PrayerPoints is typically a Lenten project and a chronicle of God working on my heart and mind. It is always a process. Sometimes fun but sometimes hard.
I am American born with Hungarian blood. I make plenty of mistakes but I am forgiven. Each day is an adventure.
I know I have written about hospitality before but it is such an important offering to humanity. I find I have less of a capacity for it when I am in a rush, with a million things to do. That just isn’t acceptable. I want to do better.
Hospitality is a warm welcome. And, beyond that, it can look as different as the people extending it.
We all have areas where we work and play and wherever there are humans, there is a need for hospitality. A smile, an offer of assistance, a willingness to stop and greet someone and offer a word of welcome. That is hospitality in a basic, though essential, form. It is important for people to be acknowledged and welcomed, especially if they are in a new place.
Where have you felt the most welcomed? What have you done to welcome others?
Take note of hospitality you are shown in the coming days. And consider this post a challenge to be aware of others in your space and make an effort to be welcoming.
Sometimes my self – control is noteworthy. Other times it is pitiful. It’s almost like I have to schedule it into my day. It needs my focus and attention.
How are you with self – control? Have you found outside accountability helps? Or, if you set your mind to something you are able to stay focused and achieve your goal?
Usually my need for self – control is related to a goal I have set. I have to say “no” to some things in order to see the results in those goal areas. Unfortunately, I seem to always get distracted. I might be a little busy and then I forget I even have the goal unless I have it written down, provided I haven’t misplaced the paper. And it always helps if I have someone on the outside waiting for me to follow through.
I think of all of the fruits of the Spirit I get the most frustrated with my lack of self – control. Depending on what we are talking about, my stick-to-it-iveness struggles. I need Thankfully, God loves me in spite of my flaws. And He knows my heart, even if I don’t achieve all my goals this side of Heaven.
Have you found the key to your self – control challenges? What makes you more likely to have success?
I love to be around gentleness. It warms my heart to be in a store and overhear a mom or dad lovingly explaining something to their inquisitive child.
While there are times that strong/harsh words are necessary, I feel like they should be used as a last resort. I don’t like all the stress and tension that travel with harsh words. It can cloud a room.
It can cloud a life.
It is easy to poke back when someone is trying to rile you up, so it is important to have control over your emotional responses. There are people who just love to cause a stir with their words. And if you poke people just for fun, I am not sure we will be friends.
Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit!
Think about your method of correction and conversation. Are you intense? Are you calming? Are you harsh? Are you gentle?
I see it when an adult child tends to an aging parent or when there is illness and disability within a family and, together, they are able to manage the needs. I see it in friendships that cross time zones, cultural barriers, generations, ideological differences, and continents. However, people do fall short. God never does.
In spite of all I have done or not done, there is God — abounding in love. Slow to anger. Justified, loving. His mercies are new every morning. And that, my friend, is faithfulness. He loves me. He loves you. Always.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15 NIV
Where have you been faithful? Who models that for you?
We will always fall short. Those in our lives will always miss the mark, somewhere along the line. A part of our faithfulness to God means we extend His grace to others. Our behavior can give others a glimpse of how His love and faithfulness can look.
I love to be around people with high integrity. It always tugs at me to do better … to stretch myself a little more. I don’t always do the right thing, unfortunately. Sometimes, I am in a mood. Or distracted. Goodness doesn’t always seem to flow out of me naturally.
Of course, there is sin in the world. There is evil and ugliness and death and destruction all around us. And it is easy to let those negative things impact my behavior. Being able to be near goodness is something that inspires and encourages me. When I am around honesty and innocence and purity, it makes me thirsty for more.
I am blessed to be living near two little bundles of goodness. They are about as near to perfect as they can be and I get to see them quite a bit! Neither one is very fussy and when they smile at me or fall asleep in my arms, it feels like goodness to me.
When I get a glimpse of beauty on Earth, I know it is from our Creator. God is beauty, honesty, goodness, and true perfection. His Word is a consistent source of encouragement for me. When my roots are in God’s Word, goodness will grow!
Find spots of goodness and beauty. Cultivate it in your life as much as you can! Some have the gift of finding the beauty in their everyday life, and some have the gift of making beauty. If we bloom where we are planted, we can inspire others with goodness and beauty.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 NIV
Sometimes I can be very harsh with myself. If I said the words in my head out loud, I wouldn’t want me for a friend. It’s true, there is a time for tough love but when I know the ins and outs of my days and my life and I can’t give myself a break then I know I am overwhelmed and I need to create some space.
When I create space, I get very focused and start kicking the troublesome things out of my life. I buckle down. I make decisions I have been waffling on (sometimes, time is not your friend). And I purge enough so I can breathe again. I take a deep breath and restart my devotional time. I find life giving verses and find a study that refreshes my spirit. I look to God for the answers and the peace and the forgiveness I am so desperate for.
And then it all starts over again.
When I am impatient with myself, I am impatient with everyone else, too! I go through seasons of being too patient and not patient enough. If I really like you, I can be ridiculously patient. If I don’t particularly jive with your personality and I happen to be in a bad space, I have zero patience and even less tolerance for shenanigans.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Hello Friend! If I am not intentionally in God’s Word and giving Him my day and seeking His face, you will know by my lack of “fruit”. It’s okay for you to point that out to me. When I am distracted and getting to the end of my reserves, all of these “fruits” are in jeopardy. I can see it happening so easily in others but I am not so fast to see it in myself. It’s like a slow fade until I hit the bottom and my reserves are spent.
This is a perfect season for a restart! What is it that has crept in and taken your prayer and Scripture study time? Sometimes we allow things to move into our lives but it means we need to move other things out. If you want to display the fruits of the Spirit in your life, time with God should not be the negotiable item.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5 NIV
Are you coming from a broken place? There may be many things that are demanding your time, but time for healing is so important. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs require focus. And when there is a need for healing, other things may need to take a back seat for a while.
When people are able to admit they have come from a broken place it seems they can share God’s love from the heart. I would prefer to hear about God’s provision in a messy life than hear about the perfect life any day! So don’t be fooled by Pinterest Perfection or Facebook Flawlessness or trying to present your life as the Instagram Ideal. God saves real people and meets them in the midst of their sins and brokenness. We don’t have to have to “pretty it up” for Him. God’s love can carry us through the healing process and it covers our multitude of sins. Let’s stop pretending that we aren’t wounded by the world but let’s not dwell in our wounds either.
If you find yourself dwelling in your situation then more healing may need to happen.
There is no timetable for grieving the losses we have endured in this life. But getting stuck for a long time in the grieving process is not a fun place to be either. God’s Word never fails to give me a fresh perspective on my circumstances. Finding time to be in His Word is essential for my healing and attitude. Being a part of a healthy congregation is important too! Identify those places that need healing and seek help through a trusted counselor or pastor. Let God’s love and forgiveness wash over you and rest in His grace.
If you take time to focus on healing, it may mean it is not your time for something else at the moment because we can’t do everything at once. Set the unimportant things aside and do the next right thing.