“I Believe I’ll Testify” series – Psalm 119:71 – “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” The Irony of Affliction July 8, 2013 Wheeler Ave. Baptist Church – Houston, TX – Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby, Pastor – To order, call the church: (713) 579-2753
In my 26 years of living, it seems like a lot of life has to do with finding the right one! We grow up looking for the right school to attend, the right friends, the right toys to play with, the right sport to play, and the right activity to get involved in. And as we get much older life starts to become more serious and we take on more responsibility.
For some of us, this starts with going to the right college or university, the school that has the best reputation, best programs, best professors, and perhaps the best dining halls. We look for the job that is the right one as well. We want the job which pays the most, offers the best benefits, most promising opportunity for career advancement, and best work schedule. We’ve seen sports teams such as the Miami Heat or Dallas Cowboys, who seem to have all the right players and coaches to win the big one. We look for the right one when it comes to finding a car to purchase, the car with the right size, fully loaded interior, right color, best consumer reviews, right price and best financing. When it comes to companionship, we too want to find the right one! Right height! Right size! Right shape! Right complexion! Right zodiac sign! Right job! Right income! Intelligent! Yada yada yada……..you get my point.
However, as with everything, a lot of time we think we’ve found the right one, but something ends up missing. The right university ends up not being the school you thought it was, food is terrible and the weather is way too cold. The job ends up being stressful, a long commute, long hours, and just not worth it anymore. The Cowboys, don’t even make the playoffs! The car ends up being a lemon! Lastly, the person that you thought was the one, ends up having you singing, “Fall For Your Type.” They’re nothing like you thought they would be.
I wish I could to tell you what to look for or pay attention to when searching out the right one, but the honest truth is, we’re all in the search for our own “right one,” whether it be a career, car, house, school, soulmate, or something as simple as an outfit to wear on Friday night!! All I can say is you know when you’ve found the right one(1)!! Good luck!
It is a New Year! It’s a new day! New month! New season! New minute and new second! This text is so fitting for this moment and time, because we crossed over into 2011 from 2010 and God has given us another opportunity to do some new things this year! As we look at the situation in the text this morning we encounter a group of people who are presently in bondage. The children of Israel have been in exile from their home country for some time now and they are now ready to go back home. They have been living in someone else’s land and territory, enduring hardship, under going cruel in unusual punishment, not being treated like they deserve to be treated and they are ready to go back home!
There was a great chance that things were not going to go their way! If we read the beginning of the chapter it says, “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. The people were going through some tough times, the waters were deep!! But God is with them!! Pass through the fire, but they won’t get burned!! Hard trials will come, but not get hurt!!! God told the people no matter what may happen to you in this captivity, do not be afraid! However, in the midst of everything God promised to do a NEW thing in the people and I believe God has a wonderful, awesome, magnificent, bright, lovely, exciting, and amazing new year planned for us!!
However, while I am a man of faith and hope, I am also a realist. If we keep it real, the majority of people enter into the new year with renewed hopes, dreams, aspirations, goals, and fervor and by the time January 31 hits, we have already stopped and broken the resolutions that we made just a few weeks ago. Then there is the group of people who won’t set any goals or do anything new, they just enter into the new year, just like its another day! There are a lot of those type of people who say things like “I just want a better year! I’m not making resolutions, I just want to be a better person.” If thats your thing, then that is your thing, but I personally believe that the problem with this type of mentality is that it keeps us from expecting any good and blessed to happen to us, for us, and in us during the new year.
Perhaps one of the reasons that a lot of us don’t expect anything great or different to happen for us in the new year is because of the idea of “newness”, a new thing, means that some things may change and when we’ve been doing the same thing and the same routine for a signifiant amount of time, words such as “change, new, and different” might as well be curse words. Change is not a bad thing!! If anything, change is inevitable, things are always changing around us!! Change is divine!
Not only do we have a hard time embracing a new year because of change, but a lot of us have confused our location and situation with our ultimate destination. We get lost in our location, where God has us at right now, what job were in, and what our environment looks like. Our situation looks bad, things are not going our way, times have been rough, we’re not satisfied with our current state and we get discouraged. We want to embrace the new year, but our past won’t let us! We want to expect great things, but all we see are our problems!! We want to move forward, but people keep trying to hold us back!! We’ve been through so much and seen so much, that we don’t expect much at all! We allow what has happened to us, to taint our belief in what God has for us!! So the question is…….
How can we allow God to do a new thing in our lives this year??
The first we must do in order to allow God to do a New thing in our lives is not to get stuck dwelling in the failures and success of our past! Too often, we are not able to progress and move forward in our lives because we’re stuck looking backwards when our focus should be on what lies ahead of us. God has an awesome year in store for us, but we’re steady looking in the past. The text says, “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago! In the King James it reads, Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.” But you know what we do, we walk forward while looking back in the past.
We also need to move past the success of the past too. God told the people in the text, “long ago I led you through the red sea, I defeated the Egyptian army, I brought you out of the wilderness , but remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old!!” God is saying, yea I did those things for you, celebrate it, keep it as a testimony, but don’t get stuck on that because its a new year, it a new season, I’m doing a new thing!!
* How can we allow God to do a new thing in our lives this year?
The second thing we must hold on too is the proclamation of a new thing!!! In the text God uses Isaiah to make a bold proclamation! He says, “Watch for the new thing I’m going to do, its already happening–you can see it now!!” God has already said it, its a NEW YEAR and I’m going to do a new thing in you, new thing in your finances, new thing in your family, new thing in your health, new thing in your life, a new thing in your church!! I’m going to do a new thing and it’s already happening, you just have to expect it, you just have to believe it, we just have to look for it!!
How can we allow God to do a new thing in our lives this year?
This one blessed me right here!! See a lot of us, including myself get excited off of the promise and anticipation of something new happening!! Some of us this year have met new people and we wish we never met them. We’ve had new opportunities and they turned out to be disastrous! New relationships and the people were a mess!!! However, the text says in verse 19, I’m going to do a new thing, I will make a road through the wilderness and rivers in the desert!! What!?!? A road in wilderness and rivers in a desert!! Wilderness means an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region, a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town. They don’t have roads in wilderness, your lost, GPS won’t work out there!! The children were in the wilderness for 40 years, wandering!! But God said, I’m going to make a road in the middle of the wilderness! Basically what God is saying in my opinion is that
“I’m going to make a way….. out of no way!”
“I’ll never leave you….. nor forsake you!”
The text says, there is a river in the desert!!! A desert by design and definition is a very dry and arid place. But God is saying that there will be streams of rivers flowing through the desert!! God is not only going to do a new thing, but he is going to prosperous us!! God wants to do a prosperous new thing!!! I didn’t say that God is going to make us rich, give us big cars or houses, but God is allow the new thing to be fruitful, life -giving, rich, prosperous, a blessing. This year God wants to use you to do a new thing and a new thing in you!! We should just claim the new things of God!! Speak it by faith!! Write the vision and make it plain!! This new year…..
So today a friend of mine came across a YouTube video of Lauryn Hill on Showtime at The Apollo when she was 13 y/o and the crazy think is that she got booed in the first few minutes of her performance. When I saw this, I was amazed, I mean I know of them Lauryn Hill from the Fugees (best selling rap group ever) and the Lauryn Hill from the Mis-education of Lauryn Hill, Sister Act 2, and all her other accomplishments! It just goes to show, that hard work and perseverance does pay off if you keep on working and while we may not get the cheers now, if we keep working on those things we love to do, someone will appreciate our art.