Essential Traditions/Real Food Real Frugal

The archives for the old Essential Traditions blog and the old Real Food Real Frugal Blog

Love in Action!

Love in Action

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. –1 John 3:18 New International Version (NIV)

There are so many ways we can show love to others in this world. We want to show the love of Christ that is within us. We are His hands and His feet and His body. If we are a willing vessel, He will pour out through us to touch others. When you show the love of Christ to others, they are much more likely to wonder what you have in your life that they do not have. It can even be a witnessing tool.

This last week, we have friends who have 3 daughters. They are precious little girls and we are their God parents. We all know how much work it is to pack and move not to mention all the other things involved in a big move. We have been keeping their sweet girls day and night for the last 4 nights and plan to continue as they move to do this. Does it bring more work? Sure! Is it worth it? You bet! I am enjoying every minute of it.

God can use you to comfort someone in a time of trouble as well. Maybe you know someone who has had a death in the family, maybe they are going through a divorce and have been left, maybe they are sick – go to them. Pray for them but also put your “LOVE INTO ACTION!” Fix them a meal, be there to call and check on them or go visit them. Maybe they simply need a card in the mail that lets them know you truly care.

This is something we should do in our daily lives. It should become part of us. We should eventually begin to naturally reach out to others. Remember not to take the credit on earth, don’t do it for credit or a sweet name for yourself, do it for your Father who died for you.
Your reward will be great in heaven, but you might also be surprised how blessed it makes *you* feel to put your “LOVE INTO ACTION!”

Be blessed!

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The Gift of Hospitality: The Difference Between Worldly & Biblical Hospitality

As we discussed last week, there are Biblical Commands for Hospitality. Today, I want to talk a little about the difference between Worldly and Biblical Hospitality.

In the world, entertaining guests is a prideful action, usually meant to impress the guests. You worry about making everything perfect. You fuss over the menu and table settings. You think your house must be in perfect order and ready for guests before you can even possibly think about entertaining guests. If your house isn’t perfectly clean, decorated or “finished” then you just can’t possibly entertain guests. This sort of hospitality gives a false impression and ideal. It’s more about making yourself look perfect. You strive for perfection. It is a selfish act, because pride takes over and says, “Look at me! Taste my cooking! See my clever table decor!” Worldly hospitality is done to build up one’s own self. The model and standard for this sort of hospitality come from books, magazines and TV. Martha Stewart (or others) become our idols and we feel pressure to imitate their perfection. Often forgetting that behind that perfection is a team of dozens of people ensuring that perfection is achieved.

Biblical hospitality, on the other hand, is humble. It puts people before flashy table settings and perfectly planned menus. It does not require the “perfect” home, but shows happiness and contentment with what we have. Biblical hospitality simply just wants to reach out and love those around us–no matter our circumstances. It allows you to be yourself without pretenses. It is freely giving what you have to those you invite into your home. It builds up others; it’s focus is on others. Biblical hospitality is modeled to us in Scripture in how the first century church shared all things.

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47

As you can see there is a great difference between worldly and Biblical hospitality. To quote author Karen Burton Mains in her book “Open Heart, Open Home”, “Hospitality, like charity, must begin at home.”

What excuses do you find yourself giving as reasons for not practicing hospitality? Which of these stem from pride?
Please share your great ideas and tips!
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The Gift of Hospitality: Biblical Commands for Hospitality

I am already envisioning all the fun topics that can be covered in regards to hospitality. Let’s face it, parties, dinners and such can be fun, although stressful at times as well. But before we get too far into that aspect of hospitality, we really should take a look at what the Bible says regarding it. Believe it or not, the Bible does give us some good reasons for offering hospitality. Scripture gives these hospitality commands to help us to grow as a Christian community and to reach out to our friends and neighbors in Christian love. Let’s take a look at what Scripture says.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Romans 12:9-13. (NASB)

This passage from Romans tells us how we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. As you can see we are suppose to love our brothers and sisters in Christ without regard to our own needs. This is agape love–unselfish and unconditional. This is not just a suggestion, but a duty that we have to God and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let’s look and see what the definition of “hospitality” is.

Hospitality is the act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality. Websters 1828 Dictionary.

This definition pretty much tells us everything we need to know about what hospitality is. We need to offer hospitality without expecting anything in return.

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. I Peter 4:9

Scripture makes it clear that we are to extend hospitality to our Christian brothers and sisters, but we are to do it without complaint. It should be done in a selfless way. We shouldn’t look at it as a hardship or something that puts us out. We should do it with open-hearted sincerity.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

We are not only to show hospitality to our Christian brothers and sisters, but we are to show it to strangers. For some people this is the hardest form of hospitality and for others it’s the easiest. This means we should reach out our hands to the poor and needy in our area. People who cannot pay us back. Again, this is a selfless and unconditional sort of hospitality. When you minister to these people you are actually ministering to Jesus. You may be the only “Jesus” they ever see so it makes sense to reach out to these people with love and hospitality. This hospitality should just be extended to those who ask, but we should actively seek out opportunities to reach out in hospitality. John Wesley described it as:

Abraham and Lot. Have entertained angels unawares – So may an unknown guest, even now, be of more worth than he appears, and may have angels attending him, though unseen. Genesis 18:2 and Genesis 19:1.

Offering Christian hospitality to these strangers gives us the opportunity to share the gospel message and to advance the work of Christ. It can also be a way to practice and perfect our Spiritual gifts. Showing hospitality to those who can’t repay us for it offers many unexpected blessings and rewards.

As you can see, God commands us to practice hospitality to others. Certainly to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also our friends, neighbors, and even strangers. We are to give to them unconditionally, putting their needs above our own. Hospitality is a selfless act and should be done with that in mind, not doing it for any sort of gain. When I think of how selflessly Jesus went to the cross for my sins and of how He loved us unconditionally, I honestly don’t think that we can do any less.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13 (NASB)

How do you use your home and time to offer hospitality to others? What is your favorite way to offer hospitality? Your least favorite?
Please share your great ideas and tips!
You may leave your comments below and I appreciate you reading Finding Beauty!

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Making Overnight Guests Comfortable

This is part one of a new series on The Gift of Hospitallity: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality.  As Christians, we are called to show hospitality to our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as to our family and friends.  One form of hospitality is opening our homes to them. some times that is just having them over for dinner or a visit, but sometimes that means opening your home to overnight guests. This is a more intimate stay than a simple dinner. Most people do not feel fully comfortable sleeping away their own home. So, a hostess must be prepared to make her guests feel like part of the family. Here are some ideas and tips to make sure your guests are comfortable and feel like a part of the family.

  1. Include your guests in everything you normally would do as a family.  This includes family devotions, prayers and story time.  You want them to feel like they are part of the family.  Some guests may decline and so be prepared to offer an alternative.
  2. If you are lucky enough to have a spare or guest room, make sure that it is hospitable and comfortable for your guests.  Include a comfortable bed, night stand, a comfortable chair, chest of drawers and a mirror.  Also make sure there’s a trash can and  laundry basket in the room for your guest to use.
  3. If you do not have a guest room, offer your guest one of your bedrooms and move one of the family members to the couch or pallet.  This makes sure your guest will have privacy and be able to make themselves more comfortable.
  4. Make sure the bed is made up with clean, sweet smelling bedding.  Also make sure that you provide extra blankets and pillows for your guest.  This will allow them to make themselves comfortable.
  5. Don’t put bedding on the bed that you would worry about something staining it or makes the guest too nervous to get comfortable.  What I mean is don’t put the solid white, hand quilted quilt that your great-grandmother Harriet made on the bed.  Not only will you be upset that it was ruined, but just seeing it may make your guest unable to fully get comfortable.  Equip the bed with pretty and worry free bedding.
  6. Provide your guest with closet and drawer space, as well as make sure there are extra hangers for them to use.  If you have room, provide them with a ironing board and iron as well.
  7. Be sure and offer them the use of your washer and dryer and show them how to work it if necessary.
  8. Make sure to include an alarm clock in the room.  This allows your guest to see the time, as well as awake when they want.  A clock radio is nice, as this allows your guest to play soft music to help drown out any noises they are not use to.
  9. Make sure the room is stocked with things such as writing pads, pens/pencils,  a variety of books and magazines, and a Bible.  This way guests can make notes, write reminders, or just read themselves to sleep.
  10. A bed light or lamp for reading allows your guest to have a low power, soft lighting for reading or moving around in the night.  Also make sure there’s a night light in the hallway and bathroom to help them find their way around at night.
  11. Provide a basket filled with snacks in the guest room.  Fill it full of small, snack sized treats so if they get hungry in the evening after you’ve go to bed or if you are away they can find something simple to eat without having to raid your cabinets to find something.  Some good ideas are crackers, cookies, fruit, gum, candy bars, etc.  Also provide the guests with a clean drinking glass in their bedrooms so they can get water from the bathroom at night.
  12. A basket full of personal care items is also a nice touch.  Include things like sample sizes of tissue, pain reliever, new toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, first aid items (bandaids), sewing kit, nail files, deodorant and things of that nature.   I know I’m always forgetting something, so this is so helpful as it keeps them from having to run out and purchase items they forgot.

These are only a few ways that you can make your overnight guests feel at home.  Hospitality can be fun and it’s important as Christians to offer it to those around us. The Bible commands us to:

Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  1 Peter 4:9 NASB

So, what are some of your best and favorite tips on being hospitable or showing other hospitality in your home?

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