2020 is Still Going to be a Great Year!

Chris and I both felt excitement as the New Year 2020 was approaching.  We had more hope for the future than we had experienced for several years. 

Chris kept saying, “This will be a good and blessed New Year!”

               I was hearing the same message in my own heart and from others in the body of Christ.  Brian Simmons visited our church at the end of January, and his wife said that 2020 was going to be a year of redemption and a year of “a flying eagle company.”

                I loved that word!  I have been searching the skies for eagles for the past two years.  In February our family took a day trip to Gifford Pinchot State Park.  It was 55 degrees, sunny, and beautiful.  The children were fishing, playing on the playground, and throwing football.  I was sitting in the sunshine with my eyes closed, letting my mind wander.  I began to wonder what 2020 had in store for us.  Would Ashlyn get surgery to correct her scoliosis?  Would it go well for her? Would we be able to take a family vacation?  Would we experience prosperity this year?  Or would an unexpected tragedy befall us?  I didn’t know, but I felt safe in God’s hands.  Peace surrounded me.

                I stood and opened my eyes and there it was! 

A bald eagle was flying right above us in the perfectly blue sky. It was so close.

http://Photo by Frank Cone from Pexels

                It was my eighth eagle sighting.  Eight is the number of new beginnings.  That same week, God had given me three different chapters of Isaiah to read.  These are the verses that jumped out.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up: do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland…” Is 43:18-19

“From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today.” Is 48:6-7

“Pay close attention now: I am creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight.” Is 65:17-18 (MSG)

                LOOK AHEAD WITH JOY, God said!

                All that has happened since February is something new and unexpected.  I never anticipated this “pandemic” or how governments and people would respond to it. Yet I am still looking ahead with joy.

                Our lives have been restricted.  Many businesses had to shut down and many people can no longer work.  We can’t gather or attend church in person.  Yet necessity is the mother of invention, and I see inventions and innovations coming out of this time. 

I see new perspectives, new systems and new ways of doing things.  Businesses, our economy and our country could emerge from this crisis better and stronger than ever. 

                Most of us are told to stay in our homes with our families.  Forced to be with our families: to eat together, talk together, work together, and experience every moment of every day together – wow!  What a novel idea for most modern families!

I love having 9 of my children home with me every day.  Reason # 1002 to have lots of children: you will never be lonely, isolated, or bored during a pandemic.  Reason #1003: you have an instant party to celebrate any birthday or special day that might come around. (Reasons #1-1001 will have to be the subject of another article since they are too numerous and too wondrous to discuss here.)

Families are getting closer and stronger.

We are no longer taking our families for granted. They are our support network, our community, our church, and our greatest mission field.  The family is God’s glory center, and it is the foundation for His next move, His next awakening, His next revival.

It seems as though our enemy has us trapped, yet all the enemy’s plans will be used by God to destroy him (Ps 54:5).  Darkness is being exposed and the light is shining brighter than ever. 2020 is the year of clear vision and things are starting to come into focus. 

It is becoming very evident who trusts in the Lord and who doesn’t.

“There is no peace for the wicked.” Is 48:22

“One who trusts (in Jesus) will not panic.” Is 28:16

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Pr 28:1

Many non-believers and believers alike are realizing that they need to repent.  Many people are seeking peace and seeking God.

Many Christians are moving out of the ordinary into something new…a baptism of fire!  We are letting go of comfort and happiness and pursuing the kingdom.  We are moving away from self-preservation and learning about the wisdom of the cross; to lay down our lives to gain true life, to surrender ourselves to obtain true liberty.

I am praying along with Lou Engle that God would pour out his Spirit on us.

It will be something that only God can do and something we have never seen before!

How glorious for multitudes to turn to Jesus!

How earth-shaking when every Jesus follower confidently declares,

The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners and recovery of SIGHT for the blind.” Luke 4:18

And then not just say it, but actually do it!

As I was formulating this article in my mind, I randomly opened up my Bible to the second chapter of Joel.  The entire book is just perfect for this time in history.  What God highlighted to me was His response to his people after their fast. Tens of thousands of people all over the world have just finished a 40 day fast. Perhaps God is saying this to us right now.

“I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully…Rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you autumn rains in abundance…the threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.  I will repay you for the years the locust have eaten…

And afterwards I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”

Explosion!

We love because he first loved us. 1 John:19

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                This is the beginning of a new year, a new and fresh start for all of us.  I thought I would share the story of how I became new.  It started around this time of year, 26 years ago.

I was in Junior High and had been attending a new church with my “boyfriend”.  I had no interest in God, yet I really liked this guy.  I felt very shy and totally out of my comfort zone.  I was trying to sing the loud and crazy worship songs that I had never heard before.  I didn’t understand anything that was happening in this contemporary, charismatic youth group.

A guest speaker was there one night, and I can’t even remember what he talked about.  He invited us to come up to receive prayer.  I didn’t consider getting prayer, yet I found myself up front.  I had no memory of standing up, no memory of moving my legs to walk towards him.  Yet somehow I was there, waiting for prayer.  When the speaker prayed for the guy beside me, he started crying like something was touching his very soul.

“I wonder if this preacher will know that I don’t believe in this stuff,” I thought to myself as he approached me.

“You are having doubts about all this stuff.” He said, as though he was reading my mind.  Suddenly the youth pastor was right next to me and asked, “Do you want to receive Jesus into your heart?”

I had never thought about asking Jesus into my heart.  I didn’t even know what that meant.  Before my mind could tell me “yes” or “no”, I heard myself saying, “Yes!”

I repeated the prayer that the pastor prayed for me.  It went something like this;

“I believe in you Jesus, that you are the son of God.  That you died and rose again to take away my sins.  I ask you to forgive my sins and come into my heart.”

Immediately I felt something explode in my heart, and my eyes were opened to a wondrous and completely new reality.

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I never expected this to happen!  I didn’t even know what being “saved” or “born again” was, yet here I was experiencing it.

I spent the next week in a glorious daze!  Everything was lovely and fresh.  I never realized how beautiful a tree was!  How amazing a doorknob could be!  Or how much I loved my parents!  The world was different because now I knew that God loved me.  Since then I have learned that long before I ever thought about God, he was pursuing me.  Even when I wasn’t seeking him, he was seeking me.  I am so glad he found me.

I have also learned that new life isn’t something that just happened to me once, 26 years ago.  It is something that happens with each new day because his mercies are new every morning.  Jesus promised that we would have streams of living water coming from our inner most beings.  The adventure of this life is accepting and allowing and enjoying that pure, fresh spring every single day!

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Happy New Year!!!  I hope you have fireworks of his love exploding in your heart.

May you enjoy a Happy New Year… every day of the year 2016!