Today is Mother’s Day and I couldn’t resist looking into the Scriptures and finding the atypical Mother’s Day message. I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ll look at two women in the Bible, one with children and one without, at least one which we don’t really know whether she had children or not.
Both women do not have names. Both women went through the most incredible testing by the Lord. In fact, Jesus called one of the women a dog. We’re going to look at some unique things this morning.
When you came in here this morning and someone greeted you and said, “Dog, sit in the back,” you probably wouldn’t have stayed, but Jesus actually did that and we’re going to find out why.
Before we start let me tell you about our ministry and who I am and what I do. I’m a sinner saved by grace 25 years ago. If God can save me he can save anybody. If He can put me together and allow me to be speaking on his behalf, He can do that for anybody.
I never read a book until I was 22 years old, and the first book I read was the Bible. I read it from Revelation to Genesis. [Laughter] I became enamored with God’s Word. I was reading Truth for the very first time in my life and I could not put the book down. For two solid years I read God’s Word every night until probably two, three, or four in the morning. I could not put it down.
As a result, God’s Word has done a tremendous work in my life, and continues to do so. That doesn’t mean I always have it together. That just means that when you’re confronted with the truth there is a constant battle going on inside of you.
He says, “If you are clean through the Word which I’ve spoken unto you…” We can’t really be clean unless His Word abides in us, so that is really the tension.
What I’ve found over the last 25 years as a Christian, is that God’s people are not really having His Word abiding in them. We’re not having devotions. We’re not really searchers or seekers of God’s Truth, searching for treasure.
Seven years ago God allowed me to come upon some unique literature in Europe, mainly Germany. As I read these books I was just floored. They were permeated with scripture and brought me to my knees.
What they did for me is they allowed me to learn from God’s Word through unique stories, very powerful stories, and then I realized that’s how Jesus taught. He taught through stories, and people rarely ever forgot what he spoke on.
Let me give you an example. 3:45–7:16
The next time I come here I’ll tell you the miracle story of how we’re still married. [Laughter] That is a miracle. She has put up with me for 23 years. Only by God’s…I don’t think grace could even have done this. It had to be something else besides grace. [Laughter]
We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our hearts will not change. I’m finding that what is happening throughout our Christian culture today is that we are buying the lie that you can watch what you want and it doesn’t harm you.
In Psalm 103, David says, “I will not place evil before mine eyes less it will stick to me.” Evil will stick to us. God’s name is being used in vain throughout the media and almost all the videos you watch right now.
I rented a ‘G’ movie about a month ago, and the very first phrase that came out was the Lord’s name in vain. I couldn’t believe it! We need to guard ourselves. We need to be warriors of the faith.
Let’s have a word of prayer. “Father, I come before you and I pray that I might partner with you, that I might be just an instrument this morning for you. God, may we sense your presence. May we enter your presence and may we be changed as a result of your presence. May we worship you in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
I’m going to take you on a journey before we even start. I’m going to take you to the book of Ecclesiastes and show you some unique things. Most people think the book of Ecclesiastes is written about vanity and vexation of spirit and then you live your life and die and you leave it to somebody else. Why try? What is life all about if it’s not worth living?
There was a song written about this particular portion of scripture in the 60s and again in the 70s and it’s a very beautiful poem/song which we’re all familiar with. The very beginning of the song, that most people don’t realize, is that it says, “To everything there is a season, and a time and purpose for everything under heaven.” I want to highlight these words. There is a time and there is a purpose for everything.
After he makes that statement he says that there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck that which is planted. A time to kill, a time to heal, a time to break, a time to build. What people don’t realize is that the word time is being used over and over and over and over again.
There is a time, there’s a time, there’s time, there’s a time for everything. What you must realize is that God is the one that is designing the time. “There is a time to break, and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance; a time to cast, a time to gather; at time to embrace…refrain, gain, lose, keep, throw, tear, sow, silent, speak, love, hate, peace, war.” There is a time for everything. In fact, these 24 characteristics of life cover all of life. There is nothing else that happens in life that is not listed here. Isn’t that interesting?
Now, in Hebrew poetry one of the beautiful aspects is that there is beautiful symmetry, just the way that there should be in life. What you have here in the very beginning, you have these desirable and undesirable effects.
I want your help this morning. I want you to tell me what is desirable and what is undesirable. I’ll do the first one for you. To be born is desirable, and to die is undesirable. The next one, plant/pluck. Kill/heal. Break/build. Weep/laugh. Mourn/dance. Cast/gather. Embrace/refrain. Gain/lose. Keep/throw. Tear/sew. Silent/speak. Love/hate. Peace/war.
What I’m going to show you right now is the beautiful structure in which God reveals his truth to us. In this form that I’m about to show you, it permeates throughout the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.
In fact, the entire books of Luke and Acts are an entire mirror image of each other. You can place the book of Acts on top of the book of Luke and they’re identical.
You have these first two stanzas, du/du, and you have the last two stanzas, du/du, and they have a beautiful symmetrical matching element.
In the next two stanzas, again, you have these beautiful symmetrical matching elements. What you have to understand about this technique, about this writing skill, is that they wrote from both ends to the center. That’s how they wrote. We write from left to right. Some eastern countries right from left, some from top to bottom, but in the scriptures, often they wrote from both ends to the center. It’s a very unique style of writing.
What you have here in the very center is you have these three, u/d, u/d, u/d, contrasting these three, d/u, d/u, d/u. What has happened here is that God is teaching us that in the center of life there is going to be a reversal of both desirable and undesirable events in life. It’s going to happen.
For each one of us there is going to be desirable and undesirable events that are going to occur. What you cannot forget is that there is a time and a purpose for every one of them, for every one of the desirable and undesirable events of life.
Now, there is a problem I want to interject though. The problem is, is that as Solomon wrote this he did something that is not very often found in scripture. As the Hebrew reader would have been hearing this, and the Hebrew reader would have been reading it, as he would have gotten down to the last one, he would have been expecting to see it in the form which we have just illustrated to you.
But Solomon did something very unusual in this poem. He actually wrote war and peace, which made this u/d and totally destroyed the entire poem. He did it purposefully because he was raising our expectations and showing us that you can’t expect anything. That nothing is certain in life. That when you expect it to happen a certain way, God says, “Don’t count on that because it could be the unexpected that is going to happen.”
God wants you to learn one thing from the unexpected, and it is this; He says, “What profit is there in all our labor?” If everything is unexpected, if there are desirable and undesirable events in life, and you cannot be certain of the outcome, then why bother?
Here is the reason to why bother. Because He said, “I will make everything beautiful in its time.” Both the desirable and undesirable events in life, there is only one thing in life that is certain; that God will make everything beautiful in its time.
The question is, will you trust Him for that in the midst of the undesirable events of life? Will you trust Him? Will you trust Him in your marriage? Folks, I have seen with my own eyes. I have heard with my own ears the testimony of couples who have lived for 30, 40 years in the most incredibly awful marriage, and in the end, where the husband has totally repented and realized what a jerk he was.
I just buried a woman a couple of months ago whose husband was a pastor, and this woman was an angel; that is the only way I can describe her. They had the most incredible marriage. I said, “Has your marriage always been like this?”
This very delicate angelic woman looked at me with this eternal smile and she said, “Oh, no. He was really such a jerk.” [Laughter]
He was a big, 6’4” giant of a man about 60 years old. He said, “Oh, I was the worst: jealous, controlling, dominating, manipulating. I was all of that and more. I wouldn’t let her wear makeup. She had to wear long dresses. I just controlled her life and I did that for years.”
I said, “What happened?”
“She’s been the greatest sermon. She has lived in, before me, through her meek and quiet spirit. She has won me over to the truth and we have the greatest marriage on earth.”
God will make everything beautiful in its time. Are you willing to hold on during the expected events of life? The time that it’s painful? The time that you would wish, “God, you have to do something!”
And God says, “I am. It’s just that you can’t see it right now. I am.”
Having said that, let’s open our Bibles to John 4 and look at two both desirable and undesirable events of life. In John 4 we have a woman without a name but we know her story very well. We call her The Woman at the Well.”
She comes to the center of the market for water mid-day; twelve o’clock noon. It is an unusual hour for women to be out because they needed to be there when there were other women there, but she was there by herself.
It says that Jesus was there and he was tired from his journey, and as he comes and sits next to her he looks at her, and in verse 7 he says, “Give me to drink.” That’s a very important opening statement for him to make.
He doesn’t say, “Hello, how are you?” or “What’s your name?” He doesn’t carry on a conversation. The very first thing that He says to her is, “Give me something to drink.” He doesn’t say, “Please.” Just “give me to drink.”
I believe that Jesus wants each one of us to give Him something from us; something to drink, something with which He can quench his thirst. I think that when we serve Him in truth His thirst is quenched.
His disciples were gone, and after He says, “Give me to drink,” the woman of Samaria, in verse 9, says, “How is it that you being a Jew asks drink of me who is a woman of Samaria, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
This woman just goes right to it. She kind of has a critical spirit and says, “We don’t have any dealings with each other.”
In verse 10 Jesus answers and says, “If you knew the gift of God and Who it was that says of you, ‘Give me to drink,’ you would have asked of Him and He would have given you Living Water.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir” – now she changes so notice what she says, “Sir.” She treats Him with a little bit more respect. “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. How are you going to give me this water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, and fed his sons and his cattle?”
Jesus answered, “Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. But the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water.” She’ll never have to come to the well and draw again. She is thinking purely on physical terms.
The woman said unto Him, “Give me this water that I thirst not.” Notice the very first thing that she says. She is not thinking of this in spiritual terms. He is talking about everlasting life and she said,“Give me that I thirst not.” That’s what she is talking about; purely physical.
Jesus is going to take this woman out of her sphere of physical comforts because sometimes that is what blinds us. If we’re not comfortable, if it’s too painful, we want out. Verse 15, “The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water that I thirst not, neither come here to draw.’” Two things; I want it to be a little bit easier for myself, and I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to have to be thirsty, and I don’t want to have to come here to draw. Those are the two things she is thinking about.
He just talked about everlasting life and all she is thinking about is her physical comfort. Notice Jesus’ response to her. “Go call your husband.” That’s what He says, “Go call your husband.”
The woman answered and said, “I don’t have a husband.”
Jesus said, “You have well said you have no husband for you have had five husbands, and he whom thou hast now is not your husband. In this you said truly.” If you like marking your Bible you’ll want to put a big circle around that word because it’s big. This is the very first truthful thing that she has said.
You see, those who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth. I always used to think that the spirit was the Pentecostals and the truth was the Baptists. I really did. I thought if we put the two together we would have some balance.
There is something about this word worship that we are going to enter into. Not only are we going to talk about these two women, but we’re going to talk about these two women who learned to worship in the most incredible sense of worship.
In fact, I believe that when we leave here today that you will never think about worship the same ever again. I have never thought about worshipping in the same way as I’ve thought about worship after I read this.
Jesus said, “This you have said truly.”
Verse 19; The woman said unto Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” I wonder what gave her that clue? That He just told her about her entire life? “Our Fathers worshipped in this mountain.”Notice what she does. As soon as the heat is on, as soon as she has been uncovered a little bit, she changes it into a religious conversation. “Sir, our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where we ought to worship.”
Have they been talking about worship? No, but all of a sudden she shifts this whole thing and wants to talk about the spiritual aspects of worship.
Jesus said unto her, “Woman, believe me, there is going to come a time where neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem they will worship the Father. You worship you know not what.” I believe every Christian needs to hear that. We worship we know not what.
“We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews, but the hour comes and now is when the true worshippers” – there is the word true again – “shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” – the third time – for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is spirit and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” – the fourth time.
Jesus is emphasizing this word, truth. And the woman said unto Him, “I know that a Messiah is going to come and He is going to tell us all things.”
Jesus said unto her, “I, who speak to you, am He.” The disciples come and the Bible says that woman leaves her water pot, which is highly unusual, and she runs to the village and tells the men of the village, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.”
That’s not true. Jesus didn’t tell her that. Jesus told her one thing, that she had five husbands and the man that she was living with was not her husband. That is all he told her. He never said anything else about any other part of her life, but that one thing that He told her was enough for her to believe that He told her everything because it was the one thing that was holding her back from really entering worship with God, because it was spirit and truth that was necessary.
It was the truth about herself, of who she really was, is what Jesus used to open her heart to help her to see herself so that she could begin to seek God. Unless we see ourselves first we can never see God.“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
If we come to the Father to worship Him without a pure heart, and if there is sin lurking low in our hearts in which we have covered up and tried to forget about, we will never be able to truly worship the Father. It will only be external.
The greatest thing in the world we can do to worship Him is to confess our sins one to another, and to Him; for Him to see our heart, but not with a mask on. Today, for some reason, we get saved and within a few short years we’ve gone from the baptismal tank to giving an open testimony from all that God has delivered us from, to “Oh, how are you doing?”
“I’m doing great, how are you doing?” and you’re just doing horribly and you’re having all kinds of fights among you and internal strife and your home is ready to fall apart. Then you come to church and you’re doing fine.
We need to begin to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and the truth is about ourselves; who we really are.
Parents, our children will not be able to follow us if they can’t follow the truth because it’s only the truth that will set them free. If they see mom and dad always hiding behind the mask in their own lives, then they’ll begin to wear the mask themselves.
Turn to Matthew 14. Let’s look at one more woman. Let me give you a little bit of background on what is going on here. In chapter 14 He just fed the 5000 and it’s kind of an interesting scenario.
In chapter 14, verse 15, the evening had come and 5000 people had been following him and had been without water and food. The very first thing that the disciples say to Jesus is, in verse one, “Send them away.” The disciples have a real heart for ministry. [Laughter] They have this problem and all of these people, and they’re tired, so the best way to deal with these people is to get rid of them.
It’s interesting that they don’t take it upon themselves(30:30 audio cut out) because these people aren’t going to listen to the disciples, not yet. In fact, Jesus said, “You can’t follow me yet.” He said it twice in the book of John, “You can’t follow me right now.”
The reason they couldn’t follow Him was because they had not truly learned to love yet; to love others more than themselves. This is proof of it right here, “Send them away.”
After they want Him to send them away, what Jesus does at the very end of this is He makes them pick up the 12 baskets full of fragments. Did you ever wonder why He made them do that? Did you ever wonder what happened to the baskets of fragments after that? Where did they go? I would imagine, 12 baskets for 12 disciples, they’re probably carrying them with them.
Here they are with their 12 baskets full of fragments of bread, and the next thing He tells them is to get in the boat. They get in this boat and here they are; they have supplies, their bread, which will last them probably for a week. They’re content with what they have and the boat starts to sink.
You know the story. All of a sudden Peter sees the Lord Jesus on the water and he says, “Lord, if that’s you, bid me to come out there.”
The Lord says, “Come.” Peter walks out onto the water, and we all condemn him for having a lack of faith, but he is the first person I’ve ever known of that has walked on water in the first place. I’ve tried it several times, and I’m going to keep trying it, but it hasn’t worked yet. I just do it in puddles. [Laughter]
All of a sudden Peter sees the waves become boisterous and the wind become contrary toward him and he becomes afraid. Perfect love casts out all fear. Then he starts to sink. As he starts to sink he yells out, “Lord,” what does he say? “Save me. Deliver me.” And the Lord does. Do you know what? He does it for us as well.
Every time we get in a bind and we can’t take anymore and we think we’re sinking, we cry out for God to save us and deliver us and He does. But I’ll tell you what. Peter could have asked for something else. What could he have asked for?
“Lord, help me back up so I can continue walking on the water.” He could have asked Him for that. “Lord, help me to walk through this trial.” If you just ask for deliverance you’re going to repeat it again. “Lord, I don’t want to have to go through this again. Help me to walk through this, this time.”
Jesus says to him in verse 31, Jesus reaches His hand out, catches him, and says, “Oh ye of little faith.”He rebukes him, “Why did you doubt?”
Folks, we have a God in which we can trust, and He is going to allow us to have some very painful experiences in life, some very unpredictable experiences in life, or some very undesirable experiences in life. It is the only way that He is going to get us to learn to walk on water.
He doesn’t want to have to keep delivering us as we sink. He wants to teach us how to walk by faith. Not little faith, but great faith. We’re going to see how He does this.
Go to chapter 15, and the Scribes and Pharisees are complaining that the disciples aren’t washing their hands. Notice, in verse 33 of chapter 14 what the disciples do after they see this miracle by Jesus of delivering Peter. Then they were all in the boat and they came and did worship and said, “In truth this is the Son of God.”
No big deal. Everyone in this room would say that. This is something we all know, that He is the Son of God. But there is a greater truth. Who are you? That is the question that has to be answered. Who are you? We all know who Jesus is, but who are you?
It says in verse 33 that they worshipped Him. They worshipped Him by claiming that He was the Son of God. Everybody does that. The Mormons do that. Almost every religion that has a remotely close connection to Christianity claims that Jesus is the Son of God. Hari Krishna, and even some of the Muslims claim that He is a Son of God. No big deal.
What was the big deal? “…and they worshipped Him.”
Notice what He says in chapter 15, verse 9: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching the doctrines of men.” Notice what He says in verse 8 of chapter 15: “These people draw near to me with their mouth and they honor me with their lips.” How? “You’re the Son of God. We worship you,” “but their heart is far from me.”
That’s what Jesus is trying to communicate to the disciples. The Scribes and the Pharisees, they’re concerned about the disciples not washing their hands before they eat meat. Now what Jesus has to do is show both the Scribes and the Pharisees, and the disciples, that if you’re going to come close to God it has nothing to do with the external. It has nothing to do with an external show of worship, an external show of tradition. It has everything to do with the heart.
What He does is, in verse 21, He brings them to the land of Tyre and Sidon. There is no filthier place on earth than Tyre and Sidon. It is a hellhole. Not only is He on the borders of Tyre and Sidon, but in verse 22 a woman comes to Him, a woman of Canaan, and in the book of Mark it describes her as a Syrophoenician woman. Do you know who the Syrophoenicians were? They were the bottom of the bucket of the Canaanite race.
These women were not only harlots, they were the ones that shaved their heads bald, had all kinds of gaudy makeup all over them, and they were temple prostitutes and lesbians. This is the type of woman that is approaching Jesus; but not only all of that, they were involved in Satanic worship.
This woman has a demon possessed daughter. You get the whole idea of what is going on with this woman coming to Jesus.
Verse 22 of chapter 15: Behold, a woman of Canaan cries out saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David. My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.”
It is really interesting. If you would look at verse 23: “But He answered her not a word, and the disciples came and besot Him saying,” –what? There they are again. Got a problem? Send it away. This is a great illustration of church policy right here. All in favor? Say ‘Aye.’ Send her away. Send it away. Let’s get rid of it. [Laughter]
But there is something unusual that happens here. We can understand the disciples. It hasn’t even penetrated the heart yet. They’re just totally looking at the outside. They worship Him. He’s the Son of God. They’re content with that.
But this woman cries out after Him saying, “Lord, Son of David, my daughter,” she’s not asking for something for herself. She’s asking something for her daughter. This mommy is a concerned mommy even though she is all messed up. She is a mommy who is looking for help.
Now, if Jesus were here this morning and you were a mother that wanted help for one of your children…in fact, I can imagine there are many of you sitting here right now that really desire that kind of help. “Lord, help my child please. I’m not asking for anything for myself.”
By the way, this is one of the first times – other than Jairus for his servant – that somebody is coming for help for somebody else not just for themselves. “Lord, Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.”
If Jesus were here this morning and we brought Him here just for this Mother’s Day service and we prepped you and said, “Any mother here who desires anything to be done for their children, you can ask Jesus now,” and you came with these expectations and hope that Jesus was going to do a miracle for you today, you would be so excited. You’ve heard all about Him.
This woman has heard all about Him. As soon as she hears that He is there she comes to Him. She doesn’t care what anyone else says. The disciples said to send her away, but she keeps crying out all the more, “Lord, help me!”
Notice what Jesus says to her, verse 23; “But He answered her not a word.” What is going on here? Why would Jesus do that, the merciful Son of God? The Savior of the world. The compassionate, merciful, Son of God treats this woman so coldly. Is it because of her background? Is it because she is a harlot, lesbian, and everything else? What is the problem here?
He does not answer her a word. The disciples come and beseech Him, “Send her away.” But this woman just continues. She is not asking just once, she continues repeatedly crying out after Him. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me. Help my daughter, please.”Jesus hears her, but He doesn’t answer her a word.
I could just picture Peter, James, and John. “Yes!” High-five. “Give it to her, Lord. Don’t answer that no-good-for-nothing woman. Get her out of here! All right!
“John, you get rid of her. If she touches the Master we’re going to be all unclean for eight days.”
“No, you get rid of her. I got rid of the last one.”
“No, you get rid of her. You have the foot-shaped mouth, you get rid of her.”
I can just picture these three guys. “Get rid of her.” After she continues to cry after Him, verse 24 says,“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He is not talking to her; he is talking to the disciples.
He says to the disciples, “I am only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” True or false? False. Jesus did not come just for the Jews. He came for all mankind. He came for the whole world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Then why does Jesus say this? Why does He say that I’ve only come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
Why now, when this Gentile woman needs help? It’s written right there in black and white. How does she approach Him? What does it say? She comes crying out to Him saying what? “O, Lord, Son of David…” Who is “O, Lord, Son of David?”
He is the King of Kings. He is the King that would have set up His throne for Israel. She is coming and looking for help from His Jewish throne. If you want help from Him for His power and authority, then He says that is only for Israel. I don’t give power and authority from my throne for the Gentiles. It has nothing to do with the Gentile race. That is for Israel only.
“Woman, you have come, you have approached me in the wrong way. You have asked me for the wrong thing. You’ve heard about who I am, but you are missing something very important. Don’t approach me for my power and my authority. Don’t ask for deliverance for my great power and authority. Ask for deliverance for my great love.”
He doesn’t answer her a word.
Verse 25: “Then came she,” and does what? It was after she heard what He said – those who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth – and this woman comes and she bends her knee and she worships Him, saying, “Help me.” That is the greatest phrase of worship that you will ever hear in your life. “Lord, help me. Just help me. Lord, I don’t know what to do. My family is falling apart. I don’t know what to do with my children. My life is a mess, help me.”
That is a truthful form of worship. It is the greatest form of worship we will ever enter in our lives. “Lord, help me. I don’t know what to do. Just help me.”
Yes, we can sing and all of that, but unless we get to this point in our lives we are not going to really worship Him. It is nothing to do with His power. It is nothing to do with His authority. It is nothing to do with His glory. It has everything to do with our heart and who we are, and who He is. “God, help me. Just help me.”
There is going to come a day for His power and glory and authority. That day is coming, but right now that is not here. Right now He wants us to get on our knees, and He wants us to repent, and He wants us to say, “God, I need your help. Just help me.”
The church needs to be a hospital.
This is awesome what she says. “Lord, help me.” You think that would be it. It’s like, “Okay, she got it! She understands. She passed the test. Praise the Lord, it’s over with. Now, go heal her daughter.”
Notice what He says to her, “But He answered her and said, ‘It’s not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.”
Come on! This poor woman has been so beat up already. First, He doesn’t answer her, but after she comes and worships Him the right way – remember what Peter said, “Lord, save me. Deliver me from this.” What a contrast. “Lord, help me.” And Peter says, “Lord, save me!” That should have been it.
He looks at her and says, “No. I’m not helping you. It’s not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.” He tests her again.
Folks, some of us are going to be chosen by God to be tested severely because He loves us so much.
This woman is an illustration for the disciples. They weren’t getting it. He had to take them to the dirtiest place in town. He had to take them to a place that was so defiled that it would make them sick.
He would help them to see that they were looking purely on the outside. What did He say? “In vain you worship me. You draw near to me with your mouth and you honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me.”
“Men, let me take you into the heart of the situation. Let me show you an illustration of a woman who is going to teach us all things.” The most important truth in life this woman is going to teach us: First, she is going to teach us about worship. Second, she is going to teach us about humility. That is what God is trying to teach them.
Everyone else is looking for power and authority and glory, and Jesus is trying to teach them about love and sacrifice and obedience and humility.
He tests her to the Nth degree and says to her, “It’s not right to cast the children’s bread to dogs.” The word dog there is literally a reference to lesbians. It does mean little dogs that eat the crumbs from under the table, but in Tyre and Sidon it was a reference to lesbian women.
He just slaps her right across the face. He continues to help her see who she really is. Most people would say they’ve had enough. “I’ve had enough, Lord. Are you really, really on the throne? I can’t take this anymore.”
I’ve been there. I’ve been in the woods crying out to God saying, “God, if you don’t change the situation right now, I can’t take it anymore. I don’t like the pain. I don’t like the loneliness. I hate it. God, you have to change this. Change my wife. Change my children.” He never, ever answers that prayer, [Laughter] because He says, “It’s you. I’m going to change you. Even if it kills you I’m going to change you.” [Laughter] The amount of pain we go through is up to us. It really is.
After she’s been called a dog face-to-face in front of everyone, in verse 27 she says, “Truth, Lord.”Circle that word. The word ‘yes’ is really the word truth. The first word that comes out of her mouth is the word ‘truth.’
“This is the truth. I am a dog. You’re right, Lord. I am a good for nothing low-life. I agree with you.” She humbled herself all the way to the very bottom of the barrel. For those who are going to be willing to humble themselves, God is going to be willing to lift them up. That is the key to life.
God resists the proud, but He gives grace…you get grace at salvation, by the way, and salvation only came through genuine, broken humility. That is how we were saved. It works through our sanctification as well.
The only way that you will get grace after salvation is through humility. It is the only way. Every time you exercise humility you get more grace. “But He gives grace to the humble. Wherefore, God rejects the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.”
How do you humble yourself? It’s very easy. You admit who you are. You admit wrong. “I’m sorry. I was wrong again.” How many times? Seven times seventy for the rest of your life, because we’re just broken and God is trying to put us back together. That is what He is trying to do.
He is teaching the disciples this from this woman who couldn’t be more broken. Jesus took her thoughts off of her daughter – He doesn’t even mention her daughter – and places them on herself.
Do you want help for your children? Do you want help for your spouse? Then place the emphasis upon yourself.
“Truly,” she says. “This is the truth, Lord. Yet the dogs even eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Oh woman, great is thy faith.” What did He say to Peter? “Oh, ye of little faith.”
You want deliverance? This woman wants help, and she has great faith and that is the difference. She wants to walk through her problems not just be delivered from them. As a result, God does deliver her and says, and this is awesome, “and her daughter was made well from that very hour.”
I’m going to take you to a foreign land; to the enchanted city. It is one of my favorite places to be. In the kingdom of darkness there is no such thing as a king, and death to pretenders. People work during the night and sleep during the day, and it is forbidden to see the light.
Children are branded at birth and placed underground to put the hot coals in the furnaces to keep the man-made power going. There is nothing real in this kingdom. There are no trees, no birds that sing, no sky above; only hardship and misery, testings and cursings.
The Enchanter rules this kingdom with a hot iron and a heavy fist, and anyone who looks into his eyes is forever in his trance. But Thespia’s mother told her that there was a real King in a real Kingdom, and the sunset was absolutely beautiful. Thespia. Young, beautiful Thespia. She demanded in protest and told her mother, “Seeing is believing, and believing is seeing. If there really was a King, then where is he? Why doesn’t he deliver us from all of this?”
Her mother looked at her daughter and said, “Sweetheart, seeing is not believing if you look through your heart.” Even at her mother’s dying breath she begged her daughter to believe, but she would not, could not, for seeing was believing for her.
It was then, after her mother’s death, that the Enchanter came to take her away, for all children who are deformed and orphaned are put underground to put the hot coals in the furnaces to keep the man-made power going, for there is nothing real in this kingdom.
Everything ran from the man-made power made from the children putting the hot coals in the furnaces. They were called boiler-brats and sewer rats. Children rarely lived past 12 years of age, and if there was ever a power outage one child would die.
But one look at Thespia and her long, luxuriant, golden hair, just a twist of her wrist and a wink of her eye could capture anyone. The Enchanter looked at her and said, “This child is mine. Take her to my palace.”
It was there that the most beautiful children were allowed to become the actors and actresses of the kingdom, for once a month the Enchanter allowed the common people to come with their runny sores and haggard clothes and lack of hope. They would come to the great theatre to forget their sorrows for a season. It was there that the beautiful children would come out and act.
This was Thespia’s debut. She would walk out on stage for the very first time, and as she took her bow and the people would chant furiously, “Thespia, Thespia, we love Thespia,” she would always try to remember what her mother told her even though she didn’t believe it for herself. That there was a real King and the sunset was beautiful.
She tried to conjure that idea up in her mind, and it would give her inspiration. The blood would begin to flow through her veins, and her heart would begin to beat faster and faster. She took her bow and as she raised her head she noticed something very peculiar.
There was a man standing in the back of the auditorium and standing in what appeared to be his own light. She continued to act thinking nothing of it. She was excited about doing this play. It was calledThe Return of the King. The Enchanter had allowed it to come out of the old archives after several hundred years. He thought there was no more chance of a rebellion. People knew there was no such thing as a king, and death to pretenders.
All of a sudden the man-made power turned off and everything was black. The people began to moan and groan. “Oh no,” they said. “The children, the children.” They knew that one child would die for not keeping the man-made power going.
But just then the man who was standing in the back began to walk forward. He walked to the edge of the orchestra pit, vaulted forward onto the stage and said, “This is where I make my entrance.”
Thespian took out her hand, and as she touched his and helped him up on stage, complete warmth radiated throughout her entire body. She had never felt anything so beautiful in all her life.
The man turned from Thespia, looked at the orchestra and said, “Music. Up tempo.” They obeyed his voice and didn’t even know why. It was as if he was the conductor himself.
The man turned and looked at Thespia, and with a smile he looked at the audience and said, “Have you ever heard of a kingdom where every orphan had a home?”
“No,” they said.
“Have you ever heard of a kingdom where the King lived in it and loved his people?”
“No,” said the people.
Just then, Thespia walked up to the man and began to protest, “Where do we find this kingdom of which you speak?” All this time the people thought the play was continuing.
The man turned and looked at Thespia and said, “Thespia, the real kingdom is wherever I walk and anyone who walks with me. Will you follow me?” Thespia didn’t know what to say. She was quite choked up.
The man turned from Thespia, looked at the orchestra and said, “Music. Down tempo.” Again, they obeyed his voice and didn’t know why. The music played at a stage whisper. He walked to the edge of the stage, looked at the people and said, “In the kingdom of light the day shines bright.”
“Ah,” said the people. “Day? Light?” They had never seen it.
“In the kingdom of light,” said the man, “everything is right.”
“Ah,” said the people again, with a long sigh.
This time Thespia couldn’t control herself. She walked up to the man and said, “Sir, how do we know that what you’re saying is true?”
The man turned, looked at Thespia once again and said, “Thespia, I’ve come to seek and save those who are lost. Follow me. Live no longer in darkness but join me in the light.”
Thespia began to cry, not player’s tears but real tears. She’d never heard words like these before. All of a sudden she looked at the people. She rubbed her eyes, and looked again. Everything was different! Their runny sores were healed. Their ragged clothes were turned into something beautiful. Their lack of hope was turned into joy.
She rubbed her eyes and looked again. Sure enough everything was changed, but only if she looked at the people through the man’s light. Thespia looked at the man, and she bowed before him. The man, though, raised her up, and as he touched her cheek in wiping away her tears, again that warmth radiated throughout her entire body. She had never felt anything so gentle in all her life. It was as though someone had just given her a bath and she was entirely clean.
She looked at him and said, “My Lord.” She took his hand in hers and raised it high as if giving an introduction. She looked at the people and said, “My people, your King. My King, your people.”
All of a sudden the man-made power turned on and the lights blazed forth. Someone in the wealthy patron boxes shouted out, “There is no such thing as a king. Death to pretenders!”
Everyone started to chant. “Death! Death! Death!” they said. The glow of the man started to diminish and he began to button his coat as if he meant to leave.
“Are you leaving?” she said.
“Yes. The moment for believing has ended. Follow me,” said the man. The two of them left the theater together, and very few of them seemed to see them go. Thespia became a street player in the back alleys and dead-ends of Enchanted City acting out the King’s story in such a way that all who saw her suspected and then hoped that there was a real King and a real kingdom.
Like the King she wore common clothes. She never gave the luxuries of the palace a backward glance, because when one has found one’s real love it is easy to leave behind what has only been pretend.
Folks, let’s hold on to the truth today. The truth about who He is, and who we are. Let’s take off the mask once and for all, and let’s come before Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth. Then He’ll be able to deal with all of the other problems that riddle us, both the undesirable and unexpected things of life.
One thing that we can be guaranteed of, He will make all things beautiful in its time. Let’s pray.
Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for mothers. Thank you for women. What a precious gift you have given us as men. Lord God, I cannot imagine this world being without women. Father, they are beautiful. They are gentle and tender, and everything that you wish to teach us about what is delicate and pure and beautiful.
Yet, Lord, sin tried to destroy us. Our own hearts deceive us. Father, I pray that as you redeem us day-by-day that we would worship you in spirit and in truth. That we would come before you in true humility.
How many were in the last session? That was intense wasn’t that? Boy, God is incredible. What you are about to hear is my all time favorite session. This is going be fun. It’s not going be anything like the rest of them. I said that last time, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I lied.
You probably will not cry until the very end, but you are going to laugh your head off and I’m just excited about that because this is going be fun. God’s Word is going come alive in a way that I believe you’ve never seen before, and it’s going be through His creatures as His teachers because that’s the first thing God gave Adam to do was to name the animals. There’s a reason behind that.
I shouldn’t read this but I think I’m going to. This is a true story. It’s a letter that I have a copy of from the Smithsonian Institute. There is a man in Massachusetts that has been studying archaeology for the last twenty years. He has been sending his findings to the Institute here from Massachusetts.
Here’s letter: A response to his latest finding in his backyard. The curator of the Smithsonian Institute writes,
“Dear Mr. Williams,
Thank you for your latest addition to the Institute labeled 93211-D, layer 7, next to the clothesline post, (time 5:01) skull. We have given this specimen careful and detailed examination and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of early man in Massachusetts two million years ago.
Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll…of the variety that one of our staff who has small children believes it to be the Malibu Barbie.
It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of the specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes to the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin.
Number one, the material is molded plastic. Number two, the cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately nine cubic centimeters. Number three, the dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with a dog.
This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this Institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail let us say that: A) The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on. B) Clams don’t have teeth.
It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation and partly due to carbon dating’s notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geological record.
To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wild and inaccurate results.
Sadly we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation phylogeny department with the concept of assigning your specimen with scientific name Astrolopithigus-Bifarino.
Speaking personally, I for one fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated and didn’t really look like it might have been Latin. However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid’s fossil, it is none-the-less-yet a riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate so effortlessly in Massachusetts.
You should know that our director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what will happen upon the next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your backyard.
We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation’s capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the transpositating philipatation of ferrous metal in a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex femur, your recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of the rusty nine millimeter Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
Chief Curator of Antiquities”
That’s why I didn’t know whether to come speak here in Massachusetts. I didn’t know what in the world I was going to be in for!
Well, I think that we’re going to learn some real things and let God’s creatures be the teachers. Let’s pray first. Father, I thank you Lord that we can laugh and we can have fun, and I thank you for this particular seminar. It is so near and dear to my heart. Thank you for what You did in my life so many years ago and you continue to reveal to me. Thank you for this, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
I hated school with all my heart, all my soul and all my life. I would have been labeled ADD, DDD, FDD…I mean I had it all. I was a space cadet in school. I could not concentrate. I mean, anytime the teacher spoke my mind immediately drifted. I mean and I was a wanderer.
I loved the woods. I loved to go and just hike out into the creeks and pick up the little rocks and catch the crayfish there and stick them in my pockets. Every time I’d come home my mother would make me take everything out of my pockets because she knew that I had critters in there.
I lived back in the time when the milk man delivered the glass milk bottles in the outdoor tin cans. Well, I loaded those things with toads, I mean up to the brim. Up so high that I had to squash it down you know to get them in there! It was hysterical.
I used to get up early in the morning and watch the milkman open that thing you know. You could see him going over to that thing every time to just look in it. That’s just the way I was made, and to have forced me into a school setting would have just been…it was terrible! It was like suicide for me because I hated it so much.
You have children in your homes that you are trying to cram the same type of curriculum down their throats which public school does. They might as well be in a public school for what you are trying to accomplish in their lives, because they’re not made that way. God has wired them differently.
I don’t know where this comes from, but I have heard it’s factual, that most of the people on the Mayflower that came over here would have been labeled ADD type of people. They were people that were not book people, per se. Now it’s interesting, I grew up that way for the first twenty-three years of my life.
The first book I ever read was when I was twenty-three years old, and today you cannot stop me from learning. I’m like a sponge. I want to grasp everything from the sciences to the histories. It’s now my life. Forty some years old, that’s when it clicked for me. That’s when it is real in my life.
I’m a publisher of twenty-three books. That’s incredible, and yet I had this taste and it was putrefying, educationally putrefying to me and I hated it. The only consolation I had going to school was that I had a cocker spaniel dog named Fluffy that followed me to school every morning and she stayed right in those steps of the school waiting for me to get out of my prison at 3:00 when they’d ring the bell and I’d burst out of there with my books.
My dog was waiting for me. The two of us would run home, and I’d drop all my books, and then I’d pick them up the next when I went back to school. This is real, I’m not making this up. In my senior year the nurse knew how much I hated school. She used to give me her car in the afternoons to go golfing. Can you imagine that? I don’t know how I talked her into that, but I did!
I loved the outdoors so much that one time my dog and I went on this hike and we must have gone at least ten miles. We lived in a place where there were these creeks that criss-crossed, and there were hills back there. You could go for hundreds of miles without ever seeing a house.
I’ll never forget this one time there was a man in the woods that had a fire going and he was cooking something on it. My dog and I kind of got up a little closer and all of a sudden this man turned around and saw me and he pointed at me and he beckoned me to come. I was about ten years old and I didn’t know whether to take off and run. But I thought, “If I take off and run he’s going to catch me.” And so I decided I’d just go to him. My dog didn’t seem to be leery of it, so the two of us walked up toward him.
He never said a word to me. He points at me to sit down. He had this log cut out into a chair and I sat down. He was roasting a rabbit, and there I’m sitting and my dog was just laying down. My dog was just so comfortable in his presence.
The man ripped a leg off of the rabbit he was roasting and handed it to me, and he gave a piece of meat to my dog. There the two of us were eating this roasted rabbit. It was delicious. I’m looking around and this man starts to show me things, not saying a word.
He shows me his arrows that he made out of the limbs of trees and the feathers of birds. He made his own bow. He made his own little hut out of logs. It was incredible. This guy had a real long beard and was real dirty looking.
All of a sudden, for the first time in my life I realized I had found my first mentor in my life. This guy didn’t go to school. He didn’t take a bath. I wanted to be just like this guy! I was so excited I couldn’t wait to go back there the next day.
We stayed there so long it started to get dark, and I knew I was in big trouble because you could not get home late for supper. So we ran, and I got home about nine o’clock. My mother was waiting there with a belt. I mean she gave me a good one. She grounded me for the entire summer. There were only seven days until school, but it was still the entire summer for me. That’s the way I was wired. I just loved the outdoors so much, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
So there I was in school. I grew up pretty much as an unsaved kid. I didn’t know anything. I switched my major seven times in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and all of a sudden, one summer when I was twenty-two years old, July 22 at two AM I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and everything instantaneously changed in my life. It was like being born at twenty-two years of age.
Imagine being twenty-two years old and seeing life for the first time. That’s what it was like for me.
I was working in the salt factory at the time. First of all, during my salvation experience it was a very salty experience because my job in the salt mine was as summer help and I had the job as the primary person in the plant. I was up in the fourth story watching all of the conveyor belts with the salt going on and then going into the big vats and they would fill up and then I would press the button and switch it to another vat and the conveyor belt would move. If you took your eyes off of it for seconds, ninety ton of salt would go over on the floor just like that. It didn’t happen often, but it happened! It created a lot of overtime for a lot of the workers.
So here I am, realizing that Jesus Christ died for my sins, because up to that point for two weeks prior to that…let me just tell you about this. I know it’s going to take a little time off of the real study but this is worth hearing.
The girl next door started telling me about these Christians, and next thing you know we’re in this church. They have a daily vacation Bible school. I’d never been into a Bible church before. The preacher preached like Barney Fife. He was screaming about being born again. I knew nothing about this stuff.
All these people came up to me and started telling me how much they loved me, or were glad I’d came. I thought they wanted my money. They started coming to my house and started giving me all these illustrations about sitting in a chair and believing by faith, and holding onto the dollar bill and it’s not yours until you take it, and all this stuff. I didn’t know what it was from Adam.
Then I go to a roller skating party with everybody. My wife, the girl next door who is now the girl downstairs, Debby, she ends up receiving Christ as her Savior on Sunday night at the service. I’m kind of left out in the cold.
We go to this roller skating party on Monday, and all of the people there ask me if I want to be a Christian. I said, “Sure.” They asked me if I wanted to talk to the pastor, so I talked to the pastor. I went and talked to him privately. He asked me if I wanted to pray and receive Christ as my Savior. I said, “Sure.”
[We] prayed and he said, “Well, do you believe what you prayed?” I said, “Sure.” He said, “Well, I see the change even in your eye. You have this twinkle in your eye that looks real.” I came out and everyone started crying, calling me brother. I said, “Oh, this great. I’m a Christian. This is easy!” It didn’t hurt at all. It didn’t cost anything either.
There I was for the next two weeks with everyone calling me brother.I got this new identity. This is awesome!
But all of a sudden God started getting involved and He said, “You’re going to go to hell.” You know, I could con anybody up to that point in my life, but I knew I couldn’t con God. There I was at the salt factory listening to this radio program with this ridiculous preacher preaching up a storm. He is the kind of person you would hear on the radio and immediately turn him off.
I was listening to him and he said, “You are the one that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, and it was you He died for because He loves you.” For the first time in my life I recognized that I nailed Him to the cross.
My salvation was different from most other peoples. I did not pray to be saved. I told God that I deserved to go to hell, and that I was worthy of death. When I told God that, I said, “But if You want to save me, there’s nothing here to save, but if you are willing to save me I’ll go where ever you want me to go. I’ll do what ever You want me to do. I’m Yours.”
Just like Pilgrim’s Progress where the sin rolled completely off his back, that is what happened to me that night, and while I was praying, one hundred twenty ton of salt was going over on the floor. And it was big, I mean it was a big one. This took almost nine days of overtime. This was big!
Yeah, I did end up losing my job on the fourth story there, but that was alright because it was a worthwhile experience. When I left that salt plant that morning, I walked out and I saw life for the first time in my life. I saw the color of the sky. It was seven AM.
I went over to the trees, and I started to feel the bark on the trees. I had never felt that before. I saw the design in the bark, and I realized this is incredible! He did this all in one day.
The people that are walking into the plant are watching me do this. They think something really snapped because there I am holding onto this tree and feeling it. All of a sudden my eyes were open. I started to see things in creation that I, to this day, have not yet seen anything greater. It was just like being born at twenty-two and seeing all of this awesome stuff. I wanted God to open my eyes and behold the wondrous things, not only out of His law, but out of His creation.
You know what I started to realize? That it is not until we seek Him with all our heart that we’ll find Him. If I told you that I hid twelve pennies out in the aisle there, and said, “OK, I’m going to give you twenty seconds to go find them,” you wouldn’t do that. But if I had a million dollars in different places there would be a stampede because you’d all want to go get it to give to missions.
“The invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world are clearly seen,” God says. Now folks, I want you to be thinking right now. I know you’re tired, and this is the end of the conference, but I want you to think with me.
When is the last time you saw something invisible? Did you ever see that before? Did you ever notice this verse before? You’ve read it so many times and heard it spoken so many times. It doesn’t make sense, unless you see through the eyes of God. God allows you to see things you’ve never seen before because it is the pure in heart who shall see God. No man’s ever seen God, but God will allow you to start seeing things that you’ve never seen before if you start seeking Him with a pure heart.
You ask Him, “Lord,” like Moses did, “I want to see You. I want to catch the beauty and majesty of God Himself.” Most people end up becoming Christians to get saved. They just kind of go on with life and through all this muck. They never really get out of it. God has given us the privilege of being sons and daughters of the King. It’s pretty amazing.
We’re building a house, and last year we put in the driveway. These big truck drivers, big guys with tattoos from head to toe come over. We have this lake behind us. Actually we built right near the property where we lived for those ten years, a two thousand acre estate, and we’re building right on that lake that was theirs. There’s a whole other miraculous story behind that.
Right now we’re trying to acquire the land next to us. One hundred and fifteen acres to build a youth training center and train youth in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, printing, medicine, you name it, we’re going to train them and build their skills to a level of excellence. That’s a whole another thing, and you can pray about that. That’s happening right now. The first stages have been built.
So these men come and say, “Do you own that lake?” I said, “No, my father does.” The guy goes over to the other truck driver and says, “Hey, his father owns this big lake out there.” The two of them come over to me and say, “Who’s your father?”
“Well, I don’t think you know Him. But He owns…He’s in the cattle industry.”
“Hey, what state’s he in?”
“He doesn’t live on this earth.”
He kind of looked at me. I said, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”
“Ohhhh, you mean Him! Ohhh…Wow!”
“That’s right. That’s who my Father is. My father’s a King.”
A lot of us don’t realize the status He’s given us, as daughters and sons of the King. Do you know what? I don’t know about you, but a daughter and son of a king usually act like one. That’s pretty amazing stuff. Maybe we should start thinking about who we are.
The Lord God, He’s a Sun and a Shield to us. He gives grace and glory. He gives it! And no good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly. Not one. No good thing will He withhold tfrom them who walk uprightly.
God says, “Taste and touch and see that the Lord is good.”
Moses said, “God, I’m not coming off of this mountain until I see You.”
And God says, “You can’t. You cannot look on Me and live. You’ll be consumed.”
Moses said, “OK. I’d rather be dead. I’m not coming off the mountain until I catch a glimpse of You.”
God saw his heart and said, “OK. You want to see Me that badly? I’ll tell you what, I’m going to put you in the cleft of the rock and I’m going to pass by you in a moment of time backwards.”
And God just whisked by him, and Moses caught that glimpse. You know what happened after he came off that mountain? His face was shining. You see when you’re in the presence of God you look different, and your children will notice it, and people will notice it. There’s something about a person who walks with God; they look different.
We need to start seeking for the right things in life. We need to desire One thing, and that is what we need to seek after; to behold the beauty of the Lord.
Folks, I don’t think people have ever really stopped to think about how extremely beautiful God is. He is extremely beautiful. Moses caught a glimpse of him; very few Christians ever have. When you catch a glimpse of God, you want nothing less. You’ll not take anything less. It’s like eating hot dogs all your life and for the first time eating lobster. I’m talking about eating real Maine lobster up there on the rocks when they bring it right off the boats. How many have had that before? You know. You know. Whew! It’s amazing! I go to California and they have Maine lobster out there. That’s crazy! Do you know how long those things have been sitting in transit?
Once you catch a glimpse of His beauty, you want nothing less. I’ve shared this picture before, but I love it. How many of you have been here? That’s Mt. Mohonk. Just a few hours from here, and most of you’ve never been there. It’s the nicest place on earth. I really believe that. No other place in the world do I think is better than this place, and I don’t want you even going there because I don’t want people there. I love being there by myself.
It’s called Mt. Mohonk. It’s in the Catskills.
No! [Laughter] It’s in California. [Laughter] Mt. Mohonk. Honk as in a horn. It’s in New Paltz. Phenomenal place. You can see five states from up on top. A rain fed lake, a three hundred room castle, and it is still owned by Christians. It’s not a Christian resort of any kind, but it has sixty acre gardens, thousands of acres of what the garden of Eden must have looked like. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s a dangerous place. People do get killed there.
I’ve taken my children there ever since they were three or four years old. We’ve climbed up the rocks, but it is dangerous if you go on the rock climbs. People do end up getting hurt on them, but if you stay on the path and on the red lines then you don’t get hurt. But it is a wonderful place. It’s expensive there, but you can go there for twelve dollars a piece and just do the mountain climb, but they won’t let you in the castle.
I do have stock in the place. You can see me afterwards. No, just kidding. It’s a wonderful place to take your family. When Debbie and I first found this…you see God has allowed me to find places like this, and it’s been an incredible journey.
When my wife and I first found this place we were up in the tower that looks down at this where I’m standing, where I took this picture, and there were about a thousand people down below. Spontaneously Debbie and I started to sing as we started to see this majestic beauty, “It Only Takes A Spark To Get a Fire Going.” We got to the part, “I’ll shout it from the mountain top,” and we went, “Praise God!” and all of a sudden there was this echo, “Praise God, Praise God, Praise God, Praise God,” and we looked down and we could see all these people…I hope they thought it was angels.
One of the reasons people stop praising God though is that they forget His benefits. When praise ceases, people forget God. When praise ceases, people forget God. This morning when I walked in there were sparrows sitting out there.
Do you realize that not one sparrow falls without the Heavenly Father …I know that’s not a sparrow. I couldn’t find a sparrow picture. It’s a bird, so…You know it’s funny. The people who will listen to the recording won’t have any idea what you are laughing about. We’re all tired. But do you realize that sparrows here in the Northeast don’t fly south? Did you know that? Instinctively they stay in the wicked winter weathers that you have. They stay here. They do not fly south. There are sparrows everywhere in the world.
God created that little bird to remind you of His great love and value on our lives, and you know what? It’s the most neglected bird. People see it and don’t even know it’s there. Do you know where they make their nests? As close to homes as possible. You throw some bread crumb out the window and they’ll be the first bird there usually. Every time you see a sparrow, God is saying, “Listen. Not one sparrow falls to the ground without Me being there.” It doesn’t say without Him knowing it. It says, “Without Me being there. Without my Heavenly Father.”
Jesus says, “Are you of not more value than many sparrows?” A little sparrow comes up on the perch of your window ledge and there is a great teaching opportunity.
“Kids look! God. God is speaking to us right now.”
My daughter and I used to play a game called “Sightings.” Whenever we saw God at work in our lives or doing something significant around us, my daughter or I would call out, “Sighting!”
Or if we saw something just very beautiful in the woods she would say, “Sighting!” Then I had to find out what it was that she was looking at that reminded her of God. “Sighting!”
I’ll never forget one time this miserable bank teller was giving me a hard time, and my daughter yelled out in the car, “Sighting!” She said, “Missed opportunity.” I went back. I’ve never done this before, and don’t think I’ll ever do it again. I went right around back into the line, and I said to the lady, “You know what? I think I was rude to you. I just wanted you to know I was sorry, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.” This great big smile came on her face, Jennifer just had this great big smile, and she said, “Sighting.”
Well, I started working at a Christian school. I was the administrator, and I wanted to teach the children all of these wonderful truths. Jonathan was just born and then Jennifer, and I started to pray, “God, I want You to teach me out of Your creation all of these wonderful truths. I want to catch a glimpse of Your glory so I can teach these kids, so I can catch their heart on fire for Christ. God please teach me these things.”
As I would go to work I had about a 15 mile drive all through the country, and I’d go through all these farms. One of them was a chicken farm, and I said, “I’ve got a great idea.” Peter. The cock crowed three times, and Peter denied Christ. That would be awesome to listen to the rooster crowing early in the morning and have the kids wake up to hear it. Then you could teach them a lesson of what Peter heard.
I don’t know if you’ve also caught the scene, but not only did Peter hear the cock crowing three times, but in Luke it says, “And Jesus turned and looked at Peter.” Can you imagine? That was one unbelievable look. His heart must just have been shattered.
I stopped at this chicken farm, and I went to the man. I know nothing about animals. I knew nothing about farming, but here I’m stopping at this farm. I said, “Sir, I’d like to rent a chicken. I’d like three roosters and a chicken.”
And he said, “Well, I don’t know about that. Why don’t you just get one rooster and three chickens?”
And I said, “OK, that’d be fine.”
I put them in the trunk and I went home. Did you think I put them in my car?!! I may look stupid, but I’m not doing that.
We just built a brand new home on 20 acres. It was another one of God’s miracles. It overlooks a beautiful valley and behind us, about 40 acres back, we have a 17-mile long state park, Letchworth State Park. We woke up with turkeys and deer there; we had horse trails, little streams, and little waterfalls. It was an answer to God’s miraculous provision. We had this beautiful home with nice seven-foot windows.
For some reason, Debbie did not trust me well in the early stages of our marriage. When I got out of the car and gave her the smile, she stood by the door and asked me what I was doing.
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m coming home.”
She said, “Okay.”
“I have something for you.” I opened the trunk and these things were flying everywhere. She went in, locked the door, and was not going to let me in. She said, “You get those things back in the woods or you are not coming in.”
I put them out in the back of the 20 acres and I told them to stay there. I was excited because I dreamed about waking up without an alarm clock and hearing crowing of a rooster. It is such a novelty to do something like this.
I did not set the alarm and, all of a sudden, at 2:15 A.M. it sounded like “eeeeeerrrrrrrrr!” It was the most horrifying sound! I had a defective, retarded rooster and I wanted to get my money back. Not only was it defective, but the thing was running across my lawn and down to a housing development. It was all right for me to have animals in the upper 20 acres because we were in the town line there. However, down in the village you could not be 1,200 feet near a house.
This thing was going down to the housing development and all of a sudden I was hearing it going “eeeeeerrrrrrr!” It sounded like a siren and he was in the back of people’s houses. I was out there in my pajamas and slippers (no shirt on) running in through backyards trying to grab this thing. All of a sudden, a light turned on.
The rooster jumped up on the second house’s porch in their backyard. There I was in the back of this lady’s porch without a shirt on and pajamas. Can you imagine the newspapers? It would read, “Pastor: Peeping Tom.” It jumped off the porch and I was running after this thing in the dark.
This dumb lady had a clothesline with a wire running diagonally down to the ground. I was running through her yard and I hit this thing full force. I flipped over it and ended up lying there on the ground totally unconscious. I woke up to “eeeeerrrrr!” Light after light after light was turning on throughout the whole housing development.
Finally, I got a hold of this rooster. If there are any animal activists here, I did not do this on purpose, but I held onto it as tightly as I could and it expired at about 2:45 A.M.
It didn’t work. Let God’s creatures be the teachers.
I stopped at a goat farm the following week and I figured this would be awesome. The goat is so important in Scripture because it represents Satan, for the most part. Also, if you have ever seen sheep being slaughtered, in slaughter houses they use a goat to lead sheep to slaughter. Guess what they are called. They are called Judas Goats. Yes, I love it.
I said, “This would be awesome. I will get a goat and bring it to the school the next morning and teach my kids about it.” It would be wonderful.
The pastor’s wife did not trust me, as well. I had a little problem there because she was always standing in the window of her parsonage. It was on the other end of the parking lot and at 7:30 every morning she was there; she was doing her dishes at 7:30 A.M. She was always watching to make sure I was getting there on time and it really bugged me.
I figured that the only way I was going to get a goat in there was to come early, sneak around the back, and leave the door open the night before.
Getting this goat was another story. Here I came to this goat farmer. He was an old-timer with a big wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth. I did the rent-a-goat approach and that did not work.
This is exactly what he said. He said, “You want old Billy here?”
I said, “I don’t care. A goat is a goat to me. It doesn’t matter.” I did not know there is a difference between the smell of goats and he gave me a billy goat.
I opened my trunk and he said, “You ain’t going to put him in there.”
I said, “I don’t have a truck.”
“Back seat’ll do just fine. You can put the seatbelt on, too.”
I kid you not. Here I was with a goat seat belted in the back seat of my car. Can you imagine going through town? I got about a mile down the road, got that thing out, and put it in the trunk, believe me. I tied his legs and stuck him in the trunk.
I got home and there my wife was meeting me at the front door and I had that smile on my face. She said, “What is it?”
I said, “It is just something for the kids.” She went in, closed the door, and I was locked out again. I felt like Fred Flintstone, you know? Wilma! There I was.
However, I had the whole thing planned out. I opened the back door of the church so I could get in. At 6:30 A.M. I was out there. I zoomed into the parking lot and she was not there. I thought I made it.
The goat had a bell around its neck. I went in the back side holding onto the bell. I was dragging this thing up the back stairwell. The door was open and I was safe. It is better to ask forgiveness after you have done something than to ask permission. I had this thing planned out.
I got all the way to the top of the stairs and out popped the pastor’s wife. This lady saw me do that the day before and knew I was up to something. There she was standing at the top. She saw the goat and she yelled, “Mr. Hamby!” I don’t know if you have ever seen 3,000 Milk Duds all in one place, but vroom! The goat exploded! This thing was so petrified that the Milk Duds came out! I could have repackaged them; they were perfectly round.
They did not just go down the stairs. They hit the wall; that is how forcefully these things came out. They rolled all the way down around the winding staircase, landed on the brand new rug, and I said, “You are going to clean it!” The goat did not work.
Here we go; this is the real thing. The next place I stopped was a sheep farm and I knew this would truly change my life forever.
The sheep farm was a pristine sheep farm; it was the best sheep farm I had ever seen. It was called Brooks Grove. The man who owned it was Mr. Brooks. He was a tall, slender man about 76 years old and he was from England. He had an English accent and was a unique individual.
I had three children at the time: Jonathan, Jennifer, and David. They were all under six. With David on my back I introduced myself. I said, “Mr. Brooks, I am Mark Hamby from First Baptist Church and School. I wanted to learn from a shepherd all of the wonderful lessons there are to learn about sheep so I can make the Biblical applications and teach the children.”
He said, “Son, I would love to teach you all the things I know, but under one condition. You must never tell me about your God.”
I thought, “Whoa! What happened in this man’s life that caused him to be so bitter?” I had to think for a second and I said, “Okay, I will agree to that, sir.” I hoped my life would live louder than my words and I would be able to reach him for Christ. This was one of my major goals in this. It was not just to teach the kids about the animals and Biblical application. It was also to reach people for Christ whom you would normally be unable to reach in a church.
I agreed and the very next weekend he was shearing the sheep. My children went up there with me and I had David on my back. I watched these men from Australia shear 250 sheep. One sheep would be done in 60 to 90 seconds; it was phenomenal.
I have sheep and I tried to shear sheep once. It took me two and a half hours to do the first one and he came out quite bloody. He was even missing parts afterwards. I’m tired.
As they were shearing these sheep they were making all kinds of noise. I was thinking, “This is not right! Isaiah 53 says, ‘As a sheep is dumb before its shearers, so He (meaning Christ) opened not His mouth.’ These sheep are being sheared and making all kinds of noise.”
Mr. Brooks was watching us and I said, “Mr. Brooks, do you know something? In the Bible it says that this does not happen.”
Do you know what he said to me? He said, “Mark, you do not understand your Bible very well.”
I asked, “What do you mean?”
He said, “Well, Isaiah 53 is not teaching that sheep do not make noise when they are being sheared. Isaiah 53 is talking about when Jesus was on the cross He did not resist it.” Here was an atheist telling me about the Bible and he was right.
When the sheep is put up on its hindquarters, you cock their head, and you start to shear them, they are totally paralyzed. They make all kinds of noise, but they are totally paralyzed. They do not move; they do not resist being sheared.
This is what Jesus did on the cross. He spoke seven times:
“Father, forgive them.”
“John, behold your mother.”
“Mother, behold your son.”
“It is finished.”
“Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
Jesus did not resist the cross. This was phenomenal.
Mr. Brooks had Suffolk Sheep. They were black-faced with white wool. All 250 of them were named. They heard his voice and they came to him. They could be a half a mile away and all he had to do was call, “Today! Today!” and they would come running to him. I could not believe it. I was learning what Jesus was teaching about how His sheep hear His voice and they know him.
I decided I would demonstrate this to my kids when Mr. Brooks was not around. I had his saying down perfectly: “Today! Today!” The sheep were at the barn eating, all 250 of them. I said to my kids, “Watch this; watch Daddy. Today! Today! Today!” and 250 sheep simultaneously went “Roar!” They knew I was an imposter; they knew it.
Do you want to know why they knew I was an imposter? I did not feed them. The real sheep know their master, their shepherd; he is the one that takes care of them. He feeds and protects them and they know. They will run from the hireling.
Mr. Brooks had one sheep named Buffy. She was a nuisance. She had one brown eye and one blue eye. She was a big, big sheep and she was always rubbing against his leg when he was walking.
I said, “Doesn’t that irritate you to have that sheep always rubbing against you?”
He said, “No, it is the one I love the most.”
I said, “That is exactly what Jesus said about John.” Do you remember what John was doing at the last supper? He was leaning upon Jesus breast. The disciple who was the closest was the one who was loved the most. When you realize you have been forgiven the most, you begin to love the most.
This is a life-changing statement, by the way. This is what really begins to change how we respond to other people. We begin to treat them delicately, tenderly, and gently. When we realize how much we have been forgiven, we can forgive others. This is when you start seeing people through the eyes of God.
Here was an atheist man who was teaching me these things and he did not even know it.
One day Mr. Brooks was down by the barn when the kids and I came. I noticed he had a gun in his hand and he was waving this gun up and down. I was thinking, “What in the world is going on?”
David was on my back, I had Jonathan and Jennifer, and we walked down toward the barn. I was thinking this man was going to commit suicide and I might be the only one who could stop him.
When you are in a delicate situation like this, a guy with a gun, and you have your three children with you, you have to make a very quick decision. What do you do? Do you run back to the car which was about 300 to 400 yards away and get your children to safety? Do you try to find out what is going on and try to talk him out of this?
I really did not make a snap decision. It was one of those things where we kept cautiously walking. We got about 80 feet away, then 50, and then 30. I stopped at 30 and said, “Mr. Brooks! Mr. Brooks! This is Mark! Mr. Brooks!” He did not even recognize I was even there.
He had this gun up in the air and he was yelling, “Dogs! Dogs!” He was totally out of it. We went about 20 feet away and I said, “Mr. Brooks!” and he started crying like a baby. You could see the tear marks. His face was all dirty and he had tear marks. He had been crying for a long time; I could see that.
All of a sudden he kept pointing over to the barn and he said, “Dogs! Dogs!” I could tell that he was not going to injure himself or anybody else. He was upset about something. I walked over to the back of the barn and there were about 30 of his prized sheep, including Buffy, which has been totally ripped apart by dogs.
None of them were dead. Their limbs were ripped off; jaws ripped off; ears gone. They were bleeding and bleating. Mr. Brooks was just beside himself. Here was a shepherd who would have literally given his life for his sheep. I could not have learned this in seminary. God was teaching me about being a good shepherd through this atheistic man and I could not believe it.
I saw the love that a man had toward animals, a love I had never had. Mr. Brooks looked at me and said, “Dogs. I should have been there. I should have known.”
You know, in the Bible the Apostle Paul says, “Beware of dogs.” Later on he says, “Beware of those that mutilate the flesh.”
Beware of dogs. Did you know that one dog usually will not attack a sheep? Two dogs always will. They run in packs and in the church Paul says, “Beware of dogs.” When people start talking about negative things, start talking about other people, it takes two to start tearing them down. It takes one person to say, “Hey, this is wrong. I am not going to enter into this. This is wrong.” That dog will go running.
Mr. Brooks told us, “If you ever see one of my sheep lying on its side, come and get me right away.”
I asked, “Why?”
He said, “It is a cast sheep.”
I asked, “What is a cast sheep?”
He said, “When a sheep stops having lambs it gets really heavy because it keeps gorging itself and eating thinking it is going to have more lambs. When they get on their side they cannot get up because they are too fat.
“When you see them lying down, most sheep have their legs tucked up underneath them. You have seen that, haven’t you? This is why. If they lay on their side, their feet are out and they cannot get back up. Within a few hours the poison in their intestines goes up into their brain and kills them.”
The very next Saturday after Mr. Brooks told me this, there happened to be a sheep lying on its side near the barn. Only God could have orchestrated this. I saw this sheep struggling to get up.
It was a horrible scene, very unsightly. I had my three children with me and this thing was struggling and kicking its legs, but it could not get up. I realized this had to be what Mr. Brooks was talking about the week before.
We ran up to the house, knocked on the door, and I said, “Mr. Brooks! I think you have a cast sheep down there.”
He was about 82 years old now. He ran out of the house and I could not even catch him. We got there and he already had the sheep up on its legs straddling it like a horse. The two of them were going around in a circle like a whirlwind. I tried to stop him because I thought he was going to have a heart attack.
He said, “I know what I’m doing!” and he pushed me away. The sheep stopped and they started going around the other way. It has lost its equal Librium and he was trying to restore it.
After about seven to eight minutes, it stopped and ran off with the rest of the flock. He looked at me and said, “You saved her life.”
In Deuteronomy chapter 32, Moses says, “Jerushun (a name for Israel) waxed fat and kicked.” This is a picture of Israel being a cast sheep and kicking. It is a horrible thing to see a sheep kicking and trying to get up on its feet. God warns Israel and says, “You have become cast. You kick and you are fat.” They were fat because they were no longer producing lambs. They were fat because they were no longer bearing fruit.
There are a lot of Christians today sitting in church pews getting fed over and over again and not producing anything. God says, “Beware lest you become a cast away and good for nothing; you eat and eat.”
I had a sheep like that. He was good for nothing; eats all my food without producing anything. They do not even realize it.
God had called me to move on and to become more skillful in His Word. I knew I had to go to seminary and leave the church and the school we were in. I left at the very pinnacle of ministry success. It was unbelievable and God had to teach me some more lessons that I was not ready for.
We said good-bye to family and friends and I said good-bye to Mr. Brooks. I said, “Mr. Brooks, I am going to be leaving for a long time. I do not know if I will ever see you again. Mr. Brooks, nine years ago we had an agreement. I would love to be able to tell you about the Great Shepherd. Would you allow me to do that?”
He said, “Mark, that agreement that we had nine years ago still stays. I do not want to know anything about your God.”
I had an alternate plan. I had a book by Philip Keller: A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. By the way, how many of you have read this? It is a must read for everybody. It is the best book my wife and I have ever read together. (It is the only book my wife and I have ever read together.) It is a great book, though. If you want to see Psalm 23 in a majestic way, it is just awesome.
I had this book and I asked, “Would you be willing to read this?”
He said, “I’ll read it.” I put a Gospel tract in it and I said, “Just read this at your leisure and I think you will really enjoy it.”
We went to seminary and at Thanksgiving time I called my mom to say hello. She said, “I have some bad news for you. Mr. Brooks is dying of cancer.”
I called him immediately and the nurse answered. She said, “I’m sorry, he is in a coma.”
I said, “Ma’am, there is a book on his bookshelf. Would you see if you can find it?” She did and I said, “There is a Gospel tract inside of it. Would you read that to him, if he awakens?”
She said, “I can really sense the earnestness of your voice and I will do that.”
I called the next morning and she said, “I’m sorry. Mr. Brooks died around 2:00 A.M.” and I was so mad at God. I spent nine years of my life building a bridge into this man’s life. He taught me so many lessons about the Word of God and sheep! I remember pounding the table that morning and saying, “God, how could the enemy win?”
I was beside myself. For a good week or two I was just mad at God. How could the enemy win like that? I will tell you, we can let missed opportunities slip away so easily.
I went home for Christmas and we had a Christmas party at my aunt’s house. The pastor was there from the local Baptist church; he always attends that party. I do not know him really well, but he kept staring at me. I cannot stand to have people staring at me.
I went to the other room and he followed me, still staring at me. I asked Betty, “Would you get this guy away from me?” Finally he cornered me in the kitchen. We went through all the small talk, things like, “How are you doing? How was your year at school? Good. Leave me alone,” and so on.
Finally he said, “Did you call Mr. Brooks up around Thanksgiving time?”
I said, “Yeah, how did you know that?”
He said, “Did you give him the book by Philip Keller?”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “Did you put a Gospel tract inside it?”
I said, “No more questions. What is this all about?”
He said, “Two weeks before he died I led him to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.” Can you imagine? The second person I get to see is Mr. Brooks. The first will be Jesus, the second will be Mr. Brooks, the third person is Coach Jack; the fourth person is Jim (53:42), the drunk that guy I gave Gospel tracts to. I am so excited.
All of a sudden, God started to give us this wonderful opportunity and we started to raise sheep.
In closing, allow me to tell you this last story. It was not easy. Earlier you heard that my sheep hated me and I hated my sheep, but it took me about seven years to figure out that my sheep really needed someone to lead, feed, and protect them and they really saw that.
All of a sudden, my sheep started to love me, hear my voice, and follow me. This is really an amazing thing, to be able to go anywhere and know that your sheep will follow you and not go astray; it is an awesome sensation.
I had to learn some very, very hard lessons in raising these sheep that loved and trusted me. One was that you need to cut the tails off of domestic sheep. I always was bothered by the fact that doctors took my tonsils out when I was seven years old. God made my tonsils and they had no right to take them. These days, you do not take tonsils out unless they are so shot that they have to be removed.
I thought, “The tails are there and God made them. Why does everyone cut them off?” and I decided to do an experiment. I left all of the tails on one time in the lambs run, but burrs were building up on their tails and finally I got sick of it. I cut all of their tails off, but I thought I would leave one on.
This little lamb’s tail got to be this big; I am not kidding you. It was filled with burrs, feces, and who knows what else. It got so large and heavy that it turned into a solid mass almost like concrete and the lamb was dragging this thing around.
I finally said, “This is enough. This experiment has gone too far.” I knew I would have to sear it, cut it, and cauterize it. I will tell you what. I went down there the next morning to cauterize this thing and cut it off and the lamb was lying dead in the feed bin. It broke my heart because I caused it.
As soon as I saw it I remembered Hebrews chapter 12: “The sin which does so easily beset us.”
“Lay aside every weight, the sin which does so easily beset us.” That little tail in domestic sheep accumulates all of that stuff. With mountain sheep, there are no burrs up there; they do not collect them in their tails. This is why the little lambs need a shepherd.
I started learning some lessons like that the hard way. I started to learn that a newborn babe desires the sincere milk of the Word. If they do not get that colostrum, they will die or they will be weak for the rest of their life. This is why parents need to be skillful in the Word of God that they may grow thereby.
Do you know what the word “sincere” means? It means “lack of a pacifier or a hairline fracture.” If you let a child grow up on a pacifier, they will not live long. God says it is the same with His Word. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word…”
The Word of God is the most important thing in our lives. Actually, the most important is the God of the Word and then the Word of God.
I started bringing children to the farm and teaching them all of these lessons. We were excited. We started bringing homeschooled kids and Christian school kids.
This one time I wanted to bring a group of 5th and 6th grade kids from a church and I was the teacher. I could not wait to teach this class because Andrew was in this class. I saw little Andrew from Kindergarten all the way up to fourth grade being totally abused by his teachers. He was always out in the hall because he was bad in some way and the teachers could not handle him, so they threw him out.
I thought, “These dumb teachers; what is wrong with them? I am a master teacher and I will have Andrew eating out of the palm of my hand.” Andrew had problems, yes. He was ADD, BDD, ZDD, and all the other Ds you can possibly imagine.
Here was Andrew. I was an eclectic kind of teacher and I was going to teach Andrew out of the five senses. He was going to touch, taste, handle, see, and smell. I was going to have audio tapes, visuals, and we were going to do drama skits; it was going to be awesome. I was a master teacher.
In my first class with Andrew, as I was teaching he was up writing on the board with a Magic Marker; you cannot erase it. I brought him out in the hall and said, “Andrew, we do not do this in this class. Honey, I have some great things for you that God has prepared in my heart and you are going to love it. Let’s go back and sit down and I want you to listen.”
I got in there and Andrew started standing behind the kids and tipping their chairs over backwards; someone was going to get hurt. I brought him out to the hall and squeeze his trapezius muscle.
I said, “Andrew, you are not going to do that anymore, okay? I am Mr. Hamby, the master teacher. Don’t you know that?”
I went back in and Andrew started crawling under all of the kids’ chairs tying their shoelaces together. I could not teach a thing. I brought him out in the hall and I squeezed hard. I am talking about child abuse.
“Andrew, you are not going to do this in my room anymore. Do you understand this?” Finally I got his attention; I got through that class and it was awful.
The following Sunday we were bringing 21 kids and all the parents to the farm. This was being videotaped for a potential curriculum some day. We were going to go through a series of lessons and I was thinking, “This is $90 an hour. I am not going to let Andrew come there and mess it up.”
I told Andrew he was going to come on Monday by himself; it was going to be a private lesson. I told his parents he was going to go with the 3rd and 4th grade class on Sunday and all of a sudden God interfered and said, “Mark, do you love Me?”
“I love You.”
“Then feed My lambs.”
“I am going to feed Andrew. I’m going to feed him on Monday.” I called the parents up and said, “Have Andrew ready. He is going to come with us.”
We got in the van and arrived at the farm. Andrew got out of the van and guess what happened. My dog jumped into his lap, knocked him over, and for the next two hours the two of them sat there and he cuddled that dog caressing him. He never said a word.
It was instinct. God has made those dogs with instinct. This is why God made Adam name the animals first. I think children ought to be surrounded with animals. They teach responsibility and so many different things. They teach depth, love, responsibility, and sacrifice.
I brought the kids there, I was going through all the lessons, and they were learning all these wonderful things. We had some newborn lambs and the kids were cuddling them. They stuck their fingers in the lambs’ mouths and they were sucking on them. It is really warm and soft. There is nothing like holding a newborn lamb. It is just an incredible experience.
I reached the part I love the most about sacrifice. It teaches the kids a powerful lesson. You take a little lamb and put it in front of the kids. You say to the kids, “Listen, if Mr. Hamby does not cut its throat, you kids will go to Hell. Would you let me do that?”
All the kids yelled, “No! No way! You are holding it too tight!”
I whipped the knife out and made it a dramatic scene. I said, “We’re just going to pretend.” Some of the girls were getting upset and some of the parents did not look very happy with me. This thing was being videotaped and I was smiling.
I said, “I am not going to hurt this thing; I would never hurt this thing. Listen, let’s just pretend that you lived in Old Testament times and unless this happened you would go to Hell.”
The response was, “No!” 21 times. One of the girls started crying because I was holding the head of the lamp too tightly and another girl next to her started crying. I was looking at the parents for some help and they had turned their heads and were not looking at me.
I said, “Listen, kids, you are going to go to Hell and burn in flames forever and ever if I do not pretend to do this.” None of them were cooperating and I couldn’t believe it. We had to cut the scene and I had to do it over with another group of kids. It was $90 down the drain.
We went into another lesson and ten minutes later Andrew raised his hand. Andrew never raised his hand. He had tears in his eyes. I asked, “What is wrong, Andrew?”
He looked at me and at the rest of the kids and he said, “I will let you sacrifice the lamb.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. This little boy with all of his difficulties was processing this for ten minutes: “Would you let me sacrifice the lamb so that your sins could be forgiven?”
He was thinking this through and he was thinking that this little lamb was his key to go to heaven. All of a sudden with tears in his eyes he had his hand raised for the first time in his life and he said, “I will let you do it.”
All of a sudden, it was like there was silence in heaven for a moment. Everyone there knew exactly what was happening. Something eternal was going on at that moment. It was almost like the angels were just standing there with their swords drawn. Everyone was pausing. The fight stopped between good and evil and there was a pause.
All of the other 21 kids were crying because they knew what was going on with Andrew. All the parents were crying; I was crying. I said, “Andrew, I do not have to sacrifice this little lamb. The Lamb of God has already come and taken away the sins of the world and your sins. You are already forgiven. You just need to receive him as your Lord and Savior, the Lamb of God.”
A great big smile broke out on his face. It was almost like, “Oh, that’s great.” Three weeks later Andrew and his family were in a car accident. No one was seriously injured, but they had settlement. Do you know what little Andrew said? He said, “Mom and Dad, can you take that money and send me to the Christian school?” That is where Andrew went.
Do you know something? They did not know they had a little lamb. He’s not there anymore; he is back in public school. However, he is a little lamb.
I have been asking tens of thousands of people to pray for Andrew and I ask you. There is a little lamb out there that is wandering and no one understands him. He needs help. I figure if I can get about 100,000 people to pray for him, God will hear it. You pray for Andrew.
The Lamb of God has come to take away the sins of the world. Folks, thank you so much for listening. God bless you.