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 Tabernacle on 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 bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.
Thank you Lord for a brand New Year, may we celebrate by growing closer to you!