do see the right away – and it seems just like God to do something like that for us. So I choose to believe that my mom has seen my dad again, that they’ve both been reunited with the little girl they lost in infancy, and with their parents.

How long does it take to meet the favorite characters from Scripture? (In a way, talking about “how long” is rather silly because there is no time there, but I can’t wrap my mind around that reality.) Has mom met Mary, Esther, Abraham, Daniel, Moses, Peter, John and David already? My daughter rather humorously mused that perhaps those folks have an appointment book so you can schedule time to meet them. I rather doubt that, but who knows?

So what is the point of all this? I guess it is simply this: the life to come will be utterly unlike this one. It will be incredibly glorious. It will be free from dementia, cancer, tears, pain and death. I believe those things because the Word declares them to be true. But I can’t imagine it. All I can do is get excited about this: 1 Corinthians 2:9 – That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 

That is all I need to know to understand that whatever heaven is like, however it all works, will be absolutely terrific. What our loved ones who have gone before have seen and experience exceeds our wildest imaginings.

Mom, I love you and miss having you here, but I’m sure you are enjoying your one week anniversary in a place we cannot begin to even dream of.

PRAYER: How comforting are your promises, how great your assurances are to us, Lord. I thank you for leading my mom safely home and for the place you prepared for her. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/18/18 – A Home We’ve Never Visited

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DayBreaks for 4/18/18: A Home We’ve Never Visited

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/18/2005:

I am often possessed by a sense of great sadness at the amount of pain in the world.  No one – not one – is immune to the suffering, pain and disappointment.   It searches us out as a mother looks for a lost child.  And it always finds us.  Yet there is still nothing like going home.  For anyone who had anything approaching a normal upbringing, “home” is sweet music to our world-weary souls.  It promises remembrances of safety, of love, of belonging and being cherished.  It fires joy into our hearts and longing into our spirits.  Home.  Perhaps the finest place on earth.  But there is only one place that is home, and much of the rest of the world is brutal and heartbreaking.

Philip Yancey, in Disappointment With God, wrote: “For people who are trapped in pain, or in a broken home, or in economic misery, or in fear – for all those people, for all of us, heaven promises a time, far longer and more substantial than the time we spent on earth, of health and wholeness and pleasure and peace.  …The Bible never belittles human disappointment (remember the proportion in Job – one chapter of restoration follows forty-one chapters of anguish), but it does add one key word: temporary.  What we feel now, we will not always feel.  Our disappointment is itself a sign, an aching, a hunger for something better.  And faith is, in the end, a kind of homesickness – for a home we have never visited but have never once stopped longing for.”

 T.S. Eliot put it like this:

“And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

Rev. 21: 1-4 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.  I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.

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

PRAYER: It is hard to understand the requests of the disciples until we put ourselves in their place, Lord, and realize that we would have likely done the same thing.  Help us not to seek our glory, but yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 4/20/17 – Almost Home

DayBreaks for 4/20/17: Almost Home

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

The little town of Franklin, TN, was the sight of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  In the space of only 5 hours, 7000 men were killed and thousands of others wounded.  In that short amount of time, northern troops alone used up 100 wagon loads of ammunition.  Accounts written at the time described bodies being stacked six or seven deep for more than a mile along the Columbia Pike.  No one had ever seen anything like it.  The state of Tennessee didn’t have enough money to turn the entire area into a state park to commemorate the battle, but in the battleground stands the Carter house that now serves as a museum and memorial to this bloody battle. 

As terrible as the battle itself, there was one person who died on that day over 140 years ago that is arguably more tragic than the other 6999.  As the battle of Franklin raged, the Carters’ youngest son, Todd, was outside.  He was running for the shelter of home when he was struck down and died, virtually in the shadow of the house.  He was taken into the home dead.  Even today, more is probably written about that young boy who died in the battle than about any of the others who died. 

Several things about this story that struck me: 

First of all is the power of the death of the innocent.  It just doesn’t seem right when a young child is struck down because of the violence of adults.  Yet it happens.  And when the innocent die, people take notice.  An absolutely perfectly innocent person was struck down by our violence and sin.  And similar to Todd Carter, much has been written and said about him.  Jesus Christ, the innocent, was killed by us and for us.  He was almost home when he was “hit”, but he died willingly as a sacrifice – not running in terror. 

Secondly, I thought about how close we can come sometimes to being “home free” only to fail to actually arrive there.  We can’t control the people and events around us.  We know our intent – to get home safely – but sometimes things interfere with our well-laid plans, and in the shadow of the rooftop we fall.   I am very thankful that God is the One who will get us home.  I rejoice that He recognizes that I can’t make it on my own, that I alone would surely be cut down by Satan’s bullets.  He is able to handle our eternal destinies (2 Tim. 1:12).  We need to finish the race well, 2 Tim. 4:7-8, and not die in the home stretch.

The saddest thing, though, is to hear about those who are almost on the porch of the house and ready to enter, but who Satan snatches at the last moment.  The story of Paul’s defense before Agrippa is heart-wrenching, from Acts 26:28-29a: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  Paul replied, “Short time or long– I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am….”  There is no evidence Agrippa “made it home”.  How tragic and sad.

There are those today who are almost home but who aren’t quite there yet.  What a tragedy if we let them languish so close to heaven’s door. 

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the innocent Christ who died for us.  Help us to understand that we don’t control the events that swirl around our lives, but that in You, we are safe forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 10/14/16 – It’s All About Exile

DayBreaks for 10/14/16 – It’s All About Exile

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

1 Chronicles 29:15 – We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV) – Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

From Doug Dalrymple, in his blog:

“In the 2nd century Christian apologetic, the Letter to Diognetus, we read:

“For Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech…
Yet although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man’s lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other manners of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their commonwealth. They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land.

“To amend Khomiakov, if I may: Do not harness your heart, then, to anything but the Cross of Christ.

“Or, as we read in Hebrews: ‘Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.’  – Exile, my friends. It’s all about exile.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We should never get too comfortable in this “home” (or even too alarmed about current events) because that’s exactly what this world is NOT: home.  Sure, we were born here, grew up here, and we will die here, but it is not home.  Not for the Christian.  It is nothing more, and nothing less, than enemy territory, a foreign land that we must traverse before we leave for Home.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV) – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

We need to be focused and looking for that same city, living as responsible citizens in the here and now and helping others look for that City, too.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the allure of this world for us humans is overwhelming.  We must accept the unseen by faith, while here we can see, taste, touch, smell and hear the sounds of life, or what passes for life in our experience.  Help us to fix our eyes on our Father’s land.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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