September 3 Devotional

Opening Prayer: My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.

Scripture: Matthew 26:36-46

Journal: Where in your life are you choosing his will? Where in your life are you choosing your own? How does it make you feel to pray the prayer Jesus prays here? Are you willing? Is there a “cup” before you in life right now from which God is calling you to drink?

Reflection: A few hours before Jesus is hanging on the cross in agony, he is in agony praying in Gethsemane. The two agonies are the same Agony. The agony is given a name: “this cup.” A cup holds a liquid that is drunk. The peculiar property of the cup is that we hold it with our hands, put it to our lips, tip it into our mouths, and swallow the contents. It requires a coordinated, willing spirit, accepting and receiving. It requires taking the contents into our entire digestive system, distributing them throughout the muscles and bones, red blood cells and nerve ganglia. The cup is a container from which we take something that is not us into our lives so that it becomes us, enters into our living.

The cup that Jesus holds in his hands in Gethsemane that night is God’s will—God’s will to save the world in a final act of sacrificial love. The cup that Jesus drinks is a sacrificial death in which Jesus freely takes sin and evil into himself, absorbs it in his soul, and makes salvation out of it—drinks it down as if from a cup. Jesus’ name is, translated into English, “Yahweh saves.” As Jesus drinks the cup, he becomes his name.

This is, of course, sheer and unfathomable mystery. It is mystery unexplained, but it is not an obscure mystery. It has many witnesses: poets and farmers, singers and parents who give witness that the willingness to die is an act of acceptance and an embrace of life. (Tell it Slant by Eugene Peterson) 

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

John and Kathy Lesondak are church planters who work across denominational lines in Slovakia to encourage and enable pastors in their work. John founded the Kosice Fine Arts Center in 2013. Kosice was a “Culture Capital City of Europe” for 2013 along with Marseilles, France. Pray today for John and Kathy and the opportunities that they are having to have meaningful conversations with members of their community about faith.

The focus of Global Golf (formerly WPGF) is to serve women at all levels of competitive golf - professional tour players, college athletes, coaches and club pros - and introduce them to Jesus Christ through long-term relationships built around golf. Evangelism, discipleship and pastoral care are Global Golf’s primary purposes. Pray for director Cris Stevens and the women that she will have opportunities to connect with on the pro tour. 

Closing Prayer: My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.