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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: What Goes In Determines What Comes Out!
By Caroline Nandakumar


It was a sunny Friday morning when I decided to bake. I had never baked before, but I was inspired by the pictures of perfectly-baked rye breads and muffins posted on Facebook by a cousin of mine. I spent an hour online searching for the ‘best’ banana bread recipe with the most favorable reviews. I lined up all the ingredients on my kitchen counter and then realized that I did not have any baking soda. I remembered having ‘baking powder’ somewhere in the pantry and so I thought “Surely this can be used instead of baking soda…after all, don’t they both have the word ‘baking’ in them?” I mixed all the ingredients and put the pan in the oven. As I waited for the timer to beep, I imagined myself pulling out a perfectly-baked, moist, golden-brown loaf of banana bread. With expectant hope I pulled the pan out of the oven, only to find a soggy, pudding-like mess. Little did I know that in order to substitute baking soda with baking powder I should have added more than three times the measurement given in the recipe! In addition, I had, apparently, not paid much attention to the amount of flour to be added.

I found out, the hard way, that the magic of baking lies in the accurate measurement of ingredients. In other words, what you put in determines what comes out of the oven! As I mulled this truth, I remembered Mark 4:24 – “And He said to them, be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.”(1) I realized that the amount of attention I give to the Word of God determines the amount of revelation, knowledge, and encouragement I get from it. Many times we sit through Sunday services wondering what to cook for lunch or thinking about the important project we need to tackle the next day at work. We say a few ‘amens’ at the prompting of the pastor and clap our hands half-heartedly every time the congregation claps its hands. Our private bible study time may involve reading a devotional and the corresponding bible reading for the day…lasting five minutes at best. And we wonder why we don’t hear from God. We wonder why we don’t get any special knowledge from what we read in the Bible. We wish we could be as spiritually gifted and mature as Mrs. Jones from the bible study group but we always find ourselves struggling to understand the Bible.

My best friend is a stickler for measurement. She cannot cook without her measuring cup and spoons. I, on the other hand, tend to ‘throw in’ spices and other ingredients and they have always come out great. I simply assumed that I can follow the same approach to baking and everything will turn out well in the end. How naive of me! It made me think about those times I have assumed I know what a particular Scripture verse means or what the Bible says about a specific topic. I realized that, without proper knowledge of the truth, the assumptions I make can lead me astray. In fact, some of the loved ones in my own family have half-baked ideas about God but they don’t really know Him. It is no surprise that they never seem to have enough time to study the Bible or listen to a sermon.

Just as it is important to measure the amount of ingredients in baking, it is equally important to measure the amount of attention and time we give to hearing the Word of God. The more attention we give to diligently studying the Word of God and carefully listening to the truth of the Gospel, the more knowledge we get. But, knowledge without action amounts to nothing. We must use the revelation and knowledge we receive to bear the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), and self-control (2) .

The secret to perfect baking lies in measurement. The secret to spiritual maturity lies in paying attention to what we hear and study so that we can use the knowledge acquired for God’s glory.

1. Mark 4:24 (Amplified Bible)
2. Galatians 5:22-23 (Amplified Bible)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Francie Snell 01/19/13
Your writing made me smile and laugh. What you have here is so true and I have to say "Amen to that!" The only suggestion I can make is to break up your paragraphs making them shorter, without taking out any text.
Great Job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
This is a great story. The title is a perfect fit and neatly sums up your message. I could totally relate to the MC on many levels. I also will throw things in without measuring them. I think we all can relate to the church situation or quickly reading the bible. The only red ink I have is to suggest you save the exclamation points for dialog as sometimes overusing them can have the opposite effect then what is intended. But other than that, I think you did a fine job with this piece. It was on topic and had a great, clear message.
Myrna Noyes01/20/13
I like your personal illustrations in this great devotional. You bring out some excellent points about Bible study and our time with God, and you leave us with a important lesson to meditate upon! Good job!
Margaret Kearley 01/21/13
This is so good and gives a very clear message, explained powerfully and with 'measured reality.' Thank you so much - needed to read this today and it blessed and taught my heart.
Allison Egley 01/21/13
This is good. I know I'm guilty of the "five minute quick fix" many times, if I even get THAT in... *blushes* Definitely something to think about.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Great message and a pensive piece. Good job.
God bless~
Bea Edwards 01/23/13
I really enjoyed your story and its correlation with life principles. Thank you for this wonderful devotional lesson.