Sowing in any Season

Scripture tells us the following.

12  Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. Genesis 26:12 (NKJV)

The latter part of the verse, ‘and the LORD blessed him’ is one of those ‘no kidding’ statements. To sow seed in a time of famine and reap an abundant harvest requires the Lord’s blessing. Some context is helpful. As the region entered into famine Isaac received a specific word from the Lord.

2  Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3  Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4  And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5  because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:2-5 (NKJV)

Isaac was being blessed because of the obedience of his father, Abraham. His later natural harvest was a prophetic picture of the spiritual promise, ‘in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.’ We know this was fulfilled when through Jesus salvation was made available to the nations. Applying it to our lives, Jesus our elder brother sowed His life on the cross and reaped the lives of all believers – past, present and future, as a harvest.

Jesus may call us to sow no matter our season. Decades ago I heard a missionary share how the Lord sent him into Cambodia in the late 1970’s when the Khmer Rouge were slaughtering everyone and all the Westerners were fleeing the country (the Khmer Rouge killed 1.5 – 2 million people, roughly a quarter of Cambodia’s population from 1975-78). He saw a great harvest of souls from sowing the gospel in the country against all natural odds.

Jesus calls us to sow seeds and stated the following regarding sowing His own life in the crucifixion.

23  But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24  Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25  He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:23-25 (NKJV)

As we hear Jesus heart and make a decision to lay down our own lives and agendas let us seek His wisdom for where we are to sow. As we seek where to sow we can reflect on the incredible capacity that lies with seeds. In the image below we see the ongoing fruit of a small seed being sown in a difficult place.

The Place of Perspective

In this season we have need of perspective. In 1 Samuel 17 we have laid out for us a key to victory in the battles we face. In this encounter the Philistines gathered to battle Israel and Goliath was coming out every day and challenging someone to come out and fight him as the representative of Israel.

As a nation, from King Saul on down everyone was hoping someone would take on Goliath, and win. They, like Goliath, seemed to view themselves as the armies of Israel. Part of Goliath’s ongoing taunt was as follows.

10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 1 Samuel 17:10 (NKJV)

In essence Goliath said we have our army and you have yours. Goliath saw the armies as representing two different nations or people groups.

David had a different perspective.

26  Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26 (NKJV)

David referred to Goliath as ‘this uncircumcised Philistine (circumcision was the sign of the covenant) and he referred to the army of Israel as, ‘the armies of the living God.’ Israel had a covenant and God was their defender. This perspective gave David great confidence.

So in view of what is happening in our culture there is clearly a need to shift our perspective. The result of David coming and bringing a different perspective was that a nation was shifted into action and they routed their enemies. This type of experience is not unique to David, it is a pattern in scripture. We can also look to John the Baptist. He came to a nation that was awaiting their Messiah but it was all future based. John came with a different perspective.

1  In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2  and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Matthew 3:1-2 (NKJV)

While everyone else was waiting for the kingdom to come John showed up and said, ‘It is here!’ It was right at hand, people just needed eyes to see. John did no miracles but there was such an anointing on his message that the nation came out to the wilderness to hear him.

4  And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5  Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6  and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. Matthew 3:4-6 (NKJV)

Again, one man with a different perspective impacted a nation. A commonality with David and John was that they had a different perspective and an anointing to shift a nation. However, more importantly they had a hidden life in God that was the source of their different perspective. They modeled what Jesus taught.

6  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)

We need a perspective that will shift our cities and our nation but we need to get this perspective not from a renewed vision but from a hidden life encountering God in the secret place.

Waiting with Wisdom

In our frenetic high pressure culture let us take a look at verse in Isaiah that provides a much needed perspective.

16  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” Isaiah 28:16 (NKJV)

This verse, in particular the phrase, “Whoever believes will not act hastily.” impacted me about 30 years ago when I was listening to a teaching series on discernment. The speaker’s point was that when we are paying attention to His voice we don’t rush into things – we make wise decisions. As someone who has many times placed unnecessary pressure on myself from taking on too many things I speak from the place of experience. Yet while knowing this in my head frequently a gap appeared between my knowing and doing. Over time I have come to a deeper appreciation of what Isaiah wrote and have learned to walk more fully in what the verse is about. Following His leading rather than my own wisdom.  

The idea of not acting hastily doesn’t’ mean we never need to make quick decisions or react quickly in a crisis. It instead focuses on the bigger picture. In context Isaiah is pointing to the eternal reality of Christ as the cornerstone in contrast to the false gods the leaders in Jerusalem had made a covenant with. We need to look to Him for wisdom rather than relying on our own wisdom.

A great example in scripture of someone ignoring godly wisdom, acting hastily and it leading to disaster is King Saul. He knew the proper protocol from his first encounter with Samuel. Here is what was told to Saul before he first met Samuel.

13  “As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.” 1 Samuel 9:13 (NKJV).

Saul was told of the need to wait for Samuel’s blessing. That reality is reinforced here in what Samuel later said directly to Saul.

8  “You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.” 1 Samuel 10:8 (NKJV)

Later he lost everything because he ignored this protocol and failed to wait.

9  So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10  Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. 11  And Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12  then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” 13  And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:9-14 (NKJV)

There are some critical points here. Saul acted in haste and not wisdom because he ‘felt compelled.’ In verses 13-14 we find that the covenant God later made with David was available to Saul and lost because he refused to wait. Now clearly not every hasty decision carries this degree of consequence. However the principle is there.

In our era we are called not to wait for Samuel but to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We need His leadership in our lives. This means learning what it is to wait upon Him and putting it into practice. Scripturally waiting is not a passive acquiescence to circumstances, it is a heart looking expectantly to Him and waiting for His inner prompting and guidance. We pray, lay things before Him and go about our lives. However we don’t make major spiritual decisions without a sense of His inner leading.  

In my own practice of seeking His wisdom I often turn to and pray two particular verses from Psalm 25.

4  Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. 5  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-5 (NKJV)

I want to walk in His paths and truth, so I wait for Him and trust Him to lead me in His paths and to reveal His perspective on truth.  

New Wineskins Part 6

Let us close this off by looking at the wineskin of leadership as demonstrated by Jesus. Jesus walked in authority and confidence but an attribute that stands out for me is an important statement Jesus made.

27  For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. Luke 22:27 (NKJV)

‘I am among you as one who serves.’ The context was the disciples arguing about who was greatest and jockeying for positon. Think of where the image of ‘jockeying for position’ comes from. It is drawn from horse racing. Envision a group of horses tight together and each jockey trying to get his horse to the front to win the race. In the wineskin of an upside down kingdom Jesus said the way to win the real race is to help others in the race the world is in. Be a servant. Help the other jockeys.

Look at who Jesus served. If asked most of us would likely note that Jesus served people, which is clear from the verse above. However, Jesus primarily served His Father and He served people as an extension of that mission. It is evident in the gospels that Jesus came as a servant of His Father’s purpose.

38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 6:38 (NKJV).

Jesus larger purpose was going to the cross to redeem us to His Father. In walking that out Jesus demonstrated the new wineskin of servant leadership in all that He did. His authority was used in the service of the greater good. Leadership in the kingdom is about serving others and releasing them into their gifts and callings.

Paul caught what Jesus taught and modeled. Paul taught on and modeled servant leadership. He was willing to use the leadership authority he had been given for discipline but when we read his letters his heart was to use his leadership role to release people into their gifts and calling and build up the body.

 26  How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV)

This verse is a good example of how to function in a gathering of believers. The wineskin of servant leadership is also inherent in it. Paul says the purpose of functioning in this way to is to edify, to build up others. We build up one another by making room for and encouraging the exercise of their gifts. A key role of leadership embracing a new wineskin is being flexible enough to make room for the gifts of other to see all that Jesus desires released in any given gathering. Let’s follow Jesus.

New Wineskins Part 5

In the last post we looked at the parable of the sower in Mark 4 where Jesus explained that the seed is God’s word and the soil is our hearts. Part of forming a new wineskin, a new way of thinking, is paying attention to our hearts. While there are varied ideas around what the heart may be, in scripture we can see that Jesus viewed it as a treasure chest. That may not be the first idea that springs to mind but let the scriptures speak.

21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (NKJV)

It appears from Matthew 6:21 that our heart is our capacity to value or treasure things. Later in Matthews’s gospel Jesus is more explicit that our heart produces good or evil depending on what we treasure or value.

35  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. Matthew 12:35 (NKJV)

So part of developing a new wineskin means developing a right heart, valuing the right things. In connecting the idea of valuing right things consider how we structure our meetings as the body of Christ. Recently in reading an article I was reminded of the old architectural idea that ‘form follows function.’ That is, the design of a building should be to facilitate the purpose of the building. Considering that one of the metaphors for the body of Christ is that of a building or temple I want to consider what wineskin facilitates the effective use of the building.

We can think of natural or spiritual buildings but come back to the same idea – understanding the purpose. The purpose of the church is to display and release the life of Christ. I contend that doing that requires a flexible wineskin that remains new and fresh. A wineskin that can stretch to accommodate different expressions of His life at different times. Paul described what he saw as a typical church meeting in 1 Corinthians.

26  How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27  If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28  But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30  But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31  For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 1 Corinthians 14:26-32 (NKJV)  

The wineskin Paul was promoting was a flexible one. Different members of the body had different gifts and Paul thought that they should be expressed. Part of this wineskin inherent in these verses was the idea of mutual submission and respect. Elsewhere in his writings Paul is very clear about the place of leadership in the body and he is not denying that here.

My view, for decades now, has been that the role of leadership is to facilitate the development and release of His gifts in and to His body. In a future post I will develop more of the how. At present it is more of question of what we value. So here are some reflective questions to get us thinking about what wineskin we embrace.

Do our hearts value a wineskin that is flexible, looking for the gifts in our brothers and sisters and seeking to see others released in their gifts and callings? Is this how our building, our expression of His body functions? If not can we do things to see this expression realized?

New Wineskins Part 4

The parable of the four different types of soil is found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20 and Luke 8:4-18. There are some common and different details in each version. A comment unique to Mark’s account is Jesus statement about the importance of this parable. A group of His followers asked Him to explain the parable, which He did, and then asked them a question.  

13  And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” Mark 4:13 (NKJV)

This is a wineskin comment. Jesus was letting them, and by extension us, know that there is a significant principle in the parable of the sower that unlocks truth in the other parables. The principle Jesus was communicating is often presented as the idea of sowing and reaping. While I believe this is inherent in the parable I believe Jesus was communicating something more significant. I call this The Principle of Purpose. In Mark the parable of the sower is followed by the lamp on a lampstand, the need to pay attention to how we hear and two more parables. One about sowing and reaping regarding the power inherent in seeds and the second the parable of the kingdom being like a mustard seed.  

I believe Jesus is saying in each of these there is a Principle of Purpose. In the Parable of the Sower, there is purpose connected to the seed and the soil. Jesus is clear that the seed is His word and the soil is our hearts. Isaiah says His word will not return void (Is. 55:11). It will accomplish the purpose for which it was intended. The key to our fruitfulness is not the quality of the seed, the seed is good. Fruitfulness is connected to the quality of the soil, our hearts.

If we want to see good fruit then we need to embrace our responsibility to prepare the soil. Solomon highlighted the importance of good soil in a number of places. Two examples are below.

23  Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV)

1  The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1 (NKJV)

It is clear that our hearts are designed to receive His word and outwardly produce the fruit of His inward work in our lives. We are called to live in and from His presence and release truth, life and hope wherever we go. When we do our heart is accomplishing the purpose for which Jesus designed it.

New Wineskins Part 2

Here we are continuing with looking at how Jesus sought to reshape thinking to create a new wineskin. To do that we need to look at what He taught in the gospels. Below is one example.

23  Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” 24  But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: 25  The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26  But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” 27  So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Matthew 21:23-27 (NKJV)

In the above passage on the surface it seems like Jesus was looking for a way to avoid answering their question by saying they had to answer His question first. In fact Jesus question was a challenge to get them to reflect on how they viewed Him and how they understood the source of spiritual authority. They demanded to know the source of His authority because they drew their authority from the tradition of Moses, which Jesus affirmed (Matt. 23:1-3) and Abraham, the father of faith (Jn. 8:37-39). Yet the answer to Jesus question was also the answer to their question.

If we look back at Jesus baptism by John we know from the scriptures that John the Baptist was the prophesied figure who came in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord (Matt. 11:7-15). Jesus makes a very interesting statement about John.

13  “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14  And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:13-15 (NKJV)

Jesus was talking about a transition to a new era and John was the prophetic voice declaring and bringing it about. When we look at Jesus baptism by John we have another interesting statement by Jesus in the verses below.

13  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14  And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15  But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:13-15 (NKJV)

The fulfilling of all righteousness was Jesus submission to the prophetic authority on John to release a new era in the spirit. Jesus said John was the last of a long line of prophetic voices. In essence, had the religious leaders correctly responded to Jesus question about John’s baptism they could have gone through a shift in thinking and recognized that Jesus derived His authority from submitting to the authority that John carried, an authority given by the Father who called him. They could have seen that authority wasn’t merely derived from tradition. A new wineskin began to be formed when John emerged from the wilderness with a message.

For us, we can reflect on our understanding of the source of our spiritual authority, how well we are walking in what we have and if, like Jesus, we derive our authority from submitting to a higher authority.

NOTE – I edited and refocused my initial post in this series.

New Wineskins Part 1

Over the decades I have heard a great deal of talk about the need for new wineskins. Yet there has been little accompanying explanation of how they are made and the purpose they serve. I believe we are in a season where we need clear and sound explanations accompanied by spiritual strategies and right actions. 

Jesus introduced us to the concept of new wineskins when He said the following.

21  No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Mark 2:21-22 (NKJV)

The difference between new and old wineskins is their flexibility. New wine expands and will burst hard inflexible wineskins. I’m not sure how many of us see that in the three and a half years that Jesus walked with His followers teaching about and demonstrating the kingdom of God He was forming a new wineskin to hold the wine that was to be poured out on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

A concept I have come across over the years is the idea of plausibility structures, presented here by professor and philosopher J. P. Moreland, a committed evangelical, “The lesson here is that culture, which has a set of background assumptions – or, a plausibility structure – set a framework for what people think, which affects how they are willing to listen, evaluate, feel, and behave. The framework shapes what people consider plausible or implausible.” I believe plausibility structures are akin to wineskins. They are a filter or way of viewing the world that determines what we accept or reject. We tend to think with rather than about our wineskins while they sit in the background influencing our thoughts and actions.

I see in Jesus life that He spent His ministry time here teaching, demonstrating and sharing parables that were designed to help people actually look at how they viewed the world and what they believed was or was not possible. Jesus demonstrated over and over that many things people thought implausible were in fact not only plausible, they could happen right in front of them – healings, the dead being raised, the religious leaders being silenced. Jesus released hope for something new and better, a kingdom that cared about and ministered to people. He publicly declared His kingdom charter when He began His ministry.

18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV)

This kingdom charter was a new wineskin that embodied freedom and hope because the kingdom of God had drawn near. In our lives let’s allow Jesus to help us take a look at the wineskins that are guiding our thinking, what we think is plausible or implausible. We can start by reflecting on whether we have a wineskin that is alive with hope, expectation and confidence in Jesus.

I leave you with those thoughts for now – more to come as we seek new wineskins and new wine.  


Recently lying in a tent in the back country listening to the rain I was reflecting on Proverbs 29:18. The old King James is likely familiar to people from the oft repeated quote, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” It is applied by business people and self help gurus alike. Yet the latter half of the verse receives short shrift. Here is the whole verse.

18  Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV)

To properly understand and apply the first half we need to embrace the second half. The first half tells us that the lack of something leads to a casting off of restraint, a loss. We find in the second half of the verse that the thing lost is an understanding of the law, in this case the Mosaic Law. The law was given to guide proper behaviour and as a restraint on wrong behaviour. The implication is that it isn’t about the need for vision or revelation in general. It is a need for a revelation of the role of the law in our lives.

The English Standard Version translates the first phrase as “Where there is no prophetic vision.” While the word ‘prophetic’ is added for clarity it is implied in the context. The role of the prophets in the Old Testament was primarily calling the people back to obedience to the law.  

So, given this let’s apply it to our lives. In our natural lives one of the roles of parents and other authority figures is to provide external controls in the lives of children. As they grow and mature children develop greater internal control and so need less external control. As believers we start out as spiritual children and are supposed to mature and grow (see 1 Jn. 2 for examples of the stages of spiritual growth). 

The implication from Proverbs 29:18 is that in our growth we need to learn to adhere to the principles of scripture by knowing His word and as we mature we develop a greater sensitivity to His internal leading and less reliance on knowing the ‘right’ thing to do in different situations. The learning of the principles is the fruit of disciplined time spent in His word and meaningful fellowship with more mature believers.

In the church at present we have many varied and conflicting beliefs. One movement gaining many adherents is ‘progressive’ Christianity, which when examined isn’t Christianity at all. Below are the first two of the eight points from, updated for 2020.

1. Believe that following the path of the teacher Jesus can lead to healing and wholeness, a mystical connection to “God,” as well as an awareness and experience of not only the Sacred, but the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience “God,” the Sacredness, Oneness and Unity of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom, including Earth, in our spiritual journey;

Notice that Jesus is just a good ‘teacher’ and one of many ways to God. This movement has made great inroads in the evangelical church because of our lack of knowledge of and understanding of scripture. There has been a casting off of restraint and a rejection the ‘law,’ the truths of scripture. So, if we are seeking vision or revelation let us seek that which calls and draws us to adherence to the timeless truths of scripture and anchors us in His word and presence.

Slowing Down

Recently while praying and reflecting a phrase came to me, “The virtue of slowing down.” In my experience there is great virtue in slowing down. As someone who has long had a tendency to be too ‘busy’ I appreciate this virtue. I have learned that I need to be internally reflective to hear His voice. I have had many experiences of Jesus presence and I have had words of knowledge for others hundreds of times, usually in the context of worship. Yet in my own walk with Jesus whether I get off somewhere quiet or internally tune my heart in the midst of busyness, it is in intentionally slowing down and looking to Him that I am more conscious of His presence and receive His direction.

An example in scripture is the encounter Jesus has with the Samaritan woman in John 4. Jesus slowed down. He sent His disciples off to get food and He sat by a well patiently waiting for the appointment He had with this woman – a meeting His father had arranged. In the end He described this encounter flowing from doing His Father’s will as spiritual food that nourished Him (Jn. 4:32-34).

We may be tempted to discount this as happening because it was Jesus. Yet He calls us to this same process. He wants us to meet with Him and that is a choice we regularly have before us. It is the testimony of scripture and history that hearing His voice and knowing His presence is generally rooted in an intentional pursuit of His presence. There are many examples in scripture of Jesus getting alone to be with His Father. The famous Brother Lawrence encountered Jesus in his day to day activities in the kitchen. Jeanne Guyon spoke and wrote of this as available to all believers. Some of the leaders her book, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ great influenced include John Wesley, Watchmen Nee and John Wimber and the Vineyard movement. There are a multitude of others but these serve to illustrate the ‘Virtue of Slowing Down.’ While not using the phrase, this is what Guyon advocated – an intentional focus on Jesus and encountering His presence.  

The idea is well captured in some lines from a song by Jason Upton, “If the present is a place that my future will define I want to slow things down and take a little time. Can you help me do it Jesus?” So, if we want to experience the ‘Virtue of Slowing Down’ let’s ask Jesus to help us. He will.

6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)

3  You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

A Hammer and an Awkward Nail by Jason Upton