DayBreaks for 7/05/18 – A Better Use of Energy

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DayBreaks for 7/05/18: A Better Use of Energy

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

Energy – the discussion is everywhere these days, mostly due to the price of oil.  Should we drill in ANWR?  How about offshore?  Should we be tapping into the strategic petroleum reserve in an effort to lower prices and drive down costs?  How about the bio-fuels that have been touted, such as ethanol, etc., that once seemed to hold such promise but which now are becoming more and more suspect as part of the solution?  Should Congress allow building more oil refineries?  How about nuclear power?  Hydrogen fuel cell cars?  Solar powered vehicles, or other forms of electric vehicles? 

Not all energy gets pumped out of the ground.  There’s the energy in our human hearts and in our bodies.  As we get older, it is a standing “joke” about how we are more tired than we used to be and how we have less energy than when we were younger.  Sadly, our spiritual energies can get taxed and worn, too. 

Some of our expenditure of energy is due to trying to be something that we aren’t.  That always takes more energy than being genuine.  In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge wrote: “We at least know this: we know that we are not what we were meant to be.  Most of us spend our energy trying to hide that fact, through all the veils we put on and the false selves we create.  Our first parents thought they could hide behind fig leaves and in the bushes, and we do the same – only with more sophistication.  Far better to spend our energy trying to recover the image of God and unveil it for His glory.”

Adam and Eve spent time and energy trying to hide from God.  I want to spend the remaining years of my life trying to recover the image of God that I’m meant to carry.  It’s a much better use of energy!

PRAYER:  God, empower us through Your Spirit to do what we were created to do and to be!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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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 3/06/17 – Why Can’t I See the Beauty?

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DayBreaks for 3/06/17: What Can’t I See the Beauty?

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it when they perceive something as being truly beautiful. It could be a work of art, a piece of music, a flower or mountain meadow. There are people who are considered beautiful, though it is often said of us humans that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I was reading some of Ann Voskamp’s writing on Friday evening and she was taking about a disciple that she was forcing upon herself – that being learning to see and appreciate the beauty of what God has made and then giving Him thanks for it.

There are few things I enjoy more than the beauty of nature. Two of my most favorite memories of natural beauty took place when I was with my best friend, Ken. One was up in the high Sierra’s in California near Highlands Lake when we hiked up a ridge and sat at the top looking down into a meadow of wildflowers in a meadow with meltwater ponds. The second one was night when we were coming back in our small boat from fishing and we were heading due east as the sun was setting over the slivery smooth water and wake directly behind the boat.

I don’t find it too hard to see beauty. But as I thought about it, I wondered why it is that I don’t see beauty in the pinnacle of God’s creation: humans. It bothered me that I don’t perceive the people that I meet as being beautiful (I’m not talking especially here about physical beauty, but the more hidden kinds of beauty like intellectual beauty, emotional beauty or spiritual beauty. Why, if humans are made in the image of God Himself, is it that I struggle so to see the beauty in humans that God apparently sees in us?

It is possible that I can’t see it because of how the fall has made us all more than a bit ugly. I suspect that has a lot to do with my struggle. But then it dawned on me that perhaps the reason I can’t see the beautiful image of God in my fellow man may not be their fault so much as the fault of my own fallen nature that keeps me from seeing the image of God in others. Goodness knows I struggle to even find a scintilla of it in myself.

God saw/sees enough beauty in His creation, including humans, that He went to great lengths to redeem His creation. We are told that all of creation groans and travails for its redemption. We have never seen the creation in its perfected state so even the beauty we do see and appreciate so much is nothing compared to what it must have been like in Eden. We have never seen a perfected human, either. God has. And even in our fallen state, He loves us and died for us.

I need to work harder to see the image of God in others no matter how hidden or marred it may be by sin. After all, I’ve been marred, too.

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to see the beauty in others that you see and to appreciate them more than we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/05/14 – As Hard as a Brick

DayBreaks for 12/05/14 – As Hard as a Brick

The ossuary (bone box) of Caiaphas, Jerusalem Museum, taken Aug. 2014

The ossuary (bone box) of Caiaphas, Jerusalem Museum, taken Aug. 2014

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2004:

John 11:47-50 (NIV) – Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.  “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

Not much is said about Caiaphas.  And what is said of him is not favorable or flattering.  He seems to be a man who didn’t have much of a soul left in him.  He was the high priest at the time Christ was crucified (interestingly, the text says “that year” – the Romans had opted for a rotating high priesthood rather than the life-long office God prescribed in the OT), and as such, must bear tremendous responsibility for what transpired.

How could Caiaphas, a seemingly religious man, become so evil?  In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning wrote: “A terrible thing happened to Caiaphas.  Religion has left the realm of respect for person.  For Caiaphas sacredness has become institutions, structures, and abstractions.  He is dedicated to the people, so individual flesh and blood men are expendable.  Caiaphas is dedicated to the nation.  But the nation does not bleed like Jesus.  Caiaphas is dedicated to the temple – impersonal brick and mortar.  Caiaphas became impersonal himself, no longer a warm human being but a robot, as fixed and rigid as his unchanging world.

“The choice usually presented to Christians is not between Jesus and Barabbas.  No one wants to appear an obvious murderer.  The choice to be careful about is between Jesus and Caiaphas.  And Caiaphas can fool us.  He is a very ‘religious’ man.”

It is tragic when we lose the focus that God intends for us to have.  We can become so dedicated to the church (like Caiaphas was to the temple) that individual people become exchangeable pawns, disposable pieces on the chessboard of church practice.  We lose sight, all too easily, of what Christ never lost sight of: the value of a single individual.

Caiaphas lost sight of the value of a single human.  Caiaphas was willing to sacrifice Christ for the nation, to throw away a life for the “institution”.  How precious do you hold each member of your congregation?  Of your family?  Your friends?  Every person was born with great value – and every person will die with great value.  So it is with the things which are made in the image of God.

PRAYER: May we come to value individual people as You do, Lord, and treat them as beings with great value! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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