DayBreaks for 9/24/18 – The Mayor of Waterford

Image result for James Rice tombstone Waterford

DayBreaks for 9/24/18: The Mayor of Waterford      

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:

In his book, Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancey tells of a visit he made in the town of Waterford, Ireland.  He went there to see the famous tomb craving on the stone marking the final resting place of Mayor Rice.  “Considered one of the finest monuments in Ireland, the stone carving portrays the devout Mayor Rice’s decomposing body being gnawed and devoured by toads, vermin, and insects.  The mayor died at a time when the shadow of the Black Death shrouded all of Europe.  ‘Whoever you are that pass by, stand, read, weep,’ says the mayor’s inscription.  ‘I am what you will be and I was what you are.’ 

“The physical world, no matter how attractive, has its limits.” 

It isn’t often that you visit a gravesite to see a picture of the person resting therein being consumed by vermin.  We would rather not think of such things – we’d rather think of the deceased as they looked when they were happy and full of life.  We would rather believe that all is well – even below the surface of the ground where our eyes cannot penetrate the murky darkness.  

But, such is not reality.  “From dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return,” the Lord has decreed.  But that’s not us – it’s just the shroud we wore in life.  Still, the sentiments on the Mayor’s gravestone and the pictures carved there are a good reminder to us: we are mortal.  We are finite.  We are not destined to live in this world forever and ever, hallelujah and amen.  It will, certainly, come to an end, and we shall be like Mayor Rice.

Let us remember that, and remember that the allure of this world is a deadly siren song to divert us from the pathway to eternal life.

PRAYER: Give us perspective, Lord, that we may live wisely, redeeming the time.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 10/04/16 – You Are Mere Men

DayBreaks for 10/04/16 – You Are Mere Men               

Galen is traveling this week…

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

Psalms 82:5-8 (NLT) – But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! And because they are in darkness, the whole world is shaken to the core.  I say, `You are gods and children of the Most High. But in death you are mere men. You will fall as any prince, for all must die.’  Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.

The first part of this Psalm talks a lot about the oppressors and powerful people in this world.  Truly, the world is full of powerful people.   Some are good, some are evil – most are the latter.  Maybe it’s just me in my advancing years, but it seems that the world grows more and more corrupt each day, and that those who are evil draw power to themselves like a magnet draws iron shavings.  Should we be surprised?  Shouldn’t we expect that the father of lies and evil would give power to those who demonstrate to him their willingness to serve him and use it to further his purposes? 

But that makes me ask: how much more is God willing to give His infinite power to those who serve Him?  Yet God does it not through political power or will, but through other means.  Were there been more powerful or influential people in the 20th century than Mother Theresa or Billy Graham?  You see, God’s power isn’t manifest in high office, but in high service. 

The Psalmist then reminds us that all are, at least by virtue of origin, children of the Most High, but in death they are nothing more than any other human – dead human flesh.  As Solomon encouraged us, it is good to remember our destiny – that we will all one day lie in death’s embrace.  The question of the hour is: will we rise from that death to take up a new residence in heaven or in hell?

I’ve seen so much sickness and disease lately, and I’m forced once again to examine my own mortality and that of others.  It needs to give me a greater sense of urgency for eternal souls than I currently have.  For a while after my bypass, I was keenly aware of my mortality.  But now that I’m nearly 15 years into my re-plumbed heart, I’ve lost some of the sense that I’m mortal.  Yet, as I see my breathing after walking up hill become more labored again, I’m reminded that I shall not pass this way again, and that I need to get it right the first time through.  God will judge the earth – and that includes you and me.

PRAYER:  Lord, awaken us to our greatest needs and help us to put trivial pursuits aside for that which will last forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 03/20/12 – Mortal Immortal Thoughts

DayBreaks for 03/18/12 – Mortal Immortal Thoughts

"For this mortal must put on immortality..."

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. 50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:49-53

There are times and places in our lives where we are reminded of our mortality.  While many recoil from such thoughts, the wise man Solomon said we would be wise, too, to ponder such realities, because pondering them helps us not only live better as mortals, but to prepare to live as immortals.

Our physical bodies are weak.  It doesn’t matter if you are the gold medal heavyweight weight lifter in the Olympics or the greatest triathlete in the history of the world, the fact of the matter remains that we have weak bodies – bodies that will get sick, can be broken, bodies which will molder in the grave.  And that is why we recoil at contemplation of our mortality.

How refreshing are Paul’s words: “…we will someday be like the heavenly man.”  These bodies of which we are so fond (and can we be honest – even those who say they hate their bodies fight like banshees to maintain this mortal life.  It may not be our bodies that we love, but this mortal life.

I recently have had reason to reflect on mortalality/immortality and I am glad for it for I am better for having done so.  As I pondered it during the darkness of the bedroom at night, I almost had a vision (not to get too mystical here!) of that moment of translation from mortal to immortal – or rather, of how it happens.  I saw myself (from behind my back) standing and facing toward God.  I was clothed in mortal garb, but it was dirty and rather tattered.  Then, I saw hands reaching out to me holding a dazzlingly white robe.  The hands reached around my neck and put the robe upon my shoulders.  It was brilliant, clean, spotless.  It shone.

No sooner was the robe put upon me than I felt a tremendous sense of unworthiness.  You see, in the “vision” my filthy clothes had not been removed – but they were covered over with the robe that I understood to be Christ’s righteousness.  The filthy clothes I had on underneath were not left on me to cause me sadness, nor to bring me shame or guilt, but just to remind me that I was unworthy of any claim of my own to righteousness, and it was only the righteousness of Christ that ultimately mattered.

I must say that in that vision I had a tremendous sense of peace and inexplicable joy.  It will be a great day when our bodies are transformed and we take on the heavenly body of God’s design for us.  But let us not forget that today is a great day because we already have the robe of His righteousness.

PRAYER: Thank You Father, for covering our sin and shame with the brilliant, dazzling robe of righteousness that belongs to Your beloved Son!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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