I'll never forget Steven. I met him in St. Louis. His twenty-three years had been hard on him, his arm scarred from the needle and his wrist scarred from the knife. His pride was his fist and his weakness was his girl.
Steve's initial response to love was beautiful. As we unfolded the story of Jesus before him, his hardened face would soften and his dark eyes would dance.
He wanted to change.
But his girl friend would have none of it. Oh, she would listen politely and would be very sweet, but her heart was gripped by darkness. Any changes Steve made would be quickly muffled as she would craftily maneuver him back into his old habits. She was the last thing between him and the Kingdom. We begged him to leave her. He was trying to put new wine into an old wineskin.
He wrestled for days trying to decide what to do. Finally, he reached a conclusion. He couldn't leave her.
The last time I saw Steve he wept. . . uncontrollably. I held big, tough, macho Steve in my arms. The prophecy of Jesus was true. By putting his new wine into an old skin, it was lost.
Think for a minute. Do you have any wineskins that need to be thrown out? Look closely in your closet. They come in all sizes. Maybe yours is an old indulgence -- food, clothes, sex; or an old habit, like gossip or profanity. Or possibly, like Steve, an old relationship. No friendship or romance is worth your soul. Repentance means change. And change means purging your heart of anything that can't coexist with Christ.
You can't put new life into an old life-style. The inevitable tragedy occurs. The new life is lost.

Oct 2018
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