PRAYERS, PROMISES, AND PARADIGMS…

MARK 2:22: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” NLT
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OBSERVATION: Am I ready for a change? As I think of the year behind me and the New Year already one month old, am I positioned in my heart for what the Lord wants to do in and through my life?

For most of us, 2020 was a year to forget. Cast into a pandemic, sequestered in our homes, watching church services from a TV, tablet, or smartphone, wearing masks and grabbing takeout – we were all glad to put this year behind us. With hope, we have entered a New Year. Yet, are we ready for things to change?

As I began to dive once again into my yearly reading program through the Scriptures, as I began to pray, and as I pondered the wonderful promises of God, I realized – I can do all of this and stay stuck in a familiar rut. In fact, these important things can become the rut themselves. For, if I pray, if I meditate upon God’s promises, yet my life remains the same, then my devotion has turned into ritual and my ritual will only lead to stagnation.

My life must be positioned for a paradigm shift from the Lord!

New wine must go into new wineskins. Jesus of course was talking about the heart. He was speaking of the New Covenant to those who had grown stagnant under the Old Covenant. The very Messiah they were seeking now stood before them and they could not perceive it. Their hearts had grown cold and hard clinging to their form and ritual.

When I was a young believer I struggled with my religious past. On fire for God, filled with the Spirit, and ready to follow Jesus wherever He would lead, I looked back on my liturgical background with skepticism and disdain. How could God move through such dead form? How could one flow in the Spirit with such archaic liturgy and music? I took pride in my “new wineskins” as I looked with a critical eye on the church I had grown up in.

Then I went with my parents to the church I had grown up in one Sunday. I was prepared for a long and boring Sunday. Yet, something happened. The liturgy I saw as a dead form was the singing and recitation of the Psalms. The songs were filled with great statements of doctrinal truth and proclamations of the cross. Could I be experiencing “new wine” in the church of my youth?

Since that experience, I have found that “new wine” has nothing to do with form and everything to do with my heart. The Scribes and Pharisees could not see Jesus, not because they did not know the Scriptures, but because their hearts had become cold and indifferent to the Spirit of God. Daily they would read God’s promises, pray, and then resist His call to change. The status quo was more important to them than God’s call.

I realize this morning that I am always just one step away from this same mistake. I can go through all the motions and still miss God. My prayers and my meditation of God’s Word must always lead to a paradigm shift in my life. If it doesn’t then my heart has become cold and indifferent – trusting in form rather than the Spirit of the living God.

Lord, this morning I want to position my heart for a paradigm shift! As I meditate on Your promises, as I pray, change my heart. Give me a teachable heart and pour new wine into my life. Open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and give me the grace to obey. I don’t want to miss anything that You have for me in this New Year!

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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