Odds & Ends: August 2016
“God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite. God sets limits to His patience and forbearance. He warns us over and over again that someday the ax will fall and His judgment will be poured out.”
― R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God
“Pray, and let God worry.”
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.
—Corrie ten Boom
Ever wonder what God is doing in your life, or what — if anything — He’s accomplishing through you? You aren’t alone! Many people in the Bible surely felt the same way, from Joseph as a prisoner in Egypt to Mary as a young, unwed expectant mother.
Growing in Grace
Meditation on 2 Peter 3:18
Peter ends his second letter with a command … "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity" (2 Pet 3:18). When we talk about spiritual growth, one problem we run into is this: how do you measure spiritual growth? In the physical realm, it is easy. Growth is measured in terms of inches on a yardstick or pounds on a scale.
But how do we measure spiritual growth? Spiritual growth is just as much a reality as physical growth, but we can't measure it with a ruler or with a scale. The Bible is telling us here that we should grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, but how do we know if we are growing or not? What are the telltale signs? There are some signs or characteristics, and we see them in the paragraph in which this verse is found.
One sign of spiritual growth in this section is found in 2 Peter 3:14 and it is purity of life. "Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace." The words used in this verse that describe the character of the Christian are 'without spot and blemish.' This does not mean that we can be completely spotless, that is to say without sin. No, we still struggle with our sins, but people ought to be able to look at our lives and see, in general, a purity of heart and life.
Missions Update: May 2016
Norm and Gwen Bowman Global Outreach Avenida Manuel Girona 70 Izda, 2, 1 08860 Castelldefels BARCELONA, SPAIN
TRANSLATION PROJECT / PRAYER MATERIALS UPDATE
God’s plan for us is that we know who we are in relationship with Him (Jeremiah 29:11), to find our identity and acceptance in that intimate relationship, and to receive that hope-filled relationship from Him willingly and joyfully. BUT, for a whole list of reasons, many Christians do not have, or are unable to experience that relationship as God intended, and therefore need restorative, recovery prayer within the context of a small group where intimate personal brokenness can be shared, prayed for and healed.
In a recent meeting with our professional translator of the healing care materials, he stated, “Norman, WE ALL need this. I need it.” He was right. We praise God for our translator, Daniel Menezo, who, year by year, in spite of personal and family setbacks, has persisted faithfully in translating one book after another of the Healing Care Materials written by Terry Wardle. Now there has been a major advance in the preparation of these materials in Spanish for use in the small group experience!! Terry Wardle has arranged for these translated materials to be published FOR FREE as long as it is for purely ministry purposes, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!! And he is helping us financially to employ the services of a gifted woman, Alexandra Estrada, who is formatting all of the materials that have been translated!! These materials will be tested in the first groups to use them starting in January, 2016, here in the Barcelona area. After that, all of the suggestions for improvement will be incorporated and the books, notebooks and resource materials will be handed over to the publisher at the end of 2016.
Those who will receive this prayer ministry in Spanish were always meant by God to love and live! Praise the Lord with us for His provision, His timing and His sovereign hand in the entire project!
Joe Teisan: May 2016
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED
WHAT IS GOD’S WAY
HOW CAN I BE BORN AGAIN AND HAVE ETERNAL LIFE?
- HOW DOES GOD PUNISH SIN? “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). “The soul who sins, shall die” (Ezek 18:4).
- AM I A SINNER? “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Eccl 7:20). “All who depend on observing the Law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who continues not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them’” (Gal 3:10).
- WHAT DID CHRIST DO FOR ME? DID CHRIST DIE IN MY PLACE? “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the cross, so that we might die to sins, and live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
- WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO? “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved . . . for every one who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:9,13). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23). “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God: God’s anger and displeasure remains on him continually” (John 3:36).
- WILL CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, BAPTISM, OR ANY GOOD WORKS SAVE ME? “For by grace are you saved through faith. And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us” (Titus 3:5).
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST? “Repent ye therefore; and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). To repent means to change your mind from serving sin and Satan to trusting and serving Christ as your only Lord, Master, Savior and God. Faith in Christ means that RIGHT NOW, I place all my trust in Him and believe that He will save me! I depend and hope in Him alone for eternal salvation. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father, but by ME’” (John 14:6).
Odds & Ends: May 2016
A taste of God's love
In Lost in Wonder, Love and Praise (Abingdon Press), John Killinger describes a mother’s love — and how it offers a tiny foretaste of God’s love:
“It is stronger than steel, softer than down and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity. I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of Him, both in this life and the next.”
Close to God
I can take my telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space. But I can lay it aside, go into my room, shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, and see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can assisted by all the telescopes and material agencies on earth.
Chapter and verse
In its original format, the Bible contained no chapter and verse divisions or numbers. Those are entirely a human convention, intended to make reading easier.
The first modern system of dividing Scripture occurred in the 13th century. Interestingly, the New Testament was first separated into verses in 1551 — by the son of a French printer, as he rode on horseback!