DayBreaks for 1/19/16 – Holy Land Lessons – My Father’s House

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Home of Simon Peter’s family, Capernaum, Israel. Photo property of Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 1/19/16: Holy Land Lessons: My Father’s House

I attended a church in my early years where we often sang the song, I’ve Got A Mansion, and the words to the first verse and chorus went like this: “I’m satisfied with just a cottage below, A little silver and a little gold. But in that city where the ransomed will shine I want a gold one that’s silver lined.
Chorus: I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop, In that bright land where we’ll never grow old, And some day yonder we will never more wander, But walk on streets that are purest gold.”

Let me go on record here that I never liked that song (but we sang it a lot in the churches I used to attend!!!) because it essentially says something to the effect of I’m miserable now, but someday I want You to make it up to me for all my sacrifice and suffering and give me a mansion and that’ll make it all worth it!” I think it misses the point entirely. The glory of heaven won’t be a shiny home – for God Himself is our very great reward – to be with Him and enjoy Him forever – not to live in a sparkling, huge, gold and silver home! Listen to what Jesus said to us (and I’m sure someone’s imagination took this out of the Hebrew/1st century context in which Jesus was speaking and came up with the idea of shining, metallic mansions): John 14:2 (KJV) – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

That’s how the King James put it. Unfortunately, it is a lousy translation and totally misses the point of what Jesus was saying as I learned during our journey to Israel this month. Fortunately, newer translations get to the core of what Jesus was saying. For example: John 14:2-3 (ESV) – In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that WHERE I AM YOU MAY BE ALSO.

Here’s the point: in today’s picture that I took in Israel, you can see a “family home”. This just happens to be the home of Peter that is located in Capernaum (authorities are nearly 100% certain it is the actual home of Peter). The inner circle was Peter’s primary area, but there are other circular structures outside of the inner circle that were divided by stone walls, but still part of the overall complex. Here’s the point: people back then didn’t have individual homes (unless they were very, very rich). They had communal or “family” homes. There were walls made out of stone dividing out the rooms, but all the people of the extended family basically lived in the same home. As the family grew, another room would be attached to the same basic structure – it just expanded to include family. They had their own rooms, but not their own mansions. So when Jesus said he was going to prepare a room for us (not a mansion!!!!), he was referring to the typical homes in which close, intimate family would reside.

What is Jesus saying? We will not live in our own mansion…we will live in HIS very own house, in a room of our own, but part of the intimate gathering of his family. We will be His children there, we can crawl up in our Father’s lap, we will join in the story-telling, the singing, the joyful feasting – and we won’t miss a minute of it because we will be RIGHT THERE.

Now, isn’t that far better than a gold and silver mansion? If you want a mansion somewhere on the edge of the New Jerusalem, I’m sorry if I’ve burst your bubble. But God has something far greater and more glorious than that in mind for you and me: Psalm 23:6 (ESV)Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD forever.

There, we shall find all our hearts and souls ever longed for (and more!!!) – forever!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for giving me a room in your house. I can’t wait to settle in and be part of the family that literally gathers at your feast table and sings and laughs together forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 11/04/15 – The Effort to Get Home

DayBreaks for 11/04/15: The Effort to Get Home

From the DayBreaks archive, 11/04/05:

BIZARRE NEWS – Wednesday, December 29, 2004  –  FORT VALLEY, Ga. – “Some people will do anything to get home to their family. One man walked almost two miles with a bullet hole in his head to die surrounded by loved ones if that was his fate. Larry Taylor had been walking to a friend’s house when a man came up to him and asked to use his cell phone. When Taylor said no, the robber pulled out a gun and shot him in the head. Bleeding severely from the wound, Taylor stumbled through the streets until he made it to his mother’s house, only to discover she had moved to a nursing home. After all this, Taylor was finally reunited with his family and was able to spend Christmas recovering from the trauma.”

All I can say is that Mr. Taylor must be one pretty tough dude.  I’m sure that the thing that kept him going must have been his motivation to be at home with his family.  With each step, he must have wondered if he’d see them again, if he could hang on and make it home before he died.  I can’t imagine the reaction of the people who were living in his mother’s home – and his disappointment at not finding his mother there.  Still, there seem to be some lessons here:

FIRST: We would do well to emulate Mr. Taylor’s desire to get “home.”  He was clearly a driven man – a clear goal and destination kept calling him onward in spite of the pain.  We are encouraged again and again by Scripture to “persevere” and “keep pressing on” in order that we can arrive safely at our destination.  Clearly, our efforts to make our way home can flag when we get tired or discouraged, and our motivation sags with the result that we lose sight of what was once so precious to us.  We need to hang tough – like Mr. Taylor.  The effort to get home may be monumental – but it is worth it.  No, we’re not saved by our works…but we were created for “good works in Christ”…and that takes effort!

SECOND: This world is full of disappointments.  Mr. Taylor must have been grievously disappointed when he got to where his mom lived only to find she’d moved!  It made me wonder about the relationship between Mr. Taylor and his mother.  But even though we are still sorely disappointed at times in life, just as Mr. Taylor found someone to help him, so we, too, find the One who wants to help us.

THIRD: Mr. Taylor was bleeding severely as he trod the path homeward.  Jesus bled profusely as he trod a pathway, too…the one up Calvary, not so that He could get home, but so that we could get there. 

Rev. 12:10-11 (NLT) –Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, ‘It has happened at last — the salvation and power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ! For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth — the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night. And they have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die.’

TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, help us to remember the path that Jesus walked in order to ensure that we could safely reach home.  Give us the strength for each day that we can hang in there as we make our way through life, and let us be available to help those who are stumbling through this life’s journey.    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DayBreaks for 6/15/16 – Appreciating the Flying of Time

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DayBreaks for 6/15/15: Appreciating the Flying of Time

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. – Psalm 71:9 (KJV)

Take a look at today’s illustration.  It’s a Salvador Dali painting, showing a clock that is sliding off the table and another one is bent backwards on a tree branch. It is called “The  Persistence of Memory.” I am neither an art scholar nor an aficionado, and I apparently can’t tell good art from bad (because I’d never pay what some people pay for so-called “art”), so I’m not sure what this painting has to do with memory.  But it does cause me to pause and think about something.

We all know that even on a hot Georgia summer day, clocks just don’t bend or melt, nor do they assume the positions as we see them in Dali’s painting. But stop for a moment at the beginning of today and this work week and ponder these kind of questions: what might this painting it be saying about time? What happens to time? Where does it go? Time flies, time melts away, time disintegrates, things fall apart. You may not like Dali’s painting, but you cannot help but think about it. How do you feel about time and life?

Just yesterday my wife said to me, “Do you ever find it hard to believe we’ve lived as long as we have?” My answer was a bit painful, but honest: “Yes, I sure do!”  You see, we are both in our 60’s now. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t imagine being in my 20’s, let alone 60!  Why, even when I turned 50 I could not imagine being 60! Where does the time go? In the “spent” pile, and you can’t dig it back out and spend it again. As the clocks in the painting infer, it melts away and we are left with wrinkled skin, failing hearing and eyesight, less strength even as our bones get more brittle.

That could be cause for great consternation were it not for one thing: with each passing day, or more precisely, with each tick of the clock, I am that much closer to home and my father/Father. I am that much closer to talking with Daniel, Abraham, Jeremiah, Peter, Mary, Esther…and my Jesus. I’ve never met anyone who died for me before. When the full realization of Who stands before me strikes me, how will I feel? Perhaps I’ll melt like the clock in the picture and fall on my face as though dead. But, if I understand Scripture and what it implies, I won’t be there for long. Just as the Father in the Prodigal Son ran to meet his son as he returned home, so, I believe, the Father will run to greet me, to lift me up off the ground, put His robe on me and welcome me home.

Were it not for that, the fleeting of time would be something to fear. But with that scene from the story of the Prodigal firmly implanted in my mind, the fleeting of time becomes nothing more than a countdown to a long awaited place in the Father’s home.

What will you do with your time this week?

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11 

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t know how much more time I have here. That is in your hands and only you know the answer. But I pray that you will help me to live it well!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/26/15 – A Home We’ve Never Visited

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DayBreaks for 3/26/15: 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 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, we long to come home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 9/29/14 – At Home

DayBreaks for 9/29/14 – At Home

Psalm 23:5 (NKJV) – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

I have recently seemed to become a road warrior.  No, not like the old Mel Gibson movie, but a frequent traveler.  I’m not done yet.  I won’t be for a few weeks.  But right now, today…I am home.  And it is wonderful!!!  Though I was blessed with my most recent trip, how grateful I am to be home again!

What is home?  It is, to be sure, the walls that surround us to protect us from the elements.  It is the roof overhead that keeps things from falling on us and shields us from the hot sun or cold snow.  It is a warm room, cozy and bright on a cold day, with adequate sustenance in the larder.

But those things aren’t really “home”, are they?  They may be a “house”, but a house is not “home”.  Home is the arms of your loved one(s), the lilt in their voice, the catch-light in their eyes, the upward curl of the corners of their mouth when they see you.  Home is (at least it should be) being surrounded and enveloped in love.

I’ve been to Jerusalem and seen what they believe are the ruins of king David’s palace at the City of David.  It was situated nearly at the point of a hill commanding a spectacular view.  But it wasn’t really the home that David was longing for.  I’m sure there were many times he came home from battle, perhaps even bearing wounds from the fighting, and he was very, very glad to enter his palace again.  But I suspect that in the back of his mind, he always had a better, grander home-coming in mind: the day that he’d walk into the house of the Lord…forever.

In this Psalm David has talked about the goodness of the Shepherd and rightfully so, but for every blessing (not wanting, green pastures, still waters, restored strength and soul, His presence in the dark valley, the feast table set in the presence of the enemies), there is a subtle reminder that these are blessings which are offset by needs: things we need for live, food, water, weariness, mortality and enemies who surround us. 

But, when David walks through that valley (in the Presence of the Shepherd and under his guidance and protection), he will wind up in the house of the Lord.  And never again will David be hungry, thirsty, tired, or have enemies who can threaten.  Never.  Again.  Ever. 

That residence isn’t held out as an option only for kings, queens and princes.  It is held out for the ordinary human, the beggar, even for thieves dying on crosses.  It is there.  It is real.  It is just barely out of my sight now, but growing slightly more clear and closer with each passing year.

At the end of a life, what a delight to know as we take our last breath: “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord….forever.” 

PRAYER: Jesus, Lord God, Holy Spirit…how delightful it is to contemplate being home in Your house and never, ever having to leave!  We praise You for Your promises and for the words of our brother, David!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 3/24/14: Home

DayBreaks for 3/24/14 – Home

There’s no place like home!” Those famous words written by L. Frank Baum in his work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, were spoken by Dorothy in the 1939 film when she gets back home to Kansas.

It is true for most people: there is no place like home.  But what exactly constitutes home?

“Home is where the heart is.”  Really?  Unfortunately, many marriages have been broken up because someone’s heart was not at home, but somewhere where it didn’t belong.

There are times when I’m coming back from a trip for work (or pleasure, for that matter), and I say that I can’t wait to “get home”, meaning of course, the place where we live and sleep and where our “stuff” is. It isn’t as easy being on the road (nor as glamorous!) as many might think. I know…I’ve done a lot of traveling in my work life over the years.  So, when I say I can’t wait to get home, I am thinking about being able to relax, to kick back in my easy chair and put my feet up, to sleep in my own bed with my own pillows.

In Psalm 90:1, Moses wrote these words: Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!

What a fascinating statement!  What on earth did he mean?  This was the Moses who was born into the “home” of a Hebrew slave. Shortly after that, he moved into the palace of the pharaoh’s daughter (and likely with the pharaoh himself). Forty years later, he found himself in a new home – one of sand and blazing heat, where he lived among the sheep with his father-in-law’s family. After spending forty years in that home, he went back to Egypt, only to spend the next 40 years of his life homeless, wandering in the desert with the stubborn Israelites that he’d lead out of slavery.

It was perhaps during those 40 years that Moses looked back at the different homes of his life and wrote this passage. Those years of wandering had taught Moses a lot about being “home” and what “home” meant. He’d come to realize that home had more to do with relationships than places, and comes right out and declares that God is our home…not some place.  A Person is our home.

To the more romantically inclined among us, we say that we feel we are “at home” when we are in the arms of our husband or wife (or as children, our parents.)  I think that Moses was getting at something like that in Psalm 90:1. He’d discovered that “home” wasn’t a desert nor a pharaoh’s palace…those places didn’t meet the need for peace and relaxation that “being home” can give. But when we find ourselves in God’s arms, embraced and welcomed, then we truly have “come home”.

The day will come when I will no longer be able to hold my wife or she won’t be able to hold me, for one of us will have left this world behind. But such will never be the case with our God! We will be at home with Him, at home in Him, and His embrace for all eternity.

His arms are big enough to embrace all who wish to come to Him, “through all the generations”!

PRAYER: Home, Lord, home!  May we find the rest and peace we seek eternally in Your presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 06/29/12 – Second Mortgages in the House of Fear

DayBreaks for 06/29/12 – Second Mortgages in the House of Fear

(NOTE: Galen is back from his trip to India, but will be publishing ‘re-cycled’ DayBreaks from the archive this week as he gets back on the ground, running!)

While we profess our faith in God’s unconditional love, many of us still live in fear.  Nouwen remarks: ‘Look at the many IF questions we raise: What am I going to do if I do not find a spouse, a house, a job, a friend, a benefactor?  What am I going to do if they fire me, if I get sick, if an accident happens, if I lose my friends, if my marriage does not work out, if a war breaks out?  What if tomorrow the weather is bad, the buses are on strike, or an earthquake happens?  What if someone steals my money, breaks into my house, rapes my daughter or kills me?

“Once these questions guide our lives, we take out a second mortgage in the house of fear.  Jesus says simply, ‘Make your home in me, as I make mine in you’ (John 15:4).  Home is not a heavenly mansion in the afterlife but a safe place in the midst of our anxious world.  ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him’ (John 14:23).

“The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as the one who has ‘set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death’ (Heb. 2:15).  The gospel of freedom proclaims that death is an illusion, a phantom, the bogeyman of little children; death is simply a transition into the one experience worthy of the name life.’   (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Fear is a great crippler.  It robs life of the joy that God means for us to have.  I remember well as a little child how I could become afraid of the dark.  I recall even waking up at night when we lived on the farm and seeing a “lump” underneath the blanket by the foot of the mattress.  I was convinced it was a skunk that had gotten into the house somehow and had crawled under the covers.  I spent several hours sitting up in bed, afraid of the lump (in reality just a pocket of air under the blanket) until my mom awoke and came in to check on us kids.

But you know what: I don’t remember ever being afraid when I knew my dad was in the house, or more correctly, when I was in his presence.  I remember being afraid when I might wander down into the basement (dark, dank basement!) if my dad was upstairs, but I was never afraid in the basement if my dad was down there with me.

Isn’t that the point of John 15:4 quoted above?  How can we possibly be afraid when His home is in us?  If God is with us at all times, why should we ever have cause for fear?  The key, as with everything else in the Christian life, is living in a constant communion and fellowship with God.

Jesus died to set us free from fear.  Don’t allow yourself to be fear’s slave – you are a bondservant of Jesus.  Don’t let fear sit on His throne!

“When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free.  Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”  (Gal. 5:1)

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Father, let us live in awareness of Your ever-present Presence.  Let us live in You so that we know no fear!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 has just launched another project: to put in a water system for what will be the only pediatric hospital in all of Rwanda!  If you are interested in learning more, go to our blog: http://iam2.org/blog to read about it and learn how you can help! We are trying to raise up a massive army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us deliver this water system through our partner, BeyondPoverty.org.  The budget for this water system is $8300.  Every gift matters…and every gift is appreciated!  They ALL make a difference!

Also, don’t forget our other project, Bright Future Children’s Home.  You can read the latest update about them at the blog, too, and can help us move forward with the feeding, clean water and protection these 37 kids in Kenya need to not just live, but grow!!!  We still need to raise a bit over $4000 to fulfill our mission.  Donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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