Why We Need Sheepdogs

Reading my friend Pauline Hylton’s new book, Growing in Christ… from the ground up, led me to think about sheep these past few weeks. I’m a cattle rancher in the heart of cattle country, but there are sheep in the area. I think of them as 4-H projects or lamb chops for Diane. Just as I use donkeys to watch over and protect my calves, you can’t think of sheep without a sheepdog.

Following the tragedies in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, along with too many others in recent years, there were immediate statements by political pundits on all sides. Before news of these tragedies could even sink in, before prayerful amens uttered, the talking heads were in full force. They made immediate demands for more gun laws, removing weapons from American citizens, funding BILLIONS of dollars more for mental health care, ad nauseam.

A few days after these tragedies, a dear and much-respected writing friend supposed we consider satanic forces (evil spirits, possession, etc.) drove the shooters to their acts. I couldn’t agree more; believing much of today’s diagnosed mental illnesses are, at their core, evil forces at work in someone’s heart, mind, and soul. In responding, I agreed with her assessment and shared some of my thoughts. I am led to offer some of them with you here.

My firm belief is that the more secularized our nation and the world becomes, the more evil and violence we will see. The more this world attempts to remove God and His natural laws from society, the more evil will take root. I expressed my dismay that others choose not to see that correlation.

Today's violence in America is not a gun or mental health problem, it's a heart problem. Share on X

My sweet friend is not old enough to recall this but I offered them as my example for her consideration. I stated that in the 1950s and 60s, the United States of America did not have stricter gun laws; we had a better moral character and respect for the sanctity of life. As children, we played cops and robbers with stick guns or cap pistols. We chased make-believe bank robbers or thieves, seeking “… truth, justice, and the American way” (thanks Superman™). Evil and violence happened, innocent people murdered, but nothing near the scale of what we see today. And when they did, they weren’t plastered all over every news outlet in the world.

Looking at today’s world and comparing it to the times I grew up in (not that long ago), I see a very different landscape. In my lifetime, I’ve seen “abortion on demand”—the taking of millions of innocent lives with children being torn apart and vacuumed out of their mother’s womb—become the law of the land. Worse, they do not perform the vast majority of abortions for health reasons, but for convenience.

I look at many of our children’s and grandchildren’s video games, like Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, and God of War II. In these games, I see the desensitization of what our nation once viewed as “right and wrong.” If all you see and hear is crime, violence, immorality, and death, then it becomes less repulsive to you. It becomes more acceptable in your mind. Our society is inundated with sex, crime, violence, and other sins throughout the media and entertainment outlets. Why? Because that’s what some believe “sells.” These are the things the secular world wants.

Closing my email to my friend, I stated I thank God I am a sheepdog and not a sheeple. For those of you who may not be familiar with that term, sheeple refers to people compared to sheep in being docile, easily frightened, or willing to follow the crowd, defenseless, or unable to think for themselves. I explained how I viewed my sheepdog mentality as not making me a pariah, or non-Christian, but the hands and feet of Christ in today’s world. Christ is the Chief Shepherd (John 10:11), and as His child and a sheepdog in His service, I follow Him. I am not a hireling as I have a vested interest in protecting God’s sheep. I am an integral part of His flock.

It’s important to note that I serve at the will of my Master, my Shepherd. I view my role as one of His sheepdogs to protect His flock; co-laboring with Him in this task. I stated “If this means I must conceal carry my weapon at church, I will.” If the breakdown in society requires I conceal carry my weapon to grocery shop or interact with this fallen world in any place where it’s legal to, I will. Christ’s church is my Family of Faith, and if I have to give my life to protect theirs, I view that a small price to pay.

I ended by reiterating that I am not an advocate for violence, but know I will one day stand before my Judge at the Bema Seat of Christ. On that day, I don’t want to explain how I allowed someone to harm His children (be that my children’s Sunday School class or in the sanctuary itself). I cannot sit by, pray for His intervention, or hide trembling and afraid while the “wolf” attacks His sheep.

Military snipers often serve in overwatch positions during a mission. This allows them to have a level of situational awareness their comrades can’t. When called upon, a sniper’s job is to save lives; it’s that simple. Most military snipers, as Navy Seal Chris Kyle’s depiction in American Sniper, are introverted, single-minded, deep thinkers, with a burning desire to protect others. As introverts, snipers are often much-maligned by the main line troops. But like society does with firefighters and police officers, we don’t think about them much until they’re needed.

Some may not agree with the need for sheepdogs, until they need one. Share on X

Please understand that I am not advocating every American citizen should arm themselves and prepare for battle. Combat is not something any human being should have to endure. But if that’s the cost of our freedom, liberty, and safety, then so be it. Every person must prayerfully search their conscious and decide how best to protect themselves and their loved ones. The battle is real, and we must fight it in the spiritual realm if we have any hope for success (Ephesians 6:12).

I hope you join me in prayer for our nation and this world. Pray that we might turn towards our Father who has promised us a life worth living, in Him.

God’s blessings,

30 thoughts on “Why We Need Sheepdogs”

  1. Hey J.D. you are spot on. I like your analogy of sheepdogs. We do need to watch and be aware of not only what is happening in society but in the church. Too many sheep are following wolves. Thanks for this insightful post! Blessings!

    1. Thank you so much for picking up on what’s happening inside of some churches today Ms. Barbara. Tried to subtly make that analogy also. God’s blessings. Sometimes, when the Shepherd is not with the flock, the sheepdog must stand at the ready. Appreciate your comments, prayers, and wisdom ma’am.

  2. I agree with these statements wholeheartedly: “…the more secularized our nation and the world becomes, the more evil and violence we will see. The more this world attempts to remove God and His natural laws from society, the more evil will take root.”

    I like the idea of being a sheepdog for our Shepherd. We need more of them!

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Candyce. As others have commented, the need for sheepdogs goes beyond our physical protection but our spiritual protection. In the last days, and I believe we are living among them, many will be deceived. Praying we all know our true Shepherd’s voice. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Thank you for all your kindness Ms. Beckie. I look forward to the day when I can lay down my yoke and rest in His eternal presence. Until the day, we’re on duty my friend. Until that day, I’ll hold onto the general orders I learned in the service and “… quit my post only when properly relieved.” God’s blessings ma’am.

  3. LuAnn K. Edwards

    So true, J.D. Satan is working overtime. I like your response, too, to Melissa. “I’m just glad I know how the story ends my friend.”

  4. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you, J.D. I’ve said something similar about how it’s not guns but hearts that are evil. It’s not what’s in our hands (weapons) but what’s in our heart! Amen, brother!

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. You are so right ma’am. The seeds that were planted many years ago are now ready for Satan’s harvest I’m afraid. Even though he’s already defeated, he fights on to corrupt this corrupted world. Like how a snake writhes for a long time after you sever their head. Even though the head is removed from the body, it is still venomous. Our job, be alert to avoid the bite.

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia. Unfortunately, I think the condition is getting worse. Praying each day God gives me the situational awareness and spiritual awareness to guard against the next coming attack.

  5. I must admit I never thought about the role of the sheepdog in relation to sheep and shepherds. I join you in thanking God that I am a sheepdog in the fields of life versus being a sheeple. Enjoyed your post.

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Karen. And yes, you are most definitely a sheepdog my friend. I believe that whenever we follow God’s calling in our lives, we become His hands and feet. For some of us, that means we’re sheepdogs. Yet none of us should become “Sheeple”, we must not follow others blindly, but prove them through God’s word. I’m afraid many are deceived in today’s church Ms. Karen. Too many rely on those in leadership positions to tell them the truth, but sadly, they don’t know it themselves and are easily deceived. God’s blessings for being the wonderful sheepdog you are my friend.

  6. Amen. You are right on. We can use prayer on news and shows and commercials on tv, instead of all the junk we are shown.
    God bless you Jim for always showing us the way. Thanks

    1. Thank you Ms. Joyce. I agree. There are a few web sites, and a few television channels focused on showing godly values and teaching His word. They are few and far between though. Could you imagine how the “big three” public television giants (ABC, CBS, NBC) would react if a show’s host signed of with a simple “God bless…” like Mr. Red Skelton did when we were young? There would be such an outcry by the secular world, they would cancel the show immediately.

  7. J.D., this post is profoundly “right on” and oh so timely. I too have childhood memories of toy guns, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians. As a child, no one needed to explain to me words like abortion and sexual terms I won’t write here. Even the word, “divorce” was extremely rare. In elementary school, had one classmate whose parents were divorced. You’ve expressed so many things I’ve want to scream out to the world and you’ve articulated it so much better than I could have.
    Secular people have no idea of the great harm that has been done by removing all semblance of God and His statutes from our culture. It defies logic but is apparent their eyes are blinded. Without repentance at the foot of the cross, they will step into eternity with much blood on their hands. Even “Christian parents” don’t seem to realize the disservice and eternal consequences they are dumping on their precious children by not taking them to church regularly, teaching them God’s Word and its truths, and teaching them to pray, leading by example in all these areas.
    Guess you can tell your post has struck a nerve with me. I’ll get off my soapbox and back to trying to do my part in God’s Kingdom. May God help us all!
    I’m going to share your post everywhere I can. Thanks!!

    1. OMGoodness Ms. Connie. You have no idea how your comments have lifted my spirits today. To be honest, when I felt God leading me to write this, I hesitated and argued against it. “It’s too controversial Lord!”, to which He reminded me that Christ’s teachings were much more controversial than this, and that He doesn’t promise His children a life without persecution or troubles. In the end, as He always does, He won. I look back on my own life and I lament the times when I’ve allowed the secular world to invade my family, my thoughts, and my perspectives. Even watching the news today disrupts my peace because I am wont to scream at the television at what I see. The answer to this is simply turn the darned thing OFF! Thank you for your candid comments and all your encouragement my dear friend. God’s blessings.

      1. I’m glad my comments lifted your spirits. I identify with all you’re saying. I don’t like conflict and often don’t speak my mind because of it. I’m praying to be bolder in speaking up according to the mind of Christ.
        We all need to lift one another up in prayer regarding these things.
        I’m so glad you went ahead with this post. It needs to be shared far and wide.

  8. J.D., Your analogy to Jesus and the sheepdogs (and your quest to be a protector) is right on target (no pun intended there). As God’s children and as servants, I believe we are called to love one another and protecting each other is one of the greatest forms of love. You said it well, my friend. Thank you for your courage in sharing this message and for your willingness to serve God and protect His children.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Katherine. Appreciate the kind words ma’am. I can only respond with “It’s what family does.” God’s blessings ma’am; I’m sure glad you’re a wonderful sister in Christ.

  9. I come beside you to drink from this cup, J.D. As sheepdogs we cannot stand by and wait until Jesus comes. There is much work to do, and few workers to do it. Evil will not stop trying. We need each other and Jesus to stand impeccably firm on His truth, no matter the cost. Thank you for these wise words, brother. I am sharing with my husband:)

    1. Amen Ms. Julie. I too look forward to the end of the age, but until God calls me home, I’ll be in His service in whatever ways He sees fit for me to serve. God’s blessings ma’am; and special prayers of safety for your husband.

  10. Your post reminded me to pray for the hearts of many – believers, as well as those whose heart are set on doing evil. May we all see the need of our Great Shepherd in every aspect of our lives!

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Julie. I join you in this prayer ma’am. I so look forward to the day, not far off, when there’ll be no need for sheepdogs. God’s blessings precious friend.

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