¡Hola, hola! What a blessing it was to read all the many testimonies of the first week of our summer BRC. Thank you for all the pictures and all the joy your shared with us. We are grateful for you and keep you in our prayers.
Last week we finished reading the gospel of John, a gospel that announces the gospel message and demands we respond to it with faith. Chapter 1 starts with a powerful scene that reminds us of Genesis 1: the Triune God separating light from darkness, moving, speaking, giving life. And just like God was the One who took the initiative to reach out to Adam and Eve when they fell in the Garden to bring judgement and mercy, here we see God again, reaching out to men. This time, however, He takes the form of a man: Jesus Christ, Immanuel, which means “God with us,” the Messiah, the One whom God promised to Adam and Eve that would come to crush the Serpent’s head, came into the world. The Word that spoke creation into being, became man and dwelt among us. And why did He come? To condemn the world that had been so unfaithful for centuries? No. He came to seek and save the lost, to bring light into the world, to make reconciliation with the Triune God possible through grace by faith (as we read in Galatians).
And here we are, reading this amazing story and we cannot pretend that we can read it and remain spectators in it. We are already in this story and have a role to play. We were born in this story, Friends. And we must respond to this Gospel message, to this love that is like nothing that we can compare or imagine by repenting of our sins and turning away from evil and believing and embracing full forgiveness in Christ. Isn’t that amazing? We can love Him, because he loved us first. We can respond to Him because He called us first. We can repent of our sins, because it is “in His kindness that He leads us to repentance.” (Rom.2:4) All of our salvation is by grace through faith. All of it is a gift. We read how Jesus called his disciples, and saw how all of whom He called came. How His grace is indeed irresistible! God loves to save sinners!
This week we will be continue reading the writings of John. His three epistles and the book of Revelation. See how the same themes that John brings up over and over again in his gospel, are present in his letters, especially in the first one.
John writes with the aim to help us believe so that we may have life as we see in John 19:35, 20:31, and 1 John 5:13. So, Friend, as you take the Book of God this week and read it, pray that the Lord will open your eyes to see Jesus in the text, to believe in Him and in His Word. To eat and be satisfied, to drink and not thirst, to walk in light and free from sin and free to obey and walk in light and love.
Don’t be intimidated to read the book of Revelation. Eat it and trust that the Lord will bless you as you read verse after after verse and chapter after chapter. This is also an inspired book by God and He gave it to us to nurture and strengthen our faith. Reading larger portions in one sitting will make it easier for you to understand the big picture: The Victory of the Messiah over all His enemies and His reign over all nations and individuals. He is King of kings today and all things whether on earth or in heaven are being reconciled to Him (Col.1:19-21).
Those doing the extended version, will be reading the first and second epistles to the Thessalonians and will start Ephesians.
When you read the first letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, notice how he repeats that he is confident that the gospel, the Word perched in “much affliction” and “in the midst of much conflict” will bear much fruit. Paul reminds us of the power of the Word in the life of the Believers to help them persevere in the midst of great trials, because the Word of God is alive and always at work in the life of the people of God. So we pray that we will persevere in the Word in the happy days and in the days in which we are living in much conflict, and the Word helps us persevere in Christ. And now you are probably remembering what we read in John 15 (an amazing passage to meditate on!).
In the second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul calls us to remain faithful and to stand firm in the midst of severe persecutions, and the only way to do this is to stand strong in the Gospel of Christ. And we trust that our holding fast does not depend on us, we know that “the Lord is faithful. That He will establish us and guard us against the evil one.” (2 Thess.3) So we take the Book and read it, trusting that His Word is at work in us and drawing us closer to Him each day.
Do not forget that you can always invite more friends to join us. No need to catch up with the rest and read the previous readings, just encourage them to jump in on the day we are at! (we will come back to the previous passages at another time!)
May our prayer this week be: “ Lord, direct our hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” In Jesus name, Amen (2 Thess. 3:5)
Under His sun and by His grace,
Becky Pliego and the Christ Church Ladies Fellowship