“It was Just Soup!”

Soup picture

What would you pay for a bowl of soup?

It’s the great exchange.  Business deal gone wrong.  Who would hire him after such a catastrophic blunder?  He was on his way to the top and then he settled, giving in to his cravings.  He knew better, a Field & Stream type of guy who understood strategy; he lived and breathed patience.  He should have calculated the cost.

But, he didn’t.

What was he thinking or was he thinking at all?

Soup!

An estate for a bowl, a moment of weakness left a desperate man wrestling with his soul.

“‘Once when Jacob was cooking some stew (soup), Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”  31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew (soup). He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.”‘ –Genesis 25: 29-34

And in that impulsive decision, Esau lost sight of his goals.  Instead of envisioning his life backwards, he lived for the moment; he never once considered the consequences of his selfishness until later in life.

It wasn’t fair for Esau, but he made the choice;

from the grave, we hear his voice–  “Soup!  It was just soup!”

From our perspective, it is easy to scoff at such a ridiculous decision.  A bowl of soup, a large estate…..  how could he not wait?  But,…..

aren’t we compromising the same?

Even today, Americans are still selling their legacy for a bowl of soup!

We work more to have more…… stuff

we pack it up, we stack it up, but we never give it up.

We buy titles with family time, pleasure with purpose, beauty with dignity, worldly wisdom with faith.

The life we know is a perpetual rat race that leaves us exhausted, famished and returning to our chef, “Would you like more soup?”

Dear friend, how about you and I skip on the appetizer and claim the entrée that only Christ can give?  Let’s make sure our priorities are leading us to where God wants to sustain us.

Blessings!  Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In God We Trust!

What are your plans at 3:00 this Memorial Day?

For some, it might be a trip to the local grocery store where there’s an assortment of products neatly arranged to purchase; clean, government-inspected containers are stocked on shelves in air-conditioned buildings.  Others may sit among a cheering crowd, holding an ice-cold Coca-Cola while watching their children hit a baseball across the field; they don’t need to be overly concerned about bug bites since the air is controlled by regulated amounts of insect repellant.  With more than 1 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.00 a day, there are the global elite employees who still have the opportunity to work on a Federal holiday.  Wherever we find ourselves on this beautiful, green pasture of prosperity and abundance, my prayer is that we will pause and remember those who paid a great price for our freedom.

Originally called Decoration Day on May 3, 1868, General James Garfield gave a speech at Arlington National Cemetery where 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there from the Civil War. Among the attendees were General and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant.  In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act officially observing Decoration Day as Memorial Day, a federal holiday to honor all heroes who lost their lives defending The United States of America.  Unlike Veterans Day which honors heroes living or deceased who served in America’s Armed Forces, Memorial Day honors only those who died in war while defending America.  These men and women went to their graves with dreams for us buried in their hearts; they followed in the footsteps of their Founding Fathers.

“Give me Liberty or give me Death!” — Patrick Henry, a Founding Father who was unable to sign The Declaration of Independence in which he inspired through his charge, declared that there could be no compromise for freedom in America, that death would already exist under British rule.  Cited with scripture in his speech, Mr. Henry believed that his possible death for speaking his beliefs was not as detrimental as our American freedom aligned with God’s truth.

Can we still hear Mr. Henry’s words echo even today?

On a mission trip to Belize, a young boy, who lived inside of a board house the size of a small home office, asked my husband if he lived in a cement house.   Hesitantly, my husband said, “yes.”  The boy then asked, “Why do you have a cement house and I have a wood house?”  Silently praying that God would give him an encouraging and wise answer, my husband remembered that he had a quarter in his pocket.  As he gave the quarter to the young boy, he asked him to read the words inscribed on it.  In English, the boy read, “In God We Trust.”  My husband shared that our country was founded on obedience to God, and God blessed it.  He then encouraged him to remain obedient to the Lord and to lead his country to do the same.

Our great country will celebrate its 237th birthday on July 4 this year — I can’t help but wonder if we see and hear the same country envisioned by the treasured men and women whom we honor today.

What happens to a country that refuses to obey God?

When we step inside our children’s classrooms, do we see the Bible as the official text as once was adopted by Thomas Jefferson, the first president of the Washington, D. C. school board?  Can we any longer reflect upon a monument of The Ten Commandments displayed in our local courtrooms?  In our churches, do we hear the word sin as was once preached by Jonathan Edwards in America’s great revival, or are we humored with the politically correct version of God’s word, ensuring that no one would ever feel the need for forgiveness from their savior?  What about science and history?  Is evolution now a fact with intelligence design completely removed from textbooks?  Did Americans really celebrate the first Thanksgiving in Florida?  Do we see hands saluted across hearts when we hear our nation’s anthem, “The Star-Spangled-Banner?”  If not, why?!

We are not promised the freedom for which we are given unless we appreciate and honor the One who gives it.  Today, let us obey God and carry the vision He placed in our Founding Fathers’ hearts for a God-fearing country.  Today, let us remember those who died to give us our freedom, the heroes of the Armed Forces, and might I add–  even those who wore fire, police, business suits, and even blue jeans!  Let us remember those who died for us on land and sea, in planes and buildings.  Let us respectfully pause and reflect.

Today, let us stand in a second of a minute of an hour, aware for the first time since our birth that we are still breathing.  Yes, we are breathing, and our heart continues to pass life through our bodies, only this time we pause to notice.  We see the delicate thread that holds us together.  We are bound by our faith, and only Jesus can save us.  We stand and remember those who stand in spirit, those who gave their all, those who fought the good fight that we may have this day –Free!  As we stand, let us not forget freedom with responsibility; we are only free inasmuch as we choose to trust God with our country.  Together we stand to support the wounded, the speechless, and the never forgotten.  Today we stand, and we are fully awake to our calling, to do our part to make this country as it should be.  We no longer live a mundane existence because such can’t exist in God’s kingdom.  Instead, we see that to be alive is a gift from God, and that life should never be taken for granted.  To live in America is a privilege and a blessing that we may rise and bless the hurting people of this world.

As we reflect upon our heroes today, let us rise to a greater call as Christians, ones who speak and act on behalf of God’s truth for our country.  Let us not silence our voices among the masses; rather, let us boldly carry the vision that began in the hearts of men and women who died to pass this vision to us.  How could we even begin to drop their baton– to do so would be unfair, unjust to those who died that we might live.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” –2 Timothy 1:7

Blessings!  Michelle

Frozen Talents

What are your talents?  What are your natural abilities, those activities that you do well with little effort?  One of the best ways to discover your talents is to identify the ones that you don’t have.

One of mine is categorized in the area of music.  I can’t sing!

Does it bother me?  Not at all!  As a matter of fact, I intentionally sing often just to stir up laughter among my daughter and her friends.  Besides, if God wanted me to sound like Julie Andrews, then I would.  Instead of a singing voice, God gave me a speaking voice; I trust His decision with this.  As insignificant as carrying a tune has been for me over the past two decades, it mattered greatly when I was in junior high.  

Wanting to be in the same class as my friends, I auditioned for choir in the spring before my seventh-grade year.  I made it….  with everyone else who tried out!  Summer passed and fall ushered in my first day of school.  I was surprised to discover that my inspirational music teacher was replaced by a vocal giant.  Serious and determined to orchestrate the greatest Christmas pageant the community had ever heard, he rehearsed with us the melody, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”

Packed like sardines in a military stance, we proudly sang our little hearts out for our new director… until that moment when–

Vehemently, marching up, down, and across the choir room, my teacher found his way next to me.  With a stern look and arms crossed, he bent in to assess my voice.

Certain that he was hearing something special, I sang louder, and then it happened….

In an urgent plea backed by a deep voice, he shouted, “Everyone keep singing –except you!”

I froze.

He continued, “Now, it sounds right!”

—And for many years that followed, I stayed frozen.

What started as silence in a choir room avalanched into other areas of my life.  I became an expert at lip-syncing, fearing that my voice would cause great distractions.  No longer did I boldly speak my opinion in a classroom setting, I silently disagreed with classmates as they debated and discussed important topics.  Even in church where God hears everything beautifully, I mumbled in worship.   Rather than trusting that I was made in God’s image, I believed a lie, and I gave the “devil a foothold in my life.” —Ephesians 4:27  

Aren’t most, if not all lies, tied to some form of truth?  Isn’t it in those grey-lined areas where the enemy works the best?  The truth was that the song did sound better without my mistuned notes, but the lie was that I needed to silence my voice.

How about you?  Was there a time in your life when the enemy stole your God-given talents and gifts?  Were you enjoying where God was leading until the piercing of a misguided truth came along?  Did someone speak or act in a way that caused you to freeze?

Perhaps, even today, you are still frozen.

The good news is that you don’t have to stay that way.  The God who creates summer and winter, beach sand and mountain snow, can take what the enemy froze and dethaw it right now!  My prayer for you is that you will become aware of the enemy’s work to steal your talents, your purpose.  I pray that you will walk in forgiveness of those who hurt you and pursue your eternal calling in life.  Forgiveness is our only solution when we realize that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” –Ephesians 6:12  

Friend, is there a passion burning inside of you, a talent that wants to reawaken?  Does your heart skip a beat when you walk into certain stores, read certain magazines?  Are you drawn to People? Things? Ideas? Data?  Do you imagine trying something new, but you remember a time when you were discouraged in that particular area?

Is it possible, even probable, that your abandoned talent could be exactly what God wants to use to reach others for Him?

Perhaps, it isn’t the talent, however accomplished you may be with it that matters, but how you serve others with it that makes the eternal difference.

Friend, I encourage you to reawaken your dreams, your passions today!  Will you choose to live before you die?

Blessings! — Michelle

Chocolate-Covered Cupid, Anyone?

The little plump guy has come to visit, and love is in the air.  Can you feel it?

Chocolate-covered kindness laced in morsels of endearing words– today, we suddenly need to express our love for each other.

According to the National Confectioners’ Association, 36 million and counting heart-shaped boxes are sweeping past the conveyor belt in stores across America.  In addition, 200 million love-scented roses will be delivered to those expecting some holiday aroma.  Symbols of love bought with the dollar; cupid’s arrow strikes, and big businesses grow taller.

Who is this Cupid behind the check-out counter?

Unlike our modern description, a commercialized cherub spreading love through Hershey’s and 1-800-Flowers, historical Cupid had some behavior issues.  Believed to be an instigator, a trouble maker, Cupid not only inspired love, but he also caused hatred among friends. This explains the rare museum paintings depicting the two arrow quivers that he carries, one for each purpose.

Unlike the mythological Cupid, whose purpose was for good and evil,

—the enemy that we face is real, and he seeks only to “steal, kill, and destroy.” –John 10:10

Satan wants to steal your future, kill your dreams, and destroy your peace Not only does the enemy have a plan and purpose for your life, but rest assured, Jesus does too, “I come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” –John 10:10.

Did you notice that John 10:10 starts with the enemy’s plan to destroy your life, but it ends with God‘s rescue?

Friend, even and especially as Christians, your purpose is under attack.  Yes, God does have a plan and purpose for your life, and He will complete that which He started in His plan.  However, your individual part is a decision.  Yes, God does work out our decisions for His ultimate plan, but we are given free will for the choices that we make.

As Christians, even we can miss our purpose if we choose.  Are we still Christians?  Absolutely. Can we still be forgiven?  Of course!   However, we can miss the best that God intended with the choices that we make.  The Bible reminds us, “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” –1Peter 5:8  The goal is awareness.  Knowing that there is an enemy who seeks to destroy our purposes will cause us to reexamine the decisions that we make.

You can exert boldness in your decisions knowing that “greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world.” —1 John 4:4

By doing so, you can create a world that reflects Valentine’s Day every day of the year.

Blessings! –Michelle