Taking The Cup God Gives Me

My Cup

My Cup

Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"Matthew 18:9, 10(NASB)

Let’s set the scene-

Where:  The Garden of Gethsemane Who:     Jesus, the disciples, the Temple soldiers What: -the soldiers have come to take Jesus away -Peter tries to fight them off -Jesus intervenes with the most amazing words

I have read this scripture numerous times over the years. It is a familiar scene in my mind. But this time it struck me differently. Personally, that is why I am so in love with the Word. It never ceases to teach, instruct and convict, no matter how many times I have read a passage before.

Jesus’ words, “the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” shook me. I asked myself, “What cup has God given me? What difficult thing has God allowed in my life or called me to walk through?”

This does not refer to my own poor choices or difficulties of my own making. To suffer for doing wrong is not a calling…it is a consequence.

But what cup has the Father given me? I am not trying to trivialize what Jesus went through, or elevate what I am going through. But the picture remains.

What difficulty, trial, challenge, malady, or disappointment has God given me through which He wants to proclaim His message, build His Kingdom, or shine His light?

And what is my response? Am I like Peter, warring against the plan? Am I like the disciples, cowering in the shadows, desiring to run away? Or could I, in the smallest degree, be like Christ, willing to take whatever cup the Father gives me?

This question totally alters my perspective. Through eternal spectacles, every difficult relationship, physical challenge, financial shortfall, can be transformed from a difficulty to a divinely given “cup”,

There is purpose to the pain. There is divine in the difficult. There are eternal consequences to the conflicts.

Whatever Lord. Whatever cup You give me, I will drink.

So Jesus said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"       Matthew 18:10(NASB)

Following Jesus- It's Not That Complicated

Mom and daughterI remember telling the Lord when I was a teenager, "Lord, if you call me to be a missionary, I will go. But please not to the Amazon. With the snakes. And giant insects. And swamps. Please God- just not there." I mean, I had seen "Swiss Family Robinson" when they are trudging through the swamp and are attacked by the giant snake. I wanted no part of that. God never called me to the Amazon.

In fact, He never called me to be a missionary at all, ...at least not to foreign lands.

But He did call me to be faithful here and to be following Jesus wherever He might lead in the every day and the mundane. He called me to feed the savages in my kitchen and proclaim the gospel to the heathen in my living room. He called me to open a school so I could not only teach the infidels to read, but also to love reading His Word. He called me to be a medical missionary to the countless bumps and bruises, dislocated joints, asthma attacks, fevers, and occasional fake sicknesses brought on by the desire to skip school.

Following Jesus- it isn't actually easy, but it's really not that complicated.

It is like the incidence in Scripture when Jesus is washing the disciples' feet. John 13 contains this remarkable story- a story where the God of the universe gets down on His knees to demonstrate to us what real love looks like.

Jesus must have astonished every disciple as He took on the job of the lowliest servant and started, one by one, washing their feet. But when He got to Peter, Peter flat out refuses to have Jesus wash him.

Jesus responds rather bluntly, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me." (ESV)

So Peter brilliant responds, "Not my feet only, but also my hands and head." (ESV)

Oh, Peter. Oh, me.

How often do I first fight what God calls me to do and then when I agree make it ten times harder just to prove my devotion?

I wonder how the other disciples were responding. I wonder which ones were rolling their eyes at Peter thinking that Peter always had to one up everyone else. And maybe some were thinking about what else they could have washed to prove they actually could follow Jesus more than Peter could. Could there have been one or two disciples who felt guilty because they were going to simply obey Jesus and now they were worried they hadn't done enough?

But Jesus didn't need for Peter to make it harder or more. He just wanted Peter to obey.

Jesus said, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except his feet..." (John 13:10, ESV)

Of course it was hard for the disciples to humble themselves to allow Jesus to wash their feet. They had to lay down their pre-conceived ideas, their pride, their arrogance. It also must have been daunting to realize that if Jesus was washing their feet then He was probably going to expect them to do the same to those they served.

Following Jesus- it may never be easy.  But it is simple.

Today I promise to lay aside my pride, submit myself to Jesus, and simply follow where He leads.

May my mind never be "led astray from the simplicity and pure devotion to Christ." (II Cor. 11:3)

It is just not that complicated.

Let the Son Shine In

Shuffling toward the kitchen early one morning to start the coffee that would hopefully jump start my brain, I never glanced out the windows that faced east. I was fairly focused on my quest and was staring straight ahead...toward the coffee machine…wishing I would remember to set the pot up with the timer so it would magically be ready for me when I woke up. But once I had coffee in hand, and had enjoyed a long sip, I glanced eastward to be rewarded with an amazing display of God’s use of design and color.

Out the window was a blazing sunrise, red and pink with hints of gold spreading from one side of the horizon to the other. It was glorious. The deer in the field were obviously inspired as well as they pranced and ran and played.

The beauty, the majesty, the grandeur. It all testified to the creativity and extravagance of God.

But in the back of my mind came the old nautical advice, “Red sky morning, sailor’s warning,” and I wondered if that would prove true. Not surprisingly, the adage played out perfectly. It was a grey, rainy, dreary sort of a day.

The contrast of the two- the glory of the sunrise and the bleakness of the day- seemed to be from polar opposite experiences.

But in reality, they were not. The clouds that hid the light all day were the same ones ablaze in the morning. Without the morning clouds there could never have been the multi-hued display. The clouds were the second most important ingredient to the sunrise.

The most important was, of course, the sun.

You see where I am going with this, don’t you?

The transformative effect of the sun on the clouds is the exact same experience we can have as the Son transforms our clouds, our situations, our problems, from dreary greyness to majestic color.

Because clouds happen. To all of us. Life is full of clouds.

Without the Son they are just grey. And sad. And maybe even depressing.

Don’t allow your clouds to completely cover your life so that the Son can’t peak through.

Instead give your clouds to the Son to use as a canvas to paint His beauty and His transformative power as a display for all the world to wake up to.

Because a transformed life is better than coffee to start a day.