If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead. – I John 3:14 NLT
Do you have a favorite restaurant? What makes that particular eatery different from the rest? Each restaurant specializes, whether it\’s a hot dog stand or a fancy French restaurant. You won\’t get a fantastic piece of fresh salmon by going to a local pizza place, but you can probably order lasagna with homemade sauce or thick crust pizza piled high with the ingredients of your choice.

I added a new place to my list of favorites – a small, locally owned restaurant. I go there for one reason alone- their homemade creamy maple vinaigrette dressing – a concoction so delicious I tap my foot and grin the whole time I eat my salad.

No matter which restaurant I choose, the one thing in common? Food!

Every Sunday, we drive past many churches to attend the one of our choice. What makes your church different from the rest? Is it the worship style you prefer? Maybe the doctrine lines up with your beliefs.

Each church is different, but one uniting factor should be present in all Christian churches – the desire to lift up the name of the Lord in praise, and to draw people to His Son, Jesus Christ. Churches do not exist to be social clubs, dating services, or community outreaches, although they can and do serve in this capacity, but a church\’s goal is different from secular organizations formed for these purposes.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

Hopefully when we attend church, we go for the right reason – not out of obligation or guilt, or to make business contacts. I pray you go to praise the Lord, pray, receive Bible-based instruction, and to recharge your spiritual life. The Church isn\’t perfect being made up of imperfect people like you and me, but in a healthy, Spirit-filled church, you can gain strength from the Word of God preached and from other Christians.

Let us do as Paul said and exhort one another. When we recharge spiritually, we will with boldness witness of Jesus Christ to those in our circle of influence.

In the same way I look forward to sitting down to a dinner with friends, I look forward to the fellowship and strength found in the presence of other Christians. Is your spirit as hungry for the Word and deep, intense fellowship with God and your fellow Christians as your physical body hungers for deep-dish pizza?

Speaking of hunger – I haven\’t had a salad with creamy maple vinaigrette for a few days. I think I\’ve figured out where I\’d like to eat dinner tonight.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for commissioning the Body of Christ, and the ministry of the local church. I pray I will be faithful to minister to my brothers and sisters in Christ, and fulfill my purpose as part of Your Body. In Jesus\’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Children's author and inspirational writer, Donna J. Shepherd, looks at everyday life and finds God's fingerprints everywhere. From bird watching to the Beatitudes, Donna's writing touches the heart with wisdom and humor while feeding the mind with daily portions of God's Word. She is currently a columnist for The Dabbling Mum and a staff poet for The Inspiration Station. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Reminisce Extra, Just Between Us, Guideposts for Kids, Penwomanship, Sisters in the Lord, and many more. Her devotionals appear in Daily Grace for Women, Devotional Reflections to Nourish Your Soul (Honor Books), and Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (Warner Books).