Refrigerator Rights

bible with person mfrefrigerator-with-girl-mfThis summer when we attended a church service with our daughter and family at LifeQuest Community Church, Pastor Rob referred to certain people as having “refrigerator rights” in their home.  He made the point that close friends and family are treated differently within one’s home than visitors and acquaintances.   This catchy phrase in his message gave me something to think about.

 While thinking about “refrigerator rights,” I want to make an analogy between the Bible, God’s Word, and a refrigerator.  It is my choice whether I constantly abide in the presence of God and His Word or whether I am just a guest at convenient times. If I choose to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” (Psalm 23:6)  I have “refrigerator rights!”  This entitles me to open my Bible and spend quiet time with the Lord on a daily basis. If I only spend time with the Lord for an hour or so at church on Sunday morning listening to a pastor’s message, then I am more likely to just be a guest.  If guests come to our home, I may give them something to eat, but I will serve them what I have prepared.  It may simply be a cup of coffee or a whole meal depending on the schedules of everyone involved.  My Reader, if our house is your residence, you have the freedom to partake of whatever you want, whenever you want. You can serve yourself rather than being served by me.

 When I open the door of the refrigerator, the first thing I notice is that a light goes on.  A similar thing happens for me when I open the cover of the Bible because a spiritual light goes on within me when I open it.  Psalm 119:105 NIV says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  Proverbs 6:23 NKJV says, “For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”  Jesus reveals himself as light when he says in John 9:5 NIV, “I am the light of the world.” My life needs to be enlightened!

After I open the door of the refrigerator, I look upon the shelves.  The light allows me to see what food is available for me to eat.  When I open the cover of my Bible, I can read what is written on its pages.  This is food for thoughtI discover Jesus saying in John 4:14, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Then Jesus declares in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  John 6:50-58 is a longer passage spoken by Jesus that is applicable.  “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world….  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

I can keep food in our refrigerator, but it will spoil if I do not use it in a short period of time.  God’s Word does not spoil, but neither will it be beneficial to me if I just let the verses of scripture remain on the pages of the Bible without ever reading them or applying them to my life.  In Exodus 16, I am reminded of how God specifically provided daily manna as food for the Israelites.  Listen to Exodus 16:4-5,21: “Then the Lord said to Moses, I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.‘…Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.”  God’s Word is always fresh inside the cover of the Bible, but I must daily feed on His Word to satisfy my spiritual hunger.  Lamentations 3:22-24 says, Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”  If God’s mercies are new every morning, then I need to feed on His Word every morning in order to receive my portion!  I must consume God’s Word so that I am not consumed by things of the world.  I also need to use up what God gives me before He will give me more.  The Lord will feed and nourish me as long as I rely on Him, but if I try to do things under my own power He will let me.  Zechariah 4:6 informs me that it is “Not by might nor by power, but by My (the Lord’s) Spirit.”  In order to have the physical energy I need for daily activities, I must consume food that I will find in the refrigerator.  In order to have the spiritual strength I need for daily encounters, I must meditate upon God’s Word that I find in the Bible.  My physical and spiritual hungers can be satisfied by the food found in  the refrigerator and the Bible if I take time to partake of it.

 My Reader, do you utilize your “refrigerator rights” offered to you by the Lord?  Do you open the cover of your Bible as often as you open the door to your refrigerator?   Included in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples as an example of how to pray, Jesus says,  “Give us daily bread.”  (Luke 11:3)  It is presumed that Jesus was referring to physical food with reference back to Exodus 16, but I also believe that Jesus was reminding these men, and us today, of our need for spiritual food on a daily basis as well. He desires a personal relationship with you that allows you to be in His presence where you have both physical and spiritual “refrigerator rights.”  Be part of God’s family; don’t just occasionally be His guest.

 Joyfully,gold apple (MF)
Cheryl

Apple Pies and Apple Seeds

APPLE LATTICE PIE BAKED IN AN APPLEapple-pie
Ingredients:
4
large Granny Smith apples
1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (14.1 ounce) package Pillsbury rolled pie crust (use just 1 of the 2 crusts in the box)

 Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice the top off each of your apples and scoop out the inside of the apple. I used a knife and a spoon to hollow out the apple.
3. In a small bowl, mix the apple pie filling with the cinnamon. Spoon the filling into the well of each apple.
4. Unroll one pie crust and cut it into fourths; one for each apple. Then cut each quarter into 1/4-inch strips.
5. Lay strips of the dough on top of the apple. Then take one new strip at a time and alternate weaving it over and under the pie strips already in place. Repeat until the top of the apple has been covered. Trim excess pie crust around the edges with a knife.
6. Place apples in a baking dish and fill with 1/4-inch of water. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust if golden brown. Remove from baking dish and enjoy.

APPLE SEEDSapple seeds
I found this recipe online and thought it was a unique way to make individual apple pies.  I hope you try it and like it.  However, what I now want to share with you pertains to something one throws away when making these apple pies, specifically the seeds.

Robert Schuller has said, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” If I were to make the recipe for the apple pies baked in an apple, I know I would not take time to count how many seeds I discarded.  I would make sure I got out all the seeds, but they would not be numbered.  However, I want to think about this from God’s perspective.  God created everything, including apple seeds and apples.  He knows not only how many seeds are in an apple, but also how many apples will be produced from each seed within each apple. If God knows and cares about each apple seed, how much more does He care about me? (I Peter 5:7)  One scripture that reveals to me how much personal attention God gives me is Matthew 10:30.  It informs me that God has the hairs on my head numbered.  I think God must be in the counting business!  Hmmm…  God is concerned about apple seeds, hair, and me!   God intensely and immensely cares about everyone and everything.  I may give no thought to how many apple seeds I am throwing out, but God does!

What is the importance of seeds and why does God keep track of the number of apples found in each individual seed?   Mark 4:1-20 is the parable of the sower and verse 14 defines the seed as being the Word of God.  In fact, there are forty-four verses in the New Testament where the Greek word “sperma” is translated “seed.” This is the same word from which we derive our English word “sperm.”  So, I see that there is life in the Word and there is life in the seed.  I Peter 1:23 says, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” When I study the Word, I am putting the life of God inside of me. The Word grows as a seed in my life and I will produce fruit.  No wonder God keeps track of seeds!

I may discard the seeds of an apple when I am making these little apple pies, but I do not  want to disregard scriptural seeds.  I will plant the seed of His Word in the soil of my heart and let it grow and produce and reproduce fruit for the Kingdom of God.  I most likely will never know how much spiritual fruit is produced in the lives of other people because of the seeds of God’s Word I have planted into the lives of those around me.  Only God will know the number of apples, or fruit, that will come from seeds I plant, but that is okay!  All I do, I want to do for the glory of God. I am accountable to God, but God is the one who counts the seeds and the apples.

My Reader,  if you make these little Apple Lattice Pies in an Apple, you may throw away the seeds.  However, let the seed of God’s Word grow in you and do not toss out these seeds.  Let the spiritual seeds yield fruit of faith in yourself and those around you.  Bake a spiritual pie as well as an apple pie.  There are physical and spiritual appetites to be fed.  Only God needs to know the true harvest.

Joyfully,golden apple #2(MF)
Cheryl  

 Challenge for the week: If you are blessed by this blog, plant some spiritual seeds into the life of a friend by passing along this website.  Remember, there is a new post every Wednesday.

           

A Gift Without a Bow

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalm 127:3  New American Standard
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3  New International Version

gift bow mf As I begin my blog today I am looking back through the window of time to the day our daughter was born.  Jill will be opening some birthday gifts of her own in a couple of days, but for now I want to cherish the gift the Lord gave me on her birth day. I recently found the following quote by Regina Brett, Life isn’t tied up with a bow but it‘s still a gift.God allowed me to give Jill the gift of life on October 18, and the life she now lives is a gift in return to me.  The day she was born, I fully embraced the scripture of Psalm 127:3 in my heart when I first embraced her in my arms.  I will not say how many years ago I received the gift of her life, but I will say that she has been and continues to be a blessing each year we have been united as mother and daughter. My first inclination is to prefer the wordgiftused for this scripture in the New American Standard translation because of the viewpoint for these comments, but I also sense a deeper meaning in the New International Version when the word heritage is used.  To me, “heritage” indicates a more inclusive meaning that is passed on to include the grandchildren we now enjoy who are our daughter’s gifts as well as ours.

 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6  New King James Version
Train a child in the way appropriate for him, and when he becomes older, he will not
turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6  International Standard Version

child tree mf I can testify that the Lord has been faithful to fulfill this scripture for us in the life of our daughter. Through God’s help, Jill’s dad and I were able to raise our little girl to become a beautiful Christian lady inside and out. According to the New King James Version translation of Proverbs 22:6, the phrase I want to focus upon is “the way he should go.” As parents, we are not necessarily to raise our children according to the specific way we might desire, but we are to direct them in the way the Lord wants them to go.  This entails that we as parents seek the Lord in how to direct each of our children in the special way that will best use and develop the gifts, talents and abilities found within each of our children.  This requires the parents to seek the Lord independently and individually for each child He gives to a family as a gift.  I feel our daughter is especially good at this.  She and her husband have four children.  She sees each of her offspring as unique with their own giftings and interests. One child may need more structured activities while another may benefit from more one on one time with mom. Academics may be a forte of one child while another interacts with friends more easily. Jill recognizes and encourages each of their daughters and son in the way that is personally best. However, there is one common trait within all their children, and that is their love for each other and for the Lord.  The International Standard Version interprets this Proverb phrase as saying “the way appropriate for him.”  This is a good directive for parents to follow.  God did not create everyone with the same cookie cutter and neither should parents try to shape all of their children to look alike.

 Children are a gift from the Lord.
He gives us them to return to Him.
Lord, guide us in helping them grow in You
so they can be Your children too.
Thank you for children, thank you, Lord.
Thank you for giving us children.

 gift stars mfThe words above are the words to a short chorus of praise that the Lord inspired to write many years ago on our daughter’s birthday.  It was a birthing day gift to me.  As I look back upon the words of this chorus, I have the distinct impression that God was, and is, reminding me of the two scriptures I have elaborated upon today.  Our children are a gift from God that becomes our heritage.  Our responsibility is to help our children become the children of God He desires them to be. I may have grandchildren as part of my heritage, but God has no grandchildren – He just has children.  I thank God for the privilege He has given me to appropriately nurture creations of His own to become adults who have not departed from His way.  Yes, I sincerely and lovingly thank God for the gift of our daughter, Jill, and for the gifts she is now instilling in her own children. 

Happy Birthday, Jill!

Joyfully,
Cheryl

 Challenge for the week:  My Reader, personalize this story to fit the life of your family.

A Magnetic Attraction

Last spring our grandson had a head injury that required three staples to repair the wound.  My husband made the remark that he hoped Justice did not get near any magnets that would grab his head and carry him off.  Not likely to happen, but it did create an interesting picture in my mind!  All of this caused me to meditate upon the power of magnets.

magnet with credit wm According to Wikipedia, a magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for the most notable property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other magnetic materials, such as iron. North and south poles exist with opposite poles attracting and similar poles repelling each other. This started me thinking about my relationship with the Lord.  I am made in the image of God, so we are both examples of  magnetic materials. God is spirit and I am flesh, so in that respect we are the opposite poles of a magnet. To make another analogy, God is invisible like the magnetic field, but the effects of my being drawn to Him are evident just like the effect between a magnet and a nail.

 magnet with credit wmOne of my favorite devotional books is Jesus Calling by Sarah YoungIn her entry for March 21, she writes as though the voice of Jesus is saying, “My Power is absolutely unlimited!  Human weakness consecrated to Me, is like a magnet, drawing My Power into your neediness.”  She goes on to say that fear can block the flow of the Lord’s strength into us. However, if we trust and not fear, there is no limit to how much God can strengthen us. I think of the words of Paul, But he (the Lord) said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me….For when I am weak, then I am strong. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:9&10  I see how if I let my weakness be attracted to God’s strength, I can be attached to Him in such a way that His strength moves into me.  I must realize I can only do things through Christ who gives me strength because He is omnipotent.  I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13  My power, or at least what I think is power, and God’s power actually repel each other.  If I want to do something under my power, God will let me try.  He only intervenes when I surrender to my shortcomings. At that time, His strength is drawn to my weakness. Now there is another property of magnets that I need to consider.  If a nail is attached to a magnet for a long time, the nail will become magnetized.  The longer the nail is attached to the magnet, the stronger its magnetism becomes.  The same is true for me.  The longer I stay in communion with God, the stronger His power becomes in me.

magnet with credit wm A scripture verse that gives me a good visual picture of a piece of iron being pulled to a magnet is in the epistle of James. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:8  However, this verse also causes me to ask a question.  Knowing that I am weak, why am I drawn to Jesus?  Most likely my first answer is because He will give me strength.  This has been the focus regarding the scriptures I have quoted so far. However, now I ask another question: Why is the Lord attracted to me?  The answer is because He loves me. I am again reminded of something I have read.  In Steve Fry’s book I AM (p. 229-231), he talks about how God uses our weakness to draw us to Himself. Yes, God does give us strength and power, but the primary reason God draws us to himself is because He loves us and wants to spend time with us.  I must remember to seek God’s face and not just His hands. Unfortunately, most of us tend to be users of God and not lovers of God.

magnet with credit wmOut of love God draws me to Himelf, and because of love He shares His power with me.  I sincerely want to be attracted to the Lord in order to give Him my love as well as to receive His love.  To continue my magnetic symbolism, I see my hands raised in praise to the Lord while His hands are extended down towards me.  Between us is a magnetic field just like that between the north and south poles of magnets.  As I worship God with my hands upraised,I am also surrendering my weak hands into His strong hands.  I want to be drawn to the compassionate power of God.  I do not want to be attached to the Lord just so He can give me power. I want to be aligned with Him because of the joy and love His presence imparts to me. I agree with David and Nehemiah.    In your (the Lord’s)  presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. – Psalm 16:11 NKJV and The joy of the Lord is your ( my own) strength. Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV   I  become magnetized to the Lord as I magnify the Lord!

 Let me close, my Reader, by asking you, “To what or whom are you attracted? – Why?”

 Joyfully,golden apple #2(MF)
Cheryl

What Kinds of Apples are These?

apple orchard mf


Since my blog is entitled “An Apple of Gold,” I cannot experience the autumn season without referring to it as also being apple season. I love being in an apple orchard surrounded by trees laden with fruit. Most of the apples I see are red, but there are also yellow and green ones with different shadings of color unique to each variety. While making this observation, I am reminded of a quote I read in Streams in the Desert on August 23, “Faith, hope, and love cannot be picked from trees like ripe apples.” I could spend today up a tree picking and eating apples, but instead I will pick some scriptures, quotes and thoughts to share with you about faith, hope and love. I will also be delving into a definition for patience. Patience can be described as being the willingness to endure without getting upset. Galatians 5:22 lists patience as a part of the all-inclusive fruit of the Spirit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
If I were picking red apples, I would be picking love. The reason I make this choice is because of John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God gave His Son, Jesus, to live on earth and then Jesus gave His life which involved the shedding of His blood. Blood is red, and consequently, I think of love when I see red apples. The first line of a quote by Adel Bestavros says, “Patience with others is love.” Having made this statement, I think of the following definition of love found in I Corinthians 13:4-7 New Living Translation, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” God shared His love with me and now I must share my love with others. Love and red apples are both delicious!

apple yellow mfIf I were picking yellow apples, I would be picking hope. I make this correlation because I often think of hope as being something I wait for and the yellow signal light warns me to wait and to be careful. To state the second line of Adel Bestavros’ quote, he says, “Patience with self is hope.” I am more patient with myself than I am with other people when it comes to tolerating mistakes. I will give myself more time to learn a new concept than what I may allow for others. Does this mean I have more hope in myself than in others people? When searching the scriptures for a definition of hope, I read Romans 8:24-25 in the New Living Translation, “We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)” Golden delicious apples are one of my favorite varieties for eating, so I guess hope and yellow apples have similarities for me.

apple green mf

If I were picking green apples, I would be picking faith. I choose green apples for faith because the color green symbolizes everlasting life to me and faith in God is everlasting. The evergreen tree comes to my mind. The last line of the quote by Adel Bestavros is, “Patience with God is faith.” God is the Alpha and the Omega; He is the beginning and the end. He is forever – He and His nature are everlasting. He is immortal and eternal. The most common scriptural definition for faith is found in Hebrews 11:1. The New Living Translation says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Faith is something I do not see because seeing is reasoning rather than faith. However, it is possible for me to have faith because I know God is an everlasting God. Green apples can last for a long tine, so I find similarities between faith and green apples.

apples 3 mf
When I make applesauce, I like to use a combination of two or three different varieties of apples. The blending of flavors produces a unique taste. I think it is similar to how I live my life. Faith, hope and love are all needed, especially if patience is to be an aspect of my integrity as an individual. I Corinthians 13:13 says it well: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” If faith, hope and love are combined in my life, patience, along with the other virtues that are part of the fruit of the Spirit, will be evident in my life. (see Galatians 6:22-23) This fruit is more than red, yellow and green apples!


Joyfully,

Cheryl

Quotes to remember:

Faith, hope, and love cannot be picked from trees like ripe apples.”

from Streams in the Desert for August 23

Patience with others is Love.

Patience with self is Hope.

Patience with God is Faith.”

by Adel Bestavros

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I Corinthians 13:13