2020 - The Year of New Things

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth…
Isaiah 43:19a NKJV

There is a commonly overlooked character in the Gospel story who is mentioned just after the birth of Jesus. It is an elderly man named Simeon. He is “famous” in the scriptures but not because he performed any sign or wonder or even as the recipient of one of Jesus’ miracles. He is famous because of one very simple thing. He heard a word from God and believed it until he saw it come to pass.

Simeon was told by God that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. (Luke 2:26) Simeon believed that word and held on to it until the day he saw it manifested. When he saw Mary and Joseph bring the baby Jesus into the temple he proclaimed, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation…” (Luke 2:29-30)

It was January 1st 2019 that the Lord spoke to me and told me that the year 2019 would be a year of BREAKTHROUGH. I believed that word with all my heart and shared it with many others. As the year progressed, I personally saw breakthroughs on many fronts, as did people in our church. But it was not until mid-December that our ministry (HWCM) received the massive breakthrough we had been contending for in faith all year.

The Lord spoke to me that it was vitally important to give the testimonies of the breakthroughs that God had wrought in 2019 – in order to be ready to move into and receive the “new things” God is promising for 2020. So, I want to share the miraculous breakthrough I just referenced, and I encourage you to recount and testify of your breakthroughs as well.

Hidden With Christ has been ministering in Tanzania since 2003. We opened Treasures of Africa Children’s Home in 2007 and have sought to carefully abide by every legal requirement in the country. As a result, we are one of the few licensed orphanages in the Kilimanjaro Region. The immigration laws of Tanzania require that foreigners obtain both residence permits and work permits to remain legally in the country.

When we went to renew our permits this year – we were shocked. We were denied work permits by the Labor Commissioner for the very first time. He refused to re-issue the missionary work permits for our organization. Without them, the missionary couple who oversee our orphanage (Warren and Christina Oberst) and myself – would be unable to remain in the country. The result of that would be the closure of Treasures of Africa Children’s Home.
The Labor Commissioner told us the only way he would issue us missionary work permits was to produce a document from the tax authorities (the IRS of Tanzania called the TRA) that says we are a Charitable Religious Organization. The only problem is the TRA had ceased giving out the “charitableorganization designation” a few years ago. So, the Labor Commissioner was essentially asking for the impossible and he knew it!

We had applied for that charitable status twice before, only to be ignored with no response to our follow-up inquiries. But we knew it was now a matter of life and death for Treasures of Africa, so we dove in to reapplying for the Charitable Organization status AGAIN. The amount of paperwork and audits that were required was monumental. An investigation by the Regional Tax office was conducted onsite at Treasures of Africa. The two investigators arrived with faces that said, “we are sure you are scammers trying to get out of paying taxes” and left with tears in their eyes pledging to help all they could. That was the first breakthrough.

Then our file was sent to the federal government tax office in Dar Es Salaam. I personally followed up in early November, finding the tax office and tracking down a supervisor there to inquire about our case. He told me plainly that the government had a “freeze” on reviewing such requests or issuing Charitable organization designations because they had been overwhelmed by them. But after I told him our story – that the orphanage would be shut down if we did not receive that document, he had someone search for our file. It was found and he promised to have someone review it right away. I returned to that office 10 days later, only to find that the person he had assigned to review it had been out sick for a week and had not touched it. He promised me again that they would work on it.

Our orphanage Director, Warren, followed up by phone a few weeks later. He was told (by the man I had pleaded with) that suddenly the Tax Commissioner had decided to review 50 cases of organizations requesting Charitable Organization status. That was Breakthrough # 2 – since they hadn’t touched them in a couple years! He encouraged Warren to follow up in person at the office in Dar Es Salaam. Warren flew to Dar Es Salaam and went to the office. The supervisor showed Warren the pile of files that were going to the Commissioner. And there on the top of the pile – was the Hidden With Christ Ministries file. He also told Warren that the Deputy Tax Commissioner had already signed off on our file. Now it awaited only the Commissioner’s review and (hopefully) signature.

A few days later, the miraculous breakthrough came to pass. Warren returned to the Tax office and was handed that priceless document needed to obtain both our Work Permits and Residence Permits – our Charitable Designation approval. God had broken through governmental bureaucracy at the highest level. And as a result – Treasures of Africa Children’s Home lives on!
I shared that story because the Lord made it clear to me – to receive the “NEW THINGS” He wants to do for us in 2020 – we must acknowledge and testify to others of the “breakthroughs” He did for us in 2019. Now – let’s look at the prophetic promise the Lord gave to me for 2020. It is based on the scripture found in Isaiah 43:18-19. Here it is from the PASSION TRANSLATION:

Stop dwelling on the past. Don’t even remember the former things. I am doing something brand new, something unheard of.
Even now it sprouts and grows and matures. Don’t you perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and open up flowing streams in the desert.

First, I want you to observe the heart of the promise in this verse and apply it to your own life: I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. What God wants to do for you in 2020 – is absolutely NEW – not something you are familiar with and also something so “out of the box” and unexpected that He calls it “something unheard of.”

So, to be ready to receive the NEW THING – you must determine in your heart you won’t resist the unfamiliar just because it is “unheard of!” You also need to commit to the Lord that you won’t resist change when He brings it to your life. Many people miss what God would love to do for them because they hate change and automatically resist what is unfamiliar. I have seen this with people who refused to move to a geographically unfamiliar place – and they missed the blessing God had planned for them.

Secondly, this verse promises that God will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. This speaks to impossible looking life circumstances being miraculously transformed to facilitate God’s NEW THING in your life. If you have been wandering in a wilderness (financial, relationship, health, employment, etc.) that you feel you cannot find your way out of – God promises to supernaturally bulldoze a road out of there for you! This verse also holds the promise that the driest and deadest parts of your life will be miraculously revived like streams of water suddenly flowing in a desert landscape.

Lastly, in order to receive the NEW THINGS God wants to do for you in 2020, you must heed the admonition in the beginning of Isaiah 43:18 - Stop dwelling on the past. Don’t even remember the former things. I have seen many people unable to move forward in their lives because they keep looking backwards with regret and saying, “If only….this had not happened…If only…I had not made that mistake.” This is the year to stop dwelling on the past. It is time for NEW THINGS!

I encourage you to be like Simeon – the Bible character mentioned in Luke chapter 2. Take hold of the word of promise and hang on to it in faith until you see that NEW THING come to pass in 2020!

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Revelation 21:5