The Table

Standard

IMG_1987

Luke 22:14

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.

I love the picture of Christ and his disciples reclining at the low table. Sitting on large pillows, leaning against each other as familiar friends can do. Sharing bread and wine. Maybe they are talking about how crowded the streets of Jerusalem are during this particular Passover. Maybe they are still amazed and bewildered about the impromptu parade that just happened when they entered the city. Maybe they are sensing that something significant is about to happen and they are each speculating about what that something might be.

The Table. In scripture, the table is a sacred place. Eating a meal together was a holy event. Mealtime was the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise according to Exodus 16:12 “Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” The meal was a tangible reminder of God’s daily provision. “Give us this day our daily bread” as the Lord’s Prayer reminds us.

In our modern, busy everyday lives, we seem to have lost the sacred practice of gathering and sharing a meal together. Families are going in a hundred different directions. After school activities, sports, social events, etc. seem to take more and more time away from the family table. Meals are picked up at drive-thru windows and eaten in cars between activities.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has conducted surveys regarding the benefits for children when eating family meals together was a priority. Here is a short list of some of their findings:

  • Families eat healthier meals
  • Children less like to be overweight
  • Children more likely to stay away from smoking
  • Children less likely to try alcohol
  • Children less likely to try marijuana
  • Children less likely to use illicit drugs
  • Improved school grades
  • Improved communication between parents & children
  • Parents more likely to hear about problems
  • Children feel more connected to parents
  • Less stress and tension at home

Dr. Anne Fishel of thefamilydinnerproject.org says this

             “Most American families are starved for time to spend together, and dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits like playing video games, emailing and doing homework. Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family.

Over the past 15 years researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family dinners with many behaviors that parents pray for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Studies also indicate that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and the stories told around the kitchen table help our children build resilience. The icing on the cake is that regular family meals also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents. What else can families do that takes only about an hour a day and packs such a punch?”

 When I was growing up, we had dinner together almost every night of the week. Some of my sweetest memories of childhood involved a gathering around a table. The food wasn’t fancy. I grew up in a family of 5 children plus my mom & dad. The meals were prepared with love and that is what made them memorable. The food and the fellowship both leaving indelible marks in my heart.

Today, my own family makes family meals a priority. It’s important. It’s the time when we sit down, as a family, share our day, slow down and nourish our souls and our bodies. (The above picture is my actual kitchen table)

Most of us have a table. It might be round, rectangular or square. It might seat 2 people or 10. Family meals don’t have to be gourmet or fancy. They just need to happen. We need it. Our children need it.

Turn off your cell phone. Gather your loved ones. Prepare a meal. Pull up a chair. Be present in the sacred moment.

You are not alone

Standard

Young woman depression isolated on black background

Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;

If you are grieving or hurting. If you are suffering unbearable loss. If you are struggling…YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Christ is walking with you. He weeps with you. He loves you. Pour out your hurt to Him. He understands. Embrace the grief and weep.

Promises, Promises

Standard

Broken Promises

2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

My son asked me recently if he could have his buddy, Josh, over for an afternoon of guy time (i.e. LEGOS, Wii, snacks, running in our meadow). I said my usual “Let me ask daddy and check the family calendar.”

“Promise?”

“Promise what?”

“Promise that Josh can come over.”

“I’m not promising that. I have to check our schedule.”

“You always say that and then we never have time.”

Sigh. He is right. We have a busy schedule. Four kids and their activities plus my husband’s schedule; then add my schedule to the mix; all that can make for a full calendar. We even keep our kid’s activities limited so we can have most of our dinners together and keep our criss-crossing of the Carson Valley to a minimum. Our triplets attend Jr. High and our oldest attends High School…18 miles apart. We do a lot of driving.

What struck me was his perception that I didn’t keep my promises; promises that I am careful NOT to make. I’m a big chicken. I don’t like making promises that I am fairly certain I can’t keep. I don’t even make New Year’s Resolutions. I know that by January 3rd; it’s all over. I’m going to eat the chocolate.

When I was a girl, I made lots of promises. My best friend, Patty, and I made all kinds of promises about being friends forever. We even promised that if either of us died; then the other would get all of our stuff. (Okay, what kind of morbid child was I?) I know I engaged in lots of “pinky swears”. What was I promising; I can’t recall. Childhood promises are easily forgotten.

As an adult, the few promises I have made include my wedding vows and the promise to raise my children according to God’s Word to the best of my ability. That’s pretty much it.

When we look in God’s Word, we find the promises of God. Lots of them. The beauty of a God-breathed promise: it will not be broken. Ever.

Here are a few of the Lord’s promises. (In no particular order)

  • Reconciliation
  • Forgiveness of sins
  • A helper-Holy Spirit
  • Love
  • Strength/endurance in difficulty
  • Daily provision
  • Hears prayers
  • Daily help with burdens
  • Escape from temptation
  • Wisdom
  • Rest
  • Peace
  • Comfort
  • Never leave you
  • Guidance
  • Eternal life
  • Heaven

God made a lot of promises and He kept them. He fulfilled every single one in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is the “Yes” to God’s promises.

 God is a promise keeper. He is faithful to His promises when we are not. We are the beneficiaries of His promises through Christ. His grace and faithfulness allows us to say “Amen!”

Now, we have a tendency to reduce the word “amen” to a simple “So be it”; but the meaning is deeper than that. According to Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology, “The idea of something that is faithful, reliable, or believable seems to lie behind the use of amen”.

So when we say “amen” to the promises of God, we are saying “That’s the truth!”

Look at the verse now:

2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are completely fulfilled in Christ (the “yes”). And so through Him, “That’s the truth” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Take courage, my friend. You may be going through the fight of your life. You may be floating on cloud nine right now. Your circumstances could change tomorrow, in a split second. Rest assured, God is unchanging. He is steadfast. He is faithful. He is a promise keeper. That’s the truth!

Entitled

Standard

Reposting this as I think it may be even more relevant today than it was 4 years ago when I first wrote it.

An Ordinary Girl Living an Extraordinary Life

My husband and I are co-writing a Bible study together on The Beatitudes.  It’s been a fun challenge to write and research each beatitude; but, also, to learn.  As I was writing about “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”, I was struck by the lack of meekness, not only in myself, but in society, in general.

There is an entire generation coming up who have no sense of meekness.  No humility. No deference to others. No sense of their own limitations. They believe that they “deserve” to get things which they have not earned.  A sense of entitlement is rampant. This is most clear to anyone who has ever watched “American Idol“.  I am amazed at the talentless, tone deaf people who get up to sing and are outraged to be told that they have no singing talent. They are shocked!  They have been…

View original post 397 more words

Quote-Oswald Chambers

Standard

Hands of a person raised together in prayer with bible

Never discard a conviction. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to have brought it to your mind, it is that thing He is detecting. You were looking for a great thing to give up. God is telling you of some tiny thing; but at the back of it there lies the central citadel of obstinacy: I WILL NOT GIVE UP MY RIGHT TO MYSELF-the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.–Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest