Monday, November 23, 2009

With Strength and Thanksgiving

"She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms." Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV)

I need to start getting a notebook or something and writing down all these blog topics that come to me randomly. I swear in the last weekend I had about 12 different scriptures jump out at me with subjects for blog posts. And now that it's Monday morning and I'm back in the saddle, do you think I can remember any of them?

But I do remember this one. This verse is from the ever-famous and popular Proverbs 31 and the wife of noble character. I did a study on this a while back, and while I learned a lot from the study, I'm finding that I am still often gleaning something new from the passage. I read this verse the other day and it really spoke to me and agreed with me. "She girds herself with strength" tells me plain and simply in black and white that we are to take good care of these earthly bodies.

While the medical community may not always agree on the way certain aspects of bodily health take place, we can agree that we should at least, do what we can to take care of our bodies. As a wife and mother, and as someone who is always interested in learning more about health and nutrition, I often wish the Bible told us more about how to be healthy. As the chief food producer and preparer I set the bar for the rest of my family. Where my health goes, so to does theirs usually. This means that I need to set a good example myself. Sweets and treats are kept in moderation- enjoyed every once in a while, not all the time, and certainly not in place of something more healthy. When we sit down to a meal together, I don't load my plate up with as much as possible, I eat sensibly, and I load up on the vegetables- I'm always encouraging my children to eat more vegetables. But this verse is saying more than just watching what we eat.

Girding myself with strength also suggests a mental strength as well. My attitude about food and eating is also important. I don't look at a piece of dessert and tell myself and my family that when I eat it, I'm going to get fat. Instead, I am going to enjoy that dessert and maybe I'll even thank God for it. Instead of looking at food as the enemy, as something that could wreck my body, I need to look at it as fuel- as amazing and wonderful fuel which God created, and then gave man the ability to manipulate into wonderful creations!

When I gird myself with strength I am also doing other things to take care of my body. Cleanliness and hygiene are important, as is exercise and taking the right vitamins. By keeping my body healthy I am better able to resist any germs or diseases the devil may try to throw at me.

I'm still thinking about the eating part. I'm thinking about girding my strength with food, and strengthening my arms with exercise and hard work, but mostly, as we're entering the holiday season, I'm thinking about the eating. You talk to anyone- and I mean anyone, they are concerned about watching what they eat this time of year. There are groans and moans about the big Thanksgiving dinner, and too much food. And I just can't help but think that God has provided all this food. In fact, I just got a phone call that totally blessed my socks off. We're being blessed with a complete turkey dinner... now, I've already done most of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping, and God knows this. Yet He has seen fit to bless us with abundance. He isn't blessing us with this abundance so that I can look at all this food and regret the added calories or snugness to my waistline. He is blessing us because He can, because He wants us to know that we are loved and that He provides always.

So when we sit down to a celebration that involves food, we need to celebrate! We need to praise God and be thankful in all things. You know, I can't help but think of food celebrations in the Bible. Or offerings- like the offerings at the temples that were meant to be eaten by the priests. Can you imagine one of the priests in those days saying "Sorry, I can't eat this leg of lamb. I'm watching my saturated fat intake." Or I think of the widow who used her last oil and flour to make a small cake for Elijah. Could you imagine if Elijah turned that down and said something like "I'm sorry, I'm watching my carbs this month." In the Bible, feasts and celebrations often lasted a full seven days! A full seven days of celebratory eating and praising God. Surely, we Americans can manage to celebrate for a day or two without feeling guilty and diet conscious.

So Happy Thanksgiving week! Instead of being regretful and hesitant about celebrating, let's just celebrate! Let's give thanks to God for all that He has done, and more importantly, for all that He will do. He is our God and King and His love endures forever!

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