This word started as I was driving home. I was thinking about how this entire year so many of God’s people have been confined. I felt God whisper, “Every time My people are held in, a time of new normal ALWAYS follows”. Really? As I dug (and continue to dig) into this, there are truths from God's word that are RIPE for FULFILLMENT that have applications both for invididuals and for nations.
First let's talk about the individual level. There are a few types of experiences being had by individuals in the church that all hold meaning for the next season.
To the Noahs. These are you who feel like you've been waiting forever for things to change. Genesis 8 reads fairly quickly, but Noah was cooped up for a LONG time in that ark! There was the flood, sure, but waiting for the all clear to come out took MONTHS. When he did come out, however, it wasn’t a resuming of his normal life. His word from God was this:
“Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” Gen 9:1”
So Noahs, you are about to enter a very BUSY season, but not busy in the way of mindless preoccupations or being strapped for time. Your busy will be a entering into brand new ventures. FRUITFULNESS and increase requires lots of tending, work, and listening to the Lord. Use this time of waiting as a time of listening to the "blueprint" God has for this new season of being about the Father's business. It'll be important to not look back. What's past is past and will not be your future.
To the Moseses. Just as he was during being cooped up on Passover. You are uncomfortable stepping out in faith, yet you have done so and still haven't quite seen the fulfillment of what God has spoken. You keep hearing Him tell you the time is getting close for freedom- believe it! You are coming from a time of your boundaries being restricted, your freedom being restricted, and your ability to move and be fruitful being squashed. You are about to start a journey. The new normal for you will infact be so much open space and freedom that you will have to be very sensitive to the leadings and Word of the Lord to ensure you operate efficiently and in line with God's heart as you figure out this new normal. There is instead a completely new level of freedom and growth potential available to you as you walk with the Lord. It'll be important to take it one day at a time, keep your hopes up, and don't worry about what looks like it's coming against you. It's truly not enough to stop or even deter you unless you let it.
Lastly, to the disciples in the upper room. This is you if you feel uneasy, anxious, unmotivated, or unclear. For them, before Pentacost was a very different time. After the death and resurrection of Jesus the disciples were just....waiting. There was unrest around them. They may have felt in jeopardy. They were waiting on assignment and likely felt pretty aimless and stuck. So for you, God says "what I've told you to wait for will surely come." You'll be experiencing a time of refreshment and stirring up of your gifts that will so reenergize you that you'll not be able to keep it to yourself. Prepare for outreach! God is going to be connecting you with ways to share you gifts and testimonies.
For all 3, WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE THE ENEMY WAS STACKING THINGS AGAINST THEM, REALLY GOD WAS BUILDING A FOUNDATION FOR A NEW NORMAL. This is exactly what we can expect now as well. In the last blog, God talked about a time of building and planting, and I spoke of how to build you need to level the land and build a foundation. God took that deeper as He spoke to my heart through Isaiah 51 (I encourage you to read it, as I think verses 1-16 are a scripture being fulfilled in this time also). There's a verse that speaks of God being the one who laid the foundations. God whispered, "Everything changes when you know that what is happening is ME building a foundation and not the enemy building the foundation."
It may seem like the enemy is lining things up to suppress or take you down, but actually GOD is the one building a foundation during this time. He's not causing the bad things- but behind the scenes He has everything coming together for GOOD. When you KNOW that GOD is the builder of the foundation, you can have HOPE and know that what it being built is GOING TO BE GOOD.
God also hinged a word about new normal for the global church. He highlighted Zechariah 8. It's not a passage I'm readily familiar with, but as I read it I knew this was a word of comfort and promise for the bigger church.
"1The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.
2This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.’
3This is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.’
4This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. 5The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.’
6This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘It may seem marvellous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvellous to me?’ declares the Lord Almighty.
7This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. 8I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.’
9This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Now hear these words, “Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built.” This is also what the prophets said who were present when the foundation was laid for the house of the Lord Almighty.
10Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No-one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbour. 11But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
12‘The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. 13Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.’
14This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,’ says the Lord Almighty, 15‘so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16These are the things you are to do: speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,’ declares the Lord.
18The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.
19This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’
20This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, “Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.”
22And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.’
23This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, “Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.” ’
With new eyes we read this living word now. Verses 1-3: Jerusalem is a picture of the global church. God is jealous for it! Do you know in addition to the it's demand for faithfulness and single-mindedness, jealousy also means "fiercely protective or vigilant of one's rights or possessions". God is fiercely protective and vigilant (from the Latin vigil which means "to stay away", also meaning "keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties") of our RIGHTS and POSSESSIONS as a CHURCH. Powers attempting to come against the rights or possessions of the church are provoking the jealousy of the Lord.
Verses 4-6: Once again the old will sit in the streets. Once again kids will play together. These are both things that are not happening in many parts of the global church. But this is not how the new normal will be. This may seem amazing now, but this is not amazing to God. This is just His new normal.
Verses 7-8: God is bringing those from the East and West back to the church. "East and West" carries that connotation of "everywhere". This is a GLOBAL REVIVAL coming on the heels of a global shutdown. Which fits Biblically. Does God not typically work that way? Life out of ashes? Freedom for captivity? Revival out of oppression?
Verse 9: Next, let your hands be strong, church! God is saying to your prophets what He said to prophets during the time the foundations for the temple were laid. As you read Biblical accounts of temple building, God is going to be speaking words directly to your hearts for NOW and that building that He is doing globally.
Verses 10-13:Coming out of a time of no WAGES or RESOURCES, where NO ONE COULD GO ABOUT BUSINESS SAFELY (sounds familiar?), came a time of turn around where resources were had in abundance and work was plentiful for building the temple. Things will NOT be as they have been. A new normal is coming. A time of FRUITFULNESS and things GROWING WELL. A time of things that have been a curse among the nations being turned into a BLESSING. Even nations that have typically been thought of as not Christian nations will come to the Lord and becomr a source of His blessings.
Let your hands be strong. This is not a time to ease up or stop working or shut down.
Verses 14-17: Here are God's instructions, church, straight from His word:
Don't be afraid
Speak the truth to each other (so many attacks on voices and media- even the image of masks as covering the mouth- speak, church! Don't be muffled or silent)
Render true and sound judgments in your courts. What are our courts? Where do we have influence in justice? Earthly courts, yes, but in prayer even MORE so petition Heavenly courts for TRUTH and SOUND JUDGMENT.
Don't plot evil. God's got it. Even justice and vengeance are His. Plot love instead. Interesting, as I write this I remember "plot" is an agricultural term about setting aside land for planting. Don't plot evil. Don't set aside "land" (waste time, money, etc) for things that are not of God.
Don’t swear falsely. Basically don’t speak anything but the truth.
God then says “I hate all this”. Ever feel like that? God does too.
Verses 18-19: Next, joy to the fasts. As I researched, I found all these fasts mentioned were ordained by humans (not God), and they all commemorated tragedies that befell the people.
So this is a decree from God that man-made (notice these are not tragedies God caused) tragedies would be replaced by an infusion of JOY.
Love truth and peace. When you love something you seek it. Seek truth. Seek peace. It may take some effort to seek! But do it. Whatever that looks like in your church. Seek truth and peace.
Verses 20-23: Lastly, God prophesies a return of travel and an INCREASE in global connectivity. Inhabitants of one city will go to another it says. This alludes to an increase in sending, an increase in apostleship, and an increase in feeling called to “go” physically. It also says that as many as ten people all from different nations will be drawn to one person following the Lord. Multiply this out over the whole global church, and God is going to be drawing some serious international communities together! Watch for “spiritual highways” opening between nations and an increase in God-collaborations between churches of nations around the world.
I will finish by speaking a blessing for the global church with a few verses highlighted from Isaiah 51-
Those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
“I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
human beings who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
nor will they lack bread."
Hear this with me: If you are living in constant worry, fear of uncertainty, or foreboding joy of what could happen-God is saying in these verses, “WHERE IS THE OUTCOME YOU FEAR?The days will pass, and you will say "where is it? I don't see what I dreaded?".
Instead you will be experiencing a NEW NORMAL. A new FREEDOM. You won't die in your dungeon. You won't lack bread. Because of who God is...
(Continued from Isaiah 51):
I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand-
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people."
God is the one who LAID THE FOUNDATIONS. Not the enemy. Everything in a building is based on the foundation. And our foundation is good. It's built by the Lord. Recall the works of the Lord. Recall His character and how He operates. And recall how after times of hopelessness and confinement come FREEDOM, EXPANSION, SALVATION OF NEW PEOPLES, MULTIPLICATION, JOY, and FRUITFULNESS. Not simply a return to the old normal.
God is saying "I'm putting My words in your mouth, covering you with My hand, and calling you My people”.
So see this time for what it is. The foundations are being laid for a new and GOOD "normal" that is not like the normal of the past. Greater freedom is on the horizon. A massive spread of revival and salvation on a national and global level. A launching on individual levels into bearing fruit with your gifts and callings in the roles into which the Lord is setting you. So watch what He is laying in your life. Don't see it as the enemy lining things up. That incorrect view is going to get you off course. See the HOPE the LORD is building. See the coming release. Let Him use your mouth! Old things are fading. Joy and singing are around the corner. Prepare your hearts. Prepare like Noah. Prepare like Moses and the Israelites. Prepare like in the upper room. Here comes the new normal!