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

Webster defines hospitality as “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.” The Bible tells us we are to practice hospitality; that a church leader is to be hospitable; and that we are to be hospitable without grumbling. One might almost think hospitality was expected of its members by the early Church.

It’s easy today to think that being hospitable requires gourmet food, elegant table settings, decorator appointed rooms, and professional entertainment. But Webster indicates hospitality is determined by the way we treat people. The Greek definition of hospitality in the Bible is being friendly. That sounds like something we can all do—be friendly and generous in the way we treat people. It doesn’t take money; it takes an open heart and an open door.

Lord, use my home as a place where people will feel welcomed and loved. Fill it with your presence and your joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Give to everyone what you owe them: …if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7 (NIV)

With unspeakable gratitude we honor those who have served and those who are serving to preserve the principles and godly heritage of our forefathers. May we never forget the sacrifices of our military and their families and friends at home who loved and supported them that we might all enjoy freedom. And may we never cease to protect those values for which many gave their lives.

Father, be with our men and women around the world who serve our country that we might continue to live in a free nation. Bring health and healing to them when they suffer, bless them, and help us to honor them with our gratitude. In our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit… John 15:16 (NIV)

Several weeks ago I planted bulbs, anticipating that before long I would have stunning color to punctuate the beds surrounding my courtyard. I’ve watered the places where I imagine bulbs mysteriously coming to life with foliage preparing to peep above the soil. I watch frequently for signs that my labor has not been in vain.

The directions that came with the box of bulbs said that I could expect to see the unfurling of pink and rose tones, varying shades of red with white, and some soft greens within six to eight weeks. But I want to see my caladiums come to life now. I do not want to wait three or four more weeks.

Seeds of faith and hope were planted in me at varying times in my life. I have read and have been told that those seeds must be watered and given proper nutrients before they will spring up and bear fruit. I am tempted from time to time to poke around in the soil of my heart to see what is happening there. I am impatient for mature, delicious fruit that will nourish those in need. I do not always appreciate the time needed for the maturing process.

But it’s necessary. God is the gardener, the husbandman of the scripture. He brings the circumstantial rain or sunshine or whatever he deems necessary to produce the precise fruit he wants in our lives. Our task is to be still and allow him to do what he wills, when he wills, and however he wills. Our gardens will grow as we wait and he works.

Father, you are God, and I am not. I surrender to you to work your glory in me. Amen.


Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Psalm 95:1  (ESV)

For her last three years my parents cared for my grandmother in their home. Grandma had dementia and frequently had accidents, caused disruptions, and didn’t remember anyone. Yet, on an occasion when my mom took her for a doctor visit, a lady in the waiting room asked if Grandma was a Christian – there was something about her sweet spirit that made one take notice.

When I was growing up, Grandma was known to break out into spontaneous song that aptly expressed her abiding faith and joy. Throughout her life the songs continued. They surpassed grief and disappointment and expressed hope and love. Long after her mind had gone, the songs let us know the state of her heart.

As she aged, she frequently sang an old camp meeting song, I Feel like Traveling on. One day she did…

Sweet Father, you’ve given us precious examples of saints among us. Help us to emulate their love and devotion to you so that our children will have models of Christ-likeness to hand on to their children. In our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.


…first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5 (NIV)

When was the last time you heard, “In the event of an emergency, a mask will drop down from the compartment overhead. Fit the mask over your mouth and tighten the bands. Oxygen will begin flowing. Put on your own mask before you assist others.” This little spiel is familiar to anyone who’s ever flown in an airplane, and it’s meant to ensure passenger safety.

In our own spiritual lives, do we make sure that we are attending to our own spiritual needs, practicing spiritual disciplines, living out our faith before we attempt to reach out to others? It may be easier to see the needs in other lives or to want to “fix” someone else while ignoring the practice of Christ’s life within ourselves.

Let’s stop and reassess. With the direction and power of the Holy Spirit, let’s attend first to the issues in our own lives. Then we’ll be able to see more clearly how to minister to someone else.

Father, sometimes it seems easier to take care of others than to help ourselves. Remind us to make your priorities ours so that we may be effective servants. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


Love one another. John 13:34

I once heard about a pastor who got up to preach, read his text, “Love one another,” and then sat down. In the seconds it took to perform this action, a thousand thoughts went through his mind—things like, nobody pays a bit of attention to the sermons, nobody cares, nobody does the sermons, what’s the use. He was ready to quit. He got up again and repeated his text. And he sat down again. This happened three times.

After intense minutes of watching a church full of now-uncomfortable people, he noticed one person leaning over to talk to his seat mate. And then someone got up to speak to someone across the room. People began weeping as reconciliation, forgiveness, and love broke out. The people began to do the Word.

What are we doing about love? Have we given up criticism, judgmentalism, fault-finding, antagonism, and so many unloving behaviors? There really is no excuse for not loving in word and in deed when God gave everything to love us to himself. Let us begin to love one another.

Father, we don’t always behave as your loving children. We are sorry, and we ask your forgiveness. Fill us anew with your love, and love through us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.



…the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13 (KJV)


Most of us are familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan as told by Luke. A man is on his way to Jericho and is overtaken by thieves who strip him and wound him and leave him for dead.


A priest comes by, and when he sees the dying man, he moves over to the other side of the road to pass. A Levite, a temple assistant, comes and looks at him, and he, too, passes by on the other side of the road.


We criticize these men for their callous behavior, but they were doing exactly what they were supposed to do—by Law. The Law said they were not to make themselves unclean by touching anything that was defiled or impure. Obviously, a bloodied body would be unclean. They were doing what they were supposed to do.


The Samaritan, the one we call good, ignored Jewish Law (after all he was a Samaritan) and obeyed a higher law, that of love, by ministering to the man’s needs, taking him to a place for recuperation, and telling the attendant that he would pay for any extra costs.


Do we ever miss an opportunity to minister love to a hurting person because we have a church event already scheduled? Or extra money already committed? Or time already allocated? Jesus’ idea about the Law was to see the principle, the love behind the Law. The Law said that murder was wrong; Jesus said hateful thoughts were the same as murder. Love is the greater law.


We are invited to go beyond minimal requirements to instead be lavish in our loving. Let’s not be like the priest and the Levite to use the Law (our own stiff rules) to excuse our lack of love. Let’s not miss the joy of loving.


Father, open our eyes to the opportunities for pouring ourselves out in love to our neighbors. Move us beyond our traditions that sometimes serve our own selfishness. Thank you for hearing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.