Posts Tagged ‘change’

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Practice Hospitality

July 12, 2011

In Romans 12:13c, Paul tells us to practice hospitality.  Since he says to “practice”, I would guess it does not come naturally.  I know it did not for me.  It took years for me to develop that trait, and it was my husband’s hospitality that initiated me. 

For most of my life, I did not allow others to get to know me.  I had a very few friends who managed to infiltrate my walled up self, but that was more because of them than because of me.  I was more comfortable by myself-isolating.  I did not invite people to my home because I didn’t know what to do with them, or I was afraid they would judge me as insufficient.  However, my home was open to my son’s friends any time they were in need.  But then, I was in a maternal position and I knew how to do that.

 Today, all of that has changed.  I got into a recovery program, turned my life back to Jesus Christ, and little by little, He changed me into the person I was always supposed to be.  He truly pulled me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a Rock. (Psalm 40:2)

 In attending recovery meetings, I began to interact with other women and found out that they liked me and didn’t judge me.  I married my wonderful husband and that broadened my world.  He truly has a heart of compassion and hospitality.  We slowly began inviting people that we did not know well over for dinner, a couple at a time.  I started a bi-monthly woman’s group on Saturday mornings so that I could learn to be comfortable around women…it lasted about six years and was a tremendous blessing to all of us.

We now host an open Thursday night dinner followed by Bible Study and a Sunday morning brunch following church.  We’ve opened our home to others in need.  And, guess what?  I love it.  I will continue to “practice”, I hope, for the rest of my life.

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Never Lag in Zeal and Earnestness

July 3, 2011

Romans 12:11 begins, “Not lagging behind in diligence”; some versions say “zeal”.   

I remember when I was first born again in 1975; my passion for the Lord and for sharing the good news was intense.  I could not stop talking about Him, about grace, about freedom.  I drove most people around me crazy; they either ran away from me or accepted the Lord to shut me up.  Thankfully, those who accepted Him are still with Him today. 

I walked away from Him for several years in the 1980s and didn’t fully recommit myself until 1996.  During that time, although my life took a downward spiral, I always had a strong sense that He was just waiting for me to come back.  Even then, if anyone asked me about Him, the fire returned as I witnessed (in word, truly not in action).  The Holy Spirit honored the attempt despite me.  A friend told me during that time that because I had been sealed with the Holy Spirit, I would return to the Lord.

 Well, I did return and He received me back, and blessed me and loved me and forgave me.  What I learned while wandering in my self imposed wilderness has now given me compassion, understanding and a ministry to guide others who need a savior back to Him as well. 

 The zeal and passion has returned, but now in a mature, level-headed, scripture based and guided fashion (by the Holy Spirit, good teaching of the Word and great mentors). 

So, if the zeal has left, do not despair:  “Our misery becomes our ministry” (Mark Shell). Return to Him and He will return to you.

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Hate what is evil…

June 28, 2011

 Moving along in Romans 12, continuing in verse 1, we come to good v. evil.  Before I obtained my new eyes in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), except for the most disturbing or vile content, I was comfortable with most TV shows, novels, etc.  Of course, in those days, things were not as graphic as they are today.  In Christ, through the Holy Spirit, I have experienced a gradual putting away of bad language, and a deepenging awareness of the darkness which permeates most of the airwaves today.  I have also realized that most of the dramatic shows on TV today center around death.

As my spiritual heart becomes clean and whole, my discomfort with evil becomes stronger.  It is a tool of the evil one to put his garbage into our souls.  He is the Prince of the Air (and, I think, the airwaves fit into that category also).  It amazes me that on the rare occasions that programing is healthy and uplifting, even though the ratings are high, the shows are taken off.

Not only in the entertainment industry, our advertising, but now even in our schools,  everything appeals to the flesh and the lower part of our nature.

There is enough unscripted evil in this world without  more piling on top at every level.  The enemy has established a strong beachhead into this society and throughout the entire globe.

Unfortunately, including myself, we remain silent and accepting, like sheep led to the slaughter, or a frog boiled in water.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

 

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Let Love be Genuine

June 27, 2011

Romans 12:9 begins with “Let love be genuine”.  I’ve been thinking about that.  I first was thinking about “genuine” love.  For the better part of my life, I had no idea what that was.  I knew I loved my son unconditionally; I knew I had had an aunt who loved me unconditionally, but I had conditions on every other relationship.   I also thought all others had put conditions on me.  Having grown up in a family where love was conditional, there was no other way for me to think.

Here, Paul asks us to let our love be geniune.   Even though I was born again in 1975, I didn’t understand genuine love until much later.  It was not until I was able to accept myself as flawed and accept others the same way, to let my guard down and allow others to see me, warts and all, that I was able to begin to see what genuine love is.

As it states in 1 Corinthians 13, love is not a feeling, it is an action,  a verb.  To have genuine love is to truly accept, to be tolerant and kind, to see others as Christ sees them and accept them, flaws and all.  Love is caring enough to stay true to yourself and allow others to be themselves, without conditions.

The key word in this scripture to me is “let”.  In order to “let” my love be genuine, I must be genuine.  My motives must be pure, without manipulation, intimidation, judgment, or prejudice.  It is not my job to “fix” anyone, to change anyone, to please anyone.  God as asked me to let myself have genuine love for them.