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God is singing over His vineyard. Do you hear His voice of love during these uncertain times?  But more than that, are you sensing what is in the heart of The Unseen One as He sings? How I love to ponder and then rest in God’s fatherly heart toward His children: His delight, His true love, His dedication toward our good.  May His Spirit fill you with His peace today, as you nestle into your heavenly Father’s strong and protective arms, like a little child.

Many of us are sensing the spiritual birth pangs of this earthly experience.  As a mother of four I am reminded what joy comes with new birth and at the same time I remember the intense pain and difficulty of the labor.

The Church who is awaiting Jesus’ second coming and sensing the birth pains scripture talks about is asking, “What to do while we wait?”  Labors can be very long! Scripture says no one knows the time except The Father.  It may be the generation of my great great great grandchildren who will ultimately experience the culmination of the full birth of a new heaven and new earth!

So what does God’s church do during labor?  Do we tense up with panic and live in a state of fear or learn to breathe through the strong contractions? Some contractions are harder than others: isolation, inconvenience, loss of job, illness, death of a loved one.  I have or know someone who has faced these deep and difficult pains in just this past week.

In these recent uncertain days I had a wonderful notion.  He’s Making New Wine!!!!!!

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment,
for the patch will pull away from the garment,
making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into an old wineskin.
If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.
No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
  Matthew 9:16-17

I’m wondering if this cultural shift of social distancing is the shedding of an old wine skin. What will the new wine skin look like?  How does the church now gather for services, how do we act, how do we take care of our families, our pastors and his family, our neighbors? How do we do life in these unknown times? Perhaps we are in the process of shedding the old wine skin!  If so, I am confident that God has in mind a new wine skin.

It is so tempting to try to hold on to what we know and patch that old wine skin!  And it is so hard to wait until Jesus provides the new wine skin for His church.  How many of us feel pressure to produce that new wineskin ourselves?  Especially our pastor friends who must feel so much expectation to make something happen for the church right now! Pray for them, church. Have compassion and understanding for their leadership role. They and their families are waiting on God, just like you.

God is refining, maturing and pruning His church, His vineyard.  He is Making New Wine!!!  New wine for us and the world to sip and taste. May our fruit produce a wine with a taste of His goodness. May this new wine be an accessible and tangible reality of who is Jesus; The Vine to be grafted in for new life.  And may we the branches be healthy enough for God to produce and retrieve His good fruit to make His New Wine!

Take heart, brothers and sisters!  He is at work!  May we be healthy branches who are confidently grafted into The Vine, Jesus Christ!  That does not mean we don’t fear, we don’t cringe, we don’t cry, we don’t mourn.  It doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain and struggle of shedding the old wine skin and accepting the new.  It doesn’t mean we get to bypass the crushing of the grapes needed to make this new wine.

Church, I pray we don’t throw our confidence in God away as we experience this new, unknown, and ongoing process.  I pray we stay in close proximity with our heavenly Father. Walk close, Church. Be led by His Word. Be vulnerable with your God and tell your heavenly Father everything on your hearts.  Let it all spill out to Him as this unfamiliar process unfolds.

May The Spirit of our God fill you with courage for today. Courage to make time to read The Bible. Courage to tell Him everything on your heart.  Courage to trust Him. Courage to pray with others. Courage to live this out by walking close and holding His hand. Courage to love those He puts in your path.

Trusting Him in the process,

Lynn Jackson

Thrive Leadership Foundation