Life Outside the Winepress

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Most of us want to live life to the max – feel great, be strong, have purpose. Remember that old Lady Clairol slogan, “If I’ve only one life, let me live it as a blonde?” My upgrade of that would be, “If I’ve only one life, let me max it out and live it for God.” Of course, this is challenging in light of the culture we are currently experiencing, with many opposing our right to even voice our opinions if they don’t line up with their contrary or incompatible ways of thinking.

One renowned theologian – Rick Renner – has said that he believes we are entering “The last of the last days and that the days ahead will be the most challenging period the Church has ever faced.” I believe he is 100% right on! In 2 Timothy 3, Paul prophesied that “In the last days perilous times will come.” This word “perilous” is the Greek word chalepos, which means dangerous or difficult. One translation says, “Exceedingly fierce.” So, in these end times, our days will be dangerous, difficult, and exceedingly fierce. I think you would agree with me that we are there!

You may also agree with me that this is no time to lean on the arm of mere men. If God is not our strength and our salvation, we are sunk! It reminds me of the story about Gideon in the Bible. The Midianites overran the land of Israel each year at harvest time, so now Gideon was down in a winepress, secretly threshing his wheat for fear the Midianites would ambush him in the field and take the precious grain.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and proclaimed, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor.” I’m sure Gideon was startled as he looked around to see exactly who the angel was speaking to, as he was still hunkered down, hiding in that winepress. Just who was this “mighty man of valor?” This fascinating narrative continues, but long story short, the angel instructed Gideon to “Go in this thy might, and you shall save Israel.” “This thy might?!” What might? Gideon was being a big chicken. Every sermon I’ve ever heard on this alleges that Gideon just wasn’t aware of what a valiant warrior he actually was. Really? I doubted that, so I checked out the word “this” in Hebrew. What exactly was “this” might? Turns out the word literally means, “the other” or “than the other.” It wasn’t Gideon’s might but rather “the other” might that he would move out in – God’s might. The Jerusalem Bible translates it best with, “Go in the strength now upholding you.” And that’s our word for this season. We have to live daily with the strength now upholding us! But we must first realize what strength is available to us.

When electricity was first being installed across the United States, a lady living out in the middle of nowhere decided she wanted it. She called the electric company and soon they had a line out to her home. After about six months, someone at the company noticed that only one unit of electricity had been used. A serviceman was sent out to check and make sure there was no problem. Turns out, when it got dark, she turned on the electricity long enough to light her kerosene lamp. This lady had no idea of the potential power she had, and instead settled for a mere oil lamp to take her through the dark nights.

We all have more potential than we realize when we partner up with Almighty God, and now is the time to plug in. Years ago, when Apple Computer was going through difficult times, Steve Jobs flew to New York to convince Pepsico’s John Sculley to move west and run his struggling company. But the Pepsi executive declined the deal, even though Jobs had offered him the moon. Jobs then issued a challenge to Sculley: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?” Ouch – there’s a one-liner sure to give you pause for a re-think!

Back to Lady Clairol. We have “only one life” to live on this earth – today is our moment – why not take the opportunity in these tough times to change the world?! As John Hagee has well noted, “We are indeed the light of the world – but only if our switch is turned on.” Flip?

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can contact them at DPCityChurch.org.

Susan Becket | The Dwelling Place City Church

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