DayBreaks for 12/9/19 – When I Survey the Heavens

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DayBreaks for 12/09/19: When I Survey the Heavens

Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up [God’s] dominion over the earth?” – Job 38:31-33 (NIV)

I suspect that we don’t contemplate the greatness of God nearly enough.  Of course, it is difficult to do so.  When we think of great things, we might think of an aircraft carrier, Mount Everest, the immense Pacific Ocean and the like.  We tend to think of greatness many times in relation to size.  The bigger it is, the greater it seems to be.  And, since none of us really have seen God, we don’t know how big He is.  He may be the same size as a human, smaller, bigger, or big enough that He fills all space.  He probably can change sizes if it suits His purpose.  But God isn’t impressed with size, is He?

Well, no, He’s not.  He’s not impressed with size or the amount of skill a human has or the size of someone’s bank account. He does, however, seem to want us to be impressed with His greatness (as we should be anyway!)  The problem is this: since no one can see Him and live, how can He demonstrate His greatness to us in ways we can even begin to comprehend?  Of course, there’s what happened in the Incarnation and the life of Jesus that tells us about God’s character (mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, humility, etc.).  Those are things that we must be impressed by if nothing else.  But He also points us to the heavens – to something visible – that we can literally see and then we can stand back in awe. 

Bill Bryson did a great job in his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, to begin to help us grasp the size of one part of God’s creation: space.  Let’s let him educate is for the purposes of understanding God’s greatness as witnessed by this one part of His creation:

The universe that we know and talk about (which by the way is probably not all there is since we can’t see the end of the universe, is 1 million million million million (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) miles across.  According to at least one astronomer, the size of the meta-universe (the superset of the universe we can presently see and know) most likely isn’t written with “10 zeroes, not even with a hundred, but with millions.” 

Those numbers are so large that we can’t even begin to embrace their meaning.  So, let’s settle down to just our solar system.  Our solar system is most likely the liveliest thing for trillions of miles, but all the visible stuff in our solar system (sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, etc.) fills less than 1 trillionth of the space available in the solar system.  Remember those maps of the solar system you saw in school?  I hate to tell you this, but they’re all wrong – exceedingly wrong.  But in order to be able to show them so we could learn the names of the 9 planets (I know, Pluto is not considered a planet anymore, but I’m old school!), they put them all on one piece of paper.  If you were to draw the diagram of the solar system to scale with earth at the size of a pea, the planet Jupiter would be over 1000 feet away from earth and little cold Pluto would be 1.5 miles from earth (and about the size of a bacterium so you wouldn’t be able to see it at all).  Our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, would be nearly 10,000 miles away.  Even if everything was shrunk down so that Jupiter was as small as the period at the end of this sentence and Pluto was no bigger than a molecule, Pluto would still be 35 feet away. 

 

Proxima Centauri is 100,000,000 times farther from earth than the moon.  To make the trip by modern spaceship would require 25,000 years, and once you got there, you’d still be in the middle of nowhere.  It has been estimated that the average distance between stars that are visible is 20 million, million miles.  Anyone up for a hike?

Is it any wonder that when God wanted Job to understand His greatness He referred Job to the heavens: 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. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. – Psalms 19:1-5 (NIV)

In this season of wonder regarding the Incarnation of Jesus, let’s not lose sight of this aspect of wonder, too!

PRAYER: May we ponder Your greatness and give You alone the praise of our hearts!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 7/24/14 – Look Up and Be Re-sized!

DayBreaks for 7/24/14 – Look Up and Be Re-sized

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/23/2004:

We live in a culture that appreciates big, powerful things.  It wasn’t enough just to build a memorial at Ground Zero in New York City.  No, they had to come up with a design that resulted in another huge, massive building.  We look admiringly at powerful women and men – whether they are sports figures, actors/actresses, politicians or business folk.  We are captivated by greatness and grandeur.

Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT)  – When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?

You see, I think that our attraction to greatness is part of what God put in us that was intended to lead us to seek Him.  Sadly, as with all other God-given abilities, even this one can be perverted into something unrecognizable.  But as David, as a young shepherd laying in the fields at night, lifted his eyes to the heavens, he was struck with the incredible greatness of the Creator.  David had no idea how many stars there were, let alone how many galaxies.  He had no concept of the light-year, nor of the incredibly vast distances that had been traveled by the light of the stars that fell on his retina.  But that’s OK – he didn’t need to have that kind of understanding.  Just seeing the night sky was enough, and when David looked up, he was resized.

It may have been the day that David slew the lion that he looked up at the stars and wondered about why God should care for us.  He may have just had the most successful day of his life.  Or he may have had his worst.  Either way, when we look upward toward God, we are inevitably resized into a better perspective of ourselves.  We are not the almighty – only He is Almighty.  We are not even very good, let alone great.  But God! – well now, He’s something else! 

And why should He care for us?  Several reasons I should think:

1. He made us and is therefore responsible for us in a real moralistic sense;

2. He gave us a spirit, an eternal soul, that is unique among His creation (as far as we know), and that makes us special;

3. He made us to “look” like Himself – a huge compliment that was not paid to the stars or moon or sun;

4. He loves us beyond reason and beyond our ability to hope or understand.

But the key point of this DayBreaks isn’t what makes us special – except that God thinks we are special.  That we matter to Him, that He thinks about us and cares for us.

No matter what kind of day you have today, let me encourage you tonight to go outside with a blanket and lay down on the grass and look up at the stars and think about God.  Go ahead – don’t worry about what the neighbors will think!  Get lost in the wonder of His greatness.  You just may sleep better tonight as a result!

PRAYER: Fill our hearts with Your Spirit that we may have not only your mind, but also your heart!  Let glory come to You from what people see flowing forth from our hearts!.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 6/27/14 – He Thinks About You

DayBreaks for 6/27/14 – He Thinks About You

Psalm 8:3-4 (MSG) I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?

Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?

I wonder if there has ever been any human being in full possession of their faculties who has not sat under the starry sky on a dark night and been spellbound with amazement?  Sure, the ancients had no concept of how many stars there are in the universe nor of the vast distances that their light has traversed to paint their image on our retinas, but I’m nearly certain that we’ve all been captured by the majestic night sky!

When I sit under the stars with all the lights far away, even with my fading vision, I feel so infinitesimally small and insignificant.  If my body were to be thrown into space by a sudden upheaval of the earth’s crust, I’d be far smaller and occupy a much tinier space than a grain of sand in the Pacific Ocean.  And I echo the words of David, “Why?  Why, God, do you even both to take a second look in my direction?”  There is perhaps nothing more humbling.  Maybe that’s why He created space so immense – to teach us the difference between us and Him.

Helmut Thielicke says that during World War II, his students often wrote from the battlefield saying, “I am so exhausted from marching, my stomach is so empty, I am so plagued with lice and scratching, I am so tormented by the biting cold of Russia and so dead tired, that I am totally occupied, without the least bit of inner space for any speculative thinking.” Sometimes they would write that they were too weak to leaf through the Bible and were even lazy about the Lord’s Prayer. Dr. Thielicke would reply, “Be thankful that the Gospel is more than a philosophy. If it were only a philosophy, you would just have it as long as you could keep it in mind and it could afford you intellectual comfort. But even when you can no longer think about God, he still thinks about you.”

Today you may feel small.  Insignificant.  Microscopic.  Unimportant.  Worthless.  Alone in a vast sea of humanity and cosmic dust.  If Scripture is to be believed (and I do believe it), though we are small, we are not insignificant to God.  Though we are microscopic, we are not invisible to Him.  Though we are unimportant in the great scheme of things, we matter to Him.  Though we are worthless in comparison, He finds us priceless.  And though we may feel alone…we never are.

We are held in not just His thoughts, but in His heart, not just for now, but for forever!

PRAYER: Thank You for “seeing” and thinking of us and believing we are of such great worth that You gave everything for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 10/18/13 – Incredible Wonder

DayBreaks for 10/18/13 – Incredible Wonder

FROM THE DayBreaks Archive:

Psalm 8:3-5 – When I consider 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, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

Good question that David asked God, isn’t it?  What was it that brought on David’s wonderment?  It was contemplating the vastness of the universe of God’s creation.

I am freshly returned from a 3-day trout fishing excursion (a highly successful one, I might add!) into the high Sierras with a couple of friends/brothers.  This is a tradition with us.  We’ve gone almost every year for 25 years.  (There were 1 or 2 years where we didn’t make it, but that’s all.)  But even after all that time, every time I go to see what God has made, I share in David’s wonder.

I stood one evening at the base of a tall Ponderosa pine tree that was right behind the tent we slept in.  It was dark and I lifted my eyes to the top of the tree.  Immediately above the tip of the tree, almost as if it was in perfect alignment, was a star.  I don’t know what the name of the star was, or even if it was a star or a distant galaxy that just looked like a star, but all of a sudden, I felt so tiny.  The tree dwarfed me.  The tip of the tree towered over me and made me feel small.  And then my eyes lifted on up to the star, and I did my best to comprehend the vast distance that one would have to fall from the star to the top of the tree.  Knowing that the star couldn’t have been nearly as far away as many objects in space (otherwise it wouldn’t have even been visible to the naked eye), I felt incredibly miniscule, yet amazed, that God knows me.  He knows all about me.  He knew what I would have for breakfast before I ate it.  He knew my last thought before I thought it.  He has to manage the entire universe – yet He has time for me.

I must confess, that the last part of David’s utterance is a bit harder for me to accept, but David says it is true: we have been crowned with glory and honor.  How?  In what way?  I think there are several ways:

FIRST: we alone, of all creatures, bear God’s image.  Whales don’t, chimpanzees don’t, dolphins don’t.  Only mankind.  That alone should be enough to make use honored and glorious.

SECOND: we alone, of all creatures, are the beneficiaries of Christ’s sacrifice.  He didn’t die for redwood trees, needle-sharp mountains nor for the stars in distant space.  His blood wasn’t needed to take away sin from the rest of his creation, only from us.  Yet it was a price he felt was worth it.  That says something about us being crowned with honor and glory.

The next time that you are tempted to think that you aren’t important or don’t count for much, go out and look at the stars at night – and contemplate that you are far more glorious than anything that sparkles in the sky above! 

PRAYER: Father, we are grateful that for those who believe in You, the account has already been settled and all debts paid.  Help us avoid the deception of Satan that causes us to think our actions no longer matter or that the cost to settle our debt was small!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!

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

Thank you!  Your donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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DayBreaks 03/03/11 – Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New

DayBreaks for 3/03/11 – Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New

Winter isn’t over yet, but where we live it is already turning towards early spring.  The almond trees have blossoms on them, the wild yellow mustard has grown up between the rows of vines that dot the hillsides and valley.  The blue herons that nest high up in a digger pine at the corner of our property have built their nests and are busily at work to raise up another generation of herons.  The grasses are growing and, except for the rainy days, birdsong seems to arise from the air itself.

 

His world is amazingly beautiful...

What an amazingly beautiful natural world we live in!  What an awesome God we have who thought to create such wonders!  Many have been those who stood and marveled at the things we can perceive with our senses…and how beautiful they are.  The Psalmist said, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. A poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins put it in these words: The world is charged with the grandeur of God.  Thomas Plunkett noted: I see His blood upon the rose. And St. Augustine was carried away in a rhapsody when he exclaimed: O Beauty ever ancient, ever new!

 

I have come to believe that I love photography so much because I find in it a way to pursue some of the beauty of His creation…and in so doing I often find myself wondering anew at the beauty of the Creator.

In Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning wrote: As a child, John Henry Newman imagined that behind every flower there lurked an angel who made it grow and blossom.  Later in life, as the foremost theologian in England, he wrote, ‘The reality is more profound.  It is God Himself who can be discovered in the beauty of sensible things.’

Those who look beyond the literal see the world as a metaphor for God.  When they direct us to the majesty of the mountains, the beauty of the prairies, the variety of wildflowers along the roadside, the smell of mint and hay on a summer morning, the rumble of a train through the valley, the sound of a waterfall, they birth the Word in our midst.  They dare us to dream of our homeland, where eye has not seen, neither has ear heart, nor has the imagination conceived of the beauty that awaits us.

Enjoy His beauty today…look for it, and let Him take your breath away!

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for creating beauty, for being Beautiful in Yourself!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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