Thursday, March 6, 2014

From Vodka to Vanilla

Phil 4:13 - I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Philippians has always been one of my favorite books in the Bible. When I was in High School, Philippians 4:13 was my favorite verse, we even included it on the back of one of our cross-country shirts. Though there are the other great verses in the book, Phil. 2:13, Phil 3:14, Phil 4:8, Phil 1:6, just to name a few of my favorite.

This morning, for the first time ever, I read Philippians 4:13 differently as I read the amplified version. I noticed that in the amplified, it used the word "infuses." It says, "through Him Who infuses inner strength into me." 

You see... my recent "Martha Stewart" skills over the last 2 years caused me to try and learn how to make Vanilla Extract. I bake enough that I use vanilla extract A LOT! Not to mention my theory with vanilla... "If a little vanilla is good, a LOT is better!" When baking, I think vanilla makes everything better. If a cake or cookie recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, I add 2-3 teaspoons! But, vanilla is not cheap for the normal person! A small 2 ounce bottle may cost $4-5. That doesn't go to far with as much as I use it. So, that brings me to this eye-opening new way of seeing Philippians 4:13. I looked up the definition to the word "infuse." This is what it said:
infuse: to steep or soak (leaves, bark, roots, etc.) in a liquid so as to extract the soluble properties or ingredients.
In order to make vanilla extract, you need vodka or rum. You cut the vanilla beans, scrape out the "caviar" from the center, and both the bean and the "caviar" soaks in the vodka or rum. Then what happens, the vanilla flavor is infused into the vodka creating Vanilla Extract. The vanilla flavor is extracted into the vodka creating that super yummy ingredient for all your favorite baked goods. THE SECRET?!?!

Infusing takes TIME. 

For the vanilla beans to change the vodka from simply an "alcohol" to "vanilla extract" takes TIME. At least 6 months to be exact, and like wine, the longer the vanilla infuses into the vodka, the greater and richer of a flavor it will be. Like wine fermenting over time, vanilla beans will continue to extract their flavor and infuse into becoming a delicious ingredient that could make world renowned cookies! :) (If you know me, you know that I have been in a few chocolate chip cookie bake-off's, so I take my cookie baking and ingredients seriously! Ha!) 

The amplified version of Philippians 4:13 reads, "I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency."

The Holy Spirit will INFUSE INNER STRENGTH within you! But this infusing process takes time. It's going to take you and I steeping and soaking in the Word of God so that the Word of God can be extracted into our lives! So that the Word of God can begin to change our flavor, change our make-up, renew us, change us from the "vodka" (the world & flesh) to the "vanilla extract" (the good things, the God-nature, the Christian who walks in and by the Spirit). As we steep and soak in the Word of God, not only are we strengthened as it says in Phil 4:13, but our literal make-up begins to change. The cuss-words that were a part of our sin nature, as we steep in the Word of God, over time, those same cuss words begin to sound like nails on a chalkboard. Some of the movies we watched at one time, now seem to not be appropriate. As we steep, we are changing! The Holy Spirit is infusing us with INNER STRENGTH! When things come at us, we are stronger to handle them, where the previous us would have broken, the INFUSED US rises up with STRENGTH!

Friend, I encourage you.... take the time now steep and soak in the Word of God. Allow the WORD to get infused into your very being, so that when strength needs to rise up on the inside of you, that is exactly what will happen. You will be filled with inner strength and able to conquor anything!

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