Tuesday, December 01, 2020

October/November 2020 

…Be with the king when he comes in and when he goes out.” 2 Chronicles 23:7b 

 A divinely inspired prophet penned the miserable history of God’s beloved people of Judah as they were in serious spiritual decline, a history that concludes eventually with their exile into Babylonian captivity. The very Spirit of God Who whispered truth to the prophet emphasized His goodness and His healing for whoever would humbly pray and repent and turn from their wicked ways. 

In a brief period of time prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, seven-year-old King Joash, under the direction of the faithful high priest, Jehoiada, tore down the temple of Baal, killed the priests, and smashed his altars and images. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The secret of knowing and doing what God has planned for us in any given situation is not our ingenuity in figuring things out; it’s found in the same advice that was given to the people as Joash was ascending to the throne of Judah: “Stay close to the king wherever he goes.” 

Our current state of affairs is all too similar to that of Judah in the time of Joash and the prophetic scribe of Chronicles; while, likewise, the offer for healing and the remedy for our uncertainties remains the same: Stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

In spite of the obvious human limitations brought about by the pandemic lockdown, the past two months have been filled with numerous opportunities, both in Tepic and abroad, to humble ourselves and pray and stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

Jonatán (Pastor Martín’s oldest son) and Paulina were married in a beautifully meaningful ceremony, way different, but more purposeful, exemplary, and God-honoring than we had imagined as we have prayed for decades for God’s will in Jonatán’s life. Due to COVID restrictions, they were unable to invite everyone who would have loved to attend, but the ceremony was live-streamed to well-wishers around the globe who have been praying for them and some who are observing what it means, in adversity, for a follower of Jesus to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

Even in the midst of this “new normalcy,” God fulfills His promise exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Five years ago, the Huichol Bible team worked hard to translate an excellent 16-page illustrated booklet, If God is Good, why is the World so Bad? After they completed the project, the printing got placed on hold. Last month, after all of this time, the sponsor informed me that the funding is in, and we can go ahead with the job. The translators are giving the draft one final review, and by the end of next month, they should have in their hands 10,000 copies of another first-rate Huichol resource for sharing the Gospel. It’s good to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

And speaking of Huichol opportunities, the church at Zapote de Picachos, celebrated her 16th anniversary since they were forced from their village to their new location. Miraculously, God has provided for their beautiful church building, and then for the project to enlarge it to more than double, and now, for an additional structure to be used for classes

Best of all, not only has He provided the places to congregate, but He has provided the people who fill it and bring others to join the family. They are diligent, joyful, generous, and appreciative of God’s provision for them. They have learned, in spite of major obstacles, to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

Never did I imagine that when I agreed to come to the US to help out with the logistics of David’s bone marrow transplant in Seattle, I would be detained for much longer than I had “planned.” The transplant is done, and praise God, David and his family are back in Phoenix … and here I am awaiting the go-ahead for my return to Mexico. That will probably be in January. Meanwhile, praise God for the Internet; I am able to keep up virtually from anywhere. Though not face-to-face, I'm in constant contact with the brothers and sisters we love, and in spite of the severe lockdown in Tepic, live streaming of services and the Project Classrooms continue. 

It’s surprising, but the government still permits select construction activity, and God is providing the resources (That part doesn’t seem crazy!). The foundation is in, the massive support columns are standing, and the poured cement roof that will serve as the floor for the projected 2nd story, as well, is complete. That represents a HUGE effort and a major answer to prayer. The next step was the completion of the restrooms, and special offerings helped supply the last part necessary to purchase and install the fixtures and ceramic tile for that. None of us had any idea how God was going to supply it. He continually uses faith that becomes sight and reminds us that neither the pandemic nor the gates of the kingdom of death can prevail against the advancement of the Church that is determined to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

So, our King doesn’t just leave us to figure things out on our own. He has a plan and a purpose. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, and we want to know all of the bullet points for getting there. But it’s sufficient to know that He has a purpose, and His advice is: “Stay close to the King…wherever He goes.”