Brothers and Shepherds,
I pray that you are encouraged in the Lord this day! I am always captured by the complete submission of the Apostle Paul’s life. His walk, I believe, embodies all of what it means to be called of God. If we are truly called of God, then false accusations both in and outside of the church, persecutions, physical harm, etc. will be a part of the package Paul was not ashamed of—“the gospel” (Romans 1:15).
It is clear to me that we, the Church, face some very difficult and trying times ahead. Certainly the political unrest could give us all reason to despair, but I’m compelled to tell you that Jesus is still on the throne!
Darkness can cause visibility issues, and sheep depend upon the voice of the shepherd to lead them to green pastures, quiet waters, and righteous paths. Paul points out something to Timothy that serves us bountifully as a daily reminder that those who are called as
shepherds are to follow Jesus and lead His Church (Matthew 16:18). In 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 4, Paul states, “…but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.”
God approved us to be entrusted with the Gospel. How do you know if you’ve been approved and entrusted? Paul says in the next phrase, “…so we speak…” Yes, we speak to the body of Christ and to the spirit of darkness not to please man but to please God, who examines our hearts as sons and shepherds.
Paul also finishes the covenant in 2 Timothy 1:12 where he says to Pastor Timothy, “…For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” Paul knew whom he had believed (Jesus) and was convinced (persuaded unto obedience) that God was able to guard (protect from being lost or perishing) what he entrusted (his very life). Paul was not hindered by external or internal struggles designed to lure him off of the mark of his faith while carrying out the ministry God gave him.
There was a divine trust relationship between God and Paul that fetched a love and loyalty from Paul, the bondservant, towards God! I
know this resonates with many of you, especially as we lead people through the fears and concerns of their lives. We too should be convinced that God will guard whatever we trust Him with. Here’s the question—can He trust us to be faithful to speak and proclaim His Word, nurturing His sheep so as not to please men but to please God? There has to be a level of trust that is unquestionable. God gives us a pretty simple mission—“make disciples”— and provides everything we need to make that happen.
*Scriptures quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.
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