All Things New

All Things New

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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.”

The Lord is doing a new thing. Each day waking up to a body filled with breath is a sign that there is more to life than what was experienced yesterday yet to be fulfilled. Even on those days that seem ordinary, plain or repetitive, there is the possibility for something new to happen and change to occur. Change is uncomfortable. A life of faith is difficult for our flesh that is suspect of all things based on life’s experiences. It’s hard to trust a God who cannot be reached with any of the five human senses. But every day there is the possibility of new life, new love, new purpose, new things and becoming a new creation in spite of ourselves.

When the idea of moving began to circle in our minds as the Holy Spirit nudged our hearts, my husband made the comment “wouldn’t it be great if we could pick up our house here and move it to there.” I have to laugh because God loves my husband. When he expresses a desire, the Lord always finds a way to grant it to this humble man who would do anything for his family. We bought a house in the next county that is the same floorplan as the old one. Crazy, I know. There are some subtle differences between the old house and new. Changes that I would have made in the other are already made. Our new house needs some love and attention which we are glad to give. It would be easy to try to make this house just like the old one since the structure is the same but it seems that in every room something has turned out a little bit different.

We are called to be a new creation in Jesus Christ. To be a new creation requires uncomfortable change. Moving was not fun. It was exhausting and overwhelming. The enemy definitely tried to deter us from following God’s Plan and I would be a liar to say that I did not try to give up about three times in the process. It was the Holy Spirit reminding me that God wanted to do a new thing and in fact was doing it that kept me fighting the good fight of faith. What about you? Are you determined to be transformed into a new creation today? Do you want what God wants and predestined for your life? Isaiah tells us that to do so, “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

The Lord is doing a new thing. Our life from salvation to redemption is marked by perpetual change. We decide what change will look like in our life. It is called freedom. God has created us and called us to become righteous and walk in His Glory until we meet Him face-to-face. But if we choose not to take advantage of His Love, Mercy and Grace by becoming reconciled to Christ – it will not happen. New life is a choice lived every day.

Isaiah 42:6-9 (NIV) “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

Isaiah 42 begins with a description of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the foundation of the new covenant and call to righteousness that allows us to have a new life. In verse 9, the Lord declares “new things” to come. We have a purpose. (Psalm 139:13-18) There is a plan in place with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) We are called to righteousness. God’s Grace given to us in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus allows its dispensation. We are granted freedom to choose to love and live for the Lord or go our separate way. Covenant is partnership. It is relational. We cannot have a new covenant with Jesus and maintain our old partnership and bondage to sin. The two are not conducive to one another. The Lord allows us to choose who we will serve. The only catch is that unlike the world that allows compromise, the Lord requires commitment. New life is in the New Covenant. New things come to those who commit their way to Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:6-10 (NIV) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

Does the Glory of God shine in your life? Are you prospering body, mind and spirit? Physically, mentally, spiritually and financially? Not only do we live in a new covenant with the Lord, but we are called to be ministers of the new covenant. How glorious is your life? Does your countenance reflect a change that has penetrated your heart, changed your mind and renewed your spirit? If not, it can! Righteousness allows the Glory of God greater than Moses ever knew to be expressed in our life. What is righteousness? Right standing with God. The ability to come into the Presence of God again through the grace provided by Jesus Christ. To pursue righteousness is our willingness to obey God and submit our life to the Lord so that we can be reconciled to Jesus every day.

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

We have this natural inclination that coming to Christ should cause a drastic and immediate change in our condition and circumstances. When everything is not immediate, the enemy rushes in to tell us that God is not real. His Love is conditional. His Grace runs out. His Mercy does not come each day. The new creation has come. Creation is a process. It took the God of the Universe seven days to create the world we know. If we look at 2 Peter 3:8, maybe it will change our perspective on creation just a bit. It says that God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Well according to this scripture, “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Humanity impatiently puts a timeline on the work of God in their life when His Idea of time is much different. God knows the plans that He has for us and is in no hurry to rush the process for our convenience but rather will wait until it is complete lacking no good thing.

What is the process of becoming a new creation? Does it magically happen? Do I have to do anything? According to 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, we must reconcile our life to Christ. Every single layer of our existence submitting to His Lordship and surrendered to His Love. It is a commitment to righteousness that allows nothing to come between us and Jesus. It is a swift consumption of the new mercy that He provides every new day. (Lamentations 3:20-26) How can I a wrecked human being full of imperfect traits and flawed character ever be one with Jesus Christ? His Grace is enough for me.

Ezekiel 36:25-30 (NIV) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.  I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” In our submission and surrender to the Lord, we are given His Grace and Mercy. The sacrifice that Jesus Christ made allows us to have God’s Glory in our life but will never force us to reach out and take it. The Lord will give you a new heart in exchange for the hard one. He will give you a new spirit but you must be willing to crucify your flesh. It is not a matter of can God but will you today?

The blessings of God are predetermined for our life. It is simply our willingness to follow Jesus and do what His Word says that gives us access to the prosperity preordained for us. The blessing of a new heart and new spirit is a new life. You will become a new creation. It doesn’t mean that every condition or circumstance in your life will change. You were born with a purpose. God ordered your life to fulfill that same purpose. Your potential did not hinge of salvation but is released by it. God loved you when He made you. He had big plans for you in your mother’s womb. He loves us first. By reconciling our life to Christ, we open ever door and window to the contents of Heaven so it will pour out on our life in His Glory as God always intended but sin stopped up.

Luke 5:36-39 (NIV) He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Although we live in a house that looks just like our old one, it is different. The floorplan is flipped. I find that when I go to open the refrigerator, I am actually walking into the pantry. I will reach for light switches that are not in the same place anymore. When we come to Jesus Christ, He makes His Home in our life. He prepares us for the new thing that He is doing in us. We want the Glory of God to fill our life, but first our life must be prepared to receive it. We tend to search for the Lord yet try to maintain our old way of life. New life and new levels in the Lord will always require movement on our part. Our human condition requires a process to be fully redeemed. We cannot contain all that the Lord is doing in us and through us from the start. If we want new wine, we need new wineskin.

The process of change that God provides is transformation. It is the daily submission of us to His Plan, His Purpose, and His Process that releases the Glory of God in our life. If the Lord were to fill us right now with all His Love, Grace and Goodness for us – it would completely consume us. We would burst on the inside. The Lord will not force His Affections or it would not be love at all. Love cannot be forced it must grow. Jesus renews us day by day so more and more of His Glory can fill us and be expressed from our life. He changes us. He lives in us.

Do you want a new life? Do you desire to become a new creation? Do you need a change of heart or renewed spirit today? It has already been decreed over your life, you must simply learn to walk in it. It requires leaving the past behind including religion, tradition, guilt, shame and every other thing that links us to the past. Sin must also be left in the sea of forgetfulness washed in His Blood. We must move closer to God and learn to live in His Love. It is a process because His Love is greater than anything that a human being has ever experienced. When the Lord prospers our life, no part is left untouched. As our soul prospers, it produces a fruitful life. The wilderness always has a way. The wastelands have hidden waterfalls. The Lord will lead you to them if you are committed wholeheartedly in pursuing Him. Nowhere in the Word of God do I find solace that pursuing Jesus and living for the Lord is easy but I can testify that it is always worth it.

Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

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What’s Next? – A Devotion

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Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

 

What’s new? Everything! Yet nothing seems to have changed overnight, the New Year brings new mercy and grace directly from the Throne of God through Jesus Christ to all those who choose to believe today. The Lord challenges us to “write it down” and promises that every single word is “trustworthy and true”. He has declared “it is finished” which covers a lot of things but today in this moment the past 365 days grouped together and called 2013 are finally over. Personally, I have a long list of family, friends and acquaintances that can agree it was a tough one. It doesn’t matter how you made it into the New Year. Whether you danced across the timeline, walked it out, or even took every last bit of your energy to crawl on your hands and news to greet the New Year, you made it. God’s Grace and Mercy were waiting for you this morning so why not pick it up. It’s a brand new year filled with endless possibilities and an equal amount of impossibility. This world unfortunately is spinning to the end. But Children of God, we cannot be worried with that. Jesus is coming! He is preparing a triumphant return. Too many people have become caught up in the hardship and turmoil of this world forgetting that we serve a soon and coming King. He is not going to let us go under but is ready to lift us up out of this mess. You may have woke up in the same bed, with the same person and the same problems this morning – but everything is subject to change in 2014. It is completely up to you!

 

Pulling in the church parking lot for a midnight watch service, I must be honest. I assumed that there would only be a handful of people there. To my surprise, the parking lot was full and the pews packed with revelers ready to usher the New Year in worshipping the Lord. The truth is that many people have faced the most devastating, eye-opened, earth-shaking year of their life last year. Another year provokes fear in the heart of those who barely made it out of last year. They need to believe that things will get better so they have come seeking the Lord’s Help. I am one of those people. My life shaken to its core over the last two years. Overloaded and overwhelmed it has been a tough road and long journey, but I have the feeling that things are about to change. All of the pastors are preaching that this will be a year of double completion. God’s number of completion is seven. Hence, fourteen is believe to represent a year of double for your trouble. I am ready for what’s new….how about you?

 

Exodus 40:1-2 (NLT)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Set up the Tabernacleon the first day of the new year. 

 

To all the Bible scholars, “Yes – I know that the Hebrew calendar typically began in March or April sometime in spring.” The Lord told Mosses to set up the tabernacle on the first day of the new year. Today is the first day of our new year and I believe that the mandate is the same. It’s been a rough year. Many of us have neglected God’s Temple especially here in the end. It is time to access our “temple” beginning with our heart and set things in proper order. Removing any bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, or fear that has taken root there, it is time to clean house so to speak. We need the holy inhabitation of God’s Spirit to take hold of our heart and mind but unresolved sin keeps Him from doing so. In 2 Chronicles 29:16-17, the priests inspected the tabernacle from top to bottom removing anything that had been defiled. They began on the first day of the new year and it took a total of 16 days. Many people will embark on a 21-day fast that has become quite popular each January. I encourage you to do the same and spend some time on the Temple of your life. It is important in having a prosperous new year.

 

Isaiah 43:18-21 (NLT)

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

 

God is doing something new. Stop looking for God in the past and remain in the present. It has already begun. But do not make the mistake that many people do thinking that everything is going to change. The Word of God says that He will make pathways IN the wilderness and that

He will create rivers IN the wasteland. It doesn’t say that the Lord will take you out of the wilderness or wasteland which means that He doesn’t always change our situation but always gets us through it. My chosen people will be refreshed. To embrace the new we must eliminate the old thinking that prosperity is all about money and rescue means removal. Those who endure until the end will be saved which means we are going through some stuff. (Matthew 24:13) Jesus told us that there would be trials and sorrows so why do we act so surprised when faced with them? (John 16:33) We must learn to simply take heart in the promise that Jesus overcame the world. You will get through it – there you will find something new.

 

Romans 5:10-11 (NLT)

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

 

Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. This is nothing new but must be renewed as most people are nothing more than acquaintances with the God they claim to serve. We can rejoice in the wonderful new relationship that we have. To serve the Lord religiously will never be enough because it violates the new commandment to love one another beginning with a passionate, deep and abiding love for God that motivates us to righteousness by faith. We believe that God is love and no one loves us like Jesus which makes it a top priority to serve Him. “If you carefully obey all the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-14) To do so will produce a new harvest in our life of grain (provision), new wine (new covenant of grace and mercy) and olive oil (anointing). This is pivotal in our new year and one’s ability to receive the blessings and prosperity that God has promised in this year of double portion and double completion. God provides for His Children because He is a good father. His Grace and Mercy allows us to receive these blessings and promises. His Anointing allows us to do something productive for the Kingdom with these investments in our life. Successful discipleship requires such a commitment to this relationship. You must be a friend of God not religion. There must be intimacy with the Lord to experience a harvest in all of these areas of life. You must honor God and tithe your life to be prosperous according to His Word remaining faithful to your covenant. Who would not give their dearest friend their time, talent and treasure? (Deuteronomy 14:23-24) Of course you would do whatever necessary to bless them, so why do we withhold our life from God who is our closest friend. There is no greater love than to lie down your life for a friend. (John 15:13) Jesus did that for you but only asks for a portion in return. It is time to renew our friendship with the Lord which will require intimacy. He has things that He wants to tell you but will only share them with His Friends, an enemy will violate trust but those who love and trust the Lord will be entrusted with His Secrets. It is time to renew our covenant with the Lord! (Jeremiah 31:32-34) Ask the Lord for a new and responsive heart and He will give you what you ask! (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

 

Isaiah 48:6-11 (NLT)

You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard. They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’ “Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth. Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. I will rescue you for my sake—yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished and I will not share my glory with idols!

 

The Lord wants to tell you new things this year – secrets that you have not heard. You may not have heard for a number of reasons including you do all the talking, you do not spend any time in prayer and conversation with Him, you were not ready for what He had to say, or it was not the right time to tell you. If you want to hear the Voice of God, three things are essential. First, you must believe in His Word enough to spend time in it, meditating on it and committing it to memory. Next, you must be a believer filled with His Spirit who teaches us the Truth. Finally, you must spend time with the Lord. For five years, each morning of every single day I have come to the Lord expecting a conversation and have received one each day. I need this interaction. I desire this intimacy. I make time for it. God delivers without fail. He speaks to me in His Word, through His Spirit and I share what He says with you! But that is not how the Lord wants it to be. He wants you to come to Him and ask for a one-on-one encounter to hear His Voice firsthand. He will tell you His Secrets if you are willing to listen and then confirm it through other people when necessary. This year make it a point to hear God’s Voice speaking directly to you!

 

Isaiah 65:17-19 (NLT)

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.”

 

God’s perspective is greater than our own. He is creating a new heavens and a new earth for the return of Jesus Christ as a dwelling place for His People. Therefore, we must learn to wait. Climbing up the watchtower, knowing that the vision is for the future, remaining faithful on our watch until He comes. (Habakkuk 2:1-3) Yes, the Lord has heard our bellyaching and complaining about how hard this life is and all our problems. What He is waiting on are some people who will starting watching and waiting for His Return without complaining remaining faithful until He comes. We climb up and down that Tower of Faith and casting off confident hope that the Body of Christ doesn’t know if it is coming or going. The flood lasted forty days and forty nights but it took over ten months for dry ground to appear and another two months before God said it was safe to leave the ark. (Genesis 8:13-16) Trust and faith in God for all the promises in this new year will require a wait time. You can count on it. He is stretching us. New wine requires such pressure. (Luke 5:37-38) “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3) Do you want a new life or the real life that is hidden with Christ in God? You decide.

 

2 Kings 2:19-22 (NLT)

One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.” Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.” And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said.

 

Check the “salt” content of your life. Salt that is no longer salty has lost its usefulness. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” (Matthew 5:13) If you are not living a life worthy of your calling, you have lost usefulness.

 

Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

 

From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Blessing and cursing cannot come out of the same place. God has given you a new song for the new year. It does not matter what may or may not have happened last year. You made it. It’s a new season. Do not bring the past into your future but fussing about last year. Speak life into the new one! Sing a new song!

 

Romans 4:16-18 (NLT)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

 

The Lord is ready to create new things out of nothing in your life this year. After the past year, it seems to be that most people find little reason for hope anymore. The economy is unstable. Affordable healthcare is suddenly unaffordable. There are wars and rumors of war. Natural disasters seem like a daily occurrence. Violence is prevalent. Sickness and disease is rampant. Love has grown cold just as it is prophesied. Thank God that our promise is not dependent on world events but simply by our faith and ability to believe God. In the midst of impossible, miracles occur by faith. The life of a disciple has not changed and the Power of God has not diminished, the problem is that we stopped believing God. That can change in an instant with a mustard seed of faith placed in the ground of His Word with basic belief that it will grow! God will bring the dead things back to life including those seeds of planted in faith and forgotten when disbelief and fear chased you away. We must fully embrace our new nature as a “believer” to have the harvest – that is it! (Ephesians 4:23-24) We must believe! Expect new things no matter what your life looks like now. Put every ounce of faith that you have in God alone. Then wait for the harvest of blessing, promises and prosperity that He is sending to you! The new covenant promises greater glory for the believer. (2 Corinthians 3:8-9) Do you believe?

 

Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT)

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

 

What’s new? Nothing when it comes to God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Everything when we decide to put all our faith and trust in the Lord. By discovering new ways to live and serve Him by believing everything that He says is true, we can have a new year. (Romans 7:5-6) Prosperity will be found. Harvests will come. We must be transformed and renewed to move closer to God and what He has falls into our life. (Romans 12:2) All the Lord wants is a close and intimate relationship with you. What do you want from the Lord this year? He will make all things new and great things out of nothing. The Lord is faithful to make a brand new you!

 

I Corinthians 5:7-8(NLT)

Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old breadof wickedness and evil, but with the new breadof sincerity and truth.

 

Thank you Lord for a brand New Year, may we celebrate by growing closer to you!