But now...

Romans 3.21 begins with two very important words: "But now"

After the apostle Paul spends three chapters explaining the total (and I mean TOTAL) depravity of all mankind (yes, sadly, ALL), it's as though God Himself lifts up our burdened head and looks deeply into our hopeless, helpless eyes and says, "BUT NOW... (do you SEE what I have provided for you?)"

This is the hope of the gospel.
This is not 'just some spiritual thing.'
This is our life and breath. Our purpose for living. Our joy. The only thing WORTH living for! Jesus!
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3.21-24)

We are entering into our third week studying the book of Romans, with several more weeks to go! This week we will also finish up 2 Corinthians, to be followed next week by Family Relationships. Noe is additionally keeping busy with his Missions in Church History class, which ends next week. His new 8am class will be Angelology. We are enjoying our classes thoroughly, and greatly, greatly appreciate all of the instructors and staff here at NTBI. In case you are not aware, they are U.S.-based NTM missionaries. Many of them have served overseas in various capacities, and all are here now with the same heart for the unreached, and encouraging us toward that goal. When I say "us" (encouraging us), I directly mean the students here at NTBI, but in the larger picture, I mean the Church as a whole. After all, there is a reason why Jesus gave that Great Commission in all 4 gospels and again in Acts. There was a huge task to be fulfilled. Now, 2000 years later, much of that task still remains. For each of "us" (you, me, ....), the choice is not IF I will be involved, but HOW I will be involved. Three simple ideas might be relayed: 1) Pray, 2) Give, 3) Go. Each supporting ligament and limb and muscle and eye (etc) is a significant part of the Body. Let us work together to fulfill that Great Commission, if indeed we believe it is great! So the question to ponder today: "HOW am I being actively involved in taking the Gospel to the unreached?" (Or do I have something else eternal that I am living for?) (What unreached 'neighbors' do I have the capacity to reach?)

In other areas of life, Noe is playing indoor men's soccer this year (futsal), and greatly enjoying learning the ropes in that. I am playing volleyball, and might possibly be improving a little. I have also jumped majorly out of my comfort zone this year. Noe and I are heading up the Married Social Committee this year, planning monthly events for all of the student married couples (and sometimes staff). I also developed a system for married ladies to call when they need meals cooked for them during a time of illness. It has proved helpful, and beneficial for relationship building among the 25 married student ladies.
It would be safe to say that Naya is now potty-trained! Night-time is not 100%, but she is SUPER proud to go to "Hallway" (she still calls Child-care 'Hallway') in her 'big-girl panties'! Jocellyn is ready to walk any day now... she can walk with a push-toy, and loves to sit one one foot and one knee and bounce. She pulls herself up to standing as much as she can in a day.

Noe killed his first deer a couple weeks ago- turned out to be Bambi... but we've been enjoying the meat! :) As a friend recently put it, he's turned from surfing to hunting... He has really enjoyed hunting over the last year, and we hope he'll bring in another deer soon. He's also staying somewhat involved with golfing, fishing and archery. I continue to enjoy cooking and exploring world cuisine, reading when possible, and I find joy in working out a Chopin Nocturne or two just about every night before bed.

If you are reading our blog, please send us an email sometime and let us know that you've been here, and how we can uphold you in prayer. We think of our friends and family fondly.

~The Martinez family