Tag Archives: Purpose

A Five Star Hostess

What makes a person a fabulous hostess or host?  When you recall being a guest in someone’s home, what made that experience pleasant or memorable?  Do you think of the decor, the ambience, or the food that was served?  Perhaps you remember some of those details, but I imagine the fact that mattered most was that you felt comfortable, honored, and respected.

If you are a Christian, you are a hostess or a host 24/7.  Your guest is the Holy Spirit.  In addition to Scripture, I am indebted to two books/authors who have helped me comprehend my identity as a hostess.   First is My Heart, Christ’s Home by Robert Boyd Munger.  The second is Hosting The Presence by Bill Johnson.

How am I doing hosting The Holy Spirit?  How are you doing?   Does He feel like our highly honored guest?  Does He know we love Him and love His company? Or has He withdrawn to His room in our lives and closed the door because the things going on in our homes and hearts are an affront on His Holiness? The Scriptures teach us that He will never leave us or forsake us, but those same Scriptures also teach us that He turns His back on sin – that our sin separates us from Him.

In the instructions on how to host the Holy Spirit, we are given two very explicit commands. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and do not put out the Holy Spirit’s fire (I Thessalonians 5:19).  The implicit commands are to please the Holy Spirit and to facilitate His fire and flame in our lives.

Since the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22) and since the Holy Spirit is our power (Acts 1:8)  to fulfill the work Jesus has given us to do, we will be empty, weak, and unproductive shells of who God intended us to be, if we make a habit of hurting and quenching God’s Spirit.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a Five Star Hostess.  I want the Holy Spirit in my main living space, engaged with me.  I want face to face conversations with Him.  I want to see His smile.  I want to hear His laughter.  I need His fruit and His power.   How about you?   It’s never too late to improve our hosting skills.

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Christmas Gifts


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A new king, The King, born to rule the kingdom of our hearts.  Wise men, very wise men, bringing gifts to The King.

The King left the glories of heaven and took on flesh to come to earth to be my Savior.  He died, shedding His blood, to blot out all my sins.  The wages of my sin was death.  He died in my place so that I could have everlasting life today, this Christmas morning.

Lord Jesus you are worthy to rule and reign in my life.  You deserve my adoration.  What birthday gift can I give you today?

The King whispers into my spirit, “All of you.”

Time is suspended as I ponder His request.  “Lord, I want you to have all of me.  What part of me am I withholding?”

Blinding insight is given.  I live to please other people.   It is bondage.  It is a stronghold.  To love someone best and most is to live to please that One.  That place in my heart is imprisoned by my compulsion to make everyone else happy.

Free me to live to please You alone, my One and Only. Oh, mighty Savior rescue me, and I will give you All my heart, including the place reserved for who and what I live for.  Since You gave All of Yourself for all of me, let it be all of me for all of You.  Amen.”

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Paul’s Accounting Method

 

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“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Jesus Christ – the righteousness that comes from God  and is by faith.”  Philippians 3: 7 – 9

I’ve been meditating on these verse for quite some time now, pondering their significance.  I want to fathom the meaning in a way that will allow me to apply it where the rubber meets the road in my life, in the nitty gritty of the here and now.

It seems that the Apostle Paul had a ledger with a plus side and a minus side.  One side stood for all that was worthwhile.   The other side stood for all that truly didn’t matter compared to what was actually important.   Amazingly, as he sorted through his life, the plus side of his ledger had one item: knowing Jesus Christ.  Everything else, in comparison,ended up on the minus side.

When and how will I come to a place in my life when there is only one thing listed on my gains ledger? When will I realize that everything I ever gained, compared to Jesus was rubbish?

Life has forced losses on me and on my husband.   We certainly wouldn’t have chosen them.   I was not chosen as assistant head nurse when that position seemed so important to me.   My husband never received another position as pastor after he left a church without a call to serve another one.   He was a pastor, and not having his own church to serve was like being disconnected from himself.  It was excruciating.   Yet, according to Paul’s accounting method, these hoped for gains in our lives would really have been rubbish compared to knowing Jesus.

Everything – every loss and every gain – serves the one goal, the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.   For every experience – every heartache and every suffering, as well as every joy and happy gift – is just another opportunity to know Jesus better.

The disciples pulled their boats up on the shore and left everything behind to follow Jesus, to know him, to be with him.   They considered all they had gained in life as rubbish compared to the great gain of being students of the Master.

Lord, please let my husband, who I lovingly call “the Count”, keep counting lymphoma as a valuable gift, as an opportunity to get to know Jesus better.  Let me keep counting this fight with cancer as a gain, if it helps us be better students of our Teacher, Our Master.  Let us pull our boats up on the shore and follow you, in sickness, as well as  in health.  Let us, as Paul said in Philippians 1:10, share your suffering and become like you in your death.  Let us keep saying no to our own will and yes to yours.   Amen.

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God’s Glue Stick

Choosing birthday gifts for my husband has been a challenge over the years because Howard set the bar high with surprises he created for me.   One year I asked our family and friends to send new names for Howard on 4 by 6 inch cards.  I put all those notecards in a flip photo album and surprised him with it on his birthday.

One of the cards is titled: Howard – “God’s Glue Stick”.  The card says, “You have held to God’s word and have stuck to his principles, preaching profound sermons from a small church in Minnesota.  Those messages have not gone unheeded, but have been part of the glue which held a young couple together long enough for them to become a more mature couple in the Lord and to raise a family which is now serving Him, as well.”

This morning, as I meditated on my Lord’s goodness, I remembered the words from Colossians 1:17.   “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”    I thanked Jesus for being God’s Glue Stick for me.    In this season of standing beside my husband as he fights his battle with lymphoma,  I have had moments of feeling like I was about to fall apart with fear and anxiety.   I would have come undone, if Jesus wasn’t holding me together.   My husband would have fallen apart as well, if the Lord wasn’t holding him together with courage and power.

In the Season of Thanksgiving I rejoice that Howard has been a glue stick to other people and that Jesus has been THE GLUE STICK of all glue sticks for both of us.

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A Big Fish

 

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“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Mark 1:17

The year was 1973.   My husband had been pastor of a small church in western Montana for two years when he resigned to accept a call in Minnesota.   We were at his going away party.   Many people stood up and shared how the Lord had used Pastor Howard for good in their lives.  Afterward a fellow pastor’s wife who had been invited to the party, walked up to my husband and said, “You caught a big fish here, Howard.  A Big Fish.”

Howard has been at home in northwestern Wisconsin this fall of 2013, fighting lymphoma and wishing he could go to the school where he volunteered as a book buddy before he became ill.   As he sorted through the third wave of home made get well cards, letters, and art work from the children at the school, I said, “You caught a big fish here, Howard.  A Big Fish.”

I am thankful to be married to a man who has kept “fishing for men”  in all the circumstances and seasons of his life, even in this season of doing battle with cancer.   I believe he will have another big catch, maybe even a bigger catch, in these dark and troubled waters.

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Grandmother’s Bow Tie Quilt

My Grandmother’s Bow Tie Quilt

A patchwork quilt, the recycled variety
Utilitarian, nothing wasted
Bows tying memories into present purpose

Lives like Grandma’s quilt, nothing wasted
Each experience, each sorrow, each joy a bow
Tying lessons learned, wisdom gained and character molded
Into present purpose

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One Reason, One Person, One Hour At A Time

The ancient custom of ringing bells from church towers had many purposes, one of which was to call the faithful to prayer at fixed times of the day.  Although there are some bell towers in my community,  I have not heard the bells ring.  My only  hourly call to prayer has been during the Christmas season when the snowman clock plays a carol at the top of each hour.  Packing it up for another year made me sad.  This year I promised myself that I will buy a clock that chimes to call me to prayer each hour all the other seasons of the year.

I want to live most simply.   Like the lub-dub of every beat of my heart.   Like the tic-tock of the old fashioned clock beside my bed.   Like the criss-cross of one stitch after another stitch made in aida cloth.  My life is a blank canvas of fabric, a number of seconds in a number of hours for an unknown number of years.  What I stitch on that blank canvas is a gift I give to the One who gave me breath.   I wonder if my needlework this year would be more beautiful if every hour was consecrated with thanksgiving to my Creator.   The simplicity of living one hour at a time for one reason, for one person.

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