Jars, the final episode.

Have you had your fill of jars yet? One more post today about these wonderful and boring items. Let’s look at John 2:1-11

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”

This is an interesting story about Jesus just coming onto the scene with a big-time miracle. He even said that it was not his time to be revealed. But I don’t want to focus on that part of this story. As you may have guessed, let’s focus on the jars.

There were six jars. Huge jars. They were nearby. I am not sure what they had been used for in the past but at the present time, they were empty. Not being used.

Jesus said to fill the jars. First point to us: Jesus might want to use something in our lives that is, presently, empty and not being used.

What is in your life that is collecting dust? I am not specifically referring to an item but something more like a talent or ability. Do you sing? Maybe you are an artist of some sort. Can you build stuff with your hands? These things and so many more are like the jars from the story. We have them nearby. They are empty but may have been used at another time. Listen, is Jesus asking for the jars?

So they filled them to the brim. Second point to us: Whenever Jesus is asking something, go full tilt. Do it all the way. 

20 to 30 gallons. That is a lot of water. Even half of that would have been a lot. But the servants filled the jars all the way to the top. I think Jesus would have turned the water into wine regardless of how much water was in the jars. That is my view. So, why not fill them completely?

Whatever God is asking of you, give him your all. Fill your jars to the brim. Maybe even fill them to the point of sacrifice. It may cost you, yes, but it will be worth it all. Like the old song says, “It will be worth it all when we see His face.” From the song entitled “It Will Be Worth it All”

I will end with a question that I am asking myself as much as I am asking you.

What jars is Jesus asking me to fill in my life today?

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Chemistry, Christ, and Colossians

Today is the first day of Lent so I thought I would post my wonderings about it. To do this, I want to make a comparison from the realm of chemistry. Please keep reading even if you hate science! This will worth two minutes of your time. =-)

The Law of the Conservation of Mass states that mass cannot be created or destroyed; it is merely rearranged.

Here is a chemical equation with chemical symbols: CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H2O

Same equation in word form: methane gas + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water

Again but in picture form:

conservation of mass 3

If you look at all the atoms, they are the same on both sides of the equation. There are four different substances but the amount of matter is the same.


 

Now let’s take a look at the idea of giving up chocolate for Lent. Fred is pretend. I am using Fred as an example so anybody named Fred is not to be directly associated with this post. =-)

Fred has 100 units of energy to spend each day of his life. These 100 units can be divided up however he wants to divide them. Fred really likes chocolate. He devotes 10 units of energy to chocolate. Thinking, buying, making and the eating of chocolate takes up 10 units of the 100 units that Fred has each day. The other 90 units are spent on everything else. Fred is disciplined so he only devotes 10 units for chocolate. Never more and never less. For Lent, Fred decides that he will give up chocolate. It will be difficult be he thinks he can do it. Now, he has all 100 units of energy to delegate to whatever he wants. Just because he always gave 10 units for chocolate does not mean that he loses those 10 units when he gives up chocolate. He has 100 units and will always have 100 units to spend. This is the law of the conservation of mass working in his life.

Let’s see if we can put this all together.

I can pursue God however I would like. Reading my Bible, praying, going to church, worshipping, or having coffee with another believer are all ways I can do this. I have the same amount of time that everyone else has. There may be a myriad of ways to spend it but it is there everyday. For Lent, the idea is that I am supposed to give up something. Great! But now what do I do with the extra time I have? Fred has 10 units of energy (that he used to spend on chocolate) that he gets to spend on some other thing. Maybe he will read or write or play a board game.

If I give up something, what will I do in place of that thing?


 

Whatever you are doing this Lenten season, I hope it helps you to draw closer to God. If you need to fast or give something up for these weeks leading to Easter, than do it. Make an effort to find God in a new way. I think Lent is about clearing the clutter and listening for our Lord. Whatever actions that means for you, awesome.

Remember the law of the conservation of mass. You will spend your effort on something so you might as well make it something great.

Colossians 3:17 says “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

 

Jars, pt. 3

Have you ever been at the end of your rope? Has life beat you up and left you for dead? Mistakes are all too common in my life. We are messed up.

Following God can be tough. The problems don’t disappear when we get saved. And the stuff of life even make things more difficult at times!

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 gives me hope when I read it. So many times I feel all screwed up and confused. I have little motivation for God. Apathy is all to real. There are moments when I see Jesus and press on. When I pray, there is a real connection, not always but sometimes. But there are times when you or I are at the end of the rope.

 

end_of_rope

I have been writing about jars this month. Today is no different except that the jar is not something that I bring to God so He can fill it.

I am the jar. An earthen jar. A jar of clay.

 

Remember this: a jar is just there to hold something. You and I are the holders of something great!

This is verse 7 of the Corinthians passage: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Let this post be an encouragement to you. Sure, I get it that life sucks and we can make mistakes. But the Word says that “He gives more grace.” James 4:6

 

So be reminded that when you are the end of your rope, you are never out of Hope!

Jars, pt. 2

Last week I started a series about jars. To catch up, I put the whole story in here.

1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” 3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” 5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” 2 Kings 4:1-7

Verse 6 is a very revealing verse. There are some applications to be made.

1. “When all the jars were full…” The widow was obedient to the instruction given to her.

2. “Bring me another…” The widow was not content with what she had. There was more.

3. “There is not a jar left…” God had met here needs.

4. “Then the oil stopped flowing” No more jars meant no more oil.

This is what really struck me. God has “oil” for me. The Holy Spirit is that oil. God living in me. The power and grace I need to live everyday for Him is right here. So my job is to bring empty jars for God to fill.

The jar of my marriage.

The jar of my kids.

The jar of my church.

The jar of my fears.

The jar of my insecurities.

The jar of my mistakes.

The jar of my…

So as long as I keep bringing these jars, the oil will keep flowing.

What jars do you have for God today?

widow oil

Jars, pt. 1

Today, I opened a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly. I put sandwiches in my kids’ lunch. Did you open a jar today? Jars are common today and were common in Bible times. In and of themselves, they had no special or holy function. They just hold stuff.

2 Kings 4:1-7 provides a wonderful little story about the prophet Elisha and a widow and some jars. I won’t put the whole story here but click here and have the text open while you read this post. I will be referring back to it many times.

The story opens with a widow and her two sons that are in a terrible predicament. The husband has died and now the two boys are about to be taken into slavery to pay off the debt. Not good. And that is just verse 1!

Verse 2. The prophet asks the widow what she has in the house. Her response seems honest enough, “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha tells the widow to collect as many jars as she can. Ask the neighbors. Hit up everyone in town. Many jars were collected. Then the mother took her boys, the jars, and the little oil that they had and went into a room by themselves. Insert a miracle here. This part is in verses 3-5.

The oil kept flowing. Just as a jar would fill up, the mother asked for another one and the boys would remove the full one and bring an empty one. Can you see this little family working in that room as the oil kept flowing? Then, as verse 6 says, the mother asked for another jar and the son said there were no more jars. Then the oil stopped flowing.

Here is what I feel God revealed to me. May you be encouraged as I was.

  1. We all have problems that can be bigger than ourselves. They can overwhelm us.
    1. The widow cried out to Elisha.
    2. We can cry out to God.
  2. Even when we seem to have nothing, we have something.
    1. The widow had a small jar of oil.
    2. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. That is enough.
  3. When we think we are alone, we are not really alone.
    1. The neighbors helped the widow by giving jars.
    2. There are people in our lives that God has put there to help.
  4. As long as there are jars, the oil will flow.
    1. For the widow, the oil only stopped when the jars stopped.
    2. The Holy Spirit will flow as long I keep bringing jars to be filled.

Let those thoughts sink in until next week.jars-of-clay