How are we to live? Jesus tells us in a very practical way.




2 more parables on practical living today.








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36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:36-9) 



After being asked why His disciples did not fast, as was the religious pattern of the time, Jesus told these two brief parables to give a most necessary warning about 'mixture'. A warning both to the Pharisees and to us today.

Mixing the old 'religion' with the new 'revelation' courts disaster. Firstly, in the case of the Pharisees, it was mixing the old way of the 'law', as given to Moses, with the new revelation of 'grace' as taught by Jesus. You can't patch the old garment of the law with the new of grace, for to do so, you must destroy the new garment in order to get the material for the patch.



Secondly, and for us today, we cannot pour the 'new wine' of revelation into the old wineskin of church tradition, theology that owes more to the mind of man than the heart of God. This is a hard word for us to accept, for as Jesus says here, we naturally prefer the old wine to the new. We all too easily get comfortable, doing things the way they have always been done, and so miss out on the new revelation of the kingdom that our Lord is revealing to us today.

We are happy to believe in, and wait for, the kingdom up there in heaven when we die, living how we like now, rather than being prepared to allow our lives to be changed into the image of Jesus, in order to establish His kingdom upon the earth.

The logical question that arises is, "How do we get this revelation?"

According to God's Word, there is only one way. Importantly, we don't accept David's word for it! Rather each must seek out the truth for ourselves through the revelation of our teacher and guide, the Holy Spirit.


1 Corinthians 2:9-16



Now, I understand that you may well be thinking that your church or denomination was set up by very godly men and has developed a tried and true theological structure that has withstood the test of time. And it teaches that heaven is only a post death experience. Perhaps also, a teaching that you will get zapped (raptured) out of an increasingly condemned and violent world, before it gets too bad to live in comfortably, and live happily ever after!

A teaching of future rather than present hope.

Yet the truth of the matter is that, unlike the Pharisees, we are to live holy and righteous lives now.


Hebrews 10:19-25



If we accept the 'future heaven only' theology, the natural conclusion is that we can live our lives pretty much as we like, doing a few good things, but not having to live the kingdom lifestyle now. The writer of Hebrews sets us straight! 


Hebrews 10:26-31



May we hear what the Lord is saying to us. 




The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)



Jesus told the parable, and unusually, also gave the interpretation of it, so much did He want to make sure that we all got the point!

Jesus came 'to save' the sinner rather than the (self)righteous.


Luke 15:7



Unfortunately, both then and now, many of us humans believe that we are better than we really are! None of us are righteous, save through faith in Jesus. 


Romans 3:10:12



And confirmed: 


Romans 3:21-3



We are all very critical of the Pharisees, 'tut-tut' hare and 'tut-tut' there, but when we honestly look at ourselves, we find we are no better than they were.

One Friday night I was at the meeting of a noted evangelist and teacher, Al Furie, who has experienced remarkable favour in being allowed to preach and teach multitudes in Cuba. At one time, he was to preach at the Toronto Airport Church for a week, and continued on for 6 weeks. At the end of this time he attended a meeting at the church where the Lord got hold of him and showed him that he was worse inside than many of those he had preached to! Unforgiveness and many other things were uncovered in his life, which he had to repent of.

Wow! How could it be! You see, Al was a highly respected Christian leader who had devoted his life to the Lord's work. Surely he didn't need to repent! But he did! And there is stuff in me - and in you - which is ungodly, no matter how righteous we appear on the surface. For we all sin and fall short of God's righteousness.

Yet it is so easy to 'become religious', as the Pharisees did, and believe that we are right in God's sight, through our own efforts. I have found this to be a particular problem in the highly dedicated, hugely well intentioned, Holiness movement. For so many, in their dedication, have replaced the work of the Holy Spirit, upon which the movement was founded, with man made rules and regulations concerning dress and behaviour. The life has gone. Judgment and self-righteousness have flourished in the Spirit's stead.

But, do not think that is just 'them'! For such problems exist in every church, in every Christian.



Right now, I have flicked over to read an email that has just come in. It reinforces the point! I quote from Gretchen:

.....Being an American, and having grown up in the church here (becoming a Christian at age 5), I can testify that bitterness within the church is an epidemic! Yes! Moreso, I can tell you much about it because I grew up among the thorns of it within my extended family and circle of influence. And as I saw the widespread effects of it, I knew that the Bible is right: bitterness is a poison, its roots go deep, and it affects many many people. Bitterness is a toxic state of the heart. It includes unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, hatred, resentment, selfishness, anger, self pity, etc. Its symptoms include sarcasm, a sardonic wit (very edgy), negativity, criticism, passive-aggressive behavior (taking out anger towards someone behind their back), gossip, anger, fear, and depression (anger turned inwards)......

Many of these things we cannot see in ourselves. We need to humble ourselves, to be prepared to fully open up our life, to allow the Holy Spirit to show us where we truly are at in our walk with Jesus.

That is my prayer both for myself, and for you, today.




.....with the Parable of the Weeds and the Parable of the Ten Minas 




May the Lord speak to you and me through these parables.


Mount of Olives

From the Kidron Valley

Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem's landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.


So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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165. True repentance is an action that results in a life changing reaction.

David Tait         




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