Tag Archives: Food

Anyone for Dessert?

Proverbs 27:7 

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. (NLT)

Really Hungry?

The longest I have been without food was during a hospital stay for abdominal surgery. I wasn’t allowed to eat before going into hospital, and it was about eight days after the surgery before I was allowed to look at food again. I don’t remember that I was particularly hungry at this time, as I had been connected continually to a drip since the surgery and received sustenance in this way. The first meal I was given was soup followed by ice cream. I often tell people that the ice cream was warmer than the soup! Did I enjoy this meal? No! I guess if I had been really hungry then anything would have tasted good, even bitter food or warm ice cream.

Room for Dessert

raspberry profsDespite the hospital experience I don’t think I have ever experienced true hunger. I am fortunate to live in a part of the world where there is more than enough to eat. As I get older I find I eat less, and while often tempted, I am usually unable to find space for dessert after a good meal in a restaurant. This is difficult as I have a sweet tooth and I love dessert.

Hungry for What?

The challenge that this proverb throws at me is not really one of absence of food or a desire for dessert, but a question about my hunger for God. Is it possible to feed on God so much that it is impossible to consume any more of Him? Is it possible to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that I can barely stand? I think back to an incident in the Temple when two people had their hunger for God satisfied. Simeon was described as a righteous and devout man who was eagerly waiting for the Messiah (Luke 2:24). When he set eyes on Jesus he took the Child in his arms and praised God.

Anna, a prophet was standing nearby earwigging. A widow of eighty-four, Anna had remained in the Temple for many years worshipping God day and night with fasting and prayer. Her delight in Jesus was so great that she couldn’t stop talking about Him to everyone she encountered. Anna fasted but her hunger was not for food but for more of God. Simeon had waited his whole life for his hunger for Jesus to be satisfied, having been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until He had set eyes on the Messiah. While we don’t have to wait for Jesus, the irony is that Jesus spends most of His time waiting for us to recognize our hunger and come to feed from Him. As I write these words I am overwhelmed by a sudden and urgent hunger that food will never satisfy. I need more of Jesus.

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Trust Him, Honey

Proverbs 25:16

“Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” 

Honey

Believe it or not, I have mixed emotions about honey. I love the flavor and everything about it, except the fact that it is made by insects. Just thinking about the legs and mouths of tiny little bugs preparing my food is creepy. But on the other hand, I try not to think about where milk comes from, either.

But wherever we get it, honey is a wonderful food. It is super sweet, yet healthy. It has anti-bacterial properties and can keep for a long time. It’s good for a quick pick-me-up, or to soothe a sore throat. It’s uses are many. Yet, even with honey, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Sufficient

Western society has a problem knowing when to say, “no.” We eat far more than is sufficient for us, and our waste lines can prove it.

However, some people are starved for good things. Even simple pleasures like honey may be hard for some to get. Therefore, when they do manage to lay hold of them, they eat like there is no tomorrow. They eat until they get sick, which leads to vomiting. They eat more than what was sufficient to meet their need.

Faithless Waste

Why do we eat more than what is sufficient? Most of us overindulge because our bodies allow it. We have grown accustomed to eating more than is sufficient, so we normally have no food left before we reach the point of throwing up. But why do we do it?

Maybe fear (a lack of faith) has a lot to do with it. Like a dog starved of food will gulp down everything it is given in just a few bites, we sicken ourselves on good things like there is no tomorrow.

In Exodus sixteen we can read of how God gave the people of Israel manna in the wilderness. Yet, God told them only to collect enough for each day, and no more; the rest would spoil. There was no need to worry, for God was faithful. Could it be that we have no faith? Could it be that we have trained ourselves to take more than is sufficient because we don’t trust God to provide what is sufficient for tomorrow?

What a waste, especially since all the extra will end up on the ground.


Deceitful Riches

Proverbs 23:1-3

When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. (NIV)

The Wealthiest

Most if not all people who read this live in or were born in a so-called First World nation. These are the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations.

The standard need of the average citizen here – food, clothing, shelter, etcetera – is usually met.

In fact, today’s passage is probably more of a warning to you if you live in one of these nations, than it is a warning for someone from a Third World nation – a nation of extreme poverty and lack of advanced technology (though they usually have cell phones!) However, it is a warning for all people who have wants and desires.

The same old warning

Everyone wants their children to have a better life than they had … or at least a better life for themselves, so there is always a desire for better circumstances.

However, look at many lottery winners or those who receive large inheritances. They end up bankrupt and sometimes worse than before.

The reason is simple: they fall in love with MORE! They see how nice it is to always have food and things, and they simply want more.

Paul warned us through Timothy about this almost 2000 years ago, but also with advice:

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1 Timothy 6:9-11

Gracious God, protect our hearts from a love of more of the things and money of this world. Rather, please give us a heart for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and humility!


Tasty Gossip

Proverbs 18:8

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” (NIV)

Choice Morsels

I love good food, and considering I couldn’t fit into my new suit coat, maybe a little too much. As a matter of fact, Thanksgiving was months ago, but I’m still suffering the effects of that meal. It was just sooooo good!

pinto beans with cornbread

Pinto beans with cornbread.

However, the best tasting kind of food is what many call “comfort food.” It’s the kind of food that makes one feel good. It’s the kind of food for which a person longs. Comfort food is choice food, and every morsel is an experience worth savoring.

For many people, gossip is like comfort food; it satisfies a hunger and desire to feel better, if only about one’s self. Gossip is tasty.

Hidden Dangers

The problem with comfort food, however, is that it goes down easy, but it never wants to leave; it sticks around in the belly, the liver, the arteries, and the heart. A constant desire for it can lead to irreversible health problems.

A few years ago I saw a documentary about a man who weighed nearly 1,000 pounds. He ate all the food he wanted, but the weight he gained left him immobile. Unbelievably, when help finally came to take him to a hospital, caretakers actually found a discarded chicken bone embedded in his his leg. His choice morsels left him wounded.

Gossip Chef

Today’s proverb addresses the words of a talebearer, or gossip. Interestingly, the Authorized Version describes the words of a gossip as wounds, while other translations render the word wounds as choice morsels. Either way, the words of a talebearer have a way of sinking down deep, eventually affecting the hearer in a negative way.

One commentary says,

The juicy tidbits of gossip are eagerly devoured by persons disposed to listen to them, as a glutton helps himself freely to tempting food. The slanderous words do not make a superficial impression, but penetrate into the innermost recesses of the listener where they are thoroughly digested.*

But unlike the great chefs of the world who prepare choice delicacies for many people at a time, the gossip partakes in every meal served. Not only is the belly of the customer fattened, but also the gossip chef. Eventually both will die of heart disease.

*James E. Smith, The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1996), Pr 18:1–8.


A Crumby Life

Proverbs 17:1

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” (NIV)

Struggling Through

I have some friends. These friends are great people, and soon after they got married they moved in with my wife and me.

We had to live together, you see, because I had lost my job, my wife had just graduated and was looking for work, and they had no jobs of their own. The little bit of income the four of us brought in was barely enough to pay rent, the bills, and get food.

And you know: the four of us have so many great memories together.

There were times when we were sharing three-day-old spaghetti, because that was all we had. There were times we borrowed toilet paper from their parents. There were times we had to ask family for money or food just to get by.

But we would play games together, laugh about the silliest things, and share all of our hurts and joys together.

Too much on the plate

Of those friends, his family is great. My wife and I call his parents “our other parents”. Her family makes Jacob’s (from Genesis) look like a finely functioning family. (If you do not know what I mean, go read Jacob’s story in Genesis 25-37!)

Her family squabbles about every little thing (really, it is her sisters who do all of the squabbling), while dad lets them figure it out on their own and mom cleans up the messes. My poor friend (and her mom, really) are the closest to sane in the whole family.

The problem is not that the family does not need to worry about money, because they are doing rather well.

The problem is that everyone is either looking out only for themselves (the sisters) or do not know how to deal with issues well if at all (mom and dad). They just keep heaping everything on until there is an explosion, and everyone is hurt.

My friends prefer spending the afternoon with us walking our dog and cleaning up his messes than a short meal with her family.

The Crumby Life

It is possible to “have it all” and live in peace and quiet. The real issue is that people try to make this life all about themselves, and they take and take and take without really giving back.

We must learn to be content, to seek God and what He has for us, and to share with others more than we demand.

Only then will we find peace.

God of peace, grant us the wisdom to find contentment with what You have already blessed us. If we are eager for more, may it be of more of You and sharing with others. Make us the peacemakers and givers of this world!


Afflicted or Merry?

Proverbs 15:15 

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

“Figures”

Have you ever known someone who feels like nothing ever goes his way? I have a friend who says, “Figures” when something doesn’t go the way he wants or plans. In other words, he feels he should have expected things to go wrong. How defeated is that?

Those who feel like the world is against them, that fate hates them, and that every wish upon a star is doomed to utter failure are not happy people. There are no silver linings, only clouds, and all the glasses are half-empty due to some conspiracy hatched in a neighbor’s mind.

“Praise the Lord, Anyway”

Then there are those people who take what’s handed to them with grace and a smile. They are the ones who end up truly brutalized and mistreated, but find hope in the middle of hurt. Disappointment turns into new opportunities, while loss is left to the wisdom of God.

Those with a merry heart can face a downturn in events, and even though it may hurt, say, “Praise the Lord, anyway!” It doesn’t mean they like having things go wrong, it’s just that they know the Lord gives and takes away, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Cart before the Horse

You know the old saying about putting the cart before the horse? Take a look at today’s proverb one more time and see if you can find an out-of-place cart? Shouldn’t being merry follow having the stuff of a feast? Shouldn’t feeling afflicted come after the onset of an evil day?

The real key to this proverb is the way a person approaches life. A person with a “merry heart” can “feast” on a bowl of beans while thanking God he at least has food. An “afflicted” person would complain that his free four-course meal lacked a piece of cake.

Prayer: Father, help me to maintain a merry and thankful heart, even when things aren’t going the way I think they should. You are sovereign and in control of all things. When “bad” things happen because of my mistakes, help me to accept the consequences. When bad things come as the result of no fault of my own, give me grace to endure and the comfort of knowing all things will work together for good.


Don’t Be Gullible

Proverbs 14:15

“The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.”
Ah, the Stories…

There are so many stories I could tell about the stories I can tell. To paraphrase a saying, “So many stories, so little time.” Therefore, when I read this proverb I immediately began to think of a couple of good examples.

Example One:

Back in the 1990’s I worked in the sporting goods section of a major retailer. One day a couple asked for my advice about a football. They wanted to know which would be better to buy, the one made of leather, or the one made of “Durahyde.”

For some reason I started with this nonsense about how the Dura was going extinct and how only the young duras were used because of their fur-less pelts. The more I talked, the more they seemed to believe me, so a vicious circle of humor-gone-bad and gullibility took over.

“So what do you recommend,” they asked? “Buy the leather,” I suggested. “It might be a little more expensive, but I just can’t approve of the way they kill those young, little duras for their pelts.”

The more I talked the more it became evident that some people will believe anything, no matter how outrageous. In retrospect, I am ashamed that I forgot to tell them I was only kidding. I was just so stunned that they actually believed me! (Note: the leather ball was the better one, and that was what they wanted.)

Example Two:

It was a Christmas dinner, and my mother-in-law (we could stop right there, I suppose) was complaining that someone had made meatloaf. “Why did [she] make meatloaf? Since when was meatloaf a traditional Christmas dish?”

“Well,” I said, “meatloaf is a very traditional Christmas dish, as a matter of fact.” “Really?” she asked. “Yes, it goes way back to around the year 1260 in England.” I went on to tell her that long ago there was a good king who prepared a great feast for all the peasants in his kingdom. Each Christmas he would invite all of them to come in and take part in a Christmas meal, the centerpiece being a large animal cooked over a fire.

As the story went, one year things got really bad. There was great poverty throughout the land, and when it came time for the annual Christmas feast, the king had no cattle, dear, or any such animal to offer. Saddened, the people of the local villages rallied together and decided to save the good king from embarrassment. They killed and cooked chicken, rabbit, and pheasant, combined them all together in to a large “loaf,” and offered it as a gift to the king who had been so good to them.

I told my mother-in-law, “That is why meatloaf is probably the MOST traditional of all dishes served at Christmastime.” “Is that so? I never knew that! Wow!” was her reply. “I guess I shouldn’t have gotten so upset,” she said (Then my wife had to spoil everything by telling her I was only joking).

Be Prudent

I believe Solomon was the first to say, “Don’t believe everything you read, hear, or see on television.” He did say that, didn’t he?

Don’t get me wrong, I love to joke around with people, but I hate lying. My stories are meant to eventually be understood as told in fun – like a grandfather who insists he has pulled a quarter from your ear. Nevertheless, it’s better to follow the words of Paul and “prove all things” (1 Th 5:21).

The gullible believe everything without question, and there are those who will take advantage of them. The prudent (wise), therefore, learn to check sources.

Let God be true, and every man a liar (Romans 3:4).