DayBreaks for 3/24/20 – Hallway Through the Sea #4: Out of the Depths

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DayBreaks for 3/24/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #4 – Out of the Depths

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/23/20:

For today’s musical pairing, something different: this acoustic version of Stay and Wait by Hillsong UNITED. See the video below.

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’”
Exodus 14:13–14

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Exodus 14:21–22

Day 4. 350,536 confirmed cases, 15,328 deaths globally.

In the Book of Exodus, a series of increasingly catastrophic plagues loosened Pharaoh’s grip just long enough for the Israelites to make their way into the wilderness. Pharaoh reversed course and pursued them. The Israelites faced a vastly superior army on one side and the Red Sea on the other. They were hemmed in. “The Lord will fight for you,” Moses tells them. “You need only to be still.”

Then followed one of the most renowned and spectacular of all the miracles in the Bible. God “divided” the waters and the Israelites passed through, “with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

It must have been an awe-inspiring experience to walk that hallway through the sea. It must also have been terrifying. At any moment, those towering walls could have crashed in upon them. Instead, after the Israelites ascended onto the far shore, the hallway collapsed upon the army of Pharaoh and freed the people of God.

The number of confirmed cases of and deaths from the pandemic in the United States soared over the weekend. We know the numbers will continue their rapid climb as symptoms begin to manifest and testing catches up with reality.

We feel, O Lord, like those Israelites passing through the sea. We are exhausted and bewildered. A frightening enemy pursues us. Danger looms at every side. The only way is forward. We know there is hope on the far shore, but we have not yet begun our ascent.

To read the rest of this meditation, click this link: 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/out-of-depths.html?fbclid=IwAR21Z_2oaNU3s0pX3_E3kdL9EpuKmFBntmIG_tnpaJ_v5PWVmb9IYSJx0N0

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTMagazine/

PRAYER: Lord, as you led your people through the waters long ago, we trust in you to lead us through this perilous time.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/20/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #1 – The Shepherd in the Dark

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DayBreaks for 3/20/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #1 – The Shepherd in the Dark

We are in uncharted territory as a nation and world…at least uncharted as far as those of us who are alive today are concerned. The world has seen pandemics in the past but we’ve not seen it in our times. Many, even Christians, are fearful and greatly concerned. In recognition of that, my son Tim Dalrymple at Christianity Today, is starting to publish a daily devotion to help us navigate this journey. 

Starting today, I’ll be republishing them (a portion each day) with a link to that days’ full post on Christianity Today’s Facebook page. I feel confident you’ll be blessed.

From Christianity Today, The Hallway Through The Sea: The Shepherd in the Dark, 3/19/20:

Editor’s note: We confront a public health challenge unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. Yet we believe there is beauty even in times of trial. Beginning today and each weekday hereafter, for however long, CT will publish a meditation from our president and CEO. We will pair it with a work of art or music to inspire and bring beauty through the darkness of this season.

Today we pair the meditation below with Verses by Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott. Also see this dance choreographed by Robert Bandara to the same piece. (Song embedded below.)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

Day 1. 211,853 confirmed cases and 8,724 deaths.

Onward it comes. The world slows to a still. We hold our breath. We listen. We watch. And the affliction stretches swiftly across the land like a darkening tide.

We feel, again, the long fingers of fear scratching at our lungs. Fear of loss. Fear of death. Fear of the chaos held at the gate.

We are lost in a trackless forest of information. We grasp for the apple of knowledge in the hope it will bring us peace, and yet fear lies coiled liked a worm within the apple. We consume the apple; the worm consumes us. The food we hoped would satisfy only makes our hunger more painful. No amount of knowledge will take our fear away.

To be human is to stand suspended over a chasm. To be human is to be vulnerable.

But when have we ever not been vulnerable? We have never been more than one week, one day, or even one moment away from losing the things we love in this world.

O Lord, we have always been in your hands. At your mercy. Why should that frighten us now?

The shadow of death is an old enemy and a wise friend. Memento mori, it whispers. Remember your days are numbered. Remember your days have always been numbered since before the first day dawned. Remember each day is a gift. And remember you have never been anything other than wholly and frightfully and wonderfully dependent on your God.

To read the rest of the article, click this link:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/covid-19-devotional-shepherd-dark-coronavirus-pandemic.html?fbclid=IwAR1BOMR_kHCzI1u8d89bFQI8epYDeDrf96QnLrbDlRasdcvWlKuOZ7rXfJk

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTMagazine/

PRAYER: Lord, you hold the whole world in your hands. Remind us often that there’s no better place for us to be than in your care!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/12/20 – A Harder God to Believe In

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DayBreaks for 3/12/20: A Harder God to Believe In

I don’t know who said this, but I found it resonated with my own spirit:

“What I am displeased with is my own living of life.  I feel an acute sense that I ought to have done better with the circumstances I was given.  This is one of the reasons why it cut me so deeply when people suggested that suffering is God’s discipline — because I find it so very, very easy to believe in a God who is profoundly disappointed in me. 

“It seems utterly natural to believe in the Disappointed God, because I myself am disappointed.  He must be even more disappointed, I think, because his standards are so much higher than mine.  How could he not be disappointed?  That makes complete sense to me.

“It’s the other God, the God who does not experience that kind of disappointment, the God who sees me the way that Prodigal Son’s father saw him — that is the harder God for me to believe in.  It takes work for me to believe in that God.” 

It takes me no effort whatsoever to believe in a God who is very thoroughly disappointed in me.  I am now a minister of the gospel, but it took me nearly 25 years to get to this point – 25 years of secular work.  Yes, I was serving in the church all that time, but not in what I believe I was called to do.  And even though I can see how, in His wisdom, He has used all the things I did and learned in the secular work world to be a better pastor (though I still have much to learn!), I can believe He might have been frustrated with me for not going into the ministry right away (as I considered doing.) 

And, even if I concede to myself that I was still serving God and perhaps even doing what I was supposed to be doing for those 25 years, I can still look at my life and think, “Galen – you really should be further along than you are in your faith walk with Jesus.  Your faith is still shaky.  You still struggle with some of the same old sins that have plagued you for years.  You quench the Spirit from time to time – far too often, actually.  You are not generous.  You can be envious.  You could be a much better husband than you are and a better pastor to the flock, too.”  Those thoughts come easily.  And I’m sure that similar thoughts come easily to you in your own situation.

What a change took place in my life when I learned that God was running towards me to embrace me and weep at my feeble attempts to come to Him!  Do I believe that that God is real – that He is the God I’ve sought to serve all these years?  Yes…but it is harder.  It is harder to accept grace than to live with the whip of the lash.  I feel I deserve the lash, but instead of the lash on my back, I feel the Father’s arm as He puts on the robe of righteousness that Christ wore around His shoulders.  I feel His tears against my cheek – not tears of sadness or despair, but tears of exultant joy.  He takes pleasure in me…and that’s a hard God to believe in.

PRAYER: How desperately we need reminders that You run to us, not from us, and that You rejoice in us through Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/09/20 – Though He Slay Me

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DayBreaks for 3/9/20: Though He Slay Me

Job 13:15 – Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.

It is when Job final gives vent to his angst that he makes this amazing statement. Think about what he’s saying for a moment in the first part of that verse (paraphrasing): even if he kills me, I’ll hope and trust in him.

Now, who is going to place their trust and hope in someone who is going to kill them? It makes no sense, right? Why would someone make such a statement?

I think it is only because Job knew God so well that, much as Abraham reasoned that God could raise Isaac from the dead, Job believed that if God slew him it was for a good reason. He believed that God was trustworthy – even up to and through the point of being killed by him. That takes faith! In some ways it is perhaps a greater statement of faith than Abram’s readiness to sacrifice Isaac.

But still…Job, in spite of God perhaps killing him, is also ready to stand before that very God and argue his innocence face to face. And that takes trust in the character of his God, too.

Most of us would say we wouldn’t trust God if we knew God was going to kill us. It would make us question and doubt his goodness and character. But apparently, not Job.

One great note of encouragement here, though: Job was ready to argue his own case before God. I that God (literally!!!) that I will not have to stand before God and plead my own case. Instead, I have one who will plead my case for me. And when I look into the eyes of my Judge, I will see the eyes of my Savior looking back at me.

PRAYER: God, I need to walk closely enough with you that my faith could say the same thing as confidently as Job did. I thank you that my Savior will be my judge. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/05/20 – Job and the Worst Day Ever

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DayBreaks for 3/5/20: Job and the Worst Day Ever

I have always admired Job. Perhaps it’s because of how much God admired him and bragged on him. It’s hard not to admire someone about whom God is prone to boast.

You know the story: a messenger comes and tells him that some of his flocks and servants were killed in a Sabean raid. In rapid succession another messenger comes and tells him that the “fire of God” fell from the sky and killed the sheep and more servants. The third messenger proclaims the death of more servants and the camels at the hands of the Chaldeans. In short order, Job has gone from wealth to being totally bereft of any wealth or business.

Job’s response? Apparently nothing. Perhaps he realized that all those things had been given by God and he was merely the caretaker. Perhaps he reasoned that it was just “stuff” and could be replaced. We aren’t told.

But then one more messenger arrives with the worst news of all: a wind struck the home where all of his children were celebrating and every single one is dead.

Has there ever been anyone who had a worse day than Job, who lost more in such a short time? In his March 4, 2020 devotion, Michael Card reflected on this catastrophe and wrote:

“It is vitally important to really hear the first two words of chapter 1, verse 20.  They say it all.  “At this,” it reads, Job got up, tore his robe, and shaved his head.  These were the prescribed, cultural things he knew and could do without thinking in his numbed state.  They would have been expected of his by his community.  For the lack of a better term, Job made the motions of entering into mourning.
What he does next, however, is totally unexpected, even unimaginable.  Until this moment nothing remotely like it has happened in the Bible.  Till now Job has responded as he should have, as he was expected to respond, as you and I would probably respond.  What he does next seems unthinkable, almost impossible.
“Then he fell to the ground in worship.”

What would my reaction have been to such an event? I will never be as rich as Job or have as many children, but I get a hint at my reaction when little “disasters” hit me. Is my first reaction to fall on the ground in worship? No, not even close.

We will all have bad days but I doubt any of them will be worse than Job’s worst day ever. How will we react to them?

PRAYER: God, help us to keep perspective and remember that You deserve to be worshipped at all times, but that perhaps we need to turn to you in worship the most when our times are the hardest. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/04/20 – Not Cast Down

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DayBreaks for 3/04/20 – Not Cast Down

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. Psalms 37:23-24 (KJV)

With the 2010 Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver, Canada, February 12-28, chances are good that many of athletes performing on the biggest stage in the world will be dedicated Christians whose faith affects their preparation and participation in their specialized events. In an anthology entitled Finding God At Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians, American figure skater and Harvard graduate Paul Wylie writes of his experience during a very trying moment in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics:

“I set up for the first jump in my program, but as soon as I’m in the air, I know something is terribly wrong.  A flash later my hand touches the ice; the blade will not hold. I start slipping and now I realize it: I am falling. All I hear as I collapse to the ice is the empathetic groan of what seems like a million voices. I struggle to get up, hustling to get to the next move, thoughts racing through my mind as I try to cover the disappointments. There is no way of erasing a fall from the judge’s minds, nor can I jam the television transmissions to the living rooms of family and friends watching back home. This is live, and I have just blown it.

“I have four minutes left and one important choice to make. Either skate through the rest of the program believing that something constructive will come of the mishap, concentrating and performing through to the end, or continue to dwell on the fall and its consequences, inviting more mistakes caused by a negative frame of mind. A Scripture flashes through my mind that helps me with my decision: “The righteous shall fall, but they shall not be utterly cast down.” I suddenly grasp God’s perspective: he will use our successes and our failures to teach us about ourselves and to show the world his glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I move on, accepting a new role. I admit imperfection and decide to skate “heartily as unto the Lord” for God’s glory rather than my own results.

“Paul Wyle would go on to finish tenth, but his lack of success at the 1988 Games did not deter him. He continued to compete in figure skating, learning from his setback. He eventually won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics in France.” – Jerry De Luca, Montreal West, Quebec; source: Paul Wylie, “On Gravity and Lift,” in Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians (edited by Kelly Monroe Kullberf), InterVarsity Press, 2007

It is hard to fall down and not be down cast about it.  The wonderful news is that no matter what happens to us in this life, the Lord will lift us up in due time!

PRAYER: We all face hard times, Lord, times when we fall and are badly hurt.  Bring healing to us, remind us that in You we will NEVER be “utterly cast down!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 2/19/20 – One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

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DayBreaks for 2/19/20: One Greater Than Bubba Has Come

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

From John Ortberg’s sermon, Big God/Little God:

“Many years ago I was walking in Newport Beach, a beach in Southern California, with two friends. Two of us were on staff together at a church, and one was an elder at the same church. We walked past a bar where a fight had been going on inside. The fight had spilled out into the street, just like in an old western. Several guys were beating up on another guy, and he was bleeding from the forehead. We knew we had to do something, so we went over to break up the fight. … I don’t think we were very intimidating. [All we did was walk over and say,] “Hey, you guys, cut that out!” It didn’t do much good.

“Then all of a sudden they looked at us with fear in their eyes. The guys who had been beating up on the one guy stopped and started to slink away. I didn’t know why until we turned and looked behind us. Out of the bar had come the biggest man I think I’ve ever seen. He was something like six feet, seven inches, maybe 300 pounds, maybe 2 percent body fat. Just huge. We called him “Bubba” (not to his face, but afterwards, when we talked about him).

“Bubba didn’t say a word. He just stood there and flexed. You could tell he was hoping they would try and have a go at him. All of a sudden my attitude was transformed, and I said to those guys, “You better not let us catch you coming around here again!” I was a different person because I had great, big Bubba. I was ready to confront with resolve and firmness. I was released from anxiety and fear. I was filled with boldness and confidence. I was ready to help somebody that needed helping. I was ready to serve where serving was required. Why? Because I had a great, big Bubba. I was convinced that I was not alone. I was safe.

“If I were convinced that Bubba were with me 24 hours a day, I would have a fundamentally different approach to my life. If I knew Bubba was behind me all day long, you wouldn’t want to mess with me. But he’s not. I can’t count on Bubba.

“Again and again, the writers of Scripture pose this question for us: How big is your God? Again and again we are reminded that One who is greater than Bubba has come, and you don’t have to wonder whether or not he’ll show up. He’s always there. You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to live your life in hiding. You have a great, big God, and he’s called you to do something, so get on with it!”

Are you facing a huge challenge that you believe God has put squarely in front of you?  Something that you just know deep inside there is no way you can do?  Will you let your fears of failure stop you or will you get on with the task God has assigned?  It’s not easy – it takes a huge step of faith.  We fear failure so much!  We need to remember, however, that God doesn’t call us to succeed, but to obey.  If it is His plan, it will accomplish His purpose.  Sometimes I believe He may ask us to do something not so much because He “needs” a certain outcome, but because He is testing our faith and obedience. 

If you are called to do something for God, don’t hesitate.  One greater than Bubba has come and he’s got your back!

PRAYER: Thank You for the comfort of knowing that the outcomes don’t depend on us and our own achievement, but upon You and Your might!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>