Thursday, May 18, 2017

Potato Battery


3B Two Potato Clock Kit  

The words "potato battery" have come up more than once on our homeschooling journey... Whether it's the annual science fair or someone experimenting in the kitchen, apparently turning a potato into a battery is actually a thing.

There are YouTube videos on how to make a potato battery, kits sold via the internet for 29.95 to explore the electric producing power of a potato.  You can make a "clock" from a potato battery, sciencebuddies.com will show you how to "produce electricity from produce" apparently they don't limit this phenomenon to just potatoes! I even found multi week unit studies called "Potato Power".  Potatoes truly can produce electricity!

So this morning I got up and plugged my laptop into a potato.... and guess what - nothing happened.  I felt a little miffed that my laptop didn't power on!  After a little more research I discovered that each potato can contribute up to .5 volts, while my laptops lithium ion battery is actually 15 volts.  SO - if I had 30 or so average potatoes I could potentially power my laptop for about 3 days - or until the potatoes went bad.  I think I'll go buy some potatoes....  

At this point you likely think I have lost my mind, how silly would you have to be to purchase potatoes to power your laptop!!  Yet, that is what we do- day after day - when we plug into the wrong source of energy in our own lives.
1Peter 1:23-25
 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

One thing I learned when looking up things about "potato power" is that there is actually a group of people who research this and really believe that plants can power everything in our lives.  They are dedicated to the study of the power of plants.
Can you imagine how excited these scientists would be if they discovered a plant that would provide power, forever?  It would be all over the news, everyone would be talking about it, everyone would be buying that plant, caring for it, watering it, feeding it.

We have, at our fingertips, the word of God - which "abides forever"  and "endures forever" and we are not studying it! We treat it like it's optional.  We look around and see all the things in our lives that will last for a moment - all the things that will wither and fall away and we run to embrace them!

We have the ability to plug in to a power source that "endures forever"  Plugging into anything else is the equivalent of powering a laptop with potatoes - it is simply foolish. 

...and yet we do it all the time, everyday.  

When we are upset, do we take it to the Lord or do we take it to a friend in gossip?
When we feel distraught, do we cry out to him in prayer or do we cry out online and post?
When we are afraid, do we talk to Jesus or do we cower and give a place to anxiety?
When we are lonely, do we spend time with our Beloved, or do we scroll social media and compare?
When we are angry, do we hand it over to the Lord, or do we try to take control?

We know this already, we know that we have to plug into the source of life everlasting, and yet, we love our personal potatoes so much that we argue their benefit! We defend plugging into potatoes!

"There's nothing wrong with talking to her, she's my friend"
"I post online because I don't have anyone else to talk to - what would you have me do?"
 "Its perfectly normal to feel this way"
"It's my (husband, family, child) fault I feel alone"
"Anyone would react like this"

Is this really how we want to live? We know that all these things will wither and fade away and that as a believer we were made, and remade - for more than this!

Our friends, our social media followers, our rationalizations and justifications are small potatoes compared to the power of God, but if we don't learn to plug into the source of LIFE, we are going to find ourselves spiritually dead! 
John 15:5 - 11

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
If we will give up our potatoes, the things we love, the things we think give us power - we gain some truly powerful promises!
 
Jesus promises we will enjoy a productive life - he will give us new fruit that isn't going to spoil!
We will be able to ask for our desires, which will align with His, and receive them!
His love will abide in us!
We will keep His commandments - and we will be better equipped to keep them because we are filled with His love!
We will be filled with joy!.

This is the real power we need to plug into! Jesus is also very clear that without him, without this real source of power, we can do nothing!   The Greek word translated “nothing” is oudeis, from ou (meaning “not”) and heis (meaning “one”). Literally it means “not one thing.”

Jesus tells his disciples that he is their life source - the power for their lives (the vine). They are the recipients of that vital energy (the branches). What they accomplish in life (the fruit) is only accomplished because of the connection they have to Him. Then He says - If you are not connected to me, you can’t do one single thing!

You might stop right there and think... but wait, lots of people do things, lots of people accomplish lots of things and certainly they are not all connected to Jesus. 
To understand this concept, we are going to do a "word" study =) 
Anytime you see the word "word" highlighted, please understand that the emphasis is mine. 
The book of John begins with...
John 1:1-5 1 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Jesus is telling his disciples and us that HE is the foundation of life, He is the source of all life and all creation, all accomplishment.  The things of this world will wither, they will fade - but the Word of God will endure forever.  Not one single thing was brought into creation without Jesus direct involvement, and as disciples, we are to live life knowing that not one single thing will be accomplished without Him.

1Peter 1:22-25
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.


The "Word" in 1 Peter 1:23 and John 1:1 - is the same word which is - Logos, many scholars believe it should be left untranslated as an actual name of God. I highlighted it in purple for this very reason.  The WORD is a name.  Everything we hope to accomplish can only be accomplished because of and through, Him - the Word - Jesus!

The second "word" 1 Peter 1:25 is rhema - meaning a spoken utterance, a specific word, it can reference a word of law, a definitive word. When it is used in this passage - it means the definitive word of God. God has the final word!  This word is also used in Ephesians 6:17
Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
God has the final word, it is a specific and definitive word.

God gives us the power, through his Word and his word to meet every challenge that comes our way. 

Our power isn't from potatoes. We won't find the answers to the longings of our heart in the things of this world.  We can only find them when we plug into the power source for which we were designed.  My laptop was not made to run on potatoes, it was designed to operate with a lithium ion battery, we were not made to run on our own, to run to the fleeting things of this world, or even to run to our friends.  We love them, but we were not designed for them.  We were designed, created, from the foundation of the world, to be for God, grafted into His vine, and we can do nothing, not one thing, apart from Him.

Each summer my family takes a break.  We take a break from social media, from busyness from almost everything.  We literally unplug the computer, the television and we spend time - usually at least a week, but sometimes more, refocusing on the Word.  This time of separation from the normal everyday hectic,  distracted,  living of life -  helps us to reset, unwind, and to water roots that grow deep into the Lord and to spend time in His word.  We take this time apart to help us remember that apart from Him -we can do not one single thing.  It is my desire that each person who reads this blog will also take that time to remember, to unplug from all the distractions, all the potatoes of life, and rediscover the infinite power source we have in Jesus.

Many Blessings,
Amanda

Monday, March 20, 2017

Brownies

I once had someone offer me some brownies....



They looked really tasty - they smelled delicious -they were still warm from the oven, but before I could have one they said "Let me share the recipe with you." So I patiently waited - longingly staring at what my taste buds desired...mmmm

They began to describe their brownie making process, and I was only half listening.
First I combine all the dry ingredients, and I use all organic fair trade ingredients, flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and I sift them together very carefully.  Then in a separate bowl I combine all the wet ingredients, vanilla, eggs, melted butter and then my secret ingedient, two teaspoons of fresh dog poop.... 

WHAT??!! Surely you don't really include dog poop in your brownies!!

Yes I most certainly do, and everyone just raves about how good they are.  Don't tell me you are one of those judgey "I only talk about what I am against" preachy Christian types! Certainly you won't let a little dog poop offend you!! I mean, can't you just eat the parts you like and leave the rest...

It's all mixed up together, how would I leave the poop out?

You are so easily offended.  All of your friends ate my brownies, the farmers market sells my brownies, and no one ever complains because of how good they taste.  Frankly, I am surprised at your close mindedness, dog poop is just a part of the world these days.

I really don't think eating dog poop is a good idea, I think I will pass.

They are really only like 1% dog poop! You sound like your trying to keep some law about not eating dog poop, there is no such law and besides, dog poop is everywhere these days! Your loss! Me and my kids are going to eat these brownies right up!

Is that really safe?

How dare you tell me how to make good brownies.  How is it your business what I put in my brownies in the first place, or what I feed my kids!

So in all honesty, no one has ever offered me a poop brownie in the literal sense.

But recently I have been offered several figurative "brownies" and when I pointed out that these things might not be a good idea to partake of, the responses were much the same.


1 - It's mostly good, just accept the good and leave the bad

This is flawed thinking.  The fact is that if the good and bad are mixed together it is nearly impossible to separate them.
1 Corinthians 5: 6-8
6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. 8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.
How do I separate out foul lyrics and sexual topics from secular music for my sons? How do I separate the embrace and celebration of sin throughout a movie? It is not possible to separate these things. 
In another letter Paul also addresses this issue.
Colossians 3
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Here he is even more clear - "Have nothing to do with..." Paul recognizes that it is not possible to embrace and also reject sin.

2 - I don't think there is anything wrong with it and "a lot of people agree with me"

Imagine those brownies were real, and in fact everyone was eating them and talking about how tasty they were.  What would be the result of eating poop?  You could contact parasites or hepatitis, or maybe you would be fine.  Would you really risk it?  Would you offer it to your child? If ingested by accident would you consult a physician afterwards?

1 Corinthians 6:12
12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
If you find yourself consuming something that contains things of the old nature mentioned in Paul's letters.  I would strongly suggest you not offer it to your children and you instead consult the physician at once, the Great Physician.  But also consider that maybe there is a reason that "a lot of people agree" with what you are doing...
2 Timothy 3:1-9
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.
3 - If you don't accept this as we do you are judgmental, close minded, legalistic, preachy...

I think I would call it faithful to the calling and Spirit that I have been given. 
2 Timothy 3:14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
Paul encourages believers to "put on your new nature"  and to be renewed as they learn how to become more like Christ.
Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Being equipped for every good work, having peace in life and in the family, being bound together in love with fellow believers... these things far outshine any temporary happiness achieved from mixing it up with some dog poop brownies.

The truth of the matter is - I lose nothing by skipping the dog poop brownies of this world.

Why waste perfectly wonderful, organic, fair trade ingredients by mixing them with dog poop?  How much more valuable are the ingredients of our new nature, the precious promises we have received, the new spirit that lives within us, than these cooking ingredients.   
This isn't legalism, it's common sense, 

Blessings, 
Amanda