Real Worship or a Replacement?

It’s autumn, the time of year to enjoy the leaf colors, scents, and activities I can’t experience any time of year. And they come alive to us.

Driving around, looking for fall colors, I can see the vivid reds, oranges, and yellows that aren’t around during the other months. And the scents of wood fires, hot apple cider, and pumpkin pies make my mouth water.

I love anything pumpkin and am always looking for new recipes. But as a widow, I don’t bake much, since there’s no one around to help me eat the goodies.

However, I found a great recipe for pumpkin muffins. That’s an idea – I can freeze them individually and take them out one at a time to enjoy with my morning coffee.

This recipe was for flourless muffins, great for someone wanting to lower her caloric intake. So I decided to make them.

The only problem was that I didn’t have all the ingredients. I was going to the grocery store the next day, but I didn’t want to wait. So I figured, with all my baking experience, I could do some substituting.

First ingredient was almond butter. I didn’t have any of that, so I thought I could use butter-flavored shortening instead. And add almond extract for the nutty flavor.

Next item I was missing was honey. I knew that was like liquid sugar, so I probably could have used syrup. But instead I used Stevia to cut down on calories.

           Not exactly appetizing!

Third replacement was for rolled oats. I didn’t want to buy a whole box of oats to use half a cup, so I checked out my cupboard. I had some dry cereal that would chop up in a blender just as finely as the oats.

The last missing ingredient was flaxseed. I should’ve given up at this point, but I really wanted a warm pumpkin muffin, so I decided to use chia seeds instead. They’re like mini poppy seeds, and I figured they’d give the muffins texture.

I was so, so wrong about all of the above.

Not only did the muffins not rise like they should have, but they refused to cook all the way through, even though I overbaked them. I had hoped they’d taste like pumpkin pie filling, but they didn’t. Not at all. They ended up in the trash

Using the wrong ingredients in a recipe is like replacing things in our relationship with Christ:

  • “I don’t need to read the Bible. I have books and devotionals that I can read instead.” The Bible is God talking to us, so reading those others is like hearing from Him second-hand. Not a good way to develop a first-hand relationship.
  • “I can worship anywhere. God is in nature.” Looking at what God created isn’t the same as worshipping Him. And getting together with others solidifies our quest for worship.
  • “TV church is good enough.” Listening to someone talking about God isn’t the same as being in His presence with His people.

Just as substitutions in my recipe resulted in something not-so-good, finding substitutions for church attendance and Bible reading ends in a not-so-close relationship with our Father.

Maybe it’s time to “go to the grocery store,” get all the right ingredients and use them correctly. Let’s get back to church, worship together, and read our Bibles. That way, we can enjoy our muffins and coffee with Dad.


  1. Great message, Debbie!

    I love this: “The Bible is God talking to us, so reading those others is like hearing from Him second-hand. Not a good way to develop a first-hand relationship.”

    In our social media world we’ve lost touch with real touch. Your post is an important reminder not to substitute the real thing for something inferior.

    And no, I wouldn’t have wanted to eat those muffins, either. haha!

    1. Thanks, Jean. I found myself replacing some of those things and had to get back to the basics. Glad you got the message!

Comments are closed.