The Shepherd in Sheep’s Clothing- John 10

God’s people are a thing sought after.  Some want them for their own, others hate God’s sheep, and still others just hate God.  And I’m sure most of the pursuers are a mixture of all three and then some.  It’s dangerous being a sheep in God’s flock. 

Especially since we’ve all, every one of us sheep, called upon ourselves a slaughtering.  We flirt with our enemies.  We tempt them and make them salivate with the thought of dining on our flesh and wearing our wool.

But we have a Good Shepherd, One who will always fight for us and Who will always triumph.  If we turn away from sin, and listen to His voice, then we will always find safe pasture for our souls.

He is not a hired hand.  Some claim to be defenders of the Church, but when it comes down to their very life being on the line… well, they abandon us just as fast as they can.  I’m guessing they’re not even truly employed, but rather they are something more like mercenaries waiting on wages that were never offered or promised.

Jesus isn’t like them.  Like a mighty Lion, He wages war for His Zion.

There has been a problem created by our actions though.  There is a required payment for our sins.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who lays His life down for His sheep.  And because it’s a sheep’s blood that’s required for the sheep’s sins, Jesus took our form upon Himself to satisfy the debt. 

His blood became as our blood, except without the sickness of sin.  He became one of us, and knew our every struggle intimately.  Being found in appearance as a man, the very nature of a servant, He humbled Himself and obeyed death.  And not just death, but death on the cross.  He became the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing, sacrificed.

Some people, not all but some, die for others because they have no choice.  If they’re going to die anyway then they figure they might as well do it for a good cause.  Or maybe, against their own will, their life is taken in place of someone else’s. 

Jesus isn’t like them.  No, Jesus didn’t have to die… ever.  But He layed down His life of His own accord, on our behalf.  And by the same authority given Him to lay it down on our behalf, He took it up and overcame death.

He is the Good Shepherd.

There is a constant blood-lust that hungers for the sheep of God.  But we need not fear the wolf in sheep’s clothing… not when we follow the voice of the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing.

Mt. Rainier- Cascade Red Fox

 A big thanks to Whittaker Mountaineering for helping to make this series on Mt. Rainier possible!

There are many cool animals on Mount Rainier.  Some of them are not exactly “cuddly” looking.  They’re big, with big teeth, or dangerous claws, or maybe they’re dirty and they stink.  You don’t want to pick them up and pet them.  You don’t even want to be near them.

But animals like the Cascade Red Fox are a different story.  They look more like something you want to pick up and play with.  Unique among foxes, they have bigger ears, softer thicker coats, and bushier tails that are quite large compared to their bodies. 

Unfortunately, too many visitors to Mt. Rainier have let the “cuteness” of these unique foxes get the best of them.  While people aren’t picking the foxes up and taking them home, they have been feeding them.  And there’s a good reason why that’s against the park rules.

Mt. Rainier has a lot of traffic flowing throughout the year.  When people throw food out to the animals from their cars, it draws the animals closer to the road.  Sometimes the foxes will even build their burrows close to the road for this very reason.  And it’s not hard to figure out the problem there.  The foxes aren’t so cute and thankful after being hit by a car.

Feeding the foxes has also created a “pest” problem at campsites and visiting centers.  The foxes have begun snooping around camps and getting into cars, looking for food.  This puts both the fox and the campers in a dangerous situation.  Each is capable of harming the other.

The population of Cascade Red Foxes is already a concern on Mt. Rainier.  Feeding the foxes not only ruins the wild element of the park, a big part of what makes one desire to visit the mountain, but it makes it even less likely that one will be able to see these foxes in the future.

Please remember to respect the Park and its inhabitants.  More information on the problem of feeding Cascade Red Foxes at Mt. Rainier can be found here.  For general information on wildlife in Mount Rainier National Park check out this field guide, available from Whittaker Mountaineering.