As I awoke the other morning, all of these scriptures and thoughts began to come to me.
A few years ago while praying, I heard, “Most of the church world isn’t at all ready for what I want to do”. Then I saw the Lord shaking the church. He was shaking out tradition. All that was left was the Gospel.
There is so much tradition mixed in with the truth of the Gospel. After the shakings of the last couple of years, as the churches are meeting again, they are in most cases trying to be what they were before and do what they did before. But I think the future of the church is different than the past, and each leader, each pastor, each shepherd needs to spend time with the Lord to get plans for the future and be open to do things very differently.
I heard as I was waking up this last week I heard: “Feed my sheep. Feed them with knowledge and understanding.”
Jeremiah 3:15 – And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment.
A shepherd after the Lord’s own heart will feed His people with knowledge and understanding.
Jesus has compassion on people when they are bewildered, harassed, distressed, dejected, and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. This is His call for laborers to the harvest, to teach, proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, and heal all kinds of disease, weakness and infirmity (Matthew 9:36-39 -AMP).
The Lord is still shaking the traditions out of the church, but we keep trying to go back to the old patterns of meeting, of being the church, or running the church that we have always been in, even though many of them aren’t what the Lord desires.
Some of the things I heard while praying in 2017 are below.
6/27/17 – The Gospel Without Tradition
- Present the gospel without the trappings of religion or tradition that have been built up for generations, stripped of its frames and form.
- The wine without previous wineskins containing it and hindering its flowing and blocking what the Lord wants to do.
- This is what I see.
- Most of the church world IS NOT ready for what the Lord wants to do and WILL NOT accept it.
- l will work with the Lord to pray it out and pray it through.
6/22/17 – Free from the Old Forms
Got to get free from the old forms that came after the Reformation with Puritanism through holiness and Pentecostalism, and almost completely demolish it to get where we need to go, enabled to effectively reach this present world. The new form is not freedom from the word but freedom from tradition. This is a prayer project for me.
Most of the traditional evangelical, fundamentalist system has to go. Though many think it is the right way and God’s way, most is not. The humanistic ideas and materialism that became part of our belief systems must be intricately removed.
10/19/20 – During the Shaking
Within the current church system, there are so many traditions and structures built up that the Lord wants to get rid of – we can’t go further with them in the way.
It is like the picture I saw a few years ago of the Lord picking up the church and shaking out the traditions while keeping the truth of the Word.
He has begun that this year, but many are still trying to hold fast to things that the Lord has shaken away. They want to rebuild things the Lord is no longer in. As Jesus said, the think the old ways are better.
Problems with the Shepherds
A pastor or shepherd in these days seem to focus on “their vision” and ignore the needs of the sheep. They tend to use the sheep to build what is in their heart rather than feed them with knowledge and understanding.
They put people through classes to find out what they are made to do, but then they say, these are the opportunities we have and use them to fulfill their own vision. You can greet, you can work in the nursery, you can be a be an usher, you can be on the prayer team, or the other things they think it takes to run a church. One of the worst things is that they give the impression that if a person won’t be involved to build the vision of their church, they are missing God’s plan for their life, there is something wrong with them.
Pastors have a vision. It takes money, and it takes people. Most don’t know how to trust God to provide, so the pressure the people for finances and to get involved in what they are doing. The try to guilt and shame the people into getting involved.
Jeremiah 10:21 – For the shepherds [of the people] have become like brutes, irrational and stupid, and have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him or required Him [by necessity and by right of His word]. Therefore, they have not dealt prudently and have not prospered, and all their flocks are scattered.
And even when the flocks are scattered, they blame the people not themselves. The Lord here says the sheep are scattered because the shepherds are stupid and have not sought the Lord; it seems to have nothing to do with the sheep.
Jeremiah 4:22 – [Their chastisement will continue until it has accomplished its purpose] for My people are stupid, says the Lord [replying to Jeremiah]; they do not know and understand Me. They are thickheaded children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge [and know not how]. `
But what is the job of the shepherd really supposed to be?
The primary job of a shepherd is to feed and care for the sheep.
John 21:16-17 – He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him, yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, tend (poimaino – feed, rule, tend as a shepherd) My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed (bosko – feed, nourish, provide food, keep) My sheep.
Isaiah 56:10-11 – [Israel’s] watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, they love to slumber. Yes, the dogs are greedy; they never have enough. And such are the shepherds who cannot understand; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his own gain, from every quarter [one and all].
The shepherds cannot understand; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his own gain.
Jeremiah 23:1-2 – Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasturing! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for and feed My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away and have not visited and attended to them; behold, I will visit and attend to you for the evil of your doings, says the Lord.
In Jeremiah 10:21 he says that the sheep are scattered because the shepherds are stupid and do now seek the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:4 – And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will fear no more nor be dismayed, neither will any be missing or lost, says the Lord.
In the Lord’s eyes, feeding the sheep is very important. He speaks of it in the Old Testament and in the New.
Jeremiah 50:6-7 – My people have become lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; they have gone along from mountain to hill and have forgotten their resting place. All who came upon them have devoured them; and their adversaries have said, we are not guilty, Inasmuch as they have sinned against the Lord who is the habitation of righteousness, even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.’
Ezekiel 34 is About Shepherds
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them, even to the [spiritual] shepherds, thus says the Lord God:
Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you kill the fatlings, but you do not feed the sheep.
The diseased and weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the hurt and crippled you have not bandaged, those gone astray you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought to find, but with force and hardhearted harshness you have ruled them.
And they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild beasts of the field. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill; yes, My sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth and no one searched or sought for them.
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: as I live, says the Lord God, surely because My sheep became a prey, and My sheep became food for every beast of the field because there was no shepherd—neither did My shepherds search for My sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not My sheep— therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My sheep at their hand and cause them to cease feeding the sheep, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more. I will rescue My sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
Summary of Ezekiel 34
- They fed themselves rather than the flock.
- They didn’t heal the sick and strengthen the sickly.
- They didn’t bind up the broken.
- They didn’t bring back the scattered or seek for the lost.
- They ruled with force and severity.
- The sheep were scattered for lack of a shepherd and became food for every beast of the filed. They wandered with no one to search for them.
- The sheep became a prey and food for the wild beasts.
- When the sheep scattered, they didn’t search for the them.
- The Lord is against these shepherds and will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and rescue the sheep from their mouths.
Zechariah 10:3 – My anger is kindled against the shepherds [who are not true shepherds] and I will punish the goat leaders, for the Lord of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His beautiful and majestic horse in the battle.
Matthew 9:35-38 (AMP)– And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and every weakness and infirmity. When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.
What is God’s heart? He is moved with compassion when He sees throngs of people who are bewildered, harassed, distressed, dejected and helpless. He cares so much for people who are like sheep without a shepherd that His heart cry is for us to pray for laborers to be sent out. What are these laborers to do? The same as He did, filled with compassion to teach, proclaim and heal all.
The Lord is Searching for a Man After His Heart
Acts 13:22 – I have found David son of Jesse a man after My own heart, who will do all My will and carry out My program fully.
Message – I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.
This is what God is searching for – someone after His heart (who will be sensitive to God’s heart and take upon Himself what is important to God, whose heart beats to His heart) AND who will do all His will and carry out His program (who will act on God’s heartbeat and give legs to the will of God).
Do you want to be one God can use? Do you want to be one He is searching for? Do you want to be His close and intimate friend? Take His heart and desires as your own, and act them out; do all of His will; do what He tells you to do. He will show you what He is doing and make known what He hears from the Father. He will show Himself strong in your behalf.