STARTING WELL IN A YEAR OF NEW BEGINNINGS – Part 2
Ps. Mark Banyard
If we want to start well, what is it that we need to know and what is it that we need to focus on? Isaiah 43:19 says, “See I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” Can you not see it? Do you not have understanding? Are you not discerning this? He was speaking this through His prophet to His people in that time, and they were not getting it. They were looking to the past. They were thinking about where they came from. So He said, “Do you not perceive it? It’s happening now. The very thing you have been praying for is happening now”. Perception is the key to starting well.
I bought my first car at sixteen as soon as I had my driver’s licence. I just could not wait to turn sixteen. So I went out straight away and bought this terrible car which was a wreck. It was totally falling apart. It had only one side mirror which was broken and a rearview mirror which could not stay still. I had to adjust it all the time to help me look at what was behind in order to go forward. The problem is, when you spend too much time looking at what is behind you, then you will crash into your future. This is a time to look forward. The Israelites were not looking forward. They were looking backward. God brought it to their attention because He loves them as He loves us. Likewise, He is calling us to look at Him, and to stop looking back. “Look, I am doing a new thing,” says the Lord, “I do not want to just announce it or declare it over you, I want to give you perception. I want to give you discernment. I want to inform you of the new thing that I am doing.” So, perception is the key.
God says that the new thing that He is doing is so new that you cannot say that you knew it because it did not exist before. He is creating it now. Let us not guess what He is doing. Isn’t that exciting? And that is what He wants to draw our attention to. Understanding before acting is the key. So often, we act before we understand. We want to demonstrate that we are people of faith, right? We say, “I have faith, so I am going to step out in obedience.” Faith and obedience is good. But yet the Lord says, “I am going to inform you, I am going to tell you enough for what you need in that moment to go forward.” We need to act with understanding. So our prayer at the start of this year is, “Lord, we already believe that you are going to do a new thing. It’s the beginning of new beginnings. Give us understanding and perception as to what the new thing is.”
Another important aspect is perception for activation. People in the body of Christ are not activated because they are waiting for a vision. Most often, when people come to me for prayer, what they want is a word for themselves. They believe in Jesus, they love going to church, they love worshipping, they love their cell group, but they do not know where to go and what to do. They want a word in order to act because they lack understanding. We need the perception so that the Spirit of God will activate us at the right time because His timing is always perfect. Ecclesiastes 8:5 says that a wise man’s heart discerns both the time and judgment. So, it is with perception and understanding that the Lord is going to cause us to act in faith and obedience.
Therefore, we need to recognize that firstly, God is doing a new thing. When we do, let us acknowledge and confess it by speaking it out, not just wonder about it in our minds or pass it along like gossip in each other’s ear. Let us declare what the Lord is doing based not on our carnal understanding but on our spiritual understanding.
Secondly, engage your heart with God. Sometimes we pray for God to do something and then when He does it, we do not like it. So by our hearts, we decide whether or not we are going to join God in it. But engaging your heart is not about whether you like what God is doing or not. Rather, it is trusting God that what He is doing is good. He is going to bring something in and through our lives that is going to be good and that at the end of the day, His goodness and glory will be revealed on the earth.
When God moves, I have often found that not everybody recognizes it or enters into it. It is about remnant hearts, not numbers. You have to decide with your heart whether you are going to be part of that remnant. It is by your heart that you hear and perceive. Revelation comes through the heart. Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. So, let us engage our hearts.
Finally, speak it out, proclaim it, because that is who we are. God says in Isaiah 43:21, This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise. There is a proclamation that needs to come forth when we have a perception of what God is doing in the earth. What is most important, but which we often forget is that when God starts to move and it is something new which impacts your life, what is your testimony? If this new thing which God is doing comes to you and it does not bring forth a testimony, then the question needs to be asked is, “What is happening in your heart?” I believe that when God starts to move in this house and He already is starting to move, then there is going to be a testimony that will be powerful. It will be magnetic, it will be attractive. It will declare His goodness. It will reveal the glory of His presence. A personal testimony says, “It is God’s love and it is His power that has transformed my life.” I believe that when the Lord is doing a new thing, there is going to be a fresh and authentic testimony that speaks of the integrity and character of our God.
Today is the beginning of new beginnings. God is doing a new thing, even now it springs up. He looks for the dry places in our hearts and in our lives and He wants to bring forth something that is miraculous. He wants to bring us into an understanding by the Spirit of God of that new thing He is doing for His glory in Jesus’ name. He is looking for remnant hearts that will recognize what He is doing and to say “yes and amen”, declare it aloud, move in it and then let their lives become a testimony for what He has done in Jesus’ name!