Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sheep or Sheeple - Which One Are You?

John 10:1-21

My grandkids are in 4-H.  Since my 13 year old granddaughter, Ani, began three years ago, she has twice taken the Grand Champion title for the steers she has fed and conditioned.  Her brother, Liam, who is going to be 11 in January, has raised pigs for the last two years and has done quite well.  Kieran, brother number two who just turned 8, will be transitioning from a Clover Bud and open classes and into qualified projects next year.  I'm proud of all three of them.  The 4-H organization has taught them how to value livestock and the industry, and the responsibility and time and effort it takes to raise their animals.

But one animal that none of the kids will be raising during their 4-H tenure is sheep.   Sheep are easy to raise and feed, and the cost of doing so is dramatically less than raising a market steer or a pig.  Most parents prefer the seemingly non-offensive, less smelly, smaller animal to the larger varieties.  They think that their child should start out with livestock that's easier to handle and would never harm them.  They may have a point, especially for the "backyard" livestock keeper.  Who doesn't love a baby lamb and their cuddly, soft, downy wool?  And a well-fed lamb does produce wonderful chops!  The essence of my grandkids' decision not to raise one, however, is basically due to the challenge the larger animals offer, and the lack of the same with sheep.

Let's take a look at the character and habits of sheep.

Sorry, but sheep are dumb.  Sheep have a deeply embedded herd mentality.  Sheep have a propensity to follow after danger, grazing with their heads down, not knowing where they're going, and not recognizing danger before it's too late.  In spite of those attending them bearing the title "shepherd," it is almost impossible to drive them in the direction you want them to go.  All is well as long as the lamb has company - other lambs, that is.  Place a lamb skin on a wolf, and they will follow it, thinking it's another lamb.  (I once had an Old English Sheepdog that could get any balking herd of sheep to follow after her because she had the appearance of a lamb - in spite of her hatred and resentment for the things.)

When the lambs are presented in the show ring, no halter, ropes, driving sticks, or canes are required.  All the handler must do is place one of his or her hands under the lamb's lower jaw and the other on its rump to propel it into the position they desire.  When they stop to set it up (place it in its show position), the lamb stands there, imagining that the hand that's under its jaw is preventing it from moving.  My point is made: imagine an animal so dumb that it actually thinks it's tethered or unable to move where it wants because someone has a hold of its jaw.  (A sheep's brain weighs 140 grams, as compared to a cow's brain weighing in at 425-458 grams.  Compare both to a human brain weighing 1300-1400 grams, and that's all that needs to be said.)

Those who have no true knowledge of sheep might think, "That kid has trained that sheep well!"  Even though the kids work long hours conditioning their lambs, they begin when the lambs are very young.  The less-seasoned showman considers the lamb a pet and it is most often treated like one.  By playing with it and keeping a hands-on approach, the lamb becomes accustomed to being handled and falls easily and submissively into the proper techniques that are required to show it in the ring.  They are just simply an easier animal to raise and handle - unless you want to drive them.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It is no wonder that people are likened to sheep.  The often-used pun "sheeple" is appropriate in regard to how men behave.  They follow after danger with their heads down, fall into a herd mentality, and are unable to recognize a wolf in sheep's clothing (much like my old dog who fooled the sheep every time), and fail to follow after the true Shepherd, Jesus Christ.  Usually all it takes for a person to be led astray is a slyly placed hand under his jaw and a little push in the wrong direction, and off he goes!  Once he's in the position that the enemy wants him to be in, he remains frozen there.  He isn't aware that all he would have to do to break free from that which restricts him is to cry out for his Shepherd's aid and return to Him.

There is a sheep pen that has been established by the LORD where He puts all those He has gathered.   On the perimeter of that pen is a gate that He has secured and through which He leads His sheep out.  They know His voice and will turn and run from a stranger.  They know He is their Shepherd and will protect them.  They also know that the pastures He leads them to will be lush and verdant.  When one strays away from Him, He will leave the others behind to search for it.  He has even given His life for His sheep.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for His flock.  I might even go so far as to say that the sheep that belong to Him are wise.  

Unlike the foolish 4-H sheep described above, those who belong to Jesus know their Master and are faithful to Him.  He has no need for restraints to keep His sheep obedient and subjected to Him.  He makes no demands upon them except to love and obey Him.  When His sheep know Him, the hand He places upon their hearts is gentle, not forceful.  It guides them towards righteousness and holiness, perfection and peace.  And eventually, Jesus will shepherd them to His eternal kingdom where they will be forever free to graze with their heads down without fear.

So, are you a sheeple or a sheep?  It's a good question to ask oneself.  Jesus desires to add you to His flock.  Truly, there's no better place to be.  And if you are one that's being held captive by the hand of deception that is only leading you astray, simply call out to Him.  He's ready and willing to break that hold for you and lead you to safer pastures.

I hope I see you there. 


11 comments:

Beshoy atef said...

" He isn't aware that all he would have to do to break free from that which restricts him is to cry out for his Shepherd's aid and return to Him. " >>>>> " quoted From your article " .

Jesus say to every one who feels with despair from himself or from his sins .

[[Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.]] (Isaiah 1:18)

So you must take the first step towards repentance and The GOD will help you through The Hloy Spirt in your way !! ( Jesus is the best SHEPHERD )
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Also if you face a lot of problem in your life don't worry , pray to your GOD " JESUS " and he will help and advise you . Jesus say
[[Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.]] (Matthew 11:28)

Really , Jesus is the best father, brother and friend he is a SHEPHERD .

He say to us :
[[ I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. ]](John 10:11). Ameen

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Thanks for your article .

Karen L. Brahs said...

Thank you for returning, Beshoy, and thank you for leaving your comment. It is obvious to me that you have a deep understanding of the Gospel. Considering your location and recent current events, I pray you are bold in your witness for the glory of Christ.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

'If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good."

Beshoy atef said...

@Karen L. Brahs
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Thanks for your replay , its appreciated .
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The Holy Spirt say through The Apostle Paul:
[Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. ]Philippians 4-4)
When the man behave as the commandments of the Lord so the Lord will be with him in all the fiery trials came to the man and not this only but The Lord makes him happy !! This is a secrets of The Lord !!

Briefly ,When the man behave with The Lord he will be glad all his life and if he face fighting from the evil Jesus will support him to vicor ainst evil !

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Sorry for my Prolongation .

Karen L. Brahs said...

Amen, Beshoy! I am praying for you!

Beshoy atef said...

Do you have any pdf books for R-S Sprol ??

If you have can you send some of them for me ??

Thanks

Karen L. Brahs said...

Hi, Beshoy,

I don't have anything of Sproul's saved on my pc because I heavily rely on what's available online, but here is an excellent website that may provide you with what you're looking for:

http://www.ligonier.org/

I also highly recommend Charles H. Spurgeon, who was called "the prince of preachers". I have this website bookmarked:

http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

Another one that you may already have is Grace To You, Pastor John MacArthur's website:

http://www.gty.org/

You can find decades of sermons, commentaries, etc. on this site.

I hope it helps you keep your feet firmly planted on the foundation that God has established: the Rock, Jesus Christ, and further equips you as you carry the Good News of the Gospel to your people.

Karen

Beshoy atef said...

Thanks for sites .
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Are you in lgonier Ministry ???
Are yo over 50 yeasr old ?? I feel this

Sorry for my questions

Karen L. Brahs said...

No, Beshoy, I just appreciate reading Sproul's articles and commentaries. They are often edifying to me.

Yes, I am over 50...57, to be exact.

A question for you: are you sharing my blog with a friend in Egypt?

Anonymous said...

No, but i think every one can read it and i'll send article to the others. The GOD bless your effort .
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My advice to you and to every Jesus's servant is we must do our service with humbleness and Self-denial as Jesus , I know that you do this . GOD bless you .

Karen L. Brahs said...

...and God bless you, Beshoy.

The reason I asked if you were sharing is because my traffic counter has a map that indicates where my blog's visitors are from. There have been other visitors from Egypt, other than your own - from at least 2 different locations.

Thank you for coming back. I hope you have found things here that encourage you.

May the LORD God of all mercies and grace keep you close to His heart and in the shelter of His wings.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks ,Karen .
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Beshoy