Friday, January 29, 2016

Chopped! Or Not?


Joel 2:13
Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

My husband, Danny, and I enjoy watching cooking shows on Food Network, especially those involving competition.  One of  our favorites is Chopped.

For those of you unfamiliar with this program, four chefs compete against one another in three rounds - appetizer, entree and dessert - to see who will be declared the Chopped Champion.  The judges' criteria are taste, creativity and presentation of the completed meal.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  It's anything but!  As if the time constraints for preparing a dish aren't enough, each chef is given a mystery basket with identical, and always eclectic, ingredients, all of which must be incorporated into the recipe.  Some items are so far-fetched, they often leave Danny, a seasoned chef in his own right, shaking his head in disbelief.

It is downright miraculous to watch these chefs transform such incongruous food items into five-star wonders in a matter of minutes.  Each creation reflects the knowledge, skills and background of the chefs.  But no matter how fancy the presentation or savory the taste, one contestant will be chopped at the end of each round, until only the Chopped Champion is left standing.

For the losers, there are no do-overs.  No second chances.

They are simply chopped.

As we traverse this road called life, each new day presents its own mystery basket.  We may open it and be delighted by what we find inside:  love; laughter; a child's smile, a warm touch.  We know just what to do with these ingredients, and rarely fail to turn our day into a five-star one.

But what about those mystery baskets that, when opened, reveal less than palatable contents?  An ailing parent, a troubled child, problems with the boss, financial woes, and the list goes on and on.  What then?  How will we ever address the mess?

Sadly, when faced with tough situations, even we, as Christians, often plunge forward, declaring, "I've got this, God.  I can handle this."  But we delude ourselves.  If we leave God out of the equation, we are leaving the most important ingredient in our mystery basket out of the mix.  That should get us chopped, for sure!

But it doesn't.

We need to repent, gather up our rag-tag attempts to fix our problems, and surrender them to the the Lord, our God.  For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.

With God, none of us are losers.  He allows do-overs.  Repeatedly.

The Lord, our God, is a God of Second Chances.


~

Was there a time in your life when you thought you could handle your mystery boxes without God's help?

Prayer:  Father, help us to remember when we are facing overwhelming problems or situations in our lives to turn first to You for wisdom, strength and guidance.  Forgive us those times when we have taken matters into our own hands and taken You out of the mix.  Thank You for Your great, endless and abiding love for us, Your wayward children.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Martha! I have just discovered Chopped myself. It really is fun to watch! ( I also saw a part of 'Beat Bobby Flay') What a great spiritual interpretation you have made to life. I love that.
    Life sure does hand out some mysterious ingredients, doesn't it? And you're so right, without God, I'd never make sense of any of it.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Ceil

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    Replies
    1. Glad you've discovered that show, Ceil. It is a lot of fun to watch, although I do find myself getting anxious for the chefs, especially when time is running out. :)
      Yes, there are so many mysteries in our lives and, like you, I know I could never make heads nor tails of any of it without God's help. So glad He is patient with this slow learner!
      Love and blessings, and have a glorious weekend, too!

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  2. Martha, your timely post reminds me of a conversation this week in Bible study where a few seemed surprised that the Bible does NOT say, "God helps those who help themselves!" Instead, God's Word consistently reminds us that God helps those who call on Him. May the Lord Himself remind us to do this quickly! God bless.

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    1. Our pastor pointed that very fact out to us several years ago and, just as you did here, explained that God helps those who seek His help and wisdom first. We need to ever remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Martha, your post is most interesting--great connection from the real world. It seems like until 2004 (latter part of the year) that even though I claimed to be seeking the Lord's will in things, I really wasn't. The results? My life was spinning out of control. As I've been sorting through THICK files the last few days (and have several more days ahead), I'm reminded of how lost and wandering I was then. I'm so thankful God woke me up through my pastor (shortly after he arrived in July 2004); things haven't been the same since! For that I'm so thankful!

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Isn't it so marvelous, Kim, how the Lord takes His time to convince us that His ways are best. I can so identify with what you have stated here. I, too, though I thought I was on the right path with God, was floundering in appearance, service and good works. I didn't realize it was simply enough to be His child, appreciated, loved and forgiven.
      Glad you pastor had a hand in sending you down the right road. The gracious pathways our Lord provides are indescribable and blessed.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. You already know Second Chances is a subject close to my heart. I'm grateful I have not been chopped but given chances over and over.

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    1. Yes, Bill, I'm grateful right along with you for all those second chances and do-overs God gives us.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. I haven't watched chopped but love your illustration here. So grateful we do have a God of second chances. Good reminder. Thanks, Martha!!

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    1. Thank you, Jean! Yes, if you've never watched the show, it is quite entertaining and nail-biting as the clock ticks down for the contestants. I know that creating such competitive dishes is not a gift God has given me, but like you, I'm so thankful He allows us to try, try again.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Such an interesting interpretation I enjoyed letting my thoughts run on these lines :)

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    1. So gratified you liked it!
      Love and blessings!

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