Lavish Hospitality 13

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I don’t think I really knew much of pain until after midway through college.

And then it has been full force since then.

The agonizing words of a friend over my appearance and the fact that I was never going to get married.

The words of a man that questioned so much of my future.

The pain of hearing lies.

The loss of a relationship.

The bitterness of my own sin.  Time and time again.

Sting of another betrayal.

Being met with judgment and not grace.

Loss of so many friendships – all at once.

And then to have to start to build relationships again.  And again.

At 40 it is tough to build relationships with new people.  Mommy friends.  Couple friends.  You know, every one has their own set of friends with not much room for new people.  And remembering the hurt of past relationships doesn’t make you too eager to put yourself out there again.

But, that’s what Lavish Hospitality does.  Jesus was hurt more than we could ever imagine.  I can’t fathom that.  And I’ve not been hurt near as much as some.  But, Christ took that pain – all of it – and died for it – then defeated death so we wouldn’t have to agonize over the pain any more.

We could feel again.  We could love again.  We could have broken relationships restored.  Because of Christ’s lavish hospitality on us.

Quote taken from Ashleigh Slater’s Braving Sorrow Together.

What I’m Learning About Forgiveness

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Don’t we all think we are pretty good at forgiveness – or is that just me?

I am learning I stink at it – truly.

Most of the time.

The Bible says that “While we were still in our sin (we hadn’t said I’m sorry, will you forgive me), Christ died for us.”

Here’s what has been in my head, the Spirit has been working in my heart, and I’m still not there yet.  All I can ask of the Lord is that He would continue to work forgiveness in me.

I’m really good at forgiveness when someone asks me to forgive them.  I’m all about it.  No matter the sin.  Because, I’ve been forgiven much so I need to forgive.  Christ has done so much to forgive me, I have no right to leave the door shut to others.

Oh, but wait…what happens if others don’t ask forgiveness.  What happens if someone has said something that has hurt me to the core, and they won’t ask forgiveness because they don’t know they’ve hurt me.  What happens if someone has hurt me, and they don’t think that it should have hurt, so they don’t need to ask forgiveness.  What happens if someone hurts my husband, therefore hurting me, but has yet to ask forgiveness?

Will I mend bridges?  Will I sulk?  Will I forgive them no matter the personal cost to myself?  Will I truly believe and act in a way that communicates gospel reconciliation, even when it hurts me so much.

That is what I’m working on folks.  That is what the Spirit shows me all the time.  I want a heart that pleases Him, not one that holds on to bitterness and grudges.

W&BT Week 3 – Name Above All Names

Out of all the chapters in this book, by far this is the one that has the most writing in my copy of the book!  Jesus as being our Great High Priest is very applicable in my life right now, and it is reassuring to know that He is mine.

1.  Trials.  How many of us have never encountered a trial in our life?  These trials look differently for each person, but just in case you need some ideas: death, financial hardship, loss of job, rejection by friends, being the target of gossip, saying something you’ll regret, burning dinner, infertility, children with struggles whether physically, socially, or mentally, getting along with others, moves… need I continue?  What is our reaction to those struggles?  Just now I was thinking how hard submission is.  Jesus had to submit.  He found it difficult (prayer in the Garden), yet He submitted.

2.  Encouragement in Hardship.  Pages 58-59 of this book should provide a believer, YOU, with great encouragement when facing any hardship – if you choose to look there.  I’m not saying you never speak about your trials or your discouragements.  The past few months have been difficult for me as I’ve been trying to learn wisdom in what I write, keeping much of it inside me.  But, in all things, I need to be encouraged and persuaded to look to Christ.  The book of Hebrews is such a little book that needs to be re-read often with new eyes.  A former pastor, Andrew Davis of FBC Durham, preached an entire sermon series through every verse of Hebrews.  I only caught the last year, but man, such impactful wisdom in that book and hope for the hurting.  Also the Reformed Expository Commentary is one that you need to pick up if you are doing a study through this in depth book.

3.  Bondage Breaker.  Do you know that Jesus is your bondage breaker? He’s my bondage breaker!  I no longer have to be enslaved to sin because Jesus freed me from it.  He paid my debt and made me free!  We can either listen to our sin and continue to be enslaved, or we can look to the One who has freed us!  Are you enslaved to: fear of man, overeating, body images, perfectionism – you name it.  What are you enslaved to, and how can you look to Jesus and accept the freedom He has already offered you?!

4.  Forgiveness of others.  Jesus was rejected by men yet still chose to die for the ones His Father gave Him.  He was spat upon, beaten, laughed at, ridiculed, lied about, gossiped about, and still He said Father forgive them.  As I’ve been thinking about what forgiveness looks like: yes, do you need to forgive?  Absolutely.  What we have been given we also need to give to others.  Since we have been given it, we have no gospel-right to not forgive.  But…does the relationship with the person need to look the same?  If there is a person who has verbally abused you, yes, you should forgive, but no, you shouldn’t continue to subject yourself to that abuse.  If you have loaned money to a person and they’ve not paid you back, forgive them?  Yes.  But loan more money to them in an unwise manner?  Probably not.  In all situations, pray for wisdom, ask for biblical counsel, act upon the Word…God will give you wisdom.