THE SITUATION

Jesus’ first miraculous sign was at a wedding in a town called Cana (John 2). Jesus, his mom and his disciples were invited to the celebration. We have to keep in mind that weddings those days involved the whole community. It wasn’t just the couples’ event but the community’s event as well.

The most embarrassing thing was about to happen. The reception ran out of wine. In an honor-shame culture, this was a major concern. The family could lose influence, reputation and position in society.

Shame was about to take over until Jesus stepped into the situation.

THE SIGN

Mary brought up the concern to her son and told the servants to do whatever He says. Jesus asked the servants to fill six stone water jars with water to the brim.

It is important to note that when Jesus performs a miracle, He makes sure that it’s complete to the brim. He makes everything complete, perfect and beautiful in His time.

When the master of the feast tasted the wine, he was so impressed with the superior quality for usually, it’s the best that is brought out first and when the guests have had lots, then they bring out the next best. But in this instance, they seemed to save the best for last.

When we walk with Christ, our relationship with Him gets better and sweeter each and every day. I didn’t say circumstances are always great, but because we are in Christ, our relationship will get better and sweeter each and every day.

Proverbs 4:18 tells us that

With Christ, the best is always yet to come!

THE SIGNIFICANCE

What Jesus did averted the potential shame the couple and their family. Jesus rescued them from certain and costly shame and in effect restored their honor. As it turned out, Jesus would do all the work only for someone else to get the credit for His work.

The people had no clue where the wine came from.
The master of the feast had no clue where it came from.
The bride and groom had no clue either.
But what Jesus performed, someone else got the credit for.
That’s the work of the gospel.

And the shame, Jesus averted.
And to this day, Jesus continues to redeem us from shame.


Things that we did or done to us.

Abuse.
Words that caused pain.
Immorality.
Deeds that offend.
Thoughts that hurt.

But all that, Jesus took upon Himself on the cross, suffered for what He didn’t even commit.
Jesus took our shame and replaced it with honor.

As Isaiah 61:7 said,

What we were unable to restore, Jesus does.

As we repent from our sin the Bible promises that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone and the new has come.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You for what You continue to redeem me from. You did not only redeem me from my guilt and sin. You also redeem my life from all the shame and mess ups I’ve experienced. And for that, I am eternally grateful. May my life be a demonstration of gratitude for all You’ve done. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

 


 

I just attended one of the most beautiful weddings.

It wasn’t because it was lavish though it was well executed.
It wasn’t because it was a big wedding though there was a good number that attended.
It wasn’t because the food was extravagant though I’d say it was one of the best I’ve had.
It wasn’t because the venue was posh though it was exquisite.

It was because the presence of God was inexplicably near.

I always tell the couples who are about to get married not to be so anxious about how grand, lavish, posh and chic their wedding should be.

Excellence doesn’t necessarily mean extravagance.

The important ingredient? God’s presence.

You can have a wedding with a price tag of 2M and yet not have that key ingredient while you can have the simplest yet the most amazing because of God’s presence.

The highlight for me was Ina’s vows.

Right after the wedding, I zoomed to the bride and the groom and requested a copy of it because I wanted to share with you what she said.

Here it is…

“Hi Edson, my love! We are finally here.

As in a marathon, we are done with the conditioning, training, and preparation for the beginning of the race. We have reached the starting line. And I am so glad that I am hand in hand with you as we begin this.

As I was reviewing how the bride is defined in the Bible, here’s what I found:
HOLY, PURE and UNBLEMISHED.

I am not any of those, I realized.

But here’s the deal breaker, I can face you now, my head held high … expectant, joyful, and wearing a white dress, only because Someone took my place and on the cross nailed together with Him is all of my dirt.

I can face you as your bride only through Jesus Christ.

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. This is what I hold onto now. I belong to you. I am confident, not in myself or your goodness, but in the help we have.

You know that Jesus first publicly revealed His glory in a wedding… and I am sure He didn’t only do it through the wine. I am confident because our help comes from Jesus. And He has helped make this day glorious. He will be here to make the coming days, weeks, months and years even more glorious.

I have no fear in committing to submit to you, my love, because in you I see a man who puts God first in everything. So now, at our starting point, I vow to:

1. follow where you lead
2. support you in your decisions
3. respect you and put you next to God in my priorities
4. to belong to you and look only to you for comfort
5. to put effort to always be like the bride you married
6. to be always excited to exalt God’s Name with you.

And when the difficult times come, when we feel like it’s too tough to hold on, I’ll be like that gum that is stuck under the desk, or on the sole of your shoe. I’ll stick. I’ll be that but less annoying.

So Edson, my love, I vow to be your bride today and your wife for life.

I love you.”

————-

More pics here by Elain Ojeda.

 

 

I read an article by Kathy Keller, co-author of “The Meaning Of Marriage” with Timothy Keller.

Here’s a excerpt of that article.

—–

There are only three ways an unequal marriage can turn out, (and by unequal I am willing to stretch a point and include genuine, warm Christians who want to marry an in-name-only Christian, or someone very, very far behind them in Christian experience and growth):

1. In order to be more in sync with your spouse, the Christian will have to push Christ to the margins of his or her life. This may not involve actually repudiating the faith, but in matters such as devotional life, hospitality to believers (small group meetings, emergency hosting of people in need), missionary support, tithing, raising children in the faith, fellowship with other believers—those things will have to be minimized or avoided in order to preserve peace in the home.

2. Alternatively, if the believer in the marriage holds on to a robust Christian life and practice, the non-believing PARTNER will have to be marginalized. If he or she can’t understand the point of Bible study and prayer, or missions trips, or hospitality, then he or she can’t or won’t participate alongside the believing spouse in those activities. The deep unity and oneness of a marriage cannot flourish when one partner cannot fully participate in the other person’s most important commitments.

3. So either the marriage experiences stress and breaks up; or it experiences stress and stays together, achieving some kind of truce that involves one spouse or the other capitulating in some areas, but which leaves both parties feeling lonely and unhappy.

Does this sound like the kind of marriage you want? One that strangles your growth in Christ or strangles your growth as a couple, or does both?

Think back to that off-cited passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14 about being “unequally yoked.” Most of us no longer live in an agrarian culture, but try to visualize what would happen if a farmer yoked together, say, an ox and a donkey. The heavy wooden yoke, designed to harness the strength of the team, would be askew, as the animals are of different heights, weights, walk at different speeds and with different gaits. The yoke, instead of harnessing the power of the team to complete the task, would rub and chafe BOTH animals, since the load would be distributed unequally.

An unequal marriage is not just unwise for the Christian, it is also unfair to the non-Christian, and will end up being a trial for them both.

To read the whole article, click here.


I was thinking about my message for the wedding I was going to do tomorrow.

Weddings are fun.  It brings all kinds of emotions – for the bride, the groom, the family, friends, relatives and even those who are walking by the beach to see all the stuff happening as the event unfolds.

While weddings are great, the real prayer is focused on the marriage.  Weddings happen in a day… marriage, a lifetime.

Much of life is about choices.  We can choose to eat breakfast (oh, that’s why my stomach’s growling) or not.  We can choose to be grumpy or cheerful.  We can choose to keep a positive attitude about life or choose to be negative all the time.  You’ve met some of them, I think.

Stepping into a marriage, you will be confronted with lots of choices.

Let me download 3 quick choices we need to make as one decides to tie the proverbial knot:

1. Choose to love.

While it is a wonderful feeling, we all know love is above and beyond just romance.  While your partner will not always be lovable, don’t be deceived.  It’s equally the same if not worse with you.  You will not always be lovable.  You won’t always look, feel and even smell lovable.

Yet when Paul told the church in Ephesus to love the way Jesus loved the church, he was talking about choosing to love without condition. (Ephesians 5:25)

Choose to love not just because, not just inspite… but choose to love.  Period.

2. Choose to forgive.

Because we live in an imperfect world made up of imperfect people, we will all commit dumb things, intentionally or inadvertently.

Forgiveness reboots the ‘system’.  Forgiveness refreshes the ‘browser’.  Forgiveness restarts the relationship.

Relationships go on for years without being fixed.  Why?  People forget to forgive.  We conveniently forget.  We choose only to forgive who we want and when we want.

Col. 3:13 tells us “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Don’t forget to read the last statement.  “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

If God can forgive knuckleheads like us.  I think, we can choose to forgive those who hurt us.  Our spouse included.

3. Choose to enjoy.

I cannot tell you how huge a part humor has played in our marriage.  My wife loves to laugh.  She knows how to enjoy life.  And I thoroughly enjoy being married to her.

The wisest man at that time, King Solomon wrote in Ecc. 9:9,

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love…”

Great stuff.  Wonderful advice.

Someone said, “Pain is inevitable.  But misery is optional.”

You can’t stop bad stuff from happening.  But you can definitely stop misery from camping in your backyard.

I read the story of Michael from the book “LEADING ON EMPTY” by Wayne Cordeiro.  I won’t have space to include that story.  But you will have to read it.  You gotta. It will change your perspective on life.

His story is found in this link.

Life has a way of presenting different choices.  It’s up to us to make those decisions.

But we have had One who exemplified making a tough choice yet followed through.  His motivation?  He so loved that He gave.  So loved us.

Because of that, He chose.