LOVE Part 2

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Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:46-47

 We moved into a new home 21 months ago. In our new home we have a countertop that extends from our kitchen. When you sit at it you are sitting right in front of the cooktop and looking directly into the kitchen. There is enough room for four people. This is where we have eaten for the past 20 months. Three or four of us at the counter and my husband stands at the counter directly across from us. He is always filling our plates with additional food when we want more.

This has worked for us … until it no longer did. I noticed we would be distracted by the television behind us and as soon as someone would be done eating, they would put away their plate and go their separate ways in the house. All that would be left at the end was my husband and I. I would cook and my husband and/or myself would have to clean up.

One afternoon while prepping a meal I was listening to a Jamie Oliver cooking show. I stopped and watched because when he was done with this particular meal, he brought his plate over to the table in his kitchen, sat down and ate. That’s when the light bulb came on!

My family had been eating meals next to each other, but we had stopped sharing our meals together. We definitely had stopped eating together with glad and sincere hearts.

That afternoon I took my Christmas gift card for the fancy grocery store down the street and treated myself to a small ceramic pitcher to hold our silverware. I drove to Target to purchase a simple tray and yummy candle. I brought them home, added some napkins, and put them in the center of the kitchen table. I informed our family we would resume eating at the table again. Sharing our meals together again for whoever was home. You see – we have three kids all in their own activities. But every week night we sit down at the table with all who are available.

We’ve been doing this now for approximately a month and each one of us loves it. We have shut off the television, set the table, and brought the food to the table. We love our time together and conversations. Each evening we fill our plates, take turns saying a prayer, and our son then says, “So, how was everyone’s day?” And just like that we learn about what’s happening in each of our lives. People, there is something to be said about looking across the table at someone vs. sitting side by side. Conversation flows so much easier when you can look at each other. Listening to someone else is so much easier when you aren’t distracted by anything else.

Last week, we had finished our meal and were just sitting there together still talking.   I said to the family, “You know what I love most of these dinners around the table? The fact that we don’t just get up and leave anymore. That we all enjoy each other’s conversation even after we are done eating.” Everyone agreed.

You see no one gets up anymore until all of us are done eating. And the kids are sharing in cleaning up. The kids are still able to get to their activities and still have time to study! We have definitely resumed eating and sharing a meal with glad and sincere hearts. Praise God!

During this special Valentine week we are reminded so much about love. Most of the time we are bombarded with the fact that we should be celebrating couple love. But love is so much more than that. Today I want us to think about the love you are filled with by sharing a meal with someone you care about.

There are so many places in the bible that talk about people sharing meals together. It seems to be something important we should remember. Sharing in conversation and time with others is so fulfilling for both parties.

In the photo above, we were getting ready to dine on Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce. It is a super easy and yummy recipe. Paired with a very simple salad and some store bought garlic bread – you can have a gourmet meal without a ton of trouble. Feel free to try it at your home – I will include the recipe below.

Love comes in many shapes and sizes. God has provided us an infinite amount of ways to love on others. Today I want you to plan a meal and share it with another person you care about. A family member or a friend. Invite them to your table. Cook only what you are comfortable with – or feel free to order take out! See how genuinely happy you will feel when you are done. I promise you – more than just your belly will be full.

 Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage and Vodka Sauce (adapted from Recipe 4 Living)

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 28oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • ½ C. vodka
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. chili flakes (or less or more – flavor as you like)
  • ½ C. heavy cream
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh flat leaf parley chopped for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions on the package just until done but still a little firm.

While pasta is cooking, in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and then the chopped onion. Add the Italian sausage and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is crumbled and cooked through, breaking up the meat when necessary. Add the tomatoes, chili flakes, and vodka. Increase the heat and let the meat sauce simmer until it reduces by about half. Add the cream and stir and then add in the cooked pasta. After 10 minutes, remove from the heat, add parmesan cheese and top with a little chopped parsley and serve.

Study – Acts 2 – NIV
 1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
 5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappodocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one anther, “What does this mean?”
 13Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
 14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
 17 “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.   20The sun will be turned to darkness and moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him:
 “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
 29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 32Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
 “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ “
 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
 38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

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