Sunday, February 14, 2016

The missing ingredient...

By now, my expertise at cooking is approaching legendary status....or perhaps I should say my LACK of expertise. I sincerely wish I had inherited the cooking gene from at least one side of my family - but somehow I have made it well into my adult years without ever attaining that elusive "I love to cook" trait that is so endearing in others. 

Take, for example, my wonderful breakfast muffins. I had finally discovered a recipe for breakfast muffins that were both nutritious and delicious! I made these muffins quite a few times, and I did well as long as I followed the recipe to a "t". Then one day, I decided I could remember how to make these muffins without referring to the paper recipe - after all, it was extremely simple and I had made them before. 

I set to work combining all my ingredients and popped them into the oven. They smelled wonderful - but, I did notice, a little different this time. After waiting the required 30 minutes (at least I think that's how long it was) I took my creation from the oven and eagerly poured myself a glass of milk so that I could sample the results. I took a huge bite and it was - plain. Something was missing. My wonderful muffins may have looked normal, but they were definitely FLAT in the taste department.

I racked my brain trying to retrace my cooking steps and figure out what had gone wrong...then it hit me. I forgot to put in the sugar. I had done everything else right, but I had forgotten the one ingredient that made my muffins sweet. Being resourceful and unwilling to toss them, I improvised by adding jam or topping each muffin with a non-calorie sweetener (as seen on tv). We managed to eat the entire batch, but the whole incident stuck with me. I had forgotten a key ingredient.

I have to wonder how many times in my day I do the same thing. I may do the right things, say the right things, even act the right way, but without that key ingredient - it all seems a little flat and tasteless. Without the sweetness of love, it's just not the same.

I have had times in my life when I knew I was speaking God's truth, but because I lacked that special ingredient, it's more than a little "flat". I spoke from my own cavalier attitude, and not from a heart of love. While it may have contained the same "nutritional value", it was still a little tough to swallow. I honestly wonder how many times in a day I do this and then wonder why the world does not receive the truth I have to share. (Did I mention I'm not a very good cook? Guess that goes for spiritual cooking as well.)

This Valentine's Day, I know I've got a lot to learn about cooking. You can say a prayer for my poor husband and family since I will probably be trying to cook a special Valentine's meal for them this evening. At least I know that it will be flavored with love....and hopefully that will make it taste just fine.

For more information of that "missing ingredient" go to 1 Corinthians 13 in your Bible. I think you'll like the recipe you find there.

1 Cor. 13 - The Way of Love

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 
Love never gives up. 
Love cares more for others than for self. 
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
Love doesn't strut, 
Doesn't have a swelled head, 
Doesn't force itself on others, 
Isn't always "me first," 
Doesn't fly off the handle, 
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end."

*This is a repost from a few years back. Really wish I could remember what the recipe for those muffins least I remember the recipe for love!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The test...

You know that subject in school you struggled with - no, not the one you failed and had to take over. The one you passed - barely. You breathed a sigh of relief and thought, "Thank goodness THAT is over! Now I can move on!" 

The problem is, in school, every lesson builds upon the one before. In simple terms, that "test" you barely passed will show up again, only harder with more layers added to it. And to make matters worse, the "new" problem you are dealing with cannot be solved unless you are able to understand the previous one. And by understand, I DON'T mean passed by the seat of your pants and a couple of lucky guesses!

Take for example subtracting fractions. If you thought that was tough and barely "got" it, just wait till the fractions start having a different denominator...or when they throw in mixed numbers, or when you have to start BORROWING! Oh the horror of it all!!!! Every step depends on you being able to do the first step.

I'm discovering that life works a lot like school. Every struggle, every lesson is not an end, but merely a checkpoint on the path. Little lessons we learned may not seem important, but they are building blocks to greater things.

Right now, I seem to be working on passing a test. It's probably one I should have mastered years ago, but the fact remains I have barely squeaked by and once again find myself staring at the "problem"...only this time it is a small part of an even greater "problem" that I need to understand. Maybe calling it a problem is too much, but it definitely is a check point I need to pass before moving forward. This time, I'd like to finally "get" it so that when I encounter it again it won't be so hard. I need to not only "pass" this test, I need to master it. I need to really understand.

I wonder if others are like me and find that the tests keep getting harder...guess that means we're making least a little bit. Maybe later I'll share the "topic" of my test....after I at least come close to passing.

Thank heavens we don't have to do this alone.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.