"An Inside Perspective"

March 2008

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! By the grace of God, one of my hobbies is cooking. I like to experiment with various "rigged-up" cook-pots to see what I can come up with. Now in Rahway, I also have hot-pots that fry!

One of my favorite meals is barbecued chicken with my own unique "Irish sweet rice" on the side. I have learned to cook the chicken long and slow. That causes the water to be cooked out of my sauce making the chicken sticky and finger-licking good. Then, I leave it to set overnight which seems to bring all the flavors to their peak. When you bite the chicken the next day, it just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Along with the Irish sweet rice to chase it down, one cannot help but worship!

My most recent pet meal is octopus spaghetti. I put two cans of octopus pieces into a large open bowl. I then add chopped onions with various spices. Next, I boil the spaghetti until it's not quite done and lastly, I add it to the octopus and onions, cooking it real slow. While cooking, the oil from the octopus works itself into the spaghetti in a most sweet fellowship and the flavor from the onions tops it all off. With a little buttered garlic bread on the side I can close my eyes and imagine that I am back home at Mom's again! Thank you Lord!

I have actually put together a "jail-house" cookbook with all my specialties in it. They are designed to be cooked with jail-house cook-pots, but I suppose it could be adapted to ordinary stoves. To get the full affect though, the recipes must be followed one hundred percent.

As you may know, I lock with Carlos. He also has his own little Latino specialties. One day he decided he was going to make us some chicken soup. I always try to get my hand in on things and he is always running me out of the cooking area! It gives me flash backs of my Mom always lovingly running me out of her kitchen while she was cooking. I always had to have a taste or get a sample. She made a big deal out of running me out, but I know she would not have had it any other way. Indeed, my inability to stay out of her kitchen was a testimony to her excellence in cooking. Mom's stuffed cabbages were to die for!

Anyway, back to Carlos' chicken soup. He put in much effort working very hard to make it just right. There was only one problem though, he added too much water. He tried to stretch it to make more, and sadly, it lost all its flavor. He called on me to try to fix it, and I tried, but the adding of more seasoning only made it worse. Honestly. It just wasn't any good and we ended up having to throw it out. We were bummed.

I am reminded of the Israelites who ate manna in the wilderness for forty years. They were not content with the Lord's provision. They murmured. It is written, "But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, besides this manna, before our eyes."

God had provided all that they needed, and yet, they were not content. They said, "We remember the fish which we did freely eat in Egypt; the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic." It seems that they forgot they were slaves then, and that now, they were free! I wonder, "What were they thinking?" I remember all the good meals I had in Trenton State Prison; God blessed me abundantly, but I would never want to go back there because of the meals! The Israelites were willing to be slaves if they could only eat good! Think about that! Is there a particular sin in your own life that you are willing to hold on to, even, if you have to be a slave?

In their dissatisfaction, the Israelites tried to change the manna. It is written, "And the people went about and gathered it and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans and made cakes of it . . ." They were not content with what, and how, God had supernaturally provided for them.

We have done the same thing with God's manna today. We have ground the Bible in the mills of our print shops. We have beaten it in a mortar into paraphrases. We have baked it in pans and made cakes of it with all of our study helps. In all of our effort, working very hard to make it right, just like Carlos, we watered it down! We have to get back to the simple Word of God taught by the Holy Spirit through His teachers. God delights most in a childlike faith. Like my Mom would say, "There is a time to stay out of the kitchen." When it comes to God's Word, just like the Lord's work on the cross, it is finished. We cannot add to it, nor can we take away from it. If we receive God's Word by faith, the oil of the Holy Spirit works His way into the Bread of the Word in a most sweet fellowship. The Word will simply fall off the bone and melt in our mouths. Then closing our eyes, we cannot help but to worship, while imagining in our hearts that we are already in heaven!

"Garlic Bread Anyone?"

Joyfully in Jesus,