Kingdom Living

Banquet at The Father’s House

My most favorite memories are those around the holidays. Every gathering with beloved friends and family lights me up inside. Yes, there are some sad memories around this time, but the sweetness of good “old” memories and being surrounded by people I love overrides the bitterness of sorrow. I started imagining what a holiday gathering might be like at The Father’s house.


“Is there anything I can help with?” I ask The Father. He is making all the final preparations for our feast and there are lots of other people there helping as well.

The Father welcomes me in and gives me a big hug before inviting me to participate with Him in preparing for the feast (kids always want to help).

You can help set the table, daughter.” He gives me a purpose, and points me to the gold and silver dishes and utensils we will be using for our feast. 

I finish setting the table just in time for the food to start coming out. Finally, the table is fully set and the food is bountiful. There isn’t a single favorite missing! Turkey, ham, lamb, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and mashed, green bean casserole, casseroles of every kind, corn (we need a reminder), bread, even homemade cranberry sauce (don’t judge – my Grandma had the best recipe and I loved it!), and the list goes on! Drinks have been poured. We’re all ready to dive in.

The banquet room is warmly lit. Not from a fire, but by the glory radiating from The Father. The room is intimate, but big enough to hold all the people I know and love and the people they know and love and so on. Dimensions are a weird thing at The Father’s house.

The head of the table comes to His seat – Jesus. Looking at The Father, Jesus expresses His thanks for the feast we are salivating over and then proceeds to carve the turkey. He serves each person Himself before sitting down to begin eating from His own plate.

Conversations around the table are sweet and the food unimaginably good. I stop for a minute to listen – it sounds like the whole room is singing. Though all the conversations are different, the song that is being made from it all sounds melodious! It’s not overwhelmingly loud either because no one has to yell to be heard. I realize I’ve been smiling since I got to The Father’s house. I pause for a moment to take it all in. The glow of the room. The beautiful decor. The “background music” from the humming conversations. And all these wonderful people. I look over and see The Father looking at me with a smile on His face.

All of this is for you, my beloved one. I am glad you came to sit and fellowship with me. I love watching you enjoy all that I have provided.

My heart is full (and my stomach too). 

But it’s time for desert and coffee! Not sure how I could fit more into my stomach, but this is one of the best times of fellowship.  I pull the comfy chair up next to Jesus who is sitting by The Father. Coffee steaming on the end table, dessert in hand, we talk for hours. I listen again to old stories I know, but there is always something new The Father tells me in those stories. Jesus patiently listens as I pour out my heart. I tell Him everything on my mind but nothing phases Him. He listens intently as if He didn’t already know all these things I’m talking about. And when I finally give Him space to speak, His voice and instruction are gentle and loving. I always learn so much from Him.

I’m grateful to be sitting right here, right now. There’s nothing better than feast-day at The Father’s house. I don’t want to say good-bye or good-night. I want to hold on to this beautiful thought. The Father reminds me that there are even more wonderful things, things beyond my imagination, in store for me in eternity.


This small imagination of mine surely pales in comparison to what it will really be like when we finally get to feast at the banquet table in Heaven. Would you sit for a moment and imagine with me? What does your perfect feast have that mine doesn’t? Who is at the table with you? One thing is certain, God The Father, and Jesus His Son will be there welcoming us with open arms and it will always be the best feast ever.

 

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land.
– Ezekiel 34:23-24,26-27

Conversations

Museum

I am a pretty analytical person. I think a lot about things. I probably think too much about some things. Last week I had one of those thinking days. I was analyzing my thoughts in fact! I was struggling with my love language, words of affirmation. I was trying to understand why I had a stronger draw to help someone who affirmed me than I even wanted to be in the same room with someone who hadn’t. I was a little disgusted with myself because I knew the feelings creeping in to my heart had been poisoned with pride.

I grappled with the questions “Why am I like this? Why is this my love language?”

Father, can’t you just take away this driving desire for affirmation from people? Why can’t my primary love language be something else that isn’t driven by such pride?

That last one was kind of a silly question because anything that deals with feeling like I’m loved has the potential to be twisted by pride, even acts of service.

The Father had an answer already prepared for me.

I put that desire for affirmation in you, it is a piece of myself that I put in you too. Come to me when you feel that desire for affirmation go unfulfilled. I love you and am always cheering you on, loving you perfectly and completely. Listen for my affirmation, especially when you need it the most.”

I want all of my affirmation to come from The Father…so why do I struggle with this? Why do I still feel this longing for people to acknowledge or appreciate what I’ve done? I feel wrong or broken, like I’m not doing something right…

The Father tenderly takes my hand and leads me. We are walking through large hallways with marble floors and high ceilings that looked like they went on forever. This was a museum of the great things The Father had done! There were mini replicas of the story of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob fighting with the Lord, Moses, Noah, David… so much to see! But we kept right on walking. When The Father’s pace slowed I was able to see some of the names of people He created and clearly delighted in along with little notes of their accomplishments and proud moments, like a mini scrapbook. I glanced up at The Father. He was smiling, as if He were recalling the notes He’d written about each person. When we finally came to a stop, The Father told me to come look at what He was standing in front of. I noticed there was a frame around it just like the others and some of those notes too. I looked up and I saw … me. The Father wanted to show me something He created, that He was proud of, and it was me.

Kneeling down to make His eyes level with mine, He placed His hands on my shoulders.

You are my very own amazing creation.

That desire to be affirmed – I put that in you. I made that a deep part of who you are. I know you are wondering why I made you this way because you don’t see it as good – but I do.

I gave you this specific desire to be affirmed so that you could enjoy my affirmation and so you could use it to affirm others. People need encouragement and to feel loved, especially when they don’t feel lovable or acceptable. As someone uniquely created to be filled up by affirmation and encouragement, you are specially qualified to give it and receive it when it is given.

I don’t do anything by mistake, precious one. Creating you this way is just one of the great things I’ve given you out of myself. There are even more great things still to come, little one. You are my prized and treasured creation and I’m still writing these notes of wonderful things you are doing and have yet to do.”

By now I was wiping tears from my face and threw my arms around The Father’s neck. He did it again – He showed me His love for me.

 

Precious reader, I’ve shared a little glimpse of my heart and conversation with The Father but I know this message is not just for me. There is a place in His museum where your picture hangs. You are His prized and treasured creation. That thing in you that gets ugly when pride leaks in has a more beautiful purpose. What is The Father whispering to you? Let Him show you your place in His museum. Let Him tell you the story of how He wants to use that piece of who you are for His more beautiful purpose.

Conversations

Who Am I?

Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galatians 4:7

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Who am I, really?

What am I doing?

Why am I here?

I can’t seem to do anything right. I’m just failing all over the place. What good am I?

These are thoughts I struggle with far too frequently. I am my own worst critic, especially when things aren’t going according to plan (specifically my plan). This morning, after what feels like a very long week couple of weeks, I was definitely down on myself again. I was thinking about all the things I’m not doing well – I’m not being a great mom, or a great wife, or excelling at work, or keeping my house clean… the list just seemed to go on forever.

I pulled out my Bible to find help and encouragement and read just a few short verses in Galatians chapter four, and paused on verse 7. “What does a good, well-rounded (not stuck up) heir to a wealthy fortune look like? How does someone like that behave every day?”, I asked myself. I came up with a few things: confident, secure, they know who they are, they know how their father is respected.

But right now, I don’t feel like I look or act that way at all. I feel like I’m “failing all over the place”, not measuring up. So I asked The Father, “What does this mean – that I am Your heir? How should I be acting?” I started to write down what came to mind: strong, loved, confident, teacher, encourager, learner, studier, held, wise, helped, capable…img_5407

This mindset shift reminded me of who my Father is which then helped me begin to remember who I really am. All that muck and self-guilt that I started my morning with – that is not what my Daddy-God says about me. That’s not who I am. “Failure” is not one of my labels. I am not a failure, because my Daddy-God is not a failure. I still have things to work on. I’m an heir, not a perfect heir. But I’m not useless, purposeless, or a “failure all over the place”.

Sitting on my couch with my coffee in hand, I thought “Yup. I do know this. Got it.”

I was thankful for the reminders and did have more peace, but I had an almost casual response. I still wrestled a little with my thoughts.

And then came the tap on my shoulder.

I was listening to the radio in my car (I rarely do that these days) and a brand new song by Lauren Daigle was playing. It was about what God says about us. It was exactly the things my Daddy-God had been speaking to me earlier this morning!

Tap. Tap.

“Are you listening to what I’m telling you, little one?”, says The Father. “You are MY child. My child is not defined by averages, successes, or feelings. You are my very own Daughter. There is nothing we can’t do together and I’m always right here to help you, to hold you, to give you exactly what you need to do all the things you need to do. Who are you? -You are loved, you are strong, you are held, you are able. You are Mine.”

To the Precious Ones reading this, if you are struggling with your thoughts today, know that you are His. You are held closely by The Father, who loves you so dearly, without condition. You are helped by Him. He is able to do anything you need Him to because you are His child. Who you are is not defined by the measurements of the world around you. Who you are is declared by your Daddy-God. You are priceless to Him. You are His very own precious, beloved child and all He has is yours.

What do you hear The Father say about you?

Conversations

A Great Work

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:9-10

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or in Christian lingo “What is your ‘calling’?” Part of the reason I’ve struggled with this question is that so many things held my interest, perhaps because there didn’t seem to be any one thing that I felt passionate about. Well into my 30’s I was still asking the question of myself “Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? What is my purpose and what does God want to use me for?” I’ve heard messages about “God’s call” and been compelled time and time again to dig out of myself the answers to these questions. I’ve taken personality tests and tests to determine my “spiritual gifts”. I’ve read devotionals that focused on what God’s Word says I should do to determine His “call on my life”. While all of these tools have been helpful to some degree, nothing seemed to fully answer these questions for me.

Not long ago I was talking with a friend and he asked me that infamous question about what brings a feeling of fulfillment to me. Without pausing to think about it, I told him. I was actually a bit surprised at myself! I even stated that was probably the first time in my life I had ever been able to clearly identify what God’s fulfilling purpose for me is. I realized that the reason I was able to articulate this was because my Heavenly Father had been graciously bringing me through understanding who He is in this area of my life and who I am because of Him. Now, this is not to say I don’t ever still have moments of uncertainty. There are times I wonder if I’m just following my own path and if what I’m doing is even what He wants of me.

“I don’t have anything all that great to give. My contributions are so insignificant, especially compared to that person over there. How is doing this ever going to help anyone? How could God ever use this to further His kingdom and bring Him glory?”

The Father continues to remind me “Where you are and what you have learned, I have brought you to and taught you. You may not see how these things could be so great, but your vision is limited. I see not only what is right now, but I see far into what is to come and anything that you do with me, is good. Anything you do because of me, is good. Don’t give up! Don’t stop now. I’ll teach you the next step just like each one before, and I’ll help you. I’ll make it all good.”

I wonder as I listen to His reassuring voice: what is it that keeps me from “doing good”? Even more specifically, what holds me back from doing the good things that my Father has equipped me to do and has asked me to do?

One reason that comes to mind is fatigue.

“I’m so tired. It is easier and feels better right now to just keep to myself. Besides, I’ve done a lot of trying and its a lot of work and I just don’t know if its even worth it. And aren’t we supposed to rest from work? I’ve been at my job all week, not to mention all the other things I’ve been doing after work, I deserve a break so I think I’ll just fall asleep watching t.v.”

I get tired just thinking about all the times I’ve failed or all that hasn’t been done. I get overwhelmed, and that leads to stress and that stress wears me out. There are the piles of laundry yet to be done (yes that is more than one pile of laundry!), and dishes that have to be washed (seriously, if you could see my sinks!), and food to be made, and taking care of my health, and serving in ministries, and learning the next thing, and… and… and … whew! I need to sit down.

But all this stuff wears me out just thinking about it because I’m trying to do it all by myself. My Father never asked me to do anything without His help. He’s not the one heaping all this on me. He never expected me to make “the call” happen all at once or to succeed over night. He whispers to my heart

“Just focus on one thing at a time. And daughter, keep your eyes on me as we move forward together. Stay with me and I will give you exactly what you need so you can do what I’ve purposed for you. (John 15:4-5)”

Really! What a relief even just re-writing that to remember!

Another thought comes to mind, I haven’t remained committed to doing this great work. (Neh. 6:3) I have allowed things to de-rail me, distract me, and pull me away.

My endless “To Do” list, not having a plan for when things interrupt me, not sticking to the plan I committed to, not spending time with my Father who knows how to do all of this, giving in to anger and frustration and discouragement, listening to voices other than God’s about how what I’m doing is useless or worthless. All these regularly work to distract me and pull me off of the wall that God has purposed me to build.

He continues to gently remind me, He has given me a purpose and gifted me with ways to accomplish that purpose. He says that it is a great work, it is worth His time and attention which means it is worth more than I could ever imagine.

My Daddy’s attention is definitely worth me staying committed. I want Him to see a completed great work, one that He and I have done together. I don’t want to look back and see a trail of things I never finished and never trusted Him to help me accomplish. I want my Daddy to be proud of me. I want to leave a legacy of working on this great work with Him and because of Him so that my children and all the people they know and all of their children and the people they know will give God the glory and that this great work will be multiplied by my Father to accomplish all the things He has seen and purposed for it to do.