Do You Have Shepherds in Your Life?
I received a flyer at church about Practical Theological Seminary. It was interesting to me, and I tucked it away somewhere in the back of my mind. I never seriously considered it for myself, but as the months went by, I found myself thinking about it often. I have been on a learning journey with God for a few years now, and I wondered if these classes were supposed to be my next step. Did God want me there? I began to pray about it, and listen for God’s guidance. "Learn and Obey" seemed to become a theme in my daily prayer life, so I decided to fill out the seminary application.
That very night, doubt started creeping in! Satan knew that doubt was a powerful tool that he could use against me to get me off track. Doubt, anxiety, and honestly, faithlessness, took over, and I wavered on the decision to turn in my application. I was heartbroken, and I woke up feeling defeated. I wanted to talk to a good friend of mine, and tell her I changed my mind, but I knew she would be disappointed. She had been encouraging me to apply from the beginning, but now, I had to explain to her that I didn’t think seminary was right for me.
Before I could even tell her I had back out of applying, she began to tell me of a dream she had the night before. In her dream, she saw me in front of a large crowd leading people as they passionately worshiped God. She was so excited. For her, it was a clear sign from God that seminary was exactly where He wanted me to be. I was cut to the heart by her dream and encouragement, and I knew God was calling me to seminary.
I am so thankful that God used my friend to help guide me in I time that I needed direction the most. She was a shepherd to me. Godly shepherds guide us. They help us get back on the right path. They keep us from danger. They hear from God and are used by Him. (Psalm 23- The Lord is our Shepherd).
My first seminary class begins tomorrow, and I will start the journey that God has placed before me. That same sweet friend gave me a beautiful journal for class. After much prayer, the Lord led me to write about Jeremiah 3 in my journal. I read Jeremiah 3, but I did not know exactly why God led me there. I didn’t see what I was supposed to understand, or how I could share it clearly with others. I prayed and read it many more times. Jeremiah 3 is about Israel's unfaithfulness and turning away from God. God's plan was for Israel to follow and obey Him.
The verse God put on my heart was Jeremiah 3:15. God said, “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”
God wants us to have faith in Him. He loves us and is faithful even when we turn away from Him. He has great plans for us, and sometimes sends His shepherds to show us the way. I want to thank our loving God for the undeserved blessing of shepherds, and I want to thank my dear friend for listening and being God’s shepherd who guided me with knowledge and understanding. God wants “faithless people” to return to Him, so that He may bless us, and use us as shepherds for others.
I love the challenge in Jeremiah 3:14, "Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the Lord; For I am a master to you, and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion." Do you need to return to the Lord? Do you have godly shepherds in your life to help guide you in the the knowledge and understanding of God?
Mandy Phillips is the author of this article and a student at Practical Theological Seminary. She is married and has four children. Mandy is a 5th grade school teacher at Glen Rose, TX.