“All You Can Eat”

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

What comes to your mind when you hear or see the words “All You Can Eat”? These four words typically generate excitement among those of us who desire to get the most bang for our buck; to maximize our dollars and leave an establishment feeling greatly satisfied.

A term often associated with buffets, “All You Can Eat” restaurants excite patrons who envision multiple food stations offering a variety of cuisines in as many helpings as they can consume at a fixed price. At some buffets, you could indulge in breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert all in one sitting. A seemingly perfect match for maximizing your dollars only limited by your stomach capacity and waistband.

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Being raised in Kansas and eating hearty foods such as mashed potatoes (yum), macaroni and cheese and meatloaf, these were also once my favorites to eat at buffets at a fixed price. Fast forward to when I located to Washington, D.C. several years ago for an internship. There was a popular buffet near my workplace that I’d visit during lunch. This place offered an even wider variety of food options from different countries and of course…mashed potatoes. Excited to see creamy mashed potatoes, I loaded a few spoonfuls onto my plate. Along with macaroni and cheese, vegetables and other items. What I had not prepared for was that at this buffet and many in the area, the food was charged by weight. Yikes. I paid a hefty $$ for that lunch. I quickly and strategically learned to adjust my portions after that experience!

Food is a familiar territory for Jesus. He fed crowds of thousands with loaves of fish and bread. After feeding the multitudes and they were satisfied, there were baskets of food left over. Jesus leaves us filled, running over and more than satisfied. We can feed at His table continually and the longer we stay, the more we love Him and desire more of Him. It’s okay to linger and go back for seconds. The abundance is ours if we want it.

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I make no apologies for wanting everything that the Lord has for me. I want to feed at His feet. I daily depend on Him for my sustenance, my spiritual nourishment. It’s where healing is reaffirmed. Where brokenness is healed. Where we gather strength to be refined by and overcome life’s challenges. It’s where we are filled and able to pour into others with a fresh word to revive their downcast souls. It’s where we experience great joy in fellowship with Him and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s where our heart and mind come closer to Christ instead of being far from Him. It’s also where we learn more of who we are in Christ Jesus. It’s where we begin to see that God’s vision for us is much wider than it is limited. It’s where we develop the confidence to grow and go into our calling; to leave the familiar to enter the unfamiliar. It’s where we receive our daily instructions.

God is always doing a new thing, so we need to be at the table to get our instructions! It is where feeding our faith becomes fuel to press on amid spiritual warfare. It’s also where we develop new appetites for what Jesus desires and forgo our old appetites of the world and where we break unhealthy generational appetites passed down to us. I won’t kid you: feeding at the table may cost you separation from those who are uncomfortable with your new appetite. But that’s okay. You’ll have food for them when they’re ready.

Spiritual food= sitting at Jesus’ feet and feeding at His table. When we sit at Jesus’ feet and feed from His table, we are more than satisfied. Take time. Make time. We can have as much of Jesus as our heart desires. He already paid the price for our direct access. The Lord desires a close and intimate communion with us, that we would thirst and hunger to know Him more. That we would have a singleness of heart for Him. He is there waiting for us. The food is prepared. There is no limit to your partaking and return.

Will you come to His table? It is an “All You Can Eat” invitation. #TheBreadofLife

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)

Love and Blessings,

Nicole

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Seeking My Lord

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. –Psalm 105:4 (New International Translation)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If someone asked you, “Do you ‘seek’ the Lord?” How would you respond? When you arise in the morning, is God who you first think about or do you think about him as you go on about your day? The Greek word for “seek” is zéteó, which means “to look for or search or desire.” It also means “to inquire of or investigate.” In other words, for what or whom you’re seeking you want to get to the bottom of it. Are we really seeking the Lord with all our strength, all our hearts, and all our souls? Or are we too busy for him?

When you are truly seeking the Lord you are demonstrating that you have a desire to go further in your relationship with him. In fact, he wants you to know him. He yearns for an intimate relationship with you. He knew you before you thought you knew yourself. He said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” –Jeremiah 29:13 Someone might say, “I try to pray to the Lord and it seems like he doesn’t respond or God does not ever listen to me.” Friend, I want to assure you that God still speaks and he speaks to us all the time.

If you’ve trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, he speaks loud and clear through the Holy Spirit. But often times there are still sins in our lives that we need to eradicate in order to continue to be led by the Holy Spirit, deepening our relationship with Christ to become more and more like him. Do not continue to live in your sins. Do not quench the Spirit-1 Thessalonians 5:19. For the unbeliever, there is still time to repent. Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.”

“Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”-Isaiah 55:7-8

The man after God’s own heart, King David, knew very well how to seek the Lord and be in his presence. He recorded many years ago, “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;” -Psalm 15:1-2

Oh how I’m saddened for the one who doesn’t believe in God to seek him. How my heart is concerned for the destruction that waits for them if they do not repent. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” -Psalm 14:1 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.-Hebrews 11:6

 Amen

Jason M. Alexandre

 

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the Great Commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the Gospel to be spread from person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

Faith to Trust God’s Plans

“I don’t see the big picture. I don’t have a clue. But I know God does. I’m going to declare that, even if I don’t feel it right now.” — Steven Curtis Chapman, Christian singer-songwriter

 

Jeremiah 29:11NIV  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 
Jeremiah 29:11NASB 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope
 
Jeremiah 29:11ASV 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.
 
Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Absolutely one of my favorite scriptures to stand on when I am struggling with making a decision or when my well-laid plans have come up empty.  It’s interesting that no matter how it’s translated, a few things stand out to me:

 
1. God knows!  I don’t, but God does.  I am so thankful that He does.  So what does He know?  His thoughts and His plans for me/us.

 

2. God says/declares!  Hallelujah!  When God speaks, it is so, it is done!  You can take what He says to the bank, to the boardroom, to the doctor, to the courtroom.  You can especially take what God says or declares to the most important place of all…the mirror. (I’ll let that one sink in for a minute.)

 

3. God’s thoughts/plans for me/us is for our good and NOT for our harm.   Let me repeat the last part…NOT FOR OUR HARM.

 

4. So then, what does it mean when bad things happen to us? When our plans don’t turn out the way we wanted them to?  What it simply means is that points 1, 2 and 3 are STILL in effect!  Our circumstances, our plans, our situations does not change the facts that God knows, God has said and declared and that His thoughts and plans are for our good…period!  Now the final point from this scripture:

 

5. Everything God has done and is doing is to give us hope for the future. The future that He has prepared for us.  To be with Him for all eternity.

 

No the journey is not smooth and laid out with roses and a sweet smell.  I have not read in God’s Word where He has said or declared that it would be. But His Word is filled with a hope and a love that tells us that He longs for us to love Him, to trust Him and to depend solely upon Him.
 
I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. I may be told that my job has been eliminated and my services are no longer needed. The doctor may tell me that the pain I have in my body means that I have only a few days left to live. No matter what bad news may come, it will never change the fact that God is bigger and greater than anything we will face in life. It will not change the fact that God is the creator of all and He alone is in Charge! He sits on the throne of glory and Christ is at His right hand.
 
We can make all the plans we want, and believe me I have made many. But if they do not line up with what our Heavenly Father has put into place, we will never achieve the fullness of life that God has prepared for us.  Now here’s the final piece of the puzzle for you this morning. WE must decide if what God has planned for us is satisfactory.  Is it okay that what God thinks is good for us, is acceptable?  Isn’t that absolutely crazy when you think about us deciding if what God wants for us is acceptable? ( Lord, please forgive me for my foolish thinking.)

 

Here’s a thought to consider and maybe for us to declare today: Lord, I want to know your ways and will for my life above all else. And then, to have the faith to walk in the way you desire for me. 
 
I like quoting Jeremiah 29:11.  But if you go down to verse 13, you will understand the key to God’s declaration.
 
Jeremiah 29:13NKJV 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
 
It is easy to place our plans in front of God and beg and/or demand that He approves them.  But if there is one thing I have come to learn in my limited time here is that it’s not about my plans.  It’s not about what I want.  It’s solely about what God has ordained, through His Word and Will for me.
 
Yes, I/we have been allowed to choose which plans to go after.  Ours or God’s.  Think about it and choose wisely.
 
Thank you Lord. You have been there for us, even when we have not realized it. You know our coming and our going and you have prepared the perfect path for us to travel. We thank you that when we get off this path, the Holy Spirit guides us back to it. We desire, want and need so much. Help us to realize that all we need is You. Let the light of your love shine in and through us today. We sing praises of your goodness and mercy today. Thank you Lord for everything. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

Have a very blessed day and weekend, knowing that God will always be there when you call.

 

Minister Dracy
After God’s Own Heart Ministries
Luke 4:18-19 …to bring Good News…