DayBreaks for 3/25/19 – The Three Mile Per Hour God

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DayBreaks for 3/25/19: The Three Mile Per Hour God

We love shortcuts, don’t we? Why? Because they are faster and save us time so we can move on to the next thing on our To-Do list or calendar. But, perhaps like me, you’ve found that the shortcuts often aren’t shortcuts, but long-cuts that wind up spending you more time in the long run. There’s an old saying that was common in the high-tech company where I worked that went like this: “There’s never enough time to do it right the first time, but there’s always time to do it over.”

Something I’ve learned over the year is that anything that is of truly lasting worth takes time. It takes time so raise a family. It takes time to make a good marriage. It takes time to build a career of integrity and honor. It takes time to be sanctified and learn to live a Godly life.

So here’s what may seem a contradiction: it’s not only better to go longer but better to go slower, too. In the short film, Godspeed, there’s a pastor who at the beginning of the film says these words: I’ve been running for most of my life, running through life to get somewhere else. But the things about running is that you miss most things, and if I kept running, I was going to miss everything.

The film describes Jesus as the “three-mile-an-hour God” because he walked everywhere he went. You may drive on the freeway at 70 miles per hour, or ride a bike at 15 miles per hour, but when you walk (3 miles per hour) you really noticed things. You can stop and smell the roses (literally), appreciate the sound of the birds or a brook or the wind in the trees, take the time for a conversation with a stranger or friend. As life shows down, it gets brighter and more spectacular because you have time to appreciate the miracles you encounter.

Consider this passage from Jeremiah 6:16a: This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.

Can you, just for today, test out the “long and slow” theory in your pace of life? If you can’t today, how about tomorrow or on the weekend. Take an extra moment to speak with a neighbor. Instead of praying while you drive, stop for a few quite minutes. Instead of parking as close as you can and then running into the store, park at the back of the lot and take the time to look up, look around, look within. And when  you take the time to walk slowly on the long roads, I believe you’ll find Jesus walking with you. He never rushes!

PRAYER: Help us take the long road so we may walk it with  you and revel in your creation and presence! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

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DayBreaks for 3/14/19 – How Jesus Waits

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DayBreaks for 3/14/19: How Jesus Waits

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:

Oh, boy.  As I write this, I’m waiting for a phone call that I hope won’t come.  It is Friday night and I’m finally home and this is the last thing I have to do this week before I can take some time off.  But…I got a phone call not long ago.  I may have to take someone down to the emergency room.  I hope not – I don’t want this person to be injured (they are, but the question is whether or not they need to go to the emergency room because of it), and selfishly, I must confess, this has been a hectic week and I’m tired and I’ve been looking forward to a quiet evening at home with my wife and two dogs and maybe playing with my camera a bit (one of my hobbies).  Waiting…tick, tock, tick, tock…I don’t like waiting.

This morning I waited for my wife to get ready to drive to Santa Rosa.  At the store, we had to wait in line to buy a couple books.  Then, we had to wait in line at Circuit City (they were having the final 2 days of their going out of business sale and it was a madhouse).  We went to Jack in the Box (a cheap date meal!) and had to wait there.  I wonder how much time we spend on average in waiting? 

We are an impatient lot.  If we wait for what we consider to be too long of a time, we get angry and insolent.  After all, we have places to go and things to do and people to see, right?  Waiting…tick, tock, tick, tock…I don’t like waiting.

I don’t like people to have to wait on me.  Let me be 20 minutes early rather than 10 seconds late.  I’m happy that way!  But then I often have to wait anyway because the person I was to meet with isn’t ready for me yet!!!!  Aarrrghhh!!!!

Have you ever thought about Jesus and how he must wait?  He’s waiting to hear the word, “Go!” from the Father to return to the earth and sift the wheat and tares.  He’s waiting to cast Satan and his angels into the pit.  And here’s a shocking one: in the Lord’s Prayer, he prayed “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  I think he’s still waiting for most of that to come true, too, don’t you?

How does Jesus wait?  Calmly, patiently.  Of course, he has an advantage over us: time has neither hold on him nor bearing over him.  We have finite time.  Maybe that’s why we get so impatient.  But we need to learn to emulate Jesus in our waiting as well as in our walking.  We can redeem the time we spent waiting by meditating on a passage of Scripture, on singing a song to the Lord in our head or out loud (depending on the circumstances).  We can read a Christian book (please, preferably not fiction – but something with some real meat to it).  We can talk to those around us about how much joy and peace we have – and who knows, maybe the conversation will lead to the point we can share our faith.  It’s a much better way to wait than by fuming.

Prayer:  Jesus, may we learn to redeem our waiting time and to honor you in it!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 1/04/19 – The Passing of the Shadow

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DayBreaks for 01/04/2019: The Passing of the Shadow

From the DayBreaks Archive, 01/05/09 (modified):

Whew.  The holidays are now over.  It is a bittersweet feeling, isn’t it?  On the one hand, I love the excitement and joy of the holidays, and the chance to share that with family, loved ones and friends.  I love the Christmas carols and was surprised to find some of them playing in the malls this year. I love the bright lights and colors, and yes, the nuts and chews of Christmas from See’s Candies!

But it isn’t long and the holidays that have been so long awaited are over and done with.  The family has returned to their own homes and gone back to work, the Christmas decorations have been pulled down and boxed away for another year, the candy is gone (thank goodness!) and the Christmas carols and tree have been tucked away for 11 months.  And – I’m tired. 

As I was reflecting on this one day, I was watching our old dog, Rainie.  She’s 12 years old now and she’s clearly winding down.  She walks with a strange, stiff gait because of some arthritis in her hips, and if you look into her eyes, they are not dark and clear – they are milky and a bit subdued.  She is afraid, or in a bit too much discomfort, to hop up on the bed as easily as she used to.  Now, at night, when she comes back into the house, she will whimper and whine before even attempting her leap of faith up to the top of the mattress.  And she huffs and puffs a lot more than when she was younger.  It saddens me to see this happening before my very eyes and to be powerless in the face of the inexorable march of time.  And then I realize, I am on the same march, head down as I trudge the pathway before me.

The passing of the holidays and the winding down of life have parallels that can teach us.  We start out exuberant, full of excitement and energy.  We hurry here and there because the world is so big and there is so much to see and do and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  But then, as with Christmas, the holiday is over before you are even fully aware that it has begun.  Old friends and family are no longer around.  We find ourselves more fearful of running around too far from home, and we also whimper and whine as we rise or recline on our bed.  Not to mention the eyesight. 

This is the way of all flesh.  This is what makes our God and His promises so precious – He does not grow old, tired, and weary.  He doesn’t get cataracts.  His bones don’t ache and generate the whimpers that accompany old age.  And He promises us that the day will come when we will be like Him in that regard.  We try to imagine a life without any sort of pains or sadness and we cannot grasp even the tiniest crumb of that reality.  But we do long for it.  The life we so longed to live when we were younger has been spent somehow, somewhere – like a shadow passing in the night, soundlessly and quickly, not even leaving footprints behind.  Hold on to the fact that the shadow is passing, but it isn’t passing from daylight to darkness, but instead the shadow is passing to daylight, from earth to heaven, from mortality to immortality, from death to life.  And there shall be no more weeping.

PRAYER:  Lord, life often feels like both a blessing and a burden.  Thank you for the promise that you will make our joys even greater than anything we have experienced in this lifetime, and that you will remove our sorrows eternally.  Thank you, that Jesus “is the life!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 12/04/18 – The Secret to a Wise Heart

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DayBreaks for 12/04/18: The Secret to a Wise Heart

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:

We don’t like to think about death at all, let alone our own death.  We’d like to just ignore it until it happens.  We are more than content to live under a grand illusion that we have an unlimited number of days to live.  And so we drift aimlessly from day to day, moment to moment, never considering death.

Moses had an interesting prayer that he offered up in Psalm 90:12 (NIV) –Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  There are two key things in this brief passage that we should note:

FIRST: we have to be taught to number our days correctly.  We can’t figure it out on our own – or at least, we won’t figure it out ourselves.  We are too happily living out our delusion about limitless days, trying as hard as we can to be oblivious to our impending demise.  I don’t know if mankind ever really knew how to number his days correctly.  I doubt that we were created with that sense of limited days because when Adam and Eve were created, they weren’t created to die.  That’s something that came about after the fall.  It was only after death entered onto the stage that it became necessary to learn, to be taught, that we have a finite number of days allotted to us and that we don’t know how many days we have.

SECOND: we can’t have a heart of wisdom until we learn to number our days.  Why?  Because we can’t live wisely until we learn to number our days.  Considering our mortality leads us to view each day of life differently, to cherish it and appreciate it in ways we can’t even imagine if we don’t consider our finiteness.  We can’t live rightly until we know we will die rightly.  And we must contemplate death if we are to live rightly.

Towards that end, as I shared with our congregation last week, I’ve added something to my daily prayer that seems to be helping me to do a much better job of numbering my days and living accordingly.  It’s very simple, and I’d encourage you to add something similar to your morning prayer: “Lord, if this is to be my last day, may I live it in Jesus with great joy and wonder.”

Prayer: We need hearts that are wise, Lord, hearts that consider our deaths so that we can live more appropriately in each moment of the time we have been given.  Teach us, Lord, to number our days.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 8/20/18 – From the Perspective of Years

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DayBreaks for 8/20/18: From the Perspective of Years

From the DayBreaks archive, August 2008:

At the risk of being premature and appearing to be wise and all-knowing, I’d like to share something with you that I think I have finally managed to learn in my 56 years of treading this earth.  Are you ready?  Here it is: life is not about now.  Oh, I know that there are bills that must be paid NOW, there are decisions that must be made NOW, there are chores and responsibilities that have to be met NOW.  Oh, yes…don’t forget taxes that must be paid!

But that’s not the stuff I’m talking about.  I’m talking about important things, things that I just wasn’t emotionally, mentally or spiritually equipped to even begin to grasp until now.  Perhaps it’s because I’m starting a new sermon series about all the things that Scripture talks about as being unseen that it’s just now coming clearer to me.  Still, I’ve struggled to find a way to express it myself, and then I finally ran across something that Elie Wiesel wrote in From the Kingdom of Memory that seems to me to say it perfectly.  (Wiesel, of course, is a holocaust survivor who has written and spoken eloquently about that horrific time in history, and about life in the aftermath.)

Here’s what Wiesel had to say that seemed to put this all into perspective for me: “Well, yes, at the time I was too young to understand that eternity does not exist except in relation to the present.  I was not mature enough to understand that it is eternity which lends this moment its mystery and its distinction.”

We are so preoccupied with living life to the full in the here and now, thinking that it is what is happening to us that gives life meaning and direction.  It is not so.  Surely, it must not be so!  It is what lies ahead that gives our lives now meaning and purpose, for we were not meant to live this life forever.  If the amount of time we spend here on earth versus in eternity is any indication of the relative importance, it is eternity that must dominate our consciousness and our thinking.  We must find the way to do this without abandoning the present, but also without ever making the fatal mistake of thinking that this life is what it is all about.

Have you noticed the context for this passage from 1 Corinthians 13:9-12? – For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

In the context, Paul seems to be speaking, at least partly, of eternity – it is then that we shall see face to face, we won’t be trying to hold on to foolish things of this world any longer.  All that occupies us here, tends to be childish compared to ultimate realities.

PRAYER: God, give us eyes to see this life through the clearer glass of eternity that our priorities and attention is focused on things above and not things below!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER: Father, help us choose the things that are beautiful to you and that lead to life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/24/18 – Less or More?

 

DayBreaks for 5/24/18: Less or More?

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:

How are the old bones doing these days?  Are you creaking just a bit more than you did a couple of years ago?  How’s the muscle tone?  Still got those six-pack abs that you had when you were in college?  Does that old wedding dress or tuxedo still fit you perfectly?  Is the hair as thick as it once was?  How about the color of your hair these days?  Has the old “get up and go” gotten up and gone somewhere and left no forwarding address? 

If so, you’re being Biblical!!!!  The apostle Paul aptly described our physical condition in 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV) when he wrote: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

How are you doing with Paul’s statement, “we do not lose heart”?  Paul was describing his outward condition and the sufferings he’d been placed under for his stand for the faith.  It seems to me that many (including myself from time to time) lose heart as we see our bodies failing with higher frequency and greater severity.  My medicine cabinet has been pretty full of medications since my bypass surgery at 49 years of age.  I can only look forward to it getting even more congested as time passes and other things start to go bonkers on me.  It would be easy to lose heart – if my physical body is all that constitutes “me.” 

But Paul goes on to point out that though we are physically wasting away, inwardly we are not.  Inwardly we can be renewed day by day.  Eugene Peterson in Run With the Horses said it very well: “One of the supreme tasks of the faith community is to announce to us early and clearly the kind of life into which we can grow, to help us set our sights on what it means to be a human being complete.  Not one of us, at this moment, is complete.  In another hour, another day, we will have changed.  We are in process of becoming either less or more.  There are a million chemical and electrical interchanges going on in each of us this very moment.  There are intricate moral decisions and spiritual transactions taking place.  What are we becoming?  Less or more?”

In response to his own question, Peterson notes that 1 John 3:2 gives us the answer: Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  We are children; we will be adults.  We can see what we are now; we are children of God.  We don’t yet see the results of what we are becoming, but we know the goal, to be like Christ, or in Paul’s words, to arrive at mature manhood, to the measure of the statue of the fullness of Christ.  (Eph. 4:13)

“We do not deteriorate.  We do not disintegrate.  We become.” – Eugene Peterson

How’s your “becoming”?

PRAYER:  What wonderful news, Father, that we don’t deteriorate spiritually – but that we are becoming mature persons in Christ!  Shelter us safe as we grow and get strong in You, even as our bodies get weak and fail.  Help us to remember that we are not destined for deterioration, but for becoming!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 2/16/18 – The Jewish Sabbath Secret

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DayBreaks for 2/16/18: The Jewish Sabbath Secret

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

Luke 23:50-54 (NIV) – Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t know at least something about the Jewish Sabbath.  Anyone who knows the Ten Commandments is familiar with the command to set one day aside to rest and be recreated.  Yet because of cultural differences between the ancient Jews and modern day people, we miss some key elements that we should not miss.

The passage above from Luke 23 tells us the reason that Jesus was taken down from the cross in such a rush – and in John, it also tells us that the approaching Sabbath was the reason the legs of the thieves were broken and Christ’s side was pierced.  The Jews didn’t want such things happening on the Sabbath – it would have been flat wrong to their way of thinking and belief. 

Bear in mind the time of day when Jesus died…it was in the late afternoon, shortly before 6 p.m.  Sabbath would begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. because the ancient Jews counted time from sundown onward.  Today, we use the convention that a new day starts just after midnight, but the Jews felt it started the evening before.  In reality, even though our clock tells us a new day starts at 12:01 a.m., for all intents and purposes, most of us think of the new day starting when the sun comes up.

Why is that important?  And what does it have to do with the meaning and purpose of Sabbath itself?  A lot, I think, and it has spiritual ramifications: we start the day out with getting ready to go to work, to begin our labors.  The Jews, on the other hand, started their day out with a time of feasting and giving thanks, and then with sleep.  What difference does that make?  I think it says a lot about who is in charge of our lives and our times.  The Jews began their day with a meal and thanksgiving to God, and then instead of working, they laid down to sleep through the night.  On the other hand, we start it out with a quick breakfast (often hurried without time for leisurely giving of thanks) and running off to work to control our destinies.

By worship and then sleeping, the Jews were acknowledging that this new day was from God, and that they could rest in that knowledge.  Sleep is a very real kind of self-relinquishment or self-abandonment.  When we’re sleeping, we’re helpless.  Someone could steal in and murder us or rob us and we’d be oblivious to it.  When we are sleeping, we relinquish all attempts at making money, controlling life, controlling others, being successful.  When we sleep, we are acknowledging our weakness – that we MUST rest.  But the God who watched over Israel (and over us) never sleeps nor slumbers.  And by sleeping first in the day, the Jews showed their trust in God for all that each day would bring.

I know that we aren’t going to be able to change the way the world views time these days, but in our hearts, maybe we’d be wise to recognize our laying down to sleep as the start of a new day – reminding ourselves that we can rest in, and because, of God who never takes His eyes off of us.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for new days and new beginnings, and for inviting us first and foremost to rest in you, knowing you are ever vigilant!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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