Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Jesus at the Wedding

Recently I read this delicious little portion of ministry and I’ve been meaning to share it. It’s from a book on prayer and the portion I enjoyed is a commentary on the story in John chapter 2, when the Lord went to the wedding in Cana and changed the water into wine. If you’re not familiar with the story, basically it goes like this – Jesus is invited to a wedding, along with his mother and disciples. While they’re there, the wine runs out and Jesus’ mother comes and tells Him that there is no wine, obviously wanting Him to do something about the situation. His answer to her is “Woman, what do I have in this that concerns you? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) I was always quite puzzled by this reply. To me, it kind of sounded like something a teenager with attitude would say to his mom. Anyways, Mary obviously didn’t get the hint and goes ahead and tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says. He gives them instructions to fill the water pots with water and then to draw some and take it to the master of the feast. Upon drinking it, the master of the feast declares that wine to be better than the previous one.

So here’s the portion I enjoyed:

Marriage is the center of human life, and a wedding feast represents the pleasure of human life. The Lord came to the earth and entered into us in order to become the center of our human life and the pleasure of our human life. He did not come to ignore us or to be unconcerned with our affairs. He came to bear responsibility for our affairs. However, as a prerequisite, we must hand all authority over to Him and give Him full liberty.

The fact that the wine ran out means that something central and crucial was missing at the wedding feast. Since the Lord was there, He was surely interested in the feast. He would not stand by without doing something. Nevertheless, Mary, the Lord’s mother in the flesh, a person who represents us in our way of contacting the Lord, went to the Lord to propose that He do something. She did this with good intentions. In contacting the Lord we must beware that our intentions should not go before His intentions. (The Meaning and Purpose of Prayer, p 41)

First of all, I was encouraged that Jesus was at the wedding. I’m sure He was busy, teaching, preaching and healing people. But He took time out to go to this wedding, to be involved in something so common to human life. He wants to be involved in, is concerned with, and even wants to bear responsibility for all our human affairs. He didn’t skip out and say, “Sorry I have more important things to do, I’m here to carry out God’s will on the earth.” Yes, He’s here to carry out God’s will, but He does that by entering into our situations so that when we realize the “wine” has run out, He’s there to give us the better wine.

Secondly, because He’s concerned and wants to bear responsibility for our affairs, there’s no need for us to direct Him. Like Mary, I’m often quick to direct the Lord when I sense there’s a need in a certain situation. I pray for the Lord to do something and even offer Him proposals and advice on how He should do it. But His response to Mary at that wedding is clear indication that He doesn’t need our proposals or counsel. He knows our need better than we do and He has His timing and His way to meet it. We just need to stop directing, start listening and do whatever He says. If He says to fill the water pots to the brim, then amen, that’s what I’ll do, even though I don’t see how that helps the situation. If we all could learn this lesson when it comes to everything that concerns us – our marriage life, family life, work life, church life – I think there would so many more opportunities for the Lord to change our water into wine.

Capsuling My Wardrobe

I’m sure you all have noticed the term “wardrobe capsules” being thrown around in social media lately. It’s a movement that is quickly gaining momentum. For the uninitiated, it’s basically paring down your wardrobe to a small limited number of versatile items and working with that for a whole season (meaning not shopping). I was skeptical at first. You all know where I stand when it comes to the state of my wardrobe. But I thought I’d give it a try and now…I’m a wardrobe capsule convert.

One post I read advised that you have to begin by taking EVERYTHING out of your closet and then only put back in what you love. So that’s where I started.

photo 1

After going through every piece, only one-third of what was in the closet made it back in. I moved some winter coats to the closet in the kids’ room and everything else got put in boxes for Goodwill. Now I had a closet that was two-thirds empty.

Next, I attacked my dresser drawers. Same thing as with the closet, everything got pulled out and was carefully scrutinized. All shirts I wanted to keep got hung up in the closet. I fit all my undergarments, pajamas, and work out clothes in one drawer and pants and shorts in another, freeing up a whole drawer for my husband to use. Now this is what my closet looks like.

 photo 2

I thought that after getting rid of all the stuff I didn’t love, I’d have to go shopping to actually build my capsule. But in the clearing out process, I happily discovered clothes I forgot I’d had, crammed in the back of the closet, buried in the bottom of my drawers. So it was kind of like going shopping in my own closet. Now all the clothes I would actually wear are all out in plain view, which makes getting dressed in the mornings so much easier and faster.

Finally…a fashion trend that has actually made my life easier and that didn’t even cost me a cent. Wish all fashion trends were like that.

March Check-In

Whoa, it’s March? How did that happen? It can’t be possible that we’re already three months into the new year! Back in January I designated March as a time that I would check in with how my flight plan for this new year is coming along. (By the way, thanks to all of you who commented on that post with encouraging words!  It makes me realize that I’m not flying solo!) Anyways, as a way to keep myself accountable, I’ll share with you all how I’m doing so far.

Speak more kindly to my family

This one’s still a work in progress, but I must say that being more conscious of how I speak to my husband and children has made a marked difference in the atmosphere in our home. There has definitely been less yelling on my part. It has also engendered some good conversations between CC and me about how we should speak to one another. Sometimes he’ll remind me to say please or tell me he doesn’t like my tone (oh these kids!). The shouting matches of old have now become more like spirited debates, so that’s a good thing.

Learn how to study the word

So far I’ve been pretty consistent with my two Life-study messages a week. I’ve designated Tuesday and Thursday afternoons when Turner’s napping as my “study time.” I actually really look forward to that one quiet hour when I can sit down with a cup of tea and my Bible. I’ve definitely felt more spiritually supplied this year as a result of these weekly tea times with God.

20150306-145256.jpg

Make plans to travel

Larry and I had big plans to go to Europe in May, but after talking it over we’ve decided that trip might have to wait until the summer of next year. So I’ll be putting that in my flight plan for 2016. That doesn’t mean we won’t be doing any traveling this year though. In a few weeks our family will be embarking on a grand road trip to Phoenix, AZ with a whole bunch of college students. And this summer my in-laws are spoiling the boys (and us) with a Disney cruise to Alaska! We’ll leave from Vancouver, so the new passports we got for the boys for our Europe trip will come in handy after all.

Start a regular neighborhood children’s meeting in our home

This one has been the most challenging item for me this year, but also the one I feel like God has blessed the most so far. I started a time with my boys once a week on Wednesday afternoons. We sing some songs, I’ll tell a short Bible story or character lesson, and then a simple craft. A friend o f mine started coming with her toddler son, and even though he was a little young to understand everything, it was nice to have more people come. CC started asking me why more kids didn’t come and so I started to pray with him at night about it. We’d pray for the Lord to bring his friends (and for his mom to have the boldness to invite them). After a couple months of it just being the three boys, I started to get a little discouraged, but a sister who had already established a meeting like this in her home just encouraged me to keep going. Two weeks ago I happened to bump into the mom of one of CC’s classmates when I went to pick him up at school and she and her son and baby daughter ended up all coming over to our place for an impromptu play date. We talked over tea and I told her about this weekly time I have with the kids and asked if her son would like to come and she said yes! So for the last two weeks I’ve been picking CC and his friend up at school and bringing them back here to have our children’s meeting. I still need a lot of help in learning how to get rowdy boys to sing and listen, but at least they all seem to enjoy the time. My faith was strengthened when I prayed with my son last night and he said, “Thank you Lord for answering our prayer and bringing Jakob to children’s meeting!”

030415

photo 2

Speak the gospel to at least one person

This hasn’t quite happened yet…but I’m learning to just speak to people. The other day I struck up a conversation with a woman behind me in line at the grocery store, who also happened to be a stay-at-home mom. I ended up giving her a ride home because she didn’t have a car and we found out we had a lot in common. Anyways, I’m learning to step out of my shell and open my mouth more. Although I haven’t spoken the gospel ‘per se’ to anyone yet, I feel like there has definitely been opportunities when I’ve been able to speak my enjoyment of the Lord to others. The year is far from over, so I’ll still be praying for this.

How’s your flight plan for this year going so far?

Come, Go, Come

IMG_1027

I recently came across this awesome portion in my random times of ministry reading –

The entire New Testament involves these two words: come and go. The New Testament involves coming, and it also involves going. To come is to receive grace, and to go is to impart grace into people. By our coming and going, we will eventually express a desire to the Lord. We will say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 2:20). Therefore, the second “come” is connected to the Lord’s coming again. Hence, the entire New Testament is concerning these three words: come, go, and come…May the Lord strengthen both our coming and our going. If we daily come to the Lord in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, we will surely go and testify to people. The issue of such coming and going is that we desire and yearn for the Lord to come back. (The Age of The One New Man, Witness Lee, pp. 56-57)

I love how this passage summarizes so simply the essence of the New Testament and of our Christian life. Our Christian life should just involve these three actions – we come to the Lord, we go to people, and then we yearn for the Lord to come. So simple, yet if we’re faithful to live a life like this, it will be one filled with joy, meaning, and purpose. The Lord has been touching me lately to step out of my comfort zone and to go visit people I normally don’t see on a regular basis. People that I haven’t seen in the church meetings in a while, new people that I’ve met at the church meetings, other stay at home moms that I might not know so well, basically anyone that the Lord would put in my heart. Often the Lord will bring a person to my mind, and yes, while I’m faithful to mention these ones in prayer when that happens, sometimes the Lord will nudge me to go a step farther…text them to see how they’re doing, invite them over for tea, or just drop by for a visit. I usually am not that good in obeying those nudges, but the more I come to the Lord, the more I’m learning to be one with Him in His sending. And when I do obey, the supply of life just flows and my joy is truly made full.

May you all have a blessed week of comings and goings! Come to the Lord continually to receive grace and go with that grace to whomever the Lord would send you. If we would all do this, I believe there would be the corporate cry within us all of “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Mornings in our house

This is what I wish happens at our house every morning:

I wake up promptly at 6am, well before the kids, refreshed after a good night’s sleep. I spend an hour with the Lord while sipping my freshly brewed coffee. After being energized physically and spiritually, I walk (while humming) to the boys’ room and gently wake them up saying, “Good morning darlings, it’s time to get up and get ready.” They rub their sleepy eyes and respond, “Good morning, mother,” and immediately start getting themselves dressed without me having to tell them. I go into the kitchen and make us all a balanced breakfast. We sit down to breakfast as a family, Daddy kisses us all goodbye and leaves for work, and I walk both kids leisurely to the bus stop.

This is more like what happens at our house every morning:

The boys break into our room around 7am, screaming and laughing. They jump into our bed and I dream that I’m being ambushed by the enemy. I finally kind of wake up only to see a 24lb toddler straddling my stomach and jumping up and down trying to ride me like a horsey. With every jump he screams, “Mama, I want ‘nack!” (Translation: Mama, I want snack!) I manage to roll off the bed unhurt, leaving Larry to deal with the two jumping monkeys. I go into the kitchen to tend to the first order of business, boiling water for my morning coffee. The kids come into the kitchen and I try to make them eat breakfast, but they’re too busy arguing about who gets to press down the plunger on my French press. I kick myself for teaching them the verse, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first,” because now they quote it to each other and to me when they argue. I soon tire of refereeing the shouting match and send them to their room to get dressed even though they’re only half done with breakfast. Larry tries to kiss me goodbye, but I’m too irritated to kiss him back. I sit in the kitchen and savor my coffee in my one minute of peace. As I’m sipping, I look over at the clock and….oh no, only 15 minutes until the bus comes! I go in to check on the kids and they’re lounging around naked in their room. I get Turner dressed and make repeated threats to CC to get some clothes on. After the 10th time, he finally complies. I throw some lunch into his lunch box, some clothes on myself, and leave the house teeth unbrushed, hair uncombed. CC races down the sidewalk on his scooter with me following with Turner in the stroller at breakneck speed until we get to the bus stop. Thankfully, the bus isn’t always on time and the kids have time to play a few rounds of hide and seek with the other boy waiting there before the yellow school bus pulls up. Turner and I wave goodbye to CC and walk leisurely home where I have a second chance to begin the day again in the right way.

What do mornings look like at your house?

20150131-091044.jpg

Fixing the stop sign

Fixing the stop sign

20150131-091133.jpg

winter retreat

This past weekend we were with some students from the Christians on Campus club at UC Berkeley for a weekend retreat in Sacramento. We have this retreat every winter as a way to kick off and prepare for the new semester. We went over some messages on the book of Exodus and I so enjoyed our times of eating the word together. As we prayed over the verses, the Lord was really faithful to speak to and through each person there.

I particularly enjoyed two verses concerning the manna, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

Then Jehovah said to Moses, I will now rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day… (Exodus 16:4)

This is the bread which came down out of heaven, not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread shall live forever. (John 6:58)

In the book of Exodus, God performed many miracles for the children of Israel, but only one miracle lasted 40 years. For 40 years while they were in the wilderness, God rained down bread from heaven for them to eat. Can you imagine that? Every morning little pieces of bread rained down from heaven and this was the only food that sustained them for 40 years! In the gospel of John, the Lord Jesus is referring to Himself when He says, “this is the bread which came down out of heaven…” He is the real manna and He came down out of heaven not as a king to rule us outwardly, but as little pieces of bread to feed us inwardly. If we eat of Him as this bread, we will also live because of Him (John 6:57).

Just as the children of Israel, we believers today have the opportunity to experience this long term miracle every day. Every morning there is living bread raining down upon us, but we have to be faithful to gather our portion for that day. To do that, it’s as simple as reading a few verses a day and really chewing on them and taking them in as our spiritual food. As we do this, God has the way to change our diet and reconstitute our being.

The forecast for today and the day after and the day after is manna. Don’t forget to go out and gather your day’s portion everday!

My Flight Plan for 2015

I know it’s a little late for a new year’s post, but here goes anyway.

A few days before the end of the year I was lamenting to Larry in the car how I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything in the past year. Yes, it was a busy year for us and there were plenty of things that we did, but looking back I just didn’t feel like there was much progress or growth with me personally. He reminded me that our growth in life is in the realm of faith and often not that noticeable and that being self-introspective will just lead me down a path to nowhere, which is all very true. So instead of introspecting, I’ve been trying to do more reflecting about 2014. I realized that much of the reason I felt like I didn’t accomplish much was because I hadn’t set clear goals (or I might have set goals but neglected to write them down, so they were forgotten by March).

Larry related to me a story yesterday that he had heard from someone else about two pilots of a commercial airline. They were in the plane, ready to go except for the fact that they had no flight plan. So they decided to take off anyway and wing it (no pun intended) and somehow figure it out when they were in the air. After 20 minutes in the air, they realized how ridiculous that idea was and turned back around to land. That’s kind of how I feel at the beginning of this year. I’ve gotten pretty good at maintenance, making sure fuel is filled and all systems are a go, but I don’t know where I’m going or even where I want to go. So instead of flying around aimlessly for another year just enjoying the ride, I think I’m going to turn around and land. It’s the 5th of January, CC is back in school and Larry is back at work. Turner is playing at a friend’s house. Today seemed like a perfect time for me to take a little pit stop and make myself a flight plan for this coming year.

I won’t share all my goals with you, but I will share some in the hopes that it’ll make me more accountable. Some are personal goals and some are related to our family. For those of you out there who actually read my posts, feel free to check up on me mid-year (or next week!). The more encouragement I can get, the better. Here goes some of my goals for 2015, in no particular order:

Speak more kindly to my family

Ok, confession time. I never thought I would be a yeller, but I am. I would never yell at my kids in public (because I’m too worried about what other people will think of me), but at home, when no one’s around, I yell. And I nag. Now I’m starting to reap the fruit of all that yelling and it’s not pretty. I see how my boys get into each other’s faces when they’re mad, screaming ugly words at one another and the truth starts to hit home. That’s exactly what mama does when she gets angry. Maybe I don’t say ugly words to them, but the tone, the facial expressions, the attitude is ugly. So I’m going to do my best to work on this – to speak kindly, politely, not in anger. I want to model to my kids what it means to “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

Learn how to study the word

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been trying to work my way through the Life-study of the Bible. Last year I finished the Life-study of Genesis and started the Life-study of Exodus. Even though it has been good, I realized most of the time I read it very superficially just to get through without much retention. So this year I want to try slowing down a bit and just read two messages a week. And instead of reading it on my ipad while lying in bed half asleep, I’d like to dedicate some time in my schedule to sit down and really study what I’m reading. Hopefully by doing this, my Truth Tuesday posts will become more consistent.

Make plans to travel

As Larry and I reviewed the past year, both of us agreed that our trip to the east coast was one of the most memorable things for 2014. So this year we’d like to make time for another family adventure, maybe this time not just across the country, but across the ocean. It has long been our dream to go to Europe together. Any tips on traveling in Europe with small children would be much appreciated.

Start a regular neighborhood children’s meeting in our home

I’ve been considering this and praying about this for awhile and I feel like this year I just need to go ahead and try it. I realized that outside of the two hours on Sunday morning, my kids don’t really get much directed moral education. We have so many meetings in our home – prayer meetings, Bible studies, small group meetings – this year, I’d like my kids to have a meeting that’s just for them and that they can invite their friends to. I’m not sure what we’ll do in this time, probably just some simple Bible stories, lessons on character, singing, and crafts. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Speak the gospel to at least one person

I’m setting the bar pretty low on this one because it’s something that’s always been a struggle for me. I so want preaching the gospel to be a normal part of my daily life and not an arduous, burdensome, insurmountable thing. I know there’s a particular joy in flowing the Lord out to people and I don’t want to miss out on that joy this year.

These are just some of my goals for this year. Even if the flight plan needs to be altered here and there as we go along, at least I feel like I kind of know where I’m going.

What are some of your goals for 2015? Whatever your flight plan for this year is, happy flying!

Lisa-Jo Baker

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

Vitafamiliae

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

Here in the Lovely Woods

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

The Art of Simple

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

tsh oxenreider

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

tuesday snippets

tuesdays aren't as sneaky as mondays.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 618 other followers