By The First Appearance I Was Disappointed

Appearances can be deceiving – we’ve all heard this before.

But don’t you find it just as surprising every time you come across it? … like when you’re in a dark room and you see a shadow of something. You can’t quite make it out for sure, but you start to convince yourself of what it might be.

But when you turn on the lights, you discover, for instance, that what you thought was a large, ceramic frog, was really just a small, crumpled up Kleenex.

There are times – this was especially true in the late sixties and seventies – we are deceived by long, flowing hair, finding that what we thought was a woman was really a man.

A major news item this week surrounded a serial killer that was arrested in Toronto. Interviews with neighbours revealed that they had no idea that he would do such things.

Appearances can be deceiving.

This weekend my extended family on Lily’s side rented a cottage for the 16 of us. We needed more than your average cottage for a group our size, but we found one.

Now, when I say “cottage” you might be thinking of a rustic cabin in the woods, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Well, the middle of nowhere is a correct picture of where we were, but not the rustic cabin part.

This place was fully equipped to keep us all warm in the middle of winter, with its below freezing temperatures and added wind chill factors.

… You know it’s cold when the weather man brings up the wind chill … and they are always so pleasant in presenting it too.

They give you the good news first: “The high today will be minus 9 degrees celsius.”

But then they hit you hard with the bad news: “But with the wind chill it will feel like it’s minus 27.”

And then they add something like, “Good luck staying warm.”

All that to say, this place we rented was climate-controlled throughout the place.

But the deceiving part – right, that’s what I’m writing about – was the cottage at first sight.

When we drove up to the place, all I could see was a two car garage that didn’t look all that special.

In fact, I think my two car garage at home looked a little bigger than this one.

But then again, it was a cottage.

We got out and walked around the side of the garage and down some steps to find the main entrance at the side.

When we stepped into the cottage my jaw dropped. There was a long foyer which opened up into a massive great room.

The ceiling was 20 feet high; there were rooms off of rooms. The kitchen had an island so long you had to yell to the person at the other end.

The place had beds for 14, and so much room my mother-in-law kept asking where everyone was.

Okay, so the reason for the deception? The cottage was build on the side of a hill. You could only see the garage from the driveway because the rest of the cottage/mansion extended down the hill.

Here’s the thing: We can maintain an appearance for others to see that will give the impression that we are godly. But God is not fooled by appearances; He knows exactly the state of relationship you have with Him. Be sure what you are giving God is not just an impression, and that you are beyond making a good appearance.

That’s Life!


Question: When have you made an appearance that was deceiving? Leave your comments below.

Confessions of a Culinary Master

I’m not much of a cook; in fact I would say I don’t really cook at all.  Those who have the same kitchen skills as me might be able to say, “I make a mean Mac’n Cheese”.  But I don’t like Macaroni & Cheese, so I can’t even say that.

I do make my breakfast each morning that consists of cutting up half a grapefruit with a special knife that reduces the preparation time in half.  Along with that, I make a small bowl of Oat Bran Cereal that involves boiling water, 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 cup of oat bran.  You know, just writing that, I feel, makes me sound like I can cook.

Then recently when I was alone at our cottage, and had to cook for myself, I made a meal that looked so good, I took a picture of it.

I know what you’re thinking looking at that picture, it’s got “Chef Silcock” written all over it!  When I put together this meal, how it looked on the plate impressed me so much I was compelled to record it so I could share it with others … at the very least, brag to my wife and daughter who probably wouldn’t even give me a passing grade at cleaning up the kitchen after a meal!

When I ate the meal, it was even better than it looked.  I savoured every morsel of it and when I was done, I sat back and marveled at how it had all turned out.  I didn’t get a passing grade on the clean up though.  I tossed everything in the sink to wash up sometime later.

Now for the confession:  Although I made the salad and cooked the beans, the meat had been pre-cooked by Lily about a week earlier.  She knew I was going to be alone the next week so she prepared it and put it in the freezer.  All I had to do was nuke it (however, I did that to perfection).

For the salad, the lettuce came in a large container.  I just reached in, grabbed a handful, plopped it on the plate, and added some croutons from a box and dressing.  The beans, well, that’s where my experience making Oat Bran came in.  I’ve been heating water on the stove for years!  A little water in a pan, tossed the beans in after cutting off the tips, finished with a little butter on top … de-lish.

Here’s the thing:  I can’t cook, but by all appearances from the picture it looked like I could.  By withholding information on how the meal came together, and by using words that suggested I had cooked it all myself, maybe you had an opinion of me that wasn’t true.  So, how often do we present ourselves or use words to give an impression of our spiritual state that isn’t quite accurate?

We shouldn’t give the impression that we are doing well spiritually when we are not.  On the other hand, we shouldn’t downplay the condition of our relationship with God to others either.  God desires us to live a life of integrity.  If spiritually you are struggling, don’t cover that up.  Get busy and work on it.  If you’re doing well spiritually, let others see and be influenced.

Until Next Time!

Pastor Paul

Question: How do you struggle with integrity before God?  Leave your comment below.