New Things? Where?

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See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”                                                                Isaiah 4:19

I remember reading passages like this as a young Christian and getting so excited. I would think, “God’s going to do something new and great in my lfe!”. Then I would start looking for the opportunity that was surely coming. As days went by without anything starting, though, I’d grow confused, and honestly a bit miffed. And a verse that started out as a promise became a disappointment.

I thought nothing was happening, but that was wrong. You see, I took those verses to mean something was going to change outwardly for me – in other words, my circumstances. I looked for a job or ministry or relationship improvement to arise, because that’s what I wanted from God. When nothing developed, I went on to assume God had given me a “no’’.

I don’t know when I made the turn, but at some point it dawned on me – or rather God revealed to me – that He might be planning to make an inward kind of change in me. At first I didn’t like the idea. I wanted God to give me something to do. But the more I studied scripture, the more I learned of His greatest desire. It became clear He was concerned with making His way into the wilderness of my heart, making a way for streams of His living water to flow.

Practically speaking, God knew I was full of pride, self-seeking and stubbornness. He knew the work that needed doing inside, and how much I would resist it. But He couldn’t use me as I was, because the faultiness within would show itself in what came out of me. The inner renewal had to come before new callings could be given.

How about you – are you willing to accept the quiet new things God wants to do within? Remember this: those kinds of changes are the beginning of an exciting new mission He will send you out to do.

 

New Things

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See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.                                                                                                 Isaiah 65:17

 

This verse is full of hope and promise, and now is a perfect season to explore it. So let’s dive in:

See…”

Realizing the truth that God has a plan is comforting in itself. But just think – not only is He in control, He is generous to share His plan with us. And it gets even better: we can actually be a part of the work.

“…I will create…”

Our Lord is amazingly creative. He loves both making new things and making things new. Do you see the difference? That means we can always find signs of His hand in and around us. It’s important for our spiritual health to take the time to look for His handiwork.

The former things…”

God is giving us a glimpse of the world to come, a bigger picture. Meanwhile, we are still living in this world – one full of care and even hardships. But in God’s view, those situations that cause us such pain are temporary. That can be hard to believe in the midst of struggle, but one day we’ll all be able to look back with clearer vision.

“…will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”

This isn’t the only place in scripture where God promises to forget. Hebrews 10 says it’s our shortcomings that God will “remember no more.” He has the power to remove and separate us from our sins. Why show us such mercy and grace? Quite simply because He loves us.

This year, I want to spend more time soaking in scriptures like this. They keep my focus less on any of my current troubles and more on my powerful and wonderful God. I can’t think of a better way to start 2017.

 

The New Will Come

 

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”                                                                          2 Corinthians 5:17

 

This verse is talking about how when we accept Christ as our Savior, God starts to renew us from the inside out. But these words take on a new meaning for me as I think know over the changes I‘ve faced these last couple of years.

Before that, I was quite happy to be nestled in familiar routines. My daily schedule, my meal plan, even the ministry I did at church reflected my desire to stay firmly planted in status quo. Change, as I shared before, was always unsettling, a negative experience. With a mindset like that, God didn’t have much room to work!

As I look back, I see a list of both expected and unplanned circumstances that came my way.

Physical, emotional and financial issues have hit, some in combination. And most of them were things I never would have asked to happen. Can you relate?

In a way, it would be understandable for me to feel overwhelmed, even angry – and believe me, I’ve gone that route a few times. But when I do that, my vision is narrow. What I mean is, I get so wrapped up in whether a change feels good that I don’t bother to ask if the change could ultimately be good for me. After all, one of God’s promises is that He works all things for good, right?

Okay – I can see that, for instance, in the case of my daughter graduating from high school and spreading her wings. It’s bittersweet for me, but definitely healthy and right for her life. But what about my RA diagnosis? How could that be considered a good change? Well in itself, it isn’t. RA can be challenging and painful – an unwelcome change. But when I think about all the adjustments I’ve made, like a healthier diet and more consistent exercise, I have to admit that positive, even beneficial things for my body are taking place because of having the disease.

It’s not easy for me to make such a big turn in my thoughts. But I’ve realized lately that hoping to live without being touched by any changes is very unrealistic. Even more importantly, I miss out on the new things that God wants to do In and through me. This year, my first major goal is to pray for my Heavenly Father to give me a heart that can let go of the old and look for the new He is bringing in. A tall order, but I think He’ll honor it.

NOTE: Just a quick FYI that I’ve decided to change my blogging schedule from every day to 3 times a week. Look for my newest posts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays now!