Christians engaging with God, each other and the world



An Instruction Manual, A Recipe Book, And the Ten Commandments

By Carol Harrison

Do you have a recipe book full of instructions? Recipe books are a type of instruction manual that help us to do things well. However, Carol Harrison wonders, do we follow the instructions?

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instructionInstruction Manual

How carefully do you read the instruction manual that comes with a new appliance, device or piece of equipment? Do you read the care instructions from the tags on your clothing? Do you follow those care instructions? How about the rules of the road, the driving instructions we learned to pass our driving test if we have our licenses?

We find instructions everywhere. There are rules which cover many, if not all aspects of our life from home to school to organizations we may belong to. We can find out how to do many things – google can give us great information and instructions but we need to be careful – some of it is misinformation or incorrect instructions.

A Recipe With Missing Instructions

Have you ever had someone give you a recipe and deliberately or by accident not written the ingredients just right? I grabbed a recipe from my mom’s recipe box, which I inherited after she died. I knew she made delicious tea biscuits and I found her recipe. But as I assembled the ingredients I realized she had incorrectly copied the recipe and forgot to put how much baking powder to use. She


always made the recipe from memory, never realizing her mistake in writing it down. The lack of baking powder did not make good biscuits.

Recently a couple of my daughters and a granddaughter were sorting through old family recipes. My grandmother never wasted anything and had repurposed an old ledger from a business her two daughter’s had operated at one time. Into this old book she pasted recipes she had cut out of magazines or handwritten on scraps of paper. Occasionally she even jotted them on blank spaces within the book.

We had a great time examining them and then my youngest daughter and one granddaughter decided to make the peanut butter cookie recipe. They soon realized that recipe did not contain any mention of what heat the oven needed to be at nor how long to bake the cookies. We opted for 350 degrees as a pretty standard temperature and then they experimented with the timing. The rest of us got to sample or taste test the results and add in the perfect time for our oven. It provided some chuckles and a sense of filling in missing puzzle pieces in the recipe.

instructionsA Doughnut Recipe

Later my youngest daughter pulled out an old recipe, of my mother’s, for doughnuts. As I helped her mix this we realized that there was no flour listed in the ingredients. In the body of the recipe it said to add half the flour, then the yeast mixture and the remaining flour. Make an easy to work with dough – missing information made us have to figure out a puzzle. We did and the results tasted great.

Instructions are necessary and it is extremely helpful to have accurate ones to complete the puzzle of what you are trying to make, just like having all the pieces for a puzzle is necessary to have a completed puzzle.

Rules For Christian Living

In my Bible Colossians chapter 3 is titled Rules for Christian Living. They are great rules for living lives that reflect how God wants us to live and interact with others. It actually begins by reminding us of things to leave out of our lives – things like immorality, impurity, anger rage, slander, filthy language, and telling lies to name most of them.

instructionsThen it talks about clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It reminds us that God wants us to forgive each other and bear with each other. Most importantly put on love which is like the belt that holds everything together. What a wonderful wardrobe to wear, one that never goes out of style.

These rules help us function together, help us manage life and give us instructions for how to treat other people so we can truly include others but are not something we can do on our own strength. Perfection belongs only to God and yet he offers to help us, if we choose to allow him, in living lives that please him and include others.

The Ten Commandments

Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments by saying the first great commandment is to love God with all our hearts and minds and souls and the second one is to love your neighbour as yourself. Love God first and then we can love others.

How to do this is written in the Epistles – from Corinthians to James. Instructions say to encourage one another, be kind to one another, and forgive one another as a few. I like to think of these as the One Anothers.

What should these look like in our lives? How can we possibly do these to and for each other? I believe we can only do them with God’s help. We are an imperfect people living in a broken world. But oh how wonderful if everyone would treat each other with love, kindness, gentleness and would forgive each other, build each other up instead of tearing people down and care enough to comfort each other. It would help ease the struggle of trying to put together the puzzle pieces of our lives.

I’ll leave you with something to ponder and reflect on. Have you experienced compassion from someone? Have you been able to offer it to another person? What did it look like? How did it make you feel?

Images Courtesy Of:

Instruction Manual – sasint

Stop Sign – knerri61

Recipes – royguisinger

Donuts –Publicdomainpictures

Kind Kid – naomiandmike

Carol Harrison

Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.

Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.  Visit her website

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