Taking Care of Those who Take Care of You

There are all types of Christian leaders. We have pastors, elders, Sunday school and Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) teachers, kids’ ministry leaders, women’s and men’s study leaders, youth leaders, worship leaders, and last, but certainly not least, missionaries.

What do all of these have in common? They are our spiritual leaders. They study for their messages and lessons. They minister to their “flock” (kids and adults). They get called out at all hours, day and night, and they have their own personal lives and struggles.

They care and minister to the people–to us. But, who takes care of them? When they have marriage conflict, financial struggles, personal struggles, loneliness, sickness, and death in the family, who do they turn to? Yes, they turn to God. But, did you know that God can use you to minister to them?

Maybe you’re saying, “How do I minister to these leaders? What can I do? I don’t know the Bible nearly as well as they do.” My friend, there are so many ways to minister. (Let’s not forget their families, too. Being the spouse and children of someone in ministry means you are in ministry also.)

Let’s look at a few practical ways to minister:

1. Pray for them. Pray for them. Pray for them. Pray for wisdom in their ministry. Pray that they would remain faithful to God and His word. Pray that they would make, and hold dear, their family time. Pray that they would be men and women of integrity. Pray that they would remain healthy. Pray that they would rest on God for all their needs. Pray for their families that God would protect them, use them, and encourage them. Pray that they would take time to allow God to minister to them also.

2. Realize that this is full-time (most pastors and full-time missionaries). They don’t just get up on Sunday, preach, and that’s it. There is much time and effort that goes into their ministry.

3. Give them space for family time. Most leaders have a scheduled day off; let them have this. Unless it is an emergency, try not to bother them on their day off.

4. Bless them with a meal. Contact them as to what they can and cannot eat (allergies), and either bring them a meal or have them over. They are in need of fellowship also.

5. Send a note of encouragement. There are times that they are discouraged and just need a little “pick me up.” It’s so encouraging to know someone cares.

6. Thank them for what they are doing. The task is not simple. There are attacks on every side, and sometimes the feelings of giving up become strong. God tells us in His word, “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we will reap if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9 KJV) Sometimes though, the way is tiring. Sometimes, while they don’t look or ask for it, our Christian leaders need to be thanked. Yes, they are doing it all for the Lord, but they need to know they are making a difference.

7. Remember, not all those in ministry have families. There are many who are single. Make sure to care for them also. Sometimes, they need family time. Maybe include them with your family from time to time.

These are just a few ways to help take care of our Christian leaders. Let me challenge you to look for ways to encourage and take care of those in leadership. Don’t forget those on the mission field. These same principles apply to them also. You may not be able to have them over for a meal, but you can send them a care package. With the world we live in, we can minister to missionaries through emails. How wonderful to see you have an email and read words of encouragement.

Be creative and have fun ministering to those around you but especially to those who have been chosen by God as ministers of God and His word.

Let us hear (in the comments below) your ideas for how to take care of those who take care of you spiritually.


Praying for Christian Leaders 
bookmark
(download)

 

Visit here to enter the Project Prayer Giveaway.

Download all the Project Prayer extras here.

 

Let’s Pray?

Prayer. What is it? What importance does it serve in our lives? Why pray? Does God even hear and answer our prayers anyway? I’m not that important. Why would God want me to talk to Him? How do I pray? Sometimes I don’t feel like my prayers go any higher than the ceiling. I tried praying once, but God didn’t give me what I asked for.

Have any of these thoughts ever crossed your mind? Have you ever questioned prayer? Have you ever made any of those statements?

We are so very excited to introduce you to a site-wide project on prayer. We will be exploring some of these questions and so much more. We will be exploring the prayers of Jesus, why pray, different prayer models, visual prayer, praying for those who minister, and more. There will even be a prayer challenge.

We are thankful to have you join this journey with us. Like any journey, it will be quite the adventure. Please feel free to share your questions on prayer and your answers to prayer as we take this journey together. We want to hear from you.

Our prayer for you is that, whether you are a prayer warrior, a casual pray-er, a novice in prayer or someone who questions whether prayer is a real thing, that you will grow in your prayer life. We pray that prayer will become a priority for you and that you will draw closer in your relationship to God.

Peter Deyneka, founder of Slavic Gospel Association, started the mission, ministered daily, and lived his life based on the concept of “Much Prayer, Much Power.” To this day (over 80 years later), this is still the basis of the ministry of SGA. Does prayer have this kind of impact in your life? Do people see you as a prayer warrior? Come, let’s go on this adventure together.

Be a Sonflower

I recently learned about sunflowers and it got me thinking about how they reflect the relationship we should have with God. Let me explain.

Sunflowers need the sun to display all their beauty. When it is not sunny they droop. When it is sunny, they perk up and shine their faces for all to see. They are a happy flower. It is amazing to see a whole field of happy sunflowers. As the earth rotates around the sun, these happy flowers follow the sun. Their heads are focused on the sun, not hanging down focusing on the ground and what is around them.

So, my friend, it is for us. In order for us to shine for God we need to focus on Him. We need to follow the Son and not get dragged down by all that is around us pulling us down. I like the amplified version of Hebrews 12:2:

“[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”

Did you catch that? We are to look and focus our eyes on Jesus. It is a command. Like Peter, when he jumped out of the boat to walk toward Jesus. While he kept his eyes focused on the Son, he did great. Once his eyes came off of the Son, he started to sink. We need to keep our eyes focused on the Son. We need to follow Him continuously.

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) reads “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You-in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Sunflowers need the sun to help them stay upright and beautiful. They are totally dependent on that. We need the Son to help us stay on the right path and shine beautifully for Him. See, we have a major advantage that the sunflowers do not. Our advantage: Jesus is always there for us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b) We can always follow Him. He is always there.

Are you walking down a dark path of despair, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, change or any other hard times? Remember, He promised He won’t leave us. He wants us to stay focused on Him. Like the happy little sunflowers focus on the sun, stay focused on the Son and be a Sonflower for Him.

 

Scripture taken from the AMPLIFIED® BIBLE, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by the Lockman Foundation Used by Permission. (www.Lockman.org)

 

Following the Directions

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

Raise your hand if you have ever used some electronic GPS type of device to get to your destination.

Today my mom and I were going for a ride, and I needed one such device. The point of these devices of course is to get from Point A to Point B without getting lost. As we drove we were remembering a time or two that we thought we knew better than the voice giving us directions. Well, you probably know how this story finishes. We got lost. The voice in the box kept recalculating how we were to go based on our wrong turns. He tried to get us on the right path, but we kept ignoring still thinking we knew better. Finally, we had no choice but to listen to that voice and follow the directions. We finally reached our destination. While we enjoyed the sights and the adventure, we wasted much time and gas.

How like our daily walk is this? We so often think we know what is best for our lives. It’s like we say, “God, I know what is best for me. I’ll seek you if I get lost, but I’ve got this.” We walk our own path, do our own thing, seek our best interest, and Get Lost! Then, we ask God where He was, why wasn’t He helping us, and why didn’t He take care of us? The answer….we didn’t listen to His voice.

“God, I know what is best for me. I’ll seek you if I get lost, but I’ve got this.” We walk our own path, do our own thing, seek our best interest, and Get Lost! Then, we ask God where He was…

Proverbs 3:5-7 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord and depart from evil.” (KJV) Peter, in the storm when Jesus was walking on the water, said if He was the Lord to tell him to come. Jesus did and Peter stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water also. However, Peter took his eyes of Jesus and what happened? He started to sink. (He got lost.) Peter cried out to Jesus, “Lord, help!” Jesus reached His loving, caring hand to Peter. Peter had to follow and reach for Jesus’ hand.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”(John 10:27, KJV)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”(John 10:27, KJV) We need to trust the Lord with our whole heart. We need to hold His hand, follow His voice.   God’s voice will never, ever lead us astray. Cling to His hand, dear friend. Follow His voice. Keep your eyes focused on God. You won’t be sorry and it won’t ever be a waste of time or anything else. It may not make sense to you at the time but following God will never disappoint. Trust Him.

Shiny Things

So this week I started another attempt at dieting. Since I’ve yet to find a diet that tells you to eat more sugar, of course, sugar is out. Where I work there are several areas and desks that have candy sitting on them. They are free for whoever wants to partake.

The day I started said diet I was walking by one of those desks. There was a new kind of candy, different from the usual. It had shiny wrapping on it. My natural instinct was to go towards it. Just as I was about to reach for the shiny wrapped candy (first day of diet mind you), I realized that this was not a good move and walked on.

As I walked away I got thinking about how Satan tempts us with shiny things and tries to entice us. There are multiple verses in scripture that talk about being enticed. They all are warnings. Just a couple are, Proverbs 1:10 (NASB), “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” and James 1:4 (NASB) “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” Not that one little shiny piece of candy was sinful; however, eating when I knew I shouldn’t would have not been good. It would’ve been wrong to what I’d committed to doing.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:1-2

We don’t need to let sin entice, encumber, and entangle us. What a picture! We get caught by those shiny pretty things, and then they start to weigh us down to the point of being entangled which will trip us up every time. Don’t give in to that first piece! Don’t walk towards that enticement.

Instead, remember we have Jesus to fix our eyes upon. We need to focus on Him and all He has done for us. Life is a race that we need to run with endurance. God gives us that endurance and courage. Just like I walked past that shiny piece of candy, even in a greater sense we need to walk past the sin that entices us–big or little. Take hold of God’s hand, and let Him run that race with you. Be encouraged friend, with Him you will be able to say no to those things. With Him you will win!

 

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org

Teaching Like Jesus Taught

Do you ever sit in church, listening carefully to the sermon and realize, “WOW! I do that!”? A couple months back this very thing happened to me.

I have always loved using the common things in life to teach. For example, we have a bird feeder in our backyard. During the winter months I put bird food (the block style) in the bird feeder. Well, the squirrels found it. Their antics brought great entertainment.

As I stood watching this process one day, I was impressed with the fact that this is how God’s family should function. You see, the squirrels would climb the pole to the feeder. They ate and picked at the block. As they did seed fell to the ground. The birds would then pick up and eat the seed. Sure they flew to the bird feeder too, but they enjoyed eating what the squirrels had dropped to the ground as well. As spring came along, the rabbits even joined in the banquet.

This is so much like the family of God. We provided the food for the birds. The squirrels and birds took turns eating from the feeder, and then they helped feed those who were weaker and couldn’t make it to the feeder (the rabbits). In return, we have been entertained, and there has been a certain amount of pleasure knowing we were giving food and pleasure to the creatures by our house.

God has created us and provides for all of our need. In fact, He has promised to supply every need of those who love God and “have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Those who have been blessed with ample supply share it with others and encourage them. It builds relationships. In turn, we bring glory to God and (I’m sure) make Him happy. We all need to work together.

This is just one example of lessons found in everyday life. Anyhow, back to that day in church. I was listening as our pastor was talking about how Jesus taught using object lessons from common things. It struck me: “I love teaching like that!” What a fun realization!

Do you see spiritual lessons in common things? I challenge you to try. It’s fun and encouraging.

Share with us spiritual lessons from common things that you have discovered on your journey.

These Hands

These Hands —

These hands belong to an 82 year old woman. Upon looking at the picture she exclaimed, “Oh, my hands are old.”

I want to tell you about these hands though. These hands raised 4 children. They changed many, many diapers. They have prepared countless meals for her husband and children. They have faithfully cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, washed dishes, did laundry, planted flower and vegetable gardens, and weeded those same gardens for her family. They have brushed back the hair on a fevered brow. They have wiped away many tears, both her own and those she cares for. They have cared for her sick children. They have applauded as her children played in concerts. (Takes a lot of love to go to every band concert as children are first learning.) They have held the hands of her children and grandchildren to cross the streets.

These hands have cared for her parents when they could no longer care for themselves. They held her mother’s hand as she prepared to meet the Lord.

These hands cared for her husband as he struggled with Parkinson’s and heart disease. They held her husband’s hand in love even though they had been married 50 years.

These hands have faithfully served the Lord in so many ways, from ministering to children to helping cut, sew, and make things for missionaries. They have held a well-used Bible to study as well as to share God’s word with others in devotionals and lessons. They have housed many missionaries and served them in her home.

There is much more that can be said about these hands but one thing is for certain: when these hands are folded in death and the person who they belong to has gone home to meet the Lord, we will know that these hands spoke love.

How about my hands and yours? What will be said? Are our hands acting in love?

 

Have a blessed Mother’s Day  to all whether you are a mom, a soon-to-be mom, a new mom, or a lady who doesn’t have her own children but has helped raise so many.

Birthday of The King

It’s Jesus’ birthday!!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘’God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 – NASB) “And she gave birth to her firstborn Son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7 – NASB)

His birth was foretold throughout the entire Old Testament. It was announced in Matthew and Luke. It has been celebrated ever since. That little bitty baby, born in a manger was the Holy Son of God. He was to be called Immanuel which means God with us. Isn’t that an amazing concept. Jesus, left His heavenly home to be with us. To be with imperfect, sinful humans. Not only that but to also die for us. He paid the price for our salvation. He could’ve told His Father, God, I don’t really want to do this. I like it here in Heaven. Have you seen those humans? Do you really think we want them here for all of eternity? And, um, you want me to go there, be born in a stable and then have them reject me and then after all of that, die for them? Um, are you sure?

Had Jesus questioned God’s plan for Him it would’ve been a much different result. No, Jesus willingly came to the earth to fulfill God’s will for Him and to fulfill all the prophecies written about Him. Jesus is God come to earth for you dear friend. He did this for you.

As you celebrate His earthly birth, reflect on the thought that God did this for you! That night long ago there was absolutely no room in the Inn for the Savior of the world. Do you have room in your heart for Him?

If you’ve never made room for Jesus in your heart but would like to, or have questions, please contact one of us at biblestudyjourney.com. We would love to help you make that room.

Wishing you a wonderfully blessed Christmas. May God pour out His blessings on you in extraordinary ways.