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.

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DayBreaks for 11/14/17 – I Don’t Believe This!

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DayBreaks for 11/14/17: I Don’t Believe This

NOTE: Galen is traveling.

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

(11-06) 13:47 PST Manson, Wash. (AP) – “Charles and Linda Everson were driving back to their hotel when their minivan was struck by a falling object — a 600-pound cow. The Eversons were unhurt but the cow, which had fallen off a cliff, had to be euthanized.

“The year-old cow fell about 200 feet from the cliff and landed on the hood of the couple’s minivan, causing heavy damage.

“A Chelan County fire chief, Arnold Baker, said the couple missed being killed by a matter of inches in the accident Sunday on a highway near Manson.

“The Eversons, visiting the area from their home in Westland, Mich., to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, were checked at Lake Chelan Community Hospital as a precaution.

“Everson, 49, said he didn’t see the cow falling and didn’t know what happened until afterward.  He said he kept repeating: “I don’t believe this. I don’t believe this.”

This story is very similar to one I wrote about a number of years ago where a cow fell from the sky and sank a trawler in the Sea of Japan.  But this time, what caught my attention wasn’t the cow or the car or the oddness of the story per se, but the reaction of Mr. Everson.  “I don’t believe this.  I don’t believe this.”  I can picture him saying that over and over (I probably would have, too!), almost as if it were a mantra.  Let’s face it, it’s not every day that a cow falls 200 feet onto the hood of your car.  Have you ever had it happen to you?  I didn’t think so! (It hasn’t happened to me, either!)

Sometimes the collision of reality and our belief about how things are makes a mess of things – especially our minds.  It’s as if we’ve decided in advance what can be real and what can’t, and that based on our understanding, reality is limited. 

As I read Mr. Everson’s words, “I don’t believe this.  I don’t believe this,” I couldn’t help but think about what some folks will say someday when there is a brilliant light up in the clouds, a trumpet blast will pierce the air, and the Almighty and glorious risen Christ will appear.  There will be many who will probably start repeating a mantra like Mr. Everson’s: “I don’t believe this.  I don’t believe this!”  They will shut their eyes and try to cover their ears, all the while muttering to themselves “I don’t believe this.  I don’t believe this.”  And they may, if they have time, open their eyes to see if it was something they’d just imagined, or if it is still “there”.  I’ll tell you now: it’ll still be there – getting closer all the time!

Sadly, our beliefs, wants and wishes don’t define reality.  Of course, I can’t prove the Second Coming of Christ to you for one simple reason: it’s not a historic event – at least, not YET.  And once it does happen, it will become provable.  But at that point it will do no good to try to wish it away or to re-define reality.  In the meantime, may we live …circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Eph 5:15-16

PRAYER: Father, help us not to live in the delusions of our own imaginations or in denial of reality.  Make Your truth and Your Word to become the basis for all our beliefs, hopes and dreams.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 2/10/17 – When the End Comes

DayBreaks for 2/10/17 – When the End Comes

When we think about “the end”, there are probably lots of things that cross your mind.  I think of the blast of the trumpet, I think about what it will be like to actually look up to the heavens and see Jesus for the very first time, surrounded by who-knows-how-many angels, riding on a great white war horse.  I think about what it will be like to see the spirits of the dead popping up from the ground all around.  I think of how I’ll feel – will I know fear, or will my relationship with him be such that there is no fear?  What kind of looks will be on the faces of those who will only for all eternity know him as their judge and not as their Savior?  What kinds of shrieks and cries will fill the air?  Imagine the looks of wonder, shock, joy and dismay that will be seen on people’s faces.

I think about the end of suffering, of pain, disease, death.  I think about not ever having to pay income taxes again, or to never again have to make a house payment (not even on my “mansion” in heaven!)  And I wonder what the One who sits on the throne looks like, I can’t wait to see the four living creatures are like and to hear the sweet music of heaven!

But there’s another thing that will accompany the end that I don’t often think about.  Julian of Norwich put it this way: When the end comes and we are taken for judgment above, we will then clearly understand in God the mysteries that puzzle us now.  Not one of us will think to say, ‘Lord, if it had been some other way, all would be well.’

How many times have I thought God should have done something differently, or in a different way than He has?  Certainly, if He’d only asked me first, I could have told Him a better way than He decided on by Himself!!!!  There are mysteries that deeply trouble me: why we find it so hard to forgive (given the way we have been forgiven by Him!), why we are so quick to judge, why there are tornados, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, diseases, divorces?  Why is there such a thing as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?  Why did He let someone be born only to die within minutes, hours or days?  What purpose do all those things serve, or do they serve any purpose at all?  (I have to believe that they do, or He would not permit them to happen.)  And so, I trust that Julian was right: that the day will come when we will not question God, but will KNOW.  Where we will not accuse Him of choosing the wrong way, for we will see with our own eyes and understand in our own hearts and minds that God did, indeed, choose the best way for everything, and that in the end, “all will be well.”

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, as you know, It is hard to live by faith when we are alive in a world of such brokenness and unanswered questions.  Teach us to trust You, that there is a rhyme and reason to all things, and that in every decision You make, that You have chosen not only wisely, but perfectly.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 11/01/16 – When He Comes Again

DayBreaks for 11/01/16 – When He Comes Again

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

NOTE: Galen is taking a short vacation.

Where will you be?  What will you be doing?  Have you ever wondered what you’ll see and hear and how you’ll feel when the LORD comes to receive His own?  I have.  I’ve thought about it many times – even worried about it when I was young.  I was afraid he’d come at some time when I’d be away from my mom and dad and sister, and I’d be on my own – lost in the vast horde of humanity that will rise when summoned to the great judgment throne of God.  I look back at those fears now and know that they were childish and silly.  But the coming of Christ will be neither childish nor silly.  It will be spectacular.  It will be indescribable.  It will be, quite honestly, the culminating moment of all history.  I like, however, the way Max Lucado tried to make it real for us.  It stirred my heart, and I hope it stirs yours:


“You are in your car driving home. Thoughts wander to
the game you want to see or meal you want to eat, when suddenly a sound unlike any you’ve ever heard fills the air.  The sound is high above you.  A trumpet?  A choir?  A choir of trumpets?  You don’t know, but you want to know.

“So you pull over, get out of your car, and look up.  As you do, you see you aren’t the only curious one. The roadside has become a parking lot.  Car doors are open, and people are staring at the sky.  Shoppers are racing out of the grocery store.  The Little League baseball game across the street has come to a halt.  Players and parents are searching the clouds. And what they see, and what you see, has never before been seen.

“As if the sky were a curtain, the drapes of the atmosphere part. A brilliant light spills onto the earth. There are no shadows. None.  From whence came the light begins to tumble a river of color spiking crystals of every hue ever seen and a million more never seen. Riding on the flow is an endless fleet of angels. They pass through the curtains one myriad at a time, until they occupy every square inch of the sky.

“North.
South.
East.
West.

“Thousands of silvery wings rise and fall in unison, and over the sound of the trumpets, you can hear the cherubim and seraphim chanting, Holy, Holy, Holy.  The final flank of angels is followed by twenty-four silver-bearded elders and a multitude of souls who join the angels in worship.

“Presently the movement stops and the trumpets are silent, leaving only the triumphant triplet: Holy, Holy, Holy.  Between each word is a pause.  With each word, a profound reverence.  You hear your voice join in the chorus. You don’t know why you say the words, but you know you must.

“Suddenly, the heavens are quiet.  All is quiet.  The angels turn, you turn, the entire world turns and there He is. 

 “Jesus.

“Through waves of light you see the silhouetted figure of Christ the King.  He is atop a great stallion, and the stallion is atop a billowing cloud.  He opens his mouth, and you are surrounded by his declaration: “I am the Alpha and the Omega!” 


“The angels bow their heads.
“The elders remove their crowns.
“And before you is a Figure so consuming that you know, instantly you know:  Nothing else matters. 

“Forget stock markets and school reports.  Sales meetings and football games.  Nothing is newsworthy.  All that mattered, matters no more….for Christ has come.” – Max Lucado 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.

PRAYER:  Father, when we are prone to despair and be discouraged, help us to remember that the “day of the Lord” will, indeed, come, and that when it does, there will be nothing at all that matters except Jesus.  May we be eagerly ready!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/20/16 – The Blink of an Eye

DayBreaks for 6/20/16 – The Blink of an Eye

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (NLT) – What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever.  But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed.  It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will betransformed so that we will never die.  For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.

The amount of misery in a children’s hospital is breathtaking.  As much as the children may be suffering, it is a valid question to ponder whether they, or their parents, have the worst of it.  Listening to the stories of people from Louisiana who came for a heart operation for their child (83 days ago now, and counting) are heart-rending.  The details are sketchy to me for the conversation was brief, but suffice it to say that after 3 open heart surgeries, they are only now back to where they started.  They will be sent home with their little one, back to Louisiana, so he can recuperate and get enough strength to try it yet again.  The surgery that was intended to heal the little one didn’t – something went dreadfully wrong and he couldn’t “tolerate” what was done, so they had to open his chest again and undo the very thing that he came here for – and with it, the hopes of the parents were put on agonizing hold. 

Another family is present here who have four children.  Three of them were born with some deficiency in their liver that causes it to not produce a single enzyme that is necessary for them to live a normal lifespan. Right now, the only hope is a liver transplant.  One child has already had it, the other 2 will need it.  Genetic screening has since revealed that their parents carried “defective” genes and that there was only a 25% chance that any child would have this problem.  That 25% chance spiraled upward so far that 3 of the 4 children, including a baby born in February, are afflicted and face uncertain futures.  And the parents had no idea about all this until just before the fourth one was born – the disease often doesn’t manifest itself until a child is 10-15 years of age. 

As I sit here by the window at the hospital I am dumbstruck by both the suffering I see and have heard about, but also by the hope that rings in the voices of these parents.  And I think to myself, “What can ever stop this?”  And at that moment, I think I hear, far away and distant – as far away as heaven itself – the sound of someone warming up to play the trumpet.  And I am reminded that indeed, it is true that the day will come when there will be no more bad hearts, no more failing livers or lungs, no more widows or orphans.  It takes a power that only One who is truly God possesses to make such a thing a reality.  But it will come.  Most certainly.  Wouldn’t some trumpet music be great about right now?

Revelation 6:10-11 (NIV) – They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer…

PRAYER:  Father, the waiting is hard.  It’s not that we doubt Your promise, it’s that we question Your timing because we can’t understand Your working.  I thank You that You possess the power and the will to fix all this in a fraction of a second by a single thought. May that day be today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 05/27/16 – The Day of the Lord

DayBreaks for 5/27/16 – The Day of the Lord

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

Isaiah 13:6 (NIV) – “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.”

The “day of the Lord” was an idea that was very common to the Jews of the Old Testament.  The Jews tended to divide history into 3 periods of time: the present evil age, the day of the Lord, and the age to come.  They spoke volumes about how this world was evil, how everything was bad and doomed for destruction because of the anger of the Lord which would be revealed on the “great day of the Lord” when His wrath was revealed and released from heaven against the iniquity of mankind.  The Day of the Lord marked the dividing line between the evil world and the world in which righteousness would rule.  It was a “day” that was feared, for it would be a day of horrible retribution.  It would be followed by an age of righteousness wherein God would rule in perfect justice and harmony, and life would be good.  But the day of the Lord was to be feared, let there be no doubt. 

The theologian, Jurgen Moltmann made an interesting observation by looking at the concept of the day of the Lord in the Old Testament and the same concept in the New Testament.  He noted that the phrase “Day of the Lord” in the Old Testament inspired fear, but in the New Testament it inspires hope: (Titus 2:11-14, NIV) – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
”  

What could make such a difference in a people who had viewed the day of the Lord with such fear for nearly 2000 years?  Moltmann suggests one possibility: he thinks it is because the authors of the New Testament had come to know and trust the Lord whose day it is because they’d lived with and seen that very Lord in the person of Jesus Christ. 

One of the most frequent, if not the most frequent, commands of Jesus to his followers was simply this: “Do not be afraid.”  Perhaps it was his personality that gave the courage to his followers to come to not fear the day of the Lord, but even to pray for it, as John did in Revelation: “Maranatha, Lord Jesus!”  The followers of Jesus have nothing to fear from the day of the Lord, but can look forward to it expectantly, with joy because it will be HIS day, the day of HIS crowning glory, and he’ll be coming to share it with us!

PRAYER:  How we long for your day, Lord, the day that will put an end forever to misery and suffering, sin and injustice, and which will usher in the new heaven and new earth.  Thank you that we need not fear that day because we can know the Lord of the day personally.  Help us to know you better!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 10/25/11 – Time to Get Up

DayBreaks for 10/25/11 – Time To Get Up

"In case it was God coming..."

Author Isak Dinesen confessed that she liked being awakened with really important news.  One morning Kamante, her house help, woke her with the threat, ‘Msabu, I think you had better get up – I think God is coming.’  Ms. Dinesen wrote: ‘From the door-windows I now saw a strange phenomenon.  There was a big grass-fire going on out in the hills, and the grass burning all the way from the hilltop to the plain…I stood for some time and looked at it, with Kamante watching by my side, then I began to explain the thing to him…for I thought that he had been terribly frightened.  But the explanation did not seem to make much impression… ‘Well, yes,’ he said, ‘it may be so.  But I thought you had better get up in case it was God coming.’”

It is hard to understand how someone could have seen the fire in the distance and have thought it was God coming.  But doesn’t Scripture talk about God being a consuming fire, that He will come with flaming fire taking vengeance on those that don’t know Christ?  Perhaps Kamante had heard those verses from a mission school.  It doesn’t really matter where he heard it, but the key was what he felt his employer needed to do “…IN CASE it was God coming.”

Think about it.  Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night when you heard a sound?  What if it was God coming to your front door, or down the hallway?  Just in case it was He, what would you do?

Some day God is coming again.  And while Kamante seemed to think that Ms. Dinesen might have missed His coming, not a single human being is going to miss His return.

In case God were to come to your home today, what would you need to do?  What would you want to try to put away in some dark old closet so He wouldn’t see it?  What would you do with your spare time?  How would you change your life?

Hosea 10:12 – “12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

1 Peter 4:17 – “17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

PRAYER: Lord, if this is the day that You come, help us to be ready!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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