I want to encourage all of God's people to be sourdough Christians! WHAT?!
"You want us to be sour?," you're asking? Well, let's think this
through a bit. Exactly what IS sourdough?
Isn't sourdough always associated with bread? It's difficult to think of one
without the other. Sourdough = bread, right? Ohhhhhhh, but not just bread -
some of the BEST bread to be found anywhere in the world; bread that is not
only crusted to perfection on the outside, but tender and delectable on the
inside with just the right amount of body...bread that wafts out a delectable,
almost irresistible fragrance that just BEGS you to taste and see how good it
is! Remind you of any scripture here? Maybe the one about "Taste and see
that (the Lord) is good..."? Psalm 34:8
Sourdough starter is made from mixing together the proper amounts of flour,
water or milk, and sugar. You then let this simple mixture set (about 16
days) in a warm place, it picks up the "natural yeast" that's floating around
in the air, which causes the dough to begin its "souring" process. This is
how sourdough got started in its purest form. Nowadays, we usually add
commercial yeast to help the operation along. Though we call the process
"souring", it is actually a life-giving process called fermentation.
And even if in its initial stages sourdough starter has a pungent odor that
many find offensive, the end result of whatever that sourdough starter is
used in almost always has an enticing aroma and oh-so-heavenly taste!
Let's consider for a few moments the ingredients in sourdough, and
specifically in the Amish Cinnamon (Friendship) Bread recipe included in this
First the flour, which forms the basic structure of the dough. What is
flour? It is finely ground grain. And what is grain? It is the seed of a
plant. And we know that even though seed LOOKS still and lifeless, within it
contains the power to give life...the power to reproduce its own kind.
Next the sugar. Sugar is the raw material from which yeast manufactures the
leavening gas: it also adds flavor and aids in browning.
Now the water or milk. We all know that we cannot live for any length of
time without water. But since the particular recipe that we've included in
our newsletter uses milk, let's think about that. Milk is the
life-sustaining first food for all of God's creatures. (Ever wonder how on
earth those huge beasts called horses give ENOUGH of that life-sustaining
first food to their offspring to grow them up into the magnificent huge
animals that they become? I mean, after all, you can't even SEE where that
milk is coming from! I think it might be interesting to find out exactly how
MUCH horse milk it takes to grow a colt into a filly or a mare. Maybe God is
using QUALITY there instead of quantity!)
Our recipe calls for salt, of course. We know that salt is used for
flavoring. Some time ago, there was a song that said, "If the salt hath lost
its savor, it ain't got much in its favor!" I recall that the message was
that Christians should remember that God said we are the salt of the world.
And if we lose or forget our "savor" (or the reason we're here... to lead
others into His kingdom), there's not much use for us! Salt is a
preservative, you know. And we're put here to act as such - helping keep
others from being "rotted" and "ruined" by the devil's fiery darts and lies,
which will ultimately lead them to eternal destruction. We're here on this
earth to act as preservatives to the people everywhere around us; thereby
foiling the devil's plans!
Our recipe includes oil. Now we know that baked goods need a tiny amount of
some kind of fat if we want them to be tender. Just a tiny amount of fat
goes a long ways towards accomplishing that goal. Omit the fat in a recipe
and you usually end up with a tough product! In Scriptures, oil is used a
lot of times to refer to the Holy Spirit. Isn't that interesting? Get the
connection here? A little bit of God's Holy Spirit in each of us goes a long
ways - and makes us tender. If we don't listen for and follow the leading of
the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will be walking in our OWN fleshly, selfish
will, and we're probably going to end up being some pretty tough "cookies"!
Next in our recipe is an egg. Eggs also represent life. An egg, in a way,
is also a seed, containing within itself the power to produce life.
Now about yeast - this is a bacteria that occurs naturally in the air. It's
all around us. San Francisco is said to have some of the best - thus that
mouth-watering San Francisco Sourdough Bread. Adding commercially prepared
yeast to a mixture simply speeds up the fermentation process for us humans
who don't like to WAIT for anything! The growth of yeast produces a gas
(carbon dioxide) that is held in bubbles; these expand and the dough is said
to "rise." A high temperature will kill yeast; a low temperature retards
Baking powder is another leavening agent which reacts with moisture to give
carbon dioxide, helping the bread rise. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate,
is also a leavening agent. This one reacts with heat and when mixed with
acids, also liberates the carbon dioxide.
Next is cinnamon, which not only adds flavor and an enticing scent, but
bakers know that a slight pinch of this in a baked good will actually help
the recipe rise more, even if there's not enough cinnamon in the mixture to
The bread recipe we're including in this newsletter uses a commercially boxed
pudding. Even though pudding is a mixture of ingredients, those individual
ingredients were still created by God. We simply mix them together in
different ways to make assorted "flavors". I liken this to the individual
"experiences" people have, making each of us special and different, and
yet, these individual experiences are not absolutely necessary to the basic
recipe. The basic recipe will still be not only functional but also
delicious and life-sustaining without the "pudding", but the "pudding" adds
an interesting "twist" to the finished product! And as we all are different
from one another, we all have different "flavors". As God sends ALL of us
out into the world, and as our varied personalities appeal to the diverse
"tastes" in people, (which serves first in getting their "attention"),
we ultimately share the gospel with them. What's interesting is that while
we are each and every one of us different flavors, it is the exact same flavor of "GOD IN US" that flows through us and draws people to Him!
Our recipe calls for nuts. (Make your OWN analogy here, but remember that
nuts are seeds. And think of all the animal life that nuts sustain
throughout each season of the year!)
As any baker knows, there is a BALANCE of ingredients that will yield perfect
results for whatever your desired finished product is. Not only must we have
the required ingredients, we must have them in the proper amounts. For
instance, consider again ordinary, inexpensive, lowly SALT. Not only is its
presence absolutely necessary in sustaining life, it also adds flavor to
many, many foods. Salt is commonly used as a preservative, but if it is not
used in the proper amounts, it can actually have the opposite effects. So
it is in our Christian walk. God tells us to let our moderation (balance) be
known unto all men. He knows that people are going to be watching our every
move, and hearing the words we say. He wants us to be balanced... not going
overboard in one area or another, but depending on His leading in all areas
of our lives. And He promises to lead us; to be with us at all times. All
we must do is ask Him; and then listen when He answers.
Okay, when all our ingredients are mixed together in the required amounts, it
is time to bake or apply the HEAT! When we experience conflict and
confrontation in our lives, we sometimes refer to that as "going through the
heat". And interestingly, this finished product that's had heat applied to
it is STILL life-sustaining, and is much more interesting and palatable than
it was BEFORE the heat was added. The heat hasn't killed the life-sustaining
properties, merely changed them; into BREAD!!! Jesus said, "I am the bread
of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger... he that believeth on me
hath everlasting life... I am that bread of life." John 6:35a, 47b, 48)
Having a conflict with someone? Try taking them a loaf of freshly baked
bread (still warm, if possible) that you've made with your own hands and TELL
them you made it just for them. Believe it or not, this is a spiritual
principle! When we're in a conflict, you can be sure there's some "self" in
there somewhere! Try putting the other person's needs ahead of your own:
SHOW LOVE, GIVE THEM A GIFT. Nothing says loving like something from the
oven. (Excuse me, Pillsbury, for borrowing your theme song, but it's true!)
Breadmaking not your forte? Whip up a batch of cookies! Or a pie! Or a
cake! When you GIVE, it changes YOUR heart and attitude, and isn't that
where God wants ALL of us? Doesn't He want us to be tender and loving? To
have hearts of flesh and not stone? To be sensitive to His Spirit and walk
in that, and not in our own selfish will?
Okay, then, get busy. Go ahead; be a sourdough Christian!
Submitted by Carol Pinson,
If God is speaking to your heart about these things, and you need
somebody to talk with, please don't hesitate to e-mail us about your need and
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Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Cor 10:31 ESV