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 3/24/20 – Hallway Through the Sea #4: Out of the Depths

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DayBreaks for 3/24/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #4 – Out of the Depths

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/23/20:

For today’s musical pairing, something different: this acoustic version of Stay and Wait by Hillsong UNITED. See the video below.

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’”
Exodus 14:13–14

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Exodus 14:21–22

Day 4. 350,536 confirmed cases, 15,328 deaths globally.

In the Book of Exodus, a series of increasingly catastrophic plagues loosened Pharaoh’s grip just long enough for the Israelites to make their way into the wilderness. Pharaoh reversed course and pursued them. The Israelites faced a vastly superior army on one side and the Red Sea on the other. They were hemmed in. “The Lord will fight for you,” Moses tells them. “You need only to be still.”

Then followed one of the most renowned and spectacular of all the miracles in the Bible. God “divided” the waters and the Israelites passed through, “with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

It must have been an awe-inspiring experience to walk that hallway through the sea. It must also have been terrifying. At any moment, those towering walls could have crashed in upon them. Instead, after the Israelites ascended onto the far shore, the hallway collapsed upon the army of Pharaoh and freed the people of God.

The number of confirmed cases of and deaths from the pandemic in the United States soared over the weekend. We know the numbers will continue their rapid climb as symptoms begin to manifest and testing catches up with reality.

We feel, O Lord, like those Israelites passing through the sea. We are exhausted and bewildered. A frightening enemy pursues us. Danger looms at every side. The only way is forward. We know there is hope on the far shore, but we have not yet begun our ascent.

To read the rest of this meditation, click this link: 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/out-of-depths.html?fbclid=IwAR21Z_2oaNU3s0pX3_E3kdL9EpuKmFBntmIG_tnpaJ_v5PWVmb9IYSJx0N0

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

PRAYER: Lord, as you led your people through the waters long ago, we trust in you to lead us through this perilous time.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/20/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #1 – The Shepherd in the Dark

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DayBreaks for 3/20/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #1 – The Shepherd in the Dark

We are in uncharted territory as a nation and world…at least uncharted as far as those of us who are alive today are concerned. The world has seen pandemics in the past but we’ve not seen it in our times. Many, even Christians, are fearful and greatly concerned. In recognition of that, my son Tim Dalrymple at Christianity Today, is starting to publish a daily devotion to help us navigate this journey. 

Starting today, I’ll be republishing them (a portion each day) with a link to that days’ full post on Christianity Today’s Facebook page. I feel confident you’ll be blessed.

From Christianity Today, The Hallway Through The Sea: The Shepherd in the Dark, 3/19/20:

Editor’s note: We confront a public health challenge unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. Yet we believe there is beauty even in times of trial. Beginning today and each weekday hereafter, for however long, CT will publish a meditation from our president and CEO. We will pair it with a work of art or music to inspire and bring beauty through the darkness of this season.

Today we pair the meditation below with Verses by Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott. Also see this dance choreographed by Robert Bandara to the same piece. (Song embedded below.)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

Day 1. 211,853 confirmed cases and 8,724 deaths.

Onward it comes. The world slows to a still. We hold our breath. We listen. We watch. And the affliction stretches swiftly across the land like a darkening tide.

We feel, again, the long fingers of fear scratching at our lungs. Fear of loss. Fear of death. Fear of the chaos held at the gate.

We are lost in a trackless forest of information. We grasp for the apple of knowledge in the hope it will bring us peace, and yet fear lies coiled liked a worm within the apple. We consume the apple; the worm consumes us. The food we hoped would satisfy only makes our hunger more painful. No amount of knowledge will take our fear away.

To be human is to stand suspended over a chasm. To be human is to be vulnerable.

But when have we ever not been vulnerable? We have never been more than one week, one day, or even one moment away from losing the things we love in this world.

O Lord, we have always been in your hands. At your mercy. Why should that frighten us now?

The shadow of death is an old enemy and a wise friend. Memento mori, it whispers. Remember your days are numbered. Remember your days have always been numbered since before the first day dawned. Remember each day is a gift. And remember you have never been anything other than wholly and frightfully and wonderfully dependent on your God.

To read the rest of the article, click this link:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/covid-19-devotional-shepherd-dark-coronavirus-pandemic.html?fbclid=IwAR1BOMR_kHCzI1u8d89bFQI8epYDeDrf96QnLrbDlRasdcvWlKuOZ7rXfJk

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

PRAYER: Lord, you hold the whole world in your hands. Remind us often that there’s no better place for us to be than in your care!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

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

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

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2010:

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

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

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

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

PRAYER: Keep us from thinking that our little bending of the rules and indiscretions are too small for You to notice.  Help us be faithful in ALL things!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

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

 

DayBreaks for 3/12/20 – A Harder God to Believe In

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DayBreaks for 3/12/20: A Harder God to Believe In

I don’t know who said this, but I found it resonated with my own spirit:

“What I am displeased with is my own living of life.  I feel an acute sense that I ought to have done better with the circumstances I was given.  This is one of the reasons why it cut me so deeply when people suggested that suffering is God’s discipline — because I find it so very, very easy to believe in a God who is profoundly disappointed in me. 

“It seems utterly natural to believe in the Disappointed God, because I myself am disappointed.  He must be even more disappointed, I think, because his standards are so much higher than mine.  How could he not be disappointed?  That makes complete sense to me.

“It’s the other God, the God who does not experience that kind of disappointment, the God who sees me the way that Prodigal Son’s father saw him — that is the harder God for me to believe in.  It takes work for me to believe in that God.” 

It takes me no effort whatsoever to believe in a God who is very thoroughly disappointed in me.  I am now a minister of the gospel, but it took me nearly 25 years to get to this point – 25 years of secular work.  Yes, I was serving in the church all that time, but not in what I believe I was called to do.  And even though I can see how, in His wisdom, He has used all the things I did and learned in the secular work world to be a better pastor (though I still have much to learn!), I can believe He might have been frustrated with me for not going into the ministry right away (as I considered doing.) 

And, even if I concede to myself that I was still serving God and perhaps even doing what I was supposed to be doing for those 25 years, I can still look at my life and think, “Galen – you really should be further along than you are in your faith walk with Jesus.  Your faith is still shaky.  You still struggle with some of the same old sins that have plagued you for years.  You quench the Spirit from time to time – far too often, actually.  You are not generous.  You can be envious.  You could be a much better husband than you are and a better pastor to the flock, too.”  Those thoughts come easily.  And I’m sure that similar thoughts come easily to you in your own situation.

What a change took place in my life when I learned that God was running towards me to embrace me and weep at my feeble attempts to come to Him!  Do I believe that that God is real – that He is the God I’ve sought to serve all these years?  Yes…but it is harder.  It is harder to accept grace than to live with the whip of the lash.  I feel I deserve the lash, but instead of the lash on my back, I feel the Father’s arm as He puts on the robe of righteousness that Christ wore around His shoulders.  I feel His tears against my cheek – not tears of sadness or despair, but tears of exultant joy.  He takes pleasure in me…and that’s a hard God to believe in.

PRAYER: How desperately we need reminders that You run to us, not from us, and that You rejoice in us through Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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.  ><}}}”>