Lessons From a Milkshake


If the perfect food scored 100 on the food scale, I think milkshakes would come in at about 95. I like them.

But even milkshakes come with complications. Suppose, for instance, that you’re driving home late from somewhere and you stop and get a milkshake, as I’ve been known to do. There in the darkness of your car you insert your straw in the lid of the concoction and you suck.


So you suck again–harder. Still nothing. So you pull again and again. Finally you get a tiny taste of the marvelous liquid. You summon up all your strength and suck so mightily that your face implodes. Still nothing.

Clearly this calls for another strategy. So you tap yourself on the back of the head to make your face pop back out and there in the darkness of the car you take the lid off the milkshake and decide to drink it the caveman way. Bottoms up!

Only it’s thick and you can’t see in the dark. So you turn it up and tap it against your mouth. Nothing. So you tap harder … and harder … and finally the whole thing comes sliding down, baptizing your nose and mustache in the sticky stuff.

At least you get a little in your mouth.

Course you could always just use a spoon, if you have one handy. But if you eat it like that you may as well order plain ice cream. And you usually manage to drop some on your dress pants in the dark which gets you fussed at when you get home.

So I would score it like this. If a milkshake starts out with a value of 95, you have to take away 20 points for the guilt factor. (You know that voice that’s saying, “You’re gonna get fat if you eat that. Can’t you just feel your arteries clogging? Blah, blah, blah!”). Then you take away another 10 points for the sticky mustache and ten more for the frustration of sucking at the stuff without any results. Subtract ten more points for the trouble you’re going to have because you have to take your pants to the cleaners to clean away the milkshake droppings.

Your 95 point milkshake has dropped to 45 points. Brocolli on the other hand has just the opposite results. It starts out at about 10 on the good-tasting scale and ends up with about 50 points because of all it’s healthy attributes. I’ll spare you the story of how it happens.

But I ask you, what kind of scale is it when broccoli scores better than milkshakes?

Let’s be honest. If we’re going to get something good in life, we have to put up with some inconvenience on the way. We have to work hard. We have to trust the Lord, even when it seems things are not going according to plan.

“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Proverbs 24:10).

Sometimes it easier in the short run to roll down the window and throw the stubborn milkshake away. Get rids of a problem but it doesn’t do much for my sweet tooth does it?

In any good thing that God has for us to do there will be times of frustration, discouragement, and times that you will honestly ask, “Is it worth it?” Yes, it is worth it. Stay in touch with the Lord. When the situation gets harder, call out more and more for his help.

Eventually the milkshake will melt enough to enjoy it.


A bit different this week …

Traveler struggled wearily upwards, fatigue pulling at him heavily. Tiredness clutched his soul as well as his legs. Finally he stopped at a mountain highpoint in the forest at a vantage point that took in the valley.

He sank wearily down, laying his heavy pack to one side and resting his back against the rough bark of one of the tall pines that guarded the narrow path. The scene should have taken his breath as the late-evening sun painted the valley blue/green/gold.“Should have” but didn’t. He was beyond being healed by beautiful scenery. Life had closed in around him as he had been smashed by one problem after another. His brain ached and his eyelids sank as the sun drooped beyond the last trees.

He awoke to darkness. Well, kind of darkness, but not exactly. The moon and stars seemed to be smiling and laughing above and the night seemed more like a black velvet backdrop for millions of beautiful diamonds. He felt aware–aware as if his powers of perception had increased a hundredfold. Way down in the valley it seemed a Celtic piper began faintly playing a tune that caused tears to spring to his eyes.

Slowly the song drifted up the mountain. When it finally wound its way to him only one word rode the back of the haunting melody—“faaaiiiiitthfuuuul” it whispered. “Faithfuuuuuullll.”

Fascination paralyzed him as the music drifted round and round him, finally descending into the valley. Then it headed back, stronger and faster. “Faaaiiittthfuuuuul!” it crooned and shouted. Images began to flash in his head–like the time his child had been deathly sick but God healed him. “Faithful” the song asserted. “Faithful!” He saw the time when he didn’t have money to pay the rent and God helped him. “Faithful, faithful, faithful!” the song chirped.

Was it a word he was hearing? Was the music speaking? He saw the time that life hurt him so badly he could hardly breathe. He had asked God for help and things didn’t go the way he had prayed. He thought the Lord had abandoned him, but held on in faith and He came through.

Traveler bore heavy scars from that fray but somehow those scars were precious to him. “Faithfuuuuuuul!” The melody trailed off down the valley again. Soon it charged back roaring like a hurricane symphony.

This time other words added themselves to the one-word masterpiece. “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations,” the lyrics gained in crescendo. “ “All thy commandments are faithful” the wind answered.

“Because of God, who has faithfully kept his word, The Holy of Israel, who has chosen you.” (the Message) it seemed lighting flashed before his eyes. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” the music reprised. The wild music shot into the sky above his head and redescended in a hail of powerful words, “faithful high priest… he is faithful that promised… faithful Creator… faithful and just to forgive us our sins…faithful witness…”

Suddenly there was a powerful silence, a silence as awesome as the music itself. It was as if all nature built toward the finale. The song burst forth again with a climax that gave Traveler goosebumps,

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

And just as suddenly the song drifted away and the man’s weighted eyelids won him over again. He awoke as the sun was reappearing, lightly nudging the mist which slept among the valley trees. “Whew! I’m not going to eat anymore anchovy pizzas before I go to sleep,” Traveler muttered rubbing the night from his eyes. But then he remembered the song. What a dream! What a dream… But somehow he felt different. The heaviness in his soul had disappeared during the night.

The situation he faced was the same but he had changed. He shouldered his pack, and set out briskly towards the summit, munching on a piece of dry trail bread. “God is faithful,” he sang. “Where did that song come from?” he asked himself. “Faithful? Yes. He’s faithful.”

Think about it—“Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” Augustine
Prayer team—

  • Pray that God would give the French a hunger for Himself. Pray that they see the need of a Savior.
  • Pray that God would touch people and move in the Bordeaux region of France, in the southwest part of the country.
  • Pray that the value of the dollar would increase against the euro. The fall in the dollar’s value has been devastating to the budgets of those working in France and Western Europe.

Bear On His Back

I never saw any particular reason to run unless I had a ball in my hands and someone was chasing me, or someone else had the ball and I was chasing him. That was fun. But track and field events were a waste of time as far as I was concerned. You run and there’s nothing to take you mind off the pain.

Nonetheless, our football coach thought we should all participate in track in the spring in order to stay in shape. I threw the discus and the shotput and suffered through the required running. The worst was at track meets when the coach decided that everyone who wasn’t running in another event had to run the half mile. Aaaugh !

There were usually about a half dozen of us fifteen-year old Mineral Springs Hornets, unwillingly drafted into this event. You didn’t have to look at the uniform color to figure out who we were. We were that gaggle bringing up the rear. The goal wasn’t to win the event. We tried to avoid finishing last. It wasn’t too hard because there were usually one or two short fat guys with us. Everyone trotted leisurely until the end of the race, whereupon we sprinted (actually we trotted a little faster) for the finish line, leaving the short fat guy bringing up the rear.

One day my friend “Bug” told me before the race, “Today I’m going to run hard. I’m going to try to finish among the first ones.” I was impressed. Sure enough the gun sounded and Bug took off. Rounding the first curve he was challenging for the lead. Two-hundred yards into the race he still figured among the leaders. “Look at ol’ Bug!” I wondered.

Unfortunately my ambitious friend had forgotten one thing: to run half a mile you have to work hard in training. You have to prepare yourself. “Want to” isn’t enough, you body has to be ready. Bug began to fade like sunlight, late on a winter’s afternoon. We had an expression for it-a bear climbed on his back.

Soon others passed my red-faced friend. He was sucking air violently when I jogged past him. To his credit, he finished the race, but dead last. Even the little, fat guy beat him.

It’s hard to run with a bear on your back. An old time “track coach” gives us some advice about how to run our race,

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus”(Heb. 12:1, 2).

I’ve noticed a few “bears” that are slowing me down in my race for the Lord. One is the tendancy to dread things that are coming up. A new teaching assignment, messages for a week-end youth camp, an article that I have to write, desk-work that piles up in the in-box (you recognize it because it’s been in the inbox so long that green spores have grown upon it). I agonize and then finally I do it and think, “That wasn’t so bad. Actually, it was fun. What was I worried about?”

Don’t dread! “Help me Lord by your Spirit.” Don’t dread. Look forward to these opportunities the Lord gives you.

Do you have any “bears” that are slowing you down? An attitude full of doubt? A tongue that can’t stop criticizing? A life lived with self at the center? Days on end where worry and frustration replace joy? A constant search for something “big” to make you happy, ignoring the small joys that the Lord loads us with each day? Hidden sin? Laziness in prayer and study of the word?

Lay aside those weights. You can’t run like that! Ask the Lord to help you conquer the tendency to live with that grinning bear perched on your shoulders. Old Grizzly won’t get down of his own free will. You have to decide to make him descend and you have to do it each day, until he goes away and bothers someone else. It’s called discipline.

The goal in this race is not to avoid losing. “Run in such a way as to get the prize,” “coach” Paul bellows (1 Cor. 9:24). We’re motivated because we’re daily looking at Jesus our Lord. Don’t just run to beat the slow guys.

Run to win!