Tag Archives: menu

An Apple a Day

We were in a restaurant eating lunch with our son and his family. As usual we tried to split the grandchildren up so we could be sitting next to all three of them. One of our granddaughters ended up next to my wife who, therefore, helped her order her entree. On this day our granddaughter did not want a selection from the Kids Menu; she was determined to order something from the adult selections. So that’s what she did, with grandma’s permission! A short time later the waitress brought the food to our table. After she was done our granddaughter looked down at her serving and said, with a brilliant smile, “I have an adult plate!” Whether or not she would enjoy the food didn’t matter – she felt like an adult.

I was reminded again that such simple things – like allowing a child to order as an adult – mean so much. We all crave positive encouragement; we long for anything that raises our self-esteem. And more often than not our simple, well-chosen words offered to someone else accomplish this for them. Consider Proverbs 25:11 – “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  As Prov. 15:23 adds: “What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion!”

It sounds so simple, but it is not. It takes discipline to offer the apple regularly. In fact, as Paul was teaching the Ephesian church about new life in Jesus, he mentioned the critical nature of words and speech. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (4:29) He continued by explaining that this meant that they were to “…get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Still later (5:4) he said “Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” A Christian’s speech should be clean, clear, uplifting, encouraging, and enabling – especially when addressed to children. (It is especially important in this time when adults all around them and in the media are not living by that standard – but that’s another blog for another time.)

I can testify to the power of the apple. I still remember receiving so many apples as a child and youth – words and notes of encouragement. They came from Sunday School teachers, pastors, youth leaders, school teachers, parents and other family members. One of my most vivid memories is, following a speech I gave at my High School graduation, receiving a note of commendation, appreciation, and encouragement from a local judge who was in attendance. His note, along with all the other apples, prepared me to answer God’s call to ministry. Their apples have profoundly influenced my life, and the many apples I have opportunity to offer.

What were some of the apples in your life? Whose words influenced and impacted you? And to whom are you giving apples? Who has Jesus placed before you? I truly believe an apple a day is a powerful way to positively influence our children. What apples can you give out today?





Sailing Through Life- Part 3 The Importance of Reading the Menu

Before we headed to our first meal on the ship we read the food/dining guide information that was in our stateroom. It gave the prices for some of the various onboard eateries. Their menus looked wonderful. The seating was special. It was tempting to make some reservations.

But then we noticed a couple of important facts. The prices at these eateries were somewhat on the high side. And there were numerous places where we could eat without reservations and without paying any additional cost. Dining and food was included in the ships’ package deal. It was already purchased. The temptation to make reservations at the higher end locations quickly faded. After all, we Dutch folk are all for the cheaper fare!

As I began to think about paying for what’s already included I realized a strong spiritual parallel. So often we try to ‘pay’ or ‘buy’ our way into God’s good graces. We commit to study more, pray more, or attend church more regularly. We do good deeds to pile up the credits. We bargain with God – ‘God if You will do this I’ll do this’ – to gain something more from Him. We do so because we forget to check the guide and menus.

The truth is, when God saved us it was a package deal. Everything we try to pay for is already ours. It’s included in the deal, along with so much more. Here’s some of God’s menu already available to us.

We have joy (John 15:11)
We are beyond condemnation (Romans 8:1)
We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)
We have been adopted (Ephesians 1:5 & Romans 8:15)
We have abundant life (John 10:10)
We are blessed (Ephesians 1:3)
We are loved (Ephesians 1:4)
We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
We are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
We are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
We are lavished with the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7-8)
We have incredible power (Ephesians 1:19-20 & 3:20)
\We have a seat in the heavenly with Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)
We have access to God at any moment (Ephesians 2:18)
We are members of His kingdom (Colossians 1:13)
We will never be abandoned (Hebrews 13:5)
We have an imperishable inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)

Isn’t it rather foolish and fruitless to pay for what’s already purchased – especially if, in the process of paying, we miss the most exquisite menu and most nourishing food of all?

I wonder how much life-changing, healthy food I’ve missed, and how much effort I’ve wasted because I have failed to keep God’s menu in front of me.

Now here’s the really good news. The bottom line of our sailing excursion was that we had already paid for the food; it was included in what we paid. It wasn’t really ‘free.’ But God’s food was paid for by Jesus; it’s truly free.

Take some time each day to look at God’s menu. Digest His offerings. Respond to His invitation:

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
(Isaiah 55:1-2)