The Beauty of Baking (Angel in the Kitchen)


Not long ago we discussed the “Junk Food” of life, those guilty pleasures in which we frequently overindulge — such as TV, sports, video games, etc. — and how we need to balance our “diet” with healthier fare: specifically,
reading the Word of God. We enjoy making these analogies between food and the Holy Scriptures, and we contemplated writing today’s post on “health food” (spiritual nutrition: which we need in order to stay spiritually strong and avoid getting “sick”: again, reading the Word of God.) However, we think you get the point. So ...  today we discuss the beauty of baking.

Baking isn’t as easy as preparing other types of foods, for a few simple reasons. First, you usually have to stick to the instructions! And follow them in order!  Plus, you shouldn’t add anything that’s not listed. Or subtract anything. Or substitute anything. It’s like a science. Deviate from the proven formula and the cake may fall, the pie may turn out pathetic.

Despite the number of cookbooks sold each year, most cooks rarely refer to written instructions of any kind. They just walk into the kitchen and do their own thing. They stand in front of the range and start to boogie, waving a big spoon in one hand, while shaking out spices with other.

When cooking veggies, for instance, it’s easy to toss in some extra butter and seasonings. And as a result, the dish is usually greatly improved. Cooks tend to do a lot of this sort of thing. They stir the broth, taste it, and then decide it needs something. They add a teaspoon of this and a sprinkle of that. If they’re whipping up one of their favorite recipes and they don’t have one of the necessary ingredients, they improvise! Through experience, they’ve learned that they can make smart substitutions and sometimes even leave stuff out. Or add stuff — strictly in the name of science — like an extra stick of butter!!! Generally, the dish turns out just as tasty, perhaps even better. But if you try to do this when baking, you’re courting disaster.

Life is NOT like cooking. We often approach it, however, as though it were. In our relationships, our ways of thinking and behaving, we act like we can do our own thing and everything will magically turn out okay. We improvise, make substitutions, leave stuff out, throw stuff in. We often don’t refer to God’s recipe for success in life.

Life is like baking. If we want it to turn out right, we need to follow the directions — in order. So where do “bakers” turn for instruction? Specifically … the Word of God. (Betcha didn’t see that one coming.) Moreover, when following God’s instructions, you can’t leave anything out, or add anything, or make substitutions. Just. Follow. The directions!

Even the Pillsbury Doughboy follows the book!

No baker worth his or her flour ever deviates from what works, and then wonders why their bread is dry or chewy or looks like a gooey mess on the inside. They follow instructions and have great success. (Baker’s Joy ?) And that, dear friends, is the simplicity and the sheer Beauty of Baking!

Moral of this little analogy? When in the kitchen, have fun, sling the spices, do your own thing. But in life, follow the instructions in the Holy Scriptures. That way you’ll experience the Baker’s Joy! “Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” (Joshua 1:7 NLT)


Pray for a Barnabas, Part III (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers)


Previously: No matter how self-sufficient we are, sooner or later we dreamers and creators all need a Barnabas: someone to put in a good word for us, introduce us to the right people, assist us with a project, or just be a good friend. History is filled with famous people who found success and achieved their
dreams simply because someone took an interest in them and offered to lend a hand. These caring facilitators follow in the footsteps of the Biblical icon
Barnabas. But f
inding someone who can help — and who’s willing to help — isn’t always easy.

So exactly how does one go about finding a Barnabas and obtaining his or her help?

First things first: During the journey from childhood to mature adult, most people lose the confidence or the boldness or the freedom to ask anyone for anything. Adults actually hate asking. Most assume the answer will be a “no” anyway, so why waste the time. There’s even an old expression in the workplace, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission”!

Nobody likes to face rejection, and a “NO” leaves us out in the cold, standing there with our hat in our hand, looking stupid — or so we think. We dreamers and creators need to realize, however, that at worst, a “no” is simply a “no” and often only means “not now” or “not here”; but at best, a “no” is just one of the tiniest words in the English language that means “keep on knocking, keep on trying”!

For some people the thought of getting a NO can be paralyzing. Result? They won’t ask for anything. Pride may also play into their reluctance, as well as the idea they might be inconveniencing someone. If only we could recapture the freedom and fearlessness of childhood. Kids don’t worry about silly stuff, and they don’t hesitate to ask for anything. For instance, if a child’s friend has an ice cream cone, he’ll probably ask his friend, “Can I have a lick or two?” True, most kids have no sense of propriety, but they also aren’t limited by the fear of a “NO”!

Sons and daughters know it never hurts to ask mom and dad for a new bike or, a few years later, if they can borrow the car. Why should they? The worst that could happen is they get a NO. But the answer just might be a glorious, filled-with-possibilities YES!!

In a child’s mind, the sky’s the limit, and our Heavenly Father wants us to have that same childlike faith. He wants us to view life as filled with possibilities. God also wants us to ask Him for the things we need and even some of the things we simply want. After all, He is our Heavenly Father, and it never hurts to ask. Sometimes His answer is “NO”; but when it is a “No” God has His reasons — and they’re always good reasons.

So, if you need a Barnabas yourself, the first thing you need to do is ASK — and keep on asking.

Finding the right people who are willing to assist you in the pursuit of your dreams and creative endeavors can take time, patience, tons of effort, and some supernatural intervention. As we stated, people tend to be self-absorbed and generally — depending on their level of spiritual maturity — disinclined to support, serve, and assist others. What can we do?

  • Pray for a Barnabas. Oftentimes, God has lined up precisely the right people you need, long before you realize you need them. Nevertheless, God expects us to be confident and make our requests known to Him. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)
  • Don’t be shy: open your mouth and ask!

Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained!  That’s why we’ve asked store managers to honor their sales beyond the deadline — and often received a YES. One of us once asked to be considered for a job that required far more experience — and got both a YES and the job!

So ASK already! Want a raise, or time off? Want a loan? Want to marry that special person?Want a customer to buy your new product or service? Want a publisher to accept your book? Have you asked? Again, the worst that can happen is you hear a “NO.” But imagine a YES, instead. Remember: “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2 NASB)

  • Don’t be limited by the fear of a “NO”! Now, if we can ask the God of the Universe, then why can’t we ask each other for support? The worst that can happen is you get a “No!” Big deal. Rejection is part of the process. Simply try someone else.
  • Keep on knocking. Persistence pays off. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Mathew 7:7 NLT)

A young entrepreneur once explained how he mailed out hundreds of letters requesting help for a truly great idea he had. That took a lot of stamps and perseverance; because his pleas were almost universally met with silence. But his persistence paid off. He received a single response … from the last person he ever expected to hear from: a wealthy and influential businessman, who agreed to facilitate the entrepreneur’s dream. Who was this young man’s big-name Barnabas? Well, he recently got elected to the highest office in America.

  • Don’t expect people to intuitively understand what you need, or how they can help. Sometimes people just don’t get it. So tell them. Be specific about what you need. Offer them ideas as to how they may assist you.

Keep on creating, keep on dreaming, and pray for a Barnabas. “…If you keep knocking long enough, [someone] will get up and give you everything you want — just because of your persistence.” (Luke 11:8 TLB)

Above all, trust God to bring the right people into your life. And when you finally do find yourself in the spotlight, remember to pull someone else in. This pleases God: “This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12 VOICE)

Pick up Tom & Wilma’s latest book, Spiritual Boot Camp or Creators & Dreamers