Tag Archives: shepherds

Jeremiah 21-25; It’s That Serious

God has quite a lot to say to shepherds in these chapters of Jeremiah, doesn’t He? But before you think you’ve dodged a bullet because you aren’t a pastor or teacher in your church, remember God commanded all of us to “Go,” to share the Gospel with our world. What Jeremiah writes to the shepherds of God’s flock, applies to all of us who are called by Jesus’ name: Christian.

We have a message from God to tell. And God takes it very seriously that our message be truly His. The only place you will find His message is in the pages of the Bible. Not the Bible plus anything. Not someone’s opinion of what the Bible says, not a new revelation. God has given us all the Truth we need to know right here in these precious pages.

We need to know what it says. Because not only does God place a great deal of responsibility on the tellers of His Truth, He places responsibility on listeners as well. Yes, false prophets, preachers, and teachers will pay dearly for their lies. But those who follow them will not get a free pass, either. The Bible is clear. You either believe God or you don’t. Believing anything other than what God has given us is a death sentence.

It’s that serious.

Dear one, we have got to be in God’s Word every day. We’ve got to be memorizing it, thinking about it, testing everything we hear according to what is in there. We’ve got to recognize a lie and reject it, not go along with it because it sounds good, and everybody else is following it.

Satan can be pretty subtle. His lies often sound Biblical. His lies can sound like love, and tolerance, and compassion, and praise, and success, and happiness, and health. His lies often are accompanied by a Scripture or two.

But they are still lies. And if you go along with those lies you will be held accountable. If you spread those lies God will show no mercy.

I’m honored that you read my post today. But if this is the extent of your “devotions,” I’d rather you didn’t. Instead, pick up your Bible. Put all the other books and blogs away. Turn off your TV or radio preachers. And get in God’s Word. YOU get in God’s Word.

Because you are going to be held accountable for what is in there. It is that serious.

 

November 27 – Pastors And Prayer

1&2 Thessalonians

Today is Sunday, and I’m getting ready to worship with a very special group of people. It’s a tiny church where about 20 of us will gather. And God will be there.

The pastor is a busy man of God. He not only spends many hours each week shepherding this precious flock, but he also works another job to support himself and his dear wife. I don’t get to worship with them very often any more, but I’m always blessed and challenged when I do.

My home church’s pastor is also a godly man who serves God and our congregation with passion and love. His enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel is contagious. And I know God will be pleased to be present in their service today, too.

Paul reminds us in I Thessalonians 5:12-13 to:

appreciate those who diligently labor among (us) and have charge over (us) in the Lord and give (us) instruction, and that (we) esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

I hope you are as blessed as I with a pastor who loves God and is true to His Word. I hope you are praying for, and support him (or her) in his ministry. I hope you are praying for his family, for the people he comes in contact with every day, for the hours he spends preparing to share Jesus from the pulpit each week. Our pastors have an enormous responsibility.

So Pastor Bill and Pastor Whit, I appreciate you both. Your love for us who worship with you, your availability to us, your hours of preparation, and your faithfulness to God’s Word do not go unnoticed. I am blessed every time you share God’s Word. May God continue to bless your ministries and your families… and you. I prayed for you both today.

August 20 – Rags And Armpits

Jeremiah 38-40; Psalms 74, 79

I like Ebed-melech, and I bet you don’t even know who he is. (I didn’t either until I read Jeremiah 38 this morning). But I think he is one of my new favorite Old Testament personalities.

Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian eunuch who worked for King Zedekiah. When he heard Jeremiah the prophet had been thrown into a cistern and left to die, Ebed-melech went to the king and asked permission to bring Jeremiah up out of the muddy pit. The king not only gave that permission, he told his servant to hurry before Jeremiah died there.

Now this is what made me want to hang out with Ebed-melech: He ran and gathered old clothes and rags, and threw them into the cistern. He told Jeremiah to put them under his armpits under the ropes. Ebed-melech was going to pull Jeremiah up, but Jeremiah had been sinking in mud for who knows how long. It wasn’t going to be easy to pull him out of that. And Ebed-melech figured that those ropes would tear into Jeremiah’s skin if left unprotected.

Ebed-melech considered the prophet’s well-being, he recognized a need and met that need even before Jeremiah knew he had the need!

Our pastors are our modern-day prophets, those who proclaim the Word of God. Oh, I pray for my pastors. I lift them up, so to speak. But Ebed-melech has me asking if I really take care of them.

Do I consider their well-being? Do I anticipate a need they might have, and meet that need even before they realize it? I am blessed to sit under the teaching of two godly, hard-working men. And I want to be their Ebed-melech. I’ll continue to lift them up before the Lord, and ask for their protection, and blessings on their ministries. But I also want to be sensitive to any need they might have that I can meet. They are pulled in so many directions. I’d like to be the rags under their armpits.

 

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.