Tag Archives: hospitality

1 Samuel 25; 1 Chronicles 7; Acts 17

Nabal enjoyed the protection and integrity of David’s troops, but when the opportunity arose to reciprocate, he refused. He enjoyed the bounty in a celebratory time to the exclusion of an army. Nabal was a consumer–driven by greed and selfishness.

36 When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day. (1 Samuel 25:36, NLT)

First Chronicles lists the lineages, and many were considered to be warriors, but two were killed by their own thievery:

The descendants of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath, 21 Zabad, Shuthelah, Ezer, and Elead. These two were killed trying to steal livestock from the local farmers near Gath. 22 Their father, Ephraim, mourned for them a long time, and his relatives came to comfort him. (1 Chronicles 7:20-22, NLT)

Paul and Silas travel to different areas to spread the word, and time after time they are met with troublemakers. Descriptive words and phrases I noted, “jealous; attacking; stirring up trouble; laughed in contempt.”

Nabal is singly named. Ezer and Elead act in unison. And the troublemakers are referred to as a mob or group–a general force at work.

Abigail is also singly named–Nabal’s wife who rushes to undo the damage her husband caused by his attitude. And in a lineage, many are grouped as warriors. Even in Acts, there are those who are considered open minded, seeking, and eager to listen. Some are singled out:

32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34, NLT)

Attitudes and actions.

My own attitudes and actions tell the story of my life. Lord, whether alone or in a group, help me to choose what is right. Only you know the whole of my deepest thoughts.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13

I remember the first time I left the kids with a sitter–the instructions, the notes, how to reach us. A friend did that with me too, when she and her husband were taking a trip and wanted me to care for some things at their home. A list: remember, remember, don’t forget.

Words in Hebrews cause me to pause and reflect. Keep on, remember, remember, don’t forget. These are reminders of things that matter. What are words that I would want to impress upon someone for their success and perseverance? How would I encourage others in perspective and purpose? And how would my words align with what God says?

20 Now may the God of peace—
    who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

22 I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. (Hebrews 13:20-22, NLT)

I have a dear friend who, at the end of our coffee dates, walks me into the parking lot, puts her hand upon my shoulder and prays for and over me. She is an example of precious community. I am fortunate to know others who do the same.

God of peace, thank you for friends who pray and point me back to you and what matters. Thank you for your word in my hands, scriptures that remind me of who you are–unchanging, powerful–all glory to you. Thank you for words like keep on, remember, remember, don’t forget, to encourage and remind. Because sometimes I’m discouraged. Sometimes I forget.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 27-31; Mark 2

Once again there is so much we could focus on in these chapters of God’s Word. Today I want us to look at a part of Mark 2. It’s a passage we may glance over without really thinking it through. Here it is:

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mar2:13-17 [NIV]

Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. One of the most dishonest professions of the day. They would extort extra funds from those they were collecting taxes from. Not only does Jesus call Levi to be one of His disciples, but when Levi has a party Jesus attends with even more tax collectors and sinners as Mark puts it. It was over a meal. They were eating together where Jesus meets these people. Many times I think we overlook the power of hospitality and eating together in spreading the gospel. Jesus came eating and drinking we read elsewhere in Scripture. His ministry happened many times over a meal. And at the last supper many things were spoken and remembered.

What role does eating and drinking play in your witnessing plan? Perhaps when you have individuals over for dinner who don’t know the Lord and you say a blessing over the meal it may get them thinking about eternal values. Especially when you thank God for your friendship.

Think about it. Who can you invite for dinner? What powerful things can you say, pray and ask that will draw your guests closer to God?

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Lamentations; Psalm 137; 1 Peter 4

Spiritual Gifts are one of the most mis-understood and least implemented parts of the Christian life. I was with a group of Christians not too long ago. About 25 people and asked them how many of them knew what their gifts were. Only two or three raised their hands. That is a pretty typical response I would say. Yet here we see Peter challenging his readers to steward the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit and use them well.

We find the spiritual gifts discussed in the 4’s and 12’s (Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4; 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12). Who said the Bible was hard to read or figure you!

So spiritual gifts are given to us at our point of conversion to Christianity. They are given to us to edify the Body of Christ. There are between 19 & 22 depending on your theology (not the place here to discuss that) and each one of have at least one gift.

In this morning’s reading we find the following:

  • Hospitality, v. 9
  • Speaking (most likely teaching), v. 11
  • Serving, v. 11

9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:9-11 [ESV]).

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Are you using them to serve the Body of Christ? If not read through the 4’s and the 12’s and begin this week.

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Numbers 3-4; Mark 3:22-35

I was looking around at other women, looking to see what they were doing–and it put me at odds with my life. They were at women’s retreats and Bible studies and community groups and part of service opportunities. I was at home–a substantial commute away from church that would require my husband to take on my responsibilities after he came home from (crazy long hours of) work, two young kids at home, and (at the time) I was homeschooling one of them. There didn’t seem to be a fit for someone like me. I struggled with wanting what I had and wanting what other women had. I struggled with feeling like I was less a part of God’s plan because my calendar was not filled with church things.

***

In Numbers, God tells Moses how the Levites will assist Aaron, these Levites like first-born sons.

11 And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me, 13 for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the Lord.” Numbers 3:11-13 NLT.

I made a list of this tribe, and their duties. They had a role to play, and the roles didn’t cross over but were specific to the Gershonites, Kohathites and Merarite clans.

***

The other day, I sat across from a mom at her kitchen table and we talked about gifting, purpose and service. I understood that in those early years as a mom of littles, I was still able to serve God and that it didn’t have to look like what everyone else was doing. I found community and Bible study here, online through 66 Books. I was able to assist a church hospitality ministry by handling scheduling and emailing from my home at my convenience. And my service opportunities looked more like play dates and coffee dates, cultivating friendships with other moms where we supported and encouraged each other.

My kids are growing. My responsibilities look different today than they did six years ago. We even moved. Those years of hosting and hospitality were the training ground for other opportunities, preparing the way for what I’d encounter today:

One woman let her guard down and asked for prayer for a serious health problem. Another one doesn’t know her purpose. And still one admits to a lifetime at church, but now, late in life, isn’t sure she ever really believed. I saw the vulnerability of their hearts when I stopped looking at what other women were doing, and started looking at what God was doing. This happened over play dates, dinners, and doing the things God wired me to do.

24 “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. 25 Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” Mark 3:24-25 NLT

I imagine how relationships would be strengthened and blossom under the encouragement of other women, cheering the other on–instead of secretly coveting or criticizing another’s life and opportunity. (A good listen about comparison with Andy Stanley over here.) It tears relationships apart. Note to self: don’t do this.

34 Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 35 Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:34-35 NLT.

Lord, thank you for putting a desire to serve you in my heart, and for calling me to look to you for opportunities to grow close to you and serve others. Thank you for so many examples in the family of faith whom you’ve equipped and prepared to run amazing races for you–and for telling me that you’ve got a plan just for me. Thank you for loving me, and making me part of your family.

Courtney (66books365)

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