THE FREEDOM OF FORGIVENESS

 

“bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

 

The Gospel isn’t just for unbelievers; it’s a constant reminder and source of freedom for us believers too. We tend to forget, so preaching the Gospel to ourselves is vital. We need to marvel at the cross, at the depths of God’s forgiveness for us, just as Charles Spurgeon said: 

 

“I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that I am saved at all.”

 

This pardon humbles us, but it also liberates us. The Gospel reminds us of God’s immense grace through Christ’s sacrifice and the depth of our own sin, far greater than any offense another can commit. Our sin is against a Holy, infinitely Worthy Creator. So, as we contemplate the Gospel, we are disarmed and find ourselves without an argument. It frees us from self-importance and opens our eyes to the slow but sure self poisoning of unforgiveness, often rooted in our pride. We are then humbled by the cross’s grace, which empowers us to forgive others. Struggle is natural, especially with deep hurts or loved ones involved. We might stumble, but the Holy Spirit fosters a desire for forgiveness, which should eventually lead us to true reconciliation.

 

As Christians, forgiveness is a hallmark. When we struggle, meditating on God’s grace towards us and our own sin’s depth helps us forgive. Christ’s sacrifice paid for all our sin, leaving no condemnation for those in Him, including those we struggle to forgive. We‘ve been shown such incredible grace and love.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”- Ephesians 2:4-5

 

So pray, forgive, and release the bitterness. Heal and grow from the experience. “Be imitators of God,” showing grace and forgiveness to others, just as God has done so to us in Christ. Because at the end of the day, we too should lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that any of us are saved at all.

 

We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day. – Martin Luther

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE FATHER OF MERCIES AND COMFORTER IN OUR AFFLICTIONS

Let’s face it, everyone has problems they are dealing with. And it can be hard, very hard. Whether it be some bad news about your health, a life changing or terminal diagnosis, or of someone very close to you. It could be behavioral issues of a small child or a rebellious teen, marital strife, loss of employment or some other financial crisis that can seriously compound and worsen any of these issues. To be sure, it can happen in the seemingly safest of environments. How much more will it happen on the mission field, in a different context than your own, far from all that was once dear and familiar. Where stress and dangers are multiplied and difficulty becomes a way of life. It just comes with the territory. These difficulties at times can be rooted in our own sin, neglect or irresponsibility. Or we could find ourselves caught in the crossfire of someone else’s sin. Or it may just be the effects of a fallen world on those closest to us. It can still affect us deeply.

It can be enough to send someone spiraling into depression or some other unhealthy state of mind or spiritual low that feels like an inescapable, dark valley of despair. During those moments, God can seem distant and our prayers and groans of anguish towards heaven can even feel to us as if they go unheard. Thank God that is not the case! But if we are honest, it can feel that way sometimes. As believers, we can be truly trusting the Lord through the storm, but it doesn’t always make it easier, humanly speaking. We may even find ourselves at our wits end, crying out in fear like the disciples did on the boat “Lord save us! We are going to die!”

Even though a season of peace and tranquility may be coming afterward (maybe), at the moment, it can feel crushing and almost too much to bear. Some suffer for a season, some deal with it for a lifetime.

“Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

Many “storms” in life wreak havoc and leave a path of destruction in their wake, just like real storms. And just like in a real storm, it usually takes time to “rebuild” after the damage has been done. Some storms can be life changing and for some, even life ending. Many find themselves in shock and rattled to the core, left only to mourn over their situation and pick up the pieces as they move forward limping from the traumatic and hurtful experience. This happens every day to some people, for different periods of time, somewhere. We should not be surprised. We should actually learn to expect it eventually if we understand what Scripture says about the fallen nature of the world in which we live and the effects of sin as long as we live here.

God does in fact give us more than we can handle. Please don’t be one of those people who say that He doesn’t, or that He only does so because He knows we can handle it (as if were actually so strong in and of ourselves). If we could do it on our own and in our own strength, we wouldn’t need Him. Gideon comes to mind. (And may I briefly say, the popular but often misquoted verse in 1 Corinthians does not mean what you may think it means.)

The Lord brings suffering to our lives more often than we like. But He has His reasons, and we must trust Him through it. We must. Sure, we can know God’s plan and will in general, but oftentimes His plans for us as individuals in the details of our daily lives are not so easy to see or understand. God’s plans for us are often quite different from ours.

But if we find ourselves really struggling while suffering, we should ask ourselves this.  When things get hard, where else can we really go? Where does our help really come from? Sure the Lord will use people as a means to comfort us and help us, but ultimately only He can give us peace. True peace. Where will we find our strength to endure other than in our Lord’s unchanging nature, faithful promises in Christ and loving care?

He is our Strong Tower, our Rock, our Shield and Fortress to which we run to for comfort, shelter and peace. Only in Christ are we truly safe, and apart from Christ we can do nothing.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.- Psalm 23:1

I’m reminded of a well known modern hymn that beautifully says:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Beautiful moving words right? But the question is, do we believe it?

Do we really believe Him?

Do we really trust Him?

Do we really believe that He is good?

Do we really believe that He is working out all things for good for those who love Him, even when we can’t see it?

It is important to remember that regardless of what we believe, He will be glorified. Even through the seemingly most terrible of circumstances. But we can also rest as we remember that He is a kind, compassionate, unchanging and faithful Father and draw near to Him. We must learn to abide in Christ. His Sovereign hand and love for his people will be the pillow we rest our weary heads on.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

The unchanging nature of God is an anchor that keeps us clinging to the Rock that shall never fail us or cast us out during those difficult moments, or ever for that matter if you are in Christ. As I write this, many people who are dear to me come to mind. Close family members and family in the faith who are presently dealing with some of the very things I mentioned at the beginning, or even worse at this very moment. Pray for me and for other missionaries that know of these storms all too well. But also pray for those in your church who are suffering. A neighbor, a friend, or maybe even someone in your own household.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

To them, I can only say trust Him, praise Him, get alone with Him and His Word and pray. He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction. The Lord is our Shepherd, we have what we need. If we persevere, we will be more like Jesus when it’s over. And believe it or not, we will even be thankful for those difficult but transforming storms in our lives. Pray.

I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.- Charles Spurgeon

Written by Antonio Salgado

¿DÓNDE ESTÁN NUESTROS MISIONEROS?

¿DÓNDE ESTÁN NUESTROS MISIONEROS?

El Mandato Es Enviar Misioneros, No Solo Recibirlos

¿Es su iglesia una iglesia misionera? ¿Tienes un compromiso con orar, dar o posiblemente preparar un hermano de su iglesia para ir de misión? ¿Tiene deseo de trabajar en misiones?

En muchos países de Latinoamérica se ha visto un gran esfuerzo misionero de grupos e individuos de varias organizaciones extranjeras. Muchas iglesias han recibido grupos de “misioneros” o han conocido misioneros personalmente que trabajan en su pueblo o aun en su iglesia local. Muchas de las personas que he conocido aquí en R.D. han sido fruto de estos esfuerzos misioneros. Por supuesto, lo que se ha hecho en Latinoamérica ha sucedido a pesar de los problemas de la región. además, no podemos negar que Dios los ha usado a pesar de estas muchas dificultades. Pero por la gracia de Dios, al final del día, la iglesia llegó y por esta razón hoy en día tenemos adoradores de Jesucristo en Latinoamérica. ¿Tiene sus problemas? Si; ¿Hay trabajo que hacer? Mucho; Pero damos gracias y gloria a Dios primero por eso.

Sin embargo, hay algo preocupante que sucedió con la “transferencia de la antorcha del evangelio” La visión quedó corta en muchos lugares, o quizás no se comunicó bien la misión en su plenitud. Cuando un pueblo reconoce su responsabilidad de alcanzar a su población con el evangelio, van en una buena dirección. Pero hay que entender que dentro del mandato permanece el elemento de ir más allá y no lo podemos ignorar. Entonces debemos definir los términos.

¿Qué pasó después de la transferencia de esa sagrada verdad que es el evangelio, cuando se pasó de una tierra lejana a otra? ¿Porque parece que muchos países reciben a misioneros, pero por lo general muy pocos en América Latina han enviado misioneros a otros lugares? Muchos creen que con evangelizar su propio pueblo basta y en llevar el evangelio a otros lugares de su propio país es suficiente para participar en la Gran Comisión. Para muchos, esto es misiones. Y en un sentido lo es, en parte. Pero no podemos detenernos allí.

¿Qué pasó después de la transferencia de esa sagrada verdad que es el evangelio, cuando se pasó de una tierra lejana a otra? ¿Porque parece que muchos países reciben a misioneros, pero por lo general muy pocos en América Latina han enviado misioneros a otros lugares? Muchos creen que con evangelizar su propio pueblo basta y en llevar el evangelio a otros lugares de su propio país es suficiente para participar en la Gran Comisión. Para muchos, esto es misiones. Y en un sentido lo es, en parte. Pero no podemos detenernos allí.

Veamos que dice el evangelio de Mateo 28:18-20 NBL dice:

“Acercándose Jesús, les dijo: Toda autoridad me ha sido dada en el cielo y en la tierra.  Vayan, pues, y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, enseñándoles a guardar todo lo que les he mandado; y ¡recuerden! Yo estoy con ustedes todos los días, hasta el fin del mundo.”

Algunas breves observaciones

Jesús declara su autoridad suprema delante de Sus discípulos.
Basado en esa autoridad Jesús da órdenes a sus discípulos que incluyen:

  • Salir a otros lugares
  • Hacer discípulos de todas las naciones (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη)
    (grupos con diferencias etnolingüísticas y culturales, dentro de cualquier nación, y fuera en otras naciones también).
  • Bautizando creyentes.
  • Enseñándoles obedecer a Jesús.
  • Jesús promete estar con nosotros siempre

Por lo general, cualquier iglesia bíblica entiende la importancia de evangelizar, entiende el concepto de hacer discípulos por medio de la enseñanza a los nuevos creyentes sobre como seguir a Cristo. Y muchos entienden la ordenanza de bautismo y la importancia de crecer en conocimiento y obediencia a las enseñanzas de nuestro Señor.

Pero por una razón u otra, hemos fallado grandemente en un elemento sumamente importante de la gran comisión. El mandato incluye ir más allá, a personas diferentes de nosotros. Me refiero a un ministerio intencionalmente transcultural, cruzando barreras etnolingüísticas y aun geográficas, intencionalmente llevando el evangelio a personas diferente de nosotros y comenzando el mismo proceso con ellos que se hizo cuando el evangelio llego a nuestro contexto. Hay algunas iglesias que, si lo han hecho, han logrado enviar algunos, pero si somos honestos en vista del gran panorama, son muy pocos.

¿DÓNDE COMENZAMOS?

En primer lugar, lo mas practico y natural es alcanzar personas en nuestras familias, vecinos, compañeros de trabajo, etc. Pero realmente eso es solo evangelizar. Debemos de tener un plan para acercarnos a los extranjeros y hacer discípulos de ellos también. Tal vez, su iglesia no tiene los recursos para ir, o apoyar enviando a alguien para vaya a una tierra lejana. ¿Pero en un momento has pensado en los extranjeros que viven en tu comunidad, en tu ciudad? Grupos que usualmente son menospreciados. Ellos también necesitan el evangelio. Y eso será un perfecto ejemplo de participar en misiones a nivel local.

Que pensarías si te cuento con una gran tristeza, que he escuché un pastor con mis propios oídos decir que no le interesa alcanzar “esa gente” Este señor luego dijo que, “Pueden venir a mi iglesia si quieren, pero yo no hare un esfuerzo para alcanzarlos a ellos aparte de eso.” ¡¿Esa gente!? En ese momento mi corazón fue quebrantado. Este pastor estaba contradiciendo parte del mismo mandato de Jesús. Lo mas irónico es que si no fuera por misioneros de otros países que trajeron el evangelio a su país, él tampoco tuviera la esperanza que tiene ahora. Gracias a Dios que los hermanos que alcanzaron el país de este hombre no pensaron de esa misma manera.

Pero por eso es importante definir los términos. Si no entendemos que la gran comisión lleva consigo la intención de propulsar hacia a fuera y alcanzar personas diferentes a nosotros donde vivimos, y aun mas allá a otras etnias diferentes fuera de nuestras fronteras también, no entendemos el concepto de misiones. En pocas palabras, evangelizar es llevar el evangelio a nuestra propia gente y por supuesto el evangelismo es una importante parte de misiones. Pero misiones se podría definir mejor como la manera intencional de cruzar barreras culturales para evangelizar y discipular.

Nos equivocamos cuando solo evangelizamos gente de nuestra misma cultura y pensamos que estamos cumpliendo con la misión, cuando en realidad, es solo una parte de la misión. El texto no nos presenta el lujo de solo trabajar aquí o allá, un grupo u otro. Son las dos cosas. El Señor con toda autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra dijo a “todas las naciones, a todo el mundo. Y repito, eso fue un mandato, no una sugerencia. El Rey de reyes ha dado Sus órdenes; Punto. Estoy de acuerdo con John Piper cuando hablando respecto a las misiones dice: “Solo tenemos tres opciones, ir, enviar, o desobedecer.” Es clave que podamos entender esto, que las misiones no deben ser opcional para la iglesia.

A continuación, presento unas evidencias que pueden mostrar que muchas iglesias han perdido el enfoque, y después podrán ver algunas sugerencias prácticas para comenzar a tomar la gran comisión con mas seriedad en nuestras iglesias locales, aun con los pocos recursos que muchas iglesias cuentan.

Evidencias de que hemos perdido en enfoque de la misión:

Iglesias con crecimiento invierten sus recursos (y aun a veces se ponen en deuda) con asuntos secundarios; como mejores equipos, templos más amplios, una multitud de actividades divertidas, etc. Pero para no ser malinterpretado debo aclarar que estas son cosas buenas y ninguna es pecado en sí. Jamás diría algo así. Pero, si les pido que examinemos de manera honesta nuestras prioridades. Los presupuestos de cada iglesia revelan mucho acerca de las verdaderas prioridades de cualquier ministerio. Si tomamos en serio las palabras del Señor, la gran comisión debe ser una de esas prioridades.

El recibir y agradecer por misioneros de otros países que vienen y ayudan, pero sin tener ninguna urgencia en entender la necesidad de imitar ese tipo de sacrificio y entrega para otros. Lo que hemos recibido nunca era solo para nosotros.

Ningún plan de largo plazo para preparar y enviar misioneros desde las iglesias locales.

Ningún fondo asignado en el presupuesto de la iglesia para apoyar algunas personas que ya están trabajando en el campo misionero.

Ningún lugar en su lista de oraciones por misioneros en otros países, o para que el Señor levante misioneros de su congregación para dar su vida en el campo misionero en otro país.

Es tiempo que aprendamos a obedecer al Señor y salir de nuestras zonas de confort mis hermanos. Esto es el plan de Dios y no debemos darnos el lujo de ignorar las partes más difíciles de seguir a Cristo, recordemos que en el libro de los hechos los discípulos debieron recibir una persecución para poder expandir el evangelio a las demás ciudades y naciones, no debemos esperar que a nosotros nos suceda igual.

Sugerencias para ajustar nuestros enfoques y comenzar a participar en la gran comisión:
En primer lugar, debemos orar. Oremos por misioneros en otros países. Hermanos y hermanas que dan o ponen sus vidas en contextos mucho más difíciles que la nuestra.

Oremos para que el Señor ponga la pasión en los corazones de los miembros de su iglesia para presentar el evangelio en las demás naciones.
Oremos por provisión para poder apoyar a los misioneros y eventualmente enviar a otros. La fidelidad es más importante que cantidad, y las personas que dan ofrendas y oran por las misiones que cumplen un papel con la misma importancia que el del misionero en el campo.

Oremos y elijan un país por el cual orar frecuentemente, por las misiones y la iglesia de dicho país. Orar por las misiones en otras naciones es participar en dichas misiones. Dependemos del Señor y no podemos hacerlo en nuestras propias fuerzas.

Oremos para que el Señor levante uno de su propia iglesia al campo misionero, posiblemente podría ser usted. ¿Estarías dispuesto?

Ser intencional en preparar líderes. Esto siempre debe ser una prioridad en cualquier iglesia. Si tienes hombres fieles trabajando en el ministerio, que conocen la Palabra de Verdad, ellos serán los mejores candidatos. Si va ser eficaz como misionero, debe ser un buen teólogo.

Sobre todo, haga el trabajo de un evangelista. Predícale a todo el mundo. Pero debes ser intencional en buscar oportunidades de establecer relaciones con personas de otras culturas también (aunque sea con traductores), toma el tiempo de aprender cosas de ellos y de su cultura, con la meta de predicarle el evangelio. Esto también es participar en misiones.

Si abres los ojos te darás cuenta de que Dios trae un campo misionero a tu propia puerta. Las oportunidades abundan, Cristo tiene toda autoridad y gracias a Dios Él prometió estar con nosotros. ¿Qué más necesitamos? ¿Qué nos detiene?

Vayan, pues, y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones… – Jesús

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry:

You can donate to this ministry online with PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to us. Click the link below for that option.

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

The ministry of (CMC) serves hundreds of missionaries, but they ONLY receive the funds for us and in no way have control over how the funds are to be spent or what we are to do as a ministry, which gives room to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and the liberty in making needed adjustments.

You may begin sending your support to the BCMS (Antonio Salgado) at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry here in the DR online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website.

To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. But the PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field.

We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field.

Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

Yeison’s Song: A Whisper Against the Roar (UPDATED)

The world roars with arguments about abortion, each side drowning out the most precious voice: the cry of a life silenced. But I can’t stand silent with my own son’s story begging to be heard. This isn’t a political diatribe, but a lament, a whisper against the deafening noise, woven with hope born from a brutal reality.

Many know Yeison, our bright, bilingual miracle. What they may not know is the darkness that birthed him. He wasn’t just born to a mother with special needs, but into the aftermath of a monstrous act – a rape that ripped her world apart and left him, an innocent soul, clinging to life.

This is the truth that tears me apart. While rage for the perpetrator burns white-hot, an ember of gratitude flickers – thank God abortion wasn’t a legal option here. But the shadow of its possible future existence looms large, reminding us of the chilling truth: every life, from its very first spark, holds an intrinsic value. Each heartbeat, regardless of its origin, whispers a song only heaven can truly hear. And who are we to silence that song?

Yeison’s mother, though trapped in her own struggles, loves him fiercely. It shines in her eyes, a testament to the maternal bond that transcends limitations. How dare anyone claim this child, born from such horror, deserves anything less than love and protection?

Around the time I had been praying for another child, God led me to a community where I had been preaching and teaching His Word. He answered my prayers, but in a way I never expected. He placed me on a path to help Yeison, his mother, and who would be Yera’s caretaker.

The scene that greeted us was gut-wrenching. Yera, weak and malnourished, could barely care for herself, let alone a baby. Had abortion been an option, Yeison’s life would have been erased, his tiny melody snuffed out before it ever truly began.

The thought makes my blood run cold. Even in cases of unimaginable trauma, the child shouldn’t bear the sins of the perpetrator. Taking a life, at any stage, is not a solution, but a tragedy compounded.

Today, Yeison’s laughter echoes through our home. He thrives, loved and cherished by his siblings and many others. But his story isn’t just sunshine and smiles. It’s a stark reminder of the darkness that exists, the lives teetering on the brink of silence. It’s a call to action, a plea to rise above the noise and listen to the whispers of those whose voices are barely heard.

The Gospel echoes this plea. When we were lost and broken, condemned and separated from God, Christ didn’t condemn us, but came to save us, to offer forgiveness and the amazing privilege of becoming children of God. Like a child adopted into a loving home, we are no longer outcasts, but beloved sons and daughters. This truth fuels my unwavering commitment to live for Him, to be a beacon of hope in a world desperately needing it.

But words alone can’t change the world. We must act, our actions reflecting the compassion of Christ and grace of the Gospel. Let’s stand together, not just to denounce, but to offer support and healing to those impacted by abortion. Remember, even in the deepest darkness, forgiveness and restoration are possible.

When I look at Yeison, I see more than a son. I see a survivor, a symbol of hope, a living testament to the preciousness of every life, even those born from unimaginable pain. I see a beautiful reflection of the Gospel. May his story touch your heart, stir your compassion, and inspire you to join us in raising our voices, not just against the roar, but for the whispers of every precious life.

Let us pray for those affected by abortion, both the children and those facing difficult choices. Again, I emphasize, that even in the deepest darkness, forgiveness and restoration are possible. May they find solace and hope in God’s unwavering love shown in the Gospel.

In Christ,

Antonio Salgado

 

 

 

¿QUE SIGNIFICA CRISTO CÉNTRICO?

“Entonces él les dijo: —¡Insensatos y tardos de corazón para creer todo lo que los profetas han dicho! ¿No era necesario que el Cristo padeciera estas cosas y que entrara en su gloria? Y comenzando desde Moisés y siguiendo por todos los profetas, les declaraba en todas las Escrituras lo que de él decían.” San Lucas‬ 24:25-27‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“porque si creyerais a Moisés, me creeríais a mí, porque de mí escribió él.” San Juan‬ 5:46‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Hay mucho en las redes sociales entre los cristianos que usan este término, muchos libros, sermones, canciones. ¿Pero qué significa y exactamente, y porque se usa? ¿Por qué tanto énfasis? ¿Tal vez la pregunta más importante será, es bíblico darle tanto énfasis a la persona y obra de Cristo? Este tema es uno cuál es simple, pero a la vez muy profundo y tiene que ver con la teología del “cumplimiento” y es un tema que el mismo Antiguo Testamento da prioridad. Es el mensaje que Juan el Bautista predicó, Jesús y los apóstoles predicaron, y es el tema que llega al mismo corazón del evangelio. 

El Apóstol Pablo declaró que Jesús vino cuando el tiempo fue cumplido. Por lo menos esto implica que hubo un tiempo de preparación. Preparación de algo grande anticipado. En el plan de Dios progresivo, todo de lo que había sucedido tenía su propósito y meta de señalar, y exaltar a Cristo.  La era de Moisés apuntaba a este momento de cumplimiento y dio énfasis a ese momento venidero. La llegada del Hijo de Dios indicaba la culminación de ese tiempo. Hasta este punto en la historia, esto había sido la meta de TODO que había sucedido en el pasado.

El Señor prometió en varias ocasiones un Redentor, Salvador, el Mesías, el mejor y mayor profeta y dador de ley. Todos los tipos y sombras en el Antiguo Testamento eran solamente sombras del que ha de venir.  Se puede decir que nunca ha existido un verdadero rey, un verdadero, profeta, un verdadero juez, un verdadero maestro. ¡Porque en un sentido todos del pasado eran nada más que sombras del Verdadero, el Señor Jesucristo!

¡Desde Génesis a Malaquías hay algunos 353 profecías acerca de Cristo cumplidas en el Nuevo Testamento! 

La Biblia fue escrita y preservada para nosotros, ¡pero no es acerca de nosotros, las Escrituras dan testimonio de Cristo! Todas las promesas son a Él, a Cristo, y somos herederos de esas promesas por fe en Él.

“Porque todas las promesas de Dios son en él «sí», y en él «Amén», por medio de nosotros, para la gloria de Dios.” 2 Corintios‬ 1:20‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

San Agustín es que está acreditado con decir, “el antiguo está en el nuevo revelado, y el nuevo está en el antiguo ocultado”.

Desde Génesis vemos en el protoevangelio, la primera promesa de redención, que se cumplió en la cruz.

“Pondré enemistad entre ti y la mujer, y entre tu simiente y la simiente suya; esta te herirá en la cabeza, y tú la herirás en el talón.” Génesis‬ 3:15‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

En Deuteronomio vemos la promesa de un profeta como Moisés… Pero mejor, mayor.

“»Un profeta como yo te levantará Jehová, tu Dios, de en medio de ti, de tus hermanos; a él oiréis.” Deuteronomio‬ 18:15‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

En el Nuevo Testamento vemos El Padre decir lo mismo de una nube de gloria en la transfiguración.

“Y se les aparecieron Moisés y Elías, que hablaban con él. Entonces Pedro dijo a Jesús: «Señor, bueno, es para nosotros que estemos aquí; si quieres, haremos aquí tres enramadas: una para ti, otra para Moisés y otra para Elías.» Mientras él aún hablaba, una nube de luz los cubrió y se oyó una voz desde la nube, que decía: «Este es mi Hijo amado, en quien tengo complacencia; a él oíd.» Al oír esto, los discípulos se postraron sobre sus rostros y sintieron gran temor. Entonces Jesús se acercó y los tocó, y dijo: «Levantaos y no temáis.» Cuando ellos alzaron los ojos, no vieron a nadie, sino a Jesús solo.” San Mateo‬ 17:3-8‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Moisés y Elías, quienes siempre han representado a la ley y los profetas, en este instante muy significante, desaparecen y el texto dice que alzaron los ojos ¡y no vieron a nadie, sino a Jesús solo! ¡A él oíd! Esto es el mensaje de la Biblia. ¡Jesús es el verdadero Profeta, el verdadero, Rey, el verdadero Maestro, el verdadero Juez, el Sumo sacerdote del mejor y nuevo pacto basado en mejores promesas, y el verdadero y mayor dador de la ley, Su ley!

Todo punta hacia Cristo, los sacrificios, el templo, el tabernáculo, el sábado, y podemos escribir ejemplos innumerables de los tipos y sombras de Cristo en el Antiguo Testamento. Pero el Nuevo lo declara con más claridad.

Cristo está..

“sobre todo principado y autoridad, poder y señorío, y sobre todo nombre que se nombra, no solo en este siglo, sino también en el venidero.” Efesios‬ 1:21‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Cristo es..

“Él, que es el resplandor de su (Dios) gloria, la imagen misma de su sustancia y quien sustenta todas las cosas con la palabra de su poder…” Hebreos‬ 1:3‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

¡Es Cristo que sostiene todo en la creación!

En Cristo-

 “fueron creadas todas las cosas, las que hay en los cielos y las que hay en la tierra, visibles e invisibles; sean tronos, sean dominios, sean principados, sean potestades; todo fue creado por medio de él y para él. Y él es antes que todas las cosas, y todas las cosas en él subsisten.” Colosenses‬ 1:16-17‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Todas las cosas por medio de él fueron hechas, y sin él nada de lo que ha sido hecho fue hecho.”  San Juan‬ 1:3‬ RVR95‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

¡Cristo es todo! Y en la infinita sabiduría de Dios el Padre, Él lo decretó así y El Espíritu lo glorifica y nos guía hacia Él.

Como cristianos, debemos también ser Cristo céntricos, porque Cristo es el centro de todo, y en la Palabra de Dios es así.  Y si Cristo es el centro de la Biblia (Y el universo) entonces debe ser el centro de nuestras vidas también. Nuestra nueva identidad está en Él y en todo momento debemos adorar y dar gracias que por la fe, y con un corazón humilde podemos acercarnos a este Rey de Reyes y Señor de Señores, a quien merece toda honra y gloria y poder por los siglos de los siglos, amén.

El gran misterio en todo esto es esta hermosa verdad:

Pero Dios demuestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros. -Romanos 5:8

Arrepiéntete de tu pecado y de confiar en ti mismo.  Ven a Cristo, crea en Cristo, confía en Cristo.  Tendrás paz con Dios, perdón de tus pecados, descanso para tu alma. Centre tu vida en Cristo, porque Él verdaderamente es el centro de todas las cosas.

Escrito por Antonio Salgado, misionero en la República Dominicana

Doy gracias a mi Dios cada vez que me acuerdo de ustedes.  En todas mis oraciones por todos ustedes siempre oro con alegría,  porque han participado en el evangelio desde el primer día hasta ahora.

– Filipenses 1:3 – 5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry:

You can donate to this ministry online with PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to us. Click the link below for that option.

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

The ministry of (CMC) serves hundreds of missionaries, but they ONLY receive the funds for us and in no way have control over how the funds are to be spent or what we are to do as a ministry, which gives room to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and the liberty in making needed adjustments.

You may begin sending your support to the BCMS (Antonio Salgado) at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry here in the DR online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website.

To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. But the PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field.

We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field.

Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE BIBLICAL MODEL PART 5: CHRIST IS EVERYTHING IN MISSIONS

“Then he said to them, ‘Oh, foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Luke 24:25-27 ESV

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”
John 5:46 ESV

There is a lot on social media among Christians who use the term “Christ centered”, many books, sermons, and songs. But what does it mean exactly, and why is it used? Why so much emphasis? Perhaps the most important question will be, is it biblical to give so much emphasis to the person and work of Christ? This topic is one that is simple but at the same time very profound and has to do with the theology of “fulfillment” and it is a topic that the Old Testament itself gives priority to. It is the message that John the Baptist preached, Jesus and the apostles preached, and it is the theme that reaches the very heart of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul declared that Jesus came when the time was fulfilled. At the very least, this implies that there was a time of preparation. Preparation for something great anticipated. In the progressive plan of God, everything that had happened had its purpose and goal of pointing to, and exalting Christ.

The era of Moses pointed to this moment of fulfillment and gave emphasis to that coming moment. The arrival of the Son of God indicated the culmination of that time. Up to this point in history, this had been the goal of EVERYTHING that had happened in the past.

The Lord promised on several occasions a Redeemer, Savior, the Messiah, the best and greatest prophet and giver of the law. All the types and shadows in the Old Testament were only shadows of the one who is to come. It can be said that there has never been a true king, a true prophet, a true judge, a true teacher. Because in a sense, all the past were nothing more than shadows of the True One, the Lord Jesus Christ!

From Genesis to Malachi, there are some 353 prophecies about Christ fulfilled in the New Testament!

The Bible was written and preserved for us, but it is not about us, the Scriptures testify of Christ! All the promises are to Him, to Christ, and we are heirs of those promises by faith in Him.

“for all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter the Amen to the glory of God through us.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV

Saint Augustine is credited with saying, “the old is in the new revealed, and the new is in the old hidden.”

From Genesis, we see in the ‘protoevangelium’, the first promise of redemption, which was fulfilled on the cross.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15 ESV

In Deuteronomy, we see the promise of a prophet like Moses… But better, greater.

“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You shall listen to him.”
Deuteronomy 18:15 ESV

In the New Testament, we see The Father say the same thing from a cloud of glory at the transfiguration.

“And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself.”
Matthew 17:3-8 ESV

Moses and Elijah, who have always represented the law and the prophets, at this very significant moment, disappear and the text says that they looked up, and saw no one, except Jesus alone! To him, give ear! This is the message of the Bible. Jesus is the true Prophet, the true King, the true Teacher, the true Judge, the High Priest of the better and new covenant based on better promises, and the true and greater giver of the law, His law!

Everything points to Christ, the sacrifices, the temple, the tabernacle, the Sabbath, and we can write countless examples of the types and shadows of Christ in the Old Testament. But the New Testament declares it with more clarity.

Christ is..

“above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
Ephesians 1:21 ESV

Christ is..

“the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
Hebrews 1:3 ESV

It is Christ who sustains everything in creation!

In Christ..

“all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”Colossians 1:16-17 ESV

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
John 1:3 ESV

Christ is everything! And in the infinite wisdom of God the Father, He decreed it so and the Spirit glorifies Him and guides us to Him.

As Christians, we must also be Christ centered because Christ is the center of everything, including the Word of God. And if Christ is the center of the Bible (and the universe) then He must be the center of our lives as well. Our new identity is in Him and at all times we must worship and give thanks that by faith, and with a humble heart we can approach this King of Kings and Lord of Lords to whom is due all honor and glory and power forever and ever amen.

The great mystery in all this is this beautiful truth:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 ESV

Repent of your sin and of trusting in yourself. Come to Christ, believe in Christ, trust in Christ. You will have peace with God, forgiveness of your sins, and rest for your soul. Center your life in Christ, because He truly is the center of all things.

Written by Antonio Salgado serving in the Dominican Republic

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry:

You can donate to this ministry online with PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to us. Click the link below for that option.

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

The ministry of (CMC) serves hundreds of missionaries, but they ONLY receive the funds for us and in no way have control over how the funds are to be spent or what we are to do as a ministry, which gives room to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and the liberty in making needed adjustments.

You may begin sending your support to the BCMS (Antonio Salgado) at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry here in the DR online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website.

To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. But the PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field.

We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field.

Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE BIBLICAL MODEL PART 1: THE ACTUAL MISSION OF MISSIONS

The Actual Mission of “Missions”

What are missions? What is mission work?

It can be a buzz word of sorts in Christian circles. Local missions, foreign missions, “mission minded”, “mission trips”, etc. I, for one, am someone who likes to define the terms when getting into explaining things, anything. We live in a world of so much information that the waters have certainly been muddied.

This makes communication in a postmodern world difficult and unprofitable sometimes, actually many times. There should be a clear understanding of what we mean by our use of any given word, but, someone else may use the VERY SAME word, but mean something else by it. So, let’s define the terms upfront as we think about the topic of “missions.”

What exactly is “the mission” or what are “missions?”

As we think about the New Testament, who do we speak of most, or think about first when we think of missions? Who is the first to pop into your mind? Is it Peter, James or John? Maybe, but I’d have to say probably not. Most people would automatically think. Paul of course. Why is this?

We know that Paul is most remembered as “the missionary” because there is much in the NT about his missionary journeys. But it is important that we remember that he was also the Apostle to the gentiles. The other Apostles pretty much stayed ministering to the Jews, their same people group. While Paul went out to the Gentiles, people different from himself, in places away from his own home, to places where people looked different and spoke different languages and believed different things. They had a different worldview and culture.

The other Apostles pretty much stayed around people who were like themselves, believed the same things, shared the same culture and language. We have to admit that there is definitely a different element about Paul’s mission to the Gentiles, in comparison to the way the Gospel was preached to the Jews in Jerulsalem. Paul crosses cultural lines with the Gospel. He went to the “ethnos” he went to the nations, to other people who were not like him.

In what is known as the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18 – 20, Jesus says the following:

“Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations (ethnos), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the ἔθνος…
Original Word: ἔθνος
Transliteration: ethnos
Phonetic Spelling: (eth’-nos)
Definition: a race, a nation, the nations
This word can mean:
a race, people, nation; the nations, Gentiles (non Jews).

The Great Commission, in this text, is the “mission” that we as Christians refer to when we talk about “missions.” But in light of the clear command of Christ here, are we using this term correctly? Oftentimes I think we don’t. I must say first of all that I believe that most people have the best of intentions, and I certainly commend their willingness to serve. Nothing but love and respect for them there.

But the mission is to literally take the Gospel and make disciples of people from other nations. Ours too, of course, but not just ours. I don’t think the Scriptures give us the luxury of an “either or” approach when it comes to missions. Each local church should strive to be involved in Gospel proclamation at home and overseas. Whether it be in going, sending, supporting, praying, whatever. But involved and committed, in both local ministry and foreign missions to the best of their ability. Understanding that He who has all authority in heaven and on earth was not just giving a suggestion. It wasn’t a beggar’s plea, but a King’s command to His people!

In foreign missions, the call is to reach and make Christ followers of people who are unlike ourselves. Crossing geographical, ethnolinguistic and cultural boundaries. It could be said that what many call “local missions” is actually evangelism, and/or some other type of ministry. But according to the command, actual missions would be evangelism and discipleship in a different cultural context than your own.

That definition could certainly be broadened, but for now let’s say that at a minimum, missions, as we see in Scripture, is crossing cultural barriers with the Gospel. Some may not see that as significant. But I would argue that it is very important that we make such a distinction. We must define the terms.

I say this only because when we use terms like local missions, we refer to activities that aren’t really missional. We actually are only doing “local missions” if we are crosssing those cultural barriers in your own area or hometown. If you are in a predominantly white church or community, and are reaching nearby populations of Hispanics, Indians, Asians etc., I’d consider that actually doing “local missions.” But anything else …is, well, something else.

It may be benevolence…. good. We must show mercy and help the needy, as we ourselves have been shown mercy.

It may be evangelism…..absolutely essential. We must preach the Gospel everywhere. But this usually plays out most naturally where we live and in the surrounding area with people that are involved in our daily life.

Disaster relief…amen. We should come to the rescue of those in need and suffering. This is not only the right thing to do, but it also opens us up to new opportunities to share the Gospel with people who are not in our immediate circle of influence and are in need of hope.
.
In no way am I trying to downplay the importance of these ministries, and important acts of Christian service. But this is not local missions, it’s another kind of good and necessary local ministry.

If we don’t make this distinction, we can fail in at least this area of our calling as Christians. Because if we call something missions that is not missions, we will THINK we are doing what we are called to do, when in fact we are only doing part of what we should be doing (commanded to do). Why? Because we have been calling it something else that it really is not. That’s why defining the terms is so important here.

We are called to evangelize the surrounding community. But the church is also called to the nations (ethos). We can do that through equipping or through going ourselves. We may do that through sending and that means commitment, funding and communication. But when the church does that, and a person takes the gospel across cultural lines, for the purpose of making disciples….then the church has participated in “missions” in the most biblical sense.

What we do know is that mission work is definitely the work of the local church, it is the will of God, and it is the way that God has ordained to call people from every tribe, tongue and nation unto Himself while making His name great among the nations! God is calling a people unto Himself, Christ is building His church, preparing His bride and has invited us into this work. All who name the name of Christ. What an honor it is to serve our King in this way! What kindness, to bring former rebels into His family as sons and daughters, allow us to serve Him in this holy work. Let us understand it not as a sacrifice, but a privilege.

This idea of missions overseas also necessitates a support system. An important partnership between the local church (and other supporting churches), the missionary and the “Epaphroditus.” That fellow soldier and worker, that messenger and minister to the missionary’s need.

I will unpack some of what that partnership looks like in the next article using an example from the book of Philippians.

Grace and peace.
Written by Antonio Salgado Jr.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry:

You can donate to this ministry online with PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to us. Click the link below for that option.

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

The ministry of (CMC) serves hundreds of missionaries, but they ONLY receive the funds for us and in no way have control over how the funds are to be spent or what we are to do as a ministry, which gives room to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and the liberty in making needed adjustments.

You may begin sending your support to the BCMS (Antonio Salgado) at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry here in the DR online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website.

To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. But the PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field.

We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field.

Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE BIBLICAL MODEL PART 2: THE PHILOSOPHY OF MISSIONS

BIBLICAL HOLISTIC MISSIONS

 

Throughout history, amidst famines, plagues and persecution, the church has been faced with many challenges. Especially when it came to managing two things, the proclamation of the gospel and helping the needy of society. These challenges in missions and ministry are not new. When the door of ministry opened to the gentiles in the book of Acts, things became even more complicated after Paul and Barnabas turned their focus to the gentiles in their mission work. It is generally true that when crossing the cultural divide, there will be challenges in Gospel proclamation and, for some, in identifying the details of the role of the church regarding societal problems and contextualization. There is no shortage of lost or suffering people around us so that certainly has not changed today.

If anything, the problem has only been compounded over the centuries as different cultural contexts continue to be penetrated with the light of the Gospel. It is beautiful and inspiring to know that the Gospel is being taken to the darkest and hardest of places, but these are real challenges to confront, along with ever-growing needs, especially when working with the poor. It can be difficult work, and in some ways it is easier to just preach than to actually get your hands dirty in serving the helpless in society on the front lines and out of your comfort zone. But not everyone’s conscience will allow them to be speakers of the Word alone when coming face to face with such great needs of fellow imagebearers. And questions about what exactly missionaries should or should not be doing have repeatedly come into the arena of debate. Therefore, this is a controversy that certainly sticks out to me. It is the seemingly never-ending debate between what is known as prioritism and holism.

Defining the terms

We must admit that the church has not always done very well at nuancing things in the past. Especially when developing a theology that properly allows for both sides of an issue such as this one. But before delving deeper into the matter at hand, perhaps we should take some time to define the terms a little better. Depending on who you talk to, people have different ideas when using the same words. What exactly is prioritism and what is holism? Are those the only two options? 

In an article from the Judson Center, Jay Flinn summarizes the history of the evangelical holistic mission debate. He writes, “In the ensuing decades, much has been written on the topic of holistic mission. Most of what has been written can be summarized into three primary positions related to the relationship of evangelism and social action in mission. One position retains the emphasis on evangelism and church planting with little regard to social action. A second position follows Stott’s model of evangelism as the primary mission with Christian social action a secondary partner. The third position considers social action as mission equally with evangelism. While there are variants to these positions and different terms may be used to describe them, the variants are ultimately defined by the relative priority and relationship of evangelism and social action to one another.”[1]

Understanding Prioritism

On one side of the issue there are those who say that the Gospel (and some include church planting with it) should always be the main thing. And they are right, it very well should be. A classic statement on prioritism by Donald McGarvan states:

“A multitude of excellent enterprises lie around us. So great is the number and so urgent the calls, that Christians can easily lose their way among them, seeing them all equally as mission. But in doing good, they can fail of the best. In winning the preliminaries, they can lose the main game. They can be treating a troublesome itch, while the patient dies of cholera. The question of priorities cannot be avoided.”[2]

He makes a valid point. Those that hold to prioritism fear that some who hold to a more holistic approach have made the Gospel a secondary matter. Although we must acknowledge this is true of some, we also must beware of overgeneralizing. Much of the confusion is due to the reinventing words to mean things other than what they originally meant. This only muddies the theological waters, causing confusion rather than bringing clarity to the issue. These days, many words like evangelism, gospel and mission can mean different things than they used to. So it is important that we examine these terms biblically, otherwise they have no limits in how they are used and can therefore lose all real meaning.

This most likely is a result, over time, of what is referred to as “mission drift.” The CEO of Edify said,

“It’s the exception that an organization stays true to its mission. The natural course- the unfortunate natural evolution of many originally Christcentered missions– is to drift.”[3]

In an issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly there was a “symposium” published where five leaders were asked to articulate their views regarding the relationship between proclamation and social action, and only one presented a view approximating the prioritistic position.[4] (2012,264-271) This is quite unfortunate, considering that prior to the first Lausanne Congress in 1974, prioritism was the dominant view among evangelicals. To be sure, eternal matters take priority over temporal matters. The prioritists are correct in emphasizing the Gospel as the main focus of the mission. But for some on the far end of the spectrum (strict prioritists,) it has become pretty much the only thing. This is a gaping hole in their position. Due to a deficit in the theology of some, those who hold to prioritism are often accused of neglecting the commandment to love their neighbor in their attempt to be Gospelcentered. I agree that the Gospel is the priority and should be at the top of the list for all of us. Yet, ironically, many prioritists or of those who claim to be passionate about Christ can isolate themselves from the very communities they are trying to reach by showing little interest in their temporal human condition of suffering. This is interpreted by many as a lack of love, not only by the opposing perspective, but also by the lost community that is always watching. So we should not be so quick to completely dismiss the entire holistic approach to ministry. Some of the accusations toward strict prioritists are fair and should be addressed, always remembering that there do exist other, more balanced views between these two positions. Even John Stott eventually changed his views in favor of a more balanced, holistic approach to the Great Commission.

Understanding Holism

On the other side of the issue are those who do take a more holistic approach in their mission work. They claim to believe and preach the Gospel, too, which can make what they say seem contradictory.  C. Rene Padilla, who was very influential in convincing many to embrace a holistic approach to mission, said the following:

“Holistic mission is mission oriented towards the meeting of basic human needs, including the need of God, but also the need of food, love, housing, clothes, physical and mental health, and a sense of human dignity. Furthermore, this approach takes into account that people are spiritual, social, and bodily beings, made to live in relationship with God, with their neighbors, and with God’s creation. Consequently, it presupposes that it is not enough to take care of the spiritual well being of an individual without any regard for his or her personal relationships and position in society and in the world. As Jesus saw it, love for God is inseparable from love for our neighbor.”[5]

In my opinion, he isn’t wrong in saying that love for God is inseparable from love for our neighbor. Within this camp there are those who are accused of having another Gospel, a “social justice” gospel.  And to be sure, there are some in this camp who are not very Gospelcentered at all. In the worst of cases, they can be almost completely humanistic with little to no Gospel proclamation or sound Bible teaching. Some are distracted and are neglecting real biblical evangelism. However, there are some things that a strict prioritist can learn from them. They are usually very active in serving their communities, feeding the poor, defending the weak and the needy and doing good to their family of faith and their neighbors outside of the church. Although the gospel is an eternal and weightier matter, we must at least admit that these are good and important things that should not be ignored.  And not all who take a holistic approach to mission fit the description of “social justice warriors” or would not completely agree so rigidly on one category or the other. So as the debate goes on, the line continues to seem blurred for some as to how exactly these two things should fit together. 

An alternative?

We must be aware of and willing to admit the dangers of an extreme position on either side. This is simply one of the many areas of our theology, work, mission and ministry where we must learn to live in the tension and find a way to reconcile the two ideas, since both have biblical grounds. We certainly do not want to fall off either side of the horse divide. so to speak. To do so, I believe, would be to fall into one kind of error or another. We must find a more biblical balance, and this is where Carl F. H. Henry is extremely helpful.

His credentials

Carl Henry is most relevant when it comes to this for the following reasons. He himself said he was indeed a prioritist yet held to the necessity of social concern as well. Henry was one of the founding architects of the modern U.S. Evangelical movement, and has probably said and written more about the topic than anyone else, being extremely influential “calling evangelicals to differentiate themselves from separatist fundamentalism and claim a role in influencing the wider American culture. He was involved in the creation of numerous major evangelical organizations, including the National Association of Evangelicals, Fuller Theological Seminary, Evangelical Theological Society, Christianity Today magazine (of which he was the founding editor), and the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies. The Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity International University seek to carry on his legacy.”[6] His vision of the necessity of theological competence and cultural engagement remains among the more vibrant alternatives in our day. He was known for his commitment to theological rigors, his active engagement with the pressing social issues of our day, but also for having an unwavering commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His book “The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism” (1947) was a response to the separatist fundamentalist movement that inadvertently became a hindrance to its own cause of reaching the lost with the Gospel.

Henry spoke eloquently about what has long been disputed by theologians and missiologists when it comes to  Henry himself had said that “these tensions now vex the church as never before in recent history.”[7]The issue has brought much division among evangelicals, especially since the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early twentieth century.

In an essay about Carl Henry and his “regenerational” model of evangelism and social concern, Jerry M. Ireland writes,

“Fundamentalism responded to the human-centered social agenda of liberal theology by mostly withdrawing from cultural engagement and social action, rather than developing a more biblically balanced response to the social issues. Unfortunately, fundamentalism tended to truncate the gospel’s temporal relevance in favor of an exclusive focus on eternal matters.”[8] It is my humble suggestion that we should always do both. 

His regenerational model

There is much to be learned from Henry. As Ireland points out, Henry associates these two tasks of the church in a similar way that C. H. Dodd does, distinguishing the word didache from kerygma. In Dodd’s teachings he points out that “kerygma represents the church’s unique message of salvation”,[9] the proclamation of gospel. While didache, “refers more to the church’s teachings and Scripture’s ethical demands.”[10]

Biblical warrant

The concern is a good one, to make and keep the Gospel as the priority.  However, with a quick look at the imperatives in Scripture, the life of Christ, and  the Apostle Paul’s example, one would have a difficult time presenting the case that concern for the suffering human condition of our neighbor and generosity towards them was optional. Jesus had “compassion on the multitudes.” Paul said he was “eager to help the poor,” and there are many other examples of why we should do good to the family of faith and to our neighbor. Below are just a few from the Old and New Testaments.

Old Testament Evidence

 Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. (Proverbs 22.9)

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. (Proverbs 14.31)

 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21.13)

Proverbs 14.21 Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

Proverbs 29.7 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

Proverbs 31.8-9 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Ezekiel 16.49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.

(Did you catch that? The guilt of Sodom was not aiding the poor and needy!)

New Testament Evidence

Acts 20.35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Galatians 2.10  Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Matthew 5.42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

1 John 3.17-18 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

James 1.27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…

Luke 14.12-14 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Luke 12.33-34 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 3.11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

We see the to need to bear the burden of the family of faith AND show love to our neighbor in word and in deed. The list of examples from Scripture can go on and on and on …

Historical Evidence

There is also the evidence from history to consider. The impact of the early church continues to be visible in Western civilization today. Historians note that “by the Middle Ages, Christianity transformed societies for the better and continue to influence culture wherever its teachings spread. The charity encouraged by biblical teachings (Luke 10.30-37) eventually led to the founding of hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly and care for the poor, the hungry and the homeless. Even many of the greatest and most prominent universities of our day were originally founded for “Christian” purposes.”[11] 

Throughout history, the tendency of the church to extend compassion to those suffering and in need around them , was simply the fruit of Christians living out a transformed, Spiritfilled life in obedience to the Scriptures. They imitated the example of Christ, motivated by love for the One who loved us first, and who sacrificially gave Himself for us. In what way would this at all be a bad thing? With Scripture and history attesting to the pattern of bold Gospel proclamation AND compassion and generosity to others, why would it be any different for the church today? 

There is no need to debate whether or not the church should be generous to the family of faith. But there are those who think that we should not be distracted by societal problems or invest too much time or money in showing compassion to imagebearers outside the church.  Henry certainly had a unique eloquence when it came to reconciling this issue. At times he spoke the language of both camps. He held to maintaining the Gospel as a priority yet maintaining social concern as something important and necessary.

It is important to note that even though Henry’s model held both views as necessary, it doesn’t mean that both were equal. Henry was critical of liberal and secular fallacies regarding the benevolence of God. In the book Controversies in Missions, Jerry M. Ireland writes that

“Henry finds a cause for concern among liberal and secular tendencies… and warns against confusing evangelism and social concern- or of reducing evangelism to merely attacking social or political evils. To do so is to commit the ultimate act of lovelessness, for it neglects humanity’s greatest need, namely personal redemption and supernatural regeneration.”[12]

Ireland also makes an important distinction when he says it is

“slightly off base to say that evangelism and social concern are two wings of the same bird, or two sides of the same coin. For even Scripture never equates these two things as in such an overtly parallel manner, even though Scripture upholds the necessity and importance of both.”[13] 

We must work out and live in the tension that exists there.

We should want more people to come to Christ. As a result of making disciples, more churches will eventually be planted. And historically, the church has been a means by which good naturally overflows to the world around it. It is a grace of God, a benefit of simply living in proximity to the people of God. Yet what happens in some churches over time is that the focus becomes much more inward, to what happens within the four walls of a building, and less time being salt and light to those around them. The evidence of this is seen in how little is designated for benevolence in the budgets of the average local church.  

Sadly, I personally know of missionaries who have realized the imbalance of the strict prioritist view and actually lost support from some churches, when due to an “uneasy conscience” of their own, as Henry would call it, they became more involved in helping meet the needs of those who they served in addition to the regular evangelism and preaching and teaching of the Word. They were rejected by some supporters who were strict prioritists when taking a more holisitic approach and becoming more involved in their communities. They were penalized for obeying God in loving their neighbor. 

When a missionary decides to obey the Scriptures in both areas in love for their neighbors, but then actually loses support from churches, this is not only tragic, it is madness! The Gospel must always remain the main thing, of course, but we must also learn to walk in the good works that we were prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2.10.) We are told to love, but not only in word, but in deed as well (1 John 3.18), and that our faith without works is dead. (James 2.26) 

Dare I say that when we justify our lack of compassion by saying that the greatest act of love is sharing the Gospel with people (which is indeed true), some may be attempting to hide some real laziness and apathy. May the Lord guard our hearts from such things and give us grace to do that which is most important without neglecting other necessary commands. 

Making evangelism a priority shouldn’t mean neglecting acts of compassion. Neither does a holistic approach have to mean the neglect of evangelism in any way.

Why not both?

The question is, why not both? Carl Henry considered himself a prioritist but clearly believed and taught that both were necessary tasks of the church. It is possible to preach a biblical Gospel, emphasizing evangelism, training leaders and discipleship, while also serving your community, showing compassion to those suffering whenever possible.  It is unfortunate when those who maintain a better balance are accused of a “social Gospel” when Gospel proclamation is not being neglected, but rather a biblical command that was missing in ministry is simply added. We are called to be salt and light, doing good works so that others may glorify our Father in heaven. After all, a genuine faith is not merely intellectual and passive, but an active working faith. And in light of the biblical and historical evidence, this does indeed seem to be a more balanced and accurate way for doing missions, and ministry in general.

Ireland makes a point worth remembering when discussing these issues. He says that

“it is important that we distinguish the Gospel itself from the demands of the Gospel and avoid equivocating the two if we are to be faithful to Scripture. When this is done, then we can advocate for both the priority of evangelism and for a robust Christian social concern.”[14]

He also uses a helpful illustration from everyday life to demonstrate this. He says, 

“Imagine if you had to go to a bank to make a deposit in order to pay your bills. Going to the bank would be the priority. Because if the paycheck is not deposited then the bills cannot be paid. Clearly one thing is a priority and must take place first, yet both remain necessary. I must deposit my check and I must pay my bills. The second thing depends on the first thing having taken place already and the priority of the first does not render the second as optional.”[15]

The same is true with evangelism and social concern, with loving your neighbor. And let us avoid seeking to justify ourselves by asking, “Who is my neighbor?”

Making evangelism a priority shouldn’t mean neglecting acts of compassion. Neither does a holistic approach mean the neglect of evangelism in any way. At this point, the terms prioritism and holism have taken on so much baggage and different meanings that they have almost been rendered useless, especially when it often cannot be agreed upon as to what they even mean. But when it comes to making Christ known through bold evangelism AND showing compassion and love to our neighbor, I say this is biblical New Testament Christianity.  So why not both?

Written by Antonio Salgado

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511
You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)
You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

 

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

Perdonado Y Perdonando (En Español)

“Soportándose unos a otros y perdonándose unos a otros si alguno tiene agravio contra otro. Así como el Señor los perdonó, ustedes también deben perdonar ”.
Colosenses 3:13 

El evangelio no es solo para el mundo incrédulo. El Evangelio también es muy importante para los creyentes. Nunca debemos dejar de recordar. Nunca debemos dejar de predicarnos el Evangelio a nosotros mismos primero, porque de hecho somos criaturas olvidadizas. Nunca debemos dejar de mirar a la cruz con asombro, por el hecho de que nosotros mismos podemos ser perdonados.

Fue Charles Spurgeon quien dijo una vez:

“Mientras otros se felicitan a sí mismos, yo tengo que recostarme humildemente al pie de la cruz de Cristo y maravillarme de que soy salvo”.

El perdón que recibimos realmente es muy humillante, pero también muy liberador. ¿Cómo es posible te preguntas? Esta mentalidad evangélica nos libera y nos recuerda el alcance de la gracia de Dios hacia nosotros en la muerte de su Hijo en la cruz. También nos recuerda la profundidad de nuestro propio pecado y la ofensa que es para Dios. Mucho más ofensivo y perverso que cualquier pecado que alguien más haya cometido contra nosotros. Porque nuestro pecado es en, última instancia contra nuestro Creador, un Dios tan Santo, tan absolutamente apartado, y con un valor infinitamente mayor del que nosotros, como meras criaturas.

Pero cuando “captamos” el Evangelio, comprendiendo realmente por qué la muerte de Cristo fue necesaria y sus implicaciones, nos liberamos de pensar en nosotros mismos más alto de lo que deberíamos. También debemos reconocer que la falta de perdón y la amargura es un veneno que es sumamente tóxico para nuestros propios corazones. Y a menudo es nuestro orgullo el origen de todo ello. Definitivamente deberíamos sentirnos humildes por la gracia demostrada en la cruz, pero esta gracia debería permitirnos perdonar verdaderamente a los demás también. Podemos luchar a veces, cuando el dolor es profundo y la persona que nos lastimó es alguien cercano y querido. Podemos hacer las cosas mal y hacer las cosas de manera imperfecta. Pero el Espíritu de Dios en nosotros hará que deseemos perdonar y, finalmente, llegaremos a un lugar de verdadero perdón hacia los demás.

Como cristianos, deberíamos ser personas que perdonan. Predicarnos el Evangelio a nosotros mismos y meditar sobre nuestra propia posición ante Dios es de gran ayuda cuando luchamos por perdonar a los demás, ya que es un recordatorio constante de la gracia de Dios hacia nosotros y de la profundidad de nuestro propio pecado. Un pecado tan perverso y tan profundamente arraigado en nuestros propios corazones, que solo por la muerte del Hijo de Dios se podía pagar.

Y de hecho está pagado. No hay más consecuencias o ira reservadas para nosotros porque Cristo lo tomó todo sobre sí mismo. Todo ello. Por eso “no hay condenación para los que están en Cristo Jesús”. Para los que están en él. Sí, incluso a aquellos a quienes les cuesta perdonar, si son creyentes, su pecado está cubierto. Se nos ha mostrado una gracia tan maravillosa y un amor tan trascendente, tan más allá de nuestro entendimiento, que adoraremos por toda la eternidad absolutamente asombrados de haber sido perdonados.

“Pero Dios, que es rico en misericordia, por el gran amor que nos tenía, nos dio vida con Cristo aunque estábamos muertos en nuestros delitos. ¡Eres salvo por gracia! ”
Efesios 2: 4-5

Así que ora, luego sigue adelante y perdona a esa persona. No pierdas más tiempo sintiéndote amargado y abrigando esos sentimientos. Tus heridas sanarán y crecerás a partir de esta experiencia. Sean “imitadores de Dios”, mostrando gracia y perdonando.

Junto con Spurgeon, yo también debo hacerlo a menudo …

“… tengo que recostarme humildemente al pie de la cruz de Cristo y maravillarme de que soy salvo”.

Si estamos en Cristo, somos perdonados, completamente y perfectamente. Por lo tanto, una de las señales de identidad del cristiano es perdonar a los demás, como también a nosotros se nos ha perdonado.

 

 

Padre De Misericordias Y Consolador En Nuestras Aflicciones (Artículo En Español)

Seamos realistas, todos tienen problemas con los que están lidiando. Y puede ser difícil, muy difícil. Si se trata de malas noticias sobre su salud, un diagnóstico terminal o de cambio de vida de un niño o de alguien muy cercano a usted. Podrían ser problemas de conducta de un niño pequeño o un adolescente rebelde, conflictos matrimoniales, pérdida de empleo o alguna otra crisis financiera que puede agravar y empeorar seriamente cualquiera de estos problemas. Para asegurarse de que puede suceder en los entornos aparentemente más seguros. ¿Cuánto más sucederá en el campo misionero, en un contexto diferente al tuyo, lejos de todo lo que alguna vez fue querido y familiar? Donde el estrés y los peligros se multiplican y la dificultad se convierte en una forma de vida. Son cosas que viene con el territorio. Nuestras dificultades a veces pueden estar enraizadas en nuestro propio pecado, negligencia o irresponsabilidad. O podríamos encontrarnos atrapados en el fuego cruzado del pecado de otra persona. O simplemente los efectos de un mundo caído en las personas más cercanas a nosotros. Todavía puede afectarnos profundamente.

Puede ser suficiente para enviar a alguien a una depresión o algún otro estado mental no saludable que se siente como un inevitable valle oscuro de desesperación. Durante esos momentos, Dios puede parecer distante y nuestras oraciones y gemidos de angustia hacia el cielo pueden incluso sentir como si no fueran escuchados. ¡Gracias a Dios que ese no es el caso! Pero si somos honestos, a veces puede sentirse así. Como creyentes podemos confiar verdaderamente en el Señor durante la tormenta, pero no siempre lo hace más fácil, humanamente hablando. Puede que incluso nos encontremos en el extremo de nuestro capacidad, llorando de miedo como lo hicieron los discípulos en el bote “¡Señor, sálvanos! ¡Vamos a morir!”

Aunque puede llegar una temporada de paz y tranquilidad después (tal vez), por el momento, puede sentirse aplastado como si fuera demasiado para soportar. Algunos sufren por una temporada, algunos lo enfrentan por toda la vida.

Aun cuando yo pase
    por el valle más oscuro,
no temeré,
    porque tú estás a mi lado.
Tu vara y tu cayado
    me protegen y me confortan. – Salmo 23: 4

Muchas “tormentas” en la vida causan estragos y dejan un camino de destrucción a su paso como las tormentas reales. Y al igual que una tormenta real, por lo general lleva mucho tiempo “reconstruir” una vez que se ha hecho el daño. Algunas tormentas pueden cambiar la vida y, para algunos, incluso acabar con la vida. Muchos se encuentran en estado de shock y sacudidos hasta el centro, dejando solamente la opción de llorar por su situación y recoger los pedazos que quedan de su vida a medida que avanzan cojeando de la experiencia traumática e hiriente. Esto les sucede todos los días a muchas personas, por diferentes períodos de tiempo, en algún lugar. No deberíamos sorprendernos. De hecho, deberíamos aprender a esperarlo si entendemos lo que las Escrituras dicen acerca de la naturaleza caída del mundo en el que vivimos y los efectos del pecado mientras vivamos aquí.

Dios, de hecho, nos da más de lo que podemos soportar. Por favor, no seas una de esas personas que dice que no lo hace, o que solo lo hace porque sabe que podemos manejarlo (como si en realidad fuéramos tan fuertes en nosotros mismos). Si pudiéramos hacerlo solos y con nuestras propias fuerzas, no lo necesitaríamos. Gedeón viene a la mente. (Y puedo decir brevemente, es probable que el versículo popular pero a menudo mal citado en 1 Corintios no significa lo que usted piense que significa).

El Señor trae sufrimiento a nuestras vidas con más frecuencia de la que queremos. Pero Él tiene Sus razones y debemos confiar en Él a través de ellas. Debemos. Claro que podemos conocer el plan y la voluntad de Dios en general, pero a veces Sus planes para nosotros como individuos en los detalles de nuestras vidas no son tan fáciles de ver o entender. Los planes de Dios para nosotros a menudo son bastante diferentes de los nuestros.

Pero si nos encontramos realmente luchando mientras sufrimos, deberíamos preguntarnos esto. Cuando las cosas se ponen difíciles, ¿a dónde más podemos ir realmente? ¿De dónde viene realmente nuestra ayuda? Seguro que el Señor usará a las personas como un medio para consolarnos y ayudarnos, pero en última instancia, solo Él puede darnos paz. Verdadera paz.  ¿Dónde encontraremos nuestra fuerza para soportar más que en la naturaleza inmutable de nuestro Señor, las promesas fieles en Cristo y Su cuidado amoroso para con nosotros? Él es nuestra Torre Fuerte, nuestra Roca, nuestro Escudo y Fortaleza a la que corremos para buscar consuelo, refugio y paz. Solo en Cristo estamos verdaderamente a salvo y, aparte de Cristo, no podemos hacer nada.

El Señor es mi pastor; tengo todo lo que necesito. Salmo 23: 1

Me recuerda un himno moderno bien conocido que dice maravillosamente:

Solo en Cristo encuentro mi esperanza

Él es mi luz, mi fuerza, mi canción

 Esta piedra angular, esta tierra sólida

Firme a través de la más feroz sequía y tormenta

Qué alturas de amor, qué profundidades de paz

Cuando los temores se calman, cuando cesan los esfuerzos

Mi Consolador, mi Todo en Todo

Aquí en el amor de Cristo estaré

Bellas palabras conmovedoras ¿verdad? Pero la pregunta es, ¿lo creemos? ¿Realmente le creemos? ¿Realmente confiamos en Él? ¿Realmente creemos que Él es bueno? ¿Realmente creemos que Él está obrando todas las cosas para bien para aquellos que lo aman, incluso cuando no podemos verlo? Es importante recordar que independientemente de lo que creamos, Él será glorificado. Incluso a través de las circunstancias aparentemente más terribles. Pero también debemos recordar que Él es un Padre amable, compasivo, inmutable y fiel y acercarse a Él. Debemos aprender a permanecer en Cristo. Su mano soberana y su amor por su pueblo serán la almohada sobre la que descansaremos nuestras cabezas cansadas.

El Señor es mi fuerza y mi escudo;
En El confía mi corazón, y soy socorrido;
Por tanto, mi corazón se regocija,
Y Le daré gracias con mi cántico.
– Salmo 28: 7

La naturaleza inmutable de Dios es un ancla que nos mantiene aferrados a la Roca que nunca nos fallará o nos echará en esos momentos difíciles,  si estás en Cristo por supuesto. Mientras escribo esto, muchas personas que amo vienen a mi mente. Miembros cercanos de la familia y familiares en la fe que actualmente están lidiando con algunas de las cosas que mencioné al principio, o incluso peor en este mismo momento. Oren por nosotros y por otros misioneros cercanos a nosotros que conocen muy bien estas tormentas. Pero también ore por aquellos en su iglesia que están sufriendo. Un vecino, un amigo o tal vez alguien en su propio hogar.

Bendito sea el Dios y Padre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, Padre de misericordias y Dios de toda consolación,  el cual nos consuela en todas nuestras tribulaciones, para que también nosotros podamos consolar a los que están en cualquier aflicción, dándoles el consuelo con que nosotros mismos somos consolados por Dios. – 2 Corintios 1: 3-4

Para ellos solo puedo decirles que confíen en Él, Alabadle, permanezcan en Él y Su Palabra y orad. Él es el Padre de las misericordias y el Dios de todo consuelo, quien nos consuela en nuestra aflicción. El Señor es nuestro Pastor, tenemos lo que necesitamos. Si perseveras,  serás más como Jesús al final. Y si lo creas o no, incluso estaremos agradecidos por esas tormentas difíciles pero transformadoras en nuestras vidas. Orar.

 

He aprendido a besar la ola que me arroja contra la Roca de las edades.- Charles Spurgeon

Escrito por Antonio Salgado Jr.