The Word of God points to the combination of spiritual maturity with community unity as foundations for God’s people progressively achieving world-shaking results. Yet, one of the largest, most subtle blind spots hindering current-day Christian maturity is the premise that Jesus spent three plus years with His inner-circle imparting information. The misconception being that His efforts were on an academic/ intellectual plane.
Instead, the focus was practical and very relational, acquainting His disciples with knowing the Father and His ways. In doing so, He was preparing them with a totally different way of thinking that would be required for them to embrace the New Wine of the Spirit that would result from His resurrection and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Both this coming power and new way of thinking challenged tradition and what in many cases was not simply the rejection of what may have been less than what was needed, but rather incorporated a reset in priorities.
The Reset and Priorities
Never has there been a time in this last generation when the change of seasons has been more strategic, including with it the need for a reset among competing right priorities. The spiritual atmosphere of the roughly last two years has been that of confusion and distractions. The change … spiritually, socially, economically and politically …. has been palpable and has impacted almost every nation and peoples around the globe.
It has become a time pointed to by almost all the prophets of old, along with the words of Jesus and John the Revelator. Not unlike the time following Jesus’ resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this change in seasons carries with it a change in priorities among those considering themselves as the committed. The change in priorities taps the impact resulting from the hindrances of old wineskins to the supernatural dimensions of God’s protection, blessings and power that will accompany the New Wine.
At the forefront of these glimpses of the unfolding realities are the words of David and a plea for restoration during a time of being exposed to the wine, risks and intensity of warfare, when things were not going in the right direction:
“O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O God, restore us. You have made the land quake, You have split it open; heal its breaches, for it totters. You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger. Yet You have given a banner for those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth. That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand and answer us!” Ps 60:1-5 NASB
The banner from God referred to by David is in the needed response to the intensity of the battle he and his men had been going through. It is what is to be rallied around by those expecting God’s answers, help and rescue during times of change and challenge. Understanding the transition of the times involves the need to be rightly aligned spiritually; for which God provides a means of access and restoration for those who are listening.
Among those considered heroes of faith of this last generation have been ones, believers who have achieved notoriety by means of human effort and ambition, together with a blended mix of the anointing while sidestepping this standard. This emerging season will see a pruning of those whose efforts have crossed the line, whose exploits have fallen short of the standard, those who because of the superficialities of a blended faith, the world sees through and has pointed to as fools, flakes and phonies.
“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” Eccl 2:11
The New Wineskins
The point Jesus made of the need of new wineskins was to be able to contain the potency of the New Wine. Otherwise, as He pointed out, the New Wine would burst the framework of the old wineskins and the New Wine be spilled and lost. Indeed, vanity of vanities and a striving after the wind.
At the forefront of the new wineskin requirements is the courage to face the truth. The standard is not perfection, but rather those who have sufficiently groomed their hearts to be pure. Simultaneously, it involves the courage to embrace the realities of the battles and confrontations as a Centurion, with perseverance and the resolve pointed to in Revelation, of loving not our lives unto death. Doing so involves a bedrock confidence in one’s identity in God, in one’s Kingdom identity. This courage is wrapped in not just the authority, but the confidence from the impact of exercising that authority in the face of and over darkness. It is the pure wisdom and authority Daniel spoke with in the court of Babylonian kings.
Emerging from upholding this standard will be true leaders, whose hearts are poised to serve; the uncompromisingly righteous whose chief priority is the purity of heart required to know Him and His ways in serving, while embracing the secret of abiding in His presence. These are those whose first priority will be that of being God-pleasers, untouched by the temptation of digressing into being man-pleasers or manipulators driven by their own vanities and ambitions.
“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who eat the fat and clothe themselves with the wool; but don’t feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed the sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost.” Ezek 34:2-5
The new wineskins of this season will be evidenced by a pathway of building and restoration. Not the building of empires but rather what is required to facilitate bringing Light into the hidden, dark places not normally touched by superficialities and personal ambitions. Isaiah caught of glimpse of this priority of God’s heart.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:6-10
These will be those who truly hear God’s voice … listeners intent to obey. These are those who will grasp and act on accomplishing the priorities of His heart.
“Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, this land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited. Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it.” Ezek 36:33-36
With these dynamics of those sharing in these new wineskins will be a most unusual unity. Not to be confused with operating with those who are as a company of clones, parroting one another; this unity will extend across both doctrinal and generational boundaries. Not unlike the distinct differences in the tribes of Israel that David brought together … or for that matter the unique, yet profoundly different characteristics of the Jewish settlers who became the army of God when Israel became a nation, these will be those whose identity is in God and His Kingdom. Otherwise, it would be the futility of vanity with nothing to be gained under the sun as Solomon began to discern:
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Eccl 1:2
So, we’re not talking about conformity, but rather cooperation and singleness of purpose among those of diverse backgrounds, persuasions and function, whose connection is based on the most essential issues … of identity and purpose. With that foundation, alliances, coalitions and cooperatives will be birthed as key responses among those with the maturity to have their mantles and spheres clearly defined, while being willing to work with and serve cooperatively with the assignments of other strategically-poised Kingdom groups.
“So I gained strength, as the hand of Adonai my God was upon me, as I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.” Ezra 7:28
Finally, and certainly not the least in the priorities and characteristics of those embracing the new wineskins for this season is the resolve of tackling assignments that involve risk, even deadly risk, the dark places like human trafficking not normally mentioned in polite circles.
During my younger days, in leading a team of parachute-scuba trained Marines deep into enemy territory, each member of the team shared in the awareness that some teams had not come back. Not to be confused with the recklessness, lack of discipline or adherence to authority portrayed by the Hollywood image of Rambo, the wineskin of risk is one of a unique abiding in the higher dimensions of His presence.
“And they overcame him [the accuser of the brethren] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives even when faced with death.“ Rev 12:11
The Standard, the Remnant and the Pruning
Many are those in this season who have gravitated to the pop Christian-culture allure posed by the mantles of Joseph and Daniel. Just as it was for these patriarchs who found unique favor and promotion from worldly leaders, so will be the risk and cost tied to those truly drawn to this modern-day assignment. At the core of this calling are the words that described the prophet Samuel, that “none of his words fell to the ground.”
Far too many within those in the Body, whose ambitions and notoriety has been marked with success, have achieved these goals from the glibness of leveraging warmed-over words spoken by others, rather than reaching for the standard of hearing for themselves, of being a voice from what they have heard from on-High … for themselves.
The challenge of this defining standard was evident when Nehemiah was confronted by those of distracting influence sprinkled among the traces of God’s people left with their heritage: Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, ones intent on keeping God’s people from restoring the provisions of their full identity and purpose in Him.
The Maturity Factor
That restored identity and purpose pivots on the standard needed for the new wineskins. It will be facilitated by the purity and strategic nature of the apostolic leadership and cooperation Jesus groomed into His followers. Not unlike Peter’s short-sighted stumbling – it is no longer a matter of human effort. Jesus pointedly made Peter aware that he was not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. Even among the mature, getting the identity thing right can pose a challenge. The identity and purpose of the mature, as Moses delineated were the principles needed to be a society of leaders … a purpose critical to the purveyors of New Wine in this season.
In doing so as a community requires significant spiritual maturity together with disciplined thinking. Yet, throughout the history of God’s people, there has been a remnant, forerunners whose thinking and priorities have paved the way for others to follow; others whose faith was diluted, falling short. The ones the world once viewed as fools, flakes and phonies.
In keeping with the defining factor of those God emplaced in the courts of Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar of “none of his words falling to the ground,” was the wisdom of Nehemiah when given his assignment of restoration; of carefully scrutinizing what he shared with who:
“So I arose in the night, I and a few men with me and I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.” Neh 2:12
As the thinking required for these priorities manifest in a remnant of a new breed of leaders, it will trigger the supernatural God-response of the power of the Spirit, the new wine.
“By His divine revelation he broke open the hidden foundations of the deep, bringing secret springs to the surface as the mist of the night dripped down from heaven.” Prov 3:20 tPt
The Fine Line between Times of Trouble and Favor
Across the history of God’s people the stragglers have been the pontificators and finger-pointers, who in their misguided zeal and limited view of the pathway to the higher dimensions of God’s blessing have failed to grasp what God was truly doing. It is no different today.
It was for that reason that Joseph was sent ahead to Egypt as a forerunner, restoring the honor lost by his brothers. That core dimension of honor has been like a secret weapon evidenced by Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah and those God has entrusted with restoration. It is the trigger to God’s favor … and the New Wine. With it, Daniel and his companions in similar fashion served as ambassadors of God’s authority and Light in the highest realm operated by the dark side, while the greater swath of God’s people, whose futile quest of vanity had been sharply curtailed in judgment, were given opportunity to be cleansed from the track record of their misguided, compromised and blended religion.
In conclusion, one of the most profound illustrations of God’s intent with His forerunners and the fine line between times of trouble and times of favor …. and the preparation and pathway into the impact to be made from the New Wine … is made by the story of Job and his friends. It bears on the times now upon us and the complexities of the issues tied to the new wineskins, New Wine and the short-sighted finger-pointing and pontifications of those the world sees through, the fools, the flakes and the phonies.
In the midst of what seemed for Job as the bottom dropping out for him, there came a glimmer, a word of wisdom:
“You will laugh at destruction and famine and not be afraid.” Job 5:22
Joseph was undaunted by the coming destruction and famine seen in Pharaoh’s dream. Unlike Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, Joseph’s focus was poised and prepared …. mindful of the things of God rather than the things of men. The result was God keeping him at the forefront of the power curve with the New Wine strategies that unfolded. For Joseph, destruction and famine was not bondage, but rather the pathway of God’s deliverance and restoration.
Joseph’s perspective of being mindful of God’s intent rather than man’s, offers wisdom for the disruptions and change manifesting around the globe today. It conforms to what was faced by Daniel and his companions and gleans from the words of wisdom from Jeremiah and Moses:
“Members of your family have dealt treacherously with you.” “The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace and be at rest.” Jeremiah 12:6; Exodus 14:14
Job’s initial blind-spot was that which Joseph, Daniel and Nehemiah understood and embraced: the extent of the trans-generational factor of honor. It later became the core of God’s covenants with Abraham and Moses that transcended the short-sighted transgressions of fools, flakes and phonies and brought restoration.
The ceiling on God’s intentions for Job was evidenced by the impact of the misguided tongues of his short-sighted pontificating, finger-pointing friends. While wagging their “only mindful of man” tongues to Job, they made a horrid situation worse, pushing Job beyond himself and into the place where Elihu’s words would trigger the Presence of God and be heard. However, the unspoken issue involves the demise of what once had been thought of as Job’s legacy, his children as Job was transitioned into a higher realm.
Then despite the brutal confrontation with the realities …. which Job indeed faced …. the pathway suddenly shifted to one of promotion, not unlike the promotion of Joseph and Daniel within the king’s realm, together with the authority and provision for restoration.
Now back to that hidden factor of honor. While Job’s journey to that point had resulted in him being described as a righteous man (tz’dak), it was honor, his response to God and those within his sphere that defined what had been his stature in the community. On the other hand, it was the lack of it from his friends …. how quick they were to pontificate and point the finger …. that resulted in God’s anger against them. Again, it brings to mind Samuel and the need that “none of his words fell to the ground.”
Among the matters that Solomon was to grasp along with the futility of the superficialities of vanities was a dynamic of the impact carried by ones’ words.
“Moreover, do not curse the king, even in your bedroom, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry the sound and a winged creature will make the matter known.” Eccl 10:20
The story of Elisha and the king of Syria is pertinent to this point. Elisha revealed the conversations that the king of Syria had with his inner circle to the king of Israel. Without honor, our words become a part of the clamor and clutter impacting people and situations in much the way that Job’s friend’s words had on Job.
Yet, God discerned value to those Job had surrounded himself with …. and gave Job instruction to restore them with his prayers, in much the same way that Jesus instructed his followers, with the framework of the new wineskins, to bless and pray for those who had been cursing them as their accusers.
The change of seasons requires New Wine together with the wineskins to contain it and to pour it out. This shift to the containers of God’s power is uniquely tied to God’s strategy for promotion for those at the forefront of His agendas for the new season …. with the readiness to pray to restore those misguided friends …. with the expectation of a double-portion.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel. They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them. They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.” Amos 9:13
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Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner of the Joseph-calling and God’s economy message and is an international voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation, the Strategic Intercession Global Network [SIGN] and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick’s messages equip leaders and economic community builders with strategy where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to 3838 South Wabash Street, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategic-initiatives.org/donate/
2022 Copyright Morris Ruddick — email@example.com
Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For more information go to http://strategic-initiatives.org