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Moving Forward

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Though we do not need to hear it from mortal man that churches are essential (that was already established by our Lord Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago), it is very encouraging that our president abides by that belief, and just yesterday, called for governors to allow churches to reopen in their respective states.

It is important to note, that while our church’s doors have been closed, the ministry of our church has never stopped. It has continued through our online services, ministry to our children and youth, ongoing small group meetings and outreach to the community. Further, members and attenders are regularly being contacted by phone by our pastors, deacons and wives. Drive-bys have occurred to home-bound individuals and to youth group kids. What’s more, in speaking with our people, many have been using this time to go deeper in their faith— seeking the Lord as never before.

However, some have been struggling in their faith over the course of the pandemic; perhaps going through the motions on the outside, but feeling parched on the inside. Others are feeling downright discouraged and maybe even angry with God and their circumstances. To those, let me say, we hear you! More importantly, so does God.

In Isaiah 43:18-19, the prophet exhorts his listeners not to allow just God’s former miraculous deeds (the exodus in 43:16–17) to influence their faith decisions, for God is still alive and can be trusted to direct the future history of his people. In fact, the future will involve God doing a new creative thing that will far surpass anything accomplished in the past (43:19)!

This “new thing” includes the transformation of dry deserts into areas that are blessed with water— in fact, living water. In John’s gospel, during the wonderful exchange between Jesus and the woman at the well, our Lord says this: “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Jesus goes on to say to her: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

Even for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to continually drink in His living water. Not that we need to get saved all over again, but as our souls get parched from life’s trying circumstances, His water still quenches! Drink of it daily!

As we prepare for reopening, things will certainly be different, especially in the early stages. But know this: throughout this pandemic, God is still doing a new thing. He’s calling for Christians to move forward in standing out and standing up for the cause of Christ. He’s calling for each of us to daily drink in His Word, walking in obedience to it. He’s calling for us to shake off the old, ungodly habits, as we make His name and renown the desire of our hearts (Isaiah 26: 8).

God is doing a new thing. What will that look like in your life?
Pastor Joe Garofalo

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