Devotions

Category Archives: Family Dinner

When to Throw It Away

Leftovers | Devotion #6: When to Throw It Away
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director

What do you do with leftover food that you have? Do you throw it out or store it in the fridge? Do you do any meal preparations? Do you have it for lunch the next day? Does it sit in your fridge for weeks until you notice a rotten smell when you open your fridge? There are some things that take a long time to go bad, and there are things that go bad quickly. Have you ever had leftover fast food? What is wrong with you?! Fast food goes bad like five minutes after you order it. Do not get me wrong, I love a good trip to Taco Bell, but it is never good as leftovers. 

I have never been someone who is into leftovers at all. Once I eat a meal, I am done with it. By the time the next day rolls around for leftovers, that meal no longer sounds appealing to me. We could have some leftover chicken and my mind will always go to, “Pizza sounds really good right now.” Does a new meal just sound so much better? My wife hates this about me. She is the kind of person who wastes no food. If there are leftovers, we are eating all of them. Over the past couple years my wife has opened my eyes to leftovers and how they can actually be pretty good and a way to save money and eat healthier. The Lord knows I need her in my life, even for the small things. I may not get all the pizza I want, but it is better for me in the long run. 

The real question is for how long are leftovers good? I know I have toed the line a few times on how close something is to going bad. You almost always can rely on the smell test. If it smells rotten, do not touch it! Throw it away and be done with it. We need to look at our lives in this perspective sometimes. How often do we allow leftovers in our lives to turn bad before we take care of them?

Bad leftovers can be a multitude of things. It can be old baggage we carry, old relationships that bring us down, bitterness, jealousy, sin in our lives, anger, old ways, and a host of other poor choices. We let these things begin to stink in our lives. We leave these leftovers in our lives, and we do not take care of them. We let them sit in our hearts, and we begin to rot because of them. With leftovers, once one thing begins to rot, the whole meal is gone. You must throw it out once it is spoiled. 

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We need to examine our lives and see what has gone bad in our hearts and lives. Are we holding on to sin and allowing bitterness to destroy us? We must throw it in the trash today. Do not let sin take root in your heart and begin to spoil everything in your life. Throw out the garbage that is in you. Only keep what is still good. That good is the goodness from Jesus. We need to learn when to throw out the bad leftovers in our lives. Jesus shows us how to do that very thing. I love how Ephesians 4:31-32 shows to throw out the junk and to put on Jesus. Put on the love that Jesus has shown. Put on the forgiveness that Jesus so graciously gives. How can we hold on to such things when Jesus has forgiven us of all sin if we believe and trust in His sacrifice?

What are some leftovers that have spoiled in your life? 

What are you going to do to throw them out today?

No Foil in the Microwave

Leftovers | Devotion #5: No Foil in the Microwave
Jake Blaska

Letting go is not a one-time deal. I have tried. I have tried telling God, “I forgive him” when I still feel angry. Putting it behind you requires a lot of strength, and it is easier when I lean on God and remember the love of Jesus. For example, my sister and I beef. To beef means to bicker. We beef constantly! She is finishing up her psychology degree at a very prestigious school, and I am currently working towards an associates degree from my local community college. So we come from two different schools of thought. I have a bad itch for bringing things back up that I should leave in the past. It is really difficult to avoid arguments in general, but one thing I have strived to do this past year is not let them get out of hand. The devil is at work in those moments, when we are on edge. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

My sister never gave me the attention I craved growing up. I do not think she wanted to lift my ego any higher than it already was. This still frustrates me. Anytime we beef, the devil reminds me of the neglect when all I wanted was for her to recognize me. I sound so dramatic right now because that is what Satan does. He exaggerates the thoughts that make it feel impossible to ignore in a situation that is already full of tension. However, it is crucial we ignore these bad memories regardless of how we feel in the moment. That is if we have forgiven the person (my sister does not need forgiveness for helping me learn that not everyone is going to like you). We need to realize that those memories are not God reminding us, so we can counter our opponent in an argument and win. It is the devil reminding us, so we can blow up the argument and lose. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

We are all trying to stay focused on what God is doing right now in our own lives, so it does no good to revive things that are like aluminum foil in the microwave. We need to throw that junk out when it reappears. We need to resist the devil in those situations. It is only going to make things worse. I am sorry for the ten thousand “we need” statements. However, forgiveness is not short-term. You have not forgiven someone if you are always bringing it back up to the dinner table when you argue about politics and the GOAT debate between LeBron and MJ. Family dinners can get heated, but they should not get out of hand. The devil has no seat at the table. Do not throw the aluminum foil into the microwave.

Leftover Recipes

Leftovers | Devotion #4: Leftover Recipes
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director and Assistant to the Family Pastor

I love watching the Food Network, and in particular, I love watching “Chopped” episodes. It always amazes me to see how a chef can take four or five mystery leftover ingredients that do not go together at all and transform them into amazing dishes. The rules are, if all the ingredients are not used and they are not made to work together, you guessed it – “They get Chopped!” I once watched a chef take leftover French fries, cut away the outer crust and scrap the soft insides to make a potato dish. With patience and precision, he carefully took something that I would have thrown away and made it into something amazing.

Our family’s baskets are sometimes like those mystery ingredients; they have nothing seemingly in common with each other. When pain and brokenness are present, there seems to be that missing component to bring unity. Broken families are not something new, in fact, if you go way back to the beginning and read the story of Adam and Eve, you will find a couple who had a perfect life, and then they sinned. The two broken people then had children and became a broken family. Our need for Christ began in their brokenness.

In an article by Billy Graham entitled, “Mending a Broken Home,” he wrote, “A home is like a solar system. The sun, the center, holds the solar system together. If it were not for the sun, the solar system would fly to pieces. Unless the Son of God is put at the center of your home, it, too, may fly to pieces. Make the Son of God the center of your home.”

When we allow Christ to be the “Master Chef” in our lives, He can peel away the outer shell and work in our hearts to transform us. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

If a skilled chef can work miracles with leftover food, what can God do with the incompatible broken pieces of your family? 

Romans 8:28 (Berean Study Bible) says, “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”

Reheating

Leftovers | Devotion #3: Reheating
Justin Dean | Student Director

One of the riskiest things you can do is eat something straight out of the microwave. When you are heating something back up in the microwave, you have to make sure you cook it for the perfect amount of time. If you do not, it could end up being too cold to eat, or it could end up burning the fire out of your mouth. It is like playing Russian roulette with your mouth. You have to be careful and make sure that you know what you are reheating and the best way to go about the reheating of that leftover. In our families, there are a lot of things that get reheated. We get hurt in many different ways, and as we grow as a family, inevitably old pain is going to be resurfaced. As we walk through the process of rehashing and reheating those issues as they are brought up, it is important that we do it in the right way and at the right time. As we look to the Bible for guidance, we see Proverbs 15:17-18 (NIV), “Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”

As we walk through the issues that come up from past hurt, it is important that we remember two incredibly important things, patience and love. Those two are not natural instincts. Whether we are the person who is hurt or the person who caused the hurt, our natural reaction is to pit ourselves against each other. We tend to bear our teeth and claws to either attack or defend as we deem necessary. However, this Proverb helps us to see that in the end, the most important piece of dealing with our families past issues is patience and love for each other as we walk through the difficulties of forgiveness. It is important we remember the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV), “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

We have to have this mindset in the midst of dealing with old pain. If we cannot act in a way that is compassionate and seeking forgiveness and love, we will only cause new pain out of our old scars. In the end, our goal is a restoration to each other and to Christ, and it is incredibly important that we remember that as we are in the middle of dealing with all the feelings that have arisen around those past hurts. As we seek to be restored, peace, patience, and forgiveness need to be the tools we use to navigate our family’s past issues.

Freezer Burn

Leftovers | Devotion #2: Freezer Burn
James Mann | Children’s Director

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Ephesians 4:25-27

One of my most favorite freezer foods is chicken taquitos. Nothing is better than pulling out the George Foreman Grill and cooking up a half box of those in the middle of the day. The problem is what you do with the other half of the box. My dad tells me that I am like a bull in a china shop, and he is not wrong. I demolish the box as soon as I try to open it. So, the next viable option is to put the leftovers in a plastic bag. Since I have the focus of a toddler, sometimes I do not check to make sure the bag is completely closed. You can fill in the blanks from there. I go back a few weeks later to finish the second half of the bag, and they are all freezer burned. 

We have been learning about the things that are left over after the problems within the family. One option that many of us take is to put the issues into the freezer and forget about them until we think we need to work through it. Sometimes we think life is easier if we avoid hard situations. Sometimes you will think that going to bed and trying again in the morning will solve all your worldly problems. The truth is, when we open our eyes in the morning, our reality is still the same. God has warned us about these situations. We cannot let the issues within the family sit in the freezer. If it festers, it will grow in severity until it is out of our control, and any chance of reconciliation has diminished. It is these moments where we need to drop everything and focus on the family with which God has blessed us. Do not put the important things in your life in the freezer.



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