Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hospitality

Romans 12:13: …Practice hospitality.

October is one of the months I put hospitality into practice the most. Maybe it’s because we live in Arizona and the weather is perfect in the fall – at least most of the time. Our home becomes a revolving door with those we love.

Since we moved here from across the country, it’s nice to have our friends and family come anytime! Before they arrive, I contact them and let them know how excited we are about their visit and find out if there are things they don't or can't eat. I ask about their favorite foods and snacks. How embarrassing it would be to have meals prepared and discover the guests are allergic! I also try to have some things made up ahead of time that freeze well.

I'll admit, I do like to have my house clean and organized with little special touches like a basket in the bathroom with things they might have forgotten and sometimes a bouquet of flowers in the guest room. However, once they are here, I want them to feel like they are in their own home. The thought of keeping things perfect goes out the window and a more relaxed approach is adopted.

I show them where things are like drinks, snacks, etc. and let them get things themselves. There are times I go places with my guests but there are times they go out alone. I have a collection of brochures and magazines highlighting what to do in this area in a basket in the guest room. I have a friend who once told me she also made a basket of brochures, some bottled water and other things the friends might need for a day trip and had it waiting on their bed.

With each set of guests, I learn new things I can put into practice for my future company. I would love to hear about some of the things you also do to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Too Much To Do & Not Enough Time

Psalm 90:14: Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

When I was in elementary school, I can remember summer days when my mom would make me go outside and play. (I loved television a little too much.) I can still see my face pressed against the screen door telling her how bored I was.

Now I laugh at the thought of being bored. Even though we all have 24 hours in our day, most people I know don't seem to have enough time to do what they need to do. How is it with all our modern conveniences, we still can't do everything?

There are many roles we play as women, and learning how to balance everything is quite an art. When I think I've got it figured out, something happens to tip the scales again!

The key for me is to begin my day in the presence of the Lord. If I find my satisfaction in Him, He gives me the strength to handle all my other responsibilities. In addition, I'm not looking for anything or anybody else to fill that God-shaped spot in my life!

For those of you with little kids, I understand how difficult it is to carve out that time. I can remember days I was so desperate for God while my kids were small, that I journaled standing in the kitchen with a toddler hanging on my legs. I heard Susanna Wesley (mother of 19 -- the famous John and Charles Wesley were two of them) used to throw her apron over her face -- and her children knew to leave her alone.

As my kids grew older, they got used to my need to get alone with God. I remember one day when I was not getting along with one of them. He said to me, "Mom, have you had your Prime Time today? You need to go spend time with God." He was right. When I spend time with God first, I communicate much better with my family and am much more capable of handling things that come my way.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Staying on Guard

Proverbs 4:23 (God’s Word Translation)
Guard your heart more than anything else because the source of your life flows from it.

When I think about guarding my heart, one of the things I picture is a little guard watching what I allow in my mind! Fleeting thoughts will come and go, but it’s what I dwell on that will enter my heart.

Every day we will have an opportunity to be offended or to just think negative thoughts concerning something that is going on. It’s just a fact of life. We may not be able to change our circumstances or what other people do or say, but we can choose how we think about it and react.

How do you handle negative things that come your way? For me, I pray and hold them up to God. He will give me the ability to either leave it in His hands or give me wisdom to know how to handle the matter.

If I am really struggling to forgive someone or just get bogged down with life, journaling helps me sort it all out. I journal on the computer in the form of a prayer and sometimes it’s not very pretty! In fact, when I go back and re-read it, it’s no book I want to remember. So I hit the delete button and start all over again in a more positive way – and by this time my entire perspective is different.

If I dwell on negative things or just bury them, they do not go away. When I visited Ireland a few years ago for a missions trip, we were told not to drink the water because the pipes were contaminated in certain areas of the building. In the same way, if I allow negative things like unforgiveness to dwell in my heart, what flows out will pollute others. Instead, I want my pipes clean so God can flow through me to refresh those I come in contact with.

Matthew 12:34: …For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.