We are half way through 2018 and it’s a great time to stop, pause, and have a Selah moment as we review how things are going in regard to our word for the year.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to pray but didn’t know what to pray?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted others to pray for you and a situation but there wasn’t time or it seems an inconvenient time to “phone a friend” or reach out to anyone? Do you feel unqualified to pray or don’t know how to pray?
As we approach this Passover, Good Friday, and Easter Season, I begin to contemplate and dwell on the price Christ paid for you and me. There are two songs that spring to my mind. One is the “Revelation Song” and the other is “Mary Did You Know”.
As we end our 21-Day Fast today, let me challenge you with the words of Isaiah and our word for Restoration Church in 2018!
“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.”
Read Isaiah 43:1-21.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19a
Here in this verse, God charges Isaiah with the task of speaking to the children of Israel. He begins by telling them they are His Chosen people, they are loved, and He has a plan. Then we are asked an important question– “Do you not perceive it?”
Do we not perceive what?
According to the Dictionary, Perceive means:
|1. To become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses: I perceived an object looming through the mist.
2. To recognize, discern, envision, or understand.
God is saying that we need to be on the lookout! We need to recognize, understand, and identify that God wants to do a new thing in our lives. He doesn’t want us to miss it.
Also in this verse, God says it will “Spring UP!” – This indicates speed. The natural result of the spring of the year is that it brings about the rebirth of nature and new beginnings. The crocus breaks through the ground with purple blooms, the bright yellow daffodils open up in a blast of color after the drabness of winter. The dogwoods and cherry blossoms bloom and the birds begin to sing. Our spiritual life is renewed very much the same way.
Begin today to be more open and perceptive to God’s work in your life. Be on the lookout for indications of spring. Don’t dwell on the past or even the current situations you are facing right now. Be on the lookout for what God is doing. Begin to thank God IN ADVANCE for doing a “new thing” in your life. EXPECT new miracles to “spring forth and burst out” in this season and the coming year.
God, I repent for not understanding or seeing what You are doing in my life, even now. I am on the lookout and watching for you to move in my life. I thank You in advance for the amazing new and the exciting things You have in store for me in this year. I am ready to walk in Your Newness for my life.
The morning air was crisp and cold as Daisy stepped out for her morning walk. The seasons were changing and the temperatures were dropping. Soon it would be the holidays when family and friends would gather, but things also would become a blur of activity. For now, she would enjoy the fall and the changing of seasons always brings a new and fresh perspective.
As Daisy began to walk, she started to pray and thank God for His beautiful creation. With autumn being her favorite time of year, there seemed much on her lips to be grateful for this morning. The leaves, as they changed their colors, seemed so vibrant and alive. The air was cold, yet refreshing. It definitely woke you up faster than a cup of coffee.
Mornings had never been a favorite of hers, and yet, she knew getting her day started with a prayer walk around the neighborhood would be a good thing for everyone. It helped her start her day in the right direction and helped to set her heart towards God.
As Daisy walked, she prayed. She prayed for the families in the homes she passed. She prayed for those she said she would pray for. She prayed for her family and for those the Lord brought to her mind. She knew the drill, had the route all mapped out from the previous trips around the neighborhood. That is until that still small voice in the back of her mind asked a question:
What about your enemies? Are you going to pray for them?
Daisy immediately pushed that thought out of her head and tried to ignore it as she continued to pray.
Then all of the sudden, she heard the voice again:
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
“What do you want from me!?!” Daisy shouted as she turned her face toward the sky and threw her arms up in the air. She began walking again, but this time, with more determination in her step. Her breathing was getting choppy and she chocked back the tears that threatened to fall.
She heard it again:
“I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Inwardly Daisy screamed, “No, no, no! No, God, don’t you understand! She hurt me, said mean things about me, and discarded me without another thought. No, just no!” Tears began to slip down her face and she walked head down and faster toward home. Daisy was frantic to get home and back to the busyness of her morning so the voice would be silenced.
“… bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Daisy fell to her knees; she couldn’t take it anymore. The sobs wracked her body and she gave into the whispers of God.
“But God,“ she responded between breaths, “But I have forgiven her, why do I have to pray for her? I didn’t do anything wrong and yet you want me to pray for her? I don’t want to have to think about her any more, let alone pray for her. Please God, take the hurt away, I don’t want to be reminded of the pain anymore.”
I will take the pain away, My Child, but you haven’t fully released the situation into my hands yet. You are still holding on to pain and unforgiveness.
I know she hurt you Daisy. I know she said things that were not true. I know she blamed you for many things that were not your fault. I know she hurt you. I know the pain you are in, but I need you to trust Me.
“God, I am trying to trust you, minute by minute. But I don’t understand why she would do this to me. I thought we were friends!”
Daisy, she was acting out of the hurts and wounds in her own life. Will you forgive her and release her to me? Will you pray blessings over her and for her to receive them from Me? Daisy, will you trust Me?”
“God, I do trust You, but I need Your help in forgiving her and praying for her. Will you forgive me for the pain and justice I wanted her to suffer? I know Your Word says, ‘mercy triumphs over judgment;’ It’s just harder to walk out that I thought. God, HELP ME!”
That is what I have longed to hear you say My Child!
Have you ever found yourself in a situation like Daisy’s? A situation where you have been hurt and wounded by someone? Maybe someone knowingly set out to hurt you or maybe it just happened. Maybe it wasn’t a trusted friend but a boss, a spouse, a family member, or someone else.
I have, more than once! It doesn’t matter who it was and, sadly, it probably won’t be the last time. What I have learned over time is that the saying ‘hurt people, hurt people’ is completely true, yet I get to decide how I react to it.
Of course I may be hurt, wounded, and in need to work through forgiving the other person, however, what I don’t need to do is hold on to unforgiveness. I don’t need to be offended, but instead, I need to let go and give it into God’s capable hands.
I heard Graham Cooke once say that every relationship needs to evolve and change over time if it is to stay healthy and vibrant. It is a necessary part of life.
Sometimes we have people in our life for short seasons and sometimes we have them for longer seasons. Just like the weather seasons change, bringing different things in the life cycle of nature, we too have life cycles in relationships with people.
There are some who are reading this today thinking, “All my relationships are good!” Great! I’ve been there.
There are some who have been hurt and you’ve sworn off relationships with others all together.
There are some who are afraid of being alone, so you stay in a relationship out of fear.
There are some who are in toxic relationships and everyone around you sees it except you (or you just plain ignore it). I know; I have been there too. My advice: stop being rebellious and doing it your way. I promise God has something way better in mind if you choose to trust Him.
Like Daisy, my favorite season is fall because God paints the canvas of nature in so many vibrant colors, bringing things to life. But at the same time, it is a season where things go dormant or even die. Fall, and even winter, is necessary but only in preparation for spring when new life and new growth come about.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV) tells us there is a time and season for everything:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What is your favorite season and why?
God, help me to examine my relationships and if any of them needs to be changed, mended, pruned, or cut off, would you give me the strength and courage to do what needs to be done in a healthy Godly way? Lord, I want relationships that will be life giving for all involved.
Also, God, would you inventory my heart and see if there is any unforgiveness or hurt in regard to relationships? If there is, God, can You help me to forgive? Can You help me to pray for and bless them? Would You give me Your eyes to see them? God help me to not be offended but instead help me to trust you through the process. Thank you that Your Word says You will forgive me as I forgive others. I choose to forgive. Thank you for extending your forgiveness to me today. Amen.