Love In Action

romans121913

Continuing on with our theme of “Godly Relationships” here at MOHL, I wanted to write a little bit on some of the practical ways we can show love to others.

Romans 12:9-13 reads as follows:

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Wow… there are a lot of things written to us as believers just in that short passage.

Something I really want to point out from those scriptures is that a lot of those commands relate directly to the attitude in our hearts. It says that we ought to:

1. Honor others before yourself. This could mean a few different things, but I think mainly, it is really seeking to put the needs or wants of others above your own. Do you know of someone who is struggling with finances and they have no way to keep warm? Give them a coat to wear. Do you know of someone who is hungry? Bring them some food! Even giving a bright and cheery smile to the cashier in the store who has had a long day can bring some sunshine into their lives. You might be the only bit of happiness and joy that enters their life that day. You never know how God can use even the smallest things to encourage others. This goes into point #2.

2. Never be lacking in zeal and spiritual fervor for the Lord. As we continue on the paths the Lord has placed in our lives, He will lead us through the valley and the desert both. Sometimes, it feels like we have never been closer to the Lord, and everything is “going our way”. We’re in the valley…joy-filled, at peace, and excitedly going down the path of the Lord’s will. Then, He may choose to bring us through a dry, desert time. It seems as if everything is a struggle, like the Lord is far away and doesn’t hear our desperate pleas of asking for peace from the conflict, whatever it might be. Having walked through a time like this recently, I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing it was to have dear sisters constantly sending me scripture verses and praying for me. Do you know someone who is struggling in their spiritual life? The Lord may be calling you to be a witness to them as they walk through this time in the desert. Diligently seek to pray for them, look for little ways you can encourage them. Perhaps a note in the mail or some favorite scriptures written out on notecards and given to them will help them on their journey.

3. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. This part speaks for itself in many ways. Be joyful in hope… We have a great hope in the knowledge that one day, the Lord will return to take us home to be with Him for all eternity. We have a great hope because He chose, in His divine providence, to take on the weight of our sins and wash them clean. He took the punishment, that we rightly deserve, that we might be white as snow, and have this great hope! What a mighty, faithful and loving God we serve.  Patient in affliction… Our pastor was just teaching this past Sunday about how trials are brought into our lives for our good. We often do the most growing as we learn to further rely on the Lord, and less on our own efforts. When we are completely broken, we realize just how small we are, and just how mighty our Lord is. We may not understand in this life why He sent specific trials into our lives, but we can rest once again in the greater Hope- that the Lord works together all things for the good of those who are His own according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Faithful in prayer… once again, this part speaks for itself, but in many ways, how often are we guilty of telling someone that we will pray for them and then forgetting or never getting around to doing so? *raises hand* One way that we can really seek to show love to others is remembering to be faithful in praying for them, or over specific requests they may have shared with us. For myself, I’ve found that keeping a prayer request journal is a great way to specifically list out folks or requests that I am praying for during that time. It’s also neat to look back through and see exactly how God answered those prayers!

4. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Building somewhat on #1, sharing with fellow believers who are in need is one of the greatest ways that we can show love to others. One specific way my church tries to do this is by taking meals to families who have recently had a baby, lost a family member, are sick, etc. Having been on both ends of this, I can say that it is a blessing to both parties. Taking a meal to someone is a way of acknowledging to them that you know they are struggling with something at the time, and it is a very practical way of showing love to them. It truly blesses you knowing that you are lending them a helping hand in their time of need. When my family has been on the receiving end, it is so nice to not have to worry about cooking on top of everything else going on at the time, no matter what the circumstance is. There are obviously several other ways to help folks in need…I just used food as an example because here in the South, food is a big deal. :) As far as showing hospitality, the definition of hospitality means: “The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.” What better way to show hospitality to believers and non-believers alike than to host them in your home? Whether just for a meal or for an extended stay, oftentimes, one of the best ways we can be a witness to others is to have them in our homes, so that they can see the way we live, and Lord willing, to see the love of Christ in us and through us.

What are some different ways you can show “love in action” to others around you?

 

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Open Your Heart

By Rose H.

1 Peter 4:9 (NIV) Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.


Hospitality – Opening your heart and home for all to come in and rest. It’s a tough world that we live in. There isn’t much rest or peace out there. By opening your home, you offer your guest to come in, put their feet up and rest. A place where they won’t be judged, a place where they can feel safe, a place where they can enjoy time with fellow believers.

In today’s busy world, hospitality is becoming a lost art. We just don’t have the time or we don’t make it. I know that it’s hard to fit people in sometimes. Life gets crazy. People hurry on. I know that it can be hard to find the time in our already over-marked calendar.

So pray and ask God to help you make more time for people. Don’t let hospitality become a lost art. Find some time. Work with people. Take time to have them over. Make a conscious effort to practice hospitality.

Hospitality doesn’t mean you have to cook a big meal or have an elegant dinner. It just means that you open your heart and home. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or special. Just invite a friend (or friends) over and enjoy some time together.

So let’s go. Open your heart and home to someone. It can be a friend or someone you would like to know better. Just invite them in and enjoy some time together.    

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The day the roof fell in….

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling….” -1 Peter 4:9

For the first sixteen years of my life I lived in one of two itty-bitty houses. There was little room for our own family, let alone visitors. Now and then we’d clean like maniacs, vacuum for the eighteen-dozen-th time over the coffee-stains in the carpet, fling our doors open and have an itty-bitty family over for dinner. That about killed us with the effort, though we loved it. It just wasn’t feasible to have many people over. We dreamed of the day when we might have enough room to entertain a host of people without feeling squashed..

…that day came when we moved out to our big, beautiful farm-house the Lord allowed us to build. “Finally, the day has come!” we thought with great excitement.

We opened our doors and He opened the flood-gates. We began hosting our home-church every Sunday…which meant cleaning all day Saturday. We started up a self-storage place in our attic…we’ve still got….four families’ belongings rattling round up there. A family was out of a place to stay for a week or two? No problem-come live with us!

It was fairly easy to adjust to this new schedule of being the HQ for anything and everything social. People coming from out of state and cross-country to attend our fair? Meet at the Heffingtons’-we’ll carpool from there! It began to be a by-word-a sign and countersign: the Heffingtons’.

We were thrilled with this new scope for ministry-at last we had that wiggle-room we’d dreamed of! And then came the day when the roof fell in. (Figuratively, my dears ;) Our cousins who had a matching set of two-parents-and-eight-kids (at that time) were moving out of their Beach-house to move out to the country with us. While their home-site was getting up and running and they were buying their mobile home to temporarily live in, they needed a place to stay….


No way!

Our collective heart pitter-patted in a Peter-Rabbitian way at the thought. Sixteen kids, four adults, two dogs, a guinea-pig, a cat, and a grandmother all under one roof? Could it work? Should it work? But this was the clear way the Lord was leading…testing to see if we really wished to receive this gift of hospitality. Not only did our cousins need a place to stay…it was for 3 months.

*Gulp*

We prayed about it as a family-really, there had been no idea of saying no-and then set to work rearranging the house so our cousins got the master-bedroom, bathroom, and room-over-the-garage for their living space. Mama and Dad and the baby moved to the boys’ room. The boys moved to the sewing-room. It was a massive over-haul of our fairly-new schedule and house. As the first murmurings started to swirl over the inconvenience of doing all this rearranging, my very wise Mama looked to the scriptures and, in quite bold script, wrote up a sign that she then tacked onto our dining-room wall:

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”

We swallowed our complaints and made an effort to minister to each other. The cousins toward us and us toward our cousins. And you know what? As we lived together for those 3 months our relationship bonds strengthened…we laughed, played, talked, and worked as one huge, gloriously rambunctious family. It wasn’t easy all the time. There were moments we got on each others’ nerves. But now-two years later-the funny thing is that I cannot the wild, crowded, 21-people-in-the-dining-room, helter-skelter mealtimes. I can’t remember the horrid mess all 16 kids made every day….I can’t remember the fights and the injuries and the arguments. All I can remember is that we are the better, the stronger, the more hospitable and kinder people for those 3 months. We needed that season as a family to get up-close-and-gritty with the faults, annoying habits, and idiosyncrasies of everyone else. We needed to learn to love these things while they were breathing down our neck. We needed to be too close and love each other in preparation of living across the field from one another for the rest of our lives. And we did. The integrating of two families onto the one piece of land was effortless compared to the weaving of two families into one household! All  because Mama was wise enough to remind us of those words in First Peter:

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling….”
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Where Hospitality Starts

written by Rachelle

The title is supposed to come last. That’s the way I always blog. Words first, name last. Easier? Perhaps. My style? Absolutely.

Today is different, though. Today this post titled itself before I even started.

And, of course, that’s my subject: starts.

When you think of hospitality, what comes to mind? I think Norman Rockwell pictures like this one.

norman rockwell family thanksgiving
{source}
Or Martha Stewart-esque magazines. Or the cooking channel. 
Emeril
The word hospitality brings to mind crafting fine meals or ordinary hors d’oeuvres, picnic-type parties, potlucks hosted by women with flawless hair-sprayed hair and clean white aprons.
::laughs::
Obviously, I have a distorted view of the word. Which is why I’m glad we’re discussing the subject here at MOHL for two weeks, because I want to know what my sisters have to say. And because the title came first, so, to my surprise, I must have something to say.
And what I have to say is that hospitality may end with a fabulous four-course meal. Hospitality may end with a passel of family and friends piled into a living room to celebrate a wedding shower. Or hospitality on the part of us unmarried young women may end with a group of girls from Sunday school sprawled around our bedroom.
But wherever our hospitality may end, it always starts in the heart (sounds cliche, I know, but it’s true). We may not be at a place in our lives where we have a home to open up to friends and family (we may live with that family we dream of hosting for Thanksgiving one day!). But we might have superb cooking skills that lend themselves to bringing a covered dish to the next church social. We might have one night a week where we can volunteer. We might have…you fill in the blank.
Hospitality may end with us opening our home. But it always starts with us opening our hearts.
How can you open your heart today?
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Practicing Hospitality: 5 Principles to Apply

Written by Miss Rachel

I’m filling in for Miss Julia today, who is taking a little break from her computer this month. I hope you don’t mind two posts posts from me in a row. Today’s will be short and concise - promise. :)

I know for some of us it’s nice to see things in simple steps we can follow and begin to apply to our lives so I’ve thought of a few you and I can begin with to help us have a godly, hospitable lifestyle.

~*~

#1. Put others first. It’s not about us, it’s about them. The guests at your house, the new girl in the group, the person seated next to you at church - God wants us to be bold in stepping up and making them feel welcome. Set aside your feelings and needs to be a blessing to someone else. (John 13:34-35)

#2. Have a servants attitude. Do what you can to help those around you feel at home and to lend a hand when you can and without a complaint, whether at your own home or not. “Service with a smile”! :D (Ephesians 6:6-7; Mark 9:35)

 
#3. Be hospitable because you love the Lord. God wants us to be obedient to His Word and His desire is for us to be hospitable to one another. That means being kind, encouraging, welcoming, serving, loving, comforting, willing and helpful wherever we go. It’s one way to share Christ’s love with a lost and hurting world. (Matthew 25:4)

#4. Accept. Accept that you will be interrupted. Accept that the house might not look perfect, school might not be completed, and accept that you may not feel like it. Hospitality doesn’t always come at a time when it’s convenient to us (Abraham didn’t have time to prepare a banquet for the three strangers, but he offered what he could to welcome them). The first step is to accept that God’s allowed your time and activities to be interrupted for His purposes to teach you patience and give you an opportunity to serve Him and others. You may not have time to clean the house but don’t let that stop you from inviting someone into your home. (Hebrews 13:2)

#5. Practice to be hospitable. This doesn’t mean you need to hold a tea party so you can learn how to set everything nicely for your guests, but more that we ought to every day eagerly seek opportunities to put hospitality into practice using these principles. Ask the Lord to give you opportunities to be a blessing to someone and to see where you can be more hospitable in your day-to-day activities. (Romans 12:13 ESV; Galatians 6:10)


~*~

If you’d like more principles and idea’s for hospitality, I encourage you to read the chapter in the Polished Cornerstones manual on this topic. I found so many helpful idea’s any young lady could do to begin developing these attributes. Even for us older gals, I’m still finding this book to be so useful and helpful in guiding me to be a godly woman who pleases the Lord…so I encourage you to think about investing in this excellent book.

Have a blessed day!
~Rachel~

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Hospitality From The Heart

Written by Miss Rachel

Ever have those unexpected guests and visitor’s pop up at your house? 
Ever wish you didn’t have to sit and listen to Aunt Meredith tell that same old story…again?
Do you ever forget what hospitality is all about? 
I certainly do! 

If you’ve answered “Yes!” to any or all of these questions please, continue. ;)

***
I’ve always been a girl who likes her life and her days planned out. I know the night…the day…the week…and sometimes even the month before, what I will be doing. Or so I think.
God likes to change my plans though. I’m sure you don’t know what I’m talking about, right? Right. ;)
Our family has had quite a few unexpected relatives coming to visit us this year. More than is usual for us. We tend to see family and have guests only on holiday’s. It’s been hard to feel sociable when we’ve been having such a rough year as a family. It’s especially when the visits land on a busy week when I don’t much feel like pulling the air mattress out again or cleaning the house or socializing. And even though I am a grown adult young woman now, I still find I struggle with these speed bumps that God brings along that mess up my own itinerary.
I always prided myself on my “hospitality” skills. I lay clean sheets on the bed, set out nice fluffy towels for the guest to use, plan my menu and make something enticingly tasty just to please their taste buds, and a put on a cheery smile to meet them at the door.

Everything is always prepared…
….everything but my heart.
***
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” 
{1 Peter 4:9}

Hospitality is one of those attributes that is easily ignored nowadays. But truly, it’s one of the Biblical mandates that we are to follow just as “love the Lord your God” and “? ” It’s a command. The trouble is I spend most of my time preparing for the guests that I don’t take the time to prepare myself and my attitudes. I grumble as I clean. I complain as I pull out the air mattress. I sigh as I ponder over the boring conversations we’re sure to have or as I picture myself entertaining the kids while the adults talk…again. In fact, my attitude is too often reflective of a well-known woman of the Bible: Martha {Luke 10:38-42}.
~*~
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,serve the Lord.Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” ~ Romans 12:10-13 (ESV)
I don’t wish to practice hospitality only when we have guests, or when I feel like it. I want to be like Christ…ready to show hospitality at any time to anyone wherever I am. :) Jesus was known for His kindness. How often did He put aside His personal needs and wishes for the needs of His people? There were times He was exhausted from a full day of healing and teaching, yet He never turned anyone away or spoke harshly with those who sought Him.

I want my heart to be ready to lend a hand, sooth a sorrowful heart, listen with compassion and graciousness to both the young and the old, and always to be the “hands and feet” of my Lord. I want to *seek* to be hospitable, and to do so with the joyful heart of a servant of Christ.

~*~
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me…
Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’” - Matthew 25:40; 21
 

Learning to be hospitable,
~Rachel~
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Opening Your Heart and Home

Most of you don’t have a home of your own. Yet, you can still show hospitality by opening your heart as well as your home to others. Why is this so important? Today, I would like to share a personal experience with you that highlights why we need to open our hearts and homes to others.


I was not a mild child. It wasn’t that I was mean, or a bully, but I always had my opinions and I didn’t mind expressing them. If I thought some kid was doing something wrong, I would tell them so. If someone said they loved a book series and then asked me what I thought, even if it was the opposite. To be sure, I needed to learn some tact, but also learned at an early age how to stand up for my beliefs. However, as all of you know, standing up for what you believe, comes with consequences.


I still remember the Sunday clearly. I was only 12 but the afternoon ended in tears. All the girls ignored me during potluck, because I told them I didn’t want to see a movie that had just come out, nor did I like a certain book series. For this stand, I was shunned. I was determined from that point forward to befriend those that were left behind by others.


My friends growing up were misfits, and often much younger then myself. They were the brainy girls who didn’t wear make-up, the girls that were more interested in bugs then movies, the girls that read non-fiction, instead of fantasy. Although younger then myself I often talked to my friends about the one thing we often shared; why did everyone avoid us?


As I got older I realized that often the reason we avoid certain people is we feel threatened by them. There are people that you are sure will see you as less because you wear pants and not dresses, or look down at you because read “that series” and you didn’t,  or you choose not to watch movies that they love. We will often avoid things that we feel threatened by. But that is no way to live.


Dear friends open your hearts and home to those who are misfits, outcasts, and even those that act better then you. Often you will find they are kindred spirits (as Anne would say). For those of you who feel alone, reach out to others. You may be surprised at what you find.


Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9 NIV

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