Have you ever come to a place in your life where you feel like you need some things to change and you need those changes to begin now? I remember back to a time I felt that way. Things weren’t actually bad in my life. Most things were quite good. But there were some things going on around me in my family, and in some areas at work that just felt off the mark of where they should be. I guess you could compare it to a car when it’s not tuned up and not running quite right. I was praying and asking the Lord what to do about this. He was faithful to show me.
What He taught me is now something I call my secret place. He taught me this early on in my preparation for ministry, but it is a place I’ve come back to over and over again.
At that time in my life, I was constantly praying and asking the Lord to help prepare me for the ministry. I knew I had a calling upon my life and I was seeking the Lord as how to walk that out. One morning very early, I suddenly woke up. I was instantly wide awake. Thoughts of scripture came to my heart and I sensed that it was the Lord waking me up to pray. I went into our living room so that I wouldn’t wake Renee up, and laid down on the floor with my Bible. I opened it up and began to read some very sobering verses from the book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 34:8-10 “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. Though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, along with their right to feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.”
I wasn’t a pastor at this time and I thought my pastors were doing a great job. So these verses did not speak to me about any pastors I knew. That wasn’t the point. The Lord was talking to me about the seriousness of the responsibility of those that take leadership over others for Him. He was trying to help me count the costs and help me see that He loved His people and that I’d better do likewise if I wanted to walk out this calling.
The Lord then reminded me of something my pastor had taught his leadership. He said, The primary responsibility of a shepherd/pastor is to feed and protect. That means as a pastor, I have to pray to hear from God to be able to ‘feed’ or teach God’s ways to the people, and I have to cover them in prayer. No man can physically protect everyone he cares for or oversees. That has to be a work done in the Spirit through prayer. These are the primary responsibilities and priorities of a pastor and what makes one a good shepherd of God’s sheep.
I was instantly reminded of the words from Acts 6:3-4 when the Apostles came to this revelation. “Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word.”
The Lord reminded me of this scripture and my priority to pray for those in my areas of responsibility and influence with a renewed fervor. I immediately began to return to this place the Lord showed me and take it as seriously as I ever had. What was truly mountain moving was that within three weeks, many of those nagging areas of my life began to be supernaturally transformed.
It led me to pray and declare this verse from Psalm 116:17-18 over each of you today. “I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all His people.”
My promise is to pray for all of you consistently. I would say daily, but honestly remember a couple of days that seem to get away from me each year. But with those few exceptions, I want you to know that I am praying for you daily! I am praying for the Lord to reveal Himself and the magnitude of His love toward you more and more. When you realize the extend of that love, you’ll want to draw near to Him. Teaching you His Word and praying for you… they are the primary responsibilities of my calling and I will continue to be faithful to do so! God bless you!
Ephesians 3:14-19 (NLT) “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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