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Monday, June 15, 2009

Petunias on bike

These colorful petunias covered an old bike at a roadside flower stand we drove by Saturday here in Lancaster County.

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"A Stimulant to Wholesome Thinking"

"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking" (2 Peter 3:1).

Coffee cupToday each of us will be inundated with a variety of stimulations. I'm drinking a cup of coffee as I prepare this message and that's a stimulant! The word "stimulate" often has a negative or fleshy connotation. As we get out and interface with the world we will face various types of stimulation; much of it appealing to the sinful nature. 

Road rageJust driving the car to work in heavy traffic often provides stimulus for provocation of the flesh, if we're not careful, as we may be a recipient of road rage.  The Apostle John calls these stimulations "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life" (1 John 2:16).

Peter provides a very concise purpose statement for his letter, "to stimulate you to wholesome thinking."  This describes what we seek to do in these daily encouragements and what we want you to pass on to others.  Each of us make
decisions daily and regularly face various challenges often surrounded by negative stimulation. 

But we, like Peter, want to "stimulate you to wholesome thinking."  The KJV translates this phrase "stir up your pure minds."  There are two Greek words used in the phrase that bear a little more examination.  The word for stimulate or stir up is "diegeiro", which is normally used for awakening from physical sleep when used in the Gospels.  It conveys "awakening thoroughly, through and through."  2 Peter is the only epistle that uses it and it is done so in a figurative sense.

We believe participation in church is a great way to be stirred up and hopefully many of you were stirred up yesterday.   But the dulling, numbing, soul-slumbering influence of the world is very pervasive. The world's steady rhythmic blasting of Christian tenets can weary the believer to the point of feeling "What's the use?  What's one voice among so many?"  A spiritual sleep will soon follow such a mindset.  Today let this brief word stir you up!  Hide God's Word deep in your heart, let it pervade your mind, and move you into wholesome action this day!

Peter wants to stimulate us to wholesome thinking so let's consider the word, "wholesome".  The word "pure" can be interchanged with wholesome. The Greek word,"eilikrines" used for wholesome and pure is used elsewhere by Paul in Philippians 1:10, "that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ". 

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Philippians 4:8). Piety and true morality are inseparable. "Piety is love with its face toward God; morality is love with its face toward man" (Brown Commentary). May these virtuous qualities as listed by the apostle Paul be a wholesome stimulant to our hearts and minds this day!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, those things which are true, honorable, right and pure stimulate us to wholesome thinking which not only purifies us within, but adhering to them also purifies that which is around us as we stimulate toward godly character.  Remind us often that our words and actions give us opportunity to bring You glory as we reflect Your image.  In Jesus' name, 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.)

"Meditate On These Things"  Philippians 4:8
from the Integrity Scripture Memory series. To listen to this song open here and then click "play".

Actually the entire "Renewing Your Mind" album is appropriate!

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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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