Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Milk Lessons: The Word of God's Kindness

I’ve been thinking a lot about milk lately. Bear with me. Since becoming a mother over four years ago, I’ve come to better understand Bible passages about milk and nursing. There are two examples I’ve been thinking about this week.

First is the above verses from 1 Peter. The picture is of me and Harlow when she was just a couple months old. She was sick and nursing quite a bit more than usual to feel better (the “magic” of breastmilk). I now read this in 1 Peter and understand it differently (better?) then I did before having Harlow. Newborn babies that are nursing crave their mother’s milk. They cry for it. They search for it, literally “rooting” for it. When they see the breasts, they even get excited about the milk! Once they begin nursing, they eat until they fall asleep or drain the breast (whichever may come first). They get their fill and find rest. When they are sick, they require even more of the milk, and the milk works to make them well. The milk is their ONLY life source, the only thing keeping them alive, growing them, sustaining them. As children of God, once we have received life from His Word and have seen the goodness of God in His Word, we want more of it. We crave it. We need it. It makes us well.

John Piper says it this way:
“Where did the readers taste the kindness of the Lord? The answer is: in the gospel, the Word of God. They were born again by that kindness through the Word of God. So the spiritual milk is the kindness of the Lord experienced through the Word of God. Or you could say, the spiritual milk is the Word of God revealing or transmitting the kindness of the Lord. You were born again by that Word— namely, by the powerful kindness of God in that Word, and now go on longing for that Word and for the day-by-day experience— tasting— of the kindness of the Lord through his Word.”
There are times, though, that I had to make Harlow eat. She was either too occupied or distracted or too sleepy. I knew that she needed the milk even when she thought otherwise. Ever been there?

Piper addresses that, too:
“If you feel stuck because you don’t have the kind of spiritual desires that you should, this text says, You do not need to be stuck! It says, “Get them!— Get the desires you don’t have.” If you don’t desire the milk of the Word, start desiring it! [In the New Testament], God gives even harder commands, but he also gives the power we need to fulfill them, through faith. Do you not have the longing? Get the longing! Do you not desire the Word? Start desiring it. Do not say, “I’m just this way.” It is not God’s will for you. Since you have been born again by the Word of God, now long for the Word of God. If you began your life with the Word, sustain your life with the Word. If the Word of God is powerful enough to create new Christians, then the Word of God is powerful enough to create desire in languishing Christian souls.”
If you have never studied the amazing properties and abilities of breastmilk, then you may not know what an amazing thing it is. Not only does it nourish the body, but it also heals the body, attacking bad bacteria and protecting the baby from illness. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but you get my point— it attacks what’s bad in the body.

When I began organizing my thoughts, I didn’t mean to make this a post filled with Piper quotes, but he also has something to say about how spiritual milk attacks:
“One of the ways the Word of God creates a desire for the milk of God’s kindness is by destroying desire for other things [malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander mentioned in verse 1]. This is the other side of longing for the spiritual milk of God’s kindness in the Word. If you want to experience desire for God’s Word; if you want your desires to grow; if you want to taste fully the kindness of the Lord, realize that as our satisfaction in God’s kindness rises, the controlling desires of malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and slander are destroyed. And the reverse is true: as you resist them and lay them aside, desires for God grow stronger and more intense. Don’t think that they can flourish in the same heart. Desire to taste and enjoy God’s kindness cannot flourish in the same heart with guile and hypocrisy.”   Quotes from John Piper

The Bible is how we experience and see the kindness of God!  Reading the Word shows us His goodness. We need the Word to grow— this good, decadent, life-giving, pure milk that is the Word.  Like newborn babies, we should crave it, long for it, desire it. The more we taste of it, the more we want. The more we have, the more we grow. When we don't crave it, we should make ourselves drink it in. It attacks what is bad in us. Oh, the kindness of God! You never outgrow this milk.

Who knew that my body that once produced life giving milk could help me better understand the One who gave me this body?

I’ll share the second milk lesson later this week.

Milk Lessons (Part 2): Learning to Drink

Monday, January 07, 2019

Video: Leslie, Arkansas

Colin, Harlow, my parents, and I went to Leslie, Arkansas for a couple hours this weekend.  It was the first Saturday in January, and we were some of the only tourists (I'm guessing) in town.  We saw a few other people checking out the shops, and we saw a handful of locals.  There were only a couple shops open.  Some stores looked like the were completely closed up even though there were full of merchandise.  Some storefronts were even for sale-- some beautiful, old buildings.  I'm guessing they might have more tourists and possibly more stores open in the summer.  It's definitely worth checking out for a couple hours if you're nearby or passing through.

Here's a short video from our time in Leslie!

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