When Brother Butch asked me to speak for the Men's Link Ministry I did not hesitate to say yes. After I went home, the agony of what to talk about weighed heavy on my heart. Being new in this congregation and not knowing many people yet, I was sinking into the "why did I say yes" syndrome.
I did not want to do it. Why did I open my mouth?
I began on a search for the right material pertaining to what this Ministry is doing. After prayer and much thought I was satisfied I had found the right subject matter to speak about. I started out reading and cross-referencing the ideas and began an out line. I was excited and thought that maybe this won't be too terrible. We can always turn everything into victory for Christ - right?
This was all four weeks ago. Everything I was going to say disappeared and I could not gather my thoughts. After looking through my notes nothing made sense any more. The point was missing. I could not focus. My paper was blank until early this morning. In our household I have been named the "Last Minute Mom" and my reputation has followed me now.
I am not here to interpret the scripture for you. I am not here to teach or preach you the Word of God. This congregation is certainly blessed with many people who have that special anointing it takes to fill us spiritually. What I have to say is most likely not even an original idea and in my opinion there is not any patent on God's word.
However I do believe what I am called to do is uplift and encourage others with the focus on the Lord and strengthening with the Word of God in what I see. In me there is nothing I can do to bless you. My flesh is unable to satisfy anything you have need for. But in me I have a greater power that belongs to Our Father, and that is the Holy Spirit who came to us because of the obedience of Jesus Christ.
The message that continues to come back to me concerns the Garden of Gethsemane and the time Jesus spent before He cried His last utterance on the cross. Not a lot is really mentioned about this private time between God and His Son. But there is a message so powerful in that night darkness where Jesus literally sweated droplets of Blood. Some people claim it's impossible to do so and I am not here to argue about this, however after studying about this, it is documented as humanly possible.
When Jesus was walking to this garden, many thoughts must have been on His mind. Many reminders of what He knew to come were before Him. The fact that Judas was missing in this journey was a reminder of the betrayal He would face with one of His own servants. Knowing Peter would deny Him three times before morning. Even walking across the Brook Kidron was a gruesome reminder for Jesus. The Blood from the sacrifices flows red from the Passover Lambs.
These events are described in Matthew 26:31-35.
Yet we think this was an uneventful journey He was on to just go pray in a nice Garden before all the Horrors began of beatings and torture He would suffer for each of us sitting here.
The Word Gethsemane means oil press. Agreed upon by many because of the garden and the orchard that surrounded the area where the olives were crushed and pressed for the oil. Christ means the anointed one and we use this oil to symbolically show in faith we are protected and blessed of the Lord. This is just an opinion but an interesting thought to ponder. Thatís another topic for another day.
After arriving in this garden Jesus knows the disciples are tired and weary. He tells 8 of them to sit down and wait while He took Peter and John and James a little farther off to speak to them. This is where the Humanity of Christ is revealed to the Disciples. In Matthew 26:38 Jesus says "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me."
This is the Defining Moment of the Ministry of Christ. This is where the True Passion begins. This is where the Battle was truly won in my heart for my Salvation.
Jesus knew the awful hour of His humiliation had arrived. From this moment until the final cries when He committed His spirit unto the Father the rest of His time on earth in the flesh would be nothing but physical torture and pain and mental anguish.
We know of the disciples falling asleep as Jesus lay prostrate crying aloud in anguish and agony, "Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39
Jesus was here, alone, with all His disciples asleep, in His intense suffering of His body, mind and soul. Everything was against Him in His Flesh and even Spirit. No one watches to pray for Him. Satan was most likely rejoicing in a mocking victory in the shadows seeing what he perceived as the Messiah defeated and crying out to His Father to remove this cup from Him. I don't think we are to even intrude very much farther into this sacred event in the Life of Christ. It is clouded with a halo of mystery we can not imagine. It is so intimate I believe human eyes could not venture to close.
Do I believe Jesus was afraid of death? No. Do I believe Jesus could not withstand the agony and distress? No. I believe it was the mystery of the world's sin heaped upon Him. The tasting of the cup that sin had poisoned. The spotless Lamb knew He would become the drug addict. He knew He would become the wife beater. He knew He would become a murderer and rapist and the alcoholic.
Pure Love becoming all the Hate the world could devise. Perfect innocence becoming so tainted that the Heavenly Father who created life would look away from Him. How this must have grieved God's heart to watch His Son in torment with all the world against Him praying to remove the cup from Him.
We know Jesus went over to the disciples again and found them asleep once more. We know Jesus told the disciples to watch and pray so temptation would not over take them. He tells them the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Jesus continues back into the garden for the third and final time. This is the greatest Victory in His Ministry. He was fully resigned to the will of His Father. He prayed. "O, my Father, if this my cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." Matthew 26:42
Jesus clearly shows us it is not His will that He faces death on that Cross, but He knows it is the Father's will.
In each of us we have a motivating factor of why we want to serve God. Sadly some motivation comes from self-centered ways. This is why we all must get into our own garden time alone with God and endure this agony to ensure people are led to Christ.
We know when we decide to pick up our cross it wont be easy. We are told we will face humiliation, suffering, and pain, cruelty, deception, persecution, injustice and judgement and even death.
We know when we come to this moment in our own ministry we will have people who will support us in the beginning who will walk away. We will experience jealousy. We will have people question our anointing and where it comes from. Our own family may even think we have lost our minds.
In respect to that, we will have to lose our minds. Self-Confidence must disappear and we must gain a Christ Confidence. We can not be self-centered any longer and strive to become Christ Centered.
When you decide you want to work for God and go forth and evangelize the Gospel, you will face the world's deadliest sins that you were redeemed from.
When you become so burdened for the Lost of this world you have to come up against the brutal fact that you can not always see visible results for your efforts. Too many times people spend more energy on planning how to achieve visible results when there are no guarantees there will be positive effects right then and there. We plant and water seeds.
In Evangelism you must remember you can not bring conviction of sin nor righteousness nor judgement upon a person. You can only guide them in Love and the Truth of the Word. It's God's job to reconcile man to Him.
When you are called by God you can not worry about the who and how issues. God knows whom you are to minister to. In fact you already know. The Lost and the ones who are weak in Christ. And God will show you how. I am proof God wants availability and not so much ability.
I am not a web designer yet that is part of the ministry I began to encourage others to walk in His light and calling for themselves and reach out to the Lost and Hurting. I began with a blank page and a phone number and He has shown me the way. When God opens a door no man can shut it, but we must always be careful to not just stand there and not move. I stand on that promise still to this day. It was His calling and His vision He planted in me.
If God calls you to a task, He will equip you with what you need for building the body of Christ. In Ephesians 4:12 we know He will supernaturally give us the gifts we need to do His will.
The one thing we have to remain focused on is the Why we are doing something. Our motives can not be to please man or to receive the Honor and Glory of our works that only Christ deserves. I do believe we should all be allowed to brag on what God has done for us. But only if it glorifies Christ and not ourselves. I believe we should tell people thank you for allowing God to work in us, as it is fitting to recognize the Love He has for His children. I don't believe we should allow a compliment to our deeds to be the main focus of why we sing or teach or pray for others. I also know we can not serve man's will. If you are doing something to please others and itís not Christ Centered, it is wrong.
We all have to learn to Trust God first. And when we accept Christ I believe we are walking in the right direction. We learn of God's character throughout His Word and I know that when He began a good work in me He will not fail to finish it. I have had to give up my family and friends and hand them over to God trusting Him to help me through times when my focus could not be on them solely. We all humans are selfish - it's in our nature. In time I have been given back my family and friends. The Lord preserved these relationships in hard times.
Obedience is as important as Trust. I have to die each day to sin and I do fail at this. But I will continue to learn and grow and walk in faith to become what God intends for me.
When we learn to trust and obey God we can walk into that Garden and God will know, no matter what the circumstances look like that when we walk out it will be in His will. It's not our will to do these things for God. It's His will. I have come to the conclusion that I don't always want this cup I have been given and I don't want to go any farther. I go back into my garden. I will argue with God, I will point out the things of why I can not do what He has called me to do. I will make excuses. But when I search my heart and pray and cry out in my sufferings, God shows me the way to my cross and what it means to Him. He always wins. I know then when I walk out of my garden I can withstand anything I will be headed into.
If Jesus had not overcome in His time in the Garden of Gethsemane He would not have been able to endure what He knew would happen to His flesh and spirit. This has to be our defining moment. When we give up all for God who gave up all for us.
Prayfully, my time in the garden has blessed you with this message. Peace and Love.