Looking for God’s New Thing

It’s a new year.  If God wanted to do a new thing in you or around you this year, would you see it or would you miss it?  Isaiah 43:19 teaches us how to spot one of God’s new things. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

God’s new thing springs forth. “Spring forth” reminds me of a seed in a garden. The seed has been there for some time, embedded in the earth, hidden from sight.  Its growth has already begun, slowly and silently upward as the ground around it warms.  But suddenly it’s time – the tiny leaves burst into the sunlight as something fresh and new that can finally be seen.

Has God been germinating any new things deep inside your heart and mind?  Is it time for them to spring forth?

God’s new thing can happen anywhere, even in the most unlikely places. Notice where Isaiah says God’s new thing is springing forth.  Not in a sunny, warm, well-watered garden somewhere, but in the wilderness.

Take a moment, close your eyes, and picture yourself in a wilderness – not just any wilderness, but the driest kind of wilderness – a desert.  See the many shades of tan and brown, the windswept ripples of sand that turn into dune mountains stretching to the horizon.  Occasionally, the visual monotony is broken by a tough little shrub or cactus.  Feel the weight of the unobstructed sun pressing down on you like a huge, hot hand.  Almost immediately, realize your growing need for the thing that is most obviously missing here – water.

God’s new thing is exactly what you need.  It’s like water.  Not only a pool of water, but a lot of water, rivers in the desert – just what you need most, and more than enough.  A river is a running supply of water that creates green places wherever it goes.  Isaiah also compares it to a roadway – a path to follow to a place where God will provide things that are in short supply or missing entirely where you are now.  A roadway provides a way out of or a way through a hostile environment where you sense you were not designed to live for very long.

God is asking each of us an important question: Will you look for My new thing?

I can think of two ways to miss it.  First, we may allow our attention to be completely distracted by the desert.  We look at the desert, and we feel sure that there will never be any water there.  But our God can and will make it!  Second, we may find ourselves with our eyes fixed on the well-watered places of the past.  We let the past limit our expectations for the future.  Certainly, we should reflect on the past with gratitude and thank him for what He’s already done.  We know that He never changes.  But let’s not miss the new thing He is doing just because He hasn’t done it before.

Take a few moments right now in this first month of a new year, and ask God to make you aware of what new thing He is doing, both in you and around you.  It may be happening slowly. Like a seed germinating, the working of God is often silent & gradual, but it is also certain.  Be ready to spot a new thing springing forth, like a seed in the sun.  And when you see it – don’t miss your opportunity!

Which Way is Forward?

Forward, Alliance Council 2017, is in full swing in Columbus, OH. We are being inspired and encouraged. We are all ready to move Forward! But, at times, we find ourselves paralyzed. Unable to move. Asking, “Where do I go?” Here’s hope.

My husband of nearly twenty-five years had just divorced me.  At 41 years old, I was a stay-at-home mom with no career, no home, and my family was broken.  It was as a death to me; the love of my life was gone!  I was absolutely devastated.  I had no lasting means of support and was given two weeks to decide “what I wanted to be when I grow up.”  I was broken, hurt and fearful.  What would I do?  How would I carry on?  Why didn’t You save my marriage and keep my family together?  Questions, fear, anger, disappointment – I just didn’t understand.  For about ten years, I was a born-again, earnestly seeking Christian, but I was afraid.  The storm had come and it was more terrible than anything I could have imagined.  My desperate heart cried to God over and over and then, He gave me a dream.  I was standing on a sandy beach with a map that looked like a treasure map in my hands.  I was looking at it very closely, trying to get my bearings.  “Where am I?” “Where do I go?” Just as I began to get my bearings, a wind came up and blew the map out of my hands.  This happened three times.  As I woke up, I sensed the Spirit saying, “I am not going to give you a road map.”  “Trust me!”  He was asking me to trust and follow Him without any clue as to where I would end up or how He would get me there.  Honestly, I was disappointed.  I was hoping for some answer to hold onto, but He didn’t want me to hold onto anything except Him!  That was fourteen years ago and I don’t know what you may be going through, but our God is faithful.  As you seek and follow Him, He will see you through the valley of the shadow of death and into the promised land of the peace that passes understanding.  He is ABLE.  He will PROVIDE.

Debbie Payne, Alliance Community Church, Geneva, NY

Looking Forward with Hope

On the first day of spring, March 20, 2017, I finally removed the pumpkins and gourds that were artfully arranged in the planters outside my front door. Purchased from the local pumpkin farm and put in place for Thanksgiving 2016, they have been an unexpected source of delight throughout the fall and winter months. Snow-covered pumpkins are, actually, quite beautiful!

Now, I look at the empty planters, and the bare dirt, and anticipate what they may look like this spring and summer. Do I dread what I may see in these planters? No! I look forward with hope. I anticipate beauty, color, and life!

When you look at the current landscape of your circumstances and contemplate the future, what emotions spring from your heart and mind? This is my prayer for you. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Recently, our Alliance family was reminded that we are Good News people. Thanks, Peter Burgo, for your excellent editorial in the March/April 2017 Alliance Life magazine. Peter writes, “We are neither harbingers of doom nor purveyors of deceit. We are the good news people.” Yes! May we once again be filled with all joy and peace as we trust in God. You can read the entire editorial here.

In May, our Alliance family will gather for Council 2017 in Columbus, OH. I hope to meet many of you there, particularly at the Women’s Global Gathering scheduled for Saturday, June 3, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Do you need a fresh infusion of hope? Come see what God is doing in and through His people – here at home and around the world.

Whatever your circumstances – whether your life looks like an empty planter waiting to be filled or a cluttered mess needing some attention – look up to the One Who can fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, and look forward with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God bless!

Article Submitted by: Jen Vogel, Director, GCW National Executive Team