The God of water, and the God of wine

Christians seem to typically fall into two extremes when it comes to understanding God’s provision in our lives. Blessings, pleasure, and enjoyment are all sometimes difficult to fathom in their relation to God’s plan.

Many earlier Christians and several today seem to believe that God did not want us to enjoy ourselves. That pleasure is carnal and misery is spiritual. Monks that starve themselves, eat boring food, barely speak, and whip themselves come to mind. Self-denial with the purpose of enlightening the soul is a practice that Christians have embraced from time to time.

A few earlier Christians, and many today. Believe that God desires our pleasure almost above all else. That He will consistently provide blessings and pleasure and happiness without regard to the inconsistent obedience we may show in our lives.

Both of these are wrong. God provides for our needs because He knows our needs and He promises to fulfill them. God provides much for our pleasure because He wants to show His love for us in that way.

God provides for our needs. When Israel was in the desert, they needed water. So He provided water. He didn’t give them sparkling soda, or coconut water, or papaya juice. He didn’t give them every variety. Just what they needed. And that was okay. He didn’t have to provide anything else. His promises didn’t require anything else either. He promised a land with milk and honey, for now, they had water.

God gives us blessings and pleasures from His goodness and by his prerogative. At the wedding at Cana, they ran out of wine. Jesus Christ, God on earth, was there and noticed it. By Mary’s faith, she requested that he fulfill the need. Jesus answered by turning water into wine. The thing is, they could have drank water. Honestly. Nobody “needed” wine. God provided it anyway. God who made the beauty in the sky and the flowers of the field and the immense variety of foods to eat, wants us to enjoy ourselves – in the contest of putting Him first. He wants us to be content with water. But I would suggest that when we are, He is just waiting to give us “wine.”

God promised to provide our necessities. He is not obligated to provide our pleasures. He does both out of His loving and generous heart. And when God gives us blessings to enjoy, they are the better than anyone else could offer.

As in the wedding at Cana, not only did God provide wine to enjoy instead of water, He provided the best wine. Wine so good it impressed the ruler of the feast and he complimented the groom on saving the best wine for last.

 

God provides wonderful blessings to us when we obey Him. Let us praise Him for His goodness!

“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.” – Psalm 104:14-15

God is the God of water. And He is the God of wine.

He is also the God of quail. Check back next time for a more complete understanding of how pleasures and necessities fit into God’s plan.

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When God will do it

Have you ever thought of something that you wanted. You desired this material thing, promotion, status in life, position, relationship, etc. You believed it was God’s will for you to have this good thing. Not only did you believe that it was God’s will, but you were fixed on the idea that you must work to gain this ________.

I’m speaking generically, but please, visualize something. Think of something good you believe or know God wants you to have.

Now, remember, God desires this for your life. That’s why you desire it, right? Because you want only God’s will for your life. So if God desires this too, do you think He’s going to let you battle the whole world for it? No, of course not. God has everything in His control. So there are only a few reasons why you don’t have what God wants for you.

1) God doesn’t want it for you now. Think of the Israelites. They spent hundreds of years in bondage, and yet God had promised them a homeland. I honestly don’t believe God has their land in store for them yet. David was anointed king. God obviously wanted Him king, but it would be several years before God brought that to pass. Sometimes, it’s not the right time.

2) You haven’t prepared yourself for the blessing. Think of the Israelites again. They wandered in the desert without the promised land for forty years. Why? Because they had not believed God. God wanted to bless them, but they couldn’t be blessed because they were spiritually unprepared.

Now, remember those two conditions. If God doesn’t want something for you right now, or you haven’t prepared yourself for His blessing, and you try to get it, then you’re fighting God. It’s going to be a struggle. And you’re going to lose. God will either refuse to give it to you, or He’ll give it to you and you will see why He didn’t want to give it to you in the first place. Either way, you’re wasting energy God could be using elsewhere, and it will end badly.

It would have been vain for David to lead a revolt against Saul. Why? Because God wasn’t leading Him to. And it would have been completely disastrous for Joshua to lead the Israelites to war with the Canaanites after God had condemned them to wilderness wandering because of their unfaithfulness.

Both of those situations would have ended badly, and so would yours if you were to try to take God’s will into your own hands.

God’s will doesn’t need a well planned out flesh move. We live in the Spirit and we must walk in the Spirit. We must be obedient to God and be willing to do anything. If God requires hard work, we will do it. If God requires character training, we will allow Him to train our character. If God requires patient waiting, we will patiently wait. We don’t have to fight for His will, He will give it to us when we are obedient.

So next time you think of something you believe God wants you to have, don’t stress over it. No matter what it is, God could give it to you today if He wanted. All you must do is obey Him now, and when the time comes, you will be in position to receive it when it comes.

Psalm 37:4-5 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Notice that God brings it to pass. You don’t earn it, and you don’t fight for it. God brings it in His time, when you are obedient to Him.

Isn’t that comforting?

A little wine?

Here’s a Bible trivia question: What was Jesus’ first miracle?

Yeah, you know the answer, (or maybe you don’t). The first time Jesus performed a miracle in human flesh was when he changed the water into wine at the wedding at Cana.

I would like to use this miracle to point out something very interesting. Or, very interesting to me. Jesus said, ” I am come that they[us] might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10b Jesus came and died, so that we could live. The second idea that we gather here is that God wants us to live in a more abundant way.

Christ died so that we could enjoy His blessings as well as His greatest blessing: fellowship for all eternity.

Now, let’s think back to the wedding at Cana. In John 2, we have the account. Jesus and Mary are at the wedding. They run out of wine. (A tragic cultural faux pas, but not much more) Mary looks at Jesus and says, “They have no wine.” Jesus understands the implied question, and basically says no.

The next second Mary is taking charge and telling the servants to listen to Jesus. Jesus gives instructions. Water is poured in the pots and it turns into wine. The rest is history.

I want you to think about this. Jesus intervened and used divine power to help a friend save face, and give a little more enjoyment to a wedding. He wasn’t curing illness, dispelling wrong doctrine, or saving a life. (or so I think) What’s more, when the governor tasted the wine, he said that it was the best at the wedding.

I would like for you to consider that Christ cares about your enjoyment of life. God wants you to enjoy life. Don’t get me wrong, God does not want you to appease the flesh into sin and lust. God wants you to obey Him and put Him first. But after that, God desires that you enjoy His creation.

Think again of the wedding. The people didn’t need the wine. The could have drank water. And even when God provided the wine. He didn’t have to give them the best. God did it because it pleased Him to provide good things.

So I challenge you, next time you desire something, don’t hesitate to ask God for anything that is on your heart. If you are desiring something that would be detrimental, I’m sure He will let you know. But who knows, maybe He will just bend the law of physics so you can enjoy more of His creation.

In all seriousness, just ask.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” – Matthew 7:11

A blessing for a child, a lesson for us all

Remember the time that the people brought the children and the disciples rebuked them? It’s found in Mark 10:13-14. It says,

“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Verse 16 was interesting however, “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” I never quite realized it, but the people had brought the children to Jesus so He could lay his hands on them and bless them. Why? The idea of desiring someone’s blessing isn’t really found in our culture today. I mean, really? Blessing . . .

Thinking again about the situation, I’m sure some of them knew He was God, but most of them just thought he was a prophet. (Matthew 16:13-14) So what is so special about a blessing from a prophet?

My contemplation ended when I surmised (yes, that’s a fancy word for guess) that these people understood the power of words.

Looking at the lives of the patriarchs, we find that both Isaac and Jacob blessed their descendants before they died. This blessing seemed to carry on beyond their lifetime. The blessing of these great men changed the lives of their children. In another place in the old testament, a king offered a large sum of money to a guy named Balaam (Numbers 22). The king wanted the guy to curse Israel. God intervened, and commanded Balaam to bless Israel instead. Apparently, the patriarchs, an ancient king, new testament Jews, and even God regarded the spoken word as a powerful thing. So, my thought for you today, is that maybe we should value the words that we speak. Maybe what we say is important.

After all Proverbs 18:21a says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue:”

I would like to challenge you, think about the words you speak. Are they encouraging, positive, and loving? Or are they complaining, backbiting, hateful, and cursing? No matter who you are, your words have power, and they cannot be unsaid. I would go so far as to say that you will decide your future by how you govern your mouth. Will you ask God to help you use your speech to His glory?

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouths: but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29

Is God on your mind?

Have you ever had something on your mind and you just couldn’t stop thinking about it? Maybe you fell in love and all you thought about was that guy/girl. Or perhaps you were waiting for a video game to come out and that’s all you wanted to think about. God wants us to make Him and His commandments our meditation.

Psalm 1 speaks of a man who is blessed. In verse two it says he is blessed because, "His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." The word meditation means to think, ponder, muse, murmur, and speak. It simply means that you are thinking on something so much that you eventually murmur and speak it to yourself. Some meanings of meditation even get into singing. In short, God should constantly be on our minds. He should be the thing that we anticipate, we long for, we treasure, we love with all our being.

You see meditation is always associated with a reward. For Isaac, his wife came; for Joshua, he had good success; for the psalmist, he had more understanding than all his teachers. When we refrain from sin and meditate on God and His Word, we will not only grow closer to God, but also receive blessing.

Let’s ask God to teach us to meditate on His Word.

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." – Psalm 1:3