Friday, May 7, 2010

Baking Bread & Our Thoughts

Each week as I use yeast to do my bread baking, it triggers all kinds of verses in my mind. The one that most often comes to mind is, "Be careful," Jesus said to them, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." Matthew 16:6. I don't have a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees around me but I do have plenty of questionable influences that would love to plant a few grains of yeast in mind and have them multiply.

If you have ever watched yeast sponge it is really an amazing process. You simply place a few things in a bowl and voila, it grows like no ones business multiplying it's volume over and over. There are a couple of things that must be present for that yeast to multiply, one is the sugar, it has to feed off of something and the other is the warm water, not too hot, not too cold but really it just needs to be warm, there is room for fluctuation. I often think of how our minds are like that bowl. Once the yeast is put in the bowl and fed, it's off and growing. When we allow the world to enter our mind, just like the yeast it's views start to take over and multiply. If we give it the right conditions and food it will advance even quicker.

I love that this verse is so often brought up in my baking day because it keeps me vigilant to keep the bowl of my mind clean. We can feed off of so many good foods for thought, like Bible verses, praise and worship songs, pure and lovely truths, thankfulness and many more. Even easier is the allowance of the world into our thoughts and to unknowingly feed the grains of yeast it plants. The toughest battles we will face in our spiritual walk will be in the battlefield of our minds. The enemy knows just the right amount of ingredients to place in our thoughts. He doesn't even need to make them grow as we generally feed the grains of yeast he places. Unless we purposefully take control of our minds we will lose many battles.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." We must ask for the Holy Spirit to help us in being vigilant to keep our thought lives pure and full of truth. The second we notice a grain of the enemies yeast being deposited, or we begin to think an untruth we must stop and clean house immediately. Take inventory of your thoughts when your emotions start to grow frustrated, angry, critical, depressed, condemning, judgemental, hurt or selfish. If you are experiencing poor emotions it is probably due to faulty thinking. Are you thinking poorly of your husband, children, family, friend? STOP! Take a step back and be willing to fight for the truth and the state of your mind. Pull out the word and see what it says about forgiveness, long-suffering, perseverance and unconditional love. You probably need to get rid of a little yeast!

One challenge I come up against continually is the temptation to think pridefully and selfishly. I often get frustrated when the children, well act like children and when my husband, well acts like a man! There are a couple of things I try and remember at these moments. One thing I ask myself is, "am I believing the best about this person?" The truth is generally that a child did not act foolishly to spite me, it was just that, foolishness. But it is my responsibility to correct them. When I act out my anger and frustrations because my plans and expectations are derailed it is no longer the child's problem or sin I am dealing with but mine! The other area I find myself fighting often is in the area of how I view my husband. More than I like I get a little self-righteous and out of place with my husband. I forget that God has put him over me and I begin to think that maybe Pete should get on my agenda! Many times it might be something around the house that I would like to see done differently or on a different time line and I will take that thought and hash it up nice and good in my mind until I have convinced myself he is just out to get me! This is a perfect example of letting one little grain of yeast grow. When I start to see this, I may be watering and sugaring these yeasty thoughts. I try and stop and remind myself that, "this is his house, not mine, I am to be his helper, he is not my helper!" Now this doesn't always make me feel better right away, but I praise the Lord for continually bringing to mind this verse in these times, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jer. 17:9. Our thoughts should follow truth and in turn our emotions will follow as well. Do not let your feelings be the starting point, the truth must be the starting point, then we act on that truth and in time our emotions will follow it.

A little yeast runs through the entire batch of dough and causes it to rise. This is great thing for bread, but not for our minds! Ladies, we must turn from the belief that we should follow our feelings and let our thoughts lead us. We must be on our guard. The beauty of purposeful, truthful thinking is that we are free to see truth and the fruit of that truth. If we are continually thinking and believing lies we miss the opportunity to live in a pure conscience and heart. There is not greater joy than to know truth and rest in it!

As a continual reminder of how to keep our thought lives holy, maybe you too would like to bake some bread. Here is our families staple recipe.

Whole Wheat Bread

1/3c Honey

1/3c Olive Oil

2 1/2c warm water

2T Yeast

2 1/2t Salt

6-7C Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2T Dough Enhancer

Combine the warm water, yeast & 2C flour in mixing bowl (if you have a mixer with a dough hook). Allow to sponge for 15 min. Add honey, oil, dough enhancer, salt & 4-5C additional flour. You want to start mixing it and when it just starts to clean the bowl then you have enough flour. Knead the dough on med-low speed for 6 mins. At the same time turn the oven on to 200 degrees. When the dough is done kneading split in 2 loaves, shape and place in oiled bread pans. Place in warm oven, turn off heat and let rise for 30 mins or until about doubled. When risen, turn oven onto 350 degrees and bake for about 35 minutes. Just leave the bread in the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes as the oven pre-heats. The bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow. Cool and Enjoy!