Wednesday, June 22, 2016

At the Bottom of the Cup

"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.” (Matthew 26:27)

      I noticed something one day when I was reading this story of our Lord’s final meal with His disciples, when He initiated what has come to be called “The Lord’s Supper.” In verse twenty-six, when the Savior served the broken bread to His friends in anticipation of his broken body, He didn't say, “Eat ye all of it,” as He later said of the fruit of the vine in the cup. I think there is significance to this. 

     The “cup” is used as a metaphor for both good and bad in Scripture. For instance, in Psalms, we find David’s wonderful “full and overflowing cup” of blessings (23:5; 116:13); but we also read of a cup of judgment for the wicked in Psalm 75:8.

     In this case, I cannot help thinking that when Jesus offered the cup to the disciples, a picture of His own Blood that would be shed for the remission of our sins, He was, no doubt, thinking of His own bitter cup, of which He would pray to the Father that same evening, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (v. 39). He knew that once He began to drink from that awful cup, He would have to drink “all of it.” Sin, judgment, death, hell—all of it. "He took the cup in dark Gethsemane/ And drained it to the dregs on Calvary/ Oh, who can know the depths of agony/ To which the Savior went for you and me?"

     There is always one cup or another in our hands, sometimes good, but sometimes bad. Whichever it is, however, we should remember the instructions of our Lord: “Drink ye all of it.” If it is sweet, savor it to the very last drop; but if it is bitter, drink it to the very dregs. Because, Child of God, when you reach the bottom, you will find the face of God.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

At the Feet of Jesus

"And as they [Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary"] went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him." (Matt. 28:9)

Going through the Bible these many years, as you might imagine, I have read with great interest the role women played in the life of Jesus Christ. Their contribution may have seemed insignificant at the time, but Jesus took notice; and I am pleased to say that more often than not, they showed great discernment. Have you ever noticed how often their ministering to Him was centered at His feet? You will find them washing His feet, anointing His feet, kissing His feet, sitting at His feet, and, in this text, holding Him by His feet.

Even before Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, the woman in Luke seven had washed His.

I am struck by the fact that these women did not insist upon being heard. They merely sought the right to worship the Savior "at His footstool" (Psl. 99:5). While the disciples grappled with the idea of His death and burial, Mary simply anointed his body—His feet—for burying (John 12:7). And when they all (except for John) forsook Him, it was the women who lingered near by, at the foot of the Cross. Then on the third day, while the disciples, doubting, waited at home, the two Mary's came seeking Jesus, and were rewarded by being the first ones privileged to worship the risen Lord. And they worshipped...where else? His feet, of course.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
O what words I hear Him say!
Happy place—so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day!

                                                         - Source Unknown

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Resilience: Have You Got It?

“And David was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” – 1 Samuel 30:6

         J.I. Packer has called resilience one of the signs of Spiritual maturity. I agree. Someone once asked, “Is it a sin to be discouraged,” to which the reply came, “No, but it is a sin to refuse to be encouraged.” When Jacob was convinced that his beloved son, Joseph, was dead, Genesis 37:35 says that all the efforts of his other sons and daughters to console him were to no avail, not because he could not be comforted, but because “he refused to be comforted.” In fact, he swore to spend the rest of his life in that inconsolable state.

         What does it mean to be resilient? Literally, it means, “returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched.”  Applying it personally, it’s someone who recovers readily from “illness, depression, adversity, or the like.”  When I read the first (the literal) definition of the word, I’m reminded of the great Apostle Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired of life.” He knew what it was to feel as though everything was closing in on him, with no strength, even to the point of lifelessness or death. Yet he goes on the say in the next verses, it was then he and those with him remembered that the God they served raises the dead, both figuratively and literally.

         I don’t care who you are or how “sunny” a disposition you may possess, this life is capable of knocking any of us to the ground, even to the disparage of life. It’s a given. It’s what comes next that separates the mature from the immature. When a small child falls down, his or her first instinct is to cry, sometimes long and loudly. But as we mature, we want to quickly get up and dust ourselves off. J It’s the same spiritually. Our misfortunes, maladies, or missteps, with all the sympathy and/or attention they may bring can become more familiar, and dare I say, more comfortable to us than the alternative. It’s easier to sit down than stand up, and it’s easier to stay down than to rebound, especially when there’s no one around to encourage you. This is why the words in First Samuel are so precious to me: “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” That was when his own “holy resilience” (and reliance on God) kicked in!

         How about you and me? We have the Holy Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead living within us. We may fall, but we can get up; and we can get up sooner rather than later. And did you know it’s possible to jump up so quickly from a tumble that hardly anyone even notices?

Instead of having a bad day, wouldn’t you love to be able to say, “Whew, I was discouraged there for a minute!”  Now, that’s what I want.