“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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Get In the Prayer Room

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. –Luke 5:16 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

To have a strong life, prayer must become a daily discipline. Spending time in prayer alone with God is essential for our faith to grow, for us to be confident, and to have a clear direction in our lives. Jesus made it a point during his earthly ministry to get in solitude and pray. Many people will say “I don’t have time to pray. I’ve got to do this and that. There’s this deadline and that appointment.”

What could be more important than talking to your Heavenly Father? He knows exactly how your day will go more than you do. Truthfully, there will be no time for prayer if you don’t make time for prayer. Jesus was often by himself, alone, talking to the Father. The scripture says that he “withdrew to lonely places,” but Jesus wasn’t alone. He spent quality, intimate time with the Father away from earthly people. It’s extremely important for us to be strong spiritually.

We need to draw from the Father inexhaustible resources of love, wisdom, and power. We see again in the book of Matthew after Jesus demonstrated a miraculous sign by feeding five thousand people, he made a conscious choice to then separate himself from the crowds and his disciples. For the Bible says, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”–Matthew 14:22-23.

One may ask, “Why is it necessary for me to withdraw from people to be alone with God? I feel fine spiritually and emotionally, I can pray wherever I am.”

Well friend, while you may feel fine, you are missing out on building a deeper relationship with God. Spending time with him alone is how we cultivate our relationship with Him. We are the only creations made in His very image.-Genesis 1:27 An image of spirit and soul. He created us in order to reveal His love and truthfulness to us. “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth.”-John 4:24

Friend, I want to encourage you that if you don’t have a prayer room or a secret place where you can fellowship with God, find one today. I promise you it will radically change your life and you will know your Heavenly Father in a way you have never known Him before. If you’re at work, find a place there. Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter. God wants you alone, no people, no iphones, no ipads, or laptops—just you and Him. To have the experience of the one and only sovereign God, getting alone with him consistently is part of it. God bless you. Amen.

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. 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 nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.