IN THIS SEASON OF GIFT GIVING AND NEW BEGINNINGS LET US HAVE EARS TO HEAR. GOD IS SPEAKING AND REVEALING HIMSELF IN FRESH AND NEW WAYS. HE IS COMING IN WAYS WE DO NOT EXPECT. HE IS HANDING OUT GIFTS IN PACKAGING WE MAY NOT RECOGNIZE.
While driving home one day, the scent of a fresh evergreen tree filled my car. As I continued to drive, I looked around to see where the aroma was coming from. Was I passing a Christmas tree stand or was there a tree branch in my car? Nothing. I inhaled again. The fragrance was strong, unmistakable, and lingering.
After some time of driving, I realized that this aroma was not coming from anywhere in the natural. It had to have a supernatural origin. In that moment I asked the Lord, “What are you saying to me?” Immediately, He dropped into my spirit the words FRESH and REFRESH.
REFRESHMENT FOR THE WEARY
The past few months had been difficult for our family. December, however, was particularly draining-emotionally. The onslaught from the enemy had been relentless. We felt hard-pressed on every side.
But God…in this sweet NEW way was speaking and ministering to my heart. I had heard of people smelling heavenly scents such as frankincense, but this was something I had not personally experienced before. I almost missed it. God was giving me the GIFT of experiencing Him and receiving a message from Him in a fresh new way.
As I sat with Jesus to hear more about what was on His heart, I began to feel that this message was not just for me. Many are weary. This year many have lost loved ones and their livelihood. Isolation has led to depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. There has been a war on the family in many homes. Many have felt the onslaught of the enemy in the past season despite walking in obedience to the Lord’s voice….or maybe the attack had come so intensely BECAUSE you have been faithful to advance in the direction God has called you to. Some of you have just stepped into your God given destiny and have been blindsided by the brutal attack. It has caused you to question whether you are in God’s will or timing. You have been doing everything you know to stand firm. I see tear stained cheeks saying, “How long, O Lord? How long?”
This is what I feel God is saying to you. He is bringing FRESHNESS over this Christmas season and into the New Year. He is refreshing the weary. He is bringing fresh encounter and newness of His nearness.
For those who are worn out…who feel the battle has been relentless, He is RESTORING YOUR SOUL as you draw near to Him.
For some, this will be the season of a FRESH START…a chance to renew commitment to Jesus again.
For others it will be a season to gain FRESH PERSPECTIVE…to see your circumstances in a NEW way. You will look at the Word of God and familiar verses with NEW UNDERSTANDING. It will be a season to come up higher and rise above what is swirling around you. You will press in to see through God’s eyes…..through the LENSES OF LOVE.
This holiday season is a time to slow down and get refilled and refreshed in the presence of Jesus. It is a time to seek His vision for the year ahead. Don’t allow business to get in the way of the refreshment He wants to give you.
DO NOT DISDAIN THE HOLY
At a recent conference, I found myself becoming skeptical and critical in my thoughts about the loose and strange way a session was being run. It bothered me. At that moment the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “DO NOT DISDAIN THE HOLY.” I stood corrected and immediately changed my attitude. I postured my heart to receive whatever He wanted to do in that moment. As I did this, the Spirit began to fall on me in a mighty way. A great blessing and refreshing then came through a step of obedience He asked me to take during the service. I would have completely MISSED this gift and blessing God wanted to give to me IF I hadn’t brushed off my mental skepticism and positioned my heart to receive.
GIFTS IN UNEXPECTED WRAPPING
Over and over I have been hearing these words as cry in my spirit, “HE CAME IN A WAY WE DID NOT EXPECT, AND WE RECOGNIZED HIM NAUGHT.”
God is handing out gifts to His children. But these gifts may be wrapped in packaging that we do not immediately recognize as coming from God.
Just as Jesus came as the Messiah in a package that many didn’t recognize, we too can miss the gift of God and MISS GOD HIMSELF because we do not recognize the wrapping that He comes in. Many looked at Jesus and said, “This can’t be God. He operates in ways outside of our religious molds and traditions. Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
The religious leaders did not recognize their Christ. They rejected the Gift of God. They rejected HOW He came, WHERE He came from, His WAYS, and His MESSAGE. Jesus and His ways were OFFENSIVE to them.
I believe that the Spirit of God is saying that He is going to come to us individually and as a church body in Fresh and New ways. He will come and release gifts that shatter the packaging we have put Him in. He will move in ways that we have not experienced or even heard of before. He is going to operate beyond the paradigms that we have set up in our minds.
BEWARE therefore….when He comes in a way that you do not expect, that you do not miss your Messiah.
God is saying, do not DISMISS or DISDAIN the package that He or His gifts come in. We can brush aside the Holy and the Ministry of the Spirit through our reason and logic (our worldly wisdom).
He wants to meet us in a fresh way to OPEN OUR SENSES up to His presence and His power in new ways. He wants to move in our homes and church services in ways we do not expect. He is handing out gifts, but we must RECOGNIZE and RECEIVE them…and not be turned off by the wrapping they come in.
Some gifts will only come through stepping out in an act of obedience to the prompting of the Spirit. He may ask you to step out of your comfort zone and do something new. To let go. These gifts will be grasped by reaching out and taken through exercising your faith by obedient action.
CONFIRMATION OF HIS WORD
Overcome by all that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me as I drove…. I needed to write down what He was saying. I found a spot to pull over and grabbed my phone to jot down some notes. Right at that moment the words from a song came through my speakers, “For you come in new ways. You come in ways we can’t explain.”* God was confirming His word to me.
I HEAR THE SPIRIT SAYING
“Fresh and New. Fresh and New. I am bringing you and your family into freshness and newness. I will refresh you. Times of refreshing will come upon you.
You will experience Me and My Word in ways you haven’t experienced Me before.
Expect the unexpected. Do not automatically write things off if they come in a package that you did not expect them to come in. Be careful to not disdain the working of My Spirit if I move in ways you are not used to or you do not understand. Trust Me, that My ways are higher than your ways. Seek to understand My ways. I have purpose wrapped up in everything I do.”
May the Freshness and Refreshing of the Spirit of God be with you over this Christmas season. May you step into the New Year with Fresh Vision, FULL of Hope and Purpose. May you position your heart to receive from God no matter how He comes and reveals Himself. May our expectations arise to encounter our Messiah in Fresh and New ways.