Friday, January 19, 2007

Manna Mania

Have you ever wondered if the Israelites ever tried to get clever with their manna? God provided them with wonderful food daily. But I do remember reading that they got a little whiny about eating the same thing every day. I can picture them moaning, “Oh, the hu-manna-ty”—even though the manna was sweet and tasty. Exodus 16:31 says “it tasted like honey wafers” (NLT). Sounds like dessert to me.
I wonder if they ever tried to get creative. Maybe they tried new recipes. Mannawiches, maybe?

What if they got even more clever and made it into a loaf, then added berries? Wouldn’t that make “Berry Manna-loaf”? Would eating too much of it cause them to sing mellow songs and consider music and passion always the fashion? Perhaps they could’ve kept that Entertainer theme and created a traveling restaurant that specialized in adding other fruit. They could’ve called it the “Copacabana-banana-manna CafĂ©.”

Or maybe they were just too busy whining to get creative. I would make fun of them for it, but I’m afraid there are too many times I ask God to provide and then take it for granted when he does. Or worse, I complain about the way he does it. How embarrassing to still be so quick to be full of myself instead of being full of him.

I’m so thankful our God is a God of mercy. He demonstrated it again and again with the whining Israelites. Psalm 78: tells us, “They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the desert?’ Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat. They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved. In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities.” (verses 18-19, 23-25, 30, 32, 38a, NIV).

His mercy still shows up in our every whiny inadequacy today. Even after I’ve been too shallow and full of self to recognize him and thank him, he graciously shows me mercy. And he’s faithful to continually remind me to recognize him and to thank him and to crave his presence more than anything else. What a mighty, merciful God we serve!

I think my lunchtime prayer might be a little different today. It’s very likely to be fuller than usual of thanks and praise to the merciful God who provides. And I want to crave him more than I crave lunch.

Speaking of cravings, I think I might have to find some banana bread for a lunchtime dessert. Sounds extra good for some reason.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Coffee Accessorizing

Remember the days when you could order a cup of coffee in four syllables? A cup of coffee was a “cup of coffee.” That’s it. These days, coffee has been accessorized to triple its original syllablage. Or even more.

Being the accessory overachiever that I am (if only you could see these ear rings), I’m pretty excited about coffees that can be accessorized and enhanced until they’re hardly coffee anymore. I love a shot of this flavor and a dollop of that topping. Sprinkles? Sure. I just have to remember when I get up to the cash register that every syllable is about another quarter to 50 cents. A six-dollar cup of coffee? I tell you, I can do it.

Adding this, adding that—it may be expensive in a cup of coffee, but it can be a great life-thing. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says “Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful” (CEV).

Now there’s a list of worthwhile syllables we can add! We’re called to keep adding more and more character syllables to our lives. And what happens when we add goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others and love? We show that Christ makes a difference in our lives. We give a testimony with our lives that life in Jesus makes us useful and gives life meaning. Let’s stay alert when it comes to adding those wonderfully worthwhile things to our lives.

Hey, I think I might just stay alert with a Grande Espresso Mocha Carmel Macchiato with extra foam and chocolate sprinkles!