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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for October 16, 2014

<i>The Wedding at Cana</i> by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, ca. 1820.
The Wedding at Cana by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, ca. 1820.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


A beautiful arrangement of this classic hymn by Fernando Ortega to remind us of the creativity of God. (With Marsha Skidmore.)

Praise and Thanks this Morning

Hallelujah! The sun has risen again and it is morning! And I have awoken into it, alive, breathing, thinking, knowing that the Son will rise again and I will be saved. What did I do to deserve this day? It is a gift from you. Glory and praise to you, my God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for filling me with life to live another day, for it is you who made me and not me myself.

I resolve to spend this day in the presence of the Holy Spirit, filled with his joy and energy, that I might accomplish your will, my God, and do what I can to deserve the joys of the day, for I know my time here is short. Be with me, oh Holy Spirit, to fill me with the energy and positivity and comfort that only you can bring. In Christ's name I pray that thy will be done,


Prayer to Cease Hypocrisy

Holy God, I am only human. I know that there are sins that I commit, in my thinking and in my life, that my eye cannot bear to see. I am so afraid of losing self-esteem that I cannot even think about them. Open my eyes and ears to your word, Lord God, that I might hear what I do not want to hear and face my faults with courage. Educate me, O Holy Spirit. Let me hear your voice instead of my own. Stop me dead in my tracks when I start to rationalize my bad conduct.

And when my mind starts to focus on the sins of others — especially sins that hold little temptation for me — take the beam out of my eye. Let me learn my own fault, before I try to correct others of theirs. Lead me to see the sin that I refuse to see, so that I can repent. Restrain me from filtering your word to conform to my will; instead, help me to hear your true word, no matter how it might pain me, that I may conform my conduct to your will. For the sake of Christ, who would bring us to perfect obedience, I pray,



[Let me be willing to hear even what I do not want to hear.]


May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in His sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>Jesus Heals the Blind Man</i> by Georges Rouault, ca. 1897
Jesus Heals the Blind Man by Georges Rouault, ca. 1897.

Longing for God

When I say, “I feel so empty”, God says, “I created you with a longing in your heart that only I can fill.” I was created with a God-shaped hole in my heart.

Blue Latin Cross

John 2:1-11 (J.B. Phillips NT)

Two days later there was a wedding in the Galilean village of Cana.

Jesus’ mother was there and he and his disciples were invited to the festivities. Then it happened that the supply of wine gave out, and Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Is that your concern, or mine?” replied Jesus. “My time has not come yet.”

So his mother said to the servants, “Mind you do whatever he tells you.”

In the room six very large stone water-jars stood on the floor (actually for the Jewish ceremonial cleansing), each holding about twenty gallons. Jesus gave instructions for these jars to be filled with water, and the servants filled them to the brim. Then he said to them, “Now draw some water out and take it to the master of ceremonies”, which they did. When this man tasted the water, which had now become wine, without knowing where it came from (though naturally the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called out to the bridegroom and said to him, “Everybody I know puts his good wine on first and then when men have had plenty to drink, he brings out the poor stuff. But you have kept back your good wine till now!”

Jesus gave this, the first of his signs, at Cana in Galilee. He demonstrated his power and his disciples believed in him.

Notes on the Scripture

The Wedding at Cana (1) - Introduction

ohn is sometimes called the “Fourth Gospel”, because the first three Gospels, called the “Synoptic Gospels”, overlap to a considerable extent. They each take some of their material from the same (now lost) documents as one or both of the others. John overlaps them very little, by comparison. It is noticeably and significantly different from them. Specifically concerning today's Scripture, only John tells us about the miracle of turning water into wine, at the wedding in Cana.

We are going to take a very close look at the passage, and in the process, look at a different translation each day. (For anyone interested in hearing more about the subject, we have done a master list of five translations of the passage, side by side, with notes on their accuracy: The Wedding at Cana: The Accuracy of Different Translations.)

We start today using one of the most readable translations, J. B. Phillips' New Testament. This is called a “paraphraseThere are five terms that describe Bible translations, which are, in decreasing order of reliability but increasing order of ease to read:
1) True literal (Young's Literal Translation),
2) literal (KJV, NASB),
3) “essentially literal” (ESV),
4) dynamic equivalent (NIV, Living Bible), and
5) paraphrase (JB Phillips, The Message).
” translation, meaning that the author might take great liberties with the actual text in order to clarify the meaning and make it easier to read. Paraphrases are great ways to read difficult passages for the first time, or as augments to see a passage in a new light, but are not generally used as the primary text for Bible study.

One of the noticeable differences between John and the Synoptic Gospels is the way in which Jesus' miracles are presented and used. John picks and chooses specific miracles, each of them to demonstrate, symbolically, some aspect of Christ. His overall concern is very focused: to demonstrate the divinity of Christ.

John omits the majorityMark describes about 20 miracles; John, which is 25% longer, only 7. of the miracles shown in the Synoptics, sacrificing historical completeness to strengthen the flow of his focused narrative. He calls miracles “signs”, indicating his purpose in presenting them. Notice that when Jesus performs a miracle in the Synoptics, He frequently tells the witnesses to keep quiet about it. In John, the opposite seems true: they are generally intended to be seen and discussed, for the world (and the reader) is supposed to learn of Jesus' divinity.

While there is some sense of showing Jesus' divinity via His miracles in the later Synoptics (Matthew and Luke), there are other reasons for narrating them that predominate, such as: 1) to show that God is working through Jesus, 2) to show that God the Father has become active in the world, 3) to demonstrate that Jesus loves people and is sympathetic to human suffering, 4) to teach people about the power of faith, 5) to prove that Jesus is the messiah of David and the anointed King of Israel, 6) to demonstrate that sin can be forgiven, 7) to show God's power over Satan and/or nature, and so on.

We do not want to overstate the case; Jesus is shown to be divine in all four gospels. But John is essentially a narrative essay on Jesus' divinity; “[T]he Word was God” (John 1:1) is virtually a topic sentence. By comparison, this statement does not occur so explicitly in Mark until almost the very end: a Roman soldier says it, after Christ has died on the cross. (Mark 15:39)

endless knot

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Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

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