We have a fascination with “newness.” We like new homes, new cars, new appliances, new clothes. Sometimes we even venture with new acquaintances.
The old year has passed, leaving us with reflections on our old selves: anger, unforgiving attitudes, complaining, impatience, an unsympathetic spirit, ingratitude, missed opportunities to witness. We feel burdened with regrets.
This New Year brings us the chance to become new persons with new visions and new opportunities to show love, caring, understanding, affirmation, a spirit of peace, and a passion for outreach. The 21st century trend is towards makeovers. We marvel at the genius of cosmetologists and cosmetic surgeons as we look at the “before and after” pictures of people who have been successfully transformed.
God is also in the make-over business. He offers us a new heart. He presents us with a new commandment, to love one another. He urges us to put on a new man [woman]. He advises us to walk in newness of life. We are going to have a new name. This is a total make over.
God will help us become new persons in 2017. “Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isa. 43:19. There are some old resources that will facilitate our makeover: the everlasting Father, The Ancient of Days who has promised to be with us in our challenges until the end. We have the holy angels who are the “ministering spirits.” Then there is the Holy Spirit that Jesus commissioned to give us that Pentecostal boost.
Yes, God will do a new thing. I like to think that the new thing God will do is to make a new brand of women—mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, neighbors, church members, community workers, colleagues. We will be new women for God! We will be more consecrated and committed to allowing God to do new things with us first, so that we can share the love of Jesus with the world.
Then as new women we will be able to inherit the new heaven and the new earth that Jesus is preparing for us!
-- Gloria Trotman, PhD, CFLE
Can You Hear Me Now?
Girl, is it as hot where you are as it is in Richmond? The heat is certainly affecting my love for tea; I am so grateful that there is a drink called iced tea! My all time favorite flavor is Peach Mango. I like it with lots of ice. Delicious. You must give it a try!
Girlfriend, tell me, how many times have you made a phone call and you just can not hear the person you are calling? You placed the phone to your ear and asked — okay, more like shout, “Are you there? Hello, are you there? Can you hear me?! You change your location and ask "Can you hear me now?”“Can you hear me?” You put the phone up to the other ear, speak even louder “Can you hear me now?” The questions we all have asked and perhaps are still asking are: Can you hear me, God? Does God still talk to me? Can I really, truly listen to the voice of God?
It is so frustrating when I can not hear God's voice; I feel so distant from Him and terribly alone. Many times I would ask, Lord, are you there? Have you left me? But, He has said in His word that He "will never leave me, nor forsake me." He is ready to talk with me whenever I need Him, all I need to do is read His word and listen. Wouldn't it be great if God decided to use a billboard to talk to us? Just think, we could drive down the road, and God would simply choose one of a zillion billboards to get our attention. There we'd be with a mapped out message straight from God. Kind of cool, huh? I have often thought that method would work for me, but on the other hand, He could use something a little more subtle, or He could use a gentle hit on the side of the head whenever we go off course. Yup, there's a thought. God, smacking us whenever we do not listen. Lol! I fear we'd all be walking around in a daze from all that smacking. I am convinced that God speaks to every one of us, and He is daily giving us all the support and guidance we need to be total over-comers. He talks to us through His word the Bible.
A little over a year and a half ago, I was in a stressful time waiting for word about my brain surgery. I was desperate to hear God speak to me. I couldn't conjure up any powerful prayers; I was unable to think clearly, so I began to read my favorite book in the Bible, Psalms. I found that Psalms 116 spoke to my soul, and I read this chapter every single day for about a year. I meditated on it. I also quoted Jesus' words "Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10). I did not just read the scriptures; I read and heard it as if my daddy God was speaking directly to me. I could hear Him saying to me: "Fear not Anysia; be not dismayed even if they need to remove a part of your brain; for I am your God. I will give you all the strength you need; yea, I will be your strength; yea, I will keep you up with my right hand of righteousness when you can not feed yourself or can no longer stand. I will never leave you no matter what my daughter!" I felt such peace in my soul and felt assured that even if I did not make it through the surgery, I had Gods' promise to live with Him forever. (And, by the way, I am still rejoicing in that promise.)
You see, girlfriend, there isn't a problem with God's transmitter; it's our receiver that needs fixing. Most of us are imploring God to speak when it's our hearing that needs to be adjusted. Taking this faith stance that God is speaking and then learning to listen, to read His word and to obey His instructions will transform our relationship with the Lord. It could save your life just as it did mine. God is speaking, girlfriend, are you listening? Can you hear Him?
is the Women's Ministries Coordinator of the Southwest Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. She is the President of Najja Hope, Inc., a nonprofit Family Services Organization. She is an active member of her church and the former President of the Houston Bay Area Women’s Ministry.