Who is Your Shepherd?
Not every pastor, minister, priest or preacher who calls on the name of Jesus, is truly representing Jesus. I say this because people have been sharing stuff with me that are concerning. Honestly, this is not new. All through the years the churches have had challenges. This is why Paul spent so much of his time writing, directing, guiding, mentoring, rebuking and correcting the new churches.
“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:24-27 NIV
From here on when I say “Pastor” I am referring to all spiritual leaders.
When you feel fear to do things or have to ask permission to do things outside the church because this would upset the pastor (I’m talking about things God has told you to do), beware. Or if you feel pressured to give what you don’t have or even when you have it, or if the pastor is abusing his/her position or uses his/her position to control, intimidate, coerce, take advantage of, or for personal gain, beware. If the teaching, preaching, actions are not aligned with God’s Word, beware. Maybe, just maybe it’s time to go and find another church.
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act…” Matthew 7:15-16 NLT
I’d like to clarify one thing about giving. I believe in tithes and offerings and giving in general. When I give, it’s straight from my heart. I give because I want to, not because I feel forced. I love blessing others in Jesus’ name!
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsive, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
No man or woman is above God
Remember, God gave us free will to choose. He does not force us to do anything we don’t want to do. Even though He could. He does not demand or bully us to give Him what we don’t want to give. God wants us to give freely from the heart. When we exercise our free will, we then have to live with the consequences, good or bad. So, if God is not doing all this, who is man or woman to do so? I’m just saying. No man or woman is above God. No not one.
“But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than man.” Job 33:12 NIV
“But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 NLT
Jesus is the Head of the Church
“Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” Colossians 1:18 NLT
I’ve noticed that there are churches that have taken on the “pastor’s persona” instead of “Jesus’ persona” who is the one and only true “Head of the Church.” We have to be careful not to reverence the pastor more than we reverence Jesus. Yes, pastors hold a very important position and play a crucial role in teaching and preaching God’s truth (even when it is not popular). They are our spiritual leaders, they minister, help, encourage, rebuke, correct, heal souls, mentor, guide and develop the flock God has entrusted them. So yes, our pastors deserve to be respected, appreciated, listened to and given their rightful place.
“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock – his church, purchased with his own blood – over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you – my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.” Acts 20:28-32 NLT
“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” Hebrews 13:17 NLT
Who is real and who is fake?
Men and women who serve God in this capacity are about God’s business and on God’s agenda, not their personal agenda. They teach and preach from the Bible and Jesus is their role model and foundation. These men and women genuinely love and care for people and their wellbeing in every respect. But there are also fakes out there deceiving people. That’s why I always ask God for wisdom and discernment to know “who’s who” and I suggest you do the same. And please READ and STUDY YOUR BIBLE! The only way to know God’s truth is by reading and studying it yourself and not relying on what others say. Ask God for wisdom, understanding and revelation of His Living Word. When you know God’s truth, you won’t be deceived, misled, or misguided.
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke and encourage your people with good teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 NLT
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 NIV
“Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” Matthew 22:28 NLT
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
Should you stop going to church?
Oh no! The assembling of Believers is very important to God. He wants us to get together to pray, praise, sing, worship, give thanks, fellowship, encourage, comfort, hear and learn His Living Word for personal application. This is where we feel God’s presence, His love, peace and joy, and receive His blessing, and we give Him thanks and ALL the honor and glory, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:4-5 NLT
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 NLT
Is it time to go?
If you’re not learning and growing in God’s Word and faith, or if you feel things are not right, maybe it’s time to go… move on. I’ve done it. I know… you have history, family ties, good friends, the music is great or you’re afraid to leave because you don’t want to upset the pastor or others. All I can tell you to do is what I’ve done and has worked for me… pray about it. God will tell you what to do. He’ll tell you whether to stay or go. If He tells you to go, He’ll tell you when. And when you go, you’ll go in peace. He’ll lead you, through the Holy Spirit, to the right church for you and your family to worship Him. Trust God!
I know God been talking to someone about this and you’ve not done what He told you to do. You have to take that step and trust God. God is with you and you’ll be alright.
Why did I write this message?
My Sis-Fri Gwen and I don’t talk all the time but when we do… we talk. So, a few weeks ago we were talking about all kinds of things and at one point I said, “The question is, who is your shepherd? Gwen said “Debbie, that’s good! That’s the title for your next message.” I said, “You’re right” and we kept on talking.
Now, let’s fast forward to today. The message I was going to publish today, God told me not to and I was like, okay Father. I had my to-do list for today which did not include writing. Well, this morning I was praying and talking with God and He started flooding me with all this. I had to quickly jump out of bed to jot down all what He was telling me. Whew! This is how this came about. I write what God tells me to write when He tells me to write. It’s all good!😉
From Deb’s to yours…
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