Looking for the Label? (Angel in the Kitchen)

Share

One of the first things you want to do in the kitchen is label stuff.  When you don’t, you’re in for trouble. Some things look almost the same, but are actually very different.

White vinegar, bleach and ammonia are all thin, clear liquids commonly found in the kitchen. So, if you have an unlabeled bottle filled with clear liquid, it’s hard to know exactly what it is. If you mix it with a little olive oil, you have a 33% chance of coming up with salad dressing. You also have about a 67% chance of needing to have your stomach pumped.

Actually, things wouldn’t go that far. Minus the label, you’d probably be smart enough to test the stuff to determine exactly what it is. This takes some thinking, though. Let’s see, you could dab a bit in your hair: if it doesn’t go white, then it’s probably not bleach. You could give the stuff a good sniff: if it makes your head feel like it’s about to explode, and brings torrents of tears to your eyes, then it’s probably ammonia. Other look-alikes that aren’t taste-alikes: sugar and salt; flour, cornstarch and baking soda. If they weren’t labeled we’d have to figure out what’s what.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this article. But their expressions are priceless.

Some things look different but are quite similar. White pepper is just as peppery as regular black pepper; and a brown egg tastes the same as its paler counterpart — both make a nice omelet. But brown eggs are brown, and white pepper is usually labeled as such. Face it, in the the kitchen, we NEED our labels. When things are labeled we don’t have to think; we don’t need to test or figure stuff out. We can relax and turn our brains off.

One of the last things you want to do is label PEOPLE.  When you do, you’re in for trouble. Some people look almost the same, but are actually very different. Some people look different but are quite similar. So we need to figure out what’s what — or rather, who’s who. Face it, in the the kitchen, we need our labels. When it comes to people, we WANT our labels. When people are labeled we don’t have to think; we don’t need to try and figure them out. We can relax and turn our brains off.

Avoid the temptation: don’t label people! We need to approach every person as a unique individual — not as someone we’ve prejudged, categorized and labeled. Some of the labels we resort to out of laziness include: black, white, Asian, male, female, Republican, Democrat, good, bad, thin, fat, smart, and blonde. (Aha, see how stupid labels sound?)

Black-eyed peas, green peas, yellow peas, crowder peas, snap peas, snow peas, split peas…. Peas NEED labels. People don’t.

Labeling people is easier than getting to know them. Labeling people gives us an excuse to either interact with them or simply dismiss them. Labeling people limits our own options and demeans the person being labeled. It’s counterproductive — and it’s destructive.

Since labels help us keep “stuff” in its proper place, we assume that labeling people will help us do the same. We mark people as stupid or wise, helpful or worthless, givers or takers, etc., etc.! More times than not, our labels are incorrect. That blonde is a brain surgeon, the guy in the raggedy jeans is a business tycoon, the little old lady in the drugstore is a champion mud wrestler, those two suspicious-looking dudes staking out your neighborhood are Mormons, and that geeky kid with the thick glasses — the one who looks like the next Apple CEO — well, he’s just extremely nearsighted.

Gender, ethnicity (we never use the term race as a distinguishing characteristic, because we all belong to the same race: the human race), political affiliations, economic status, geographic origin, educational background and religious belief should never be used to label and limit people.

Do you like being labeled and categorized? Nobody does. We sure don’t. We never like it when someone feels they have us pegged, that they know what makes us tick and what we can and cannot accomplish. But we make allowances for these label-makers, “for they know not what they do!” We also try our best not to follow their example. Labels are for peas and pepper — not people.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28  KJ 2000)

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NLT)

Share

The Light of a Dream Fulfilled (Diet for Dreamers)

Share

Many of us dream of achieving great things in life, of seeing our fondest hopes and wishes come true, but often, of simply making it through the various storms of adversity that sometimes blow in our direction. And there are still many places in our world where people dream of just being free: to live, unhindered, according to their customs; and to worship, without persecution, in the way they choose.

History is filled with accounts of men and women who longed for civil and religious freedoms. One such piece of history dates back to the second century B.C., and is distinguished by a miraculous event that took place in Ancient Judea. It occurred in 164 B.C., when God fulfilled a long-held dream of the Jewish people: of reclaiming their Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and of once again being able to worship their Lord in peace.

The Jews had lost their religious freedom when Judea came under the control of Antiochus III, the King of Syria, whose Seleucid Empire then encompassed all the Middle Eastern provinces. Antiochus was both vicious and intolerant of anything he felt hindered his own personal agenda, the social “modernization” of the world. Antiochus planned to accomplish his goals by imposing the Greek culture and religion upon all his subjects, and in the process, to systematically destroy Judaism.

Antiochus ordered every known copy of the Torah, the Holy Word of God, to be burned. Anyone found in possession of the Scriptures — or observing the Sabbath, or honoring the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel in any way — was put to death. And as evidence of his thoroughness and the extent of his cruelty, whenever Antiochus learned of a woman who’d had her child circumcised in accordance with her Jewish faith, he’d have the mother and ALL of her children put to death!

But even these atrocities didn’t appease Antiochus. He ordered that the Temple in Jerusalem, the nexus of the Jewish faith, be desecrated. This he accomplished by sending Syrian soldiers into the Temple to sacrifice pigs and other ritualistically-unclean animals upon the alter of God. Afterwards, a statue of the Greek god Jupiter was placed in the “heart” of the Temple, the Holy of Holies.

Despite religious persecution to the point of death, despite the defilement of their most sacred place, the “home” of their God, the Jews kept their faith. But historians believe that, had Antiochus succeeded in his agenda to wipe out Judaism, he would have transformed the face of modern civilization into something totally unrecognizable today; had Judaism been eradicated, Christianity and Islam never would have come into existence.

God’s people, however, had rebelled against the Syrians beginning in 167 B.C. What followed were three desperate years of guerrilla warfare waged by a Jewish resistance group under the leadership of an elderly priest and his sons, the Maccabees. The resistance fighters eventually became such a thorn in the side of the empire that the Syrian government ultimately sued for peace! The Jews regained their religious freedom and the control of their Temple, now defiled and in ruins.

Following several days of mourning, the Jews started the work necessary to repair and restore the Temple. Once the work was completed, the Temple needed to be ceremonially cleansed and rededicated. Crowds of Jewish worshippers flooded into Jerusalem to celebrate the rededication, bringing sacrifices to honor God. There was just one problem: the Temple menorah, a lamp stand with six branches and seven flames, had to be kept lit, but there was only enough oil to keep the wicks burnings for a single day. The Jews had dreamed of worshipping in the Temple for years, but only a single sealed cruse of consecrated olive oil was available; the seals on the other cruses had been broken by the Syrians and the oiled “contaminated”! So what happened? Nothing short of a miracle: God multiplied the oil in that tiny cruse, which was used to replenished the menorah and kept the flames burning for eight days! Why eight days? Because that was how much time the Jews needed to prepare and purify additional oil.

Each year since, to commemorate God’s fulfillment of their dream to see the Temple restored, as well as His miraculous provision demonstrated by those eight days of illumination, the Jewish people celebrate the holiday known as Chanukah, the Festival of Lights! They light a special menorah with eight branches and nine wicks — the ninth wick (elevated at the center) represents God — and pray and eat delicious oil-based foods. In the U.S. and other countries where Christmas is celebrated, Hanukkah is often an occasion to exchange gifts and play traditional games, too. Hence, Jewish children enjoy Yule-time festivities similar to those experienced by families observing the Christian holiday.

Do you have a special dream? If so, “…The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your Glory.” (Isaiah 60:19 NIV) Do you need a miracle? Remember: “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT) The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is still in the miracle-making business. For “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Hanukkah begins today, so… HAPPY HANUKKAH, DEAR FRIENDS!!!

Share