"I'll Just Have a Bite Of Those Pop Tarts!"
Her gravestone lies in a beautiful spot on the edge of a wooded area, where deer often come to graze. Trees provide shade throughout most of the day, and the people who loved her (love her still!) can look toward her peaceful resting place and remember with much thanksgiving the blessed time they shared with her.
Sheba was the beloved pet of our dear friends, the Wheeler family, who live in Suwannee, Georgia. We met Bryan and Peggy through these devotionals, along with their daughters Brittany and Brooke (haven't met the sons yet!). And Sheba. A beautiful Labrador and sweeter than honey, Sheba blessed the Wheelers for more than a decade. Friends like ourselves also loved her, affectionately thinking of her as the canine Wheeler. Sheba passed away several months ago after a good long life. Remi, another Lab, has taken her plac… well, that's not possible. Bryan and Peggy adopted the now 65 pound "puppy" just before Sheba's passing. While not replacing her, Remi has already found his own home in the Wheelers' hearts. Oh yes, if perchance you need an energy transfusion, Remi has more than he will ever need, and will doubtless be glad to pass some along to you!
I share this with you because the Sheba story we most remember involves a time when we visited the Wheelers after a hike in the mountains of North Georgia. We brought our backpacks into the house, and stored them in the bedroom Bryan and Peggy so graciously provide for us when we visit them. One morning, Peggy, Frances, and I went for a drive (likely to get ice cream!). Sheba stayed at home, and decided to visit our room to ensure that all was safe and sound. It was, including the extra food that remained in our packs. This necessitated an "inspection" by Sheba. She found sunflower nuts, beef jerky, jelly beans, and… Pop Tarts! These required further examination, and ultimately, consumption. She opened the frosted strawberry treats, removed them from their packaging, and saved us the burden of having to eat them ourselves! Peggy discovered the remnants of Sheba's labors on our behalf, and we still smile and laugh when thinking of Sheba's selective consumption of our treats. "Nuts? Nah! Jerky? Hmm… no! Jelly beans? Are you kidding? How do you humans eat those things?! Well, well, what have we here? Pop Tarts? Frosted Strawberry? Don't mind if I do!"
Sheba's culinary discretion illuminates a vital spiritual truth. "Try (test) the spirits, whether they be of God. For many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). A lot of nuts, jerky, and jelly beans, as it were, offer themselves to our hearts these days. False teachings and teachers bound, just as the Lord told us they would as history winds its way to God's conclusion. The believer that doesn't remember this will inevitably consume poisonous ideas, notions, and proposals that lead to deception, distraction, and discouragement. Being a believer means that we are also disbelievers. We choose carefully that to which we expose our hearts and minds. Those who do not saturate their communication with the person and work of the Lord Jesus, or who do not interpret Scripture with Scripture, must at best be viewed as unworthy to teach us, and at worst, as literally dangerous to our spiritual well being. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).
When the memory of a dear one also reminds us of THE Dear One and His truth, a beautiful grace settles upon our hearts. Sheba's legacy abides, and I never think of a Pop Tart without thinking of her. Even more, I ponder her selective consumption in terms of its lesson to us. Let us read, but not believe everything we read. Let us listen with a discriminating consideration of the speaker's content. Most importantly, let us prepare ourselves to test the spirits in order to be enabled to discern truth from error, fact from falsehood, and light from darkness. We need Pop Tarts, as it were, rather than nuts, jerky, and jelly beans. :):) Sheba taught us that, and the memory of her continues to remind us that selective spiritual consumption determines much of the course of our walk with the Lord in faith and faithfulness.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies."
(II Peter 2:1)
Weekly Memory Verse
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.