Don’t Forget the Milk!


I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:

for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

1 Corinthians 3:2

Milk and meat—Paul uses these two food groups to describe different levels of Biblical learning: milk represents the baby steps and meat, the larger lessons which require bigger leaps of faith.

So, what are the milk steps of faith?  Well, obviously, the Christian life begins with the step of salvation, and although it is the first step, it is by no means a small one!  Salvation takes a giant leap away from the world and puts the believer into a whole new world—God’s world!  Yes, this is my Father’s world, but the world system is certainly the devil’s domain!  Salvation puts us on a lifelong path with our Savior, Jesus Christ. But what are the other baby milk steps?  So glad you asked!

Baptism is the next milk-step, and it isn’t for babies!  🙂 Baptism is a beautiful picture of salvation.  When a pastor meets a person of faith in the waters of baptism, that person stands before the congregation demonstrating what Christ did for him on the cross: Jesus died, was buried, and then arose from the dead, hence the need of water!

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:

that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,

even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

Does a person need to be baptized in order to go to heaven?  I hope not, or Jesus lied to the thief on the cross!  You don’t have to be baptized for salvation, just for obedience! …  it’s God’s way, and His way is always best.

Church membership—it’s not a man-made invention; it is God’s plan as well.  Today, the trend is to throw out traditional “organized religion,” and I can understand why as I listen to some of the stories of what goes on in some churches.  However, as the old saying goes: You don’t throw out the basket of apples because of a few rotten ones!  Why be a member of a local, Bible-preaching church? There are lots of reasons: commitment, fellowship, accountability, obedience, but most of all—the love of Jesus Christ.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is;

but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

Why would believers want to yoke up with God’s children?  Well, they aren’t perfect, but as another saying goes: If you ever find a perfect church, don’t join it or it won’t be perfect anymore! You don’t have to join a church … but it’s God’s way, and His way is always best.

“Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow!”  Milk.  Reading God’s Word is milk.  Talking to God in prayer is milk. They are both basic building blocks to having a successful Christian walk.  So often we try EVERYTHING under the sun to get close to God or to get answers to our problems except the one thing that really works: READ your Bible!!! Get your two best friends—a pen and paper—and dig in to the Bible!  Oh, it’s good stuff!  It’s the stuff heroes are made of.  And talking to God should be as natural as breathing.  The other day, I was putting away dishes and I almost dropped a glass.  The first words from my mouth were, “Thank you, God.”  Does He guide my hands even when drying dishes?  Well, if He sees the sparrow fall, I’d say, “Yes,” and “Praise the Lord!”

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?

and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  Matthew 10:29

You don’t have to read your Bible or pray … but it’s God’s way of communicating with you, and His way is always best.

Don’t forget the milk.  Heaven forbid that a Christian be lactose intolerant!!! A baby Christian is never born that way, but week after week of neglecting the milk can create this horrific situation!  Obedience … you don’t have to be obedient, but it’s God’s way, and His way is always best!

  Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

as in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

1 Samuel 15:22

Bow the Knee

Mocking_of_Jesus

Bowing the knee before Jesus may conjure up in your mind one of several images of someone in the Bible; and if you Google the phrase, you’d be surprised at what comes up! Perhaps blind Bartimaeus, or the woman with an issue of blood, or the disciples came to your mind–certainly, they are just a few that physically bowed and worshiped our Lord.

Mark 15:19 says that they bowed the knee and worshiped Him–a beautiful picture until we read the beginning of the verse: Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him;and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. 

When we see the whole picture, our heart aches.

Mocking_of_JesusAs we approach the most important date on the Christian calendar, it would be good for us to pause and reflect.  How long has it been since I literally bowed my knee to Jesus?  How often do I get on my knees and confess my sins to my Savior, for that IS truly an act of worship? When was the last time that I spent a “sweet hour of prayer” with Him–the One who suffered so much for me?

Do I come into His house to truly worship?  Where is my heart?  Is it on the crowd?  Am I thinking more about what I’m wearing or what someone else is wearing than on worshiping Jesus?  And did I really even think about what to wear as I came to His house of prayer to worship the “High King of Heaven?”  I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus?

As I read Mark fifteen this morning, my heart was broken, because I realize how often my heart is not worshipful. Webster defines worship as:

  1. the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshiping God or a god
  2. excessive admiration for someone

Respect, love, prayer, believing, and excessive admiration.  Those all take time and thought, and so often that is what is missing from our worship. Just a few more questions which I need to ask and answer in my heart:

RESPECT: How do I show respect to my God and Savior as I approach Him?  Amazingly, He WANTS us to approach Him, to know Him (John 17:3).  Admiration, deference, esteem, reverence, veneration,  and high opinion are all synonyms for respect. So, perhaps the question would be: Is my worship thoughtful and focused on God?

LOVE: Love is a choice, act of the will. That may sound heartless in light of the world’s definition and expressions of love, but it lasts and it will be genuine!  I choose to love my Lord, although it was not a hard choice to make!  A lust for blood and a wicked heart drove the Roman soldier to mockingly worship Jesus and bow his knee.  May an overwhelming desperation to express my love and gratitude drive me to my knees in worship!

PRAYER: Working with children teaches me SO much!  Repeatedly, I tell them that even though I am saying the words, God wants all our hearts to be praying together.  That’s a lot for a child to understand.  That’s hard for adults to understand and do!  It takes concentration.  Does your mind wander as the preacher is praying?  Take heart, we all are in that boat!  Continually strive to plug in and take part.  A worship service is not a staged production put together to entertain.  That’s why I have issues with clapping.  When I’ve played an offertory, or sung a special with my heart tuned to worship God, I love hearing a heartfelt “Amen,” which is a statement of agreement, and not applause for performance–I’m not performing, I’m worshiping. Now some may be able to “clap” their praise to God–I just haven’t got there yet! 🙂

BELIEVE:  Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Oh, how I can relate to this father!  How many of my disappointments, angst, fears, struggles, frustrations are all because of my unbelief?  How much more would my Father do if I only believed?   But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.(22)  Can God or God can?  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (23)  I can’t say it any better than that!

EXCESSIVE ADMIRATION: Excessive makes it sound like it’s too much, like too much ketchup or Parmesan cheese!  Can we be too excessive or extravagant in our admiration for the One who suffered even mocking worship for me?  And what would excessive admiration look like? I bet it would fill our churches with ardent worshipers, fill our mouths with constant praise, and overwhelm our hearts with gratitude.  It might even overflow our eyes with tears.

 And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.  Matthew 28:19

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

Refrain:
How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Saviour,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.

Lyrics: Ensign Edwin Young
Music: Harry E. Storrs

God’s Pet

128-2848_IMGWe have a pet—actually, it’s our son’s pet.  Pepper is a ten-year-old black Cocker Spaniel.  She is a cutie and a wonderful pet.  She never messes in the house.  She doesn’t get up on the furniture (unless we’re not watching!).  She LOVES to takes walks.  She’s never had any health problems, doesn’t eat much, loves people . . . she’s a great dog.

But she begs.  We don’t feed her scraps from the table . . . or I should say rarely do we feed her scraps—just an occasional pizza crust.  Her worst begging habits happen in the living room.  Now we do have one snack that we share: popcorn.  She would eat as much as I do!  She’s really good at catching it!

The problem is that she must not be able to discern between popcorn and anything else we’re eating, because if we are eating ANYTHING, she sits there looking at you with those big brown eyes and that cute little face, staring at you or the food!  It drives me crazy!!!  Rarely do I give in because I’d really like to break her of that habit.  If I tell her to go away—sharply—she will, and I feel like a big meanie!  If she only understood English!

Is this how I appear to God?  Am I always begging for this or that? Does He ever wish that I understood His language?

Prayer – we all understand what prayer is.  Perhaps we even use the acronym to help our prayers:

P—praise

R—repent

A—ask

Y—yield

But do we rush through the praising, like some ritual to a statue, so we can appease God and get to our requests?  Do we really understand God’s language?  Have we studied His Book enough to get a grasp of what it means to pray?

One of the best habits I have come across is to occasionally spend my whole prayer time praising and thanking God: praising Him for Who He is and thanking Him for what He does.  It takes great effort.  So many requests come crashing in, desires that I wish to beg Him for, but I push them aside and just praise Him.  The request can wait for another day!

Now for the positive picture that Pepper gives us: She is Miss Happy-Ending.  She is ALWAYS glad to see us.  (Well, maybe not at bath time!  She can slink slower than any dog I know!) It doesn’t matter if we’ve been away for five minutes or five days—the greeting is always the same!  “So glad to see you!”

She is a faithful friend.  When we were choosing her, the owner said that she would never be more than five feet away from us.  Boy, has that proven to be true!  As I am typing this, she is just on the other side of the coffee table, snoring away!

So faithful.  Always happy to see us. Am I like that to God?  Arg!  My heart shames me!  I want it to be so!

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?

hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance…

Psalm 42:1,2,5

AWH…CHOO! Sniffle, Sniffle.

ID-100158158Well, for the past four days, I’ve laid around doing nothing.  Wish it could have been on the beach, but it was on the couch with a box of tissues, a bounding headache, and a fever.  Today is the first day that I can actually function!

No one likes to get sick.  We try not to be babies, but I find myself groaning and complaining to my dear husband.  I’m sure at times like these he wishes that his office was elsewhere!

Isn’t the human body amazing?  Why would a few raised degrees of body heat throw us off so much?  You’ll have to ask your doctor that one, but there is a lesson there for us!  🙂  There is an enemy germ in me, which has thrown my body into attack mode.  It’s working hard to make me better, but in the meantime, simple operations seem impossible—even writing a blog!

That can happen in our spiritual “bodies” as well.  When we allow something to attack our spirit—a  confrontation which leaves our spirits torn, or an ungodly entertainment that soils our souls, an unexpected heartbreak which leaves our hearts shattered—everything goes into “fix-it” mode.  Our minds are clogged with unwanted thoughts; our hearts are clouded with unlovely attitudes, and until we are cleansed, life shuts down.

Sadly, there are times when we have allowed the “sickness” to go on for so long, that our spirit-bodies build a resistance to the Spirit’s wooing.  It’s as though there is this huge tough callous over an infected wound, and we don’t want to deal with it; and at times like these, God may need to get out the “big guns” to get our attention! Unlike an incurable disease, often “spiritual sickness” which was caused by wrong choices just need to be reversed into making right choices.

“You make that sound so simple.  You don’t understand. It’s complicated.”

Have you noticed that that is the popular phrase now?  Life is complicated.  What made it so complicated?  You’re not going to like this…SIN. 😦  Talk to Eve if you want to know about a complicated situation and the devastating consequences of wrong choices!  But Eve did not die.  Yes, her life was never the same, and I’m sure there were many days when she said, “If only I hadn’t…”  But she did, and hopefully she learned from it and went living the life that God gave her in the way that God intended it to be lived.

When God stops us with sickness or difficult situations, we will always benefit by keeping still and looking up!  Take the time to pray.  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7) This verse was the first verse I ever remember memorizing.  It’s a dear, old friend with more benefits that a bowl of hot chicken soup!

And don’t forget Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God…  In a world that is moving at high gear 24/7, we would do well to stop and “have a little talk with Jesus.” (Just a side note: when we were in Israel, we saw neon signs in the business windows which flashed: 24/6!  They know how to “keep the Sabbath.”)

We often leave off the rest of the verse: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Oh, how that needs to be done in this age!  We exalt our God when we obey Him, live clean and holy lives before this sin-cursed world, and travel down life’s bumpy road with the joy of the Lord in our hearts and beaming from our faces!

…neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

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King for a Day

What would you do if you were king or queen for a day? This was the question which was posed to us in Sunday School as we study Ecclesiastes.  Wow!  The answers are endless!  My first thought was political: I’d outlaw abortion forever!  Or I’d pay off our country’s multi-trillion dollar debt! (seventeen to be exact and adding 326 billion to it every day!  That’s enough to give me a heart-attack!)

Then I thought a little more selfishly.  I’d buy an island, or a beach house in Virginia, a cabin in Maine and a castle in England!  I’d travel the world! (That would be hard to do in one day!)

But then, I thought about the spiritual needs of my family, and I thought I’d ask that their hearts would pant hard after God, that all my grandchildren would be saved and love the Lord, that our church folks would all be on fire for God…

And that’s when it hit me: It wouldn’t matter if I was the king of this whole world, had all the money and power and prestige this world could offer – none of that would improve my standing with God!!!!  That is an amazing thought!  The poorest pauper on the streets of New York City has as much power with God as the richest man on 5th avenue!  A kindergartner can talk to God with as much effect as a lawyer on Wall Street (maybe more!:))

I hope that thought is a blessing to you. Know your heavenly Father, love Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him – it will change your life.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  John 17: 20-23

Connect the Dots

There is a delicate web that crisscrosses its way across this land.  It’s like a huge connect-the-dots pattern, and it happens every Wednesday evening.  People gather together in their churches to pray and the wind of God’s grace gently touches the web, which is often laced with the tears of God’s most precious saints – ordinary people who take time out of their busy schedules to meet together and storm the throne of God.

Were you a part of this beautiful massive web tonight, or did you miss it?  I mention it because we were not at our own church tonight, and my mind kept drifting back there – to my usual part of the web, knowing that even in our absence, prayers were faithfully being lifted to the God of the heavens.  What a joy to pray with believers at one church and connect with others who were all doing the same thing!

And what is the reason for this great web?  Is it even necessary, or should it go the way of so many other strands of our faith?  Does America need prayer?  Do our churches need prayer?  Do you and I need prayer?  Do you and I need to pray?  If we don’t…who will?  “And Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” –Cowper  The question is, will you do it?

“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” Rev. 5:8