Cow in the back pasture at Safe Haven Farm - Haven, KS

Chew on this

There’s a wonderful Amish dairy a few miles down the road from me, and they sell old fashioned cheese and butter and raw, unpasteurized milk. It’s pretty fantastic, actually. I love milk and milk-related products. But what if you tried to live on a diet of milk? Just milk. Nothing else. Yeah, you’d get a lot of calcium, but what about all the other nutrients you need? And, yeah, real milk tastes great but wouldn’t you get tired of the same thing over and over again?

Milk is good for you. It’s essential, especially for infants. But God gave us teeth for a reason, and milk isn’t generally something you chew.

Cow in the back pasture at Safe Haven Farm - Haven, KS

Cow in the back pasture at Safe Haven Farm – Haven, KS

Today’s verse is 1 Peter 2:2.

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.

Babies need milk. If they don’t get it, they won’t grow. And they need to ask for it, cry for it. It’s an absolutely essential part of their diet, and if they don’t receive it, they will grow up unhealthy.

But what happens after they grow? What happens to babies after they are no longer babies? Adults need more than milk. Adults need proteins and fibers and complex carbohydrates. Adults need to eat vegetables and fruits and meats. If an adult tries to survive on milk, he or she won’t be very healthy because milk won’t provide the nutrients than an adult requires.

So, yes, babies need to cry out for milk. But adults are a different story. And it’s the same with our faith.

There is Scripture that is easy to swallow. There are some truths of the Christian faith that are easy to digest, that you can wrap your head around. Basic, fundamental principles that you need to absorb if you’re going to grow any further.

God loves you. God sent Christ to die for your sins so you can have a relationship with Him. God wants to have a relationship with you.

Easy stuff. Awesome stuff but easy. Of course, God loves us. Of course, Christ died for us. Of course, God wants to have a relationship with us. That’s the foundation of the Christian faith. That’s the part everyone focuses on.


Those are the basics. But if all you hear and all you believe and all you think about and all you try to understand is that God loves you, Jesus died for you, and they want to be your friends? Yes, it’s a wonderful message, but don’t you want more? As an adult, don’t you want deeper knowledge? Don’t you want your questions answered? Don’t you want something to challenge your mind and keep you thinking? Don’t you want something to chew on?

That’s meat.

The trouble comes with the fact that some Christians look for their “meat” outside of Scripture. They’re satisfied with the milk part because it’s easy and it doesn’t require them to question beliefs they’ve held for years (evolution, dietary requirements, clothing restrictions, etc). So they drink the milk from the Bible but they go to the world to find their meat in other religions or in social circles.

You want something to chew on, Christians? Anything you pick up outside the Bible will eventually break down. Either you’ll get tired of the taste or you’ll find that you eventually are able to wrap your head around it. I saw an article yesterday about how science is pushing God out of the way because eventually since we will be able to understand everything through science, that means we don’t need God anymore. That’s meat somebody bought in a market.

The beauty of Scripture is that is never gets old. It never breaks down. It just grows more interconnected with every puzzle piece you snap in place. You and I will never reach the point where we can understand it completely.

If you really want to challenge your mind, if you really want something to think about that will make a difference in your life and in your choices, try chewing on Scripture for a little while. Try thinking about the verses that challenge your long-standing comfort-zone beliefs, like what you eat or what you wear or why you skip the third verse of hymns. Some Bible verses will change your thinking completely. And other verses, well just because someone told you they are in the Bible doesn’t mean they actually are. Think about it. You could be basing your entire religious faith on a verse that doesn’t actually exist.

But how will you know unless you read it?

Here’s what Hebrews 5:13-14 has to say:

For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. 

Best friends have to speak the same language

How important is it in a relationship to be able to speak the same language? What would happen in a relationship if you had a person from Japan trying to be best friends with a person from France. Nothing against either country. I’m just trying to find two completely different language roots and cultures to compare.

Now, if the person from France spoke Japanese, that would be one thing. And if the person from Japan, spoke French it would be the same. But what if neither of them spoke each other’s language and neither had any interest in learning? Would they even be friends at all, let alone best friends? I don’t think so.

Closeness in a relationship comes from being able to communicate with each other. And if you can’t communicate with each other, how do you expect to be friends?

This is the principle that came to mind when I read today’s verse, 1 Corinthians 2:14.

14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

Has someone who wasn’t a follower of Christ ever made fun of you? Have you ever been called foolish or ridiculous for believing in Christ? Have people ever looked at you strange when you share your faith and expressed that you aren’t making sense? If so, then you understand this verse.

A nonbeliever and a believer trying to understand each other is impossible. They can get along superficially. They can make friendship work on a basic level. But they are driven by two different motivations and part of being close friends is sharing what drives you.

Someone who follows Christ has the Holy Spirit. When someone believes in Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit as a guide and a comforter and as a link between Himself and us. Since Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden, our own spirits stopped working. They are stillborn in us as we are born and live our lives without Christ. But when the Holy Spirit comes into us, our relationship with God is restored.

And the most amazing thing happens. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, our lives start to make sense. Granted, there are still things that happen that we don’t understand, but the Holy Spirit whispers that God is working everything out for our good. So even when the world is turning upside down, we can still believe that God will figure things out.

Beyond that, when you have the Holy Spirit, the Bible also makes sense. Did anyone ever try to read the Bible before they were a Christian? Did it make sense to you? Yes, there are portions of Scripture that make sense historically and logically (even though some people disagree), but the really deep truths of Scripture sound like foolish sentiments to people who don’t have the Holy Spirit. Because part of what the Holy Spirit does is to act as interpreter between God and us.

I was a hearing impaired interpreter in a second grade classroom for a semester. Talk about hard work! And the girl I interpreted for was only in second grade! It was my job to make sure that little girl understood everything the teacher said. Without me interpreting, she wouldn’t have grasped any of the concepts in the classroom because she couldn’t understand them.

Without the Holy Spirit interpreting the wisdom and the truth from the Scripture, we wouldn’t understand it either.

So where do we get the idea that a Christian and a non-Christian can be best friends? Now, am I saying that they can’t be friends? No. I have many friends who I love and respect and enjoy spending time with who have chosen not to follow Christ. That’s their choice, and I respect it. But are we going to be best friends? No. I live my life a different way than they do, and just as it’s their choice to live how they think is best, it’s my choice too. And they are my friends because they respect my choice, just like I respect theirs. But I can’t express the things I believe to them because they don’t understand.

My best, closest friends are Christians, either Christians who are my same age maturity wise or older. My best, closest friends are people who have walked with Christ for years and have faithful, deep, one-on-one conversations with God through the Holy Spirit on an hourly basis. And if in the unlikely course of events I am supposed to marry, my husband is going to have to be the same way . . . because that’s the language I speak.

It’s not about being smart enough. It’s not about being friends for long enough. It’s not about even giving Christianity a try or accepting that someone else is a Christian when you aren’t. It’s about speaking the same language.

And just like that person from France and that person from Japan, if they don’t speak the same language, there will be misunderstandings and they will eventually walk away from each other hurt because they tried to cultivate a deep friendship where there was neither common ground nor communication.

The Bible is simple, but people make it complicated

Today’s verse is Psalm 119:130.

     The teaching of your word gives light,
      so even the simple can understand.

Why do we think we can find wisdom or truth from other sources than Scripture? Is it because our culture has convinced us that the Bible is just a book of stories that don’t matter?

I am always shocked at how people who claim to be Christians treat the Bible. If we say we’re believers, we need to be reading Scripture. If we have a question about life, we don’t need to ask Oprah or Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz or the news agencies. We need to look in the Bible. Because if it’s something we need to know about life, it’s in there.

I think the majority of confusion in a Christian’s life can be eliminated if he or she will just make a habit of reading and learning the Word of God. If we are daily — shoot, hourly — comparing events in our life to the truth of Scripture, we’ll know for sure whether what we’re thinking about doing is wise or unwise. We’ll know what God says about the future. We’ll know what God says about right now. We’ll know because everything we need to know is in the Bible.

And it doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, the Bible is easy to understand. Granted, if the Scripture isn’t written in your language, there might be some confusion. So you modern English speakers need to get a hold of a New Living Translation version of the Bible, and anyone out there who still speaks Shakespearean English, you should get a King James Version. All of the Bibles we have here are translations anyway, so unless you speak Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, you’ll have to read a translation. So you might as well pick one that’s in your language.

But when you read Scripture, God gives you light. He gives you truth. He gives you understanding. That’s what this verse says. God grants His light to people who read His word, and it’s not complicated. The truth in the Bible is very very simple. Profound, of course. But oftentimes I’ve discovered that the most profound truths in life are inherently simple. So easy to understand that even a child can grasp the concept.

So it doesn’t matter if you have a doctorate or if you’re some indigenous tribal person in a village in the middle of Guatemala, God’s Word is for you.

Don’t buy into the lies our culture tells that Scripture is just a bunch of made up stories about morality. What is written in the Scripture is alive. You can read the same passage over and over again for a week, and it will mean something different to you every day. Because as we grow in our walk with God, the Bible broadens and deepens for us . . . or maybe it’s better said that our understanding of Scripture broadens and deepens. The Bible grows with us.

And don’t believe it when people tell you that the Bible is hard to understand. Don’t think that only pastors and scholars can make sense of the Bible. Don’t read more into it than you think is there. The Bible is literal. Trying to make a figurative story out of a literal truth is confusing.

When the Bible says God created the world, it means that He created the world. When the Bible says that God destroyed the world with a flood, it means that He destroyed the world with a flood. When the Bible says that Jonah survived three days and three nights in the belly of a giant fish, it means that really happened. It means David really killed Goliath. It means Elijah really called down fire on Mt. Caramel. It means Jesus really did miracles. Now, are there figurative stories in Scripture? Yes, but you can usually tell those because the characters aren’t named. A good example is the parable of the Prodigal Son. Now, it might have really happened, but that is one of the stories Jesus told that was figurative–but He used it to explain a literal truth.

The Bible is easy to understand. It’s just us who make things complicated. And if you’ve had trouble understanding Scripture before, try reading it again. And if you simply can’t understand it, come find someone who you know does and ask for their help. If they’re any sort of mature believer, they will be eager to help you dig deeper into Scripture because they are still learning about it too.