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The Taste Test


Remember the old commercial that told what kind of peanut butter choosy mothers selected? They would do a blind taste test to let people choose their preferred flavor without the benefit of knowing which brand they were tasting. Of course, the commercial displayed those who selected the brand paying for the advertising time.

Much of advertising is set to compare one brand to another, so consumers can make a choice between the two. If that comparison is done with actual experience, such as taste or feel, the advertiser best be certain of the quality of his product before putting it to the test. If the product is of good quality, there should be no fear in comparing it with any other brand.

There are a lot of voices in the world hawking their theories and beliefs as to what is truth. With an array of opinions, both old and new, the advertising and reports of each can seem overwhelming. But as old theories are disproven by new facts, the one that stands the test of time is the word of God. Today’s Infinite Supply newsletter speaks of why it continues to stand.

Infinite Supply Image for November Twenty-Sixth by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Twenty-Sixth by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 26

His Word is Truth

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
JOHN 17:17

I am frequently asked how do we partake of this fullness? How do we walk in it? What practical application exists for living according to this Truth? We see what God says, but we also see our situation. We see Jesus, but we also see ourselves. God says we are complete in Him, but we say we are incomplete. God says we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, but we say we still need this or that. What is the problem here? Is it not a glaring discrepancy between what God says and what we say? Whose word is more reliable?

Source: Lord of All by Chip Brogden

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King David said it this way in Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

When all is presented before us, we must be choosy. Whose report should we believe? The one that goes beyond theories and ideas and stands with personal testimony that cannot be disputed. Our own testimony, and the testimonies of those we love and trust, will tell us more than any educated and intelligent scientist can tell through disassociated theory.

When I served my most recent jury duty, one of the things they taught while going over how things worked was evidence. Testimony, they said, was the strongest form of evidence available. Testimony coupled with physical evidence is what makes the difference in knowing whether a report is believable; otherwise, anything could be called the truth.

God’s word is true and believable. Those who stand against it have rarely put it to an actual test of experience, especially of long experience. I would both encourage and challenge anyone who is unsure about the written word of God to read it and try it for yourself. Read it over and over and apply it to your life. Regardless of what you’ve heard from pulpit heralds, good or bad, nothing will be as convincing as your own experience. The saying goes, “Try Jesus: If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.” I say, take God’s word for your own “taste test.”

Psalm 34:8 from The Message Bible

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

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November 27, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, School of Christ, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween Sweets; Trick or Treat?


Candy, Candy, and more Candy by Flickr User kristymp, CC License = Attribution, No Derivative Works

Candy, Candy, and more Candy by Flickr User kristymp, CC License = Attribution, No Derivative Works
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

It’s almost that time again. Kids of all ages dress like pirates and ghosts to hunt for sweet treasures and scare up tasty treats. As a child, I loved the dress up, and of course, I loved all the candy. Don’t most of us? We’ve got pictures of ourselves or our children with frosting face from one-year birthday cakes and chocolate noses from first Halloweens and Easters. It all seems so fun and harmless until things like diabetes and obesity become the later-in-life prices for childhood indulgences.

So often, it seems we think that because we don’t see an immediate result to a particular behavior, we don’t think the consequence will truly matter. We don’t end up with a sugar imbalance from just one sweet holiday, or even our first few years of them. (Read the article linked under the word “sugar” for some great insight.) But, thinking we have to see instant results is its own kind of trick. We don’t grow a tree the day after we plant a seed either. Years of excuses to indulge in Christmas candy and birthday cake come to haunt so many of us, and even then, the cravings are so strong that it just seems impossible to switch from suckers to celery. After many doses of sugary treats, we have developed a sweet tooth.

So, what do you think Adam and Eve would tell us now when it comes to our wonderings about tricks and treats? I’m guessing they looked at the Tree of Knowledge as harmlessly as a young mother looks at a chocolate bunny filled with high fructose corn syrup. It’s only one bite. What could it hurt? It grows wild. It’s all natural. There was no warning label on the trunk to say, “If you partake of this fruit, you will end up with a sin tooth.” But that’s exactly what happened, and it spread throughout generations up to where we are today.

Our garden couple did realize something had changed almost immediately, but instead of being humble and repenting for their behaviors, their “sin tooth” had already begun to take hold of them. They began tossing around blame like it would undo what they had just done. They blamed each other, they blamed the enemy, and eventually they even blamed God Himself. (The woman “You gave me” fed it to me.)

Adam and Eve didn’t realize what would happen as a result of their indulgence in either the sin or the excuses for it. They couldn’t see a future outside the garden. The death they inherited with their actions took longer then than it does now, but it started none-the-less. Maybe it wasn’t even the fruit or the revelation of good and evil that brought that death, but the craving for sin that it set up in them. Maybe it was just being outside of a place where they could walk with God daily and learn His wisdom and will for their lives. Maybe there is something that grew outside the garden that negatively affects mankind, and all of us who live and eat from the earth consume it to our detriment.

We still don’t really know what brought death to Adam and Eve. We don’t know exactly how much sugar or which of the other additives in the candy we consume can bring physical suffering to kids as they age. We do know that listening to God would have yielded better results, and we do know that listening to some common sense about health will result in kids growing into healthier adults. I’m certainly not condemning others since I have done my share of “spoiling” kids I’ve cared for in my life. But, what if I hadn’t done that? Would some of them be less apt to be depressed or crave alcohol now? What if my caregivers had taught me to love fresh veggies instead of candy? Would I have less trouble with cravings that lead to weight gain? (A sugar fast has led me to cut down on sugar recently, and I’m already feeling better for it.)

If you are in the place to feed or teach a child, I would ask you not to feed or teach in ways that would create either a sweet tooth or a sin tooth. Fill them with praises of The Creator instead of praises of His creations. Guide them a desire for God’s wisdom more than for man’s knowledge. And, teach them to like the good stuff in flesh and spirit before they have grown up enough to indulge in too much of the bad stuff in either. They may feel tricked more than treated now, but they’ll thank you for the treats of better health and a stronger spirit later.

O taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8 NLV)

October 19, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Are The Words You Eat


Taste and See by Flickr User John Britt, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Taste and See by Flickr User John Britt, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

There are no sweeter words than those used to uplift God Almighty. Those can be words of praise directly to Him, words that encourage His children, words that influence people to serve Him with a whole heart, or words that He gives us to use for His purposes. He is the one who created words and gave them power, so when we use them as He intended, we bless Him, others, and ourselves. If He could create the entire world with words, what can we do with the words He puts in our mouths?

In today’s reading from Numbers 22:29 through Numbers 23:12, we are walking with Balak, Balaam, and the princes of Moab. Balak is taking Balaam to the top of a high hill where he can look down and see just a part of the children of Israel. Balaam tells Balak to build seven altars and to offer a ram and a bull on each of them. Balaam will do anything to get his way, so when this man who has power from God Almighty tells him to build altars and sacrifice on them, that’s exactly what he does. Balaam then tells Balak to stand by his burnt offerings while he goes to talk with The Lord for advice on the next move.

When God meets him, He puts words in Balaam’s mouth, and He tells Balaam to back and speak exactly as The Lord tells him. Balaam obeys and goes back to where Balak and the princes of Moab are standing by the burnt offerings and begins his pronouncement of the words God gives to him. The words read like poetry if you want to click the link to read them yourself, but to summarize them, the words say…

“Balak brings me from the eastern hills to curse Jacob and denounce Israel, but how can I curse whom God has not cursed and denounce whom God has not denounced. From the hills I see a people who will not dwell alone or consider themselves a part of the nations. Who has counted the dust of Jacob or the ashes of Israel. May I die as the righteous die and my end be as theirs.”

At the end of Balaam’s speaking, Balak has a fit. He yells at Balaam and tells him he brought him there to curse the people but instead he blessed them. Balaam’s answer is simply, “Mustn’t I take care to say what The Lord puts in my mouth?

Certainly, after God spared his life, Balaam has realized that the words of God are sweeter than any other words. The words God put in his mouth for Israel were most definitely sweeter than whatever words Balak would have had him to say. When we let words fly out of our mouths in reaction to something hurtful said to us or some hurtful thing done to us, we may have our say, but the words are bitter in our mouths and can make us bitter and angry people. Instead, let us bless and not curse those made in the image of God, so we have a sweet aftertaste that can linger and stay with us.

I want to add a note here that I’m not saying every word that comes out of our mouths should be sweet according to our human definition of sweet. In the third chapter of John, we have a prophet who’s calling men vipers and hypocrites and warning them of hell to pay. And yet, in John 3:18 it says, “And with many other warnings besides these he announced the Good News to the people.” You see, those harsh warnings were considered “good news” (KJV = exhorted) because it meant John was more concerned with their salvation than what they thought of his strong words. If the words are from God, they may not sound sweet even when they are sweet.

God’s written word tells us in more than one place just how sweet it is. In Psalm 34:8a we read, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” In Psalm 119:103 we get, “How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” And, in Ezekiel 3:3 it says, “And He said to me, Son of man, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.

The precious words of God taste so much sweeter than if we must eat our own words of bitterness and hatred and unforgiveness. If we must eat our words, let them be good ones that are put there by our God.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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