Response

by Carolyn Hope

This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11)

The disciples were already following Jesus, but when He revealed His glory, they believed in Him. They saw with their own eyes what He could do, and suddenly, everything changed.

Our response to revelation should be belief. When we stand before the King and watch Him move, our faith increases. We may not see Jesus face to face yet, as the disciples did, but we can certainly see His hand in our lives.

Jesus has revealed and will reveal His glory in your life. Let your response be that of belief and gratitude. If you find yourself in a place where it doesn’t seem clear how God is moving in your life, keep crying out for revelation, and remember the times you have seen Him move. There is beauty in remembrance. Remembering God’s faithfulness in your life is a great way to boost your faith and keep pressing forward. Look for Him; you will find Him, and when you see Jesus, everything will change.

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Revelation

by Carolyn Hope

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!” (John 2:6-10)

Here we see that Jesus performed the miracle even though he had just said he wouldn’t. The miracle wasn’t really about the wine; it was about revealing Jesus for who He truly was. According to the timeline that was in place, He should not have yet shown Himself. He made that clear.

What was it, then, that changed His mind? It was Mary’s faith. When Mary acted in faith that He would do what she asked, it stirred Him to do it. Jesus loves it when we ask Him to do big things and then believe that He will do them. He responds and reacts to faith. In this instance, because of Mary’s faith, Jesus did something new, something that had never been done before. No one had ever taken water and instantly turned it into wine.

When you act in faith, it will lead to a new revelation of Jesus in your life. As you ask and believe for miracles, He’ll do the impossible and the unheard of. He delights in showing Himself to you. Keep asking and seeking for His revelation. When you taste of Jesus, all else fades away. He will satisfy you in a way that nothing else can.

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Readiness

by Carolyn Hope

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

Mary was undaunted by Jesus’ original refusal. She acted in readiness for a miracle anyway. She still believed He would do what she asked, and she got ready for the miracle even before He agreed to do it. In an almost defiant faith, she prepared the servants to receive instructions from Jesus.

More often than not, there is a waiting process between the time you make a request and the time you receive what you asked for. There’s a season of waiting between God’s promises and their fulfillment. When you find yourself in this time, don’t sit around in idleness. Ready yourself for the miracle you’re believing for. Be prepared to use the gift you’ve asked God for.

Sometimes this readiness looks radical and crazy. If you’ve been asking God for a child for the past several years, act in faith by setting up the nursery. If you’ve applied for a specific job and are waiting to hear back from the company, go buy the new clothes you would need if you received the job. Be ready. Be ready for the answer you are believing God will give you.

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Refusal

by Carolyn Hope

“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

Jesus’ first response was to brush off his mother’s prompting. He had no obligation to fix the wine deficiency of the wedding party; besides, it wasn’t time for Him to reveal Himself.

Sometimes Jesus says no. Other times, He says not yet. His refusal of an idea doesn’t equate to rejection of a person. In telling His mother it wasn’t time yet, Jesus was not rejecting her or pushing her away. As we’ll see later this week, Jesus actually did end up doing what Mary requested; however, He didn’t do it right away.

If God says no or not yet to your request, don’t be discouraged. He knows the right actions to take, and the right times to do them. He isn’t closed to you. Even when He says no to something you present, He does not reject you. He always welcomes you.

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Request

by Carolyn Hope

The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” (John 2:3)

Mary saw a lack and asked Jesus to fill it. The wedding celebration was far from over, but the wine had run out. When Mary saw this, she considered it the perfect opportunity for her son to come forth and show Himself as the Messiah. With motherly subtleness, she went to Jesus and told Him, “They have no more wine.” This wasn’t so much a statement of facts as it was a nudging to do something only Jesus could do. What Mary was really saying was, Son, here’s your chance to help someone in need. Show yourself!

Don’t be afraid to make requests of God. When you see a need, come with boldness before your King and ask Him to satisfy it. Philippians 4:6 says “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Go ahead; speak up. Speak out. Share your heart and desires with Jesus. He longs to hear from you. He longs to know the deep hopes of your heart. You don’t know what can come from a faith-filled request. You could even see a miracle.

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Getting to the Glory (John 2:1-11)

by Carolyn Hope

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. (John 2:1-2)

John chapter 2 describes the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry. In this passage, we see the first time Jesus revealed His glory; and it was at a person’s request.

This week, I’d like to take you through this event verse by verse and pull out some of the main themes found in this Scripture. I want to show you the process of this particular situation, starting with a request, and leading to glorious revelation.

Jesus’ revelation and glory are for today in your life, not just two thousand years ago. Be encouraged this week that when you come before God in bold faith and expectancy, you will see miracles and revelation in your own life.

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Strengthening Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Sometimes in life, you’ll find certain themes popping up again and again. Maybe you’ll keep getting opportunities to speak in front of people, something that terrifies you or used to cause you anxiety. Perhaps you’re good at managing finances, so your boss keeps giving you extra assignments to utilize your skills in that area. It could be that everywhere you go, people seem to be conveying the same message.

These are seasons where God wants to strengthen you in a particular area. Like an athlete training for the Olympics or a warrior training for battle, you are being built up into a greater capacity of your skills. God wants to make a stronger version of you.

If you find yourself in a place where you see recurring themes and messages, don’t brush them off or get frustrated. It can be easy to feel as if you’re being boxed in. Instead, recognize these times as a honing of your abilities, a workout for you in a specific area. Jesus is building up more strength in you so that you can run farther and longer in your race. As Paul said, “run with purpose in every step.” Let Jesus train you to enter into greater and deeper levels of strength.

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Stretching Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

I do not say that I have already won the race or have already reached perfection. But I am pressing on, striving to lay hold of the prize for which also Christ has laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not imagine that I have yet laid hold of it. But this one thing I do—forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me, with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

When you’re in a stretching season, God is doing just that: stretching you. He’s pushing and pulling you into more than you thought you could be. This will often be shown by getting an unexpected promotion, or taking on more ministry and/or work than before. You’ll suddenly find yourself in a position you don’t feel qualified for, or a role you’ve never had experience playing. These seasons often feel somewhat chaotic and stressful as you struggle to balance everything and still find time to be refreshed.

Stretching seasons will remind you that you’re not perfect, and you have in no way “arrived” at full maturity in Christ. You’ll be forced to choose if you will depend solely on yourself (and most likely fail in the process of doing so), or if you will rely on Jesus to sustain you in the areas you don’t have a full handle on. Times of stretching are uncomfortable and even painful, but they teach you to trust the Lord and let Him guide you.

I want to remind you today that stretching seasons are for a purpose. That purpose is not to break you. Think about a rubber band; before it has been stretched out, it can hold some things, but after it’s been stretched again and again, it is able to hold far more. When God stretches you, it is because He wants to give you more to carry. He has something greater for you to do, and in order to accomplish that vision, He will stretch you in different ways to prepare you for what’s coming.

Don’t be discouraged if you feel stretched beyond your limits. Holy Spirit is with you, and He will cover you and supply you with all you need. Hold onto hope. There’s more waiting for you.

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Silent Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:17-18)

A silent season is when you’re working, and growing, and doing what God calls you to do, but you aren’t recognized. You don’t receive praise for your work. Those around you either don’t see what you do, or they don’t acknowledge it. Sometimes, in these seasons, God becomes quieter as well. You wonder, “Does anyone see me? Does anyone know I’m here? Am I really making a difference?”

The season of silence is one of the hardest. It forces you to decide if you will work without recognition and still be content. It teaches you humility, which is often a painful lesson to learn. Silent seasons, though distressing, bring some of the deepest fruit.

Be assured that God always sees you, even when it doesn’t seem like it. He sees what others don’t. He knows all the heart and effort you put into your work. God is faithful, and He will be no man’s debtor; if you give of yourself to Him, He will give back to you. Don’t stop serving because you feel unappreciated or underestimated. You may be hidden from people right now, but you’re never hidden from God. He will reward you for your sacrifice.

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Stormy Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me … I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power. (Psalm 69:1-3, 29)

Stormy seasons are some of the most tiring times of life. It’s here that everything seems to be against you, and you can’t see a way out. As David expressed in Psalm 69, you may feel like you’re sinking more and more to the point of drowning.

The challenge that comes from a storm is that it’s never one issue that arises. It’s always several. Your mom gets sick and has to go to the hospital; your boss quits his job, and you have to take on more work until a replacement is found; your car breaks down. The list goes on. Every time you feel like you have the situation somewhat handled, something else gets added, and you eventually get to a point where you don’t know if you can take any more.

In these seasons, there’s often a lot of stress and much pain. If you find yourself in this place, turn to Jesus and let Him bring peace to your chaos. Give Him your pain, and let Him heal you. He is enough for you, even now. You will make it through this time, because He who is in you is greater than all you’re facing (see 1 John 4:4). He sees you. He hears you, and He’s with you in the pit. You won’t drown. You will be victorious. Keep pressing forward. The peace will come.

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