DayBreaks for 10/23/18 – So Alike Yet So Different

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DayBreaks for 10/23/18: So Alike Yet So Different

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

On 10/18 my wife and I flew back from Boston where we were visiting our youngest son (middle child) and his family – including our newest granddaughter, Sophia.  She was 3-1/2 weeks old when we got there and the amount she changed during the two weeks we were there is astonishing.  But, rest assured that during the entire time we were there she was the perfect addition to our family, and we now have another blessing from God to love and serve as grandparents.

While I was there, I couldn’t help but be struck by several things:

FIRST: It’s fascinating to see just a tiny bit of myself, my wife, our son and his wife, in the looks of Sophia.  Sure, she’ll change a lot as she grows and gets older, but she’s got her mother’s eyes and hair, our son’s (and grandmother’s) hairline, and arguably she has some aspects of my appearance, too (although most would argue she’s way to beautiful to have anything in common with her Pop-pop [that’s me]!)  As I thought about that, I thought about how in each of us there are glimpses of our Father.  Yes, they can be very hard to see and sometimes we may not be able to perceive them at all, but there is no way that we can avoid some of His characteristics.  They may only be seen when we’re at our very best (which still isn’t very good!), and it may be necessary to look long and deep to identify them, but they are there.  In the most distressed appearance you could imagine, Mother Theresa saw Jesus.  Who do you see?  Do you even try to see Jesus, or some semblance of the Father, in each person He’s created?  If we did, instead of just seeing things we don’t like, we might find this world a much more fascinating and beautiful place.  Some folks just need a bit of help to let those resemblances blossom and flourish.  Maybe we can help them.

SECOND: It’s easy to forget how tiny and small new babies are.  I was amazed at how tiny the little hands, fingers and toes were – how short the little arms are.  Compared to Sophia, I’m a huge monster.  She’s not a little baby – she was eight pounds something when she was born, and she’s been packin’ on the chub ever since – but she’s SO TINY!  And that made me think of how we must appear to God.  With a baby as small as Sophia is at present, it creates a desire inside of me to want to protect her, to hold her, to keep her safe from bumps, bruises and the hurts the world could inflict without even noticing.  As I looked at Sophia, I felt like a giant.  When God looks at us, He must be even more impressed with how tiny and fragile we are.  And yet, He picks us up and holds us ever so gently so as not to break us.  Anyone who can call a universe into existence simply through the power of a spoken word is so far beyond us in power and strength that we can’t begin for one second to wrap our little minds around His greatness and power.  And He’s put that power at our disposal so that when we are walking in harmony with Him, there’s no limit to what He can do through such tiny little babies as us.

THIRD: It’s easy to forget how helpless little babies are.  It’s not that Sophia doesn’t want to be able to feed and clothe herself.  I quite honestly don’t know if she does or not, but when she’s hungry and wants to eat and she can’t feed herself – she lets the world know.  But she just isn’t able to do that yet.  She is still trying to figure out what those things are that show up near her face every once in a while that have five little worm-like things on each one (her fists).  She can’t do a single thing for herself except cry.  Once again, God looks at us and sees people who are totally helpless, who are dependent on the Father for everything – whether they realize it or not.  Does Sophia know that she’s dependent on mom and dad?  No, she just knows when she needs changing or is hungry or when something hurts.  But the concept of dependence, I’m convinced, hasn’t yet developed in her mind.  Hopefully, someday she’ll come to recognize her dependence on the great and perfect Father.  The Father, meanwhile, sees us thrashing wildly around, helpless to do the things that must be done…and so He has undertaken to do those things for us.

Praise be to God, the Father of us all!

PRAYER: Your gentleness is overwhelming with us, Lord.  Thank you for your tender yet powerful hands that pick us up when we fall.  Thank you that you’ve done for us all the things we cannot do, and for remembering our frailty and smallness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/12/15 – The Sahara Forest

Image by Joel Kimmel

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DayBreaks for 6/12/15: The Sahara Forest

Sometimes it is hard to feel we have much significance. You may be small of stature and dreamed of being in the NBA and your ambitions lie shattered on a gym floor. You may have dreamed of owning your own business or leading a Fortune 500 company – and maybe even did – only to see it goes down in flames.  You may have dreamed of having children only to know the sorrow of not being able to have them.  You may have dreamed of doing great things for the Lord only to find yourself in a tiny, insignificant role in some back-water town in a back-water location.  And now, perhaps you see yourself as so small and insignificant that desperation long ago was lost in favor of something even worse – giving up. And now your life seems pointless…and you feel utterly worthless.

A small fellow, not much over 5 feet tall, applied for a job as a lumberjack in Alaska. The foreman, thinking to discourage him, gave him a large ax, set him before a tree hundreds of feet tall, and yards in diameter, and told him to chop it down. Within minutes the tree had been felled. The amazed foreman asked him where he’d learned to chop trees so powerfully. The little fellow replied, “When I worked in the Sahara forest.” “You mean, the Sahara desert.” “That was after I got there,” said the small lumberjack.

The point of the story is that size is less important than spirit, or intelligence, or courage — a point made when King David was selected at a young age: Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature … for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

A faith that grows has heart, a heart that belongs to God. Faith grows from the inside out. You sprang from the heart of the Almighty God and you still have a place there. When you are tempted to doubt your significance, remember the cross. Remember the Divine One who came to seek you out and then died for you. Remember that He knows the number of hairs on your head and the heartbeats of your lifetime. His knowledge of you is that deep and that intimate and all-encompassing. Would He bother to know those things about you if He didn’t think you were worth it? And to top it off, He loves you with a never-ending love!

PRAYER: Don’t let us think that our value and worth, or even our significance, depends on what we have done or will do, but on Who loves us and in Whose image we are made!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/21/13 – Go Be a Mosquito

DayBreaks for 02/21/13 – Go Be a Mosquito                    

mosquitoFor with God nothing is impossible. – Lk. 1:37 (NLT)

I was fortunate enough to go to Haiti in April, 2010 after the devastating earthquake.  When you have been to Haiti and seen the rubble (both concrete and human) from the shaking of the earth, you start to realize what a huge problem faces that nation and that people.  And while it may seem silly to have to say it, they are people – made in the image of God, beloved by God – people as dearly precious as anyone else on the face of the earth.  Jesus doesn’t love the poorest Haitian any less than He loved Mother Theresa or Billy Graham.  He died for each of them, too.

When you’ve been to India and seen some of the 250 million Dalits who are considered by some in that country to be nothing more than sub-human refuse, fit only to clean and carry human or animal waste by hand in a slop-bucket from the street or latrine, you are first ashamed of your own wealth, then angry at those who perpetrate such injustice, then confounded about what it would take to ever change their plight.

When you hear in the news every day about some mass killing, about the rape of women and children, about people freezing to death on the sidewalk, about the peddlers of obscenity and filth, about those who hold human life to be no more important or significant that than of an ant and who can take life without any conscience at all, when the rich oppress the poor and subjugate them only to make themselves richer, one can begin to doubt that this is a good world created by a good God.  That doubt easily gives birth to numbing resignation.

We resign ourselves quickly to the trash heap of insignificance in the face of such huge mountains of problems.  It is understandable.  After I came home from Haiti, I was asked in a radio interview and by others, “What can be done to solve this?”  My answer was this: “Only the return of the Lord can solve the problem.”  That was what came to mind as my thoughts swept back through the sights I’d seen, the smells I’d smelled, the misery I’d heard.

My answer was partly right, but mostly wrong.  My response was focused on what I could do as a single human being, or what any single human being could do, not on the power at the disposal of the God of heaven and earth.  As a human I was overwhelmed, stymied, resigned that I couldn’t do anything to make a difference.  It’s an easy trap to fall into – a trap prepared by the great enemy himself – Satan.

Still – God has enrolled us to be His agents of change.  To be His hands and feet.  Are we too small to make a difference?  Of course.  Let me ask it again: are we too small to make a difference?  No, absolutely not.  What do I mean?  Consider this African proverb that I think is very insightful: If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito.

Can God solve the problem without us?  Sure.  But we are to be like the mosquito in the room – agitating for change, advocating the cause of widows and orphans, crying out for justice to be done and injustice to come to an end, sharing truth and love wherever we go  – even if we get swatted for it.  We are to give what we can, do what we can – and let God finish the job in His way and in His timing.

Now, go be a mosquito.

PRAYER: Lord, I pray that you keep me from believing in my insignificance so much that I throw my hands up in resignation at the misery and injustice in this world.  Give me the courage to act – and leave the outcomes in Your hands!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/29/11 – It’s the Little Things

DayBreaks for 07/29/11 – It’s the Little Things

Little things are never as insignificant as they seem...

 The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen. – Isaiah 60:22

You may not recall, but once upon a time not so very long ago, the United State’s Space Shuttle program was grounded for weeks due to cracks in a fuel line.  And that’s not all: remember that bit about the tiny rubber o-ring that was just 3/10ths of an inch wide?  Such a tiny component on something the size of the space shuttle and booster rockets used to hurl it into space would seem insignificant – not impressive at all.

And yet 20 years ago two of those rings were placed in the aft field joint of the SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) to stop gases from escaping. No one knows for sure if it was the unusually cold weather on launch morning, a contaminate that was introduced into the zinc putty used on the o-rings, any of a variety of possible compression problems, or some human error that was injected during the manufacturing process, but those two little o-rings failed to do what they were designed to do, and the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded before a horrified watching world, 73 seconds into her flight, killing all seven aboard.

We are so easily impressed with big things because they’re so BIG and it’s hard to miss them.  Their very size and scope see to yell, “Look at me!”  But in truth, it’s the little things that usually make the biggest difference.  A tiny virus that is much smaller than the size of a pin head can kill.  Heart valves no larger than a man’s thumbnail and put one in the grave if they don’t function properly.  A single vote can turn an entire election.  One little word from a loved one can ruin a relationship.  The tiny atom has explosive potential.  Little things have tremendous power. Matthew 13 records the story Jesus told about the smallest thing His audience could identify with–a mustard seed, and then related it to our faith.

If your faith weak, small and fragile right now?  Do the things you do for Him seem to be invisible and insignificant?  Just as one word can ruin a relationship, a single word can bring about ever-lasting life: Jesus.

PRAYER: Help us, Lord, to trust in the value of small things that are put under your control.  Help us not to be enamored of big, flashy and glorious works done in your name, but to be faithful in the small things.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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