Setting Jesus Before Us
We made it to 2023! I know that last year was difficult for many, but what gives me hope for this new year is that we have a God whose character stays the same. He is forever faithful and forever trustworthy. God doesn’t sink when the winds of trial and testing blow upon our lives, or when the waves of our pain billow twice the size of our sanity! JESUS walks unafraid and steadfast toward us, wanting to teach us how to walk over the turbulence. We take heart because of who He is. He is our refuge. He is our Deliverer. He is our Hope.
Psalm 16:8 KJV says, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Jesus is the key to stability. It does not mean that challenges or tests will leave us; what it means is that when we INTENTIONALLY set Jesus before us— beholding Him even when life does not make sense, and involving Him in everything that happens to us—then we don’t drown. We join Him hand-in-hand and learn the art of walking with Him on water.
A very good question is: do we see Him on water? Or are we simply focusing on the mammoth waves with worry; hearing the howls of dismal news on social media and tv, or despairing over an empty bank account? Do we see Jesus extending His hands toward us, wanting to lift us up? Do we see Him greater and larger and more powerful than anything that can drown us?
This year, let us choose to see Jesus walking in our midst, and let us choose to walk toward Him and with Him.
2023: One Voice Will Walk on Water
One Voice is up for a wonderful time this 2023. And this comes after a good year of resting.
In 2022, the team pretty much took a Sabbath as we, individually, found ourselves busy with personal assignments from the Lord. One Voice mission projects and publishing took a backseat as we rode the rhythms of grace. When I asked the Lord what was happening, I was reminded that we were on the second cycle of seven years, with 2022 being our 14th year since we incorporated in 2008 as WhatMag Inc. This meant that 2022 was our second Sabbath year; the first being in 2015 when we stopped, too.
One Voice Magazine, a covenant project with God, has always operated with an amusing timetable. There are times I am taken aback when a red light comes blinking in the middle of a highway, and the team is made to rest. Still, rest we do.
This does not mean being idle, of course. In 2022, the team did not neglect reading the Word and praying for the nation. We made sure Huddle Time was present online every Friday evening, and we opened it up to whoever wanted encouragement online, too. We also uploaded Spoonful of Manna video devotions within the week, and from time to time, replayed stories on our website and Facebook page. The most major thing we did was to release a documentary called Ini Kos Konamin Lugaa, which was about the culture and faith of certain tribes in Mindanao. However, there was no publishing of a print issue, and no new mission projects or traveling that took place.
Despite 2022 being a time of Sabbath, I was watching where the arrows of God were pointing. There were some clear directions as certain members of the team got very involved with monthly prayer for Israel and the Philippines with the International Christian Embassy-Jerusalem, Philippine branch. As the year moved forward, many of us realized the immense importance of Israel in the worldwide awakening of the Gospel among the nations. It became clear—at least to me—that One Voice would be stepping into a more pro-active role of blessing Israel once we resumed.
The Face of Unity
One of the key unity moves of God evident in the Bible is the unity of Jew and Gentile—a unity where no one loses cultural or nationalistic identity. This unity spoken of in the Bible is one where we become one family with the nation of Israel through Jesus. We retain distinctions as a people, but we honor Israel because this nation is where Christianity first took root. Israel is the nation blessed with the covenant promises from Adonai, and the nation where we gentiles find ourselves grafted in faith, drinking from the same Living Water. We draw so much from our heritage with Israel, and they in turn are looking at us and the global Church for the reality of Jesus as their Messiah and Lord.
Aside from One Voice becoming more pro-active with matters about Israel, another direction that has been made clear to me for 2023 is the continuation of the work of One Voice Magazine in Mindanao. As mentioned in an earlier editorial, One Voice was able to fund the building of a church/discipleship center in the middle of the mountains. Last year, Mindanao came to us (in a sense!) as some of the datus we met in 2021 were able to meet with me in Manila. Even Pastor Rolando Manigos of the Matigsalug tribe was able to come to the church I attend. There was always a question they asked each time: When will you come back to Mindanao?
Right now, we are watching God move on the waters of One Voice and are in discussion with partners regarding a project with the tribes. Hopefully, this materializes in the summer months, particularly in May (phase 1) and July (phase 2). You can be sure that updates about this project will be coming out as the weeks roll by. As early as now, you can pray for God’s wisdom to be upon us as we iron out these plans.
As for the radio and editorial schedule in One Voice, we will be giving updates soon, especially since the team has already agreed on reviving Table Talks, a podcast-type of broadcast where we discuss relevant matters. There is much work ahead, but we are excited and expectant as we behold God moving in our midst.
All these said, do come join us as continue looking at our Savior, always setting Him before us and inquiring of Him. I believe this new year will be one heck of an adventure with Jesus! Let us not be afraid to walk with Him on water.
One with you in this journey of life,
Janina Marie Rivera
Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.