Today’s note is a bit longer than usual; and it is from the works of Oswald Chambers (1874-1917). However, I hope that you will find its encouragement to press-on after missed or ignored opportunities of great help.  – Luther 

“Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”  (Matthew 26:46, NIV)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair.

The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken.

It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.

There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them.

The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing — they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.”

If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.

Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.

Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”

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“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”  (Mark 2:27, NIV)

We need to challenge the thought that God’s laws and commandments are designed to spoil the joy of living, in the same manner that Jesus challenged the thought that God created humanity to obey a predetermined set of rules that are independent of our benefit.

All of God’s laws and commandments have two distinct purposes: To provide for us; and to protect us.

From the day that Adam and Eve were in the garden, humanity has resented limits or boundaries without seeking to appreciate the benefits.  It is akin to resenting traffic laws without considering the benefit to order and safety that such laws provide to both motorists and pedestrians.

As our heavenly Father, God wants only protect us from unnecessary trouble and grief so that we might have life, and have it in all of its abundance.

We were not created to keep “the rules.”  The “rules” were created to keep us.  Therefore, obey the Lord with faithfulness, joy, and thanksgiving!  – Luther

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“Then he said to the man, ‘Hold out your hand.’  So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!”  (Matthew 12:13, NLT)

Oswald Chambers reminds us: “God does not give us overcoming life — He gives us life as we overcome.”

The first task in our partnership with God is obedience.  Too often, we say to God, “Show me, and I will go,” when God is saying to us, “Go, and I will show you.”  To do the latter is to live by faith in God.  To do the former is to live by common sight and human insight alone.

Today’s scripture illustrates for us the way in which our heavenly Father works — which is the same as it was centuries before in the call of the “father of the faithful” — Abraham (who was previously named Abram): “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.'” (Genesis 12:1)

It each case — including our own in our day — the great work of God begins with our personal commitment through obedience.  Stretch out your hand.  The overcoming power of God has never been nearer!  – Luther

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