A young boy asked me what was wrong with drinking alcohol if you didn’t get drunk. Well, I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke and I don’t do drugs. I hardly ever take pain killers or prescription drugs. I try to follow a healthy diet. I don’t know if all these things are linked – for example, I don’t need meds because I live a healthy lifestyle. I hope so, or I’d like to think so. I have also forgiven everyone I could think of who has ever offended me, or rather, who I have taken an offence from.  I never started smoking, I didn’t even try once because the smell of smoke has always been offensive to me.

I used to drink the occasional glass of wine, maybe when we went out for a meal. When my husband, who had never been a heavy drinker, stopped drinking ten years ago I had a decision to make. Would I stop or would I still have a glass of wine now and again? I opted to stop out of respect for the decision he had made. I kept to my resolve, but for different reasons.

I don’t see anything basically wrong with drinking a little alcohol occasionally, but because alcohol can be addictive it can easily cause problems that I don’t want to handle. Therefore it was an easy decision for me to make.

The other reason is that I do not want to lead others astray.

Romans 14:13, Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Say, I drink one glass of wine once a week. That’s all. That’s my limit. But, what if the only time an impressionable young person sees me is when I am drinking that glass of wine. What is he or she going to assume? It’s easy to say that they shouldn’t be making assumptions and that they should find out the facts. Unfortunately that’s not how life works. People make assumptions. You and I make assumption. All the time! This person could very plausibly think that I drink one glass of wine every day, but he could just as easily assume that I drink multiple glasses of wine daily. Then he could say, “She is a Christian and she drinks wine, which means I can drink wine too.” So this young soul embarks on a journey of consuming alcohol, becomes addicted, abuses his wife and causes a death because of driving under the influence.

It it my fault?

That is a question I never want to have to answer. Ever!

Do I think that I am important enough to be an example to others? Of course I do. I am the Kings daughter that makes me important. It also makes me an ambassador for the Kingdom of God. Obviously people are going to be looking at me.

1 Peter 2:5, And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple; what’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.

If not drinking alcohol is what I can do to please God and to be an example and not to lead others astray, then it is a miniscule sacrifice compared to the mercy God shows me every day.

We have to wear the crowns we have been given, and anticipate those we will be given at judgement and live a life of love.

New Wine

I had a dream last night which spoke to me of new life, of new beginnings. I woke up feeling good. The kind of dream I like to have. Not the kind of dream that disturbs you or causes you to break out in a cold sweat. I believe the dream was from God. More Christians that I know are speaking of a new season. A change of times.
Isaiah 43:18 – 19, Remember not the former things, not consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
If God is going to do new things, and I believe He is, how are we supposed to approach these new times? Do we just go on as normal and hope we don’t miss them? These verses ask “Do you not perceive it?” To me that says that even though there are going to be things that are different to what they used to be, we are going to have to be looking very carefully; discerning very carefully. We have to prepare our hearts for the new things that are coming.
Matthew 9:17, Neither is new wine poured into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.
We cannot handle new circumstances, be they physical or spiritual, the same way as we have always been doing things. Imagine cooking a meal over a fire when you have a perfectly good electric or gas stove waiting to be used. Why sew a wedding dress by hand when modern sewing machines are available? Would anyone today play tennis at Wimbledon using an old wooden racquet? Of course we wouldn’t choose to use antiquated ways of doing these things. Why do we then stick to the traditional ways of dealing with our souls? Please note, I said the traditional ways, and not the antiquated ways. The traditional ways of doing church, of praising God, of worshipping, are often just that, tradition. We have to, in fact, go back to the ancient ways if we want to go forward successfully. We have to search the scriptures to see what God really wants.
Jeremiah 6:9, Thus says the Lord:Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”
I was reading something yesterday that said the majority of people believe that the posts of apostles and prophets were for biblical times and are no longer relevant.
Ephesians 4:11-12, And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (or pastors) and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
So why would apostles and prophets be used in the same sentence as pastors, teachers and evangelists, if they aren’t relevant?
Many people believe that speaking (or praying) in tongues was for the bible times and is not applicable today. Yet the New Testament makes mention of it over and over again.
We are not to be intimidated by the enemy into believing that we do not need a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. When we receive salvation the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside of us and the outward sign of that is tongues. It doesn’t mean we won’t go to heaven if we don’t practice the gift of tongues, but we surely will have a much closer walk with our Saviour if we do. These are just a few examples of what tradition has handed down.
I am not trying to scare anyone who has not encountered this before, but I am encouraging every one of you to read what it says in Scripture, and to ask God how you should apply what you learn to your own life. We cannot just carry on doing things the way we always have, just because we’ve always been doing them that way. We have to be ready to receive the New Wine and if we aren’t renewed in our souls we won’t be able to.
So let’s get into the Word this week and look for the new (ancient) things God is showing us.