The process of designing a new dish can be so much more fun when shared with some enthusiastic friends. That is how the Holmes’ Team Tasty Tomatoes side dish (page 93 of A Recipe for Survival) came to be. My friends (A. K. A. Junior Advisory Team) were stopping by for a visit on a day when I was planning to find a way to make kale easier for Brody to digest. He had been struggling to break down greens in his mouth, and I was remembering what I had learned in chemistry about getting different substances to dissolve into a solution.
That day, I shared with my Junior Advisory Team my preliminary thoughts on the design of the dish, and they added their suggestions. We worked together to prepare the dish and after tasting the results, we agreed we had a winning combination of flavors and nutrients! The memories of working together with my friends make this dish even more special to me!
Some months ago, I took pictures as I was making the dish. I prepare tomato dishes more frequently in the summer when the price of tomatoes is lowest, but I don’t always have time to prepare a post at the same time that I am cooking. So, here is a dish that reminds us of summer in the middle of winter! See page 93 of A Recipe for Survival for the recipe.
Recipe design can be enhanced with friends’ suggestions and the activity can be made more enjoyable when sharing their company, but it does not actually require the input of others. However, other aspects of life require interaction with fellow human beings.
Now and then, I hear someone say that we believers don’t need to attend church. In some cases, the person who doesn’t want to be a part of a local body of believers has been hurt in a past church experience. While we human beings can be rather unkind to one another, the answer is not to avoid being a part of a local body.
If I chose not to be a part of a local church, then I would miss out on the opportunities to learn to obey all the “one another” commands in the New Testament. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn how to bear with others. I would not have the chance to forgive others if I carefully avoided any situation in which others could hurt me. I would not be able to bear others’ burdens or comfort them if I were not involved in their lives enough to be aware of their burdens or know of their sorrows. I would miss out on so many opportunities for my own spiritual growth if I tried to isolate myself from other believers.
I also appreciate others’ observations and input into my life. I would miss out on all the benefits of fellow believers’ wisdom and perspective if I chose not to be a part of a church. It’s so easy for us to run off on peculiar tangents of belief; being involved in a church and listening to our leaders provide a safeguard for us not to head too far down any path which may not be Biblical.
I feel sad for those believers who think that building relationships with others in the church is optional. They miss out on precious encouragement from regularly meeting with others who are also learning how to apply God’s Word to their lives. Skipping church means they miss out on the encouragement that comes from hearing others sing God’s praises. Simply seeing my leaders attending church with their families encourages me to continue obeying the Lord in all aspects of my life. Hearing them singing of their love for Christ and knowing that they also are applying God’s Word to their lives throughout the week spurs me on to live my life in a way that honors the Lord.
I remember an expression I heard a long time ago… “We are like bananas; if we get separated from the bunch, we will be skinned!” Perhaps a better reminder comes from the Roman soldiers’ shields.
A few years ago, I heard in a sermon that the shields were built to be interlocking. A quick Google search on the design of their shields confirmed that for me. The sermon I heard was from a series by Pastor Scott Bashoor on the Christian spiritual armor as described by Paul in Ephesians. Paul spent a lot of time with Roman soldiers since he was a prisoner for his faith for years. So, he likely had a visual reminder of armor right beside him as he wrote this passage on the armor of God. The sermon and description of the interlocking shields gave me an encouraging image. Three soldiers could team up together… even if the one in the middle were quaking in his sandals, the two on either side could link their shields to his, and together, the other two could help the one in the middle to stand his ground. There are times in all of our lives that we need fellow believers to help us to persevere. What a loss for those who choose not to interact with and build relationships with others in a local church!
Psalm 35:18 from www.BibleGateway.com
I will give You thanks in the great congregation;
I will praise You among a mighty throng.
Hebrews 10:23-25 from www.BibleGateway.com
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Ephesians 6:10-20 from www.BibleGateway.com
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against [a]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore,having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 [b]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 [c]With all prayer and petition [d]pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, [e]be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in [f]chains; that [g]in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.