A Stirring Message! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Recently we split a mug of coffee made by our pal Mr. Keurig. You remember Mr. Keurig? When we first introduced this kitchen angel, in “The Call of the Keurig,” he was “finding his voice.” On this particular day, he was making us our favorite Hazelnut Breakfast blend.

authentic-keurig-brewerThe beauty of Mr. Keurig is that we can add the creamer and our favorite sweetener to the mug, place the mug before him, and then he does all the rest: he adds the perfect amount of water, at the perfect brewing temperature, and he does it all in a quick minute with no cleanup required! This time around, however, something wasn’t quite right. We each took a sip and frowned. Our breakfast beverage was bitter!

We distinctly remembered adding stevia to the mug before handing it over to Mr. Keurig, so we were a little confused. “Hey, Mr. Keurig!” we called. “What happened?”

Our Keurig didn’t answer. He just sat there, mutely staring at us from his place on the counter. After several awkward moments of silence, one of us asked, “What did we say? Did we somehow upset him?”

Then Mr. Keurig let out a sigh of exasperation. Actually, it was more of a loud shoooosh!

“What’s he trying to tell us?” we wondered.

Translating native Keurig is more of an art than a science, and in order to grasp the full meaning of each little utterance, one must also take into consideration the circumstances in which the words are spoken. “Mr. Keurig, can you please give us another hint?” we pleaded gently.

It was at this point that we noticed the spoon resting on the counter next to our dear friend. Clearly, Mr. Keurig was also making note of it — as well as the fact that it was dry. “Didn’t you stir the mug?” we asked. Turns out none of us had stirred our breakfast blend. And upon realizing this, it wasn’t hard to catch the full meaning of Keurig’s cry.

“Come on,” he said. “Can you please give me a break here? I daily bless you with the perfect cup of coffee. But you guys need to do your part, too. You gotta stir things up! Okay?”

“Our dear Mr. Keurig,” we exclaimed. “You have so much wisdom to share!”

How could we have forgotten such an important step in all things culinary? Face it, you can’t have stir fry unless you stir the veggies, which otherwise would simply be lounging in the sauna — er, wok! And how about all those mixes in the cupboard? Clearly stated on the back of each box is the not-so-cryptic word stir. Some of these packages go even further: the instructions on the boxes of both the instant oatmeal and the hot cocoa mix admonish us to “stir and enjoy!” (The exclamation mark is even supplied by the manufacturer.)

Our “manufacturer” (that would be God, the Creator of the Universe) gives each of us exactly the same advice: “Therefore, I remind you that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you…. For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 King James 2000)

God has given us the perfect ingredients for a great slice of life. He’s given each of us unique gifts, talents, abilities, and callings. But we must do our part if we are to enjoy what God has provided: we need to stir up the treasure poured into each of us. We stir things up spiritually by using our gifts, answering our callings, and in general, exercising our faith. When we don’t, things have a way of “settling to the bottom” of our lives. As the old expression goes, “Use it or lose it!”

Don’t be shy about using your talents and pursuing the things God has called you to do. Don’t be afraid of failure — we can learn and benefit from our own mistakes. And never fear the opinions of others! Instead, expand your horizons, stretch your spiritual wings, and follow your dreams. Be the person God designed you to be!

And don’t forget to stir your relationships — in order to properly blend together: “And we should think toward stirring up one another to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves as is the custom with some, but encouraging one another….” (Hebrews 10:24-25 Berean Literal) In other words, hang out with other believers, people who can encourage you; and be sure to encourage them! Become a cheerleader for those who are pursuing a dream or simply trying to achieve something meaningful in life.

Especially encourage the people on “God’s team,” the believers who often struggle to live a God-centered life in order to make a difference in the lives of others through their giving and serving. Together we can bring out the best in each other.

Stir up your faith by listening to encouraging messages such as those presented on television by TBN. Have a personal time of devotion with God — and share these times with your family. And don’t forsake the assembling of God’s spiritual family. Attend a Bible-based faith community with a loving congregation; and take part in the programs and activities there. When believers live, worship, pray, and work together, they can stir their communities to become peaceful and productive places in which to live.

Please do your part. Stir up your faith, love and special gifts. When you do, you’ll create quite a stir in the world. You’ll also have the thanks and admiration of our kitchen angel, Mr. Keurig!

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Just Follow the Recipe! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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We recently discussed the many similarities between a cookbook and the Bible. For instance, cookbooks are collections of recipes created to help us prepare successful meals; the Bible is a book of “recipes” created to help us prepare for a successful life. The recipes in most cookbooks were actually tested in the kitchen of the author. God is the author of the Bible, and He’s tested all His “recipes” in the kitchen of life! Interestingly, the standard format for culinary recipes is not much different from the format of the successful life recipes God gives us in His holy Word.

The standard format for a cookbook recipe really should be a no-brainer, but it wasn’t until the Victorian era that a writer struck upon the idea. Between 1857 and 1861, Mrs. Isabella Beeton wrote 24 installments of a guide to maintaining a proper home. She later collected and published these as Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, a monstrous volume of over 1100 pages. Her hardcover hulk contained 900 recipes, so readers often referred to it as “Mrs. Beeton’s Cookbook.” It was the first cookbook to establish a logical format for recipes, which is still used today.

Recipes, in order for the reader to easily follow them, and not leave out any steps or ingredients, should be formatted as follows:  1) a list of all ingredients needed — and their specific measurements or quantities — and  2) the precise steps to follow while preparing the recipe — in the exact order the steps must be performed! Try to prepare a dessert that leaves out an important ingredient, such as “a tablespoon of vanilla extract” and, unless you’re a mind-reader, you’ll end up with something very different from what you set out to make. And if you frequently use cookbooks, you probably already know how frustrating it is to be following the directions
of a recipe, and realize a step is missing or out of order. If we’re supposed to add melted butter to beaten egg whites, please don’t wait to tell us to beat the eggs AFTER we’ve already melted the butter — or we might decide to just beat you instead.

The God of the Universe knows that “all things should be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) In His Word, He lists all the ingredients you need to have success in every area of life. And He lists the steps we must follow in the proper order. God’s recipes for peace, contentment, security and success are properly “formatted”! Below is an example.

God’s recipe for Keeping Our Priorities Straight (with all the ingredients and steps in order):

1. You must love the LORD your God
a. with all your heart,
b. all your soul,
c. and all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important:
2. Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.
(Matthew 22:37-39 NLT) [This one “recipe” follows the same order as the Ten Commandments: the initial commandments deal with our relationship with God the Father; the remaining commandments deal with our relationships with those around us. Read it and see!]

3. …First, be concerned about:
a. His kingdom and
b. what has His approval.
c. Then all these things will be provided for you.
(Matthew 6:33 GOD’S WORD)

4. a. Trust in the LORD and do good;
b. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

5. a. Delight yourself in the LORD;
b. And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4 NASB)

6. So place yourselves under God’s authority.
7. a. Resist the devil,
b. and he will run away from you.
8. a. Come close to God,
b. and he will come close to you.
(James 4:7-8 GOD’S WORD)

Follow this recipe and then God and His desires will be the focus of your life. You’ll keep your priorities in order — something which will be reflected in how you start your day and spend your time, as well as your talents and resources. Follow this recipe and you’ll be cooking up some good success in all you do.

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