God: The Author And Finisher Of Our Faith

 

Blog - Angel playing hornWhen was the last time you had an “Ah-Haa” moment?  Was it last week, yesterday or maybe this morning?  Mine was just now!  Just as I began to compose my thoughts for this week’s blog, the Lord shouted in a loud voice, “STOP in the name of love, before you break my heart.  Think it over.”  Doo wop, doo wop!”

Well, I exaggerated.  The angels were not really blasting out The Supremes 1965 hit song, but I thought it was a great opener for what I am about to share with you concerning just how much God loves proof reading our writings, publishing and promoting our hieroglyphics on how we use His written word as a form of our worship.

Honestly, when life throws me a lemon, one of the most expressive ways I’ve found to cope is by journaling, or writing my grief down somewhere.  And my first thoughts this morning when I awoke were the Holy Spirit whispering to me, my child, that is just what I do…envelop someone’s heart to write things down.  (My “Ah-Haa” moment.)  You see, God is actually the Author and Finisher of our faith….who would-a-thought!

So, what are some examples in the Bible of God’s references to writing things down?  I’m so glad you asked.

  • As a Prosecuting Attorney, God said:  “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”  Luke 1:3-4
  • As a Supreme Ruler, God said:  “This is what the Lord said, the God of Israel, says:  ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.'”  Jeremiah 30:2a
  • As the Master Teacher, God said:  “Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”  Deuteronomy 6:9
  • Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote:  “You (the Corinthians) yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”  2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Blog - God Prefers a Written letter

Needless to say, one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day!

I realize that there are other acceptable ways Believers in Christ pay homage to Him, for example:

  1. By worshiping through music.
  2. By worshiping in fasting and praying.
  3. By worshiping conducting Bible study.
  4. By fostering unity in the body of Christ.

But for me, worshiping while journaling allows me to laugh out loud with Him, debate with Him, cry with Him, rejoice with Him, shout with Him, run with Him, Love on Him, and most of all submit to Him.

Blog - God and writing to Him

The man on the left is not a picture of my grandfather, Daddy Bob, but it reminds me of him sitting in the wooden bench swing on his front porch on a warm Spring day, slowly pumping himself back and forth as he read his Bible.  We grandchildren knew not to disturb him, but we could watch him as he from time to time looked up at the rolling clouds in the bright blue sky and spit out his tobacco.  Next, he would take his pencil from behind his ear and underlined something he had just read in the Bible.  How I longed for a peek at that page.  But that was Grandpa’s own private conversation with God and I knew he expected God to answer him in His own good time.

You may be wondering how you can use the written word as a form of worship?  May I suggest you try writing down your first positive thoughts of your day.  And in the evening pick up that list and write down how each thought was accomplished.  Did you make it happen?  Did someone else make it happen?  Was God in the mix?  Then turn it all over to Jesus in your closing written prayer.  Collect these precious pieces of paper and you will be on your way to worshipping while journaling.   Then you, too, will agree that to journal is a wonderful form of expression.

Until next week, my friends, happy journaling.

TO HELP YOU GET STARTED WITH YOUR JOURNALING, SHOP AMAZON FOR THIS JOURNAL NOTEBOOK:  I’ll Write it Down: A Two Way Chat Diary Oct 17, 2019 by Joronda Montañ Paperback      $9.95

Scripture Lesson:  “Never forget to be truthful and kind.  Hold these virtues tightly.  Write them deep within your heart.  If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself.  Proverbs 4:3-5 (Living Bible)  STOP in the name of love…

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God’s Super Woman

Dear Readers, this weeks blog is a reprint of one I posted in May 2018.  The reason for this reprint is that I suffered some mild health issues that ‘way-laid’ me for most of the week.  I have been told by friends and family that I need to slow down and smell the roses and perhaps rethink my efforts of trying to be a “Super Woman” for the family of God in this life.

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT, THOUGH!  I’LL HAVE TO CHECK WITH MY FAVORITE MENTOR…JESUS CHRIST.  PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS SITUATION. 

Blog - Super Woman Man in red shirt Prfect!

Okay, in our efforts to be perfect we sometimes forget to put the “e” in the mix.

So What!  Just remember what is written.

God’s requirements for success are unchanging and straightforward:  Keep the faith, keep his commandments, officiate in love and stay on his path of truth and righteousness.  Read the conversation below for a better understanding.

OH LORD, HOW CAN I BECOME A SUPER WOMAN IN THE FAMILY OF GOD?

If you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them, I will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath.                                            Deuteronomy 28:13b-13a

BUT LORD, I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND.  FOR EVEN THOUGH I STUDY YOUR WORD MY HEART IS HEAVY MORE OFTEN THAN GLAD.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.                                 3 John 1:2

TELL ME, MASTER, HOW CAN MY SOUL PROSPER?

My child, it is written that the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in her.  Hebrews 10:38

HOLY FATHER, DO YOU MEAN THAT I AM PREVENTING MYSELF FROM DEVELOPING INTO  A SUPER WOMAN IN YOU BECAUSE MY FAITH IS WEAK?

Consider Abraham, he believed in me and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Therefore know that only those who are of  faith are daughters of Abraham.                 Galatians 3:6, 7

THEN ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD, DEAR JESUS, IF I INCREASE MY FAITH IN YOU, YOU WILL BLESS ME AND MAKE ME A SUPER WOMAN?

Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.                                                Hebrews 6:14

OH, JESUS, YOU ARE SO GOOD AND SO KIND.  AND I PROMISE TO INCREASE MY FAITH AND DEPEND SOLELY UPON YOU IN EVERYTHING I DO.

Just remember,  faith comes not by your own might, but faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.                            Romans 10:17

SO THAT I MIGHT UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY, MY LORD, LET ME REPEAT WHAT YOU SAID.  IN ORDER FOR ME TO BECOME A SUPER WOMAN IN YOUR HOUSE, I MUST LISTEN AND OBEY YOUR COMMANDMENTS AND YOU WILL MAKE ME THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL.

YOU ALSO DESIRE THAT I NOT ONLY BECOME A PROSPEROUS WOMAN, BUT THAT MY SOUL BE ENRICHED AS WELL. AND THE BLESSING IS THAT ALL OF THIS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED JUST BY INCREASING MY FAITH IN YOU.

That’s right, daughter.  And you should also remember that without faith it is impossible to please me.                            Hebrews 11:6

I KNOW WHAT FAITH IS, LORD, IT IS LIKE HOPING AGAINST HOPE THAT AN INCURABLE SITUATION WILL GET BETTER EVEN THOUGH YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW.

I say it a little differently…Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.           Hebrews 11:1

THANK YOU, LORD, FOR THIS VISIT AND I AM DETERMINED TO PUT MY FAITH INTO PRACTICE AND NOT ALLOW SATAN TO ROB ME OF MY SUPERIORITY IN YOU.

Well said, my beloved, for the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.                                            John 10:10

Scripture Reference:  “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you.”                                             Deuteronomy 5:33

 Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant Manager…Me!

God Suggested That I Let Go And Let God

Blog - Let Go and Let God Little boyHave you ever decided to just ‘let go and let God’?  Well I did.   And I have now decided to share that experience with you guys.  All I did was to say to myself; “Enough, already!”  And guess what I decided to throw out: DOUBT, FEAR, WORRYING, INDECISIVENESS, PROCRASTINATION,  ETC., ETC., ETC.  All those things were getting old and in my way.  They kept me from becoming the person God wanted me to be.  Actually, I was hindered from performing things God’s way.  (You remember that song by Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. ‘I Did It My Way’?)

OUT, OUT, OUT YOU GO….

I don’t have any regrets, either!  All those things that were a detriment to my health and that inhibited me from being Christ-like went out the window and the Holy Spirit made room for a new creature in Christ.

You, too, can deep six those books of yours entitled “My Past,” “I Ought,” “I Might”, or “Tomorrow”.  Replace them with “My Future”, “I Can” or “I Will”.

From the very beginning, God had a calling on my life and yours, too.  He seeks us out from birth…from the womb.  I know this for a fact because I asked him.

One evening through prayer, I was led to claim His words that said…”…and you shall be called Sought Out” (see Isaiah 62:12a).  My name was capitalized right there on the pages of the Bible…”Sought Out”!

Although God called me at an early age, like most of you, I did not stop running.  I turned a deaf ear to his voice.  I allowed the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Excuse, Aunt and Uncle Procrastination, and my favorite cousin, Self-willed Willie to have control over my life.  They took turns distorting my hearing, understanding, mind, heart, time, talents and my treasures.  Enough, all ready!

If the truth was told we all have bodies that come designed with a myriad of voices.  Did you know that your persona reflects which voice you are listening to at any given time in your life?  At present (and I hope from this point forward), my persona reflects a contented sheep because the voice I am listening to is that of the Shepherd.

So, when I came to myself, I repented and prayerfully asked the Lord to forgive me for procrastinating in compiling my thoughts into a blog that I had penned entitled “Conversations With God Using Scripture”.  I have also thanked him for silencing every negative voice that previously had dominion over me.  For I once was young, but now I am in my late senior years and am privileged to see just who it was that rescued me from the snares of life.  Thank God for those of you whose eyes and ears were opened in your youth.

But no matter what your age, begin seeking him today.  Start recognizing the extraordinary methods of operation he is performing in your live.  In my situation, he turned my personal Bible study quiet time into an interactive, stimulating and intimate conversational time with him, where of I am glad.  (And I hope my blog readers are truly enjoying eavesdropping on our conversations.)

Always remember that God is calling you twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week.  It is your choice to mentally leave your domain, your comfort zone, your place of many voices and answer his call.  He is the One with the still small voice.  He is The Comforter.  When you are ready to obey and yield, just say, “Speak Lord, thy servant is listening.”

Blog - enough already trash

Hear my prayer, Oh Lord, for this load is too heavy for me.  ‘BLESSED BE GOD, WHO HAS NOT TURNED AWAY MY PRAYER, NOR HIS MERCY FROM ME’.  AMEN (Psalms 66:20)

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

God Has Empowered His People To Live Life’s Journey Within A Healthy Society

Blog - God Wants us to be healthy - joggers

Don’t Worry…Be Happy and Healthy In The Lord and Run With Patience!

Some time ago, while in deep conversation with God, the Holy Spirit shared with me a thing or two about the Great Physician.  Basically, I came away with this penetrating thought: “Remain in me (Jesus), as I also remain in you.”  John 15:4

So, for this week’s blog I want to share with you how to be at peace and in good health in this environment even when our bodies are racked with pain; troubled with disturbing thoughts; and our spirits are questioning our faith on every side.

For your understanding, I will apply certain scripture references that will give meaning to why Jesus used so many examples of life’s emotions to teach on how to be blessed and content when all hell is breaking loose around us.

FIRST RULE OF THUMB:  THE PURPOSE

While living down here on earth, those who follow the cross ought always to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13) regardless of what physical, mental or material state we find ourselves in.  If we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our ways and demeanor should bring illumination and savor (preservation) to our fellow man.  Thus, living in a manner befitting the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God!

SECOND RULE OF THUMB:  THE SCRIPTURE

Our scripture is found in Matthew from chapter 4:23 through 5:12.   You will recognize it as containing The Beatitudes.  The word Blessed is used quit often and means more than just ‘happy’.  It takes on the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.

So, during my conversation with God, I asked the Holy Spirit why did He use physical human emotions that depict pain and sorrow to define the word ‘blessed’ or in some Bibles ‘happy’.  For example:

 Blessed are the poor in spirit…

Blessed are they that mourn…

Blessed are the meek… etc.

THIRD RULE OF THUMB:  GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S WORD

Why use physical emotions?  Because those examples have a deeper longing and infuse more sincere compassion not only for personal righteousness, BUT also justice for the oppressed.  Let me explain further; when scripture says blessed are the merciful it means that those souls not only forgive others but also have empathy for them.  When you are sensitive to God’s forgiveness it frees you from feeling guilty and brings comfort to your soul.

All of the qualities and emotions mentioned in these scriptures should allow us to bring peace to others.  But, it is also a catch 22 situation because it can make us vulnerable to persecution.  That’s why Jesus includes blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Children of God.

Here on earth, our only reward may be to be called “sons and daughters of God”.  And we may have to experience God’s kingdom rule while here on earth by becoming a peacemaker thus proving our fitness for the kingdom by suffering down here, but free from such pain in the Atmosphere.

FORTH RULE OF THUMB:  REFILL YOUR PRESCRIPTION (*)

Sickness and infirmities can come about through bad habits, weak constitutions, exposure to danger, crimes, accidents, birth defects, etc., but while experiencing sickness it can also reveal attitudes, values and motives which must be transformed if human beings are to be truly in harmony with God.  (Reference Matthew 5:19-48)

Note (*)Prescription from the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, MD – 7 times 70 Milligrams

Blog - adult-aging-bottle-1389104 (1)

Take One 70 Milligram pill per day

Instructions: Take one tablet per day…that is, examine yourself.  Your 70 milligram pill represents your 7 senses:  seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, intuition and telepathy.  Each milligram has been dimmed by 7 sins:  pride, anger, lust, covetousness, envy, glutton and sloth.  (All of your aches and pains can be categorized as manifesting from one of your 7 senses or 7 sins.  Therefore, take each pill with a glass of water and intense prayer.   Name the culprit and pray mightily and daily for those things that so easily beset you and hinder you from receiving good health and  intimacy with God.  Schedule a follow-up visit with Doctor Jesus in the morning.)

Scripture Reference:  “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

God Asks, “How Are You, Today?”

Did you know that our God is concerned about your well-being each and every day?  It doesn’t matter that you may not know him that well.  But he certainly knows you and is available to you if you can just hear his voice and answer his call.

My friends, I don’t know if you have a clue as to how to identify God’s voice, versus your own voice, or even another super natural spirit voice.  But I do know this…just about everything that can so easily beset you or send you off into a state of total despair, our God not only has a word of comfort, a weapon of mass destruction, armor to  protect you, a way of escape, an advocate to intercede for you; but he also has a method for you to use and secret code words for you to recite in order for you to connect with him and to get instant relief and certain victory in his appointed time.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?  ARE YOU PULLING MY LEG?   DID YOU DRANK THE KOOL AID?  HOW CAN I CONNECT TO THIS WISDOM? HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?  DO I HAVE TO JOIN SOMETHING?  IS THIS SOME KIND OF MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING SCHEME?” 

NO, No, No, my brothers and sisters…all you need is a copy of God’s Holy Bible and some quality time to spend with him so that the Holy Spirit can introduce you to his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Because everything you need is IN HIM!

Take a look at the chart below that list situations which manifest themselves in our lives from time to time.  These situations can keep us from having a good day.  See if you can identify with some of them.  When and if you do, I want you to do four things for me and for yourself:

  1. First, name the abnormality, (the need)
  2. Second, pray to Jesus by addressing Him by the name given under ‘title’
  3. Pray with confidence by identifying where in scripture it is written.
  4. Make your prayer short, sweet and sincere

SO, JUST HOW ARE YOU TODAY?

 What is Your Need…                 What is Jesus’ title…            Scripture is Found…

I need advice Counselor Isaiah 9:6
I need food Bread of Heaven John 6:32-33
A better life Bread of Life John 6:35
Person to stand w/me Advocate 1 John 2:1
Be more dependable Author of your faith Hebrews 12:1-2
I’m a wreck All in All Colossians 3:11-12
Guidance Chief Shepherd 1 Peter 5:4
To be rescued Deliverer Romans 11:26
Sympathy, comfort Father of Mercies 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Hope God of Hope Romans 15:18
Leniency God the Judge of All Hebrews 12:23
I’m a bare faced liar God of Truth Deuteronomy 32:4
I’m sad, depressed Brightness of Glory Hebrews 1:3
I’m lost, no hope Captain of Salvation Joshua 5:14
Patience and comfort God of Patience Romans 15:5
Love my neighbor God of love & peace 2 Corinthians 13:11

After a little practice praying in this manner, you will begin to quote and to memorize scripture, come to know more about the characteristics of Jesus and experience more and more of God’s love, mercy and tender care for your well-being.  So, when God asks you, “How are you doing today?”  you can answer; “With the help of Jesus…just fine!”

The added bonus to this exercise is that you will be more equipped to effectively witness to other lost and weary souls that God will send your way.  So ‘man up‘ your prayer life and communications with God and when it is all said and done…hear the Master say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a few things, now come on up and I will make you master of many.”  Amen!  Matthew 25:21

 

Click to hear a beautiful song…..Ask the Lord to “Order My Steps In Your Word”.

Scripture LessonOrder my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:113
  

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME! 

God Had Me On His Mind When Jesus Was On The Cross

Blog - God Had you on his mind

FROM THE CHURCH HOUSE TO THE STATE HOUSE

Some years ago, in fact, it was during April 2004, God had orchestrated an event in my life that motivated me to volunteer as an Ombudsman for the state of Maryland.  As I look back on this time, I now realize this was just another god-centered means in preparing me to become an international missionary in His service.  For it was while performing in this occupation I learned to communicate with adults with personalities that had limited cognitive skills and attention deficit disorders who had been placed in a semi-institutionalized facility by their family members.

Blog-God had you on his mind State Capitol Bldg

FROM THE STATE HOUSE TO THE OUT HOUSE

These facilities in most cases were private homes or apartment complexes located in regular neighborhoods and licensed by the state.  A private dwelling with multi-purpose rooms and numerous bedrooms could operate their facility as a co-ed unit.  Home owners received rents from their tenants and in return provided housekeeping duties, catered meals, entertainment and in some instances transportation which was required by state law.

The state assigned an Ombudsman to each of these facilities as a mediator to investigate resident complaints, grievances, provide private consultations, reinforce rights and privileges and recommend appropriate strategies necessary in order to resolve any conflicts between parties.  (The institution of the Ombudsman was first created in Sweden more than 200 years ago.  Ombudsmen normally perform duties as an intermediary between the constituent and its facility, owner or organization.)

Blog - God had you Large House

FROM THE OUT HOUSES TO THE LANDLORD’S HOME

The spiritual lessons I learned did not come from the adult residents themselves who lived in the neighborhood home where I was assigned, but from the home owners, their employees who cooked or did housecleaning, the family members who visited the residents and the local entertainers who provided recreation.

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FROM THE LANDLORD’S HOME  INTO THE TENANT’S HEART

Now that we have gone full circle in our introductions, allow me to introduce you to Jane (not her real name) who resided in the very first home I was assigned to.  Jane eventually became one of my favorite tenants whom I got to visit twice monthly.  I used the term “eventually” because my very first visit to this home was kind of weird.  Practically all of the residence were in the early stages of Alzheimer Disease.  Just a few were experiencing limited cognitive skills and/or attention deficit disorders.  In addition, the entire household  exhibited a hostel atmosphere and were not at all enthusiastic about my being there.  (Most landlords see Ombudsmen as spies for the State.)

Needless to say, my first day did not go very well and I began to doubt my ‘honorable’ intentions to volunteer to serve in this capacity.  I envisioned I was on a road to encounter demons.  But later, while reading my bible, I came upon these verses regarding God’s calling, election and hope for my life:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and unto an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  1 Peter 1:3-4

[Therefore]

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD”.  Psalm 31:24

So, in order to adhere to 1st Corinthians 15:58…“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”…I resolved to be spiritually grounded and not  be tossed back and forth by the wind and the waves of life.  So, I hastened to plead the Blood of Jesus over that house and its inhabitants every time I entered into it.

Blog - God had you on his mind senior citizen

MEET ‘JANE’

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I am glad to report that within a short time Jane and the other residents in the home came to respect and trust me.  Soon I established a good relationship with the staff by artistically posting their daily food menus on the kitchen walls with favorable comments from the residents concerning particular dishes they enjoyed eating the most.  With God’s wisdom, I endeared myself to the landlords by taking the residents on short walks around the neighborhood, or sitting with them on the patio and imitating and identifying the sounds of nature we heard.  These exercises and mind games helped to minimize their attention deficit disorders and broaden their cognitive skills and their ability to communicate with one another and their family members.

When the day’s activities also included entertainers, I encouraged them to involve more hands on events such as physically dancing with a tenant as his or her partner in addition to singing songs to them; couching chefs into allowing the tenants to actually prepare and bake certain food items instead of just listening or watching ‘how to’ demonstrations.  I even got one or two residents to allow me to transcribe a portion of their real life’s story or to compose a poem that I later framed and put on display in the residence.  My biggest accomplishment was to convince the landlord to allow dinner wine to be served and dinner guest to be invited on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.  After all, everyone was of age (although under supervision), and many of them still had personal relationships with people outside of their immediate family members and also desired their company every once in a while.

You can imagine how twice a month, at least, I was on my knees the night before visiting my assigned Ombudsman duty asking the Lord to empower me with His strength, courage, insight, and peace as I operated in His love to carry out my beloved responsibilities for the State of Maryland.

And without fail, God always had a word for me…My child, you were on my mind when My Only Begotten Son was on the Cross.  Your future missionary assignments will always remind you that Greater is He that is within you then he that is within the world.

Scripture Lesson:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you (My sister).  I do not give to you as the world gives.   Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27    

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

 

 

 

God Commands That We Show Some Love

Blog God whants us to show love

Have you ever offered hospitality to a total stranger in your home?  And if you can answer ‘yes’ to that question, was that person or persons of the same ethnicity as you are?  How did you entertain them?  Did you serve them a meal?  Did you give them a place to lodge for the night? Did you provide medical assistance?  Or did you just invite them in and listened to their sorrows and needs?

Did you feel comfortable and/or safe in doing what you did because they ‘looked’ like you?  Did you interview them at your front door before you invited them in?  Did you have any idea you were living out the Holy Scripture written in 1 Peter 4:9

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

 The Greek word (“philoxenia”) is a compound word where we get “phileo” (defined compassionate love) and “stranger”.  If you felt fear and it caused you to slam the door, then you experienced what we call “xenophobia…the fear of strangers.

God has given us a road map to overcome fear that allows us to forfeit our compassion to love our neighbor as thy self.  In fact, it’s actually a two-part commandment:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:36-40

So, now the only question that remains is just who is my neighbor and who is worthy of my compassion and generosity?  The bible says that both friends and your enemies are your neighbors.  And you should help them both, but in different ways.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (your enemies).  Matthew 5:43

Since everyone is part of God’s creation and we have pledged to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength we would be liars if we did not also love our neighbor (friend and foe).  And, yes, even though we know that everyone will not go to heaven because of the choices they make, that does not excuse us from exercising our faith and desiring that all God’s people be apostatized to come to accept him.

As for the ‘how’ part of this formula, don’t forget you can also live out this command by going to the person’s house to commune with him.  (Remember Jesus’ house visits to Zacchaeus’ house and Matthew’s house and Mary and Martha’s house? And last but not least, the Good Samaritan’s hospitable work with the wounded man on the roadside.  He took the man to an Inn.)

My final scripture before I share my personal story is found In Romans 8:10, Paul says:

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Poor mother and kids

See the picture of that single mother with her two little kids?  Well, that’s my story of a total stranger who, some 50 years ago, called my phone and asked, no begged, for my help.  She was desperate, despondent, and in total despair.  She told me that she had gotten my phone number from a newspaper’s ‘house for rent’ section.  In that ad I had written I would help people find reasonable houses to rent.

Lisa (not her real name) had overstayed her temporary government housing voucher which had provided her and  her two children with shelter for only three nights in a motel.  She was now sitting out on the curb of that motel along with her meager belongings with no place to go and her two hungry children sobbing.

Without hesitating, I immediately jumped in my car and went to fetch her.  Along the way, I was praying to God and I said, ‘Lord, I don’t have any empty houses at this time.  Where can I put them?  Immediately, I heard an audible voice say, “Put them in your house.  You have two extra bedrooms.”

This was not only a new personal beginning  with my relationship with the Lord, but a scary one at that. Here to fore, I had never allowed total strangers to stay in my home. I always had enough rental properties to place then in at drastically reduced rental rates.

As I approached the motel entrance, I saw an African lady with two tattered children.  Her shoulders were drooped, her head was bowed and her eyes were swollen.  She looked despicable, distraught, disillusioned and depleted.  I introduced my self, loaded her belongings in my car and said, ‘get in’.

As we drove back to my house, I was completely transformed by God.  Instead of asking my new ‘neighbor’ anything about her current condition in life, I said, “I’m going to let you out at my front door.  Here’s my key, take your things in and up to the two bedrooms on the second floor, the one in the middle of the hall and the other one on your left.  You may shower and then get something to eat out of the refrigerator.  I have to go back to work and will be home around 6:00 p.m.  If you steal anything while I am away, you will have to deal with the Lord.  I left them on my front lawn and returned to work.

Fortunately, all went well. Lisa and her children were at the house when I returned.  They had cleaned up, eaten, and were watching TV.  I eventually found them a house, some used furniture and got her registered with the city’s housing department.  She became a member of my church, got a job, enrolled in some courses, and is to this day my friend.

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I want to leave you with a scripture I find helpful when I am confronted with decisions and opportunities to offer hospitality to someone in need, especially total strangers.

Scripture Lesson:  Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart He will make your paths straight - Floating Scripture Bible Verse Christian Religious

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