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Monday, February 21, 2011

Tufted tiftmouse
Brooksyne placed some old cornbread in the planter outside our office window for her bird friends. This tufted titmouse has really had quite an appetite for this special treat!

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"Like Newborn Babies"

"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).

Today's message was prompted by an interesting experience yesterday in our church. Apparently young people are now taught to care for babies in school (part of a well-rounded education I suppose). They have life-like computerized babies that student "mothers" are to care for.  They are programmed to cry when they have a "need". This may be due to hunger or a diaper need.

Computerized training babies
Well, yesterday for the first time in my 35 years of ministry we had a crying computer baby in our service. During the first part of the service the "baby" rested peacefully in the infant carrier but suddenly awoke and started crying. Since the "mother" was on our worship team the grandmother promptly took the "baby" to the nursery to feed it (I am not sure whether it was a boy or girl). I learned that these "babies" can sense when they're being bottle fed and they stop crying since the act of placing the bottle in its mouth quenches the baby's appetite.

The Apostle Peter has a powerful word for all believers in today's passage.  Peter draws a poignant comparison between the appetite of a newborn baby for its mother's milk and the appetite of the believer for the nourishment of God's Word.

Peter uses this figurative language to give readers the mental picture of infants craving nourishment. Anyone who has been a parent or even been around babies knows how newborn babies vocally and vigorously express their desire to be fed when they are hungry. In fact, newborn babies act as if their life depends on the next feeding, an attitude that should be true of believers, for Jesus Himself stated that... "Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

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."

This verse could be interpreted as referring to believers who have only recently been born again into the family of God by grace through faith. Certainly for many this is a time of great spiritual appetite. The alternative interpretation, and one that I prefer, is that all believers are to be considered like infants in the sense that they are always in need of and totally dependent upon the pure milk of God's Word.

Heber and MarvinAppetite can be both good and bad. We once cared for Heber, 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. What's more we really fattened him up as can be seen on the photo to the right! (Heber is the younger child.)

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. Hopefully we can all testify to times of intense hunger where each word of the Scriptures seems to jump off the page.

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 Lindsey's restaurant near Cape Cod or a big platter of burnt ends at Snead's Barbecue south of Kansas City, Missouri.

However as we grow older in our walk and become more familiar with spiritual realities many will testify to a declining spiritual appetite. 
Thoughts cross our minds such as "I've read that Scripture passage many times" or "I've heard the Pastor speak on that topic already". We may deal with a fluctuating spiritual appetite. Wouldn't it be great to have a bottle of "holy ointment" to stimulate our spiritual appetite!

Spiritual hunger is a vital sign of spiritual health.  Peter is referring to the Word of God.  This is the prime means of spiritual growth.  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 spiritual appetite?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Jesus, You stated in the beatitudes that "blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." In partaking from Your never-ending supply it becomes a perpetual source of life-giving nourishment. 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.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Speak, O Lord"
 Video  Kristyn Getty  We sang this song yesterday prior to the message. This version also posts the lyrics.

Here's another version live in a church.  Video  The introduction by Keith Getty is well worth listening to.

Yes there really is a Lindsey's Restaurant near Cape Cod and a Snead's BBQ west of Belton, Missouri (south of Kansas City).

Mike Weber at Snead's BBQ in Belton Missouri
Note regarding KC BBQ: Technically barbecue is meat slowly roasted in a pit with a wood fire, although many use the term for grilling meats on charcoal and even a gas grill. Although we once went to a restaurant in New England that called it BBQ by merely pouring some barbecue sauce over the meat. (An insult to a connoisseur  of fine BBQ from Kansas City!)

Burnt ends (also known as "brownies") refer to the very charred end pieces of the barbecued beef brisket.

I am sure my perspective is subjective, but Kansas City is the place for great BBQ! Here's an article.

The photo at the right shows my brother Mike pointing to the famous Snead's sign!

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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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