The Recipe For Manna

Image by Moira Nazzari from Pixabay

Don’t you love recipes that are so simple that you can easily memorize them?

The ingredients list isn’t too long, and the items are probably measured in even cups or teaspoons, not fractions.

You’ve made the dish so often that the instructions are now fixed in your head. You don’t have to go rifling through your recipe box or searching your online files to find the recipe.

Even years later, you can still bring the recipe to mind and whip up the dish reliably.

You’ll never forget it.

There are things that God will never forget, either.

I heard a pastor say that “God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.”

God still remembers how to cook up whatever you need and get it to you!

Read more

God Is Always At Work

Why is it that when traffic is diverted around “Men At Work” signs on the road, we often don’t see anyone doing any actual work?

Sometimes the construction zone is deserted, and work on the project seems to be at a standstill. And yet vehicles are still forced to circumvent the area.

At other times there might be a few workers milling about and talking, or peering down an open maintenance hole. But again, lanes are blocked off and traffic is being slowed down for seemingly very little reason.

We naturally find this very annoying. The disruptions and delays would be easier to handle if we could actually see some work getting done, some real progress being made.

Sometimes we show the same impatience with God, don’t we?

We have prayers that we want Him to answer, and circumstances in our lives that we want Him to change. But we get frustrated when nothing seems to be happening.

Read more

Let God Surprise You!

We all love receiving more than we expected, don’t we?

Like when you order a product online, and to your surprise the company throws in some extra goodies or samples as a bonus.

Or perhaps it’s your birthday, and your family outdoes themselves with a party, special gifts and a scrumptious meal, all despite being in a lockdown.

It makes us feel valued to be the recipients of these unexpected blessings.

God certainly knows this. That’s why He often seems to enjoy outdoing Himself, showing up in a big way in answer to prayer or simply to demonstrate His power and majesty.

This is how Paul describes God’s “above and beyond” abilities in Ephesians 3:20:

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (NKJV, italics mine)

The term Paul uses to express God’s ability to work beyond what we pray for, think or even dream is possible is variously translated “superabundantly more” (AMP), “infinitely more” (NLT), “immeasurably more” (NIV) and “far more abundantly beyond all” (NASB).

However you phrase it, it says a lot about God’s character, His generosity and his abounding love for His children.

Read more

My Secret Is Finally Out!

Image by philm1310 from Pixabay

Are you a secret cookie dough eater?

Many of us learned as youngsters that raw cookie dough can taste even better than baked cookies. As adults, some of us will sneak a spoonful or two of cookie dough when we’re baking, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

For some of us, however, our addiction to raw cookie dough is rather more extensive. We have a particular problem resisting those tubes of uncooked cookie dough that you can buy in the refrigerated sections of grocery stores.

When we were kids, our Mom would buy a tube of dough and put it in the fridge, but it would mysteriously disappear before she had a chance to bake it.

As adults, our addiction to this surreptitious habit continued. We’d sometimes eat an entire tube of dough without baking a single cookie for our families.

Last summer, the Pillsbury company finally acknowledged what many of us have known for decades: their raw cookie dough tastes darn good, and people can’t resist it. So they’ve developed a formula that is safe to eat raw.

Pillsbury Cookie Dough tubes now state on the label: “Eat or Bake.”

Fellow cookie dough eaters: our secret is finally out!

And yes, I’m admitting that I’ve been a surreptitious cookie dough eater, too. There, I’ve said it.

Frankly, it’s a relief to have it out in the open. It feels liberating to finally admit my secret “sin.”

Read more

Do You Abhor a Vacuum?

Image by 22594 from Pixabay

Aristotle said that “nature abhors a vacuum.”

So do I, frankly. Perhaps I should simply stop vacuuming? After all, who am I to argue with Aristotle?

Seriously, though, what that phrase suggests is that empty spaces are unnatural, and somehow or other nature will seek to fill them.

I encountered a dramatic example of this truism through a friend of my late father.

This friend had developed a disorder called Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Macular degeneration had left voids or blank spots in his field of vision. The brain finds these empty spaces to be disturbing, so in Charles Bonnet Syndrome it fills in the blank areas with patterns or random images from its memory bank.

The result was that my father’s friend would “see” people or animals that weren’t actually there. His wife would have to tell him that, no, there wasn’t really a stranger sitting on their couch, or a cow in their backyard. The hallucinations he experienced were just his brain attempting to paper over the upsetting voids in his visual field.

It seems that human nature abhors a vacuum, too.

We all have voids or empty spaces in our lives that we seek to fill: areas of dissatisfaction, lack of love or absence of validation. These blank areas make us uneasy, so we try to fill them up.

Read more

What Is Your “Job One”?

Man installing seat into Ford F-150 pickup truck at the Kansas City, MO plant. Wikimedia Commons CC BY-2.0

Sometimes we need a reminder of what we’re really here for, don’t we?

Many companies know this. Their employees can get so focussed on the little details of their tasks that they lose sight of what their main goal is.

That’s why for many years the auto manufacturer Ford put a large sign on the walls of its factories:

“Quality is Job One.”

An employee might have been helping to assemble the engine, working on the upholstery of the seats, or perfecting the paint finish on the vehicle.

But no matter what their specific task, the sign reminded the workers that their overarching goal was to produce a quality product.

Perhaps we as Christians sometimes need to be reminded what our primary function here on earth is?

Read more

What Can’t You Live Without?

You’ve heard it said that “man shall not live on bread alone.”

That’s absolutely correct. He also needs tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.

As in pizza.

I’m pretty sure that I could live on pizza alone, and I’m willing to give it a try. Is there someone out there who wouldn’t mind providing me with a daily supply of freshly baked pizza?

(I’m just kidding, of course. Sort of.)

Joking aside, we’re missing something crucial here, and that’s the rest of the verse I quoted above:

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus in Matthew 4:4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3)

Jesus seems to be telling us that the revealed word of God is every bit as important as the food we nourish our bodies with.

But do we really treat the word of God as being as essential to us as the food we eat each day?

Read more

What Birds Can Teach Us About Prayer

Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

It’s good to keep in touch with those you love, isn’t it?

Even birds know this.

Birds will engage in what are called “contact calls” with their mate or others in their flock. Unlike a bird’s song, a call is usually shorter and quieter. The purpose of contact calls is to maintain a continuous connection and to keep track of where each bird is located.

The Northern Cardinal, for instance, makes a brief metallic “chip” sound to keep tabs on its mate’s location when they’re both foraging for food. The mate will respond with the same call as reassurance that they’re nearby and that all is well.

We humans engage in the same type of behaviour. We’ll often make a short phone call or send a quick text to a loved one to keep track of how they’re doing and to reassure them that we’re all right.

I think our Creator would appreciate getting a “contact call” from us on a regular basis, too.

Read more

A Series of Fortunate Events

Image by Susann Mielke from Pixabay

Sometimes it takes a bit of time before we can tell if an event will turn out to be good or bad for us.

Take the famous Chinese proverb about Sai Weng losing his horse. The story goes like this:

Sai Weng, a old farmer, raised horses for a living. One day, his prized stallion ran away. His neighbours comforted him in his misfortune by saying, “What terrible luck!”

Sai Weng merely replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later, the stallion returned, bringing with it several wild mares. The farmer’s neighbours congratulated him on his good fortune: “What wonderful luck!”

Again, Sai Weng only said, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

One day, Sai Weng’s son tried to ride one of the new mares, but was thrown off and broke his leg. The neighbours again commiserated with the farmer, saying, “What bad luck!”

Sai Weng once again replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later, soldiers from the national army came through town, conscripting all able-bodied men for service in the war. The farmer’s son was spared, however, because he was still recovering from his broken leg. The neighbours said, “What great luck!”

Sai Weng simply said with a smile, “We’ll see.”

We often can’t judge whether an event in an of itself is fortunate or unfortunate. Sometimes only time will tell the whole story.

Read more

Doomscrolling? Try Hopescrolling!

Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

Have you been prone to “doomscrolling” recently?

Doomscrolling is a new word that’s been coined to describe the habit of obsessively consuming a large quantity of negative online news.

The committee of the Australian Macquarie Dictionary even named “doomscrolling” their Word of the Year for 2020.

Humans have a natural tendency to pay more attention to bad news, but the doomscrolling trend has accelerated during the pandemic.

We compulsively check our news apps and social media feeds, endlessly scanning the latest ominous headlines. We feed ourselves a steady diet shocking or disheartening news about rising COVID-19 case numbers, hospital intensive care units filling up, businesses shutting down, political instability or even weather woes.

We can’t seem to help ourselves, even when we sense that doomscrolling is probably detrimental to our mental health. All this bad news saturating our minds can leave us depressed, anxious, angry or hopeless.

We need an antidote to the feeling of despair that doomscrolling can produce.

I’d like to propose that we adopt a new habit:

Hopescrolling!

Read more