Saturday, 8 March 2014

Intentionally focused...on ministry, hospitality and PUTTING OTHERS FIRST

Peter says (The Message, 1 Peter 4:1 - 2) "Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings* as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want."
aka my struggles, difficulties, little problems, inconveniences...

So: "take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit..." (vv 7 - 11)

Baroness Cox wrote this week: "While we might like to think that generosity is largely about what gets given from our own hands, the truth is different. Generous people understand that giving is inseparably linked to receiving, that we can only begin to be used by God to meet another’s need because we have begun to allow Him to meet our own."
Romans 12:3 puts it like this: "it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."

Proverbs 31 extols the virtues of the Good Woman.
"When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:"
Hmm.  I ALWAYS feel incompetent and all the other in- and un- words which tell me that I don't measure up, can never measure up to this Impossibly Perfect Woman.
I CAN do what I can with what I have. I might never, will not ever, achieve her perfection, but I can aspire to be more like her. Also, I am comforted when I think that, perhaps, this is also a picture of the church. Because, together, we CAN achieve all this and more.
"So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t." (Romans 12:4 - 6)
Good Morning girls postedWe aren’t aiming for perfection here but rather a heart of serving and loving those who enter our homes. I’m sure it’s not an accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word meaning healing. When we open our homes and hearts to those who are hurting, God uses our act of service to begin healing hurting souls.

Who can you open your home to today? What about the single mom down the street who is needing adult conversations and for someone to look her in the eyes and ask, “How are you really doing?”, or what about the widow whose husband recently passed away from your church? Maybe it’s the co-worker who needs to hear that they matter to God...

You see I think as Christians we have bought into this big lie that satan is selling us. (and yes, I have purposely typed a lowercase “s”) We think God only wants us to do BIG things for Him. That only the BIG things count. Big things like becoming missionaries and moving overseas, adopting 100 children, selling all our belongings or going into full time Christian ministry. You know, the BIG things.

But what if He’s not telling many of us to do those things? What if that isn’t His plan for many of our lives? What if His plan is even better than that?

What if His plan is actually to multiply our reach by each of us individually becoming intentional and purposefully, using the homes He has already blessed us with to reach those people He has sent us… by opening our doors and hearts to them?

What if we are just called to help those who are lonely feel welcomed by offering a simple meal and an open seat at a well-worn kitchen table?

God is amazing like that, you know. When we reach out to bless others, to open our doors and place an extra plate at the table, many times we end up being the one who is blessed.

So what if? What if we dream together and think about the possibilities of change God can do in our homes as we embrace our call to be hospitable? What if we push aside the temptations of perfection, the unrealistic expectations and instead offer real homes, simple meals and loving hearts? How can God move through these simple acts of obedience?

And so: "Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality."

I've heard it said that hospitality is not about homes and hearty dining, food and feasting - though it can be. No, hospitality is about inviting others into your heart and blessing them with what you have. It is about adaptable attitudes, selfless serving and generous giving.

Is that really so hard to do? Take the first step - TODAY.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


It is quite some time since I joined in with Faith Jam Thursdays. Now, at the beginning of Lent, I am prompted to jump in again.
With the theme, today, of Journey.

Journey. The word
conjures excitement
and trepidation.

When I was younger
a journey was 
a wondrous thing
opening doors
of adventure


now I am older
a life journey
seems fraught
with fearsome

life is full of 
the unknowns of
retirement and 
living other places
and health.

But with Jesus
the journey of life
can be, shall be
one of joy, deep satisfaction
and promise.

Dare I step out,
join in,
with open heart
my Journey?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Intentionally focused - on children

When I read about bringing children up biblically now, I mostly feel overwhelmed with guilt; the shouldhaves/oughtas/ifonlyI'dknown thoughts... even though my children have turned out to be wonderful, godly young people who live sold-out lives for Jesus.

But Moses said: This is the commandment, the rules and regulations, that God, your God, commanded me to teach you to live out in the land you’re about to cross into to possess. This is so that you’ll live in deep reverence before God lifelong, observing all his rules and regulations that I’m commanding you, you and your children and your grandchildren, living good long lives.

Listen obediently, Israel. Do what you’re told so that you’ll have a good life, a life of abundance and bounty, just as God promised, in a land abounding in milk and honey.

Attention, Israel!

God, our God! God the one and only!

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder;

So we did. And so I try to do, with the children I teach and meet. We can be - and have - spiritual parents, learning from those who have gone before and passing on God's wisdom to those who come after:

Stories we heard from our fathers,
counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
the marvelous things he has done...
Then commanded our parents
to teach it to their children
So the next generation would know,
and all the generations to come—
Know the truth and tell the stories
so their children can trust in God...

For children are God's best gift. (Psalm 127:3) Children teach us that "Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when (we) receive the childlike on (Jesus's) account, it’s the same as receiving (him).

“But if (we) give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, (we'll) soon wish (we) hadn’t. (We'd) be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around (our) neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but (we) don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to (us) if (we) do.

We are to be like children: simply trusting God.

Now, as Lent approaches, I am encouraging our children to take part in 40Acts. To grow in generosity, with me, together.