Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 19 Martha

           Have you ever accepted an invitation to another’s house, feeling the invitation was genuine, the house warm and inviting, and finding the struggle to leave when the night begins to flourish? My heart overwhelms with the feeling of being comfortable, accepted, loved, open and honest when in the home of a Christian woman given the gift of hospitality.
            Martha had the gift of hospitality for the bible declares she opened her house to Christ, his disciples and followers.  She waited on her guests, supplied each with the necessities needed and cleaned afterwards.  Jesus Christ was a frequent guest, meaning, God chose this house for bible study, fellowship and prayer with his Son.  The Lord endowed Martha with the gift of hospitality, warmth and comfort. 
            I have a friend who is gifted in hospitality.  This sweet Christian opens her house to parties, fellowship and prayer breakfasts.  She has these elegant and decorative tablescapes fit for the cover of magazines featuring flowers, candles, matching flatware, calligraphy place cards and the aroma of baked food filling the house.  She is a gracious host, filled with attentive listening, inviting conversation, ensuring each person feels at ease and comfortable.  Her heart opens with prayer, blesses each on e present and the invitation for fellowship and food is truly an enjoyable experience.
            I also enjoy having others over for encouraging fellow believers, fellowship and listening to inspiring testimonies while feeding the spirit.  I pray for the discernment of how much to say, what to pray, when the spirit needs to move and I remain silent.  I pray my own home is a House of Prayer, God’s sanctuary for praise and worship and entertaining those we would love to bless.  Remember, we as Christians should open our homes to believers, but also those who needs Jesus Christ as their savior.  I pray over our children and to teach them how to open their own hearts to those in need, to spend the extra time  preparing, cleaning, baking, cooking and making each person feel special.
            On the flip side, I have also been in homes where I could have run out the door.  I did not feel comfortable with that warmth or genuine love for one another.  Or as Martha, began to focus on serving, cooking or cleaning instead of what was important.  Do not worry about the small things or what the house may seem, pay attention to those who are in your home for a reason (Luke 10:38-42). We have taught our children to look for the ones who seem alone, standing uncomfortable by themselves or ask if one would like to join in the conversation.  I know we can only be in one place at a time, but I pray to God for the observant eyes watching those who need attention, the ears to listen attentively for prayer or blessing and hands to help those who need clean up for I never want to leave house unattended.
            Romans 12:13 encourages, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” There are some who do not want to be bothered by others, do not want them in their homes and they pass off the blessing to another person.  Whether you do not want to spend the time cleaning, hosting, cooking or using your money for others, the Apostle Paul asks us to practice making others feel welcome into the Christian faith. It can be the smallest gesture, one of love and open arms, which can change a person’s heart.  Make a dinner for a single guy or gal while praying and encouraging them to stay strong in their flesh preparing their hearts for the one God has for them.  Invite a widow over to feel the love and warmth of others as she may be grieving a lost one. 
            Open your home to bible study for new believers, encouraging the ones who are taking the first steps in their faith.  Invite your pastor and his family for we are to withhold no good things from those who instruct us (Galatians 6:6) After assisting his flock all week, maybe he and his family need a nice meal away from home, to be blessed by those he instructs.  Be the doer of the word and not just someone who gleans from the pastor, but does not reciprocate (James 1:22).  Christ had compassion on everyone who would allow him into their hearts including the little ones who ran to him, the ones who followed him and the sick who needed his healing touch.  Mark 8:2-3 reads, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and I have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” In Mark 9:36-37, Jesus Christ, taking a children into his arms said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but the one who sent me.”  
            I love that Christ welcomes the children for James instructs us not to pay favoritisms to anyone, but welcome all with open arms (James 2:1-26). I pray your home is open for all, not just the “selective” few who maybe well known, have the connections you desire in the church or want to be friends with.  God is no respecter of persons, and neither should you be (Romans 2:11).  Christians should lead by example, not becoming weary in well doing, but making the most of every opportunity to give to those less fortunate (Galatians 6:9).
            When we open are homes and hearts to the Lord, yes for fellowship and enjoying each other’s company, but be ever watchful for gossiping and slanderous mouths (1 Timothy 3:7).  I am always aware of what is mentioned in confidence, prayer requests for the heavy burden and what others do not wish to divulge.  If we can imagine ourselves in the very person we are discussing, would you want to be the topic of gossiping?  Would you want to be the topic of those who whisperings for “prayer requests”?  Women, at times, can be very catty.  You lead by example and if present persons refuse to respond to a quiet rebuke, take them aside again and gently tell them, this is neither the time nor the place.
            I am thankful for the invitations we receive from those who enjoy entertaining and hosting.  I love the displays of food, observing the time it took for making the house warm and inviting.  I am thankful for those who have the gift of hospitality, these Christian women can influence the next generation of youth, instilling in them a Christ like behavior that is lost on many.  I pray my own children enjoy opening their homes and hearts to those in need. 

Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of God:

            Thank you for your church, thank you for the gospel of Jesus Christ and thank you for sending your son to die for me, paying the price for my redemption and salvation (John 3:16).  I pray you use all the gifts bestowed on me, chosen for me for your Kingdom (1 Peter 4:9-10).  I pray to open my house for bible study, for fellowship, for prayer, for service to you as an offering and sweet aroma.  I pray I have the strength and never tire of spreading the Gospel, this seed in which is continuously growing by faith (Colossians 1:6, 1 Peter 4:9, Galatians 6:9). 
            I pray you teach me what I need to proclaim fearlessly (Ephesians 6:20).  I pray my love never grows cold or is lukewarm for those new to the faith, in need of comfort, counsel, security, shelter, food and clothing (Matthew 24:12, Revelation 3:16, Mark 8:2-3).  I pray my house is as a shelter of the Most High, a beacon of light for you, a comfort for those in need (Psalm 91:1).  May they never feel unwanted, neglected or mistreated (Romans 12:13).  May my house be as David’s harp, calming the spirit with a peace that surpasses all understanding. 
            I pray to never gossip, reveal what has been spoken in private, slander, covet or desire more than what has been given to me from above.  I pray my reputation is an example of Jesus Christ, and never tarnished by encroaching sin or past mistakes (1Timothy 3:7).  May I be a woman approved by God and entrusted with the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:4), sitting at the foot of the cross soaking in all your truth, Word and counsel (Psalm 25, 1 John 2:27).  Give me the strength and discernment for balance in my life of when to study, when to pray, when to give, when to teach, when to comfort and when to rest (Isaiah 11:2, Mark 6:31. 
            May I be as John the Baptist, decreasing in my own flesh and increasing in you (John 3:30). I pray to be a doer of the word (James 1:22), encouraging believers in the walk with you, loving those who need to be picked up, gently rebuking those in sin and comforting those who have had a loss (2 Timothy 4:2).  I know you will give me the finances to walk in the path chosen for me, to feed those who are hungry, give to those in need and teach those who thirst.  Help me prepare for the battle with the armor of the Lord (Ephesians 6:12), boasting only in the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Galatians 6:14), clothing myself with His grace and mercy.  May He reign! Amen.

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