All We Like Sheep #4

Our last in the series is a look at the shepherd. Coincidence that it comes right before Easter? Hmmm…don’t think so!

Sheep must have a leader for they must be led and not driven. They must be told what to do and where to go, otherwise, they will wander off and get lost. They need to be watched over and cared for constantly. Hence, the need for a shepherd.

Since we looked at some of the characteristics of sheep that mirror those of humans, let’s look at some of the characteristics of a good shepherd and how they apply to Jesus as our Good Shepherd.

A good shepherd…

* loves his sheep and continually encourages an intimate relationship with them so that

they will develop trust and know his voice

* knows the things that make them sick and guides them away from them

* always watchful for predators and defends sheep against them

* protects the sheep while they sleep

* leads them to fresh pastures and fresh water

* is gentle yet firm while shearing them, watching closely for injury or disease

* goes ahead of sheep and prepares the path

* disciplines and corrects them

* keeps sheep from fighting, from hurting each other

* searches for a lost sheep and rejoices when finding it

* keeps sheep moving so they don’t get into a rut

* comforts them when they are hurt or fearful

* anoints them with oil to heal an injury or prevent disease

* is pleased when sheep are contented, well-fed, and safe

* knows the sheep’s needs better than they do

* sacrifices his life for them.

We find so much of this in Psalm 23. Adding in some of the definitions, we might look at it this way…

*The Lord is my Shepherd = The Lord is my guide, my companion

* I shall not want = I shall not lack; I have contentment

* He makes me to lie down = He causes me to rest

* in green pastures = giving me habitations of nourishment

* He leads me = He leads me with care to watering stations

* beside still waters = beside quiet waters, refreshing me

* He restores my soul = He draws me to return to Him, to restore me

* He leads me in paths of righteousness = He guides me in ways of rightness

* even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = even though I move through the narrow valley of death’s dark shadow

* I will fear no evil = I will not be afraid of evil; I will have confidence and trust in my Shepherd

* for You are with me = because You are by my side

* Your rod = Your discipline and protection

* Your staff = Your guidance and support

* they comfort me = are my consolation and comfort

* You prepare a table before me = You arrange and spread out a feast of Your fellowship before me

* in the presence of mine enemies = in the face of those enemies that distress and bind me

* You anoint my head with oil = You soothe me with the oil of Your Spirit

* My cup runs over = You fill my life, saturating it to overflowing with provisions

* goodness and mercy shall follow me = Your goodness and favor pursue me

* and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever = and I will inhabit Your household for eternity.

This Shepherd said, “I am the Good shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me,” (John 10:14 Amp) and “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NKJV)

As the Good Shepherd that gave His life for His flock, He is also the Lamb of God, the great Sacrifice, of which John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV)

Do you know all that this Good Shepherd provides for you? Do you know Him, recognizing His voice as He calls out your name? Do you know His peace, protection, provision, guidance, and comfort?

I pray you can often be found lingering at the feet of the Good Shepherd, awaiting His touch, and that you know Him as the Lamb of sacrifice.

~Blessings, Lynn~~

All We Like Sheep #3

Let’s recap. So far, we’ve seen that sheep…

* are not very intelligent and are not trainable,

* need constant supervision,

* have a strong instinct to follow a leader,

* have no sense of direction and will wander off, getting into trouble, especially if

they don’t listen to the shepherd,

* will follow the one in front of him even if it goes over a cliff,

* are non-aggressive, friendly, love being part of the gang

* are loving and love affection, lingering at the shepherd’s feet,

* are defenseless and easy prey for predators, needing protection,

* are fearful, even of running water,

* have little discernment and will feed on and drink what is not good for them.

Sheep also…

…need to be sheared…

Because of health issues and the usage of the wool, sheep desperately need to be sheared, which usually takes place twice a year. If sheep are not sheared to remove the accumulation of dirt, caked mud, and other contaminates that mat next to their skin, they will develop infections and health problems, possibly dying.

During shearing, sheep can experience a lot of stress and need an experienced shearer. The sheep will fight it until they are on their backs, held in the arms of their shearer, then, they will give in and relax.

It is done quickly so no harm comes to the animal. After being shorn, sheep need protection from the elements.

If sheep are not shorn, it decreases their mobility, and, if not done before the heat of summer, they will be susceptible to heat stress. Also, if not sheared at the proper time, their vision will be impaired.

Shearing keeps sheep productive and also allows for new growth.

…fall down and die…

If a sheep falls down and ends up on its back, it cannot right itself without help. No matter how loud his bleatings for help may be, the other sheep cannot help it get right. If left by itself too long, it will eventually die, so the shepherd watches to make sure each one stays on its feet.

…not burden bearers…

Many larger animals like horses, camels, elephants, and some others were created to carry loads on their backs. However, when it comes to sheep, they are incapable of carrying any load on their backs.

…frequently need a place to lie down and rest…

Sheep often need rest but don’t realize it. However, it is impossible for a sheep to lie down and rest if surrounded and pestered by insects or parasites. In order to rest, it must also be free from fear, hunger, and friction with others.

People…

* Do you need to be sheared of your circumstances?

* Do you need to get rid of any dirty issues in your life that might be causing emotional, physical, or spiritual problems?

* Do you have better spiritual eyesight after a shearing session?

* Do you fight those times of being sheared by the Shepherd? Or do you relax in His arms and allow Him to work His will in your life?

* Ever feel like the commercial, you’ve fallen down and can’t get up? And no one comes to help you? You can only be righted by the Shepherd.

* Do you carry your burdens around in a backpack, a little red wagon, or a U-Haul? Or have you let them go and given them to the Lord…and not taken them back?

* Are you free of those things that bother you, free of fear, hunger, and friction with others so that you can lie down in green pastures, resting your soul?

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20-21 NKJV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

All We Like Sheep #2

Last time, we saw that sheep…

* are not very intelligent and are not trainable,

* need constant supervision,

* have a strong instinct to follow a leader,

* have no sense of direction and will wander off, getting into trouble,

* and will follow the one in front of him even if it goes over a cliff.

Let’s see what other characteristics they have.

Sheep…

…are non-aggressive…

Their non-aggressive temperament exhibits itself as being gregarious, calm, and easy to manage creatures. Because they love to be a part of the gang, a sheep will become agitated if it is separated from the group.

…are loving and love affection…

The sense of touch seems to be important to sheep because they seek bodily contact with a daily touch from their shepherd. They love their shepherd and can often be found lingering at his feet, awaiting a pat on the head. They will even rub against his leg and wag their tails.

They learn to recognize the voice of their shepherd as He regularly speaks gently to them and calls them each by name. They follow him because they know he will take care of them.

…are defenseless…

Because they are defenseless, they make easy prey for their enemies and are very vulnerable to fear. With no means of self-defense, their natural instinct causes them to run.

A lone sheep is doomed. Needing protection from predators, they use their herding instinct to stick close to each other for safety and depend on their shepherd as their defense against their enemies, as he uses his staff to keep the sheep in line and within safe boundaries and his rod to ward off the predators.

…are fearful…

As we read last time, where one sheep goes, the rest are sure to follow. So, because they are fearful, if one becomes skittish, the whole flock will stampede easily.

Because of their “sheepishness,” they are even frightened by running water.

…have little discernment as to choosing the best food and drink…

Sheep are stubborn and will insist on their own way, even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water. They need constant fresh pasture and fresh water.

Not always aware that they need to drink, they can even be found grazing beside water while in the early stages of dehydration. Because of this, they must be constantly led to clean, still water.

People…

* Are you friendly? Do you become agitated if separated from the group and interaction with others?

* Do you stay close to the flock for comfort, support, and safety?

* Is the Shepherd’s daily touch important to you?

* Can you be found lingering at the Shepherd’s feet?

* Do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd when He calls your name?

* Do you follow the Shepherd knowing He will take care of you?

* Because you are prey for the enemy, do you become fearful or do you trust in and depend on the Shepherd to protect you and fight off the predators for you?

* Do you become skittish, your circumstances frightening you as though they were rampaging waters?

* Are you stubborn, insisting on your own way? Do you lack discernment in choosing where and what you feed your soul and spirit?

* Do you feed on poisonous matter or drink from dirty waters? Do you realize you are suffering a dehydrated spirit, ignoring the fresh waters of the Lord before you?

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21 NKJV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

All We Like Sheep

Sheep intrigue me. I started a small collection of little sheep figurines. The ones found in a crèche set. I love them. I place them around a shepherd that looks like he might have been David with a precious lamb wrapped around his shoulders. I always think of him as Jesus carrying me.

The figurines have different looks on their tiny faces and they stand in different positions, some look up adoringly at the shepherd and some graze at his feet. Reminds me of how I place myself at Jesus’ feet.

If we compare sheep’s characteristics with those of humans, we’ll find they are very similar. No wonder Jesus lovingly calls us His sheep.

I thought it would be fun to take the next few posts and look at some of the shared characteristics.

The first characteristic is…drum roll, please! Ta-dah!

Sheep are not very intelligent!

Actually, they are notoriously dumb! They have the IQ of a rubber tree plant! Because of this brain deficiency, they are the only herd-type animal that require a custodian or guardian to give them constant care and supervision 24/7. A shepherd must commit his whole life to watching over his flock.

Because they have a strong instinct to follow a leader, when one sheep decides to wander off, the rest of the flock usually follows, no matter where it takes them. For example, if the lead sheep jumps over a cliff, the others will more than likely follow.

Because of their lack of intelligence, they…

…are not trainable…

They also need constant supervision because they are not trainable. You’ll never see them in the circus doing tricks on command, like the silly image above.

Though they are not teachable, they will do the exact thing that the one in front of them does. For instance, I read that, if you hold a stick in front of the first sheep in a line and it jumps over the stick, the rest of the flock will mindlessly follow suit, leaping over the stick, even when it is taken away!

Because they are not trainable, pain and punishment have little or no effect on their behavior because they have no memory and do not learn from their mistakes. They keep doing the same dumb things over and over.

…will wander off, go astray, and, with no sense of direction, get into trouble.

And since they will senselessly follow the one in front of them, they will all wander off in any direction and probably get into trouble. Therefore, with no sense of direction, if one sheep wanders off and gets lost, the rest of the flock will follow right along, even if the sheep jumps over a cliff.

As people…

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t mean people are as dumb as rubber tree plants, but sometimes I wonder about the things we humans do! Sometimes, I don’t think we learn. We do the same dumb things over and over, going around, as some say, the same ol’ mountain again and again. It takes a while for us to be trained, if at all. If we could just learn a lesson the first time around, we wouldn’t suffer some of the same consequences.

This is why we need a guardian for constant care, just as the sheep do.

We have a strong instinct to follow a leader, but we need to make sure it is the right Leader. We will wander off aimlessly and follow the flock right over the cliff if we do not listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow His footsteps.

With no sense of direction, we will always pick the wrong way without the Shepherd. We will continue to go astray and get lost.

The disciple Peter recognized that we all need the true Shepherd. Having known Him himself, Peter wrote, “Like sheep you wandered away from God, but now you have returned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25a TLB)

* Do you repeat the same mistakes over and over?

* Have you wandered off aimlessly and lost your way?

* Or do you listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow in His footsteps?

May you be blessed with the Great Shepherd’s constant care.

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Sheep Series #4 The Shepherd

Our last in the series is a look at the shepherd. Coincidence that it comes right before Easter? Hmmm…don’t think so!

Sheep must have a leader for they must be led and not driven. They must be told what to do and where to go, otherwise, they will wander off and get lost. They need to be watched over and cared for constantly. Hence, the need for a shepherd.

Since we looked at some of the characteristics of sheep that mirror those of humans, let’s look at some of the characteristics of a good shepherd and how they apply to Jesus as our Good Shepherd.

A good shepherd…

* loves his sheep and continually encourages an intimate relationship with them so that
they will develop trust and know his voice
* knows the things that make them sick and guides them away from them
* always watchful for predators and defends sheep against them
* protects the sheep while they sleep
* leads them to fresh pastures and fresh water
* is gentle yet firm while shearing them, watching closely for injury or disease
* goes ahead of sheep and prepares the path
* disciplines and corrects them
* keeps sheep from fighting, from hurting each other
* searches for a lost sheep and rejoices when finding it
* keeps sheep moving so they don’t get into a rut
* comforts them when they are hurt or fearful
* anoints them with oil to heal an injury or prevent disease
* is pleased when sheep are contented, well-fed, and safe
* knows the sheep’s needs better than they do
* sacrifices his life for them.

We find so much of this in Psalm 23. Adding in some of the definitions, we might look at it this way…

*The Lord is my Shepherd = The Lord is my guide, my companion
* I shall not want = I shall not lack; I have contentment
* He makes me to lie down = He causes me to rest
* in green pastures = giving me habitations of nourishment
* He leads me = He leads me with care to watering stations
* beside still waters = beside quiet waters, refreshing me
* He restores my soul = He draws me to return to Him, to restore me
* He leads me in paths of righteousness = He guides me in ways of rightness
* even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = even though I move through the narrow valley of death’s dark shadow
* I will fear no evil = I will not be afraid of evil; I will have confidence and trust in my Shepherd
* for You are with me = because You are by my side
* Your rod = Your discipline and protection
* Your staff = Your guidance and support
* they comfort me = are my consolation and comfort
* You prepare a table before me = You arrange and spread out a feast of Your fellowship before me
* in the presence of mine enemies = in the face of those enemies that distress and bind me
* You anoint my head with oil = You soothe me with the oil of Your Spirit
* My cup runs over = You fill my life, saturating it to overflowing with provisions
* goodness and mercy shall follow me = Your goodness and favor pursue me
* and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever = and I will inhabit Your household for eternity.

This Shepherd said, “I am the Good shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me,” (John 10:14 Amp) and “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NKJV)

As the Good Shepherd that gave His life for His flock, He is also the Lamb of God, the great Sacrifice, of which John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV)

Do you know all that this Good Shepherd provides for you? Do you know Him, recognizing His voice as He calls out your name? Do you know His peace, protection, provision, guidance, and comfort?

I pray you can often be found lingering at the feet of the Good Shepherd, awaiting His touch, and that you know Him as the Lamb of sacrifice.

~Blessings, Lynn~~

Sheep Series #3

Let’s recap. So far, we’ve seen that sheep…

* are not very intelligent and are not trainable,
* need constant supervision,
* have a strong instinct to follow a leader,
* have no sense of direction and will wander off, getting into trouble, especially if
they don’t listen to the shepherd,
* will follow the one in front of him even if it goes over a cliff,
* are non-aggressive, friendly, love being part of the gang
* are loving and love affection, lingering at the shepherd’s feet,
* are defenseless and easy prey for predators, needing protection,
* are fearful, even of running water,
* have little discernment and will feed on and drink what is not good for them.

Sheep also…

…need to be sheared…

Because of health issues and the usage of the wool, sheep desperately need to be sheared, which usually takes place twice a year. If sheep are not sheared to remove the accumulation of dirt, caked mud, and other contaminates that mat next to their skin, they will develop infections and health problems, possibly dying.

During shearing, sheep can experience a lot of stress and need an experienced shearer. The sheep will fight it until they are on their backs, held in the arms of their shearer, then, they will give in and relax.

It is done quickly so no harm comes to the animal. After being shorn, sheep need protection from the elements.

If sheep are not shorn, it decreases their mobility, and, if not done before the heat of summer, they will be susceptible to heat stress. Also, if not sheared at the proper time, their vision will be impaired.

Shearing keeps sheep productive and also allows for new growth.

…fall down and die…

If a sheep falls down and ends up on its back, it cannot right itself without help. No matter how loud his bleatings for help may be, the other sheep cannot help it get right. If left by itself too long, it will eventually die, so the shepherd watches to make sure each one stays on its feet.

…not burden bearers…

Many larger animals like horses, camels, elephants, and some others were created to carry loads on their backs. However, when it comes to sheep, they are incapable of carrying any load on their backs.

…frequently need a place to lie down and rest…

Sheep often need rest but don’t realize it. However, it is impossible for a sheep to lie down and rest if surrounded and pestered by insects or parasites. In order to rest, it must also be free from fear, hunger, and friction with others.

People…

* Do you need to be sheared of your circumstances?
* Do you need to get rid of any dirty issues in your life that might be causing emotional, physical, or spiritual problems?
* Do you have better spiritual eyesight after a shearing session?
* Do you fight those times of being sheared by the Shepherd? Or do you relax in His arms and allow Him to work His will in your life?
* Ever feel like the commercial, you’ve fallen down and can’t get up? And no one comes to help you? You can only be righted by the Shepherd.
* Do you carry your burdens around in a backpack, a little red wagon, or a U-Haul? Or have you let them go and given them to the Lord…and not taken them back?
* Are you free of those things that bother you, free of fear, hunger, and friction with others so that you can lie down in green pastures, resting your soul?

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20-21 NKJV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Sheep Series #2

Last time, we saw that sheep…

* are not very intelligent and are not trainable,
* need constant supervision,
* have a strong instinct to follow a leader,
* have no sense of direction and will wander off, getting into trouble,
* and will follow the one in front of him even if it goes over a cliff.

Let’s see what other characteristics they have.

Sheep…

…are non-aggressive…

Their non-aggressive temperament exhibits itself as being gregarious, calm, and easy to manage creatures. Because they love to be a part of the gang, a sheep will become agitated if it is separated from the group.

…are loving and love affection…

The sense of touch seems to be important to sheep because they seek bodily contact with a daily touch from their shepherd. They love their shepherd and can often be found lingering at his feet, awaiting a pat on the head. They will even rub against his leg and wag their tails.

They learn to recognize the voice of their shepherd as He regularly speaks gently to them and calls them each by name. They follow him because they know he will take care of them.

…are defenseless…

Because they are defenseless, they make easy prey for their enemies and are very vulnerable to fear. With no means of self-defense, their natural instinct causes them to run.

A lone sheep is doomed. Needing protection from predators, they use their herding instinct to stick close to each other for safety and depend on their shepherd as their defense against their enemies, as he uses his staff to keep the sheep in line and within safe boundaries and his rod to ward off the predators.

…are fearful…

As we read last time, where one sheep goes, the rest are sure to follow. So, because they are fearful, if one becomes skittish, the whole flock will stampede easily.

Because of their “sheepishness,” they are even frightened by running water.

…have little discernment as to choosing the best food and drink…

Sheep are stubborn and will insist on their own way, even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water. They need constant fresh pasture and fresh water.

Not always aware that they need to drink, they can even be found grazing beside water while in the early stages of dehydration. Because of this, they must be constantly led to clean, still water.

People…

* Are you friendly? Do you become agitated if separated from the group and interaction with others?
* Do you stay close to the flock for comfort, support, and safety?
* Is the Shepherd’s daily touch important to you?
* Can you be found lingering at the Shepherd’s feet?
* Do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd when He calls your name?
* Do you follow the Shepherd knowing He will take care of you?
* Because you are prey for the enemy, do you become fearful or do you trust in and depend on the Shepherd to protect you and fight off the predators for you?
* Do you become skittish, your circumstances frightening you as though they were rampaging waters?
* Are you stubborn, insisting on your own way? Do you lack discernment in choosing where and what you feed your soul and spirit?
* Do you feed on poisonous matter or drink from dirty waters? Do you realize you are suffering a dehydrated spirit, ignoring the fresh waters of the Lord before you?

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21 NKJV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Previous Older Entries