When God is doing something new, we have to leave behind the baggage of our old ways and traditions.  The old will not fit, or work, in the new.  The Lord has prepared His new wine for us.  Jesus said, Matthew 9:17   “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break and the wine runs out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved”.  Jesus came to make all things new and dispense with wrong traditions and beliefs.

Once we have tasted God’s “new wine”, the old will never suffice.

In Genesis 12 the Lord spoke to Abraham and called him to leave his homeland.  Abraham left the place of his birth, not yet knowing where God was sending him, but obeying God’s call and trusting in God’s promise to him, (Genesis 12: 2-3).  Abraham obeyed, God fulfilled the word of His promise to him.  This principle is recorded time and time again through the historical records in the Bible.  God speaks, man obeys, God acts and fulfils His word.  Thus it is still, for us today.

In this current crisis, God is preparing us, His Church, to move into something new.  We are not going back into the old,  God is doing a new thing, bringing a new plan and order.  To operate in the new, we have to leave behind the old.  In order for Abraham to enter into God’s plan and promise, he had to leave his homeland  for God’s new.  In order to move forward, we have to leave…..leave behind our old ways, thoughts and traditions and abandon to God.

The old baggage held us back from what the Lord has prepared for us.  The Lord has pressed the re-set button for His Church because of our malfunction.  We have not operated according to Jesus, our Pattern Man.  A new day is dawning for us.

The Lord’s word reminds us :  Romans 12: 1-2 “…….present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God”.  

Thank God for the advancement of modern technology, but here is a thought:  Has modern technology taken the place of hearing the “still, small voice” of God personally and individually?  It is a wonderful tool used to extend the kingdom of God, but it is not meant to replace a personal relationship, fellowship and walk with the Lord.  God created each of us for His good pleasure and desires personal intimacy of relationship with us, just as it was with Adam and Eve in Eden before the fall of man.   God’s plan of redemption through Calvary made this possible again, but sadly,  we have fallen far short of what God requires of us.  Today, this day, our day, God in His mercy and loving kindness, has stripped us, by compulsion, and is using this present climate for His purposes, for us to get with His new programme for us, which fulfils His original purpose:  2 Corinthians 6:16 ”  …...you are the temple of the Living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them.  I will be their God and they shall be my people….touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you”.      

In Luke 2 we read the record of old Simeon coming to the temple “by the Spirit”, (verse 27).  He heard the still, small voice and obeyed the prompting.  The Lord wants to be included in everything in our lives.  When you “live close” to the Lord, you will hear His promptings.  As we obey, we will hear more clearly and operate in His will, laying down our own.  The divine exchange is a glorious position.  It is my birthright in Christ: my rags for His riches, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, my will for His.  Only in surrender do I access the wonders of His joy, peace and rest.  His love for me is unconditional and never changes, but I am responsible for my choices to obey His will and receive the blessings of obedience.  Each day brings situations and relationship challenges.  As I walk in humility and surrender to the Lord, the life of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is enabled to live His life through me, and I receive all the benefits of His presence.  When self comes to the forefront in any form, the life of Christ is prevented from living His resurrected life through me.  He is conspicuous by His absence and I am bereft.   I must learn to use my failure as a learning curve to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  “Learn of me”, Jesus said.  He showed us the way, we have all the instructions in His Word.  Now the Lord is calling us to that hallowed  place of deeper fellowship with Him and obedience.

God does not give us the whole picture when He brings some new plan.  He gives a word, instruction with a promise of His faithfulness.  Our part is to obey as each new instruction comes.  When Abraham was called of God to leave his homeland, God did not reveal His whole plan for him.  As Abraham journeyed, God gives instruction along the way.  So it is with us.  The Lord requires us to listen, hear and obey.  As we go, He reveals the next step.  This requires living close and trusting Him.   That which is birthed of God cannot die.  God is the Author and Finisher………What God begins, in divine purpose, He will finish.

So, here we are, God’s Church, new beginnings!  God will not commit Himself to a fractured, disunited Body.  My goal must be what Jesus demonstrated –  He was “one” with His Father.  He only ever spoke the words His Father gave Him, only ever did His Father’s will.  Perfect unity with His Father.  Unity in the Body of Christ will only ever come when each member of this Body, both individually and corporately, are ONE with the Father.  I can only do my part.  It is not my portion to put others right, but to demonstrate Christ in me!  As I die, He lives!  Glory to God….and the Father smiles and says, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”.

So, in closing….God has blessed our “Ishmaels”, but permission is not His ultimate purpose.  Change!  When God speaks, prepare to move, He will reveal and fulfil as we obey.  Learn to operate in blind obedience, do not consider, reason or look for results.  That is God’s business, ours is to obey.  Obedience brings peace in my inner being.  Watch and learn from it……and enjoy it!

This is a season that has raised many questions in our hearts.  But it is a season of preparation and testing in the change.  Out of the “presentation of our bodies of a living sacrifice”, God will create the new in us, in line with HIS will and purpose.  He will lead, we must follow……    As we place our hand in His and trust, it will be “better than a known way”……….a glorious future, days of “heaven on earth”.  God has pressed the re-set button for His Church.