Category Archives: The Lord’s Table

No Leftovers

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When outlining to the Israelites God’s provision for their deliverance from Egypt, Moses told them they were to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the side posts and lintel of the doors of their houses.  This would be their protection when the Destroyer went through the land of Egypt slaying every firstborn of man and beast.

This event is the basis upon which Christians claim their salvation by the blood of Christ, whom the apostle Paul calls “our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7).  In the New Testament, much emphasis is placed on the blood of Christ by which we are saved, and rightly so.

John calls us to give all glory “to Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

Peter reminds us that we were not redeemed with corruptible things like gold or silver from our futile way of life, “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pt. 1:19).

Paul also emphasizes the redemption that is ours through Christ, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” Eph. 1:7).  Paul surely has the Passover in mind when he teaches that, “much more then, being justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom.5:9).

But important as this is, let us remember that in addition to this application of the blood to the doorposts of their houses, Moses gave two other injunctions which the people were to keep. (See Exodus Ch. 12).

They were to keep a feast of unleavened bread seven days.

And the same night in which they applied the blood of the Passover lamb to their doorposts with hyssop, they were to remain in their houses and eat that same lamb.

What is more, they were told there were to be no leftovers.  If any of the lamb remained till the next morning, they were to burn it.

All these aspects of the Passover are significant; not one can be neglected.  I say significant—meaning they were signs pointing to a greater reality.  The blood we have already touched on.  The unleavened bread speaks of a walk “in sincerity and truth,” as Paul explains (1 Cor. 5:8).  We must be genuine; we must walk the talk, or we do despite to the blood of Christ and the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

And we must partake of this Lamb.  Applying the blood does not stand alone and will not produce a working salvation in the person who is not also taking up the cross and sharing this Lamb’s sufferings.  Those who think they have been saved by the blood of the Lamb, but who then give themselves to life in this world and evade His sufferings… they are deceiving themselves.

The Passover lamb was to be roasted in fire and thus eaten; it could not be eaten raw, or boiled in water.  It had to be touched by fire, “his head with his legs, and with the purtenance (the innards) thereof” (Ex. 12:9).  That is to say, both inside and out, this lamb had to go into the fire.  And the Israelites were to partake of this lamb.

So with us.  This must become our own diet, too.  The fires of the Cross must become our own Christian experience—inside and out.

And we must see this for what it is—the highest of privileges.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29).

The word given here has the thought of a gracious privilege.  We aren’t seeing right when we view the cross in our lives as an unwanted burden, and take it up reluctantly, with heavy heart.  We must, as it were, cultivate a taste for Lamb.

We must partake of the Lamb.  And we must do so today… or should I say tonight—that is, during this time of darkness our world is now enshrouded in.  Christians the world over are suffering with the Lamb of God in this night… and are longing for morning.

That morning is nigh at hand.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand.

What about you and me?  For, when that day dawns… when morning comes, resurrection morning… it will be too late to share in Christ’s sufferings anymore.  Too late.

And those who have not suffered with the Lamb of God will have wasted their lives in this world.

God’s Answer For The Famine Of The Word

We have been talking about the famine of hearing of the words of the Lord—words that the Lord Himself speaks, and therefore are living words that sustain us and give us the strength we need for our daily walk in this world.

That’s what bread is for—to strengthen man’s heart (Ps. 104.15).  And we need this daily.  It’s simply impossible to go through the day and meet its demands without the strength of the bread of life.  I know, as long as things are going okay and we are prospering nicely, it seems we can get along without this living Bread.  But the hour is at hand when many people—even many Christians—will suddenly see that their spiritual plates are empty, in fact have been empty for a long time.

Jesus Christ is Himself the bread of life.

I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on my shall never thirst (Jn. 6.25).

Jesus is not speaking here of a one-time thing—when I came to Him and was converted.  He is speaking of a continual coming to Him, and in doing so, discovering an unfailing supply for my daily need whatever that need is.  His promise is that “as are thy days so shall thy strength be” (Dt. 33.25).  In other words, there cannot be a day that proves too much to handle when we come to Him for the bread we need for this day.  This is the experience of many Christians who take their need for the living Bread seriously and come to Him expectantly day by day.

But let’s look at this in larger terms than the twenty-four hour day.  For we are now entering upon a very difficult day, and it is going to require great spiritual strength to get through it.

What provision does God have for this day now dawning?  Apart from a major spiritual revolution we face grievous spiritual famine in our western lands in spite of all the Bibles and Bible studies and Internet resources and weekly sermons by our favourite pastor.  All this, good as it is, was never meant to be the answer for the needs of the world around us.  What is God’s answer then?  Yes I know, Christ Himself.

For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world (Jn. 6.33).

I am the living bread which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever: and the bread which I shall give is my flesh which I shall give for the life of the world (Jn. 6.51).

His flesh?  This caused a strife among those listening.  “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

Even His own disciples found this hard to comprehend.  They couldn’t imagine themselves eating His flesh.  Jesus answered their perplexity with another perplexity.

Doth this offend you?  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?  It is the Spirit that quickeneth (that giveth life): the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life (Jn. 6.62,63).

In other words, it wasn’t eating His physical body that Jesus had in mind.  “It is the Spirit that quickeneth.”  He would ascend into Heaven and by the Holy Spirit speak living words from Heaven, words which to partake of would be one and the same as eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

But there is something else here—a very important implication in Jesus’ statement that “it is the Spirit that quickeneth.”  In sending the Holy Spirit, Christ means you and I, ordinary Christians in the body of Christ, to become His very flesh, the bread that He gives for the life of the world.

For we being many are one bread (or, loaf) and one body; for we are all partakers of that One Bread (1 Cor. 10.12).

Partaking of this One Bread causes us ourselves to become vitally a part of that One Bread.  For, as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

And how is this accomplished—that we become this one loaf and one body?

For by one Spirit are ye all baptized into one body… (1 Cor. 12.13).

This is the implication of His words, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth…”  He is talking of the sending of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, by which, wonder of wonders, we are made one with Him who is in Heaven– are made one Loaf with Him, one Body.

Fellow Christian, we must be earnestly seeking this kind of intermingling and interaction with the Spirit of Christ—something that produces an entirely different kind of church, one in which every single member is a vital participant in the Bread of Life, and there is a very real sense of all having become One Loaf with Christ Himself.

And those in leadership must seek earnestly to give the Spirit of the Lord His liberty and lordship so He can bring this One Loaf into being– His answer for the spiritual hunger of the world.

We have many good pastors and teachers these days who can deliver a good word.  We are thankful for them.  We have many great ministries who through modern media feed multitudes of Christians all the world over with powerful messages. We are thankful for these as well, for they certainly meet a need.

But this will not meet the need of the day at hand.  God has something greater in mind.  In fact even now—can we not recognize this?—we are in a state of famine.  Is not this abundantly clear when we look at the needs of our world around us, first on the local level and then out further?  With all our present provision we are still in a state of famine.

And we will be in a state of famine until this One Loaf begins to appear.

It is this Loaf—the body of Christ—that the Lord has in mind for the day at hand, and is even now preparing.  It is this Loaf that He breaks in His hands to feed every need of the hungry.

This is the Bread that Christ gives for the life of the world.

This is the Loaf that finally brings to an end the famine of the words of the Lord.

Feed God First

Our Lord has accomplished something very special when He sees us beginning to consider His own interests first in all we go through, and in all we seek from Him.  When this becomes our first consideration—when in every problem, every situation, every need, every petition, our foremost concern is our Lord’s own interests—we have come into something very beautiful in His sight.

This is not to say that our problems and needs are not God’s own interests.  They are.  He cares for us deeply.  But His primary goal in all the things we are going through is that we have fellowship with Him in the midst of it all—that we come to know Him, and be conformed to the image of His Son.

It was the Father’s interests that were His own interests.

Take the story of the widow of Zarephath in the time of her great need.  When she met Elijah she was out with her son gathering sticks for the fire so she could bake her last bit of flour, and then die, she told him.  Don’t be afraid, yes, do that, Elijah responded.  “But make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and thy son” (1 Ki. 17.13).  Kind of selfish of him, wasn’t it, taking a poor widow’s last meal?  But this was a man who stood before God.  God’s interests had become his own, God’s hunger His own.  And he wanted this woman to know that regardless how desperate her need was, she would come out the loser if she too did not make God’s need her own– her priority.

But when she did this, behold how wonderfully God met her need!

The same with you and me.  God is not being selfish when in the midst of our great anguish and deep need He says, “Feed Me first.”  It is our own great advantage He has in mind–that is, bringing us to the place where His advantage has become our own.

Yes, we seek Him for His help in all our dire circumstances and deep needs.  But getting Him to answer our need is not the first in importance.  First comes fellowship with Him, and getting knowing Him and His own heart’s longing.  First comes worshipping Him—which means giving Him our all on the altar of burnt sacrifice to satisfy His own great longing for you and me.

Otherwise God may become to us no more than a dispenser of help for our troubles, one who answers our prayers… but we still haven’t come to know Him, to walk with Him, and become like Him.

We may have a deep wound that some circumstance has brought into our life.  But to have been wounded with the wound of longing for God… this is a precious gift that can only be healed in finding Him in the midst of what we are going through.  It causes our first prayer in all things to be, Lord, I want to, I must… know You in this thing!  This is my first and great desire above and beyond Your answering my prayers and meeting my needs.  I must know You!  Bring me through the secret door in this situation, which, going through, I discover myself face to face with You in my great distress, and come to know You in a deeper way.  And in this way I become a kind of firstfruits that satisfies Your own deep hunger… for fellowship with one who is just like You.  For, the firstfruits are always Your own to enjoy first– and then when Your own hunger is satisfied others enjoy the bounty.

So… are you and I in the midst of a trial that is very difficult for us?  Let us be crying out like Job, then.  He cried out in the midst of his great trial, “Oh, that I knew where I might find HIM” (Job 23.3).  We must find GOD in our trial—as Job did.  So often our prayer is, “Deliver me from the trial, Lord!”  Job cried that too in his anguish.  But God answered Him in a way that was higher than Job could comprehend at the moment.  God’s objective was that Job come to know Him—actually see Him.

He has the same thing in mind for you and me.  That is His objective in what we are going through—that we find Him.  God Himself, that is.  The implication is becoming one with Him… as Elijah was.  “Make me a little cake first,” he had said.  It was God’s request, really. 

…And look how God answered Job after He had first brought him to know Him—know him oh so wonderfully—like never before.

“Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is full of tender pity, and compassionate” (James 5.11).

I think of David in the midst of all his trials and afflictions—how he swore unto the LORD that his first priority would be to make a habitation for his God (Ps. 132.1-5).  See how God responded?  Once He has that habitation for Himself He says, “I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.  I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.”

God is not unmindful of our needs and great longings.  Far from it.  But our God is a God of great love, and great wisdom.  His love for us is, oh, so deep.  When what we long for seems so far away, is nowhere in sight, there is something near He is working to help us discover—something very special He has in mind for us to find right there in the midst of our trial and unanswered prayer—Himself.  This is His own great longing.  And this is why we find ourselves in this kind of trial—and needing to endure, like Job, and be patient.  Our God loves us deeply, and wants the very best for us.  The very best.  He wants us to find Him in our trial.  Once this happens, and patience has had its perfect work, like the widow of Zarephath we will find our desires and prayers answered far more fully than we were ever able to formulate.

The Ever Increasing Kingdom

There is a feast that “mends in length” — that grows greater, better, richer, fuller, deeper, the longer it continues.  This feast is, really, the table of the Kingdom of God, where we are sitting down with our King at His table, and in His kingdom.

It is a kingdom the increase of which shall know no end.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice from henceforth forever” (Isaiah 9.6,7).

There shall be no end to the increase of this kingdom—its government, its peace.  This kingdom is an everlasting kingdom that cannot be destroyed.  In fact, as many as have sought to come against and destroy this kingdom have only caused it to increase.

Daniel saw “a Stone cut out without hands” (there’s your Rock that came down from Heaven, Cole) that smote a great image of gold and silver and bronze and iron and clay—smote it upon its feet.  And the whole thing came crashing down, “and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.  And the Stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2.35).

This is what happened at Calvary.  The Son of God at Calvary, as they drove in the nails— it was God who was doing the smiting.

Jesus the Son of God had come on the scene pronouncing that the kingdom of the heavens was at hand.  He went about ministering this wonderful kingdom—preaching to the poor the Glad Tidings of this kingdom, healing the sick, casting out demons…  The kingdom of God was not something to come some distant day down the ages.  The king of the kingdom was present!  The kingdom of God had come nigh!

“But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11.20).

Satan was not happy with all this.  If this One were allowed to continue on, it would be the utter demise of his own kingdom.  He had to do something about it.  And so he conspired to have the King of this kingdom crucified.

People get fascinated by conspiracy theories.  God had His own conspiracy par excellence in the works.  What happened at Calvary was a sting operation like none other.  For, when Satan sought to put a halt to this kingdom by conspiring to have the king of this kingdom crucified—and he succeeded in his evil design—much to his everlasting dismay, all he succeeded in doing was causing this kingdom to increase!

For, when the risen and ascended King sat down on the Throne of the Kingdom at the right hand of the Father and sent forth His Holy Spirit upon the waiting disciples, this was the increase of His kingdom!  And now they went forth in multiplied numbers proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Acts 8.12, 14.22, 19.8, 28.23,31) .

Oh, what a wonder.  Oh, the wisdom of God—“the wisdom of God in a mystery… which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Corinthians 2.8).

In spite of all his knowledge—and he prides himself on his knowledge, we are told: Ezekiel 28.3,17—Satan (I say this respectfully) seems to be a slow learner.  He just never seems able to comprehend the wisdom of the Cross.  For he continues to assault this everlasting kingdom to this day.  What shall the end be of all his malice, I wonder?  For he is working overtime these days, intent on obliterating this kingdom from the earth.  At times it seems he has almost succeeded… as he did that day at Calvary.  (We are smiling at this now, aren’t we?)

…Beloved saints of the Most High—the ones Daniel in another of his visions saw taking the kingdom, Dan. 7,18—let us not be slow learners ourselves.  Let us walk in the wisdom of God.  Let us take up our own cross, and follow Jesus.  I confess… I myself have been such a slow learner in this area.  Even so, I continue to take my place as a disciple at the feet of Jesus.  For, wherever the saints of the Most High are taking up their cross and following Jesus, are standing true in their troubles, are fighting the good fight of faith, are fighting the Lamb’s war, are seeking to overcome evil with good, are walking in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit… this is the fellowship of the “kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ”—and the increase of His everlasting kingdom is inevitable.

And God has a surprise in store.  The hour is at hand when this kingdom shall “come”—shall be openly manifested in great fullness.  When, and where, shall it stop?  Never, apparently.

Daniel saw this mountain filling the whole earth.  Isaiah saw a day when its increase would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11.9).

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The Ever Increasing Feast

There is a feast that forever mends in length – it grows greater, richer, fuller.  The longer it goes, the greater it grows.  The more this feast is partaken of, the more there is to partake of.

What a wonder.  How can this be?  How can there be more in the dish after I have taken from it?  Yet it is so.  Jesus began to feed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes.  Yet after they had all eaten and were full, there was more left over than when they began.
“And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14.20).
How did this come about?  It happened because the five loaves and two fishes were broken in His hands.

“…And (He) took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake…”

Wonderful mystery.  Christ’s hands break the loaves, and suddenly a great increase takes place.

This reminds us of His words to His disciples at the feast of the Passover before He suffered.  Here is Paul’s account of it.

“…The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread;
And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you…” (1 Corinthians 11.24).

What an amazing thing.  His body was broken on the Cross.  Yet this breaking was the very thing that caused that Body to increase!
…And it increases to this day – the many-membered body of Christ – and it grows greater in spite of all that comes against it.  In fact all attempts to break it – difficult circumstances, afflictions, persecutions – only cause it to grow and multiply.

How can this be?  It is the wondrous power of resurrection life at work.  Jesus said on the eve of the Cross, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12.24).

Let us remember this in the midst of our own trials and sufferings — our own breakings.  Let us be assured of the wondrous power of God in the mystery of the Cross of Christ.  The Cross of Christ is that wondrous way by which God, in His great wisdom, brought to naught the power of death.

For, what is falling into the ground and dying to a seed?

If that living Seed is in you and me, nothing that comes against us can hurt us.  In fact, all that comes against us only causes that Seed to grow, and multiply.
And… what is breaking to a loaf of bread?

When we keep our hearts aright — when we stay in the loving hands of our Lord — nothing can rob us of our place at this ever-increasing Table… where we are both guest, and, in His hands, the bread He breaks for others.

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Welcome to A Mending Feast

Welcome to A Mending Feast! No, this is not an online sewing bee; it’s my contribution to the Table of the Lord. Please come in and sit down and make yourself at home. It’s my hope that all who partake here will taste and see that the Lord is good, and gracious, and will leave with appetites whetted to know Him more and more.

This has been my own experience at His table, which He invited me to sit down at some forty years ago: me, at the time a beggar sitting in a dunghill. He picked me up, and caused me to sit down among princes at His table. And oh, what a Table it is! It fills me, yet leaves me hungering for more of Him; it grows; it gets better all the time.

And that’s the meaning of the title of this blog, which was inspired from a line in an old poem by George Herbert (1593-1633).

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife,
Such a life as killeth death.

Come my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a light as shows a feast,
Such a feast as mends in length,
Such a strength as makes His guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a joy as none can move,
Such a love as none can part,
Such a heart as joys in love.

Isn’t this a wondrous poem? I love poetry that leads me in worship, and this is certainly one of them. Herbert saw that it is Christ Himself who is all things to the Christian — our Way, our Truth, our Life… the Way of the Spirit, of the Wind, that, to walk in is moment-by-moment breath to us; the Truth in Whom mercy and truth are met together, in Whom righteousness and peace have kissed; the Life who, dying in the will of God, vanquished him that had the power of death with his own weapon. He is our Light, our Feast, our Joy… the Light that shows a feast spread for us in the very presence of our enemies…

…A feast that “mends in length.” In the old King’s English Dictionary my friend Reg gave me years ago, one of the definitions for “mend” is, “verb, intransitive: to grow better, to improve.” The perfect word to describe the Feast of the Lord! All the feasts of earth sooner or later come to an end, with the guests departed, the table depleted, the once full dishes now empty and forlorn.

Not so this Table. This feast never ends – and it mends in length: the longer it goes the greater it grows, and just gets better, and better, and better, and fuller, and greater, and richer, and leaves the soul, oh, so satisfied… yet hungering for more, and more, and more.

There’s so much in this beautiful old poem, for there is so much in our wondrous Lord Jesus Christ. His feast is a feast that makes us, imparts strength to us: we sit down famished, weak and feeble, but rise up strengthened for whatever is before us. His joy is a joy that none can move, that no man taketh from us; His love is a love that rejoiceth in the truth, is a love that nothing can separate us from.

…And, whatever it was that our hearts rejoiced in when our hearts were in darkness, now we have a heart like His own – a heart that joys in love.

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