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The Fast Meal Deal

I feel our ability to cook is slowly slipping away, and being replaced by fast food, prepared food, and 1,000’s of recipes at the tips of our fingers. Sure we are “cooking” but do we really have an understanding of what we are really doing? Do we understand portions, foods that “go together” or spices?

Even restaurants buy prepared or semi-prepared food from a factory type vendor. The “art of cooking” is applying heat at the final location. We are doing less and less ourselves, resulting in less learning, less discovering, and minimal retention.

We have two dogs; Tucker and Maddie. When we are at home in Minnesota, they have their favorite chair they like to sit in and look out the window. They watch our front yard, the road, and the neighbors.

Occasionally there will be a squirrel in the yard. When a squirrel is spotted, they both bark and bound out of their chair and run to the front door, and we usually let them out. When it is a squirrel and it goes up a tree, they will both sit at the base of the tree looking up and bark and bark.

Usually after several minutes, one or the other will wander away, while the other continues “the watch”. What I have come to believe is that when they bound out of the chair, many times only one has actually seen the squirrel, but the other goes, with faith in what the other appears to have seen. After a period of time of barking under the tree, only the one who actually saw the squirrel hangs on, while the other wanders away.

I feel Tucker and Maddie have taught me something spiritually… Sometimes one can believe he saw or encountered Jesus in a

certain way or place. That person can share his experience with others who will then join in and follow the one who actually believes he saw Him.

If you are familiar with the “Christian Circuit,” there are those who I would call the “heavy hitters”… They have their teachings and experiences in books, CD’s, DVD’s, U-Tube, on line etc. Some have thousands of followers, who can’t wait for their “newest release”. Many are very popular and have great materials. I am not poo pooing these people at all. Likely, many have “seen the squirrel”, and can do a great job of sharing their insights and experiences, personally and scripturally.

I believe if we don’t have a clear understanding, experience, and personal hunger for an encounter with Jesus ourselves, we can too easily join in at the base of “their tree” and just bark and bark with the rest of the crowd. We can find ourselves professing something that is far short of what we actually possess.

Without a personal encounter and continuing foundational development, there is a good chance we will slowly walk away disillusioned. Or at best, develop a walk with God that may be broad, but very shallow, and man dependent.

If you have been in Christian circles for any extended length of time, you have seen some of the “heavy hitters” fall, and when that happens, sadly, many of their followers go down with them.

It seems today, the number of believers who are able to “prepare a spiritual meal from scratch” is shrinking, at least from my observation. Many are becoming dependent on spiritual meals that are already prepared or semi-prepared, and we only have to re-heat it and if we choose, to share it with others. I have learned so much from others, but we must not let others be our only source. If you do, you will find yourself unable to “cook” for yourself “spiritually”.

I believe there are times when God is calling us to be an eagle, and see things that other “birds” may not see… There are also times God wants us to be a “parrot” and simply repeat what other “birds have seen or are saying”. I believe we need to have both “eagle and parrot times” in our lives.

Unfortunately, it seems that we have an increasing number of parrots, and the “eagle count” is shrinking. I feel much of this is a result of choosing what is “easier”. I believe in teachers, pastors and mentors... but don’t settle for or “put all your eggs in one basket”. Don’t let yourself slip into following someone too closely who may be 2-3 or more generations down from the person who actually “saw the squirrel”.

I feel it is so important in our development to personally “hear” from God, to dig deep and to grow in a personal relationship with Him. At times it can be simple little things. It doesn’t have to be some booming, earth shaking encounter… but “a still small voice”.

Try cooking from scratch… spiritually. Yes it will likely be much harder. It may even be awkward. Don’t always look for the quickest and easiest path, but welcome and enjoy the process of “growing up”. Ask God to give you a greater hunger and passion to go to a place in your relationship with Him where you have never been before. Find the real meal deal!

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