VIDEO Watching With Jesus

Stay here and watch with Me. —Matthew 26:38

“Watch with Me.” Jesus was saying, in effect, “Watch with no private point of view at all, but watch solely and entirely with Me.” In the early stages of our Christian life, we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revealed truth of the Bible even in the circumstances of our own lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to identification with Himself through a particular “Gethsemane” experience of our own. But we refuse to go, saying, “No, Lord, I can’t see the meaning of this, and besides, it’s very painful.” And how can we possibly watch with Someone who is so incomprehensible? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we don’t even know why He is suffering? We don’t know how to watch with Him— we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.

The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not fully understand His purpose. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept as a result of their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest and most intimate relationship of their lives they “all…forsook Him and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:4). “They” refers to the same people, but something wonderful has happened between these two events— our Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension— and the disciples have now been invaded and “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Our Lord had said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8). This meant that they learned to watch with Him the rest of their lives.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

If there is only one strand of faith amongst all the corruption within us, God will take hold of that one strand.  Not Knowing Whither, 888 L


A Tale of Two Sorrows (Matthew 26-27)

Help from the Holy Spirit

Return, faithless people. I will cure you of backsliding. Jeremiah 3:22

While my classmates and I used to skip the occasional lecture in university, everyone always made sure to attend Professor Chris’ lecture the week before the year-end exams. That was when he would unfailingly drop big hints about the exam questions he’d set.

I always wondered why he did that, until I realized that Prof. Chris genuinely wanted us to do well. He had high standards, but he would help us meet them. All we had to do was show up and listen so we could prepare properly.

It struck me that God is like that too. God can’t compromise His standards, but because He deeply desires us to be like He is, He’s given us the Holy Spirit to help us meet those standards.

In Jeremiah 3:11–14, God urged unfaithful Israel to acknowledge their guilt and return to Him. But knowing how stubborn and weak they were, He would help them. He promised to cure their backsliding ways (v. 22), and He sent shepherds to teach and guide them (v. 15).

How comforting it is to know that no matter how big the sin we’re trapped in or how far we’ve turned from God, He’s ready to heal us of our faithlessness! All we need to do is to acknowledge our wrong ways and allow His Holy Spirit to begin changing our hearts.

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

Where do you struggle to follow God faithfully and obediently? How can you ask God to heal you and help you?

Loving God, thank You for Your merciful love that enables me to be holy like You are. Please help me to let Your Spirit heal me of my faithlessness and transform my heart.

Read Filled with the Spirit at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0301

Sunday Reflection: For Something Better

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

We all know Zacchaeus was a “wee little man” who climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus—a rather undignified act (Luke 19:1-9). But what was his motive? From a worldly perspective, Zacchaeus had everything to lose and nothing to gain from meeting Christ. Yet that didn’t stop him. Despite his influence and wealth, he sensed that there was something more to life. And perhaps he sensed, too, that there was Someone who would unconditionally love even a despised tax collector.

When Jesus said He would be staying at Zacchaeus’s house, the man “hurried and came down, and received Him joyfully” (Luke 19:6). Then that joy overflowed into action. After coming face-to-face with the Savior, Zacchaeus—without any prompting—pledged to give half his possessions to the poor and repay four times the amount he had extorted. By unclenching his fingers to relinquish the money, he was able to reach out for the greater blessing Jesus offered.

Think about it
• Is there something in your life that God is leading you to relinquish? If so, what is the reason for your hesitation?

Sacrifice and Service

“Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (Philippians 2:17)

Paul saw himself as “poured out” as an offering (Greek spendo) on the “sacrifice and service” of these precious friends. This special word is used only one other time, when Paul was “ready to be offered” at his death (2 Timothy 4:6).

Paul’s ministry among the Philippians resulted in the godly lifestyle of the church. They became sacrifices (Greek thusia) much like the Lord Jesus “hath given himself for us” (Ephesians 5:2) and as we are all told to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is [our] reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

The service that is commended of the Philippians is a public service undertaken at one’s own expense (Greek leitourgia). Several men in the church at Antioch were noted for their ministry (Acts 13:2 uses the same word), and some in Macedonia and Achaia were also acknowledged for giving contributions to the saints at Jerusalem (Romans 15:26-27).

Paul’s joy and rejoicing at the godly activity of the faithful saints at Philippi are the key to understanding the tone of the entire book. He had “poured out” himself, even being “shamefully entreated” during his ministry there (1 Thessalonians 2:2). Yet while writing this poignant letter back to the church, he gives joyful greetings to them at the certain knowledge that his ministry among them has resulted in their sacrifice and service.

Would God that all of us could see our offerings for the sake of others with the same passionate expectation. Often our Lord calls on us to give of ourselves in selfless ways so that others may learn from our example. Sometimes, we must even pour out our own souls (1 Thessalonians 2:8) for the sake of the gospel. HMM III

A Simple Theme-Psalm 107

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe and has gathered them from the lands—from the east and the west, from the north and the south. Some wandered in the desolate wilderness, finding no way to a city where they could live. They were hungry and thirsty; their spirits failed within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress… Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for the human race. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and announce His works with shouts of joy (vv. 1-6, 21-22).

In hymn singing, a descant is a soaring countermelody, usually sung by a few sopranos as a decorative addition to the hymn. The moving theme of this passage is the simple declaration of God’s goodness and enduring love.

Most likely God’s people had been in exile in Babylon, Now back in their native land, they are praising him again.

  • Descant:He gathers his chosen people from all corners of the earth.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He has redeemed us—paid our ransom, bought us back, covered our debt.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He delivers us from distress.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He leads us on level pathways to his holy city, where we will settle for eternity.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He satisfies our hunger and thirst with living water and good things.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He brings us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He heals all our diseases and rescues us from the grave.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever.
  • Descant:He will still every storm of life to a whisper and guide us to our haven of rest.
  • Theme: The Lord is good; his love endures forever!

Personal Prayer

Lord, I praise you for your unfailing love and incomparable deeds of kindness.

Deadly Weapons

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.—1 Corinthians 10:31

Disregard for the physical aspect of life can greatly contribute to spiritual dryness. This means that a certain amount of discipline must be introduced into our lives. But what kind of discipline?

Firstly, we need discipline in what and how much we eat. Every meal should be a sacrament offered on the altar of fitter and finer living. Doctors tell us that excess food—as well as too little food—destroys brain power. What is in the stomach often determines what is in the head. Scripture says, “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking” (Rm 14:17). But it is not a contradiction of that verse to say that often our food and drink determine our fitness for the kingdom of God.

Seneca, in an exaggerated statement made for the sake of emphasis, said, “Man does not die: he kills himself.” Dr. R. L. Greene, a professor of chemistry and a specialist in nutrition, says, “The most deadly weapons used by man in committing suicide are the knife, fork, and spoon.” You may be repelled at the idea of committing suicide—and so you should be—but you may well be contributing to your death by choosing wrong ways of eating.

We need discipline also to ensure that we get at least the minimum amount of vitamins. Vitamins are necessary to vitality; they are God’s gift to us. The divine Chemist has designed our bodies to work in a certain way. And if we ignore His prescription for health, we reduce our physical effectiveness, which can also reduce our spiritual effectiveness.

Prayer

O Father, help me recognize that physical vitality contributes to spiritual vitality. May I respect the body You have given me and pay attention to the laws of health that You have built into the universe. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Pr 23:1-21; Eccl 6:7; Php 3:19

How does the Scripture regard gluttony?

What is gluttony?

Extraordinary Love

Ephesians 4:32

We are living today in a post-Christian environment. Christianity may have been the “faith of our fathers,” but we now live in a secular society where faith centers far more on bank accounts, insurance policies and the pursuit of transient pleasure. Love’s meaning has shriveled to instant self-gratification.

The love we demonstrate must not be on the level of that which we see around us. Our love must be a transcendent love, which recognizes the supremacy of God, emulates the love of Jesus and seeks the enlightening guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are made for heaven, thus our love must transcend the secular and finite limits of this world. We must seek to saturate ourselves in Scripture and prayer, so that the love we bring to family life will have at its roots a transcendent, eternal quality.

In this “every man for himself” world, our love must be a tender love (Ephesians 4:32). This must extend to the home where roughness and rudeness replace courtesy and respect. It may be difficult to be tenderhearted after a stressful day at work. We must not underestimate the struggles of our children as they grow to maturity—struggles of acceptance, struggles academically, struggles with peers and friendships, struggles with self-identity. This is the time for tender love, a clear demonstration of caring, understanding and support—a time for simply telling them that they are loved unconditionally.

If there is a place for tender love, there is also a place for tough love. Today there is a need for a return to Christian discipline, and parents must not ignore this important role. Tough love is neglected at peril. Often tough love is simply the courage to say “no” to a child’s unrealistic wishes.

When I lived in Sri Lanka, where the two seasons are hot and hotter, I loved to walk along a particular road in Colombo. It was arched by trees which provided not only shade, but a significantly cooler temperature. I often thought how remarkable it is that without fanfare the trees absorb the intense heat of the day and transform it into a refreshing coolness.

How similar this is to God’s purpose of a transforming love for each of us. He wants us to absorb hurts and anger and frustration and misunderstanding, and through His grace transform them into love, peace, forgiveness and harmony. This is the experience of holiness, the Christian lifestyle taught in Scripture, and the extraordinary love supremely exemplified by Jesus in every experience of His earthly life.

Dudley Coles, The War Cry