Thursday, April 24, 2008

His Hospitable Pattern: Loving and Giving

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." - 1 John 3:16

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

"Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." - Ephesians 5:1,2

"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work." - 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her..." - Ephesians 5:25

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In His Presence...Fullness of Joy!!!

Our dear Grandpa-Dad (see previous post) has gone home, truly Home, by the grace and tender mercies of our God.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.
Thomas said to Him, 'Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?'
Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.' "

In the above photo, my daughters are playing a piano/violin duet for Grandpa-Dad at his home, two weeks prior to his Home-going. His favorite song was "In the Garden", and he always requested that they play this piece for him. I can only imagine his joyful countenance as he now beholds the glory of our blessed Lord Jesus, and walks and talks with Him face to face...

          I come to the garden alone
          While the dew is still on the roses.
          And the voice I hear, falling on my ear;
          The Son of God discloses.
            And He walks with me,
            And He talks with me,
            And He tells me I am His own,
            And the joy we share as we tarry there;
            None other has ever known.

          He speaks and the sound of His voice
          Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
          And the melody that He gave to me
          Within my heart is ringing.

            And He walks with me,
            And He talks with me,
            And He tells me I am His own,
            And the joy we share as we tarry there;
            None other has ever known.

          I'd stay in the garden with Him
          'Tho the night around me be falling,
          But He bids me go; through the voice of woe,
          His voice to me is calling.

            And He walks with me,
            And He talks with me,
            And He tells me I am His own,
            And the joy we share as we tarry there;
            None other has ever known.
Words and music by Charles Austin Miles - 1913

Monday, April 14, 2008

Grandpa-Dad and Grandma-Mom

Our Grandpa and Great Grandpa (affectionately known as Grandpa-Dad) is 96, and as hospitable as ever, even though he has congestive heart failure, is on oxygen 24/7, and recently had a fall that left him battered and bruised. The more company he has, the brighter the twinkle in his eyes and the bigger his smile. His love for friends and family bubbles over continuously…an evidence of the Holy Spirit Who fills his heart and soul, and Who blesses the heart of every visitor, stranger and familiar, alike. In fact, he characterizes the New Testament definition of hospitality, “loving strangers”, beautifully.

Grandpa-Dad and Grandma-Mom have always been best known for their LOVE, and their gracious, open hearts and open home. They regularly invited other families to their home for dinner after church and often hosted visiting missionaries and pastors. They kept the guest room ready! Since Grandma-Mom went to be with the Lord, Grandpa-Dad has carried on faithfully, and has continued to welcome “folks” into his life at every turn. He shared Saturday that the nurses at the hospital he visits for blood transfusions have said they look forward to his “words of wisdom” every week. He quotes poetry and Bible verses from memory, and loves to share stories about family history and the “olden days”. What a treasure he is to us all. It is evident that his Treasure is in heaven, and this Treasure he gives away generously through his gift of hospitality.

This is a legacy of hospitality we thank God for…

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Homelessly Hospitable

A certain scribe came and said to Jesus, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."
And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Then He said to another, "Follow Me."

This account, recorded in both Matthew 8 and Luke 9, tells me that Jesus had no earthly home where He could invite His followers to come and learn of Him and be refreshed. And yet He is the Hospitable One, our pattern for all of life. He invites us: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

I get so caught up in the externals of life. So distracted. The house, the table, the menu, the candles, the coffee, and it goes on...

The Lord Jesus shows me that hospitality is a lifestyle, not an event. It is a matter of the heart, and can be offered anywhere at anytime, because refreshing the heart of another is not necessarily confined to a particular place or time. I can share the love of Christ and allow His Spirit to meet someone's particular need through me however, whenever, wherever God provides the opportunity...hospitality is about Jesus.

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess,
The beauty of Thy peace.
-John Greenleaf Whittier