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home : mirror blog : the message May 2, 2016

The Message
By Tim Lamb, Entiat, WA
inspirational column
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Message: Meat and Bones

By Tim Lamb

Philippians 1:9-11 "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.

Every day I turn on my computer to check for incoming mail. I love to get mail (hint, hint) but seldom hear from busy friends and family. What I often find are messages from strangers. Strangers with fantastic offers come at me by the score, tempting me to buy this or read that, they want me to sign up for their dating service or they have a new "friend" who wants to meet me, they don't care that I'm married. They want to loan me money, sell me insurance, start me in a new career, and give me a chance to win a lap top or thousands in cash. They are strikingly similar to the way Satan tempts me with flattery, friends, and things for the taking so it's kind of fun to watch them disappear with the touch of the "delete" button. Why can't I do that with Satan?

Satan is more crafty than any advertiser. He seldom just throws it out there he bates and lures and then lays it at your feet and it sounds so good you must read or study or ponder it a while, and then you hit the delete button...right? Problem being thoughts in your head don't delete so easy. That is why Satan uses so many images and why sensuality is used to sell everything from clothes to soft drinks. The very things God warns us about getting caught up in like lust or covetousness are where Satan knows to hit us and it can take real discernment to see past that tantalizing picture to know what is good and bad.

I have a friend who sends me great reading material, much of which comes from radical people. It's fascinating and thought provoking but once in a while he sends me something and I'm thinking "Whoa; hey brother what's this? Are you supporting this kind of thing?" I was afraid of offending him and thought I would evoke a deep theological discussion but instead I got a word of advice, "Eat the meat and spit out the bones!" He was passing along information and trusting my discernment in Christ through the Holy Spirit to weed the garden of knowledge.

That really is the problem with the information superhighway slamming us with ideas and stories and images and even with a sprinkling of spirituality or scripture they try to sway us to one side or the other. We must pray for discernment and then eat the meat and spit out the bones. Oh that we each had a mental "Junk" file where all the advertizing and temptations could go and after a quick look over the subject of each just click on one icon and POOF! We're free of their influence. No, we must sort and delete one at a time as we drive along roads surrounded with billboards and listen to radio stations with adds designed to be remembered, all the while deciding what to chew on and what to spit out.

Our need for discernment is not limited to the temptations of the flesh. The spirit too must "eat the meat and spit out the bones."

1Corinthians 2:12 "What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments..."

In this day false gods are rampant and we are told many things about Christ Jesus that must be discerned, not just for what they add but for what they take out of the Gospel.

In the movie 2012, Woody Harrelson's character, warning of impending apocalyptic disaster, says that the Bible calls it the Rapture. That could not be more false but if you did not know scripture and lacked discernment you could be deceived just as many were and are. The movie is fun and uses great special effects - the meat - but its theology was way off - the bones. Some might call the whole thing a bone to be spit out but that is for each of us to discern for ourselves.

Matthew 10:16-20 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men ... do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."

Pray that you may know what is the meat and what is the bones

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