Friday, December 13, 2013

Imitating the Shepherd

You may remember the blog about the Shepherd that is carved from a tree that I pass every day on my way to work. Well, one day not too long ago, I noticed something that I'd never seen before--a tree right in front of the Shepherd. This tree has only two branches, one which seems to point toward the Shepherd, and one offshoot that points toward the sky, almost as if imitating the Shepherd.

I imagine that this tree has been there pretty much as long as the Shepherd has been there. Why haven't I ever noticed it before? And isn't it odd that it seems to look a lot like the Shepherd, himself? You can see this in the picture, although, I admit, it's not a great picture. I had to stop on a busy road in the snow to take the picture.

At first, I thought perhaps the image God wanted to show me was that there are many false gods and prophets out there and to beware. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). I mean, here's this "tree prophet" right next to the Shepherd, right? Dressed in "sheep's clothing?"

But as I mulled this over and asked God to reveal to me what He wanted to show me, He pointed me in the complete other direction. Consider this: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph 5:1-2).

You know how people say that when a couple has been together for a long time, they start to look alike? Or that some dogs look like their people? In that same way, we are to look like Christ. We are to imitate him. We are to be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers (Ps 1:3). 

My "tree prophet" had two "arms" or branches, one pointing toward the Shepherd-we are to always be pointing the way to the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our other arm, like the "tree prophet's" branch, should be extended toward heaven, as is our Shepherd's; again, pointing to our Father. In all that we do, we should always be pointing the way toward the Father, toward Heaven, through our Savior and Shepherd, Jesus Christ. 

Be imitators of Christ. Live as children of Light and not of darkness. Be wise. Make the most of every opportunity. Be thankful, not greedy or coarse or obscene. Live a life that is good, right and true. And of course, sing...always sing! I suggest that you read Ephesians 5:1-20 to get the full context of this concept of right living. 

And do beware of those who come to you in sheep's clothing, but are really ravenous wolves. Know your Savior and Shepherd and know His Word. 

Blessings Along the Way,

Song of the Day
Lord, I Want To Be Like Jesus (Fernando Ortega)

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