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Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!


I am going to take a break from blogging this week.  Have a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
Lori

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Elementary Reindeer Christmas Party

Every year our PTO hosts the elementary Christmas party.  Because I like parties, it's become my job to plan the party each year.  I gather supplies and then have helpers at the school who help with the party.  This picture is great to me, because I actually had room for everything in the back of the new-to-us Expedition! That made toting all the "stuff" to school so much easier.
Santa came to visit the school today to take pictures with each student.  Our youngest son, Tyler, is the only one of our children still in elementary school.  That seemed so strange today!  The oldest three were exempt from semester tests, but got up early and helped with the elementary party.  They didn't complain and actually looked forward to helping today.  Thank you Lauren, Zachary, and Jacob!  I appreciate you very much!
A friend and I made the sugar cookies and the students decorated them at one of the stations during the party.  The reindeer plates and napkins were so cute!  (Hobby Lobby) The mug was for hot chocolate and the students took them home as a little gift.
 At another station, the students made popsicle stick reindeer ornaments.  I blogged about this craft on the recipe blog the other day.  Click here for instructions.
Students were able to make reindeer food to sprinkle out on the lawn on Christmas Eve.  We used oatmeal and colors sugar crystals.
Reindeer games were "Ring the Reindeer" using the five blow-up reindeers and the insides of small embroidery hoops.  I'm not sure any antlers got rung, but the kids had fun trying!  They also played Christmas word bingo.
The reading station featured several reindeer-themed books, such as the traditional "Rudolph", as well as "Olive, the Other Reindeer."
Tyler's class, as well as all of the other classes donned their antlers and red noses for the group pictures. The antlers and noses were also provided by the PTO as gifts for the children.  They were so cute, however, they were ready to take the red noses off....not too comfortable!
I'm known as the "Party Lady" by many of the kids.  That's okay.  I like that title and that job, but, most of all, I enjoy hearing the students laugh, play, and have a fun day that they will remember for the rest of their lives. 

Today, as the students saw their tiny little reindeer mugs, they were so excited!  Just a simple little inexpensive thing and they were excited.  They were proud to wear their antlers and play games, decorate cookies, and little to a story.  Today the students had FUN.  Today they were just kids.....not have to study and learn and try to make a certain grade (not that I'm meaning that is bad, but kids need breaks, too.)  Today special memories were made at Tipton Elementary.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elementary Christmas Program

Our elementary school's Christmas program was tonight.  Our youngest son, Tyler, had a speaking part.  He was Mr. Bookem, who was hiring the "Rockin' Reindeer" to play at a 50's style kids' club called "Rudy's Place".  He enjoyed his role!
5th grader, Macy was great as Mrs. Claus! 
The elementary teachers worked so hard to make the program what it was - TERRIFIC!!  Other staff members helped tremendously, as well.
 Tyler, as "Mr. Bookem", sitting at Rudy's Place.
Hunter played Santa.  The pants to our PTO Santa suit were missing.  I found a red, double-knit pair of women's pants at Goodwill - for $2.16!!  They worked just fine!
 Hearing children sing is one of my favorite things!  They sing from the heart!
 It's also fun watching the kids' personalities shine through.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.....all watching their little ones. Sweet memories!
The Pre-K kids were adorable!

Thank you, teachers and staff, for the wonderful program and all of your hard work!  I know that the students will always remember having these programs and have great memories of special times such as this.  We appreciate all you do for our students!!

Angels, Shepherds, and Wise Men

In the Bible, as we read of the birth of Jesus, it is interesting to read about the rejoicing that was done by others.  Today lets look at three of those groups:  angels, shepherds, and wise men.  Although the gospel of Luke tells a more complete story of the birth, it doesn't mention the wise men (or magi).  Matthew tells more about their part in looking for Jesus.

1.  ANGELS
While the shepherds were in the fields, angels appeared to them, telling them that the Savior had been born.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:13-14

2. SHEPHERDS
When the shepherds heard the news, they rushed to see Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Luke 2:15-16

3.  WISE MEN
The wise men (or magi) didn't go to the stable and see baby Jesus in the manger, but they followed the star that appeared after his birth.  When they arrived at the house, they worshipped and presented gifts to Jesus.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:9-11

Word spread quickly that the Savior had been born after Jesus' birth.  Many heard and were glad.  Many worshipped Him.  Some heard soon and some heard later...but they heard.  They believed.  They worshipped.  Of course, some didn't. 

Some are still looking for Him.  Some are still searching for the One who can save them and help them.

What are you doing with Jesus?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homemade Gift Idea

Posted by Lori:

(I decided to use the same post for this blog as I did our family recipe blog tonight.  It might give you an idea of a way to give a small give to someone to encourage or reach out to them.)

I probably should have waited to post this until AFTER I've given them as my homemade gifts for my husband's side of the family.  That would have been the best thing, but I was so excited to share them with you, I just decided to go ahead and do it!

I'm excited about them because I think that many of you will come up with all kinds of ways to use this same idea.  Maybe you have already done something like this yourself.  It would make a neat gift for anyone and can be personalized in any way.

This idea came to me while in Hobby Lobby.  I walked up and down aisles, looking for neat things that would be good for homemade gifts.  My sister had suggested decoupaging on ceramic tiles for coasters. I liked that idea, but wasn't sure I wanted it to be coasters. That's when I spotted these mini canvases.  They come in a packed of two and are about a 2.5 inch square.  The day I got them they were 30% off, which was even better.

Directions:
Paint canvases in desired color using a small foam brush.  Allow to dry.
Paint Modge Podge all over canvas.
While still wet, place paper square on top. (I cut some straight edge and tore some to be ragged.  Paper should be slightly smaller than canvas.) Press paper down and smooth out any bubbles.  Allow to dry a few minutes, then gently smooth again.
After the first Modge Podge coat dries a little and the bumps are mostly smooth, paint on more Modge Podge on top of the decorative paper. 
Print out phrases, scriptures, names, initials, etc. onto vellum in desired font and print color.  Some of my vellum was thicker than others.  I also varied the colors of the vellum some.  Make sure to make this part a little big smaller than the printed paper size.
Press vellum piece on slightly wet Modge Podge or if too dry, Modge Podge the back of the vellum very lightly (or a glue stick will work - used lightly).  Stick verse on desired area. Allow to dry a few minutes.
Use desired accessories to decorate your canvas.  I chose silk flowers that are made for scrap booking and also used metal brads in decorative shapes, textures, and colors.  Decide where you want to place the flowers. Some canvases I made with the verse....some without.
 Poke a small hole through the canvas (I used an ice pick.) from front to back.  Insert brad into flowers as desired and attach to canvas, spreading apart ends of brads as able.  If the hole is really close to an edge or corner, just spread the ends to one open side.
Apply magnet or two to the back of the canvases.  I used stick on magnets and decided to use two per canvas, even though this picture doesn't show it.
 And, there you are....mini canvas magnets!  Perfect for handmade gifts at Christmas and any other time of the year.  And, the best part is that they are very inexpensive to make.  All of the items can be purchased at 30 - 50 % off at Hobby Lobby.
 What handmade Christmas gifts are you making this year?

Calm My Anxious Heart

Do you ever have one of those days when everything seems to be caving in on you?  Do you ever get the feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control?  I do.....and I did.....this morning.

After the kiddos were off to school and my husband went to work, I began working on several things that are needing to be done this week:  Planning an elementary Christmas party, which includes baking cookies for all of the students, making ornament craft kits and hot chocolate kits, getting games and other supplies ready for the party, elementary Christmas program, packing for a trip, finishing up Christmas gifts, ordering some things online, wrapping gifts, and Christmas parties and a family Christmas get-together.  In addition, my dad (who I wrote about in yesterday's post) was supposed to get to go home from the hospital, didn't get the okay to go home (later on he did, thankfully).  And, on top of that, something I had ordered and was looking forward to giving as a gift was broken and I didn't have the time to get a replacement.  I was feeling way, way, way out of control.

Quickly, I decided to do something that's out of character for me.  It's something I try to work on, but something that doesn't come naturally for my personality.  I asked for help.  (Aren't you proud of me???  Me, too!!)  Facebook is a great way to request help on projects.  I quickly had a few volunteers to help me with some of the elementary party needs.  I called another friend and begged asked her to help me make the cookies for the event. My anxious heart calmed a little bit, but only a little bit.  I still felt overwhelmed.

A little while later, as I was getting ready, the overwhelming feeling continued and worsenedd a little bit.  I don't get stressed often and I don't like the feeling at all.  At that moment I did what I should have done in the very beginning....a few hours earlier.  I prayed for God's spirit to calm my spirit.  I prayed for Him to calm my anxious heart.  And you know what?  He did.  Yes, He did!!  And then I wonder, "Why wasn't that the first thing I did?"  When I was feeling out of control, it was because I was actually trying to control everything.  When I asked for help from God, I was giving Him control.  That's what I should have done in the beginning!

Just as it's hard for me to ask for help from others, it's often hard for me to think to pray for God's help in times like these.  I naturally think to pray when someone is sick or for those in need, but I have to admit that I don't always think to pray for myself and my emotions.  It's that independent, self-reliant streak I have that gets in the way of relying on Him.

Today God showed me (yet again) that He will do just what He promised He will do. He will give us the strength we need when we ask Him.  He will give us the help we need when we ask Him.  He will calm our anxious hearts when we ask Him.....if we'll just ask Him and then let Him.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful to God for calming my anxious heart! To find out what others are grateful for, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What If?

Do you ever have something happen in your life and you think, "What if?"  I've been thinking about that phrase the last few days.

Wednesday night after we got home from our mid-week worship, I called my parents to ask my mom about my dad's health.  My dad had seen a doctor the day before because he was passing blood.  The doctor gave him an antibiotic and thought it would clear up the problem. It had been better earlier on Wednesday, but by Wednesday night, it was bad again.  I encouraged my mom to take dad to the emergency room.  Finally, he reluctantly gave in and agreed to go to the ER.  I went too, but in a separate vehicle and also because we live in different towns.  We got to the ER about 11:00 p.m. 

Around 2:30 a.m., it was decided that Dad needed to be admitted to the hospital.  The ER doctor wasn't exactly sure what the problem was, but it was apparent that the loss of blood was significant.  We got Dad all settled in the room on the hospital floor about 4:30 a.m., slept an hour and a half or so, then faced the day - not knowing what would happen.

Dad was given two pints of blood that day (Friday) and had a CT scan.  The suspected problem was diverticulosis and that there was a leak in the colon, seeping out the blood, but nothing was certain except that the problem was still there.  Saturday, which also happened to be Dad's birthday, a colonoscopy was scheduled.  Very quickly during the procedure, the doctor found a diverticulum pocket (I think that's the name) that had a tear in it, causing the blood to leak.  He injected some medication and sealed the leak.  So far, everything has been great since.  (THANK YOU, GOD!)  Dad hopes to go home in the morning.  He's not one that likes to be confined to any one place  and certainly not a hospital bed!

But, back to my first question of "What if?".  What if, instead of being something easy to correct, Dad's problem had been something worse?  What if he had been diagnosed with cancer?  What if the bleeding hadn't stopped?   What if the blood count had continued to go down?  What if there had been no blood for him to take to replace what he had loss?  There are lots of questions and lots of answers.  Basically, the situation could have been a lot, lot worse.  It wasn't.  Thankfully.

In 1991, my dad was in that same ER and in that same hospital.  That time it was worse.  (Click here to read that post.) The "What ifs?" were different then.  What if he doesn't make it?  What if nothing they are doing can help him?  Just lots and lots of situations that came up then that didn't come up this time.  Thankfully.

Each and every day of our lives we can ask the question, "What if?"  Some of those situations may be critical, some may not be. Some of them may be extremely important, others may not be. Some may be just speculation, such as I've been thinking about my dad's health.

But, here's another "What if?".  Some day Jesus is going to return to earth.  Some day God is going to judge the souls of all of us.  Someday you and I will come before our Heavenly Father.  He will either say, "Well done my good and faithful servant" or He will say, "depart from me, I never knew you". 
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23

"What if?" can be a very important question.  It is a very important question in this situation.  It affects where you and I will spend eternity.  So, ask yourselves this question today:  "What if?"  What if Jesus were to come back right now?  Are you ready?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

JESUS IS THE REASON...

..for EVERY season!

Revised edition of previous post. Original post published in December 2009.
The above title and following statement has been on my mind for the past few days and also the following scripture had come to mind:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:15-17

So, it was interesting when the preacher this morning used these same scriptures as the basis for his sermon.  Of course we know that Christmas is recognized as the celebration of the birth of Jesus, but do we always think about the fact that Jesus is the reason for EVERY season? 

The Bible actually never says when our Savior was born.  Some have speculated on his actual birthdate, but it's ranged from the fall months to the spring months.  So, in other words, no one is really sure!  But, at least during this season of Christmas, more people have their focus on Him.  We must use this time to remind them of the fact that this little sweet baby grew up and taught the world about His purpose and His Father's plan.  This man went to the cross and died to be the Savior of all who will obey Him and His Father.  We must remind people to not put the baby Savior back in a box on December 26 and just forget about Him the rest of the year. Use this special time of year to share Jesus with others in a way that they might not have ever heard!

So about Jesus' birth date.  Does it matter when He was born?  Does it matter if we know the exact date  Apparently not, or the Bible would tell us "when".  However, it does matter what we do with Jesus.  Do we only let Him be the reason for the Christmas season, or do we make Him a part of every season of the year?  He should be the reason and the hope for every day of our lives.

In Genesis 1:26, God says, "Let us make man in our image..."  Who is the "our" in this verse?  God himself, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  John 1:1-3 also tells how Jesus (the Word) was with God in the beginning:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

Jesus has always been and will always be the reason for every season.  Without Him there would be no hope of any season.  Let's all do our best to recognize that fact each and every day.
 
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giving From the Heart

Today lets look at giving.  Not just any giving, but giving from the heart.  Mother Teresa said, "If you give what you do not need, it isn't giving."  What do you think about that quote?  There is a lot of truth in that statement, isn't there?

I realize that there is the possibility that we can give from the heart and it be something we no longer need.  For example, when I give away clothes my children wore....especially their baby clothes or their special outfits that were for Christmas or family photos, they are sentimental to me.  They tug at my heartstrings as I give them away because it's giving away a piece of the childhood memories I have of my children.

But I see the side of giving that may not be from the heart.  It's a type of giving that is just getting rid of the stuff and passing it on to others. I'm guilty of this type of giving, myself. (Garage sale left-overs that aren't in great condition, etc.) Look at this quote by Sir Henry Taylor, which goes along with this thought:

He who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.  (Quoted in the book New Beginnings)

Giving from the heart - true giving as Jesus talked about in the Bible - is giving out of love.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Jesus, in Acts 20:35

“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.”
Richard Braunstein

There is another quote that you may have heard.  "Give until it hurts."  I'm not sure that's what we need to do.  I think we need to give until it feels good! 

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8

Giving should be something we want to do.  We should want to give to God because of all He has given to us.  We should want to give to others because that is the example Jesus showed us throughout His life.  Giving is showing God's love and sharing Jesus with others.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:38



Monday, December 6, 2010

Mommy Feelings

I remember thinking, several years ago, that when our family was out of the "diapers and car seat" stage, life was going to be so much easier.  And, in many ways it is.  We don't have to remember to pack extra diapers and wipes when going away from home, and we don't have to switch car seats back and forth from one vehicle to another.  The "baby stuff" is gone.

But now that our two oldest are teenagers, the third is a preteen, and the little one thinks he is (smile), I am finding that the "diaper and car seat" stage wasn't so bad after all.  I really do miss the kids all being little.  Rocking them and holding them and even pushing them in the stroller (the double stroller, of course) are some of my fondest memories and I would love to be able to go back to that time and do it again.  This stage of life is fun, too, but it has come with a new emotion for me - one that I really don't enjoy having.  I've phrased it "Mommy Feelings" and the emotion comes from when my "Mommy Feelings" are hurt.  I don't like that emotion.

Some parents try to push their children to do all sorts of things.  They strive to live out their dreams in the lives of their children. For the most part, I don't think my husband and I do that.  We know what our children's gifts and abilities are and try to be realistic in those gifts and abilities and not expect too much.  So, where do the hurt "Mommy Feelings" come in?  It's when someone else hurts, disappoints, or neglects one of my children.  That's when my "Mommy Feelings" get hurt and when I feel like a mama bear who needs to protect her little bear cubs. 

Use to I probably would have tried to protect my children from these types of things, and if it was something dangerous, of course I would now.  But, with most of the things that cause this emotion, I can't do anything - and shouldn't do anything - to help the situation.  I have to realize that those times are learning experiences for my children and that, in the end, it is good for them.  They need to learn that life is not fair....only God is fair.  They need to learn that some people will disappoint and let them down....only God will never fail them.  It's a hard lesson for them to learn.  It's also a hard lesson for me to let them learn.

Whenever my children are teasing me and having fun and say something to me in a jokingly hurtful way, I tell them that "they hurt my last feeling".  They laugh and I look sad.  It's kind of a game we play.  Believe me, they would know if it was something that was serious and shouldn't be said...something that was really hurtful.  But those playful times are fun.  I enjoy teasing with them.  But, when the "Mommy Feelings" get hurt, it's not funny.  It's a genuine hurt and pain that is because of something that is happening to one of my children.

Last week my "Mommy Feelings" got hurt.  I was upset and a little bit mad.  Sometimes when my "Mommy Feelings" are hurt, my child's feelings are hurt, too.  That's when it's really tough.  But last week, my son Zachary, taught me a big lesson.  Instead of being upset (like I was), he was smiling.  He was optimistic.  He was encouraging to others around him - just like he always does.  Zachary was being more mature than I was being!  Hmmmmmm....... 

So, about these "Mommy Feelings".......I'm sure they'll come back from time to time.  I'm sure that hurting emotion will come back.  But, you know what?  In the midst of hurt feelings, I still have a choice.  I have a choice to be mad or not.  I have a choice to complain and sulk or not.  I have a choice to act out my feelings or not.  And ultimately, I have a choice to sin....or not.

Thank you, Zachary, for being a great example.  I appreciate you. and I am proud of you!  I am grateful to have you for a son.

This post is linked to Gratituesday.  To see what others are grateful for, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Happy 8th Birthday, Tyler!

It's hard to believe that this little bundle of joy, who entered our lives several years ago, is now eight years old!  Time has gone by so quickly and we have enjoyed watching Tyler grow and learn.
Tyler had a friend over to spend the night.  It was his first sleep over.  We've started sleep overs with each of our children at their 8th birthday.  We would have let him have a lot of little boys over, but Tyler chose to just have one.  They camped out under the couch bed for a while.  It was so cute watching them play together.
Tyler decided way back in the summer that he wanted a Texas Rangers' birthday party. His brothers and sister dressed accordingly.
Our daughter, Lauren came up with the idea of hanging the Rangers' shirts on the stocking holders.  So cute!  It's fun seeing her become more and more creative.
 
Tyler wanted baseball cupcakes instead of a big cake.
My husband collected used Rangers' soft drink cups after a few of the games we attended. We brought them home, washed them, and stored them until party time. The cups made great (and cheap) party favors!
The plates and napkins were purchased at one of the Rangers' ballpark stores, and the little batting helmet - also used for favors and held the ice cream, were purchased at the Walmart in Arlington.  The helmets could be collected after games, as well.  The Ballpark serves ice cream sundaes in the mini helmets.
Tyler giving the Rangers' "Claw"!
A fun group of little boys!  The played hide and seek all through the house.  It was too cold to play too long outside.
Everyone lined up to pose while wearing their mini Rangers' batting helmets.

Having Tyler in our life is such a blessing.  He makes us laugh every day and brings a special and unique personality to our family.

Happy 8th Birthday, Tyler!  We love you.  We are proud of you.  We thank God for you and pray that He will bless you and protect you as you continue to grow and learn.  We look forward to seeing what God will do in your life as you grow up to serve Him.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Crafts

This isn't a typical devotional thought, but decided to share with you some of the posts from my family recipe blog, "Life's a Bowl of Cherries".  My mom and I have posted a lot of crafts over the past year and a half and many of them might give you an idea for something to do for Christmas gifts or for decorating.

Click on each craft below.  It will take you to the post telling how to make the item.
Christmas Pillowcases
Gumdrop Trees
Lighted Snowman Jar Craft
Cute as a Button Craft
Christmas Countdown Crafts
Salt Dough Ornaments
Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
Handprint/Footprint Christmas Canvases
Family Memories Christmas Tree Skirt

The best things about the Christmas crafts we've shown you is that they make great gifts for others.  Homemade gifts may take a little time to make, but that doesn't mean they are always difficult to make.  Besides giving to your family and friends, consider giving homemade gifts to those in the hospital or nursing home.  Maybe make something for a neighbor who is new to town.

The Christmas season is a great time to give to others.  The spirit of giving is all around.  Gifts can be purchased in stores and online, but a homemade gift has an extra special serving of love sent along with it because you created it for someone. I like this quote by Emily Matthews:  "From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other. "


More Christmas crafts will be posted on the recipe blog next week, so check back for more ideas to inspire your creativity!

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might....
Ecclesiates 9:10a

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:38

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kool-Aid

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Today I was thinking about Kool-Aid.  Sounds strange, I know, but there was a reason I was thinking about it the sugared beverage.  The 4-H Club Christmas party was to be at our house after school. and I was considering buying Kool-Aid to serve to the kids.

As I drove to Altus, contemplating whether to buy and serve Kool-Aid or not, I realized that my usual Kool-Aid/lemonade maker (daughter, Lauren) wouldn't be home after school to mix it up for me.  She would still be at ball practice.  Sure, I could make it myself, but I never seem to get it right.  I'm not ever sure how much I need and don't really like it anyway.  Lauren enjoys making sure it is "just right"...not too watered down and not too concentrated.  (I realized, too, that there are directions on the container, but not all pitchers are created equal.  I comes down to a taste test for me, so I've passed the task on to Lauren.  She likes her role as chief Kool-Aid maker :).

I decided against the Kool-Aid, but continued thinking about how "Kool-Aid" is like the truth.  The truth, meaning God's Word...the Bible.  Just like Kool-Aid, the truth can be watered down.  The Bible can be diluted to the point that God is not recognized as the ultimate judge of a person's soul and the One who will say "enter in" or "depart I never knew you",  to where people believe that as long as he/she is a basically "good" person, everything is okay and that their "goodness" will get them in to heaven.  The watered down truth may not realize that hell is just as real as heaven because a "loving God" can't be a God who will judge the hearts of people.

On the other hand, the Bible can be made too concentrated at times.  This happens when the scriptures are taken out of context and made to fit one's own personal agenda.  My husband, Joe, used this illustration in a devotional thought last Wednesday night.  He doesn't like raisins.  In fact, he pointed out that no one should eat them.  He went so far as to say said that eating them is a sin.  Hmmmmm......

Look at Numbers 6:3.  It says "they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins."  So see???  My husband was right!  Or was he????  No, of course, he was just teasing in that eating raisins was sinful - despite his feelings about eating them himself. He was simply making a point that sometimes scriptures can be taken out of context.  This verse is part of the Nazarite vow - a special commitment an Israelite could choose to make.  

How do you view the scriptures?  How do you take what the inspired Word of God says?  Do you water it down and make it less than what it is?  Do you concentrate it to fit to your own personal thoughts?

The Bible has scriptures that deal with any type of watering down or concentrating the truth: Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6; Galatians 1:6-12.  These verses should be something we all need to remember as we read and study the Bible. And consider this verse in Revelation 22:18-19 from NASV.  John writes what God himself inspired him to write,

“I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book (Note:  meaning the book of Revelation), if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.”  

With all of these verses being inspired by God and all pertaining to the truth not being tampered with, it seems that changing God's Word by watering it down or concentrating and distorting it is wrong, doesn't it?

Kool-Aid is only good when it's just right.  It's not good watered down or too concentrated.  God's Word is only useful when read, studied and taught as the whole truth and inspired word of God that it is.
 
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