DayBreaks for 6/17/20 – Tenacious Grace

Free Solo – Golden Age Cinema and Bar

DayBreaks for 6/17/20: Tenacious Grace

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

“It’s not fair.”  Wow…if I had a nickel for every time I heard (or offered) that excuse, I’d own North America. 

We have a sense that things should be fair.  We expect others to treat us fairly and we are upset when we feel we are being treated unfairly.  We generally try to be fair to others – hoping that someday, if the tables should ever be turned, that they’ll respond in kind to us.  I’m not real clear on the relationship between fairness and justice – but we want them, even if we can’t fully explain them. 

One of the knocks against God has always been that He’s not fair in how He treats people.  Let me admit right up front that I don’t understand all, or even most, and maybe very few – of God’s ways.  I certainly don’t understand His reasoning.  I don’t have to understand His reasons in order to believe He is a good God.  I just have to decide if I will trust that He, being good, MUST also be fair.  How could a God who isn’t fair be good?  (There may be a way, but as a human I can’t grasp it!) 

So I must conclude that God is fair in His dealings with everyone.  Isn’t that part of the rationale behind the statement about how He sends the rain on the just and unjust alike?  He deals even-handedly.  He provides opportunities for people to respond.  Some respond and choose the path of righteousness and others the pathway of evil. 
Still, a LOT of what God has done throughout history hasn’t seemed fair to people.  Why didn’t God denounce Jacob for his sneaky, conniving ways against his father and brother?  Why didn’t God cut off his relationship with David because of David’s horrendous activities?  Why did Jesus not make a big deal about the adulteress for her open disregard of the moral laws and then attack the Pharisees so viciously for the sin of lust?  Why did God let Peter bounce back after his denial of Christ in the courtyard when Judas wasn’t “called” back for forgiveness?  Why did God choose to use Saul/Paul after his persecution and murder of Christians in the zeal of the early years in his life?  Why? 

Why? The answer is because there is nothing in the entire universe that is as tenacious and determined as the grace of God. The Gospel of John tells us: God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)

Yeah, God could have done all those things to the people in the paragraph before last. If He did, it would have been just.  But would it have been fair?  Maybe.  But the point is this: He DIDN’T do those things because His interest isn’t in pointing out every little flaw and making sure that we pay for them…but rather to point to Jesus and say, “He’s paid for them so that I can be merciful and extend grace to YOU!” 

It’s not fair…but I’m grateful for it anyway.

PRAYER: Father God, for Your tenacious grace, we praise Your Name!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/10/20 – To the Ridgeline

Tucker Mountain summit looking west at the ridgeline

DayBreaks for 6/10/20: To the Ridgeline

A good number of years back (I hate to think how long ago it was!), I went with a group of men from our church in Tracy, California, on a backpacking trip to the 10 Lakes Basin in Yosemite National Park.  We started early in the morning while it was cool – it would be a steep uphill hike, and since we would be spending the night there, we carried heavy packs. It was July – and the temperature was over 100 degrees, even at that elevation.  As the day wore on and it got to be mid-to-late afternoon, we knew we had to be getting close to our destination.  Every once in a while, we’d lift our heads and gaze at the top of the ridge looming above us – when you’re that tired, you just can’t help but look at the huge peaks and ridges that tower over you and which beckon you to keep hiking up its side.  Then, when you finally reach that ridge top, you realize that it isn’t the top at all – that there is another ridge behind and above it – you just couldn’t see it from where you were before.  Perspective from below fools you.  You then reset your expectations, thinking that what you now see is the real summit – another half-mile off.  But then you begin to wonder – is it a false summit, too?  I must admit, there were several false summits – and with each false summit, there was disappointment.  But we kept going – and we reached our goal – and when we did, it was sweet!

That hike and that experience echo lessons I have learned about the journey of faith.  Just as with that backpacking adventure, a faith walk will involve miscalculations, misperceptions, thrills and disappointments – long periods of waiting and even longer periods when it seems as if the uphill trudge will never come to an end.  No matter how well one prepares and takes all appropriate cautions and attempts to eliminate all the risks, we never succeed.  There will be times when the weather settles in thick and cold and we lose sight of the ridgeline that rises above us – when we can’t see a thing and aren’t sure if we’re still even moving in the right direction. 

But this I also have discovered – that when we reach the summit, there is nothing in the world that compares to the feeling of exaltation.  But it would never have happened if we had stopped walking at the first false ridgeline, if we quit when we’re in the valley and give up because it seems too hard and we’re not sure if we can make it.

Persistence is not an easy thing to possess as the years mount up and our strength winds down.  But too much is at stake to quit this close to the finish line.  Keep looking upward…you will reach the destination, not because of you own strength, but because He has guaranteed to carry you over the pathway that you cannot navigate on your own!

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

PRAYER: When times are hard and we are exhausted, be our Strength and guide our footsteps on the upward way until we reach our Rest!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 5/11/20 – The Blessedness of the Persecuted

In This Current Situation, Consider the Persecuted Church

DayBreaks for 5/11/20: The Blessedness of the Persecuted

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness… – Jesus

Does persecution sound like something you look forward to?  Even the very word sounds painful.  I don’t know of anyone who would walk around and say, “You are fortunate when you are persecuted for doing good”…no one, that is, except Jesus.  Do I want to be persecuted?  No!  But Jesus says that if I am persecuted, I am fortunate/happy/blessed!

How can it possibly be true?  A brother at our congregation found the following and shared it with me.  I think that when you read it and contemplate it, you’ll see and agree that those who are persecuted for righteousness truly are the blessed:

When persecution comes into our lives then, according to Jesus, we must conclude the following:
That we have put our complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
That we can truly call ourselves Christians.
That we belong to the kingdom of God.
That we are righteous.
That we have been chosen by the Father and the Son.
That ours is the kingdom of God now and in the future.
That Jesus is truly our Lord and that is why we are being persecuted.
That our salvation is sure and certain.
That we are not false prophets.
That we are not worldly for the people of the world are not persecuted.
That we are in the very good company with many other saved Christians.
That we can know that we are truly born again.
That eternal life is ours.

Can there be any greater blessings than knowing these things?  Now the question is: will we live lives that will cause us to be persecuted for righteousness, or will we hide and remain invisible?

PRAYER: Jesus, we need the kind of courage you demonstrated in your lifetime, to bear persecution for the sake of your kingdom.  Give us spirits that don’t quail and quake in fear when we are confronted with the choice of living and acting in the cause of righteousness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 4/30/20 – The Truth About an Eclipse

Total solar eclipse to be visible in Central Texas in 2024

DayBreaks for 4/30/20: The Truth About an Eclipse

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2010:

I’m sure that you’ve seen an eclipse of the moon.  Probably of the sun, too.  It is interesting the way that we talk about a solar eclipse.  We often refer to it as the sun being darkened.  Of course, in reality the sun isn’t darkened at all, is it?  It only seems like it has been darkened because the moon has come between the earth and the sun thus blocking out some of the light rays from the sun and making it appear as if much of the sun’s blazing inferno has been extinguished.

I remember a fairly major eclipse of the sun a few years back.  It took place while I was at work early in the afternoon in the summer time.  While it didn’t get dark, the light certainly was different – rather eerie in fact.  It didn’t have the same intensity and it was darker and cooler.  It was very, very strange.

The prophet Joel spoke of a time when the sun and moon would be darkened in Joel 3:15-16 – The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble.  But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.  In this passage, Joel describes a time of judgment – it will be a trying time for the earth and creation.  But rather than leaving His people in fear, God tells them that He will be a refuge for them.

How does this relate to us today?  We are prone to times of darkness, aren’t we?  I have NEVER met anyone who didn’t have to deal with fear, discouragement, disappointment, failure and the darkness of the pit of sin.  It is simply part of the human condition.  And when times get bad, really bad, what is our first reaction?  We wonder what has happened to God – why He hasn’t “fixed things”.  We begin to wonder (probably not consciously for we would be afraid to mouth the words out loud) if God has lost His power or His capacity to care and be moved by the plight of mere humans.  He seems distant, cold.  And we assume that “God must not love me any more.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  We make the false assumption that the God who has demonstrated His love to us before has changed.  That His love no longer shines fully for us.  Why?  Because the world has grown cold and dark.  But we need to remember the truth about eclipses: the sun hasn’t change.  The only thing that has happened is that something has come between us and the sun, blocking it’s light and warmth.  Many times (not always, but usually) when life grows dark, we assume the Son has changed.  He hasn’t.  He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He CANNOT change – God is immutable (a theological term meaning He can’t change).  So when your world next seems dark and cold, think about the eclipse.  Look to see if there is something that has come between you and the Son.  If so, MOVE!  Get back into his Light once again and let it dispel the darkness. 

God’s love for you doesn’t change.  It burns brightly all the time – even when it seems to be dark.  If you are feeling abandoned, like your prayers aren’t reaching Him and His love isn’t reaching you, my guess is that you either haven’t been looking at things right or there is something that has come between you and Him.  Don’t let it stay that way.  The Light is much better than the darkness!

PRAYER: Fill our lives with the fire or the Light this day and encourage us in our present darkness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2020, Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/24/20: The Hallway through the Sea #21 – The Lord Gives and the Lord Takes

Pain Relief | How to Get Relief from Chronic Pain - Consumer Reports

DayBreaks for 4/24/20: The Hallway Through the Sea, #21 – The Lord Gives and the Lord Takes

The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. For today’s musical pairing, we return to Ezio Bosso for “Bitter and Sweet.” All songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. – Job 1:20–22

Meditation 21. 2,682,225 confirmed cases, 187,330 deaths globally.

A friend and I had arrived at the monastery in upstate New York as the sun was setting over the fields and into the rustling woods. We joined the brothers for their evening meal. A little more than five years had passed since I had broken my neck in a gymnastics accident. I was still learning how to live with chronic pain.

“Don’t say that God gave you pain,” one of the monks advised over dinner that night. “Say that God can bring something good out of it.”

I thanked him for his thoughts, but I wrestled with those words for the length of my stay. In fact, those words have led me over the decades since to ask countless questions into the dark.

Part of me wanted to agree. God doesn’t make beautiful things broken. He makes broken things beautiful. God is not the beginning of suffering but its end. We have filled the world with affliction and we stumble into it ourselves; God did not make that path, but he carves a path through suffering and from suffering into embrace with him.

Another part of me differed. Does not Job ascribe both his blessings and his sufferings to the hand of God? Of course, readers of the Book of Job are privy to the heavenly deliberations preceding the calamity that falls upon his head. We know the question of causation is more complicated, and perhaps we shouldn’t build our theology around the outcry of a broken man. But there’s something bracing in Job’s directness and courage. The Lord gives. The Lord takes. He charged God with doing. He just didn’t charge God with wrongdoing.

Also, perhaps it was wrong of me, but I wanted my pain to come from God. Then it would not merely be that a purpose could be extracted from the situation. It would be that it had a purpose in the first place. In an odd way, my thorn in the flesh had become precious to me. I wanted it to be the same all-loving God who set the stars in their places who also, at just the right time, in just the right way, set my thorn in its place, too…(Click here to read the rest of this devotion.)

PRAYER: As we walk through a season of suffering, O Lord, we thank you for the example of Job. You love the seekers, the askers of questions, the men and women who stand before the whirlwind and press for answers. We know there is truth in the proposition that you do not will these sufferings, but they flow from sin and from a world broken by it. Yet we also know there is truth in the opposite. Sufferings arise in the order you ordain, the world you sustain. You willed all of time and space before it came to be.

Help us, O Lord, like Job, to sit down and mourn and lament. Help us not to shy away from seeing your hand at work in this moment. Help us to make peace with the thorns in our flesh, to weep over them, to learn from them, and always to praise your name whatever may come. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 4/16/20 – The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste - Wikipedia

DayBreaks for 4/16/20: The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2010:

St. Basil was a great man of God, one of the greatest of the Church Fathers. One of his noble orations is dedicated to the memory of forty martyrs of Sebaste who were ordered by the officers of Licinius, in the year a.d. 320, to offer sacrifices to heathen idols. These were soldiers who had proven to be excellent in every respect. But Licinius the emperor issued a decree that they must renounce Christ or else their lives would be in danger. Those who refused to give up Christ were submitted to indescribable brutalities and tortures.

“The torturers were called forth. The first was ready and the sword was sharpened. . . . Then some of the persecuted Christians fled, others succumbed, others wavered, and some before even being submitted to the tortures, were afraid because of their threatenings. Some, when facing the tortures, became faint. Others entered the battle, but were not able to persevere to the end in suffering the pains, and in the middle of the martyrdom they renounced Christ.

“However, the invincible and gallant soldiers of Christ proceeded visibly to the middle, at the time when the judge was showing the decree of the king and was asking them to submit to it. Without being afraid of anything which they saw, nor losing their heads as a result of the threatenings, they confessed that they were Christians.

“These Christians soldiers were offered money and honors in order to induce them to join the ranks of the heathen. To earthly honors they would not yield. Then came threats of indescribable tortures. What an answer these Christian soldiers gave: ‘Do you have blessings of equal value to those you endeavor to deprive us of, to give us? We hate your gift because it will mean our loss. We do not accept honor which is the mother of dishonesty. You offer us money which remains here, glory which fades away. . . . We have despised the whole world. Those things which we see in the world do not have for us the value of the heavenly things which we hope and long for. . . . We are afraid of only one punishment, the punishment of hell. We are here ready to be tortured . . . for you to twist our bodies and to burn them.’

“The judge was infuriated by the courage of these brave Christians, and so he devised a slow and most painful way of putting them to death. It was very cold. He waited for the night when the wind was violent and the air freezing. He ordered these soldiers to be thrown naked on a frozen lake in the center of the town to die from freezing. There is no more atrocious and painful death than that. These Christian soldiers did not have to be forced to take off their clothes. They took them off themselves and marched on to the frozen lake. As each went, he said, ‘We are not merely putting off our clothes, but we are putting off “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” ‘ (Eph. 4:22). All together they shouted, ‘The winter is bitter, but heaven is sweet; the freezing painful, but sweet the rest. Let us persevere a little longer and we shall be warmed in the bosom of the Patriarch [meaning Christ]. Let us exchange all of eternity for the pains of one night. Let the leg be burned so that it may ever dance with the angels. . . . How many soldiers have died in battle remaining faithful to a mortal king, and we, for the sake of remaining faithful to the true king, shall we not sacrifice this life? . . . We are going to die anyway; let us die so that we may live.’ Their prayer was unanimous and ascended with one voice, ‘Forty have we entered this ordeal, may all forty of us receive the crown of martyrdom. Oh, Despot, grant that not one of our number may yield. . . . You honored this number because you fasted forty days.’

“In spite of this earnest prayer, one of their number did not persevere and gave in to the offers of the heathen persecutors. Great sorrow came upon the others because only thirty-nine remained in the arena of death. Their plea became even more vigorous to their Heavenly Father. Forty entered the ordeal and forty wanted to see the face of the Lord. The deserter came to the warm place prepared by the emperor’s executioners. But going from the extreme cold to the warm place, and plunging himself into warm water, he died instantly. The guard, a heathen who was watching all the developments and saw angels ministering to these saints of God, on hearing their prayers, decided to answer them. He took off his clothes and declared with a loud voice, ‘I am a Christian, too,’ and jumped naked on the frozen lake joining the thirty-nine to complete their number to forty. Thus their prayer was answered, forty entered the ordeal of martyrdom and forty saw the face of Jesus Christ. Now, whose memory was cursed and whose was blessed? We call the saints who persevered unto death blessed, indeed.”

But those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead! – Isaiah 26:19

PRAYER: For examples of faith that we can emulate, Father, we are grateful, and we pray that should our faith meet such a test, that we shall emerge victorious through the blood of the Lamb!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2020, Galen C. Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 4/10/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #16: On the Cross and the Kingdom

Would you Still Vote for Jesus? | Connecting Dots…to God

DayBreaks for 4/10/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #16 – On the Cross and the Kingdom

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 4/09/20:

The following is the latest in a series of daily meditations amid the pandemic. For today’s musical pairing, as we enter Good Friday, consider this unhurried version of the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem. 

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:3–6

Meditation 16. 1,536,979 confirmed cases, 93,425 deaths globally.
There are four passages in Isaiah often called the Songs of the Suffering Servant. The longest and most renowned is Isaiah 52:13–53:12. Jews read these passages and hear the story of Israel itself, as God redeemed the sufferings of his chosen people to bring blessing to the world. Christians, of course, hear the story of Jesus and his suffering on behalf of humankind.

Both can be true. As Holy Week makes excruciatingly clear, Jesus was “a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” He was “pierced for our transgressions,” “led like a lamb to the slaughter,” and “cut off from the land of the living,” an “offering for sin.” “After he has suffered,” says verse 11, “he will see the light of life” and “will justify many.”

As we discussed in a recent meditation, Jesus seeks not only admirers but imitators. Time and again he defines following him as dying to ourselves and taking up our cross. Even as he is a Suffering Servant, he calls his church to be a fellowship of suffering servants.

In the words of Henri Nouwen, we are all called to be wounded healers. “The great illusion of leadership,” he writes in The Wounded Healer, “is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.” Or, better, “The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others.”

The Cross is our key to the kingdom. It shows us all the truths we would rather forget. That the kingdom of God is not about power and triumph, because all the might of the world cannot heal the hearts of men… (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. If you wish, you can follow Timothy Dalrymple 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 3/23/20: Hallway Through the Sea #3 – Chosen in the Furnace

Image result for blazing furnace

DayBreaks for 3/23/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #3 – Chosen in the Furnace

From Christianity Today, 3/20/20:

Today’s pairing is “Rain, in Your Black Eyes” performed by Ezio Bosso, with a haunting underwater dance/film by Julie Gautier. See the video.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10 (KJV)

Day 3. 266,115 confirmed cases, 11,153 deaths globally.

Jesus refers to himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He also says his followers should take up their crosses and follow him. The Way is the way to the cross. The Truth is crucified. The Life is a life of suffering.

Suffering is endemic to the human condition but essential to the Christian life. Christ bids us to die to ourselves. He models suffering for others. We do not run toward suffering for its own sake. Suffering is not good in itself. But in Christ, as we love God and love others, we will suffer, and in suffering, we will understand.

Not long after I broke my neck in a gymnastics accident, I sat in the dark of a movie theater and saw the words of Isaiah 48:10 on the screen. My dreams had been stolen. The rest of my life would be rifled through with chronic pain. Yet a sense of gratitude flooded over me. Perhaps there was some sense to the suffering. Perhaps I had been refined in the furnace of affliction and chosen to serve for the glory of God. Perhaps we all are.

We cannot choose whether to suffer. We can only choose what it will mean for us—whether we will let our suffering heal us and deepen us and teach us things about ourselves and about our God that we would never have otherwise known. Kierkegaard called it the school of suffering. We all attend the school, but we must each choose to learn.

To read the rest of this meditation, click this link:  https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/covid-19-devotional-chosen-furnace-coronavirus.html?fbclid=IwAR308XexkDsZ5xgUIacBLEzhKWJ7oDCyVIsOIg0Ls3-7B95I92ih0PXxA7E

PRAYER: In our suffering, Lord, let us not only find grace and beauty, but be grace and beauty to the world!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 3/05/20 – Job and the Worst Day Ever

Image result for job and his friends

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.  ><}}}”>