“The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him [Abraham] alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 4:23 - 5:5 (NIV)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
Did you know that “Lent” means spring? You know, like new life? New beginnings?
Lent represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert prior to His earthly ministry and His obedience that took Him all the way to the cross and the grave. It is now a time for our repentance and preparation for Jesus’ death and resurrection. Lent is taking on new meaning for me this year.
Oh, I’ve participated in Advent—preparation for Jesus’ birth. I’ve done Bible studies and read devotionals for Advent. We’ve had the Advent wreath on our dining table, lit the candles, and read from a book focused on Advent. But Lent?
Until recently I had no idea that it represented Jesus’ 40-days spent in the desert. The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the desert. Jesus fasted and spent time with His Holy Father. And Jesus was tempted—He did not sin. He was the lamb without spot or blemish, sacrificed for you and me.
Our Scripture readings above are all about the hope we now have in Jesus—our salvation, our justification, even our peace with God are all because of what Jesus accomplished while on earth.He accomplished God the Father’s will for Him—to die on the cross and be raised again. The one pure Lamb of God sacrificed, so we who believe will have new life, be forgiven, and filled with the hope of seeing Him face to face when He comes again.
Then I asked myself—and I ask you—how is it that I can have such hope, such peace, when millions around the world know nothing about hope and peace with Almighty God? You and I can use a time like Lent to spend time reading Scripture to understand our need for repentance and forgiveness. Through reading Scripture, we understand the need for fasting and prayer.
Today, let’s pray for believers around the world who do not even have God’s Word available to them in their heart language. They believe that Jesus died for them. They love Jesus. But, just like us, they desperately need to have a Bible to hold in their hands to open, read, and understand how much they are loved by their Father God.
Wycliffe Associates does have a wonderful program to help Bibleless people groups translate God’s Word into their own languages. True, we need to continue praying for all the national translators, assisted by MAST teams, doing the hard work of translating Scripture into their heart languages. We need to continue praying for funds to come in so MAST teams can assist in the translation of God’s Word into 400 more language groups this year. Yet, the translated Word does not give people Scripture to read in their mother tongue.
It must be printed! They must have it to hold in their hands, just like we do, to read it, to pray over it, and to grow in their faith. Please pray that funds will come in so that Wycliffe Associates can provide Print On Demand (POD) equipment at every one of the upcoming MAST events. When translations of the New Testament are completed—or when one or two books of the Bible are translated—they must be printed! Translators must be able to take home printed Scripture translations. And POD equipment needs to go with the trained translators back to the language communities so they can print copies for pastors, for church leaders, and for all those who want to read God’s Word for themselves. So please pray with me for Wycliffe Associates to effectively raise the funds needed for POD equipment. Pray also for the POD teams who travel with every MAST team assisting in Bible translation around the world.
Folks, 400 new Bible translations printed in the heart languages is a huge task. Please continue to pray for our prayer partners, donors, volunteers, staff, national translators—everyone involved with Wycliffe Associates in advancing Bible translation around the world.
Thank you for praying that more people than ever will have Scripture in their hands through Print On Demand!