DayBreaks for 8/27/19 – A History of Boredom

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DayBreaks for 08/27/19: A History of Boredom

NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:

I would have loved to be in the garden of Eden to observe the temptation.  God had placed Adam and Eve in the garden with the instructions to tend to the garden and care for it.  I don’t know what Adam and Eve were up to when the temptation took place, but I can’t help but wonder if they were being either lazy or bored – and fell prey to a sinister and subtle enemy as a result. 

There has been a saying for as long as I can remember that says “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”  It is true, I think.  I know that when my mental faculties are fully engaged in some project or task, that I don’t have nearly as much opportunity to get distracted.  As long as I am focused on something that is wholesome and productive, I don’t have time to get into as much trouble.

Marvin Olasky, in World (May 23, 2009) wrote an editorial titled “An Era of Insecurity”.  He started off by quoting Soren Kierkegaard, who in a sardonic vein, commented that the history of the world is the history of boredom, which he called “the root of all evil…the gods were bored, therefore they created human beings.”  Kierkegaard didn’t really believe that, but the point he makes about boredom is very real.  The Bible, in the account of the garden, seems to even suggest the same thing when it notes that God saw that Adam was lonely and that it wasn’t a good thing.  (Stop and think about that one for a moment, too – Adam had fellowship directly with God, and yet he was still lonely.  I’m not sure what that says about Adam or us, but it is an intriguing thing to ponder!)  Adam’s loneliness and boredom led to God creating Eve (although I’m sure God planned to do that all along).  Is it possible that Eve’s boredom in the garden led to her “snake-listening?”  Was boredom a factor in Cain’s murdering his brother, Abel?  Was it partially boredom that led the residents of Babel to start working on a tower?  If, in all those cases, they’d been busy doing what they were supposed to be doing, I doubt that they’d have had the time to get into as much mischief. 

There are some who have said that boredom is America’s greatest danger.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it seems to be kids (and adults) who have nothing to do who get into the most trouble.  Empty hands, empty minds – they contribute more than their fair share to trouble.  If our minds are empty, they will find something to focus on.  Perhaps that’s why Paul suggested to the Philippians the following: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  – Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Consider your own life for a few moments.  Aren’t you more prone to mischief when you’re alone and bored – or even when you are in a group, but bored?  We’ve lost the discipline of meditation – of thinking on things that are worth thinking about – so instead we think about things that don’t deserve a moment’s reflection.  And such is the stuff of temptation.

PRAYER:  Keep us from empty minds and empty hands that would lead us into sin, Lord, and teach us to contemplate the wonder that You are and the beauty and richness of Your Word!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 2/07/18 – Meditative Growling

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DayBreaks for 2/07/18: Meditative Growling

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Psalms 1:1-3 (KJV)Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Isaiah 31:4 (KJV) – For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.

Meditation.  It’s a term that many Christians have come to fear and to run away from.  We associate it with images of saffron-robed figures sitting in a far-away temple, chanting while billows of incense laden clouds rise in the background.  Because New Age and others have made such use of the term “meditation”, we seem to avoid it like the plague as Christians.  And that’s too bad because it is a biblical term describing a spiritual practice in which we should be engaged!

In the verses above, in English there are two words that relate to this topic.  In the first passage, it’s translated “meditate”.  In the Isaiah passage, it’s “roaring”, or as the NIV puts it, “growls”.  In Hebrew, the word in both places is identical: hagah.  Interesting, yes?

What’s the implication?  Our meditation should be like the lion that growls or roars over its prey.  What makes a lion roar over its prey?  I’ll grant you that I don’t know what lions really think, but here’s some thoughts:

FIRST: the lion has captured the prey but is in turn captivated by it.  It is enamored with it – the lion may not have eaten for days, and it has finally got something that can satiate its hunger and give it peace.  The Word of God is that way!

SECOND: the lion is so captivated by his prey that even though others come and try to scare it away by yelling, the lion ignores them.  It stays focused on what is right in front of it, on what it has found, and it refuses to let it go in spite of distractions or hostility.  As believers, this describes how our meditation should be – it is something that we should let no one take from us in spite of how much noise they might make!

THIRD: when the lion is consuming the prey (as we should consume the word in meditation), everything about the lion is caught up in the process.  It uses its tongue, teeth, stomach, intestines, it tastes, savoring what it devours.  In short, as Eugene Peterson put it, the lion is lost in what it is doing.  Not lost in a bad sense, but a good sense.  It should be that way with Christian meditation.  Haven’t you experienced times when the Word transported you away from everyday life and lifted you up higher than you thought you’d ever be?

It’s time that we take back meditation as a Christian discipline – let us growl over the Word and let nothing distract us from that time!!!!

PRAYER: Lord, in our busy lives we seem to have lost the time to meditate and we are the poorer for it.  Let us hunger for time alone with you and not settle for anything less!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/29/15 – With ALL Your Mind

DayBreaks for 10/29/15: With All Your Mind

In the days of the circuit riders a minister was out riding one afternoon and came upon a man out working in his field.

“Fine day isn’t it?” the minister called out.

“It is fine for you”, the man replied, “All you have to do is ride around on that horse thinking about God all day long, while I have to sweat here in this field and then walk home afterward. I don’t think it is right you should have things so easy while I have to work so hard.”

“On the contrary”, the minister answered, “thinking about God is one of the most difficult things you can do. And to prove it, I’ll give you this horse if you can think about God and nothing else for one minute.”

“You’re on,” said the man and immediately he sat down in silence. Thirty seconds later he looked up at the minister, and said, “Does that include the saddle?”

Today you’ll have 1440 minutes at your disposal…or 86,400 seconds. How many of those seconds will you be thinking about God? We are to meditate on Him and His word constantly. We are to love him with ALL our mind…how are you doing?

1 Chronicles 16:11 (MSG) – Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night…

TODAY’S PRAYER: Give us a hunger to know You better! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2015 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/19/15 – Examine Your Day

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DayBreaks for 5/19/15: Examine Your Day

Not being from a Catholic background, I know very little about Ignatian spirituality. I know that it is based on the life and thoughts of Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuits in the 16th Century. I know that Pope Francis is a Jesuit, which made me interested in finding out a little of the philosophy on which he bases his life.

One very important part of Ignatian (Jesuit) spirituality is the idea of finding God in everything.  In the evening, Jesuits are to carefully examine their day to discover where God has revealed Himself.  It is almost always very easy to find God in the beauty of nature, in your loved ones faces, and in especially meaningful interactions and events. But if we truly believe that God is everywhere and works in everything, no matter how mundane or even painful, then we need to look for Him in all the events of our day and life.

One of my daughter-in-law’s very recently lost her father.  She and her mother both wonder if her father had to become weak (he was a very strong man – physically, mentally, and emotionally) so that he could see his need for God. He came to God before he died, but only after suffering and being humbled.

Isn’t that the way we all are sometimes? We think we have it all together and can handle what life throws at us – until we find we can’t and that we have no control over factors and events that overwhelm us.

Are you consciously seeing God in your daily life? Can you see him in the little things and the big things? Can you see him in your weakness and suffering – and in your joy? I think the idea of seeing Him in all of our day might be a very good discipline for us – not just as an exercise to do at the end of each day, but also a very good practice to keep in our minds as we go throughout the day. Perhaps it would help our prayer to be “unceasing” as we come to a greater awareness of our great need for Him and of His constant Presence and involvement.

Tonight, pause…and reflect on how you saw God in your life.  See if it changes your heart and attitude about what happened during the day. 

PRAYER: It is so easy, Lord, to become preoccupied to the point that we fail to recognize your hand at work in all the details of our lives.  Help us to reflect on how you journeyed this day with us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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