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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Of Rice and Relationships (Angel in the Kitchen)

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We caused quite a stir with a previous article, “A Stirring Message,” in which we discussed the importance of stirring things up: certain foods
and beverages require stirring to obtain the proper flavor and consistency; similarly, each of us should “stir up” the gifts and talents God has bestowed, in order to bring out our best and most consistent qualities.

However, when it comes to certain methods of cooking, we get the best results by NOT stirring! For example, good cooks agree that if you want to prepare rice that’s fluffy, not gooey and sticky, the secret to success is simple: don’t stir the pot!

Rice is a staple food in numerous countries, including the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, respectively the birthplaces of Wilma’s father and mother. In their cultures, serving sticky rice is an unpardonable sin, which is why Wilma’s Mamita taught her the secret to good rice: fill the pot with just enough water to cover the rice, bring the water to a boil, add the rice, reduce the heat, cover it — and then leave it alone! Do. Not. Stir. It!

Stirring the rice mixture will upset the proper balance of steam, and also cause the release of excess starch (which results in the grains becoming gooey and sticking together). But for many cooks, following this simple tip is easier said than done. Some of us just can’t resist removing the lid and stirring things up! The same can be said of our relationships. The secret to success in all social interactions is simple: don’t stir the pot! Ignoring this basic truth can lead to some sticky situations and generally makes a (gooey) mess of things.

The well-known idiom “stirring the pot” can be defined as: promoting feelings of annoyance, agitation or dissatisfaction; by encouraging tension and conflict between two or more people — or groups of people — in order to make trouble or to elicit a strong emotional reaction. Simply put, “stirring the pot” involves any words or actions intended to get someone emotionally worked up!

We all know someone in life, next door, at the job, down the street, who seems to take great pleasure in stirring things up. They revel in creating strife, division, and needless drama. Sometimes these people are just bored, so they try to liven things up at someone else’s expense. Sometimes the “pot stirrer” has more selfish reasons, and hopes to gain some advantage over another person. Sometimes, however, there are more devious psychological motivations at work. For instance, because “misery loves company,” a discontented person will do his best to stir up discontent.

Really? How sad.

Pot stirring can take many forms, such as teasing or “joking” about an emotionally painful relationship or situation; making provocative statements intended to fuel the flames of discord; or … repeating gossip!

Spreading rumors — or simply repeating the news about someone’s problems, setbacks, and relational confrontations — can stir up more bitterness, more strife and more division. It also hinders God’s ability to heal emotional wounds and bring unity.

The Bible gives a strong warning to would-be pot stirrers: “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven: haughtiness, lying, murdering, plotting evil, eagerness to do wrong, a false witness, sowing discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 TLB) This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list of the actions and attitudes that grieve our Lord. But interestingly, stated together in this single verse, are several offenses which clearly define the act of stirring the pot. And if God “hates” these thIngs, we can assume that He does not prosper the pot stirrer. In fact, the opposite is true: God bestows His particular blessings on the peacemaker!

“Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous — with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!” (Matthew 5:9 AMPC) Let’s receive this as the primary lesson of God’s “Pot Principles.”

The second lesson is for all those of us who at one time or another have been on the receiving end of pot stirring. If you’ve been the victim of gossip, or falsely accused, or punished for doing the right thing, God wants you to keep your cool — to paraphrase the fictional character James Bond, shaken but not stirred! — and remain in peace. Life is not always fair, but then, you knew that. Right? Furthermore, God is our advocate; He is always just, so we need to trust Him to vindicate us in any given situation. The Biblical Joseph did this, and things worked out better than he could have imagined. Read his hair-raising life story in Genesis 37-50.

You finally ready to stop stirring the pot?

The third lesson of God’s Pot Principles dovetails nicely with #2. It’s always best to let God do the stirring. Be stirred by His Word, by His goodness, power and wisdom. “He is the Rock; His deeds are perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright He is!” (Deuteronomy 32:4 NLT)

And remember, stirring the pot is bad for both rice and relationships!

“Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, to my cause, my God and my Lord. Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me.” (Psalm 35:23-24 NKJ)

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