What On Earth Are Scripture Pancakes?! I’m glad you asked!
When I was a little girl growing up, I woke up to the smell of pancakes on Sunday! We had cold cereal every other day of the week for breakfast, but Sundays were special. My sweet dad woke up early on Sundays to make sure a delicious breakfast was waiting for us. It helped me look forward to Sundays and taught me that they are special. I remember one Sunday running (and I mean running!) into the kitchen for breakfast. Sure enough, Dad had the griddle going and was piling hot, scrumptious pancakes on a plate for all of us! I’m pretty sure pancakes will be served for breakfast in heaven by our Heavenly Father! =)
Pancakes are delicious. They are sweet and round and soft! You can top them with whip cream, fresh fruit, or drizzle them with syrup.
There are also a variety of pancakes – whole wheat, pumpkin, blueberry, you name it! The recipes to make them can be simple – like the “just add water” mixes – or complex, being made entirely from scratch.
The scriptures are a lot like pancakes. Some verses are easy to understand. They’re like the “just add water” mixes – it takes very little effort to find a nourishing truth that is delicious. A great example is John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Every time I read that verse, I am reminded how much God loves me and how eager He is to help me.
Other chapters and verses, however, are like the “make from scratch” pancakes. God has delicious, mouth-watering pancakes in the scriptures for us, but He doesn’t just throw them onto our plates! Instead, as we read through a chapter, we find flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and blueberries. It takes effort to put these ingredients together, mix them up, and then cook them — just as it takes effort for us to identify truths, understand them, and then apply them to our lives.
“Make From Scratch” Pancakes
Let’s take a look at a “make from scratch” verse in the Old Testament.
There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea. (Deuteronomy 1:2)
Isn’t that verse amazing?! When I first read it, I ran home to tell my family about the life-changing verse of scripture I had just found! Not! Who am I kidding? It took me a while before I even understood what the words, let alone the verse, meant!
Let’s see if there are some ingredients that can help us figure out this verse:
- Horeb is another name for Sinai
- Mount Seir is the mountain ridge that ran south from the Dead Sea through the land of Edom
- Kadesh-barnea is the place where the 12 spies were sent out to report back to Moses about the land of Canaan that they were supposed to take over. In effect, it was the place they camped until they were ready to enter the land God had promised to them (Canaan)
Basically, this scripture is reporting that it only takes 11 days to travel from Mt. Sinai (where Moses received the 10 commandments) to Kadesh-barnea – the equivalent of the children of Israel reaching the promised land. But how long did it take them to actually enter the promised land? Eleven days? Twenty days? A month? No, forty YEARS! (See Numbers 14:34 and Deuteronomy 1:3)
The Israelites could physically reach the promised land in eleven days, but it took them forty years to be spiritually ready! Because of their wickedness, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years before they were allowed to enter.
As I pondered (letting all of these ingredients be stirred up and adding a few more ingredients from other scriptures) I finally found the spiritual pancake!
Spiritual Pancake: How many 11 day lessons does God have for us that we are taking 40 years to learn?
Delicious Spiritual Nourishment
When we eat a pancake, our body breaks it down and it literally becomes a part of our body. Just as our body needs food to survive, our spirit needs nourishment to survive. Every time we find an exciting truth in the scriptures that we can apply to our lives, it’s as if we are feeding our spirit pancakes!
Scripture pancakes are pancakes for your spirit!
At a youth activity in our church, I split the youth into groups, sent them into a kitchen with ingredients on the main table, and told them to get to work making cookies! They were totally excited until they found out that I wasn’t going to give them a recipe. There was some complaining, but pretty soon there was flour, sugar, baking soda, chocolate, and candy pieces flying through the air! I was inspired by their creativity and had to smile at all their “creations” (which some of them had to be called because they really didn’t look or taste much like cookies! ).
Why didn’t I give them a recipe? I wanted to teach them an important lesson…
Cookbooks are full of pictures of mouth-watering dishes. These pictures are important because they help us envision the outcome if we strictly follow the directions as given in the recipe. It is important to begin with the end in mind, but the end result is only possible if everything is done right. If directions are not followed or an ingredient is left out or miscalculated, the desired taste and appearance are seldom attained. The picture of a perfect dish, however, can serve as motivation to try again to create something that is both delicious and beautiful.
The scriptures are God’s recipe book for us. They contain recipes for happiness, building character, increasing faith, becoming more Christlike, serving others, etc. If we follow these recipes exactly, we will reap the end results.
He has given us the ingredients for successful living: his gospel as a perfect plan for happiness and success for all who live it, the Church with inspired leaders, and the promptings of the Holy Ghost to guide us and warn us (Oct 1971, The Sifting, ElRay L. Christiansen).
It’s helpful as we read the scriptures to put verses, or a block of verses, in “recipe format.” You list the ingredients (things you need to do), the end results (promises the Lord makes to you), and most importantly, end with setting a goal (choosing an attribute/behavior that you could work on for a week, 2 weeks, a month, etc). Without setting a goal – or wanting a desired outcome from reading the book – you might as well be using a recipe book as a children’s picture book. You admire the pictures (the end result), but get nothing further out of it to enjoy.
Without the right ingredients (or the right amount), and the determination to follow the directions, your pancakes are not going to taste very good! As we work on improving the ingredients, our lives become more and more delicious to us.
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)
Offend not in word
End Result (promises the Lord makes to you):
Able to bridle (control) the whole body
Attribute/Behavior I am going to work on:
For the next 24 hours, do not say anything negative to anyone (including tone!). You can’t even say something mean even if you’re joking. If you do say something negative to someone (including yourself), you have to start your 24 hours over! See how long it takes you before you can get 24 hours in a row of being kind!
It’s important that we keep the end goal in mind. If we want the promised blessings, then we need to make sure we have the right ingredients! If we want to be able to control all of our appetites and passions, then James tells us we should start with our tongue!
If we truly knew how amazing God’s pancakes tasted, we would follow the recipe better. Satan constantly tries to give us phony ingredients (whispers that material possessions or fame will make us happy) or convince us that we don’t need a certain ingredient. Don’t listen to him! Follow God’s recipe!
Some people struggle reading the scriptures. They find them tedious, boring, and hard to understand. That’s because they are only finding flour, baking soda, and salt. Individual ingredients are gross, but together they are delicious.
The goal of this blog is for us to ponder scriptures, identify truths, understand them, and then apply them to our lives. It is to discover something delicious for our souls — scripture pancakes! I will write a couple of scripture pancakes (take home messages of principles we’ve discovered) at the end of each post.
I find that what I take away from the scriptures is determined by what I bring. As I ponder the scriptures, something happens to me. I have a stronger desire to live close to my Heavenly Father. I long to serve Him I want to live the principles that I learn in the scriptures….when I read the scriptures and live the principles learned, those scriptures become written in my life. They govern my actions and are written there for my children to see and follow….I see ever so much more clearly. I can see where I am in my life and where my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I can understand principles of truth, and I can see how to make the needed changes in my life. I can feel assured that the Lord will help and strengthen me to accomplish the task. Thus the scriptures become written in my life. (Cheryl C. Lant, “My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 2005)
Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word… However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 81).