Friday, October 28, 2011

Water into Wine

After receiving a postcard advertising a retreat near me, I went to the internet to research the speaker. Her name sounded familiar...Kelly Minter...It was on her website that I stumbled upon her book, Water into Wine.

Over summer a friend and I met every Thursday to study the gospel of John. We went chapter by chapter and listened in on Louie Giglio's messages (The Word series). An ember was kindled in my heart in my personal study of the miracle in Chapter 2 where Jesus turns the water into wine. (John 2:1-12) I continue to mull over the fact that the stone water jars were "the kind used by Jews for ceremonial washing" (John 2:6) which to them would be part of their method of preparation for entering the presence of God. (Psalm 26:6)

In the story, there is a crisis of sorts when there is no more wine for the guests at the wedding. Prompted by His mother to fix this problem, Jesus has the servants bring the jars to Him full of water, and as you probably know, he miraculously transforms the water into wine. When this miracle is tasted, it is found to be superior to what had already been served (John 2:10).

Reflecting further on wine as part of our communion with Jesus, our remembrance of His life-giving-that-we-might-really-live gift; and that He is the New Covenant Wine that we drink. (1 Corinthians 11:24-26) 

By-His-blood we enter into the presence of God now and there is no need to wash our hands any longer, because He washes our hearts. 

Did you know that alcohol enters directly into the blood stream where life is? (Leviticus 17:14)

...Is there a mystery (or three) hidden in this story?...Perhaps Jesus was saying to those who would see, "The first wine is inferior (the wine of the Old Covenant); the ceremonial washing is now obsolete as a means of approaching God. I am giving you a new and superior way of entering the presence of God. I am the New Wine. When you drink of the new wine, you are clean inside your heart, the place where life's blood is."

Perhaps too, there is a second message in this story. A rather obvious one if you see the first message. Washing with water is an exterior event that must be done over and over again. The receiving of Jesus inside of us, into our very life-blood, brings about a permanent transformation. New blood, so-to-speak.

This stokes my fire! You can imagine why I purchased the book "Water to Wine...Hope for the Miraculous in the Struggle of the mundane" by Kelly Minter... I wanted to know, 'What did God show her? Does she have any other insights into that first wondrous miracle that Jesus performed?' ...and I am not disappointed! 

True to my suspicion, in the first chapter Kelly reveals things that I had not considered from the story. The water represents a "mundane" or "a usual, easy-to-come by element", and the wine (by way of the miraculous transformation of the water, not the crush-grapes-ferment-over-time process)...the wine represents the result of the touch of Jesus on the mundane offerings we are asked to bring to Him (mainly, and first-of-all, ourselves!)

The mundane when brought to Jesus...miraculously becomes a divinely-empowered, life-giving, into-relationship-with-God element. 

"Intimate friendship with God is the true wine." ~Kelly Minter

Communion means fellowship or friendship. What has He really given us that we miss in the day to day living? There is so much more to be discovered!!! I am not halfway through the book yet, and the light keeps shining brighter. Join me for some Wine? You can purchase the book here: Water to Wine

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oil Me~Oil You

A friend shared recently how she has lost over 30lbs...then she shared about how her son is being a light in another person's life. One woman then scooted over next to her enthusiastically and squeeled, "I want some of what you have to rub off on me!!!"

I laughed and shared with them what God has been teaching me about 'anointing' and oil.

In 1 John 2:20-21 John tells us (brothers and sisters in faith) that we have been anointed by the Holy One and have knowledge of the Truth (John 14:6). This is a common anointing that we receive when we turn to Jesus with our whole heart and He takes up residence there by His Holy Spirit. This anointing gives us knowledge of the truth and the ability to discern what is and isn't true. (referenced above)

The definition of anointing (or unction) is: shedding of Divine influence upon a person; manifestation of Spiritual inspiration.

The Holy Spirit is often represented by oil which is used in anointing. The anointing that is in us seems to be united with the Spirit of God. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

In the Old Testament, anointing was a sign of consecration (being set apart as holy) to God and it was done by pouring oil on the head. Moses anointed Aaron and his sons as Priests in Exodus 29:7-9. In 1 Samuel 16:13, David was anointed and set apart as King. This meant they had been Divinely enabled to do the work that God had appointed them to do. God was with them and His grace and favor (power by His Spirit) was upon them.

Reflecting on the common things I know about oil: 

  • Oil is used in the potpourri that I sell in my shop-the fragrance is very recognizable to everyone who comes in. I believe it makes the fragrance "stick". (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
  • Oil also makes it look rich and shiny
  • Oil evaporates and needs to be reapplied on a regular basis to keep the fragrance fresh and lamps burning. (Leviticus 24:2; Exodus 35:28) 
  • Oil reflects light off of the thing it is applied to. 
  • Oil keeps things like my maple butcher-block from becoming brittle. 
  • Oil makes muffins moist and tasty
  • Oil keeps my skin from itching and promotes healing. (Jeremiah 8:22)
  • Oil keeps engines running smoothly.
  • Oil fueled lamps of the past for light. (Matthew 25:4)

In conclusion: Oil carries fragrance, protects, shines, heals and keeps things supple. We can make application of each of those properties to the Holy Spirit of God inside of us and coming through the Word of God, the prayers and the hands of others who are anointed! (I love that we are fueled by our being with each other!)

The Greek word for 'anoint' is Chrio/ Christos and means "His Anointed". Jesus our Messiah is "The Anointed One". (Luke 4:1)

As Believers in Jesus, we are all priests of God (1 Peter 2:9) with the common anointing. We also have a distinct, God-given purpose in the family of God and there is a more distinct anointing on our lives for the mission God has given us according to our Spiritual gifts.

So you, dear Believer, are set apart by God, filled with God, and given everything you need to serve God with your consecrated life! Isn't that freeing? Doesn't that give you a sense of rest and peace that God will fulfill His purpose for your life as you keep your relationship fresh with Him? Psalm 138:8 (So His OIL will continue to rub off on you!!!) Also keep in His word, and hang with His people~You will then be a brilliant beacon of light!

Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank you that your fragrance of love is in us and on us. Bless us, your children, to honor you by believing that you give us everything we need! Don't let us get distracted by less valuable things than spending time with you each day. Help us remember your favor, grace and power are freely given to us. We walk by faith and not by sight, relying on You for everything we need. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bearing Burdens Not My Own

When we Jesus-followers are really about the other side of that unseen threshold, but the cares of this life seem to suffocate because they keep pressing in... when there is a continual flow of imposing concerns, and when worries invade my living, it seems before I can take and "shake the first out" the next is thrusting it's weight on my already-heavy heart and I groan under the load.

{Lord, my friends are pressed...}

Will I look up and recall the Mighty Power of the Living God who longs to show compassion?The One who has healing power in His Hands? The One who continues to add to the constellations and call them by name? Who knows even my name and the number of hairs on my head?

When knowledge of the Lord and His promises are attained, and stored, and when it comes time to need that knowledge, will I tap into it ? Will it transpose to wisdom and consolation for me? Or will I forget what I know and act on what I feel? How can I live in the light of what I know when I need it?

But by the grace of God go I...
& I get by with a little help from my friends,
and from their prayers...

Remember now the Love, Faithfulness and Power of God for those who believe but sometimes have doubts in our belief because of continual waves crashing into our shore...
You are LOVED by God. He will NOT let you down. 
And please remind me of this when I need it. :)

If you would like prayer for something, please leave me a comment and I will pray for you.