Friday, February 14, 2014

February 9, 2014   

Today's Photograph . . . . For The Next Two Hours We Followed As Those Two Dogs Found All Twenty Birds (Adam S))
Bible Study Verses
James 2:14-18
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (NIV)

Mark 2:1-5
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (NIV)

Several years back the breeder that I get my English Setters from invited me to go on a hunt with him. He had a dog that was being worked by a trainer in preparation for a field trial. We grabbed another one of his dogs and one of mine and headed for the hills. It was a beautiful location and a beautiful day.

The trainer set out twenty bobwhite quail and we got ready for the show. The hotshot dog was turned out and proceeded to run about a half mile in a straight line away from the truck and then straight back. If he smelled a bird he sure didn't tell us about it.

Dumbfounded, we loaded the dog back into the kennel and wondered what business he had going to a field trial. 

We put out the second dog, a young dog that was new to the hunting game and he didn't do much, but did make some attempts at doing what he was bred to do.   
In a little bit I grabbed my dog. Now, OP wasn't a formerly trained dog, but she had a nose that wouldn't quit and could glide over the grass and find birds. 

The breeder was going to load his second dog into a kennel when I told him to wait and see what would happen. Well, OP very quickly hammered a point. We got the bird and then she did it again. But, this time the young dog backed her. The next bird OP found had two dogs pointing it in the grass. For the next two hours we followed as those two dogs found all twenty birds.   

Now, the point is this, the trained dog was supposed to be good at finding birds, but he wasn't. He is a well-bred Setter, but he wasn't doing what he was born to do. One would have wondered if he was, indeed, a bird dog. But, the two untrained dogs, well, they proved that they were bird dogs by finding birds!  

Oh, by the way, the trained dog, two weeks later he went to the field trial and placed second against some tough competition. I guess even bird dogs can have an off day now and then! 
(Cliff S)

Action Point
The men in the story from the passage in Mark already had faith in Jesus and believed that Jesus could heal their friend. But, they demonstrated their faith to Jesus and everybody in the room by tearing a hole in the roof and letting their paralyzed friend down into the room, believing that Jesus would heal the man.

The passage in Mark says that Jesus "saw their faith," forgave the man's sins, then, a few verses later, healed him. In my mind, this passage in Mark is the clearest example of what James is talking about in today's first passage. We aren't saved by our deeds or works, we are saved when we put our faith in Jesus. But, we demonstrate our faith to those around us by the deeds that we do because of our faith. Faith comes first, then the works.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
It often helps to hunt a young dog with a veteran hunting dog. The young dog will usually follow the experienced dog around and learn what is going on. It doesn't take long for the younger dog to figure out the game and be finding birds on his own. But, be patient with young dogs, they will make mistakes. Be reassuring and help them to learn what you want them to do through positive reinforcement when you can, and discipline when it becomes necessary. Hey, that sounds a lot like Christians!