2017!  Anyone else notice how fast that came around?  Crazy, huh!  But I love the birth of a new year!  It is laden with potential, hopes and dreams.  I awoke with that beautiful passage in Isaiah 43 resonating in my spirit: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Do you not perceive it? My spirit was certainly perceiving it.  But, I have to be honest, my soul was not perceiving it.  My mind and emotions began the year in grief.  News had come to us that our dear friends had lost a father and a baby in the same week.  It felt troubling.  Other worries and concerns about the year ahead began to consume me.  And it didn’t take long before the weight of that began to feel like a lump in my stomach. We are always presented with this challenge.  Our circumstances of life become a consuming explosion of noise and distraction that dominate our perspective.  As Christians, our lives are subject to the same challenges and trials as anyone.  “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).  Bad stuff happens to good people.  Yet God reveals His utter faithfulness to His people in these moments, producing things of immeasurable and eternal value in our lives through these experiences.  The battle remains between our flesh and our spirit in wrestling with the disparity between our faith and our reality.  Jesus has taught us how to live as overcomers, victorious in the face of adversity.  He tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” How do we live in that zone, victorious and winning, clearly and loudly perceiving what God is doing above the roar of our situation? Faith does not require us to see.  My dad used to say, “It’s knowing in your knower!”  It’s a quiet confidence that God is good and He is in control; that He is constantly working things together for our good.  It’s perceiving what cannot be perceived by our five senses.  It’s allowing our spirit to lead our flesh. So, what should you know as you go into 2017? Know beyond a doubt that God is always doing a new thing.  His Spirit hovers over the face of the earth constantly engaging with humanity.  His mercies are new every morning.  We can be confident that there is a new thing happening in 2017, a fresh hope, an awakening about to happen, a breakthrough on the cusp, an idea that will unlock destiny, a new word or revelation that will release the heavens and reveal mysteries. There’s new power and authority in Christ to experience, new ground to take, new miracles to occur. He’s always been birthing the new, revealing Himself in fresh ways, always trying to press through the noise to be heard, always been piercing the darkness with light, always been opposing demonic forces, always been fighting for us, backing us, resourcing us, healing us, saving us, restoring us.  And He won’t stop until his purposes have been fulfilled in this age. I encourage you to keep feeding your faith, resolving to perceive the new things God is doing, daring to hope and then finding Holy Spirit courage to step into that space and fill it completely.  It’s going to be a good year.  I know it in my ‘knower’ – because God is already in it.