Too Adventageous? God's Advent Menu

AdventFBcover I LOVE food because it brings people together.

The room that has the most fun and chatter when my family gets together is the kitchen.

We share recipes, bake Grandma's sour cream sugar cookies, enjoy a large family meal. Even last night at Advent by Candlelight each table had their own unique dessert.

Preparing a meal for more than yourself is an act of love and service.

Remember how I spoke last week that Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us? He is also preparing a way to bring us to himself - and that's with food.

When Jesus heard that John the Baptist was beheaded he was deeply sad and looked for a place to go on his own. But instead a large multitude followed him. What did Jesus do? Ignore them? Tell them to go away? No. God's word says that Jesus had compassion on them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, healed them, gave thanks to God for the little food they had - 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Then he fed them. He fed them all. At least 5,000 of them. This miracle is hospitality at its finest and Jesus did not hold back. What brought these people together? More than food. It was Jesus. The Bread of Life.

Near the end of Jesus' life, he celebrated the Passover with the disciples in Jerusalem. And would you believe it, even when he knew he was about to die he was serving. He washed the disciples feet and ate his final meal with them. Imagine the disciples preparing the lamb as THE perfect Lamb of God was preparing to die as well. The Lamb of God saves us just as the lambs saved the Israelites in Egypt. What bought the Israelites freedom? What brought the disciples together? What makes us right again? Jesus' body. Jesus' blood.

The bread. The wine. Given for you. Given for me.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom." - Matthew 26:26-28

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God still prepares food for us to enjoy now. Spiritual food and drink bring us closer to Jesus.

The food God prepares for us doesn't fade away, melt, rot, or disintegrate.

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. - John 6:35

Through Christ we are invited to a feast - a FEAST! Imagine seeing all the believers in Jesus around the table together. In heaven the food will never run out and it will be perfect.

Until then, Jesus gives our faith the nourishment it needs.

We have full access to the Bread of Life in His Word.

In baptism the Living Water washes our sins away making us new. (Acts 16:31-33)

During communion we eat the bread, Jesus' body and drink the wine, his blood. We are one with Christ and through faith in Him he joins us with others who believe. God's food brings believers together.

God is preparing the greatest banquet for us in heaven! (John 14:1-4) There we will be with him forever! 

In the parable of the Great Banquet there is an important warning to us believers about keeping God as top priority over everything else. During this busy time of Advent I pray that we put nothing equal to our LORD. Jesus gets the praise. Jesus gets the honor. Jesus gets our attention.

Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God. - Luke 14:15b

 

Click here to print off the bible study that goes along with this blog post!

1. Read Luke 14:15-24! When do I make excuses to Jesus and say, "Please excuse me" like the invited guests during the Advent season? Remember, just like our Advent plans, there are good things that can distract and lead us away from Jesus.

2. Read John 6:25-40! This bible reading comes after the famous stories of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and when he walks on water to the disciples' boat. Why did Jesus not give them a sign to see in order to believe in him? What were the motives of the crowd?

3. Discuss! What are some specific ways that you can serve those that are in need around you? Pray for them. Write their names down and share food to fill their bellies and souls!

4. Read John 6:41-59! Why was it a struggle for the crowd to believe Jesus' words? How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

5. Read John 4:31-38! How can we share in Jesus' food? Where do we find comfort in these passages?

6. Read Matthew 26:26-29! What do we have to look forward to in our Father's kingdom?

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*If you use the bible study in a group or share it with another please give source credit to me and the blog. Thank you!

The "Too Adventageous" series is made up of four bible studies: 1) My Advent Schedule 2) God's Advent Menu 3) God's Christmas Decor 4) God's Christmas Gift

During the rest of the week you can find me at our private online bible study Facebook group where we dive deeper into God’s word and talk about it. If you want to be a part of the bible study I highly recommend being a part of the Facebook group where we get to know you more and be mutually encouraged! The Facebook group is private so any information that you share will be seen only by those allowed in the group.

You can join the Facebook online bible study group by clicking here.

Let's Make a Plan

Today we are going to explore the art that is menu planning. Long ago, as in about three years ago, I did not plan my weekly meals. Is it possible to become a Type A personality over time? (Those of you that know me are probably thinking, when was she ever not Type A?! I digress...) I remember my husband and I going to the grocery store and thinking of ideas of what we wanted to eat that week while sitting in the car, in the parking lot, two minutes before entering the store. No list. No plan. Just going off the cravings of our hungry bellies. Isn't that the first rule of grocery shopping? Eat first, shop second! Alas, we were little lost and hungry ducks, wandering those grocery store aisles. "Oh! Let's have tacos!" "We have tacos every week. Let's have something else." "Okay, how about... pizza? or that one mushroom thing you made once." "What?" "You know. That one time." It probably goes without saying that we ate out often, wasted food that was bought unnecessarily on an empty tummy whim, forgot ingredients all the time, and spent far too much time, and in turn, money. Fast forward a couple years, and you will find me, newly self-proclaimed (or perhaps the word is recognized) Type A, with my paws on an organized grocery list and menu, (still) wandering at the grocery store. This method I have tweaked over the past couple years and is essential to keeping me organized. This in turn provides better, more creative meals for my little family and allows us to waste less, utilize more from our groceries, save time, and eat out less.

The obvious task to start with is planning your meals for the length of time between your grocery visits. For me this is about one week, give or take a day or two. This step can get involved as I usually look for new recipes to try. I find that finding fresh and creative meals keeps me motivated to spend time in the kitchen. If you know that new recipes aren't your thing, you can just use a rotation of your tried and true, fail proof recipes. If you hate the whole planning part, plan one month at a time and get it over with. Whatever works for you and your family is the right choice. One helpful tip is to locate the ad for the grocery store while planning. If I know that my favorite ground turkey is on sale, we may have chili. If I know that peppers are on sale, we may end up having fajitas. Another aspect that I try to bring into menu planning is what lunches will be during the week. My husband and I are not really sandwich people, so I try to make the meals with a decent amount of leftovers that reheat well early in the week, so we can eat them for lunches during the week.

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While planning your meals, make yourself an (organized) list. I divide my grocery list into sections to make it easier for me to find items in the grocery store. Here I divided into "Produce, Meat, Cold, Dry." I often add an "Other" category if I have things like toilet paper, or plastic wrap to get. So if I write down Teriyaki Steak Stir Fry for Sunday, I look at the recipe and write down the ingredients I need in the corresponding columns. Key point here, unless you have made this recipe a lot, it is SO EASY to forget one simple ingredient. Do yourself a favor and look at the recipe. This will also give you an idea of the quantity of items that you need. For the steak stir-fry, I need two and half cups of broccoli, so I indicate that on the list. I also take the time and look in the cupboard/fridge/freezer to make sure we have the ingredients I think we have. How many times have you gotten home and said, well I thought I had that? (I still do it, but it's a lot less.) Having my freezer inventory has helped a great deal with this. While you are writing down your ingredients, you can also take this opportunity to find any coupons you may have to use. If so, indicate a "C" next to that item on the list. That way when you get to the store, you know to pull the coupon. You can make sure you have met the requirements of the coupon, and hopefully not forget any in the shopping trip.

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Finally, I organize any prep work that needs to happen during the week. I work a few days a week, so I usually try to partially prepare my meals prior to those days. That way dinner can be a snap when we are under pressure (i.e. Penny is screaming at my legs that she wants "nigh nigh" and demanding to be held while I try to make dinner). So if I need to chop vegetables, I can already have that done. If I am making black bean soup one night, I'll make my black beans a day or two ahead of time.

The key thing to remember is that you need to find what works best for you and your family. Planning, any which way you go about doing it, is key to having more healthy, balanced and creative meals on the table, to eating out less, to wasting less, and to keeping more pennies in your wallet.

We thought our readers could benefit from a template, if you don't already have one of your own, for ease in menu planning. We have two different Meal Planners to choose from: one is all about the details and the other is more general. Click the Meal Planner you like best and a PDF will open so you can print as many as you'd like! Also, make sure to pin or bookmark this post so you can refer back to it later when you need to print more.

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What methods do you use to plan out your weekly meals? Do you think you will start planning more now if you didn't before? For those Type A'er's out there, do you have any tips for us? Please share!

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