Greetings in the Lord! We hope and pray you are having a wonderful Christmas season and that you time with family and friends was full of laughter and joy. Christmas and the new year are times of new beginnings and seasons of hope. We believe this, and as we prepare for our next Gospel Expedition in 2016, we are filled with a hopeful outlook. We know that there will be new lands and new peoples that will hear the word of God for the first time on the missions ahead. Moreover, we are thankful for our very lives as God spared us through the earthquake in Nepal. Those days are a reminder that we have more to do and that if God be for us who can be against us. 2016 is going to be a wonderful year and we will need your support as we once again venture into the unknown to preach Christ Jesus. No person is too far from the Gospel and we commit to being on the tip of the spear, no matter the danger, so all might know the salvation found in Him.
This month, we would like to talk about the Value of the Word.
As we enter the new year, many people look for a transformation and betterment in life. They want the new year to be better than the last. This is a good thing. There are many steps one can follow to bettering their life. No matter if it is diet, habits, time management or anything else, there is a system that can be easily found and followed because of our access to information. The internet and the free society we live in gives us unparalleled knowledge at our fingertips. We can search and discover any subject without leaving our home by browsing the internet. Now in contrast, let’s look at a time in history when information, especially information about God, did not flow so freely. The story ahead will encourage a strong value of the Word of God while also highlighting the need to follow the simple practice of reading the Bible and knowing God personally.
The Reformer: Martin Luther, the father of the reformation, was born in Germany in 1483. In his early college life, while studying to become a lawyer, he stumbled across a Latin Bible in the university library. He opened it and began to read. Young Luther had heard portions of the gospel before as spoken from priests at services, but in those times it was forbidden that anyone beyond a priest or monk be allowed to have access to the Holy Word. Luther said these words at the finding and reading of the Bible in the library, “Oh if God would give me such a book for my own.” Shortly after this, Luther entered the Augustinian (Catholic) order, devoting himself to fasting, long hours in prayer, pilgrimage, and frequent confession. He was a strict Catholic, following all he had been taught. But Luther, being an educated man and reading the scriptures for himself, began to realize the truth of the gospel. It is by faith a person is saved, not by works. But being committed to the Catholic church, Luther desired to travel to Rome and see the beauty and grace of God in action. Instead, he found decadence and the practice of indulgence (pay the church money and they will forgive any sin). On that trip to Rome, Luther saw the deceit the church had laid upon the world, and he said, “If there be a hell, Rome is built above it. It is an abyss whence all sins proceed.” Luther also recalls a life-changing moment in Rome as he was climbing the Pilates Stairs in penance for sins. He heard a booming voice say the words of Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith.” Luther was changed, but still committed to the church.
The last straw for Martin Luther came in 1516, when a priest named John Trezel, appointed from Rome, came to German regions to collect money for indulgences. He extolled Catholics that every time a coin clinked in the money coffers, a soul of their loved one escaped purgatory and ascended to heaven. Luther was enraged at this falsity and wrote his world changing document known as the 95 Theses. These 95 Theses were nailed to the church door at Wittenberg and then quickly copied and distributed throughout the Catholic world. The 95 Theses ripped to the core of the Catholic church and exposed the false and deceitful practices, while extolling the truth of the gospel. Luther, from that day forward, was a champion of reform and changed the church forever. The churches we attend now, that preach salvation through faith, are because God used Luther to expose a lie and share the truth. Luther’s era was one where the truth of the gospel was hidden. People did not have the Word of God and where not even allowed to study the scriptures! Luther went on to translate the Bible into German so people could know the truth of God’s Word for themselves. The reformation movement spread and set nation against nation, but the truth was out and there was no going back. Contrast the era of Martin Luther to the age we live in now and we can truly call ourselves blessed. The point of this is to show that there is a value in knowing and understand the Word for yourself. If a person does not seek out for themselves the knowledge of the Holy Word they will be left to the readings and interpretation of scriptures that they hear from others. Here is a statement we believe is true: You will mature more in the knowledge of God by reading through, just the New Testament, in a two week period, than you will get in 10-years of church attendance. This is not to say church attendance is not valuable, but to show you that the knowledge of the Word is incredibly powerful and life changing. Sometimes this simple truth is forgotten. If you have felt a lack of knowing the mind of God, put this challenge to the test. Read the New Testament in a two week period, and you will be more advanced and powerful in your faith than millions who only guess or hear the interpretations of others. For the more ambitious knowledge seekers, read the entire Bible cover to cover and you will have knowledge beyond your years. It might take you longer than two weeks, but it will be worth it. There will be no more guessing or wondering what God’s plan is, but there will be confidence and knowledge of the truth. You will enjoy church much more and make quality, bible-based decisions because you are in full knowledge and light. All it took for Luther to begin a massive world change was for him to read the Bible. Imagine how God will use you if you do the same! Make a new year’s commitment to read the Word and your life will change — guaranteed.
At Travel the Road we believe the Word is important and that everyone in the world has the right to hear it. Sometimes people ask us why we travel so far to distant tribes or to people in dangerous lands, when people here in America still don’t have a relationship with Jesus. Well, that is because we are called to those who truly do not have access to the Word of God. We, in the western world, can find God and read His Word at the flip of a smartphone. But to the distant tribes and people who live in oppressive nations, they truly do not have no access to the light of the scriptures. It is our specific calling to bring the Word of God and preach salvation to those who do not know. When you support Travel the Road in prayers and finances you partner in the work of bringing the gospel to the darkest areas of the world. In a similar way to how Martin Luther fervently desired people to truly know God, we also desire for all mankind to know and see the light. 2016 is going to be a wonderful year and we’ll need your partnership just as much! Let us reach out, together, and bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Thank you for your partnership. Peace be with you!
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. Almost every man who has by his lifework added to the sum of human achievement...has based his lifework largely upon the teachings of the Bible.
- Theodore Roosevelt
In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.
– Abraham Lincoln
There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word.
― Charles Spurgeon
For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.
- Martin Luther
Tim and Will