The Best is Yet to Come

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

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, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  John 2:1-10 (NIV)

              A friend of mine recently recommended this story to be included in my new book I am currently writing.  As I studied the characters and the circumstances that they were facing, I decided that in our current situation as a people across the globe that maybe this story should be shared now.

 As I read my mind created the scene.  It was fall in the land, that is when the weddings were preformed because there was plenty after the harvest and cooler.  The Jewish wedding feast last for five days and during that time food and wine is plentiful.  In the first verse, it states that it was the third day of the feast, that let’s us know it was serious that the wine had run out because there were two more days of feasting to go.  So that is one reason why Mary came to Jesus, she knew that he could remedy the issue. So Mary asked Jesus. Notice that Mary does not argue with Jesus or presses him, she simply tells the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.” She made her request and then left it with Jesus.

What really interest me in this story is the servants and their unwavering obedience.

Mary walks away and the servants look to Jesus. I think they were waiting on Jesus to tell them to run into town or knock on the neighbor’s door but Jesus told the servants to fill the ceremonial jars with water.  Can you imagine what was going through the minds of these servants?  They begin drawing water out of the well and dump bucket after bucket into the vessels. Finally, six huge stone jars are filled to the brim with water.  Their task complete, once again they turn to Jesus, curious maybe a bit confused, and waited for his next command. 

Now take a moment to think about this, what if you had been the servant that Jesus told to draw out the water and take to the head of the banquet?  

Now you don’t know Jesus, but you do know that there is nothing but water in that jar and now in the decanter.  However, being an obedient servant, you take the decanter to the head of the banquet.  As this servant walked through the loud hall filled with singing, winding between the couches and guests, I can only imagine what must have been going through the servant’s mind. I have thought about that a lot since studying this passage. Was he or maybe it was a she, the gender is never specified, scared?  I think that I would have been.  Yet, these servants did what was commanded without questioning. 

  I believe that a true servant must relinquish their will and body to their master.  To do that, the servant must choose to trust the master.  That person knew that they had filled the decanter with water but they took it obediently. When the servant got to the table what a sweet relief it must have been when rich, red, fragrant wine filled the cup. 

Often, we are put in situations where we do not know what God has planned next.  God rarely shares his plans or reasons for what he does.  I find that very frustrating.  I believe that God chooses to withhold that information to cultivate trust, faithfulness, and obedience.  The servant carried the vessel of water obediently to the banquet table not knowing what was going to happen until they tipped the clay jar and wine spilled out. Do not become discouraged or scared, instead like the servants, trust the master.  Do not let what is going on around us discourage you and your faith. Continue to be obedient and faithful to Jesus. 

At the end of the passage, we see that the master of the banquet was very pleased that the best wine had been saved for the end of the banquet. “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 

 No matter what is going on in your life and in this world, remember that the best is yet to come.

Typist for Jesus.

A Bit of the Ole Razzle Dazzle

Do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God many false prophets have gone into the world. I John 4:1

It is now mid-January and most of us have reluctantly packed up the lights and tree.  I decided to leave one item of decoration out because it really was not centrally Christmas but mostly just winter-themed.  Another reason I left it out was that I was pleased with it.  I thought I was very clever in making it.  A simple crate with a scrap of material, greenery, lights, and three birch sticks.  Why was this so “clever” on my part?  Because my birch wood sticks were nothing more than painted paper towel rolls.  By themselves painted and tied with a bit of twine they are not very impressive and it painfully obvious what they are, but once you place all the lights and greenery around them it gives a good illusion. 

At a glance, you see what I want you to see.

Recently, no doubt you have been seeing a bit of razzle dazzle going on in the media.  In the coming days, you will see even more.  There will be times you are confused, outraged, and simply do not know what to believe. It is during these times we need to look to the One who knows all.  He is not shocked or surprised by current events.   James 1:5 reads, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”   Do not rely on your own understanding but ask the Lord to give you wisdom and discernment.  Prepare yourselves to see beyond illusions and lies.

Beware of the razzle dazzle.

Typist of Jesus

A Good Cup of Coffee

and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

            About six weeks ago, my coffee maker gave up the ghost.  I have been using a percolator on the stove.  Fine coffee but hard to keep warm like a traditional coffee maker.  I decided that with a gift card I had receive for Christmas I would get a new one.  As I stood in the aisle, I was amazed at all the brands and differing degrees of coffee maker.  On one end a simple coffee maker and on the other an expensive machine that did everything including taking commands from Alexa.  Short of doing your taxes, this machine seemed to be able to do anything.  Yet, I could not help but wonder, is it any good at making coffee? I ended up buying the $9.99 coffee maker, I did not need all the other options.  I just wanted a good cup of coffee.

-What does a coffee maker have to do with Jesus?

            Unfortunately, we are the same when searching for a church or what Christianity can offer.  Our requirements for church, Bible studies and the messages coming out of the pulpit is what that it conforms to what we want to hear. Do we like where the church is located, is it convenient to where I live, is the pastor connected in the community?  Does he know all the right people? Does the message make me feel good about myself?  I want to feel good and have my needs met, I do not want to have to examine myself or acknowledge my failings. 

We focus on how to fill the pews but what we need to focus on is how do we fill heaven.

We want a Christianity and a Jesus that conforms to us and how we want to feel.  Being a Christian and a follower of Jesus is not about how you feel.  In fact, there is no feelings in Christianity. True discipleship is about obedience, sacrifice, charity, and compassion.  We do not need, nor should we look for all the bells and whistles.  What makes a great church or ministry is the courage to focus on what is important and needed.  Truth.  Teaching salvation and repentance. These two things are very unpopular in the secular world.  God, through His son made a way of salvation for ALL humankind. However, without true repentance there is no salvation.  Let us not allow ourselves to be caught up in the easy, comfortable, and non-controversial Christianity that is sweeping the globe.  Let us be courageous and share His truth.

            Typist for Jesus

Away in the Utensil Drawer

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

I love decorating for the holidays. All the glitter and shiny lights. I think I have lights attached to anything that stands still long enough. My granddaughter also loves the decorations, however at 22 months, she just wants to tear everything down, sit on it, step on it and sometimes just yell at it. I have one area that I let her do with as she pleases. It is an old incomplete nativity scene. The animals and shelter are long gone. Only two wise men, Jesus, Mary and Joseph remain. The baby Jesus is her favorite piece. The same size of her hand, she carries him close. She carries him all through the house, cuddling, cooing and kissing him.

I have found baby Jesus in the sink, dog food, dog’s water bowl, bath tub, drawers and multiple times in the floor. He has even appeared waiting in line to see Santa in my Christmas Village. She loves baby Jesus, until something else grabs her attention. Which can be anything from a toy, hunger, sleepiness and of course something she should not be messing with. (like the dog’s water bowl) Unfortunately, we are guilty of the same spiritually. Jesus is great until something more interesting or distracting comes along and then we just leave him to pursue what has grabbed our attention.

As we enter into the new year, let’s not leave Jesus behind packed up with the Christmas decorations. Instead, let’s carry him into the new year and firmly in our hearts. This past year has been challenging on so many levels not the least spiritually. I anticipate this new year will continue to test us. We cannot face these new challenges without Jesus.

Hold to Jesus. Do not allow the distractions of politics, media and personal trials to loosen your grip.

Typist for Jesus

Revive Your Heart’s Fire

Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Romans 12:11-12 NIV

The sun had begun her descent, casting long shadows across the field. The aroma of smoked beef and chicken hung in the air enticing my stomach to growl.  As the last of the shoppers made their way to the parking lot we began to pull down the tent and repack our boxes.  It had been a long day but nonetheless fun, we had met several people and made a little cash.  Finally everything was done, coolers topped off with ice, cars carefully packed and the smoker strapped to the back of the trailer, it was finally time to go. Tired, sunburned and hungry, I pulled behind my friend, forming our convoy.  The trailer she towed bounced and shook as we began the mountain climb. 

Gaining speed, I noticed that the smoker had begun to cough up little puffs of smoke.  By the time we started down the mountain, those little coughs had become a steady billow of black smoke.  I blew my horn and flashed the lights.  We took another deep curve, gathering speed and that is when it happened.  I flashed my lights, then blew the horn and crossed over the middle line to get her attention.  The whole time I was yelling at my Bluetooth to call.  Finally I had a signal, relieved I shouted my command again as I blew the horn and flashed my lights. This was becoming serious, the smoker was engulfed in dancing orange flames. Hot debris flew out, causing sparks as they hit the pavement bouncing down the country road.

The ringing stopped and I yelled, “you are on fire”!  She pulled to the side of the road and together we doused the flames and checked the ropes eager to insure our safety as we continued the trip. Once the flames had been reduced to sizzling smoking ash, we laughed a bit.  Doubled checked the trailer, and headed back to the cabin. It had been an exciting few minutes. After hours of the smoker not being used and cool to touch, it was obvious that at least one ember had held enough heat to be revived.

You may be feeling like the fire has gone out in your spiritual life.  Especially during this year and even now in the holiday season.  In many ways it does not feel much like Christmas and I am sad to not be able to spend it with my family.  Although the world may not feel much like Christmas, we should carry it with us year round. Christmas is not a date, or simply a holiday.  It is a time to reflect and give praise to God for providing a way of salvation through His son.  I think that this week’s verse in the book of Romans is good advice in the face of adversity, uncertainty and an overwhelming sadness.  Paul understood hardship.  He knew loss, hunger, pain, rejection and I am sure at some times defeat and sadness.  At that time in history all those that were subject to Roman rule also understood these things well. Because Paul understood he wrote these words to the Romans and us.  “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive.”

You and I may feel like the fire has died down, but as long as there is even an ember, the fire can be revived.  Do not allow anything to extinguish the fire in your heart for Jesus.  Continue to serve the Lord and in hope find your joy.  Though many of us are facing suffering, be patient and pray faithfully. 

Fan those embers.  Revive your fire for Jesus!

The best is yet to come!

Typist for Jesus

Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables on Sale!

Hello all! 
Looking for a unique and encouraging Christmas gift for friends or family?

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See link below
Typist for Jesus


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Tossed and Driven by Wind and Wave

But, let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:16 ESV

                A friend of mine was dropping off an item that I had ordered.  I was at the market that day.  It was crowded, people milled about up and down the vendor aisle looking for unique and interesting items.  I saw them entering from the far side.  They scanned the area and stepped further into the pavilion.  I waved my hand above my head; still they did not see me. I stepped out from behind my table and waved.  I walked out into the aisle, waved both hands. 

                By the end, I was standing in the middle of the pavilion waving both hands wildly in the air and all but screaming their name above the din of customer conversation.  I am sure I looked ridiculous jumping about while yelling.  

 Do you ever feel like that when you are praying?

                I have a confession, that is how I have been feeling for the last month or maybe longer.  Like I am wildly waving and yelling………into thin air. For some reason, I cannot seem to get God’s attention.  These feelings have really wrecked my nerves, my sleep and I spend a good portion of time in doubt and worry.  I was expressing these feelings to a friend.

                “I am obedient and praying and still God does nothing.”  I whined into the phone.

                “You cannot say that God is not doing anything.  You do not know what he is doing behind the scenes for you. Where is your faith?” They responded sternly.

                They were right.  How do I know what God is or is not doing?  How many times have I been witness to and recipient of His Hand at work in my and other lives?  

                God works in His time at His pace and in His perfect wisdom and will.  James 1:16 instructs us to ask in faith, not doubt.  We must ask in faith and then stand firm in belief as we wait.  And hanging on to faith, especially now, seems a feat beyond man.  However, without faith, we are lost.  Tossed and driven by wind and wave.

                Do not allow doubt to loosen your grip.  We are in a storm in this period of history. We are all being tested in one way or another.  All of us face storms that cannot be survived without a firm grip on faith. Every day seems as froth with problems and worries as the day before. It can at times test your strength to just get out of bed.  I understand your feelings. You are not alone in your struggle to maintain.  I am growing weary myself.  However, feelings are not real but a response to situations. Relying on our feelings give swell to panic, doubt, dread, and fear. We simply cannot lose our grip and allow ourselves to be tossed about by wind and wave.

                Hold firm to faith. 

                Typist for Jesus

Share Boldly

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

                There is always one dish that is only served for the holidays in each family.  Some families maybe more.  In my family we have the Thanksgiving staples but there are also a couple of other recipes that are reserved for the Thanksgiving table.  One recipe is my grandmother’s sweet potato soufflé.  It is a favorite.  This past week, my friend texted me asking for a sweet potato recipe.  I went to the kitchen and pulled out a journal filled with recipes.  Each recipe is dated with the person’s name that I got the recipe from.  I took a snapshot of the recipe and texted it to my friend.  “Here is my grandmother’s recipe” I sent. She responded with “Awe.”  She did so because I was sharing something special and dear.  For the cooks in my audience you understand what I am referring to. 

                Later as I was making the recipe myself, I thought about how happy my grandmother would be to know that her recipe was going to be on another table this year and maybe for many more to come.  I know she would have like that very much. 

We can be a little stingy with our knowledge sometimes.  Not sharing a recipe because we think it makes us special or maybe it is like a having a coveted secret.  We hold back more than just recipes.  We hold on to some snippets of knowledge in order to elevate or maybe in some cases protect ourselves.  Whatever the reason, sharing knowledge is a good thing especially when it comes to the knowledge of Christ and the path to salvation. 

                Sharing the gospel and your personal knowledge of Jesus is a command.  In Matthew 28 verses 19 and 20, Jesus is giving this command to the disciples.  What good is a knowledge when it is hidden away.  What good is your knowledge and experience of salvation if you are unwilling to share it with those in your life? 

My grandmother did not just share her favorite recipes, she shared her love for Jesus not just to me but to many others. Now is the time to boldly share Christ with others.

Typist for Jesus

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No Room for Improvement

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8(ESV)

On the kitchen table is candy left over from the holiday.  There are only a few packs of Caramel M & Ms.  They are the only inhabitants of the candy bowl because either no one likes them or no one is brave enough to try them.  I have been passing that bowl for a week however today I decided I was going to give those M & Ms a try.

As I chewed the candy, I had two thoughts.  First, I do not like them and second, why is it we are never happy with something the way it is?  M & Ms whether plain or peanut are wonderful, so why did someone decide it needed to be changed?  

I think it is because as humans we are always trying to improve things.  This is a good trait on the whole, because we are always striving to make things faster, safer and easier. It is in our DNA to strive for improvement and innovation.  However, we cannot seem to accept that some things do not need to be improved or changed.  Some things are perfect and exactly what we need.

From the beginning, man has tried to “improve and reinvent” God. We try to make him what we want him to be. We want God to be silent and us to have all the say.  If we determine what is right and wrong, then we are not sinful. If we discount the creation, the flood and call it fiction then the rest of the Bible is no longer relevant. We teach Science in our schools and churches that strive to explain God’s beautiful purposeful creation into a reaction of chemicals and exploding planets. That you are an extraordinary accident of primordial goo. We take Jesus’s teaching and contort his message of love and call it hate so we are free to hate everything God loves. 

Unfortunately, we accept much of it and soft serve it in churches. Man strives to make God easier, more socially acceptable so that we choose what part of his word to believe, obey and share. Where the Church and the teachings of Jesus once framed society, we now find ourselves conforming to the desires of society. 

Since the beginning, God has remained the same.  No matter what society, science, schools, compromising churches or the media present, claim or teach, the truth remains unchanged.  This should be a comfort.  Life is ever changing, what is true today may not be tomorrow.  Who we are with today, may not be with us tomorrow.  No matter what happens in our lives, in this world, in politics, in science or next door, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Instead of trying to change God to fit what we want and what makes life easy, we should be looking to improve and change ourselves to be as Jesus. God’s love for us and his creation has not faded. His Word is still relevant today, his message of true love is for all.   He proves his love through the gift of grace, forgiveness and salvation found only in true repentance, and the acceptance of Jesus and the full Word of God.

Typist for Jesus

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Driven to Your Knees

       

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

A few weeks ago, there was a fatal accident at the end of my street. Two young men lost 

their lives. A memorial of flowers and two crosses stand in front of a splintered tree. Every time I pass it a sadness comes over me.

Today as I left my neighborhood, I was detained by public works crews. They were painting fluorescent yellow on the concrete culvert and installing signs warning of the upcoming curve. Since living in this area, I had noted that the concrete was faded and chipped, and there were no signs. As I waited for the somewhat bored looking gentleman to twirl his sign to slow, I thought about how it took a tragedy to elicit change.  I also wondered how long this project had been on the schedule previously but never completed.

        Unfortunately, we are no different. Often it takes a problem, a worry, or a tragedy to get us on our knees. We are all guilty of it. Everything in life is fine and the time in prayer and in the Word becomes shortened, sometimes forgotten.

I want to make sure that I am transparent in what I am saying. Tragedy, difficulties, and worries do not come in our lives as punishment or as a result of not praying.

 We all experience these circumstances throughout our lives. I am expressing how much more would we be prepared to face these seasons in our lives if we were engaging daily with Jesus in prayer. I believe we would be stronger, focused, and faith-filled. 

Do not wait for tragedy to drive you to your knees but instead live on them.

Typist for Jesus