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

Image result for laughter

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 2/25/20 – Lazarus Laughed

Image result for lazarus laughed

DayBreaks for 2/25/20: Lazarus Laughed

Early in his career, the great American playwright Eugene O’Neill wrote an imaginative play called “Lazarus Laughed” about Lazarus’s life after Jesus raised him from the dead. I’ve often wondered how Lazarus felt about being brought back, or the widow’s son, or Jairus’ daughter.  Were they happy to come back and get more time on this earth?  Or, if they had their druthers, would they have chosen to remain in the next “world”?

Near the beginning of the play, guests from Bethany are gathering for a banquet in Lazarus’s honor. They are all desperate to hear what Lazarus has to say about his experience (wouldn’t you love to hear such an account from one that you know was truly dead and raised directly by a voice command from Jesus?)

One guest says, “The whole look of his face has changed. He is like a stranger from a far land. There is no longer any sorrow in his eyes. They must have forgotten sorrow in the grave.”

Another guest, one who had helped roll the tombstone aside, recalls the scene after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead: “And then Lazarus knelt and kissed Jesus’ feet, and both of them smiled, and Jesus blessed him and called him ‘My Brother’ and went away; and Lazarus, looking after him, began to laugh softly like a man in love with God. Such a laugh I never heard! It made my ears drunk! It was like wine! And though I was half-dead with fright I found myself laughing, too.”

I’ve not been physically raised from the dead – not yet, but someday I’ll have that experience.  Only when it happens for me and you, we won’t have to repeat the dying process ever again – the same cannot be said of Lazarus or the others mentioned above.  I have, however, been “raised with Christ.”  I have been dead (in my sins and transgressions) but been given new life!  And so, as I move in a crowd and sit at a banquet table with friends, acquaintances and family, can people hear and see in me a man who laughs softly because I am so in love with God?  Or do they see a grumpy face that because I’ve been raised with Christ, I can no longer just lie still?

Such a presentation of a living soul in communion with God would be powerful, indeed.  And it would certainly give others reason to pay attention to what has happened to us.

PRAYER: Let us laugh in the delight of what You have done for us with a laughter that is contagious so contagious that the world joins us in joyful rejoicing that we have been brought to life again!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

 

DayBreaks for 12/15/15 – Joy, Dogs and God’s Children

 

 

DayBreaks for 12/15/15: Joy, Dogs and God’s Children

SPOKANE, Wash. – “Washington state researchers report discovering what might be the sound of dog laughter. Nancy Hill, director of Spokane County Animal Protection, said she was skeptical when researchers first told her noise would affect other dogs. “I thought: Laughing dogs? A sound that we’re gonna isolate and play in the shelter? I was a real skeptic…until we played the recording here at the shelter.”   Hill said when the scientists played the sound of a dog panting over the loudspeaker, the shelter’s resident dogs just continued barking.  But when they played what they believe is the dog version of laughing, all 15 barking dogs became quiet within about a minute.”

There are many things in our world that are contagious and most of them scare us: bird flu, ebola, AIDS, hepatitis, STD’s, malaria, the plague, terrorism and even the common cold.  Chances are that none of us will ever get those things (except, of course, for colds!), but they are all highly contagious once they break into human contact. 

There is perhaps one thing in the world that is more contagious than disease: joy.  All it takes is for someone to start to smile in a room full of people, and others will soon follow suit.  Laughter, as Reader’s Digest reminds us, is “the best medicine.” 

1 Peter 1:8-9 talks about the kind of joy we have because of our trust in Christ: You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  Your reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Is your life characterized by glorious, inexpressible joy?  What affect do you have on others who are stressed, angry, hateful?  There are people “barking” all around us who need to know about the joy that is in the heart of the children of God, especially during this time of the year.  Chances are that they’ll never see it if it isn’t visible on our faces and if it isn’t heard in our own laughter and words. 

TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, may our lives and faces be changed to demonstrate what knowing you does for our disposition.  May our faces reflect your glory, may our presence reflect your joy, and may we overflow with joy each day for the rest of our lives, knowing that our future is safe and sure in your nail-scarred hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 5/14/15 – The Laughter of the Universe

To access the web page version, click:

DayBreaks for 5/14/15: The Laughter of the Universe

Luke 6:21 – Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Job 38:4-7 –“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Laughter.  How I love laughter!  I can think of nothing more melodious to my ears that the sound of my grandchildren laughing!  My heart takes wings when I hear it!  To be unabashedly joyful is something that is hard for adults to do.  Perhaps it is because we’ve seen too much, or done too much, that we have lost that ability.  We’re the worse for it, of that I am sure.

While I don’t agree with his vision of the afterworld entirely, in The Divine Comedy, Dante depicts a gradual ascent from the pit through the purgatorio to the gates of heaven.  Early on in the book, he’d proven himself to be a true master at the expression and description of his journey and the things he saw.  But it is interesting, that as he finally approaches the full Presence of God, words and visual images begin to fail this master composer.  So, he switches to another key entirely for the remainder of his epic.  As he draws ever closer to the highest celestial sphere, he can only describe what he heard as a sound that he’d never heard before.  Pausing, he listens.  “Me sembiana un riso del unimverso,” he wrote.  In English, it means that it sounded “like the laughter of the universe.”

Dr. Harvey Cox, telling this story of Dante in When Jesus Came to Harvard, wrote: “The whole universe laughing?  The solar system, the Milky Way, the hundred billion galaxies that surround our earthly protons, all bent over in convulsions of hilarity?  A laughter that somehow catches up an entire history of sobs and cries of pain?  The last laugh of the God of life after so many deaths and defeats?  Was it too much to hope for?  Maybe so, but why hope for anything less?”

What will heaven be?  No human eye that has ever seen it has found the way to describe it.  Paul said that there wasn’t a language for it – that it would be even unlawful for us to try to describe it.  John, in Revelation, used outlandish signs and symbols.  What will heaven actually be like?  I really don’t know. But, perhaps as much as it will be a place of unending worship of the Eternal God, it will be a place that will shake with laughter – laughter at the joy of family in the very best sense of the word, in the very best of times, knowing that the party will never end!  And the new heavens and the new earth, confined to groaning in travail in the present creation, will be freed – and join in the laughter of all things being set right. 

I long to hear the laughter of the universe set free.  I long to hear the laughter of the redeemed when they take full possession of the Promised Land.  I long to hear the laughter of the Lamb at the wedding feast.  I long to see the Father’s face contorted with joy…over all of His children come home.

PRAYER: God, we long to hear the laughter of Your joy when the new heavens and earth have begun! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-subscribe@vineyardhills.org

To unsubscribe to DayBreaks, click here: DayBreaks-unsubscribe@vineyardhills.org  NOTE: Please make sure you send the email from the email address which is subscribed to DayBreaks, or the list server will not be able to locate your email to delete you as you request.  Or, if you no longer have that email address, email Galen (click below) and tell him your old email address and ask to be unsubscribed. 

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen

For an archive of the past 4 months of DayBreaks, click here:  DayBreaks Archive

DayBreaks for 05/28/12 – Laughing At Fear

DayBreaks for 05/28/12 – Laughing at Fear

Job 39:19-24 – Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paused fiercely, rejoicing in his strength and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, He does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground. He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

You may recognize the passage quoted above if you’ve seen the wonderful movie, Secretariat.  The year was 1973, and it was the final race of the Triple Crown – the Belmont Stakes, the longest and most arduous of the three races.  While some horses are extremely fast and can win at the shorter Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Belmont is known as the graveyard for speed horses because the longer distance exhausts them and they wither and fade.

Secretariat was a descendant of Bold Ruler, who sired horses known for speed, not stamina. Nearly everyone had written Secretariat off in the Belmont except for those who knew him best.  He had already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.  In the process he’d become famous, being featured on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated – something that has never happened before or since.

I could go on and on about this amazing animal, but that’s not the point.  The quote above comes in the movie as Secretariat rounds the final turn.  To start with, you can’t see him, but only hear the voice of Diane Lane (who plays Penny Chennery, the owner of Secretariat) quoting the passage from Job.  Then, from the right edge of the picture, Secretariat emerges around the turn, hooves pounding, breathing fire as he pounds down the track with no other horse even in sight.  He never lets up, finishing the race in a time and winning margin that no horse before or since has even approached, winning by 31 lengths over his closest rival.

Courage.  Strength.  Stamina.  Perseverance.  And joy, oh such joy! – as the race has been well run and the finish line approaches!

Though the quote is about the wonders of God’s creation and the strength and courage of the war horse, does it not describe how we should be as we race through our lives and turn one corner after the next?  When we hear the sound of the trumpet calling us to the fray, let us not stand still, but let us race and run with all that is in us to win the prize for which we have been called!

Philippians 3:13-14 (ASV) –  Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Run!  And run well, laughing at fear, afraid of nothing!

PRAYER: Let us enter the fray with courage and run without fear into your waiting arms!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 is now engaged in a project to provide temporary shelter, food, water and adult care to 37 orphans in Migori, Kenya.  We are trying to raise up an army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us provide care for these children until our partner in the project, BrightPoint for Children, can secure sponsorships for these 37 kids.  If you want to contribute, follow this link and scroll down to find the “Donate” button: Help the 37 Migori Orphans

Thank you!  Your donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, you also click on the Subscribe button at and select the Unsubscribe drop-down.