VIDEO Summer Tour of The Garden of Gethsemane – The Agony of the Cup

Eight Hundred Plus Yearz Old Olive Trees (eight of them) in the Garden of Gathsemane by Mount of Olives and Church of All Nations (aka The Church of The Agony) in East Jerusalem in Israel.

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.  Mark 14:35

On the eastern edge of Jerusalem within sight of the Temple Mount, there’s a hillside still dotted with ancient olive trees. Somewhere among them is the location of the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus wrestled in prayer over His mission. The spiritual and emotional sufferings of Christ in Gethsemane were incredibly painful. Matthew said that Jesus “began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.” Then He said of Himself, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:37). Luke tells us He was in agony, and “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

This is arguably the deepest, darkest, and most mysterious hour in the eternal life of Christ, save only for the moment of His death.

In a much different but real sense, we all have moments when we find ourselves in Gethsemane. There are times when we have to say, “Father, not my will but Thine be done.” These are moments of surrender—but only in the Christian life does surrender bring victory.

Thy way is always best, O let that way be mine! In this my soul shall rest, not my will, Lord, but Thine! From an old Methodist hymn


The Agony of the Cup (Mark 14:32-42)

A Parade of Colors

With your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.  Revelation 5:9

 

For decades, London has been one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. In 1933, journalist Glyn Roberts wrote of England’s great capital, “I still think the parade of peoples and colours and tongues is just about the best thing in London.” That “parade” is still in evidence today with the blended smells, sounds, and sights of a global community. The beauty of diversity is part of the breathtaking appeal of one of the world’s greatest cities.

As with any city inhabited by human beings, however, London is not without its problems. Change brings challenges. Cultures sometimes clash. And that is one of the reasons no city built by human hands can compare to the wonder of our eternal home.

When the apostle John was transported into the presence of God, diversity was one of the elements of heavenly worship, as the redeemed sang, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9–10).

Imagine heaven: a parade of every people group in the world celebrating the wonder of being children of the living God—together! As believers in Jesus, may we celebrate that diversity today.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What are the best things about the church being so diverse? What can make that diversity occasionally challenging?

Father, I thank You that no people group is excluded from Your great love. Teach us to truly love one another, as You have so generously loved us.

Filling the Gaps

Genesis 16:1-6

Has God given you a vision that is yet unfulfilled? Has He assigned you a task that is still incomplete, though you’ve done everything you know to do?

Waiting periods in our life often prepare us for God’s purposes. Maybe there’s a rough edge He must smooth or a relationship He wants to restore before He’ll fully accomplish His purposes. He could be plumbing the depths of your faith, expanding its borders, and proving Himself faithful. Sometimes He’ll use these dry periods for correction, to steer a believer away from rebellion and back in a Godward direction.

Remember, it is always wise to wait upon the Lord while He prepares us for His answers. At such times, we should continue to pray and trust, but it’s essential to refrain from acting until we have heard from Him. This applies even to counsel we’ve sought from godly believers: Their advice can prove helpful but should always be brought to the Lord for His confirmation before we take action.

Anything other than God’s plan carried out God’s way and in God’s timing amounts to self-reliance. Depend on His Spirit when deciding how to proceed; any other course of action won’t lead to the full and abundant life Jesus promised.

Discard The Shame of Entropy

“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Corinthians 6:5)

The word for “shame” in this verse is the Greek entrope, meaning “turning inward” or “inversion.” It is used only one other time, in 1 Corinthians 15:34: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Evidently this special variety of shame is associated with taking controversies between Christian brethren to ungodly judges and also with failing to witness to the non-Christian community. Instead of bringing the true wisdom of God to the ungodly, such “entropic Christians” were turning to worldly wisdom to resolve their own spiritual problems. This inverted behavior was nothing less than spiritual confusion!

The modern scientific term “entropy” is essentially this same Greek word. In science, entropy is a measure of disorder in any given system. The universal law of increasing entropy states that every system tends to disintegrate into disorder, or confusion, if left to itself. This tendency can only be reversed if ordering energy is applied to it effectively from a source outside the system.

This universal scientific law has a striking parallel in the spiritual realm. A person turning inward to draw on his own bank of power, or seeking power from an ineffective outside source, will inevitably deteriorate eventually into utter spiritual confusion and death. But when Christ enters the life, that person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Scriptures, “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The law of spiritual entropy is transformed into the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). HMM

There Can Be No Compromise of Deity

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.

—Philippians 2:9

 

We can surely know this, at least: that the Incarnation required no compromise of deity. Let us always remember that when God became incarnate there was no compromise on God’s part….

But the holy God who is God, and all else not God, our Father who art in heaven, could never compromise Himself. The Incarnation, the Word made flesh, was accomplished without any compromise of the holy Deity.

The living God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God.

He remained ever God and everything else remained not God. The gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and had dwelt among us. Instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, by the act of Incarnation He elevated mankind to Himself….

Thus, we do not degrade God but we elevate man—and that is the wonder of redemption! CES014-015

Lord, You are so powerful that You could humble Yourself, yet remain the majestic God. Thank You, Father, that because Jesus came down to me, I can be raised up to be with You. Amen.

 

The Trinity Works Together

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

—John 1:1-2

 

Critics often have declared that the Bible contradicts itself in matters relating to the Trinity. For example, Genesis speaks of God’s creating the heavens and the earth. The New Testament declares that the Word—God the Son—created all things. Still other references speak of the Holy Spirit’s work in creation. These are not contradictions. Father, Son and Spirit worked together in the miracles of creation, just as they worked together in the planning and effecting of human redemption. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are consubstantial…one in substance and cannot be separated.

When Jesus was to launch His earthly ministry, He went to John at the Jordan River to be baptized. The record speaks of the Trinity’s involvement. As Jesus stood on the bank of the river following His baptism, the Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Him and the voice of God the Father was heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). JMI106

 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. HCL597

 

Why Me, Why Not Me?

Isaiah 6:8

Why should a troubled world trouble me? Can’t I close my ears and shut my eyes? After all, what can one person do? And anyway, why must that person be me?

Why me? That question was asked by Moses when God called him: “Who am I, that I should go?” (Exodus 3:11). He might have said, “I don’t like the crowds and the clamor and the complications of Egypt. I like the peace of the desert. Why me?” It was the attitude of one who feels inadequate, even fearful. Why me? The answers are given.

First of all, Moses was a man with a cause. It was God’s cause. The Lord said,

“I have indeed seen the misery of My people… I have heard them crying out… I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them” (Exodus 3:7-8). God wanted Moses’ help. It was already Moses’ cause. He too had seen and heard and knew the distress of his people. He had taken his stand with the oppressed. Even though Moses had run away and hidden in the desert, his heart still cared about the slaves in Egypt. Moses was a man with a cause.

Then, Moses was a man with a call. God said, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10). It is not enough to recognize a great and worthy cause. There are many such in the world today. We must do more than see a need. We must sense and acknowledge a call which is positive and personal. Such calls seldom come with the dramatic vividness of Moses’ revelation, but however a call may come, God has a task for you and me.

Finally, Moses was a man with a Companion. And that is the best part of it. God said, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). And He was: through the Exodus and the wilderness, all the way and every day. From personal experience Moses would later say, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). God’s promise to every believer is the same: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Moses was a man with a cause, a call and a Companion. He knew where he was going, what he was going for and with whom he was going.

What about your life? In the absence of a burning bush, will you face this burning question: “Who will help to heal the open sore of the world?”

Bramwell Tripp, Big Themes in Small Portions