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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cumberland County PA farm
Cumberland County PA farm scene

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"Stirring Up Sincere Minds"

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles" (2 Peter 3:1,2). "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).

1 Corinthians 13 coffee mugs
Throughout this day we will be inundated with a variety of stimulants. Brooksyne and I both enjoys drinking coffee as we prepare these messages each morning which stimulates the wake-up zone of our brains and may even stir us up a bit. (Editor's Note: As we made our early chaplain calls this morning Stephen was quite cheerful and a bit animated which prompted one of my lady friends to ask, "Did Stephen drink too much coffee this morning?" to which I responded "Yes!")

We have the coffee ready to go in the morning when we awaken at 5:00 AM and only need to push the "on" button. There's just something motivating you to get on with your day in the morning when you smell a fresh pot of coffee brewing, or as the commercial goes, "The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!"

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 with much of it appealing to the sinful nature. Listening to the news can provide a stirring up or stimulus for a provocation of the flesh (stress, fear and anger), if we're not careful. The Apostle John calls these stimulants, "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life" (1 John 2:16).

But today let us consider a positive spiritual stimulant. Peter provides a very concise purpose statement for his letter, "I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder."
The NIV translates this phrase, "stimulate you to wholesome thinking."  This describes what we seek to do in these daily encouragement messages.

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 this word and it is done so in a figurative sense.

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, "Will it ever end? What's the use! What is one voice among so many?" A spiritual sleep will soon follow such a mindset if we fail to receive a spiritually oriented stimulation from God's truth. For examples of those who experienced such a falling away from the faith see II Peter 2, especially vv, 20-22.

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 outlook and action today!

The Precept online commentary makes this point, "The modern evangelical church in the new millennium (2000 and counting), is in grave danger of stepping off of the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16, Isaiah 35:8) especially as it seeks to "emerge" from the tried and true old paths (consider the Lord's words to Israel in Jeremiah 18:15 - things have not changed much because man's heart is still as deceitful as ever Jeremiah 17:9)."

Peter wants this stimulant to be "by way of reminder". The phrase "by way of reminder" seems to mean more as you get older but remembering established truth is always important. Peter elaborates on what we are to remember, "that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles."

In his first letter Peter wrote, "So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have" (1 Peter 1:12). In 2 Timothy 2:14 Paul wrote to Timothy in regard to his ministry, "Remind them of these things." In an age when "new" is especially valued we need to see the importance of old as well!

"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).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we need our minds stirred up by those things which are true, honorable, right and pure. Stimulate our minds to wholesome thinking as we consider Your Word which not only purifies us within, but also guides us as we develop godly character. Help us to maintain a teachable heart that is open to a new perspective on ancient truth but is also blessed when we receive the reminders of truths well established in our life. Remind us often that our words and actions give us opportunity to bring You glory as we reflect Your image. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Last night we attended a picnic in Cumberland County, PA with fellow ministers from our area whom we do not often see. We were so blessed to visit with Jim Herbert and his family. We worked with Jim in chaplaincy about ten years ago and then lost contact due to both of us leaving the company we worked with at that time. It's always a blessing to see a fellow believer keeping on in service for the Lord!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Ancient Words"  Video  Michael W. Smith

"Teach Me Thy Way O Lord"
  Video  Maranatha Singers

"The Mind Of Christ"
  Video  Jody McBrayer

"The Only Thing That Matters"  Video  Jody McBrayer

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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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