Jesus Comes Through

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then He told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so...
John 2:6-8
The wine was finished and Mary brought it to Jesus' attention.

She turned to the servants and said, "Do as He says."

Then it got weird. Jesus instructed them to fill the ceremonial washing jars, which were probably used to wash multiple hands that day, with water and serve it to the master of the banquet.

He didn't pray over the jars. He didn't wave His hands over them.

The servants did everything: they handled the jars, they drew up the water from the well and now they were about to serve the host of the wedding with a cup from their work.

The only thing they had of Jesus was His word.

If I was one of those servants, I would be afraid. Although, I acted on Jesus' word, I can only do so much and one of the things I am sure about is that water from me will remain as such. Don't expect wine drawn from my cup.

I would feel confident if Jesus worked alongside me. Actually I would be confident if I was Jesus' helper as He did all the work. But acting on His word solo... yup, I would be terrified. My hand would shake as I hand over the cup and you would never find me praying harder than in that moment for Jesus to come through.

And He does. On His word, the water turned into wine and it leaves me wondering when did it happen?

Did it happen as the servants drew from the well? Did it happen when all the jars were filled to the brim? Did it happen when the cup touched the host's lips?

When did the miracle happen?

I'm not sure the moment could ever be pinpointed. You say a prayer, you stand by your convictions, you move by faith but it isn't until much later that you realize a change occurred and even with hindsight, the moment cannot be known definitively.

But one thing I do know is that nothing would have happened if a choice wasn't made by the servants to do as Jesus said.

The surest way to not see Jesus work a miracle in your life is to do nothing.

And the most definitive way to do nothing is to get caught up on what He asks you to do.

In these verses, Jesus took something unusual- ceremonial jars- and filled it with a common thing- water- to bring forth a miracle: wine.

Reality has taught us that jars + water = jars full of water. And we get into arguments with God because what He's asking us to do has not been done before, like why can't we go to the liquor store to get more wine? Shoot, wine coolers will be much better than jars full of water.

But they did it. And in their obedience, it happened.

We need to let go of our plans so that His can fall in place.

There's no timeline for God's word. Once it leaves His lips, the word is stationed where He placed it, ready to do as He said. Then when you make the decision, regardless of how ridiculous it may look, to follow Him, the word unfolds with each step you take.

You don't have to worry about making a fool of yourself. Before you know it, it's already done.

Mini Bites 38.0

I remember when I first read this verse. I was at risk of losing my scholarship and my friend sent me this verse to encourage me. It quickly became a staple part of scripture that I would recite whenever I was fearful, whenever I needed assurance that God was and always will be on my side.

So tonight, it pops up as one of the verses for the Hope devotional offered by the YouVersion Bible app.  And I've probably seen the heading of chapter 29 a thousand times but it hits me this thousand and one time.

The heading is A Letter to the Exiles and I got excited.

Context means everything especially in the bible. Although its truth lasts forever and can have an impact in the here and now, there was a reason why it was written in the first place.

When Jeremiah wrote this letter, it was addressed to the Israelites who were carried off into exile. The Israelites have this long history of turning away from God and following useless idols and turning back to God when they realize their mistakes. But this one time, God allowed the nation of Israel to scatter from its promise land and some were sent to Babylon.

The exiles thought life was over. Many thought they would never see their homeland again and that they were cast off from God forever. They probably thought that this was the last straw, that God wanted nothing to do with them.

But that's never the case with God. Jeremiah's letter was to remind the exiles that God didn't turn away from them, that God did not rinse His hands of them.

And that's what I want to remind you as well.

You can never be too far off for God. You may have gotten so off track that you can't tell what's up and down anymore. You may think that what you did is so unredeemable that God can't save you, let alone restore you. You may think you're finished but you're not.

God is not finished with you yet. You have to understand that you were born with a purpose, His word over your life. And God takes His word very seriously. When He speaks it, He expects it to happen. And that expectancy doesn't change when your life has been derailed by mistakes, by pain, by disappointments. He doesn't change His mind about you. He doesn't change His purpose for your life when bad things happen. He is as sure of you now as He was when you were first a thought in His mind.

God has a plan and it's the same one He had at the beginning of time.

It doesn't matter how long it's been, or where you are, God still wants to accomplish His personal word for your life.

He knew where you would be right now and He still put that plan into motion.

Don't write yourself off when God hasn't.

Bible Study: God's Word

It was a good day. My tummy was satisfied after a visit to Chilis. I sat in my parked car and decided to open up to the page above.

Then I started sobbing.

I did something different. I read those Scriptures personally. I inserted myself inside those words and read them out loud to God. And the floodgates opened.

It's been said to remind God the promises He made to you. Well, I just want to warn you of what might happen when you do: Snot will cover your face as you realize that you don't believe these words.

Or at least for me.
Is it just me?

Don't get me wrong. In my case,  I believe them for everyone else. My friends can tell you that I am quick to encourage them with God's word with conviction. But for some reason, the book that I've been studying, I haven't been living.

The words I've been reading, I haven't been holding as my own. Because they sound too good to be true to be true for me. I felt as if I was the exception.

As if it would work for everyone else but me.

So reading them out loud to God, it hit me, the words hit me and He asked me to believe in what I'm saying. To believe in what He's saying. To believe for myself.

And I'm asking you to believe for yourself as well. It's not enough to believe for other people. These promises are for you. This is personal. God is a personal God. He wants to have a relationship with you and in order to do that, you have to believe in what He says. You have to hold on to these promises in the bible even when they don't make sense in your circumstances. You have to hold on to these promises as truth.

And God's not asking you to believe Him without proof. That's why the bible is here: to remind us of His faithfulness, to encourage us in those difficult times.

In John 1:1, it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

God = His Word

His word represents His character i.e. love, joy, peace, justice, mercy, patience, faithfulness. Just to name a few.

But it doesn't end there: because God stands forever, so does His word.

It doesn't matter how long it's been since you've received that promise from God it will happen because just as God is faithful so is His word.

Heaven and earth have to pass away before His word does (Matthew 24:35). His word has a longevity that surpasses this universe's expiration date.

What He spoke (and what He speaks) over your life weren't something made on a whim. They were intentional, He knew what He was saying. His promises were always in mind when He created you and they've been waiting for this moment. They've been waiting for you. And they aren't going to bypass you.

His eye is always on you. He remembers what He's said to you. He hasn't forgotten about you. His word is already set before you, waiting for you.

Don't give up waiting for it. It's coming.