Eggshells: The INSIDE Story (Angel in the Kitchen)

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You can’t judge a book by its cover. Nor can you tell if an egg is fresh by examining its shell.

Although the wisdom is the same in both cases, the consequences of neglecting it in the former are by far preferable to the latter. Allow us to explain: if you crack a book with an interesting title and a cool cover illustration, but then realize it’s pretty bad … well, you can always take a good nap. But if you crack open an innocent-looking egg and realize it’s rotten … well, you’ll be fumigating the house.

The shell of an egg is composed mostly of calcium carbonate, and remains unblemished and smooth to the touch long after the yolk inside has gone bad. In fact, the egg can be decomposing inside while the shell can appear enticingly fresh. Good thing we’ve all learned not to form conclusions based on appearances alone. Right?

We never crack an egg directly into something we’re mixing, such as a cake mix. If it’s bad, it’s also too bad — because it’s too late to do anything about it. Hence, we break each egg into a separate bowl, and examine it before adding it to the recipe. When eggs go bad, the whites start to look watery. The yolks darken and may appear slightly shriveled. Of course, if the egg is rotten you’ll know the moment you crack it.

Refrigerated eggs tend to have a long shelf-life, usually a month beyond their sell-by date. But eggs that were mishandled and subjected to high temperatures go bad more quickly. Bad eggs can breed life-threatening
bacteria, so it’s best to know what’s lurking beneath those pretty shells. But how can you tell?

There’s a simple test. Does the egg float in a deep bowl of water, or sink to the bottom? No, this isn’t similar to the lunacy of dunking would-be witches centuries ago. This is based on science, not superstition.

First, every egg contains a tiny pocket of air. (You can see where the air pocket formed whenever you peel a boiled egg: the larger end of the boiled egg will always be flat and dimpled.) But as an egg ages, this air pocket expands, which increases its buoyancy. A fresh egg doesn’t contain enough air to float. It will sink to the bottom of the bowl and lie on its side.

Second, as eggs age the yolks produce gases. If the egg sinks but remains “standing” on one end, then gases are forming at the other end. It’s still okay to use the egg, but don’t dawdle about it. If, however, the egg floats, cracked-egg-eyes-painted-hole-73537488then a considerable pocket of gases has formed — indicating the egg is well on its way to rotting.

Bad eggs produce hydrogen sulfide, which builds within the shell. This foul-smelling gas is an indication of the corruption taking place within a shell that appears perfect on the outside, smooth and unblemished. Thank goodness, though, we don’t have to judge an egg by its shell.

As we’ve stated before, people are like eggs. Yes, there are good eggs, bad eggs, and rotten eggs; but our point here is that we can never base our judgements on appearance alone. A person who looks fine, and who seems to have it altogether, may actually be “dying” on the inside.

Unfortunately, in our Western culture we tend to value outer beauty above inner beauty, and physical perfection above strength of character. Many of us see the outer success, fame, and fortune of celebrity athletes and movie stars, and then assume their private lives are just as rich and wonderful. Occasionally, however, we’ll read or hear about a rich and famous person who’s been battling with the inner demons of addiction, physical abuse, low self-esteem, and … emptiness. In fact, we can recall one such celebrity confessing that, by all appearances, he had “made it” in life and had everything he could possibly desire — except happiness.

Since the lifestyles of the rich and famous, like eggshells, can conceal foul feelings and serious problems, it’s important we don’t make assumptions based on appearances. This wisdom has a spiritual application, too — one many of us seldom consider — which is the reverse of our egg analogy.

You may know someone who doesn’t look or dress or act like a star; but probably inside the shell of the “ugly duckling” there resides a beautiful, talented, or well-adjusted “swan”! And perhaps you know an older person who’s grown grey and wrinkled and stooped; perhaps a “senior saint” within your faith congregation; someone who appears to be years beyond his or her “best-by” date. The shell may look a little worse for wear, but you might just be surprised at how much life still resides within. Never discount what these people have to offer.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Though our outer self is heading for decay, our inner self is being renewed daily.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 CJB) Or, to quote the Phillips translation, “The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. …For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent [eternal].” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Perhaps no one is ever eggs-actly as he or she appears. “Beautiful eggs” may be dying inside. Apparent good eggs can stink. Dull and pathetic-looking eggs can be full of life. And alleged “bad eggs” may still turn out to be good. Let’s try to see beyond the shells.

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A Place at the Table (Angel in the Kitchen)

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This puts us in the mood for Christmas in July!

We enjoy having guests over for lunch or dinner and, in anticipation of our guests, we usually decorate the table with a theme. One of our favorite themes is song birds. So our guests tend to be greeted by a table adorned with dinnerware embellished with cardinals, chickadees and goldfinches, along with color-coordinated placemats and tiny birds that are actually place-card holders — each one proudly displaying the name of an honored guest. We’re not trying to be “fancy”; we’re trying to make our guests feel special. And when they see the preparations, and their names displayed, their faces light up with big smiles.

Place-cards and place-card holders date back to Edwardian times, but were popularized during the Victorian Era. Place-cards served several purposes: in earlier days, social ranking was important to people —  not like today, we hope! — and people were seated in order of their ranking, which was based on age, economics and other factors affecting social standing (such as military or civil positions). Ahem, yes, quite so!

Place-cards were also used to ensure guests were suitably matched to a person of similar temperament and interests, hence promoting social interaction and ensuring no one felt uncomfortable or got left out of a conversation. We actually approve of this particular use of place-cards, because in general, we go out of our way to make each guest feel at home and to involve them in easy conversation.

A third use of place-cards was a bit more devious, and it involved the romantic schemes of the hostess, who imagined that male bachelor guest “A” would really hit it off with unmarried female guest “B”! The matchmaking aim of the hostess no doubt being a nice wedding to attend, followed by christenings for future children “C” through “F”! We would never stoop to such shenanigans. At least, we’d never confess to it.

But really, our personal reasons for having place-cards is solely to make our guests feel welcome and extra-special. Imagine, you walk to a table covered with cheery decorations, and next to one of the place-settings is a card with your name inscribed upon it. What do you think? Our hope is that you would immediately realize several things: first, that you were purposely invited — you’re not an afterthought, a last minute addition, just someone we allowed to pull up a chair.

We want you to know we intended for you to be here. It was always in our plans to have you dining at our table. And because it was always in our plans, we made special preparations just for you! When you see your place-card, you realize we have a seat picked out just for you, a special place reserved for you that no one else is going to take. IT. HAS. YOUR. NAME. ON. IT!!

Heaven is like a big dining table with place-cards. “‘Blessed are those who are invited to the lamb’s wedding banquet.'” (Revelation 19:9 GOD’S WORD) Each “place-card” has the name of a special guest God has invited to dine with Him. These names also appear on His guest list, “written in the Lamb’s book of life…” (Revelation 13:8 NIV)

Is your name here?? We hope so!

Our Heavenly Father wants us to feel welcome. He wants us to know that we’re not an afterthought; we were always in His plans. God made special arrangements for each of us. He wants us to realize that He has set aside a special place for each of us. We have a reserved seat in His kingdom, a special chair at His table — a spot with our name on it! “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3 NASB)

We hope you’re on God’s guest list; that He’s inscribed your name on a place-card. Of course, you have to let the Lord know you’re ready to attend — by allowing Jesus Christ to redeem you. (And we all need redemption!)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

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