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One of our favorite things to do as parents is surprise our kids. We rarely tell them our plans ahead of time, especially when those plans include taking them out for a “special treat”.

So, for example, we’ll have plans to stop at one of their favorite places – Sonic – for slushies. But before we leave the house, they start begging for a piece of their stale, 8-month-old, leftover Halloween candy.

Since we know what’s coming, the answer is an easy, “No!”. Since they don’t know what’s coming, they think we’re the meanest mom and dad ever! They don’t understand that this “No!” is actually allowing them to truly enjoy one of their favorite treats on the planet.

As parents, we know this principle to be true:

Sometimes we miss out on the best stuff because we’re too full of the mediocre.

Now Sonic just happens to also be the home of one of my favorite “special treats” – Cherry Limeade. I just can’t get enough of that tangy, sweet flavor!  Every time I get one, I drink it nice and slow because I want it to last as long as possible.

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The problem is, I also want that tangy, sweet flavor to be the same on the last sip as it was on the first.  And that never happens, because of these:
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The advertisements and photos make ice cubes look so appealing. They look like they are going to make your drink so much more refreshing and filled with awesomeness!

But in the end, all they do is water down the good stuff.
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Thousands of years ago, as part of His plan to rescue humanity from the mess we’d gotten ourselves into, God chose a family – which became a nation – to become His people.

Because they were His people and because He promised that His all-powerful, completely fulfilling and providing Presence would be with them, He gave them a long list of “No’s”.  He’s a good parent, after all, so He knew that:

Sometimes we miss out on the best stuff because we’re too full of the mediocre.

In other words, they didn’t need to fill their lives with the ice cubes of jealousy or the desire to take the things other people had. They didn’t need to work and work and try and try to get ahead.

They were in the hands of the Owner of the universe, the Creator of it all, and He had repeatedly proven to them that He would care for them. They already had everything they ever needed in Him!

They didn’t need to fill their lives with the ice cubes of lying to protect or build themselves up. They didn’t need to use His name to buff up their image or get attention. They didn’t need to strive and fight to get above those God had put in authority over them.

The Sovereign, all-powerful God had a perfect plan for them and they could trust that He was working in every circumstance. They could trust that as His precious children, they were already becoming everything He had planned for them to be.

They didn’t need to fill their lives with the ice cubes of bitterness or rage when they had been wronged and they didn’t need to fill their emptiness with misplaced intimacy.

Their Father’s love for them was complete and completely fulfilling and He would be faithful to heal their every hurt.

And they didn’t need to give their time, energy, passion or devotion to the idols of this world – to the ice cubes of status, wealth, comfort, achievement, or control. They didn’t need to elevate anything in this world to first place in their lives, thinking He wasn’t enough.

He was enough and the satisfaction He was offering them was infinitely greater than anything they could find elsewhere.

Today, thousands of years later, we, as His people and His dearly loved children by our faith in Jesus, are faced with the same choice.

The ice cubes of this world look so appealing, but they’re still the same old mediocre junk, so my good, good Father has given me a firm “No!”.

Because there’s only so much room in my cup. And all those ice cubes do is take the place of the good stuff, and in the end, melt and leave me with a watered down relationship with Him.

He really is the good stuff. Actually, He’s not just the good stuff, He’s the BEST STUFF EVER. He’s the special-est treat of all special treats. And He’s offering me – and you – completely unlimited refills.

So, fill up!

And skip the ice.

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