DayBreaks for 3/31/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #8 – Apart is Temporary, Together Is Forever

The Military Family Advocacy Program

DayBreaks for 3/31/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #8 – Apart is Temporary, Together is Forever

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/30/20:

For today’s musical pairing, listen to “S.T.A.Y.” from Hanz Zimmer’s “Interstellar” soundtrack. Note that all the songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist here. See video below.

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” – Romans 8:15

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” – Revelation 22:20

Day 9. 775,306 confirmed cases, 37,083 deaths globally.

My youngest daughter was born on the other side of the world to a family I never met. Since her heart had not formed properly, she was left in a baby safe-house outside an orphanage and eventually found her way to people who produced the funding needed for life-saving surgery. Americans and Chinese, most of them followers of Jesus, helped her heal and grow.

She was three years old when her picture appeared on our Facebook feed. She needed a home and a “forever family.” My wife and I did not need to make a decision. We simply recognized our daughter.

Adoption is a mysterious thing. It’s not a resolution to form something new. It’s a realization that something beautiful was already formed, and we are only now beginning to realize it. My wife fought like a lioness to bring her home. “My child is stuck in another country,” she said. Our little girl called me Baba (“daddy”) when we spoke across computer screens. Although we started on opposite sides of the planet, separated by oceans and borders and languages and cultures, somehow she was a part of our family from the very beginning.

So we made our way around the world and found a little girl who was 37 inches and 39 pounds of laughter and energy and determined affection. Then we brought her home. We were apart for a little while, and now we are forever family.

You say, O Lord, we are adopted. As we watch the virus reaching swiftly across the face of the Earth, as we see it take root more firmly in our own soil, we take comfort that you have made us your children.

When you look upon us, you do not see strangers. You see your sons and daughters. You loved us before we knew you existed. You see our suffering… (Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise.

Timothy Dalrymple is president and CEO of Christianity Today. Follow him on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA COLUMNS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

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 3/30/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #7 – Let This Cup Pass

See the source image

DayBreaks for 3/30/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #7 – Let This Cup Pass

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/27/20:

For today’s musical pairing, listen to Experience by Ludovico Einaudi. Note that all the songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist here.

“Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” – Matthew 26:27–28

“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” – Matthew 26:38–39

Day 8. 576,859 confirmed cases, 26,455 deaths globally.

The United States now has more cases of COVID-19 (over 86,000) than any other country in the world. The numbers of confirmed cases and fatalities have quadrupled over the past week as the disease continues to spread, symptoms surface, and testing catches up with reality. New York City is engulfed. Other cities will follow.

We are fighting a pandemic of disease and a contagion of panic simultaneously. We work to flatten the curve, but we cannot say where on the slope we stand.

We are reminded of you, Jesus, when you gathered in Jerusalem for a last supper with your disciples. You shared the bread of your broken body and the cup of your blood. With your blood, “poured out for many,” you established a fellowship of suffering. We share in your suffering and you share in ours, redeeming it from the inside out.

Later that night you crossed the Kidron Valley to the foot of the Mount of Olives, to the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane means “oil press.” You were about to be crushed for our sake, and you knew it. You brought your dearest friends partway with you, then left them behind to fall prostrate before your Father. The weight of what approached was so immense you wept blood with your tears…(Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

PRAYER: If we must drink the cup, let us drink it with faith and join you in the fellowship of your sufferings. And yet we pray, as you prayed before us: Let this cup pass, O Lord. Let it pass, if it be your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise.

Timothy Dalrymple is president and CEO of Christianity Today. Follow him on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA COLUMNS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

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 3/25/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea, #5: Joy Is Wiser Than Sorrow

Image result for joy and sorrow

DayBreaks for 3/25/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #5 – Joy is Wiser than Sorrow

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/24/20:

For today’s musical pairing, listen to this selection from Max Richter’s recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons , with Mari Samuelsen on violin. You’ll forgive the quality of the recording when you see the quality of the performance. Listen to Richter’s original album here.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:31–32

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Philippians 1:21

Day 5. 398,107 confirmed cases, 17,454 deaths globally.

Is it premature to talk about joy? Countless people are suffering. Fear haunts our houses. Our cities are desolate, our schools shuttered, our hospitals overwhelmed. Fathers and mothers wonder how they will feed their children.

We mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. These are devastating times. It is not wrong to grieve, or lament, or cry out.

And yet joy is like a gem, most valuable when it is most rare. When the world can find no reason for joy, that Christians do find reason is a powerful testimony.

Christian joy is more profound than simple happiness. There is nothing shallow or glib or naive about it. Christian joy, in the face of suffering, is a hard, rugged, and defiant thing.

The apostle Paul was acquainted with suffering. He was persecuted and beaten and shipwrecked. Yet he knew that this life is filled with the opportunity to discover and to follow Jesus Christ and in the next life we will be with him. What greater cause for joy could there be? Paul knows that the same God who gave the greatest gift will not fail to give us lesser gifts. So even when we are embattled, even when we are beset with suffering, we have cause for an undefeated joy. Our sorrow is rooted in our circumstances, but circumstances are fleeting. Our joy is rooted in the love of God, and the love of God lasts forever…

Click this link to read the rest of this meditation. 

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

PRAYER: Lord, though the night may be dark, let us look to the morning when joy will come in all its fullness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise.

Timothy Dalrymple is president and CEO of Christianity Today. Follow him on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA COLUMNS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

 

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 3/19/20 – Pay Attention to the Candy

Image result for bowl of M&M's

DayBreaks for 3/19/20: Pay Attention to the Candy

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2010:

If you’ve not heard about some of the crazy demands of musicians, athletes, movie stars, etc., you’ve been away from planet Earth for a while.  Some of the requests are infamous: outlandish requirements made by music celebrities in their contracts with concert promoters are not oddities.  One of the most notorious came from the rock band Van Halen.  Each contract insisted that “a bowl of M&M’s be provided backstage, but with every single brown M&M removed.”  If the band arrived and saw that the bowl had any brown M&Ms in it, they were free to cancel the concert and receive full payment.  Who knew a bunch of hard-rockers could be such divas, right?

But wait.  There was a good reason behind the clause.  The absence of those M&Ms was a test and was put in place because even life itself could be at stake.  In his book The Checklist Manifesto, author Atul Gawande, quoting from lead singer David Lee Roth’s memoir, shares the story behind the M&Ms:

Roth explained [that] … “Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We’d pull up with nine 18-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors—whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through. The contract rider read like a … Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function.” So just as a little test, buried somewhere in the middle of the rider, would be Article 126, the no-brown-M&Ms clause. “When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl,” [Roth] wrote, “well, we’d line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.” The mistakes could be life-threatening … In Colorado, the band found that the local promoters had failed to read the weight requirements and that the staging would have fallen through the arena floor.

Van Halen’s ridiculous-at-first-glance contract demand illustrates the principle from Luke 16:10: Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

PRAYER: Keep us from thinking that our little bending of the rules and indiscretions are too small for You to notice.  Help us be faithful in ALL things!  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 3/18/20 – The Courage to Choose Freedom

Image result for choosing

DayBreaks for 3/18/20: The Courage to Choose Freedom

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2010:

An Arab chief tells a story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door. As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, “What will it be: the firing squad or the big, black door?”

The spy hesitated for a long time. It was a difficult decision. He chose the firing squad.

Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution. The general turned to his aide and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, we gave him a choice.”

The aide said, “What lies beyond the big door?”

“Freedom,” replied the general. “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”  

It is much easier to remain enslaved than to be free.  One might think it would be the opposite – that anyone in their right mind would choose freedom over slavery.  But when we are enslaved, we don’t have to make choices, we don’t have to make decisions – we are told what to do and we have no choice but to do it. 

Perhaps that’s why so many refuse to choose the freedom that Christ offers.  When we accept the invitation to freedom, we are accepting the responsibility to imitate and live like Jesus.  Do you have the courage necessary?  Once you choose freedom in Christ, however, you are truly free!  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:35-36

PRAYER: For the freedom to choose, we thank You!  For real freedom through Christ, we give you praise!  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 3/16/20 – The Wimpy Legion

Image result for Roman Legion

DayBreaks for 3/16/20: The Wimpy Legion

The Roman army was organized into legions. A legion was comprised of about 6000 highly trained professional soldiers. A Roman legion was, if you will, a killing machine the likes of which the ancient world have ever seen. No one wanted to stand across the battlefield from a Roman legion. No one.

Jesus encountered a legion, too, but it wasn’t a wimpy Roman legion, it was a legion of demons and it had possessed a man and made him wild and dangerous. But there is something interesting when the encounter takes place. Even though others had tried to cast the demons out of the poor man they had utterly failed. When Jesus confronts the Legion across the battleground of the man’s soul, the Legion begins to beg. You see, the Legion of demons recognized the voice that was speaking to them and they knew the power behind the voice. In fact, the demons don’t even attempt to put up a fight against Jesus.

As interesting as this story is with the horde of demons and pigs, we miss the point of it if we don’t stay focused on the man. The point is that the may was set free. A few verses later we meet him again, sitting at Jesus feet (indicating the peace he’d been given), clothed and no longer naked (Jesus had restored the man’s dignity and taken away his shame). That is what Jesus is about – setting free those enslaved, given them peace and dignity.

We are surrounded these days with all sorts of evil – animate and inanimate. We need to be reminded that the Jesus of this story still lives, still sees, and still has that great power at his command. As coronavirus attacks our communities, so Satan attacks our souls. Both will yield at some point to the command of the Lord. Even in the midst of this virus, though, let us remain seated at Jesus’ feet, let us be at peace and walk in the dignity of those who know they are his beloved children.

Perhaps in this time of fear and uncertainty, you can help your children, your neighbors find the freedom, peace and dignity their souls seek.

Mark 5:6-9 (CSBBible) – When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!”
For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” “What is your name?” he asked him. “My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.”

PRAYER: Jesus, it is so comforting to know that all things will one day, instantaneously, surrender and yield to your voice. Teach us to do that each day until all things have been put forever under your feet. 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 3/10/20 – My Struggle With Repentance

Image result for repentance

DayBreaks for 3/10/20: My Struggle with Repentance

Repentance. I think I know what it’s supposed to look like – a turning away from sinful practices and a return to the pathway of the Anointed One, a turning away from putting myself on the throne to carrying my cross to Calvary. Scripture says that God forgives those who repent. Acts 2:38 and 3:19 seem to link repentance with forgiveness. And that’s what terrifies me.

You see, no matter how hard I’ve tried, here I am bearing down on my 68th year, still struggling with some of the same old sins. Have I cried out to God for forgiveness? Countless times. Have I begged him to take those temptations away from me, to set me free from it? Over and over and over. Has he done it? No, not entirely.

Perhaps he lets me continue to struggle with it like he did Paul (not that I’m anything like Paul!), because if I suddenly was relieved of those temptations I may grown too proud when my greater need is to be reminded of my sinfulness and dependence on the grace of One who can even save someone like me.

But this weekend a thought occurred to me and the more I’ve noodled it around, the more it makes sense to me. It’s basically this: God has had to make up for human shortcoming since the dawn of human history. He had a plan for it then and it still holds true today. It can basically be summed up in the words mercy and grace. Here’s how I think it must work regarding repentance: just as he knows my obedience will never be full and complete as long as I’m tied to the flesh, he also knows my repentance will never be full and complete. If my salvation is dependent on the “once and forever” kind of repentance that never struggles with that sin – no matter how many times I tell God I’m sorry and resolve to obey – then I’m doomed to be engulfed by fire and brimstone for all eternity.

But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it?  God knows that my human nature will never perfectly repent any more than I can perfect obey (the two are closely linked, after all), and just as he makes up for my sinfulness with his mercy and grace, counting my obedience as complete in Christ, so I think he makes up by his grace for my failure to completely, once and forever never-to-sin-that-way-again repent.

Does God want me to give in to those sins again? Of course not! But he knows I’m frail and weak and seemingly just not able to completely and forever repent.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

PRAYER: God, I truly am sorry for my sinfulness. And I say yet again to you, “I repent” and I mean that. But if I fail, I am grateful for the amazing grace that you have surrounded me with and that you’ll still love and welcome me as your child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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