DayBreaks for 9/27/16 – The Shadow and the Sun

DayBreaks for 9/27/17: The Shadow and the Sun

From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:

I sit here in the office that is our kitchen, I look out through a window over the world famous Alexander Valley.  World famous, you say?  Yes, any oenophile knows about it.  (In case you’re not familiar with the term, “oenophile” means “wine lover”.)  It is here in the rich soil of Sonoma County, that some of the world’s finest wines are grown.  Much of the wine that comes from grapes here, I’m told, is never sold in the United States, but is exported to other countries – like France and Italy. 

We live on a hillside overlooking part of the valley.  Today is one of those kind of days that I love: the sky is mostly blue, but there are puffy marshmallow clouds drifting in from the sea, taking a somewhat southerly bent as they cross the valley.  I look out and can watch their shadows move languidly across the green vineyards and through the forests.  It is a beautiful sight to see and it brings a calmness to my soul, which is often times troubled.

Where we live there are people who love the heat of the summer.  I’m not one of them.  Fall is my favorite time – the air cools down and imparts an energy to my body that makes me want to shout for the joy of being alive!  In the summer, we have virtually no clouds.  It doesn’t rain here in the summertime.  At best, we may get a morning fog blanket from the Pacific coast that is just a few miles over that-a-way as the crow flies.  But then the fog burns off and the heat of the sun’s rays make the grapes grow and get fat and rich with juice.

I prefer cloudy days.  Not totally cloudy, but the drifty-dreamy days of fall before the heavy rains come to quench the thirst of the parched earth. 

The shadows – the darkness.  Both are metaphors used in Scripture to describe difficulties, evil, sin, times that are not good and that bode ill for the future.  On the other hand, the sun and light are used as symbols of good and of life.  Life is filled with a mix of shadows and sun, good and hard, peacefulness and turmoil.  It seems as if some live in places in their souls where there is only shadow, or at the most, very little sunshine.  And it can lead to despair and depression when all you can see is the shadows. 

I like what Jonathan Foreman said: “The shadow proves the sunshine.”  If there is a shadow, there must be a source of light.  Otherwise, there can be no shadow. 

In the middle of our lives, on the days when the shadows are deep and long, remember this: if you can see the shadow, there is a Light!

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

PRAYER:  Father, when life’s shadows are long and our hearts are filled with despairing darkness, help us to remember that You cannot be far away or there would be no shadow!  Help us to persevere through the clouds of this day until we see the morning Light!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 8/22/17 – The Sun, Moon and Stars

DayBreaks for 8/22/17: The Sun, Moon and Stars

Psalm 19:1-6 –  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night shweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

Amos 8:9 – And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:

Well, it’s over. I hope you lived somewhere that you could get a good look at the eclipse today. Where we lived, the eclipse wasn’t total, but 99.33% total. And let me say, it was amazing!

The temperature must have dropped at least 5 degrees if not more. The light became eerie in shade. I likely shall not see such a spectacle again, but I thank God that I was able to see it today. We had solar glasses and to watch the moon slide in front of the sun over an extended period of time was truly spellbinding.

As I watched the eclipse, my mind was drawn to several thoughts:

FIRST: I was struck at how perfectly the disk of the moon covered the disk of the sun. And yet, there are about 92.71 million miles between them. But God arranged it so perfectly that one would think they were the same size. We need to remember that things aren’t always what they seem…especially when something is God’s doing.

SECOND: I was struck by the fact that the moon was invisible…that is, you couldn’t see it if you looked up toward the sun because the light of the sun so totally overwhelmed the moon. Still, it was amazing to watch a black hole eat up the sun, the sun to virtually disappear, only to have it be born again. And I thought of how the Light of the Son so totally overwhelms anything else that pretends to be light.

THIRD: It is amazing, even at 99.33% totality, how much light remains. You’d think that the sky would be darkened 99.33%, but it isn’t. There is so much light streaming down that it wasn’t pitch black – not even close. I need to remember that when I start to think about the extent of the darkness in the world and how all pervasive it seems. The darkness still hasn’t overcome the Light…it’s no contest, an unfair competition.

FOURTH: I was struck with the thought that God did this for us – for our wonder and amazement. After all, no one else but humans in the entire universe could see it. God didn’t need to see it. We did. I thought about the massive distances at work, the size of the sun and moon, of the fact that they MOVE, that they seem to hang upon nothing. How can that be? Because it is God and his voice that set them in place, that calls them forth to run in their courses, and even more impressive, can cause the sun to stop still in its tracks if he chooses to do so.

Psalm 8:3-4 (ESV) – When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

PRAYER: Oh, God, how humbled I was by the show you put on in the sky today! Thank you for the reminder of how great and awesome your works are, but even how much greater you are than what you have created! Thank you for the delight of what we witnessed and the wonder it caused in so many. I pray it may turn hearts to seek the creator of such wonders! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 5/29/17: Big Things With Small, Still Voices

DayBreaks for 5/29/17: Big Things With Small, Still Voices

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Job 38:4-7 (NIV) – Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Psalms 19:1-2 (NIV) – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

From The Scrivener blog by Doug Dalrymple, 4/20/07:

“Quite literally, as it turns out – the sun is singing: snagging orchestra seats for this solar symphony would be fruitless, however, as the frequency of the sound waves is below the human hearing threshold. While humans can make out sounds between 20 and 20,000 hertz, the solar sound waves are on the order of milli-hertz—a thousandth of a hertz.”

We know that whales sing and birds sing, and well, even some of us humans try to sing with varying degrees of success.  Dogs bark, cats meow, rivers roar and even the heavenly objects, so Scripture says, “sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” 

When did all this happen?  We might be tempted to think that it happened before the fall of Satan and the realization of evil in the created universe.  After all, wouldn’t it make sense that God’s glorious creation would praise him?  Should we be so arrogant to think that only humans and angels can do so?  It may be true that they sang for joy at the creation and before the fall, for we’re also told through the word that the entire creation now groans and travails in pain, awaiting deliverance that will some day surely come!

But in the meantime, if we’re quiet enough for long enough, you’ll still hear singing.  You’ll hear it with your ears as the animals, wind and sea sing, you’ll hear it with your heart as you look up at the starry canvas on a warm summer night.  And, for those who have ears to hear, we can hear it in the sub-human range of the song of the sun and other stars that sang in the very beginning. 

It’s interesting that something as huge as the sun has such a small voice.  We’d expect it to be huge – a mighty roar as the gasses combust and the flares soar.  But it is a sound too low for us to even hear!  And, as I think about it, perhaps that’s how it really should be anyway.  The voice of God on the mountain was so mighty that people feared Him and fled.  But that’s not his only voice: he also spoke in a whisper to Samuel as a young boy, and in my own personal favorite – he spoke to Elijah in a “still small voice”, that literally translated is something like the sound of falling snow.  As Doug put it: “There’s just something marvelous about big, big things with still, small voices.”

When we were little, our dads were big, but when they pulled us close in their powerful arms and we heard the song, “I love you!” come pouring from their lips, it was marvelous.  And now, with my earthly father gone some 20 years, I’m enthralled when I hear God’s voice, through Jesus, saying, “I love you, son.  I’m so proud of you.  I’ll never let you down!  You’re safe here with Me.”

Big Things with small voices, indeed!

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the music of the spheres and for the song of love that You sing to us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 4/19/17 – The Cave and the Sun

DayBreaks for 4/19/17: The Cave and the Sun

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:

“There was once a dark cave, deep down in the ground, underneath the earth and hidden away from view.  Because it was so deep in the earth, the light had never been there.  The cave had never seen light.  The word ‘light’ meant nothing to the cave, who couldn’t imagine what ‘light’ might be.

“Then one day, the sun sent an invitation to the cave, inviting it to come up and visit.

“When the cave came up to visit the sun it was amazed and delighted because the cave had never seen light before, and it was dazzled by the wonder of the experience.

“Feeling so grateful to the sun for inviting it to visit, the cave wanted to return the kindness and so it invited the sun to come down to visit it sometime because the sun had never seen darkness.

“So the day came, and the sun came down and was courteously shown into the cave.

“As the sun entered the cave, it looked around with great interest, wondering what ‘darkness’ would be like.  Then it became puzzled, and asked the cave, “Where is the darkness?” – Source Unknown

I sometimes get overwhelmed with a sense of the darkness in the world.  How silly of me!  If Christ lives within me, how can I be in darkness?  John 8:12 says as much: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  All who follow Him WILL NEVER WALK IN DARKNESS, but will have the LIGHT OF LIFE!  Wherever I go, Jesus goes, and like the sun, there can be no darkness when He is present!

John 12:46 (NLT) – I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for being so focused on the darkness that I forget that I am in the light and that I will never walk in darkness!  Help us this day to follow Jesus and to always be aware of the light He brings with him no matter where we go!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/26/14 – We Can Barely Endure Candle Light

DayBreaks for 12/26/14 – We Can Barely Endure Candle Light

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From the DayBreaks archive, 2004: 

The great scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, once did something that was very dangerous and foolish.  As an experiment, he started at the image of the reflected sun in a mirror.  The rays, as you might imagine, burned his retinas and he suffered temporary blindness as a result of the experiment.  Even after hiding for 3 days behind closed shutters, the bright spot still wouldn’t fade from his vision.  “I used all means to divert my imagination from the sun but if I thought upon him I presently saw his picture though I was in the dark.”  He was lucky that he wasn’t blinded for life. 

But, as Philip Yancey notes in Disappointment With God, There is a parable in Isaac Newton’s experiment, and it helps illustrate what the Israelites ultimately learned from the wilderness wanderings.  They had attempted to live with the Lord of the Universe visibly present in their midst; but, in the end, out of all the thousands who had so gladly fled Egypt, only two survived God’s Presence.  If you can barely endure candlelight, how can you gaze at the sun? 

The prophet well described our dilemma so long ago in Isaiah 33:14a (NIV) –“The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?  How many times have we each longed for some special manifestation of God’s Presence?  Or even just that we could “feel” His Presence in those dark and lonely hours?  I think that every human being has had those feelings at some time or another, no matter how godly the woman or man.  Yet, we are all sinners in Zion and we may do well to learn from Israel.  I doubt that we could stand the Presence of God in all His glorious brightness.  As Yancey suggests, Is it possible that we should be grateful for God’s hiddenness, rather than disappointed? 

The next time you are disappointed that God’s Presence seems to be in hiding, remember Isaiah’s words, His greatness and our utter frailty.  Perhaps the verse in Isaiah gives us the best explanation of why it was necessary for Jesus to become human to live among us – we couldn’t have withstood the brightness of the unveiled presence of God Almighty! 

PRAYER: For your mercies we thank you, for a glimpse of you in glory, we long…and for now, we thank you for your veiled Presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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DayBreaks for 07/26/12 – You Are Unable

DayBreaks for 07/26/12 – You Are Unable

One of His ambassadors…

 “You teach,” said the Emperor Trajan to Rabbi Joshua, “that your God is everywhere, and boast that He resides among your nation; I should like to see Him.”

“God’s presence is indeed everywhere,” replied Joshua, “but He cannot be seen. No mortal eye can behold His glory.”

The Emperor insisted. “Well,” said Joshua “suppose we try to look first at one of His ambassadors.” The Emperor consented.

The Rabbi took him into the open air at noonday and bade him look at the sun in its blazing splendor. “I cannot,” said Trajan. “The light dazzles me.”

“You are unable,” said Joshua, “to endure the light of one of His creatures, and can you expect to behold the resplendent glory of the Creator? Would not the brightness of His glory annihilate you?”

This same thought is expressed in the Bible in 1 Timothy 6:16, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power eternal.

We often sing songs about seeing Jesus and the bliss that will be.  I don’t doubt for a second that it will be the greatest moment of our lives.  He will be glorious.  We will be amazed.  We will be dazzled.  It is what we have waited for for so long!

If someone, though, were to say to a skeptic or doubter, “Suppose we try to look first at one of His ambassadors,” would what would the skeptic think if they brought him/her to see me?  Are we not his ambassadors, too?  We may not be luminous as the sun in its glory, but we are to represent Him.  How are we doing?

PRAYER: Let our lives be a testimony to your greatness, your glory, your majesty – to all who wish to see You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks from 05/07/12 – Musings From 41,000 Feet

DayBreaks for 05/07/12 – Musings from 41,000 Feet

On Saturday night, 5/05/12, I was flying back southbound to Atlanta at 41,000 feet as the sun was setting on the western horizon.  At the same time, the full moon was rising on the eastern horizon, almost exactly 180 degrees in the opposite direction.  Sun off the right wingtip, moon off the left.

To the west, between us and the sun, was a band of clouds at the horizon level and the sun lit them on fire.  The band was colored with reds, maroons, orange, yellows…and as I looked out the window on that side of the plane, I could imagine myself standing on the surface of Saturn and could believe that this had to be what it was like to look at the bands of Saturn from the surface of that planet.  It was unbelievably beautiful.

The moon to the left was huge.  I’d never seen it this large or this clearly.  It was the night of the Super Moon – when the moon was at its closest approach in its orbit to the earth.  Its disk was just above the edge of the horizon and there was a fluffy blanket of clouds obscuring the ground below.  The huge moon lit up the top surface of the cloud layer in a gossamer layer of white as the clouds raced past, under the wing, thousands of feet below us.  It was unbelievably beautiful.

As I looked back and forth from the Saturn-like bands of color to the west and the glorious moonrise to the east, I was transported into worship by the magnificent beauty of the creation, this spectacular universe in which clouds catch the colors of the rainbow and moons, planets and stars hang upon nothing in the cold, haunting emptiness of space.

I marveled that God should have created such beauty and chosen to share it with us and let us enjoy it.  Of course, He created it for His own enjoyment, but I also believe He did it for ours.  And my mind wandered off to this passage: 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV) – But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…”

As I sat by my window and gazed out at the rising moon as the sky grew darker, I contemplated the wonders that await us in the “new heavens and earth.”  As spectacular as what I was looking at, I know that it is a very poor preview of what is to come, and I was again transported into worship.

I wish you all could have been there with me to see the beauty of the sunset and of the Super Moon as they cast their spell of wonder.  It was unbelievably beautiful…and His gift to us.

PRAYER: Lord, how I long to see what wonders you have in store for us!  Sometimes when I think I can begin to imagine it because of what I can see now, I’m reminded that you tell us we cannot even imagine it, and I am overwhelmed that you have lavished such love on us that you invite us not only into the wonders of your creation, but the wonders of your love and grace as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 is now engaged in a project to provide temporary shelter, food, water and adult care to 37 orphans in Migori, Kenya.  We are trying to raise up an army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us provide care for these children until our partner in the project, BrightPoint for Children, can secure sponsorships for these 37 kids.  If you want to contribute, follow this link and scroll down to find the “Donate” button: Help the 37 Migori Orphans

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