Formed by Food – Part 1

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Good morning, everybody. Good morning to all of you online. Is everybody ready for a whiplash transition out of the Book of Judges? Because that’s where we’re headed today. If you’re visiting with us, we’ve been in the Book of Judges in the Old Testament of the Bible for the past four months, and we are not going to be there today. We are headed in a completely different direction.

Did you know that Jell-O and Christians have a lot in common? It’s true. Jell-O has many flavors. Christians are very diverse. Jell-O is loved by some and hated by others, and unfortunately, that’s kind of true of Christians, as well. Jell-O is always served at a potluck, and for whatever reason, Christians seem to love potlucks. But most importantly, Jell-O and Christians are the same in that they’re both moldable. They’re both moldable. Jell-O is moldable. It can be thrown into any shape at all, and it’s going to retain that shape. So, similarly, someone who follows Jesus, they find themselves poured into Jesus, so to speak. That is, as we follow Jesus, we’re constantly being formed into his shape and his person. Scripture put it puts it this way — God is conforming us to the image of Jesus. That process of being conformed or molded into the image of Jesus is sometimes called in church world “spiritual formation.” A guy who writes a lot about that named Dallas Willard, says this.

“Spiritual formation is when people are inwardly transformed in such a way that the personality and deeds of Jesus Christ naturally flow out of them, so that what comes out of them automatically are the words and deeds of Christ.”

So, spiritual formation, or becoming like Jell-O, is a Christian becoming set in the image of Jesus. Just like Jell-O goes into that mold and then sets, we are in Christ, and we begin to retain his image. So, in each day of our life, our real, mundane, everyday life, all of the things we do are formational opportunities because Jesus himself was human. The life he lived … he lived a real life every day and lived it in such a way that we should follow the way he lived. So, inspecting our daily life provides us a way to consider where we can choose to become more like his image. What do we do every day with this life that we’ve been given that we can use to form ourselves more fully into the image of Jesus?

Did you know right now life expectancy in the United States is seventy-nine years? We all have about-ish seventy-nine years in which to become more and more like Jesus. So, what do we actually do in those seventy-nine years? In general, what does all of humanity do? Well, a study in the UK listed in order of time the things we do the most. So, here’s what we do the most.

Number one, we spend nearly 30% of our life sleeping. That’s right. One-third of your existence is spent unconscious. You drool and snore and sleep for one-third of your entire life. Nearly 20% of your life is spent working, going to a job in some way, earning money, taking care of family, paying bills. And now, at this moment in culture, 13% of our life is spent in front of a screen. Think TV, movies, social media, video games, laptops, iPads, posting, liking, commenting. That’s 13% of the average person’s life.

So, as a quick recap, 63% of your life is sleeping, working, and screening. So, as an example, how could those things be used as formational opportunities, ways for us to get set into the image of Jesus? Well, sleeping is a hard one because, I mean, we can admit that we need sleep and that God gives us sleep, like he says in Psalm 4, but you can’t multitask during sleeping because you’re unconscious. So, you can’t actively do much with sleeping.

With working … Well, we did a series on that here at our church two summers ago, connecting who we are in Jesus to what we actually do … connecting who we are in work to Jesus.

Then we can talk about screening. Maybe we need to do a series on what does it look like to follow Jesus in a digital world and be very specific. But for today and next week, I want us to look at what we do fourth most in life. The fourth most we do is food, eating. We spend 5% or three to four years of our life eating. Food — breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks. Over the course of your life, you’re going to invest three to four years in eating food. And I want to argue today that food is an opportunity for spiritual multitasking, for discipleship investment, for purposeful worship. Food is actually a built-in habit that every one of us has to do, and food is all through the scriptures, cover to cover. It begins and ends with food. The Gospels themselves give us many accounts of Jesus eating. Food is everywhere in the Bible.

So, this is going to be kind of a different way to study the Scriptures this week and next. We’ve been going through one book for four months. Now we’re going to step back and look at something that’s throughout the Bible and see what that has to say about us.

[Do you have another pack, Brian, that we might switch to? If we don’t, and we get it much more, I’m going to go here. Yeah? You good? Cool. We’ll figure it out after that.]

So, two weeks, we’re going to focus on this big idea. [I’ll try to stop moving as much, as well. Good luck. That was not a great place for you all to laugh at me.] Okay. So, for two weeks, we’re going to focus on this big idea of food forms us. Food forms us. Food forms us in three ways — fueling, fasting, and feasting. Fueling, fasting, and feasting. We’re going to talk about fueling this week; the other two, next week. Food forms us through fueling.

Now, I want to make an important clarification here that is something we need to think through. When I say fueling, the idea that we’re fueling ourselves, I’m not saying that food is simply or only fuel. Justin Earley, in a great book called One Common Rule, Habits of Purpose in an Age of Distraction, reminds us well of this. He says … Justin Earley, in his book, One Common Rule, he says this about this idea of food and fuel.

“Of course, we can’t live without eating, so we make a concession to stop and stuff something in our mouths, as if food is simply a fuel — which is to say that our bodies are simply machines. But we’re not machines, we’re human beings. A people who are made to eat. Regularly. And with others…. We were created to be: dependent and communal human beings.”

So, my clarification is this: to reduce food to only fuel — and you hear this said a lot in the athletic circles of the world — to reduce food to only fuel is dangerous because that says something about what it means to be human. And we’re going to see in the Bible that food is used for more than just fuel. We’re going to talk about feasting next week. So, when I say fueling, that we’re formed with food through fueling, I’m specifically talking about the idea of our dependence, that we are dependent. Our bodies are fuel dependent, and food is that fuel. And because that’s true, fueling demands humility. And that’s how food can form us into the image of Jesus. Fueling our bodies demands humility. We depend upon food. Be humble.

Did you know that ten out of ten doctors, scientists, dentists, business workers, and actors all agree that you’re dependent upon food? Everyone agrees we’re dependent upon food. Now the human body can go for a while without food, especially if it has water forty days, some records up to even seventy days. But the state of that existence is terrible — shortness of breath, hair loss, anemia, bone density loss, dry skin, exhaustion. And that list goes on and on. You need food.

Let me prove it even further. How many of you know what the term “hangry” means? Yeah, everybody! And everybody in here is like, “But that’s not me; it’s someone else that I have to deal with.” If you don’t know what hangry is, it’s the person who, when they get the slightest bit angry, may become a little bit more irritable and aggressive in their manner. They’re hangry.

We’re so dependent upon food, not just to live, but to think and feel rightly in a given moment. That’s why we need food to survive, think, feel. We’re wholly dependent. And since that is inarguably true, food humbles you because you realize your existence, no matter who you are, is completely dependent upon the intake of calories. Every person in this room exists in a state of need. So, the next time you eat something, humble yourself and recognize your dependence.

We also see our dependence (we’re humbled) when we realize we depend upon other people for food. In my lunchbox right now, in that building in my office are two avocados that I both cannot grow in this state, and even if I could, I lack the capacity and ability to do so. I’m dependent upon other people. I’m dependent upon people for grain so that I have pitas for chickpeas so that I can have hummus and falafel. I’m dependent upon people all over the world for my food, and I think that many of us in here, not just me, many of us are so clueless about how many people we depend upon just so that we can have lunch in about an hour. And food, therefore, is a moment of dependency, not independency. I’m dependent on farmers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, shelf stockers, field workers, canning factory workers, coffee growers, vineyard workers, orchard workers, heavy machine operators, and on and on and on and on.

Food is a moment where I can recognize my neighbor. And what did Jesus tell us about our neighbor? Love your neighbor. Someone actually did grow and take care of that avocado in my office. I’m dependent upon them. And therefore, I think for followers of Jesus, the food we eat in a restaurant or at home or we buy is an opportunity to love our neighbor. So, for me — and I’m at the very beginnings of this and I’m not trying to bind your conscience, but I want you to think it through — I think the principle of loving our neighbor is why we should care where our food comes from and how people are treated that grow it and ship it and bring it to us. Why? Because I’m supposed to love my neighbor, not take advantage of my neighbor. So, we’re dependent upon food physically, but as a people, we’re dependent upon our neighbor collectively who provides our food. So the next time you eat, humble yourself. Recognize your dependence.

Ultimately, more importantly than both of those, we depend upon God for food. Be humble. God created food. God’s the originator of everything, including food. Genesis 2:8-9 says this:

“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”

God created man with a need for food, and what I think is wild is that dependency was true before sin. Adam and Eve were created in a context of needing God’s goodness, God providing them food. We were created to need God’s goodness specifically for food. God not only created that food, he then guides His creation towards that food. Genesis 1:29,

“And God said to them, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’”

Two observations — number 1, the above is really good news for plant-based eaters among us. Not to be superior — Garden of Eden, plant-based diet. Observation number 2, did you notice that the Bible took time to tell you that God feeds animals? Just put that right up here. We’re going to come back to that one.

So, what about meat? Well, after Noah builds an ark and saves the world, God says this. Genesis 9:3,

“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

God expands his gift of food for his people, plants, and animals. So, when you sit down for your lunch today, no matter what’s on that plate, humble yourself. God created what you’re eating.

Secondly, God sustains food. He not only created it, he continues to sustain it. So, there’s this interesting passage in Job 5 [verses 8-10]. It says this.

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields.”

An example of God’s unsearchable, marvelous, without-number acts of great things is this — he makes it rain. In the context, this is a guy named Eliphaz trying to encourage his friend Job, who went through a really bad time of suffering. And his advice is kind of good at times and kind of bad. But here it’s really good. He’s drawing Job’s attention to who God really is. God waters the fields of the earth with rain so that we have food. Food sources have to have rain. Rain only has one source — God.

I’m not sure we often think about that. Rain … I think for South Carolina/Greenville area culture, lack of rain in the summer is primarily talked about in one way, and that’s whenever the lakes are low, and it affects sports out on the lake and going there with your boat. That’s when it makes news. In California, this is a headline about lack of rain — “1.4 million in California restricted water use due to drought.” What was the restriction? They couldn’t water lawns. That’s how we think of lack of rain.

In the Old Testament when they think about lack of rain, they’re thinking about localized, regional, and national famine. From Job’s day to our day, God sustains our food sources with the simple gift of rain. It’s all over the Old Testament — God’s power and kindness associated with the reality of rain. Why? Because without rain, we all die, even with our ability to ship food worldwide so there’s always a guava at Publix for someone to buy. Everywhere around the world depends upon rain so that we have food. So, the next time you eat and you see what’s on your plate, humble yourself. God sustained that food you’re eating.

We discover that God gifts us food. He didn’t just create it and sustain it; he’s now a gift-giver of it. So, when songwriters in the Bible wanted to come up with a way to describe God’s power and his attention and his kindness, they repeatedly used the idea of God giving food. It’s all over the Psalms. Let me just give you a sample of it.

Psalm 104:14-15, “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

Psalm 136:25, “…he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Psalm 145:15-16, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Psalm 147:7-9, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!” [Why?] “He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food and to the young ravens that cry.”

So, I told you to put in the back of your mind this idea of why in the world does the Bible talk about God feeding animals? Did you notice every song here talked about God feeding animals or making grass grow?

Most of you guys know Bryan Gilbert. He typically leads worship. He’s off today. I almost asked Bryan to write a brand new song for us called, “Cows and Ravens” and make it the first song that we sang with absolutely no setup. I even had a pretty good lyric —

“When cows receive their food / They moo with gratitude.”

That’s not bad. I mean, it needs a little massaging, but, you know.

But I literally thought if we do that song, we are going to get a ton of anonymous comment cards that are in these chairs out here of people saying, “Why are the elders making us sing cow and raven songs? That’s ridiculous.” It’s all over the Psalter. God’s people gathered together and said, “Okay, what are we going to sing about? He makes grass grow. He feeds ravens. That’s a good song.” God gifts his creation food. We have to consider the reality of how mundane the scriptures want us to see God’s work all the way down to whether or not a cow has grass. God gifts us food. And God gifts us good food, beautiful food. Do you remember that passage I read in Genesis 2? God caused the trees to grow, and they were pleasant to the sight. God gifts his people beautiful food.

Some food just looks amazing in its raw condition. Why are there so many colors of citrus? Legit! Really! Why does it exist like that? Have you ever seen a star fruit? Do you know what that is? That’s a star fruit. It’s literally in the shape of a star, which is why it’s called star fruit. Have you ever eaten dragon fruit? How about a kiwi? You cut a kiwi open, and it’s kind of organized and linear and round at the same time. God gifts beautiful food to his people.

And then if you consider what I read in Psalm 104, God causes this stuff to grow. He gives rains and grass so that that grows so that man can cultivate and bring forth food and create other food like wine and bread and oil. So, we take these natural, beautiful ingredients, and then we cultivate and make something brand new. And through creative genius like that, you get southern biscuits. You get Danishes. You get sushi platters. You get to tamales. You get gyros. You get bibimbap. Oh, I’ve lost all of you by now! Everybody’s gone! These are all gifts that we are able to create from the real things God created, and all of that creation is mimicry of God’s creativity.

But God’s gift of food doesn’t stop there. Remember, God lets you taste all of this. God made you so that you could taste all of these things, like 85% dark chocolate, donuts, roasted autumn vegetables, shrimp cocktail, a double cheeseburger with chili, bacon, onions and mustard, and a warm chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven. See, I said this during first service. I wish you guys could all be up here and watch your faces as I’m describing food. It’s hilarious! I have complete control of all of you right now. Why? But why is that a reality? Why do you smile? Why are you laughing? Why, when I said, “warm chocolate chip cookie” did forty of you go, “Oh”? Because Yahweh gave it to you. God himself gave it to you. He gifted it to you.

Did you know? I think it’s hilarious. Well, I don’t know if that’s the right word. I think it’s odd that in culture, one of the things we do to talk about being negative is we talk about food being negative. We communicate something about it, like “institutional food,” “prison food,” “hospital food,” “English food.” Sorry! Sorry, English people. Or think of a scene in a movie that has to do with bad food. More than likely, in somebody’s brain in here, is somebody walking through a cafeteria line with a silver tray, some angry worker behind the counter slopping gray porridge onto that tray. It’s bad food. That’s not the way God gifts food. God gifts us beautiful food that we then get to create and mimic his creativity and make it beautiful.

Did you know Jesus himself recognizes God as a gift-giver of food in the most famous prayer in the Bible (and probably the most famous prayer in history) in the Lord’s Prayer? And I’m going to kick it a little old-school. I’m going to quote it from the King James Version.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

If you know this, finish it with me.

“Give us this day our [daily bread].”

Huh. When the disciples asked Jesus, “teach us how to pray,” one thing Jesus included was, you have to thank God as the gift-giver of food. God literally gifts us food every day.

So, the next time we eat, let’s humble ourselves. God gifted you that food. Fueling demands humility. Fueling our bodies with food demands humility, and cultivating humility is immediately becoming more like Jesus, who humbled himself when he came to this earth and died on a cross in your place. Fueling demands humility.

Fueling also generates thanksgiving. Fueling our bodies generates thanksgiving. I’m going to make up a definition for thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is humility vocalized. Thanksgiving is humility vocalized. We vocalize our dependence when we say, “Thank you” to anyone for whatever it is they did for us. We say thank you for something we’ve been given that we didn’t have or that we needed. And I want us to see this connection between God giving food to His people, to the earth, and in response, God’s people responding with blessing and thanks and joy.

And we’re going to go kind of on a whirlwind tour of the Scriptures and see how this works. So, this is in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 8. We’re going to start with Israel. Did Israel live that way with food and thanking God? Deuteronomy 8 [verses 7-10],

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of … [notice all the food] … wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing…. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”

You receive all of this food from the earth, and in response, you bless God. You make God happy in return by saying, “Thank you.” That’s Israel.

Jesus, in his life models this same connection. Just a sampling.

Luke 22:17-19, “And he took a cup [and Jesus took a cup], and when he had given thanks, he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it apart and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”

John 6:11, “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.”

I could quote additional moments where Jesus does this, but what I want us to notice is how normal it seems for Jesus. He did it twice in one meal — connected the food he was given to thanking God. It’s almost rhythmic with Jesus if you read the Gospels and his interaction with food. He comes to food, he thanks God, and then He does something else. So, that’s Israel, Jesus.

The early church demonstrates the same connection between meals and thanks.

Acts 2:42 [and 46], “And [these new converts, the new church] … they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.”

So, the new church devoted themselves to eating together.

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes [eating together], they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”

Now, the text doesn’t specifically say “thanks” or “thanksgiving,” but you get the vibe of what’s going on. These people are recognizing the food they’ve been given, they respond in a glad way, and then give it away to somebody else, mimicking God, the gift-giver of food.

Paul, even in the middle of dire circumstances like a shipwreck, in the middle of a shipwreck, connects food and thanksgiving.

Acts 27 [verses 35-36], “Paul took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.”

And this is at the end of a long time of not eating to save food during a shipwreck. But even then, Paul connects food and thanks.

Paul, in this one moment, where he’s describing how some Christians are going to choose to partake certain food and other Christians are going to choose not to partake certain food. In the context, it’s food offered to idols. Some people could eat it, and some people couldn’t based on their conscience. No matter what, Paul says this.

Romans 14 [verse 6], “The one who eats [the particular food] … The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God.”

So, whether you choose to eat a particular food or you don’t eat a particular food, everyone needs to be thankful. 1 Corinthians 10:30-31 (Paul is saying this of himself),

“If I partake [of a particular food] with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?”

Why would you judge me or denounce me for what I eat if I’m thankful to God for it?

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Paul teaches his protege Timothy about the sanctifying power of thanksgiving and food.

1 Timothy 4 [verse 4], “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

Thanksgiving over food sets it apart as something distinct and holy.

And if all of those references to food and thanksgiving don’t make my point, consider this broad generalization that Paul gives in Colossians 3 [verse 17],

“And whatever you do, in word or deed [whether you’re speaking or doing] … whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Fueling our dependent bodies with food generates thanksgiving. Humble, dependent people say, “Thank you” to God.

Now, being thankful to God for food and praying before a meal are two very different things. Just because we throw in a rote prayer before we eat, because that’s what all Christians need to do, doesn’t mean we’re thankful. Being thankful is choosing to be thankful in the moment, and you can express that in any numbers of ways in prayer. Thanksgiving, I think, is really, really important, and I want to give you one illustration why.

Paul uses not thanking God as a severe indictment against all of mankind. Paul uses not thanking God as a severe indictment against all mankind. Listen to this.

Romans 1:19-21, “For what can be known about God is plain to [humanity], because God has shown it to [humanity]. For God’s invisible attributes [things about God you can’t really see], namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

So, when you look around and see everything in the world that has been made, like dragon fruit, kiwi, and star fruit, there is something inherently within those that reveals the invisible reality of God’s eternality and his power. So, because that’s true, “[humanity] is without excuse. For although [humanity] knew God” [in the sense that we clearly perceive him in everything that’s been made] … “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”

Now think about that. Paul, in Romans 1, when he wants to indict humanity for rejecting God Almighty, he looks at them and says, “You didn’t say, ‘Thank you.’” Of all the evil we have the capacity to do (and by “we,” I mean us in this room), what we have the capacity to do and all the evil that has been done to mankind, Paul stops and says, “You just didn’t look at God and say, ‘Thank you.’” Fueling our bodies generates thanksgiving. Fueling our bodies with food, each meal gives us moment after moment to have a proper response to who God is. I mean, think of your daily experience. How many times a day do you interact with food? Enough that three to four years of your life is spent interacting with food! If you choose to be thankful in those moments, you’ve spent three to four years of your life recognizing God as Creator of all good things! Every morsel, every sip is an opportunity to go against our natural bent of independence and self-sufficiency and move towards humility and thanksgiving.

So, if fueling demands humility, and if fueling generates thanksgiving, how do we actually do it this week? How do we form ourselves? How do we become Jell-O, molded into Jesus this week? This is where I’ve got to ask you for something. I have to ask you for nine seconds. I need nine seconds. You need to take nine seconds at one point every day this week when you interact with food, not every time you interact with food. I need nine seconds of your life, once a day this week when you interact with food. And here’s what I want you to do in nine seconds.

First, I want you to pause purposefully. Pause purposefully. Take three seconds to recognize, I’m dependent. I’m dependent on this food. I need food. I can’t survive without it. No food = I cease to be. I’m not as independent and powerful as I’d like to think I am. Pause purposefully, three seconds.

Choose humility, three seconds. In three seconds, take time to remember God gifted me this food through his power and through people all over the world that I don’t know. Choose humility for just three seconds. God gifted me this food through so many different people.

Third, thank directly. Take three seconds to directly thank God for what’s in front of you. It takes three seconds or less to say, “God, thank you for this food.” That’s a total of nine seconds.

Then, do you know what you do? You eat joyfully. And take longer than nine seconds to eat. God gifted you what you have. Enjoy it.

See, in nine seconds, do you know how many things you can do to form yourself into the image of Jesus? Let me give you a list of what can happen in nine seconds.

You can choose humility over independence.

You can cultivate a thankful heart instead of an entitled heart.

You can heighten your view of God as personal rather than distant.

You can raise your awareness of God’s creative power.

You can remind yourself that God sustains the entire world with rain.

You can broaden your view of the interconnectedness of your neighbor, who provided you food.

And you can enjoy God’s amazing gifts that made almost everyone in this room smile and laugh at some point during this talk. All in just nine seconds. You can form yourself into that image of Jesus in nine seconds.

Now, what happens if you start taking that further and further into your life with food, and you redeem the three to four years you spend eating to be formed into the image of Jesus Christ? May we be able to do that. May God energize us to do that so that we can become like the most humble and thankful man who ever walked the earth, Jesus Christ. Amen? Amen. Let’s pray.

God, you care for us so well! In the midst of the mess of this world, it’s easy to bypass how many of us are now going to go out to a cool restaurant that displays numbers of beautiful ethnicities and beautiful cultures of food. And all of that is traced back to your kindness in creating plants that were pleasant to look at, that tasted good, that you continued to water, and that you allowed some genius to recreate into some awesome meal.

So, God, today, would you let us see how much you care for us and love us with the next bite of food that we take? Would you allow us to redeem three to four years of our life and become more like your Son? And would you remind us that you are fulfilling your promise to form us into the image of Jesus? And I pray this in your name. Amen.

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