“Now on the third day there was a wedding feast in the Galilean village of Cana and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were all invited to the banquet but, with so many in attendance, they ran out of wine. And when Mary realized it, she came to him and asked, “They have no wine, can’t you do something about it?” Jesus replied, “My dear one, don’t you understand that if I do this, it won’t change anything for you, but it will change everything for me! My hour of unveiling my power has not yet come.” Mary then went to the servers and told them, ‘Whatever Jesus tells you, make sure that you do it!‘”
John 2: 1-5, The Passion Translation
Jesus tested my obedience
Years ago, when my children were still at school, I had an extremely busy schedule as a working mum. I was teaching full-time in a school 40 minutes’ drive from our house and had to be at the school before 8 a.m. every day. At home, I always seemed to be trying to catch up on jobs waiting to be done. My evenings were spent marking pupils’ homework, lesson preparation and encouraging and helping my own three with their school work. I frequently found myself putting my washing machine on around midnight. I used to spend some precious time with the Lord in the middle of the night; it worked best for me that way.
One winter morning after a particularly heavy snowfall, I went into a skid on my way to school. I managed to control the car, but I knew that with a journey on very difficult roads ahead of me, a skid less than three minutes after leaving home was a clear warning. I gingerly turned the car round and phoned the school as soon as I was back in the house, saying how dangerous road conditions were. This was sympathetically received, and I learned that I was not the only teacher to be unable to make it to school that day.
Immediately one hundred and one things that I needed to do, or would love to do on my unexpectedly free day, crowded into my mind. What bliss to be able to do some long overdue jobs at last! And maybe for a while I could snatch that rare commodity: some ‘me’ time! Thoughts of how I could spend my day went spinning round and round in my head.
Then Jesus spoke: “I want you to give your day to Me.” Give away my precious day? Could Jesus mean that He wanted the whole of my newly acquired freedom? Did He really mean that? Yes, He did mean exactly that. It was an obedience test and, as I made sure to do exactly what Jesus had said to me, putting Him first, it turned out to be a day of Heaven on earth – in fact it was one of the most beautiful days I had had for a very long time indeed.
Jesus and His disciples visit Martha and Mary
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”
The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing the most beautiful place of sitting at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”
Luke 10: 38-42, The Passion Translation
Several years ago, we had a prophecy in our church in which the Lord said, among other things, “You love the things that I love, but you do not hate the things that I hate.” When we returned home, I asked the Lord, “What are the things that You hate, Jesus?” His reply was immediate: “I hate the works of the flesh, the self-life!”
What the Lord hates
Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church: “The cravings of the self-life are obvious: sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God!”
Galatians 5: 19-21, The Passion Translation
Doesn’t the Apostle’s list sound like the content of many popular films these days? How are we spending our free time? If we love the Lord, do we really want to watch the ‘cravings of the self-life’ graphically depicted on the screen, knowing that Jesus died on the cross in prolonged, indescribably excruciating agony for those very sins. It is a grave warning to us all that ‘those who use their ‘freedom’ for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God’ but will go into the excruciating torments of the flames of hell for ever.
Jesus’ teaching on how to be ready for His coming
Jesus spoke to those who are looking for His soon return on how to be ready. He said to His proven prophet, “Many, many of My Brides have not simplified their lives and cut off things that bind their time. Many. I want this to change, I want them to begin to live right now as they will in Heaven. Yes, there are duties to attend to, but if they re-assess these things they will find ways to cut the time spent on the things of the world by at least half.
“I impart to each one in their quiet time. However, in their involvement with the world, be it a seemingly harmless TV show, a trip to the store, a magazine, all these things are fraught with ideas that stick in their heads and rob them of peace. It is so important to have a pure heart AND a pure mind. The mind can only handle so much and if it is secular in nature it erodes what takes place in My presence. It clutters the mind so there is no room left for Me. I don’t want their minds in this place. I want everyone focused on Heaven and My coming for them.”
A Parable about Ten Virgins
“As the time of my coming draws near, heaven’s kingdom realm can be compared to ten maidens who took their oil lamps and went outside to meet the bridegroom and his bride. Five of them were foolish and ill-prepared, for they took no extra oil for their lamps. Five of them were wise and sensible, for they took flasks of olive oil with their lamps. When the bridegroom didn’t come when they expected, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, they were awakened by the shout ‘Get up! The bridegroom is here! Come out and have an encounter with him!’ So all the girls got up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish ones were running out of oil, so they said to the five wise ones, ‘Share your oil with us, because our lamps are going out!’ ‘We can’t,’ they replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. You’ll have to go and buy some for yourselves!’
“While the five girls were out buying oil, the bridegroom appeared. Those who were ready and waiting were escorted inside with him and the wedding party to enjoy the feast. And then the door was locked. Later, the five foolish girls came running up to the door and pleaded, ‘Lord, Lord let us come in!’
“But he called back, ‘Go away! Do I know you? I can assure you, I don’t even know you!’
“That is the reason you should always stay awake and be alert, because you don’t know the day or hour when the Bridegroom will appear.” Matthew 25: 1-13, The Passion Translation
Jesus teaching further on being ready for His coming
Jesus continued, “Part of the foolish virgins’ problem was that they were so tied up in the world it didn’t occur to them to bring oil for their lamps. They thought, ‘Well, I’ll just be a little while and back to work.’ Their minds were on what was waiting for them to do at home, not really on Me or My agenda, very much like Martha. But the wise virgins, like Mary, thought they could wait, and wait and wait for Me. It wasn’t a waste of time, it was bliss, because all they had on their minds was Me. Everything else was a burden and so they were happy to think, ‘He might be delayed. Good, then I can just be quiet and wait. So I’ll bring more oil for my lamp.’ I’m serious here. I want to get a concept across, the foolish virgins were carnally minded, taken up with the doings of the world, they considered having to wait a waste of time.
“Keep your minds strictly on Heaven, My coming, and what simple thing you can do for your neighbour in a spirit of brotherly love. Don’t get seduced into any worldly endeavours that take attention off Me. Keep your eyes on the Prize. Military people do not get involved in secular affairs. Spiritual people do not get involved in secular affairs. Stay vigilant, stay alert. Stay calm and deliberate, I need your full attention on Me. I will help you. You are not alone. My Spirit will whisper in your ear, ‘don’t do it’ and you will feel a check in your spirit. Obey that, follow what you know is My path. Put ME first and I’ll take care of the rest. I am with you My Brides. Stay vigilant and save your time and energy for Me and Me alone. You will never regret it.”
Whatever Jesus tells you, make sure that you do it!