The Former Things; A Prayer for The New Things (of 2018)

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
~ Psalm 46:1 ~

And my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:19 ~

If it hadn’t been for the Lord, we wouldn’t have been able to overcome the obstacles (things He allowed in our lives) that were placed before us this year:  A rainy season that ended the drought in California; several weeks of painting and remodeling in January and February; finding a new place to live and moving out by March 15th; and financial and health problems.

February prepared our hearts for the immediate future. It was a month in which the Lord met me in remarkable ways when I was very needy (body, soul, and spirit). Every day, He answered me, through His word, a radio pastor, a devotional I was reading, and/or the Bible studies I was doing.

On a stormy night, when I was alone and heavy-hearted, I cried out to Jesus. Afterward, at precisely 7:00 P.M., I turned the radio on to listen to one of my favorite pastors. The Lord used this pastor to speak directly to every issue I cried out about and gave me the “peace which surpasses all understanding” that Philippians 4:7 speaks of.

Our anniversary candlelight.

The next day, Don and I celebrated our 27th anniversary. It was a dark, cold, and thunder-stormy night. The power was out, but we still had the gas stove to cook on, so we were able to eat dinner and talk by candlelight.

As we spoke, the Lord reminded us that He would lead and guide us by His light into our own “promised land,” just as He had done for the Israelites. We needed to do our part in preparation for our journey—pack up and be ready to move—and trust Him.

By the end of February, when we were no closer to finding a place to live and I was asking Abba what was going on, He answered me through another pastor on the radio who spoke on Romans 8:28. Then, when I read that evening’s devotional, Abba confirmed that same message with this passage:  “Why did God allow those things to happen in that way? To teach you to be a man or woman of faith, to teach you to quietly and confidently believe that God is on the throne, that He is in control, and that all things work together for good.” Jon Courson, A Pillar by Day.

February ended with an encouraging word and March came in like a lion, seeking to devour us; but we had the Lion of Judah with us! He continued to meet me every day—everything I listened to or read was in sync with what Abba was doing in our lives. All of it was inspiring and encouraging; He was making me strong and able for what was coming.

The three days prior to us moving were remarkable; not only for our family, but also for the family that was moving into the house. God’s timing was precise for both of our families. I won’t go into detail over it, but suffice to say we found a place to live on Sunday; prayed on Monday that His will prevail; on Tuesday, He opened the door—our application was approved, and He provided the funds and people to help us move! We moved on Wednesday, March 15th!

He gave us additional blessings:  Because the exterior of the apartment building was being renovated, an “inconvenience” amount was taken off the rent until renovation was completed! At move in, we had a new washer and dryer set; and within two to three weeks of moving in, a new dishwasher and semi-new stove, too!

But you know, the enemy of our souls hates it when the Lord moves so strongly on our behalf—he was relentless in trying to make me succumb to fearful thoughts. I kept fighting these thoughts off, but was quickly wearying of the battle. Then I realized that I hadn’t told Don about them, when I did and we prayed, they immediately stopped! And so, March went out like a lamb, because the Lamb of God was with us and for us!

Yes, it’s been a very eventful year for our family. While we started some new things, we failed to complete other things. Still, we’re “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). You see, God, who is with us and for us, is faithful, even when we’re faithless; He continues to provide our needs and we’re thankful that He is gracious and merciful toward us. 

It was Abba who inspired me, at the beginning of 2017, to pray that my latter days be greater than my former days. It hasn’t been easy; it’ll never be easy while I live on earth—trust me, dying to self is never easy! He never asks more than I can handle, but is very tender in helping me obey. He’s given me His Holy Spirit to instruct and teach me, moment by moment, day by day. He’s done the same for you; ask Him, He’ll reveal Himself to you. I have proof: 

He showed “Himself strong on our behalf” (2 Chronicles 16:9) in a variety of ways:  We asked and received, sought and found, and knocked and it was opened (Matthew 7:7-8); He led us into a “promised land” of His choosing (Joshua 1); and He continues to “supply all [our] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” so that “to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:19).

He continues to teach me to look at things from His perspective, has brought amazing and wonderful friends/sisters/brothers into our lives, and has grown us in faith and trust. Nothing is too small, too insignificant, too anything for Him; and His love for us is deeper, higher, wider, longer—it perfectly fits and fills our hearts. He wants us to draw closer and closer to Him; He desires our company and fellowship, our love and minds, and our well-being and abundance of life.

He wants us to know that He cares about everything that affects or concerns us. (For instance, as I write this, I’m having an allergic and respiratory system reaction to spicy food that a neighbor loves to cook and eat (I have no idea how it gets in our apartment). But I’ve decided to turn this “assault” on my body into an opportunity to trust my Father. I’m not doing this alone, either. I’ve reached out for prayer to others, and I know that He’s with me and for me. I’m getting slowly getting better.)

Abba wants us to trust Him that He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). It’s His work in us that brings Him glory that lasts forever and ever. 

The new year, 2018, is a new beginning for all of us; whatever it brings, make sure that you know that you are never alone, He is always with you! He loves you! Believe it and receive it; and as you embrace His love, He’ll take you into His arms and never, ever let you go! Go to Jesus, quickly, He’s calling you! As the old hymn* says, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me;…Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home!” 

Dearest Abba, Father, our hearts rejoice that You love and care for us! We’re never alone! You know every detail of each concern that we have and You lovingly and tenderly meet us where we need to be met. Thank You for 2017 and the ways You showed Yourself strong on our behalf. Our prayer is that we always know and be glad in knowing that You are sovereign in our lives.

Help us to give heed to Your word, because You love us with an everlasting love and want us to have an abundant life filled with the fruit of the Spirit. Help us to follow Your desire for us, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3). And finally, to remember this:

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.”
~ Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 ~

We pray in Jesus’ name, for Your glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen.

*Softly and Tenderly by Will L. Thompson, is a public domain hymn.

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