Good Gifts

A few weeks ago we hosted our Supper/Bible Study small group at our home. We prepared a large pot of chili, rice, salad, crusty bread and butter and apple pie for desert. It took a while to decide on a menu – something we could cook ahead of time and have ready when we all arrived, with rumbling tummies, at our house after Saturday evening church.

Part of the decision was which butter to serve -salted or unsalted. When I married my husband, I made the switch from salted to unsalted. I’m the one who adds salt to practically everything so I looked on it as a bit of a sacrifice. Over the years, I grew accustomed to the taste and even liked it. However, a little yearning for salty butter remained.

In order to ensure everyone’s happiness, we bought both kinds. Ah, I thought, here’s my opportunity to indulge in what I’ve been missing. After everyone had been seated and served, I helped myself to a slice of bread, slathered it with salty butter and took a big bite. To my amazement, it didn’t taste as delicious as I remembered. All that longing and anticipation, and it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

I thought about it, over the next week, as I worked my way through the salted butter. There have been other things in my life I’ve longed for – things the Lord has told me aren’t best for me. He has given so much, but those things He seemed to withhold looked so inviting. For some reason, the heart tends to long for what it thinks it cannot have.

Whenever I have ignored the wisdom the Father gently whispered into my heart, the experience has ended by tasting like that salty butter in my mouth, and the consequences of my choice have lasted longer than I would have liked. I have had to learn this lesson over and over again. It’s different as I’ve aged, but the heart is no less deceitful. Comparison, the need for approval, pride, to name just a few, can cause me to make wrong choices and then suffer the consequences.

The Lord doesn’t take delight in denying us the things we think we want and need. With great love He longs to bless us with what is best – to keep us safe from the unpleasant consequences of our choices. He loves us far too much to leave us to our own devices.

“For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Psalm 84:11

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift ┬ácoming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. ┬áJames 1: 14-17



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