Our Prayer List:
- Charlotte Ziebarth is waiting on results to see how effective her cancer treatments have been.
- Ted Spencer received his test results and is waiting for a surgeon.
Others To Remember:
Jim & Irene Haden, Chet McHaffie, Betty Stull, Laverne Spencer, Lionel Daugherty, Eddie Goins, & Mikki Jones.
The Monthly Planning Calendar for July is on the table in the foyer.
“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease” (Proverbs 22:10).
Would my home, the place where I work, or the church where I am a member be more peaceful and harmonious if I were “cast out?” If I am a scoffing, murmuring, complaining scorner, they would be. Is it not a sad thought to think that life might be better for others if I were not present?
The most basic definition of a shepherd is one who: herds, tends, guards, protects, guides, watches over and leads a flock of sheep. That is certainly a tough job description and one which demands commitment and dedication. Biblical shepherds sometimes worked in teams (Luke 2: 8-10) (Amos 1: 1) (Amos 7: 14-15) but might work alone and face great dangers at a young age as David did (1 Sam 17: 34-35).
Evidently not all shepherds were as brave and loyal as David. Some actually destroyed and scattered the flock (Jeremiah 23: 1-6), others lead them astray (Jeremiah 50: 6), and are called thieves and robbers who would run away from dangers caring nothing for the sheep (John 10: 7-13). Although it is sometimes difficult to tell whether the scriptures are talking about literal sheep and shepherds or a group of people and their leaders, the analogy of sheep and people is certainly apropos.
Jesus Christ is called the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5: 4) and the Good Shepherd (John 10: 14) who would lay down His life for His sheep. He tenderly gathers the lambs and carries them close to His heart (Isaiah 40: 11). Psalms 23 compares how a good shepherd cares for his sheep and pictures a wonderful example of how Jesus cares for his disciples. All of the traits Jesus outlines in John 10 apply to us as his followers—He goes ahead and we follow: He speaks and we know His voice: He allows us to have a relationship with the Father: etc.
The elders (pastors, overseers, bishops, and other titles) are frequently called shepherds in Christ’s church (Acts 20: 28) (1 Peter 5: 1-3). Their job description is even stricter than that of a physical shepherd’s—not greedy for money; eager to serve; be an example to the flock; be on your guard (Acts 20: 28-30); and most challenging of all; give an account of all the souls of the flock (Hebrews 13: 17). How can they give an account if they don’t know the sheep?
Unfortunately, there are false leaders who have secretly slipped in to deceive the Lord’s people—godless men, (Jude 12) savage wolves and distorters of the truth who will try to draw away disciples (Acts 20: 29-30). What to do? Paul says to, “Be on your guard!” (Acts 20: 31) Check the manual (Bible). Have the lambs (naïve Christians) protected by the rams and sheepdogs (strongest members). Pray without ceasing! (1 Th 5: 17) (Ephesians 6: 18) Trust in the Chief Shepherd!
What Makes The Difference?
- If a man has money and is not willing to have it examined, people think it is counterfeit.
- If a man is afraid to take a lie detector test, people think he is guilty of crime.
- If a man conducts a business and is unwilling to let anyone investigate it, folks think he is running a crooked business.
BUT, many preachers teach doctrines that under no circumstances will they test or allow to be tested by the Bible. Yet millions of people will accept them as upright, honest teachers of the truth, and will risk their salvation based upon them.
What makes the difference? The Bible instructs us to try the teachers (1 John 4:1). The truth never fears investigation!