Wednesday, December 7, 2011


My grandchildren were staying with us for a few days.  One night after they settled down to sleep, I listened in by the bedroom door to their conversation.  My granddaughter (age 8), whispered to her brother (age 7), "Who do you love most:  God or mom?"  "Oh," my grandson replied thoughtfully, "that's a good question!"  After a few seconds, he said, " I'll say 'God'......because if I don't, He might do something bad to me."  I quietly chuckled, but then the seriousness of his comment hit me:  He thinks God is looking for an excuse to punish him? 

We form beliefs about God.  We have our ‘God box’.  We try to define him.  We have expectations of what God should do and how He should act….and then, when he doesn’t follow our agenda, we get angry.  We assume He doesn’t care or isn’t strong enough to do anything.  What’s in your ‘God box’?  What is God like?  Where did your beliefs  come from?
Psalm 23 says:  "The Lord is my Shepherd..."
This sounds good, if you have a clue about what shepherds do.  I sing about shepherds in Christmas carols, but I've never been around sheep enough to know what it takes to care for them.  So, I Googled it.  It seems important that if God describes himself as 'My Shepherd', it would help me 'know Him' better if I appreciated just what a shepherd does.  Do sheep really need a shepherd?  Can’t they take care of themselves?  What type of person makes a ‘good shepherd’?
Some of the things I read helped me appreciate God as ‘My Shepherd’ much more.   The lid on my ‘God box’ cracked a little.  Here are some of the shepherd’s characteristics I found.  Does God looks like this to you?
Protector:  Sheep are very vulnerable to a variety of predators.
Provider:   The shepherd provides daily needs of food, water and shelter.  When sheep are eating, they don’t pay attention to where they are wandering and the shepherd must watch so they don’t get lost or hurt.
Caring:  Injuries and sickness require attention from the shepherd. 
These 3 statements weren't such a surprise to me.  But the next two statements made God and his care for me seem very special:
1.  Sheep probably respond more to proper care and attention than any other farm animal. (Isn't it interest that 'sheep' is what God choose to compare us to.)  
2.  A good shepherd will always know what is going on with his sheep.  The sheep recognize their shepherd’s voice.  He must be intimate with each of them individually-not just as a group -and should know their weaknesses and their strengths.
God - He's ‘My Shepherd’ - He chose that title for himself.  That's a very different image than the ‘mad-mean-ready-to-let-me-have-it’ God that may be in my ‘God box’ or my grandchildren’s ‘God box’.

Let's never assume we've got God all figured out!   Go to God – with no preconceived ideas – no demands – simply asking to know him.  Then, don't be surprised if your 'beliefs' get shaken up.  Don't be afraid if your 'God box' cracks a little....that's how light gets in!
Grandma Sue’s Bible Adventures in Rhyme….to share with the children in your life:
Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd….”
A Shepherd does a lot of work to take care of his sheep.
He has to watch and keep them safe each time they go to sleep.
If there is any danger, like a lion, wolf or bear,
The sheep will be protected.  They’re in the Shepherd’s care.

What if a sheep is weak or hurt and cannot walk a mile?
The Shepherd says, “I’ll carry you - for a little while.” 

There must be water for the sheep and lots of grass to eat.
They also need to rest sometimes; lie down, get off their feet.
The Shepherd knows just what they need.  He always stays close by.
He never lets them out of sight.  He watches with his eye.

God says that I am like the sheep.  I need a lot of care.
And He will be my Shepherd.  He always will be there. 

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