The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb

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Dinner Is Served

professional chef preparing a plate of food

 

Everyone enjoys a good meal. God designed us to be nourished; fueling our bodies to peak performance. Those comfortable in the kitchen are passionate about their craft. Proven by an abundance of televised programming.

There’s nothing quite like a beautiful dinner amongst loved ones. The planning, shopping, culinary expertise, china, silver and crystal all go into making the perfect evening.

I hail from generations of accomplished chefs. Carefully groomed to ensure diner satisfaction, I readily identify with Martha’s kitchen prowess while Christ awaited her delicacies. Yet there’s a different dinner table most avoid. For an invitation to that meal comes at great personal cost. There’s no line queuing up between velvet ropes. No two-year waiting list and valet parking. This setting is unsettling.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5 (ESV)

Another version reads, “You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch.” Powerful words and imagery. Dare we believe it’s possible? That God spreads a table with His finest accouterments in the very center of our enemies? Not beside a dancing stream amongst verdant fields or in a cavernous stone dining hall—but in the very midst of our enemies? The Almighty invites us to dine on the battlefield.

Peace. Be. Still. All warfare must cease as He readies our chair near His; extending His arm inviting rest. Time to sheathe our sword, remove the armor, and sink heavily into the comfortable chair. Glancing around at angry enemies; the scene appears illogical.

It’s critical to learn God’s ways are not our ways as the Bible declares. Who would prepare a table on the battlefield, lion’s den, fiery furnace, or garden tomb? The same One who would sleep soundly in the boat’s stern on stormy seas. Every single situation in life is under His control and He’s not troubled.

The Lord will pause our combat to nourish us and renew our strength. He’ll also demonstrate our favor in the presence of our enemies. He’ll anoint our head with oil as our High Priest from an overflowing cup, directly in view of our adversaries.

Because God knows our frame, He’s aware we must have times of refreshing and encouragement. That our opponents need to witness His love for us while comprehending the outcome of their contentions. But there is a secondary purpose to our battle fatigue and unanswered questions in the fray. A much higher goal awaits.

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 (NASB)

Perseverance rewards eternal crowns. Trials are the red carpet to blessings. They gift us strength and resolve to graduate to the next level. Odd as it sounds; our enemies are a blessing to us. They open doors of greatness that none else could. Our trials are designed to advance us; to galvanize our earthly journey. To give us deep understanding of God while forging our crown of life that admits us into eternity.

Every single trial we will ever face is tailor-made for our spiritual maturation. While an attacker may think they’re weakening us, they are literally empowering us and promoting us from glory to glory. The Lord intentionally uses our trials to deepen our faith and trust in His steadfastness; highlighting His unwavering love.

Our mortal enemy entices us to believe God has utterly abandoned us. He hasn’t. That’s Him over there—walking across our battlefields.

It’s time to set the table!

Today’s Devotions

Morning

November 14

Proverbs 18:19 19An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

19:11 11A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Jesus warned us that it would be impossible for offenses not to come. We can offend others with even a compliment. But when those offenses come our way, or we accidentally offend another, we have a difficult task before us. Jesus told us to love one another. Offense is one of the chief snares in keeping us from obeying that command. If we have offended someone, we will find the person is more unyielding than a fortified city. They think you meant to harm. To keep from being harmed again, they set up walls of distance, walls of distrust. Winning a fortified city was a long drawn out effort. That is what it takes to win someone we’ve offended. It is better to carefully guard our words than to win over someone who has been offended. Be prepared for the long haul and don’t give up.

On the other hand, if you are the offended party, let wisdom give you patience. Often offense comes from misunderstanding. Clarify and understand the offender’s words and motives. Give him time to see things differently. If it is pure animosity, be gracious enough to overlook it. You are more likely to win that person by refusing to be offended. Wisdom teaches us that to accept offense is to harm only our self. To receive an offense will only make the offender have a sense of justification. To overlook an offense protects your heart from bitterness and from the damage of words. That is easier said than done, but it helps to consider that it is the wise thing to do. It is to your glory. It is the example Jesus set for us.

Consider: Refuse to be offended. Endeavor not to offend.

A Thankful Tomorrow – Crosswalk the Devotional – November 14

by Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” – Psalms 31:19

I’ve always really enjoyed Thanksgiving. Sure, the family can be pretty crazy at times, and I usually end up on dish duty after the meal, but Thanksgiving has always been a time for me to stop and realize how blessed I am. Friends, family, a warm meal, there are many simple things in this life that are easy to take for granted, so it’s good to have a day that reminds us to be thankful for all God has given us. The problem is that’s usually how long it lasts, a day. After the food has been eaten and prayers have been said, many people wake up the next morning and jump headfirst into the madness of Black Friday.

I can only remember shopping twice on Black Friday, and I regretted it both times. It’s complete chaos, with people running, screaming, and sometimes even fighting each other over things they want to buy. I’ve never had any crazy experiences myself, but my brother-in-law remembers a particularly strange incident that happened while he was in college. One year, while he and my sister were still dating, he drove up to visit her on the Friday after Thanksgiving. He had left his house at 3am with hopes of avoiding the holiday rush and was making good time on the freeway when suddenly, out of nowhere, a long line of traffic appeared in the distance.

At first he thought there had been an accident, but as he got closer he realized that the stalled traffic was due to cars making complete stops on the freeway so their passengers could get out, jump the guard rails, and climb a small hill to a nearby outlet mall. It’s ironic, and a little sad, that a day which celebrates American greed happens after the holiday about being thankful. At times like these, it’s important that as Christians realize we cannot live Christ-centered lives when we leapfrog between God and possessions.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

So don’t throw out your thankfulness with the evening leftovers, but hold onto it as the Advent season begins. Remember the blessings Christ has given us and use them to prepare yourself for Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Christ, the greatest gift of all.

The evil and its remedy

By: Charles Spurgeon

“The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great.” Ezekiel 9:9“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 3:22-30

There are some sins that show a diabolical extent of degraded ingenuity—some sins of which it is a shame to speak, or of which it is disgraceful to think. But note here: “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” There may be some sins of which a man cannot speak, but there is no sin which the blood of Christ cannot wash away. Blasphemy, however profane; lust, however bestial; covetousness, however far it may have gone into theft and plundering; breach of the commandments of God, however much of riot it may have run, all this may be pardoned and washed away through the blood of Jesus Christ. In all the long list of human sins, though that be long as time, there stands but one sin that is unpardonable, (Matthew 12:31) and that one no sinner has committed if he feels within himself a longing for mercy, for that sin once committed, the soul becomes hardened, dead, and seared, and never desires afterwards to find peace with God. I therefore declare to thee, O trembling sinner, that however great thine iniquity may be, whatever sin thou mayest have committed in all the list of guilt, however far thou mayest have exceeded all thy fellow-creatures, though thou mayest have distanced the Pauls and Magdalens and every one of the most heinous culprits in the black race of sin, yet the blood of Christ is able now to wash thy sin away. Mark! I speak not lightly of thy sin, it is exceedingly great; but I speak still more loftily of the blood of Christ. Great as thy sins are, the blood of Christ is greater still. Thy sins are like great mountains, but the blood of Christ is like Noah’s flood; twenty cubits upwards shall this blood prevail, and the top of the mountains of thy sin shall be covered.

For meditation: The price of life is far too costly for man to achieve his redemption (Psalm 49:7-9), but the Prince of life has achieved it

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