Get Ready For God To Act

Image by webvilla from Pixabay

When you read a cake or muffin recipe, it will usually instruct you to preheat your oven and get your baking pans prepared before describing how to make the dessert itself.

But why do it in this order? Why not make the batter first, and let it sit there in the bowl while you leisurely grease or line the baking pans and let the oven slowly heat up?

There’s a very good reason to have everything prepared before you start the actual baking, and it has to do with how leaveners behave.

As soon as a raising agent like baking soda comes into contact with the liquids in your cake batter, a chemical reaction starts to take place. Gases are generated, and bubbles begin forming. You want those bubbles to stay trapped inside the cake to give it loft and airiness.

If you let the batter sit there on the counter for too long, the gases would escape into the air. This would prevent your finished cake from being as light and fluffy as it could be. So as soon as the leavening agent is added and mixed in, put the batter into the prepared pan and get it into the heated oven as quickly as you can.

It’s the same way in life, isn’t it?

When God adds the circumstance or person that will be a catalyst to change your situation, things often begin moving very fast. If you’re not ready, it might catch you off guard. You may end up stumbling instead of stepping confidently into the new level God has in mind for you. You might not rise as high as you could have.

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My Lifeguard Walks On Water

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

For those of you who live near a large body of water, or who might be visiting one during the summer, what are some important things to remember when spending a day at the beach?

Remembering to apply sunscreen is definitely important. So is bringing snacks, a blanket to lie on, and perhaps an umbrella to sit under. Maybe a toy bucket and shovel for the kids to play with in the sand.

But isn’t there something more important than all of those?

How about remembering to pay attention to the lifeguard?

If you’re visiting a public beach by an ocean or large lake, there will probably be a lifeguard station there. Lifeguards will be in place at intervals on raised platforms above the sandy shoreline. If the lifeguard tells you the undertow makes it unsafe to swim in the water, obey his or her instructions.

There will also be rules set forth on signs along the beach. To have an enjoyable and safe day at the beach, it’s important to obey those rules. Stay within the boundaries of the supervised areas. Pay close attention to the warning flags.

The rules are there to protect you.

It’s the same with God, isn’t it? He has set forth rules for us in His Word, the Bible. He wants us to stay within His boundaries in the way we behave. He wants us to obey His instructions, because they’re for our good.

His rules are there to protect us.

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What Will You Grow: Fear or Faith?

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

With the arrival of spring, gardeners are faced with some difficult decisions:

What should I grow in my garden?

You only have so much square footage and only so much soil.

You have to make hard choices about what plants will be given space, and which ones you’ll have to forgo this year.

Maybe you’d like to grow dozens of pink roses in your garden plot. That’s a great idea: it would look gorgeous and smell beautiful.

But then you’d have to give up on the idea of growing a vegetable garden in that spot. You simply don’t have the space to do both.

If you dream of having a wildflower meadow in your yard, you’ll have to skip your plan of creating a formal French garden. You have enough room for one or the other, but not both.

Similarly, you only have so much real estate in your mind.

You have to make decisions about what you’ll let take up space.

What will you grow there?

Faith or fear?

They both grow in the same soil, so to speak: uncertainty.

But only one of them produces a harvest that’s worthwhile.

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Mustard Seed Faith

What are the smallest seeds on earth?

You might guess mustard seeds. Close, but not quite.

How about poppy seeds?

They’re very tiny. You’ll find out how extremely tiny they are if you accidentally spill them on the floor. You’ll discover that you can’t pick them all up by hand: it’s hopeless. You have to bring out your vacuum. (Don’t ask me how I found this out!)

Actually, the tiniest seeds on earth are said to be those of certain orchids from the tropical rainforest. Each of these dust-like seeds weighs only one 35 millionth of an ounce. They’re smaller than a grain of salt.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the prize for the largest seed on earth probably goes to the Coco-de-Mer palm tree of the Seychelles Islands. One of its seeds can weigh up to 45 pounds.

Mustard seeds are a bit larger than poppy seeds, but they’re still exceptionally tiny compared to most seeds.

They’re so small that Jesus used them as an example in one of His teachings. Surprisingly, He said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could see great things accomplished.

How is this possible?

Because when we have even a small amount of pure faith, God uses it as a force multiplier. Our tiny contribution somehow provides the spark for God’s power to show up in a big way.

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Forward Guidance From God

1890s image of banker from Picryl, Library of Congress collection, Public Domain.

Central bankers can be inscrutable folk.

They issue statements regarding the economy that can sometimes be a bit enigmatic and vague.

Economists and journalists pore over every word of each press release, trying to read between the lines and guess at what the central banker is thinking and planning.

At other times, however, central bankers are more forthright.

They issue what is known as “forward guidance”: clearcut statements about the likely course of future monetary policy.

They may plainly state that at their next scheduled meeting, interest rates will be going up (or down). People are able to make decisions about mortgages or loans based on that foreknowledge.

Don’t you wish that God offered “forward guidance”?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God let you know in advance what’s coming down the pike in your life?

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Happy In-Between

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

A few weeks ago, I heard a lady say, “Happy In-Between!”

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant.

I finally realized that she was referring to the time after Christmas but before New Year’s. We don’t really have a term to describe the awkward period between these two holidays, so this lady settled on “In-Between,” and hoped we’d have a happy time during it.

It got me thinking about the other “in-between” times in our lives.

Many of us go through times when we’re in an awkward phase of waiting for something to happen.

Perhaps we believe God has given us a promise about something He will do in our lives, but it’s taking a long time to come to pass.

Maybe we’re trusting God for a healing, a new job, the restoration of a marriage, or the return of a prodigal child.

It can be hard to stay happy during a time of limbo, when nothing seems to be happening in our situation. As the months go by, our prayers don’t seem any closer to being answered.

So what do we do when we’re having trouble staying upbeat, faithful, and patient during the in-between times, when life just seems to be a hard slog?

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The Dreams of the Blind

What do blind people dream about?

Do they dream in pictures, or in sensations and sounds?

Researchers tell us that it depends on when they lost their sight.

The brains of those who went blind after ages five to eight will have received a lot of visual inputs during the years when they could still see. These individuals are able to form visual dreams using the images stored in their memory banks for a good while after they’ve lost their sight.

People who are blind from birth are different, researchers say. The brains of these individuals have no visual images to work with, so they don’t dream in pictures like the rest of us. Instead, their dreams are based on input from the other senses: sound, taste, smell, or touch.

The upshot is that the blind can only dream using the inputs they’ve received.

Isn’t this true for all of us, in a way?

We can only dream about achieving or receiving things based on the examples that have been “inputted” into our minds. If we have never seen a real-life example that something is possible, we’ll probably never dream about it for ourselves.

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Focus On Alpha and Omega, not Delta and Omicron

Alpha and Omega letters. Image by J. & R. Lamb Studios, 1857, U.S.Library of Congress Collection via Picryl

Just when you thought you could see a light at the end of the tunnel, the light bulb burns out.

This pandemic sort of feels like that, doesn’t it?

It almost looked like we were getting a handle on COVID-19, and then along comes the Omicron variant. At this juncture it still remains to be seen just how benign or destructive Omicron will be, and whether it will displace the Delta variant. But it’s not the news we wanted to hear, was it?

And there’s always the possibility that other variants may develop in the future. With each of them now being named after a letter of the Greek alphabet, I’m learning a bit more Greek these days than I cared to!

But really, there are only two letters of the Greek alphabet that believers need to focus on, and they’re not Delta and Omicron.

They’re Alpha and Omega.

These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the Bible, this pair of letters represents both God the Father and Jesus Christ.

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The Blessings of Not Seeing

Ishihara test for colour blindness. Those with normal colour vision should see a green W on a red background. Image by Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The colour blind have to take a lot by faith.

The term “colour blind” means just what it says: unable to perceive certain colours. The most common type of this vision disorder is red-green colour blindness. People with this visual deficiency may see these colours as yellowish or greyish.

While these individuals have never seen red or green, they do acknowledge that these colours exist.

Why?

Because they trust in the conviction of others who have seen red and green. They believe that those who have had real-life experience of these colours are telling the truth. So the colour blind take our word for it that these hues genuinely exist.

Basically, they believe in the existence of red and green by sheer faith.

As believers in Christ, there are fundamental things that we have to take by faith, too.

And the Bible says we will be blessed for what we haven’t seen.

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All in Good Time

They say cooking is an art, but baking is a science.

Part of what makes baking scientific is that it often calls for exact timing.

When you cook a roast or a turkey in the oven, the estimated cooking time can vary. The meat will be in the oven for several hours, and the recipe might give you as much as a half-hour window to start checking for doneness.

But when you’re baking cookies, the recipe will sometimes only give you a two-minute span to remove them from the oven. You have to be on your toes so you don’t miss this window, but at least you have a greater degree of certainty as to when the baking process will be over.

We humans crave certainty, don’t we? And that’s especially true when we’re going through difficult things in our personal lives.

Wouldn’t you love it if God told us exactly when our time of suffering would end?

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