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Mar 07 2018

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived! Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Today my husband and I took a young international student, a Muslim, to an authentic restaurant from his homeland to celebrate his birthday in a foreign land with a dinner from home. (He has quickly tired of burgers and fries at this Canadian university.)

What are we eating as we sojourn here while waiting in joyous anticipation for the banquet being prepared for us at home by our Father in heaven (Lk 14:15-24)? Jesus promises we “will delight in the richest of fare” (Isa 55:2) both here and there.

In fact, HE is the bread “which a man may eat and not die” (Jn 6:50). Jesus painstakingly unwraps the meaning of “I am the bread of life” in John 6, using the word for “gnaw” and “chew” metaphorically to indicate a slow and habitual process of constantly spiritually feeding on Him. It’s shocking to read in English. Of this passage, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says, “the more persistent the unbelief of His hearers, the more difficult His language and statements became.” Many no longer followed Him.

Are we followers of Jesus engaging in this habitual process of feeding on Jesus, even the hard teachings (vv 60-66)? This year I’m reading through the Bible using a devotional by Dick Brogden called Live Dead Joy: 365 Days of Living and Dying with Jesus. Brogden emphasizes living the crucified life. His reflections on the biblical texts make it quite clear that suffering is integral to extending God’s Kingdom into the Islamic world. It’s because of the constant “diet” of Christ that Paul can describe his hardships as “having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Co 6:10c). Despite  many hardships, Paul was delighting in the richest of fare.

How big is God’s banqueting table in heaven? I’m confident the Father’s banqueting table will match His John 3:16 vision: “For God so loved the world…” and His Isaiah 49:6 vision: “It is too small a thing for You to be My servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make You a light for the Gentiles, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Can we “chew on” Jesus, the Bread of Life, enough here on earth to champion His vision for those not yet eligible for heaven’s banqueting table? Soon, we’ll be  in our future home, partaking with countless former Muslims at the Father’s banqueting table. Can we practice now by inviting a Muslim neighbour, an international student, a foreigner, for dinner? May they see Jesus in us because we’ve been feasting on Him!

Worship as the Spirit leads from Psalm 36:5-9. Cry out that we might share the abundance of Father’s house with countless Muslims now excluded because they’re not yet eating the Bread of Life.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    Your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    Your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They feast on the abundance of Your house;
    You give them drink from your river of delights.
For with You is the fountain of life;

    In Your light we see light.

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About Leslie
Leslie knows by faith and experience that our heavenly Father puts His prayers in our hearts and then listens to our hearts’ cry as we pray them back to Him. We hear God, and God hears us.
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