Thursdays With Oswald—Extravagant Christians

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Extravagant Christians

      Our reason for giving is not to be because men deserve it, but because Christ tells us to give. All through the Old and New Testaments the counsel is on the line of hospitality. As long as we have something to give, we must give. … The true nature of devotion to Jesus Christ must be extravagance. … 

      We have deified economy, placed insurance and economy on the throne, consequently we will do nothing on the line of adventure or extravagance. To use the word “economy” in connection with God is to belittle and misunderstand Him. Where is the economy of God in His sunsets and sunrises, in the grass and flowers and trees? God has made a superabounding number of things that are of no use to anyone. … 

      When a man is rightly related to God he has to see that he enjoys his own life and that others do too.

From Shade Of His Hand

What controls your hospitality and generosity? Is it economy, or an extravagant overflow?

How much God has blessed us with that we should be lavishly giving to others! If we’re not, perhaps Common Sense is on the throne of our hearts instead of our All-Gracious God.

Just something to think about…

New Year New Attitude

New YearIf you’re looking to challenge yourself to be a better person in the New Year, you couldn’t go wrong with this list—

  1. Hate what is evil
  2. Cling to what is good
  3. Love others with real compassion
  4. Honor others above yourselves
  5. Work hard
  6. Keep growing spiritually
  7. Find new ways to serve the Lord
  8. Be joyful in hope
  9. Be patient in hard times
  10. Be faithful in prayer
  11. Share with others who are in need
  12. Practice hospitality
  13. Bless those who persecute you
  14. Laugh with your friends when they’re happy
  15. Cry with your friends when they’re sad
  16. Live in harmony with everyone
  17. Make friends with those others call “nobodies”
  18. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not
  19. Don’t respond to insults with insults, but with love
  20. Try to do what is right in the eyes of everyone
  21. Live at peace with everyone
  22. Don’t take revenge, but let God handle it
  23. Don’t let evil get the best of you, but get the best of evil by doing good

(Hat tip: Apostle Paul in Romans 12:9-21)

Healed Healer

Healed HealerMartha has gotten a bad rap throughout history. So many people jump on her for buzzing around her home trying to make sure Jesus, His disciples, and all of the other guests were taken care of. She was attempting to be a good hostess.

But let’s read her story again carefully (see Luke 10:38-42). Notice first of all that Martha “opened her home” to Jesus. She took the responsibility for making sure Jesus felt welcomed in her home.

Next notice how Jesus addressed Martha. He said “Martha, Martha.” There are no unnecessary words in the Scripture, so His repeating her name is significant. Jesus alone speaks like this in all of the New Testament: only He repeats someone’s name to make sure He has their undivided attention—

  • Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31) when warning him that satan is after him.
  • Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Luke 13:34) to the people who could be helped by Him.
  • My God, My God (Matthew 27:46) to His Father from the Cross.
  • Saul, Saul (Acts 9:4) to the young zealot who was persecuting Christ.

Jesus was not scolding Martha, but He was trying to get her attention. Jesus told her she was “worried and upset about many things.” By contrast Mary was focused on one thing: soaking up Christ’s words. It’s hard to be hospitable when you’re doing it in your own strength. It’s hard to be a healer when you need healing yourself.

In an amazing turnaround, Jesus became the Host. He wanted Martha to see that having a relationship with Him is THE priority. Everything else flows from that.

It’s not coincidental that both hospitality and hospital come from the same root word meaning a place of healing.

  • You are HEALED when you make Christ at home in your heart. 
  • You are a HEALER when your heart makes others feel at home. 

This is the essence of being God-oriented and then people-focused. This is when YOU can be a healed healer!

Think about this: What does it mean to you to make Jesus at home in your heart? What’s stopping you from receiving His healing today? It’s only after you’ve been healed that you can bring healing to others.

Hospitality

Max LucadoSome folks have asked me to post the Max Lucado quotes on hospitality that I shared this morning.

“Something holy happens around a dinner table that will never happen in a sanctuary. In a church auditorium you see the backs of heads. Around the table you see the expressions on faces. In the auditorium one person speaks; around the table everyone has a voice. Church services are on the clock. Around the table there is time to talk. Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community.” —Max Lucado

“If we wait until everything is perfect, we’ll never issue an invitation. Remember this: what is common to you is a banquet to someone else. You think your house is small, but to the lonely heart, it is a castle. You think the living room is a mess, but to the person whose life is a mess, your house is a sanctuary. You think the meal is simple, but to those who eat alone every night, pork and beans on paper plates tastes like filet mignon.” —Max Lucado

Thursdays With Oswald—Time To Get Active

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Time To Get Active

     We must take heed that in the present calamities, when war and devastation and heart-break are abroad in the world, we do not shut ourselves up in a world of our own and ignore the demand made on us by our Lord and our fellow-man for the service of intercessory prayer and hospitality and care.

From Christian Disciplines

Instead when times are tough, Christians ought to be at their best! Open your eyes and you will see opportunities all around you to pray, to open your home, and to open your arms.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It’s time to open your eyes and get active!

And, And, And

AndIt’s a great question that the Apostle James asks: What good is it if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? (James 2:14)

It simply doesn’t work! In fact, it’s a waste of time if all I do is—

  • Speak a blessing over someone’s life
  • Claim a promise in Scripture
  • Pray
  • Walk with God for years
  • Provide outstanding hospitality

“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead, James says a couple of verses later (v. 17). I need faith AND action

  • Speak the blessing AND be the blessing
  • Claim a promise AND act on it
  • Pray AND do
  • Walk with God AND bring others along with me
  • Entertain AND get out in the streets

“I will show you my faith by what I do!” (v. 18).

Faith and, and, AND works.

Heavenly Father, help me to get this right. I don’t want to preach it good or believe it strongly, unless I’m going to live it well, too.

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