Song of Praise: Doxology
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
The truest enjoyment of food and drink is a great privilege that is given to God's children, exclusively. Of course I'm not suggesting that the pagan, unbeliever is unable to experience the flavors of food, or the enjoyment that comes from a party.
They certainly know of those pleasures; those experiences are a common grace given to all mankind.
What I am willing to assert is that all of the parties, and even the most exquisite food, is
unable to provide the unbeliever with a shred of understanding of the vanity found in earthly feasting.
Earthly feasting is meant to be enjoyed, but if it does not draw our hearts towards something greater, the earthly feast falls flat.
The pagans feast ferociously. They are not a stranger to the joys of wine or the smells that can make your mouth water with anticipation. Their feasts may be every bit as impressive as the Christian's feast, but deep in their soul, they sense that their feasting ends in judgment.
The pagan feast marks the pinnacle of their vaporous existence.
Have you ever wondered why so many people struggle with alcohol abuse, or why some devote their lives to the prohibition of alcohol consumption? Or, why some struggle with "comfort eating", and some with purging?
It is quite simple, they have believed upon the false god of the Earthly feast.
Worship to this false god means consuming his false feast, or, fasting in his honor.
During the worship of this pagan feast, the unbeliever does temporarily find relief. However, when the effects of alcohol or food wear off, or when the fasting becomes their identity, the hollow promises of the false god are never actually realized.
This leads people to love or hate the false god of feasting, yet they are enslaved to his worship.
A Christian is given the blessing of the feast. It is not our god, and we understand it's vanity. The feast was not created to be God, or to deliver us from darkness. It was created to point us to the only living and true God, the one that came to save us from the darkness.
Only a Christian can gladly feast, understanding fully just how vain the earthly feast is.
The child of God knows that his earthly days are few; simply a mist that vanishes at dawn.
The joys of our wine and feasting do not last,
nor, do we wish it to be so; that reality is a blessing.
We look forward to something much more opulent.
We have a table, prepared for us by Christ Himself. We have an eternal meal to one day partake in. No earthly table found could be as impressive.
We welcome today's vanity as a gift, and look forward to it's eternal replacement.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Table Talk Questions:
Why do unbelievers either love or hate feasting?
Why do Christians love earthly feasting, despite its vanity?
Why is Jesus' prepared table better than an earthly feast?
Meal: Creamy Spinach Pork chops & Mashed Potatoes, honey garlic butter roasted carrots, Butterfinger Cupcake Cheesecake
Creamy Spinach Pork Chops and Mashed potatoes
Prep and Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
6 boneless Pork Chops
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Paprika
2 teaspoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
6 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 small Yellow Onion, minced
⅓ cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
1 ¾ cups Half and Half or Heavy Cream
3 cups Baby Spinach
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Chili Pepper Flakes, optional
¼ cup fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Season the pork chops with paprika, salt, and pepper on both sides.
Sear pork chops in the hot pan for 3-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness, or until cooked to your liking.
Once done, remove from pan and set aside.
Melt butter in the remaining cooking juices in the same pan.
Add garlic, onion, italian seasoning, and red crushed chilli pepper.
Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add in the vegetable or chicken stock, and allow to reduce a little.
Reduce heat to low.
Add half and half or heavy cream.
Bring the cream sauce to a gentle simmer.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Add spinach leaves and allow to wilt in sauce.
Stir in the parmesan cheese and allow the sauce to simmer until cheese melts.
Transfer the pork chops back into the pan to reheat. Sprinkle with parsley, and spoon the sauce over the pork chops.
Honey Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots
Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes
2 pounds Carrots
3 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon minced Garlic or Powder
¼ teaspoon Salt
⅛ teaspoon Tepper
⅛ teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
Preheat oven 425 F
Wash, peel, and chop carrots into 2 inch pieces.
In a medium bowl, add butter and microwave for 60 seconds.
Add honey, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Whisk to combine.
Add carrots to bowl and toss to coat.
Place carrots on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Turn carrots on other side.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until carrots are tender.
Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Butterfinger Tiny Cheesecakes
Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour + 2 hours to cool and set
Yields: 1 dozen mini cupcake sized cheesecakes
For the Oreo Crust:
14 Oreo cookies
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
pinch of Salt
For the Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cheesecake Filling:
12 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup Sour Cream, at room temperature
⅓ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
¾ cup granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs + 1 egg Yolk
1 ½ Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 full size Butterfinger Candy Bars, chopped into bits.
Preheat oven to 325 F
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Lightly spray liners with non-stick spray and set aside.
Add the oreo cookies to a food processor or blender and pulse until the cookies are fine crumbs.
Stir in the melted butter and a pinch of salt, mixing well to combine.
Add 1 Tablespoon to each lined muffin cup.
Press the crust firmly into an even layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Cheese cake filling:
In a mixing bowl, whip the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and peanut butter until smooth.
Add sugar and beat smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Add in the eggs and yolk, beat until combined. Add in the flour and mix.
Stir in the butterfinger bits until they're incorporated into the batter.
Divide the filling evenly among the cups, pouring it on the top of the prepared crust layer.
The liners should be very full but not overflowing.
Gently wiggle the pan back and forth to level the cheesecake filling.
Bake in preheated oven for 22-24 minutes, or until cupcakes are puffed, set at the edges, and just a little jiggly in the center.
Remove from oven and cool completely before removing them from the pan.
Once cooled, sprinkle chopped butterfingers, and store in the fridge.