Vicki Courtney is a gem. Not only because her ministry, which focuses on young women, is reaching thousands and thousands of people but also because her authenticity permeates every thing she does. With many books and Bible studies to her credit, this author, speaker, blogger, mother, and wife is quite an inspiration.The few times we’ve had an opportunity to spend time together I’ve so enjoyed her radiant smile and passionate heart for God and for women. She has devoted her life to sharing inspirational messages that encourage deeply rooted transformation and heartfelt devotion.Today, Vicki shares a blog with us that I really enjoyed. Reading her words makes you feel like you are sitting across from her at Denny’s. . . no, actually it’s Cracker Barrel where the pancakes are bigger and the maple syrup is warm. You’ll savor every bite of her wisdom and then be completely and utterly full – ready to walk it out and work off some of what you’ve taken in.That’s always the point, isn’t it? We’re supposed to take action.And then you will want to devour more of her amazingly good reads and wisdom. She has many books and Bible studies and each one will leave you satisfied. Her titles include 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter, Ever After: Life Lessons Learned in My Castle of Chaos and her latest, Move On: When Mercy Meets Your Mess.Thank you for inspiring us to action Vicki. As always, I’m grateful for you and your ministry.Priscilla
My husband and I are recent empty-nesters and one of the things we enjoy doing with our extra free time is eating out. Cooking has never really been my thing, so I welcome any opportunity to get out of the kitchen. On our shortlist of favorite restaurants is a place called The Maxican in the small town of Burnet, Texas. It’s not fancy by any means, but what it may lack in the way of ambiance they make up for with a dish called the “Marsha’s Special.” As a side-note, they are also known for their hostess Mamaw, who gives shoulder rubs at the table to her guests. My husband and I are such frequent regulars that we now qualify for Mamaw’s upgraded package, which in addition to the shoulder rub, includes a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek when we’re leaving. She has become so dear to us, we’ve considered asking her to adopt us, even though she has no idea what our names are. I’m pretty sure she’d sign the papers, anyway.But I digress. Back to the world-famous (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but it should be!) “Marsha’s Special.” Keith and I dream about this dish and literally crave it about once a month. I don’t know who this Marsha is who inspired it, but I plan to give her a big hug if I ever meet her in person. Let me read you a description straight from The Maxican menu to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
The Marsha’s Special: A roasted poblano pepper stuffed with chicken and cheese, topped with cilantro cream sauce and served with three grilled Jumbo Gulf Coast Shrimp which are stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese, a slice of jalapeño, and wrapped in bacon and includes a homemade garlic butter dipping sauce.
It’s what you call a “heart attack on a plate”—but trust me, it’s worth the risk. This dish is so rich my husband and I split it and, of course, add one extra shrimp to make it fair. When we walk out of the restaurant—or should I say “waddle” out—we are stuffed. We are so full we can’t imagine ever being hungry again. It’s kind of like that feeling you get after a large Thanksgiving meal. When you push away from the table, you don’t want to see food, smell food, or eat food ever again. You are fully satisfied in that moment. And that satisfaction lasts . . . oh, say, a few hours, until you feel that first hunger pang and decide another piece of pie is in order.The same is true when it comes to the false gods we chase. They offer a temporary buzz of satisfaction, but the satisfaction is always short lived. It will be impossible to move on in our faith as long as we engage in the endless pursuit of false gods. We are all hungry and longing for satisfaction, but unless we find our satisfaction in God, we’ll always end up empty in the end.
I remember the first time I read through the Old Testament and encountered the fickle faith of the Israelite people. I mean, we’re talking about a people who were ushered safely out of Egypt after 600 years in bondage and witnessed countless miracles—the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and manna raining down from heaven, just to name a few. Yet it was only a matter of time before they turned their backs on God and partied down with a golden calf. I was a fairly new believer, and it was hard for me to comprehend how a people so blessed by God could trade their affection for Him for a golden statue. That is, until I realized my own susceptibility to being drawn to the allure of false gods. My gods of choice weren’t carved statues and golden calves, but they succeeded all the same in bidding for my allegiance.The truth is, we are no different than our Israelite friends in the Old Testament. Like junkies in need of a fix, we hop from one buzz to another, looking for something to fill and satisfy our souls. Our golden calves can be found in a closet full of name-brand clothes or parked in our garage. Golden calves can line the shelves of our trophy cases or be the number of followers or friends we have on a social networking site. Many mothers fashion their own golden calves out of their children’s accomplishments and successes. Golden calves can take the shape of food, drugs, the number of digits on a paycheck, or the digits on the scale. When we become more enamored with the created rather than the Creator, we are at risk of creating our own golden calves.Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying, “A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character.” What do you worship? Or, better yet, what dominates your imagination and thoughts? Idols can almost always be traced back to what began as a mismanaged or mishandled craving. This craving is not by accident. God has wired our hearts to seek satisfaction and fulfillment, but He intended we find it in Him, first and foremost.What do you crave? Until Jesus tops your list, you will never be satisfied. Like that bacon-wrapped shrimp with melted garlic butter dipping sauce, anything else is just empty calories. The hunger pangs will always return.
(The above is adapted from the book and Bible study, Move On: When Mercy Meets Your Mess, which is Vicki’s latest release. More information can be found here)