I have been reading the book called “The Grave Robber” by Mark Batterson, and we have been using it in our young adults class on Wednesday nights. One of the stories in this book was shared from John 2 were Jesus turns water into wine. This story was of Jesus’ first miracle. Wonderful story and great insight shared from the reading of the book, but something in this story stood out to me that I wanted to share.
In the miracle story of Jesus turning the water into wine, obviously some amazing things had to take place that were supernatural. As we read this story there was something very natural that jumped off the page for me. Mary the mother of Jesus came to him and let him know there was no more wine, and in their discussion Jesus had his response and Mary makes this statement to the servants at the wedding.
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
– John 2:5
There it is, the moment and phrase that jumps off in this story to me, “Do whatever he tells you.” Is this not the most difficult that most followers of Christ deal with, doing what he asks? Isn’t this the thing that most often finds us short on what the miracle side of things? Isn’t this what finds us most of the time missing destiny moments, divine appointments, growth, blessing, increase, etc., etc.,? This very simple but most of the time quite difficult principal, doing whatever he tells us, is the key to seeing him display his power in our lives. What if the servants would of ignored Mary, chalked it up as a mom who thinks her son is all that and didn’t listen? Would the miracle of the water turning into wine still be what we read today? Maybe it would have been more like the moment we read in scripture were Jesus couldn’t do anymore miracles in his own hometown due to lack of faith, and maybe lack of doing what he said. (Matthew 13:53-58)
So here is the take away, doing whatever he says releases him to do whatever he needs to do. Whatever he needs to do is most often what you can’t do yourself. Jesus is the one who has the power to preform the miracle and moment we need in our life, sometimes we unlock that by simply being obeying what he asks of us. What is the moment in you life right now that requires a, “Do whatever he tells you” response?
15260 Nisquali Rd
Victorville, Ca 92395
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32 NIV)
I heard this scripture the other day, so I caused me to look and read it for myself. This scripture was already speaking to me in the time from hearing it, to the time of reading it. The scripture says, that their hearts were burning while he was talking to them. What it is interesting here is that the disciples were walking with Jesus on the road and didn’t recognize that it was him until later in the story. When the disciples are sitting and having a meal with Jesus and he breaks bread, is when the scripture say there eyes were opened.
What gets me in this story is the powerful presence of Jesus in the midst of them, but they truly were not aware that it was him. The idea of their hearts burning within but not recognizing it was Jesus. I guess for me this scripture becomes a picture into the relationship and journey with Christ. Are our hearts burning within? Are we living our lives and going along with or without a sense of the burning that he brings into our inner person when he is close?
The Disciples recognized something, even though they didn’t know what it was till later. They sensed him, but were not completely sure. Jeremiah recognized the burning,
…” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones…
I want this scripture to be a reminder and a measurement of my own journey, is the voice of The Lord burning within my heart? Think of a fire, maybe a campfire or fireplace. I love a good campfire and on a cold night getting up close feels great, you can really feel the heat. It is also very clear that you can feel the heat dissipate the further you walk away from the flame. Once you walk away from the flame you can feel the cold chill creep back in. This idea of the campfire is what I think of in regards to this scripture, closer we are to Jesus we can feel the burning deep in our hearts, when we distance ourselves the heat of the flame begins to disappear. It is my desire that the burning always remains all the way to the end. It is my desire that my heart is always burning, because I am close enough to hear him speaking.
15260 Nisquali Rd
Victorville, Ca 92395
God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. ~ Augustine
This statement struck me “Loving me through…”during our morning chapel this week. I began to think and I began to recall these moments in my life of when Christ has loved me through various things I have dealt with. I know that in the midst of most of the moments I have faced, my first level of understanding is not God’s great desire to love me through them, but more my own internal battle with the particular situation surrounding me.
I know the Lord was reminding me of the process of how He wants to walk with me through each thing I face. This reality is sobering, humbling, and to be honest quite frightening as well. In all the things I think I feel about understanding this phrase “loving me through” it still doesn’t change the fact that it is God’s desire to walk with me in all my life situations. So I have been thinking about it the last couple of days and this is what I understand to be true for me. (and maybe for you)
God is, loving me through… My Pain (emotional)
I don’t always deal with pain, but there are moments when it surfaces. In fact I wasn’t really dealing with pain at all this week when this statement I am writing about hit me, it just became part of the understanding along the way. In fact I’m not sure that I was dealing with any one particular thing at the time this hit my heart. My pain, it comes and goes, it doesn’t control my life or stop me from what I am doing, but it is there and sometimes more than other times. My pain comes from the loss of my Father, a great man full of life, full of the Holy Spirit, who meant a great deal to me. In 2009 his cancer would take final toll upon his earthly body and he would go home to be with the Lord. This is an area of my life I will never get back, and there will always be a hole that he filled. I am writing today though with great humbling confidence that My God is, loving me through! In this the pain becomes a special place for me to encounter the voice of the Holy Sprit to be spoken in way that I can’t hear another way. His voice is speaking to a place that only one with pain of this style can understand, and His voice can speak to you in the same way if you are willing to allow him to Love you through your pain!
Isaiah 41:13 (ESV) – For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) – Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
God is, loving me through… My Temptations
This particular area is God reminding me of how much he still wants me to understand his love for me even when I am weak and want my flesh to be in charge. I am human as all of you and the flesh loves to try to be in charge a lot! I believe this is part of the great battle we all face, the battle of the flesh vs. the spirit. Paul the writer of Galatians says it this way, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians 5:17) I think these verses sum it up pretty good, it’s a full out action movie in the battle of the two natures. But as I battle I am reminded that God isn’t trying to shove me away from him, but actually trying to draw me in closer during the times my flesh is wanting to be “The Man In Charge”. God is constantly reminding me in these moments He wants to love me through my temptations.
James 1:12a (NLT) – God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation…
God is, loving me through… My Doubts
Doubts! I know nobody ever has these, right? Well We Do. In fact we have them in all sorts of ways. I sometimes find my doubts mostly come in a form directed at myself. As I have been thinking about this concept over the last couple of days, “God loving me through”, He is in the middle of reminding me not only of how he want s to love me through any and all situations, but also how much he loves me above and beyond all situations. This reminder is energetic to the heart, it’s almost like raising the RPM level in a race car right before taking off from the starting line. When God speaks His love in me it is what I need to push me through to the next level in my life. His love reminds me of who I am! His love reinforces my gifts, calling and destiny. I know that I will face doubt and so will you, but it doesn’t have to become an obstacle it can be a launching point if we understand that God is, loving me through my doubts.
Romans 8:34-35 (NLT) – 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
I had the opportunity to share the message here on the main campus yesterday, as part of our series this summer titled “Get Smart”, we preached about this idea “Giving…and Loving it”. This message for me was a great opportunity to share about living the life of a giver and living with the spirit of generosity. In my message I brought out some ideas about a giver, these are the ideas; a giver gives to the poor and needy, a giver lives a selfless lifestyle, a giver sparks generosity in others, a giver sows generationally. Each one of these ideas we need to think about and process internally and ask ourselves how are we handling them? So do your best to process the idea of living a life of a giver, and allow Christ to be the driving force behind all that you do. Generosity through love can break through obstacles in the world and overcome many barriers that we might face, as we move into knowing Christ more He challenges in many ways to become more generous. I love that generosity and giving isn’t always about money, but more about the heart than anything else. Even the issue with money is about the heart, and let me add IT ALL STARTS WITH THE HEART!!! So in your journey of faith allow generosity to come alive in you, allow your heart to be set forth towards honoring Christ and watch what happens, Christ working through you in the spirit of generosity can achieve many things.
Proverbs 18:16 (NIV) A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great