Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

Hebrews 13: 9

 

Although the author of Hebrews is discussing the food that we eat, this is not the sort of thing that could become an episode of one of the television cooking programs that are very popular today. The food that is literally under examination is related to religious sacrifices and to rules about the consumption of items that were so designated. This concept in itself has little connection to our world today. Yet, I think that the idea behind the early church related cultural thoughts is very relevant to our times and our lives, for there are many diverse and strange teachings available to us today, and they do feed us a highly unsatisfactory diet of deception and untruth.

 

Some of those false diets include ideas like ones that say that God’s love is expressed by the provision of comfort and wealth in this world or that all of our sickness and failure are caused by personal sin. Other diets can be deadly to the soul in that they redefine and manipulate the person and so the character of God in ways that deny His nature, role in creation, and the salvation through Jesus Christ alone that are depicted in God’s Word. There are many ways and sources of distraction, diversion, and delusion available for us to feast upon in our culture; yet, at the same time God provides for us a solid and sustaining diet for our continual consumption.

 

God’s Word of Truth is an unending banquet of the delights that are found on the tables in the hall of the High King. He has set it out before all people in ways that are enticing to the senses and fulfilling to the palate. Within its pages are found the great story of God’s relationship with people throughout all of time, and running through the entirety of that narrative is the telling of God’s redemptive love and grace that is poured out as sweet wine for all of us to drink fully. So, I seek to be fed on the rich food of God’s Word that is best enjoyed in the fellowship of His church gathered in worship of our Lord.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

John 6: 33

 

We all become hungry, and everyone needs to find food. For some people this search is what consumes a major portion of the day. For others the only searching that happens is that evening shuffle through all of the boxes, bags, and jars in the pantry and refrigerator that becomes a regular ritual as we seek a satisfying snack. We eat something, and we are satisfied for the moment. Yet, there is another form of hunger that is absolutely universal and that never gets completely satisfied.

 

We are born with hungry souls. They are malnourished, and even the most loving of mothers can’t do more than point us toward the source of the necessary food. We are the ones who decide to accept the giver and thus receive eternal nourishment. Jesus is the imperishable manna that God promised from the very beginning of Creation. Yet, He brings much more than a snack to our hearts, for He fills us with the total banquet feast from God’s table of love, grace, and righteousness. Christ invites us to join Him at the sacred Eucharistic gathering, and He grants His people the right to dwell in community there.

 

Even after we have accepted Christ and entered into that relationship, our hearts and minds still need to be fed. Without the ongoing and continuous transformational filling of God’s Spirit we won’t grow and develop as rapidly and as completely as we could. Christ not only gives us a soul with an unending existence, He also gives us a present life with no end of strength, encouragement, and purpose. The Lord provides the feast, it is up to each of us to come and eat. Let us be filled on the Spirit of God throughout this day.

 

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”

John 4: 34

 

During such a special time of year as the Christmas season, there is a lot of conversation and information out in our world about food. There are recipes to prepare, special meals that need to be planned, and eating often becomes the central point of gatherings of family and of friends. It would be my wish that these times of gathering and celebration would be deeply satisfying and truly rewarding for everyone involved, and I pray that the Lord will bless these times with His presence and with His peace and joy.

 

Still, there is a much more important way that Christ wants to feed us; for, He wants to provide each of His own with the abundant riches of a diet of pure spiritual food that is provided by His Spirit and that is supplied out of the Father’s will. When the Spirit of Christ is our primary source for nourishment, we will never be hungry; and when we view life as a banquet where our satisfaction comes from doing the Lord’s will, we will always be feasting on the very best. Then we are supplied with a cup of grace that never runs dry, and regardless of our status, financial wealth or lack of it, or physical health; the Lord provides us with a robe of honor to wear and a prominent seat at His table of blessing.

 

Today is the day of feasting. This is the hour for the festival of celebration of Christ’s victory. Now is the time to be filled with His purpose so that you can reach out to others with the hand of invitation that reaches across the great divide that sin causes. The party has already begun, the joyous sounds of heavenly laughter are in the air, and there is always room for more family at Christ’s table of salvation. Be filled with the Spirit and let His light of invitation shine out from you into the darkness.