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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dairy barn art
Lancaster County barnart

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"Pure Spiritual Milk"

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good"  (1 Peter 2:2,3).

One of the joys of driving through the country is barn-art; large mural-like painting on barns. Yesterday I passed a large dairy farm and spotted today's photo. When I saw the huge image it stirred up a craving for some milk and later that afternoon I stopped by a Sonic drive-in for a vanilla malted milkshake!

Many years ago I recall an ad for a toothpaste that claimed to have a very unique quality.  Apart from brushing your teeth it claimed that after you brushed your tongue with this special toothpaste it would decrease your appetite.  Now for anyone having a hardy appetite, this just sounds like something I may need!

Appetite can be both good and bad.  We once cared for a little boy from Guatemala who had a very serious heart disease.  When Heber came to our home he was 18 months old but weighed only 13 pounds. He was diagnosed with a condition known as "failure to thrive" and had very little appetite.  He was so physically weak he couldn't even sit up on his own.  Thank God he improved dramatically following heart surgery.  We had the pleasure of returning him to his family in Guatemala in much better condition than when he came to us.

Spiritual appetite is an issue we deal with regularly as Christians. There are phases when our appetite is great.  When the things of God are new to us we just can't seem to get enough. There are times of intense hunger where each word of the Scriptures seems to jump off the page.  However as we grow older in our walk and become more familiar with spiritual realities many will testify to a declining appetite.  "I've read that Scripture passage many times" or "I've heard the Pastor speak on that topic already" are but a couple of thoughts that might cross our minds.

The Apostle Peter has a powerful word for all believers in today's passage.  A healthy newborn has a ravenous appetite.  We had guests for dinner last night who have a three month old baby.  We were enjoying our dinner together when all of a sudden baby Veah let her mom and dad know she was hungry (it didn't go without our notice either, as was her intent.)   Peter calls his readers to have this same appetite for "pure spiritual milk" ("sincere milk of the Word" in the KJV).  The underlying Greek word translated "crave" means "to intensely crave, to desire greatly."

Frankly, I know what this craving means when it comes to physical food.  I can picture in my mind a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder at Lyndsey's restaurant near Cape Cod or a big platter of burnt ends at Arthur Bryant's Barbecue in Kansas City.

I also know what it means spiritually, but admittedly deal with a fluctuating spiritual appetite. Wouldn't it be great to have a bottle of "holy ointment" to stimulate our spiritual appetite!

Newborn calfThis is calving season.  I assisted the farmer in delivering the calf in this photo, which was taken right after the calf was born.  Moments after birth this newborn calf desired milk; a positive sign of the calf's good health.  A lack of desire to nurse signals a serious problem.

Spiritual hunger is a vital sign of spiritual health as well.  Peter illustrates this hunger with the analogy of a newborn baby and their craving for milk.  But he speaks of craving "pure spiritual milk."  I believe he is referring to the Word of God.  This is the prime means of spiritual growth.  It seems to me that Peter is making this appeal to all believers not just new ones.  Whether we're new in our faith or have walked with the Lord for many years, like newborn babies we are to crave spiritual milk.

How's your appetite?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, enable us, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to hunger and thirst for the pure Word of God that feeds the soul.  May our desires for worldly wisdom diminish as our desires for the eternal truths of Your Holy Word increase.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  As I edited Stephen's work today I noted that he sneaked in a vanilla malt yesterday.  He's been trying to account for his physical appetite these days and it appears he gave into his physical cravings yesterday.  It's rather interesting as to how his illustration got him into a little confession session with his editor today.

Two songs that relate to today's message.

We are hungry

Hungry A local church version

Visitors to our home yesterday

Bill Hoke
Bill Hoke, a friend from CBMC (Christian Business Men's Committee), dropped by yesterday with sub sandwhiches to share for lunch. Bill and I have been friends since 2001 shortly after we moved to this area and we share a common commitment to Christ and His cause.

Matt, Shannin and Veah
Matt and Shannin are friends we met several years ago in our corporate chaplain role. They dropped in to have dinner with us last night and to introduce us to their new beautiful daughter, Veah, who was born in February.  We rejoice in the way God is working in their lives.  Several years ago they came to our home and made a commitment to follow in the ways of the Lord.  After attending church with us for several months they got connected to a church in their own area.  God has blessed them abundantly and we sure do treasure their friendship.

For what it's worth here's information but about the appetite suppressing toothpaste mentioned in today's message!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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