Welcome We are starting with a Bible verse today. One of my personal favorites, found in Matthew 7:7-8, states “Ask and it will be given to you; see and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Has anyone else wondered if the “ask and receive” part is really for anything? Today’s devotional is going to talk about the balance in our spiritual life between faith and reality, and if there really is a difference between the two. I wish I could answer these questions for all of us with absolute guarantees, but I can only offer my perspective and what I have found in scripture. And stick around to the end for a recipe for Ravioli Pizza Salad. Thanks for joining me today. Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links found on this post. For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought I am a pretty logical person, and lean more toward being skeptical than being gullible. Sometimes that makes my faith a struggle. I wrestle in big “discussions” with God sometimes, worrying that my faith is not strong enough, yet finding some aspects of my religion completely illogical. Now I have witnessed things in my life that no logical explanation can be offered, other than divine intervention, and therefore I consider to be miracles. And I am thankful for these events. I am thankful that God recognizes when I have doubt that it is human weakness, and not denial. Then He provides affirmation so I may continue to build my faith. So, yes, I believe in ONE true and powerful God. I believe He sent His Son to earth to lead, teach, and die for us. I believe God provides for us, according to His Will. I believe God answers prayers, in the way He sees best. But I also believe God does not want us to have “blind faith.” I think He expects us to wrestle with tough topics and experience times of doubt. But I think He expects these things to lead us to study and pray and talk with Him and His teachers. One of the areas where I struggle with doubt is faith in prayer versus reality of life.
As Christians, when we need something big or if we go through struggles, our teachers, leaders, family and friends always say “we’ll pray for you.” I appreciate those prayers, and offer up a lot of prayers on my own, too. So I have wondered about the times when we offer up prayers with faith in God’s answers and provision, yet we know the “reality” of the situation is stacked heavily against our hopes. I can think of so many examples of this. One being when we have a terminally ill friend or family member. We pray for their healing and the doctors that are administering to them. We may even beg God to protect them and not take them from our lives here on earth. Sometimes we add the words “if it be Your Will” to the end of the prayers, but often in these types of prayers, we want OUR will to be done. And then it happens. The person we have been praying for passes from this life, and some of us will wonder why God didn’t answer our prayers. We had faith that God would heal them, but the reality was their body could not longer perform the required physical demands to keep living on earth.
Another example may be a couple that is struggling with infertility. The couple may be doing everything “right” to believe and trust in God and pray faithfully to be blessed with a child of their own. In reality, though, some bodies are just physically unable to conceive or bear a healthy baby. Even if they have faith, the reality is not in their favor. Now let’s look at an example on a larger scale. How many people, all over the world, are praying for peace right now. I know I am. People in my church family are praying for peace. My friends, family, neighbors, even people I don’t know, are all praying for peace, for both our country and the world we live in. But even with all of those faithful people praying and believing in God’s great power, have we ever seen a time when the whole world was at peace? I’m not sure world peace has been a reality in its entire existence. So when we pray, with all of the faith we can gather from deep in our soul, what happens when the reality doesn’t match the answers we hoped for?
I am personally going through a little bit of this right now at faith-family-food. I pray every day for my blog to be successful, in one form or another, and that God will guide me on this path. I have all of this faith that I’m doing what God wants me to do, but I also know the reality of becoming a “successful” blogger is a long shot, at best. So do I work at my blog with the idea that my faith in God is enough to answer my prayers and provide the “success” I’m looking for? Or do I let reality and logic dominate my plans, and possibly abandon a good thing before I allow for God’s blessing in my life? Another example in our family is that my husband and I would like to relocate to another part of the country, but the reality of finances, real estate issues, and his job, all make this far beyond our reach right now. But what about those prayers? Aren’t we supposed to ask, and then receive? If we knock, the door will open, right? If we pray for God to provide the means to make this transition, will it happen?
I think my faith comes down to a lot more than just believing God will give me what I ask for. Prayer is not a magic lamp and God is not a genie. The true faith comes from acceptance of God’s answer, even when it wasn’t what I had hoped for. I need to have the faith that His Will and His Plan are much bigger and much better than my own. Can I accept that His answer was “no” or “not right now”? Do I believe that He did answer my prayer, just in a different way than I expected? The real faith is in believing God is with me every single day and hears every word of prayer I offer up to Him and finding peace in allowing His answers, and grace, to be sufficient.
Today’s Scriptures When I am struggling with my faith versus reality, I have to spend time in scripture and praying. Although it seems counter-productive, both activities can bring assurance. A verse that I often use in my own prayers is from Mark 9:24, quoting the father of a boy Jesus healed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” Another verse I use is Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
I’m going to close with 2 Chronicles 31:21. “In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.” I see this verse as a great way to turn faith into reality. The reality was Hezekiah worked “wholeheartedly” and obeyed the law and everything he did was for service to God. Then in faith he sought God and His blessings, which led to his prosperity. I’m not going to say in every instance, but I often find a direct correlation between how I’m living my “reality” and how my prayers are being answered. Faith and reality are not battling against each other for a “win,” they coexist in a life of trust, belief, and service for God’s people.
Today’s Recipe Everywhere in our life we’re trying to find balance. We balance our checkbooks. We balance our work load. We balance a basket of laundry on our hip while helping with the kids’ homework. We’re supposed to have balanced diets. But we want to balance all of the “should” with some “want” too. What if we could have a nice healthy salad full of vegetables, with the taste of pizza! My family perked up at the sound of pizza, even if it was in salad form, and your family may too! Today’s recipe is for Ravioli Pizza Salad. I have included tomatoes in this recipe, as it offers a more complete pizza taste, but of course, I pass these by due to that pesky allergy! Great for a quick summer supper!
Ravioli Pizza Salad (serves 8)
- 1 20-24 oz pkg frozen cheese ravioli (mini-size is preferable)
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped (use 2 if it’s small)
- 1 lb. head broccoli, chopped into florets
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced
- 6 green onions, sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 5 oz pkg turkey pepperoni slices
- 1 8 oz block mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 can small black olives, drained
- 3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
- Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for serving
- Prepare ravioli according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water, set aside. In large salad bowl, place lettuce and next 5 ingredients. Add in ravioli, pepperoni, cheese, and olives. Pour salad dressing over salad and toss gently to coat. Serve with parmesan and red pepper flakes to add to taste.
This is a fast meal to prepare and doesn’t heat up the kitchen so it works well for summer. This balanced meal salad serves 8, but the leftover salad makes a great lunch the next day.
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