New Wineskins

Happy New Year! 2020 is here!

It’s not just a new day or even a new year, but the beginning of a new decade!

As I look back on 2019, there are certain aspects that I cannot believe how fast 2019 flew by:

  • This was the year that I started writing this blog. I’m proud to say that I’ve written consistently every week since! I never would have imagined that I’d maintain the discipline to write each week… a strength the Lord gave to me!
  • I publically released my book ‘Write the Vision’. I’ve appreciated the encouragement from many of you on how the journaling process has impacted you. My prayer is that you continue to press in to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice in what He has for you for 2020.

There are other aspects of 2019 that seem long, slow, and arduous. Perhaps you have a facet of your life or a current season where there are unwanted burdens that you are carrying. When there are prayers seemingly left unanswered and variables that are still unknown, the year can seem longer than expected.

 I realize that this is a matter of perspective. Like many things in life, I can choose what to focus on. There is much within my control that I can agree with God on and walk daily, as the Lord has instructed me to. I believe that God lovingly challenges us at times to draw us nearer to Him… especially through the hard times.

As for the year 2020, I received a strong sense of what the Lord has for me in order to prepare me for this next season of outpouring. Even if I cannot fully articulate or know all the details in what this will look like, I can still do my best to position myself to be ready. I firmly believe that this is a word for others like yourself who might be in a posture of waiting, hungering for more of God’s presence, or longing to be used by the Lord in a way that you have not seen yet. Therefore, the best way to prepare for 2020 is to have…

FEWER DISTRACTIONS

As I spent time in the Lord’s presence, this is what I felt the Lord share with me:

Many want to see Me move, but do they want to know who I am?”

“People want more of My presence, but what are they willing to sacrifice to get it?”

When I look back at 2019, I realize how easily distracted I was. When I mention the word ‘distractions’, I’m talking about anything that leads us astray from what God is calling us to in the moment. I am naturally a ‘distractible person’, which is why discipline is such a struggle for me! (Which was also why I was amazed that I’ve been consistent in my writing). To get a better gauge at what distractions can look like, here are a few that come to mind:

  • Relying too much on entertainment to ‘relax’ as a default when I have time off
  • Saying ‘yes’ to too many people… that leads to tiredness or even sickness
  • Focusing on the peripherals of life rather than concentrating on the important matters
  • Spending too much time on social media
  • Not using time wisely – going to bed late, lack of planning for the week, neglecting spiritual disciplines, etc. 

You might be nodding your head in agreement and could be adding more on this list since I know distractions come from everywhere… I completely understand! We live in a world with so many options, we can become easily swayed from spending time with Jesus.

We only get one shot at life. If I say I want more of God, but I am not preparing for more of His presence, it would be like pouring new wine into old wineskins. What would happen? The new wine will burst the skins. It would be pointless then to pour new wine in the old container. I believe God graciously wants to give us more, but we might be stopping ourselves short by staying in the ‘old wineskins.’ Yet if we are willing to sacrifice… not succumb to the world’s standards, not give into fleshy desires, and love more frequently, God can and will pour out in abundance the new wine… the unimaginable, unrivaled, uncompromising presence of God![1]

Therefore the question remains: How distracted are you from what God is calling you to? This also includes simply living a life of obedience to Him. Now for the follow-up question: What are you going to do about it?

As for me, I am going to be more intentional about planning my weeks in advance. I’m going to simplify my surroundings so I do not succumb to frivolous matters. I plan on being more organized and purposeful so I can maintain my focus. At times, I will sacrifice my inclinations for godly desires. I will be sensitive to the Spirit so I can see more of God’s presence in and through my life.

Will you join me?

Today is the first day of the new year… and it’s never too late to start for wanting more of God’s love and power in your life! What will you do to consecrate yourself – that is, to be readily available for God in what He has for you – so that you can experience more of Him? If you decide to join me on this transformative endeavor, I’d love to hear from you so that we can encourage one another through this journey since as brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re in it together.

May God give you the conviction to move, the strength to persist, and the victory that you need for 2020 and beyond.

Have a blessed week!


[1] Luke 5:33-39

5 Comments

  1. I’m so convicted with what you wrote regarding distractions. I usually use entertainment as a default to “unwind” after a long day of work. Everytime I do so, I have this nagging feeling within me that I should be having a quiet time, and just seek God, to know Him more. But I would reason out that my mind should be “relaxed” first (hence the entertainment) before I seek God, and after a while my mind gets too distracted to focus on God’s word. This 2020, I will be intentional in seeking God, intentional in prioritizing God, and I know that God will give me the strength and guidance in doing so. I no longer want to be a mediocre Christian, I want to be the person God intended me to be..
    Thank you Ptr Nathan for this message.
    Happy New Year to you and your family!! God bless

  2. Author

    Pia,

    I definitely understand about using entertainment to unwind. It’s good to know I’m not alone in that struggle! I’ll be praying for your intentionality in seeking God. I’m excited for what He has in store for you in 2020! Happy New Year to you & yours!

  3. I love my time with Lord. I journal & pray. I purposely set up a room so I can meet with Lord & yet, somehow I get distracted. I have things that get in my head that these are my priorities for the day. Appointments, helping in classrooms, meeting friends one-on-one, & doing chores are my distractions. They are good things but are they more important than my time with God? No. How blessed I feel when I am with Him at the beginning of my day! So I plan to spend my days with the Lord first, make Him my priority. There will be days when I will have to rush out of the house to go to an early appointment so I will turn off that radio in my car & pray to God on the way. I will meet with God before I meet with others & ask Him to bless my time with this person. I desire to be a person of patience & love to the students I help in the classroom. What better way than to spend time praying & journaling about the students I will be in contact with? And what about the staff? Meeting with God before I speak with the staff will give me words to speak of encouragement. I really need to let the chores not be so important to my life. What does it matter if my house is dusty or the floors need moping? So I will be asking God to help me in this distraction. After all, He is far more important to my life that dishes sitting in the sink! In all these distractions, I will seek to make them less & make God my priority with Him giving me strength in my life for this year.

    1. Author

      Amen! Such an encouragement to hear that your desire is to spend time with the Lord before the busyness of the day and not after! As you mentioned, He might speak to you about the very things you participate in, which can help in ways beyond what you can imagine. I’m excited for your pursuit in God with fewer distractions as it reflects the desires of your heart to follow Him in greater ways. I’ll be praying for you through it!


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