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Let’s Eat

“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1 Corinthians 10:31

“Blessed God, we praise You for who You are. You are the God who cares for our needs. We see this meal before us as a demonstration of Your wonderful grace to us. We glorify You for the day we have had. Thank You for the family gathered here and for every blessing we enjoy. Amen.”

When my kids were little we started praying at dinnertime.  We found a simple prayer that they could take turns saying.  “God is great! God is good! Let us thank Him For our food. Amen.”  It was an easy way to add glorifying and thanking God into our daily lives.  The problem was it became rote.  After awhile, there was no feeling, personalization or even love behind the prayer.  It was just something we did – quickly – so we could start eating.  For some of us we never even pray before meals.  Or we pray only during certain meals.  But Jesus gave thanks at every meal, glorifying the Father for being a provider of needs.  

“30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” Luke 24:30

The beauty of this scripture is what came next.  You see, the disciples had been walking along with the risen Jesus chatting with him, not realizing who he was.  For whatever reason they urged this stranger to come stay with them and join them for dinner.  After they gave thanks and broke bread, “…their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.”

It wasn’t until 2020, when the Covid pandemic hit that the love and glorifying act of praying before meals finally sunk in for me.  Each evening when my husband came home from his job of caring for senior citizens exhausted, we decided to pray.  Before dinner we prayed for anything good that happened that day, we prayed for help, we prayed for the health and safety of his employees and residents.  We prayed for our leaders.  We thanked God for providing.   And my eyes were opened to Jesus.

“Lord God, not a sparrow is not known by You. Not a lily is not clothed by You. You know what we need, and we are thankful that You have provided the meal set here for us. Keep us from worrying about tomorrow but to be grateful for what You have provided us this day. Amen.”

A friend of mine has encouraged me to start praying before every meal.  Even yes, in public, which in the area where I live you just don’t see much.   Friend, at mealtimes we can see the obvious work of God in our lives.  Whether what’s on our plate is a feast or just enough to sustain us for one more day – we need to give all glory to Him who provides.


The prayers from today’s post came from https://connectusfund.org/25-beautiful-prayers-for-meals where you can find more prayers for meal times.  But I encourage you to just talk with God before you eat, having it come from your heart. 

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Abundance

When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.  Numbers 11:9

There’s a lot of chaos in the world these days creating havoc in so many lives.  But if we were to breakdown the situation into two basic schools of thought we’d probably arrive at the concepts of scarcity and abundance.  On one side you have people who believe everything in the world is limited.  Limited natural resources, limited finances, limited opportunities, limited food, limited education, and on and on.  On the other you have the concept of abundance.  That we are limited only by our will to seek, create, build, gather, harvest, and more.

God created a world teeming with abundance.  He has always provided and will always provide.  That’s not to say we don’t need to share in that abundance but rather we should live in the mindset of what we are given is 1) from God and 2) enough.

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life  does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 1:14

When we think of the gift of abundance from God, we can be swayed by the world into attributing it to “stuff.”  How much stuff, money, food, etc we have.  We will see that unfold today with Black Friday stories of fighting and grasping for more of that “stuff.” But in God’s world abundance is to be shared.  Whether we are blessed by money, talents, love, possessions, and more God is always asking us to give freely and abundantly just like Him.  

The concept of scarcity entered the biblical story when Pharaoh was worried about the drought and famine.  He greedily began gathering up all the grains and animals for himself.  He worried he wouldn’t have enough.  And throughout the Bible we read stories of people, like the prince who approached Jesus to become one of his disciples, who cannot open their treasure stores because of their fears of scarcity.

These conflicting world views are sometimes used to say Jesus is a socialist.  But that twists the message of the Bible.  A government which forcibly takes from one people (who they deem having too much abundance) and gives it to others (who they deem are not able to live abundantly) is acting out of that scarcity mindset.  Jesus always wants our heart.  He is powerful enough to demand it but wants it freely. 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

When I see young people on the streets screaming for the rich to “pay their fair share” it really saddens me. What is a “fair share?”  Who has determined what someone is “owed?”  Who has determined what is “enough?”  All that comes from a belief there isn’t enough.  But God has created a world of amazing abundance.  There will always be those that have more and those who have less.  The only person we owe anything to is Jesus.  And when we thank Him for His abundant love for us we should be spurred to share in all that He has given us.

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Love

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The word “love” is found over 300 times in the King James Bible.  And if we were to study each mention, we’d probably find quite a lot of different uses of that word.  In our lives we use “love” in reference to friends, food, hobbies, God, spouses and more.  Each having a different meaning.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The current great lie about love is the statement “love is love.”  It’s use in this phrase is to convince us that all worldly love is good.  But as anyone who has taken a hard look at the idols we place in our lives we know that isn’t true.  We, as Christians, also know that deep, interpersonal love like the love between spouses, is reserved for specific relationships.  Love, as God has gifted us, is not just a feeling or a yearning.  It’s to be a mirror of the love God shows us.

God asks us to show love for our neighbors through kindness.  He asks us to show love to sinners with forgiveness and compassion.  He gives us families to express deep connections.  And He reserves a special love between a man and a woman.

Love is one of the many gifts from God that cannot be fully explained.  It’s not just our brain firing off electrical impulses when we see an attractive person.  If that were the case it wouldn’t explain loving people who hate us.  I thank God for this big, mysterious gift of love.  And I thank Him for how much He loves us.  His love is so unexplainable yet simple.  We don’t deserve it and He will never take it away.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
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Bountiful Harvest

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. Genesis 2:8-9

As we approach the holidays, and especially Thanksgiving, one topic is on everyone’s lips – what will be served on our festive tables.  And while there are still many impoverished people in the world, through science, technology, and better understanding of growing crops and maintaining our herds, we have overall become much more richly blessed with food.  Not only is there more food to reach the ends of the earth there’s more variety. 

Where I live if I want to make any dish I can find the ingredients, no matter the season or even it’s ethnic origins.  We have Middle Eastern markets, Mexican shops, Asian groceries, German meat markets, Ethiopian restaurants, Italian delis and more.  You want to try it?  Just search for it on the Yelp app and you’ll find it nearby.  

I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Deuteronomy 11:15

God promised us a very long time ago that He would provide for us.  And one short drive around just about any city in the world will show that promised fulfilled.  I need to remember this abundance is God’s gift to us.  He not only feeds us but gives us the opportunity to share our cultures and our traditions through food.

On our Thanksgiving table this year we will once again have my husband’s favorite fresh cranberry sauce along side my mom’s favorite canned jelly cranberry sauce (with the indentations from the can!).  We will enjoy a large turkey, stuffing, homemade rolls, pies and more.  A feast for sure.  A bountiful harvest lovingly given by God.