Don't Look Back
Welcome to the season that everyone is now referring to as the "new normal." There are some who have accepted this and embraced learning new avenues of connecting and growing. Others have made changes to continue doing what they have always done, just thru a new avenue and then there are others who have found that it is time to do something completely new in this new time. This afternoon an email and a conversation brought my mind to Matthew 9:14-17 in which Jesus explains the need for a proper patch on a garment as well as a new wine skin for the new wine.
Right now there are those who have embraced the Church leaving the building and those who feel a desperate need to hold onto the old ways, and biding their time until it goes back to "normal." Do we really want to go back and be okay leaving behind all that we have learned in this time? I am not saying that we shouldn't return to the building. On the contrary, I believe that we cannot go back with the same mindsets and habits. We have changed. God has not changed, but our relationship with God has. (I pray this is your truth as well) There has been shaking and awakening going on and we cannot expect nor should we desire to go back into the same routines as we had before. Many have realigned, gone deeper, found that they want more than the more they knew before. We are looking for a new wineskin for our fresh wine.
In Isaiah 43 and 44 God told His people not to look back, that He was doing a new thing. (also noted that they would not call out to Him, proclaiming His praises even then) He said that He would pour His Spirit out and bless their descendants. I am leaning into this passage and digging a bit deeper. We have so many new opportunities to lean into the refreshing rain and gain new perspectives, new Words, new directives. We have an opportunity to do something unique for our city, for our area, and leave out the man made plans. We can stop looking back at how things have worked in the past and we can just allow ourselves to be brought together to worship and proclaim His praises. We can find new ways to bring prayer into every corner of our city, not recycling other's ideas and plans, but leaning into a fresh Word from God who has a specific call on our prophetic city, different than the purposes He has for others.
We don't need programs. We don't need scripted meetings. We need room for God to speak a fresh Word into a room of praying people. We need a lot less of us and even more of Him. We need to fill a room with His praises and acknowledge who He truly is. We are building His legacy after all, not our own. There is an opportunity in front of us to lean in and to implement a space, inviting God to come and commune with us. He is anxiously awaiting the invitation.
My heart sees churches all over my city, meeting together openly, each taking a different day, filling a space with worship and prayer. Doors to churches open to anyone who is able to come. The unity of The Church transforming the community. My heart sees the war being waged in the heavenlies through the worship, prayer, and unity of The Church. There was a shift just over a year ago and the atmosphere has changed. There is a heavy weight in the air, there is a war far greater than I ever expected that seems to be growing in size and momentum, just out of sight. But I am not afraid. I am not dismayed. My God is not surprised, He is the Creator and the Author. There is a heaviness, but His glory has more weight than that of the atmosphere. There is also a floating Hope that is the reality of WHO He is and the list of promises He given us.
My prayer is that this picture, this new wine would find a new wine skin to be filled into. That not just the dream that God has placed into my heart, but that all of the dreams being birthed would find a proper housing. I pray that we would be looking for the fresh rains and not looking to go back to our pasts. God told the Israelites over and over to remember, but the key is WHAT should be remembered. We are to remember God, the testimony of all He has done, not what man has done. I pray this is a time for new beginnings, new depths with God. That we would take this time to build God's legacy and dig deeper into "New Thing" He is doing today.
Round and Round we go
I have been trying to be very careful over the past few days as to what I am posting and where I am spending my time. It is easy to get sucked into the roller coaster of emotions as 2020 continues to deliver the dramatic, polarizing feels. This morning it was a moment of clarity that though we have a two party system fighting things out, and we all feel as though we are behind our perspective winner, we need to have Kingdom sight and wisdom. In Isaiah 55:8 God reminds us that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways not our ways. It is easy to try to build up our cases and bring God into our sides, our ways. There is a much bigger picture that we are losing sight of (maybe have lost sight of long ago) and it is time to lean into what the Lord has actually said to us.
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
Joshua is asking a question that we have been asking a lot, the answer is not what any of us expect to hear. (In some versions it actually just says the reply was a simple NO.) We want God to take our sides, we want to convince God and others that WE know best. In this moment with Joshua, He has come as the commander of the army and He then shares the battle plan.
Today my heart is replaying this simple thought. God is not Democrat and He is not Republican. God's ways are higher than our ways. We need to meet with Him in His spaces, not expect Him to come down to ours. There is a greater war being waged right now than what we can see. There is a much higher stake than most take the time to realize. Are we asking God what message He has for us? Are we willing to march, (SILENTLY) and trust God has a plan far better than we can produce?
Are we ready to love our enemies and lay down our righteous indignation to share Christ's love for those who are entrenched in the weightiness of all that is being spewed into all of their senses? Are we ready to walk out the peace that passes all understanding and pour it into those spaces we walk into? Are we ready to be so filled with His love that it pours into everyone we come into contact with and we can be known by that love?
In the midst of this chaos, do we believe that God remains the same? Will we be blown by the wind or grounded in the truth of who Jesus is and what He has already accomplished? This seems to me to be the best time to be proofed by the fire. We have an opportunity to BE THE CHURCH now more than ever before and to let the world know that we look different and we are different than what everyone else is offering. We have the opportunity to stand in prayer, speaking power over truth and light. It is time to pray for all of the parties and all of their hearts. It is time to remember that our enemy is not flesh and blood.
This is a new time for the Church to arise and shine. It is actually our calling, our purpose. It is time to stand as His Church, united together by His love. It is time to live out the reality of Jesus' prayer in John 17. Let us unite in a way like never seen before. Let us not miss this opportunity.
John 17:20 TPT
And I ask not only for these disciples,
but also for all those who will one day
believe in me through their message.
I pray for them all to be joined together as one
even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one.
I pray for them to become one with us
so that the world will recognize that you sent me.
For the very glory you have given to me I have given them
so that they will be joined together as one
and experience the same unity that we enjoy.
You live fully in me and now I live fully in them
so that they will experience perfect unity,
and the world will be convinced that you have sent me,
for they will see that you love each one of them
with the same passionate love that you have for me.
I am a wife and a mom of two and a prayer warrior. I love Jesus and love wrestling with the Word of God and finding how my life fits into His story.