DayBreaks for 2/26/19: Getting Comfortable With the Mystery

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DayBreaks for 2/26/2019: Getting Comfortable With the Mystery

From the DayBreaks archive February 2009:

We, my friends, are dwarfed by God.  Not just in terms of power and intellect, but in every way possible.  We are as a mote of dust drifting through an endless universe compared to God.  I don’t understand Him.  I cannot.  Yet He understands me perfectly well.  I cannot put my arms around Him, yet He holds me in the palm of His hand.  I dare not tell Him what to do, yet He has every right to direct my pathway.  I can’t contain Him or put Him in a box, and He has the ability to make me disappear totally, forever. 

Why did God send Jesus?  Why did He create a universe where every self-conscious creature that would ever live would be fallen creatures?  Why did He not choose another way to save the fallen creatures?  Why does it matter so much to Him what creatures as small and insignificant as we are do?  Why did He need to create free will?  Why could God not be content with beings who would obey Him without question and save the universe all this pain?  Why do little children die?  Why do the wicked prosper?  Why does God test our faith when He already knows what we’ll do in every second of our existence?  Why do we have to die instead of just be carried off into the hereafter?  Why is there a Trinity of Three-In-One?  Why couldn’t Jesus, if He was necessary at all, not have just died a righteous and perfectly holy man – in his sleep instead of on a rough cross?  Why is faith so important to God?  Why didn’t God come every 20 years or so and make Himself visible so more would believe?  Ah, the mysteries are great…

The late Dr. Clarence Edward Macartney, while a theological student, visited the home of a skeptic. The skeptic’s argument was as follows: “If a man tells me that he has a horse which can trot a mile in three minutes, I tell him to bring out the horse and prove it. If you tell me that there is a God, I ask you to produce God and prove His existence.” Macartney replied, “No Christian claims to know God, nor would want to know Him in that way. By that kind of searching we cannot know the Almighty to perfection. The Christian believer does not say, ‘I know God,’ or ‘I see God,’ or ‘I think there is a God,’ but ‘I believe in God.'”

We must face the reality that we will not now, not likely ever, solve all the mysteries.  Even the simplest of the mysteries can only be solved by God if He chooses to reveal the answers.  Many people struggle with uncertainty and with the apparent dilemmas of faith.  Is the God of the NT the same as the God of the OT, and if so, why does the God of the NT seem so tame by comparison?

“The great must always be a mystery to the little,” continues Parker. “The arch must always be a mystery to the column; God must always be a mystery to His creatures. If I could understand all, I should be all. Only the whole can comprehend the whole. Only God can understand God.”

Hear G. K. Chesterton on this subject: “Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious.”  Phillip Yancey observed, “Most heresies come from espousing one opposite at the extreme of the other.”  God is all in all.  We can’t subdivide Him nor put Him under an electron microscope to dissect Him.  We must accept all that He is, even though we don’t know what all that means.

Prayer: I must confess, Lord, that sometimes mystery makes me uncomfortable and I long for more certainty and clarity.  I don’t know why faith is so important to You, why having creatures trust in You matters so much to You.  I don’t understand Your actions and I often can’t see the benefit of Your ways.  Teach me, though, to trust in what I cannot see or comprehend completely.  Help me to live peacefully with Your great mystery!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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

 

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DayBreaks for 7/26/18 – What a Mystery!

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DayBreaks for 7/26/18: What a Mystery!

NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to email.

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Immanuel = God with us.

John 14:16 (KJV) – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…

In Revelation 4:8, we have a description of the worship of the angels: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.

In his excellent little book, God in the Flesh, Don Everts has focused on the “black” letters of the gospel story – not the red letters that were the words of Jesus, but the black letters that form the screenplay and commentary that captures the details that took place around Jesus, and the things that others said about him.  At one point, in a chapter on worship and how people reacted to Jesus (those of clean hearts universally worshiped him!), Everts asks a very serious and probing question: “Is it really Yahweh who lives inside me?  I mean, really.  The Spirit of Jesus that has made a home within me – is it the real presence of fiery, jealous, powerful, divine Yahweh?  Or is it a cute, lesser, diminished part of the Trinity?”

At one level, theologically and intellectually we have a very quick answer to that question: yes, it is Yahweh who lives within us.  And yet…and yet…have we really grasped that the One who is worshipped by untold myriads of angels and the four living creatures day and night, who sing without ceasing to the worship and glory and praise of Yahweh – have we grasped that this is the One who lives in me?  In you?  How can it possibly be????  “That’s a mystery,” wrote Everts.

What difference would there be in how we live if we were able to really grasp Who it is that lives inside us?  What if we really did die to ourselves so that Jesus could live HIS life through us?

PRAYER:  We can scarcely believe your promises to us, to never leave us, to abide in us.  These are great promises and we feel and act weak and defeated at the first hint of temptation.  May we become possessed by the knowledge of your life within us, empowering us, leading and directing us, and giving us victory over sin.  May we get ourselves out of the way by dying to ourselves so that You may live Your perfect life through us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/24/15 – Lessons from Bethlehem

DayBreaks for 12/24/15: Lessons from Bethlehem

From Bishop Robert Barron, Word On Fire blog, 12/23/15:

“The prophet Micah says that Bethlehem-Ephratha is “too small to be among the clans of Judah” but “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2). Micah is himself one of the minor prophets and so it is only appropriate that he speaks of a small city, little Bethlehem, from which the great Messiah would come. 

“How common this is in the Bible: the reversal of expectations, the little giving rise to the great, wonderful things coming where you least expect them. The stuttering Moses speaks up to mighty Pharaoh, the slaves face down the Egyptian army, tiny David kills the giant Goliath.

“And this last connection is the important one here. Bethlehem is the city of David, the city of the shepherd King. When Samuel came to that town to find the new king, he went through all of Jesse’s splendid sons and then was told there was one more, little David out in the fields. And it was this overlooked one whom God anointed.

“This just seems to be God’s way, and that’s why the Messiah would be born in that tiny town, in an out of the way cave under the earth, because there was no room for him in the inn. Yet, through God’s amazing grace, great things can happen, including the birth of the Messiah.

“Looking at the small, insignificant town of Bethlehem teaches us three great messages: greatness comes from smallness, never give up hope, and trust always. With those three convictions in our hearts, we’re ready for Christmas.”

Galen’s Thoughts: it certainly does seem that God delights in little things and in exalting them. That’s one of the things that is the most amazing about the story of the Incarnation – that God in glory looked down through the incredible vastness of the universe to a planet that is no more than a dust speck in the great cosmos He’d created, and He saw tiny, puny, weak humans – and He loved us enough to go to incredible lengths to save such small things. But I guess that’s the way it is with great love – it doesn’t have to fasten itself onto something big and grandiose, but is drawn to the object of its love for the simple reason that he just can’t help himself but love us! In some ways, love is very irrational. And that just makes the mystery of it even greater!

TODAY’S PRAYER: God, you are a great mystery to us and your love for us is even more difficult to comprehend. Thank you that you didn’t find us too small to attract not just your attention, but to capture your heart! In His name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/08/14 – The Mystery of Sovereignty

DayBreaks for 7/08/14 – The Mystery of Sovereignty

Exodus 33:19 (NIV) And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Romans 9:20-21 (NLT) No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?

Lord, I do not understand.  Please understand that I’m not complaining here – far from it! – just humbled and mystified.  I am so grateful that You, the Sovereign God of the Universe, chose to spare the life of our son over the weekend.  But I know that there are others who lost loved ones over the weekend…and You didn’t spare them or extend grace and mercy to them (as we perceive it.)  I try wrestle with the “why’s” of it but all I can grasp is air. 

I know, deep inside, that our son was not one bit more deserving of Your mercy and grace than anyone else in the world.  Our son is a sinner – saved by grace – but a sinner nonetheless.  I also know this: that You love our son, but You don’t love him any more than you love everyone else in this world.  It wasn’t because of a special love toward him that You saved him and “took” others. Yet You spared him.  Oh, grateful heart toward our Almighty God!

For those You didn’t spare I have no explanation nor words that can salve their pain.  It is what it is: a mystery woven by Your infinite wisdom and plan, unintelligible to mortal creatures such as us.  Why did You spare a son of my flesh yet take home a young mother of two little girls, or the baby that was sleeping peacefully in her crib only to be cold and still in the morning?

It doesn’t seem fair to us and we are prone to complain and rail at You when You choose not to spare a life or cure a disease or refuse to send a child to those who long to cradle a little one.  Yet, who are we, mere humans, to argue with You?  Why should we expect to understand Your thoughts or Your ways when we are told that we cannot? 

It is hard being in the dark on such matters, Lord.  It forces us into a position of total and utter reliance on You, to trust that You do know what You are doing and that You have perfect reasons for every decision You render.  Help us to truly believe fully in Your goodness and Your plan that You tell us is for good and not for harm.

Thank You for reminders that we are but clay and that our bodies shall all return to the dust from which we came and our souls shall stand before You to give answer for the things we have done in this world.  Thank You for wake-up calls and reminders that You graciously shower on our way to remind us of our frailty and dependence on You for every single heartbeat.  Were it not for such things we might delude ourselves into thinking we are already immortal and invincible – and that is a very powerful and deadly delusion!

Thank You, for this undeserved measure of Your mercy, grace and love.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the fact that in You is light and there is no darkness at all, even when it seems contrary to our understanding! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 12/19/14 – Very God of Very God

DayBreaks for 12/19/14 – Very God of Very God

From the DayBreaks archive, December 2004:

Do you love mysteries?  Maybe you like to read mystery books, or like mystery and suspense movies.  But how well do you like to read a mystery that has no conclusion, that doesn’t resolve itself in the end?  After all, isn’t find the solution to the mystery part of the fun?  It would be frustrating to not be able to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Perhaps that is why so many people get frustrated with Christianity.  It is a mystery – there is a lot of mystery to the Christian faith.  In Immanuel – Reflections on the Life of Christ, Michael Card suggests: “The basic truths of Christianity are mysteries, not understandable, not ‘our ways’: the virgin birth of Jesus, the Trinity, grace, prayer, the union of the believer with Christ, the Cross, and perhaps most mysterious, and key to them all, the incarnation.

“A simple man, a carpenter from obscure Galilee, was not merely the representative of, but was God incarnate and man deified, ‘very God of very God’ as the creed says.  The Infinite contained in the ridiculously finite.  Is anyone willing to raise his/her hand and say, ‘I understand’?  So, what is our condition, then?  Are we irrationalists, left to stumble about, blind, in the dark?  Is that the purpose of mystery?  We are not irrationalists, we are believers.  Only by believing do we “know”.  We do not claim to fully understand the mystery.  Not in the least, or else it would be no mystery.  It is because of the mystery, and not in spite of it, that we know.  The mystery calls forth faith, giving us the ability to ‘know’ with the heart as well as the mind.”

Some people can’t deal with mysteries – things which they cannot comprehend.  Christmas, i.e., the Incarnation, is a huge mystery.  We can ask the how and why questions until we are blue in the face and we would only begin to scratch the surface of the story.  But that’s OK.  I love a good mystery!

1 Tim. 3:16 (NLT) – Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ appeared in the flesh and was shown to be righteous by the Spirit.  He was seen by angels and was announced to the nations.  He was believed on in the world and was taken up into heaven.

Celebrate the wondrous mystery of the faith!

PRAYER: Teach us to think about sin as You do – and know that no sin is good – but to be especially aware of our own tendency to spiritual sins! In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations! Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 02/08/13 – Mysterium Tremendum

DayBreaks for 02/08/13 – Mysterium Tremendum

NOTE: Galen is out of the country this week.   From the DayBreaks archive, 2002:

christ

In Into the Depths of God, Calvin Miller writes about centering and how to avoid sterile fascinations with God.  What is centering?  It could be described several ways.  Let’s try a few of Miller’s explanations: “Centering is the act of focus in our relationship with God…(it) is a serious call – an ardent methodology – for moving into a profound relationship.  It is the serious pursuit of God.”  Again, “Centering is the merger of two “selves” – ours and his.  Centering is union with Christ.  It is not a union that eradicates either self but one that heightens both…Centering is the abandoning of the grasping aspects of self-hood.

At the depths of centered praying lies a hush.  Gabby godliness is crushed to silence by majesty.  In the majesty of final things there was silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev. 8:1).  One of the theologians used the term mysterium tremendum (Latin for ‘overwhelming mystery’).  In the Holy of Holies we are forbidden trivial speech because the air is too heavy with unfathomable glory.”

“Remember how Peter sinned by getting chatty at the transfiguration?  The hush of things exalted usually leads the naïve to fill the silence with words.  It is because they live such surface lives that deeper things leave them nervous and talkative.

What is the power of this mystery?  Proximity to God. What is the final step of proximity?  The center.  Drawing near to the epicenter of power will cause the prudent to shut up.  Only the foolish and shallow will speak.  This is good.  Why?  Because listening is a part of centering.  God’s omniscience informs us that we all know too little and talk too much…Centering must not be conceived of as a glazed trance.  At the center we are likely to be touched with the all but unbearable voltage of God’s presence.”

I believe it is all too true – our lives don’t have enough of the mysterium tremendum.  We need to learn how to truly focus on God, how to be united with Him in our thoughts, desires and loves.  How to lose ourselves completely and fully in the wonder and greatness of God is not something that just comes naturally – it takes work and practice to learn to center all that we are in God and on Him.  But it is worth the effort!

Nahum 1:3-5 – “3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.  His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.  4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry.  Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.  5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away.  The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.

Hebrews 10:22 – “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER:  Take away all that might keep us from drawing near to You in simple, trusting faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen has started work as a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org).  He needs to raise his own support.  DayBreaks has always been free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation to Medical Ambassadors on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made online at http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Go to that link and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section and look for the link for Galen Dalrymple.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his account.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient in many ways for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!

DayBreaks for 08/14/12 – An Immense Sense of Mystery

DayBreaks for 08/14/12 – An Immense Sense of Mystery

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 – “51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

My father had been moved to another ward.  In later years I would come to know so well this quietly programmed progression of receding mortality as I stood with other families in faraway hospitals.  Now each stage was mystifying, its details vivid and arresting like a play never before seen.  My father was on his side in the bed, his body curled as if in deep sleep, his breathing labored, the sound harsh and loud in the silent room.  The hours slipped by, measuring the gradual occupation of the room by a terrible intruder.  A sudden spasm of obvious distress and struggle brought an oxygen unit.  The quiet hiss became the background to the whispered attempts at conversation between my mother and myself.

“The door opened and the canon came in.  In physical stature he was a small man.  He came to us as a giant of assurance, care, dependability.  We knew he could not vanquish this greatest of enemies in our family life.  All we knew was that his presence brought something totally beyond definition but of infinite value.  He was still with us when there was a sudden change in the rhythm of my father’s breathing, a succession of quiet gasps, each one weaker than the last, then silence.  Only the sound of the oxygen tank broke the silence, its sibilant consistency mocking the poor lurchings of our human breath giving itself to tears.

“For a moment I was conscious of an immense sense of mystery.  With part of my mind I knew that my father had died.  Yet in those first moments disbelief challenged the knowledge.  I was aware of a new quality of stillness.  I had never seen sleep like that.  I became aware of the canon saying the prayers of commendation as he stood beside us.  I was conscious of a sudden image of a vast vaulted universe, splendid with planetary systems and wheeling galaxies, into which my father had stepped and among which he began to journey.  As we stood together in the timeless way of families experiencing this dark visitation, we were released from immobility by the canon’s gentle invitation to come home and rest.  There was a last silent kiss to my father’s still face and then we went, the small figure of the canon shepherding us forward, quietly playing the priestly role of father.”  – A Doorway in Time, Herbert O’Driscoll

Isaiah 60:19-20 – “19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.  20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.

PRAYER: Father, we are both wary, yet intrigued, by death and what the experience will be like.  Help us, in the presence of the final enemy, to sleep peacefully in Your embrace and awaken to see Your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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