DayBreaks for 8/30/18 – An Excellent Question

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DayBreaks for 8/30/18: An Excellent Question

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

I love a good question!  Good questions (and many DayBreaks readers have posed some really good ones to me in the past 11 years!) make one think!  And thinking is good, methinks!

It turns out that Blaise Pascal, a 17th century mathematician, philosopher and theologian, had a pretty good noggin and thought some pretty deep thoughts.  And, he asked some excellent questions. 

I have noticed in my life that no matter how good things are, or how happy I may be, that there always still seems to be something missing.  Even at my most happiest moments, there is an aching inside my heart that tells me that there is an absence that hasn’t been filled.  Why is that? 

That’s one of the things that Pascal wrestled with, too (hey – I’m in good company!), but he came up with an explanation for it that is worth pondering.  In the manner of great thinkers, he posed his answer in the form of a question so that we could wrestle with it on our own.  He said (paraphrasing): Do you miss something you’ve never had?  Here’s an example: have you ever grieved the loss of being able to fly?  No – while you may wish you could fly, it’s not something you’ve ever been able to do, so you can’t grieve the loss of it.  Have you ever grieved losing your third eye, or a third leg or arm?  No.  Why?  Because you’ve never had them to start with. 

But we do grieve a loss that we feel inside, this nameless and relentless longing for something that we no longer have.  And what is it that we are missing?  I think there are probably several things that we did once have, but which we have lost:

FIRST: innocence.  We were born and formed in the womb as innocent beings, but all too soon we lost our innocence and we grieve that loss.  Shame and guilt took the place of that initial innocence – and they stick with us!

SECOND: the full image of God that we were meant to bear was lost when we sinned.  We were meant to be more like Him than we are – surely Adam and Eve knew what this image was like when they walked and talked in the garden with God – being to being, in sinlessness.  We can’t do that in the same way now that they did – at least, not until we depart this world.

THIRD: the awareness of His Presence, heaven and home.  We came from God.  I don’t know where our souls were before we were conceived, or if they were created at that moment, but this I do know: we have a longing for a better place.  Where could that longing have come from if it were not implanted into our awareness by God?  Why would He do such a thing?  As a beacon, it calls us back to our true home and our true Father. 

Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NIV) – I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

PRAYER:  Lord, you have put eternity in our hearts and we don’t comprehend it.  But we have a longing for Home, for our True Father.  May we follow that yearning beacon to Your (and our!) heavenly home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 8/2/18 – For the Love off the World

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DayBreaks for 8/02/18: For the Love of the World

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

Can I tell you something?  In many ways, I love this world.  What do I mean?  I don’t mean that I love the “world” in the sense of fallen behaviors, sin, diseases, disasters and the like.  I am sick and tired of such things. So please understand that when I say that I love the world, I mean that I’m fascinated by the beauty of creation: the starry canopy above, the roaring power of the ocean, the sheer majesty of mountains, the gurgling of the brook, the touch of the wind.  There are so many places I’d like to see: the pyramids (this has been a life-long dream that may or may not ever come true), the African wildlife, the grandeur of Alaska and the Himalayas.  I’d love to watch kangaroos hopping around in Australia, to see the fjords of Sweden and Norway, to watch the cold waters of the North Sea crash against the coastline of Scotland.  I’d love to visit Machu Piccu in Peru and see the part of New Zealand where Lord of the Rings was filmed.  I would like to see the Great Wall – and I’d like to see Antarctica up close and personal.  Will I ever see all those places?  I’m sure I won’t – and in fact, I’m fairly resigned to not seeing very many, if any, of them at all. 

I love the world.  It is my Father’s world, after all.  He made it – and may I say, He did a pretty spectacular job of it. 

Why do we love this world so much?  As was true of so many things, I think C. S. Lewis was right on top of it when he wrote at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia: It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling.  He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: ‘I have come home at last!  This is my real country!  I belong here.  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.  The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.

There is it: …the old Narnia…sometimes looked a little like this.  The very finest things and places in this world enchant us so because they remind us of our real home…the real Narnia, where Aslan/Christ lives and rules and where sin has not touched even the tiniest blade of grass – nor will it ever do so.  My love of the things I’ve listed above is a reassurance to me that I will love what is in the Heavenly Kingdom that is still ahead of me. 

Can’t you hear the siren call in your soul to such places?  Let that pull you forward, out of the muck and mire of this world and lead us to be heavenly-minded children of the Great King.

2 Peter 3:13 (NASB) – But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

PRAYER:  Thank you, mighty God, for giving us a creation filled with such delights!  Thank you for the echoes of eternity you have placed in our hearts that call us home to you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/10/18 – The Longing for Belonging

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DayBreaks for 7/10/18: The Longing for Belonging

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

We all want desperately to belong to something.  It may be a bridge club, a sports team, a lover, a profession – we all want to have a place of belonging, where we are valued for who and what we are, where we find kindred hearts that beat with common interests and shared passions. 

Think about the things you’ve longed to be a part of in your life.  If you go back as far as you can in memory’s hallway,  you may find that you wanted first of all to belong to some club or team.  You wanted to be one of the kids that was liked and invited to the coolest parties or to go out on a date with someone you dared only worship from afar.  Later, you wanted to be admitted to a certain college or university, then to a company or business or organization where your interests could be matched with a need and where you belonged and could contribute.  We all want to be good for something – and wanted because of it. 

Alas, I was never allowed to be a cheerleader or pom-pom girl.  I didn’t have the right qualifications (but then I never wanted to be one either!!!!!!)  Nor was I ever admitted to medical school or the astronaut program.  I wish I had been, for both hold great fascination for me – even to this day.  All of my wishing that I’d belonged in those careers or callings cannot and will not make it so. 

Perhaps the most difficult, and possibly foolish thing, that we might try to do is to create the meaning of our own life instead of simply discovering it.  Here’s what I mean: in his book, Epic, John Eldredge observed: “Something preceded us.  Something good.  We’d much rather be included in something great than to have to create the meaning of our lives.  To know that life, ultimately, doesn’t rest on our shoulders, but invites us up into it.” 
How terrifying would it be to have to create the meaning of your own life?  What if you got it WRONG?  What if you couldn’t construct a satisfactory meaning to your own life? 

Thank God we don’t have to, nor can we, create the meaning for our own lives.  Simply put, God has created the sphere of meaning and purpose – all we have to do is to discover it.  And God has even made that easy, ultimately – His rule and kingdom is the meaning of our lives.  That means more than just saying, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” or “Praise God, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”  Both of those are biblical things to say – and both are true.  But for the kingdom of God to come in my heart is the purpose for which I was created and for which you were fashioned.  We cannot and will not be what we can and are meant to be, if we resist that kingdom and block it from our hearts.  If we resist the kingdom, we resist the King as well.  And we don’t even want to go there!  It is to God that I belong – and wonder of wonders, He belongs to me!  I have a place of belonging that nothing in this world can ever take away – no downturn in the economy, no loss of licensure, no failure on my part to rightly discern the mysteries that surround me, no President or law – nothing.  My belonging has nothing to do with those things – but only with His acceptance of me through Christ Jesus.

PRAYER:  Eternal Father, thank You for giving us meaning by giving us Your love and personal attention.  Thank You for giving us a place where we belong that we can always call home!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 3/30/15 – THE Question

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DayBreaks for 3/30/15: THE Question

Mark 10:51a (NIV) – “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The verse above comes for the story of the healing of the blind man that Jesus encountered along the Jericho road.  Bartimaeus had been doing what he had done for many years – in fact, it was the only thing he could do: sit by the roadside and beg for money.  Jericho was a prosperous area, so Bartimaeus may have done fairly well, especially considering the Jews considered it righteous to give alms to the poor and disabled. 

Still, day after day, month after month, year after year, he would sit by the road and call out as he heard people passing by.  Some would give, others, I’m sure, walked right past him, either all engrossed in their own conversation and thoughts, or pretending not to notice him.  Thinks really haven’t changed much in 2000 years, have they?

Bartimaeus yells out to Jesus who hears him, stops, and instructs the disciples to have the man come to him.  The blind man jumps up, throws his coat aside (which probably was what he used to collect donations) and goes to where he’d heard the voice of Jesus.  And then Jesus asks the question – the question that at the surface seems so silly: this is a blind man after all…what do you think he would like you to do for him, Jesus?

Don’t rush past that question.  It is an important one – a very important one!  Wrestle with it.  Jesus didn’t just ask it of Bartimaeus.  I think He is asking it of each of us or it wouldn’t have been recorded in Scripture.

It is oh, so easy, to rush to give the approved Christian answer, but please don’t.  What is it that your soul really wants and longs for?  What is it that you think would really, truly bring you satisfaction and peace?  You may think it is a certain career.  You may believe it is the “perfect” spouse for you.  It may be that a child that you and your spouse long for.  Those things aren’t bad.  But are they really the thing you want Jesus to do for you?

I would imagine Bartimaeus though the question strange, but if he did, he didn’t let it show.  I suspect that we, like Bartimaeus, don’t really know what it is that we are longing for.  Bartimaeus thought it was his sight.  But what happens after he gets what he asked for shows that he learned a lesson that we may not have grasped: when Bartimaeus answers the question, he says “Rabbi…”  This isn’t the typical word used for a rabbi – a teacher.  This was a special word that was usually only used when addressing God in prayer.  The blind man, you see, is the only one who was seeing with crystal clarity: the man before him was God.  And then, after he received his sight, it says he “followed Jesus along the road.”  The verb tense is that he continued following Jesus.  And in doing so, I believe he found what it was that he really wanted. 

When this sermon was preached at church on Sunday, I asked myself how I would answer the question.  I honestly am not sure what my answer would be, or is.  I know what I’d hope it would be, what I think God wants it to be – but is that really what my heart soul is longing for? 

How about you?  What is it that you really want from Jesus this holy week and beyond?

PRAYER: Jesus, cause us to honestly seek for what You created us to long after and not just to give the trite, pat answer we think we should say!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 07/30/13 – The Danger of the Backward Glance

DayBreaks for 07/30/13 – The Danger of the Backward Glance 

looking-back-over-my-shoulder-a22249969Luke 9:62 (NLT)  But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

The old Sunday school story is a familiar one: Lot and his wife and daughters leave the city of Sodom and get out just in time before judgment falls on the cities in the form of fire and brimstone.  It was a close call…one could almost imagine the smell of smoke permeating their clothes. 

Before leaving, they were warned to not look back.  But as you know, Lot’s wife just couldn’t resist a backwards glance…and was punished for her disobedience.  Was her infraction worse than what Lot would do with his daughters?  No.  So why did she receive such a harsh judgment?  I don’t know…one should never second-guess a Sovereign God and I’m sure He had His reasons that some day He can explain to us (if we’re still interested in such things once we see Him.)

I suspect, however, that it was an object lesson for us that relates to Jesus’ words in Luke 9:62, telling us that having once started on a path, looking back is just plain foolish.

Why is it that we have such a longing to look back?  I’m speaking here of the desire to “reminisce” about our previous life before becoming a Christian – to the “pleasures of sin” as the Good Book calls them.  I have a hunch it’s because there is still a lot of the “old man” left in us.  It’s because we haven’t fully and completely died to the desires of the flesh.  It’s because we’ve not seen or experienced at any level approaching the ultimate level of the joys and delights of heaven that await those who don’t turn back.

Jesus knows we are prone to backward glances.  He also knows that backward glances are deadly because our memories of past sins sing siren songs to us (Satan makes sure of that!)  He knows that the agonies of hell are real and joys of heaven are equally real and that no earthly pleasure can compare to what heaven holds nor earthly pain to that of the pit.

Are you being tempted to cast a backwards glance over your shoulder?  Listen to Jesus and keep looking ahead! 

PRAYER: Our pasts not only haunt us, Lord, but they call to us to tempt us to return to our old ways!  Strengthen us and keep us from turning our heads back with longing!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/21/11 – You Will Call, I Will Answer

DayBreaks for 03/21/11 – You Will Call, I Will Answer

I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again! 14 Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death. 15 You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. – Job 14:13-15

 

Listening for the call..

Job certainly had a way with words – a way formed in the crucible of suffering and wrestling with his understanding of God.  He was plagued by many of the questions that still plague us today.  He wrestled with the “Why?” questions, and he wrestled to find meaning and purpose in all that was happening to him.  And, he wrestled with the concept of life after death.

 

Though Job asks if the dead can live again (he was far from possessing the certainty one can possess in the aftermath of the resurrection), he was a wise man, claiming that if it were possible for the dead to live again, it would give him hope “through all my years of struggle” and even that he could “eagerly await the release of death.”  Some may criticize Job for that statement – but who among us can claim to have the same unwelcome acquaintance with torment that was equal to that of Job?  I shall not criticize him for I am unworthy to challenge a man who lived through what he did.  I don’t have to have suffered as much as he did to understand that feeling that at times leads one to eagerly await the “release of death.”  Who, over the age of 40 or so, hasn’t at times felt that?  I’m not talking about being suicidal, but simply longing for an end to the “years of struggle.”

But it is verse 15 that really is the most shocking.  When God does call us to return to Him, we will answer.  We will not refuse.  We will not be able to refuse the power of the One who spoke stars into the sky and commands the sun to march across the sky.  Why will He call us?  That’s the shocking part: because He years for ME…for YOU…because we are His handiwork.

Perhaps you’ve not given much thought to the yearnings of God.  Why does a God who has everything and who can create anything His heart desires long for us?  Astounding, isn’t it?  Yet God does yearn for you.  Oh, that we should yearn as much for Him!

PRAYER: God, we scarce can believe that You even pay attention to us, let alone yearn for us!  May we hear Your call not just when it comes our time to die, but when it comes time to serve You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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