Happy New Year
The word the Lord gave us, Living Waters, last year was an encouraging word to take Him at His word as we stepped into the new year. He was inviting us into new a territory as we followed him, and he said that this new territory was going to come in the form of new businesses, new relationships, and dreams starting to sprout that you have been waiting on for many years.
Is that what you see when you look back at 2022? Did you see the Lord moving you into new territory? Was he bringing you into new places as you followed his lead in your life?
As you reflect on 2022 (answer one or two of these)
- What new territory did Holy Spirit lead you into this past year?
- What is something Holy Spirit wants you to remember about this past year that he directed you in?
- What was a big step of faith you took this year?
- What was something challenging that happened this past year, and how did the Lord meet you in that?
The Testimony of God’s Goodness
We have story after story in the Bible of testimonies of God’s goodness. We hear the story of Moses, bringing a million Israelites out of slavery and heading toward the promised land when they got to the edge of the Red Sea, they had nowhere to go. Moses didn’t know what to do but God then said to put his staff in the water, and Moses believed him and did what He said and the waters parted!
Then in Joshua, you can read the story about the Israelites crossing the Jordan river. The Jordan river was at flood stage, but as they followed the presence of the Lord, it parted for the Israelites to cross over to the promised land. They saw flood waters stop, and they walked on dry ground.
Even as they got to the promised land, you can read about how they got to the walls of Jericho – and this city is their first roadblock in taking over their promised land. God says to march around the city once a day for seven days and then on the seventh day, March around it and then shout. So they did what seemed to be a little weird and could have sounded a little crazy but what they saw was God moved the walls out of the way. The walls came tumbling down, and they conquered the city God had given them.
Over and over, we read throughout scripture how God showed up as people followed His lead. There is so much to learn from that.
When Jesus Entered The World
We read in the gospels even more incredible moments where the impossible happened as Jesus entered the story.
The first miracle, Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding. Read John 2:1-10. Verse 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
I want us to pay attention to the word that Mary said that day to the servants.
“Do whatever He tells you.”
This goes along with what the Lord was speaking to us as we entered into 2022 – but I believe that the Lord is reminding us of that word and saying, “As you enter into 2023, listen to me closely and do what I am telling you.”
In John 9, read the story of how Jesus met a blind man – it says this in verses 6 & 7 “he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed and came home seeing.”
The man did what Jesus said and came home seeing. He went from being blind to doing something completely crazy and being able to see.
Following the voice of the Lord means doing things we would not normally do in our understanding. It takes faith and action for us to see miracles happen.
Testimony after testimony of God doing the impossible as people believed him and followed his leading.
The Leading of the Holy Spirit
In Acts, Jesus ascended to Heaven at this point, and the disciples were in the upper room when the Holy Spirit fell on them – they were filled with the spirit of God. No longer having Jesus there to tell them what to do, they now had God’s spirit in them, directing their steps.
Read Acts 3:1-10
Peter and John had their eyes drawn to someone that they had walked by many times before. Because they were now filled with God’s spirit – Holy Spirit, they saw differently. And where they saw another impossibility – they followed the lead of the Holy Spirit and saw a man lame from birth begin to walk and jump.
The reason I love to bring this story up is because this is just two guys, living a normal everyday life, on their way to do something they do all the time – but because they are FILLED with Holy Spirit – they are not living a normal life, but a kingdom life here on earth.
It wasn’t their own strength that they saw this man healed – it was the leading of the Holy Spirit and them walking out what HE SAID in full obedience, that this guy was healed.
Following the Lord’s Leading
As we step into this new year, there is an invitation from the Lord to follow His lead. And like Mary said, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Passion translation says this:
Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart, rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.
The invitation is to go deeper with the Lord this year. Really get to know Him. Spend time with Him. Grow in your intimacy with the Lord.
Whatever this new year is about to bring, I feel very strongly that the Lord is inviting us to Trust Him! Stop doing things without Him. Stop reacting to what is happening in your life and start inviting Him into what is happening.
The walls that were in all these stories are walls we all face all the time. They are walls of impossibility! There is no way around them except to go through them – and the only way we are going through them is if we follow the lead of the Lord. He is the God of impossibilities!
Trusting the God of the Impossible
What are the walls we face or maybe we are facing as we step into this new year?
- Financial situation
- Relational problems
- Marital problems
- Great Loss and Grief
- Past hurt and pain that is starting to affect your life now
As I have been praying for this new year and for what the Lord is asking me to share with you this morning, I felt so clearly that He was standing before each of us and saying, “Come on, follow me. Do what I tell you to do, and this wall will no longer stand in front of you.”
And this invitation comes with so much love and anticipation for what He has for you. There will be walls – there will be hardships and impossibilities that we will face this coming year – life brings us hard things at times – but how we walk them out will be our choice.
I felt like on the other side of these walls are even greater things than you can imagine – and that just like the stories are being told to us this morning – or what the Lord reminded you of in your own life that He did this past year – those are going to be reminders to us not to stop, not give up and to follow His lead as he walks you through whatever it is you are facing.
- The Israelites were set free from slavery and walked across dry land.
- Their children saw flood waters stop and walked across dry land to the promised land.
- The walls of Jericho fell as they followed the lead of God and shouted after marching around the city.
- Jesus turned huge barrels of water into wine.
- Jesus healed a man who was blind from birth by spitting on dirt and putting it on his eyes.
- A lame man thought that all he would ever do with his life would be to sit at a gate and beg for money – but he was healed and told everyone who would listen.
“Do whatever he tells you,” Mary told the servants – and because they listened, a miracle happened.
As you step into 2023, ask Holy Spirit
- What is something you want me to know for this new year ahead?
- Do you have a word you want to give me for this new year?
- What do you want me to remember as I take new steps ahead?