December 18 John 2,3,4

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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Water to wine | Nikki Metzger

S~ “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied.  “My time has not yet come.”  But His mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” John 2:4,5 (NLT)

O~ There was a wedding celebration and they had run out of wine.  Jesus’ mom knew this and told Jesus.  Jesus didn’t seem ready for this problem, but Mary pushed Him.  Then Jesus turned water into wine.

A~ Honestly, these verses have me scratching my head.  We know that this is Jesus’ first miracle and His first time He revealed His glory (vs. 11).  So why did Mary ignore Jesus’ response and tell the servants to do what He said? Because if I was Mary, I would never tell my kids to solve a problem like this.  But maybe Mary had a mama’s feeling in her gut and she knew her Son needed a push?

Maybe this conversation is recorded because we see Jesus’ fully human-ness here?  Maybe Jesus was nervous to kick start His ministry?  I believe that that Jesus has experienced everything we have and this conversation is written down so we know that he did experience all that we have.

And look at Jesus’ words: that’s not our problem.  Never again would Jesus ever say that.  He took all of our problems and put them on His shoulders. Man, if there was hesitation for Jesus in starting His earthly ministry….that makes me excited.  It does something in me, knowing that my Savior is the real deal!  He has fully experienced everything I’m going to go through, have gone through, and am going through now.

P~ Jesus, I don’t get it.  That You would come here to earth, fully man, fully God and feel what we feel.  Thank You so much!  You get me!  Sometimes I feel like no one gets me!  I love You!

Pray Mary’s Way | Kelley Deases

S~ His [Jesus’] mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  John 2:5 (NIV)

O~ I just heard a pastor refer to this verse on a radio talk program the other day and I took note.  I have never really understood why Jesus would choose to perform his very first miracle at a wedding where the host failed to plan and purchase enough refreshments for the party guests.  But, at the end of the passage, Scripture makes clear Jesus revealed His glory and the disciples put their faith in Him.  So that is significant.  But, before that and also of significance, Mary provides the perfect example of what earnest prayer should look like.  When she becomes aware of a problem/need (the wine being gone), she approaches Jesus and brings her concern to Him.  This is what people in relationship do; they talk about what is on their hearts. But then, she does not harp or nag or demand or try to manipulate the outcome.  She just leaves her petition for Jesus to do with as He would, and simply tells the servants to do whatever He instructs.  And Jesus, in His sovereignty, decides the best course of action.  God’s glory was shown and it bolstered the belief of Jesus’ inner circle, and quite possibly the servants and any other party guests who witnessed what happened.

A~ Mary’s example is perfect for me.  When I have a concern for myself or for someone else, be it major or minor, I should go talk with Jesus about it.  That’s what people in relationship do.  After I have relayed the issue, I need to leave it with Him to handle.  I don’t need to run around and try to figure it out for myself, nor do I need to bite my fingernails and stew over the outcome.  Just let God take it and have it.

Easier said than done, I’m afraid……..

P~ Jesus, Help me remember Mary’s approach next time I am faced with a crisis:  Take it before You and leave it at Your feet.  Such a simple model, really, yet hard to actually put into practice.

From Religion to Relationship | Tara Wiley

S~ Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. John 2:6

O/A~ The kids and I have enjoyed reading and re-reading Kevin DeYoung’s beautifully written and illustrated “The Biggest Story.” DeYoung weaves together the redemption story from Creation to our final destination with clarity and insight that feels fresh and new. When speaking of the Israelites’ futile efforts to get their religion right, he says,

“As you might have guessed, the people didn’t do so well obeying God’s commands… They ignored the most important commands, and when they did work hard at some rules – like getting their sacrifices right – they didn’t really obey those rules from the heart.”

All of God’s directives to His people were intended for their good, to bring them closer to Him and to bring blessing into their lives. Instead, they took the goodness and turned it into stifling ritual devoid of relationship. In all of my readings of this first miracle Jesus performed (turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana), it never struck me until today:

He literally took an item representing their addiction to religious ritual (the water jars used for ceremonial washing), and turned that item into an invitation for loving relationship (a receptacle for wine to be shared in celebration of marriage, the ultimate word picture of the relationship He desires to have with us). What a gorgeous redemption. What a beautiful reminder as we head into Christmas: it’s not about the activities, the traditions, the rituals. It’s about loving Jesus.

P~ Oh, Jesus, I do love You! I love that You continually took tradition and ritual and turned it upside down and inside out, revealing the need to return over and again to the heart of the matter: relationship with You. I want every traditional act we engage in this season – whether it’s lighting a candle, or singing a carol, or sharing gifts, or serving others in need – to be motivated always by our desire as a family to love, honor, obey, and worship You with everything we have and all that we are. Jesus, fill my family members with a deep love for You that spills over into a passionate pursuit of You in every aspect of their lives. Thank You for being a God who loves to celebrate. Thank You for being a God who loves to connect with His people personally and intimately. For my family members who will be alone this Christmas, may it be a time of unspeakably sweet fellowship with You. Turn lonely tears of water into sweet wine of communion with their Savior.

The Wind | Joni Tyner

S~ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.  John 3:8 (NLT)

O~ Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about being born again.  In verse 5, Jesus  tells Nicodemus that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  He is comparing the works of the Holy Spirit to the wind—it is God determines our steps, not us. 

A~ I tend to think about the wind quite a bit because I ride my bicycle outside and the wind is always a consideration.   There have been times I think, “there is no wind today” and I’ll go for a nice ride and I think to myself, “this is pretty easy.”  But…when I turn around and head back home, I realize the wind is definitely there! Trust me, any person who has ever rode a bike outside knows when they are going with the wind and when they are going INTO the wind.

I see similarities to how the Holy Spirit works in my life. Sometimes the Hand of God is powerful and obvious and I give Him acknowledgement. Other times, the circumstances are confusing and HARD and I whine and tell others, “this is SOOOOO not from God.” –but maybe it is?  Just like the wind, I might need to look at a situation from a different perspective—a view that is different from my usual thinking.  I need to trust that God is in control.

I just had another thought.  I am not aware of the wind if I don’t go outside. Even if go from my house to my car, I don’t really notice it.  But, when it’s a windy day and I’m out on by bike, my goodness, I am aware of the wind every single second of my bike ride. Like noticing the wind, I believe I will “notice” the work of the Holy Spirit in my life when I am intentionally in His Word and making myself available to be used by Him. I also need MARGIN in my life to do that—but that is another blog writing! 🙂

P~ Dear Lord, I pray for sensitivity to Your Spirit.  Please give me a hunger to leave my comfort zone and be available to be used by You.  It is so exciting to see Your Hand at work, please give me clarity to see all that You are doing in my life.

Growing Faith | Michelle Myers

S~ Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders’ Jesus told him, ‘you will never believe. John 4:48 (NLT)

O/A~ The “seeing” is what has made all the difference in my walk with You….seeing the changes in myself, and although I don’t always recognize it in the moment, seeing the changes in my husband and my marriage.

I am realizing that some of the obstacles that sometimes prevent me from seeing the miraculous signs and wonders are my own expectations of how things should be, work out, and fall into place. I am realizing that my perfectionism isn’t realistic in this crazy, messed up, fallen world; full of broken, messed up people.  That includes myself.  That includes Believers as well as non-Believers.  I will always risk not seeing You, when I am focused on my plans, my expectations, and my desire for perfection.

It is through my own imperfections and the imperfectness of my life, that has taken me from just hearing about You, to really seeing You. “We no longer believe just because of what you said, now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”  John 4:42.

I once was having a conversation about You with my daughter, who was struggling with some things.  She finally said to me in frustration, “Mom, not everyone sees God like you do.”  I remember being in that place at one time.  In church, around other Believers, and thinking I was missing something, because my faith wasn’t that strong or clear to me at the time.  What I know now, is that she will need to struggle through her own imperfections and imperfect life experiences, and watch how You work in her and them, to really see You.  This is a hard realization as a parent, because I want to protect my kids from the junk of the world.  And sometimes, I need to as their parent.  But sometimes in doing so, I am preventing You from working on them, in them, and ultimately preventing them from REALLY seeing YOU.

P~ Thank you God for the imperfections and struggles that have allowed me to really see You and grow my faith.  Please help me remember that there is growth in what appears to be a mess. Please guide me in regards to this parenting thing.  It is hard, and can be extremely painful.  Please help me remember to look toward you and that I can trust You with my children.  Your love for them is so much greater than mine, and you know way better than I do, what is best for them.

Our team would love the privilege of praying for you! Please share how we can lift you in prayer at prayer@DiscoverOneThing.com

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Posted on December 18, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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