Divine Recipes

Suggested Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

“All Scripture is…useful.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

The Bible is meant to be understood and followed as a whole, not solely in scattered parts. Look at Romans 8:28, the part about everything working out for my good is very pleasing to my taste-buds but what about verses 18-27? There I find content concerning suffering, future glory, weaknesses, and my great Intercessor. One verse is great, but consumed as a whole, it takes on new life, new meaning, and affects my heart the way it was intended.

I’ve discovered many books have provided unique applications when I understand the author, the audience, and the culture. All of these facts help paint a picture of the circumstances the passages were written under and enhance their purpose.

Can I take and eat a bell pepper?

Sure I can. In fact, I think they’re pretty tasty in their raw form.

But if I take the same pepper, follow the recipe,

 understand the other ingredients

 and use them as directed,

I create a masterpiece of delight for my taste-buds.

 

This not only pleases me, but those around me benefit.

The Bible is my recipe book for life. Each ingredient (verse) tastes good on its own and serves a purpose to my spiritual health, but when I choose to take the time to understand the entire recipe, how it fits together, what its completed picture looks like, and how to get there, the individual ingredients take on new life.

As I follow the recipe I get a result very similar to the original intent: a life manifesting the characteristics of Jesus, living under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Is the completed picture a perfect resemblance of the original?

No, it can’t be perfect, but it can be close!

One day the Master Chef will create in me that perfect glorified manifestation of his recipe book, and then I will look, feel, and taste exactly how I was meant to. Until then, I can follow the recipe as it was designed, as a whole, and resemble a likeness very similar to the One who created it.

The Fame Game

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30

Suggested reading: John 3:25-25

What is the essence of glory? I was recently struck with this question and wanted to find a suitable answer. The obvious reaction is something like, “God should get the glory,” or “All praise is God’s” and other pious Christian-ese. If you actually sit and think about it, what does “Give glory to God” really mean? Just because I pray, “All glory to YOU” doesn’t mean I am glorifying God. Just because I say, “I want to give God glory” doesn’t mean I am glorifying God.

First I googled “What does it mean to glorify God” and the answer (gotanswers.org) popped up, several paragraphs long. It mentioned several of the above statements, using verses that talk specifially about glorifying God. They were great references but they still weren’t satisfying my curiosity on the issue. I wanted to know what it looks like for ME to give God glory. Is it singing hymns while scrubbing toilets? I could do that out of duty, not love or adoration.

As I sought the Holy Spirit’s guidance, John 3:30 came to mind. “He must become greater; I must become less.” Now that seems like the essence of glory to me; answering the question: who is getting the credit?

It begins with an argument. John (the Baptist) had his own disciples who followed him around, faithfully supporting his ministry. They got wind of something they thought John should know. You see, there was this Man who had the nerve to take over John’s ministry of baptism! John’s disciples were warning him that this Man was getting all the attention, in fact people were flocking to Him in unprecedented numbers.

How would I react if I had a nice little ministry with people flocking to me for answers and counsel, then all of a sudden someone else comes along and steals my thunder? My first reaction would probably be jealousy. Knowing my luck, that person would probably be more beautiful and desirable in every way, knocking me a few more notches down on the self-esteem pole. Figures. Guess I’ll have to give up and find somehwere else to be superior. Heaven knows I can’t share the spotlight with anyone. (Let’s face it, we all think like this from time to time.)

John replies much differently. He is not threatened, jealous, or angry at the Man bull-dozing the ministry he developed. Quite the contrary, he is encouraging this Man! He goes on a 9 verse diatribe of the greatness of this ministry and those God has chosen to complete His purpose. Whether or not John is in the spotlight, he is completely content knowing God’s will is being accomplished. He says, “The one who comes from heaven is above all,” and “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands.” (vs 31, 35).

What does it mean to glorify God? The name of Jesus increasing and my name decreasing.

I had a Pastor say to me, “You have some mad skills” after playing a difficult piano piece with the worship band. Although I was greatly encouraged, I also tried to remember where I came from and how hard I had worked just to master that piece. In fact, mastering it is something I would definitely not claim, it needs a lot more work. Point being, when someone  hears what I play, or marvels at a glorious photo I’ve managed to shoot, I want them to be pointed to Christ. I want them to think, “That’s amazing, God!” or “Thank You for that gift, Jesus“. These are the praises that went through my mind recently when I attended a concert. There was a symphony of musicians from a multitude of churches in our area. These people were crazy talented! When I left that concert I remember saying to my friend, “I think it’s amazing how people so talented are completely content with serving God in this way, rather than pursuing professional contracts or success in the secular market.” You see, throughout this concert Jesus’ name was increased through the beautiful music, while the musicians were merely tools to lift high his Name.

As I reflect on what “gloryifying God” means for me, I am motivated to spend more time on my knees seeking new ways to keep the spotlight on Him.

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2