The one who calls you is faithful
By Max Sahl | Wycliffe Today Autumn 2021 |
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV)
At certain times in our lives, God calls us to do (or surrender) something for him that requires a large measure of faith. In 1997, my wife Helen and I felt God calling us to join Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia and serve in Papua New Guinea. This meant leaving the secure job that I had with the Queensland Education Department and gathering a team of supporters who would faithfully stick with us as we headed off into the great unknown.
At our commissioning service, our church asked, ‘What Bible verse would you like to have prayed over you?’ After some thought, we decided that 1 Thessalonians 5:24 best captured our feelings of fear, uncertainty and inadequacy at the time—The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
It is just a short verse included in a collection of final instructions from Paul to the Thessalonian Church, yet it has been significant to us in all the years since we took that first step of faith. We are all called by a faithful God but the work is his and not ours. He is the one that will do it. In all our circumstances God is with us and loves us. He has a hope and a future for us and that makes me want to celebrate his faithfulness!
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Autumn 2021
In 2021, we pause to remember God and all he has done over the many years of Bible translation ministry in our country and throughout the world. Remembering God’s faithfulness is a major theme that keeps appearing throughout Scripture. Why? Because we have a great tendency to forget!
In Deuteronomy 8, the people of God were told to REMEMBER the Lord and not forget his character and promises. They were commanded to keep remembering him by constantly declaring to all generations the stories of his great deliverance and his wonderful attributes. They were also asked to keep certain memorial ceremonies built into the rhythms of community life to protect them from forgetting God and his eternal covenant with them.
The ancient Passover was the greatest of these remembrance feasts. Passover pointed forward to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who would deliver God’s children from slavery and death. During the Last Supper, Jesus turned this most significant remembrance symbol into a much deeper one as he established a beautiful and sacramental way to practically remember God and his merciful salvation plan.
Passover was not only fulfilled in Jesus but transformed by him into a magnificent memorial. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus took the Passover bread, gave thanks, broke it, and offered it to his disciples, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’. Luke 22:19 (NIV)
The remembrance Jesus commands is not simply reflecting on his death and resurrection through a religious ceremony. Nor is it merely longing for the fulfillment of his glorious promises in the future.
It is also an active, continual remembrance of God’s love for us here and now. Intentionally remembering God in the memorial of communion activates the liberating presence of Christ himself. This active and living remembrance of God provides a transformative means of abundant life with him right now as we keep remembering behind with thankfulness, and remembering ahead with hope.
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with Psalm 106 and 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.
By Max Sahl | Wycliffe Today November 2020 |
There is a deep-seated spiritual need in everyone. Jesus reminded Satan of this when he told the deceiver that people do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4, NLT). A person can have all their physical needs and even their emotional needs met, and still not be fully alive. While the world is rightly addressing issues around racism, protection of the environment, sustainable forms of energy, equitable distribution of resources, and individual freedoms, many seem to think that there is only the physical realm.
Yet, we do not live in the physical world alone but in a spiritual realm that is described by the Scriptures. Every word that comes from the mouth of God is important for our wholeness and spiritual wellbeing. Wycliffe Australia is committed to taking the Word of God to every person on the planet by enabling them to hear every word that comes from the mouth of God in a language they understand best. You won’t see this worldwide movement in the news but you are welcome to join us!
Sweet and sour: savouring the sweet fragrance of Christ
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today November 2020 |
How hungry are we for God’s Word?
As I sit at my desk to share with you today, a loaf of bread is baking in the oven. The delicious, yeasty aroma wafts through my office. I am hungry and can hardly wait to savour the flavour, and be satisfied.
One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is a loss of smell and taste. Beth, my friend and Wycliffe colleague, explains her experience with the virus this way: Losing my senses affected my appetite and felt so unnatural. I could remember fragrances and flavours, but the memories were not satisfying. Eating felt sad. It is so enjoyable to again smell and taste the food I eat!
Physical pandemics bring many losses. But we face another pandemic—one that is much more insidious and widespread than COVID-19. Soul sickness dulls and steals our spiritual senses and none of us are immune.
In the midst of this pandemic, many of us need an awakening of our spiritual senses!
So how do we reinvigorate our spiritual smell and taste? The answer is always found in Jesus. In Ephesians 5:2, Paul describes Jesus’ sacrifice with the word ‘euodia’ meaning a sweet, pleasing offering to God.
When we breathe in God’s fragrant love in Christ, our soul hunger awakens. He fills us with his renewing Spirit and we become like Christ: the offering that is both pleasing to God and a sweet aroma to others (2 Corinthians 2:14–15.)
Friends, through this soul-searching season, let us not lose our senses! If we are not alert to the sweet Christ fragrance, tasting God’s goodness and satisfying our own aching hunger with Jesus, how can we possibly be the sweet offering everybody needs?
When was the last time you smelled the fragrance of Christ, savoured the taste of his Word and allowed him to satisfy your deepest hunger?
Father, please heal our soul sickness. Awaken and deepen our spiritual senses so we can become a fragrant offering that whets the appetite of a dying world. We want to hunger afresh for your Word and offer a mouth-watering taste of you, the Bread of Life, to satisfy the hungry. Amen.
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with:
Psalm 119:97–112 & 2 Corinthians 2:14–17
Anchors in the storm
By Max Sahl | WYCToday_mar-2020|
The disciple Luke tells two remarkable accounts of survival at sea in the face of a storm.
In the first account the disciples are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a sudden and violent storm threatens to sink the boat. The disciples decide to wake Jesus up saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ Jesus gets up, rebukes the wind and the raging waters, and the storm subsides, and all is calm.
In the second account, they are on a much bigger ship which is caught in a storm. This time the ship takes a violent battering for 14 days, nobody is able to eat during that time, and all the cargo and tackle is thrown overboard as the crew awaits their inevitable death by drowning. Eventually the boat hits a sandbar and the stern is broken to pieces by the pounding surf. Somehow, everyone makes their way to shore, many by clinging to planks and other pieces of the wrecked ship.
In each story, all the passengers make it safely to shore. So why is it that God sometimes allows us to go through such terrible storms in our life? Why can’t we just wake up Jesus and get him to make everything calm?
The latest stories we will be featuring look at ways in which God has strengthened and sustained Wycliffe members in their ministries throughout difficult times. We pray that you will be encouraged and reminded to trust God and his Word as the steady anchors in whatever storms you are facing.
Hungry for God’s Word: reaching a new generation
By Deb Fox | Wycliffe Today October 2019
The Bwana-Bwana people were hungry for God’s Word in their language, as Alan and Faye Canavan discovered during their 30 years in the Milne Bay province of Papua New Guinea. When the New Testament was finalised, one of the local translators, Fred, had tears in his eyes when he held his own copy of the translated Scripture. Bibles in the Bwana-Bwana language were so popular that they sold out in the first couple of days following the dedication.
Yet engaging with younger generations in the Bwana-Bwana language was a challenge. To help younger people engage with God’s Word, Alan created a reading competition for those in grades five to eight. Within two short weeks, their reading skills ‘improved astronomically!’
The team also knew that there needed to be a new way to get teenagers and adults excited about Scripture in their heart language. Then an opportunity opened up to work with Faith Comes by Hearing to record Scripture in Bwana-Bwana and upload it to CDs, USBs and Micro SD cards that could be played on mobile phones. Alan shares:
After 30 years of work, a book of often around 1200 pages suddenly fitted into something the size of a fingernail … with room to spare! In a region where internet connection can be difficult to come by at times, having something that can easily be shared among friends has proven to be a great way to get the Bible into the hearts and minds of a new generation.
Alan and Faye are North Queensland representatives for Wycliffe Australia.
Feature Photo: The PNG Experience