Sweat, Blood, and Stones

Morning

“His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Luke 22:44

The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement, that his pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Saviour so that he distilled great drops of blood! This demonstrates the mighty power of his love. It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech, or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well;” of itself it flows in crimson torrents. If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in his agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of his agony driving his blood to the heart to nourish himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours him out upon the ground, pictures the fulness of the offering which he made for men.

Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.

Evening

“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 19:40

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if he who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of him who created them by the word of his power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that he did for his church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of his word, that he might build us into his temple? If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance. The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

 

Sabbath-Keeping Stewards

Sabbath-Keeping Stewards

Mark 2:23–28

The Pharisees wanted to make the Sabbath all about showy self-denial, but Jesus reiterated that the Sabbath was a celebration of God’s graciousness and provision—whether in gathering grain or in feeding a hungry army. The Sabbath is God’s gift to us. We need rest and everything that comes with it, but we are no longer bound by refraining from certain activities one day in seven (see Col 2:16–17). Being stewards of Sabbath means, as theologian and educator Marva Dawn comments, celebrating God’s gift and letting it enhance our life with him.

We all experience constantly how much our own time crunch is aggravated—and the pace of life accelerated—by the technological milieu in which we live. In such a cultural context, the first Sabbath gift for us to celebrate is its realization that the Bible presents an entirely different sense of time …

Many biblical passages in the Scriptures underscore this freedom from the anxiety of too much work. More positively, many biblical texts highlight the attitude demonstrated by Jesus that all the work committed to us by God can be done in God’s timing, for the grace that entrusts the work to us also empowers it.

Most notably, Jesus models this when the disciples worry that He wants to go to Judea again (after Lazarus’s death), and He responds, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? [Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light]” (Jn 11:9–10). Sabbath keeping fills us with the light of God’s presence so that the work of the following days can match their hours. Sabbath keeping gives us the opportunity to discern what really is God’s will for our lives and service so that we don’t try to do more than twelve hours’ worth of tasks (nor less either).

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann also comments on this idea of Sabbath as a means of God’s grace.

On this day of the week, the nature which human beings process and utilize should be allowed to breathe and come to itself again. Our mental and purposeful concentration on reason and will is relaxed. On this day the mind or spirit can return again to the body which it had made its instrument. The body becomes the temple in which God’s Spirit can live and rest …

The holy place of God’s silent presence is no longer the space of the Holy of Holies in the temple in Jerusalem. It is now found in time, in the time of the holy rhythm of the Sabbath days. God lives in time, and interrupts the plans and purposes of human labor through his resting presence … It is in the rhythm of the times and the alternation of work and rest that we find the pulse of life. That is the spirituality of the lived life.

Think About It

  • How does your attitude toward work relate to keeping the Sabbath?
  • In what ways does setting aside a day for God become a sacred space?
  • How might you honor God’s provision of a day of rest?

Act on It

If you keep a Sabbath day, spend time this week reflecting on how it is a holy place. If you do not regularly keep a Sabbath day, determine to do so this week.

 

JOY OF GOD’S PRESENCE

JUST BELIEVE

JUST BELIEVE

Do you have the joy of God’s presence?

On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all our fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.”

Zephaniah 3:16-17 NLT

I know the Lord is always with me, I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises!

Psalm 16:8-9 NLT

Happy are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts.

Psalm 119:2 NLT

Real joy

Is joy, or happiness, a passing emotion or a permanent state? The Bible says it can be both. There is happiness that reacts to happenings (which is temporary and volatile), and there is happiness that overrules happenings (which is strong and lasting). Happiness based on happenings is part of life, but if that is all we can count on we have to keep feeding ourselves with events to keep us upbeat. Those who know the joy that comes from God don’t need happenings to keep them happy. They learn how to develop inner joy because they know, no matter what happens, God offers hope and promise.

From the TouchPoint Bible (Tyndale House) p 1209

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House