Friday, June 22, 2012

The Wedding at Cana- Embracing Jesus John 2:1-12


The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,  and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.  The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”
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.”
 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled,  he said, Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.
 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.   After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.

I once was told about the ceremonial washing stone water jars that were at this wedding and their importance.  Those jars were not just for watering cattle and rinsing your hands. They had significance.  They had purpose for that wedding.  It doesnt state in scripture all we know is that they were important.  One idea is that they were used for a mikvah bath, which is for the bride to be, to wash and purify herself before she is wed.  These wash basins had significance.  It baffles my mind to think too that this was a very daring and rebellious act towards the religious beliefs around Him.  That people around Him who may had seen, or atleast the servants might have found it, dare I say, bold for Jesus to even sugest they be used for another purpose.  Already trampling on the religious law in a sense, showing where the real law is.

Jesus also tells His mother His time had not yet come.  Does this reflect John 13?  Does this reflect His awareness of His time coming and Him washing His diciples feet?  His bride?  I always looked at it as Jesus' and His mom just having an arguement. "Mooom stop nagging me to do fancy things, its so annoying.  You're embrarassing me". (Could you imagine!)  Im not so sure anymore...

Oh I love how we can look at a scriputre deeply and see things we had never seen before.  I dont think there was ever a time that Jesus said anything that was not significant.  There is not one red letter that cannot speak to the reader.  He speaks importance.  He speaks that He is the importance.

But this much I do know, He wants to cleans us and make us pure.  He wants His church clean.  He is constantly washing and refining us all.  I can pin point times in my walk where I have been cleansed from things.  He has made parts of my life that have been impure and made them pure.  Not on my own effort, but on His effort and stirring inside me to go through a process that has made that part of me okay.  There are lots of areas of my life that He is doing this too now.  Its a journey, a process that He takes part in and wants to help me with.  I can utter a thankyou, but what more can I say?  I just want to know Him better each moment. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Embracing Jesus- John 1:43-51

John 1:43-51 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.”  Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.  Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth." 
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”
“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this" Then he said, I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth."

I cling to this passage today because of Christ's knowing.  His knowing of the ones who have been created in this world.  He knows each of us by name and He knows our hearts.  He knows our happy, He knows our sad, He knows our messy and excitement.  He knows our troubles before we even utter them and He wants to take our burdens.  Its beautiful.  Its love.
Jesus has an excitement in this passage I feel for Nathanael.  He prepares Him to see greater things.  He is ready to take Him on a journey, one that will change His life.  Jesus has changed my life.  I cannot look at the world with the same lenses as I once did even if I tried. Sometimes its a battle, but the Holy Spirit is always stirring things up in me.  Once He has you its difficult not to hear Him.  I try to look through Christ.  I dont think I am a woman of "complete integrity".  What would Jesus say about me if He was to find me under the fig tree?
"Now here is Candace, come with me, you have a huge heart and never want to see people hurt, but I want to show you not to worry so much.  Dont you know you dont have to fix every problem. Im going to be your partner in this.  You think that just because I know this about you that I am totally fascinating?  Im going to take you on the most amazing journey of your life! Follow ME".  I think today those would be the red letters to me. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Embracing Jesus - John 1:40-42

John 1:40-43Andrew, Simon Peters brother, who was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.  The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, :we have found the Messiah" (that is the Christ).  Then he brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said "
"You are Simon son of John, You will be called Cephas" (which when translated is Peter). 

When I had first read this part of scripture I really wondered what on earth I could get from this moment.  Its another simple moment, but the more I looked at it and thought about it the past few days what came to my mind a lot was that Jesus had another name planned out for Simon and that was Peter.

When Simon met Jesus, his life would never be the same.  Jesus had a plan for him, and Peters name meant "rock." 

Can you imagine having the Messiah come to you and change your name?  Changing your name to the name He chose for you because it fits what plans He has for you?  I mean, back in those days perhaps it wouldnt be not as big of a deal, you would not have to change your drivers licence and such, but wow.  That would be a pretty intense moment.  Not even a "hello" is recorded, Jesus was straight to the point-  He wanted Simon and He had a purpose for Him.  

Peter, would deny Jesus three times and was one of "little faith."  Peter I think I can relate too, I waver, I dont know if I could deny Christ, but my mind definatly wants to over think and analyze so much.  Did Peters mind spin at a million miles a minute too?   He did try to walk on water later on.. he did take his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.  He doubted.  Jesus reached out for him though.  Jesus helped him in this time of doubt.  He would later go on to refuse Jesus to wash his feet.  He was hardly what we would see as a stable rock.  While its a wonderful thing that the church isnt built on this rock, but the rock of Christ (Acts 4:11, 1 Corinthians 3:11), Peter was the first one to take the gospel to the gentiles (Acts 1) and confessed that Jesus Christ was the Son of the Living God.  He set an example, even though it was messy as a lot of our walks can be, in the end He did fullfill his purpose in Christ and did end up becoming a rock for Christ, immovable and bringing the gospel... till he was killed for Christ (John 21:18-19), bringing glory to God.  He lived up to his name in the end. 

This passage did bring me hope in that moment that even though I can waver, that the more I spend time with Christ, that I can stand firm as well and fullfil my purpose in Christ, whatever that may be.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Embracing Jesus- John 1:36-39

John said even he wasn't worthy to untie the sandals of Christ in John 1:27, and yet this Jesus, this amazing Jesus came to him, and to many, and comes to each of us when we call, none of us worthy, but he is more than willing.

My first "Embracing Jesus One Red Letter Paragraph At A Time" scripture came to a bit of a surprise to me.  I had not even opened my Bible before I decided to do this to see what I would read first , I did not decide which of the accounts I would use, but I opened to John,  so I will be using John.

The first red letters I found were on the second page in my Bible in the book of John.  And as I read them, I smiled and laughed.   In the notorious words of myself  "I literally LOL'd."

John 1:36-39 (NIV)

When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!".  When the two disciples heard him say this they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked "What do you want?"  They said "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"  "Come" he replied, "and you will see."  

This makes me think of all sorts of things, but the first thing that came to my mind is the simplicity of Christ in this moment.  His first words He spoke to them were "come".  He did not give them a list of reasons why, but just "come".  He did not ask them about their history, their backgrounds, who were their friends, or anything like that.  He did not ask if they were perfect, if they had life figured out, he just told them to "come"

I am literally sitting back in my chair trying to elaborate on this and I simply cant.  I have gotten more out of this four letter word than in a million reads I have done lately,  as I discovered Him speak it to them on these pages and to me that I can only sit in awe.  They wanted to know where Jesus was staying... and when I read that I wanted to answer it for them for their future "In you!"  But He had not told them that, He was still flesh walking across the dirt.  He did not have a permanent residence, until He rose and filled His believers up with Himself and this was long after He spoke these words.  Our bodies become His temple, His resting place.  He was about to show them that and so much more.  Goosebumps.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Embracing Jesus. One Red Letter Paragraph At A Time

Over the past little while you may have noticed that I am trying to embark outward into a new bold crazy mysterious journey in my faith.  To really try to get my feet firmly planted again.  I feel for too long it has been a wishy washy in my journey with Christ.

While I know I love Jesus.  Like..I LOVE JESUS.  God is on my mind more than anything all day, I feel as though I need a jolt.  

I have claimed this journey as my own, hand in hand with Christ... sometimes though I start seeking the hands of others, and their Jesus thoughts... let me explain.

While I decided long ago I would avoid debating the crazy stuff, the tough things in Christianity that cause more division than unity,  now I face another delima.  That because I try not to let this stuff get to me, I have now sought after other people who have felt the same way- who are standing firm hands raised sending out a cry of joy saying "this is my journey, not yours, and He will guide me, not you." 

Now in searching for these people, I find myself reading their thoughts and while sometimes I sit at my computer screen or the book I am reading and screaming YES!! I also find myself comparing my journey to theirs, as if to say 'oh well she thinks this way but is seeking Him in a similar way to me.. maybe I am wrong."  I have even changed my mind about something I was so sure about because someone elses journey and that opinion they had was so convincing, then I fall down broken.

See how that can get messy?  No one has EVER told me to think this way, infact, I have always had very supportive people in my walk with Jesus, who have really shown me Christ can approach us in different ways, and they have always been supportive.  Where these thoughts and ideas of how I see the world came from I dont exactically know, but I know that it can at times hinder my walk with Jesus.

So tonight I laid in bed with our three year old and his spiderman and decided I needed to spend less time in the opinions of others, even if they are similar to mine.  That perhaps I just need to not be so involved in social media discussions, or blogging discussions... That I need to really unplug from even community online in order to seek Christ and know who I am in Him.   Im thirsty and hungry, I am weary.  Jesus says to me "come to

His words can anchor me

It never comes down to what church body you attend, or how you define a certain aspect of scripture.  It never comes down to if you worship with your hands held high or you sit quietly in your seat.  It never comes down to if you are shy in your walk or you scream it from the rooftops 

It never comes down to anything but Christ.

When I start to feel confused, its never His fault.  Its the fault of me seeking Him through the wrong avenues.  Im not saying that reading blogs are wrong, or to hear people's testimonies are wrong.  If we never heard a persons testimony, we wouldnt have the New Testament.  I LOVE hearing about a persons relationship with Jesus Christ.  What I am saying is that in order for me to firmly plant myself in Him (again and again), it has to be from Him.  From His breath, from His words.  If these avenues I am seeking at the end of the day are not making me feel more strengthened in my faith then why right now do I spend so much time seeking Him on them?  God is not the author of confusion.  He said that. 

I have decided to start a blog post "series" entitled "Embracing Jesus. One Red Letter Paragraph At A Time".  This is not to convince anyone to see things my way.  This is not for anyone to think I am a Biblical Scholar, or have it all figured out. 

This is my goal: To take each paragraph that is in those beautiful red letters, the words of Christ Himself, and to meditate on them.  To see what He wants to say to me in that section of scripture.  To write it down and to really discuss it with Him.  To not move on from that scripture until He says.  I want to share them here on my blog, not so someone would ever want to compare their walk with Christ with mine because I think when we do that, since I have done that so often, we miss out on the hugeness of Christ. 

I want it to be a time of intimacy, of thought and meditation, prayer and excitement.  To rediscover Christ over again in a way I havent before. 

So here I go...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Multitudes of Gifts 426-445

This past week has been a week of renewal, bliss, joy, happiness, over and beyond what I asked for.  God gave me revelation and peace and laughter and I am so thankful for all that has gone on. Finding God's blessings in the simple and overlooked, having a peace that surpasses anything the world could give. 

426- summer plans falling into place for the kids
427- neighbours boy warming up to Dylan, wrestling matches in the early morning
428- insanly busy loud dinner times, God showing me things through it.
429- quick visits for icecream and hotwings at the inlaws
430- late night visit to the splash pad
431- Gods perfect plan laid out for each of us, each unique before the earth was even formed
432- Mark 10
433- snuggling a ten pound one month old baby. (which is a newborn for me lol)
434- false labour, trusting God through each moment as contractions were timed, midwives were called, and baths were had... only panicked for a slight moment.  Thank You Lord for allowing Tehillah to stay in there.
435- curry
436- witnessing and recording my cousin eating the hottest chicken wings she has ever encountered.  Then autotuning it with an app on my phone and laughing histarically.  That was a fun day
437- six years of marraige
438-  anniversary dinner and movie with my husband.  Fun hillarious evening.
439-  cake
440-Reading a new book that makes me get goosebumps, excited and joyful for Jesus.  Like hearing of Christ for the first time all over again
441-  Sleepless nights, thinking about God, excited, happy and thrilled.  Renewed revelations. Loving the journey
442-  Trying to convince our three year old our bed just isnt the cool place to sleep anymore.  Transition is hard, but even learning through this.
443-  Walks down in our neighbourhood paths with friends.  Encountering a deer and being totally thankful for the moment.  While people say we live in the "ghetto" of our city when I get out there all I see is peace and love and happiness.  Im home. 
444- Not overcomplicating or making Jesus a stressful thing. 
445- belly explosions.  I popped more than I thought I could pop! HA! 8 more weeks to go.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My name is Candace and Im an overcomplicator

I make faith complicated sometimes.  I made God complicated sometimes.  I make Christianity complicated sometimes.  My walk with God has been my own.  I claim it.  But I definatly have not made it easy on myself. 

When I see God in His creation,  When I hear God in music, when I see God in the littlest things in life and see that joy overflowing into all around.  When I feel His Spirit surround me during worship or in the still of an evening as the wind blows over my sheets.  When that feeling that comes over me when someone is speaking truth and I KNOW its from God Himself, when I know Im reading that part of Scripture and as the words speak life into my heart I know those words are for me in that moment.... I give thanks but its not long before my mind wants to overcomplicate.  Perhaps its the way of the enemy trying to steal the simple things God blesses me with.  Too often I find myself knealing down asking, begging God to return to me what was lost, and generally its those little things I have totally disregarded as I have sunk myself into a big huge people mess that I dont believe Jesus ever intended us to seek.

My name is Candace and Im an overcomplicator

I read an amazing blog post that was titled Jesus is Not A System the other day.  And I started to think about how systematic I have made God in the past.  Not by anyones fault but my own.  I think our world makes things out to be so complicated and yet Jesus wasn't overly complicated. But because we are sometimes taught by society that "its complicated", Jesus becomes complicated too.  He spoke love, He shared that love and relationship was the easiest and most and only sufficient way to the Father. 

I started to fear for my children.  Will they ever overcomplicate Christ?  Will they ever try and systematically make Him work?  How can a person force another person, who is God to "work" .  His ways are so much more infinate than our ways.  Will they always just embrace and trust and walk with such knowing that He is their best friend?  Will they spend hours and hours online reading a million different opinions on who Jesus was (like I have) instead of just being still and knowing who He is to them?  Jesus never rushes and yet everything is accomplished

Will they settle for "this is good enough" or hunger for Him daily?

I would never wish upon my children an "easy" faith per say.  I would never want them to just skip through their walk.  Trials are important and testing is important and searching is so important.  But to overcomplicate even that?  No way.  A trial is a trial, a test is a test for Gods purposes.  To search for Christ is to find something new about Him.  Is it possible to embrace even in these times? If so I wish this for them. I wish this even for myself to be honest.  I think embrace is my new favorite word.  To embrace Christ in everything, and to not complicate Him.   Can that be my new motto?

Perhaps the boys espeically will follow their Dad in their walk with Christ.  My husband doesn't complicate Jesus.  He reads who Jesus was, and is and thats it.   Theres no contemplating about anything.  Its "This is Jesus."  Its so pure and simple and beautiful.  And its funny because God blesses Him just as much as He does me, the one who has spent hours trying to "figure it out" or have peoples opinions figuring it out for me. 

I never want Jesus to be a stressor to my children. 

I want them to embrace.  I want to embrace.  Because friends embrace eachother.  And thats a very awesome part of Jesus.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thankyou for six years...(for Dylan)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18

To Dylan
Six years ago today I took you as my husband. We've had ups and downs (and a lot of children! LOL), but God has always had a perfect plan for our lives and He reveals it to us daily as we walk this earth together.

Thankyou for being a providing loving husband who works hard and makes us laugh hard.  Thank you for being  yourself when the world wants to change you, when people come up against you.  Thank you for being my helper and thankyou for being an amazing father to our three children.  Thank you for also being willing to let me carry this "one more" that we have trusted God with that is growing in my womb. 

Thankyou for going to the store to get me frosters at 10pm. Thankyou for texting me first thing in the morning while at work to say good morning and that you love me.  Those little things and all the other things mean so much to me.

Thankyou for hugging me while Im having a hormonal meltdown over a silly commercial on tv.  Thankyou for listening to my rants and raves.  Thankyou for always pointing me to God when I dont know what to do.  You make Him so very uncomplicated and I appreciate you for that. 

Thankyou for being you, even when it means you are saying something that I would rather smack your arm in a "I cant believe you just said that way".  Thankyou for not trying to be a man you are not, because I fell inlove with you and I am happy you have always stayed you.

Plus you have a nice bum. And I guess I can thank your Mom and Dad for that ;)

Love always and forever
Your wife of six years,