DayBreaks for 8/30/16 – Choose Your Song Carefully

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DayBreaks for 8/30/16 – Choose Your Song Carefully

We live in a time where music is readily available everywhere. Couples talk about “our song” that represents their love and life together. Athletes in baseball have “walk-up songs” that plays when they come to bat or go out to pitch. People work out at the gym with earbuds while they listen to workout music. And these songs are chosen because of their appeal to the listener.

In the great classical piece of literature, Homer’s Odyssey, one can find the story of Odysseus, a great hero who was sailing toward his destiny and finds himself confronting a dangerous dilemma. As he is on his way, he must sail through a very narrow passage. It isn’t the passage itself, that is the problem, it is the sirens that are the inhabitants of the place. They were said to be beautiful, mythical creatures – part woman and part bird – that lured sailors with their enchanting music and lovely voices long enough that their ships would strike the rocky cost of the land. Later writers said that they would then eat the shipwrecked sailors who gave in to the siren song that lured them to their death.

Odysseus was warned of this peril, and not wanting to shipwreck himself or his crew, settled on a seemingly shrewd stratagem: he instructed his men to fill their ears with beeswax so that they could not hear the song. He, himself, would not do so – he wanted to hear this strange, beautiful song and so he asked his men to bind him steadfast to the mast of the ship so that he could not steer the ship into danger, but he could hear the sirens because he longed to hear the siren song.

The other character who encounters the sirens in ancient literature is Jason. He, too, must sail past the location of the sirens. But rather than filling his men’s ears with beeswax and being tied to the mast, he is advised to bring Orpheus, the greatest musician, with him aboard ship so that as they pass the island of the sirens, Orpheus could play his music that would be so wonderful and louder than the song of the sirens that Jason and his crew could safely pass – and they do. Orpheus’ music was so overwhelming that they didn’t even hear the siren song that would lure them into death.

What’s the point of these stories? To me, they represent some choices that we must make in life as believers. We say that we belong to Jesus, yet sometimes we want to hear the siren song and are so captivated by it that it can destroy us. We want to hear it – to get as close as we can to the danger without actually giving in. In the case of Jason, he didn’t want to hear the siren song – he believed that something more beautiful and haunting could and would overpower the siren song and drown it out.

We can listen to many different songs: the songs of power, position, passion, money, immorality, infidelity or one of many others – and they can drive us mad. We think we can survive unscathed by “tying” ourselves while letting the songs of these competing things enter our ears and hearts and minds.

Or, we can replace these other songs with the song of Jesus that is far superior to anything the world would use to lure us away from the safety of the Father’s presence.

Which will we choose? What “songs” have you been listening to?

PRAYER: God, I don’t know why it is that we so often try to get as close as possible to giving in to the siren songs of the world when we have You and Your song of love for us. Help us listen constantly to the music that is You and the son of love and grace You sing to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

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DayBreaks for 4/7/16 – Take it and Play It

DayBreaks for 4/07/16 – Take It and Play It

You may not know the name, but Fritz Kreisler was one of the world’s greatest violinists. His first violin was made from a board, strings and a cigar box. When he was four, he was given a child’s violin and he proceeded to stun those around him by playing the Austrian national anthem in perfect pitch and rhythm. His talent was a God-given gift – he rarely practiced after the age of twelve.

Kreisler was, by all accounts, a very generous man, and though he made a very good living, he gave a lot of money away to worthy causes, leaving himself with a much less comfortable living than he could have had.

Being a maestro on the violin, he knew a good instrument when he saw one. One day he was with a dealer of fine instruments when he was shown a truly extraordinary violin that Kreisler desperately wanted. Not having the funds with him, he went home and in some period of time managed to put together the funds necessary to buy the instrument.

He hurried back to the dealer with great anticipation and excitement, but when he arrived, he was dismayed to learn the violin had already been sold to a collector. Not willing to let the violin go, Kreisler got the name of the collector from the dealer and went to visit him in an attempt to convince him to sell Kreisler the instrument.

Much to his dismay, the collector refused, saying it was the prize possession of his collection. After multiple attempts to talk the collector into selling, Kreisler saw the resolve in the man and said that if the man wouldn’t sell the violin, would he be willing to let Kreisler play it once before he left. The collector agreed and Kreisler took the violin and began to play.

The music that flowed from the instrument and the musician was unlike anything the collector had ever heard before, and deeply touched, he said to Kreisler, “I have no right to keep it to myself – you take it and play it for the world.”

Do you see how this relates to our life as believers? Jesus has something that is precious to him…so precious that he died for it…and he has put it in our hands and said, “You have no right to keep this to yourself.  Go, give it to the world.” What is it that he has given us? It is the most beautiful music the world will ever hear – it is the love song of the Creator who became flesh, died for us and rose for us – so that anyone who believes can have eternal life.

It is a love song too good and too beautiful to keep to ourselves. Will we play the love song for the world?

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, let us carry the love song you died to write to the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 5/01/14 – The Music of Heaven

DayBreaks for 5/01/14 – The Music of Heaven

Psalm 139:13 (NLT) – You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Dr. Kathleen Wermke at the University of Wurzburg in Germany, published her results from a project in which she compared the cries of German newborns with those of French newborns. (Where do people get such ideas?)  What she discovered was shocking: babies cry with an accent.  In short, the intonation pattern of the newborns mimicked the “melody” of the mother, i.e, the speech patterns characteristic of the mother’s native language.  The French tend to have a rise at the end of a sentence while the opposite is true of speakers of German.  The womb-bound baby hears that intonation and copies it at birth.

In effect, the baby has been eavesdropping on its mom for nine months, putting its ears to work, listening to the train of her sorrow and happiness coming for miles.  The child emerges from the mother’s body with her voice ringing in its ears, or as Mark Buchanan put it: “…her music echoing in its own bones.  Like an opera singer’s understudy, the child is formed in the presence of a mighty voice.  Sprawling naked into daylight, its first instinct is to sing its mother’s song.

“This got me wondering.  If earth is heaven’s womb, if time is eternity’s belly, what song do we overhear from heaven that we try to sing on earth?  We may sing it poorly, squalling and squawking, but we sing it instinctually.  It’s in our bones.  So what’s the music of heaven?  What’s the voice of the Father that every human’s heard, at least in muffled form, and every human can copy, at least in mangled form?

“Love.  Love is the music of heaven.  When we love, no matter how awkwardly, we hum an anthem sung perfectly, all day, every day, in heaven.  Our humming might be nearly tuneless.  It might be fragmentary, staccato, uneven.  It might be croaky, jangly, warbly.  It may be hard for others to identify the melody.  It might be hard on the ears.  But there it is, the Father’s voice thinly echoed in our own.”Your Church is Too Safe

I know that far too often I don’t sing the music of heaven very well.  But there it is – buried somewhere in every human heart, the ability to love.  Where does it come from?  Surely, such a thing is not the chance result of electricity and chemistry, the end result of eons of mixing in a chemical cesspool.  No, I suspect that it is in our hearts precisely for the reason that Buchanan suggests: we’ve heard the song from the moment of conception (perhaps even before) – it has been placed into the very warp and woof of our existence, by a Father who sung the song over us as He formed us, hidden in our mother’s womb!

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for singing Your song over us and placing its music in our very own hearts! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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