“He has brought me to his banquet hall and his banner over me is love“ (Song of Solomon 2:4).
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 chocolate and the scones! We’d have tea, taken sweet with heavy cream, and sweet conversation too. What a rich spread it would be! However, I must confess that over the years as I’ve learned to fast and pray, my thoughts of sweet treats have begun to fade. Amazingly, the more those sweet treats diminish, the more Christ Himself, seated surely at the table, bidding me come, becomes the feast I’m most hungry for.
From His extravagant banquet hall, beneath the banner of His all-inclusive love, Christ invites, “Come…” — not for a tea party but for Himself. For Jesus is the host, the feast, and the banner.
Imagine with me the moment your forever feet cross the finish line. As you take that final step over the threshold of eternity into His Presence what will overwhelm your heart is not a hankering for food, but an overwhelming hunger (and yet also a complete satisfaction) for Christ Himself. I am sure, down deep in our bellies, we will not be craving the literal food He prepared for our time with Him at the table… because we will be overjoyed that HE IS THE FEAST AT THE TABLE! Time with Him is the sweetest treat that satisfies us eternally! As we feast our eyes on Him, our hearts will finally be fully and forever satisfied!
Oh, my friend, I can only imagine what that day will be like. Perhaps you’ve song the lyrics to this song:
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me
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)
In this season of my life, I rarely think about the food that Christ is going to set upon on the table under the banner that proclaims His love for me. Instead, I think about and deeply desire the sweetness of His Presence. That’s what I’m most hungry for!
Of course, I don’t want to spend my days on earth waiting for that future forever-day to come, when Christ already came to bring His Presence to this earth, to give us His Spirit and His Word to enjoy and feast upon today. I want to get hungry today! To pull up a chair with Him, and to taste and see how sweet it is to abide with His now… and forever.
Oh, how we clamor here on earth, not able to understand the feast that’s spread before us in His Word. We grasp instead for what we think might satisfy. Sweet treats become our reward at each day’s end. We run from sugar high to sugar high instead of running to The Most High! We turn into Starbucks instead of turning our attention to the One who hung the starts! We go to Target but miss the bullseye entirely, because a full cart can’t fill a heart. The problem isn’t an empty shelf, but an empty self! And we stream music and stream movies as though they can fill every crack and crevice in our lives.
Perhaps, instead of food and other fillers you consume social-affirmation like a cocktail and praise just like a prize. You hunger for them, turning to Facebook for your feast, forgetting to put your Face in the Good Book. Forsaking the One who loves you, as you scroll through comments and picture from those who merely “like” you. As though that’s the banquet your heart needs most.
We are a hungry people; hungry for food, for happiness and ease, hungry for cul-de-sac fame and insta-glory. Constantly hungry… though the banqueting table has already been set!
This is why I fast! I fast to remember to feast! I lay down the things that are temporary and ordinary in order to feast upon the One who is eternally extraordinary!
Each time that I host The 40 Day Sugar Fast women all over the world respond to my invitation because they know it’s true! Jesus is the only thing that satisfies and sustains, and the only One who can save and sanctify us in the process. He’s the only One able to fill the holes and make us whole, and holy too. Sugar can’t do that. That is why, today, I am extending that same invitation to you. Come to the banqueting table! It’s heavy laden with scrumptious Scripture to feast upon regularly during your own 40 Day Fast.
Do you turn to sugar to sooth your stress and self-medicate your hurting heart? If not sugar, what do you turn to in lieu of turning (or returning) to Him? Maybe it’s the sugar of social media. Perhaps you go through your days with a fork one hand and a phone in the other. Always consuming but never consuming God’s Word, or letting His love for your consume your hungry heart! Whatever it is that you’ve been feasting on, make the choice to lay that false filler down for 40 Days.
I would love to have you join me for The 40-Day Sugar Fast this coming January. Find out more and sign up for our online community fast here. Or consider grabbing a copy of The 40-Day Social Media Fast. Take a break from those you follow in order to follow Jesus. Follow Him to the extravagant table! For He is the host, the feast, and the sweeping banner that proclaims, “You are loved!”
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord
lack no good thing.
(Psalm 34:8–10, NIV)
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” (Joel 2:12, NIV)
As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat. (Joshua 6:20, ESV)
Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15, NIV)
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart. (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10–12, ESV)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6, ESV)
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
(Psalm 54:4, ESV)
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me to finish his work.” (John 4:34, NIV)
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, ESV)
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16, ESV)
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
(Psalm 139:23–24, ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33, ESV)
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalm 139:13, NIV)
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
(Jeremiah 2:13, NIV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, ESV)
Don’t shoot off your mouth or speak before you think. Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God’s in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better. (Ecclesiastes 5:2, MSG)
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your righthand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:29–30, NIV)
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1Peter 5:8, NIV)
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically every-thing that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (1John 2:15–17, MSG)
Lazy people sleep soundly,
but idleness leaves them hungry.
(Proverbs 19:15, NLT)
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:2, ESV)
O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
(Psalm 63:1, NLT)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NIV)
So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty. (Ezra 8:23, NASB)
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15, NIV)
This the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
“Yes, I am here,” he will quickly reply.
(Isaiah 58:6–9, NLT)
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
(John 21:17, ESV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26–27, NIV)
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
(Song of Solomon 2:4, ESV)
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV)
Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.
In little more than a year you will shudder, you complacent women;
for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come.
Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist
(Isaiah 32:9–11, ESV)
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
(Proverbs 14:1, NASB)
When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?” (Matthew 16:5–10, ESV)
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2, ESV)
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24, NIV)
Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, AMP)
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
(Psalm 1:1–4, NIV)
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, NIV)
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14, NIV)
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.(1 Peter 2:2–3, NIV)