DayBreaks for 12/17/15 – The Dangerous Glad Tidings of Christmas

DayBreaks for 12/17/15: The Dangerous Glad Tidings of Christmas

Luke 2:10 (NLT) – but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

From Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire blog, 2015:

“In Greek, the word “Gospel” is euangelion. Eu means good and angelion means tidings or message. This is where the word “angel” comes from, meaning simply “messenger.”

“Now we automatically associate this word with religion, as in evangelization or evangelical. But at the time of the Gospels, the term euangelion was associated especially with military victory. It was the good news of triumph in battle. More to it, euangelion was associated with the deity and accomplishments of the emperor of Rome. By Jesus’ time, it had become a commonplace that the Roman emperor was considered a god. Thus when an emperor was installed, euangelion was proclaimed. And when the emperor would write a new law or win a military victory or in any other way assert his command, it was announced as euangelion.

“So can you see how dangerous it is to announce the record of Jesus as a “gospel”? This good news has nothing to do with the Roman emperor and his army. It is proposing, in effect, a new emperor. And then for good measure, the writer Mark adds that he is writing the “gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Well, those were fighting words, for “son of God” was another title reserved for the Roman emperor.

“Do you wonder now why Christians were persecuted for the first three centuries of the Church’s life? Do you wonder why every single apostle except for John was martyred? Do you wonder now why they threw Christians to wild beasts? It’s because they announced the true euangelion.

“But what, or who, was this new emperor intending to fight? And what would be the nature of his military victory? John the Baptist provides us a clue. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But one was coming who was greater than John, one for whom John prepared the way, and that greater man would baptize in the power of the Holy Spirit. He would take on all of human sin and swallow it up in the divine mercy.

“That’s the new emperor, and that’s the dangerous good news.”

Galen’s Thoughts: the “good news” that the angel proclaimed is the euangelion. It is to be news of joy for all people. Is the message and meaning of Christmas “good news” to you? Does it stir your heart to joy?

With the coming of Jesus to earth, a new emperor was being proclaimed – and of His reign there will be no end!

PRAYER: We are eager to hear Your good news afresh with new ears and minds open to wonder this Christmas, Lord. The good news of Your coming – and the purpose of Your arrival – are so much better than news of any military victory. Let Your law of love and message of Divine mercy be proclaimed by our songs, our word and our deeds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 8/15/14 – Where Angels Visit

DayBreaks for 8/15/14 – Where Angels Visit

In the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth, Israel - the traditional spot where Mary received the visiting angel, Gabriel, announcing the coming Messiah

In the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth, Israel – the traditional spot where Mary received the visiting angel, Gabriel, announcing the coming Messiah

Luke 1:26-28 (NLT) In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 

As children, and even later as adults, we are fascinated with angels.  I’ve never seen one in person (as far as I know), but I believe in them.  I’ve never seen Moscow, but I still believe it is there over the rim of the world where I can’t see it.

There are those who have seen angels.  The reaction is always the same: fear.  Not just a bit of fear, but blatant, earth-shaking, knee-knocking fear.  Maybe the angels just can’t help it, I don’t know.  I’d like to think that if an angel appeared to a little child that it would be in the form of a soft, fuzzy being that clearly could do no harm.

There was once a time when the angel Gabriel appeared to a young teen-aged virgin in a tiny, dusty and dry village named Nazareth.  At the time, the village had maybe 200 or 300 persons living them.  I’d be willing to bet not one of them had seen an angel before.  But one day, an angel – and not just any angel but the archangel Gabriel – came calling.  I recently stood i the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth (see today’s photo) and saw the spot where it is reputed that Mary lived and had her visitation by Gabriel.  While I didn’t hear the rustle of angel wings, I did sense that something special had happened in that vicinity nearly 2000 years ago – and that there were perhaps even “angels in the architecture” at that very moment.  

It is strange, but whenever angels show up, lives are changed forever.  Such would be the case for Mary.  But why come to such a dingy little town?  Because God was invading time and space and He needed a womb to inhabit so He could become like us.  Clearly, Mary had found favor with God.  She would need His blessing.

Angels can visit anyone, anytime, anywhere.  Sometimes I think they wear human flesh – we refer to someone as being an “angel” when they have done something for us when we were deeply in need.  Sometimes they appear as they really are (I think) and sometimes, as with Michael, they must be fearsome, indeed.

Have you tried to put yourself in Mary’s place?  What would your reaction have been?  Is your heart so yielded to the Spirit of God that you would say as she did, “Let it happen to me according to Your word” or would you resist or refuse?

You don’t have to have an angel appear to you to be faced with that decision.  You have that decision every day – over and over again.  I often resist being yielded to His Spirit.  It’s something I need to work on.  Perhaps some day I’ll be able to say as did Mary, “Let it happen to me according to Your word.”

PRAYER: Thank You for those like Mary who show us simple, trusting faith, and who can inspire us to greater faith and obedience in our own lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

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DayBreaks for 11/13/13 – Where Angels Fear to Tread

DayBreaks for 11/13/13 – Where Angels Fear to Tread

Luke 1:11-13 (NLT) – While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12  Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13  But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.

Have you ever noticed how humans are terrified by angels when they appear in their real form?  It happens over and over throughout the Bible.  So why is it that we picture angels as fat little cherubs, or as if they were Hollywood Barbie Angel or fashion models (see here and here and here)?

I will say, rather confidently, that if angels looked like those things that not once would any of the angels have to say, “Don’t be afraid!”  My guess is that, while no one knows what an angel looks like, this particular angel, Gabriel by name (thought by some to be the angel of death) might look  something like this – which would explain the fear factor when mere mortals see him!

Further down in the text, Zechariah questions the message and is told, “I am Gabriel!  I stand in the very presence of God!”  This is a rebuke from this mighty angel.  Yet, even Gabriel falls to the ground in the Presence of God Almighty!

How strange it is that of all the creatures in creation, it appears that only Satan and his demons, and unrepentant mankind refuses to worship Him!

How long has it been since you’ve been on your knees in the Presence of God?

PRAYER: Almighty God, sometimes we treat you as if you are just another buddy, though a slightly larger version of an earthly friend!  How cavalierly we banter about Your Name!  How relaxed we are in our respect for You!  Forgive our insolence!  We fall before You, in fear and trembling, yet in full trust of Your ultimate goodness and salvation!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!