How your tears can be transformed into sweet wine #5 Mary at the Wedding of Cana

AmberOBrien"

 

Oh my dear Sweet Sister…..have you been waiting and hoping for something to change in your life? Are you searching for transformation?  Perhaps you have been praying for a relationship to be healed, a broken heart to be mended or maybe a sickly body to be restored to a healthy one?   Do you feel as if you are walking in a desert place and need hope and refreshment?  Jesus changes water into wine and He can make something beautiful out of whatever you are facing.

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He not only changed the water into wine but He created the sweetest and best wine for the later part of the reception. Come join your sweet sisters in this study and find out how “He saves the Best for last.”

Our focus in this series “Man…..Does Jesus Love His Women” is the close relationship Jesus had with many women in the New Testament.  The story of the Wedding of Cana reveals Jesus first miracle and gives us insight into his relationship with his mother Mary.

Let’s start by reading slowly John 2: 1-12.

Imagine yourself in this scene as Mary. During Biblical times a wedding festival included the entire town and lasted many days and to run out of wine would be an embarrassment to the wedding party as well as a huge disappointment to all who attended. Most people in biblical times labored long hours and had few opportunities for feasting and celebrating.

  1. If you were Mary and had a son who you knew could “change the situation”  ……what would you do?

She came to him and face to face she told him the situation. He questioned her with,“Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come.”

 But she did not give up. She took action and assumed that He would help.  He respected his Mother Mary and let God use her to continue to unfold God’s perfect plan. He listened to her concern. He responded to her.  Isn’t this the give and take of what a true love relationship entails?

  1.   “Do whatever He tells you.”   What kind of statement is this?

This is a statement of faith. A command from our “mother” to follow what God asks us to do. Let us consider what the servants needed to do to follow what Jesus asked them to do.

  1. How did the jars start off  They were Empty.
  2. Then the servants were asked to ? fill them with water ……..the servants had to make numerous trips to the well to fill up the 20-30 gallon stone jars. A total of 100 gallons of water. Wow!

We must become like the stone jars sweet sister.  We must empty ourselves out first before we can be filled with the holy spirit.  We prepare ourselves for the gift of God bubbling up within us with the confessing of our sins and the emptying of ourselves as we surrender our lives to God.   What could the water represent in this story?

Could our tears be as the water that was needed to fill the jars before the miracle occurs?

During desert times of loss and heartache, we cry tears that are precious to the Lord. If fact, in Psalm 56:8 the bible states that God collects our tears in a bottle.

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“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Could these huge stone jars be as the bottle reminding us that Jesus not only weeps with us but is collecting our tears to someday change them into the sweetest and finest wine?

We serve a God that keeps changing things.

He started off in Genesis changing dust into a man.

Then he made a woman out of a man’s rib.

Now at a Wedding in Cana, He changes ordinary water into extraordinary sweet, sweet wine.

To my  sweet sisters, remember that you can draw near to Jesus as Mary did and tell him your situation. Repent and turn from any sin.  Let him collect your tears in His jar and trust that he promises to change your tears to sweet joy. If we draw near to him…the best is yet to be.

(To my Catholic sweet sisters, remember that Mary is now up in Heaven around the throne of God with all the angels and saints.  She has influence still and you can ask for her to pray with you to our Lord Jesus Christ.)

Now please turn to John Ch. 15  to read about how Jesus relates his followers to the grape branches and that He is like a vine.

3. How can we be sure to produce good grapes and wine?

Yes! We need to remain close to Jesus. 

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Reflect on the close relationship Mary had with her son Jesus at this wedding receptions. She spoke her request and then she listened. She encouraged others to follow him as well and to do “Everything He tells you”.

4. What if I feel as if I am in a drought and I don’t see any change happening in my situation or the situation of one of my family members?

Oh. Sweet Sister I understand. I’ve experienced times of drought while grieving.  Maybe you don’t see anything good with loss right now and think this time is just a waste of time and energy. I also have had  times of worry and angst over the choices or the situation of a family member.  I have seen many family members and friends struggle in times of drought and the fear can be overwhelming for those feeling helpless as we watch.

If you or a loved one is in a season of drought imagine the roots of your faith and the faith of your loved ones growing deep and wide under the surface. You can’t see the roots of the grape plant but it is during times of drought and heat that the best grapes are produced. The smaller grapes contain a more condensed juice that in turn produces a sweeter wine.  The Dessert wine (the sweetest wine of all) has been left on the vine an extra month. So if you feel exhausted from waiting, remember the best grapes have to wait the longest and that God has not forgotten you or your situation.

Our desert times can produce the sweetest dessert wine if we choose to remain on the vine.

Truly truly friend….God is able to use a drought to produce sweet wine.

If we listen and follow what He says to do.

If we remain close to Him.

If we have faith as Mary did and assume He wants to help.

  1. What Action can you do to show your faith ?

a. Perhaps writing down three things that you are thankful for.

b. Writing 10 good things about the person who is challenging you.

c. Asking a friend to pray with you. Or for you.

d. Turn on praise music and sing along or just read the words and soak it in.

e. Reach out to someone who is suffering their own desert time….a person whose loss or struggle is more recent.  Trust often means releasing the situation into God’s strong and loving hands and then focusing on helping those God has put in your path.

God is all about transformation and doesn’t waste anything. He even collects our tears and in His own time changes them to the sweetest of wines.  So trust that God will use this desert time to cause your roots of faith to go deep and your future compassion for others will be as sweet as the dessert wine served after a special dinner.

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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

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Man….does Jesus love us women. #2 Woman caught in Adultery

AmberOBrien"

IMG_8191MA31590921-0002#2    The Women who met Mercy (The Women caught in adultery)

Hi Sweet Sister….so glad you could join our discussion as we study another dramatic interaction of Jesus and a woman.

Exposed. She stood alone after being ripped from a bed of passion and placed in front of a crowd of judgmental religious leaders.  She was a pawn used to bring down the meek prophet Jesus.   Imagine yourself in her place as she stands confused, embarrassed, humiliated and scared to death.  Her heart must have raced as her adrenaline rose causing her to seek to “fight or flight”.   However,  she was as trapped as the man Jesus who was writing in the sand.

This unnamed woman did not seek Jesus out as did contemplative Mary (Woman #1) who sat at Jesus’ feet.  She was caught committing Adultery and thrown into a group of religious leaders who were jealous of Jesus and trying to put him into a “no win” position.  Let us study another way that:

Man…………………………..does Jesus love His women. 

Let’s start at the beginning in the Gospel of John chapter 8: 1-11.

  1. Where did Jesus go the night before this dramatic interaction? What do you think Jesus was doing there?

He left his disciples to be alone. Perhaps he was praying for wisdom as to the next days’ events? Spending time with His Father God as Mary modeled for us in Chapter 1?

2. Where is the “Man” caught in Adultery? Does the law require the man to be stoned as well?

Read Deuteronomy 22:22-24. Since these leaders and Elders asked for Stoning it appears this woman was a betrothed virgin.  So the man should have also been stoned.  It is a mystery as to where he was during this confrontation. He certainly was not defending her.

She stands abandoned, betrayed and alone.  But is she alone? Are we ever alone as daughters of the King? Have you ever felt accused by others? Attacked and misunderstood?  Write down what happened and how you felt.

  1. What women in the New Testament (she is related to Jesus) could have been stoned?

Yes…his own mother….Mary could have been stoned…should have been stoned (according to the law)  if Joseph choose to expose her in the same way.

Since the woman (Mary) was pregnant the child would have died as well.

How would this world be different if Jesus had died in Mary’s womb?  How would you and your world be different?

Meditate on this awhile.

God intervened with Angels (messengers from God) to save Mary and the son of God.

Who would intervene for this women….?   

  1. What was Jesus writing in the sand?

A. Names ? Read  Jeremiah 17:13  Some scholars believe that he was writing names in the sand….

A medieval tradition was the latin, “ Terra Terra Accusta” which means the earth accuses earth.“Those that turn from the Lord will be written in the dust, because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of Living water.”

What is the opposite of being written in the dust?

Exodus 32:32 Moses begs the Lord the Lord to forgive the Isrealites or blot his name from the Book of Life.  The Lord Replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.  In Psalms this is referred to the Book of Life. In Psalm 69: 28 David sings about his enemies and asks, “ May they be blotted out of the book of Life and not be listed with the righteous.”

B. The 10 commandments?

Some scholars believe he may have been writing out the sins of the elders or perhaps the 10 commandments.  Exodus 31: 18  “When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”

Perhaps Jesus wrote with his finger the commandment,  Thou Shalt not Kill. Weren’t they all guilty of this command?

In the book of Luke verse 20 Jesus states “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

What a powerful symbol for the religious leaders to see him writing in the sand. Quietly, the leaders are reminded that the 10 commandments were written by the finger of God. Now, Jesus is writing out commands.

Could he be writing out the two commandments that all the law and prophets hang on? Matthew 22:37

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  Love your neighbor as your self

Were they being loving toward this woman? toward Jesus?

Do you think they realized that the Kingdom of God was upon them?

If Jesus is God made flesh, than is not Jesus the finger of God?

C. Comfort for the frightened woman?

One of the sweet sisters thought perhaps that Jesus was writing out something to comfort the woman.  This certainly would align with the kindness and love shown the woman after they all leave.

Perhaps he wrote words similar to those found in Isiah 41:10

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with my Righteous right hand”.

To counteract the words of her accusers:…..”adultery” “sinner” “harlot” “condemned” etc.

5.  What  do you think Jesus might have written?  _______, __________,________________.

Jesus states, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Why do you think they all walked away?  Why the elders first?

Who is the only one who is without sin? The only one who can forgive sins?

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So this passage does not tell us what the woman physically did immediately after her accusers left…….

6. What do you think she must have done if Jesus forgave her and said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, from now on do not sin any more.”?

Sweet sister….I imagine her falling to her knees in relief and gratitude.  Kissing the feet of Jesus and thanking Him for defending her. I believe she repented and decided to turn to Jesus and turn away from sin.

Read Psalm 51….such a beautiful and powerful song of Repentance.

Read slowly over verses 18-19

“For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.”

Do you need to turn from a sinful choice and turn toward Jesus? Are you “all in” or are you still sitting on the fence? What do you need to leave behind that is preventing you from following even closer to Jesus and his holiness?   Will your name be written in the dust as one who turns away from the Lord or will your name be written in the book of Life as one who turns toward the Lord.

He waits patiently for you and I to offer our broken, humbled hearts at his feet.

 

Man………………………….does Jesus love us women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man…..does Jesus love His Women. #1 Mary and her sister Martha

AmberOBrien"

Come on in Sweet Sister and sit for a while.

Bring your Bible and an open heart.

Your sweet sisters discuss the relationship of Jesus with Mary and her sister Martha
Your sweet sisters discuss the relationship of Jesus with Mary and her sister Martha

Let’s start in Luke 10 38-42.  

Jesus visits sisters Mary and Martha and brother Lazarus in their home. This study will focus on Mary and where she chooses to sit.

 1. Which sister does and doesn’t do as expected within her culture?   ___________ 

Instead of doing as is culturally expected of a woman (cooking and cleaning)  as her sister Martha does…Mary sits at the feet of the Messiah.

Now please turn to Acts. Ch. 22:3 to find out what this means in 1st Century Palestine Judaism to sit at the feet of another.

When Paul makes his defense, he describes sitting at the ______of Gamalie.

Some versions of Bibles use “a student of Gamalie” because in biblical times to say one “sits at the feet” of someone means to be their student.

2. Which woman does Jesus stand up for? ___________________

Don’t rush by this my sweet sister….Mary is not only taking the position of a student, Jesus defends her and tells her that she is making the best choice or “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Now look up Luke 8: 1-3

3. Does Jesus travel with just the 12 disciples? Who are these women? How did they know him? Would this be socially acceptable in 1st century Palestine? 

Wow. I had always envisioned Jesus spending all his time with his inner circle…his twelve disciples. The above verse tells another story…that besides Mary (Martha’s sister) there were other women who followed him and had a strong relationship with Jesus.

Lastly, please turn to John 11: 17-44.

Jesus arrives after their brother dies and has been in tomb for 4 days. Both Mary and Martha make the same statement “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”.  Martha makes her statements standing up….

4. Where does Mary fall to when she makes her statement?

My Bible reads…..”she fell at his feet”

This was revelation to me sweet sisters.

Falling to His feet is a act of Mary demonstrating that she is a true disciple and will follow Jesus even though he came too late to save her brother.

Her positioning is often seen as an act of surrender of saying with her body, “Thy will be done”.

Culturally though she is affirming that she was his disciple just like his male followers. Sitting once again at his feet must have been a reminder to both her and Jesus that she has “chosen the better part”and was drawing near to him once again.

She proclaims her faith even though she doesn’t understand the “Why’s” of death and the heartache that follows.

Such a heartbreaking scene that truly breaks the heart of Jesus.

How he loves this woman Mary….

He weeps with her.

He snorts with anger. (God hates death….hates what it does to those of us left behind)

This is why Jesus came to earth….to reverse death. To conquer death through his resurrection. Raising Lazereth is a precursor to His own resurrection.  For as He tells Martha, I am the resurrection and the Life, who ever believes in me, even if he dies will life, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (Luke 11:25)

and this Jesus…Loves you my sweet sister. Wants a deep close relationship as he had with Mary….He wants to weep with you…snort at this broken world and how it has hurt you….He wants most of all to be the resurrection in your life and in the lives of your loves ones.

So in conclusion, how should this change our own hearts and lives?

How can we develop this close relationship with our Lord Jesus ? How can our head knowledge grow into Heart knowledge?

When, where and how can you sit at the Master’s feet?_____________

We concluded our study sharing how we spent time to grow our relationship with Jesus.

Geri (a Catholic sweet sister) sharing how she had her coffee and a special chair and started with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be and then reads scripture.

Sue shared charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Daily Devotional a beautiful way to start and end the day.

Amber (Me) reminded the sisters of the free app called first5.org. Sisters who are studying a chapter a day and then a devotional to read and a video on Saturdays.  This app from Proverbs 31 was created to encourage us to give God the first minutes of our day.

I  also shared how to stay focused using the ACTS method. This includes the four types of prayer in appropriate order:   Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. This helps me to stay focused as it is so easy to become distracted and writing down God’s attributes, one’s sins,  what one is Thankful for and who one is praying for really helps.

Next, I shared how I view spending time in the morning as Having a Date with Jesus and read a poem about this that is on my blog post, “Confessions of a Survivor Addict”.

I will attach these my sweet sisters to the Sweet Sister community page on Facebook. So please join us and share with your Sweet Sisters any ideas on how to keep your date with Jesus.

“Martha, Martha you are anxious and worried about many things…there is need of one thing….Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”     Jesus

Have you chosen the better part? 

foreverlove