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By Envision

It’s a cold, rainy morning in Jerusalem. The cobblestones are wet, making each step slick and treacherous, as we weave our way through the alleys of the Old City. From Jaffa Gate toward the Western Wall, we pass through the Armenian Quarter into the Jewish Quarter, making our way down to the plaza. Young students, pilgrims, tourists, the religious, and the indifferent all jumble together past the vendors and the beggars, moving through the narrow passageways and descending the stairs, yet keeping their distinct identities. Now the words of the Scriptures are ever clearer, describing all the nations here at the center of the universe. Not simply Arabs, Jews and Gentiles, but “Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs.” (Acts 2:5-11a)

The city is awe-inspiring, the archeology breath-taking, the complexity unfathomable. And the God of the people who built it far more so. “Who shall I say sent me?” asked Moses, and the answer was “I AM.” (Exodus 3:13-14.) More than fourteen hundred years later, Jesus answered the leaders of Jerusalem by ascribing this same name to Himself: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) Only a handful of moons passed between this proclamation, and Jesus dragging a cross down the Via Dolorosa, having been unjustly condemned, scourged and sentenced to death. These cobblestones, now two thousand years further into the future, are worn beneath our feet, and we preach that same message of salvation proclaimed by Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Yeshua, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yeshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:36-39)

O Father, that my people would indeed be cut to the heart, that the veils would fall from their eyes, and that they would truly repent and receive the Lord and forgiveness for their sins.

When Silence isn’t Golden

By Envision, Personal
[pullquote_left]Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him.  Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.  (1 Chronicles 16:28-29)[/pullquote_left]

I think all parents are acquainted with the maxim that “silence is golden.”   But the Lord was speaking to me this morning as I walked my dog, reminding me that when it concerns God and His Kingdom, there is no place for silence.  I felt His gentle rebuke of my spirit that I haven’t been lifting up His name with the frequency or volume that He merits.

Here are some of the things I must belatedly trumpet:

Each of these is true and needs no explanation. But God has illustrated each of these in my life recently, so I will give Him the honor He deserves and address why He put them on my heart:

  • The past year was financially tumultuous as the economy and other circumstances impacted many of our ministry partners and their ability to give to the Lord through our ministry.  Yet again and again, in His timing, God met our needs in the moment and is now engaging many new ministry partners to come alongside us and provide the means to advance our mission.
  • Thousands are dying across the Middle East as lost souls cry out for change.  They may not know that Jesus can give them the living water they are so thirsty for, but we must be ready to lead them to the Well. My heart is broken for those suffering and persecuted, especially for the believers punished for their faith.  I pray the Lord will enable us to again take part in building His unshakable Kingdom in this region.
  • Haiti also continues to be challenged in it’s governance.  The Lord is not surprised by any of the turmoil in the nations, but rather He holds the future in His hands.  I will follow Him back to Haiti and wherever He leads as often as He calls.
  • It’s all about Him.  There is nothing in my day today that has greater significance than living for Him and seeking His Kingdom.  If it doesn’t have eternal significance, why am I investing in it?
  • I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Songs 6:3.)  God has illumined and envisioned His eternal romance in my marriage, which grows sweeter every year.  I love being married to Anne, and I learn new things about Jesus through our marriage all the time.

Yes, there are moments in life when the old axiom about silence being golden can seem true.  But never when it comes to the glory of the Lord.  Lift His banner high!