PASTORS and SHEPHERDS


“You have abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and have left to starve.” says the Lord regarding His shepherds who were called to care for His sheep. Ezek 34 1-4

I’ve seen many examples of pastor abuse throughout 30 years in Christ. My own abuses left deep scars, but for God’s grace and kindness, He used these events to strengthen and groom me for His higher purpose. I grieve, meeting so many lost and broken people, mislead, taken advantage of or harshly treated by their former pastors. Most went out into the world battered and bitter, never to be heard from again. I want to encourage you who have been treated in such a way. Yeshua Jesus cares. He is not responsible for your hurt and He wants to restore you!

Jesus, Yeshuah is the healer. He will also hold accountable those in leadership who have been harsh, irresponsible and self-centered. Prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah rallied against evil shepherds. Jesus especially blasted the haughty, arrogant Pharisees and Sadducees. They thought they’d arrived at spiritual perfection and demanded all their followers to follow suit. There are few things that irk God more than pride, arrogance and not being teachable, (as a child). Many pastors today are like old dogs that can’t learn new tricks. Many are immersed in legalism, religion and tradition.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Mat 23:13

Nowadays, the requirements for the pastorate are more restrained. regardless, both the called and the self-ordained will still be accountable to God for their treatment of those entrusted to him. I’ve known many pastors who scrutinize, intimidate and demand perfection according to their own personal standards. They need a Holy Ghost spanking and fasting time to fine-tune their people skills.

Saint Paul reminded us to study to show themselves approved. 2 Tim 2:15. Diligent study of the Holy Scriptures, under the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit is necessary for spiritual illumination. The various translations of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts give a more accurate understanding of the culture and meaning of the scriptures. Too often, scripture is taken out of context when based on pastors own perceptions, experiences and biases.

Jesus was the epitome of the gentle shepherd, Rabbonni, (Hebrew for teacher) and was the prefect pastor/Rabbi!

I’ve also known some very young pastors who were ordained with only a few years under their belt!
Paul told Timothy, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, especially not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

Paul set forth precise parameters those seeking seeking leadership in the church.

Jesus said, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” Rev 3 19-20.

All who enter into the family of God is taken in as a son or daughter so God can train them in holiness and righteousness. One starts with baby steps of faith. Many years or decades are needed for pastors to be well-rounded. The training is challenging and there are many sacrifices.

I want to talk to you pastors and leaders about true anointing. The most fruitful pastors are soul-sculptors who nurture and equip their people for service and/or leadership. Any pastor who struggles with envy or is intimidated by gifted people is not a good pastor. Moses was an excellent pastor who was the humblest man on earth. He spent quality time in God’s presence and was highly intuitive about the needs and struggles of his people. Foremost, Moses was a friend of God! The more time a pastor spends in God’s presence, the more He loves people!The love walk, first with God and then with people, is most important.

I will never forget my early experiences as a three-year old baby Christian. I befriended a guy from college who was very nice to me. I told him I didn’t “date” men because of my faith, but allowed him to know me better. He was very persuasive about dating me and eventually won me over with his smooth words, French poems and flowers. I finally gave in and invited him to accompany me to a Terry Talbot Christian concert.

It was an amazing concert and the power of the Holy spirit swept across that theater. Many were healed and delivered from drugs, alcohol and abuse. My friend was so overcome by God’s glory that he couldn’t stand up! He sat down in his chair weeping, unable to drive us home. I deemed that experience God’s permission to date my friend. Our first month of courting was a dream come true, but it was short-lived. He had a problem with his wisdom teeth so his dentist pulled out. He was given a strong pain-killer. That evening, while resting, I saw a side of him I never saw before. he exploded in a rage and cursed me out when I told him I couldn’t spend the night.

For lack of time and space and to stick with my original topic, I will quickly describe the next year from hell. My beau suddenly had a Jekyll and Hyde persona, tinged with hatred, super jealousy, possessiveness and outright violence. Every Sunday, I would go to the prayer line and ask for healing for my beau. All of the elders laying on their hands availed no change in my beau’s torment. Midway into our fifth month of on and off dating and fighting, I discovered what the cause of his rage and torment.

One afternoon, I arrived at my beau’s apartment only to hear violent, ear-splitting music coming from his apartment. I marched up the stairs and stopped in my tracks to see a mound of in a pile in the middle of his living room. As I bent down to look at the pile, I was horrified to see witchcraft paraphernalia, a Ouija board and ripped tarot cards. This was the mysterious tormentor. I reported yet another incident to the elders of my church I was battling a monster. But they could do nothing to help me. I became severely depressed as my beau continued to abuse me mentally and physically. I couldn’t believe that God was also doing nothing about my suffering

I ended up being forced to marry my beau under the threat of death. His violence increased and I withered away. One day, after being barricaded in my apartment for days, my youngest sister came to my apartment to rescue me. I had the shock of my life when I reported this incident to my pastor and his assistant son. I told them I went to the police station and had a restraining order put on my husband.

“Anita, you shouldn’t have. You’ve dome a bad thing.”

After that day, I never returned to that church. I began a lonely fall into clinical depression and lost two years of my life and many ministry opportunities, as well as postponed my college enrollment. It took another six months to be well enough to work part time. The reason I share this story is to let pastor know the damage they do by not taking a stand against domestic violence and other issues with demonic possession.

Fast forward over 20 years. God is so faithful, for He used that nightmare to strengthen me and to teach me about demon possession, demonic footholds and strategy of the enemy which he uses to snare gullible or weak Christians. You can be sure my discernment and authority has stepped up quite a bit and I’m now considered a spiritual pit bull to those who know me. I encourage my dear sisters in Christ to recognize their spiritual gifts. God tempers all our trials in preparation for the culmination and perfection of His saints!

It was many years struggling with, shame, rejection and insecurity that I accepted Fathers chastening and learned from my trials. As we grow and heal from devastating injustices or tragedies, Our heavenly Father is grooming us as a spiritual warrior. That horrific tenure with domestic violence and demon-possession paved the way for me to seek Him even more, to delve more deeply into His word and especially to bask, sitting still in His presence to hear Holy Spirit’s voice of guidance and direction. It has truly been a miracle to go higher in His grace and in wisdom from a painful background of abuse. That painful time led to my next trial with another pastor.

This testing was very different from my past church’s spiritual impotency and inability to be my covering and protect me from danger. This time, my pastor scrutinized and questioned every small thing, from my dress, to the purchase of my first guitar, my ministry income to my struggles with depression, sickness and poverty, Though I felt beaten down spiritually, I continued to faithfully seek The Lord and accept the “constructive criticism”. Today, looking back, I see how God rewarded me for my obedience and submission to that pastor, (we are still friends). His scrutiny caused me to revere and take seriously every aspect of my calling and ministry. I thank God for this pastor! When we stay teachable and humble, God always blesses and promotes us.

Years later, sitting under yet another pastor, I find he has issues with women in leadership and especially women pastors and teachers. During one of his sermons, he lambasted that “It is a shame to see women pastors with their husbands sitting in the front pew. This breeds weak men and is a shame!” He lost control of his emotions and his rage clearly displayed that he would not support women in their high callings.

I word to you pastors about your disdain of female prophetic giftings. “Quench not the Holy Spirit.” The Bible is replete with examples of women who were prophetesses and queens who inherited His blessing. Deborah, Huldah and Quuen Esther were called and equipped with giftings that brought Glory to God and saved their people. You pastors will be held accountable when you stand before God when you allow your bias and prejudice to hinder God’s calling in a female vessel. You had better start studying the scriptures closely and ask Holy Spirit for revelation about women’s usefulness in ministry and leadership. An excellent book to read is “A Woman God Can Use” by Alice Matthews.

My eyes are wide open as i look around and see a large percentage of my precious Christian brothers and sisters who live and suffer, tormented. defeated lives. Their pastors are to blame and they will be very sorry and accountable when they stand before God!!! If you are a pastor or leader, I urge you to get fasted up, to spend hours in prayer with your prayer language and enter often into the Holy of Holies.

These “end Times” are wrought with spiritual landmines. Your adversary the devil is stalking about waiting for his next easy victim. He knows his time is running out and his rage is brewing seeing God’s remnant, His Bride, stand steadfast and immovable in the face of his every attack. He’s pulling out all stops to snare God’s people or keep them from being effective ministers! Pastors can be our shepherd leaders,but some can also severely injure those who are vulnerable. We must not idolize our pastors, for they are fallible also.

Jesus told of us of these last days were times will be so horrible, mens hearts will fail for terror. Pastors, it;s time to do some serious spiritual housecleaning. Start fasting, seeking God with all your heart and especially welcome Holy Spirit to move however he pleases! Get your flock ready! teach about successful spiritual warfare. Teach them how to pray and walk with the authority Jesus Christ gave every believer. There are too many churches filled with impotent Christians who satan is not afraid of. I weep in prayer every day, to see so many calling to Prayer programs like “You and Me” prayer network, facilitated by Pastor Janet. Many are victims of demon harassment and demon oppression. This should not be so!!! Pastor, it is YOUR fault your flock is being attacked and eaten!!

I’m thankful to sit under the pastorate of Pastor Sandra Gonzalez, Spirit-Filled Life Ministries. This powerful, godly women has adequately equipped me to walk in God’s power and love. She reminds us each week that Jesus is dead serious about taking a bride without spot or wrinkle.

I pray my experiences have awakened you to how to discern between a good and bad pastor. They will teach you to know what is worldliness, false doctrines, sexual addictions/pornography and other things that will keep you from entering heaven. Rev 21:8 tells us exactly who will not enter Glory.

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Be ready, dear pastor. I say “Be ready” Watch and wait for Him. For He is coming at a time you do not know.

THE BRIDE


THE BRIDE, January 17 2013

“”Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

A gentle shepherd searches urgently amidst the thorny brambles and gnarled brush seeking a wounded, trembling sheep. Could that be you? You’ve been alone, isolated, misunderstood even by your own family members. Friends forsook you and even your search for God in churches have led you to places of disgust, disappointment and even more spiritual devastation than before you walked in the doors.

I’ve been one of those battered little lost lambs. I’ve stumbled from pasture to pasture only to end up sitting, yet once again under the wrong shepherd who battered me worse than the last one! I’ve long ago stopped searching for human shepherds to lead and guide me. I’ve entered the sweet rest in Yeshuah Hamashiah’s pasture. My drawing closer to Him has brought me to deeper and deeper levels of intimacy, but the more I seek him, the more hungry I am for all He has to give and show me! The covenant of adoption began when Jesus declared peter to be the first father of the church. Covenants are drawn between close associates, not with a stranger or acquaintance.

Yeshuah Jesus said, “ I am the door to the sheepfold.” John 19: 7-10 Here His sheep hear His voice. They do not follow a hired shepherd because they do not care for the well-being of the sheep. Let me describe even more succinctly the depth of His care. Jesus told his disciples that at a certain point, we are no longer just His servant. He calls us His friends. As we draw nearer and nearer to Him, we find ourselves adopted into His spiritual family!

I cherish the covenant Jesus says that Father God has given us. Jesus told Peter, ‘Upon this rock shall I build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. With Jesus’ declaring regarding Peter’s anointing, began the building of the church, The Bride of Christ. Revelation Chapter 19 :7-9 talks about the great wedding prepared for His Bride, the church.

God’s people are distracted by so many temporal, material and political concerns, but we must discipline ourselves to set our focus on the Lord and His business. Most important is the necessity to sit at Jesus feet and learn of Him. He is our shepherd, who leads us to safe pasture, but he is also our bridegroom, seeking to be betrothed to His glorious Bride!

Jesus was very close to several people during His ministry. He was particularly close to John, but also to Mary, Martha and Lazarus. There are several memorable events that I’d like to expound on depicting the ideal relationship between Jesus and another person.

One episode, dear to me, is when Jesus met for supper at Simon the lepers house in Bethany While Jesus sat dining and conversing, Mary moved closer to him and sat near him to hear all he had to say. Martha bustled about in the kitchen, stressed and occupied with serving. She eyes her sister and approached Jesus.. Frowning, She turned to Jesus, “Master, tell my sister to help me.” Jesus answered in Mary’s defense., “She has chosen the better thing and she will not be denied.”

Mary was a very unconventional woman in her particular time and culture, preferring to sit with the men and learn, than bustling about the kitchen doing unimportant work. Mary loved to be around Jesus and meditated on everything He had to say. She was a deep, free-thinker!
In another episode, we read about the disciples sitting around the table, deeply engrossed in conversation. John 12 1-7. Mary is deeply contemplating as she stares at Jesus. Slowly walking, oblivious to the mens’ conversations going on, she approaches Jesus with her alabaster flask of expensive Spikenard perfume. We aren’t told how long she saved for its purchase or where she bought it. All we know was that it was worth a years wages, 300 denarii.

“Rabonni,” she whispers. As he looks at her, sits at His feet. “I have something to share with you” Mary was about to display all the depth of her adoration for her master and beloved teacher. She tapped her alabaster flask, breaking the neck, and held it over Jesus’ head. The thick, fragrant oil ran all down his robes. Jesus submitted to Mary’s passionate display and she started to weep, as if knowing that soon, she would no longer bask in His exquisite presence She then knelt down at his feet and poured more of the spikenard.. She bowed her head and her veil slid down off her shoulders. Her waist-length hair fell on Jesus feet and Mary wiped his feet with the perfume-laden hair strands. The men’s conversation suddenly stopped upon noticing the strong, sweet fragrance filling the whole room. They were intrigued watching the weeping Mary bowed down low with her long hair swirling around Jesus feet.

Of course, the men had to spoil the emotion of Mary’s devotion. They snorted in disdain and Judas even went so far as to rebuke her for wasting such an expensive product! Imagine deeming Jesus less important than money for the poor!

I’m sure the disciples were surprised when Jesus answered back, “Leave her alone. She is doing a good thing, preparing me for my burial. Jesus valued Mary’s display so much that he said that wherever the Gospel was preached her act was to be told (a testimony for all time)!

Indeed, Mary was a very special woman and responded to Jesus in deeply passionate and uncompromising way. very unconventional. She loved him unabashedly and displayed her love for him with total abandon. I’m sure she opened many secret doors to Jesus’ heart.

My prayer is to have a relationship like Mary and Jesus, where He is all I think about and live for. The gospels give a beautiful pictures of the tender place Yeshuah had for women.

We see how He responded to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus cared less that she had a notorious reputation and was of mixed ancestry. Yeshuah witnessed the stubborn faith of the woman with the issue of blood and marveled at the young mother who begged Jesus to heal her daughter. She could have been insulted when he said He couldn’t give the bread to dogs, but she boldly declared that the crumbs were for her!

Jesus also gave the women the honor to share the glorious good news of His resurrection, while the men were fearful and doubting!

Mary’s relationship with Jesus is a beautiful example of how we, the Bride of Christ, should respond to our Bridegroom. He is not just our gentle, nurturing shepherd but our future groom! May our desire to be to sit and His feet, just to hear what He has to say to us. Let us abandon ourselves to His presence as Mary did even surrounded by the disciples.

Sometimes, I am so swept away with thankfulness and adoration, I say like the character of Mary, in Jesus Christ Superstar, “I don’t know how to love him!”

He paid such a price for us at Calvary and covenanted with us so many breathtaking promises, we surmount that there is nothing we can possible give him back! He is so marvelous and beyond description, we cannot have words to say to glorify His name!

Jesus set a new precedence in his relationship with the women he met in His travels. Though the culture at the time held women in low esteem, Jesus chose to reveal His grace, love and respect and he wanted the world to see it!

We women, (and men) have a precious inheritance, Jesus betrothal and wedding celebration. We are His chosen, cherished and glorious Bride! Jesus, Yeshuah Hamashia is still sending our invitations to the wedding, your wedding with Him! Time is running out. The wedding list is just about filled and the doors will soon be shut, forbidding any last-minute attendants to enter and celebrate. Now is the time to acknowledge your invitation.

Make sure re you have on your wedding garment or you will be denied entrance. Jesus seeks a bride whose robes are without spots or wrinkles! Perfect loves casts out all fear. Jesus said, “Count the cost,” before committing to Him. The cost is high…everything, but His burden is light and His love infinite, beyond our comprehension!

God has a wonderful plan for your life! If you are a women, you are in great company. Jesus loved women. And is using them mightily all over the world to do His work and spread His word. Start rejoicing now in His finished work for you.

Have you oil in your lamp? Get ready to meet Him.