REFLECTING TREES!

This Christmas we have placed our big Christmas tree on the porch rather than in front of the picture window in the living room.  There were several reasons for this switch, the primary one being that no one was around to move the sofa onto the porch! 

Christmas tree on porch from yard
The view of the tree on the porch while standing in the back yard.

 

But there was a beautiful surprise when we looked at the completed tree on the porch.  It was reflected in the windows around the porch. 

 

There was only one tree, but the reflection made it appear as if there were multiple trees, all identical and all lit up, shining out into the yard.

Christ tree on porch with reflections
Reflections seen in the windows.

This prompted a number of thoughts as I observed this surprise reflection.  The tree was put up to celebrate Christmas, the coming of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.  He was born of a virgin, placed in a manger in Bethlehem and the star identified the place where He was laying.  The angels announced His birth with vast chorus of joyful singing in the heavens, as they looked in amazement at this small child who was Lord of all.

Christmas is a celebration of miracles, the miracle of the virgin birth, the miracle of the Son of God coming to a sinful world and proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel to those around Him by performing miracles of healing and declaring that the person’s sin had been removed, something the religious leaders could not stomach! 

The miracles continued as He was crucified on the cross, taking the punishment that sinful men deserved so that He could give His people relief from their sin debt to God and eternal life with Him and the believers who form the Body of Christ from all nations, tribes and tongues.

This Babe was way more than a little baby.  This Babe was the King of Kings and Lord of Lord who had legions of angels at His disposal and yet He deigned to live and walk in this sin-filled world so that He could redeem His people from their sin. 

What does this have to do with the tree on the porch? 

I suggest that it is not so much the tree itself as the reflection that is occupying my mind today.  The Body of Christ should be the reflection of Jesus Christ.  We are not yet sanctified (big word for being sin-free), but we are working on living our lives as Jesus did, trusting God for forgiveness and confessing our sin when we err, knowing that He is faithful and Just to forgive us those sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

Jesus said that our light should shine among men:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

Paul said this about our light in the dark world:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6.

Paul also said that we should shine as lights in the world:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Philippians 2:14-15

The challenge, therefore, is for us to be lights this Christmas season and every day that God gives us to live on this planet.  We should reflect Jesus Christ to the world around us.  We should multiple our light as we go about our daily business, loving others, doing good to those who are in need, spreading the gospel in word and deed, and giving spiritual refreshment to those we meet.

So, the question is:  are you on the porch, reflecting light to others, or are you in the corner of the room?  Are you in the picture window so people can see your light, or are you hiding your light in a closet, or under a basket?  When you walk down the street, are you reflecting the light of your Lord, or not?  Only you can answer, and only you can decide to let your light shine for Jesus!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2020.  Blessings to you as you shine your light to those you come in contact with today and throughout the new year.

Father, I pray that I would reflect my love for Jesus as I go through my life.  I pray that I would not hide my witness but that it would blaze and be clear light to draw others to Your Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

IS IT REAL OR ARTIFICIAL?

When I was a child, we always had real Christmas trees.  Since I lived in Chicago, we did not have forests or woods to run to so that we could chop down our tree; rather, we purchased them from tree lots in neighborhoods.  Tying the tree to the top of the car, we drove home with just the right tree, then having to cut the tree down because it was almost always too tall for the room.

aRTIFICIAL SILVER CHRISTMAS TREE

My Great Aunt and Great Uncle, however, purchased an artificial tree … it was quite costly because it was the new trend.  It was silver and came with a multicolored light wheel that turned so that the tree was any of a number of colors, including, of course, silver.  The silver tree is still sold today, as I found this picture of one for sale this week.

Now, there was no way that anyone could have been fooled into thinking that the silver tree was a real tree.  Of course, there are no totally silver metal trees in the wild!  My mother thought that the silver tree was absurd; while I thought it was unique and rather cool.  But even as a young child I knew it was not a real tree!

20181224_113350

Now, in our own home, we have an artificial Christmas tree (actually two artificial trees).  It is much easier to decorate and its cost is amortized over numerous years, making it a much more fixed-income friendly tree than a real tree would be.  And, the artificial trees of today look much more like the real thing than did those of yesteryear, at least as long as you don’t get too close to inspect the “needles” or the “tree’s” branches. 

From a distance it looks like the real thing, but it is not.

The same thing can be said about our spiritual lives, our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior.  People can look good,  do nice things and can even say the right words, but their relationship with the Lord may not be the real thing … they may be an imposter, a silver tree among the green.

This is not a new phenomenon – in the Old Testament God warns about people who seem like they are believers but who, in fact, worship false gods.  Consider these words:

But my people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods; they made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient roads, and to walk into side roads, not the highway,

Jeremiah 18:15

For the household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.

Zechariah 10:2

Jesus spoke of false prophets, warning the people to beware of them.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:15

The Apostle Paul issued the same warning that Christ gave:

And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15

The Apostle Peter also gave a warning about false prophets and those who preach heresies rather than the true gospel.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

2 Peter 2:1-3

Finally, the Apostle John also warned against false prophets who teach heresies, admonishing the people to test what people are saying to be sure that they are teaching God’s word and not a distorted message.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1

This Christmas time be vigilant, Christian.  Test what you are hearing.  Read the Scripture and pray for wisdom and understanding.  Don’t fall prey to false teachers whose heresies sound rather like the gospel but are actually false teachings that distort and dilute the power of the Gospel of Christ. 

Don’t be fooled by artificial trees that look real, but are not!

Father, I pray that I would have wisdom to separate the truth from the falsehood; that the Holy Spirit would help me avoid the pit of heresy; that I would be granted pastors and teachers who love Your Word and who preach the truth without apology, and that I would take that truth and live it out before others, to honor and glorify You, my Lord. my Redeemer and my King.

TEACH ME!

Have you ever heard those words?  “Teach me”, says the young child who wants to do a new and exciting task, perhaps tying his shoes.  Here’s a note that one of the grandchildren wrote to his Mom – you can feel the excitement as he passed this milestone of childhood.

Milestone - can tie his own shoes

“Teach me”, says the adolescent who desperately wants to learn to drive the family car.

“Teach me”, says the college student when learning in a career path, hoping to find his/her way in the world after graduation.

Taylor school

“Teach me”, says the new employee who is faced with something that is both daunting and exciting.

“Teach me”, says the newly wed wife to her husband, when she is trying to make his favorite meal that his mother made for him all the time.

“Teach me”, says the husband who wants to know how to help and comfort his wife as they learn to be man and wife.

“Teach me”, says the older woman to her grandchild when she is faced with a smart phone and doesn’t know how to use it.

We often say those words, and usually they stem from a significant desire to learn, or possibly from a need to do something unfamiliar.

There are things that we need to learn in our everyday lives but there are also things that we should be learning about our spiritual life, specifically about our God, His Son and His Holy Spirit.   Indeed, our hearts should cry “Teach me!” to the Lord so we will know what God desires.

1 “Now this is the commandment–the statutes and the rules–that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, … 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6:1, 7   

Note that we are not to just learn God’s commandments for ourselves but we are to teach them to others, specifically to our children.  The command is not just for when we are in “school” but when we sit in the house, when we walk along the way, when we are traveling in the car, when se are seated around the table, when we lie down and when we rise.  God’s Word should be on our lips throughout the day, not just a few designated times in the week!

David repeats “Teach me” in numerous psalms.  Here are just a few examples;

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:4-5

29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! … 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. … 135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Psalm 119:29, 66, 135

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51:6

So, what does God teach us?  His paths, His truth, His salvation, His law, His good judgment, His statutes, and His wisdom, just to name a few things!

The New Testament does not ignore teaching.  Rather, Paul says this – teach people what I have taught you so that they can teach others the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

We don’t “go it alone” when we teach others, rather Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit to guide and teach us as we live our lives in Him.  See John 14:26 for this great promise:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

At the end of time, Scripture tells us that all will know God and will serve Him.  We read in Jeremiah the following:

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:34  

What a blessing!  Can you imagine this? At some point in the future, we won’t need to teach others of the Lord Jesus, all will know Him.  Praise His Holy Name!

“Teach me” should be our heart cry every morning and every evening.  Then, when some difficulty arises, don’t be surprised.  God is answering your prayer and is teaching you something that you need to learn as you grow in the likeness of His Son.   Until the time Jeremiah foretells, let us continue to ask God to teach us so that we will become the image of our Savior, Redeemer, Lord, Jesus Christ.

Father, help me to grow in the likeness of Jesus.  Help me reflect His nature and His love to those around me.  Enable me to see what needs to be done and then give me the ability and wisdom to accomplish the task You have laid before me.  In dark times, help me to remember that all things are in Your Hand and that trials are lessons masked in difficulty, sometimes painful, but always working good for me and for others.

FRIENDS AT THANKSGIVING

A number of years ago, my daughter answered the telephone and took a message for me when I returned home from work. It was from a childhood friend, who found me and reconnected after several decades. We picked up our conversation as if we had been together all along. We subsequently have visited together several times and have laughed and shared experiences. What a joy to have such a friend.

More recently, we were shopping this past week and I heard my name called, only to see a young lady who had worked with me many years previously when she was just starting out on her work career. She has gone on to have a very successful career and I am very proud of what she has done.

As we were speaking, she thanked me for the training that she had received from my partner and me, asserting that her career reflected the work ethic that she received during her time with us at the office. I began thinking of those who I have worked with through the years, and of those who I have taught and ministered to in church and other organizations.

Am I a good teacher for others to learn of my Lord?

Can others say that they saw Christ in me as I lived my life before them even if it is not specifically “church” activities?

Do I give thanks for the people with whom I have worked, for those who encouraged me and taught me, and then for those to whom I passed on those lessons as they too were struggling?

Paul said this in Philippians 4:9:

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Friendship is a beautiful gift. We are admonished to cherish it and to let it grow. Sometimes circumstances will bring distance between friends, but the relationship still is special and of importance to us. Feed friendship just as you feed your body. And then give encouragement and comfort, show constancy and kindness even in pressurized situations.

Live your life so that you, like Paul, can encourage others to practice what you have taught them. Then, give thanks for their life and witness.

Perhaps, as you go through the store, you may be surprised when someone taps your arm and bears testimony as to your influence on their life. Give thanks then too!

Happy Thanksgiving — may gratitude grace your life daily as you seek to show other, even your friends, the love or our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Father, may I live my life, every day, so that those who are watching me will see You, will see commitment to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and will see evidence of Your love and care in all my actions and in my conversation. And, may I always give thanks to You for the people you place in my world. Enable me to love them as you have loved me. I ask this in Jesus’ Name.

GOD IS LOVE

We know that God has many attributes, some of which are singly those of God and we cannot begin to compare ourselves with Him.  Others, however, are called “communicable attributes” and these are characteristics that God has granted to us.  Attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, for example, are attributes that belong to God alone.  Even the most arrogant of people cannot assert that they can be in all places at once!

Other attributes, though, have been given to human beings, albeit in a watered down version of the pure attributes of God.  For example, love is an attribute of God and it is an attribute that He has communicated to us. 

God’s love, called agape love, is self-sacrificing.  it is love which thinks only of the object being loved, without any strings attached, without any consideration of love being returned in kind, without any anticipation of that love being returned.  it is pure love for the one who is loved. 

Because we live in a fallen world and we are sinful creatures, the love that we give to others is much more selfish and self-centered.  We love others but there is always at least a little bit of “what’s in it for me” associated with our loving actions.  At a minimum, we expect to be thanked for the kindness that we are exhibiting.

Recently, a friend sent me this video showing the mutual bliss that God’s created beings show when love is extended to them.   I expect that there are those who would argue that animals don’t feel love, they are just humoring the humans who feed them.  Or, I expect there are those who would argue that God did not give animals emotions at all.  I respectfully disagree!

I am not a veterinarian, and I am not an animal psychologist.  I am merely a woman who has had dogs in her life for almost its entirety.  The joy, comfort and pleasure that my dogs have given, and continue to give, to me is wonderful.  And, we love the pets in our home, taking joy in seeing them playing and interacting with each other and with us.

Oh, that we would exhibit God’s love to each other.  Scripture says: 

… but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.

Romans 5:8-10

God loved us when we were His enemies, because we are sinners who disobey His commands continually.  Sinners who take His blessings for granted, without gratitude or recognition.  Sinners who flaunt our achievements as if we did them on our own, rather than realizing that God is the One who enables us to do everything! 

Yet, despite our sinful nature, God loves us and sent His Son to be our Savior, Redeemer.  That is the love we should exhibit to others.  Because He loved us, we should so love others.

Father, forgive me when I have been self-centered and have not loved others as You have loved me.  Open my eyes, my mind and my heart so that I can love as You love, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I pray. 

Veterans’ Day 2019

Thank you to the many Veterans who have served our country so faithfully, defending our rights and providing security during turbulent times.  We have been privileged to have three veterans in our family:  both my husband’s father and my father served in World War II, and our son served 18 years in the U.S. Marine Corps seeing military action in a number of Middle East countries and working in various places where military assistance was required.  Indeed, my son often would say (with a smile) that he was providing the “blanket of security” under which I slept.   It is right that we should thank them for their service. 

Jon and Bird of Hope
Providing assistance in Haiti after devastating hurricane.

Thank you, too, to the spouses and families of the veterans who have been called to go into combat because they, too, pay a price.  I remember being on a Marine base when one of our grandchildren turned 4 and had a birthday party.  A mother came up to my husband, who was pushing a toddler on the swing, and she thanked him for playing with her daughter.  “You see, she is kinda sad today because Daddy left this morning and he won’t be back for many months.  Thanks for paying attention to her. It means a great deal.”

Thank you, too, to our God who has guided the men and women of our Armed Forces so that they can come back and be reunited with their families when their tour of duty is over.  For those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, I pray that God will continue to give comfort and aid to the spouses and children who have lost their parent, and to the families who have lost a son or daughter.   

May God bless our country and all those who protect her through military service.

Blessings – Missing Something — YES

The prior post on this site posed a question.  What was missing from the picture?  We had a wonderful campsite in a delightful place, but we were missing … the recreational vehicle, our home away from home, the RV!

As it happened, the air conditioning system had failed and the RV spent time in the repair shop, actually the entire day with a return the next day as well.

In other words, the reason we were in the super campsite was gone … all we could do in the campsite without the RV was sit on the chairs and wait.  No refrigerator for lunch, no snacks readily available. We could, of course, use the jeep to drive around the area, but we didn’t have the comforts of our home away from home available to us for a number of hours.

Great job in identifying the missing object!  Thanks to those who took the challenge and sent a comment.

BLESSINGS … MISSING SOMETHING?

We were in Grand Junction, Colorado for several days, and we had reservations at the KOA so we could park our RV.  Once settled at the campground, we would unhitch the Jeep and drive around the area.  It was great. 

Grand Junction Co campground without RV
Grand Junction, Colorado, Kampground of America

The site at the campground surprised us.  We had paid for a premium site, but this one was beyond the other campgrounds we had visited.  It was a premium site with table and 6 chairs, a big BBQ grill, a fire ring and park bench type seat on paving stones rather than gravel.  We enjoyed our first evening there by sitting at the table outside in a cool breeze, sipping coffee and just talking.  What a blessing this site was since it had been a long day of travel.

The picture above shows the premium site, but there is something missing — if you know what it is, identify the missing component in a comment!

In our Christian life, we enjoy so many blessings from our God and His Son, Christ Jesus, that we can’t even begin to count them.  They are myriad and they surround us each moment of each day.  The world sees some of these blessings as what we are due, but in reality, we are due nothing from God since our forefather Adam sinned and ruined man’s communion with his Creator.

The gift of a new day.  Of breath.  Of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.  Of beauty in flowers, trees, sunshine, rainbows.  Of mountains, meandering rivers, canyons carved by water.  Of the beauty of a newborn baby, a toddler’s expression of amazement at learning new things, a child’s sense of accomplishment at school or sports.  Of strength to continue even when difficulties arise, of the strength that the presence of God brings to us throughout our days.

His blessings are not confined to the material world; rather, God’s preeminent blessing to His children is His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, who atoned for our sin with His death on the cross.  As a result of His life, death and resurrection, we have the assurance of eternal life with God and with our Lord, no matter what situation surrounds us here on earth.

Sometimes God provides a premium site for us to use, other days we may have a gravel site with no extra stuff.   Do we thank Him for both?

How often do we forget to thank Him for the blessings, while we are certain to run to Him when we are sick or when problems engulf us?  When we have enough money to do what we want, we take credit and think it is because of our hard work at our job or our savvy in investing.  (Think of the parable Jesus taught as recorded in Luke 12 about the rich man who had this world’s treasures but who had nothing in his heavenly account!)

Rather, the thankful heart, the heart of gratitude for God’s blessings, would remember that God not only gives us the job to do to earn our money but He also gives us the strength and ability to do so. 

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

Thankfulness and gratitude are attitudes that the Christian should exhibit throughout the day.  Thank Him for what He has done for you through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Consider the humiliation of our Lord when He left heaven and came to the world that He created, leaving His glory in heaven and coming as a baby into a sinful world. Consider all that He suffered throughout His life, the ridicule and harassment by the authorities, the constant clamor of people who wanted Him to heal them even though they would not even say thanks,  culminating in condemnation and execution even though He had led a perfect life and had not committed any crime. 

Of course, the reason Christ had to die was so that He could satisfy the justice of God by paying for your sin and mine.

This thought alone should result in our singing praises to Him throughout the day. 

Thank God for all things, good and bad, big and little, significant and insignificant.  All things are under His control and the Christian is in His hand. 

Blessings to you and may you give thanks to our God and Father and to His Son, our Lord and Savior, through the Holy Spirit on this day.

Father help me remember to thank You throughout the day.  Forgive me when I have accepted your blessings without so much as a “Thank You”.  Forgive me when I have taken credit for blessings that You have granted to me.  Give me a heart that is thankful and full of gratitude for all Your many blessings.  Through Christ my Lord, I pray.

EATING – LIVE TO EAT OR EAT TO LIVE?

I have heard it said that some people “live to eat” and others “eat to live”.    We have two dogs who represent these two concepts.

Cuddles loves to eat – in fact the trainer who worked with us when the girls were brought home from the animal shelter said, and I quote: “I have never seen a dog that was so food-centric as Cuddles!”  If you want her to do anything, you need to give her a treat, preferably before AND after her obedience.

20190604_143355
Cuddles, in the foreground, LOVES to eat; Snickers, in the background, is pickier!

In this picture of the two of them “sitting pretty”, Cuddles is in the foreground and you can see that she has to sit with her rear legs spread apart to keep her balance. 

On the other hand,  Snickers, despite her candy-bar-name, eats her food but she is not hankering for a treat every time we turn around.  You can see that her rear legs are at right angles to her body.  She does not have to sit “side-saddle” like her younger sister does.

In short, the difference between the girls is that Cuddles lives to eat and Snickers eats to live.

Since both my husband and I are overweight, I am not going to point to us as examples of this concept.  Rather, I want to think about what we consume from Scripture.  Do we eat to live, that is only eat from Scripture a sufficient amount to gain our fire insurance from hell, or do we live to eat, that is feast on the truths of Scripture and come again and again to the Word for more food for our spiritual souls’ growth and development?

The Bible talks about eating in many places.  In the very first book of the Bible God tells Adam that he can eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden, except for one.  (Genesis 2:16-17)  After their disobedience, Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden and they had to work for their food ever after.

In Exodus we read of the meal of unleavened bread and bitter herbs which preceded the visitation from the angel of death.  After the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and God sent manna and then quail for them to eat.

David puts God’s provision like this:

Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.  Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.  He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind;  he rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings.  And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.

Psalm 78:23-29

The New Testament talks of food as well. For example, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding feast. (John 2)  Jesus fed thousands as He taught them along the seaside. (Mark 8.)

In 1 Corinthians 6 we find Paul’s instruction regarding eating the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His death for our sins.  Some call this feast Communion and others Eucharist, but the essence is that we are celebrating the marvelous work of our Lord and His sacrifice for us.

Paul has strong words for the people in the Corinthian church.  He wrote:

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.  I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,  for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

The writer of Hebrews expresses this same idea in this way:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. 

Hebrews 5:12-14

We know from our own experience that babies take milk and then, at some point in their infancy, they move up to some diluted cereal such as infant oatmeal.  Then comes soft food and, upon reaching childhood, they can eat regular food, starting with soft meats and them ultimately moving up to steak! Meat comes with maturity. 

What does this solid food look like?  Paul tells us, it is the food in Scripture that we read with our power of discernment trained by constant practice, to do what?  To distinguish good from evil. 

Do you know when the preacher’s doctrine is faulty?  You know it when you have read the Scripture, studied and have discernment from constant exposure to the Word of God.  Then you can tell good teaching from the faulty teaching.

So, beloved, when it comes to spiritual food, are you satisfied with milk?  Or, do you long for solid food, for the meat not just the milk?   Do you read the Word of God for yourself?  Do you study with others so that you can practice your discerning powers and so identify both the good and the bad.  Do you ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and open your eyes and your mind to the truths and riches that are found in the Word of God?

From a spiritual perspective, the question is:  Are you Snickers or Cuddles?  Do you eat to live, or do you live to eat.  Oh, that we would be spiritually overweight with the rich meat of Scripture.

Father, forgive me when I have been satisfied to skim the surface of Your Word, when I have been lazy and have not studied Your Word to uncover the truths and precepts that You want me to have.  Enable me to feast on the meat of Your Word through Your Holy Spirit, I pray.