The Table Prepared
Day 1: In our culture, we gather around the table. We celebrate. We talk. We eat. We drink. We sign important documents. We make big announcements. We connect with important people around our table. We do relationships. Read John 14:2-3. In Sunday’s message, Doug reminded us that God invites us – YOU specifically – to HIS table saying, "Come. Sit. Be still. Receive." Enjoy what He has to offer. Even in the presence of your enemies, He prepares a table for you and invites you to relationship there. Now think about YOUR table at home. What activities do you do around your table? Is God invited to be at your table? Talk with God about your desire to have Him present at your table. What activities do you do to prepare your heart to listen and talk to God?
Day 2: Read Matthew 22:2 and Revelation 21:2. In these verses, Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven being like a king preparing a wedding. Think of all the preparations that go into a wedding – the ceremony, the church, the flowers, the special wardrobe. Now think of all those preparations made on the day of the wedding itself. With everything set, no one shows up. Why? You realize you forgot to send out the invitations! God is not only preparing for the big celebration of His church (His bride) and Himself, but He invites YOU to be a part of it. You are invited to the banquet! And He has a name plate at the table with YOUR name. You’ve been offered an invitation. Have you ever felt that invitation?
Day 3: Remember back to yesterday’s devotions. Did you have some time responding to His invitation to you? Did you RSVP? If you responded with “Yes, I’ll be there”, now come the preparations! Get ready for the banquet table with Jesus. Prepare your heart and mind for the table. Read Matthew 26:26-29. This reminds us of the night Jesus prepared the table with the disciples. When we take communion, as Jesus did with his friends that night, we are to come with humbly and surrendered. Consider getting some juice and a slice of bread. Have communion with your family or at your small group this week. What did God share with you through this time of quiet reflection?
Day 4: Experience a banquet in the struggle. On Sunday, Doug told the story of God’s preparation of a table quite literally in the presence of enemies. Read Psalm 23:1-5 again. He has prepared the way EVEN in the presence of your enemies. Think about a time you experienced God’s help when you have been in the middle of crisis and struggle. Consider the list from Sunday: shepherd, provider, healer, leader, protector, providential. Write down how God has met you in the midst of that struggle. Or go back to your list from several weeks ago where you identified what you have in your life to remind you of your Good Shepherd when troubles hit. Is it a small group? Prayer? Quiet time with scripture? One-on-one time with an accountability partner? Remember, God prepares GOOD things for you and you can experience His banquet even in the midst of struggle and suffering.
Day 5: A while back, I envisioned a banquet table that stretched as far as I could see. It was filled with people sitting at the table, all in His presence, and there were too many to count. I remember it was a time when I felt overlooked by God and really not necessary or needed by Him. This image just seemed to prove that God has more than enough company around His table so, surely, I would continue to go unnoticed or passed over. As soon as I had that thought, God directed my eyes down to an empty chair. And I immediately sensed in my heart, “But this seat is yours. And even if I had the entire world at My table, there would still be something – someone missing.” Jesus saves a seat for me and YOU. His table is incomplete without you. So respond to the invitation. Take a seat and prepare for some time with God. Thank the Good Shepherd that He cares for you and has a place for you at the table.