Tuesday, October 2, 2012


            Oct 1 began the Feast of Tabernacles.  This joyful fall celebration of seven days is commanded in scriptures as one of the “appointments” God wants to have with His children every year.  It is the time to remember how the Israelis lived in temporary “booths” for 40 years after fleeing Egypt.  It has come to be a time to celebrate with family by eating and even camping outside in a temporary structure built with a roof covered with natural branches so one can see through them into the sky and view the stars at night.  Sukkot is also called the Feast of Ingathering, a time to celebrate the harvest and remember all the blessings God has reigned down on us over the past year.

            Sukkot is also marked by great joy.  We are commanded to be joyful in the succah!  Joy usually is an emotional response to something good or something we like.  But in this case we choose to be joyful in obedience to God’s instructions.  We can command our emotions to be thankful, joyful. 

            The final day of Sukkot is the most joyful day of the year—Simchat Torah.  This is the day when Jews finishing reading through the Torah for the year and begin reading Genesis 1 for the coming year.  It is a joyful celebration of God’s gift of His Word to us marked by huge celebrations of music, dancing with the Torah, food, etc.  There are many other layers of meaning and symbolism that surround the Succah.  It is a picture of our bodies being a temporary dwelling for our spirits while we sojourn on this earth, but our real home is the eternal body we will receive when we step into eternity. 

            I believe we ought to join with our Jewish Cousins in celebrating joyfully God’s great gift of the Word.  The Bible is the greatest source of wisdom and life to us and is God’s love letter to every Believer.  But we ought to take this celebration to new heights by celebrating the Word made Flesh, Yeshua,  Messiah.  Here is the greatest reason for joy.  Here is truly our harvest of the heart.

            May you be joyful this Sukkot!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Practical Politics

            When we lived in Jerusalem for six months, I would often walk six or eight blocks from our apartment to the Promenade, a popular park on the South edge of Jerusalem from which I had a perfect view of the Old City, the Kidron Valley, and the new parts of Jerusalem.  What an awe-inspiring place to sit, read my Bible, pray, and intercede for Israel and the Messianic Believers there.  I often hoped that Yeshua would suddenly appear and set foot on the Mount of Olives, just across the Kidron Valley while I was having my quite time. 
            One of the vacant lots I passed as I walked to the Promenade was purported to be reserved for the U.S. Embassy.  It has been seventeen years since both the House and Senate approved the building of an embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 1999.  But a small loophole has allowed every president since then to delay its construction—that loophole is a short sentence in the bill passed by congress allowing the President of the U.S. to delay by executive order for six months the location of the embassy in Jerusalem.  So far, no President has had the back bone to stand up to the Arab countries and do so and so every six months the embassy is kept in Tel Aviv.
            What a travesty.  In no other country, except Israel, would we or any other foreign government, dare to do such a thing.  By not locating our embassy in Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel, we are bowing to the pressure of the Arab bloc.  The Arab countries want Jerusalem designated as the capitol of Palestine, which is not yet even a country.  But for 64 years, since Israel became a State, we, along with the rest of the world, have refused to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capitol of their country.
            The pressure is not just from the Arab countries.  The real lack of fortitude is found in the halls of our own State Department and White House primarily.  There has been a long and ugly anti-Semitism that has tainted the State Department of the United States.  This is seen in various key leaders of that department over the years refusing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol.  When questioned as to what State the city of Jerusalem sits in, Hilary Clinton replied:  “That has yet to be determined.”
            Until our national leaders get a Biblical understanding of God’s covenant with the Jewish people and its link to the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, there is not much hope of change.  The Jewish people have looked to Jerusalem as their homeland, their capitol, for over 3000 years.  Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible but not once in the Koran.            
            May God open our eyes and hearts to agree with His plans.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Learning to Intercede

            The longer I walk with Jesus, the more important prayer becomes.  Jesus Himself modeled a prayer life during His life on earth.  He took time away from the pressing crowds to be alone the His Father.  He would steal away and spend a night in communion with Father.
            Rees Howells: Intercessor by Norman Grubb is an important book that every person should read who is interested in being used of God in prayer.  It traces how God led Rees Howells step by step in learning how to be an intercessor.  Rees began by taking baby steps of a disciplined, focused prayer life.  Then God laid on his heart certain people to intercede for.  Slowly, over many years, Rees took on larger and more challenging prayer targets.  Finally, after 30 or 40 years of praying, God led him to join his prayers with those in a Bible College he had founded to intercede for various key battles in World War II.  Their prayers made a difference in the outcome of that war.
            One of the chief motivating factors in what Rees Howells prayed for was the establishment of Israel as a nation and the return of the Jews to their homeland.  Rees correctly saw that this was a key to world evangelization and the ultimate return of Messiah to the earth.  The motivation to “pray through” (pray until Holy Spirit assured them of victory) against the Nazi war machine came because Rees could see that if Alexandria fell in North Africa, Palestine would be threatened and fall into Nazi hands.  The same was true in the battle for Russia, particularly when the Nazis attacked Moscow and later Stalingrad—if the Nazis succeeded, the Holy Land would be invaded from the North.  At key times, God prompted them to pray against the Nazis and God turned what looked like sure victory for Germany into major defeats that saved the world from tyranny.
            The author Norman Grubb summed it up:  “…the prayer in the College for the Gospel to go to every creature, and for the Jew to return to Palestine, has always been with the one great anticipation of the return of the Saviour in glory, and the setting up of the Millennial Kingdom.”  What drove Rees Howells to pray was God’s heart for evangelization and the return and reign of Jesus.
            What do your prayers focus on?  What drives you to “pray without ceasing”?  Only a heart gripped by what is on God’s heart will have the motivation to stay in prayer until victory is won.  God could trust Rees Howells with truly large prayer initiatives because he was first faithful in the small things (like healing for one person or the salvation of one individual). 
            So what will ignite your prayers today?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Two Drops In The Ocean

            Nineteen years ago my wife and I prayed for the Body of Christ in Israel that God would unite them and bring about His kingdom in Israel.  That same year God prompted two Messianic leaders to make aliyah.  Those two leaders have established several congregations in Israel that are raising up a new generation of mighty men and women of God.  This is a direct fulfillment of scripture and an answer to our prayers.
            I’m not taking credit for what God is doing in Israel.  It is just a wonderful confirmation and encouragement that God hears our prayers.  Even though we didn’t know of God’s answers to those prayers for many years, now as we look back over two decades we realize He heard our petitions and answered them.  But it wasn’t just our prayers He heard.  We have learned that Holy Spirit has been prompting His Body all over the world to pray for Israel in these days.  Believers in China have been interceding for Israel year after year, even though most of them have never visited Israel.  We have received reports of the Church in Asia, Europe, Africa have all been actively praying for God’s move in Israel.  I know many in South America as well as many other nations have been praying the same prayers.
            Our prayers are just two drops in an ocean of intercession that God’s Spirit has raised up to accomplish His purposes in the Last Days.  But every drop is important.  When enough drops of water come together they can become a mighty flood that sweeps away even the most stubborn obstacle.  There is a mighty tidal wave of God’s power overwhelming Satan’s plans and devices in these days.  “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…”  Isaiah 9:7.  Not even the gates of hell will be able to stand against the power of God’s Spirit.
            Keep praying for Israel and the expansion of God’s kingdom in the Earth.  Your prayers make a difference, even if you can’t see it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shavuot Fulfilled!

Shavuot 2012
            Just as Jesus perfectly fulfilled the first three feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits, the Holy Spirit came precisely on time and fulfilled the Feast of Weeks.  Shavuot means “weeks” and begins seven weeks after Passover.  In Jewish tradition it is the remembrance of God giving the Torah.  Christians call it Pentecost, or “Fifty” and see it as the birth of the Church.
            In the book of Acts, the first Believers were praying in an upper room on Shavuot and Holy Spirit came into the room, baptizing them with tongues of fire that empowered them to witness on the streets of Jerusalem about the Resurrection of Jesus.  This was a direct fulfillment of the promise Jesus had given that they would be filled with power.  They were changed from a fearful, hiding band of men and women to an energized, bold fire-brand that operated under the direction and power of Holy Spirit.  The result: thousands of people were added to the Body of Christ overnight!
            This coming week Pentecost (Shavuot) will be celebrated on May 26 at sundown.  It is marked in Jewish circles by staying up all night reading Torah and the book of Ruth (in remembrance that David is a direct descendant of Ruth).  Messianic believers in Israel are calling the Church to a renewed Pentecost by spending the night in prayer inviting Holy Spirit to come and fulfill Joel 2:28-29.  Yes, this was fulfilled in Acts 2—Peter uses Joel 2 as the basis to explain the strange behavior of the freshly baptized Believers.  But the total fulfillment of Joel 2 has yet to happen.  Holy Spirit will be poured out on “all mankind” in “the last days”.  We believe we are living in those last days.  There is a Messianic remnant living in Israel again.  Expectancy is growing, as it did in that upper room.
            Our prayer is “Come, Holy Spirit, baptize us afresh with the power to witness about Jesus Christ to our world that is lost and dying.  We need You.  Come, overwhelm us with Your Presence.  Remove the fear of man from our hearts.  Embolden us with a fresh fire that will draw all men into the Kingdom of God.”
            Join us this week in praying for this outpouring of Holy Spirit.  Gather with other Believers and pray expectantly!  The Father earnestly desires to pour out His Spirit on those who ask for Him (Luke 11:13)!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Passover--Our Reason to Celebrate!

This Friday evening, April 6th, is Passover, the first of the three Spring Feasts God commanded Israel to keep annually.  Passover has been celebrated for 3500 years and provides the Jewish roots for our remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the celebration of His resurrection. 

I Cor. 5:7-8:  “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.  For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Jesus perfectly fulfilled the prophetic actions Jewish homes re-enact in the Passover Seder.  He is the Passover Lamb slain on the very day the priests were sacrificing the lamb to commemorate God’s deliverance from the slavery of Egypt.  Four cups of wine are served in the Seder, based on the four declarations God made to Israel in Ex. 6:6, 7.  God told Moses to tell the people:  “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out (Cup of Sanctification)....I will deliver you (Cup of Deliverance)….I will also redeem you (Cup of Redemption)…..Then I will take you for My people (Cup of Marriage).” 

Jesus also is the sinless Bread of Life pictured in the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Jewish homes will thoroughly clean their homes from top to bottom this week in preparation for the week long celebration of Unleavened Bread.  This is a wonderful picture of the work each of us should do daily in separating ourselves from sin.  “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Jesus also fulfilled the third Feast, First Fruits, by rising from the dead—the first fruits hope for resurrection that we all, as believers in Jesus, hold as our own glorious hope.  Because He defeated death we too have the hope of resurrection.  Paul sums it up clearly in I Cor. 15:  “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  We proclaim to the world the Good News.  He died and took away your sins.  But the grave is empty!  He is Risen!  Hallelujah!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Thought At A Time

Ps. 132 speaks of David longing to find a place for the dwelling of God on earth.  Later in the Psalm, God promises that David will not lack to have a descendant sitting on his throne.  But there is a provision:  If your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”
            The sad fact is the history of Israel as recorded in Kings and Chronicles shows that they did not keep God’s covenant.  David’s own son intermarried with pagan women and they led his heart astray.  David’s grandsons divided his kingdom between the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah.  The Northern kingdom had nineteen kings, all of which were evil—they refused to follow God’s covenant.  Finally God judged Israel, the Northern portion, by sending them into exile in 722 BC.  Less than half of the twenty kings of Judah were considered godly, but they too became so corrupt that Judah was sent into exile in 586 BC, not to return to the land for 70 years.
            How did this happen?  One choice at a time.  We my think our daily choices have much bearing on the direction of our lives, but every day we make choices that set the direction of our lives.  The decision to skip prayer and Bible reading one day.  The rationalization that one look at pornography won’t hurt anybody and it just feels so exciting.  The choice to ignore the promptings of Holy Spirit and just do what I want to do.  All these small choices, though seemingly isolated and insignificant, begin to deaden our sensitivity to God’s voice.  These micro decisions begin to add up and set us on a path of destruction that we usually don’t recognize until we are caught up in some large sin that is obvious to all and brings great embarrassment to us and our family.
            I used to worry when I heard about the fall of another pastor or great spiritual leader into immorality.  I questioned in my heart:  “If that person everyone has looked up to can’t hold his spiritual life together, what hope is there for a sinner like me?”  But then the Lord showed me this spiritual truth:  “EVERY EXTERNAL SIN BEGINS WITH A SMALL THOUGHT THAT IS AGAINST GOD.”   The progression is from thoughts to attitudes to actions, followed by habits that end in a lifestyle.  I have drawn it as a simple chart thus:
            Thoughts yield Attitudes yield Actions yield Habits become Lifestyle
            The battle ground is our thought life.  We make choices in our thoughts what to dwell on.  If you think about lust long enough, it won’t be long before your attitude toward lust will break out into actions of viewing pornography. 
            We can be forgiven by confessing our sins.  Jesus will forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. 
            But the secret of victorious living is to take every “thought” captive to the obedience of Christ.  II Cor. 10:3-5.  By submitting our thought life to Christ and asking Him to sanctify it, we set our minds and hearts to follow God and our attitudes and actions reflect godliness and holiness and integrity strengthens our character.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

True Peace in the Middle East

            While the nations vainly search for a solution to the centuries-old conflict in the Middle East, there is a quiet revolution going on that is bringing true peace to this war torn area.  It is called The Kingdom of God.
            In 1993 my wife and I had the privilege of living in Israel for six months.  While there we attended a prayer conference in Jerusalem.  It was a gathering of over 400 intercessors from around the world.  The worship times were some of the most powerful I have ever participated in because there were Gentiles from many nations, Jewish believers from Israel and Arab Christians from the West Bank.  There was a true spirit of unity and love that flowed back and forth between us and various acts of reconciliation and bridge building were done—a true expression of the universal nature of the Body of Christ.
            This week I received the following report from Israel:
            “When a Jewish Israeli and a Palestinian Arab stand in an airport with their arms thrown around each other’s shoulders and explain to the Lebanese man passing by that they are brothers in Yeshua, the result is awe and wonder on the part of the Lebanese.  That’s exactly what happened to one of our team members who recently returned from a conference…. The Palestinian Christian delegation to the conference was sponsored by [a Messianic Jewish Team].
            The whole world knows of the conflict between Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.  So when people see a pair such as this, united in their faith with genuine
extraordinary witness to the power and reconciliatory love of Yeshua.”
            The answer to all the turmoil in the Middle East is Yeshua.  When men and women find life and peace in Him, their hearts are changed.  Former terrorists embrace Jews.  Jews sponsor Arabs so they can attend conferences focused on the Prince of Peace.
            When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray that individuals and people groups will find Jesus, Yeshua, Isa—The Prince of Peace.  It will do more for peace in the Middle East and all the diplomacy the nations will ever attempt.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Upside Down

            Sometimes, when we obey God, things don’t go well. 
            When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Moses was reluctant to go back to Egypt and offered all sorts of excuses—Pharaoh would not listen, the people would question Who God was, he wasn’t able to speak clearly.  But God over ruled all those excuses and finally Moses obeyed. 
            When he actually began delivering the message God had given him, things really began to fall apart.  Pharaoh not only rejected his message (which God said would happen, so it was no surprise), he accused Moses and all the people of being lazy.  As a result, Pharaoh withdrew the supply of straw to make bricks and made the people go gather their own straw.  On top of that, Pharaoh demanded that the quota of bricks be kept the same.  This created a huge burden for the Israelis and much suffering.  In addition, the Egyptian task masters began to beat the Israeli foremen and when they took their case to Pharaoh, he rebuffed their pleas and accused them of laziness.
            When the foremen came out of the meeting with Pharaoh, they accused Moses and Aaron of causing all this heartache and difficulty. Moses then complained to the Lord:  “Why have You brought harm to this people?  Why did You ever send me?  Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.”  Moses is hemmed in between an angry Pharaoh and his own irate, suffering people—all because he simply obeyed what God told him to do.
            It is then, when things seemed the darkest, that God speaks to Moses.  God again outlines His plan and reassures Moses of the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God also tells Moses what He was about to fulfill through Moses’ obedience.
            If you have been obeying God’s directions to you but things seem to have only gotten worse, don’t give up.  Go back to God.  Talk to Him.  Make sure you are following what He told you to do.  And listen to His voice.  He may give you correction if you are off base.  He may reaffirm His instructions.  But He will always listen.  Don’t let the worsening of the situation get between you and God.  Be confident in Who He is and know the truth of Ps. 56:9b  “This I know, that God is for me.”  If things are upside down, wait on God to turn them back right side up.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hiding in Eden.

            Adam and Eve hid themselves in the Garden of Eden after they had sinned.  The sense of shame slammed into their consciences and forever changed their relationship to their God.  Instead of sweet fellowship, spirit to spirit, there was an unbelievable chasm between them and the One they had known, up to that fateful moment, as Abba.  The crushing realization that they had betrayed the One who had loved them was too much when they heard Him coming through the garden.  They fled—hoping He would not notice them behind the bush.
            We have been hiding ever since.  We grew up hiding.  We didn’t know we were hiding until a realization crept in during childhood that something was wrong.  When we come to Jesus and experience the joy of His salvation through the New Birth, our spirits are awakened to the love of God for the first time.  The shame is removed.  We experience God’s love that we’ve never known before.
            But learning to live in His presence without shame is difficult for most people.  When we find ourselves falling back into sin, the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict us of our wrong and call us back into fellowship with Abba.  He graciously gives us a way back through I John 1:9:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  If we are quick to respond to the callings of Holy Spirit, we can be restored to intimate fellowship with our Father.  We don’t have to hide from Him. 
            For the mature believer who has walked with God for many years and enjoyed daily relationship with the Father, sin is a jarring experience.  The sense of shame and alienation is palpable.  Prayer becomes a struggle.  Intercession for others impossible.  But there is hope!  I John 1:9 works for the old saint just as effectively as for the young saint who is just beginning his walk of intimacy with God. 
            Though the conviction of Holy Spirit is always gut wrenching, it is a good thing that it makes us so uncomfortable.  We are in deep trouble if we ever get to the place of rationalizing our sin and shrugging off the promptings of Holy Spirit as “no big deal—everybody does it”.  So if you are feeling badly over something you’ve done or thought or felt toward someone else, confess it, repent of it, receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing, and start fresh with Abba once more.  Come out of hiding and enter His rest:  “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through the same example of disobedience.”  Heb.  4:11.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hope In Perseverance

            I was amazed when a Sunday School teacher taught my children to quote from memory Jer. 29:11.  When I was four all I remember memorizing was “God is love.”  Then thirty years later my kids were quoting this long verse.  This past week I saw this verse written in four different contexts—it seems everyone is claiming this verse for themselves now.
            It is a wonderful sentiment:  “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’”  We all derive strength and renewed hope from this verse.  But let’s look at it in its context.
            This promise is in the middle of a letter Jeremiah wrote to the discouraged exiles in Babylon.  These people had been through horror.  They had endured a siege on Jerusalem, with all its privations of no food or water for many months.  They had endured the fear that threatened to drown them knowing that any day this invading army would breach the walls and probably slaughter them and their children.  Then when the breach came they watched as many members of their families were in fact killed before their eyes.  The ones who died were the fortunate ones—the survivors lived to relive the nightmare every day as their captors put them in chains and made them walk hundreds of miles to a foreign country.  Now, in poverty, displaced to a foreign culture and language, they had to eek out some sort of “living”.
            Into this bleak, discouraging existence Jeremiah sends this message.  At first it seems to mock them—“plans for welfare and not calamity”?  This is faring well?  Where is the “future and hope” when your last image of your beloved home, Jerusalem, was seeing it go up in flames as soldiers ransacked the city and carried off anything of value?
            To gain hope from this message, those exiles had to go on to verses 12 through 14:  “‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” 
            Their situation did not change over night.  They did not immediately return to Israel and rebuild Jerusalem.  In fact, many of them never lived to return from exile.  Their children did, but seventy years would pass before that prophesy was fulfilled and most of the adults who went into captivity would die in exile. 
            In meditating on this scene, and trying to apply this promise that God has a future and a hope for me, I have gained much strength to persevere by seeing the context of this promise.  The difficult things in my life may not change immediately just because I quote Jer. 29:11.  But I am changed when I call upon the Lord and seek Him with all my heart.  When I search for Him in that way—He is always there.  I find Him, in the middle of my troubles.  And for today, until He changes those circumstances, I find hope.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Tide Is Turning

            When I look at my grandchildren, all fourteen of them, I am amazed at the treasure each of them is to me and to our family.  My oldest granddaughter, now nearly 20 years old, just sent me a text telling me she loved me.  And last night I taught my nearly two year old granddaughter how to do pat-a-cake via Skype.  How wealthy I am!
            For nearly forty years uncounted millions upon millions of babies have been unceremoniously assigned to the trash bins behind abortion clinics.  I cannot begin to put my mind around this, let alone my heart.  How impoverished we are as a nation.  We’ve been robbed of so many sons, daughters and grandchildren who would have enriched our lives. 
            But I have hope.  There are many young people who are getting it.  They are standing before the Supreme Court with “Life” taped across their mouths.  Others are standing before the Almighty daily crying out for abortion to end.  More and more babies are not being aborted because their mothers saw their images on an ultrasound.  States are beginning to limit the powers of abortion clinics and level the playing field for pregnancy resource centers.  Slowly, the tide is turning.  May this trend spread to other countries, especially to Israel where some estimate more babies have been slaughtered than there were Jews killed in the holocaust!
            Join me on this anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies to hit our nation, the date Roe vs. Wade was made into law, to cry out with new passion and fervency:  Oh God, forgive us—end abortion now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Calling us twice.

            A wonderful article by Moshe Morrison in the January issue of Tikkun Newsletter cites seven times when God called someone by using their name twice.  These included Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Simon Peter, Saul (Paul) and Martha.  He points out that each of these except Martha were at key, pivotal moments in the history of the people of Israel or the Church.  Abraham’s call kept him from slaying Isaac and allowed Jehovah Jireh to be the fulfillment of the covenant.  Jacob was reassured that the move to Egypt was God’s idea.  Moses’ call began the deliverance of the nation of Israel from slavery.  When God called Samuel it was the beginning of the prophetic period of the First Testament.  Jesus called Simon, Simon to warn him of Satan’s plans to sift him but reassured him that He, Jesus, had prayed for him and charged him with strengthening his brothers—a commissioning of Peter as a leader in the early Church.  Saul’s call knocked him off his horse and forever changed him and the direction of the Gospel to include the Gentiles!
            The call to Martha doesn’t seem to carry the importance or weight of the other six, but on reflection, it is of critical importance.  Jesus invited Martha to join her sister, Mary, in sitting at his feet to learn from him and soak up his presence.  He called it “the good part” that would not be taken away from her.
            Jesus calls each of us into intimacy with himself.  He even warns us that there will be those who claim to do all sorts of miracles in his name who will be excluded from entering his rest because they never “knew” him.  It is not enough to just know about Jesus.  We must get to know him personally.  We must sit at his feet, behold his amazing beauty, drink in his worth.  Truly this qualifies as the “one thing” of Ps. 27:4. 
            Have you heard Jesus calling?  It could be one of the most life-changing moments of your life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Desiring New Wine

            After Jesus called Levi to follow Him, Levi threw a huge party and invited all his pagan friends and fellow tax collectors.  Jesus was enjoying Himself at this big bash but the religious establishment was criticizing him for eating with those sinners.  In response, Jesus told the well known parable about putting new wine in old wine skins. 
            The new wine Jesus is talking about is Himself.  He is teaching His disciples that He won’t fit in the old religious structures.  So He is associating with people like Levi and his sinner friends because He is revealing the love of God in a whole new way.
            At the end of that parable Jesus added, in Luke 5:39:  “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
            What a strong rebuke!  He is saying that the Pharisees and their scribes are content with the old wine of living under the Law and doing the “religious thing.”  Because they are content with that old wine, they reject the new, Jesus Himself.
            My heart cry for this new year of 2012 is that I will thirst for the new wine Jesus has to offer for today.  His mercies are new every morning.  I want to be in a place, every day of this new year, where I love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and body.  If He wants to do something totally new in me this year, I want to be in a place where I recognize the new wine skin and allow Him to fill it with His new wine.  I want to be continually filled with Holy Spirit and if that makes me look foolish or out of place in this world—so be it.  Pleasing Him is the only thing that matters.