DayBreaks for 7/07/20 – Hope for Troubled Times

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DayBreaks for 7/07/20: Hope for Troubled Times

Daniel 2:44 (CSBBible) – In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.

What an amazing time we live in. Pandemics, scandals, demonstrations, riots, political division that is truly painful to see. It’s easy to lose our sense of balance in such a time.

I think Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream speaks to us at this moment, and every moment, in time. What Daniel tells the king (who was far and away the most powerful earthly ruler of his day) was this: a mighty kingdom is coming that will smash any earthly kingdom into smithereens. It’s not a kingdom of this world, but it is the kingdom of God himself.

As Jared Wilson put it in The Story of Everything: “It is the reality of the kingdom of God…that should comfort Christians today, not the rising and falling of popular opinion or the ways of the Supreme Court or the majority votes in Congress or the moral sanity of the president. All those people are sinners. We can root for them and persuade them and pray for them and hope for them – but we cannot hope in them, because none of them is not a sinner. Only Jesus Christ’s kingdom comes with perfect grace and peace and justice. And only Jesus Christ’s kingdom will remain.”

It may seem strange to think of the kingdom of Christ conquering all when we look around today. After all, when Christ came it was as a baby and he died not in a palace but on a wooden cross. When he came he didn’t come as a typical king does to fight and conquer and amass territory and wealth. Why didn’t he come that way? He didn’t have to. He already possessed it all. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”

Be reminded, Christian, not to put your hope or faith in the president or in an election or in the scientists working to prevent COVID-19 or in anything else in this world. The one thing that is worthy of our hope is the completion of the coming of the kingdom of Christ. And that is where our prayers and efforts should be focused.

PRAYER: Jesus, we long to see the mighty kingdom come in its totality and finality. Keep us from trusting in other humans for deliverance and look only to you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/12/20 – Lurching Toward the Hay Bale

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DayBreaks for 6/12/20: Lurching Toward the Hay Bale

From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:

I’ve been preaching for the past couple of weeks about faith…and doubt.  Churches and Christians like to hear about faith but doubt is not frequently spoken of unless it is in condemnatory terms.  I, for one, that that’s sad.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that doubt per se is a good thing, but then again, it isn’t always bad, either.  For example, there were those who doubted the church’s teaching in centuries gone by that suggested slavery was right, or who didn’t agree that medicine was an instrument of the Devil and that Christian’s shouldn’t use it because it reflected a lack of faith in God and prayer.  In those cases, people were right to doubt the position of the church and argue against it. 

In my own life, I have found doubt to be constructive.  When I have doubts, it drives me to study, to reflect, to listen and learn all that I can to determine the truth of a matter.  I think that’s good.  As I’ve said on multiple occasions before: the truth never has to be afraid of being examined.  Truth will always be truth, just as 2+2 will always be 4 in a decimal world. 

Doubt can, however, also be bad…even deadly.  There is a story that was told by a 14th century monk from France about a donkey that was confronted with two equally attractive, delicious looking and equally distant bales of hay.  The animal stares at one, then the other, leans to move towards one but then hesitates…stares some more, then leans to go to the other one…but then hesitates, stares some more…and so it goes until eventually the animal dies of starvation because he has no logical justification for moving towards one bale of hay or the other.  It never reached the food it so desperately needed because it couldn’t make up its mind between the two alternatives.

Simply put: without some element of risk, there is and can be no faith.  But being stuck in the middle between faith and doubt and not moving towards one or the other, may be the greatest danger of all, because it removes all passion from a relationship with God.  Jesus himself seems to have stressed this point when he told the Laodiceans in Revelation that he wished they were either “hot or cold” – anything but lukewarm.  Those who are waiting for an empirical proof of the existence of God will have to wait until the Second Coming – but then it will be too late to conduct experiments to determine the reality and truth of God’s existence and of Jesus’ identity.  Those who fail to move in faith towards God because they can’t prove to themselves if He’s real will eventually, like the donkey, starve to death spiritually because faith for them has become an intellectual question – and that is never the definition of Biblical faith.

As the apostle Paul wrote, As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. – 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

As Moses said to Israel as they readied to enter the promised land: Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. –  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Don’t die of spiritual starvation because of doubts.  Eat of the Bread of Life…and live!

PRAYER: We have so often been caught up in smooth talk and persuasive arguments that have led us in the wrong ways and caused us to doubt.  Help us to not doubt in Your goodness, nor in the offer You extend to us that we may eat and live!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

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 4/08/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea, #14 – The Price of Faith in a Pandemic

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DayBreaks for 4/07/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #14 – The Price of Faith in a Pendemic

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 4/07/20:

For today’s musical pairing, listen to this from Bach’s “Concerto in D Minor by Víkingur Ólafsson.

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’
“‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’’”
Luke 14:25–30

Meditation 14. 1,412,103 confirmed cases, 81,103 deaths globally.

There are times and places when the church lives in such peace and abundance that faith becomes an inexpensive thing. What cost another generation their lives and livelihoods costs us Sunday mornings and a modest tithe.

The temptation for those of us who wish to invite everyone into the fold of the faithful is to lower the cost of faith even further. Perhaps, we say, faith no longer requires so much sacrifice. Perhaps the time of suffering is past. In fact, there may be no cost to faith at all. Perhaps it’s the opposite. Perhaps faith paves the way to greater health and wealth.

Jesus was never so eager to keep a crowd that he minimized the costs of faith (see John 6:60–66). He could not have been clearer that following him requires enormous sacrifice. “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Every person should count the cost.

Jesus understood something we have forgotten. When we lower the cost of faith, it becomes something other than faith. A cheap counterfeit. An elegant mantle of piety around the shoulders of an essentially secular life. If we lower the cost further still, it becomes something no one values. Eventually no one is willing to “purchase” what seems so common and unremarkable, what requires so little sacrifice.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote that the church had become filled with “admirers” when what Christ wants is “imitators.” As we enter into Holy Week as so many are suffering and dying in the pandemic, Jesus does not invite us to be mere admirers of the way he carried his cross nearly two thousand years ago. He invites us to be imitators, to carry our own crosses and follow in his footsteps today…(Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

PRAYER: Help us, O Lord, to be imitators and not merely admirers of Jesus. Help us to take up the cross for others, as you took up the cross for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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 4/02/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #10 – Be Not Afraid

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DayBreaks for 4/02/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #10 – Be Not Afraid

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 4/01/20:

Today’s musical pairing is “Spiegel im Spiegel” by Arvo Pärt. Note that all the songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist here.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’” – Luke 12:11-26

Day 9. 926,095 confirmed cases, 46,413 deaths globally.

Calling these anxious times is like calling love an emotion: true, obvious, and understating the experience.

Soon we will crest a million confirmed cases and fifty thousand deaths. Tens of thousands of deaths seem certain in the United States in the month to come. Even when the contagion slows in one place, it will accelerate in another. What will happen when the pandemic devours cities with fewer resources than ours? How many will die in Kolkata and Karachi, Cairo and Lagos, Mexico City and São Paulo?

Our hearts are tense. Our thoughts are restless. We find it difficult to concentrate. We read the streams of online content constantly and desperately. We devour the news and the news devours us. So many of us have lost friends and loved ones already. Others await the day.

We tend to think of anxiety as a physiological and psychological phenomenon. It is also a spiritual reality.

The Bible counsels against fear time and again. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. Fear not. Therefore I tell you do not worry. Do not be anxious about anything. Perfect love drives out fear. The witness of scripture is consistent and clear that we are not to remain in fear and anxiety but to go beyond them to faith.

Søren Kierkegaard describes anxiety as fear in search of an object. Anxiety latches onto things and persuade us those things cause the anxiety. But anxiety actually precedes the object, and if the object of our anxiety were removed then our anxiety would swiftly find something else to worry over…  (Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

PRAYER: Give us this faith, O Lord, not to waste our time in futile anxiety over our lives and our circumstances. Give us this faith to rest completely in you, our stronghold. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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 3/26/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #6 – To Laugh at the Impossible

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DayBreaks for 3/26/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #6 – To Laugh at the Impossible

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/25/20:

For today’s musical pairing, Oh Brother by Cyrus Reynolds and Gregg Lehrman, featuring vocals by Novo Amor.

“Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Genesis 18:13–14

“[Abraham] is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the death and calls into being things that were not. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.”
Romans 4:17–18

Day 6. 451,355 confirmed cases, 20,499 deaths globally.

God had promised Abraham land, offspring, and blessing. His descendants would be as numerous as the stars of the sky. And yet the wait between the promise and the fulfillment was agonizingly long.

When messengers of God come to their tent, Abraham and Sarah are already ancient. Sarah hears the promise that she would bear a son, and she laughs. The messenger acknowledges her laughter, which she humorously denies, but then when she gives birth, she names her son Isaac, which means laughter. “God has brought me laughter,” she says, “and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (Gen. 21:6).

The story reminds me of when my first child was born. For a long time, I could only see the crown of her head. Then suddenly there came a fierce fighting person into the world, writhing and wailing at the top of her lungs. It was so abrupt and remarkable that I began to laugh aloud too. I had just witnessed the miracle of life springing from the womb. Today she stands in front of me, 11 years old, just as much a miracle as the day she was born… (Click this link to read the rest of this meditation.)

PRAYER: O Lord, call into being hope where there is none. Call into being a cure. For you are a God who laughs at the impossible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to the video for today’s music: https://youtu.be/2N2QQ7WR_pE

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 3/09/20 – 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 1/13/20 – The Possibility of Miracles

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DayBreaks for 1/13/20: The Possibility of Miracles

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Miracles.  We talk about them, I know folks who claim to have seen them.  More often than not, they are talking about someone being healed from an illness or disease, or the miracle of birth or conception, of human development.  It is hard to prove whether such was a miracle or a “co-incidence” in practicality.  In fact, there are those who tend to put a lot of faith in science who say that there is no such thing as a miracle. 

There is no Christian belief without faith in miracles: creation, the virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead…these form the very crux of Christianity and its beliefs.  Science rejects that miracles can be harmonized with a modern, educated and rational view of the world.  So, once armed with that conclusion, they turn to the bible and say it can’t be reliable because of its insistence on miracles and a God of the miraculous.  The thinking goes like this: “Science has proven that there is no such thing as miracles.”  But, as Timothy Keller put it in The Reason for God, “..embedded in such a statement is a leap of faith.  It is one thing to say that science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any others.  It is quite another to insist that science proves that no other causes could possibly exist…The scientist must always assume there is a natural cause.  That is because natural causes are the only kind its methodology can address.  It is another thing to insist that science has proven there can’t be any other kind.  There would be no experimental model for testing the statement: ‘No supernatural causes for any natural phenomenon is possible.’  It is therefore a philosophical presupposition and not a scientific finding.”

Alvin Plantinga, the Christian philosopher, shows the folly of such a line of thinking when he wrote: “Macquarrie perhaps means to suggest that the very practice of science requires that one reject the idea of God raising someone from the dead…[This] argument…is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost care keys only under the streetlight on the grounds that the light was better there.  In fact, it would go the drunk one better: it would insist that because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.”

It is ludicrous to think that science is so smart that it holds all the answers – even to things that cannot be put under a microscope or subjected to scientific methodology. 

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  (Romans 1:22)

PRAYER: Thank you that there are reasons to walk by faith and not by sight alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 1/2/20 – With Healing in His Wings

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DayBreaks for 1/02/20: With Healing in His Wings

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Goodness knows our world and souls need healing.  Repeated attempts by shoe bombers to blow up planes of ordinary people, suicidal bombers wearing explosive vests, children abducted and murdered – these and many more heinous events have taken place since Christmas.  What a way to end the year, eh? 

Yet, we have hope.  For thousands of years, the Jews hoped…and waited…and kept on hoping and kept on waiting, for what Malachi promised in chapter 4 verse 2-3: But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.  All of this will take place, says the Lord of Hosts, “on the day when I act.”  If the Jews could hope and wait for millennia, shouldn’t Christians be able to hope for even longer if necessary?

In the passage from Malachi, the word translated as “wings” is from the Hebrew kinof.  There’s a strange, yet very fascinating connection here that we miss since we don’t know Hebrew.  In the instructions given by God to Moses about how the Israelites were to live and practice their faith, they were to wear tassels on the fringes of the prayer shawls worn by the priests and others.  These tassels were to be a visible reminder to all that they were to be a special people, priestly in nature to the rest of the world.  Here’s where it gets interesting: the same Hebrew word, kinof, is used for “wings” in Malachi as for the fringes of the prayer shawl.  Both are kinof.

In Luke 8:40-48 is recorded the story of Jesus in the crowd when he was touched by the woman with the issue of blood.  Remember what the woman touched?  The edge of his garment.  The kinof, if you please.  This woman wasn’t just hoping to be healed.  It appears that she’d thought this through and had come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah, the “sun of righteousness” that would rise with healing in his kinof (wings, fringes), as if saying, “I believe that this is the One!  He’s the one we’ve waited for!  I know he has healing in his wings!”

It becomes even more clear in verse 48 when Jesus tells her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well…”  It wasn’t just faith in his power to heal, it was her faith in him as the sun of righteousness that had risen with healing in his wings! 

Yes, he came, he healed.  So in a sense, it is history – past tense.  Yet in a far greater and obviously more powerful mode he will come again and “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in it’s wings” once more, and on the day when he acts again the disease will be forever gone, there will be no more suicide bombers, children ripped from the arms and hearts of their parents…and death itself will be no more!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may this be the day when once again the “sun of righteousness” rises!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 11/14/19 – It Is Here

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DayBreaks for 11/14/19: It Is Here

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you. – John 16:1-4 (NIV)

Jesus often couched his messages and teaching in riddles or parables that were designed to be understood only by those who had open hearts and eyes.  In what is surely a sad commentary on human nature, not even those who were the closest to Him often grasped what He meant.  But in this passage from John 16, Jesus spoke in point blank terms.  There was no mistaking His message to those who followed Him: “…a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” 

We have lived in religious freedom in the United States of America for about 235 years.  What a blessing!  I fear that we’ve come to a point in our country where we no longer experience much religious freedom.  Of course, I’m speaking in relative terms – we have far greater religious freedom than in China where churches are forced underground, or in Muslim countries or even in countries where Buddhism or Hinduism are practices.  In such countries, lives are sacrificed – literally – on the altar of obedience to God every day.  We aren’t there yet in the United States.  I hope we never will be – but such hoping on my part may just be wishful thinking for myself and those I love.  It may be best for the kingdom of God if such persecution were to come to this land. 

Seldom does persecution arrive “full blown.”  There are usually steps and phases – the proverbial slippery slope – where small things are first lost.  Then, if no one notices or raises an alarm, the next step is taken…and the next…and the next, until finally one wakes up to find the persecutor knocking on the door.  Think it isn’t happening here?  Consider this excerpt from “Cross and Culture”, an evangelical blog written by my youngest son, Tim: “Bill McGurn has an excellent article on two “Christian Girls, Interrupted.”  The first girl, Amanda Kurowski, was ordered by a judge to attend public school because, essentially, the judge determined that the girl should be exposed to ways of thinking other than those of her religious parents.  Amanda’s parents are divorced; her mother has primary custody, but her father has been concerned about the effect of home-schooling on her “socialization.” 

“The judge determined “that Amanda is generally likeable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”  Yet due to her “rigidity on faith,” the court concludes that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”  In other words, the judge determines, essentially, that she must be sent to public school in order to get away from her mother’s narrow religiosity and be exposed to other worldviews.  Pretty extraordinary stuff.  As McGurn writes, “Just how extraordinary [this line of reasoning is] might best be appreciated by contemplating the opposite scenario: the reaction that would ensue were a court to order a young girl out of a public school and into an evangelical one so she might gain “exposure” to other “systems of belief.”

Religious freedom still exists in America – provided you aren’t a vocal Christian of the evangelical stripe.  Are you ready for the knock on the door?  Will your faith stand the test – or has it already been compromised? 

PRAYER: Lord, we pray for renewal and repentance in our country that we might return to You!  We pray that we would love our enemies, regardless of what they might do to us, that Your kingdom may grow.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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