Hold The Catfish

July 1, 2021
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2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (NIV)

While on vacation 35 years ago, my husband and I arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. I was about to learn about the diversity of its people and its culture, especially its French beignet (ben-yay), likened to a doughnut pastry that is covered with confectioners powdered sugar.

My anticipation was high, because the beignet was said to be like a taste of heaven. While walking along the levee of the Mississippi River, we spotted a sign advertising what looked like one item: Catfish Beignets. I love fried catfish, but could not imagine something fishy in a French dessert. So, I quickly thought about how to order so that the waiter could understand me.

I said, "I would like a plain beignet. Hold the catfish." By placing the emphasis on the word "plain", I figured that they would know what I meant. Instead, I heard muffled laughter from the employees inside the small hut. I suspected that they knew that I wasn't a local.

The server said, "We don't have catfish beignets."

After trying unsuccessfully to explain, I asked her to look at the menu sign. She did, and then by her expression, I could tell that she understood my confusion. There was no punctuation separating the two words that I had taken together at face value. She clarified by telling me that they did indeed have beignets and catfish, but not catfish beignets. After much good-humoured laughter and a little embarrassment, I received my plain, melt-in-your-mouth, no-catfish French Beignet.

In my part of the world, if something isn't quite right, we say, "I smell something fishy," or "There's something fishy going on here." Since my experience with the beignet, when I struggle with the meaning of Scripture, I don't want something fishy going on there either, so I think, Lord, hold the catfish. No misunderstandings, please.

It is especially important to be careful when we approach God's Word, since we don't want anything misleading or false in our spiritual understanding. When I have questions, I go to the Father in prayer and ask for the Holy Spirit to fill my mind with the gospel truth and to guide me to a concordance, cross-references, commentaries, or our church elder or pastor who all strive to uphold the biblical perspective. I take notes from the meeting and study them later.

It is so very important for us who call ourselves Christians to know that the Bible is the absolute and enduring Word of God. His Word is true forever, and it does not change with time, circumstances, culture, or public opinion. We can always check philosophies and ideas against the Word of God. God's Word is always the authority. The only way to correctly handle the Word of God is to know it, believe it, and live it to His honour and glory.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to read Your Word with proper discernment so that we don't get wrong perceptions. We thank You for the Holy Spirit's guidance to understand what we read. Give us a pure love and a desire to know and obey Your truth as written. Amen.

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About the author:

Karen Milam <karenbmilam@gmail.com>
Penn Valley, California, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A good word, Karen.

    Amen, Karen, well said! Blessings.

    Amen Karen! Loved the catfish story.

    Very true! Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    Thank you, Karen, for this somewhat lighthearted devotional. You gave me a much-needed chuckle! Yes indeed, hold the catfish! Blessings.

    Dear Karen,
    That was very funny and probably a little embarrassing for you, but you were willing to share with us. I like your use of “fishy”. It is so true that people can interpret the Word in different ways, and we must be vigilant with getting the right meaning. It is so true that we can seek clarity. May you not have any fishy smells and a blessed day.

    Right on, Karen! Your words are exactly on the mark! It’s how we pray, for God to show us the way, and support him with spirit-filled love, along this twisting path, beset with distractions from the enemy. “Full armour required”.
    Many blessings.

    Good Morning Karen
    Thank you for your message today… you are so right. We need to understand the Word and clarify things, so things don’t come across as a little fishy.
    God bless.

    You are so right. There are so many that think parts of the Bible are not true. We have to realize that it is God breathed and God does not write half-truths. He cannot because He is perfect.

    Oh Karen. This is one of your best. I’ve never eaten fried catfish but will take your word that it’s delicious. I have had beignets. Plain ones do melt in your mouth! Such a great expression to use when I’m frustrated with scripture and understanding escapes me. I’ll think of you and this sharing platform when I “hold the catfish”. Thank you.
    Enjoy summer.

    Dear Karen,
    Thankfully, there was no catfish in that doughnut type pastry, and it was something you could really enjoy eating. When we read God’s word, we need digest and discern fully His word and thankfully we can call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us full understanding. Sometime words can get confusing, and we have to dig deeper to get the true meaning of what we are reading, and your writing shows us the importance of that.
    Blessings for these meaningful devotionals you submit.

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