DayBreaks for 4/17/19 – Easter and Fatigue

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DayBreaks for 4/17/19: Easter and Fatigue

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Crash and burn.  That’s what most of us do each night.  We crash, memories and thoughts burning about the calamities of the day.  But we’re so tired that we can’t maintain the frantic mental pace for long…and we mercifully find sleep’s embrace – but only for a short time.  Before you know it, it’s morning and the cycle starts all over again. 

What is it that haunts us?  We spend our numbered days running from meeting to meeting, airport to airport, hither, thither and yon doing our jobs or errands.  Often it’s at a job that we hate.  But deep down, I think Max Lucado was right, when he suggested that what really haunts us is the question: “Is it worth it?  When I get what I want, will it be worth the price I paid?”  Good question.  Perhaps the answer has more to do with whether what we want is worthy of so much wanting.

In Six Hours One Friday, Max told a story about a San Antonio lawyer: “Successful, well-paid,  new wife, remodeled house.  But apparently it wasn’t enough.  One day, he came home, took a gun out of his vault, climbed into a sleeping bag, and took his life.  His note to his bride read, ‘It’s not that I don’t love you.  It’s just that I’m tired and I want to rest.’”  Tiredness.  Fatigued to the extreme.  If that doesn’t describe most people I know, I don’t know what does.

It’s that mountain of weariness that makes the Words of Christ so compelling and inviting: Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  So, what was there about Jesus that makes us think we can believe he can do anything about our fatigue?  After all, he is a penniless rabbi – he can’t provide an economic stimulus (i.e, “bailout”) to the nation.  He doesn’t have the ear of the President or the NATO leaders.  He holds no diploma and has never written any best-selling self-help books on how to prioritize and get control of your life.  But that doesn’t matter – he looks weary people straight in the face and says, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The tiredest thing about us isn’t our bodies, as tired as they may be.  It’s our souls that are threadbare and worn.  It was the weariness of the attorney’s soul that led him to pull that trigger – not just bodily tiredness. 

Those who accepted the invitation to “Come unto me” found that when they brought him their weary souls they found something wonderful in return. They found a Lord who loved them.  A Lord who knew all about their everyday challenges and struggles.  A Lord who understood their frustrations with wanting but not finding satisfaction in the getting.  A Lord that they could call Savior, because he did for their souls what no night’s sleep could ever accomplish. 

Yes, we are tired when we go to bed, and often we are reluctant to rise in the morning.  If we take Jesus’ invitation and come to him for rest for our souls, each day and morning is laden with possibilities of a day spent in the presence of the Living God, an adventure of the highest order.  Do you need refreshing?  Do you need rest?  Maybe you’re so tired because you have spent so much energy trying to run and live your own life that you forgot that Jesus wants to live His life through you.  Let him.  You’ll be eager to rise!

Prayer: We are weary and tired, Lord, and we come to You for rest.  Let us lay down the futility of trying to find meaning and purpose in getting and having.  Pour Your Spirit of renewal and power into our lives that we will find the rest that can only be found in You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 7/31/18 – Living an Accidental Life

DayBreaks for 7/31/18: Living an Accidental Life

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

From one day to the next, we form plans only to find that the day seldom goes as we’d planned.  Some things that we set out to do actually get done more or less as we’d planned them, but if your day is like mine, there are more unplanned things that happen in my life every day than I could ever anticipate.  There are interruptions that are totally unexpected – phone calls, drop-in visits, unforeseen actions by others that totally change the trajectory of my day.  It will happen to you today – bet on it.

There are many who live life this way on purpose, I believe – whose lives seem to careen from one accident to another.  And, if you buy the current thinking, I suppose it makes perfect sense.  As Neil Postman said about the scientific view of life and origins, in Science and the Story That We Need to Tell: “In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require.  Its story of our origins and our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory.  To the question, ‘How did it all begin’, science answers, ‘Probably by an accident.’  To the question, ‘How will it all end?’, science answers ‘Probably by an accident.’  And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living.”

Are you content thinking that your existence here on earth is purely accidental?  That when this world is all done with, that it will have all been an accident?  That your children happen to be yours by accident?  That whatever you achieve in life isn’t really an accomplishment, but an accident?  Where is there any hope or meaning in living an accidental life?

God has a much different view.  We are not accidents – God knew us before we were born.  The universe is not an accident, your mind is not an accident, your family and children are not accidents. 

Yes, we make our plans, and our days are full of what seem to be accidental encounters and events.  We can believe that if we choose.  But I, for one, cannot find any meaning in that, nor comfort.  I choose not to life an accidental life – or at the very least, to believe that my life – and yours, are not accidents, but rather generated in the thoughts and purposes of God.

PRAYER:  With each person that we meet and each event that crosses our pathway, may we seek Your purpose and wisdom!  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 7/09/18 – Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Equation

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DayBreaks for 7/09/18: Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Equation

From the DayBreaks Archive, July 2008:

What lies at the heart of all things?  The answer you get will depend on who you ask and what their world view is.  An evolutionist would pretty much have to say that at the heart of all things is blind chance and some principle that came from who knows where, that champions “survival of the fittest.”  Given enough time, the evolutionist claims, all things are possible.  Theoretically, I suppose that’s true – but not nearly enough time has passed since the so-called “big bang” for the diversity and complexity of life as we can observe it on this planet alone to have taken place.  So – don’t let this next statement alarm you – we shouldn’t be here.

Closely akin to an evolutionary point of view is that of a more sophisticated scientist, or an atheist, such as the late Bertrand Russell.  It was Russell’s belief that if we were able to strip away all the mystery we see all around us in the universe so that we could get to the real heart of things, we would find a “mathematical equation.”  2+2=4, or something like that, only probably much more complicated.  Now isn’t that exciting?  Doesn’t that just warm the cockles of your heart to know that behind all this is math?  I hate math! 

I certainly don’t want to, nor do I believe, that this world and universe is all predicated on something that is as cold and impersonal as a mathematical equation.  I can’t accept that.  It isn’t possible to my way of thinking.  For one thing, it fails to explain this: if there is no Creator possessed of personality and intelligence but only cold math, how can human personality have come from something as totally cold and impersonal as that?  We speak of people having personalities (and I know some real characters!), we even talk about our pets having character.  On rare occasions we may even say that a building or some other non-living thing has “character”, but we mean it in a different way than when we’re talking about something alive and breathing.  Has anyone you’ve even known say of a rock in their yard that it has character, i.e., personality?  If they did, you’d gently put them into your car and drive them to a padded room somewhere.  How can personality come from something inanimate and as dead as a mathematical equation any more than personality is passed on to people by touching a rock?!

I prefer to believe that behind all the mystery of the universe is something much more than a mathematical equation.  I prefer to believe that there is a Creator possessed of infinite wisdom, capacity, of PERSONALITY that is not totally comprehensible, and that you and I have personalities because the Creator is a Personality, and He has given something of Himself to us – a spirit that is in His very image.  He made us all “characters” and gave us personalities so we could have a relationship, a personal relationship, with the One who made us.  Now that’s something to be excited about! 

PRAYER:  Thank you, Lord, for the delight of personalities!  Thank you for the rich variation in your creation.  Thank you that you want to have a relationship with us who were made from the dust of the earth – and given personality by the God who made it all!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/20/18 – Worthless Confetti

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DayBreaks for 2/20/18: Worthless Confetti

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

CATANIA, Sicily – Grandparents often share their sage advice with youngsters to teach them the values of life. A five-year-old Sicilian boy took his grandfather’s wisdom a bit too literally when he told him, “money is just worthless trash.”   The very next day the grandson helped his 33-year-old father get rid of his “trash.” The boy found a wad of cash in his dad’s wallet and tore it up into little pieces until it was unusable. Just in case, he threw the remains out of the window. It turns out the wad of money was actually his father’s entire monthly salary. Now it’s just worthless confetti.

Some lessons in life are expensive.  Some are learned through the school of “hard knocks.” 

Although the story doesn’t say how the father reacted to his son’s “help” in getting rid of his “worthless trash” money that was an entire month’s income, I can only imagine.

I’ve recently done two memorial/funeral services and I’ve been struck by the things in life that are important to us.  I’ve been observing the American way of grief and find it fascinating.  The things that we think have value are suddenly and sharply put into clear focus when someone we love dies.  It’s just a pity that the focus doesn’t last longer than it does, for all too soon we forget the lessons learned in the house of mourning and return to our own ways of pursuing things that are at the very least of questionable value.

How much of life is taken up with the pursuit of “worthless trash!”  How much better off we’d be if we spent our time, effort and energy in pursuit of Jesus.  As I stood, even on the day that I write this, beside the open casket of a warrior of God who served Him faithfully for many years, I am forced once again to confront my own values and pursuits and to confess that they need adjusting. 

The day is coming when all that I’ve done or ever will do in this world will be either burned up or left behind to others.  How true is the saying: “Only one life, ‘Twill soon be past.  Only what is done for the Lord will last!”

Don’t waste your life making confetti.  Make a difference that will survive death and your journey to eternity. 

PRAYER: Give us wisdom to recognize the things of real value and the strength to pursue them.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/12/16 – Our Most Innate Need

DayBreaks for 4/12/16 – Our Most Innate Need

Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs? It was the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow in which he attempted to explain what humans need in order to reach full self-actualization. It is often presented in the shape of a pyramid with physical needs at the base of the pyramid, then working upward through safety, love/belonging, esteem and finally, self-actualization (being all you were meant to be) at the pinnacle of the pyramid. The idea is that each of the lower levels must be achieved before one can “grow” to the next level. It is interesting and holds a certain amount of truth to it, I suppose.

But, not everyone agrees with Maslow. Pat Morley suggests something quite different: that the most innate need humans have is to feel/be significant.

It is interesting that there are many who believe that Christianity only makes people feel small and insignificant because of the focus on a huge, great God that is not only omnipresent, but omniscient and omnipotent. And indeed, contemplating a Being like that should rightly make us feel small – until we get to know Him better.

There are three things in Christianity that I think address this most innate need (according to Morley).

FIRST: God created us in His image, not in the image of a stone or caterpillar. Most people believe that humans are of infinitely more value than a cow or sheep or snake. They may not know why, but I believe it is because there is a human intuition and nature that responds to its Creator and knows that it is in some way like our Creator. And that gives us value. And not only were we made in our image, but His love for us made Him take on our likeness to rescue us!

SECOND: people need a sense of destiny – a sense of purpose. If I am to believe what many in the world suggest is the case about humans, life is nothing more than a series of chance encounters – much like atoms that bang against each other but with no greater purpose or calling. If that is true, there is no real meaning in work or relationships – they are just random collisions of mortals doomed to die and rot and turn back into dust again. There is no legacy in such a life.

THIRD: The futility of a life lived in the deep belief that we are nothing more than chemicals and electrons that will just revert to nothing more than elementary particles and our consciousness and identity are no different than that of a snail or slug is truly depressing. In such a world, what purpose can there be in existence? But God says He has a plan for us, for our good and not harm, and that our destiny is to live in an eternal body, in an eternal place, engaging in eternal relationships and nothing but joy! That kind of a future speaks to a huge purpose that God has for us – HUGE.

Remember today: you are not nothing. You are not snail slime. You are made in the image of God, He has a purpose for you and your life, and He has an eternal plan for you! Isn’t that something incredible!!!!!

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for giving our lives meaning – and hope! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/17/14 – The Un-askable Question

DayBreaks for 7/17/14 – The Un-askable Question

Matthew 13:36 (NLT) Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”

For a moment, set aside the above verse and listen to a story about a young anthropologist named Connie who works among aboriginal people in Australia. The community where she lives has a rich tradition of storytelling as do many pre-literate cultures. Everyone gathers at night, a story is told, and then another, and another. It is not only a form of entertainment for them, but also of education, culture and informs them about the unbroken links to their ancestors and the earth.  Connie feels extraordinarily privileged when she is asked to join in this activity.

The first story told one evening was about the animal ancestor of this community and its adventures at the beginning of time. The story overflowed with detail, action, imagery.

At the end of the story, Connie was thoroughly delighted and asked, “May I ask a question? What does it mean?”

All eyes instantly turned to look at her. The elder looks at her gravely and says, “That is the one question you cannot ask.” A long time passed before she was invited to come again to hear stories. She has asked the wrong question.

“What does it mean?” was the wrong question for Connie to ask about the aboriginal myth. It may seem strange that such a question would not be welcome, but must consider, as in today’s text, whether or not it could be the wrong question for us to ask about the story of the sower, or any of the stories told by Jesus. “What does it mean?” is the wrong question if we think that by having an answer, we can somehow get a handle on this story, domesticate it, make it safe. The stories Jesus tells are not subject to our control. He tells these stories so that we can be transformed. He tells these stories, not so that we can ask questions about them, but so that the stories can ask questions of us.

Jesus wants us to learn from him and his teaching. But what one story teaches me may teach you something different.  And one parable may speak a certain lesson to me at one point in my life but in another season of time has much different, and perhaps much greater, meaning.

Instead of wanting spoon-fed answers, we need to be more content to wrestle with the Spirit and let Him instruct us!

PRAYER: How majestic and mysterious is Your Word, how rich beyond our ken! Thank You for Your Spirit that teaches us in marvelous ways! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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