We wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the countless messages of support, encouragement, and prayers we have received these past few months. You will never know this side of heaven just how much you have blessed us by your kindness. We thank God for you. Today we are also thankful for the biblical perspective Tim Challies shared on his blog. In the days ahead we look forward to telling you about the many ways we are experiencing the steadfast love of the Lord in the midst of this trial. God is doing a gracious work in Sovereign Grace Ministries and we look forward to seeing His good plan unfold.
Your grateful friends,
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word’” Luke 1:38
“Can you say: ‘Let the Holy Spirit do with me as he pleases’? Do you trust the Spirit enough to say: ‘I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put me where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do’? Do you know why we can entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit? Because he exists to exalt the glory of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if the heartbeat of your life is the glory of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will empower and help you with all his might. Let’s live and speak so that men and women might know that Jesus Christ is a great Savior, the Son of the Most High, and the never-ending King of kings. That’s the passion of the Holy Spirit. To be full of that is to be full of him.” ~John Piper
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
This verse has always puzzled me: should I really suspect my dinner guests of being angels in disguise? And do I have to entertain them unawares?
If a heavenly being who spends eternal days worshiping in the presence of the Holy God is coming to dinner, I’d like to know. I don’t want them tripping over the toy helicopter the hallway or eating undercooked Chicken Kiev.
I used to play my own little version of “Who’s the Angel?”, studying the strangers who come to my house. (It’s easy to rule out the people you know—they couldn’t possibly be angels!) But is it the missionary or maybe the visitor from another country? Or do angels come disguised as the hyper toddler who bangs the piano and tracks crumbs on my carpet?
But the author of Hebrews “was not promoting hospitality on the chance that one might ‘luck out’ and get an angel” explains Kent Hughes. Our prospects are no less exciting, though: “He is assuring [us] that some of [our] visitors will prove to be true messengers of God to [us], bringing a greater blessing than they receive” (F.F. Bruce).
So often we focus on the work it takes to invite, prepare, and serve others through hospitality, and we forget to look for God at work! But our gracious Savior delights to send an extravagant “hostess gift”: His messengers!
Think about it: how many times have you been encouraged in your faith or inspired to grow in godliness by one of your guests? How often have you experienced sweet fellowship or hearty laughter or comfort and care in trial? Have you ever see the power of God at work in someone’s life or experienced His provision for you as the result of hospitality? I know I have, many times.
“Hospitality often results in unexpected blessing and reward,” Alexander Strauch reminds us. So let us not neglect hospitality, my friends, but be eager to extend God’s love to others. We never know what blessing God has in store for us!
—from the archives
A word on summer, from John Piper: “Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel.”
The danger with all our summertime ideas (even the more ‘spiritual’ ones) is that we would enjoy or pursue them to the neglect of God himself.
“Flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched” warns Piper. “At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word, but then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.”
The solution to a shallow summer? “If then you have been raised up with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2, RSV).
Remember that, “Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Col. 1:18), including vacations, picnics, softball, long walks, and cookouts [and square foot gardens, pinnebrød, and popsicle trees].”
Or, he says it another way: “The summer sun is a mere pointer to the sun that will be: the glory of God. Summer is for seeing and showing that.”
Heavenly Father, may we not be guilty of “Christless leisure” but may we “see” and “show” your glory in all we do this summer. Amen.
—from the archives