A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.
She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.
Soon the pots came to boil.
In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.
She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.
She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.
She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water. Each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?
Are you an egg, a carrot or a coffee bean?"
The egg, carrot, and coffee all went through heat. Our “heat” are trials that face us. As we look at these 3 things, think about a recent trial that has faced you:
•Death of a loved one
•Loss or change of a job
•Financial Changes (Big one)
How have you dealt with it?
Started off with a malleable heart. Sensitive to others. Caring. Considerate
Changed with the heat…the trials.
Became hardened…bitter…stiff spirit.
Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
•Many people are bitter over the past, frustrated about the present and worried about the future. Which are you?
•We wonder “why bad things happen?” When, we need to realize adversity happens to all. God isn’t peering down thinking about who he will throw the next bolt of lightning to. What really bothers us is that it happened to US (but what makes us so special that it shouldn’t?) It really comes down to a pride issue.
•“We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, 'Why did this happen to me?' unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.”
•No matter the era, the culture or the level of material wealth, hardship is common to all men of all time when...
•all your efforts seem to end in failure
•no matter how hard you try, you just don't seem get anything accomplished
•you suffer unjustly
•nothing ever seems to go right
•life just doesn't seem to be getting any better
•it feels like nothing good has resulted from your life
•you do your best and still fail
•you do what is right and it still turns out wrong
•your family falls apart
•your health fails, your money is lost and your friends forsake you (JOB)
•you think you have nothing to show for your life
•you feel lonely and isolated
•you feel like no one understands what you're going through
•it feels like everyone sees you as a failure
•your kids go down the wrong path
•you look at your life and it just doesn't seem like there is any reason to keep trying
•you just flat-out can't see anything good coming from trying anymore
•your whole life feels like one great big regret
•you realize that your life is not what you ever thought it would be
•When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum. ~Author Unknown
Joh 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
•After repeated rejection of the Spirit of the Lord, your heart can become hardened (calloused).
•As an egg becomes hard boiled….it becomes useless for cooking…only for consumption. Raw, eggs are a binding agent.
•With a softened heart we can do much for the Lord……….moving as he wills………we can unify other brethren and bring others to the Lord (binding).
•Are you “binding” or are you being “consumed”?
•BEFORE YOU THINK YOU ARE BITTER FREE….THINK OF THIS
•Bitterness is NOT rare. Many become hardened. Life seems to bring it naturally. We have to fight against.
•Do you believe miracles are a rare thing? Do you rarely see the good of the Lord in your life? Are you seldom impressed by the surrounding creation? The Disciples were………they had hardened their heart. We view miracles as normal. We should see EVERYDAY the good of the Lord in our lives. We should SEE and APPRECIATE the beauty around us
•As a mother:
•Have we let life circumstance affect how we treat our children? (I have and had a hard time going from working with adults/junior high students to toddlers.)
•As a daughter:
•Have we let the past affect how we treat our mothers or view our mothers presently? (We all mess up. Mothers mess up. (Hard to believe) Children mess up. We need to forgive and move on.)
A. The BAD Carrot
•Often life’s trials can cause:
•Guilt—for things we have done wrong (God forgave us. We need to forgive ourselves)
--1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
--Psalms 51—begins with David’s guilt…………but ends with him relieved from the spirit of forgiveness.
--The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
--Psa 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
--Psa 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
--Psa 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me
•Depression—for things that have gone wrong for us
--Humility is not thinking low of yourself……….but not thinking of yourself at all. When we are depressed we have decided to focus upon ourselves and OUR circumstances. (I have these tendencies). It’s a spiraling effect.
--Depression and guilt often go hand-in-hand.
By becoming TOO soft, we wilt and lose our strength. Give up.
Is that you?
B. The GOOD Carrot
--Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
We need to become humble to be used of God. Did you know….
Carrots are more nutritious when cooked. Cooking breaks down the tough cellular walls that hold in the nutrients and are easier to absorb by the body.
Trials break down some of the walls (barriers) in our lives that prevent us from doing the work of God.
When was the last time you cried over a sin you had committed? Or the lost soul of another person? Maybe we are still “an egg” but need to become as a “cooked carrot”?
3. Are you a Coffee Bean? A Cup of Blessing?
The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.
When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
--1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
--1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Each one of us are a tool in God’s tool box. Some times we need SHARPENED so that we can be of more use. The trials we go through are not meant to stop us but to keep us going........gooder and better.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them. ~G.B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893
You control you. Sometimes we think events control us or others. But….when you get down to it…we control ourselves. We control how we respond.
--1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
The Christian life is NOT smooth sailing but a soft landing.
Good Example: Helen Keller (born deaf, blind, and mute) She used her circumstances as a blessing to herself and others. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. "--Helen Keller
--Do you see your trial as a potential blessing? What can you take from it? (Ask…what is God trying to say to me through this storm?)
--Can you be a blessing to others through it? (I dare you……while going through a trial……..do something for someone else or for Christ. It will take your mind off yourself…and place it on others.)
--Does it provide you with insight to understanding others?
(Having gone through financial struggles………I can help those who go through the same.
Having lost loved ones, I can relate more to those who lose their loved ones.
Having gone through loss of health with my children, I can be more sympathetic to those who go through the same, etc...)
---Does it provide you with learned techniques on how to deal with future trials?
(Having had to deal with rude/mean people, I have learned methods to deal with them….to not get my feelings hurt…and to not react in the flesh. Having gone through the NICU once…I was more prepared for the 2nd time.)
So, what kind of Cup are you?
At the end of your life, will others look back and see you as having been a…
A Cup of Bitterness—the trials of life have hardened you………you are consumed by the wrongs of your past…or the trials of the present….or the worries of the future
A Cup of Brokenness—Have the trials of life left you with guilt/depression….spiraling deeper and deeper into a dark abyss of being unusable for the Lord? –or-
Have the trials of life left you broken and humble, ready to listen and follow the will of the Lord?
A Cup of Blessing—Have the trials of life made you to want to try harder and do better? Have they provided you with insight that has enabled you to GROW and to be a blessing to others?
Remember: When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
We had a "tea party" theme for this fellowship. Actually it was one of our mother/daughter banquets. Our favors were a small tea cup and saucer with a "tea flower" inside. We decorated with these "tea flowers" in glass bowels on the table. Very UNIQUE gift.
Here's a video to show what it looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbRpdYRz1Y0
Another favor that could have been used would be to take tea bags, remove the paper tag and replace with your own tag (decorated for the event with date and occasion).
We, also, decorated with borrowed tea pots and sets from the ladies.