Big Milestone: I Turn 17 (for the Fourth Time)
28 May 2020
In Guatemala, the birthday boy gets to help
pass out the cake…
…but sometimes they make him wear
a small silly hat on his large pointy head!
A fondly remembered special birthday lunch
with Atilio and Gladys Chávez
This feels… odd. I’m spending today, my birthday, at home. Why is that so strange? Well, usually at this time of year, I’m in Latin America, most frequently Guatemala, and some hermanos wind up singing “Feliz cumpleaños a ti.” I’ve got birthday-party pictures from multiple years to prove it. Just to change things up a bit last year, I spent 20 hours of my birthday flying from Guatemala City, Guatemala to Lima, Perú by way of Atlanta. (Shortest route? Absolutely not! Cheapest? You bet, and we’re all about making donations stretch as far as possible.)
I haven’t traveled now for nearly two and a half months. Am I disappointed? No way! Do I miss the [continue reading…]
Derechos de autor © 2020
Pastor Jorge Watanabe
Inés María González Valdés
A note to our English-speaking friends (Una nota para amigos que hablan inglés):
This article also appears on our website in English as The Gospel of the Glory. We offer it here for the first time in Spanish, a move we hope is the first “baby step” in launching a Spanish-language Bible-study website: Lo Mejor del Trigo (The Finest of the Wheat).
Nadie puede representar la gloria de Dios,
pero se puede experimentar.
¿Qué es el evangelio de la gloria? Aún no hemos descubierto la gloria de Dios. Y sólo por la revelación de Dios se nos puede dar a conocer. Muchas veces me han exhortado otras personas a predicar el evangelio. Dicen: “Ahora, hagas lo que hagas, predica el evangelio”. Pero hasta ahora nadie me ha dicho qué es realmente el evangelio.
El evangelio no es sólo una simple declaración de que [Sigue leyendo…]
29 April 2020
Being “stuck indoors” could be
a blessing in disguise…
Yes, yes, but what about your spiritual
Often God’s blessings come in disguise — the disguise of a closed door, financial reverses, the loss of a loved one, the termination of a job, a move away from friends. Usually it’s only in retrospect that we see the Lord’s hand working in us through what transpired. It’s then that we see afresh that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 nasb). That’s one of those verses that is easier to quote “after the fact,” and much easier when someone else is “going through it”!
Do we [continue reading…]
Frederic Henry Hedge
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe [continue reading…]
27 March 2020
God is still on the throne,
Almighty God is He!
And He cares for His own
Through all eternity.
Leadership potential aplenty in Trojes, Honduras
“El Salvador declares a national
in-home quarantine for 30 days.”
We were able to leave El Salvador and Honduras just in time, before the borders closed!
Thank God that not all the news is “coronavirus news.” The King of the Kingdom is still in control and carrying out His purposes! I bring back good news of blessing from my recent missions trip. I got home from Honduras not a moment too soon — praise God for His sovereign timing! Less than a week after my return home, the infamous coronavirus started closing borders, first El Salvador and then Honduras. Another mercy: Although I left on the trip with a head cold, I came back healthy, and have continued so.
“Shelter in place”? “Shrinking economy”? “Social distancing”? God used this trip to grow [continue reading…]
The Pieces Come Together
7 February 2020
The challenge: trying to check-off the items as fast as the list grows!
Maybe you’ve never thought about it. How does a missions trip come together? A trip like the one I’m about to take to Honduras and El Salvador doesn’t just “happen.” I can’t just show up and have folks say, “Hey, Jim’s here. Let’s gather the pastors for some teaching meetings.” So please let me share a few insights from this upcoming Honduras trip (February 20-March 6).
Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free;
Force me to render up my sword,
And I shall conqu’ror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within Thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.
My heart is [continue reading…]
If you want a happy New Year,
be up to date!
The word for the closing and opening years should be “Up to Date.” We need not sit down in tears over the past which is gone. We had better be on our feet for a move forward. We must some way bring our past up to date, settled, canceled, cleared up to the present, or we will not have a fair start for the New Year. The sooner we actually get our whole past under the blood, certainly, and surely, and have witness to the same, the sooner we will be ready for our tomorrow. We need to be paid up to date and prayed up, and forgiven up, and cleansed up to date, and consecrated up to the [continue reading…]
15 December 2019
“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” here at home. Denise is still in Florida (for reasons I’ll explain in a minute), from whence I just returned. We have much for which to be thankful and much to anticipate.
A Paper-Plate Thanksgiving
“Grandma” and Chase
Yes, we had a paper-plate Thanksgiving in Florida with our daughter and her family. Oh, we enjoyed the usual holiday menu, so don’t feel sorry for us. It’s just that there was so much going on in preparation for our new grandson’s arrival that there wasn’t time to spend on “fancification” or clean-up. Completion of a multitude of pre-baby tasks was the priority of the day.
It must have worked! We are giving thanks to God for the first birth that we’re celebrating in this newsletter, Grandson #2 [continue reading…]
(Early 19th Century)
John Wesley Work, Jr.
How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
That publisheth peace;
That bringeth good tidings of good,
That publisheth salvation;
That saith unto Zion, “Thy God reigneth!”
— Isaiah 52:7 —
While shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night,
Behold, throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.
Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills, and everywhere!
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born!
The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth [continue reading…]
The Lyrics of Christmas
“…as we sing Messiah’s birth…”
We have hundreds of hymns and poems available in the Powerful Poetry section of our website. That's a blessing, but it can make it a challenge to pick out the Christmas carols and poems in that long list.
Here is our list, which will grow every year (Lord willing):
- 1st Sunday in Advent – Hosanna to the Living Lord
- 2nd Sunday in Advent (1) – The Lord Will Come
- 2nd Sunday in Advent (2) – In the Sun and Moon and Stars
- 3rd Sunday in Advent – Oh, Savior, Is Thy Promise Fled?
- 4th Sunday in Advent – The World Is Grown Old
- Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning! (Jan. 6 – Epiphany)
- Christians, Awake! Salute the Happy Morn
- Christmas Day – Savior, Whom This Holy Morn
- Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
- Come, Ye Lofty, Come, Ye Lowly
- Cradled in a Manger, Meanly
- Go Tell It on the Mountain!
- God's Hour
- Hark, the Herald Angels Sing!
- How Great Our Joy!
- Joy to the World!
- Let Earth and Heaven Combine
- Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming
- Of the Father's Love Begotten
- Oh God! Who Gav'st Thy Servant Grace (Dec. 27 – St. John the Evangelist's Day)
- Oh Weep Not O'er Thy Children's Tomb (Dec. 28 – Innocents' Day)
- Savior of the Nations, Come!
- The Mystic's Christmas
- The Nativity of Christ (a.k.a. Behold, the Grace Appears!)
- The Son of God Goes Forth to War (Dec. 26 – St. Stephen's Day)
- Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne
- We Wise Men of Orient Are
- Wise Men Seeking Jesus
If you have a favorite that's not on the list, please contact the webmaster to request it. If it's not under copyright, we will consider adding it for future Christmases.
Traditional German Carol
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
— Isaiah 11:1 —
Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter, [continue reading…]
Copyright © 2019
Here's a fresh view of Luke 2…
Ah, Christmas! What for others is a time of joy is for me a time to remember and mourn my felonious and heretical past life. The felony? Kidnapping. The heresy? Thinking that I could save God’s Son, Jesus. But like Saul of Tarsus, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in…” well, not “unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13), but because I was an innocent five-year old. I guess I need to explain.
Coinciding with my short career in crime, [continue reading…]