Wednesday, February 01, 2023

December 2022 - January 2023 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1
To be loved, known, and chosen by Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, is the greatest need of every single person created in His image. Missing the mark of His perfect design provokes an agonizing and eternal identity crisis that can be resolved only by accepting Jesus' unmerited gift and the transformation that His sacrificial, redemptive payment makes possible. The transformed relationship with a loving Father provides a brand new, forgiven, pure, and blameless identity and a worthwhile purpose for living. The past two months in Tepic and surrounding Huichol villages have been filled with examples of that purpose in action and multiple miraculously-resolved identity crises.
Christmastime here is always an opportunity to make the most of sharing the unimaginable provision that the Creator of the universe humbled Himself to provide for a lost humanity whose identity is in shambles. As usual, the Christmas Celebration at IBBM was a platform for presenting the Gospel to a church full of those whom He came to seek and save. In addition, kids from all over town attended the OANSA Christmas party. The young OANSA leaders, who have been chosen, forgiven, gifted, and called, made the piñatas for the party, one for each group, as a tangible and sacrificial display of love. Not one person left these celebrations without hearing that the Omnipotent became a baby, wrapped in rags in a stable, born to die, to offer us the gift of salvation…because He is not willing that any should perish. God’s children are known, wanted, loved, accepted, and adopted. What an identity! 

And speaking of identity, Oscar is yet another young person who has wisely chosen to publicly identify with our Savior. He shared an amazing testimony of his experience of being accepted, redeemed, and set apart to serve Him, not because Oscar earned it; he certainly did not, but according to the riches of God’s limitless grace. 

Preparations are underway for the upcoming Huichol youth camp, our 10th anniversary of these camps! The current worldwide identity crisis has infected not only the most privileged person in town, but also, as implausible as it seems, the Huichol from the remotest village in the Sierra Madre who insists on looking for counterfeit worth in what other people say, in physical appearance, or in personal possessions. Pastor Martín’s wife, Erén, and I prepared the teaching materials and handbooks, and the Huichol teachers and leaders met with us this past week to go over each lesson and to finalize the logistics. We will teach that the answer to the key question: “Who am I?” has nothing to do with what you do, what you own, or who you’re with. Our Creator reveals that a child of God is known, chosen, desired, loved, accepted, redeemed, sanctified, created, forgiven, preserved, called, heard, adopted, and gifted for a purpose. Our true identity is found in Him, who offers to be our loving Father, and from whose unconditional love nothing at all can separate His children. 

Pastor José López and Juanita buried her daughter, Petra, on Monday, the day before we arrived in the village of La Bendición for our camp orientation and teaching sessions last week. We were all very sad. Petra’s life was hard. Her husband violently victimized her, constantly. They have seven children; the youngest is four years old. Petra came from her village of San Andrés Cohamiata seeking medical help in Tepic, and she was diagnosed with cancer. During her months of agonizing treatments, José shared the Gospel with Petra, and she believed. She lost the battle with cancer, but she gained an eternal identity, a redeemed child of God. Her husband had left her all alone to fend for herself, but the church family at La Bendición cared selflessly for her during her long illness. Fire-eyed and furious, along with the hobbling witch doctor from San Andrés, her husband showed up threatening and cursing Pastor Refugio at the village cemetery just as the casket the church family obtained for her was being lowered into the burial plot they purchased and excavated. The law requires burial within 24 hours. The local judge intervened and made him leave; he said the cemetery hours were now over. Praise God for Petra’s new identity and the amazing reminder that nothing at all can separate us from God’s unconditional love. 

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1


Post a Comment

<< Home