Into the mouth of the lion
In the center of Berlin sits Museumsinsel or Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This cluster of five museums in the heart of Berlin is home to some of the most historically significant artifacts in the history of our world.
One of these museums, The Pergamon, holds a particularly significant piece of history known as the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon. This is the same gate that Nebuchadnezzar would have led captives through as he conquered foreign lands. The long procession into fortress Babylon would have been guarded by raging lions, one of the symbols of power of this city.
Cherry and I had the opportunity to visit the Ishtar Gate in Berlin this past December and I am amazed at the grasp that this ancient people had on portraying dominance in their architecture. They were masters at intimidating their opponents and the lion pictured here is one of many that would have served to strike fear into the hearts of the people being led captive into this conquering empire.
Daniel, as a young teenage boy walked into the mouth of this lion. He walked into a world focused on stripping away what he knew about God and truth, and replacing it with a new culture, way of life and religion. Daniel did not buy into these attempts to remove God's commands from the way he lived. Daniel was different. He was faithful. This faithfulness stood firm in the face of the odds against him. He looked into the mouth of the lion and confidently walked forward into the place God had called him. Because of this God gave him favor in this hostile place and allowed him to have an impact that turned hearts to the one true God.
What is our place in this narrative? I look at the compromises our world tells us is progress and I see the need again for faithful men and women to look into the mouth of the lion. Faithful men and women who are committed to showing our world there is a better way. Daniel understood this. He recognized that as the minority he would accomplish more if he lived out his faith by bringing glory to God, instead of condemning the practices of others. He made his faith attractive to others because they recognized it as authentic.
That is my biggest prayer for our family. That we would be willing to go into a hostile place and lovingly and faithfully point to our steadfast Redeemer. As James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." We must reach into the dark places, while holding fast to the Unchangeable One and the truth of His word that is inseparable from His character.
We are picking up steam as we move forward to our goal of being in Berlin next July. We are thankful for God's leading in directing us to churches and families that share the same vision for reaching our world for Christ. We had a great time visiting churches and families in Illinois (quick stop at the ark!) and North Carolina this month, as well as sharing our ministry vision here in Greenville. Here are some pictures from our travels.
Praise and Prayer
- God's grace in helping us to find joy in our busy schedule over the past month (the pictures above were moments in the past month that reminded us of God's love for us, and that we are not walking this journey alone).
- We are thankful for likeminded brothers and sisters in Christ visiting from Berlin who have encouraged us over the past month.
- Prayer as we apply for enrollment for Quinn and Gracie in the John F. Kennedy School this month.
- Guidance as we seek the best way to apply for our work visa.