Supersize It! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Recently, when we ordered a meal at a fast food restaurant, the lady behind the service counter politely asked, “Would you like to supersize your order?” We were slightly amused. The burgers were already huge: half a pound of charcoal-broiled ground beef on a thick sesame seed bun with double layers of lettuce, tomato, pickle — and three slices of cheese. It had a name like the “Sumo Wrestler Junior” and it made us shudder to imagine the Sumo Senior! Oh, and it came with a bucket of fries and a gallon of soda.

Sure, we’re exaggerating, but still, we’re amazed at how the portion sizes served in American restaurants have grown over the years. We used to ask for a doggie bag so we could take home what we couldn’t finish. Now when we ask, the waiter brings out a couple of big square styrofoam containers, and we’re able to pack up enough food for another big meal and a bedtime snack.

If you could time-travel back to the late 1950s or early 1960s, you’d probably be shocked by the serving sizes in a typical drive-in hamburger joint. A regular burger was one thin patty of beef with a dollop of mustard and ketchup; not the stacks of steer you get today. A pack of fries was about 2.5 ounces. (Today a carton of fries weighs in at around 6.5 ounces.) And the average sized soda was 8 fluid ounces, not the 32-ounce “bladder-busters” served today.

Maybe all this super-sizing was a response to the once meager portions served in finer restaurants: a medallion of meat the size of a political
campaign button handed out by an underdog independent;
three — count ’em — three tiny new potatoes artistically arranged next to a few slivers of carrots and zucchini on a plate the size of a saucer. Those were “healthy” portions … for a hamster with a small appetite!

This is what’s known as portion control, and we understand it’s all the rage in expensive restaurants with fancy menus that don’t list the prices. One portion size fits all, from tiny eats-like-a-bird Barbara, all the way up to gone-in-60-seconds-and-now-I’m-eyeing-your-plate Pete. Ah, the good old days of eat, drink, and still be hungry!

The Bible also speaks of portions: “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:24 ESV) But exactly what kind of “portion” is God providing His believers? Does anyone ever leave our Heavenly Father’s table still hungry — and needing to supplement their “portion” with a snack?

No way! Those who come to God’s table quickly realize, “Whom have I in heaven but You [God]? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides You. …God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26 ESV) In other words, the portion served by God doesn’t leave us hungry for anything else.

God is not stingy. In fact, He’s into super-sizing His blessings: “[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV) And if that weren’t enough, our Heavenly Father also serves double portions: “Instead of shame … you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” (Isaiah 61:7 NLT)

Have you endured hard times, or suffered through hurts and disappointments? Our Heavenly Father is also known as Jehovah El Gmolah, or the “God of recompense.” (Jeremiah 51:56) The word recompense means: to reward, compensate, or provide restitution. So, in accordance with His divine nature, God has promised us that “…I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten…. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.” (Joel 2:25-26 King James)

We all know the story of Job, a prosperous man who lost everything! Well, God made sure Job’s story didn’t end there. “…The Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10 NIV) Double what he had before?!?! Remember, Job had been a very rich man. Hence, doubling his original blessings was like … super-sizing an already huge meal!

“The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” (Job 42:12 NASB) What encouraging words for those of us who put our faith in God, knowing that the best is yet to come! Double portions! Super-sized blessings! (And no indigestion!)

Jesus Christ said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV) Have you allowed God to supersize your life yet?

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Meatloaf Blues? (Angel in the Kitchen)

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There’s a scene from an old sitcom, and it plays something like this: a teenage boy walks into the kitchen and asks his mom, “What’s for dinner?” After she tells her son she’s lovingly made his favorite, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, the boy whines, “Aww, meatloaf? I just came from Johnny’s house and his dad’s grilling steaks!” Who’s to be pitied more? The poor mom who’s slaved over the hot stove trying to please her family — or her ungrateful son, who’s got the meatloaf blues, a symptom of “the comparison complaint”?

Unfortunately, we all periodically suffer from this complaint. It’s a common malady of the human race, but there’s a cure. Just stop! The kid in the aforementioned sitcom ought to have been happy that his mom cooked his dinner to start with — let alone made his favorite — and we would all do well to stop comparing what we have with what someone else has. Life is more enjoyable when we’re grateful for what God has provided us. And, personally, we LOVE meatloaf, with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy! Of course, we serve a pretty mean meatloaf at our house!

Still, we tend to get caught up in comparing, and when we do, we inevitably reach the same conclusion: there’s always something better than what we have. The neighbors are having steak and we’re stuck with meatloaf! Or, we’re having meatloaf but the neighbors are having meatloaf with gravy! Yes, the dinner is always more delicious on the other side of the fence — or is that grass? After God led His people out of bondage from Egypt, He daily provided them with a perfect food called MANNA! Manna was “a flaky substance” that “tasted like honey wafers.” (Exodus 16:14,31 NLT) The Israelites collected the manna each morning, and we can imagine it might have been a little like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. To quote Tony the Tiger, “They’re grr-reat!!”

But God’s people started comparing, as we all tend to do, and suddenly they were “homesick” for the foods they ate when they were slaves! Seriously? Yeah, the “comparison complaint” really is a sickness; and we’ll never truly enjoy life if we’re always “sick” about what we could have, but don’t have. How can we enjoy a delicious cool glass of freshly squeezed orange juice if we start contemplating what else we might have had? Remember the TV commercial for vegetable juice? The guy suddenly stops sipping his OJ, slaps his forehead, and cries, “Wow, I coulda had a V-8!” Don’t fall prey to the comparison complaint. Enjoy the moment. “This is the day [or food, or home, or opportunity] the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NLT)

Another symptom of the comparison complaint manifests when we start comparing ourselves to others. Trust us on this one: no matter how beautiful or talented you are, how much money you make, or how big your home is, there will always be someone somewhere who’s just a little prettier, more gifted, more prosperous, more whatever. So … since these things are all relative to begin with, then why compare — and compete? Catch the comparison complaint and you’ll probably also come down with “inferiority fever” followed by “insecurity sickness”!

On the other hand, there will always be those who don’t seem to measure up to you and your standards. Should you take what God has blessed you with as a reason for pride? If you do, then you’re suffering from the vanity virus.

We mentioned we serve a mean meatloaf. We have a friend who started comparing her cooking skills to Wilma’s; and she felt she came up short. As a result, she was reluctant to have us over for dinner. Sad and unnecessary! We all have different gifts and abilities, and there’s no point in comparing. When we do, nothing good ever comes out of it; instead, we miss out on the joy of life. But our friend was mature enough to confess she was feeling a little inferior in the kitchen. We told her not to worry: we’re not into comparing and competing. And we’re grateful whether we’re served pheasant under glass or a plain pizza. Then we reminded her just how talented she was in areas that remain a complete mystery to us.

Our friend relaxed, realized what’s most important, and then had us over for a take-out pizza. And we’re not sure why, but … apparently her fellowship added a lot of extra flavor to the food, because it was one of the best pizzas we’d ever had! Get the lesson here? Please don’t catch the comparison complaint. At first it just makes you sick, but later it can kill your joy. “I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.” (Romans 12:3 GOD’S WORD)

Remember the symptoms: the meatloaf blues, inferiority fever, insecurity sickness or vanity virus. Nip them in the bud before you get an incurable case of the comparison complaint.

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