DayBreaks for 10/28/16 – Problems With Eyesight

DayBreaks for 10/287/16 – Problems With Eyesight

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

As I get older, I find that I don’t trust what I see as much as I once did.  It’s time to go visit the eye doctor again – maybe that will help some.  It’s harder to tell distances on the golf course, if I have my glasses off, I have to hold books really close in order to read the words.  Sometimes at night, shadows can fool me into thinking that some animal is out there on the hillside when in reality, nothing is there.  So, I’m learning not to trust my eyesight too much.

Craig Larsen was struck with how our selective eyesight can cause us to miss things we’d rather not see.  As he sat in a park on a summer day, he started watching several robins that were looking for something to eat.  As he really watched them, and then reflected on what he saw, he realized that the innocent-looking birds that to many are so delightful as the heralds of spring, are really vicious killers.  He wrote: “They hop along in the grass, pause cutely, cock their heads, and stare at the ground.  Then they pounce on their unsuspecting prey, savagely pounding their beaks like jackhammers into the soil, sending dirt flying until they seize the unarmed father and mother of many baby worms and mercilessly snip it to pieces.  With a slurp, the robins gobble up their still-writing victims.  But their bloodlust is not satisfied.  They are serial killers.  Without remorse, they hope off to repeat their brutality.”

Perhaps we struggle especially when it comes to spiritual eyesight.  I’ve been preaching through the gospel of John, and one of the things that is front and center many times is the lack of spiritual eyesight on the part of those who should be able to see spiritual truths the most clearly.  But the Pharisees were blind to truths about Jesus that they didn’t want to see, and the “commoners” were blinded to the flaws of the Pharisees. 

We all have spiritual blind spots in our lives.  We probably know what most of them are if we take even a couple of minutes to think about them and pray about them, but we seldom do that because we don’t like to admit our weaknesses and sins.  But we need to observe ourselves carefully.  What are the tendencies that lead us into sin?  What unrepented-of sin do we have in our lives that we don’t even acknowledge and confess to God? 

And another warning: we also tend to look at other people and draw conclusions about them that may be very incorrect.  Just as the robin, when you think about it, is a serial killer of worms even while it wears it’s colorful orange breast feathers, people aren’t always what they seem to be, either.  None of us are fully transparent and open about who we are, what we think, even what we do.  We’ve all been in denial since the garden of Eden, suffering from bad eyesight and poor comprehension. 

PRAYER:  Lord, we so easily are impressed by that which is flashy and showy.  We tend to only look at surface things and to only see in ourselves what we want to see, and to see problems in everyone else.  Search our hearts with Your Spirit and give us the courage to bear the things you reveal to us and to repent of our blindness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 05/22/13 – A Confused Perception

DayBreaks for 05/22/13 – A Confused Perception

31361f6305866fe24fc849ffd5b1debeNOTE: I am on a missions trip/internship to Africa and will be gone until 5/25.  Please pray for God’s work to go forth mightily, for protection for myself and those with whom I will be working, and for my wife in my absence!  Thank you…I cherish your prayers!  You will be receiving DayBreaks as usual (from the archive) until I’ve returned.

I think that there are two crucially important things that God wants us to know: first, He wants us to have the right perception about Himself; secondly, He want us to have a right perception about ourselves.  Consider the effect of wrong perceptions about God: some think of Him as a stingy, mean-spirited kill-joy who sits above the earth deriving joy from making humans suffer.  Others would overemphasize the fact that God is love – and that nothing else matters to Him except that we love others.  Still others would think that His apparent absence from our day to day life is testimony to the fact that He has lost interest in His creation – if He exists at all and isn’t just an concept that mankind dreamed up just to make us feel better.

We can have the wrong perceptions about God, but we can have the wrong perceptions of ourselves, too.  Some look at their lives and feel that they’re doing just great – they have confidence in their own righteousness and feel they’re OK because of a long litany of deeds and acts that they have done.  Others look at their lives and see their own sinfulness – and that’s all that they can see.  Sin after sin, week after week, year after year.  Now, to make it really complicated, Christians can have an honest self-assessment of their sinfulness and of God yet leave the topic of grace out of the picture.

I liked Brennan Manning’s analysis of this situation in The Ragamuffin Gospel: “And Grace calls out; you are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold.  You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken, or potbellied.  Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you.  But you are not just that.  You are accepted.  Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.

Are we sinful?  Yes.  But God knows that – and He still accepts us.  He won’t accept my sin, but then again, He doesn’t have to because He’s removed it!  I do the grace of God a disservice and insult him when I let my own analysis and perception of myself conflict with the fact that I am His child by the grace of His adoption.  (Ephesians 1:4-6 – “4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…”)

God didn’t have to adopt us.  He didn’t have to choose us.  He didn’t have to save us.  He didn’t have to accept us.  But He DID adopt us, He DID choose us, He did save us and He does accept us.  Why?  It was “in accordance with His pleasure and will…”  Rejoice in the knowledge that God has accepted YOU!

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

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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

DayBreaks for 08/21/12 – Our Depth of Field

DayBreaks for 08/21/12 – Our Depth of Field

Mark 8:22-25 – “They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”  24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”  25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Vision is such a precious possession.  Of all the senses that we would most hate to lose, most of us would probably hate to lose our sight.  Imagine never being able to see the face of your loved ones, to see a puppy frolic in the yard or a calf leaping wildly in a field of green grass.

In his work, Understanding and Applying the Bible, Robertson McQuilkin was speaking about our depth of field.  As a frequent airline traveler, I understand where he’s coming from: “The first time I flew over the Blue Ridge mountains I realized a little of the great difference a person’s point of view makes in his perspective.  The heavens indeed are far above the earth, and these familiar mountains that had seemed so great when I had climbed them or driven over them could hardly be distinguished from one another.  I actually asked the pilot, after we had crossed the range, when we would reach it!  Big and little took on entirely different meanings.  I came to wonder if we really see anything in divine perspective – as God sees it and as we will see it one day.  We certainly see nothing in completeness.  Our depth of field is very shallow.  When we focus on one thing, other things seem to get out of focus with reality.  Only God in His infinite scope of vision can keep all reality in focus.  C. S. Lewis put it this way: ‘Five senses; a incurably abstract intellect; a haphazardly selective memory; a set of preconceptions and assumptions so numerous that I can never examine more than a minority of them – never become even conscious of them all.  How much of total reality can such an apparatus let through?’”

In the story of the blind man, the first touch of Jesus yielded only a shadowy vision – something the man couldn’t really recognize clearly.  His depth of vision and clarity of vision were not correct.  It is not clear from verse 23 if Jesus actually touched the man’s eyes the first time, or merely spit on them (the ancients believed spit contained medicinal value – even today, when we hurt our fingers, don’t we often place them in our mouth?) and put his hands on the man somewhere.  But in verse 25 it is clear – it takes the touch of Jesus to open blind eyes, restore sight, and allow us to see things clearly.

I believe we live in a Christian culture that is desperately in need of Jesus to open our eyes anew.  We listen to the arguments of the world as to why abortion is okay.  We listen to the world say that since teens will be teens anyway, that we should give them all free birth control at school.  We listen to many of the world’s lies and don’t seem to be able to see through the smokescreen and see the truth of God behind it that says, “No!  That’s wrong!”  Satan can concoct some great story lines to make even the saints get confused and be led astray (Mark 13:22).

The shallowness of our depth perception should drive us to Jesus for healing for our failing vision.  It should also make us humble before our fellow-man when we realize how poor our vision truly is.

Rev. 3:17-18 – “17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

PRAYER: Jesus, open our eyes to Truth, fill our hearts with courage, correct our flawed perspective, open our ears to Your voice and Your voice alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 02/22/12 – To See, in Some Measure, Like God

DayBreaks for 02/22/12 – To See In Some Measure Like God

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 2/22/2002:

Luke 16:27-28 – “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

Jeremiah 12:3a – “Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you!  Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!

While contemplating his grief process and the death of his late wife (whom he refers to as “H.”) C. S. Lewis wrote: “It is often thought that the dead see us.  And we assume, whether reasonable or not, that if they see us at all they see us more clearly than before.  Does H. now see exactly how much froth or tinsel there was in what she called, and I call, my love?  So be it.  Look your hardest, dear.  I wouldn’t hide if I could.  We didn’t idealize each other.  We tried to keep no secrets.  You knew most of the rotten places in me already.  If you now see anything worse, I can take it.  So can you.  Rebuke, explain, mock, forgive.  For this is one of the miracles of love; it gives – to both, but perhaps especially to the woman – a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”

“To see in some measure, like God.  His love and His knowledge are not distinct from one another, nor from Him.  We could almost say He sees because He loves, and therefore loves although He sees.”  – C. S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)

One of the most shocking things about God is that He sees everything.  And He sees everything because He cares about His creation – in particular in the eternal destiny of mankind.  But the most amazing thing was captured by Lewis in those last six words: “…and therefore loves although He sees.”  Can you believe it?  Do you think that your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend would unconditionally love you even if they knew everything about you?  EVERYTHING?  If they knew every thought you’ve ever had about them, about their weaknesses and failings, about their parents, about their personal habits?  I’m not sure that any of us have the ability to truly love unconditionally, but God does.  And it is that unconditional love that allows Him to love us even though He sees and knows every single detail of our thoughts, actions, deeds, words and intentions.

How badly we need to be like God in this matter – to see the needs and hurts and pains and successes (and yes, even the faults that everyone has) – and yet to love those people although we see!  We need to learn to see, in some measure (however incompletely it may be), like God.  Let us pray for better vision and the love that accompanies His vision!

PRAYER: Father, help us to love, although we see, that we may be imitators of Your love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas) please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners, Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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DayBreaks for 02/01/12 – The Difference Between Here and There

DayBreaks for 02/03/12 – The Difference Between Here and There

There's a huge difference between here and there...

When you and your small group or Sunday school class pray out loud, what do you pray about?  Or, maybe more to the point, what occupies your prayers?  I’m ashamed to admit that many of my prayers are Galen-centric: God, I want this, please do that for me, let me do X, protect my health and family, etc.  See what I mean?  I know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for those things: we are in all things to ask our loving Father.  He is pleased when we do. But…such prayers are, methinks, weak and come from the place of a wrong world-view.

We have brothers and sisters around this planet who are kidnapped by cult members or non-believers and have their tongues cut out so they can’t speak about Jesus any more.  Others have their families livelihoods and very lives threatened by the government where they live.  They can’t meet publically, but must meet clandestinely.  Their prayers, you might think, are even more self-centered than our own, and in some ways, that may be true.  But more often their prayers are not directives we give to God, but simple pleas for strength to endure, to stand strong, for His mercy, for His guidance.

We American Christians live in a fairy-tale faith world where we are still largely protected and sheltered against persecution.  That’s not the case with millions of our fellow believers who leave their own villages where they lived all their lives to be trained to take the gospel to parts of Asia where there are no churches, and of two teenagers who said, “I have told my family that I will likely never come back home.  I am going to hard places to make the gospel known, and it is possible that I will lose my life in the process.  But our families understand.  Our moms and dads have been in prison for their faith, and they have taught us that Jesus is worthy of all our devotion.”

It’s different.  As David Platt, in Radical puts it, “…we’ve missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable.  We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”

Our prayer lives tell us a lot about how much we’ve abandoned ourselves.  When I think of it that way, I’m not doing too well.  How about you?

PRAYER: I’m sorry I’m so self-centered, God.  I don’t like it down deep inside, but I find it hard to break out of my captivity to self.  I need more courage, Lord.  I need to care more about others than about myself.  Help me do that, please!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks has always been free, and I do intend to keep it that way, but if you wish to help Galen raise his support for his work with iam2.org (an organization committed to helping bring food, clean water and protection to children wherever they are in the US or overseas, please mail checks made payable to “iam2 Partners Inc.” to this address: 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, or go to http://www.iam2.org to donate (one time, or recurring).  Thank you!

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DayBreaks for 05/26/11 – Two Ways of Seeing

DayBreaks for 05/26/11 – Two Ways of Seeing

Someone told this story on themselves:

“My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.

‘My wife asks, “Do you know her?”

“Yes,” I sighed, “She’s my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn’t been sober since.”

“My goodness!” says my wife, “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?”

Yes, it’s true: there are at least 2 ways of looking at everything.  We can see life as a blind, unguided wandering from non-existence to light of day to unknowing blackness again – all brought about by curious combinations of chemicals, time and energy, or we can see it as a journey from being designed and formed for a purpose that has a destiny beyond the blackness of death the other way of seeing suggests.

We can see events that happen to us as chance events or as part of an intricate tapestry under the guidance of a loving God.

We can choose our responses to events and circumstances and either shake our fists and rage into the abyss, or give praise to the all-wise Father of Lights.

Which will you choose today?

PRAYER: I want to choose You, Lord God.  I choose to believe in Your existence, Your guidance, Your goodness, even at those times when things seem to suggest the opposite.  Help me to have eyes to see things in the right way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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