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Tyler Morning Telegraph - Galdámez brings church planting, education experience to Grace Español

Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I believe in Jesus's Miracles

I have been reading the Gospel of Matthew and came to the passage in chapter 8 where he heals a man with leprosy by touching him, heals a centurion's servant by just saying the word, heals Peter's mother-in-law and performs other miracles. The following passage drew my attention as well:

"When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." (v.16-17)

As I read this passage and thought about it, it impressed several things on me. First, Jesus didn't heal to show off anything. He wasn't doing to call attention, though it is clear from Scripture that Messiah (The Savior), the God-man who would have special credentials to prove he was who he said he was. One of them would be to heal. He would show that he was God in the flesh (Immanuel).  Second, his miracles point to his compassion and mercy. The last part of the passage above says "he took up our infirmities and bore our diseases." This shows that he was willing to take upon him our weaknesses and our diseases.  But why? Wasn't it more important for him to care about the souls of those who were sick and troubled? They would eventually die physically so why bother? He had compassion and mercy.

But more than this, I believe that Jesus knew that the state in which people lived, filled with pain and suffering, was not God's plan. This was not what He intended for us.  The life God has intended for us is a life in communion with Him. A life that is free from all pain and suffering. For Him, all the miracles he performed were a reversal or restoration of what God intended and intends to do in the end.  It is what the normal should be. Miracles were not supernatural events or deeds, they were natural. It wasn't the suspension of natural laws, but the restoration. A more in depth philosophical treatment of this was done by C.S. Lewis.

One can still believe in the miracles of Jesus and deny they happen now. It may appear easier to believe what Jesus did then, but not believe it is possible for God to act now on our behalf. We live in a modern world where the supernatural is not accepted and easily rejected (though many believe in meaningless mysticism some vague forms of supernaturalism unlinked to God). My belief is that God still does miracles. Many miracles are easily discounted such as the miracle of life. From the moment of conception, life is a miracle. One an argue that is the result of two people, but is it? What makes that heart beat at the right moment? How is it possible for something that dies like ourselves to pass on life or do we? How is it that I get up everyday and everything in my body still works? What holds it together? Is it really me? There are so many things we can go on mentioning that appear to be natural explanations but have their being in God himself, the God of miracles.

The God who acted in Jesus, acts now in this world. We can discount him with our own logical explanations but in the end they all fall flat devoid of meaning causing us to feel less human and more like meaningless machines. Only the God of miracles can give us meaning in spite of what tragedies and suffering we experience here. God is not done intervening. He will continue to do so and everything will one day will be recreated and be what He always intended it to be.

Monday, October 01, 2012

His Story, My Story (Not My Story!)

I have been a believer in Christ for almost thirty years now.  The road hasn't been easy. But looking back  the path I've taken, I realize (yes, this late) that "my" life hasn't gone as I have planned it. And that's the problem.  As a young Christian, I thought I knew what God wanted for my life. I've strived to accomplish that. I thought I had a good plan for  everything from who I would marry, my family life, my service to God and my career. I thought I had it all planned out and yet it looks totally different today. The  explanation is simple. I've tried to write my own story when I should have let God write it. 

This reminds me of Abraham in the Old Testament. God had promised him that he would make him a great nation. Abraham was old and his wife Sarah couldn't bear children any longer so he thought he would help God instead of waiting any longer (with the help of Sarah). He took Sarah's servant to bring forth Ishmael. But that wasn't God's plan. God kept his promise and Sarah was able to conceive and bore Isaac. Through Isaac, God made Abraham a great nation. Abraham tried to write his story. It failed.

Israel also did this. Jeremiah 18:2:  “But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’" (ESV)

But God is the potter and can mold Israel if she would only let Him. They decide not to listen to God and end up 70 years in bondage to another nation.

my art not His art
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." 

The word used for "workmanship" is poeima in Greek where we get the word poem. We are God's work of art, His poem, His master piece, His story. He called us to follow Christ to write His story in our lives. He wants to show others his marvelous works through our lives (see 1 Peter 2:9). But we take matters into our hands and decide to write our own story and we fail. We fail to give God glory. 

But God knows us well and he can still write our story. We have to repent and turn away from our own plans (see Jeremiah 18:8) and let Him write our story (His story really!). It will turn out even better than ours.

As for me, I have given up trying to write my story. My story doesn't have "ME" in the center anymore. It has "HIM" in the center. I have no idea what it will look like. I just have to trust Him and follow His guidance.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,    and he will make straight your paths." (ESV)