Vision for 2020
The first letter of a new year has always been important to me; I want to know what the Lord is saying. So I ask Him. It won’t come as a surprise to many of you that God spoke the word “VISION” to my Spirit. You may hear this from other ministries as well. Let it be a confirmation.
We often hear about “20/20 vision.” This is the term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. This does not necessarily mean, however, that you have “perfect” vision, since 20/20 vision only indicates a sharp clarity of vision at a distance.
Our eyes, our vision, are precious to us. Some of us, as we age, need glasses to see the world clearly. It always amazed me that Neil, who once wore contact lenses, left this world seeing perfectly without them. At some point, without even prayer for healing, the Lord restored Neil’s sight so that at 82 he did not need contacts or glasses.
While our physical vision is of utmost importance, our spiritual vision is crucial, especially at this time in history. Although we “see in the mirror, dimly…” (1 Cor. 13:12) now, we must continue to focus our eyes upward, “looking unto Yeshua, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2). This spiritual focus is called having “dove’s eyes,” as I mention in my devotionals on the Song of Songs. Yeshua’s bride, like the dove who has no peripheral vision, is to have singleness of vision—eyes only for the Beloved of her soul. (See Shir HaShirim 1:15, 4:1.)
This past year, on July 25, the anniversary of the day I met my husband, Neil, I went alone to the beach to spend quality time with the Creator. I asked Him to help me move into my new season of life as a widow and Him as my Husband. The Holy Spirit whispered to me: “For years you have been hearing from Me. But things are different now. When Neil was with you, if you were at a gathering and he was across the room speaking with someone, you would know by his face what he was feeling. You could ‘read him.’ His look in your direction would say, ‘Come here and rescue me,’ or ‘I’m good. Nice conversation,’ or ‘You should come and hear this.’ You could ‘read’ Neil visually. You need to learn to do that with Me. Not only hear what I am saying, but see what I am feeling and doing.” WOW. How does one do that? I am in the process of learning. My goal for 2020: “To see Thee more clearly…” DAY by DAY—Panim el Panim (pah-NEEM el pah-NEEM, face to face)—to be able to “read God.”
As believers in the Messiah Yeshua, we are to be people of VISION. A team verse on vision is Proverbs 29:18. Let’s look at this verse in a few versions: “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” (NASB). “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction” (NIV). “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful” (NLT). “A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law!” (GNT). “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (JPS Tanakh). “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” (NKJV).
The Hebrew word used for VISION in this verse is חזון KHAZON (Khah-ZONE), also translated in English as “revelation” or “divine guidance.” Khazon is made up of the Hebrew letters chet, zayin, vav, and nun. These letters give us a fascinating word picture. Chet represents a fence that protects. Zayin is a weapon, like an ax. Vav, like a nail, connects. Nun represents life, like a fish darting through water. So—Khazon (Vision) is a WEAPON THAT PROTECTS LIFE!
In biblical thinking, VISION is God-given revelation. It is good. It is powerful. It is life-giving and protective. It is seeing 20/20—at a distance—what the Lord is saying or wanting to have accomplished. Notice the word “BUT” in Proverbs 29:18. Without vision, there is lawlessness, BUT there is happiness when the law is kept. This is the state of our country today. We have cast off restraint in casting off the original vision of our Founding Fathers and our Judeo-Christian heritage. Forsaking our biblical heritage has left us a grudge-holding, divided nation. We desperately need a renewed VISION.
Vision Over the Years
In looking back over the 45 years of ministry with Neil, I stand in awe at the God-given visions that he imparted to two schoolteachers. Ecclesiastes 3:14 comes to mind: “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.” There was the vision of 1973 when God called Neil “into the desert for a time of preparation for the work he had for us” (the desert was Florida, and we were not yet believers in Messiah). A vision at a 6 AM prayer meeting of God’s heart for the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” led Neil to begin one of the first Messianic synagogues in the U.S. I had a vision of a large house on Fort Lauderdale Beach in which the Lord said he would send His children to live with us. He did: 65 of them over 11 years. The Lord gave me a vision for a seashell ministry on July 25, 1979. In 1980 He showed us His desire to reach out to our people through TELE-VISION, though we ourselves didn’t even own a TV! Other visions from God included beginning Mercy Missions to Israel, sponsoring a wedding for an orphan bride in Israel, composing Messianic music, writing books to spiritually edify children (Righteous Rhymes), and writing books to adorn the bride of Yeshua with “Jewish jewels” (A Kiss A Day and Kiss Me Again). I have a vision for The Final Kiss, but I must make time to process and write.
I pray that each of these VISIONS has been life-giving.
Vision of 1980
In the summer of 1980—40 years ago!—I had a vision/dream that I shared recently with our Messianic rabbi of Temple Aron HaKodesh. Rabbi Joe insisted that I speak at a Shabbat service, sharing the vision, because he feels that it is what God is saying NOW. I have mentioned the vision before (in my books) but realize that its time has come.
Here is the vision: There was a lucite casket and a dead bride in the casket. I knew that the bride was both Israel and the Church. Israel was dead in trespasses and sins, but the bride was asleep. The Lord spoke to me and told me to lay hands on the bride. I recoiled at the idea of touching a dead body, and told the Lord that I did not want to touch her. He spoke to me a second time, and I still resisted. The third time, God was forceful: “Jamie, I told you to lay hands on the bride!” I responded, “What are You going to do if I do that?” He said, “I’m going to resurrect her from the dead!” End of vision.
For 40 years I have carried that vision and have attempted to “lay hands on the bride” through my words (primarily in books). I always try to physically lay hands on Jewish women, especially widows, and pray for them. Most are receptive, even the ones who don’t believe in God. The sleeping bride is another story. As I was reading Jonathan Cahn’s book The Oracle, focusing on the fact that Israel was literally resurrected as a nation, and Hebrew as a language, the Lord spoke to my heart: “Everyone is talking about the need for revival. My bride needs more than revival. She needs resurrection!” The bride that was merely asleep in 1980 has died in some areas since then. Very sad. Yeshua is coming back for a bride who is alive from the dead. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world…” (Eph. 2:1-2).
What could have died since 1980? For one thing, I think we as a Body are more self-absorbed, conforming to the selfish society in which we live. Our passion for the Lord does not seem to be that of a bride looking forward to the coming of her groom. Have we become numb to the suffering around us? The poor, the homeless, the persecuted church. Are we being salt in this world?
The Law—the Torah—the Revealed Will of God—is this our first priority? Have we “cast off restraint”? The word for restraint in Proverbs 29:18 is the same word, paruah (pah-ROO-ah), that is used in Exodus 32:25, “And when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained…” (They had made a golden calf and were worshiping it.)
Is the secular media at all justified in the way they portray born-again believers? Abba, please help us to have YOUR VISION for our lives and our country! We need this spiritual weapon in our arsenal! Help us to be grounded in Your Word, which is the antidote for lawlessness. It is a lack of VISION that is spoken of in Matthew 24:12, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Light is necessary for VISION. Yeshua is the Light of the world. To have God’s vision, we must walk in the Light. He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous Light (1 Peter 2:9)! We are destined to have GOD’S VISION.
The Sleeping Bride: The Vision Explained
“Write the vision (khazon) and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie…” (Hab. 2:2-3).
Over the years I have studied much about the “sleeping bride,” the bride that needs to be resurrected. This image is actually found throughout the Holy Scriptures. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins of Matthew 25:5 we read that while the bridegroom delayed, “…they all slumbered and slept.” The wise and the foolish. We are also asleep in some sense—all of us! Yeshua’s inner circle, Peter, James, and John, went up with Him to a mountain to pray. Moses and Elijah were there too. “But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.” WHEN WE ARE FULLY AWAKE, WE TOO WILL SEE YESHUA’S GLORY! Abba, let this be our VISION!
I mentioned during the Temple service that Neil was “fully awake.” He woke up every morning saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made…” (Psalm 118:24). He was content. He always gave a Four Spiritual Laws tract with a dollar bill tucked inside to the people asking for help from drivers on the road. Neil told them that long after the money was gone, the words in the booklet would bring them eternal blessing. About three weeks before going to Heaven, Neil gave away our second vehicle to a needy college student. I asked him why he didn’t sell it. Neil said, “Why should I do that? I’m storing up treasure in heaven.” The last sentence that Neil ever spoke was in the middle of an ice hockey game. He had set the alarm on his watch. It went off and he turned to me and said, “We have to pray. They are at a college outreach service from Jonathan’s congregation.” We prayed. The Kingdom of God was Neil’s number one priority. These were his final words. Now Neil is surely seeing the Glory of God.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, while Yeshua was praying in agony, the first members of the bride slept. “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?‘” (Matthew 26:40). Yeshua is still praying. His bride is still sleeping. God wants us to wake up! Consider what Ephesians 5:14 says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Messiah will give you light.” We see here the idea of resurrection from the dead—what once was, is no longer, but has died.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand…” (Romans 13:11-12). The verse continues with an exhortation to put on Yeshua and make no provision for the flesh. Part of being fully awake is waging daily warfare against the flesh and the works of darkness. Since we are sons of the day and not of the darkness, we are further exhorted: “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober…putting it on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8).
The Resurrected Bride
In Song of Songs 5:2 the Bridegroom calls to His bride to awaken, beckening her to arise, welcome Him, repent and resurrect. He does not use words of rebuke or condemnation, but rather words of love and redemption: “My sister” (Achoti), “My love” (Rayati), “My dove” (Yonati), “My undefiled” (Tamati).
May the goodness and the love of God cause us to repent of and wake up from: spiritual laziness, busyness, fear of man, tolerance of sin in our lives, prayerlessness, selfishness, wasting time, coldheartedness, absence of unconditional love, neglect of personal devotional time, lack of love for God, the lost, and the “least of these,” reluctance to engage in spiritual warfare, and lack of faith in the promises of God. Most of all: may we wake up from neglect of God’s Word, which shows us His will.
2020 is the year to wake up—to be Yeshua’s resurrected bride to whom God is saying, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). How is this possible, you might be thinking, given the pervasiveness of our slumbering selves? The answer: the Spirit (Ruach) that raises from the dead. The Ruach haKodesh, the Holy Spirit spoken of in Romans 8:11, raised Yeshua from the dead and dwells in us. He will resurrect us as well! Yeshua, who said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life,” sent His Spirit when He returned to His Father to prepare a place for His bride.
A contemporary song by Elevation Worship says in the bridge: “The resurrected King is resurrecting me.” Yes! Make this your confession in 2020. Ask the Lord to impart VISION to you. Hear His voice, like a shofar, calling you to your divine destiny. Don’t look back, in, down, or around. Look up—”…because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). May the Lord Himself be our VISION as the old Irish Christian hymn reminds us: “Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best Thought, by day or by night. Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light…”
A Vision for 2020 in Poem
Years ago, a poem was sent to us by one of our Jewish Jewels partners. It expresses what I personally feel as we enter 2020. May the words resound in your heart as well.
Another year has passed away – I pause to meditate.
‘Tis well to think of lessons learned and inventory take.
The sorrows seemed too hard to bear, but all have worked for good.
Each pain has left a bit of gain, as Father meant it should.
I find myself more patient, more trustful and more still,
More deeply rooted in my God, more yielded to His will.
I face the coming New Year with a settled peace within,
As another year of service for my Master I begin.
As signs about me witness that His coming draweth nigh,
I hopefully anticipate that meeting in the sky.
O Lord, may every lesson learned bear fruit in other lives,
Help me to overcome each plot that Satan may devise.
May victory crown the New Year with accomplishments for Thee.
And may you live unhindered Your blessed life through me. – L. T. Halsey
Seeking the Beloved’s face, and thanking the Father for His love and yours!