While viewing is not necessary to follow along with the article, the brief 5.5-minute video below is a quick introduction to the topic and a way for me to connect with other like-minded believers.
Accept Your Role: This Just Got Real
In the summer of 2020, movies often came to mind, blockbusters like Terminator and Transformers. Who could have known when we watched those movies all those years ago that we would someday be thrown into a similar plotline?
Characters in movies such as those are usually going along, just living their daily lives, when suddenly something life-altering happens that forces them to choose fight or flight. They usually begin with flight, trusting the instinct to run from the villain. Any good movie, however, brings us a main character who ultimately decides to turn and fight back. After a series of defeats, the pattern goes, a hero emerges, and a battle of good versus evil begins. There are usually lesser characters introduced throughout the story who choose flight, and we don’t tend to see much of them anymore.
Which are you? Will you accept the starring role of a lifetime, one written exclusively for you?
In the Enter (My) Mission article here on the Rapture Ready site, David was our primary example, an unlikely hero who stepped onto the scene and into a new role in a way that seemed coincidental. We know better than that. In preparation to someday call him to be a soldier, God had trained David up as a shepherd to defend his sheep against predators. When faced with his giant, David chose fight over flight. The same can’t be said of the seasoned soldiers who refused to stand against Goliath.
Most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, want to run. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered selling our house in the ‘burbs and buying a cabin way out in the hills of Tennessee. I still wouldn’t mind it. What I do know about me now is that even if we did hightail it out of town, I would still serve in the battle. Other than me being totally censored or losing electricity to be online, I don’t plan on shutting up. If anything, I plan to grow louder.
In our present day, we each look at the world unfolding around us, the rising of an evil Goliath system, and must decide whether to fight or take flight. Ironically, there’s nowhere to hide from this, but believers all around us are burying their heads, trying to pretend life is some sort of normal. The fact that you’re here encourages me and tells me you’re not a shut-up believer either. Throughout this series, I hope to challenge and encourage and help you find ways to grow louder with me.
Back to an ever-vocal David. An interesting contrast to his personality has always intrigued me. His heart in the Psalms demonstrates such capacity for love, yet his conquests in battle depict him as a fierce soldier. Notice, after his transition from shepherd to soldier, David’s writings testify that he maintained his tender heart for His Shepherd and for the people. There’s a lesson in that for us now. What will be required of us will be a dual role of shepherd and soldier, a tender heart of an involved shepherd with the battle-ready arms of a soldier. The church is lacking both. What must motivate us in both areas is love: love for Jesus and love for people. Love doesn’t remain silent. Love doesn’t run. Love protects the flock.
If you’ve read Daybreak, you may remember Wyatt’s indictment, how silent shepherds are starving the sheep. That was a phrase that burdened my heart for many months before I even knew I would write the story. If your pastor is preaching and teaching about the last days, then consider yourself truly blessed and make it a point to commend and encourage him. In most churches, pastors aren’t saying a word. They aren’t teaching on Daniel or Revelation or any of the prophecies concerning our world today. If that’s your pastor, then you have a real challenge ahead of you. If he isn’t speaking truth, then several possibilities might explain it.
Today’s silent pastor may not believe in the pre-trib rapture. He may think the rapture will come mid or post tribulation. Even still, with any of the three views, he should be declaring the arrival of the season. Another possibility is that he may be intimidated by trying to unpack the complexities of the prophetic books. This quote is from an article at Lamb & Lion Ministries, a terrific source on all things rapture and end-times related. You can read the article in its entirety by clicking the link below.
“Some argue that it is just too complex: ‘You have to have a doctorate in hermeneutics to understand it.” That, of course, is not true. What you must have is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a conviction that prophecy can be understood, and a willingness to study it.’” The Abuse of Prophecy – Dr. David R. Reagan
Many shepherds are silent at the will of the people. We’re told in 2 Timothy 4:3 that the time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but instead, as the NASB translation says it, will want “to have their ears tickled.” Pastors are scared: scared of people opposing them, scared of people leaving, scared of creating rifts among people so varied in beliefs about the rapture and tribulation. Fear silences the truth and leaves the people in blissful ignorance of the last-days world around them. Most believers are dining on pre-2020 messages rather than a diet filled with urgency and warning.
We must rise from amongst the flock, those of us with a heart for our Shepherd and His sheep, and offer truth when our pastors ignore the signs of the season and leave the people unaware of the coming rescue for the saved and the tribulation for the lost. A verse in Jeremiah expresses imagery that should spur us on.
“Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15).
This verse is directed to a someday-repentant Israel, but we can catch a glimpse of God’s desire for His people in our day as well. The weak and blind sheep among us need direction. Those of us whose eyes and understanding have been opened through the Spirit and the prophetic Word can pick up the staff of a shepherd and come alongside our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We can guide and encourage and help them to prepare.
This all sounds heroic and noble like David, doesn’t it? Yet, the actual walking out of us as laypeople shepherding the sheep won’t come without its challenges. That’s why you must prepare to step into your role and not just start screaming from the rooftops. You will need to learn how to present your case well. It’ll be a process, something you learn how to do over time. Your unique voice will emerge.
For now, you can be certain that most won’t want to listen to what you tell them; our verse in 2 Timothy prepares us for that. And those who humor you enough to listen won’t likely believe you right away. Not only will the material you present them seem absurd, but the fact that their own pastors aren’t speaking of the end times will only add another layer to their disbelief of what you’re saying. In their minds they will be thinking, if this were important, my pastor would be telling us. That’s the double harm done by our silent shepherds. First, they leave the people unaware and unequipped. And second, they set the stage for disbelief when a sheep under their care does hear the truth. When a sheep trusts his shepherd’s voice, a competing voice will likely drive the sheep away. I can’t express it enough; we have our work cut out for us.
Even with the stage set for a difficult, and at times impossible task ahead of us, we still must accept our role as shepherds after God’s own heart. I say must, but in actuality, to accept our role is an act of our own free will. God gives us a choice. Jesus’ words, “Follow Me,” were an invitation and not a demand. Love pleads with us to follow Him to where the sleeping sheep lie. We must wake the found as much as we warn the lost, else they sleep on. See the exponential possibilities in that: On our own and in our particular realm of friends and family, we can only reach so many lost. But the more found we wake, the greater the army grows as the awakened believers spread the warning to the lost people in their lives.
In the waking and the warning, we will have to expect that some, possibly most, will ignore and even belittle us for our message. Still, love speaks, knowing we will someday (soon, I hope) stand before the Lord Jesus, having answered the call to shepherd His blinded and dozing sheep. We, too, will have answered the watchman’s duty to warn of disaster coming, as recorded in Ezekiel 33.
So, what can we hang onto to keep us encouraged and engaged? We know the script, how this thing ends and who wins at the end of the day. There’s a reason the enemy does his best to keep pastors silent and people afraid to read and study prophecy for themselves.
“The bottom line is that Satan does not want anyone to read and understand Bible prophecy because it clearly reveals his ultimate defeat at the time of the triumphal return of Jesus. The message of Bible prophecy is “Believers win in the end!” That is a message that Satan does not want anyone to know.” The Abuse of Prophecy – Dr. David R. Reagan
Say it aloud: “Believers win in the end!” We win because Jesus has already won.
In keeping with our movie theme, I recently heard a pastor say that after omicron and a newly detected deltacron, he’s just waiting for Megatron (the evil leader of the Decepticons from Transformers) to appear. Seriously, this is truly like living on a movie set. Like it or not, you’re in the movie. You’ll be the hero or an extra who has a building fall on him in the background. Either way, you’re playing a role. Might as well go out with guns blazing.
Let’s conclude with David. Read 1 Samuel 17: 1-30. I can encourage you and challenge you, but only time in the presence of the Lord and in His Word can empower you to accept your challenge, so don’t skip reading the passage, even if it’s a familiar one.
In the NASB translation, there is a header above Chapter 17: Goliath’s Challenge. What the army of Israel was facing then is exactly where we are now as believers, standing on a mountain, a challenge placed before us. We hear the taunts of a dark, spiritual Goliath from across the valley. Many around us, those whom we have respected and relied upon for teaching and leading us in Christian ministry, are not only silent about the days we are living in, but they are also suggesting we concede and become servants of the enemy rather than take a stand. Life-long Christians who’ve read the Book don’t see. But you do.
In verses five through seven, we find a parallel between our giant and Goliath, a soldier arrayed in battle attire so impressive that three full verses are used to describe it. By all accounts and based on the enemy before them, there was no hope for the Israelite army. What soldier could stand against such a warrior? We ask the same question today. Our enemy has been masterfully and strategically formulating his last-days plan over centuries. Evil rising tells us there is no hope other than for us to duck for cover and wait in silence for the coming of our Lord, our rescue.
Then a young shepherd leaves his flock to bring nourishment to his brothers. (That could be a topic in itself.) Upon his arrival and discovering Goliath’s challenge against the army, David asks two questions in verse 26: What will be done for the one who kills the giant, and who is this Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?
Spend time with the Lord of Hosts, a term by the way that is used 235 times in the Bible and literally means Lord of armies, and ask those two questions of Him. I have pondered them today myself and will continue to in the days ahead. Here are my earliest conclusions:
1) What will be done for the one who kills the giant and takes away the reproach from Israel?
The offered prize was the hand of Saul’s daughter and a wedding in the victor’s future. Ours doesn’t differ too greatly. When we accept the challenge and take our stand, no matter the outcome, we will someday soon–very soon–attend the wedding of all weddings and stand before our Groom, knowing we went all in and held nothing back. That’s my plan: Go all in, get increasingly louder, and go out in a blaze of glory.
2) Who is this Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?
We know from Scripture that no matter our best efforts prior to the rapture, it will appear our giant has won for a seven-year period called the tribulation. But we also know that after the glorious wedding supper of the Lamb, we will come back with Him and watch as Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will be the ultimate and forever Victor. That reminds me that I can’t and won’t count out the living God, not now, not ever. I will serve as I’m able. I will slay and win smaller victories through the power of the Spirit. While I’m still here, I will be available and willing for the Restrainer to do as much restraining as He can through me. All that’s required of me is to be willing to step into my role. I pray this Accept Your Role session encourages you to do the same.
In this section we have focused on our unexpected role as shepherd in place of those who’ve forfeited theirs. In future installments, we will explore elements of both the shepherd and soldier’s training and assignments. No matter your age, no matter your stage, you, as a shepherd and a soldier, have a place amidst the flock and on the battlefield. Your unique design and voice are exactly what God has shaped you to be for such a time as this. The enemy will tell you otherwise. How about we stop listening to him?
Other Entries on This Topic: How Do I Share What I Know? Series
The Daybreak ebook is always offered for free here: Daybreak Free Download
In this ripped-from-the-headlines action adventure, Paige discovers the world isn’t what she thinks it is. After an urgent phone call from her dad, she sets out on a mission to find the absentee father who walked out of her life only weeks after her mother’s untimely death.
Wyatt, the soldier her father sends to protect her, sounds just like her dad, raving of conspiracies and warning of impending doom. This team, these loyal-to-her-father men, will stop at nothing to locate their leader.
Nothing about Paige’s life will ever be the same after that knock on her door and Wyatt’s two-minute warning.
As an author, Lisa Heaton is a storyteller with a heart for truth. Her greatest desire in her fiction and nonfiction work is to challenge the reader to discover the truth of who Jesus is and who they are to Him. Now, here as we wait for the any-minute arrival of Jesus for His church in the rapture, Lisa’s latest mission is to warn the lost and wake the found and to help others discover their unique voice to share the truth of our times. More at LisaHeatonBooks.com and Daybreak.Team.
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