Mar 27, 2011

When we sow encouragement, WE reap the fruit of encouragement.

According to "Pastoral Care Inc.", 20,000 ministers left the ministry last year! Many left because they felt inadequate, lonely, hurt and discouraged. Some of the reasons cited was lack of finances, that put a strain on their marriage. Others left because of some moral lapse in behavior. Whatever the reason, it is sad indeed, that lives that once touched so many, are now themselves in need of help.

Sadly, many pastors children are no longer interested in church because of the hardships their parents have faced. Probably half of the issues they experienced, are because of lack of training, wisdom and understanding. Oh how we desperately need an outpouring of the love and glory of God in our churches in the USA and elsewhere. 
But there is something we ALL can do about this epidemic. 
Galatians 6 (Amp.) Vs.1 BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.

God loves His people and will go to great lengths to strengthen and heal, body, soul and spirit. That's why He gave gifts to the people He calls, in order to do the work of the ministry. (Eph.4:8) We have a great responsibility, as His vessels to make sure that we do everything in our ability to help others stay in the plan and purpose of God for their lives. 
"When we encourage and strengthen others,
we reap a harvest of encouragement for ourselves."

It is easy to be critical of others and find fault. That is not difficult at all. Especially when we really don't know what is going on in their lives. I wept when I read the report, that a well known worship leader, admitted to adultery, and was stepping down from ministry. His music had been such a blessing to me and thousands of others, I began to wonder whether I was sad that his music would no longer be heard or was I sad for him, who still loved the Lord, but was going through much emotional turmoil, guilt and shame. Whilst we cannot condone adultery, as it is against the laws of God, we can love the person and do everything in our power to pull them away from this soul destroying sin. 
But often it is not "wrong living" that caused so many
to leave the ministry, but "wrong thinking".
They allowed the pressures of the ministry to become their focus or they got off on a tangent, on some little doctrinal side road, and became entangled in error, which ultimately robbed them of their fellowship with God. 
God gives us a clue in His word on how to deal with someone overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort. He says "you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him," We are to do whatever we can to restore the person to right standing with God. 
In the same verse, God warns us to make sure we do it ... "without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness" watching ourselves ... "lest you should be tempted also." 

Over the past 45 years of serving God, I have seen preachers who have been critical of others and have openly attacked other ministers, who themselves were "overtaken in misconduct or sin" and eventually fell away from the grace of God. 

  Listen to "God is So Good"

 The Body of Christ will never be perfect because it consists of imperfect people. 

In fact, the great commission was not given to super saints, but to a bunch of unbelievers. Jesus had just finished rebuking the disciple's for "their hardness of heart and refusal to believe" (Mark 16:14 - Amp) and then commanded "Go into all the world and preach the Good News"

I know we hold preachers to a higher standard and the shepherd need to be beyond reproach, but we must remember that the shepherd is also a sheep and has sheep needs. So even though the vessel is not perfect, God inside us is Perfect. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who is our teacher, comforter and guide. Thank God for His word which is the road map we can follow.

Galatians 6 Vs.2 " Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and [a]troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete [b]what is lacking [in your obedience to it].

Make a decision that you will do everything in your ability to encourage someone today and help them under the strain of their load. If you hear someone being critical of another believer or preacher, stop them and pray for that person. Can you imagine, what the world would be like, if every believer were to make a promise to God, that they would encourage someone that day. 

Vs.3 For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.

Vs.4 But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [[c]in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.

God bless you richly

Gil Howard-Browne

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