June Affleck - Second Convention, Williams, Western Australia - 2005

Hymn 61

It’s a beautiful thing to see God’s people anywhere in the world gathered together like this and all feel a great anticipation in our heart for what God will speak to us; that’s why we are here. We don’t know what God will speak but, whatever it is, it will be because He wants to help us in the light of eternity. In thinking about God speaking to us and wanting to help and change us, I thought of the first miracle in John chapter 2 where Jesus was invited to a marriage in Cana of Galilee; His mother and His disciples were there. Verse 3, “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus saith unto her, 'Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.'” He was saying to her, “Don’t worry, don’t get too anxious, I will be able to help.”

Then verse 5, “His mother saith unto the servants, 'Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.'” Then reading on down to verse 10, “And saith unto him, 'Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.'” – This is the best! Verse 11, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.” When I thought of this experience that took place, I thought there are a lot of similarities to how we feel at this time, and maybe we are aware just like some at this marriage that there is a lack – something in my heart, in my spirit is lacking.

I am thankful that a little voice says to us, “Don’t be too anxious, Jesus is here and He will help.” Maybe we have felt a lack of peace, a lack of joy, lack of humility. We could realise we have a lot of lacks, but don’t be too anxious because Jesus is here and He can help. Then the advice that was given by His mother: and that’s good advice for us, too, as we come together. We don’t know what we will hear but whatever He says, do it. Then Jesus gave instruction to fill the 6 water pots with water. They weren’t complicated instructions but simple and possible to do. We know when God speaks to us here it isn’t going to be complicated but simple and possible for us to do. So the response to Jesus was that they filled them up to the brim: they obeyed what Jesus said. So it was 100% obedience, not partly or almost but 100% - to the brim with every last drop. So then they did what was possible and then Jesus told them to draw and give to the governor and you know it was a miracle. Because of what came out now wasn’t the water; but sweet, rich and a benefit to others. When God speaks to us, whatever he says to do, it would be good if we would just do it 100%. And that’s the part we can do and God will do the miracle inside of us and change all those things we realised were lacking. Then when convention is over and we go on with life - maybe we all rub shoulders with people, our lives will affect others and it would be a wonderful thing that would come out: sweet, joy, rich and something to share with others.

These water pots, when they were open and ready to receive the water – There are 2 places in the Bible: 1st Samuel. It was too bad but God would liked to have spoken to Eli, the older man. But God spoke to this child and called Samuel 3 different times. Samuel hadn’t realised it was God speaking but Eli realised it and told him what to say. And the Lord came and stood and called as at other times and spoke to Samuel. Then verse 19, “And Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” Everybody knew that this little life was established to be a prophet of the Lord. Wouldn’t it be good if we were like that here: like a water pot open, clean and not letting any fall to the ground. Also Luke 10:39, where it speaks about Mary. Martha was in the house and could have been hearing more and she could have missed hearing what Jesus had to say but Mary gives us such a good example to just sit at the feet of Jesus and trying not to let other things keep us from hearing the word of God. Then I thought about Jesus, and we love reading about Jesus, and it’s no surprise that His life was full of grace and truth. He had no lack in His life: no lack of joy, no lack of peace, willingness, humility, courage, or strength. Jesus had no lack and the reason was because – it tells us in Matthew 4 He lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. Jesus was very open to God’s word and said, “I do always those things that please Him.” That was the secret of why Jesus had in his life what He did – because He loved God’s Word and He did it.

Someone in the Old Testament to begin with: - Naaman, II Kings chapter 5, was a leper. So that meant he wasn’t clean, but he had a lack of peace and no doubt, lack of hope. That little maid understood his lack and just said if he could just hear the Word of God from the prophet. So Naaman made arrangements and found himself going to where Elisha would be but when he got there Elisha sent a message out to him. It was very simple, not complicated – go and wash in Jordan 7 times. It tells how Naaman responded to the word of God; he was wrath, went away and was very unhappy. But we’re thankful that’s not the end of Naaman’s story as the servants reasoned with him and as a result he was made clean. It was a miracle but he came very close to not experiencing that miracle. Those people helped him to accept it and then the miracle happened. What would happen if there’s one little drop that we don’t quite like? I hope we won’t be like Naaman and go away unhappy, but accept it: need to humble ourselves and there will be the miracle.

I was thinking of a middle-aged man in our field: about 2 years ago he began looking to the gospel. At this point his wife had left him and taken the children and he came to the meetings and was listening to the word of God. He was telling us about one time when his wife began to take measures that were nasty and unreasonable and he felt, if that was the way she’s going to be, well, he’d give back what she was doing to him so he started thinking what he would do. But before he got around to it he opened his Bible and he told us, “Isn’t it amazing,” because he’d opened up to Matthew 5:39-45 and some of the drops of water opened up to him. This man didn’t close the Bible and go away in wrath; but he said, “I’ll do it.” This man has a very sweet acceptance in his heart: he has peace, joy, and he’s made his choice in spite of the difficult circumstances in his life. A miracle has happened and God is working in his heart.

I was also thinking of 3 other people that we have known. Even in this Convention there are little vessels here, but in that miracle that took place at Cana there were 6 water pots: all different sizes. We have little children here and they have a capacity to understand things of God, and that’s enough. As people grow older there’s a little more capacity and then there’s a greater capacity. A little girl of 6 years old in our field and along with the other children was coming to the gospel meetings with their parents. After one meeting was tested, that evening we got a phone call from little Catherine’s mother and the request was that little Catherine wanted a visit. So the next day we had a visit and sat out on the lawn with this tiny girl, and I felt so privileged. Here was this little girl, a little vessel that God was filling and He was filling it to the brim and a miracle was happening in her life. Then there was another 17 years old girl going to high school who didn’t know anything about God’s way, but she had observed the life of one of her class mates. She saw the girl was happy, satisfied with life, and so she asked this person some questions, and of course she was invited to the gospel meetings. For several months she came and we don’t know sometimes what’s being received and how it’s being accepted. One day we got a phone call from 17 years old Heidi just down by the river. She said she had started to read her Bible and said, “I can’t explain what happened, but I feel like a little miracle has happened inside.”

Then a great miracle that some of us in our province knew took place in an old couple of 93 and 95. They knew nothing of God’s way and had a middle-aged daughter. When this daughter embraced the Truth and made her choice, it became clear to her that “I must go home and take care of my elderly parents.” She did that and that was 12 years ago, and those old parents watched her life and there was no question she was satisfied with this way. After a while they really felt there was a lack; and where they had been going and believing didn’t satisfy so they began to go to the gospel meetings with her. It took a few years and first of all this old man of 95 came to the place where he wanted to make his choice. This was very real and he had no doubt this was God’s way – and she a little later on. But before he passed away, what was drawn out from his heart now was very sweet, rich, and nothing other than a miracle that God had done in this old frail vessel. And I am sure through all eternity he would be thankful that he opened his heart to God: he just did it and began to experience the miracle of what God can do, and he will have it for ever. I hope we will understand we are responsible; it’s only we that can listen and obey and if we do, God will take care of any lack that we have.