Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Soul Food vs.Soul Satisfaction

Tonight is final weigh-in for First Place before we are out for the summer.  Mmmmmh...  I'm dreading it...

How have I done over the past 12 weeks?   Well, I know I haven't made much progress.  I stepped on the scale this morning, and did not like what it said.  The last time that I did a 12 week course in First Place, I lost over 20 pounds.  This time I have mainly juggled two pounds back and forth between weigh-ins.  Sigh...

After the disappointment of stepping on the scale again this morning,  I went downstairs to my "Secret Place" where I meet with God and do my "Bike and Bible" time.  As always, God  was there waiting for me, and had a very appropriate word for me as I opened my Bible.  My eyes immediately fell on Psalm 63:5:

     "My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You."

A satisfied soul - that's what I want.  I think that's what I often try to do with food - satisfy my soul, and food just can't ever fill that void.  It's like it tastes wonderful on my tongue, but the satisfaction doesn't last and my soul is never satisfied. 

So, before I prepared breakfast for myself this morning, I eyed the fudge that was sitting on the counter.  I had made two large batches to send with my sister to take to Egypt next week for my niece to enjoy; one of peanut butter fudge, and the other of chocolate walnut.  I had a few pieces left that didn't fit in the tin, and they appeared to be vying for my attention.  I thought of the verse quoted above, and I silently asked God, "Will you really satisfy my soul right now more than this piece of fudge would?!!"

I didn't eat the fudge, but instead fixed myself a bowl of oats, topping it with some low calorie yogurt, and a few pieces of walnuts. 

This whole weight issue has plagued me for years.  I can't say I had a glorious victory over the fudge today, but at least it is still sitting there untouched.    I guess I still have much to learn from our patient and loving heavenly Father about soul satisfaction!  But I'm not giving up on being totally victorious; some day I will be.  And like the Psalmist said, "I will YET praise Him."


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

YOU CAN DO IT, ...or can you?

Colossians 1:1 (NCV)  "From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, I am an apostle because that is what God wanted."

Wow!  I read that this morning, and then I put my name and one of my occupations in there -  "From Esther, a nurse for Christ Jesus.  I am a nurse because that is what God wanted!"

As far as being a nurse is concerned, I was an unlikely candidate.  From as early as I can remember, I was the one that fainted at the sight of blood.  We're not talking hemorrhage; just a tiny cut would send that  horrible sinking feeling with blackness crowding in the edges of my vision.  If I was lucky, I would wake up before my siblings threw cold water on my face!

So, when at a very young age I said that I wanted to be a nurse, I was met with very little encouragement from my family - and quite occasionally disparagement!

That was before I met and married my husband Gary.  He and his family encouraged me to try things that I thought were impossible.  "You can do it!" they often told me.  "You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."

Well, I did put my mind to it.  After I was accepted into nursing school, I quit my job as a receptionist/girl Friday for a busy husband/wife ENT/pediatric practice.  I studied with my children while they were doing their homework.  It was challenging, but very enjoyable.

BUT THEN CAME CLINICAL!!!  Gary's words of "You can do it" were not enough!  The smells, sights, and sounds of the hospital nearly sent me into the black zone of fainting again and again.  I cried out to God for help.  Had I made a mistake in trying to be a nurse?  Were my siblings right in their childhood taunts that I could never do this?

God gave me encouragement through His Word, the Bible.  He called my attention to verses like Isaiah 40:29-31  that says "He gives power to the weak,  And to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strenth; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint."

There were many other verses from the book of Isaiah which had to do with giving strength.  I can't find the one right now that I repeated out loud to myself over and over on the 55 mile drive to clinical every morning, but it went something like this:  "This is the task that I have given you, and I will give you the strength to do it."

So, that is why I can say like Paul did in Colossians 1:1, "I am a nurse because that is what God wanted!"

He not only gave me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4), but He gave me the strength to do it.  Probably He did this, because He knew I was so very weak, that it would take His strength to get me through.  Because of my weakness and tendency to faint, God came through as the hero, and He gets any glory for anything I accomplished in my nursing career. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Earthquakes, Psalms, and The sons of Korah

I don't know about you, but I often wondered about some of the beautiful Psalms that were written by the "sons of Korah" and I wondered if this was the same Korah who rebelled against Moses.  In the Bible story in the book of Numbers, it clearly says that Korah was swallowed up by the earth.  It sounds like maybe there was a giant earthquake with a crack so wide that it opened up and swallowed them.

My dilemna was not that Korah was destroyed.  When I read the passage  where it talks about this, I assumed that Korah's family was there with him as were Dathan and Abiram's families.  This would leave no surviving relatives.  However, when I began researching this I realized that it doesn't say Korah's family chose to rebel with him.  See selected verses below from Numbers chapter 16..

Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites - Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth - became insolent and rose up against Moses.  With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 

Moses said to Korah, "You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow..."  He warned the assembly, "Move back from the tents of these wicked men!  Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins."  So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.  Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents...  And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions.

So, this made me think about several things.  Number 1 - No wonder some of the Psalms that were written by the "sons of Korah" were written with such lamenting and recalling of history.  They never forgot their past, but they did not let their father's past define them. One part of the family became temple gatekeepers (1 Chronicles 9:19), and another became the singers and musicians in the temple choir (1 Chronicles 6:31-37).

Some of my favorite Psalms were written by the descendants of Korah.  Check out Psams 42 through 49.   Psalm 46 is one of those.  It portrays some of the worst calamities imaginable that can come upon the earth - were they remembering the possible earthquake that swallowed up Korah?  But then they come back with strong assurance that we can trust our immovable Rock and Refuge, the God of Israel.

And secondly, I can't help but think how brave Korah's wife and children were to take a stand against Korah's rebellion.  It saved their lives, but what a price they paid!  They lost the head of their household.  The very mention of his name probably brought embarrassment and shame to them. 

The descendants of Korah are an example to me.  I don't want to let happenings of the past define who I am according to who God declares me to be.  And I want to be strong enough to stand up for what is right no matter how hard it is. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Live life... or blog about it?!!

This is going to be a short blog. 

Why?  ...Spring is here!  It's a beautiful sun shiney day!  Blossoms are popping out!     Gardening awaits.  It's too nice to just stay inside and write.

And when I do stay inside for awhile...  Taxes need to be done!

So, I can either write about it - or just do it. 

That's an easy choice today!  See you later!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What? Give up MY RIGHTS?!!!

This was one of those mornings when I had a wrestling match with God.  

Well, let's just get honest here...  This is not easy...

You see, our church is going through a really hard time right now.  It's a thing that is so deeply dividing our church that our pastor has resigned in hopes of helping to bring healing to the congregation.  My heart is so grieved.  What is right?  What is fact?  What has been blown out of proportion?  Many stories are circulating - not only inside our church, but also in the community.   I love my church.  What does God want ME to do? 

Well, I guess this is where the whole "give up my rights" thing comes into play.  You see, I am not a person who likes confrontation.  My husband says I am an expert at "Ostrich Philosophy."  It is so much easier just to stick my head in the sand and hope the problem will resolve itself without any intervention from me! 

So, I can either run from this problem - run to another church, or just quit going to church for awhile.  Or I can give up my rights to taking the easy way out, and "stay the course" no matter how rough the sailing is.  When I look at it that way, it seems like either I can be part of the problem or part of the solution.  No half-way involvement.  Either in, or out.

Dr. J.H.Jowett says, "We never pass into any spiritual inheritance through the delightful exercises of a picnic, but always through the grim contentions of the battlefield."   This morning the battlefield was in my mind,  about my perceived rights to being free of discomfort.   I guess I'm giving up my rights to sit on the sidelines as a civilian, and ready to put on the garb of a soldier.