DayBreaks for 11/22/19 – The Renewal of All Things

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DayBreaks for 11/22/19: The Renewal of All Things

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

As a general rule, I don’t like it when I have to renew my driver’s license, or my prescriptions, or my eyeglasses, or memberships to various organizations or subscriptions to magazines.  I don’t like renewing things.  I suppose there are several reasons for that: it implies that what I’ve got is older and not as up-to-date, and in fact, may be approaching the end of its useful life, which hints at the passing nature of all that exists in this world.  It is also expensive to have to renew car licenses – among other things!  Renewing stuff – bah humbug!  That, however, is not true of all things.  There are things that I don’t mind renewing at all: renewing my promises of love to my family and friends. 

My truck has a bad power window on the driver side.  I probably need a new window motor – but I’m thinking instead of getting a renewed one instead because it will probably be cheaper to get a refurbished one instead of a new one.  I’m cheap.  I’ll almost always take the cheapest route if I think it is worth the risk.  But there is always that risk – that nagging suspicion that something that has been merely “renewed” is not as good as a brand new one.  Usually that suspicion proves to be true.  It is more costly to buy new things than to renew old ones. 

We are “new creatures” – not just renewed ones – in Christ.  And that was expensive.  God wasn’t content to simply renew us – that wouldn’t be good enough.  We needed to be made new through-and-through, not just renewed and spiffed up on the outside.  We needed new hearts, new spirits, new life deep inside where the real “us” lives.  Our old hearts, hearts of flesh and stone, could never be renewed enough – they needed transplanting entirely – we needed new ones.  And God chooses to create that heart in us bit by bit.  We probably couldn’t stand it if it happened all at once!  We might not survive that experience!

We are, also, being ‘renewed’ day by day: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16, NIV)   We are renewed in the sense that with the dawning of each new day we are reminded that God will provide the strength for that one day, the courage for facing whatever life brings our way, renewed in a sense of purpose and meaning.  This is good renewal.

Here’s another one, from Matthew 19:28, where Jesus was describing his return to earth when he said, I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne.  The word for “renewal of all things” in Greek is palingenesis, used to describe the great conflagration after which history, having been purified, starts over.  This was a radically new concept when Jesus applied it to himself.  He was making the claim that his return would be accompanied by such power that even the material world and universe would be purged entirely of decay and brokenness.  It would be a time, as Timothy Keller put it in The Reason for God, that “All will be healed and all might-have-beens will be.”

At the end of the Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee, the faithful hobbit friend of Frodo and Gandalf, discovers that his friend Gandalf was not dead (as Sam thought he was) but very much alive.  Sam cries out, “I thought you were dead!  But then I thought I was dead myself!  Is everything sad going to come untrue?”  Keller said: “The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes.  Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”

Let us await with patience the renewal of all things – when all will be as glorious as the moment God first spoke things into existence – including us!

PRAYER: We groan as we await the fullness of completely new hearts and the renewal of Your creation, Lord.  Teach us patience, fill us with trust, overflow our hearts with hope for the glorious future that awaits us as part of Your renewed creation!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/04/18 – The Creation Groans

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DayBreaks for 9/04/18: The Creation Groans

From the DayBreaks Archive, September 2008:

About 10 days ago, at 3:11 a.m. in the morning, I was awakened by the sound of a tree splitting and falling somewhere near our property.  We’ve had a tree come down on one of our outbuildings once before – and I must say, it is impressive what a tree can do when it falls on a structure.  And, living on a hillside as we do, there are trees up above our home and others that surround it.  At 3:11 a.m. it was far too dark to know where the tree fell – even though I got up to make sure that it hadn’t fallen on a car or part of the house.  I couldn’t see where the tree was, but when I stuck my head out the patio door, I could smell the scent of dust in the air and knew it couldn’t have been too far away.

But what struck me was the awful, cracking, splitting and sighing of the wood under strain as it gave way and fell, pulled by gravity.  It was as if the tree had fought as long and hard as it could, only to finally give up the struggle.  The groaning made me recall the passage from Romans that describes the “entire creation” groaning and moaning as a result of the fall, longing for relief.  And, after returning to bed, I lay there thinking that perhaps the sound of breaking tree branches is part of this groaning. 

There is a verse that struck me as I thought about the time when the creation will be completely released from its suffering.  It’s found in 2 Peter 3:10 (NIV) and it says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

I’d never pondered before what the cause of the roar would be, but I have a couple of thoughts.  It could be the roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah which will resound throughout the vanishing universe.  Or, it could be a roar let out by the creation itself as it is finally released from the frustration in which it has been held for these innumerable years.  After all, if the stones could have cried out in adoration of the King during his entry into Jerusalem, why not think that it will cry out in relief when it is set free?  Behold, I make ALL THINGS new is the promise.  The Psalmist spoke of the language of the stars that fills creation with speech.  Won’t it be something when we hear them set free to sing their song of praise to the Creator?

PRAYER: We join our hearts and prayers in longing and anticipation of the great moment when all will be set free from the bondage that has come upon the universe because of sin and evil.  May we prepare ourselves to join in the great shout of deliverance that will take place when we lift our eyes to the sky and see our Redeemer!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 07/09/13 – The Caterpillar and the Butterfly

DayBreaks for 07/09/13 – The Caterpillar and the Butterfly

Transformation1

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

When you think of it, the Christian life is neither simple nor easy.  First, we were meant to be much different than we are.  We were meant to reflect His glory as beings fully made in His image without flaw.  But we traded that away for a bite of frut. 

Second, since we have become what our Creator did not intend for us to become, we now are faced with the arduous task of trying to get back to what we should have been all along.  We can’t do it on our own.  The task is too great and the gulf to wide to be bridged by mere human action.  We have to be essentially changed from one thing into another.  In fantasy novels there are sometimes creatures that are called “shape-shifters” that can change from a horse to a bird or a frog.  As fantastic as that idea is, our challenge is infinitely greater: to change from a sin-plagued dead being to a God-reflecting person.

We must, in short, be transformed from the inside out.  What does that mean?  As Darrow L. Miller put it in his book, Discipling Nations, “Transformation means nothing less than radical change, in all spheres of life, as when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.  It is not merely a change in religious sentiments, but a radical re-orientation of a person’s life.”

Think about it: a caterpillar, who has only ever crawled and never dreamed of flying, goes to sleep one day and awakens with wings with which to soar.  That is a radical “re-orientation”!  Ours is even greater, for ours is a transformation not of one form of life to another, but from dead to living!

PRAYER:  Lord, how we long for our transformation to be complete!  We are impatient until we become all you intended for us in the beginning.  Teach us to trust in your timing and wisdom to complete the task at the perfect moment for each of us.  Transform us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 11/09/12 – Dry Bones Hear the Word

From the DayBreaks Archive:  DayBreaks for 11/18/02:

Ezekiel 37:1-6 – “1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’

This is one of my favorite Bible stories.  It has fascinated me since I can first remember.  I can’t imagine the vision that Ezekiel saw, and the power of the moment when the bones began to rattle and move by the power of the Word of God.

Picture it in your own mind, put yourself into Ezekiel’s place.  Can you see the dryness of the bones, the arid emptiness of the valley, blasted by the heat, bleached by the sun…and entire valley full of bones of dead men?  What is God’s message to the bones that were so “very dry”, so very dead?  “Dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!”  What would the result be of the bones hearing the Word of the Lord?  Breath would enter into them, and they will come to life!

There are so many lessons that could be drawn from this passage, but the one for today is simply this: dry bones can hear the Word and be brought back to life.  Many times our lives, our souls, can become much like those dry bones.  We are laid low by life, for all intents and purposes, the bones of our existence lay on the valley floor, scorched, bleached and seemingly very dead.  Life crushes, discourages and burdens us.   Like the bones of long ago in the valley of Ezekiel, our dry bones need to “hear the word of the Lord”…and when we do, just like the dry bones from so long ago, we will “come to life”!  All it takes for dry bones to live is to hear the Word of the Lord!  Oh, and don’t miss it: just in case we didn’t catch it the first time, God repeats it a second time: “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life”.  What’s the point of it?  THEN we will know that He is the Lord, THEN He will be exalted, glorified, THEN we will be moved to live like men and women who know and understand His power to transform dry, dull, dead lives into something that can shout His praises and do war with His enemies.

What was the secret for the dry bones in the days of Ezekiel?  No magic potion, no special incantations, no great works to perform – just “hear the Word of the Lord”.  It is the same today.  Are you dry and dead?  Listen to the prophet of God from so long ago: “Dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!”  That’s all it takes to give you life again! 

PRAYER: Lord, how desperately we need new life, for the Holy Breath of God to enter into our souls and make our bones rattle and move!  Blow on us, Spirit, and revive our lives again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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