Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Crumbs Are for the Dogs – Mark 7:24-30

The Crumbs Are for the Dogs – Mark 7:24-30
March 28, 2010 AM
By Pastor Lee Hemen

The late Leona Helmsley was a billionaire New York City hotel operator and real estate investor. She was a flamboyant personality and had a reputation for tyrannical behavior that earned her the nickname “Queen of Mean.” When she died, she instructed that $8 billion of her real estate go to the care of dogs. This is from the woman who said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” Interestingly, surveys show that over 45 million households own a dog. Some are service dogs. Others are used for security or hunting. More than a few have been inherited by parents of college age children who left them behind. But most are kept for companionship or friendship. According to the American Pet Products Association, they estimated that $47.7 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S. in 2010! Sadly, in some families, more time and money is spent on pets than on people!

What would you do if your child was so ill that you knew she was going to die? Would you grasp at anything or try to find anyone who could perhaps cure her? Would you listen to and do what they commanded you to do in order for her to be cured? Most of us would because we love our children. Here, in Mark’s gospel we find what one loving mother would do when her daughter was possessed by a demon. She was willing to eat the crumbs off the floor in order to have her daughter cured. Let’s see what happens…

READ: Mark 7:24-30

Rescuing homeless dogs and professionally training them to enhance lives is what Dogs for the Deaf is all about, and they proud of the fact. In over 30 years, Dogs for the Deaf has rescued and placed over 3,000 dogs in homes as Hearing Dogs, Miracle Mutts (Special Dogs for Special People), Harmony's Hounds (Dogs with Special Needs), and Career Change Dogs. DFD rescues dogs from animal shelters throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California. They rescue, train, and place 30-40 dogs annually. These dogs become the ears for those who cannot hear. However, in today’s passage we discover that…

I. The spiritually deaf sometimes hear the Master’s voice! (Vv. 24-26)

1. Those that hear the Master’s voice, respond to his call! Jesus heads to the region of Tyre. Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city, was located on northern coast in the vicinity where the Canaanite kingdom used to be. This is why in Matthew’s gospel she is referred to as a Canaanite woman. The old city of Tyre had been an impregnable island fortress until Alexander the Great built a huge earthen bridge across the sea to lay siege to it. During Jesus’ day, the new city of Tyre was a large Greek seaport and known for its commerce in glass and dyes. Perhaps Jesus wanted to rest because he “did not want anyone to know it.” Jesus’ presence could not be kept a secret for long. Mark relates, “In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.” Her actions are not only those of someone who seems desperate, but also of respect for who Jesus was. Mark goes on to tell us that “The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.” Her sudden appearance at Jesus’ feet was so her daughter could be cured of her demonic possession. Like many in our world today, she had had no interest in who Jesus was or in what he could do, until she needed him. Then, and only then did Jesus gain her attention. So much so, she was desperately willing to interrupt his private restoration and beg at his feet. However, we discover in her actions that God often uses the trials of our life to open our ears to listen to the gospel’s message. He does in this women’s case. And here we discover that the spiritually deaf sometimes hear the Master’s voice.

EXAMPLE: I have learned that the older I get, the worse my hearing is getting. This is the case for almost everyone, as he or she gets older. The older you get, the harder it is to hear. Sadly, this is also true not just for the normal noise of the world, but also for us spiritually as well. Children have no problem in recognizing the voice of God in their lives, but the older one gets the more spiritually deaf one becomes. Adults are often spiritually hard of hearing. Perhaps Dogs for the Deaf could train canines that would make the spiritually deaf listen. This Syrophoenician woman needed to be healed as well. She was spiritually deaf until she needed Jesus’ ability to heal and then she was all ears. What about you this morning, are you hard of hearing Jesus? The good news is that the spiritually deaf sometimes hear the master’s voice calling them.

We refer to dogs as “man’s best friend,” but what if they were disinterested in us. What if dogs totally ignored us or got up and left, when we walked into the room? What would we call them then, “Cats?” In our world today, many place an inappropriate affection towards their pets and could care less about their human neighbor next door. Far from being uncaring, Jesus begins to ask the woman several questions in order for her and others to understand who he was and why. However, I have to ask, “Why is it here in Mark’s gospel that the non-believing Hebrew is placed on the same level as a common dog by Jesus?” I believe it is part of Jesus’ lesson. We learn that…

II. Not all dogs go to heaven! (Vv. 27-30)

1. Only, those “dogs” that are willing to “eat” from the Master’s table go to heaven! Jesus’ reply was entirely appropriate for His purpose of being there, and was on a spiritual level the gentile woman could grasp. It was cast in figurative language: “the children” represented His disciples and or the Jews themselves; “the children’s bread” represented the benefits of His ministry to them; and the “dogs” (literally, “little dogs,” like house pets) represented the gentiles or the non-Hebrews. Jesus’ first priority was to instruct his followers and the Jews, not the gentiles. It is never appropriate to interrupt a family meal to give begging dogs food, the “children’s bread”, from the family’s table and “toss it to their dogs.” So it was not appropriate for Jesus to interrupt his “meal” time, ministry to His disciples, to give His attention to her, a non-Jew that comes begging. I believe Jesus’ remark deliberately was made to see if it would kindle her into a greater action of faith. And, we find that Jesus’ remarks have the desired affect he was looking for! “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” Wow! What a response! She understood Jesus’ words. She knew she did not deserve Jesus to notice her and yet here she was. Her faith had carried her to beg at his table and she was willing to do just that if she had to! Jesus almost is laughing in delight at her answer when he responds by gently telling her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” And what is the outcome? “She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone!” While not all dogs go to heaven, those who are willing to beg at the Master’s table do!

EXAMPLE: I hate it when folks feed their pets from the dinner table. For me, there is nothing worse than a dog that begs. I guess it goes back to what an animal is supposed to be, a pet. Sure, pets can become great companions and can fill a lot of emptiness in people’s lives, but when we begin to equate them on the same level as human beings, we have lost the perspective God desires us to have. Lest you think I am joking consider that the “meat “police are getting ready to perhaps shut down your favorite burger joint. The man that President Obama has appointed, as “Regulations Czar” to oversee all federal regulations, Cass Sunstein, is an extreme animal rights activist. He would elevate animal rights to the same level as human rights. Here are some of his views: He believes that meat should be illegal as a source of food. He would ban the use of leather from all clothing. He supports the idea that humans have no right to own a pet. He believes that hunting should be banned. He has called Seeing Eye dogs “slaves”. And, he believes, as many do in our world today, that animals should have the right to sue people. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me when after I related that animals are not made for eternity, as human beings are that I received flack. The truth is however, that not all dogs go to heaven, in fact, no canine does. But the great news is that in this dog-eat-dog world, those of us who eat from the Master’s table will.

We learned today that the spiritually deaf sometimes hear the Master’s voice and that not all dogs go to heaven!
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What Makes A Person Clean or Unclean? - Mark 7:1-23

What Makes A Person Clean or Unclean? - Mark 7:1-23
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 21, 2010 AM

It is amazing to me that there are those who do not believe in God and those who do believe in God that presume to speak for God. Non-believers can have a false sense of security and self-righteousness by thinking they can just dismiss that God exists, therefore, justifying a kind of self-made morality. Then, there are those who say they believe there is some sort of a god, yet by doing their own thing, they live in kind of a spiritual fantasyland of their own making. For both groups feelings have become their personal spiritual guide. We find no such theology in the Bible.

While the Greeks and Romans, of Jesus’ day, could be found spiritually in one of these two aforementioned groups, there were also the Pharisees who followed their own self-inflicted form of spirituality. They justified their pious imprisonment by saying their righteousness came from following the letter of the law. Jesus, in today’s passage from Mark, slaps down all the above groups: Both those who depended upon feelings or those of a self-made righteousness. Feelings or self-imposed restrictions can never make anyone holy. The disciples were then curious as to what makes a person clean or unclean. They ask Jesus for clarification on his teaching. Let’s discover what Jesus taught concerning what makes a person clean or unclean.

READ: Mark 7:1-23

As humans, we have a tendency to think that spirituality is measured by our emotional state. It often has more to do with how we feel about ourselves at a given moment in time than our true spirituality. That is the inherent danger in thinking this way. We may have a tendency to be way too confident in our piety or way too guilt-ridden. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day based much of their faith on the practice of manmade ritual, rather than an actual relationship with God. In fact, we discover that…

I. Spiritual blindness can make a person unclean! (Vv. 1-6)

1. There is none so blind, as those who refuse to see! The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were like that. Jesus saw through their hypocrisy immediately. They were intently looking at his follower’s personal habits, as a smokescreen for their own two-faced lives. Notice they asked, “Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?” The Pharisees were not so concerned with whether or not the disciples had actually washed their hands for personal cleanliness, but rather they were watching for some reason to entrap Jesus. The disciple’s hands were not necessarily dirty, but they might have touched the things of the “world.” Therefore, they could have been exposed to something that was perhaps ceremoniously unclean. To guard against such transgressions, the “elders” of the day practiced washing their hands before every meal, when they came indoors, or before they sat to meet together. The disciple’s hands were therefore “common” (koinais) from being exposed to the everyday world. These interpretations regulated every aspect of Jewish life. They were considered as binding as the written Law was and were passed on to each succeeding generation. The oral tradition was collected in the 3rd Century and codified in the Mishnah which provided the foundation for the Talmud. Jesus, however, sees through their hypocrisy and tells them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’” (Mark 7:6) Jesus knew that Spiritual blindness can make a person unclean.

EXAMPLE: Sometimes we can be so intent on being right, we fail in being righteous. This was the case for the Pharisees. They were right, but they failed in righteousness. Being bullheaded is a surefire way to spiritual blindness in the life of any Christian. Paul is a good example. He had formed an incorrect opinion of John Mark, the one who probably wrote the gospel we are studying this morning, and he later had to admit his own error in doing so. The Pharisees thought they spoke for God and the Law concerning even personal hygiene. Yet, because of their hypocrisy, they were spiritually blind and unclean themselves. Jesus knew that spiritual blindness can make a person unclean.

We have all heard that the seven deadly words of a church are, “We have never done it that way before!” However, other excuses that churches or Christians can use can be just as “deadly.” One such is, “We have always done it this way!” While some traditions can in fact be good for us to remember, adhering to manmade traditions for your salvation can lead to spiritual death. In fact, Jesus taught that…

II. Adhering to false traditions can make a person unclean! (Vv. 7-16)

1. Traditions can become religiously hazard forming! Here’s what I mean: Jesus immediately goes to the heart of the issue - the Pharisee’s own spiritual hypocrisy. They could mouth the words of the requirement, but they themselves did not hold to them! They “let go of the commands of God” and held “onto the traditions of men” instead! Jesus gives them an on point example: “Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’” But they did not “honor” their parents. They pronounced their income and their goods as “corban.” It was a dedicatory formula pronounced over money and property donated to the temple and its service by an unbreakable vow. Such gifts considered corban could only be used for religious purposes. The son could claim his property and money as “corban,” vowed to the temple, and then not held responsible for caring for his parent’s needs! They actually thought that by using word games with God they could nullify the intent of God’s holy law! Jesus sarcastically tells them, “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” Jesus, in a rather in your face way, calls the unwashed crowd to him and tells them in front of the Pharisees, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him “unclean.’” (Mark 7:14-15) Jesus knew where true spiritual filth came from. The adherence to their ungodly “traditions” made them unclean. A person is defiled morally by what he thinks in his heart even though he may scrupulously observe outward rituals. The inner “deeds” of a person’s heart God rewards. God told Jeremiah, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10) Jesus teaches us that adhering to false traditions can make a person unclean!

EXAMPLE: We can measure another’s spirituality by the music they use in worship because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We can judge a person’s theological standing by what version of the Bible they use simply because we grew up with something else that we like the sound of instead. Many of the things the Pharisees objected to as they painstakingly watched Jesus and his followers were simply traditions they had grown up with and had nothing to do with righteous behavior. When we adhere to false traditions instead of the gospel, we become unclean in ourselves. We become judge and jury just like the Pharisees of old. Jesus knew that adhering to false traditions can make a person unclean.

When the Prophet Samuel looked for a replacement for Israel’s king, God had him ignore the individual’s appearance. God told Samuel, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) While the outward expression of an individual can reflect their inner qualities, Jesus taught that what you ate would not affect your spiritual condition, but what was truly inside of you did. We discover that…

III. What truly exists within a person makes them unclean! (Vv. 17-23)

1. Your inner wallow will muck up your soul! Jesus never minced words, whether it was in mixing it up with the hypocritical Pharisees or his own dense disciples. They ask Jesus the meaning of his words. Mark relates that Jesus remarks “Are you so dull? Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’?” Jesus just declared all foods “clean.” (Paul would later understand this even though Peter had a tougher time grasping the concept and had to be confronted over it.) Jesus understood that food “doesn't go into (a person’s) heart but into his stomach and then out of his body.” Get this intrinsic spiritual truth straight in your mind and understand its implications for your lives: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” We all hide what truly exists within us. We are all-good, at deceiving ourselves, and thinking that as long as we act right, are polite, and say nice and kind things then we are being the people God desires. However, be forewarned, what you think inwardly will affect your life outwardly. Your thoughts are just as important to the Lord as your actions. And none of us measure up. It was because of this truth Paul would cry out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) The Contemporary English Version relates Paul’s answer this way, “Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. So with my mind I serve the Law of God, although my selfish desires make me serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25) Praise God Jesus came to rescue us from our uncleanliness! For we have all sinned. Jesus knew that what truly exists within a person makes them unclean.

EXAMPLE: We can look down our spiritual noses at the sinful “sliver” in the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, and fail to see the terrible timber sticking out of our eye. The Pharisees were very good at this game. The verbal tisk-tisk of the pious pew-sitter can be a means to make one feel better about the hidden ungodliness lying unexposed to the prying eyes of the world. Yet, at the very doorway of the human heart can squat the demonic beasts of “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” Each whitewashed sin-stain as vile as the next, waiting to be revealed. Jesus knew that what truly exists within a person makes them unclean.

Jesus knew that Spiritual blindness can make a person unclean. Jesus knew that adhering to false traditions can make a person unclean. Jesus knew that what truly exists within a person makes them unclean.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Walking on Water - Mark 6:45-56

Walking on Water - Mark 6:45-56
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 7, 2009 AM

Over the years, I have heard Christians lament over the fact that they have never experienced the same kinds of miracles that they read about in the Bible. However, I suspect the problem is not one of miracles actually occurring but rather one of people's spiritual blindness to their happening. Plus, we forget why Jesus did many of the miraculous things he did at the time. Jesus was trying to garner the attention of his Hebrew brethren that God's kingdom had come and that he was indeed the promised Messiah they longed for. Jesus never did miracles for the sake of performing a miracle and in fact, he bluntly warned that only "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." (Matthew 12:39) Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection was that "sign."

Here in Mark's Gospel we find Jesus does something so extraordinary that the event is recorded in several of the other Gospels as well. I am not like some who concern themselves with how Jesus did it, but I am curious as to why would Jesus do this kind of miracle? I believe it was a "teachable moment" for the disciples and now for us as well. Here in this wonderful account we find Jesus strolling along, right before sunup, walking on the surface of the lake and scaring the pants of the disciples. It is both humorous and extraordinary. Let's find out today why Jesus was walking on water and how this can encourage us to look for and do the same kind of miracles in our lives today.

READ: Mark 6:45-56

Why is it that we often overlook the miracle of prayer? Is it because we easily dismiss its effectiveness in our lives or the lives of others? We learn from Scriptures that "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16) This is why I believe that...

I. Walking on water requires prayer! (Vv. 45-46)

1. We find that prayer strengthens the participant to do great things for the Lord! Why would I say that? We find that Mark selectively portrayed Jesus at prayer on three crucial occasions, each in darkness and alone: near the beginning of his account (Mark 1:35), here, at the middle (Mark 6:46), and near the end (Mark 14:32-42). All three were occasions when Jesus was faced with the possibility of achieving his messianic mission in a more attractive, less costly way. But in each case, he gained strength through prayer. The crowds wanted to make him their king. He had provided food for them and they were willing to give themselves over to anyone who would give them a free lunch. Now, doesn't that sound oddly familiar? However, notice what Jesus does. He goes off alone to pray. We often forget that Jesus was just as dependent upon his prayer life as we are to be. Interestingly we find that Jesus literally "compels" his followers to get into the boat and leave. The greedy crowds would come back and he needed to get away to pray. Personal prayer was that important to Jesus. He prayed often alone and he prayed long. We discover he heads up into the mountainside and prays almost all night! Whenever an important part of Jesus' ministry is about to happen, we find him alone in prayer. This is the case here as well. If you, dear child of the Lord, desire to "walk on water" like the Lord, you had better spend more time in personal prayer! Walking on water requires prayer!

EXAMPLE: Philip Yancey asks, "Does prayer have any real impact on our world? Or is it merely a private conversation with God?" He goes on to relate, "When a New Jersey couple learned that, a man had been released from prison, and that he had moved into their area and they started praying for him. Then they paid him a visit and opened their home to a weekly breakfast for ex-offenders like him. Now, 22 years later, the area's most despised men have one place to go where they are welcomed and treated respectfully." Their concern turned to prayer that turned into a miracle. Now, that is walking on water! But notice that it all began when they started praying! Walking on water requires prayer!

We are told that, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) and that is an apt description of what faith is, but how do we participate in it and how do we practice it? Or rather, how do we live it out daily in our lives? When Jesus stepped out on the surface of the lake, he teaches us that...

II. Walking on water relies on trust! (Vv. 47-52)

1. Faith is trust in God displayed in the lives of believers! When evening comes and the disciples are out on the lake alone, Jesus sees "the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them." Evidently, Jesus gained some insight from his quiet time alone with God and without any fear whatsoever he heads out walking on the water. Through his personal prayer tie Jesus had gained the trust he needed from God to do what was required. Notice that Jesus does not head out to help the disciples necessarily, but I believe, to show them the power of God. It was very early in the morning, about the "fourth watch" of the night -- the last watch right before dawn. The disciples were not expecting to meet Jesus in this manner and were frightened by his sudden appearance on the surface of the water. Anyone would be. People do not walk on water. They immediately think that Jesus is "a ghost" and they cry out in alarm because they are "terrified." It was a case of little faith big fear. "Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.'" They had not understood the previous miracles, and so their hearts were hardened to the miraculous. They were full of fear instead of trust! And this may explain why we often do not see the miracles of God occurring around us today! Walking on water relies on trust!

EXAMPLE: Vernon Grounds relates, "Few of us are traveling to heaven in a state of freedom from all fear. Who can honestly testify that they always practice this verse: 'In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid?' (Psalm 56:11). We do trust, and yet we may be troubled at times by gnawing worries. Our common experience is that our trust in God is mingled with episodes of worry." This kind of trust does not result in the faith it takes to walk on water. In fact, it is more related to the fear Peter expresses when he jumped over the side of the boat, looked at the waves instead of the Master, and began to sink into the sea! Jesus calmly strolled across the sea because he trusted God to keep him dry. The disciples feared what they did not understand. What about you, are you trusting in faith or hardened by fear? Walking on water relies on trust.

When Christians express their faith through their prayers and actions, the result is miraculous. Lives are changed, ministry is started, and people are saved. We find the very same thing occurring here in Mark?s Gospel. In fact, we discover that...

III. Walking on water results in people seeking Jesus! (Vv. 53-56)

1. People become interested in Jesus when they see Jesus working through you! The winds have died down and the boat is now safely on the shore. They landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. The disciples for all their hardness of heart are thrown back into exactly why Jesus does the miracles he does because, "As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. And wherever he went -- into villages, towns or countryside -- they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed." Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to give people hope where before there had been none. The work of Christ is not finished. We, his church made up of his disciples, are to seek and save the lost as well. We are to continue the work of the marketplaces Jesus began until he returns. People are touching Jesus as we touch their lives with his good news of salvation. People are healed by Christ as we hold out the power of the risen Lord for their lives. Changed lives for the Lord are a far greater miracle than walking on the water. Jesus told his disciples, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12) Jesus prayed and trusted his heavenly father to do great things through him, and we are to do the very same thing. When we do, it is walking on water for the Lord. And, we discovered that walking on water results in people seeking Jesus!

EXAMPLE: What are people seeking today? Some want fame, fortune, or some kind of recognition. Television shows like American Idol have become a global phenomenon. Millions wait anxiously to find out who will be the next singer eliminated in the musical talent hunt. Some call it "a new concept in entertainment," but it's hardly a new idea. As a boy, I remember watching Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour. In the 70's it was The Gong Show and then in the 80's it was Star Search. It is an ongoing theme of television to search for some unknown and make him or her famous. Dreams of fame and fortune, however, are not at the heart of the search that is truly timeless. That search is God's own pursuit of hearts that are available. When we trust the Lord and walk out on the water for him, people will want to know in whom we believe. Why? Because walking on water results in people seeking Jesus!

There is a story told about an avid duck hunter who was in the market for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could actually walk on water to retrieve a duck. Shocked by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him. He decided to try to break the news to a friend of his, a pessimist by nature, and invited him to hunt with him and his new dog. As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by. They fired, and a duck fell. The dog responded and jumped into the water. The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet. The friend saw everything but did not say a single word. On the drive home, the hunter asked his friend, "Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?" "I sure did," responded his friend. "Your dog can't swim!" Some of us are just like that man as far as our faith is concerned. We do not see the miraculous around us because we do not expect God to be working. We are just dogpaddling instead of walking on the water. Now, let me ask you, "Are you just dogpaddling or are you walking on the water for the Lord?" Walking on the water requires prayer, walking on the water relies on trust, and walking on the water results in people seeking Jesus!
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission...