Home-First Hospitality

Today’s Henri Nouwen Society offering spoke to my heart and I want to share it, then offer my thoughts, so please read beautiful Henri thoughts, and consider mine.

Henri:

Hospitality
Hospitality means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. . . . The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adore the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own.

Bev’s:

I read these beautiful thoughts on hospitality, made a comment, and then considered the comments offered, where one wise man said in a nutshell, “One-on-one hospitality is the cure for the world’s ills.”

Let it begin at home. Let us be open to the wounds and ugliness of each others’ hearts and personalities. Let us seek reasons and ways to bless and pray for–not the world first–those with whom we share our dwellings. Let us, as Henri exhorts us to, ” . . . offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”

Freedom. Let us emulate Christ by offering a “free indeed” hospitality. No, this doesn’t mean anything goes. Just Love.

Love doesn’t always keep still and quiet, any more than love mouths off in anger. Love abides in God, Who is Love, and seeks His ways, grace, understanding, wisdom, and even knowledge of what’s in the wounded and precious hearts with whom we live. Love is patient, kind, at peace, hospitable.

Hospitality is Love. Or is meant to be. Again, let it begin at home, where all good things begin and end, Amen.

Think on THESE Things

Let’s forget about forgetting about the negatives in the news, and let’s remember to forget the faults–the negatives, of those who matter–of our SIGNIFICANT other(s). Today is the perfect day to begin with our mates and ourselves and seek “like-mindedness” where it counts most–at home.

Division is running amok, rampant throughout the earth. Let us “Just Say No” to divison at home, beginning with saying “No” to finding fault with our mates. This means we look at what’s right, pray about what’s not, and let God have a go (unhindered by our “help”) at healing our beloveds (that includes ourselves).

I’m not talking about revving up our rah-rah engines with some positive confessions and personal improvement strategies, and telling our mates it’s time to get with our program, our GREAT new program! I’m talking about simply taking God at His word via knowing what His word actually says. About us and everyone else we’re given to love. About seeking to see with His eyes.

The Word of God doesn’t say everyone except our mate is fearfully and wonderfully made, to be loved and cherished, forgiven, set free, blessed. We are created to be as our Creator–blessors. We are not to take stock and find others, or ourselves, wanting. The Blood of Jesus took care of that. We must beware of the perversion in extending blessing to everyone on earth except our mate.

There are deep things in all our hearts, things that need healing, things that will never see the light of freedom without the power of God’s love. Anyone can look for and find fault. We are not to be “anyone”. We are to be the champion of our mate’s heart. Let us look at our mates as our first order of Love business, our first call of Love duty. And let us remember that the first order of business in Love, is Loving.

A Sack Full of Poison, aka “Meds”

We were shocked and appalled at the deterioration in my uncle when he came to visit. His dull eyes and countenance, shuffling gait, and inability to follow the conversation were noted, and then understood, as he pulled out a sack rattling with numerous bottles of prescription meds.

What to do or say? Experience says there’s nothing to be said or done. God, also known as “my doctor” has spoken. But then my uncle got a break. His son said, “You’re coming home with me and we’re getting you off this crap, or I’m taking you to the nursing home right now.”

My uncle chose to go home with his son and within weeks he was off the meds, onto right eating and supplements, and was his old (brand new!) self.

I liken this sack full of meds and the exponential damage done as one insult is added to yet another; one side effect is “treated” with yet another poisonous cocktail; this ruining of the body’s inherent ability to heal itself if given time, nutrition, nature’s remedies and most of all prayers of faith; I liken all this to torturing a free-market economy with the deadly “cure” of socialism.

It aint natural, and it won’t work. It never has and it never will.

What God Says, Not What Man Says God Says

God doesn’t say to give thanks for everything. He says “in” everything to give thanks. This is so we are not overwhelmed and overcome by evil. This is for the protection of our hearts and minds.

Following is from today’s devotion in Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s Faith to Faith.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Notice that this scripture instructs us to give thanks in all things, not for all things. When tragedy or temptation strikes, we are not to thank God for them. He is not their author. He’s the One who provides our way of escape from them. And that’s what we’re to thank Him for.If you read the four Gospels, you’ll find that Jesus never gave thanks for sickness or death. Instead, when He encountered them, His response was to overcome them by God’s power. So give thanks as Jesus gave thanks—not for Satan’s activities but for the victory God has given you over them.

Dastardly Division

Yesterday my daughter and I went to Wyoming where there are fewer mask-querades than in Colorado, and while there joined a coffee shop meeting of Wyoming conservatives. These were fine folks, but there was no mention of God. These were, I thought beforehand, good, salty, no-nonsense Wyoming git-er-done types. Christians.

But, in fact, they are like so many of us, handicapped. In the parking lot I saw anti-Colorado bumper stickers. “Colorado is Wyoming’s Mexico” and a few other uncomplimentary offerings prepared me for the remarks of the man next to me. In a nutshell, he said, “We hate Colorado.”

There was a question about Mark Gaetz’s motives in coming to Wyoming’s “Impeach Liz Cheney” rally, as in, “Why did we get an outsider?” I thought we were all Americans. More division. How does the great evil of socialism win over freedom? With division.

(Socialist “intellectual” Bhaskar Sunkara praises Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn for promoting “a renewal of class antagonism” which is essential for the thriving of evil in society.)

Back to the meeting in Wyoming: One of the attendees belittled another conservative in attendance (better than behind his back, maybe?) in front of everyone; later the speaker said about Cheyenne (where we were), “I hate this city.” Could it be that in judging the bringers of division and crassness, we become divisive and crass? More divided?

I’m asking these questions in prayer this morning, along with the question, “What is the new song You want us to sing, Father?” I was reading and re-reading Psalm 96: “Sing unto the Lord a new song.” Certainly that precludes the same old, same old, melodies of anger and defensiveness. Of division.

So, let’s think a bit about this. How far have we gotten with division? More to the point, how far have we gotten with disobedience to God? Perhaps we should begin our song with words straight from His Word. Just like David, let us sing Psalms.

Pondering and praying a bit more, I asked, “Do we stop going to fear-filled churches as a means ofprotecting ourselves from fear, even as we stop going to division-filled political gatherings to protect ourselves from division?” Or are these examples of the classic throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater mistake?

“Father, You promise us wisdom for the asking, and I’m asking for wisdom. Surely there is no other source.”

Some things are so obvious we look right over them. We go to the TV for answers, and politcal gatherings for good company, and when it comes right down to it, if we’re not keeping company with Jesus, if we’re not doing the “Seek ye first” thing, we’re without a hope.

“My hope is in You, Lord. Amen.”

Opportunities Here, There and Everywhere!

To trust. In God. What other option do we have? Faith in God is the only sensible choice. The Bible tells us to “choose Life” and it’s time to do that, and do it literally.

Choose Life. I read today (from Jay Sekulow) that over 40% of all deaths worldwide are abortion deaths. The choosing of death. I pondered this horror, and I said to my husband, John, “I wonder if God’s waiting on His people to care more about the blood of the innocents than about our own sweet asses.”

“You know,” I added, “People don’t talk or think about abortion because it’s too horrible.” Well, Dear Reader, it’s time to say “Enough!” to the walking around puddles of blood running in the streets. God help and heal and forgive us all.

I prayed for our hearts, that whatever fears, whatever evils lurking within be exposed, repented of, changed. Let us choose Life in every way we can possibly choose Life. Let us choose the soul-cleansing Blood of the Lamb, and the power therein.

Shall We Dance and Dream Again?

In spite of my best efforts, even with all my exhortations to those around me to choose joy, it occurs to me that I am thinking “under seige” thoughts. When I mentioned to others the idea that we might bless our own and each others’ hearts by talking dreams, by deliberately acting and speaking as though we have God’s promised “hope and future”, it was “whoosh” — right over their heads.

“Yeah, and anyway, let’s forget that nonsense and talk about some other nonsense.”

Sometimes you gotta go it alone, with a revelation that’s just between you and Jesus. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants to hang out with you and develop this line of thinking: Maybe you should change your thinking. Maybe enough is enough.

I’ve heard authors say that once they send out a manuscript, it’s wise to have another one underway. This way, if the manuscript is rejected, they’re not caught dead in the water, all their hopes and dreams focused on that one thing.

In a nutshell, I’m saying that we should be unmoved by what we see and hear. We should only listen to the Holy Spirit, take no note of “evil reports”, be aware that God’s not kidding when he says, “Bad company (news) corrupts” and finally, to “be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

I say let’s begin overcoming evil by doing the exact opposite of what our feelings, fears, and the enemy of our souls would have us do. Instead of doing dread and doldrums, let’s dance and dream.

The Fat Lady is Singing, but it’s NOT Over!

Well, you have what you say, and as a man thinketh, so (s)he is, so let’s not be talking about being fat. But let’s do sing! Day before yesterday as I dug deep into the Word, and cried out to God like I meant business, I got a gift. I got peace. And then a bit of joy, and then peace and joy.

By that evening I was so full of a joyous anticipation of what God is doing and about to do, I couldn’t sleep. By the next day I was light on my feet, and in my heart. I was out from under a burden so very heavy, a burden to pray that has grown as I have grown stronger to carry it. Something shifted. Was the spiritual victory won, or was God giving me a bit of a break from intercession? Whatever the cause, for the first time since Covid Craziness began I felt free.

And I began to sing: Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice . . . And I began to run about the house doing Karate moves and singing “Horse and Rider” — I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously, the horse and rider thrown into the sea.

GOD IS ABOUT TO THROW SOME HORSES AND RIDERS INTO THE SEA, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Pull up your chairs for front row viewing and pay attention, and do whatever He says to do. I don’t know how this is all going to play out, but I know He is to be trusted. Absolutely. And fear is to be crushed. Absolutely.

Yay, Hallelujah, Yay!

And Another Thing–Great Cookbooks!

I just finished a post about things found during cleaning and organizing, and I forgot about my cookbooks. Here’s what happened. I’m clearing off the top of the fridge (the best place in my small kitchen for large bowl storage) and what to my wondering eyes do appear, but several cookbooks.

Once upon a time I put some favorite cookbooks in theretofore unused cabinet space atop the fridge, and then promptly forgot about them. When I spied them as I wiped down the nasty fridge top my first thought was, “Oh, this is where I put it!” I peered at the titles and sure enough The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham was among the treasures. Also found (forgot I had this gem, so wasn’t really looking for it) was Better than Storebought by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie.

Better than Storebought promises and delivers solutions to the ever-present problem of high prices for low quality grocery store offerings. “This is a book,” says the book jacket, for cooks “. . . who love good, real food . . . . “for cooks who prefer to make more cheaply . . . foods . . . that wear grand-scale price-tags . . . for curious and questing cooks who enjoy the creation of intriguing edibles . . .”

As for “intriguing edibles” The Breakfast Book is a celebration of breakfast, with offerings such as knotthole and featherbed eggs, muesli ballymaloe, dewey buns and buttermilk breakfast doughnuts, because, as Marion Cunningham says, “Homemade doughnuts and fritters have their very own marvelous character, better than anything you can buy out and about.”

Well, there are some fairly marvelous pastries “out and about” in my area, but they also have some fairly marvelous price tags.

So, as I’ve said and will no doubt say again, “Do try this at home, with what’s right under your nose.”

It’s Amazing What You Can Find

Each time I do a bit of straightening I am amazed anew at what’s right under my nose, what treasures are in my house. In a recent re-rereading of Alexandra Stoddard’s Living a Beautiful Life I was inspired to deal with some of those little things, those seemingly unimportant details, which get let go when life, elections, holidays and worldwide pre-planned panic attacks occur simultaneously.

Renewing a friendship with old fave authors is the very thing when taking to heart God’s admonition, “Let not your heart be troubled.” And if that trusted friend reminds me of an old truth–that the beauty of small things are worth notice and even close attention–it’s off to the races.

Yesterday I cleared my mind as I cleared drawers and closets. I gladdened my heart as I cleaned and organized my pantry. Heeding Alexandra, I made my fridge a joy to behold–everything straight, neat, and beautiful. I even took the eggs out of the big egg flats and put them into a lovely burlap-sided fridge basket. I may have to pause here and go stare into my fridge.

Homemaking is art.

And art, no matter who says otherwise, pays. It pays to discover there are peppercorns in the pantry, when I had decided I must have been mistaken about buying them. It pays to find my tape measure when I’m going through drawers in the utility room (I had decided to buy a new one). There was great joy in my heart when I found missing lingerie (I had decided I must have given this item away, and wondered why) when I cleared and organized my lingerie chest.

And the great joy to be had simply by straightening shoes in the closet and finding the missing mitten (one I personally knitted which therefore has a bit more “personality” than your ordinary mitten) I’ve been searching for and mourning for almost a year–this is good news, Reader. Why isn’t it on national TV? Bev found her mitten!

And in her Lazy Susan what did she find? As always, lids without bottoms and bottoms without lids (I store containers and a few other items in the Lazy Susan cabinet to the right of my kitchen sink). But I also created order out of chaos as I made my kitchen a bit more user-friendly, and a lot more attractive.

And what wondrous joys await me today? Today, or so I say, I am going to clean the “junk drawer.” I can see myself now: throwing this away and that away and this away and that away; putting the stick pins in thier own little slot, the rubber bands all together; and rejoicing in the “finds”, those things that got stuck in the drawer because I didn’t know what else to do with them. But now I will know.

You can say I am easily entertained, and I will agree with you. It’s quite the life skill, and as I said, it’s amazing what you can find. At home. Right under your nose.