Home cooking has been lost in the busy lives that everyone leads today. Between work, running the kids to where they need to go, housework and everything else on the daily to do list, there isn’t time in the schedule to sit down for a meal, much less cook. The lack of families being able to find the time to spend together even to share a meal is a danger to the family unit.Childhood and adulthood obesity has been, in some part, blamed on the ease and cost of fast food and that may be a part of it. A bigger part of the problem is the lack of wholesome home cooked meals that kids and adults eat today. It is easier to control the amounts of fats and sugars people consume if the meals are prepared at home instead of in deep fryers and fat soaked grills. A part of the problem could also be the disconnection that everyone feels in the family and that could lead to emotional and binge eating when someone is seeking comfort that they can’t find in within the family.It wasn’t so long ago that the standard was to eat meals at home and going out to eat was reserved for special occasions. Even families that had clubs and sports of an evening would go home to eat then go on from there. There is some debate about what caused the change but now it seems to be the norm to grab something to eat out and then go on to the evening’s events. Home cooked meals are saved for holidays and special occasions when there still isn’t time for normal day to day conversation.When families do find time to eat together, there are still poor food choices being made in ingredients and preparation. Frozen meals that just require heating do not constitute home cooking and are not healthy choices for the family. Premade and prepackaged foods are not as nutritious as meals made from fresh ingredients without too much salt, fat, and preservatives. Time and expense are usually listed as the reason for the heat and eat meals. Neither of these reasons would have to be true if meals were prepared and organized.The financial expense is not the main problem with the loss of home cooked meals; the loss of connection to family is a much greater cost in the long run. Lives should not be so busy that there can’t be two hours a day that everyone can sit down together and share a meal. It’s not about the food as much as it is turning off cell phones, computers, televisions and just finding out about each other’s lives.In order for families to remain successful they have to be able to come together and communicate. Home cooking and sharing meals is about more than just nutrition and controlling fat and sugar intake; it’s about family connections and spending time together. It’s not too late to go back to old traditions and make the evening meal a time to get to know each other again.
Every believer has at least one spiritual gift according to I Corinthians 12:7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” God has given every one of us at least one spiritual gift to edify the Body of Christ. Although we all have a spiritual gift, we often do not know exactly what that gift is or how it should be used. Four Biblical passages provide the basis for teachings concerning spiritual gifts, specifically Romans 12:1-12; I Corinthians 12:1-31, I Peter 4:7-14 and Ephesians 4:1-15.Spiritual gifts are meant to serve the Body of Christ in the pursuit to fulfill the great commission. The three categories of spiritual gifts include the motivational, service and manifestation gifts. The motivational gifts are often referred to as the speaking gifts such as evangelism and exhortation. Gifts of service usually involve ministries that supply a need, like the food or usher board ministries. The manifestation gifts include gifts of healing, speaking in tongues or any gift that produces a result that can be seen or touched.Learning what gifts God has given you through the Holy Spirit is a life changing experience. Once you know what gifts God has placed in you, it is easier to move into the purpose for which God has created you. If you are not confident in knowing what gifts you possess, there are steps to bring you closer to knowing your purpose.Step One- Listen to Your HeartWhat are you happiest doing? What are you good at by nature? Knowing what brings your heart joy is the first step to discovering your spiritual gift. Often we operate unknowingly in our gifts, but on a much smaller scale than God would desire. Your natural reaction to a situation will offer insight to what gifts you possess. A person with the gift of exhortation will immediately begin to encourage someone facing an obstacle, while a person with the gift of intercession will immediately turn to prayer. A person with the gift of service will try to find a task that would lift some of the burden. Make a true observation of your heart; it will not lead you in the wrong direction as long as you are seeking God.Step Two- Spiritual Gift AssessmentAfter you observe your heart, the follow up step is an assessment. A self-analysis of your strengths and interests will assist you with understanding specific areas of ministry for your talents. Evaluations vary in number and complexity of the questions and in their scoring methods, but often the results are relatively accurate. Assessments only provide a basis, they are not meant to replace seeking God to reveal your spiritual gifts. Primarily assessments spotlight gifts, such as faith, wisdom, discernment, or other qualities designed to glorify God. Free assessments are available with immediate results on the web.Step Three- PrayIf you believe you have discovered your spiritual gift, ask God to confirm your discovery. The Bible tells us to do all things with prayer and supplication! Sometimes we learn how to do things and we learn certain responses, but it is not our true gift. God is the one who placed the gift inside you and he will let you know if you are on the right track. Even after you discover your gift, you must continue to pray. Prayer will help you remain faithful and humble in the use of your gift. Prayer will allow you to walk honestly and whole-heartedly in your gifts.Step Four- Exercise your GiftAfter you have discovered your spiritual gifts, learn to exercise them. Exercising what you believe to be your gift is the final determining factor of whether you posses a certain gift. For example, if you discover that intercession is your spiritual gift, but you find that you can never find anything to pray about, this may not actually be your gift. Likewise, if you believe you have the gift of exhortation, but feel like encouraging someone might be intruding, this may not be your gift. If you believe you have a gift, exercise it. If there is not a sense of fulfillment or joy just from exercising the gift (and not from affirmations by people), you may need to continue to seek God to reveal your gifts to you.After you determine your spiritual gifts, continue to pray. The most important thing to remember is that gifts are given to edify the body of Christ and should never be used to promote negativity or competition. Ultimately, the gift still belongs to God and any power associated with the gift comes from God. Equally, any results from the use of your gift are up to God and are at his discretion. You do not bear the weight of “making” your gift work. You simply pray for opportunities to use your gift and an understanding of your gift.