DayBreaks for 12/15/15 – Joy, Dogs and God’s Children

 

 

DayBreaks for 12/15/15: Joy, Dogs and God’s Children

SPOKANE, Wash. – “Washington state researchers report discovering what might be the sound of dog laughter. Nancy Hill, director of Spokane County Animal Protection, said she was skeptical when researchers first told her noise would affect other dogs. “I thought: Laughing dogs? A sound that we’re gonna isolate and play in the shelter? I was a real skeptic…until we played the recording here at the shelter.”   Hill said when the scientists played the sound of a dog panting over the loudspeaker, the shelter’s resident dogs just continued barking.  But when they played what they believe is the dog version of laughing, all 15 barking dogs became quiet within about a minute.”

There are many things in our world that are contagious and most of them scare us: bird flu, ebola, AIDS, hepatitis, STD’s, malaria, the plague, terrorism and even the common cold.  Chances are that none of us will ever get those things (except, of course, for colds!), but they are all highly contagious once they break into human contact. 

There is perhaps one thing in the world that is more contagious than disease: joy.  All it takes is for someone to start to smile in a room full of people, and others will soon follow suit.  Laughter, as Reader’s Digest reminds us, is “the best medicine.” 

1 Peter 1:8-9 talks about the kind of joy we have because of our trust in Christ: You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  Your reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Is your life characterized by glorious, inexpressible joy?  What affect do you have on others who are stressed, angry, hateful?  There are people “barking” all around us who need to know about the joy that is in the heart of the children of God, especially during this time of the year.  Chances are that they’ll never see it if it isn’t visible on our faces and if it isn’t heard in our own laughter and words. 

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, may our lives and faces be changed to demonstrate what knowing you does for our disposition.  May our faces reflect your glory, may our presence reflect your joy, and may we overflow with joy each day for the rest of our lives, knowing that our future is safe and sure in your nail-scarred hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 5/14/15 – The Laughter of the Universe

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DayBreaks for 5/14/15: The Laughter of the Universe

Luke 6:21 – Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Job 38:4-7 –“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Laughter.  How I love laughter!  I can think of nothing more melodious to my ears that the sound of my grandchildren laughing!  My heart takes wings when I hear it!  To be unabashedly joyful is something that is hard for adults to do.  Perhaps it is because we’ve seen too much, or done too much, that we have lost that ability.  We’re the worse for it, of that I am sure.

While I don’t agree with his vision of the afterworld entirely, in The Divine Comedy, Dante depicts a gradual ascent from the pit through the purgatorio to the gates of heaven.  Early on in the book, he’d proven himself to be a true master at the expression and description of his journey and the things he saw.  But it is interesting, that as he finally approaches the full Presence of God, words and visual images begin to fail this master composer.  So, he switches to another key entirely for the remainder of his epic.  As he draws ever closer to the highest celestial sphere, he can only describe what he heard as a sound that he’d never heard before.  Pausing, he listens.  “Me sembiana un riso del unimverso,” he wrote.  In English, it means that it sounded “like the laughter of the universe.”

Dr. Harvey Cox, telling this story of Dante in When Jesus Came to Harvard, wrote: “The whole universe laughing?  The solar system, the Milky Way, the hundred billion galaxies that surround our earthly protons, all bent over in convulsions of hilarity?  A laughter that somehow catches up an entire history of sobs and cries of pain?  The last laugh of the God of life after so many deaths and defeats?  Was it too much to hope for?  Maybe so, but why hope for anything less?”

What will heaven be?  No human eye that has ever seen it has found the way to describe it.  Paul said that there wasn’t a language for it – that it would be even unlawful for us to try to describe it.  John, in Revelation, used outlandish signs and symbols.  What will heaven actually be like?  I really don’t know. But, perhaps as much as it will be a place of unending worship of the Eternal God, it will be a place that will shake with laughter – laughter at the joy of family in the very best sense of the word, in the very best of times, knowing that the party will never end!  And the new heavens and the new earth, confined to groaning in travail in the present creation, will be freed – and join in the laughter of all things being set right. 

I long to hear the laughter of the universe set free.  I long to hear the laughter of the redeemed when they take full possession of the Promised Land.  I long to hear the laughter of the Lamb at the wedding feast.  I long to see the Father’s face contorted with joy…over all of His children come home.

PRAYER: God, we long to hear the laughter of Your joy when the new heavens and earth have begun! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/28/12 – Laughing At Fear

DayBreaks for 05/28/12 – Laughing at Fear

Job 39:19-24 – Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paused fiercely, rejoicing in his strength and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, He does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground. He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

You may recognize the passage quoted above if you’ve seen the wonderful movie, Secretariat.  The year was 1973, and it was the final race of the Triple Crown – the Belmont Stakes, the longest and most arduous of the three races.  While some horses are extremely fast and can win at the shorter Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Belmont is known as the graveyard for speed horses because the longer distance exhausts them and they wither and fade.

Secretariat was a descendant of Bold Ruler, who sired horses known for speed, not stamina. Nearly everyone had written Secretariat off in the Belmont except for those who knew him best.  He had already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.  In the process he’d become famous, being featured on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated – something that has never happened before or since.

I could go on and on about this amazing animal, but that’s not the point.  The quote above comes in the movie as Secretariat rounds the final turn.  To start with, you can’t see him, but only hear the voice of Diane Lane (who plays Penny Chennery, the owner of Secretariat) quoting the passage from Job.  Then, from the right edge of the picture, Secretariat emerges around the turn, hooves pounding, breathing fire as he pounds down the track with no other horse even in sight.  He never lets up, finishing the race in a time and winning margin that no horse before or since has even approached, winning by 31 lengths over his closest rival.

Courage.  Strength.  Stamina.  Perseverance.  And joy, oh such joy! – as the race has been well run and the finish line approaches!

Though the quote is about the wonders of God’s creation and the strength and courage of the war horse, does it not describe how we should be as we race through our lives and turn one corner after the next?  When we hear the sound of the trumpet calling us to the fray, let us not stand still, but let us race and run with all that is in us to win the prize for which we have been called!

Philippians 3:13-14 (ASV) –  Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Run!  And run well, laughing at fear, afraid of nothing!

PRAYER: Let us enter the fray with courage and run without fear into your waiting arms!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 is now engaged in a project to provide temporary shelter, food, water and adult care to 37 orphans in Migori, Kenya.  We are trying to raise up an army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us provide care for these children until our partner in the project, BrightPoint for Children, can secure sponsorships for these 37 kids.  If you want to contribute, follow this link and scroll down to find the “Donate” button: Help the 37 Migori Orphans

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