DayBreaks for 11/13/19 – Incarnational Revelation

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DayBreaks for 11/13/19: Incarnational Revelation

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

There has never been a better “asker” of questions than Jesus!  And there has never been a more important question than when he asked, But what about you?  Who do you say I am? Matthew 16:15 (NIV)  Upon the answer to that question hangs our eternity!

Jesus said He came so that we might see the Father, or to put it in another way, to know what God is like.  In The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason posed a series of questions that are related to the incarnational experiences of Jesus that reveal to us who He is.

“If God alone ‘treads on the waves of the sea’ (Job 9:8), what must we conclude from the fact that Jesus did the same?

“If God is ‘the Maker of the Bear and Orion and Pleiades’ (vs. 9), what could be more fitting than that a brand-new star should be created to announce the birth of His Son?

“If God ‘performs wonders that cannot be fathomed’ and ‘miracles that cannot be numbered’ (vs. 10), then of course this description also fits the ministry of Jesus.

“If it is true of God that ‘when he goes by, I cannot perceive him’ (vs. 11), then it follows that Jesus too would have the power to make himself invisible in a crowd (as He does, for example, in John 8:59).

“If no one can say to God, ‘What are you doing?’ (vs. 12), then in the life of Jesus, too, it would come to pass that ‘no one dared ask him any more questions.’  (Mk. 12:34)

“If ‘God does not restrain his anger’ (vs. 13), then Jesus too might be expected to show anger.

“Finally, if ‘the cohorts of Rahab [the powers of darkness] cower at [God’s] feet’ (vs. 13b), then for Jesus, too, it would happen that ‘whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out.’  (Mk. 3:11)

“What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrait of the earthly Jesus!  Or was it the other way around?  That is, did Jesus Christ, having been born into this world, set out deliberately to spend His life painting a visible and tangible portrait of His unseen Father as described in the Old Testament?”

Jesus claimed to be God.  He did things only God can do.  He deserves not just our love, but our obedience as Almighty God.

PRAYER: For the awesome mystery of God made flesh and living among us, we give You our praise!  May we obey Jesus from the heart with the full understanding that He is God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Daybreaks for 3/12/19 – When the Light Dawns

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DayBreaks for 3/12/19: When the Light Dawns

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

You know how you feel when you re-read a certain passage of Scripture and discover in it a thought that you’d never seen before?  That happened to me as I prepared recently for a sermon on God’s love.  I’ve been preaching a series on the nature of God – trying to understand and know Him better so that we can rest confidently and with peace in Who He Is and what we are to him.  Unless we can rest in assurance that God is every bit as good as His word and unlike people who flip-flop daily, we will never be willing to risk much for a God who is flaky and unreliable.  Why should we?  He might fail us when we need Him most, or He may decide to change the rules of the “game” of life capriciously and viciously.  He is, after all, under no obligation to tell us if He did such a thing.  So, if He’s not trustworthy in Who He Is and what He does, we’re in a world of trouble if we risk anything on or for him.  When I came to the section on dealing with God’s love, I read 1 John 4:19 again (for probably the hundredth time or more) but saw something new in it this time.  You’ve gotta love how the Spirit works!!!

Where does love come from?  1 John 4:19 tells us: We love because He first loved us.  Whenever I’d read this verse previously, I automatically assumed that it was taking about us loving God in response because He loved us first – sort of a cause and effect thing like “Every action demands and equal and opposite reaction.”  But let me encourage us to look more closely at what this verse says.  It doesn’t say that we love God because it’s a response to His love towards us.  It simply says, “We love because He first loved us.”  Was John perhaps telling us something about from where love springs?  Why do we love AT ALL?  Because He loved us first – in the beginning – at the very start of our existence.  Was John trying to tell us that God put the hunger and our need for love within us along with the very image of God Himself?  Maybe you’ve heard the arguments for God’s existence that run along these lines: we have no way to explain the idea of good and evil without there being a Source of good in the universe and a source(s) of evil.  But, because there is good – there must be a God.  I’ll grant you that it’s not the strongest argument for God’s existence, but it is a valid one, I think. 

In a similar vein, I think John was trying to tell us that His love is what awakens love in us at all – otherwise, we’d know nothing of love, period.  Love wouldn’t exist at all in the absence of God.  The lovesickness that often pervades our hearts is there because we are haunted by the memory of God’s love that was put into our souls when He created us.  This love isn’t just mushy sentiment.  It is the kind of love the Father to the prodigal son showed when he hitched up his robes, cast aside his own dignity and ran to meet the returning prodigal. 

Have you ever considered yourself in the story of the prodigal?  Who is it that runs to greet you?  Is it not Christ, risen, yet bearing the scars in his hands and feet and on his back from the scourging and his head from the crown of thorns?  Is it not this Christ who has hitched up his robes and comes running to meet you while you are yet far away?

I love it when the Light of the Word dawns on us!

Prayer:  The mysteries and depth of Your Word is astounding!  We rejoice in the truths You show us about the reality of the world in which we live and the truth about the universe You have created!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 10/24/18 – The Last Word

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DayBreaks for 10/24/18: The Last Word

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2008:

Last things.  A final word.  A last goodbye.  A condemned man’s last meal.  A final hug of a pet or loved one.  Last things stick in our minds and it should be so.  Last things are important.  Maybe more important than first things, and as such they deserve our attention.

As humans, we are conditioned to think of last things as being the end, the swan song.  We are conditioned to think in terms of time and space, possibilities and impossibilities, probabilities and improbabilities.  In this, as in all other things, we need to have our minds reshaped by the power of the Spirit to see things that our human minds cannot perceive on their own.

Enter Revelation – that book that is revered and feared, loved and hated, and sadly, all too often ignored by believer and unbeliever alike.  Revelation is the last book of the Bible and the last one which was written – another of those “last things.”  And as such, it deserves our attention.

Revelation is not about prediction: Jeanne Dixon and Nostradamus were into prediction.  Predictions may or may not come to pass.  Revelation is not a book of prediction, but of eschatology.  Most think of eschatology as being about “last things” and rightly so, for that is what the word itself means – the study of last things.  But if Revelation is eschatological, it is only eschatological in the worldly sense, for in the great book of John, the key eschatological message is that as the last breath of the earth is gasped out, the heavenly reality is that the future is breaking in upon us. 

In Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson (note: Eugene passed to glory on 10/22/18, with his last words reportedly being, “Let’s go!”) noted: Eschatology involves the belief that the resurrection appearances of Christ are not complete.  This belief permeating the Revelation makes life good, for when we are expecting a resurrection appearance we can accept our whole present and find joy not only in its joy but also in its sorrow, happiness not only in its happiness but also in its pain.  We travel on through either happiness or pain because in the promises of God we see possibilities for the transient, the dying and the dead.

How are your expectations today?  Are you living in great expectation of another post-resurrection appearance of the Christ, or have you resignedly condemned yourself to a life of mundane trivialities?  The expectation of his appearing and of the infinite possibilities his coming hints at are worthy of our meditation and great expectation that this day, as likely as any other day, can be changed from an ordinary day into a day and lifetime of endless anticipation.

PRAYER: Lord, teach us to expect not just Your power through the Spirit, but the appearing of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Let this expectation transform us from victims into victors, from depressed creatures buffeted by life into glorified saints full of joyful exuberance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 01/04/13 – God’s Remedy for Bad Eyesight

DayBreaks for 01/04/13 – God’s Remedy for Bad Eyesight

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“The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Heb. 4:12

Most of us at one time or another, have gone to an optometrist or ophthalmologist and had our eyes checked and tested.  One of the instruments they use is the ophthalmoscope.  It is a device with a condensing mirror and lots of little lenses that the doctor uses to look into your eye to not only determine approximately the necessary strength of glass required to give perfect vision, but also the existence of tumors pressing on the brain tissue, the condition of the general nervous system, the presence of disease in various organs, and the richness of the blood current as they are clearly traced on the sensitive plate of nature’s camera.  The eyes, it could be said, tell a great deal about us!

It is great to have our physical eyesight checked to make sure everything is working properly.  If the change is slow and gradual, it’s hard to tell that our eyes have gotten much worse than they were before.  Our spiritual eyesight is much the same: what the ophthalmoscope is to the ophthalmologist, revelation from Scripture is to our spiritual nature – it is a way test and give us God’s spiritual diagnosis of our spiritual nature – something of extreme value! One of the best ways to prevent the darkening of our spiritual eyesight is to look daily at the Word of God so that the Word may become the mirror to which we are exposed. If we wish to see clearly, we must test and purge our vision and exchange it for God’s vision.  God’s worldview is contained in Scripture.  He doesn’t leave us guessing how he feels about the world, humans in general or specific, and what he wants.  Looking into His word is intended not just to lift us up and encourage us along the way, but it is also one means He uses as a radical cure for spiritual cataracts and color blindness.

To see truly we must see life in God’s light and as He sees it. After the dust and fog and mirage of a day that we have lived in our town or city, going about our daily business, it is a wonderful restorative to cleanse the eyes with the eye salve of the Word of God.

PRAYER:  Create discipline in us, Lord, to daily seek the diagnosis and healing prescription of Your Word that we can see the world and ourselves through Your eyes! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/13/12 – The Significance of Signs

DayBreaks for 08/13/12 – The Significance of Signs

Matthew 16:2-3 – “2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

The common attribute of so many lives in the Bible is the ability to see signs.  The simple word ‘sign’ gives us the word ‘significance’ and that is the quest I speak of, the discerning of significance in daily experience.  Among the few expressions of exasperation we hear from our Lord are those in which he expresses regret at the inability of some to see signs of God’s activity in the things happening around them.

“…in journeying from Ur to Canaan Abraham knew himself as not merely moving from one context to another for his business enterprises.  He answered a call that had consequence and meaning.  For Noah the rising waters of his disintegrating world were not merely the result of ecological imbalance.  He was aware that he had been called toward a future made possible only if men and women acted faithfully in apocalypse.  To Jacob, as to many in the Bible, a dream was not merely a manifestation of overtiredness or hypertension.  It was a message from heaven to earth, an angel of warning or encouragement or affirmation.  For Moses a burning bush called for a turning aside.  Bushes burn almost routinely for us all, yet it is our capacity to see faces in the flames and voices in the fire that makes the moment more than routine and therefore pregnant with possibility.  For a fleeing people, survival in the mud flats and tidal reaches of a great river delta was more than a convenient environmental happenstance.  It became a never-to-be-forgotten sign of a destiny given them by God.  For Wise Men, a star was more than an item of astronomical data.  It became a sign of birth and change and a new age.  For Jesus, coins and sheep and fishes and weddings, seeds, a door, a tree, a widow, a conversation, a loaf of bread, a glass of wine, a candle, a presuming guest at a dinner party, a vial of ointment, even his own death; all were more than object, incident, event, experience.  All were made into signs and parables and insights so vivid that for two millennia they became the outriders of a kingdom, the symbols enabling us to express the inexpressible, lights that guide us in our fearful voyaging across the terrible crystal seas of mystery that, as John tells us, lie between our earthbound humanity and the throne of God.

“Thus scripture became for me a womb of endless signs, an admonition to seek their meanings for myself.  It was above all to me a finger pointing to the ordinary as a place of the divine dwelling, pointing to Bethlehem rather than to Rome or Athens, to a peasant girl rather than to a queen, to a child rather than an emperor.  One might add in passing that, for those who perceive, Bethlehem becomes both Rome and Athens, the peasant girl is revealed as queen, and the child becomes king.  The insignificant has assumed significance, the mundane become sign.”A Doorway in Time, Herbert O’Driscoll

In our frantic, scientific age, it is easy to miss the signs that God sets in front of us.  It is easy to explain things away on natural or scientific grounds.  And we seldom even take time to think about the things around us and how they may be attempts by God to communicate to us some message – whether through something as simple as the barking of a dog or as sublime as the birth of a baby.  The simple healing of human illness can be seen as a sign that God longs to heal us in all ways and can be taken as a guarantee of the fact that He is still involved and still cares about individuals as well as nations and galaxies.  It was with stories about the simple things of life that Jesus spun his timeless parables and told stories that still captivate the human imagination 2000 years later.

When was the last time you stopped to see beyond the surface to ascertain the deeper truth of God’s existence, His nature and His indwelling?  Slow down…take the time…and listen to His Spirit as He reveals truth to your inner person!

PRAYER: Lord, we are prone to seeking signs of Your Presence and Your will.  Let us never let the search for signs take the place of the search for Jesus, but see Him and You in the greatness that surrounds us at every moment.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/10/11 – The Blind Men at Jericho

DayBreaks for 10/10/11 – The Blind Men at Jericho

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

From the DayBreaks Archive, 10/10/2001

Matthew 20:29-34 – “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”  34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

I like these two men.  What is it that I find fascinating with this story?  I like their courage.  I like their determination to make personal contact with Jesus.  I like their refusal to be deterred from their goal.  I like their honesty – when asked by Jesus what it was that they wanted, they didn’t try to give him an answer that they may have felt he would have wanted to hear.  No, they didn’t ask to be made wise or holy.  They wanted their sight and they didn’t hesitate to ask for it!  And their determination coupled with Jesus’ compassion got results!

On the one hand, it is easy to see this story at just the surface level – two blind men finding mercy and compassion from Christ.  But there is more than just a feel-good story here.  Do you remember who Jesus was?  He was the Word of God, the Word made flesh that dwelt among us.  What this message can teach us, as Origen wrote long ago, is two-fold:

FIRST: it is necessary that our eyes be opened by the Word of God.  In the story, it was literally a word from God that opened their eyes.  But they couldn’t do it themselves.  We, too, will remain in our blindness until His Word opens our eyes and gives us new sight.  And what did these two men probably see when their eyes were opened?  Jesus!  Can you imagine what an incredible thing it would be for your first glimpse of vision to be of the Son of God?

SECOND: it is necessary for us to come out of our own Jericho.  These men had left their comfort zone and the relatively safe confines of the city.  If these men had stayed inside of the city, the wouldn’t have encountered Jesus on the roadside.  But they took the chance (intentionally or unintentionally, it doesn’t really make a difference) and they met the Lord.  When you take chances in trying to make personal contact with Jesus, you will not be disappointed.

Ask Jesus to touch your eyes today and reveal himself to you!

PRAYER: We need the courage that comes from Your Spirit to leave our comfort zones so that you can open our eyes with your Word of healing and hope!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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