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In New Wine In Old Wineskins-2 we complete our study on painting Jesus into our every act and word. 

New Wine In Old Wineskins 2

Continued from New Wine In Old Wineskins

The other thing our passage says about Jesus' prayer is that He did it often. We don't know how often, but I'd guess it was much more often than once per week. I'd also guess it was longer than 5 minutes. The Bible just says He often did this. Let me ask you a question. If Jesus, God in flesh, needed to get alone "often" with the Father to stay Spiritually on track, would we need to do it more or less than Him? Some of you may be thinking, "yeah, yeah, I know! This is nothing new." Why aren't you doing it, then? Maybe, like me when I was employed as a pastor, you're so busy you can't find time. Do whatever it takes! Get up a half hour early, stay up later, watch less TV, use your lunch break. When I didn't have time for the background of prayer, my picture was pretty faded and washed out. Don't let that happen to you.

3. The Texture Of Mercy: Lk 5:30-31 "But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law…complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?" 31Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Jesus added this comment recorded in Matthew's account of this discussion, (Mt 9:13) "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'

Artists use texture to give special effects to their works. Some classical artists lay so much paint on the canvas you can't tell it's a canvas. It looks more like a piece of clay. In fact, in some of the classical seascapes, the waves seem to be curling off the painting at you. It's the painters' version of 3-D. Some of the paintings look more like sculpture. Paintings without texture appear flat and empty, just like Christians without mercy. I've been there, very recently! In this very lesson, this week, I began making comment after comment about those who behaved like Pharisees today, judging others with scorn and ridicule. I was so judgmental and merciless about them that one of my most devoted friends called me the next day to let me know of my error. You see, in judging them so harshly, I became one of them. Please forgive me. This is so easy to do if we don't focus on mercy and help each other. I need you to help me keep my depth.  I Had become flat and empty, just like a painting without texture. It reminds me of the two debtors Jesus spoke of. One owed like, a million dollars and begged for more time. His creditor forgave him the debt. Then that same debtor went to someone who owed him like, 10 dollars, and threatened to have him thrown in prison. When we don't have mercy, we empty ourselves of any depth. Ask yourself, "Do I avoid people who don't believe in Jesus?" Jesus told us to forgive or we couldn't be forgiven. Merciless Christians don't have any depth in Jesus, just shallow religion. Say to someone in your circle of friends, "Your sins are forgiven." As followers of Jesus, we're friends of sinners, because that's what He is.  Jesus=Mercy

4. A Fresh Palette: Lk 5:36-38 "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. 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. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins."

Mom liked to paint in oils. Oil paints must be made of organic stuff, because if you leave it out, it spoils, sometimes even grows hair. Whenever we visited her and opened her freezer, we'd find this cardboard thing with different color blobs on it. It was her palette. She only had time to paint once per week, so she kept her paints fresh by freezing them. Whenever she started a new painting, she would mix a whole new palette of colors, and just throw the old one away. This seems like a waste of money, but, if you use the old palette, the old colors will corrupt the new painting. It's the same with our painting of Jesus. His mercies are new every morning. We can't get stuck, like the Pharisees, in some ritual that becomes more important than God.  That's what we're up to at  We use the most modern techniques available to reach those coming after us. In 1999, I had never even been on the internet. Now I'm the webmaster at 3 websites because those coming after us need to have a church format to meet their culture. We're part of the church of Jesus Christ. We love all the old hymns and the old styles of worship. Everything we have has come through the traditional church and we love them all, but we're called by God to minister using brand new methods. We're painting with a fresh palette. Each of us should seek Jesus in our prayer lives to see if we're holding some tradition higher than Him, like the Pharisees. Jesus is not in old traditions! He's not in Music, dress, alters, crosses, fish emblems, buildings, Sunday school, VBS, Awannas, Royal Rangers or Promise Keepers, If we're to be paintings of Jesus, then He's in us!

Lord, help us keep your painting on a canvas of humility and unworthiness, in a background of prayer, with the texture of mercy. Paint yourself into our lives with a new palette, and remove all traces of empty religion.

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