DayBreaks for 8/8/16 – The Gospel in Twelve Words

DayBreaks for 8/08/16 – The Gospel in Twelve Words

How would you tell someone about the good news? Some have developed tracts, some have written entire books to explain the gospel. But I like how our preacher put it these past few weeks. It’s so simple, so to the point, that I love it!

Here it is: We lost it all. Jesus paid it all. We get it all.

We lost it all: what did we lose? In Adam we lost our innocence, the ability to literally walk by God’s side and speak directly to him, we lost life and we lost eternity. It all happened so quickly that it takes your breath away.

Jesus paid it all: our sin incurred a penalty that would have to be paid. And we were destined to pay it forever separated from God’s presence. But instead of us having to pay for our own sins, Jesus left the glories of heaven for earth, suffered and died and paid the penalty for our sin.

We get it all: because of Jesus completed work (and what a key word that is!!!!), we got back everything (and what a key word that is!!!!) that was lost in the first place – and more. Yes, we were made in God’s image, we were his creation in the beginning, but now we are called his friends, his sons and daughters…and we will reign with him – all because of the middle step: because Jesus paid it all!

So, the next time someone asks you about the gospel, just remember those twelve words; We lost it all; Jesus paid it all; We get it all!

Now, go and celebrate!!!!

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus! The beauty of the good news takes our breath away! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

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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.

DayBreaks for 9/24/15 – The Fairy Tale Gospel

DayBreaks for 9/24/15: The Fairy Tale Gospel

From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:

My grandchildren love to watch animated movies.  Of course, they’re very young, but I think that my granddaughter can almost quote the dialogue from Shrek or Shrek II as she watches the movies.  She also is a HUGE fan right now of Cinderella.  Just as my grandson is all boy, my granddaughter (about to turn 3) is all girl.  She has a Cinderella dress, crown, see-through shoes and a wand – just like Cinderella.  And when she’s dressed up as Cinderella, she walks around like a true princess, holding her head up, cradling the wand in the crook of her arm, and surveying all around her as a princess should. 

Every culture, every where in the world throughout history has come up with fairly tales.  It’s not unique to Hans Christian Anderson or America or England.  Why is this the case?  I think it’s because we like to believe that good wins out over the evil that battles with it, that love will come true, that wooden puppets with long noses can become real little boys and that we can all be rescued from the drudgery and captivity that characterizes our lives.  And so, we love our fairy tales.  They transport us to a make-believe place where impossible things can, and do, happen – with regularity.

But, alas, as we know, those things are fairy tales.  They’re not real.  Never has a wooden puppet become a real boy.  And the woman or man who longs for true love may not find it.  Such things are beyond our ability to control.  And wishes can’t make it happen.  So we shake ourselves back to reality, forget about fairy tales and move on with daily life.

Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time, a God became human.  The Divine Spirit became a real boy and lived and breathed and walked among mankind.  While he could have been bitter and resentful at the way people treated him, his heart was full of love, and his words were full of life.  When he saw the sick, he healed them.  When he saw the blind, he gave them sight.  All those who lived in the land of darkness saw a great light, and when he encountered dead boys and girls – he gave them life.  He rides a white horse, wins the battle and the war, and rescues all peoples from the castles where they have been sleeping the sleep of death. 

It sounds too good to be true.  Must be a fairy tale, right?  No.  It is nothing short of the good news of God that Jesus came to deliver to us.  That there is a God who loves us enough to do all those things – and far more – so we can live with Him forever.  Fairy tales aren’t true.  The gospel is.  Dream your wildest dream and it will never be big enough to encompass all God has done for us!

Psalm 31:21 – Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.

PRAYER: For things that sound to good to be true – but which are! – we thank You, God! Thank You for the Great News! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 6/16/15: Four Worms and Jesus

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DayBreaks for 6/16/15: Four Worms and Jesus

From my friend, Barney Cargile (with a few modifications):

A preacher found the perfect visual aid for a Sunday sermon.  He placed four worms in four separate jars.  The first worm was put in a container of alcohol; the second in a jar of cigarette smoke; the third in chocolate syrup; the fourth in good clean soil.  As the sermon concluded, the preacher reported these results: 

The worm placed in alcohol: Dead

The worm in cigarette smoke: Dead

The worm in chocolate syrup: Dead

The worm put in soil: Alive

The minister then asked, “What did you learn?”  A young boy sitting in the back quickly spoke up and said, “As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!”  That ended the service. 

Although there’s value in the preacher’s point, don’t you applaud the young lad’s comment?  I have no idea how this preacher was coming across, but I can easily picture it as taking on a self-righteous, religious tone.  (Any of us who have ever stood in a pulpit, I’m sure, have been guilty of that!)  I’m sure that we have all been around someone who may have been communicating truth, but the way they presented it makes you want to cover your ears, cover up your “Christian” badge and run the other way! (Even if you agree with what they’re saying).  

Corinthians 5:20 says, “We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.”  

So here’s the question: How well do you “represent” Jesus?  Rather than shoving religious rules down someone’s throat, are you “entering into God’s work of making things right”?  The second half of the text says, “Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”  “Become friends with God”; now that’s good news most folks would like to hear…And don’t try to “worm your way” out of that message.

PRAYER: Jesus, let our tongues be eloquent and gracious when we share the truth and remind us that it is Good News!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 12/21/11 – You Call This Good News?

DayBreaks for 12/21/11 – You Call This Good News?

You call this good news?!?!?! Putting the "Good News" in perspective...

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33

“Survivor” is a reality show that is one of the most successful franchises in television history. It started in 1992 in Britain and has spread to play in over 50 countries as diverse as Chile and China.

If you’ve seen it, you notice how quickly the 16-20 strangers separate into two groups, no matter how many “tribes” there are. In one group are those who, in the face of the unexpected, meltdown, freeze, or fold. In the other group are those who cope, manage, and overcome when the unforeseen rears its head.

This difference in ability and mobility is less dependent on the facts, and far more dependent upon faith. All “Survivor” stories combine components of grace and good luck, grit and gumption. But at the very base of those who “survive” in the face of surprising challenges, are those who have faith. When it is just too hard to hang on, we need another we can hang on to.

First century Palestine was not a progressive society. Jews and Gentiles, Jewish and pagan, iron-fisted Roman rulers and oppressed subjects lived in an uneasy, unequal social equilibrium. In the first century there were clear “haves” and “have-nots.” Getting on one of these “who’s not” lists had far more social, political, and even “Survivor” repercussions than any Christmas “naughty and nice” list.

In the 21st century it is hard for us to hear how the angel Gabriel’s “good news” sounded to Mary. In the 21st century it is not a death sentence for an unwed woman to receive a birth notice.  It was then. That is exactly what Mary heard at that moment of angelic visitation…

The good news wasn’t about how things would be great with the pregnancy and with Mary’s life, rather, it was about the outcome of the life of her baby…and it was not just good news, but GREAT news…even for Mary herself because she, too, would be saved by her son.

PRAYER: Lord, at the times when we can’t see the good in a situation, remind us of Mary and the hidden power You wield to bring redemption from even a single life.  Let us trust that the good news is truly good and not second guess Your work!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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