Sweet Fellowship

Act 2:42 And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.

I really enjoy hosting a gathering of friends over a cup of tea and a plate of yummy baked goodies. Although I have wanted to host regular gatherings this past year, it always seemed like something would happen that interfered with my plans. Finally, this past week I have been able to host a tea on two separate occasions.

At the first one, I invited the gals from a home Bible study that I attend which is hosted by a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She is a wonderful baker and always has some tasty treat for us to enjoy during study. (My waist says no-no but my mouth says yes-yes!)

I didn’t want to serve store bought goodies but I am not the best of bakers ( I blame it on my very temperamental oven) so I wasn’t sure what I should make. Since I don’t bake very often (called the “if I don’t have it I won’t eat it diet strategy”) I don’t have a wide variety of ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I wanted to find recipes using ingredients I had on hand. I decided to try some “no-bake” recipes that I had saved from Pinterest (gotta love Pinterest!).

I was able to “whip up” three different recipes in a couple of hours and re-use most of the same dishes and utensils without having to wash dishes in-between recipes. (Gotta love that!) I started with Chocolate Coconut Cups and while they were setting up in the freezer I made 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Oat Squares. Then I got my hands dirty rolling  Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites . Plus, I already had a batch of gluten free Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins in the freezer.

My second tea was more of a breakfast so I made a large pan of Baked Oatmeal with mixed berries. I served it warm topped with Astro Original Coconut Yogurt. We use this thick, creamy yogurt in place of whipped cream and it is absolutely delish! The Baked Oatmeal was a hit, even with two of the gals who dislike oatmeal!

Both teas were filled with sweet treats, sweet sisters-in-Christ and sweet fellowship. Fellowship with like-minded ladies is a real blessing to me.

For several reasons, I don’t attend church. Yes, as shocking as it may seem to some Christians, I am a Christian who doesn’t go to church. In the “good ol’ days” (??) I may have been labelled as “back – slidden” because I didn’t attend church. It would seem that regular church attendance is required in order to be considered a Christian. However, I have yet to find the scripture wherein God commands that we attend church.

Instead, I believe that Christians have been called to have fellowship – with God, with Jesus, and with one another.

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

“Fellowship” in these verses comes from the Greek word koinonia and means “partnership, participation, communication, distribution and fellowship”.

When I get together for tea with my “sistas”, we are partners in our faith in Jesus Christ and in praying for one another. We participate by bringing along goodies to share with one another. We enjoy a real good ol’ “chin wag” with one another as we discuss (communicate) a wide variety of subjects as they pertain to our daily walk of faith. We distribute love for one another, share wisdom, and offer encouragement.

All these things combine to give us sweet fellowship with one another.

Fellowship doesn’t need a specific day, time or place. It can take place anytime and anywhere our daily lives bring us together – street corners, Post Office, grocery store, playground, living room or around the kitchen table. I think that we can even enjoy a type of fellowship through the use of tools like social media. I use email, Messenger, Facebook and my blog to reach out to others with love, support, encouragement and hope. And I receive the same back from others.

God did not command , “Thou shalt attend church on Sundays”. Rather, He invited us to have a daily, personal fellowship with Himself, His son Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And you may even get to enjoy some sweet treats along with the sweet fellowship!

Blessings

Heb 10:24, 25 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Image result for free clipart baking

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How Sweet It Is

Younger readers will probably have no clue when I mention Jackie Gleason and maybe only a faint glimmer for James Taylor. Both these men have a little something in common – they both brought fame to the phrase, “How Sweet It Is”. As I was only a baby (really) when Gleason made it a catch-phrase on his television show, I am not sure of it’s context, but knowing a bit of his reputation, it was probably sarcastic or ironic (or both). However, I do remember James Taylor singing “How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you) – a very nice song, I think.

On Tuesday mornings, I attend a women’s fellowship at a church in town. We chat, pray for each other, snack on goodies (fellowship isn’t complete without goodies!) watch teaching videos or read a Bible study and then we break into smaller discussion groups and share thoughts and feelings. (Guys are going ewwww right about now)

Tuesday afternoons, I drive to a nearby town where my friend, Liisa, opens her home for women’s Bible study. Again we chat, snack on the requisite goodies (always home-baked), pray for each other and study the Bible together.

I am always blessed by the fact that women from different backgrounds, income levels, denominations and Biblical understanding can gather together in peace, love and joy. We share one another’s burdens, weep with one another, laugh with one another, pray together for each other, offer words of encouragement, support, comfort and hopefully some wisdom. We learn and grow together, as women, as humans, as spiritual beings. I almost always come away feeling lighter in my soul and spirit.

Rom 1:11  For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to you for the establishing of you.
Rom 1:12  And this is to be comforted together with you by our mutual faith, both yours and mine

Jas 5:16  Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.

Gal 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the Law of Christ.

Fellowship doesn’t have to be just about a Bible study or even going to church; I have had a lot of fun with my “sistas” on picnics, hikes, shopping trips, craft workshops etc. You can incorporate fellowship into just about every aspect of your life.

Strong’s Concordance defines “Fellowship” as “partnership and participation”. Having this connection with other believers gives you a support structure or network that you can turn to when you need prayer, Godly counsel, encouragement, comfort and support. They can become members of your extended family – after all, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe our own family relationships are not the best, but as sons and daughters of God, we have Jesus Christ as a big brother and we need to follow his example.

1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Eph 2:22  in whom you also are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit.

Eph 4:15  But saying true words in love, may come to full growth in him, who is the head, even Christ;
Eph 4:16  Through whom all the body, being rightly formed and united together, by the full working of every part, is increased to the building up of itself in love.

Php 2:1  If there is therefore any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tendernesses and mercies,
Php 2:2  then fulfill my joy, that you may be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord and of one mind.

11Co 1:9  God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Co 1:10  But I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Heb 10:24  and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works,
Heb 10:25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Good fellowship – “HOW SWEET IT IS”!

Blessings