DayBreaks for 3/27/17 – A Bunch of Aliens

DayBreaks for 3/27/17: A Bunch of Aliens

John 17:14 (NIV) I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

Aliens.  Whether you’re talking about illegal aliens, or aliens from outer space, the main point is the same: they’re not from around here.  Usually, it also is used to mean that they are different somehow – not necessarily in either a good or bad sense, but just different, unusual, perhaps they don’t speak the same language and have trouble communicating.  I actually have a cousin who thinks that they were once abducted by an alien (and no, I’m not going to tell you who it is!)

What an incredible statement by Jesus about mere humans!  At the risk of sounding flippant, Christians are aliens!  We are “different”, or should be!  This is to be the characteristic of His followers. 

Here’s the really mind-stretching point of what Jesus is saying: we are not of this world any more than He himself was from or was of this world.  What does he mean?!?!  We’d have no trouble recognizing that Jesus isn’t from nor “of” this world, but when we look at one another, we see other humans, born of the dust of the earth, destined to return to it.  I think part of what Jesus is getting at here is that he calls us his brothers and sisters, a statement of fact that means we have the same home as He does…and the same Father.  As his own brothers and sisters, we come from the same place – and ultimately, we’ll return to that place once again.  One thing is very clear: Jesus never spoke of this world as being his home, he always talked about going “home” – back to heaven.  And that’s our home, too, if we are his disciples. 

That doesn’t mean that we get to get out of here right now.  In fact, in John, Jesus specifically doesn’t pray for his followers to be removed from the world, but rather that the Father, as a strong, silent Sentinel, will Himself take personal responsibility to protect us and watch over us so we aren’t crushed by the stratagems of Satan. 

Why does he ask essentially that we be left here for the time being? Because as God sent Jesus to the world, the text in John 17 says Jesus sends his followers out into the world.  God loved the world – he sent Jesus to share that love.  Jesus loves the world – he sends us, his followers, out to share that love in every and any corner of the world where there is pain and suffering, where people are enslaved by sin.  There is no corner of the world where we are not to go to share the love of Jesus.  The people of India are just as precious to Jesus as my grandchildren, my wife or my children – in fact, because God truly understands the preciousness of each soul, and the reality of ultimate eternal destinies, He loves each human more than I ever have or ever will love anyone. 

Jesus never would have approved of a religion where believers stay at home, surrounded by the comforts of this world while turning down our hearing aids to the cries of those in distress and darkness.  In fact, he commands his followers to go out into the world to preach the gospel, teaching, healing, loving.  Jesus wants none of a stay-at-home and mind your own business faith.  Yet as we go, we must remain and act as his brothers and sisters, always doing what Jesus did: bearing in mind the will of the Father, seeking only to bring glory to Him!

PRAYER: Lord, if we have come to look too much like residents of this world, forgive us.  Help us to regain our distinctiveness, our “different-ness”.  Let us be true to our real Father, our real family, and lead us safely home to our real home after we have completed all that you want us to do in this alien place.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/14/16 – It’s All About Exile

DayBreaks for 10/14/16 – It’s All About Exile

From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

1 Chronicles 29:15 – We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV) – Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

From Doug Dalrymple, in his blog:

“In the 2nd century Christian apologetic, the Letter to Diognetus, we read:

“For Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech…
Yet although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man’s lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other manners of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their commonwealth. They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land.

“To amend Khomiakov, if I may: Do not harness your heart, then, to anything but the Cross of Christ.

“Or, as we read in Hebrews: ‘Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.’  – Exile, my friends. It’s all about exile.”

Galen’s Thoughts: We should never get too comfortable in this “home” (or even too alarmed about current events) because that’s exactly what this world is NOT: home.  Sure, we were born here, grew up here, and we will die here, but it is not home.  Not for the Christian.  It is nothing more, and nothing less, than enemy territory, a foreign land that we must traverse before we leave for Home.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV) – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

We need to be focused and looking for that same city, living as responsible citizens in the here and now and helping others look for that City, too.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the allure of this world for us humans is overwhelming.  We must accept the unseen by faith, while here we can see, taste, touch, smell and hear the sounds of life, or what passes for life in our experience.  Help us to fix our eyes on our Father’s land.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

 

DayBreaks for 6/29/15 – A Strange Song in a Strange Land

DayBreaks for 6/29/15: A Strange Song in a Strange Land

Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:

Ps. 137:1-4 – Beside the rivers of Babylon , we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.  We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees.  For there our captors demanded a song of us.  Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”  But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? (NLT)

This past Saturday, my wife and I took my sister and her two boys from our town over to the California’s Mendocino coast.  As highway 128 winds its way to the beautiful coastline, it cuts through Navarro state park.  In the park are some redwoods and we like to stop and wander among the mighty trees when we drive to the ocean.  This Saturday was no different, and finding a good spot to pull off, we all hopped out of the car and explored a part of the redwood forest.  Since it had been raining for a couple of days (very unusual for California in June!), the forest floor was spongy and soft and the damp smell of redwood humus was thick in the air.  It was very refreshing, and the boys (ages 9 and 5) dodged from tree to tree, climbing where they could, discovering what redwood forests are all about.

At one point, I wandered a tiny bit away from the rest of the explorers and found myself alone amongst the behemoths.  It was quiet, the only sound to be heard was the song of the birds in the wooded canopy.  For about 10-15 seconds, I was able to stand there in complete stillness and soak in the sounds that these huge trees have heard all their lives.  The wind in the upper reaches of the trees, the melodies of the birds as they flitted joyfully from one branch to another.  But then something else happened: one of the boys cried out in delight over some discovery, and the spell was broken.  But as I heard it, I thought of the passage from Psalm 137.  I was smitten with the idea of how foreign the sounds that we humans make in the woods must be to trees, ferns, and the living things of the forest. 

The captive Jews found it impossible to sing one of the songs of Jerusalem, of Zion, while held in Babylon.  For a people who were known for their joyful celebrations and singing, it was quite a statement: “We put away our lyres…how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”  Here’s what I thought:

FIRST: we, as Christians, must sound very foreign to this world when we speak of virgin births, turning water into wine, healing the blind, raising the dead, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of eternal life for those who accept Him by faith.  Surely, we sound as out of place as a boy’s shouts in the woods.  But the sounds of my nephews were no less real sounds of life than those of the birds.  They were just a different language.  And while they sounded out of place in the stillness of the moist, cool redwood forest, surely their squeals of delight pleased the Maker as they celebrated His creation.

SECOND: as the Jews found it difficult to sing God’s songs in a foreign land, we can also find it very hard at times to sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb in a world that doesn’t understand our language.  It isn’t just that they don’t understand our language, we believe they don’t want to hear it, and that’s what makes it difficult at times to sing the Song.  But we do the world an injustice when we keep the Song to ourselves.  There are those who will hear it and find joy in it, freedom and wind to lift them up and let them fly again.  If we don’t sing the Song, who will?  If we won’t sing it now, when the world needs it the most, when will we sing it?  It is the song of the ultimate freedom, of ultimate love, of peace, joy and hope.  It is the Song that this strange land called earth so desperately needs to hear!   Will you sing it?

Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Lord, we live in very strange times and in a strange and foreign land, far from our native country.  Let us live as your children while here so others may know your goodness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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