Bake a loaf of bread

I baked a loaf of bread this afternoon. I don’t eat bread because wheat doesn’t make me feel well, but I love the baking process. I love seeing something come out of nothing. The flour, water, butter and milk are blended together and then the yeast causes a wonderful reaction and the whole mixture expands. Yeast works by consuming sugar and excreting carbon dioxide and alcohol as by-products. Firstly the enzymes in the yeast and the flour cause large starch molecules to break down into simple sugars. The yeast metabolizes these simple sugars and exudes a liquid that releases carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol into existing air bubbles in the dough. As more and more tiny air cells fill with carbon dioxide, the dough rises and we’re on the way to leavened bread. The more the dough is kneaded and manipulated the stronger the protein bonds become and the gluten develops, making the dough stronger and much more elastic. The more elastic it becomes, the more gas it can hold. Because of the alcohol that develops, there is a fermentation process that takes place. This causes the starch to break down into more flavorful sugars which is what gives bread its flavor. This is just a very simple overview of the whole process.

Jesus spoke to His disciples in Mark 8:15 “Then He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.’”1 Corinthians 5, “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” Yeast or leaven has been used for a long, long time in bread baking. The Israelites were commanded to bake unleavened bread in Egypt at the Passover before they followed Moses into the desert. When I think of the bread and the change that takes place where some ingredients are put together to where a lovely aromatic loaf is taken out of the oven, I see our lives from the time that we become believers. When we first accept Jesus as our savior we are a bit like the flour, water, sugar and butter. Most of the right things are there and we look pretty much okay most of the time but we are like unleavened bread. We are missing an ingredient, there’s something in our lives that’s just not there. We have a longing for that missing factor. When we answer the knocking on the door of our hearts and invite Jesus in, it is like adding yeast to the flour mixture, suddenly there’s an excitement that wasn’t there before. All our cells seem to be activated by something that new ingredients. We feel a love bubbling up in us and we can’t explain it. We start to follow the teachings of Jesus and we become stronger, just like the air cells that hold more carbon dioxide. We seem to have a capacity to hold more love and in the process show more love.

Then the Holy Spirit starts working on our souls. We go through tests and trials and we are given the opportunity to develop Godly character, just like the alcohol that develops in the dough. The fermentation process is us when we are fighting battles and getting stronger. When we come out victorious we are more flavorful, more loving and stronger than we were ever before. We look different, we sound different and we do different. We grow in character and we grow fruit. The change in us becomes just as evident as the change in the dough when it is baked and becomes bread. 1 Peter 1:7, “So that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:12, “beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” We are tested by fire at times and when we come out of that fire, we are stronger and we can withstand much more than we could before. We are like the aromatic bread that has been baked. We are being made more and more like Jesus and we should welcome the process. I’ll end with Revelation 3;18, “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”

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