Seven Things Needed When Dining

Good morning. Last week, I promised you an article for the song Come and Dine. Warning: It is longer than my usual posts. But I chose not to split it between the Friday Fiction posts, making it easier to use as a study guide. So, if you haven’t time to read it all, come back later. Thank you for joining me at the table. Let’s get started.

Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, 
Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord (John 21:12 KJV). 

As we read this chapter, several things become clear. Jesus cares for His people. Look closely.

The disciples toiled all night and caught nothing. Morning came, bringing with it fatigue and hunger. After filling their nets, Jesus prepared a meal and invited them to partake. Afterward, He taught them. Jesus cared enough to supply their material, physical, and spiritual needs. Nothing was left undone. (There’s an entire lesson in this thought!)

The Invitation

Today, Jesus invites us to come and dine on His Word. Peter, the disciple who denied knowing the Lord three times, later encouraged his readers to desire the sincere milk of the Word.

The Greek word for desire means to yearn dote upon, intensely crave possession, long after.

As babes in Christ and mature Christians, does the word “desire” describe our hunger for the Word of God? If not, we’re missing out on the best dining experience known to man.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; 
and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35 KJV).

Dining

Dining isn’t about when or where. Not every family can sit down to an evening meal in today’s hurried world. Dining is about an encounter. A coming together to share a meal and fellowship. And no matter where or when the meal takes place, there are some must-haves to ensure we get the most from our time spent together.  

Appetite

Remember when your mom told you not to eat that snack ‘cause it would ruin your supper? Same thing goes for spiritual hunger. Too much snacking ruins our appetites, whether it’s a morsel of pleasure or work. Unplug. Disconnect. Work up a spiritual appetite. Beware of things that temporarily satisfy the soul. They may be sweet to the taste but turn bitter in the end.

Utensils

A fork or spoon is unnecessary when eating a hot dog, burger, or fried chicken. But it’s nice when folks use their napkins. When spiritually dining, my utensils are always near my computer. I like using commentaries, dictionaries, and concordances. Online Bible sites are great too. One of my favorite “utensils” is e-Sword bible software (© 2019 Rick Myers). It is a free download with lots of extras. Whether you donate or not, the product is free. The website is https:// e-sword.net.

Food

This one is obvious. One doesn’t dine without food. The time, place, and meal often dictate the food we eat. For example, snacks are anything from an apple to potato chips. Lunch can be from a sandwich alone to a full course meal with board members. Dinner, or supper as we southerners call it, is usually the biggest meal of the day.

Bible reading can vary from a 10-minute devotion to a year-long study. The good news is the Bible holds the perfect diet needed to fulfill spiritual hunger. And it’s calorie-free! 

Time

Eating on the run is not dining. It’s necessary at times for survival but not beneficial to the soul. Dining is a sit-down-take-your-time-and-enjoy-the-meal-and-conversation-affair. It’s a meal and a visit wrapped in one package. Same thing with dining on the Word of God. Sometimes we don’t have an hour or even thirty minutes to read. But that shouldn’t be the norm. Otherwise, we are starving ourselves of the nutrients we need to grow. Let me say self-help books and devotionals are great. I enjoy well-written and well-researched Christian *nonfiction books. But nothing takes the place of the Bible. It’s the perfect meal to grow roots and fruits.

Light

Not a physical necessity if starving in a forest or cave. 😊 But lighting brings so much to the table, whether for visibility or ambience. The mere sight of food can make your mouth water. Seeing what you’re about to eat heightens the expectation. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to guess what I’m consuming all the time. True, it’s fun to close our eyes and imagine the food flavors, but again, not the norm.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

In his commentary, Adam Clarke said this about the above verse. “The fountain whence an intellectual light and spiritual understanding proceed: without me all is darkness, misery, and death.”

Without the Light, we may wander through the Bible without understanding what we’re reading. We need to comprehend what the scriptures are saying to get the nutritional value offered therein. And that brings me to my next point.

Companions

I eat breakfast and lunch alone during the week. I’ve learned to read, listen to a podcast, or work at my desk while eating. If not, I skip meals. Eating alone is not fun.

Companions make for a better meal. They can be family, a friend, or people at church. There’s something about sharing a meal with another person while laughing and talking that fills a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Online or in-home Bible studies with friends are fun. Connecting with others at church is another way to share our spiritual meals. But the most important companions are Jesus and Holy Spirit. Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. He also told his disciples: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). When studying, the Holy Spirit will guide us if only we ask.

Location

In the opening scripture, the Lord prepared fish. Other times He offered bread. While writing articles and devotions, I think about and study what I can offer that others may need. While reading the Word or researching, I may not get what I personally need though I have consumed the Bread and sincere milk.

But then I notice something in nature or hear a song, and Holy Spirit leads me to the perfect scripture. Other times, I may be sitting in a café or on a park bench when a verse comes to mind, and suddenly, the answer becomes apparent. That is why it’s crucial to study and memorize verses.

The location doesn’t matter. Jesus meets us where we are, just as He met the disciples on the shore, offering an invitation to come and dine. Why not RSVP and dine to your delight?

Note

*When searching for nonfiction authors, I encourage you to choose wisely. Not all authors agree on what matters. Of those I read 10-20 years ago, some have taken a different stance in the past few years. The books they wrote then held truths that helped me through a difficult situation. Sadly, I no longer read or buy their books. I won’t call names. It is sad when anyone leaves behind the foundational truths clearly defined in the Word of God.

Mouthwatering Photos courtesy of CongerDesigns, RitaE, HNBS, NestorMartinezGaravito, and Svetlanabar from Pixabay

Prompt

Share your favorite spiritual dining suggestions in the comment!

Higher Ground

Have you ever had a song to snuggle up and breathe new life into your flagging spirit? No? Well, maybe it just happens to me. 🙂

When a song enters my heart and mind there’s no getting away from it until I read it, sing it, and study it. Past experience has taught me that somewhere in the lyrics is the inspiration for my next steps.

For the past three months, I’ve had a head full of songs. The one I want to share with you today is an oldie but goodie. Written by Johnson Oatman Jr. in 1898 “Higher Ground” has been a favorite for many generations.

Higher Ground

I'm pressing on the upward way, 
New heights I'm gaining ev'ry day;  
Still praying as I onward bound,  
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."
Refrain- Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on heaven's tableland 
A higher plane than I have found; 
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 KJV).

2-My heart has no desire to stay 
Where doubts arise and fears dismay 
Though some may dwell where these abound 
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2).

3-I want to live above the world, 
Though Satan's darts at me are hurled; 
For faith has caught the joyful sound, 
The song of saints on higher ground.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1 KJV).

4-I want to scale the utmost height 
And catch a gleam of glory bright; 
But still I'll pray till heav'n I've found, 
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1 KJV).

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Caleb. After fighting for forty years, he stood before Joshua, a man of eighty, and asked for his mountain (Joshua 14:10-13). Judges 1:20 tells us that he took that mountain.

Take heart, fellow sojourner. We are created for higher ground. His plan and purpose make it possible for us to scale the “utmost heights” of this life. Many have gone on before us with the Lord’s help. And he will lead us to higher ground if only we have the heart and courage to follow.

Photos courtesy of Pixabay

Great Things

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad (Psalm 126:3).

After two months of changes, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so thankful for the peace of autumn mornings.

This past weekend I prayed for strength. You know what? The Lord answered my prayer. He filled me with His joy. I can see the colors of autumn as they are meant to be seen. With a heart full of thanksgiving.

To celebrate all the good things (Not circumstances.) the Lord has done for us, I made a loaf of banana bread and a batch of apple butter.

How are you celebrating the goodness of God in your life? What do you see when looking at the seasonal changes? Take time to relax, let go, and celebrate. The Lord has done great things. Just look around you!