Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What is your bowl of lentil stew?

This was the question posed to us during Bible study a couple of weeks ago. After reading how Esau sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew in chapter 25 of Genesis, we were asked to think of the many times we’ve sold our “inheritance” for something less valuable.

Each day of the week I thought of that statement and realized how many times I “traded” my time with God for something less meaningful. A TV program, emails, phone calls, surfing the internet, shopping, lunch with friends, and in some cases, even housework. Did I mention emails?

Each time I did those things before spending quiet time with God, those were my bowls of stew. I had traded my “inheritance” of God’s relationship for something far less important.

One particular day, I’d awaken early and immediately began checking emails. Hours later, I realized I hadn’t spent my usual quiet time with God nor had I completed my lesson for the day. A vivid image of a bowl of stew flashed through my mind. I knew then I’d traded my quiet time. I’d given up what should come first before anything else.

I wonder if Esau ever felt remorse for what he traded. I wonder if he ever truly understood the magnitude of what he gave up. I pray that I’ll always “see” that image of the bowl of stew when I choose to trade my time with God for something else.

Thought for the day: What is your bowl of lentil stew?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Face of an Obedient Heart

This time of year, I'm a little more pensive than usual. Maybe it’s the weather, the anticipation of spring, or just the fact that my birthday reminds me of another year come and gone. I’m another year older. Can I look back and see positive growth?

These last three weeks I’ve prayed for an obedient heart. A desire to want to follow God’s will. To many of you, this may come easy, to others of you like myself, not so. It’s a struggle. Requires daily prayer. And then on some days I fall painfully short. Many days. Simple things that should be so easy seem to be the thorn in my side.

Like keeping a guard on my mouth. Ha, it should be so easy, but too many times I endure the gagging taste of leather from putting my foot in my mouth. Then the remorse of thinking my words may have caused pain.

Or, not following God’s direction to minister to a friend in need. I miss so many opportunities because I think I may appear too “pushy”. Or I get lazy.

Some days I hate being human. Because it’s so hard to be a child of God and be human. On other days I rejoice in my ability to love and follow God in spite of my so human flesh.

I’ve come to the conclusion that obedience to God is something I need help with, prayer for, because sometimes like He did with Abraham He’s asking me to do some hard things. Things that I don’t want to do or don’t enjoy doing. Oh, would it be easy if He only asked the easy and pleasurable things of us?

I’ve learned the simple joy of recognizing God’s hand during my I-hate-being-so-weak days.
His forgiveness for the times I’ve fallen short of His will and decided beating myself up was just not working. I’ve learned that when I forgive myself and ask for God’s guidance, I have more grace-filled days than I-hate-being-so-weak days.

I’ve also learned that He rewards obedience. Little things like writing on a day that I didn’t feel like it and had every reason not to, He blessed me with wonderful words and I was able to add to my manuscript. Spending time with Him each morning, I get rewarded with His word to carry in my heart throughout the day. Daily praying for others, gives me the privilege of knowing I’m trusting God for not only my needs, but others as well.

What do you have to repeatedly pray for?
To be less critical of others, to listen more than talk, to let go of your past and embrace the future God has planned for you, to step off your pedestal, to shed the cloak of unworthiness and accept God’s love, to be more aware of your friend’s needs and not be so consumed with your own, or to simply be still and listen to God’s awesome word and drink it like the nectar of life it is.

Suggestions for today: Be still and listen. Be willing to face yourself honestly and let God work to make you a person of His character.