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Friday, June 12, 2009

Red geraniums in barrel
Red geraniums on an Amish farm in eastern Lancaster County.

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"Training Our Spiritual Senses"

"For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13,14).

Child eating dirt

Have you ever eaten dirt? Well most of us probably have or possibly something even more disgusting or dangerous during our younger years. Infants and toddlers tend to stick things in their mouths that we adults disapprove of. 

Bill & ZacharyRecently our friend Bill and 13 month Zachary were enjoying the outdoors. Bill got distracted for a moment and when he turned his attention back to Zachary he caught him with a worm in his mouth.  Bill moved quickly and was able to rescue the baby, not necessarily the worm! To his mother's relief Zach did not swallow the worm!

Children learn what is acceptable and unacceptable through their experiences in life. Essentially they are training their senses, most often with the help of their mom and dad, during the early years.  They often do things that come natural to their immature way of thinking, though not always safe.

I vaguely recall the time I stuck marbles up into my nose and then was unable to get them out.  Mom took me to Dr. Tracy and, to the best of my knowledge, he retrieved them all. I learned from that uncomfortable experience not to stick objects up my nose!  Through my foolish act, one among many I'm sure, I was training my senses.

This is a great lesson we all need to be learning as we mature in our walk with Christ. God's will is that we "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable" (1 Thessalonians 4:3,4).

Growing leads to maturity as we progress from the milk stage to the solid food stage, using the analogy of Hebrews 5. There are three aspects in the latter part of the daily Scripture portion that provides a solid foundation for the maturing Christian's pursuit of righteousness:

1) "Because of practice" – Practice describes the steady day by day, week by week type of maturing that takes place as we partake of God's Word both individually in our personal study and corporately in church and other group settings. The specific word for "practice" means, "the condition has been produced by past exercise and is then the habitual or normal condition."

2) "Have their senses trained" – This translates the Greek "gumnazo" from which we get the words gymnasium or gymnastics and refers to exercising our senses. The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to "train yourself to be godly" (1 Timothy 4:7). This indicates our personal responsibility. God continues to reward those who earnestly seek Him, His Kingdom and His righteousness (see Hebrews 11:6 and Matthew 6:33).

3) "To discern good from evil" – This is the sense of discernment which means to thoroughly separate and distinguish. We live in this world and must interface with all kinds of people.  As a result we are confronted daily with good and evil.  Increasingly there is much confusion as to what is good and what is evil since our generation reflects  the Bible period described by Isaiah in Israelite history as he warned his hearers, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness..." (Isaiah 5:20).  We must ever be sensitive to the Spirit so that He will lead us in this ongoing process of learning and practicing discernment. We must be solidly grounded in the Scriptures and adhere to sound theology to discern good from evil.

Let us continue to pursue the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and offer up to Him our holy lives as our spiritual worship. (See Romans 12:1.)

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the Word declares that those who are mature in their walk with You are those who've repeatedly made hard choices. They've come up against the tempter time after time and because of their spiritual training have said "No" to ungodly behavior and ungodly attitudes, to temporary pleasures that leave unending regret. You continue to train our senses to instantly know that which is good and that which is evil as we adhere to Your standards of righteousness, as modeled and written in Scripture.   Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Lead Me, O Lord"  Psalm 5:1-3, 8,12  
from the Integrity Scripture Memory series. If you care to listen to this song open here and then click "play".

"Show Me Your Ways O Lord"  Psalm 25:4,5 & 86:11 from the Integrity Scripture Memory series. If you care to listen to this song open here and then click "play".

Yesterday we shared a photo of a pink rose along with this line
from a hymn "...while the dew is still on the roses."  That hymn is, as every reader who responded correctly noted, "In The Garden".  Brooksyne will be singing that beloved hymn along with many others at the hymn sing she leads today where many residents will join her at the Assisted Living Facility mentioned in yesterday's message.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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