204.4082 JOH

Faith, family. and funny

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling — August 25, 2014

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:9,10 NIV)

Hospitality to me is offering your home to others. Before I can expound on that thought, I want to share what I think of when I think of home.

Home to me is beautiful feeling, a place you belong. Home is the people who love you. Home is about the best that you are and the best you can offer.

Therefore, hospitality is not just about hosting someone in your physical home – it’s about extending love to others through the home you have. It’s about helping others have a place where they belong. It’s about being real, and giving of yourself. It’s about putting your heart out there and not worrying about the judgment of others.

When someone comes to your home, it’s about sharing love, not about impressing your guests. Wherever you are, it’s recognizing that everything we have comes from God and is for His glory. Holding nothing back from those in need.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.(2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV)

So when you hesitate to invite a friend or a stranger into your home – is it pride? Are you worried they won’t feel welcome, or that they will find your home lacking according to the world’s standards? When you hesitate to share your gifts and your blessings – are you grumbling that they aren’t good enough?

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

God gives us what we need to carry out his work. What we have is good enough. Home is about heart – if Christ is in yours, others will always feel welcome there.

Love each other deeply — August 24, 2014

Love each other deeply

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11 NIV)

It’s so interesting to me that here we see Paul writing to Timothy in c. 62 A.D. that “the end of all things is near”. It gives me a sense of God’s timing, certainly.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)

I don’t spend a lot of time trying to understand God’s great plan for the end of this world – but I do spend some time trying to work on the instructions Paul sent to Ephesus to encourage Timothy, and now to encourage me.

I don’t think it’s happenstance that prayer is the first instruction. The more time spent praying, communicating with the Father through his son, the more I’m able to follow the other instructions. See: Creating a desire for prayer without ceasing

Love each other deeply: My epiphany on this point came one day looking at my kids. I love them more than I think words can possibly describe. Reading through my Bible, I realized that each of us is a child of God. He loves each of us more than I love my own children. He expects me to love each of you the way he loves me. My best earthly example is to love every person I meet the way I love my own children. Better, if I can manage it. Because perfect love is able to cover any sin – to overlook any offense.

Up next: Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling

Creating a desire for prayer without ceasing — August 23, 2014

Creating a desire for prayer without ceasing

Why do we resist the urge to speak to God? Christ is our intercessor allowing us complete access to our Heavenly Father anytime we have the whim to speak to him. We can speak to him with our mouth, in our head, through song and dance if we are so moved. Not only are we able to do so, but he delights in our prayers. He waits for them.

“Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom. If you may have everything by asking in His Name, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is.”
C. H. Spurgeon

I started meeting with a new group of people who pray together in our home on Saturday evenings. For the last few months now we come together for an hour or so and spend the time talking to God together, asking for his blessing and wisdom and guidance. Our focus is on our church (The Church) and our community; we pray that we might reach the unsaved and show Christ’s love to our neighbors. My children run around and cause a distraction but somehow it doesn’t detract from the holy time we experience together.

As I’ve spent this time dedicated to a renewal of my personal prayer life, I’ve come to learn much about what is taught about prayer. And I’ve been absolutely amazed, just blown away by what is promised to the faithful, to she who prays without doubt that the prayer will be answered.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (‭1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭14-15‬ NIV)

Get that? Anything. “If we ask according to his will, he hears us”. How often do we wish someone would just listen to us? God listens with joy to every single syllable we utter.

“If we know that he hears us (and we do) we know we have what we asked of him.” (slightly paraphrased for emphasis, my own). So if we ask, he listens. And when he listens, he takes action. Every time we pray, something happens.

Prayer is not the least we can do, it is the best we can do.