Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On God's Menu? . . . All The Truth. . . .Yes, Lord. Please.

"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian."

A.W. Tozer
My son, Steven, brought his little girls to Mimi's for a brief visit last Thursday. While they were here, my husband brought in his and my lunch, two Mandarin Chicken Salads from Wendy's. Steven, Olivia, and Ella had earlier had their meal, but of course, as I found a comfy spot on my sofa, where I could sit and eat my dressed greens, both babies quickly made their way to me. Seeing them lick their lips, jump up and down, and open their mouths like little birds told me the obvious, so I searched through my salad to find something to suit their sweet little taste buds.

Olivia, who is two, tasted the chicken, spit it out in a napkin, and before I could stop her, swiftly grabbed some crunchy noodles and sliced almonds from my plate and smacked away. Her two year old finicky behavior has of late affected her eating habits. Isabella Grace, whom we call Ella, will have her first birthday soon, and such being the case, she is still discovering her own little palate, which makes each eating opportunity a festive occasion.

Taking a small, soft piece of mandarin orange, I placed it in her tiny little mouth and she received it, heart, soul, and all plunging into the process. Eyes began to wrinkle. Lips pursed. Jaws puckered. Eyes glared at me. Still, she kept chewing. She then swallowed. Stood. Thought. Then, danced for more, and of course, I obliged. Shortly thereafter, "Daddy" said it was time to go. Olivia took a few more bites of almonds and noodles, and Ella, when placed in her car seat, screamed and kicked and cried in dismay of having to leave the oranges she at first found bitter and considered refusing.

My nagging tendency to see analogies in all later caught up with me, and the necessary spiritual truth in those few simple moments with Olivia and Ella I could not escape. So, I pondered my life as a Christian woman and considered my own frail tendencies to be particular with my spiritual taste buds. I thought about the need for pure doctrine, the need for hungering and thirsting for God's word, how our Master Designer gave us each our own genetic code with particular habits and tastes, and I thanked God for my four grandchildren, Olivia, Caleb, Anna, and Ella, and the precious, joyful, God-given happiness they bring me.

But nestled in that wee bit I spent with my little granddaughters was another lesson just as urgent for me. I found beneath those few beloved moments a plain look at my own nature. I thought of my weakness to shrink from any part of God's word that may not taste as sweet as I like or have the texture I desire. I regarded my own penchant to spit out what I find unpalatable. To only pick up what suits my fancy of the moment. To avoid that meat that can be tough to chew and sticky to handle. To savor those things most that give me delight, yet, pass over passages that seem presently insipid. To ignore unwittingly my need for a spiritually balanced diet.

To be a balanced Christian, I must be willing to taste, to chew what may at first seem a bit bitter, a little sour for my senses. To swallow all of God's word and consider it good and crave more for what I at first lacked desire. As a Christian woman, I must eat what manna He gives me, His daily bread, dine with joy, make each occasion to take in His word a time of festivity. I must hunger for more, cry with thirst, and search, appeal, for further time to hear afresh His voice.

Several years ago, I went through a very bleak time. During that darkness, I lived in the Psalms. They were my meat and drink. The prolific words of those holy scriptures were God's manna for my weary soul; they were health and healing, hope and peace. The words of David and other Psalmists held me up, kept my feet from moving, stayed my heart from fainting. When finally I saw light again, I so craved the Gospels and the Epistles, Isaiah, and other scriptures. And from that experience, I realized my deep, ever present need of all of God's infallible word. While the Psalms were God's answer for a very present need, and sustained me with spiritual breath, He did not want me to lose taste for other areas of the Bible that He also gave for my good. To be whole, mature, complete, lacking nothing, I must be willing to receive both the positive, uplifting voice and comfort of God's promises, and hear, with joy, the solemn, sacred words that convict me of little foxes that can spoil my vine.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4) is a sure promise that encourages my spirit, but I also must be willing to hear that "godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (I Timothy 6:6-8).

The words of David, which tell me God "leads me beside still waters" and "restores my soul" (Psalm 23:2-3) provide such comfort and peace, but I must not lay aside Jesus' faithful words that warn me "if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).

And the Apostle John's words that rejoice my spirit, as they speak so passionately that "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (I John 4:16) bring healing to my weary soul; yet, Peter's words remind me not to think "it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (I Peter 4:12-13). Such truth causes me to look in Jesus' face and accept the cross He has prepared for my life.

I am challenged to open my heart, to search daily for His words for my life, and accept each one. I am praying to resist the temptation to keep handy a metaphorical sifter that will filter out unwanted pieces of God's precious, holy, infallible truths. To accept a hearty slice of sourdough bread and chewy sirloin, rather than only craving a slice of luscious chocolate creme pie covered with sweet whipped cream and shards of bliss. I am looking with hope to grasp the full reality of Jesus Christ and God's will for my life, leaving behind me preconceived notions of what I should be served.

Jesus said "My sheep hear My voice," (John 10:27), and with my whole heart, without reservation, I believe, to hear His voice, I must know, must savor, must cling to His word. All of His word. Which is all truth. With all my heart. With all my strength. With all my mind. Savoring each precious piece given me by Christ's own scarred hands. And thus when He calls me, I will hear, and, can answer, "Yes, Lord, speak, for your handmaiden is listening."


  1. I so Love your blog :)I enjoy reading it

  2. Beautiful Post! I so lovely my visits to your Bloggie...gracefully written with a focus on only the things that truly matter.

    Blessings to you...Rebecca

  3. Well done! I so love the times God speaks to me through the words and actions of my grandchildren....

    Wonderful reminder about studying and absorbing the entire Word instead of selective portions...

  4. Rich and deep! I love the analogies, and am reminded again that God's words are not a smorgasboard to pick & choose from, but a multi-course banquet than ensures the balanced diet you mention.

    More-and-more I'm convinced it is not only the privilege of believers to actually hear His voice, but a vital necessity ... so many are the counterfeits out there.

    Be blessed, with hugs ...

  5. I find looking for analogies in life helps me stay focused on Jesus. So beautiful to hear your words about feasting on the entire word of God. Blessings.

  6. Dearest Andrea,

    when you wrote...

    "He did not want me to lose taste for other areas of the Bible that He also gave for my good. To be whole, mature, complete, lacking nothing, I must be willing to receive both the positive, uplifting voice and comfort of God's promises, and hear, with joy, the solemn, sacred words that convict me of little foxes that can spoil my vine."

    It is so true! There are times when I do not want to read a certain passage that I know will tell me what I have been doing wrong...but if I don't, then how will I learn?

    Thank you again dear friend, for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you as His vessel. To be so humble in your words that it will be a teaching tool to everyone that reads them.

    Grace and Peace to You my friend,

    lady m

  7. Dear One,
    Andrea, I so enjoy your writing. This post is good food for thought. Tis true, the whole counsel of God is what it is about, not just certain parts.
    If we don't embrace it all, we will not walk the Christian life as we should.
    The Holy Spirit has to help me all the way, for at times I am very weak.
    I am becoming a BIG fan of Proverbs and Psalms.
    Blessings to you,

  8. It's wonderful how our lives, our families, refelct our relationship with God.

  9. How sweet and wonderful the time you had with your grand daughters! I wonder if there was any salad left for you...

    And I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote as the insights came to you.

    God give us a well balanced diet... and his word is profitable for instruction, for correction, for training in righteousness... His word is able to cut through the motives and intents of our innermost being.

    I never cease to marvel at the beauty of God's word.

    Thank you for sharing your deep insights.

  10. Dearest Andrea,
    What rich, rich, rich words of wisdom!!!
    Thank you dear sister in Christ for encouraging
    us to dig in deeply and drink from the fountain of God's Holy Word!! Bless you!!!

    Love in Him~ Jen

  11. Beautifully said! I find that I too tend to lean toward the parts of the Bible that I find more pleasant than others. This is a wonderful post to remind me to savor all of the Bible not just parts:).



  12. Yes, the whole Bible is needed for my study time. It never ceases to amaze me, either, how as I'm obedient to read with the intent to just learn about Him more, God shows up with the perfect word for my situation and I may think I'm in a boring passage or book! He knows!

  13. How wonderful that each book, each author, each section of the Bible has something so wonderful and different to offer us. Thank you for your wisdom that we should not fill up on one part of the buffet without visiting the other stations. For each will satiate a different part of our palette, as God intended. Blessings to you!

  14. Yes! Letting Christ be formed in me requires much cutting away of myself, by the purifying, correcting Word of Truth! Not always a pleasant meal. He is bringing me to work on taming my tongue more right now. It's amazing how much work He still has to do in me! but what a wonderful journey, from faith to faith, glory to glory, of revelation from His word! Thank you for sharing yours!

  15. I love the entirety of God's Word, even the hard and rough parts. They all breathe with the witness of God's hand; my task is to dig deeper to see its tracing sometimes.


  16. Andrea! You are so much like me! I'm still teaching English though (a late bloomer!) But, we've been in ministry for all 31 years of our married life. I love my grandchildren and I loved reading about yours. I'm going to follow your blog. I am so encouraged when I find kindred spirits!

  17. thank you for these words of wisdom- hugs from Meme

  18. I love how kid experiences with a little pondering brings about life lessons God intends for us to see.

    As I've been in a unique Daily Bible Reading Plan that has me reading a passage of each in the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and the History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles I understand what you mean about varied tastes. Being in Leviticus with the various laws on ceremonial cleaning is interesting but bitter. However, when it is coupled with a reading in Galatians where Paul is loudly yelling at the Christians there who are trying to add to the Gospel elements of the law....I begin to see what a picture God paints of Himself....we need to be set apart and holy, as He is. But He paid the price so we can. This is a blow to our pride, fulfilling the requirements of the law is not possible and no longer necessary. All those different tastes from differing places in the Word are magnificent together.

    Loved this post!

  19. What a great analogy. I love how you've discovered the spiritual lessons tucked away in our taste buds, of all places! Beautiful piece of writing ...

  20. Thank you for your awesome insights! I enjoy reading your posts, and treasure time in God's Word. How I wish all the Wendy's around us hadn't closed, boo hoo! God bless you and yours!

  21. My dear Andrea,

    Thank you for sharing. Once again, the Lord has used your post to remind me that the whole of Scripture is inspired by God. It all serves a purpose... the importance of feeding upon His word daily.... it is priceless.

    I have been encouraged,
    Mrs. Teapot


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In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,