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31 July 2015

PUSH!

Someone once equated starting a new ministry to the birthing process.

I concur.

Oh, conception is a wonderful experience. The pregnancy has it's ups and downs, but overall, that too is delightful. Picking the name and deciding on a nursery theme are just a couple of the fun times to treasure. When the first contractions begin, excitement peaks. There's a rush of activity. Everyone takes their place in preparation and the patterned breathing begins.

It is at this point that Jesus becomes the focal point and Holy Spirit, Who is the breath of God Himself, becomes your very lifeline. It is transition. It is time for delivery. During this most intense time, anyone who tries to interrupt the process ~ by helping ~ should fear loss of life or limb.

This mama has one thing on her mind - and it's not what this child will look like at age four.

I think about Jesus in the garden. All He wanted was for His friends to stay awake and pray, not for His sake, but so that they would not fall. He knew their spirits were willing. He also knew their flesh was weak. 

In that moment, His focus was on delivering life to the world.

His own suffering was no doubt increased knowing that His closest friends were about to encounter the most serious decisions of their lives. The choices they would make in the coming days would determine the future of the kingdom of God being established on the earth.

Judas was, at that very time, making a choice that would destroy the man. Peter would soon find himself in a state of confusion, having heard the Lord, and yet having missed the spirit of the words He spoke. John would make the best choice in the chaos that was approaching. He would go as far as he was allowed with the Master.

"Could you not tarry with Me one hour?'

How do you read those words? I have read them with irritation. I have read them with grief. I have read them with compassion. What was Jesus response to His dearest mates, when they were weighed down with sorrow? He needed them to rise to the occassion. He needed them to succeed in this test.

Ultimately, there was no one who could share the load. No one who could understand the depth of His love. No one, who in that hour, could ease His suffering. His death was emminent. They would lay His body in a tomb and go hide in fear while He alone conquered death, sin and the grave.

But, the third day did come. Jesus rose from the dead. The blood and water had been poured out, the crown was visible, but delivery wasn't yet complete. He would continue this journey that He had to walk alone.

Do you love Me?

Peter wept with bitter tears for his failure toward his friend. It must have been a long few days before he ran to the tomb. Longer still before that morning on the beach. It's a fine line between humiliation and humility. It was there that he learned how he must suffer too. It was there, in the midst of a love encounter, that he began to understand - he would be responsible to care for the baby about to be birthed.

Jesus had to bring forth the life of the spirit without the aid of anyone. Peter's zeal to be a help had often caused him to be repremanded by the Lord. Correction, that no doubt had a sting, like the mom in labor to the one who speaks out of turn. But, in the end, it was Peter who was comissioned by Holy Spirit to preach the first message, of the first great awakening, that brought 3000 to the Lord that day.

As the birthing process completed and delivery came, it was Peter who "caught the baby". He would feed the sheep, tend the sheep and feed the lambs. He, along with a handful of others would raise this child and teach it to turn the world upside down.

New ministries, like new babies, need a lot of feeding and tending. Sometimes it seems unfortunate that the mother has to carry the child nine months, then deliver it as well. But, no one else can know the bond that she will share with that child. No one else can experience the kicks and flips and pains of that pregnancy ~ of that delivery. I dare say, that no one would be willing to endure the pain of childbirth had they not carried that child in thier womb. Only she can understand the error of distraction, in an untimely word or gesture, in the midst of the transition. It is important however, when the pushing begins, those who have been along side, recognize their own value in the situation, and step up to catch. 

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.