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

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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 2/18/20 – Finding Family

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DayBreaks for 2/18/20: Finding Family

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2010:

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. – Romans 8:29-30

“They worked together every day at the furniture delivery company and didn’t know. Gary would lift one end of the couch and Randy the other. People said they looked alike, but they chalked that up to coincidence.

“Randy had been researching his family history. He was an adopted son, and a new law in Maine allowed him to finally see his birth certificate. He learned that both his parents had died but that they had another son, born June 10, 1974. Then, on a furniture delivery run, it happened again. A customer commented on how much Randy looked like Gary. Randy started nonchalantly asking Gary some more personal questions—like when his birthday is. “As soon as he said his birthday, I knew,” Randy said later. Gary is his brother.

“Here they had grown up in neighboring towns and attended rival schools—only a year apart in age—and never known about each other. It was a shock to both of them. “Phenomenal,” said Gary. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.” A co-worker, Greg Berry, said, “There’s nothing like family, especially when you don’t have one. Now they’ve got it.”

“But that’s not all. After their story appeared in the local paper, “a teary-eyed woman showed up at the brothers’ workplace clutching a birth certificate.” She was their half-sister, born five or six years before the two men to the same mother. “After all these years,” she said in an interview with a reporter, “here I am 41, and now I finally found my brothers.” – Bangor Daily News

What a wonderful picture of what the church is to be!  Veritable strangers come together inside a building – perhaps they know someone and perhaps they are all total strangers to one another.  But if they stay for any period of time, they find that they are really brothers and sisters – that those who are part of this particular family of God all have a striking family resemblance as well as a deep bond that can’t be explained in mere human terms.  Those who are alone and lonely can find (in a church that beats with the heartbeat of the Master), the family they never knew they had.

As believers, we all have a responsibility and privilege of bearing the image of our Lord.  Let’s make sure that we keep His image clean and pure and that we welcome those who are seeking a place where they belong.  

PRAYER: May we be true brothers and sisters – far beyond any physical ties – that those outside will see in Your church the family they desperately long for!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 5/14/19 – Trading on God’s Mercy

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DayBreaks for 5/14/19: Trading on God’s Mercy

John 8:35-36 (ESV) – 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.

Yesterday I wrote about verse 36 and how the Son gives true freedom – a truly encouraging truth But immediately preceding that statement, Jesus gives a stern warning. There is a difference between a slave and a family member.

As William Barclay points out, Jesus is making a not-too-subtle threat here, one his audience, the Jews, would easily grasp: “The word slave reminds him that in any household there is a difference between the slave and the son. The son is a permanent dweller in the household, but the slave can be ejected at any time. In effect Jesus is saying to the Jews: ‘You think that you are sons in God’s house and that nothing, therefore, can ever banish you from God. Have a care; by your conduct you are making yourselves slaves, and the slave can be ejected from the master’s presence at any time.’ Here is a threat. It is a terrible thing to trade on the mercy of God—and that is what the Jews were doing.”

There is warning here for more than the Jews – it is for us, too.

At the same time, for followers of Christ, in spite of the fact that we are still entranced by sin in our flesh, that sin has been paid for and we are no longer slaves, or even servants, but called friends and sons and daughters. As sons and daughters we have a position in the family of God that is permanent.

PRAYER: Thank you for adopting us as sons and daughters with the full privileges and security of being members of your family. Let us live in that truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DayBreaks for 6/12/17 – Who’s Your Daddy?

DayBreaks for 6/12/17: Who’s Your Daddy?

From the blog, Barney’s Bullets, 6/9/17 by my friend, Barney Cargile:

Walt Disney went to great lengths to ensure that his kids experienced a “normal life”. Instead of seeking the spotlight, he and his wife Lillian did everything in their power to shield their daughters from the typical Hollywood lifestyle.  Every day, Walt drove his kids to public school. He took them to swim class and dance lessons. He arranged his schedule so that he could be home with them as much as possible. 

This was so effective that their daughter Diane didn’t realize what her daddy did for a living. Somehow she never “connected the dots” with the possibility that her dad was the Walt Disney. To her he was just “dad”. Then one day at school a friend asked her, “What’s it like having Walt Disney as your Dad?” The question jolted her like a slap across the face. Later that day, Diane found her dad sitting in his favorite chair. She stood next to him, outraged and asked, “Are you the Walt Disney?” When he answered affirmatively, she asked, “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”  Then she did something really crazy. She asked her own dad for his autograph! For a week, Diane walked around in a daze. She found it hard to believe. She knew Walt Disney! More than that, she was Walt Disney’s daughter! Every time she saw a Disney cartoon or watched the Mickey Mouse Club she thought, “Walt Disney is my dad.” (Source: What If It’s True?, Ray Johnston)

Once Diane Disney understood the reality of her identity, everything changed for her. She became Walt’s motivation to create the film Mary Poppins. She even used her influence as his daughter to inspire him to launch Disneyland. Because she knew who her father was, her life was never the same.

That’s the sense of wonder God wants us to live in. Forget about Walt Disney…Our Father is the Creator of the universe! Once you understand the reality of who you are as God’s child; once that becomes your identity deep inside, you’re never the same.  Ephesians 1 says that those who are “in Christ” are God’s “delightful children”; that we are “holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence”; and that “the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us.” Unbelievable!  Once we “get” this; really get it, our lives will never be the same.  We can live in victory. Now that you know who your Father is, only one question remains. How are you going to live?

PRAYER: Open our eyes to the reality of who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 12/16/15 – Pick Up the Baby

DayBreaks for 12/16/15: Pick Up the Baby

Do you remember when you came home from the hospital with your first baby? I do. We were young – oh, so young – and neither of us really knew what to do with a crying baby. We were clear across the country from our parents and as the baby howled, we were at a loss what to do. Even at the hospital when the nurse placed the baby in my wife’s arms as we were ready to drive away (no car seats back then that I can recall!), my wife started crying as we drove off, eeking out the words between sobs: “I don’t know how to take care of a baby!” Fortunately, a truly gracious and wonderful older woman from church came to our rescue!

Sam Levenson tells a wonderful story about the birth of his first child. The first night home the baby would not stop crying. His wife frantically flipped through the pages of Dr. Spock to find out why babies cry and what to do about it. Since Spock’s book is rather long, the baby cried a long time. Grandma was in the house, but since she had not read the books on childrearing, she was not consulted. The baby continued to cry. Finally, Grandma could be silent no longer. “Put down the book,” she told her children, “and pick up the baby.”

Good advice. Put down the book and pick up the baby. Spend time with your children. Particularly at Christmastime. We have the mistaken notion that good parents give their children lots of things. Wrong.

In a survey done of fifteen thousand schoolchildren the question was asked, “What do you think makes a happy family?” When the kids answered, they didn’t list a big house, fancy cars, or new video games as the source of happiness. The most frequently given answer was “doing things together.”

Will you give that most precious gift to your family this year? Forget about all the fancy, expensive presents. Time together as a  family is truly priceless…and it echoes the truth of the Incarnation as well!

PRAYER: Jesus, still our hearts and open our eyes to the priceless gift you’ve given us of our families, loved ones and friends. Thank you for them! Let us be resolved to spend quality time in the midst of these most amazing gifts this year and be a little less concerned about batteries, bikes and video games. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 4/07/14 – Wanted, Chosen and Desired

DayBreaks for 4/07/14 – Wanted, Chosen and Desired

Ephesians 1:4-6 (MSG) – Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)Heanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Used by permission from my friend, Barney Cargile, Barney’s Bullets: “A couple from Nashville were in the process of adopting an eight-year-old Russian girl.  The proceedings required that a judge read a long list of legalese, informing the girl of her decision to leave her native country and live in America.  It contained these statements: “Do you understand that you are unwanted and undesired by anyone in your native country?”  Her parents were horrified that she was forced to hear such words spoken about her.  Following the proceedings, they knelt before her, and hugging her they said, “You are our child now.  From this day forward, you will never hear words such as ‘unwanted’ and ‘undesired’ spoken over you again.” 

“Most of us have experienced this world’s rejection in some form; it’s easy to feel “unwanted and undesired”.  But when we come to Christ we’re given a new identity as adopted children of God (Rom.8:14-17). Regardless of what has happened in our past, never again will we be unwanted or undesired.  The Creator of the universe desired you as his child before he created the world (Eph.1:4-5). Rather than speaking words of rejection over us, Zephaniah 3:17 says that God takes great delight in us and rejoices over us with singing.  Isn’t that amazing in a world where we’re judged by our looks, bank account or performance?  The One whose opinion matters most thinks you’re great!  So let go of the conditional acceptance of the world, and move into the new identity you have in relation to Jesus.  You are wanted and desired.”

Galen’s thoughts: we all grow up hoping that some day we will find someone to love us. Once we do, we may be afraid that if that person knows all about us that they will decide they made a mistake, so we start keeping secrets, fearful that their love for us will go up in a puff of smoke.

The good news about God’s love for us is this: He does know all about us.  He even knew all about us before He chose us – and He chose us anyway!  As in comprehensible as it sounds, we are that precious to Him!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for choosing us, for telling us that You love and desire us forever!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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