Tag Archives: pastors

March 15 – Don’t Forsake The Levites

Deuteronomy 11-13

Moses is talking to the Jews about how to handle sacrifices once they cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. He told them where they could offer sacrifices and where they could not. He told them what they could eat, and what was forbidden them to eat.

Then, kind of randomly, he said:

Be careful that you do not forsake the Levites as long as you live in the land. (12:19)

The Levites were in charge of the spiritual welfare of the children of Israel. Like our pastors today. And this verse has me asking the question: Do I forsake my pastor?

I’m blessed to be a part of two amazing fellowship of believers. As a snowbird, I worship in one church in Ohio, and in another when I live in Georgia. And I am blessed to sit under the teaching of two Godly men who share the Truth according to Scripture every Sunday.

But one of my pastors is grieving the loss of a friend whose death was sudden and unexpected. His young daughter has a medical condition that can be life threatening, and there are some questions still unanswered about her condition. Plus, our church has started a building campaign. Yet he continues to preach, to teach, to counsel, to visit, with enthusiasm and a passion for reaching the lost.

My other pastor’s dear wife has medical challenges, and our congregation is so small he has to work another job. But that doesn’t stop him from spending hours in preparation for Sundays, teaching Sunday School, preaching two sermons on Sundays, and a study on Wednesday night.

I don’t know either man really well, so I am sure there are things on their hearts I do not know. They carry an enormous weight on their shoulders. Yet they both greet us every Sunday with sincere smiles, share what God has laid on their hearts in a meaningful and passionate way. They both challenge me and bless me every time I am privileged to worship with them.

I pray for them both. But do they know I appreciate them? Have I encouraged them, thanked them? I know October is Pastor Appreciation Month but shouldn’t we always appreciate these dear men who have answered God’s call to be our shepherds? Shouldn’t we let them know?

I hope you are worshiping in a church with a Godly pastor. I know there are some who take that job who are not as gifted as my pastors, or who aren’t preaching God’s Truth. If that is your experience, I am praying that God will give you wisdom, and bring about a solution that honors Him.

But for those of us who appreciate our pastors, let’s tell them so. Let’s not neglect or forsake them in their very difficult job. And don’t forget their wives and children. They are in this with him, too.

If you are a pastor reading this blog today… Thank you! God bless you. And may I encourage you to hang in there. We need you. And what you do in Jesus’ name is not going unnoticed.

Father, I pray for the pastors out there who love and obey You. Thank you for the hours they spend pouring over your Word, listening to your voice, praying for guidance, praying for us. I pray that they would have clarity in their study. Give them the words that would help us understand what it is You want us to know through them. I pray for their health, their energy, their commitment, their focus, their patience, their passion, their joy. May you grant exactly what they need, and then some. I pray for their families, those dear ones in their homes who love them and challenge them. Grant patience, wisdom, and genuine love. I pray for their marriages. Keep them strong. May their marriages be sources of joy and refreshment. Surround the shepherds of your sheep with protection. And may your sheep let those shepherds know how much they are loved.

Changed?

The New King James version of the Bible says that after he had talked to Samuel, Saul left there another man. God gave him a changed heart. (I Samuel 10)

That’s as it should be. Reading God’s Word should change us, too. Hearing God’s Word proclaimed from a pulpit should change us. Did you leave church yesterday a different person? Did I?

It’s Monday morning. Can you even remember what the pastor spoke about yesterday morning? If not, why not? Was it because our hearts weren’t prepared to hear from God? Were we too busy to pray before we walked through those doors? Was it because our minds were on other things? Did our thoughts wander? Did we allow our children to distract us? Are we harboring sin?

Sometimes I read the Bible and write in my journal, then half way through the day can’t remember what I thought I’d learned. What a waste of God’s resources. Here I have God’s Word in my hands. I’m free to worship him and hear teaching from his Word every Sunday. I have this treasure at my fingertips, but too often squander it away.

Father, forgive me. I want to allow you to change me every time I read or hear your Word. I don’t want to miss anything that would encourage me, strengthen me, convict me, change me into a woman who radiates You. Help me to change into a person more like you every time I open your Word or have the privilege of hearing a sermon from your Word. I don’t want to miss any opportunity to draw closer to you.

August 2

2 Kings 24:1-4; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7; Daniel 1:1-2; Jeremiah 36:1-32, 25:1-38, 45:1-5

Did you shake your head at King Jehoiakim’s audacity? As Baruch read God’s Word, the king cut off a portion of the scroll and threw it into the fire until the entire scroll was destroyed. Baruch was reading God’s warning to the people of the devastation that was to come because of disobedience. 

What was Jehoiakim’s reaction? Get rid of the warning. Jehoiakim could not, however, stop God. God just gave Jeremiah the same message to rewrite (and added a couple more words for good measure).

There have been powers in the past that have tried to get rid of the Scriptures. But in every case God has preserved his written Word. I have multiple copies myself and several translations in my home.

However, as I read today God impressed on me another attempt to destroy his Word. And it’s coming from our pulpits. We are just as guilty as Jehoiakim when we don’t hold the entire Bible up as God’s inspired, unquestionable authority. We cut out a verse here and there if it makes us uncomfortable or doesn’t fit in with our politically correct agenda.

I know why Jehoiakim wanted that scroll destroyed. The words pointed out his sin and warned of God’s wrath. Let’s face it… the Bible doesn’t always make us feel good about ourselves. It isn’t intended to. 

In fact, the Bible is intended to show us how vile, how guilty, how dirty we are. It’s intended to show us our need of a Savior. And then it introduces us to that very One who can… who wants to… clean us up.

Do you believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word to us? All of it? Even the parts that end up revealing our deepest sin? Let’s not pick and choose which verses we like and throw out the ones we don’t. 

Because in the end, God’s Word will remain. And it doesn’t change with the times or with the desires of men. 

Dear God, I want to thank you for inspiring men to write your words down so that we in 2013 can know your heart. I pray for pastors and teachers. May they present your Word as Truth and not skip over or try to re-write verses that are hard for us to hear. Preserve your Scriptures in our time, Lord as you did in the days of Jeremiah. Give us ears to hear and hearts willing to be broken. Thank you for Jesus and his work on the cross that writes a happy ending to this story! May reading the Bible drive us to our knees and into his arms when we repent of the sin you reveal through the precious pages of your Word.