Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Aroma of Christ

Do you smell that? It's a very distinct scent. I breathe it in, and right away I know that I can sit and relax.

The conversations are usually lite, and no need to get deep... or is there a need?

Yes, I'm sitting in the salon cutting my hair off. I return to get some color.

It was in that second visit that I was told something that upset me.  "I would have never thought you to be the person you are. You seemed to be someone that would be caught dancing on tables, but after getting to know you, you really love God." (Paraphrasing for memory sake)

Do get me wrong would that have upset me a year ago, or even nine months ago? I'll be honest, probably not. At least after getting to know me she knew what I stood for... right?

For most, this would be a compliment because after discussion I have a stance, but what about the times that discussion isn't an option?

What is your aroma?

I want to be drowned in HIS smell. I want my very presence to pour out HIS goodness. I want HIS glory to shine through my being. I am not there, but each day grows with me soaking in HIS truth into my brokenness.

You see it is not enough to just have someone know who you are after a talk, but that the moment you walk into a place it is sensed that you are different. Even if they can't put their finger on that, they KNOW she has something I want.

How do I get it?

What is it?

Examine your aroma.

The opening of your eyes to see yourself with accuracy is 
one of the long-term projects of transforming grace.
-Paul Tripp
What do you see? 
What do you smell?
I pray that this long-term project creates a woman after God's own image.  As Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, 
23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 
Lord, sanctify my being that I may be completely whole. May I be faithful and blameless. Build me up so that my aroma surrounds those around me that they know I live only for YOU.   

A sign you're growing in grace: You're learning to invest your vapor-like existence in things that will last forever.
-Scotty Smith

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Preparation for Resurrection Sunday

Our Christian faith is based on this day. Resurrection Sunday is a day that we bring into light for not just a day, but for many as we prepped our family for this day. Before the month of April Luk and I walked through the life of Jesus. His birth, his boyhood, his life with the disciples, and so forth. Then as there were only a mere 17 days left until Resurrection Sunday we began the An Easter Devotional by Ann Voskamp.

The cross carried by Christ to wash His blood over our sins, the grace and love...

His death

His Burial


Everyday adding our photos to the cross, everyday "We pause to listen to the word..." We linger on this, and we allow it to marinate in us, and flavor our lives. We then on Friday "Tell the Easter Story with a Playdough Mountain" taking the time to form the mountain,

making the cross, creating the scene

it is a reason to stop and meditate on HIS story... on OUR story.

He sets in the tomb that night. DEAD!

He is ALIVE come Sunday!

The beauty of the cross is what it leads to HIS overcoming of death, HIS salvation over us...

Luk again teaches as we do this activity, make the crown of thorns because that's what they made Him wear. We have to remember what we do to Him everyday that we ignore His word and choose our way over His. The crown gets pushed further in, the nails pull Him even more, and His blood STILL sheds for us. Resurrection Sunday more important than Christmas and His birth because without His death, we will have lost it all.

In Christ alone...

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's not just any other day

"The cross is not a mere event in history; it's a way of life! Take up your cross DAILY, Jesus said!"
"Betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, abandoned by the eleven, forsaken by God. Darkness, you get one hour. Then you die." 
-John Piper
The cross, this beautiful woven story, and the only thing I can compare it to is the way God has woven us in our mother's wombs to be in HIS image. I can't escape that truth. 
HIS image.
HIS story.
 HIS truth.
 I sit in awe. I am broken. I am a broken SINNER THAT DESERVES HELL!!! I have so many emotions today! I WANT TO SCREAM!!! I AM SO FULL OF FRUSTRATION!!! 
People's lives that are separated from God's ignoring this day. CHRISTIANS NOT HOLDING IT SACRED IN THEIR HEARTS! People skipping work, school, or whatever and just doing nothing, but have another day off. ARGH!!! 
Everyday that I don't spend time in the word, every sinful thought in mind, and every time I think I know what's best for my life... I am disgusted with myself.
lower than scum... 
I deserve hell.
So, I sit here in tears, speechless... ask why? Teach my boys that today, oh it's not just any other day, but it's the day that innocent blood was shed, a cross was raised, and soon a tomb that was once filled will be vacant. 
The tomb
As I teach them, they teach me. A cave of brown and green, no. As Luk sees it as a rainbow for God's promise to Noah and us and a red door because "Jesus was bleeding on the cross."  Show it, see it, let it engulf you. To have the child-like mind is to see the beauty in it.
 Our Jesus
As I take out the white, no. As I take out the purple, no. Yellow! Luk shares, "Jesus is the light!" Speechless... the beauty of his mind, his understanding.

The Scene

Purple: Mary Magdelene
Pink: Mary, his mother
Blue: disciple
Orange: disciple
Green: Roman Guard

He is sure of how he wants it. 
God is sure of how he wants HIS story.

He has it all working for HIS divine plan. 

I am broken. I am a broken sinner that deserves hell. Yet, He came for me. He bleed for me. I am washed in His blood covered and protected from the wrath of God because I know HIS truth. I accept it. I want it. He gave and continues to give me that drive. Through glorifying His Father I am cleansed.

I am HIS. 

I have been REDEEMED!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Generation iY

I subscribe to iMOM. This is the female version of All Pro Dad, which are branches of Tony Dungy's Family First. All this to say that there was an article written by Dr. Tim Elmore called Three Lies That Can Keep Your Child Stuck in Adolescence. Being with Reson and dealing with the youth of today and raising two boys of my own I wasn't too sure about some of things he wrote. 

Here are the three lies:

Lie #1: "You Can Be Anything You Want to Be."

Lie #2: "It's Your Choice."

Lie #3: "You Are Special."

If you want to read the explanations that he states click on the link above, but I had some things that I wanted to say about it. I get stereotyped because I am a young mom. I married right out of high school, which in today's mindset means you WILL get divorced. Thankfully, we have been married going on 8 years and been together for over eleven years. So, I'm not a fan of stereotypes. Now, I have the your a young mom, which has been turned into you shouldn't be your kids' friend. There is a simple truth to all this that gets over looked and that is, I follow the main handbook on my ideas of marriage and parenting, the Bible. So, it doesn't matter my age. I seek truth. 

I post that because it is important to see my standard, my foundation for my train of thought with this article. Did I like it? Yes and No. I thought it was too cut and dry. 

The fact is we could continue this article with anything can be lie and truth with these ideas. 

Lie #1: The idea behind this argument is that not everyone should try out for American Idol because they don't have the gift of signing.  If I look at it like that yes, but this is a bit of stretch. Just because a person is not a strong enough to be America's Idol (which I wouldn't want to be) doesn't mean that they can't be a vital part of a choir as a support branch. I know that there are parents that do flat out lie and say you sing as beautiful as Celine Dion, and yes that can be a lie. However, I don't want my children to think that they don't have a singing voice and that stops them from worshiping God with song. If our goal in life is to live the "American Dream" then I would say, "Your voice is just plain bad, let's look at an alternative." Now, if my goal in life is the sole (soul) purpose of praising God then sing away! 

Lie #2: I do believe that there is no gray area! I would say this is the lie I agree with most. There is a way to give choice and not be giving away your parental stance. I see this one the most working as a Youth Pastor's wife. I want to see my boy/girlfriend alone in my room, okay. I want to talk with them on the phone until all hours of the night. Where are the boundaries? I use cell phones as a prime example because not only with Reson being a Youth Pastor, but he works for a cell phone company. There are elementary school students with full access cell phones. What! They have all the text messaging, camera, website usage they want. I don't understand it. As Christians, we are not to be stumbling blocks to others, this should be for our children as well. How do we protect our child from pornography or sexual content when we allow full access to it everywhere they go? This would also go hand-in-hand with kids and the teaching of modesty. Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps is a great article from a non-Christian perspective. If looking at not so "serious" topics, there are boundaries still to be made. For example, Breakfast time, I let the boys make a choices, most of the time. Cereal, eggs, or toast with jelly. Lunch time, there is a choice of turkey, ham, or pb&j sandwiches. Dinner time = NO CHOICE! "But we must also help them learn the truth that not everything is open to discussion or debate. Sometimes there really is no choice, and kids will be better prepared for adult life if they understand this."

But as Granderson writes in the CNN article, "Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it." 

Lie #3: I would tell you to look at my response to the first one for my idea behind this one. My kids are special! Now, I wouldn't want them to become egotistical, but God knit them in my womb, He knows the number of hairs on their little heads. It designed them in HIS image, oh they are special! There are different definitions for special as far as Webster is concerned: unusual or better, esteemed, reserved... Again, what is the personal goal. If you are living the "American Dream" then this fits you for this article, but for me it doesn't. If raising my children as special because they are in the image of God that makes them humble, wise, men of truth, honor, above reproach, and the list goes on. No my children are not better (or more special) than our beautiful Compassion children, no they are all just as special because they are God's children!

I think Dr. Elmore meant well, but I do again think the article is too cut and dry. He does give clarity in his responses to people in the post, but I think it would have suited better to say these things in the article. I'm curious as to where his approach goes with his book, "Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future" Here are some of his rebuttals to the commentators.

"My hope in writing this article was to challenge parents to examine the underlying messages in these commonly-used phrases. I’m not suggesting that most parents intentionally mislead to their children. I’m just pointing out that these seemingly helpful phrases can turn into harmful statements when not balanced with the hard work of helping children develop an accurate picture of reality that exists outside the home.

As you say, we really do have a responsibility to be realistic with our children. I just want to challenge parents to balance encouragement with guidance. Children desperately need to discover their unique abilities that will ultimately allow them to reach their greatest potential."

"I too hope that parents who are challenged by this excerpt will take time to read the rest of the book. My end goal is not just to point out the challenges that this generation faces but to help us all work together towards solutions that will help them reach their potential. I truly believe that this generation has the potential to be the greatest generation but it will take a concentrated effort by all of us as parents, educators and leaders to guide them in overcoming the obstacles."

"I understand the strong reaction to calling these statements lies. I really don’t believe that most parents set out to intentionally mislead their children.

However, I do believe these seemingly helpful phrases can turn into harmful statements if not balanced with a clear picture of the real world kids face when they leave home. Unfortunately, it’s easy for most parents to give encouragement; yet sometimes hard to do the work of really helping children understand the reality of the world we live in. Leading our kids to this understanding is a process that must be pursued, consistently and intentionally, over time.

I agree with you that balance is the real key. All of us recognize the harmful effects of a child who is raised in an environment with nothing but discouragement. I’m just pointing out that a steady diet of nothing but affirmation can be just as debilitating in the long run if the child doesn’t mature and learn to handle adversity."

I would think that with reading his responses that we agree on the topic at hand, but again the approach to these "lies" are not lies, but truths that need to be looked at in a different mind set. Thanks my side and I'm stickin' to it. =D


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

For Kate (Part Two)

Well, it's done. 11 inches gone and it is being sent to Locks of Love tomorrow. Luk said he wants to grow his hair out, now... We will see how that goes, but I am not against.

Kate, I pray for you daily. I pray that your body is completely healed, and that through all that you will have an undeniable peace and joy as you travel this journey. May God give your parents strength, Godly wisdom, peace, and comfort as they make the decisions for you. Lord, put your hedge of protection over this beautiful family...

For Kate

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For Kate (Part One)

I'm still scared to chop my hair off. Every time I grow out my mine, and I get ready to cut it I chicken out and go safe with it. However, this time the plunge is truly throwing myself over the cliff. As I was gearing up to see what I needed to do for Locks of Love I thought FOR SURE the hair limit was six inches. Of course I can do that, but to my genuine surprise it was TEN inches... yea, freaked me out! Hubby got out the handy dandy tape measure (notice I did not say ruler) and I got the 10 inches, but it is er... short, shorter than what I thought I'd do. It's like the security blanket being taken away from you.

My heart started pounding, no racing as I thought about this. Sheesh, what was my problem, I can do this. Something just came over me, a fear that I have never had before all over my hair. I couldn't believe it, really. I didn't realize how stuck to my hair I was. Then a little face came into my mind. One that I see regularly, with a beautiful smile on her face:

It was this that first popped into my mind, then BOOM this:

Ultimately, the picture in my head turned to this:

With her mom's tweet too vivid in my mind ("It has started"), it was like a smack in the face for me being so... so... selfish over my (NO), HIS hair. The hair that only the ONE can give.

So, this beautiful young girl named Kate puts me in my place. To read her story and the beautiful walk with God her parents are trekking go to or her Caring Bridge Page to learn about this sweet courageous gal.

Tomorrow at 12:00pm I will be chopping the mane:

Because in the end a beautiful vibrant young girl or boy will receive this because she/he didn't have the choice that I will have tomorrow. It's a hard thing to be attached to something as hair. God knows every number of hair on your head, and in times of great tribulation like the roller coaster of cancer He STILL knows that number. I wish I could be brave and shave it all off, and maybe one day I will. I pray that God would give me that courage that I lack, but that Kate sure seems to carry. If there is one thing that God has made evident in my heart, children are wonderful teachers.

Holly and Aaron, you two are in my prayers as you fight this horrific battle with your Kate. I hope you know just how much your family has touched my life. As I look at my two boys' eyes, I am reminded of Kate daily, and it has changed the way I SEE them.

This is for Kate...

Logan Nathanael Little Hollow Gift of God

Logan was a well thought out human plan, but the character that God gave him as been anything but thought out. He is truly one of kind. I can't define Logan very well because he is all over the spectrum. He is a momma's boy (Luk is a daddy's boy with some mommy tendencies), he is overly sensitive, he is defiant, he is precious, he loves, he is happy, he is a screamer, he cries ALOT, he eats ALOT, and he is an evil Knievel... I can't describe him enough. I do know that he will be the one to give me gray hairs.

Last night he was screaming in his crib, and when I went in he stopped looked up at me in his I'm asleep but I see you look. He was looking for his pacifier. I put it in place (what I call "pluggin' him up"), and then he just held my hand. He LOVES having that security. It is precious.  He is little hollow to me. He loves being in a safe place.

The way that my heart and love expands for this boy is just amazing. He makes me smile, he makes me mad, and he drives me bonkers. God made him cute for a reason! =D Logan has a strong dedication, I can only imagine what great things he is going to do with his life (if he can stay out of trouble).

If there is one thing I can say about Logan, his pictures show you what he is all about. He doesn't hide a thing, I can't imagine who he gets that from...

On me: his favorite place to be!

Friday, April 8, 2011

When 8:00pm rolls around

I have the pleasure of teaching our church's 2nd-5th graders on Wednesday nights. I will say that most nights the conversations are engaging, thought provoking, and get my theological wheels turning as they ask questions about sin, hell, election (yes, they have asked), and God's judgment.

However, this past Wednesday was NOT one of these nights. We have been discussing the life of Jesus, and this week was discussing his trials with Pilate and Herod. I had already read the passage, but I guess as I was teaching on it I had some major thoughts cross my mind as the kids were highly distracted and talking to each other. I was only looking at the Jesus aspect of the passage: Jesus says I am Christ, not King of Jews. Jesus is mocked. Jesus shows mercy by healing an ear. Jesus endures a rough crowd.

Leading up to this passage, Jesus is betrayed by Judas, he heals a chief priest's ear, he is mocked by the chief priest, Peter denies him, and then this passage:

Luke 23

Jesus Before Pilate
 1 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king." 3 And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him,  "You have said so." 4Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no guilt in this man." 5But they were urgent, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place."
Jesus Before Herod
 6When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9So?, he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. 13Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him."
Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
 18 But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"— 19a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21but they kept shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!" 22A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him." 23But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

Key things to think about when reading this from a human stand point, and not from looking at Jesus' actions here because we already should have it in our minds that He was quiet, He suffered, and He was going to be put to the death by the divine plan of God.

 However, let's look at the people. You know the ones that have the sinful nature just like us and the ones that wanted control over the situation.

1) Their first complaint was that he was misleading to the nation, well this could stand to be true for those that did not believe in His majesty. So, for giggles we will say that from their perception they felt that he was misleading.

2) The second complaint was that he was forbidding the people to give tribute to Caesar. Now, this is just ridiculous. How can one man stop an entire nation from giving to Caesar. It seems nice to blame someone else so that you don't get in trouble for not following law. (Strictly looking at the human side)

3) Yea, He did claim to be Christ, there is no beating around the bush on that truth.

4) Herod and Pilate become friends over their agreement not to charge Jesus with a crime. This just seems interesting to me. Was this the only time they had to act on something together that they agreed on? What were there spiritual thoughts on Jesus?

5) Pilate makes it clear that he and Herod do not think Jesus is deserving of death. *More to this*

6) They want a murderer and rebel against the law to be released in trade for Jesus. *More to this*

7) Here again, Pilate makes it clear he find no fault in Jesus to be put to death. This is something that people talk about, but let's look at this: You think you see a guy commit a crime today, you turn him in, and the judge looks at the facts, talks to the guy, and tells you I find no fault in him. You get made, but ultimately the law freed him, the law freed him. *Keep on cruisin' here with #8*

8) The people prevailed! So... this guy that is there to give judgment is not agreed with. The people think they know better than the law, and there we have the death of Christ. Our sinful nature is in such dire need to be in control and give judgment that we gave judgment on the one true judge. Through God's divine plan, he used our sinful nature to convict Christ.

How many times do we try to take things into our own hands? How many times have we thought we can handle this on my own? We know what is right, what is wrong. We can decide what is just and fair. Can we decide what is just and fair? After reading this I have to say NO! We think it fair that we live in an air conditioned home. We think it is not fair to see children die from cancer or AIDS. We think God must have gotten something right, something wrong.

We still play the same games the people that put Christ to death did. We don't really care about what is fair, what we care about is what makes our life easier. For them it was putting Jesus to die because he was bringing conviction and change into their hearts. It's not fair that I can't sell and make the temple unholy, it's not fair that He's telling me I won't go to Heaven... But it's fair to kill Him so I don't have to hear these things and I can do what I want.

The kids weren't into that part of the conversation, but I was stuck on it. I still am. Are you? What is just and fair? I don't know. I can't continue to claim that I do because only ONE can say what it is just and fair.

Because if I think I know what is just and fair I think may have just sentenced my Savior to death! No words to follow that thought...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reflection over Genesis 18-19: Prime Example of Hospitality and more

I have decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover for the first time with a Hermeneutic stand point. I have read it before, read, move on, read, move one, so on. However, I decided that I didn't really like that approach because let's face it I was reading it like I did my Literature curriculum. I did daily Bible reads and would heavily focus on those things, but never did that for the Bible in its' entirety. As I've been doing this starting with Genesis, I have also been stuck on what I posted about previously Romans 12:9-21.

I posted about hospitality, and how that was something I was wanting to work on. Well, here comes the passage of Genesis 18-19.

Genesis 18
 1And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3and said, "O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on— since you have come to your servant." So they said, "Do as you have said." 6And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, "Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes." 7And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
 9They said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "She is in the tent." 10The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?" 13The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son." 15But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh." "After I am worn out, and
 16Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17The LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him." 20Then the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know."
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
 22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23Then Abraham drew near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" 26And the LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27Abraham answered and said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there." 29Again he spoke to him and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it." 30Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there." 31He said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it." 32Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." 33And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Genesis 19

God Rescues Lot 
1The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2and said, "My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the town square." 3But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." 6Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof." 9But they said, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them." Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door. 
The first thing that I got from all of this was, "wow, why did I never pick up on the fact that God just visited Abraham in a form of man?" I think every time I read it, I thought, "Abraham was visited by three guys and oh look now God is talking to him. On I go." So, then the thoughts roll God and two angels, not the Trinity because in 19 it says two angels went to Sodom after the Lord mentioned going with them. After talking with him, he probed God the Father or God the Son. I go with God the Son. His mannerism in the way He talks with Abraham in their conversation with over Sarah and Sodom. Also, the fact is that Abraham could look at the Lord, yet with Moses we know that He couldn't look at the God the Father. So, God the Son also known as the pre-incarnate Christ. 
However, this was not my final gain from this passage. As I went to bed thinking about the passage it hit me; Abraham's desire for hospitality. 1) He did know it was Christ that visited which showed his zeal. 2) He seemed to be waiting for them as he was outside his tent. 
My thoughts on hospitality is that we are to commune with the lowly (not saying that Christ is in this passage just reflection). So, if we commune with Christ; Surely, we should commune with the lowly.  Be ready for the visit, be ready to be hospitable! Greet your visitor with excitement (Abraham went running to his guests). He offered food, drink, and comfort, and they accepted it graciously. Abraham sat with them until they finished eating and he held conversation with them. 
Then we get the interesting conversation with Abraham and God about Sodom. Here is where we see the love that God has for mankind. Now, in chapter 19 another scene of hospitality with Lot and the two angels. He takes them, almost gets killed for taking care of these two angels, and he offers his daughters for trade. I do not think this means for me upright and trade my boys (for those literal folk), but rather the importance that comes with housing a guest. You take care of your guests. As always, God takes care of His people.
Side-note on all this: God does not tolerate wickedness but rejoices in righteousness. This was a fun passage to probe.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Attribute of Hospitality

Reson and I had the privilege this Friday to house the Christian hip-hop artist Manafest. All of the youth groups in our area pitched in to help bring him to our town. This is the second time we have had Chris in the area, but this time we had the honor of having his band with him. It was a great time to get know these guys who truly love God. Chris is a meek man that has a wonderful heart. Travis is a ball of energy and fun to be around (they all were). Mike is one that seems quiet, but a great guy to sit and talk to. If you are looking for an alternative to the bad messages that hip-hip in the secular world offers, I highly recommend these guys.

All this to say that the bible passage that I have been stuck on lately has been Romans 12:9-21
Marks of the True Christian
 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I look at it everyday, and think what can I do to make this list a reality. One that I want to show more (and not just with our youth group but with others) is "seek to show hospitality."

How often do we do that? Do we shut our homes off to people? Do we only open them to people we know and like? Will we open them up to people we really aren't sure about?

Do you have the marks of a Christian? If so, are you missing some of them? How can you make them apart of your life?

Every waking moment

11) The human tongue and body to adapt to new flavors (for dad).
12) The dim lamp in the living room that gives fresh light to the darkness. It is a remembrance of of God's light in the darkness.
13) God's love expands beyond the sacrificing of a lamb, but the sacrificing of His Son.
14) The touch of my son rubbing my hair in the morning to wake me up.
15) Our human ability to forgive. The power is greater than we deserve.