Great Baking Disasters January 06 2017

(Part of BCF’S blog series: “Society, Selflessness, and the Scriptures")

Loving greetings from BCF in 2017!! For many of us in the U.S., the celebration of Jesus’ birth and the other holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day brings with it the nostalgic aromas and tastes of various baked goods. One of our family traditions during this season is to bake pumpkin bread - lots and lots of pumpkin bread - to share with family and friends. Shashi’s recipe is particularly good, and it fills the house with the seasonal aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg. It tantalizes the taste buds with moist sweet morsels filled with juicy raisins and walnuts. I think I’ll go cut another slice right now.

We have baked literally hundreds of loaves of pumpkin bread over the years, and have almost memorized the ingredients and measurements. Despite all our practice, the recipe is always by our side, with instructions carried out in sequence and double-checked. I know the importance of this first hand, having ruined a few recipes in the past.

For example, there was the time we mistook citric acid for sugar (it looked the same in the storage container). The first bite of that one was quite the surprise! In one of my first attempts at chocolate chip cookies, it seemed that the dough was still undercooked, so I kept them in the oven longer … and longer … and longer than what the instructions called for (I wasn't aware at the time that you don’t test whether cookies are fully baked the same way you test breads). The folly of this did not become apparent until the cookies cooled. The description “hockey pucks” comes to mind. I had failed to trust the very clear instructions.  There were other times that things “just didn’t taste right.” Something was clearly missing, but what went wrong remains a mystery. Most families have their own “great baking disaster” stories.

Baking is always a great reminder of the importance of following instructions. The Lord even provided detailed baking and cooking instructions to the Israelites for such things as the grain offering (see Leviticus Chapter 2). But as we go into 2017, this is a reminder to me of the unfailing truths of God’s Word. Sometimes we want to take shortcuts. Some instructions are inconvenient for us. Some instructions we want to simply ignore. But to do so is to ignore the very source of hope in our lives.

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

If you want a great study about what the Word of God is and what it does in our lives, go to Lesson 3 of Self-Confrontation, pages 50-52. In the new year, these passages can remind us of the truth, power, admonition, encouragement, and hope that the Scriptures provide. For example, just in the Psalms we are reminded:

“Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

“The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” (Psalm 119:160)

“Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:98-99)

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:9)

“Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.” (Psalm 119:165)

“Sustain me according to your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” (Psalm 119:116)

“This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.” (Psalm 119:50)

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)

And there is so much more. Nations, leaders, and economies will come and go, “But the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). Even more than this, even in the midst of what we might call disasters, the Lord actively works to cause good in our lives, to develop Christlikeness in us (Romans 8:28-29).

May the year 2017 be one in which we have a renewed commitment to read, study, meditate on, memorize, talk about, and apply God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit!

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With hope for 2017,

Steve Smith