Herbs and Spices: Enhancing the Flavour

The rice was plain. The chicken was plain. The vegetables were plain. That was what they were used to. Other than a bit of salt, they didn’t want their meal any other way, because they never had their meal any other way.

That changed when they were invited to taste a meal at their new neighbour’s home. Even before the food arrived they were pleasantly enticed by the smells. The aroma was rich and multi-faceted, it had an effect on their taste buds that they had not experienced before. The connection between smell and taste was more potent than they had known it before.

Then the food came out. They were told it was rice, but it certainly wasn’t plain. Overcoming initial scepticism at this different way of preparing and presenting rice they tried some. Then tried some more, and some more. They were amazed at what they were enjoying, so rich and filling in and of itself. The way the vegetables appeared was so different to what they had eaten before, but the rice had given them the courage to give the new setup a try. The wide eyes and broad smiles of delight were all that was needed to show their full acceptance of the vegetables. Someone mentioned that vegetables had always been something they avoided because it didn’t taste that appealing, but now they had to change their approach – this made vegetables all the more appealing without the use of anything artificial and unhealthy.

As they mixed some of the rice with some of the vegetables, they were all crowing about how gorgeous the smell, the look and the taste of this delicious meal was. That was before the chicken was unveiled.

By the time they had tucked away all that food and discovered how herbs and spices played a crucial role in the experience, they couldn’t hide their excitement and desire to know how they could bring this diversity into the mix of their own concoctions.

They were surprised to discover that which was new to them had been practised for longer than their plain old approach and it was about making the most of all that was given to them to create mouthwatering and belly-filling experiences like these.

That’s how they enhanced the flavour.

(Photos: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

It’s Just Another Day

Becky knew she couldn’t ignore the alarm the second time.

It’s incessant repeating tune and vibration did not allow her to do anything other than stare annoyed at it. Not that she had been deep asleep. Not that she enjoyed a decent night’s sleep. Again. Just that the alarm ruined the usual delusion she gave herself that maybe today she didn’t have to get out of bed. The delusion that she didn’t have to face the screeching of her six year old daughter about how it was unfair that her four year old brother was getting the last of the cereal again. The delusion that she was actually waking up to the serene sounds of the beautiful waves caressing the shore in her fantasy holiday home in the Bahamas.

That alarm shattered all of those delusions. Again. Instead Becky would open the curtains drearily to a day that matched her mood. Lily would again screech that Jake had taken the last of the chocolate cereal. Becky would have to sum up the courage and strength once again to get these children in order before dropping them off at her Mum’s house before she went to work.

Her uniform hung off her slim frame and she couldn’t even muster a smile at what she saw in the mirror. Both her and the woman looking back at her agreed, if it wasn’t for Lily and Jake, there wouldn’t be much worth living for. She worked hard to ensure her children didn’t notice her weariness too much. She worked hard to protect them and worked hard to give them whatever she could manage to keep them happy. It was tough, though, she could barely make ends meet even though she was working all the hours available to her plus overtime whenever she could.

A lot of effort, a lot of work and a lot of weariness before and after it. There seemed to be no let up and she was concerned with what teachers were saying about Lily’s behaviour at school. Becky felt close to the end of herself. There was only so much she could do especially since the father of Lily and Jake walked out on them not long after Jake’s birth.

She was grateful to her Mum for looking after the children in the holidays, but she felt guilty at the pressure it placed on a woman who wasn’t as strong as she used to be. Sometimes it would all get on top of Becky and she would look for some respite through a night out with her mates. But she knew she would drink to much and that would lead to …. complications. Yet there seemed to be no other area to release all the pent up frustration.

Sometimes when the children were asleep, she would nurse a glass of wine and over time finish one bottle after another without feeling any better for it. Yet eventually she would drag herself to sleep … Only to have it wrecked by that alarm ringing the second time.

Was there really any hope for her in her situation or would she just have to deal with it as just another day?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Talk About The Committed Few

I salute and applaud the committed few.

When certain initiatives begin with the hype and excitement it can draw a crowd. People get caught up with promises of great benefits if they subscribe, participate and contribute. That all sounds good at the start. There’s also the appeal because there’s a crowd, so it must be popular.

Then of course the shiny new thing becomes worn and it’s harder to pluck up the motivation to get excited about it. Then as you see others dropping off from it, you feel like you might as well join them, especially as there’s this really exciting new thing that has just dropped on the scene. So the cycle of disappointment continues.

This is why I salute and applaud the committed few.

They see the benefit of keeping on keeping on whether there’s a crowd, a crew or just the core. They are not blindly following a routine for the sake of it, they see something of far greater worth, being faithful in the endeavour for the season God calls them to the task. Indeed the only eyes that matter to them is the pair from the heavenly Father delighted again seeing His son and daughter delighting themselves in Him, following in the way of the Master.

They just love spending time with Him, doing His business even as others go onto something else. They love moving when He moves, even if it means leaving the lucrative, the secure and the highly regarded. Remaining committed and faithful to what He has started is a lot more important than the crowd excitement that is here today and gone tomorrow.

I salute and applaud the committed few.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Untapped No Longer

We were doing a group task. Adults mostly over the age of 30, many with young children and many who were coming from hard days at work.

I could understand if some of them were tired and just wanted to be fed stuff to passively take in for future reference. Yet all of them were engaged in this activity and I witnessed something amazing.

The task set was to design the perfect two week holiday with money not being a barrier. Very simple task, but from it sprang an array of ideas and proposals that highlighted a degree of creativity in that group of adults that had not always been on display.

The reason why it was rarely on show was because of those constraining boxes placed on people. They had the burst of creativity now, but soon they would revert back to type. Keeping to the parameters set for them by culture, work and other dominating institutions. Those parameters did not allow anything unless it served the purpose of maintaining the efficient running of the machine – perpetuating mediocrity with little room or regard for there being more to people than just being a cog in a lifeless machine.

Yet here in this gathering of men and women given full permission to just be themselves there emerged ideas and concepts wildly imaginative making significant impacts on the world. Taking a holiday and making it a time of investing in the lives of others to benefit from the good news of an invitation to enter into the rest of the Lord.

Witnessing this again reminded me of the life-giving power of Jesus that was never about swapping one drudgery of monotony for another with more pressure to be religiously correct. Here is the source of life setting us free to live if we had but the eyes to see it. Releasing us to truly function in line with all that He placed in us. Removing all the blockages that narrowed life to the unrewarding pursuit of more stuff and more security.

It got me thinking once more of the tragedy of so much untapped potential in the lives of many. I see glimpses and hints like in this activity. Yet it was more than that, it was again about encouraging people to tap into what they have been given for the benefit of humanity. Setting up those platforms is what can support the massive geyser of talent to bubble up to realisation.

So much we can do. So much we contribute to this universe if we tap into what God has done in us for His glory.

Creating platforms like that would make for an excellent job in bringing out what is within and let it spring up for all to truly benefit.

That reminds me of a project that I have been meaning to share ….

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Remarkably Resourceful

It was one of those days.

One friend had the link to help with starting projects. Later on another friend supplied some outlines that I could follow to succeed in the project. Hours elapsed and another friend offered outstanding insight on equipment that could be used to deliver on the project. Then as if that wasn’t enough yer another friend gave some good counsel on how to just take time with everything. Take things in stages. Don’t get in a rush. Just do what I can.

Without all of this, I would not even be able to start, let alone have good guidance on how to progress with the project.

What’s the project?

Well ….

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Coming To An Agreement

Two people agreeing on something is in itself something not to take for granted.

That’s because it is easier to eventually reach a position where disagreement leads to division because of the disunity. That’s just between two people. Imagine what it’s like when the numbers increase.

I was reminded of two incidents in the book of Acts that highlighted just what an achievement it is to gain agreement. The first, seen in Acts 6, was when there was upset and uproar at what was deemed to be the unfair treatment of the non-Jewish widows. The way that agreement was reached to the solution presented is quite remarkable. In as much as it is recorded by Luke without that much in the way of nitty-gritty and detail – the outcome from the process which had the consent of both those affected and the apostles is something that I read and I know could only be successful because of the Spirit of God.

The really fascinating issue, however, which had the potential to cause major havoc in the early church – and which still caused repercussions despite the decision – was the Jerusalem Council referred to in Acts 15. This was a pivotal meeting for the sake of the gospel reaching the Gentiles. The arguments were strong, even after the Cornelius episode where Peter had made it clear that the Gentiles could also embrace this gospel with subsequent Pentecostal experiences as the brethren experienced on that awesome day. Even after all that, there were still some saying that real salvation required adherence to circumcision and the law of Moses. The dispute at Antioch before the argument in Jerusalem highlights how much both sides of the argument were held dearly. To reach agreement on the situation and send a letter to the churches to that effect is no small achievement at all. The role of the Spirit was highlighted even in the letter.

Disagreement has brought on a great deal of stress and turmoil. The church still has an opportunity to show the way to how not just to disagree with grace and civility, but actually how to work with the Spirit towards agreement. Not an appeasement to the cultural norms of the day, but standing with what is still an incredible call to new life through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Psalm 21 – God Save The King

This Psalm is an interesting praise for what God is doing for the King.

Some may want to appropriate this for any leader. The key difference is, though, that this praise is about how God protects and saves the King because the King is in a right relationship with God. That way there’s a clear flow going on between the praise to God for the King. The King is undoubtedly the beneficiary but this is all because of the connection with God – it’s always the God centre going on.

That makes this Psalm all the more intriguing.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden