Hospitality, How to Get It Simply Done

by Wendy on November 11, 2015

Hospitality

Hospitality. Practice hospitality. That word practice is pretty important, it seems. I have always in the past been someone who practiced hospitality. I love having people in my home! A few years ago, we were counting the number of people through our home in a year by the many hundreds. The last couple of years, due to extenuating circumstances (my mom needing more care until her death in April, and then foot surgery in August that I’m still not completely healed from), have resulted in my being out of the habit of hospitality. Not good! No matter if you’ve done something a million times, if you don’t practice regularly, you will get rusty. It’s just a fact. So, how to get back into the habit of practicing hospitality, or maybe start!

Here are a few ideas to help us:

  1. Start small and keep it simple: Invite 1 friend for popcorn and a movie, or a couple over for ice cream and Cookie Butter topping (Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is absolutely the best!)
  2. Lower your obsessiveness over having a perfect house:  pick up and clean one room, if your house is really a mess, and lead your guests there. Or, let it motivate you to spend some time decluttering and organizing, but invite guests first, so you don’t delay for 6 months because your house is too messy. Don’t embarrass your guests by apologizing for your house. They are there to see you. They probably have their own mess at home. Show them love, make them feel at home, listen to them, care. That’s what’s important. Relax.
  3. Get something on the schedule out a month or so to give yourself time to prepare, but get it scheduled.
  4. When the Lord prompts you to invite someone, obey the prompting.
  5. Think of a meal that you can make by heart and invite someone who’s lonely to share it.
  6. Invite someone to come for tea (or coffee). Serve tea/coffee and maybe have a plate of crackers and cheese, maybe an apple cut up, possibly some of your favorite chocolates out, and use your favorite cups or mugs with a small plate for each of you, inexpensive napkins that are pretty, get an assortment of good teas (Vanilla cream, chamomile, rooibos, raspberry zinger…). Lay it out on the coffee table or kitchen table before your guest arrives, and it will say, “Welcome!” If you have small children, have an area with toys set up to keep them occupied, and if they’re old enough, send them to another part of the house to play, so you and your guest can visit in (relative) peace.
  7. Think of questions to ask and be a good listener. Pray with and for your guest. Share what the Lord is doing in your life and be an encourager.

Once we’ve begun (again), repeat, and practice! Expand to larger groups and more often, as you feel more and more comfortable. If we ask God and pray for Him to show us who He wants us to have over, and to lead the conversation, and to bless our time together, He will.  If we do it for the Lord, He’ll help us to forget about ourselves and be able to practice the true meaning of the word hospitality, which comes from the word, “hospital.”  We’ll be a means of bringing His healing, encouragement and love to others. So, who are you going to invite this week?

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Can’t I fix my problems on my own?

by Wendy on July 28, 2015

Trials come in different shapes and sizes, but are a certainty in life. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

What do you do when you have “necessities and distresses”? Infirmities?  Most of us try to solve our problems, and remove circumstances that are distressing to us when we face them. I think that is human nature.  In fact, Paul in the preceding verses says he prayed earnestly for the Lord to remove the thorn in the flesh that was troubling him. We’d like to get rid of trouble and pain.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary on these verses, says, “The apostle prayed earnestly to God for the removal of this sore grievance. Note, prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh we should give ourselves to prayer. Therefore we are sometimes tempted that we may learn to pray.”

I don’t think God is telling us not to try to eliminate distresses and infirmities, and certainly not telling us not to ask Him to remove them. Rather, He’s saying not to deal with them in our own strength. Going to God with everything in prayer is Scriptural. Do we go right away, or after we’ve tried to solve it ourselves first? Ah, there’s the problem.

There have been times in my life when I didn’t recognize a situation as a trial, but rather thought, “I should be able to handle this.” I have in the past had a habit of beating myself up for being distressed. Sometimes I have felt guilty for going to the Lord for help, but that’s not what the Lord wants. He is ready to help, and wants us to come to Him. Right away. Every time.

He is ready to help, and wants us to come to Him. Right away. Every time.

We may think a trial has to be some big thing. And what is an infirmity anyway? That isn’t a word we use every day. One of the reasons I like the King James Version of the Bible is because it forces me to look up words and study deeper, not assuming I know what it means! I was surprised by the definition of the word infirmity: “physical or mental weakness.”  Synonyms are illness, malady, ailment and disease, but also complaint, frailty, and weakness. It’s not my normal thought pattern to “take pleasure in physical or mental weakness,” so I know this isn’t done in my ability. I need to go to Him for help with this. I’m reminded of words from a hymn we sang in church on Sunday.

“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
Recently I’ve been dealing with increasing pain in my feet, reason unknown as yet, causing me to have to limit my regular activity. This limitation and the pain have been very distressing to me. I might have called it a malady or ailment, but never would have put it in the category of infirmity, and what the Bible is talking about here.

Mental weakness conjures up something very negative, too, but perhaps shouldn’t. I recently experienced the death of my mom, after a very difficult year in which she was going downhill fast. It’s only been four months since she passed, but the path of grief has not been an easy one. Is grieving ever easy?

God knows His own strength, but I don’t. God knows His own faithfulness, but I have to go through trials to realize how faithful He is. I have to be weak, to even begin to recognize and experience His strength. It is too easy to rely on myself, to try to be strong myself, to handle things in my own way, with my own thinking, and my own capability, and that isn’t what God wants. Who gets the glory then? That is perhaps one reason why He allows trials in my life. That I might come to Him in prayer and find Him and His grace perfectly sufficient.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
by Joseph M. Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

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