2 Timothy 2:19-21 (NKJV)
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
In most restaurants, a standard place setting includes an array of utensils with silverware, napkin, plates, etc. Many times this includes a cup turned upside down on a saucer reserving a place for coffee after the meal. The older generation may even be so bold as to turn the cup up when they sit down for a bit of invigorating java. My parents were all-day coffee consumers. A fresh pot in the morning followed by an afternoon brew and maybe even to be as bold as quick one before bed. It’s funny how each person has a distinct taste it. Some like it black, others cream and sugar, or some half and half to cut back on caffeine. Coffee comes hot or cold nowadays with entire stores devoted to its consumption. Let’s go back in the day of the diner or maybe the all-day breakfast joint, the place that still places a cup and saucer at each table ready for use. Now let’s take a look at that cup and just what it means.
If you leave the cup in its original position, it sends the message to the waitress that you do not care for any coffee and many times she will remove it from the table. If you turn the coffee up, it is a sign that you do want a fresh filling of the good stuff. Why all this imagery? Well, the Lord wants to fill our cup today. He doesn’t just want to fill it but make it run over with His Love, Mercy and Grace that results in His Favor and Goodness overtaking our life. We want it too. We ask for it. Pray about it. Sing of it. Hope for it. Yet many times life sucks the spirit right out of us. We become weary in well doing and wonder why life is so hard. Could it be so simple? Are we not sending the right message to the Lord? Do we desire a fresh anointing and renewal from Jesus but alas our cup is turned over not ready to use?
It’s funny how my mind works because honestly I have never drank a cup of hot coffee in a restaurant. I am a coffee snob who only likes the designer brand that is a treat because it is too dang expensive to become a daily habit. Yet if a cup was in front of me right now, upside down on a saucer, I would have to turn it up. I want the Lord to renew me, restore me and revive me. I desire a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. I desire a cup that runs over in all God has for me so that my life can effectively witness and minister of the love that I have found to be my source of life.
“The Lord knows who are His…” Does God know that you desire Him? Do you actively pursue Jesus? I love the smell of coffee but it is an acquired taste. At first it may be bitter but for many that is overcome by the rush of energy from the shock to one’s system of the stimulant hidden in each bean. They desire the substance because of the rush so the more they taste it and experience it – the more they like it and desire it. Taste and see that the Lord is good. We have to want the fulfillment of God and rush of His Spirit enough to what it takes to have it. Our covenant with the Lord is a relationship of participation. In surrendering our life, we must do certain things to maintain a position of submission or our flesh will most assuredly rise up. It is that act of turning, repentance, redirection, and the process of renewal day by day that allows us to discover full satisfaction and complete contentment with our Lord.
There are many vessels in the House of the Lord. Some are ready for everyday while others are only for special occasions. One may look at long for the bright and shiny ones but they reach for the well-used. I want to be a clay vessel. Like the jar of clay that is fragile yet hold’s God’s Glory and Power. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
My cup runs over. Does your cup run over today? Are you overwhelmed by the constancy and persistence of God on your behalf? Do you desire Him? Desire is that which drives our passion and pursuit. During our annual Daniel Fast, it is the number one complaint and longing I hear from those around me. I don’t drink coffee enough for it to impact me like that. Fatigue, headache, lethargy, and some are even driving to physical illness due to the withdrawal. Are we impacted the same when we are away from the Lord? If we miss our routine quiet time or visit to the prayer closet? Do we fell it? Long for Him? Miss Him at all? When our life consists of daily consumption of God’s Word, refreshing repentance, and He is our Source of Life, yes we will. Until that time, our cup is dry. Not because He will not fill it, we have turned it over and said, “No, thank you.”
Psalm 23 is life. It is the journey of life with all of its ups and down. The anointing on us is eternal. We are born with a purpose and plan that includes first and foremost salvation. Just as all are given a cup at the table, only those who turn it up will get the infilling they desire. Salvation is a gift. You only receive it you want it. God will not force Himself on you. He will not make you accept the wonderful gift of life that He has for you. That being said, disbelief does not change the fact that God loves you, Jesus died for you and He will continue to offer to fill our life with His Goodness until He comes.
Psalm 16:5-8 (NKJV)
O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
To desire the Lord is to claim Him as our inheritance and cup. Those who do are promised that their life will “fall in pleasant places”. How will you know if you never try Him? Those who enter a covenant with Jesus are surrendering their life to His Holy Inhabitation. They desire Him in all seasons and place Him ever before themselves. This is not always a desirable position. I may enter a restaurant with a strong desire and full intentions to enjoy a steaming hot beverage. I can hold a menu and flip through the pages. I can order a full meal including all courses. I can look at the waiter and fully engage in conversation. I can do all this and never get a cup of coffee. Until I reach down and turn my cup up to receive that which I desire, it will not be poured out. There are many frustrated Christians who think that God is a farce. They do not believe in signs, wonders and miracles because they have not seen them. They came to the Lord with strong desires and expectations that have not been met. Many feel as though that they have tested and tried the Lord but come up lacking. To test the Lord and try Him at His Word is an obedience factor. If you desire the outcomes in God’s Word, you must do it God’s Way. But when it comes to desire, hunger and thirsting after God, this means we must taste and see that the Lord is good. This is when our relationship with the Lord moves from external to internal. This is a cry of intimacy. It requires surrender. We must turn our cup over.
I Corinthians 11:25-29 (NKJV)
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner[b]eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
An attentive server will not fill a dirty cup. If they notice that it is not pristine, they will quickly get a new cup for their patron. For ground up beans steeped in hot water, that surely could sterilize the vessel and even put hair on your chest, yet it must be clean and proper to be served. How much more would our God desire a clean cup? He is giving us all of His Goodness with the promise of full satisfaction. Repentance is turning from our sin to accept the Gift of Grace. One cannot fully grab hold of God’s Grace without relinquishing sin. The Lord told the Pharisees to clean their cups. They were nothing more than whitewashed tombs. (Matthew 23:25-27) It is clear in this passage that to drink from the cup in remembrance of Christ “unworthily” without repentance brings about judgment. Soak that in for a moment. Are why trying to fill dirty cups? Are we not paying any attention to the contents in the cup but asking the Lord to just do it anyway? Light and darkness do not mix. You will never experience a full outpouring from God including miracles, signs, wonders or revival with a dirty, unclean cup. It is just not going to happen. He is a Good God who only gives His Best to His Children. We must give up sin to receive from the Lord.
I Corinthians 10:21 (NKJV)
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord ’s Table and of the table of demons.
My level of expectation of service is according to the establishment that I frequent. If I am starving and need something to eat with limited choices, naturally I am going to pick from what I have available with cleanliness being my number one concern. But if I go to a fine dining restaurant, my level of expectation is heightened. The bar is moved up. When we come to the Lord’s Table yet try to drag all our junk to the table, the Lord says no. This is a fine dining establishment. Though a coat and tie may not be required, a robe of righteousness is. When we dine with the world, we must expect to be fed by it. Living in the Presence of God allows us to change our expectations for the better. The Lord fills us with the Holy Spirit so we will desire Him more. We can learn how to properly partake. He gives a heart for the Lord and all these things that really matter. As we turn our life over to Jesus and surrender our heart to Him, He fills us with all those things we really wanted and deeply desired but went after the wrong way.
Psalm 107:5-8 (NKJV)
Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way that they might go to a city for a dwelling place. Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Today the Lord invites us to come to His Table and be filled with His Goodness. What is our response? It is up to us if we will be satisfied with all these things added by our pursuit of the Kingdom. Our vessel must be ready. We must be surrendered to His Spirit. We must turn from our sin. Clean our cup daily and ask for that which we desire more than anything else. His Presence. Yes, the Word of God says to taste and see that the Lord is good. I have. He is. Now I long for more of Him daily, no longer fearing that His Overflow will be messy or embarrassing but only trusting Him more. I desire more of Jesus today. Do you? Let’s turn our cup over again and say, “Fill me up Lord.” Here I give you my cup, my life, my all – I desire all of You today!
Psalm 34:8-10 (NKJV)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.