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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)

TITLE: Erma's Chili
By Richard Hicks


During fourth-grade recess, you could find me by myself swinging on the monkey bars. A certain girl would always migrate in my direction to sit along beside me, or to watch the other kids play on the playground.

She was a pretty black girl. Her name was Erma Johnson.

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw her on the playground. She had sparking brown eyes, smooth dark-skin, and her smile could light a dark sky. She was tall for her young age, and when she spoke my name, my heart would melt like snow. I couldnít believe she actually wanted to sit with me.

Erma followed me everywhere I went and we shared several classes together. I liked all the attention I got from her. She would also sit with me at the lunch table in the cafeteria.

One particular day, Erma sat down at the table. She batted her big brown eyes at me. ďHi.Ē

What she did next proved to change my life forever. We had chili that day for lunch. Erma took her little bag of saltine crackers and crushed them with her hands. After that, she poured them on top of her chili.

I hadnít seen anyone crush crackers over the top of chili before. With her spoon, she mixed the crackers up in the chili. She looked up at me with those brown eyes and pointed her spoon at me. ďTry it; I think youíll like it.Ē

I crumbled up the plastic packet of crackers, tore open the little pack and poured them into my chili. I mixed it all together in my bowl. It seemed to accent the chili into another realm of great taste, with just the right combination of crunch and saltiness.

Although older now, I still crush up the saltines in my bowl of chili. I find myself salivating when looking down at that rich mixture setting before me. ďMmm Mmm good!Ē

When I think of Erma now, I am thankful for the sweet childhood memories of turning a boring chili dish into a savory experience.

As Christians, we should be the crackers in Godís chili.

We are called to be the salt of the earth. That is why we are here. Matthew 5:13 (MSG) In our own way, the flavor of God should accent our lives to a lost and dying world.

It is our purpose and destiny to be salt-seasoned. We should bring out the God-flavors to season everyone around us. The more time we spend with God, The more Godís flavor will be evident in our lives.

If we lose our saltiness, the world will not know the flavor of God.

He has called us to reach out, being seasoned in our words and by our deeds. This is what the grace-filled life is all about.

Godís amazing grace resides upon us and inside our hearts. In essence, that is the perfect saltiness that differentiates us from the rest of the world.

Dear Jesus, help me to be salt-seasoned in Your mercy and grace. Show me how to spend quality time in Your Presence. Then, use me to reach out to those who are lost and hurting. In Your precious and most holy name I pray, Amen.

Authors Note: The story in this devotion is loosely based on actual facts.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 458 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Hudson 02/28/13
I love this...Well written. It made me smile a couple of times, and now I'm also hungry for some chili! With shredded cheese on top too!
Virgil Youngblood 03/01/13
I love a good bowl of chili so your title caught my attention. The transition from memoir to devotional was handled nicely. Well done.
Alicia Renkema03/01/13
A simple childhood memory brought to life that you make very memorable for the reader with Erma's big brown eyes. Her quiet feistiness also comes through as she wags her spoon in your direction urging you to try the newly accented chili. Very nice take for the topic. I liked your smooth transition from story to devotional. The devotional really makes me realize how much I am being watched by the day to day world and how God is counting on me to be His representative. Thank you for this entertaining yet very inspirational piece.
Allen Povenmire 03/02/13
Well written, simple illustrative story that anyone will bee able to relate to. All too often, I;m guilty of not accepting the role of "crackers," instead, I want to be the chili! Thanks for the reminder.
lynn gipson 03/02/13
Oh, I enjoyed this one very, very, much. The remembrance of the little girl with the chili and the way you now relate it is beautifully expressed, as well as your love and devotion to God. Beautifully written and just an excellent piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/02/13
You did a grand job with this story. You were on topic in a fresh and unique way and the story made me smile and realize how seemingly little things I might do might make the difference in someone's life forever. Keep writing those delicious stories god places on your heart.
Judith Gayle Smith03/02/13
Thank you for taking me back to the monkeybars! I always preferred saltines to oyster crackers - saltaholic? I love how you waltzed the story into a true devotional.

Because He lives and loves . . .
Noel Mitaxa 03/03/13
Great approach to a strong challenge, triggered by such a very simple childhood memory.
Danielle King 03/03/13
I was hoping you'd grow up and marry Erma but I'll get over it. I think your story is an engaging read and flows smoothly into the message. Original for the topic too. Great job.
Cheryl Harrison03/03/13
Good job. This line made me smile: "As Christians, we should be the crackers in Godís chili." Great message! Keep writing.
Loren T. Lowery03/04/13
A sweet memory turned into a sweeter story and great devotional. What more could a reader want? Very enjoyable and uplifting read, flawlessly told.
C D Swanson 03/05/13
Uplifting, inspirational, meaniningful, and intensely satisfying. Great job.

God bless~
Vince Martella03/05/13
Loved the warmth and down to earth feel of this story. So short and simple, yet so powerful and drawing. The transition to devotion was perfect. Great job. (By the way, I've always loved my chili that way too.)
Bea Edwards 03/05/13
I really liked how you used this sweet memory to build a wonderful devotional lesson.
Well done!
Myrna Noyes03/05/13
I've enjoyed crackers in my chili, too! :) This is a very sweet story with a thought-provoking devotional message! I especially liked these lines:

"It is our purpose and destiny to be salt-seasoned. We should bring out the God-flavors to season everyone around us. The more time we spend with God, The more Godís flavor will be evident in our lives.

If we lose our saltiness, the world will not know the flavor of God."

You did a nice job with this!
Catherine Craig 03/06/13
The title grabbed me; the article kept me. Good job with the story. Interesting tie-ins. God Bless.
Linda Berg 03/06/13
I felt like I was there. What an accurate transition was made from the memoir to the devotional of this writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
Congratulations!! Happy Dance!!
Alicia Renkema03/07/13
You did it my friend, I am almost in tears! You worked so hard on this piece... I am so happy for you. Enjoy this victory with your Lord. A hearty Congratulations to you. Now, lets go and have some of that yummy chili with Erma, I can just see her eyes a sparkling! Blessings
Judith Gayle Smith03/07/13
Thank you for glorifying God with your true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy winning entry! God bless you.

Love and verbal hugs, Judi

KJV Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
You ranked 23 overall!! I'm so proud and happy for you! (Even if you did do way better than I did!) I'm doing my happy dance!! You've worked hard this past month and it shows!
C D Swanson 03/08/13
Congrats! God bless~
Olawale Ogunsola03/13/13
Congrats on your 3rd placing.