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Posts Tagged ‘christian’

Aunt Linda is the sort of woman who puts fear in the heart of every introverted woman married to a soldier.  Why?  Because Aunt Linda set the standard as the consummate military wife for twenty years.   She loved the adventure of changing stations, meeting new people, and throwing dinner parties.

Once, having just arrived at a new duty station, this fearless military wife sent invitations to all of the neighbors.  Please join us for a progressive dinner on Saturday evening.  If you’d like to serve as one of the hosts, let us know.  More than two dozen couples joined in on the festivities—and remain friends twenty years later.

I, on the other hand, fail to follow Aunt Linda’s example.  An impending move?  I break out in hives.  Mandatory fun?  My least favorite activity.  Host a dinner party for the unit?  I wake up with night sweats.  God did not bless me with the gift of hospitality.

However, a quick study of scripture reveals the exhortation to “practice hospitality”.  (Romans 12:13)  According to Merriam-Webster, the word practice means “to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient”.  In other words, all believers—even those inclined to avoid a crowd–are called to extend hospitality.

Hoops and Hospitality

In my case, practicing hospitality is a lot like high school basketball.  Let me explain.  I grew up in a town tucked between wheat fields and boasting fewer than 200 people.  Because there were limited entertainment alternatives, high school basketball reigned as the king of sports.  Unfortunately, I was gifted with neither careful aim nor steady hand.  Determined to succeed, I spent hours practicing.  Shoot.  Dribble.  Jump.  Finally, I earned a starting position on the team.

In the same way, Christians are called to practice hospitality.  By exercising hospitality, we learn to “Put self aside, and help others get ahead.” (Phil. 2:3-MSG) Invite. Invest. Intercede.  And, one day, God will grow us into completion (Phil. 1:6) How will our feeble attempts produce results?

First, when our focus involves sharing Christ’s love rather than masking personal insecurity or concern, God receives the glory.  Are we unwilling to invite someone into our homes because the dust has settled on the top of the refrigerator or there are bread crumbs on the floor?  If so, then pride is impeding our impact for Christ.  Do we claim shyness as a reason for failing to minister to the needs of others?  Perhaps He desires to grow us through our weakness.  As Philippians 2:4 reminds us, “Each of you should look not only to your interests, but to the interests of others. Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus:  who, in being very nature God…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”

Demonstrating obedience to Christ through hospitality also makes a difference in a hurting world.  After all, how many people are struggling with divorce, illness, or job loss?  And, as a part of the military community, each of us is regularly exposed to other women managing the trials of deployment, “single” parenting, and loneliness.  Who might Christ want you to encourage?

Four Easy Ways to Practice Hospitality

While hospitality often takes the form of dinner parties or large get-togethers, four alternative ideas are listed below.

  • Coffee-klatch Close relationships are often fostered in small groups.  Why not invite one or two ladies to join you for coffee and conversation on a regular basis?  Keep things simple and meet at a local coffee shop.
  • Baby Swap Have you noticed a young mother struggling to manage parenting and personal time?  Offer to host a playtime at your home or babysit her children once a month.
  • Silently Supportive Contact your local Wives Club or church group and suggest your home serve as a meeting place for a Military Wives Bible study or prayer group.  You provide a welcoming environment while the group’s leader organizes all other details.
  • Freezer Pleasers   Gather a group once a month to boil, bake, and baste a variety of freezer meals.  Consider donating one meal each to a family new to the community or to a spouse with a newly deployed soldier.

 

I may always prefer a quiet room to a crowd, but I also want to demonstrate obedience to Him.   Will I ever eagerly anticipate mandatory fun?  Unlikely.  Am I destined to assume the role of party-planner extraordinaire?  Only if paper plates are involved.  Can He teach me to practice hospitality in order to impact the lives of others?    Absolutely.  When do you want to meet for coffee?

 

 

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Call me a doubting Thomas, but I never believe Colorado’s weathermen. The Farmer’s Almanac, my son’s makeshift barometer, and grandma’s arthritic fingers all prove more accurate than local predictions.
Fortunately, God’s word is far more reliable and trustworthy than the Weather Channel. Unlike the storm threatening on the horizon, He is unchanging—a source of protection and love in every season of our lives and through any circumstance.
Friend, remember that whether you are in the midst of the storm or basking in the sun, God remains constant. As Psalm 18:2 says, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.” He stands ready to offer His strength. Why not find refuge in the Rock today?

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As a teen, I was always offended when my mother asked one of her favorite questions–Would you jump off a cliff if your friends asked you to?  If I had answered  honestly, I might have said, “Yes.”  Like most young people, I wanted to be accepted, cared for, and…well…special to someone.  Jumping off the proverbial cliff was a possibility if I could just gain that elusive acceptance.

I was like the sheep noted in a 2005 USA Today article.  Did you read it?  Imagine the setting.  A few thousand sheep dot the rugged, Turkish landscape.  Just as the sun begins peeking over the horizon, the shepherds–hungry and cold–leave their flocks contentedly grazing to make a quick trip into town breakfast.  But, one sheep–either desperate or stupid–wanders away and leaps over a cliff and to his death.  Sadly, 1,500 other sheep follow.   

Now a “mature” adult, there are times I still find myself sliding toward the slippery slope. But the Great Shepherd rescues me and restores me to His fold, a place of safety where all of my needs are tenderly met.  All believers have this same reassurance.  As 1 Peter 2:25 reminds us, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Today, thank God for the times he has resuced you–whether you were at the edge of the cliff or already at the bottom. 

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A glance at the car parked next to mine quickly turned to unmannerly gawking when I noticed the condition of the vehicle.  Every visible space–except the driver’s seat–was crammed with fastfood wrappers, boxes, and cups.  The front seat?  Full of trash.  The back seat?  Brimming with garbage. 

I couldn’t help but think of the spiritual implications.  How many times have I refused to rid my life of the clutter I’ve picked up along the way?  Bad habits.  Feelings of inferiority.  Judgemental attitudes.  Every time I’ve allowed the cares and concerns of my past to crowd around me then I feel pressed in on every side–trapped and immobile. 

Christ offers a new beginning, though.   I can throw away all of the “junk in the trunk” and focus on the road ahead.  A road free of old debris. 

What habit or concern can you give to God today? Let’s de-clutter!

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“What is your Patmos?”, the speaker asked.  I sat in the audience, thinking of the apostle John–a man from Jesus’ inner circle who was exiled to this tiny island because of his allegience to Christ.  If the disciple “who Jesus loved” wasn’t spared suffering, why should I expect to live a life without trials?

Later, when I read the words of this scripture (Revelation 1), I paused.  Wow!  In the midst of John’s loneliness and afflicton,  Jesus revealed his full glory.  I am not suggesting I seek out suffering or desire persecution, but it seems that when we–like John–struggle with life’s twists and turns Christ will reveal himself in fresh, new ways. 

So…whatever your Patmos might be today, I pray you will recognize the One who is working in the midst of your situation. 

How have you seen God work in your life when you’ve been alone on Patmos?

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Belonging

The mountain valley—lush with wildflowers and evergreens—was the perfect setting for my sister, Tiffany’s, wedding.  The afternoon sun cast its warm, honeyed glow on the bride and groom while the soft sounds of birds singing joined the young couple as they made their vows.  The wedding party stood nearby—twelve bridesmaids in elegant dresses.   Tracy, our sister and the matron-of-honor offered silent, smiling support. 

Words of love.  Promises of tomorrow.  Yet, I sat in my chair battling with mixed emotions- adoration and resentment, happiness and pain.  Why?  Because I had been rejected.  My little sister—one whose tears I had wiped and celebrations I had trumpeted—had chosen a dozen  women to assist, encourage, and support her on one of the most important days of her life and I was not one of them. 

Thoughts of rejection pricked my heart.  What did you expect?  You are just the half sister.  You’ve never really been part of the family.  Weeks later, I continue to struggle with the unrealized hope of belonging.

In gentle reproach, God began assuring me of my true position.  Daughter, remember my words. “[You] have been set free to experience [your] rightful heritage.  You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own child because God sent the Spirit of his Son into your life crying out, “Papa!  Father!”  (Galatians 4:6 MSG)  You do belong—to me!  What more could you need?

What more could I need?  Nothing.  Rather than being rejected, I have been accepted—even adopted– as a daughter of the king.  I am part of Christ’s family.  I have a place of belonging.  

Do you, too, yearn for acceptance?  Then take hold of the certificate of adoption Christ holds out to you!  You’ve been adopted.  You belong.

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Why have I decided to be one of millions blogging?  Because I have a story to share that continues to unfold page by page, chapter by chapter.  Like any story there is a beginning, middle, and end.  The beginning was difficult, the middle has been full of both triumphs and trials, and the ending is unpredictable .  Who knows what adventures and lessons I’ll learn along the way?

My prayer is that this blog will be a place of encouragement for you as we journey along life’s road together.  Let’s take a walk…

How has the beginning of your story influenced where you are in your life now? 

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