Sunday, August 15, 2021
John tells us the purpose of his gospel, “These are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). His goal is to present what will give you a foretaste about what Jesus does as the Messiah that has convicted him about Jesus as the Christ. He begins by sharing that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything that was made.” “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1: 1-4). Life and light go together. We are told in Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God moved upon the face of the waters and God said let there be light” (Genesis 1:1-3). You know the way I like to say it, the Lord brooded over a wide abyss of nothingness and called a moratorium on nothing and declared that something would be the order of the day. John reminds us that in Jesus “The Word was made flesh dwelling among us and how his glory was as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus is the word of God in the flesh, revealing who God is, how God is and where God is at work in the world. Also, Jesus is the consummate expression of what we have the potential of becoming as we fulfill the purpose for which we have been created. One composer put it in these words, “I was created to make your praise glorious.” 
This is the first miracle in the gospel of John. It shares what happens in the life of the world and people when Jesus is a part of their living. 
Jesus attends a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. There are three components to this miracle story. There is the setting: a wedding; there is a need: they run out of wine; and there is a response: Jesus performing a miracle
We all want and would like for life to be a festive occasion, celebrating together with good times, fun, fellowship, and family in loving relationship. Weddings remind us of people coming together to share in the joy of expressing love, devotion and commitment. Jesus coming into the world as the life and the light reminds us that He has come that “We might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Consider what it means to invite the Lord to be a part of your life’s activities.  
Monday, August 16, 2021
Firstly, invite the Lord to be a part of your life and living.  
Proverbs 3:6 reminds us in immortal words that capture the reality in which we live all of our lives, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” God knows that we need direction to get through life with all of its changing scenes, shifting landscapes and the series of crises that come, altering life from moment to moment without our permission. We find ourselves trying to make sense of nonsense while attempting to understand, as best we can, what seems to be absurdly outrageous. Thomas Paine in his book, The Age of Reason (1794), captured this reality with the quote, “The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime make the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.”
Notice how the scenario unfolds. The festive occasion is threatened as a need arisesThey have run out of what they need to make the occasion enjoyable and festive. Wine is symbolic as to its meaning biblically. In the ancient Near East, with its scarcity of water, wine was a necessity rather than a luxury, so it came to symbolize sustenance and life. Due to its close relationship to the ongoing life of the community, in association with grain and oil, wine is also representative of the covenant blessings God promised to Israel for obedience and which God would withhold for disobedience. Finally, wine also represents joy, celebration, and festivity; expressing the abundant blessings of God.
As I consider the reality in which we live, we all begin wanting to have a festive life full of all the joy and love that is possible. The wedding of life and liberty. The wedding of friends and families. The wedding of potential and possibilities with partners. The wedding of faith and hope. There are times, however, when instead of life being enjoyable, life becomes a reminder of what is missing. What is missing is what is needed to make it all better. After all, that is why Jesus came into the world.  Jesus’ coming into the world as the life and the light reminds us that He has come that “We might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)
Consider what it means to invite the Lord as a part of your festive activities and celebrations.  
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
John 2:3

We are experiencing a limited supply of what we need as people to create the festive possibilities of being in relationship with each other in harmony and peace. Just as those at the wedding feast ran out of what would symbolically make for a happy occasion, we run out of what we need to make of our lives what we would like. We run out of what is necessary to make life festive, grand, and productive. We run out of compassion for one another.  We run out of commitment to work together. We run out of the ability to communicate with one another. We run out of the love required to create a beloved community, where everyone is treated equitably and justly. We run out of a moral sense of right and wrong, making wrong right and right wrong. We run out of integrity and become hypocritical, selfish individuals devoid of truth and righteousness. We just run out of all that we need to make of life what it has the possibility of becoming. 

Conversations are politicized with bitter contentious rhetoric that is demeaning. Dialogue is divisive and denigrating. Irresistible force meets an unmovable wall in a stalemate without resolutions to come together. 
There is always a need to replace what has been exhausted and used up. It seems we are always running out of what we need to make life enjoyable, delightful and fulfilling. We run out of what we need to make life what it can be. We run out of understanding with its negative implications for our future.  
While wisdom is the principal thing; we are admonished with all our getting to “get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
Consider what it means to be missing what you need to make of your life activities a festive celebration. 
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
John 2:3-4
Secondly, when you have invited the Lord and those who know the Lord, they will petition the Lord on your behalf to provide what is missing, to make your life better and festive.    
However, Mary and her family, including Jesus, were present at the wedding when they ran out of what they needed to continue the festivities. We are not told who the host was. All we presume is that Mary and Jesus were invited because of an association with the host for the occasion of the couple getting married. When you invite Jesus into your life someone will bring to the Lord’s awareness that there is a need, an impending need that requires attention. Mary tells Jesus that they have run out of wine. Whether she knew it would be an embarrassment to the host and wanted to save him of such, we are not told. However, mentioning this to Jesus, she was convinced that He would do something despite the seemingly dismissive response, “What concern is that to you and to me?” which is a common Semitic expression that implies a sense of disengagement, not active hostility. “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.  Mary says to those present, “Whatever he says, just do it.”
How often have there been those who have prayed on your behalf? We are reminded that in praying, “We have done what is our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in their situation.” Hebrews 13:3.
Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind, took the time to pray for me. I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed for me.
The people prayed for me, had me on their mind, took the time to pray for me. I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed, / I’m so glad they prayed for me.
My Jesus prayed for me, had me on his mind, took the time to pray for me. / I’m so glad he prayed, / I’m so glad he prayed, / I’m so glad he prayed for me.

Jesus Prayed for All Believers / 20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

Consider what it means that people prayed for you as part of their duty bound responsibility; whether you asked them to do so or not and most importantly that Jesus prayed for you to believe in Him as the Christ.   
Thursday, August 19, 2021
John 2:5-6
Thirdly, do what the Lord says.  
There were six water pots of stone which could hold twenty to thirty gallons of water apiece. You always have something available to you despite the absence of what you thought you required to remedy the situation. Jesus asked them to fill the water pots with water. I imagine there were those in ear shot distance saying, we don’t need water, we need wine. There are always those who may question how what is needed is going to be provided.  
Have you ever thought that you have available to you what is necessary to remedy what is missing; to make up for the deficits and deficiencies that can deprive you of what is present to celebrate your life occasions with joy? 
Consider what it means that you have available, including the presence of the Lord, to make up for the deficits and deficiencies of what you are missing in your life to make it celebrative and festive.  
Friday, August 20, 2021
John 2:7-10
In doing what the Lord says, no one could see how the provision occurred. All they know is that between the pouring in of the water and the taking out to sample, a change occurred. Imagine between the pouring in and the taking out, following what Jesus told them to do, what was missing was made available. Between obeying and following the Lord’s instructions, something miraculous occurs. You can’t quite explain it. All you know is that in doing what the Lord said, the desired result was achieved. 
Nike sportswear has ‘a swoosh’ which looks like a check mark, and a slogan that says, “Just do it.” The name Nike is from the Greek winged goddess of victory – victory in war and in peaceful competition. I like the implication of that logo and slogan. Imagine applying it to what Jesus says to do. “Do what the Lord says” and you can check victory as the outcome
Notice that what was provided was better in quantity and quality than that with which they began.  7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,10 And said unto him, everyman at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou has kept the good wine until now.   
John 2:7-10
When you “do what the Lord says,” that with which you end is better than that with which you begin. Better in quantity and better in quality.
Look at the many instances in scripture in which following what the Lord says leads to a victorious outcome. You can choose those instances in scripture where those who followed the Lord's instructions were victorious. Throughout the length and breath of scripture there are many: Abraham, Joshua, Ruth, David, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the minor prophets, Jesus, Paul, and those examples of persons who have continued throughout history to follow the directives of the Lord that won the victory. Choose those with whom you are familiar; those who have provided the inspiration that has fueled your faith. 
I will just share the seminal event in the Old Testament that is an example of all the events that follow. Following the directives of the Lord lead to victory. 
The children of Israel down at the Red Sea, the wilderness to their rear, the red sea in front, mountains to the right and left of them. They were told to go forward. The Lord never brings you into a situation in which retreat is necessary or advancement is impossible. We are told that a way was made out of no way. Historically, we have had those moments in our history when it seemed as though we were not going to make it, but we kept believing and trusting in the Lord and a way was made out of what appeared to be no way at all. 
The Lord has made a way for all of us. Think about the ways that have been made out of no way for you, regardless of the situation. Take a walk down memory lane and think of the goodness of the Lord that has made a way out of no way for you; whether personally, communally, historically, psychologically, etc. 
Consider a few of the instances when the Lord made “a way out of no way” in your life.  
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Our Lord and Savior reminds us with that we can commit our way to the Lord and trust the Lord for the outcome. “Do what the Lord says.” “Just do it.” If you never try what your Lord says, you will not know whether it will work. “Just do it.” You have tried so many things that have not worked. “Just do it.” It is worth a try to consider. If what you have been doing has not worked for you, why not try what the Lord says and see if it would bring about a different outcome. “Just do what the Lord says.” 
I close with the words of the song, “Glorious.” The composer shares these words while connecting the purpose of her life to the source of her being with what she is propelled to do: 

When you come into His presence / Lifting up the name of Jesus / And you hear the music playing / And you see the people praising
Just forget about your worry / Leave your troubles all behind you / Don't you wait another minute / Just get up and on your feet and
Get to dancin', singin', jumpin', leapin' / Get to shoutin', make it loud and make it glorious
Start rejoicin', praisin', liftin', raisin' / Get to shoutin', make it loud and
Make His praise glorious, glorious
I was created to make His praise glorious / I was created to make His praise glorious, glorious
Yes I was, yes I was / I was created to make His praise glorious
I was created to make His praise glorious, glorious / Yes I was, yes I was
I was created to make His praise glorious / I was created to make His praise glorious
I was created to make His praise glorious

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