The Profound Joys of Casseroles and a Doxology - The Prepared Table: Day 5

Song of Praise: Doxology

Scripture: Isaiah 40:8 & 1 Corinthians 10:31

Devotional:

Perhaps you are the kind of person that loves the idea of hosting a party. The meal preparation, the day spent in the kitchen, a beautifully set table, and the glorious smells drifting from the kitchen might speak to your soul. Others might find the whole ordeal a bit cumbersome, unnecessary, or maybe even down-right terrifying.

Do you enjoy praying, singing or reading scriptures aloud to your guests? For some, the social aspect of this devotional is very challenging. There is great beauty in executing a hard task for the glory of God. Often times the things that challenge us the most, reap the largest harvest of righteousness.

Surely, there is a way to make a meal that is inviting and winsome. Because of your delightful preparation, your family and friends will be eager to see what manner of feast you have for them. Laughter and joy are often dinner guests to the one who cheerfully busies themselves with good works. There is also a way to serve up that very same menu with a side of hostility and annoyance. This type of feast is often prepared with a begrudging spirit. Clearly, God does not find that type of feasting to be very profitable.

The songs sung around the table can be sung by half-hearted participants, or they may be harmonized with gratitude and jubilation.

Participation just for the sake of participation doesn't bless, nor does it aid in flourishing. The "why" matters as much as the "what" matters. Why we bake a cake matters; why we sing songs or give a benediction matters. Obedience is required of the Christian, but joyful obedience is a blessing to all.

"The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever." Isaiah 40:8

Eventually, the cake that was prepared will be eaten, the devotional nervously read will be heard, the last hug goodbye will be had, and in that moment, the table you've prepared will be a massive mess. The secret to appreciating true hospitality is understanding that the many good deeds you've engaged in are not an end unto themselves; they aren't supposed to be the point of the feast.

Before we prepare our tables for feasting, we must prepare our hearts for worship.

Worship is the telos, or the designed outcome of the feast. Everything a Christian does should be done for the glory of God. When we see God face to face, our grand accoutrements will only matter if they too have been placed before King Jesus, for His use.

Table Talk Questions:

  1. How is joyful obedience different from regular obedience?

  2. How should we prepare our hearts for the feast?

  3. Have you found any parts of this devotional challenging?

Benediction:

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.

Numbers 6:24-26

Today's Meal

Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos, Chips & Salsa, Taco sides, & Pineapple Dream

Recipes:

Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos

Prep and Cook Time: about 6 hours

Serves: 8

5-6 Chicken breast

1 jar of your favorite Salsa

1 package Taco seasoning

Preferred Taco Sides

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for about 5-6 hours or until chicken is fully cooked.

Shred the chicken in its broth and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for another hour.

Serve with all of your favorite taco fixings.

Yields enough for 18-20 Tacos

Serve on soft or crunchy tortillas, with your favorite Taco fixin's.

Pineapple Dream

Prep and Cook Time: 6 hours

Serves: 8

Crust:

2 ½ cups Graham Cracker crumbs

½ cup Butter

2 Tablespoons Sugar

pinch of Salt

Filling:

4 ounce Cream Cheese, softened

½ cup Butter, softened

2 cups Powdered Sugar

1 (8 ounce) Whipped Topping (Cool Whip), thawed

1 (20 ounce) can Crushed Pineapple, Drained well

Instructions:

Put graham crackers in a ziploc bag and pound the junk out of them until they are crumbs.

Drain your pineapple super well, and then set it in the strainer and let it continue to drain while you bake.

Melt one Stick butter and add it to a bowl of 2 ½ cups of the graham cracker crumbs, salt and sugar. Reserve ½ cup of this crumb mix for later, and add the rest to the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.

Bake crumb mixture for about 8-10 minutes and then allow to cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy.

Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Mix in 2 Tablespoons of drained pineapple.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over crust.

In a separate bowl, combine the whipped topping with the remaining drained crushed pineapple.

Spread whipped topping mixture over the cream cheese layer.

Sprinkle the reserved graham cracker crumb mixture on the top.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

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