The Cup

“Awake, awake! Rise up Jerusalem,

you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath…

…This is what your Sovereign Lord says, your God, who defends his people:

‘See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger;

from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again. ‘”

Isaiah 51:17, 22. NIV

Today is Good Friday, and I felt to read from Isaiah where Jesus is spoken of as the suffering servant (ch53). I started at chapter 51 and was amazed at what I saw. Three things in particular spoke to me from this passage – Rise up, The Cup, and Never Again.

Rise Up!

I love the way the mist rises from our gully. It is effortless. It is gentle and shifts slowly. I think this is a reflection of how God wants us to grow in Him.

We have a great privilege, a responsibility, to respond to our Sovereign God. He has provided everything we need for freedom and salvation. But it doesn’t just come. We receive, we accept, we repent, we believe, we follow and obey. We have a part to play.

Again, in Isaiah 52:1-2, it says, ‘Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourselves with strength! Put on your garments of splendour, Jerusalem, the holy city… Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem, Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive.’

We are encouraged in the New Testament to put on: the armour of light (Rom 13:2), the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14), the new man (Eph 4:24), the armour of God (Eph 6:11), love (Col 3:124) as well as many ‘put off…’ commands. We have been given a robe of righteousness to wear. We clothe ourselves with strength by knowing who our God is in us. We read His word and renew our mind to who we are. We see His great love and power poured into us and we walk in that. We step out in faith, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, being strong and courageous. (Josh 1) Or at least, that is our goal. But we must rise to it.

The Cup

I hadn’t ever noticed how God described His taking away of the wrath and judgement the Israelites were living under.

‘I have taken out of your hand the cup…that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again.’

(Is 51:22)

What an incredible promise to the Israelites of the day. As I contemplated Jesus’ death on the cross, it was clear that Jesus also took the cup for us. He knew He would carry the wrath of God on our behalf. Such a simple picture for us. As we take communion we see the hand of God at work, lifting wrath, the punishment we deserved. We are forgiven and made free.

Never Again

And then there is a promise, ‘…you will never drink again.’ We are forgiven and free forever. We may be corrected, we may experience consequences of our sin, but we will never have to carry the weight of God’s wrath. I am as forgiven, loved and righteous as I ever will be. Now I am free to walk in these, and respond with gratefulness, humility and love.

In Isaiah 52:1 there is one more little phrase,

‘The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.’

This is another amazing promise. And it reminded me of Moses’ words to the Israelites as they faced the Red Sea on one side and Pharoah’s army on the other. They were terrified, angry, and ready to return to slavery.

‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.

The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you…’

Exodus 14:13-14

God then told them to move on! God knows how to deal with our enemies. And He knows how to stop them from returning!

In Zephaniah 3:15 it says,

‘The Lord has taken away your judgements,

He has cast out your enemy;

The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.; You shall see disaster no more.’

At the Passover meal, Jesus took he cup, gave thanks, and then shared it with His disciples. After supper He again took the cup, and said,

‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’

Luke 22:20

Later that evening, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus prayed,

‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.’ (v42)

As the Lord had taken the cup of wrath from the Israelites, so, too, Jesus has taken it for us. He was beaten, crushed, mocked, bruised, whipped. He also carried our sorrows and pain, our curses, sickness and disease. Read Isaiah 53 to see what Jesus bore for us.

The Father didn’t take the cup that night because He knew the victory on the other side. Jesus’ punishment, death and time in hell won for us our freedom and salvation. Jesus has won His family back.

On the cross, Jesus declared, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34) The centurion seeing all that had happened, said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’ (v47)

And now we are gifted this righteousness.

‘For He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us,

that we might became the righteousness of God in Him.’

2 Corinthians 5:21

Blessings ,

Jenni x

Thorns and Fruit

Well, it’s taken a long time, but here’s the final instalment in this series on the Parable of the Sower! There is so much to learn from and enjoy in this parable. It will never stop bringing life to the one who opens their heart to it each and every time. The Word of God is living and active. It never gets stale, there’s always something new to learn. Another facet of God’s goodness, character, instruction. The Word of God, the Seed, is incredible!

When I started with The Path,, I was so excited. I’ll do a series, I said. It’ll be easy, I said! Fresh Blogger excitement. Starting with enthusiasm and lots of ideas flooding my mind and heart, like many of my projects – painting, gardens, songwriting, de-cluttering – I then became stuck. What was it I had wanted to say? I found it so hard to complete. But I persevered with Truth Meets Rocky Ground

Then more procrastination. Doubt. Distraction. Fear. Personal matters that rocked my world; I had to find my foundation and peace and focus once more on Jesus. To be honest, I wrote much of this a long time ago and just forgot it. This is not how I want to do life. I don’t want to forget what I’ve chosen. I want to rise to challenges and struggles. And that’s precisely what this parable helps us with.

Jesus begins,

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

Luke 8:7-8 (NIV)

It’s interesting, Jesus didn’t describe the person who heard the word. Whether along the path, on rocky ground, in the thorns or in good soil, the person isn’t revealed as a believer or not, Jew or Gentile, male or female. This is about how any of us hear and receive the Word of God. It’s the response that makes the critical difference. Here we look at the Thorns.

“That which fell among thorns are those who when they have heard, go out and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”

(Luke 8:14 MEV)

When the Word of God is planted in us, we grow! God changes us. He doesn’t want that word to be trampled away or stolen, He doesn’t want it to shrivel in the heat and dry places. He wants us to flourish and produce fruit. In one sense, we’re the plant. “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word…” (Matthew 13:22 NLT) but, if we allow, “…the worries of this life and the lure of wealth…” crowd out God’s message, and we won’t produce what he desires.

It’s so easy to judge someone ‘like that’, who would allow the Word to be choked out of their life. And yet with a simple care, or distraction, or focus on earthly worries or pleasures (even really good things) we can all become fruitless, neglecting the Word and its truth in our lives.

I confess, at the time I started writing this, the second lockdown covid season was upon us and was very disturbing for me, maybe everyone. It was incredibly easy to allow the concerns shift me from fruitful to fruitless. I had to focus on the important things, and not let the troubling situation steal my peace, or make me forget who my mighty God was. I didn’t always succeed. Some of those thorns of worry and anger were very stubborn and prickly!

When we allow anything to become more important than the Word of God, following Him, and choosing His ways, that’s when our hearts are choked. There’s no room for the Word to flourish and bear fruit- love, joy, peace… The harvest won’t come.

You may need to repent, confess your sins or worry to a trusted friend or seek some counselling or prayer ministry. Ask the Lord what the real weeds are and how He can help you become free of them. Be open to His voice and know that His heart is one of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. He is good. He cares. He redeems and He brings life.

“You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long…

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You…there is none like You…

You, Lord are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…

You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”


Psalm 86 NIV

Thorns and weeds were a consequence of the fall, man’s sin. They were a part of the curse that fallen man was subject to (Genesis 3:18). But on the cross, Jesus wore a crown of thorns, taking sin and its consequences in our place. No matter the thorns, weeds, or thistles that are choking you, Jesus is the answer. He has redeemed you. Turn to Him for help and freedom.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us,

for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’.”

Galatians 3:13 NKJV

The worries of life, the lure of wealth (N.B. life and wealth are good things, just not the worries or the lure) can be exhausting, taking us from trusting our Heavenly Father to an idolatrous position of trying to achieve something ourselves. If my mind is constantly wondering about an issue of life, instead of praying, praising, seeking wisdom and obeying, then I am not where God wants me to be. He has a much better plan.

” Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden?

Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.

Simply join your life with mine.

Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle and humble, easy to please.

You will find refreshment and rest in me.

For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

Matthew 11:28-30 TPT

This passage is my go-to for this year, and a word with it – Effortless! I know life is NOT effortless, but this was the word the Lord spoke to me as a reference point for this year. And what a blessing it is. Every time I remind myself of it, speaking it, considering the verse, I rejoice that my Jesus has everything in control. He has my back. He is strong and powerful. He carries the Lion’s share of the yoke (see Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV) which makes it easy to bear, alongside Him. I am united with Him. Therefore, I lack nothing (Psalm 23:1). I have His strength and wisdom, His favour, His blessing. When I come to Him, consider Him, think on who He is, praise Him, all those heavy burdens, worries, thorns, lures, drop away. I see a new vision of who I am and what my life will be. And as I consistently do this, life does become effortless in Christ.

Now, after hearing the parable, Jesus’ disciples asked Him what it meant. He didn’t answer their question at first. Instead, He encouraged them (or was it a challenge?) with,

“You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom – you know how it works.

There are others who need stories…”

Luke 8:10 The Message

“You know how it works!” Well, this challenges me. I wonder if, as a disciple of Jesus, I’m making the most of those insights, the secrets of the kingdom. I have the Holy Spirit inside me, empowering me to know the Truth, to make decisions based on God’s Word and faithfulness, to trust Him in difficult circumstances and believe that He will turn all things for my good. So, apparently, as a disciple, I know how the Kingdom works! So do you. How do you feel about that? Does it terrify you, or inspire you to seek God even more?

Or we could go the ‘false humility’ route and say no one can understand God – ‘His ways are mysterious and far above’. And certainly, God is Higher and unfathomable in many ways. Yet, the Bible says things like,

“…but we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16

“…and greater works than these shall he do;” John 14:12

“Having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure” Ephesians 1:9

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27


And yet, if I neglect the Seed (God’s Word, Jesus – John 1:1) I won’t know Him and I won’t bear fruit. Or if I do hear it, but allow it to be stolen, snatched away, trampled on, if my heart has become hard, if I allow weeds to choke it out, then any truth planted in my heart at one time, will be wasted, lost. That is not what I want.

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,

ask what you wish, and it will be done for you.

This is to My Father’s glory,

that you bear much fruit,

showing yourselves to be My disciples.”

John 15:7-8 NIV

How exciting, that we can be people who bring glory to God by producing good fruit. Let’s sow the Word of God and produce a harvest of fruit that brings glory to our wonderful Father.

Blessings, Jenni xx

Covenant of Love

Don’t Be Afraid #14

I’ve been reading the book of Nehemiah. It’s a wonderful testimony of God at work in His people, and of people responding with courage and faith to fulfill what God has put on their hearts. Here is a story of shock, mourning, fasting and weeping, repentance and action. And that’s just the introduction!

Nehemiah stepped out in faith to seek the king’s favour to go and repair the walls of Jerusalem. He was in exile, serving under King Artaxerxes. Even though he was afraid, he acted on his convictions – perhaps in a similar way Esther sought favour with King Xerxes, not knowing whether she would live or die (Esther 4:15-5:3).

Faith doesn’t come without feelings. Nehemiah said, ‘I was very much afraid.’ But it didn’t stop him. He ‘did it afraid’ (Nehemiah 2:2). He did it with faith stirred in his heart, and the ‘covenant of love’ as a reminder, not only to himself, but to the God to whom he prayed (1:5).

This covenant of love is a foundation from which everything springs from. We can stake our lives on it! We can have confidence in this God of love.

A secretive, night-time reconnaissance revealed the extent of the damage, and Nehemiah discussed it, and his plan, with officials, priests and other Jews the following day. They answered him with an encouraging, “Let us start rebuilding.”

Just like that. They said yes, and then went to work. Oh, to be as faithful to the ‘yes’ I give Jesus.

Of course, they are very quickly mocked and ridiculed. But Nehemiah is also quick to answer. ‘The God of Heaven will give us success,’ he declared, and then rebuked them with a reminder of their non-covenant status (2:20). Ouch!

I think we need to be a bit like that these days. Christians are mocked and ridiculed quite regularly. Some have been taken to court for standing up for their faith. Others have lost jobs. And many saints in various nations have lost their lives. May we have the courage to stand firm in our faith and speak up when needed. May we remember the God of Covenant to whom we belong as well as King David, while still a shepherd boy, did. He was quick to speak to Goliath with such covenant-language:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the Name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands…”

1 Samuel 17:45-46

David then described, quite graphically, what he would do to Goliath. And he did! David knew the God of Covenant and dared to make his own challenge against a man, a giant, much more experienced and much more threatening than himself, because he trusted his God. Size wasn’t the issue. The covenant was.

This is the kind of brave I want to be.

So, Nehemiah and the people had the walls half built (4:6) when the two men reappeared to threaten, ridicule and mock, yet again. Oh, and they added name calling. That seems to be the way these days, too. If those who hate you can’t defeat you, they will call you names.

Jesus says to rejoice when people revile you and persecute you (Matthew 5:11-12). Now I’m not into persecution, and many have suffered immensely, but I am so over name-calling that to be called a ‘bigot’ (or similar) these days is almost tantamount to being called an authentic, Bible-believing Christian. We must learn to rejoice, because we are treading on enemy toes. Good.

The ‘two men’, Sanballat and Tobiah, called on some additional help against the Jews and their project. And they added extra anger to their repertoire of threats, plots and trouble. Stirred-up emotion is another ploy of the enemy against God’s people, too. But we are to stay calm and grounded in Him, not responding in kind, but in love, prayer, courage and action, led by Covenant and the Holy Spirit.

Now, the people were afraid. These were not idle threats. So, Nehemiah takes practical, protecting, and assuring action to keep the people safe, without stopping the work. Firstly, they prayed and posted guards day and night (4:9).

Prayer and Posts. This is what we are called to – to take up our posts, watchful and prayerful.

In Jerusalem, the exposed places were covered, the danger zones matched with swords, spears and bows. Nehemiah did all he could to look after the people.

We would do well to mimic this kind of love and care. The ‘work’ of God is important. But so, too, are people. We matter to God. Walls are for the people. If we can protect and encourage others against threats, let’s do it!

Nehemiah, having ‘looked things over’, stood and declared:

Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

Nehemiah 4:14

We are covenant people who trust our awesome God. We will be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). Help us, Lord.

Blessings. Jenni xx

For more “Don’t Be Afraid” posts, check out my Misty Gullies Facebook page.