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Category: Spiritual Growth

Let The Ice-Cream Melt

Topic: Contentment                                                                              Printer Friendly
Source: “Scientists Discover Ice Cream That Doesn’t Melt” By LOUISE DEWAST, posted ABC News, LONDON — Aug 31, 2015, 8:13 AM ET
Link to Source: Click here to view source
Author: Illustration Exchange

Scientists from the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh have formulated a new recipe for an ice cream that doesn’t melt. The recipe is the result of the discovery of a new protein,BsIA, that binds the air, fat and water in ice cream to make it more stable.

The new ice-cream could be available within three to five years, and it is anticipated to contain lower levels of saturated fats, fewer calories and a smoother consistency.

This advancement will also benefit manufacturers, allowing it to be more easily transported.
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The Vine

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Topic: Fruit of the Spirit
Scripture: John 15:5
Author: Thomas Bevers

Have you ever walked into a factory? The noise is usually deafening. You have to wear ear plugs just to avoid bodily harm.

Can you imagine taking a nap near an assembly line? The sounds of air compressors, pistons and other loud machines would make it nearly impossible. It takes a lot of noise to produce a car.

On the contrary, have you ever walked into an orchard? The still, the calm, the birds singing all evoke a great sense of peace and tranquility.

Can you imagine stretching out under the shade of the vines and just resting? It doesn’t take much noise to produce fruit.

Application:

When man produces what he produces, it is accompanied by an over abundance of noise, commotion and little rest. But not so with what God produces.

When Jesus told us He is the vine and we are the branches, He intended us to remember that He is the one doing all the work; He is the one producing the fruit through us.

What does the branch do besides act as a go between? It’s the vine that does all the work! The branch bears fruit by remaining at rest in the vine. Likewise, you and I bear fruit by remaining at rest in Christ.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

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Seeing Ourselves In 2 Dimensions

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Topic: Self-image
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:12; James 1:19
Source: “Why selfies and mirrors can make you feel weird,” by Starre Vartan, posted MOTHER NATURE NETWORK, 11/6/14
Author: Illustration Exchange

“It’s almost impossible to know what you truly look like … and cameras and mirrors don’t help,” reports Starre Vartan for the Mother Nature Network. Everything from lens distortion to camera angles, the asymmetry of our facial features, and the variability and “flip-flop” effect of mirrors all combine to keep our true self-image a bit of a mystery. And the one factor that is sure to keep us in the dark is the fact the we can only ever see ourselves in 2 dimensions (as reflections or captured images) rather than in 3-D as other see us.

Application:

It’s strange to think that everyone can see us as we are, except us! And we’re not just left in the dark about our true physical appearance; we seem to be at a similar disadvantage when it comes to our emotional and spiritual state, as well. We have such distorted perceptions of who we truly are in our heart of hearts. Ego, pride, arrogance, and even shame, guilt, and despair can all serve to distort our self-image.

Looking into the mirror of the Word of God helps to make the image clearer. Even so, these images are still mere reflections, distorted by our own human limitations. We will not see ourselves as we truly are–in 3D–until we stand in the very presence of God. Then we will be know even as we are fully known.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Additional Application:

One of the advantages of marriage is that we are blessed with a life partner who is able to see us as we are, in 3D. But even this doesn’t help us, should we refuse to humbly receive the truth our spouse attempts to speak into our lives.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

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Sacred Melons

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Topic: Spiritual Growth
Scripture: John 15:1-2, 5
Source: Info Barrel and FASCINATING FACTS by David Louis, p. 56.
Author: Illustration Exchange

In Japan, melons are considered luxurious, even sacred. While a common cantaloupe melon might set you back two or three dollars here in the states, it could easily run upwards of $15 dollars in Japan. Specialty melons sometimes sell for hundreds of dollars a piece. The gift of a meticulously cultivated melon is considered one of great generosity and respect.

Japanese “master” melon growers take tremendous pride in growing only the best melons. To ensure success, they “hand pollinate three flowers and let them get to about the size of a baseball, then select the best one and let only that one grow. The others are chopped up and added to the compost pile.” In this way, a single fruit receives all the nutrients originally meant for the entire plant. The result—a sublimely succulent, “best possible” melon.

Application:

The master melon growers of Japan have learned the secret of growing the “best possible” melon–channeling all of the nutrients to just one selected fruit. They do this to produce something they prize, something they consider sacred.

Likewise, God knows the secret to helping you to become the “best possible” you. As the Master Grower, He seeks to remove everything from your life that might prevent you from receiving the fullest measure of His growth producing love.

Every call to repentance, every warning against sin, every word of caution concerning temptation are all set forth in the Bible to prevent anything from competing with your spiritual growth potential. Once these things are removed, chopped up and added to the compost pile, you are free to receive all the nutrients necessary for God to cultivate something He prizes, something sacred–the “best possible” you!

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more . . . Yes, I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1-2, 5, NLT).

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The Power of Doing Something

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Topic: Evil
Scripture: Romans 12:21
Source: Illustration Exchange
Author: Albert Einstein / Mitchell Dillon

“The wold is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

[Albert Einstein 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity. He is regarded as the father of modern physics.]

Application:

Albert Einstein’s words were spoken at a time when evil seemed to have an upper hand in the world. Communism and Fascism marched across much of Europe, while the rest of the world was left to choose how to respond.

The same struggle continues today. By God’s design, there continues to be enough evil in the world to test those who have it in their power to do good. And by God’s design, there continues to be enough good in the world to overcome those who have it in their hearts to do evil.

So, the question is this: Will those who love good do what is in their power to do to overcome evil? God does not place the fate of the world in the hands of evil men, but in the hands of those who can and must do something to stop them.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21).

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Why Do Couples Begin To Look Alike?

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Topic: Christlikeness
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:6-18; Genesis 1:26-27
Source: Live Science
Author: Amber Angelle

“While you may be familiar with the old saying, ‘opposites attract,’ in reality, what the heart wants is someone who resembles its owner – and that resemblance increases, the longer two lovebirds stay together.

“University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted an experiment to test this phenomenon. He analyzed photographs of couples taken when they were newlyweds and photographs of the same couples taken 25 years later.

“The results showed that the couples had grown to look more like each other over time. And, the happier that the couple said they were, the more likely they were to have increased in their physical similarity.”

—Excerpt from “Why Do Couples Start to Look Like Each Other?” by Amber Angelle

 

Application:

The same principle is at work in our relationship with Jesus. Having been created in God’s image, we are supposed to “resemble” Him. Yet sin has distorted that image. Thankfully, God sent Jesus to restore what has been distorted.

Just like couples in a happy, loving relationship—the longer we walk with Him, the more we begin to look like Him.

Are you happily wed to Jesus? Does it show?

“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NLT).

 

The One Percent Improvement Plan

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Topic: Discipline
Scripture: Luke 16:20; Luke 19:17; Matthew 25:21
Source: “This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing By 1% And Here’s What Happened” by James Clear, published DailyGood.org, syndicated from jamesclear.com, Apr 04, 2014.
Author: James Clear / Illustration Exchange

“In 2010, Dave Brailsford faced a tough job,” reports James Clear for DailyGood.org. “No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, but as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team), Brailsford was asked to change that.”

Brailsford went on to revolutionize the British cycling team one tiny step at a time. He believed wholeheartedly that if the cycling team could just improve every aspect of their training and execution by as little as 1%, the gains would eventually be immense. His goal was a Team Sky Tour de France victory within 5 yrs. What he achieved was a Team Sky Tour de France victory in just 3 yrs.

In 2012, Team Sky rider Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France … In 2013, Team Sky repeated their feat by winning the Tour de France again, this time with rider Chris Froome. Many have referred to the British cycling feats in the Olympics and the Tour de France over the past 10 years as the most successful run in modern cycling history.

How, specifically, did Team Sky achieve such improvement and success?

They started by optimizing the things you might expect: the nutrition of riders, their weekly training program, the ergonomics of the bike seat, and the weight of the tires.

But Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there. They searched for 1 percent improvements in tiny areas that were overlooked by almost everyone else: discovering the pillow that offered the best sleep and taking it with them to hotels, testing for the most effective type of massage gel, and teaching riders the best way to wash their hands to avoid infection. They searched for 1 percent improvements everywhere.

Application:

Clear offers the following lessons we can all learn from Brailsford’s 1% approach to success:

It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis.

Almost every habit that you have — good or bad — is the result of many small decisions over time.

And yet, how easily we forget this when we want to make a change.

So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

And from what I can tell, this pattern works the same way in reverse. … If you find yourself stuck with bad habits or poor results, it’s usually not because something happened overnight. It’s the sum of many small choices — a 1 percent decline here and there — that eventually leads to a problem.

[James Clear is an entrepreneur, athlete, photographer, internet blogger, and self-improvement guru who writes about “the struggle that we all face to become better leaders, better workers, and better people.”]

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'” (Matthew 25:21).

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