If a new thing is going to take place, can you keep doing things the old way? If new results are being expected, can you keep doing things that produced old results? Repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, you know that is? So do you want new results? Do you want a different outcome? Do you want different responses? Are you willing to try doing it differently? Is something important? Are you doing anything that could reduce the importance? Is something necessary? Are you taking into consideration the implications and impact of making such rules and regulations? Are you trying to get it done man’s way or are you trying to get it done God’s way? Are you trying to get it done in your own strength or are you trying to get it done through the power of the Holy Spirit? Don’t get stuck in the old or comfortable ways, press on and finish strong pursuing God’s plans and God’s purposes for your life in God’s power through the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit! When we received Jesus into our lives, we were transformed. We were reborn spiritually, the old is gone and the new has come, we are new creations. So now that we are new, why would we go back to the old ways? We see as today’s reading begins just such a story…
The Question about Fasting
(Matthew 9.14-17; Mark 2.18-22)
33Some people said to Jesus, “The disciples of John fast frequently and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but your disciples eat and drink.” 34Jesus answered, “Do you think you can make the guests at a wedding party go without food as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! 35But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” 36Jesus also told them this parable: “You don’t tear a piece off a new coat to patch up an old coat. If you do, you will have torn the new coat, and the piece of new cloth will not match the old. 37Nor do you pour new wine into used wineskins, because the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. 38Instead, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins! 39And you don’t want new wine after drinking old wine. ‘The old is better,’ you say.” –Luke 5:33-39
When I read it and wondered how it would apply today I wasn’t sure and instead of just skipping it, I started to do some research. I turned to biblestudytools.com and checked out the commentaries (Geneva Study Bible, John Darby commentary, John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)). It provided insight into a deeper meaning. It opened my eyes to seeing beyond the words. I shared a reality beyond just parables into the transformative power of receiving Jesus and how things change and the old ways aren’t always the right ways. And how to get a different result and to aim for a higher purpose, we need to reconsider how we do it, why are we doing it, and what should we be doing instead.
So are you trying to force your own way on someone else? Or if God wants them to do something else are you ok with that? Interestingly just this week the topic of my daughter getting back into softball came up, the team was looking like they would be fair, reasonable, and flexible in order to accommodate her volunteer and school requirements, but she was resistant. A while ago when we got her a student card, I remember praying “God, I really like watching her play and I know You called her to step down from the busyness of select ball so that she could step up and step in to the youth leadership program at church. I don’t want her to lose her PE credits and am thinking softball is the way to get it done. If it is your will that she not return to the field, then make a way so that it is clear to me that Your will different than mine and we will go that way.” So right after hearing the news from the coach, I gave my daughter the instruction that we don’t want her to lose the credits and that it looks like softball is lining up as the way to get it done. (probably a bit more forceful than it sounds here and she wasn’t too happy)The next day was conference with her teacher and this topic came up. The teacher told her she didn’t have to play ball and gave her alternative options. When I got a text telling me of the event and once I got home and had time to think about it, I realized that God had made a way and that I couldn’t be upset or mad about it, for it was God’s will to protect her and keep her for something bigger and better and greater than playing ball. We can’t be trying to control everything, we need to be able to give it up to God and if His answer is no, we have to be ok with hit. If His answer is Yes, we have to be ok with it. If His answer is wait for it, we need to be patient and wait for it, for His timing is perfect! Allow His peace that goes beyond all understanding to cover us! Trust in Him with all your heart, mind, and strength! Don’t lean on your own understanding, but put your trust in Him!
Today’s reading continues with …
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19If it is the Lord’s will, I hope that I will be able to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be encouraged by news about you. 20He is the only one who shares my feelings and who really cares about you. 21Everyone else is concerned only with their own affairs, not with the cause of Jesus Christ. 22And you yourselves know how he has proved his worth, how he and I, like a son and his father, have worked together for the sake of the gospel. 23So I hope to send him to you as soon as I know how things are going to turn out for me. 24And I trust in the Lord that I myself will be able to come to you soon. 25I have thought it necessary to send to you our brother Epaphroditus, who has worked and fought by my side and who has served as your messenger in helping me. 26He is anxious to see you all and is very upset because you had heard that he was sick. 27Indeed he was sick and almost died. But God had pity on him, and not only on him but on me, too, and spared me an even greater sorrow. 28I am all the more eager, then, to send him to you, so that you will be glad again when you see him, and my own sorrow will disappear. 29Receive him, then, with joy, as a believer in the Lord. Show respect to all such people as he, 30because he risked his life and nearly died for the sake of the work of Christ, in order to give me the help that you yourselves could not give. –Philippians 2:19-30
Need help? Need wisdom? Need direction? Turn to God and ask…
145With all my heart I call to you; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your commands!
146I call to you; save me, and I will keep your laws.
147Before sunrise I call to you for help; I place my hope in your promise.
148All night long I lie awake, to meditate on your instructions.
149Because your love is constant, hear me, O Lord; show your mercy, and preserve my life!
150My cruel persecutors are coming closer, people who never keep your law.
151But you are near to me, Lord, and all your commands are permanent.
152Long ago I learned about your instructions; you made them to last forever.