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Home : Articles :
Three Cups

 

Three Cups
By Andy Zoppelt

For those who desire to go all the way with Him

As Christians, there are some hard things for us to understand and therefore to deal with. Most of this understanding is related to our leaning on our understanding, our preferences and not being mature enough to where we have learned to fully entrust and leave everything in His hands. understanding suffering and rejection while being a Christian at the same time is difficult for the immature. When most of us think of being a Christian, we think of peace, joy and happiness. We are expecting God to give us jobs, cars, a mate, ministry, money and prestige; but God doesn't necessarily always do that. God is interested in conforming us into His image, maturing us and making us His spotless bride.

The tale of the eagle

A farmer one day came upon an eagle's egg, he took it home and put it with his hens. As time went by, the hen sat on the egg and it hatched with the other eggs. As time went by, the hens would go out into the barnyard and the peeps would follow. The little eaglet didn't know any better, so he also followed the hens. He just went along with the crowd, because that is all he knew. Growing up in an environment with the other chickens did not support or prepare him for what he was created for. His latent potential was hindered by the behavior of the other chicks. He found himself scratching for food and pretty much acting like an earthbound chicken.

One day a storm began to move in from the north. the wind began to kick up and the dust began to stir and swirl on the ground. The mother hens spread out their wings for their little chicks to gather under. She ran her chicks into the barn for protection with all the other chicks. But as our eaglet became a full grown eagle, he felt something different into his spirit in response to the storm. Something strange was moving in our eagle's heart. Why wasn't he afraid and run into the safety of the barn? what was keeping him into the strong winds of the storm? Instinctively, he spread his long mature wings. the wind began to increase and caught his wings and lifted him into the air. He found himself rising higher and higher. His heart began to feel the freedom of flight for which God had created him. Deep in his heart he knew he was made for a higher way of living. He never was comfortable with the scratching in the barnyard. The heart of an eagle will never be content in the barnyard. His heart yearns for higher places. His wings were designed to be lifted by the wind. The wind is his friend. To force an eagle to live in captivity is a great injustice to such a majestic bird.

True, hungry and humble Christians cannot live in a pew scratching through sermons. They cannot live nor be satisfied with the status quo of the modern churchgoer. Something beats in his heart when the wind begins to blow and the storm begins to churn. Oh, sure he cries and feels the pain when the winds of trials and conflict come, but something leads him upward and onward. Something empowers him beyond the forces of earth's gravity. His beauty and majesty are seen in the high places of the heavens. His nest is built on high and his flight carries him to even greater heights.

To be seated in heavenly places takes a special saint with a vision beyond the gravity bound chickens of our day.

Ps 11:1, "How dare you tell me, 'Flee to the mountains for safety,' when I am trusting in the Lord?" TLB

Saints, the wind of God's Spirit is beginning to blow, and those that are chickens will head for shelter and hid from trials, rejection and storm, and those with a heavenly calling will begin to soar to the skies. If we thirst for higher places, we will never be satisfied with scratching through the traditions of men who flee every trial to find a "place" of peace, but they will stand in the Spirit and let God deal with them until they find the peace that comes from God alone.

There is a price for this revelation and place with Christ in heavenly places. God doesn't let chickens into His kingdom; he is looking for sons.

Isaiah 40:31, "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on

wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." NIV

True eagles do not have their hope in land, cars, jobs, wife or husband…. Though these may have their place, their hope is in the lord and all the rest is secured in their faith in Him who sits on high.

Hebrews 6:19-20, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters

the inner sanctuary behind the curtain (Heavenly calling), where Jesus, who went before us,

has entered on our behalf." NIV

I want to talk to you about eagle saints, about the purpose of suffering, rejection, isolation, conflict, persecution, abandonment and hindered prayers. I want to talk to you about those things that you will not find scratching among the chickens on this earth.

Do you want to be a man or woman of God? I want to talk to you about three cups mentioned in scripture and the sequence we find them.

2 Cor 8:12, "For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and

not according to what he does not have." NKJV

First Cup

Are you willing to drink?

There is a price to pay, it is not free.

Acts 9:15,16, "But the Lord said to him (Ananias), "Go, for he (Paul) is a chosen instrument of

Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him

how much he must suffer for My name's sake." NAS

Matt 20:20-22, "Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 'What is it you want?' he asked. She said, 'Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.' 'You don't know what you are asking,' Jesus said to them. 'Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?'" NIV

"Grant us to sit…" Oh we seek a position, a place, and a ministry. "Let me sit at your right hand Lord, use me." Have those words ever broken through the lips of your mouth? Have you ever cried to be used of God? He heard that cry and He will answer that prayer, but first - let me tell you - there is a cost for that seat.

Oh, sit in church and get fat on teaching, don't move from your pew, don't stir up your family, your friends…. You will never hear the call. Yes, you are a chicken at heart, you may talk tough, but you hid in the crowd of nominal, traditional Christianity. Don't worry - you will never suffer, nor be rejected. You will look like everybody else. Sit and learn, gather insignificant information, teach unchallenging things…. You will not see this cup. Take the easy way out, move to the mountains, get away from problems, maybe God will call you as you milk the cows, away from the pressure of people. Sit in your lonely abode away from the storms, just passing time until you die. I am sure, oh Laodicean, you will find protection and still look like you have courage..

Find a big church to hide in, brag about the teaching, being fed, the good feelings, and the programs…. you will not have to live on the edge, nor risk being exposed there. It is what you want - you find safety there. Who wants to be among the "distressed or in debt or discontented?" (1 Sam 22:2) Who wants to join the ranks of the hungry that boldly go out to meet Him outside the camp? No, not you. You love the Lord from a distance, in your comfort you are squandering your God-created life. Run to the shelter when the storm comes, hid from the wind and the rain. God will not put a fire under you, He is a gentleman. You must break the chains of tradition and through that you will find Him. You promised to give Him your all, and like Ananias and Sapphira, you held back the best for yourself.

"Let's study the bible for the bible sake and not apply it to our lives." "Let's look at all the insignificant things that don't challenge us, so people will think we love God's word." "Let's talk about the bible, that will make us think we care about Him."

You cannot hide behind the bible to conceal your life of sin and indifference. Your teaching will not cover up your lack of commitment and love for the saints. God's word was meant for you to do it, to live it, and obey it, and not just learn it.

If you are going to drink this cup, it is going to cost you your life. You will have to surrender your control over your life and let Him be in charge.

Jesus told those bible thumping Pharisees in John 5:38-40,

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." NIV

Repentance calls you to obey Him, follow Him, abide in Him, remain in Him, and live in Him.

Stand for truth, take the radical path….. only then will you learn to fly, but it will cost you your life.

Are you willing to drink that first cup? how seriously do you to want to follow Jesus? We need conviction of sin not conventions for entertaining information. We need to suffer with Him, not attend happy-time-entertaining meetings. We don't need jokes and anecdotal stories, we need the fire of the truth to burn up the chaff of our flesh. "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Phil 3:10, NKJV)

The second cup, Gethsemane
Experiencing pain and abandonment.

Matt 26:37-39, " And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then he said to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." KJV

When the cup finally reached Jesus' lips He began to experience the pain of the cup. His soul was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Listen to Paul as the cup was brought to his lips:

"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life." (2 Cor 1:8, NKJV)

Listen to Jeremiah as the cup touches his lips.
(Read Ps 38 about David's encounter with this cup)

Lamentation chapter three

1"I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.

2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; (Stop here! God made him walk in darkness?)

3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

(Did you ever feel that God was against you, did you ever think that every way you turned only seemed to bring devastation and destruction?)

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.

6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.

(Have you ever been walled in? Have you ever been to the place where every revelation in the past, all your experiences were unable to help? Do you fill walled in? Hold on, let the content of the cup burn out the dross. Let it do its work.)

8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.

(Have you ever poured out your heart to God with tears, wept in longing for Him and even expected Him to show up on the scene in mercy? Yet time and time again….. silence. Rejection and guilt fills your heart-broken soul. Sin seems to be on the rise, temptation seems more attractive [darkness]. You pray in fear that you will fall. You cry day and night, but silence. "Where is God, doesn't He care?" He has shut out your prayers.)

9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. (Have you tried every conceivable way out of you predicament and you can't get out? Has He shut a door that no one can open?" Is there no clear straight path before you?)

10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,

11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help.

12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver.

(Have you ever looked at God and He seemed to be your enemy. You cry for deliverance and your life falls deeper into the pit. His arrow seems to be pointed at you, and only you. How could a Loving God of mercy be so cruel?)

14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. (Have your best friends turned against you, mocked you for your stand, criticized your beliefs, condemned your walk and exposed your faults? They ignore all the good that you have done and they will never be satisfied until they have brought you down below them.)

15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. (Have you ever been filled with bitterness and wonder if God would leave you because of it? Have you ever spoke out of this pain and hated yourself for the bitterness? You look for a sweet pleasant spirit and find bitter herbs.)

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.

17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. (Have you ever been to the place where you could not find any peace? Where your bills kept stacking up and you could see no solution in sight? Everything you would do to bring yourself out of this mess only ended in more problems.)

18 So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD." (Your ministry, your respect, your friends, and your revelation… it is all gone. Your life is thrown to the side and your hope is now consumed in the distress of this trial.")

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me."

The third cup

Seeing the Father's hand holding the cup.

John 18:10, 11, "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" NIV

Have you seen the cup in His hand yet? The cup is not in your hand. Stop trying to control it, it is beyond your control. The loving Father has a greater joy for you beyond your cross. You cannot knock the cup out of His hand and you cannot pull it away from you lips. You cannot spit it out, you must drink it. God is praying that your faith will not fail. He has brought this cup to you because He knows that you are His and He is going to use you for something special.

The cup of pain becomes for you a cup of pleasure and joy.

Heb 12:1-2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who forthe joy set before him endured the cross.." NIV

Jeremiah sees the Father's hand on the cup.

Lamentations:

21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD…..

38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?

39 Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. NIV

Job saw the Lord after he had drank his cup

Job 42:5,6, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes." NASU

God does not chasten everyone, only His sons. For those that He would draw closer to Himself and for those He would use to do greater works must learn to fly in the storm.

Blessed is the man who doesn't find a way of escape from his trials. Many are the Christians who escape the back door during the time of testing and rejecting.

The Lord is our refuge, our peace, our hope, our salvation, our strength, our life…. He is our everything. Find God in your trial and don't flee it to find peace.

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