A Lesson from Brownies

**This was inspired by a message from Pastor Tim Dilena.

I have a secret that many guys would have a tough time admitting. Funny, I usually end up doing at night when not many can see it. Now, don't let your minds wander and think, "This preacher has some dirty secret!". No, I'm addicted to anything illicit, or even take part in such things. You see, I love to bake! I've been doing it for a couple years now, and I have to say, I am getting some kudos from my wife and kids. In fact, as I type this, the smell of fresh brownies lingers in the air. Mmmm...!

Last night, I made a batch, only to mess up and place the pan on a burner I forgot to turn off when I melted the butter. What a Homer Simpson "Doh!" moment when I swore an hour after baking them that I could smell them burning! One whole batch, charred and tossed out like moldy cheese. So, this afternoon, I took my culinary skills out in the daylight and baked a fresh, homemade batch. (And a store-bought batch of walnut brownies for the Mrs.)

When you are just buying a box of brownie mix at the local Kroger (or Publix or Meijer's), it's easy to forget the steps that go into really baking brownies. Rather than dump a bag of mix into a bowl, and adding some water, eggs and oil, I actually have to go through a process. I have to measure out the flour. Then there is adding the sugar, the cocoa, eggs and vanilla. Mix them together, add some heat, and viola! You have some kicking brownies. Likewise, God takes us through various processes as He makes us the people He's called us to be.

My kids constantly want to lick the mixer and spoons. Yours do to, heck, you probably do, too! But have you ever had someone come into the kitchen and ask to lick the measuring cup clean after adding flour? Or begged to slurp down a raw egg? How about scooping down spoonfuls of unsweetened cocoa? My guess is no. Who wants to eat those nasty things? I sure do love to have a spoonful of sugar, though. Likewise, we'd love to have nothing but good in life as Christians, don't we? Yet, the Lord uses the good and the bad to mold us into His image. We have to endure the flour and the bitter cocoa, and the slimy eggs, along with the sugar. Some pleasant, some not so pleasant, but all necessary for the finished product.

When this life is done, and we are forever in the Lord's presence, will be perfected. Not underdone, not overdone, just right in His image. I'm reminded of what happened when Solomon was having the Temple built. The stones for the building needed to be cut out, but when they were chiseled, it didn't happen on site in Jerusalem. The Bible says that they were cut and shaped while still at the rock quarry, so that the sound of the hammer was not heard in the actual construction. In other words, the rocks arrived ready for the presence of God. In this life, we have our troubles and our joys that all shape us. God is chiseling away the junk, to reveal the living stones (1 Pet. 2:5) that we are. When the time comes to stand in His Holy presence, we will be complete! "He who began a good work in you shall complete it by the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)

God bless, and have a great Sunday!