DayBreaks for 4/16/18 – Can’t You See?

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DayBreaks for 4/16/18: Can’t You See?       

From the Perimeter worship bulletin (this forms an introduction to a series of sermons and DayBreaks from the book of Habakkuk that I’ll share in the coming weeks):

“Can’t you see, oh can’t you see, what that woman, she been doing’ to me? Can’t you see, can’t you see, what that woman, Lord, been doing’ to me?” – lyric from the Marshall Tucker band

It was a question the Marshall Tucker band asked in the 1970’s. Waylon Jennings asked the same question. More recently, the Zac Brown band asked it. The writer is upset because his woman left him, and did not say goodbye. He is at the point of despair. He is “…gonna take a freight train, or find a hole to craw in” because he has no relief. He is asking why the Lord can’t see his misery, or that he’s been “done wrong.”

Have you ever felt that way or asked the question, “Can’t you see, God?” I have asked the Lord that on numerous occasions. It seems funny as I write it, that I would actually ask the omniscient God if he can see. The gentle but firm reality is that he can see. I am the one who cannot see. He may not be telling me what he does see. Be assured that he sees. Sometimes in our frustration at life’s situations, we want to be all knowing and all seeing. Something has not been granted to us, and so we ask, “Can’t you see?” Underneath that question we add a corollary, “Won’t you deal with what I see?”

There is a problem with doing that. Because we don’t fully see, we may not know how to tell him the right thing to do. A word picture may help. Sit with your back to a window, then try to recall everything that is outside the window. You may be a few things correct, but birds are flying, leaves are falling, and the sun is rising. Things change and often they are in your blind spot, where you cannot notice them. God sees all, all of the time. One pastor put it this way, “We may have a point of view, but God has view!”

So, this week…we wonder if you can praise the Lord for having view, resting in the fact that he has it, he sees it, and he knows just want needs to be done. Yes, he knows “what that woman (or man) been doin’ to you”, so there is no need to take a freight train!

PRAYER: God, sometimes we think we see and understand better than you do. Keep us from this foolish way of thinking and help us learn to trust you and your vision above our own! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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DayBreaks for 11/20/17 – In Due Time

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DayBreaks for 11/20/17: In Due Time

NOTE: Galen is traveling…again.

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:

“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly, somewhere over the rainbow, why then, oh why, can’t I?”  Every heart carries dreams and hopes and ambitions.  I’ve always wanted to be able to fly (without being in an airplane.)  I know other people who have dreamed of sailing the south Pacific or climbing some of the earth’s tallest mountains.  Others dream of being a police officer, astronaut, explorer, singer, dancer or actor.  Hopes and dreams are an essential part of life. 

In Discipleship Journal, Carole Mayhall tells of a woman who went to a diet center to lose weight.  The director took her to a full-length mirror.  On it he outlined a figure and told her, “This is what I want you to be like at the end of the program.”  Days of intense dieting and exercise followed, and every week the woman would stand in front of the mirror, discouraged because her bulging outline didn’t fit the director’s ideal.  But she kept at it, and finally one day she conformed to the longed-for image.  – Daily Bread, August 8, 1990

For a long time, as a child, I wanted to be either a brain surgeon or astronaut.  When I started off to college, I was torn between pursuing a career in medicine or in ministry.  For over 25 years, I did neither, although I took classes that could have led in both directions.  The thrill of holding someone’s physical life in my hands during surgery was intoxicating.  The adventure and wonder of flying through space to the moon caught my imagination. 

What we dream of and long for help to shape what we actually become.  That’s partly why Scripture says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  (Phil. 4:8)  We’re also told that we are what we think about in our hearts.  We’re told what our vision should be: to lock our eyes on to Christ and to become like him.  Pretty heady stuff, when you think about that one!

The absence of dreams (a vision and focus for life) can be equally serious: we can wind up just drifting along and one day we bump into shore and we are something that we never wanted to be, stuck somewhere in a place we never wanted to be.  God wants more for us, for you, than that. 

I have been out of high school now for a staggering 47 years (as of 2017).  Even if I’d pursued a career in medicine, I would have been out of college for 35 years or so.  Are there days when I still wish that I was a neurosurgeon or astronaut?  Yeah, there are.  But they’re a lot less frequent now.  Here’s what I want to be when I grow up: I want to be Christ-like.  It is hard to imagine that such a thing is possible, but Peter says it is in 2 Peter 1.  2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) says: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Like the woman in front of the mirror who saw the shape of what she wanted to be gradually became the shape she actually was, let us all fix our eyes on the perfect Image, the exact Image, of God.  And in due time, if we don’t grow weary, we will take on that Image to His everlasting glory.

PRAYER:  Jesus, it’s hard to believe that we could come to look like You.  Help us to keep looking at You and to You, our perfect example.  May we regain what we were meant to be that we have lost through sin.  Help us to be patient with ourselves, even as You patiently shape us.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 7/14/17 – A Sight to Behold

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Photo of Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, 2006. Galen C. Dalrymple

DayBreaks for 7/14/17: A Sight to Behold

From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?  It’s a tough question, isn’t it?  My first reaction would be to reflect on a high mountain meadow in the Sierra Nevada’s that I saw while hiking with my best friend, Ken.  Or, a sunset on evening as we were out in our little boat returning from a fishing trip in the San Joaquin delta when the water was as smooth as glass but as colorful as an artist’s palette.  Possibly, it would be Hidden Lake at the top of the continental divide in Glacier National Park – a spot you can’t see from the road, but you have to hike back to it over about a mile or two of snow, up past the shoulders of towering granite uprisings. 

I hope that I will never forget the beauty of those things.  I remember at the time, thinking that I wanted to remember them forever.  And I still can, but if I’m to be totally honest about it, the memories do fade a bit over time.  The colors in my imagination aren’t quite as bright as they were in reality.  I guess memory is like color film – it fades over time. 

So, those were my first inclinations in regard to the opening question.  However, as I thought about it more, perhaps the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is my children, or my grandchildren, as they sleep.  It might seem strange to some to say that the most beautiful thing I’ve seen is people.  People who are near and dear to me.  People that I’d gladly give my life for.

Try to imagine the blind man that Jesus healed.  He’s been blind since birth.  He’s never seen a bird, a flower, a sunrise or sunset.  He’s never seen his mother’s face, he can’t understand the concept of color in the sky or reflected off the water.  He has no point of reference, no sense of visual depth perception.  He’s never seen…anything.  And then one day, along comes Jesus of Nazareth, a man who has been reputed to give sight to the blind and to make the lame walk and the deaf hear.  The man’s mind must have been running at full tilt: could this be the day when he, too, would receive sight?

As it turns out, it was his “lucky” day.  And what to his wondering eyes should appear?  No, it wasn’t a sleigh full of toys and small reindeer.  It was Jesus.  Can you imagine the very first thing you ever see being the face of God?  Would anything ever again live up to that moment, to that sight?  This, truly, is a sight to behold.  It is the sight we all long to behold, if we are His. 

We will have to wait until God decides it is time for you and I to see Him.  Waiting…seeing now only by faith, but not by sight…it can be a long and difficult wait.  But it will be worth it ten thousand times over.  And nothing we will ever see again, not even the streets of gold in heaven itself, will equal the moment when we awaken from our dying moment only to see the Savior’s face. It will make the long, dark years of our “blindness” and waiting worth it.

PRAYER:  Lord of creation, we know You are not the creation itself, but the Maker of all.  Yet in the creation, we see glimpses, tiny flashes, of Your beauty and glory.  Thank you that we will someday see You in all Your risen glory, and that we will behold Your face throughout all of eternity.  How we long to see Your glory!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 7/07/17 – Give Me Those Eyes!

DayBreaks for 7/07/17: Give Me Those Eyes

Matthew 17 records the story of the transfiguration of Jesus. It only takes eight verses to give us the details, but also to capture our imaginations. I’ve heard this story a bazillion times, read it not quite that many, but when Michael Card recently share it in his The Card Community email newsletter, something struck me that I’d not noticed before. Here’s what the text says: Matthew 17:7-8 (NLT) – Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked, they saw only Jesus.

Moments before the disciples (verse 5) were terrified and fell face down to the ground for at least three reasons: 1) Jesus was shining like the sun, 2) they witnessed “dead” men standing and talking (sorta like Sixth Sense) in Moses and Elijah, and 3) they’d heard the voice of God which always (well, more often than not) struck fear into mortals. Is it any wonder they went face down!?!?!

But verse 7 tells us that as soon as that happened, Jesus went over to them, touched them and told them to not be afraid. That’s when the disciples looked up and when they did, what did they see? Only Jesus.

Gone were Elijah and Moses, gone was the terrifying glow and thundering voice. All that was left was Jesus.

Oh, how I hope that every time I look up, every time that I lift my eyes, I will see only Jesus! My eyes are prone to wander and try to take in everything, but only one thing is really important – and that is to see and look constantly and steadfastly at him!

When I’m afraid, I need to see him. When I’m joyful, I need to see him. When I’m confused, let me see him. When I’m tempted, let me fasten my eyes on him. In short, may the only thing we see be Him!

PRAYER: God, give me those eyes that see only Jesus and not the things that frighten or terrify! Let my fears be put to rest as I look up to see my Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 10/28/16 – Problems With Eyesight

DayBreaks for 10/287/16 – Problems With Eyesight

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:

As I get older, I find that I don’t trust what I see as much as I once did.  It’s time to go visit the eye doctor again – maybe that will help some.  It’s harder to tell distances on the golf course, if I have my glasses off, I have to hold books really close in order to read the words.  Sometimes at night, shadows can fool me into thinking that some animal is out there on the hillside when in reality, nothing is there.  So, I’m learning not to trust my eyesight too much.

Craig Larsen was struck with how our selective eyesight can cause us to miss things we’d rather not see.  As he sat in a park on a summer day, he started watching several robins that were looking for something to eat.  As he really watched them, and then reflected on what he saw, he realized that the innocent-looking birds that to many are so delightful as the heralds of spring, are really vicious killers.  He wrote: “They hop along in the grass, pause cutely, cock their heads, and stare at the ground.  Then they pounce on their unsuspecting prey, savagely pounding their beaks like jackhammers into the soil, sending dirt flying until they seize the unarmed father and mother of many baby worms and mercilessly snip it to pieces.  With a slurp, the robins gobble up their still-writing victims.  But their bloodlust is not satisfied.  They are serial killers.  Without remorse, they hope off to repeat their brutality.”

Perhaps we struggle especially when it comes to spiritual eyesight.  I’ve been preaching through the gospel of John, and one of the things that is front and center many times is the lack of spiritual eyesight on the part of those who should be able to see spiritual truths the most clearly.  But the Pharisees were blind to truths about Jesus that they didn’t want to see, and the “commoners” were blinded to the flaws of the Pharisees. 

We all have spiritual blind spots in our lives.  We probably know what most of them are if we take even a couple of minutes to think about them and pray about them, but we seldom do that because we don’t like to admit our weaknesses and sins.  But we need to observe ourselves carefully.  What are the tendencies that lead us into sin?  What unrepented-of sin do we have in our lives that we don’t even acknowledge and confess to God? 

And another warning: we also tend to look at other people and draw conclusions about them that may be very incorrect.  Just as the robin, when you think about it, is a serial killer of worms even while it wears it’s colorful orange breast feathers, people aren’t always what they seem to be, either.  None of us are fully transparent and open about who we are, what we think, even what we do.  We’ve all been in denial since the garden of Eden, suffering from bad eyesight and poor comprehension. 

PRAYER:  Lord, we so easily are impressed by that which is flashy and showy.  We tend to only look at surface things and to only see in ourselves what we want to see, and to see problems in everyone else.  Search our hearts with Your Spirit and give us the courage to bear the things you reveal to us and to repent of our blindness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 9/16/16 – Glass, Mirrors and the Power of Silver

 

 

DayBreaks for 9/16/16 – Glass, Mirrors and the Power of Silver

An enormously rich man complained to a psychiatrist that despite his great wealth which enabled him to have whatever he wanted, he still felt miserable. The psychiatrist took the man to the window overlooking the street and asked, “What do you see?” The man replied, “I see men, women, and children.”

The psychiatrist then took the man to stand in front of mirror and asked, “Now what do you see?”

The man said, “I see only myself.”

The psychiatrist then said, “In the window there is a glass and in the mirror there is glass, and when you look through the glass of the window, you see others, but when you look into the glass of the mirror you see only yourself. The reason for this, “said the psychiatrist, “is that behind the glass in the mirror is a layer of silver. When silver is added, you cease to see others. You only see yourself.”

Whenever your devotion to money and material things causes you to be self-centered, you in essence deny God’s intention for your life. It is also a denial of the Christ, for Jesus came into the world so that we might be in union with God.

Jesus talked more about money than any other subject in the Scriptures. I always thought it was because it was too easy to make it our idol and to pursue it too strongly. The story of the rich man I relayed above gives me pause to reflect a bit more deeply about it. Perhaps the danger of silver (a metaphor in the story for money) is that it only allows us to see ourselves and not the needs of those around us.

PRAYER: God, I confess to you that all my life I’ve been far too concerned about money.  I confess I’ve not been a good steward.  I confess it is far too easy for me to see only myself and my wants and wishes rather than to see those all around me who could benefit from my generously (and hopefully wisely!) giving what you have already given to me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/11/16 – Vision Correction

DayBreaks for 3/11/16: Vision Correction

NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time!  From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:

As of 3/9, a friend of mine just had his eyes operated on so that he will no longer have to wear glasses.  I’m so very happy for him – it seems to have been very successful so far!  Why did he do it?  He wanted better vision.  Maybe we all need better vision…

Psalm 57:1-3 (NLT) –  Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.  I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah.  God sends his love and his faithfulness.

This Psalm was written by David when he was hiding in the cave from Saul.  We may think of David as having a fairly idyllic life – a shepherd, a national hero, a king – the most beloved of all the Israelite kings.  I suppose we like to idealize heroes.  But David had a hard, difficult life – perhaps more difficulty than green pastures in sum total. 

I see two distinctly different thoughts in this passage.  First of all, we can all identify with the human emotions that David was feeling.  In verse 4 he claims to be surrounded by men (David calls them beasts in the first part of verse 4) with sharp teeth and arrows, just waiting to devour him.  Certainly our problems can be seen that way, if not our enemies, too.  And so it was for David – quite literally his enemies were waiting to cut him up and tear him apart – and his main enemy at that moment was the king of Israel!  Taking refuge in the shadow of God’s wings is a beautiful picture.  It reminds me of how the mother hens would take their little chicks under their wings at the first approach of danger.  That’s an image from my childhood on the farm that I’ll never forget.  Verse 2 reminds us that God’s purposes for our lives will be fulfilled, not by us, but by the One who has purposed for us.  This is a tremendous relief from responsibility in a way, since we control nothing and could not make His purposes work out for us even if we knew in advance what they were.  We’d make too many wrong choices along the way, have to many distorted and erroneous perceptions of what His purpose is for us.  So if it depended on us to fulfill God’s purposes for us, well, we’d be a sorry lot, indeed. 

The second view of this passage is to see it in a Messianic light:

  1. Christ, in the garden and on the Cross, sought refuge for his soul in His Father, pleading for mercy to allow the cup of sorrow to pass and the cup of God’s wrath that was poured out on Christ against our sin to be lifted from his shoulders if possible.
  2. He takes refuge in the shadow of God’s wings until the disaster has passed. What was the disaster? From one perspective, it could be the death of the Sinless for the sinful, the death of God for man.  (From a human perspective, however, it was anything but a disaster – it would have been a disaster for us if it hadn’t happened!)  We are told that darkness covered the face of the earth during the time that Christ was on the cross – could that have been the shadow of God’s wings passing over the scene of the mutiny against Love that was happening on the cross?  Once Jesus died, there is no indication that the darkness continued – once the “disaster has passed.” 
  3. He certainly cried out to God, and God fulfilled His purpose for the Incarnation upon the cross. Yet his cry was, “Where are You? Why have You forsaken me?!”  And in that very forsakenness, God had indeed fulfilled His purpose in Christ, in the Incarnation, for the separation was required due to the sin that Christ had become (2 Cor. 5:21).
  4. How did God send from heaven and save Christ? Through his death and his Spirit being committed into the hands of the Father. In so doing, by his relatively quick death (crucifixion could sometimes take days to snuff out a life), those who pursued Christ and fastened him to the cross were rebuked – they were deprived of prolonging the torturous scene and of tormenting Jesus even more, of taunting God Himself with their evil gloating and celebrations. 
  5. God sent his Love in the person of Christ and in the faithfulness of His promises being fulfilled – promises made to Adam/Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the prophets, i.e., to all mankind. And certainly, He sent His love to gather up the spirit of Jesus that was so recently committed into His care.

I’m all to prone to take the Psalms and try to apply them to myself.  Of course, when the writer penned these words, he didn’t know anything about Christ’s coming and suffering and death, so they were very personal to the one who wrote them so long ago.  It is in hindsight (even with hindsight, our vision certainly isn’t 20/20) that we can see the applications to Jesus.  As I read such passages as this and meditate on them, I need to remember that the story of the Bible isn’t about me and my myriad of problems – it’s about HIM and what He did for us!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  We are so prone to thinking that life and death and struggles and victories are all about us, Father.  We are so consumed with our own issues that our first inclination is to think about ourselves – rather than about You and what You have and are doing.  Help us see Jesus more clearly in the Word each day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen