Too Good to Be True – Hospitality, Friendship, and living for Christ
Purity 499 08/17/2021 Purity 499 Podcast
Today’s photo of a late day commuter’s sun that seems to have been devoured by a sky creature of my imagination, whose silhouette is defined by the framing trees, I think of it as the “Halfmoon Sky Hog” with gaping mouth, comes to us from yours truly as I decided to drive in a different direction yesterday after work and take advantage of a friend’s hospitality.
After emerging past the “Ides of August” this past weekend, I was overcome by a sense that the times “they are a changing” and in contemplating the weeks ahead I realized that the Summer of ’21 is slip, sliding away. I have a busy schedule with work, meetings, ministry, gatherings, and church and at times it doesn’t seem like I have a moment’s rest but trust me that is a good thing. I consider myself truly blessed by the activities in my life and the relationships that I enjoy as part of it all.
As we walk through life we must meet our responsibilities and make time for the things we want to do by scheduling the time for it. I have become somewhat skilled at scheduling my time for everything but as I reviewed my upcoming days I realized I had something to do for most of the days in the next week after work but yesterday evening was a rare “night off”, okay to be honest I had a few things to take care but determined that they wouldn’t take up a lot of time and could be done before I went to bed.
So early yesterday, with the upcoming schedule in mind, and the dwindling days of summer as a clear and present reality, I recalled a friend’s kind invitation to use their swimming pool without reservations.
I don’t know about you but sometimes when people make an offer of hospitality you almost immediately dismiss it because:
1. You don’t know if they really mean it.
2. You don’t know if their invitation will obligate you in some way
3. You feel to accept their invitation is to admit to some lack in your life
4. You fear the rules and regulations that may be involved
5. You fear that accepting will somehow push the friendship beyond the “comfort zone” and will somehow result it conflict and a loss of relationship when the bounds of the friendship are pushed beyond their limits.
But nothing ventured nothing gained, right? We can’t receive if we don’t ask. Right? And honestly, sometimes we have to “call people’s bluff” and see if they are for “real”. As we all know, sometimes people say things and don’t mean them, but we will never know if they are authentic if we don’t decide to take advantage of what they offer.
And I love what happens in us when we get moved to do something. Suddenly, all this resistance comes in: “Oh, maybe they were just saying that…” “Are you really going to ask to go to their house and go swimming on a Monday, on a weeknight?... by yourself?... what are you nuts?”
This little internal dialog of anxiety is what keeps us from our freedom. So in our interactions with one another there is some potential for growth between friends on both sides.
They make the offer of hospitality, making themselves vulnerable. Have you ever invited a bunch of people that you thought of as friends to party and have no one show up? When we offer our friendship and hospitality we run the risk of feeling the hurt of rejection. Do we want to be vulnerable by allowing people into our homes? Do we want to give them the power to possibly judge us and reject us?
On our part, the invitation to accept their hospitality puts the “ball of friendship” in our courts so to speak. Will we accept? Are we friends or just acquaintances? Do we want to make ourselves vulnerable by going into their home?
So yesterday, out of the blue on a Monday morning, I texted my friend with my thoughts and inquired if I could take advantage of the offer of their pool. In retrospect, I didn’t really ask how they were and actually texted “I was thinking of your pool”. Real nice, right? OH and how are you. Yeah I never asked that…. It’s amazing I have friends at all.
Amazingly, they said the offer was good and they advised how I could access their property and enjoy their swimming pool without disturbance.
Oh yes, another wrinkle for the faint of heart. “You mean, they weren’t even going to be there?!”
Apparently not. Talk about upping the ante, right?
And this speaks all my single friends. We need to boldly go on our own into this world. If we are going to be waiting for a companion to live our lives, we should be prepared to spend a lot of time at home alone. And here’s the deal, if we are comfortable home alone, why not take the show on the road? There is a whole world outside to enjoy and we need to challenge our fears and go out into it even if it means we will be rolling solo.
As single people, we also need to be vulnerable and make ourselves available to others for friendship. Recently, I was at a gathering where someone new to the area actually asked for prayer to find friends. We prayed for that person and hopefully our prayers were answered because at the next gathering they were not in attendance.
And that brings up another thing, are we praying for something that God is putting right before us? This person was praying for friends in a group, in which they could have possibly found those friends! Like I said, I hope they found them in prayer, because through their absence they may have decided that “these people” weren’t “friend material” or they weren’t comfortable with themselves. Somewhere in scripture it says that if we want friends, we need to be friendly… If we don’t make ourselves vulnerable and reach out to others we will never find friends.
Oh I understand the risks of rejection, but oh well, thankfully through my faith I know that I am accepted for who I am in Christ, and I have decided to take the risk to reach out to those who seem friendly. I have nothing to prove to anyone and only seek to enjoy their company and encourage them. So, I took the risk of being “presumptuous” and was rewarded with a transformed Monday as I was welcomed to use my friend’s pool to enjoy the water, the weather, and the solitude.
So keep walking and talking with God. He will give you the confidence to walk through life boldly and to take risks to make yourself vulnerable to others. When we make and accept invitations, we open the door to our hearts and while it can be a scary proposition to do so, the rewards of personal growth and experiencing new things and the love of others is more than worth it.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 12.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Dealing with Rejection in Your Relationships
Ruby had experienced more rejection in her 40 years of life than anyone I have ever heard about. She was rejected by her unmarried mother before she was born, miraculously surviving an abortion six months into her mother's pregnancy. Ruby's mother then abandoned her to her father, who in turn gave her to his mother. Ruby's grandmother was involved in a bizarre mixture of religious and occultic practices. So Ruby was raised in an atmosphere of seances and other weird, demonic experiences.
Ruby married at 14 to escape her grandmother's home. By the time she was 21 she had five children, all of whom were convinced by their father that Ruby was no good. Eventually her husband and five children all deserted her. Feeling totally rejected, Ruby unsuccessfully attempted suicide several times. She received Christ during this time, but those who knew her were afraid she would take her own life. "Don't commit suicide," they encouraged her. "Hang on; life will get better." Yet voices inside her head still taunted Ruby, and an eerie, dark spiritual presence infested her home.
In this condition Ruby came to a weeklong conference I was conducting at her church. On Wednesday night I spoke about forgiveness, encouraging people to list the names of people they needed to forgive. In the middle of the session, Ruby left the room with what appeared to be an asthma attack. In reality it was a spiritual attack.
The next afternoon one of the pastors and I met privately with Ruby to counsel and pray with her. When we began to talk about forgiveness, Ruby brought out the list of names she had compiled—four pages of people who had hurt her and rejected her through the years! No wonder Satan was having a field day in her life. Virtually everyone else had turned her away.
We led her through the steps to forgiveness, and she walked out of the office free in Christ. She realized for the first time that God loves her and will never reject her. She went home thrilled and excited. The evil voices in her head were gone.
Most of us haven't suffered the pervasive rejection Ruby experienced. Everyone knows, however, what it feels like to be criticized and rejected, even by the very people in our lives we want to please. We were born and raised in a worldly environment that chooses favorites and rejects seconds. Because nobody can be the best at everything, we all were ignored, overlooked, or rejected at times by parents, teachers, coaches, and friends.
Furthermore, because we were born in sin, God also rejected us until we were accepted by Him in Christ at salvation (see Romans 15:7). Since then, we have been the target of Satan, the accuser of the brethren (see Rev. 12:10), who never ceases to lie to us about how worthless we are to God and others. In this life we all have to live with the pain and pressure of rejection.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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