I used to laugh my way through the verse above, looking forward to the day when I would dine with Christ in Glory! Oh the chocoloate and the scones... and the tea, taken sweet with heavy cream. What a rich spread it would be! However, I must confess that as I fast and pray this week, my thoughts of heavenly hash are beginning to fade, and Christ alone remains seated at the banqueting table. From His extravagant banquet hall Christ bids us come, not for a tea party but for Him.
Jesus: The host, the feast, and the banner.
Imagine with me the moment your new feet cross the threshold to His Presence. I am sure, down deep in my empty belly, that we will not be thinking of food, indeed, our eyes will be fixed on the only thing in the room that can satisfy a soul for all eternity. I can only imagine...
I can only imagine What my eyes will see When Your face Is before me I can only imagine.
I can only imagine When all I will do Is forever Forever worship You I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your glory What will my heart feel? Will I dance for You, Jesus? Or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in Your presence? To my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine.
(I Can Only Imagine, by Mercy Me)
Oh how we clamor here on earth, not able to understand the feast that's spread before us, grasping instead for what we think might satisfy. Sweet treats become our reward at each days end. Or, perhaps, instead of food you consume affirmation like a cocktail and praise just like a prize. You hunger for them, turning to Facebook for your feast, forgetting that all you need is His opinion of you, His wise counsel, his "Like". But we are a hungry people; hungry for food, for happiness and ease, hungry for cul de sac fame. Constantly hungry... though the banqueting table has already been set! It is finished. It is prepared. It is Christ.
Jesus is the only thing that truly satisfies and sustains. Therefore, I am setting a table before you today, heavy laden with scrumptious scripture for you to feast upon regularly during these forty days. Let us remember Christ, offering up Himself as the ultimate passover lamb, saying,"...the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
I offer you all sizes of portions - from snacks to main courses, with side dishes too. Do not be shy, fill your plate here. And if you start to sink low mid-afternoon, come back for more!
40 Scripture snacks - for when you're hungry
(A special thank you t0 Christy Nueman, of The Write Season, who not only taught me to love fasting, but also this idea of feasting on full plates, side dishes and even snack size portions of God's Word! A 40 day fast would have been an absurd notion without your example leading me on.)
1 - Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
2 - For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. (1 John 2:16)
3 - “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; (Joel 2:12)
4 - So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.(Exodus 34:28)
5 - And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23)
6 - “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you". (Matthew 6:16-18)
7 - Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
8 - Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6)
9 - I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
10 - "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34)
11 - “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
12 - Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)
13 - I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:9)
14 - So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. (Ezra 8:23)
15 - Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
16 - And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (Jonah 3:5)
17 - "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17)
18 - How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)
19 - Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:1-4)
20 - I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
21 - So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
22 - "I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
23 - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (Psalm 118:24)
24 - A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1)
25 - Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Matthew 9:14-15)
26 - Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
27 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
29 - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
30 - We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
31 - You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
32 - Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
33 - He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love. (Song of Solomon 2:4)
34 - Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. [“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”] (Matthew 17:18-21)
35 - My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: ... (1 John 2:1-29)
36 - This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
37 - Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. (Psalm 37:4-6)
38 - “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward... (Matthew 6:1-34)
39 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
40 - “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? (Isaiah 58:1-14)