This week I have been drawn every day to passages in Scripture about Jesus being our Good Shepherd. “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” (John 10:1-4)
God most often communicates with us through His Word–the Bible. If we aren’t reading His Word–not quickly as you might read a novel–but meditating upon His Word, then how can we recognize His voice? We should read the Bible not just for information, Scripture that pertains to something we are going through currently, but to get to KNOW our Heavenly Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord has placed a burden in my heart, that in most churches people who have been led to Christ as their Savior are not being discipled, including in my own church. I read the other day in The Daniel Prayer Study Guide: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations, “When God burdens us with what burdens Him, our responsibility is to pray. Then we leave the answer up to Him”.
So my burden is that when immature Christians haven’t learned to recognize the Lord’s voice, they may follow a “voice” that is not from the Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The Lord gave me a verse to pray back to Him, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) And the Lord reminded me that we are ALL the church, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called”. (Eph. 4:4)
I am praying that all members of my church, particularly the pastors, staff, and volunteers are all burdened to do the work to see that the whole church is trained in righteousness and thoroughly equipped for every good work, and that they are able to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. And then I am praying this same thing for the churches across America. It is imperative because there are many proclaiming false Christs. “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” (Luke 21:8)
The “many [who] will come in my name” are from the devil who is trying to undermine the Church. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) If you, too, have a burden for our churches, I ask you to join me in praying for our churches. God’s Word is always true, so we know that “the gates of Hades will not overcome it [the church]”, but we also know many are being led astray.
Humble yourself before the Lord, ask Him to point out any sin you need to repent of, and then get ready to join in with many others and pray that the Lord will move heaven and earth and burden the churches to disciple the flock. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)