The spiritual side of Juneteenth.

We all know from history about the great Civil War. While it may not have started about slavery, it soon became the rallying cry from the Union soldiers and during the course of the war 750,000 people died, 58% from the North and 42% from the South.

But there is another aspect of the Civil War, and it was the spiritual side, led mostly by the slaves. They were often forbidden to pray by their slave owners, but prayer was their hope, and they met together at night where their owners could not hear their prayers and their singing. So they had their hideouts, and they communicated when and where their prayer meeting was to occur by humming the song “steal away”

A remarkably good rendition from Taiwan National University Choir. Enjoy!

Many years ago I led the singing once a month at the Wilmington Sunday Breakfast mission. Being brave I always asked them what they wanted to sing, and more than once they wanted to sing “steal away”. I had never heard of it, but by the time you are to the third verse you know it, and they helped me with the words. I leaned a lot from their singing vitality and exuberance. Their singing was not quite the quality of a university choir, but I loved it nevertheless. It went more like this:

Nobody knew what the second verse “Green trees are bending” meant. Today I found out why. When you meet in secret in the woods, regardless how well you hide it, that place is used up, so you have to find a new spot for the next secret prayer meeting. You had to make directions for the next meeting spot, so they took young tree saplings and bent them to the ground in the direction of the meeting. This is how they fond their way to the next meeting place, in total darkness and absolute quiet.

These prayer meeting with the slaves pouring out their hearts to Jesus was followed by prayer meetings in the cities. One such prayer meeting started in Charleston S.C. and a revival broke out reaching the whole Eastern Seaboard, reaching all the way to New York. This revival was maybe even more important, for now the battle was the Lord’s.

Now the Critical Race Theory is trying to undo all the hard fought freedoms won, from the founding fathers to the Civil war to the civil rights movement. Pray the Lord would send a great revival, this time world-wide, followed by an even greater awakening!

Thought of the day. Rejuvenate your wineskins!

This passage in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 5, is one that puzzled me for a long time: (Jesus speaking)

First, let ‘s dispense with the King James’ translation, the original Greek mentions wineskins, not bottles.

Wine is made from grapes, and the sugar content of grapes is about 16%. The wine making process is to convert the sugar into ethanol via fermentation, and grapes come replenished with their own yeast, so the fermentation starts whether you like it or not. If you leave the grapes out in the air they will ferment and the ethanol will oxidize into vinegar, so they must ferment in a vessel that locks out oxygen. The fermentation has two phases, the first phase is fairly fast, a little more than 10 days, where the sugar converts to ethanol. This process releases CO2; nearly half of the weight of the sugar goes up in the air in the form of CO2, the rest is ethanol. No wineskin can handle that, so fermentation was usually done in a clay vessel with a lid on to prevent air to enter. At the end of 10 to 15 days they had “new wine”.

Bur the fermentation was not over, the aging process began, and that lasted from a few weeks to a few months. During that time there is a slow release of CO2, but the vessel had to be air tight so no oxygen would spoil the wine and turn it into vinegar.

This is where new wineskins come in, they can handle this process by being ever so slightly permeable, if they are made from young goatskin, properly prepared.

Old wineskins on the other hand are hardened and can even be brittle, like an old leather glove that has been lost in the snow for the winter, and when it is found in the spring, it is ruined.

Jesus did not teach wine-making when he used that parable, in the parable the wine is the Holy Spirit and we are the wineskins.

Many people, me and my wife included have been praying for a great new, worldwide revival, and following that, a great worldwide awakening. Revivals usually start small and local, but with great intensity. The intensity will be greatest among young people, and they will celebrate with a new song in their heart. They are the new wineskins, they will be filled with new wine, and their new music will be less refined, raw and unpolished, or so it will seem to us old wineskins. We better prepare for the outpouring of the Holy spirit in our old wineskins by rejuvenate them with the oil of joy to make us ready to receive the old wine, aged to perfection with the full bouquet, like when Jesus turned water into wine. Then we who have been saved for many years can join with the young and appreciate each other, we appreciate their youthful enthusiasm and music, and they will appreciate the good wine that comes from lifelong experience.

There is a great passage in Isaiah 25, a song of praise coming right after the dreadful chapter 24. It speaks of aged wine being the finest of wines.

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Revelation 7:17: For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Yes, there will be a great worldwide revival, and an even greater awakening.