Write the Word Bible Journals

Hospitality: 3 Compelling Reasons Why You Need To Make Opening Your Home A Priority

I love the idea of being hospitable but, when push comes to shove, introverted me would rather retreat deeply into my home and myself, citing some need for self-care or boundaries. I have board upon board of ideas for recipes to make, parties to host, and a home to decorate perfectly. If you search “hostess” your Pinterest feed will populate with a how to make all of this envy-worthy – your home, your food, and your looks. But that’s not what hospitality is about. Hospitality is a fiercely-spiritual issue.  For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. – Titus 1:7-8 ESV It isn’t an issue of having a home perfectly crafted, it’s a heart condition. It’s a spirit that says, “Here I am! Use me! Use this house.” One of the markers of our faith is our reputation for being hospitable. It’s a qualification given to distinguish those who are able to be leaders in the Church. They must be hospitable.  So why is it such a struggle?  Why do you fight in opening our doors, in opening ourselves, up to those around us?  It is a constant battle to surrender self, for others. Hospitality demands that of us. We can’t hide away, but must be open and vulnerable with our times and our selves.  Hospitality demands humility. True hospitality means that we have to offer up who we are and can’t maintain the appearance of who we wish to be. It means we open our homes and offer ourselves, without pretending.  When we open our homes and our lives to those around us, they see the good and the bad. They see our strengths and our weaknesses. We can serve as an encouragement, and allow them to encourage the weakness we have. Hospitality isn’t about arranging a home that makes other’s envious, it’s about opening our homes to show others the heart we have for who God is and what He has done.  We don’t offer hospitality as an end in itself, we do it to glorify our Lord and express love for our neighbors.  While this sometimes looks like trying to make your home particularly lovely, it often looks simply inviting people to join you in your day to day…

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6 Important Principles For Fostering Family Devotions

Angela Sackett of Everyday Welcome is such a gem. I never leave a conversation with her without feeling the refreshing love of God and a challenge to live my life in service to Him. I knew I wanted to share a Protestant perspective on fostering family devotionals and knew right away that she was who I wanted to hear from. Angela has raised five beautiful children and discipled them in the ways of the Lord. Her wisdom is rooted in Scripture and in years of experience. I know you will cherish her words as much as I do.  Before we had children, I dreamed of peaceful, idyllic family devotions, where we’d all sit with our Bibles open on our laps, discussing and praying together over the truths of God’s word and the Christian life. In reality though, from restless toddler years to busy teen calendars, it’s always work to make that priority actually a priority in our daily life. There are a few things I’ve learned in the trenches over the years, and I thought maybe they could help you, also! Aim for Consistency There’s a temptation for me, when I begin a new schedule, to want to dive in head-first and get all the things accomplished right away. Instead, start slowly and aim for consistent meeting over time. For instance, instead of trying to do an hour of Bible study/family devotions on a given day, try to get 10-20 minutes for each of several days in a week. (For little ones, you might start with five!) Over time, meeting together will become part of your routine, and it will be easier to relax and enjoy the time together, as well as to allow kids to settle in. Releasing the pressure also helps you as a parent – you don’t have to cover everything in a given setting, and it’s a lot easier to be patient with wiggles and rabbit trails! We also found that shorter sessions have made it easier to get time with dad over the years; while it’s sometimes hard to get a big chunk of time all together, it’s much easier to find a short pocket of time, say every evening right after dinner, that everyone is available. Be Flexible For me, it was often hard to deal with changing schedules from sports events and practices, friend gatherings, and my husband’s work days, which seem to…

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How To Turn To Jesus When You Feel Like A Hot Mess

I Need Peace In My Rough Days (To Help Me Deal With My Sinful Heart)

I am in the midst of a transitional season. I gave up my space, my home in Hawaii, and my husband and I are now at home in Michigan. Except, we don’t have a home. My parents have graciously opened up their home to us, and we are grateful. But going from a quiet, adult-centric home to a home filled with activity and young life has been a change.  The noise is welcomed, I often struggled in Hawaii with the quiet after growing up in a house that was constantly bustling.  I’m overwhelmed simply writing this because, instead of my usually sleepy dogs at snuggled against me, there are three dogs wrestling at my feet, knocking the ottoman away from me. The idyllic, Instagram-worthy life I try to curate is nowhere to be found. I feel a little like the Israelites, wandering through the desert for years on end, wondering if they will ever find a home, a place to put their roots and reclaim my little bit of the Eden to come.  I am craving life-sustaining peace.  It is my tendency to search, frantically, for the fix-it tips the internet provides.  But I don’t need tips or tricks to bring peace to my heart. And while, inevitably, some things will be easier when the transition settles and I can find both shoes in a pair, the heart issue won’t change, it will just be less evident. I don’t need self-care, I need soul-care because deep down, I’m a hot mess. And no about of splurging or bubble baths will clear that up.  Because this season, this time of pressing and stress, is a time of refining fire.  While circumstances might make it easier to hide my selfishness, my anxiety, my inability to cast my cares at the feet of Jesus, that doesn’t mean I am not selfish, anxious, or able to surrender to God.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45, ESV My heart is revealed in these times for what it truly is. But these are also the times when Christ sees the state of my heart and works with His refining fire. I can see the natural state of my heart and allow Him to work in that…

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Teaching Kids To Pray: Common Catholic Prayers

Teaching Kids To Pray: Common Catholic Prayers

Sara is one of those down-to-earth, lovers of Christ and His Church that always inspires me to practice my faith more fully. Her site, To Jesus, Sincerely, sums up her passion to give her Maker everything with all of her heart. I particularly love reading about how she practices her faith with small children. Since I am Protestant and have no children here on earth, I was thrilled that Sara agreed to share her perspective here what she does as a Catholic mother of three to pass on her faith by encouraging a vibrate prayer life amongst her little ones.  Be sure to read part 1 “Teaching Kids to Pray: A Catholic Perspective.“ Common Catholic Prayers The Catholic Church has a rich tradition of prayer that may seem unfamiliar and strange from the outside. But with a little closer inspection, the scriptural roots of many of these prayers are uncovered. Some of these prayers have become integral parts of our family prayer life. Attending Mass as a Family The Holy Mass is centered around the gift of the Eucharist (Holy Communion) given to us by Jesus at the Last Supper. At every Mass, we listen to readings from the Bible: the Old and New Testaments and the Gospel. We pray a Psalm together. The Liturgy leads up to the high point: receiving Holy Communion. Catholics believe that Holy Communion is more than a symbol. We believe that Jesus actually comes to us under the appearances of bread and wine, as He said, “This is my body… this is my blood…” (Matt 26: 26 – 28). This holy union of God and man is the focal point of our faith. So we make Sunday Mass a top priority in our family. We bring the kids, sit up front, and do our best to help them know what’s going on: that Jesus is coming down from Heaven to give Himself to us. It’s not always easy to bring the kids, but the Mass the ultimate example of how much Jesus loves us, and how we should love Him in return. A vital aspect of prayer to teach our kids. Praying the Family Rosary The Rosary is a scripture-based prayer that revolves around the events in Jesus’ life. On the surface, the Rosary seems like a boring, repetitive prayer. We say repeated rounds of “Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be” prayers. The…

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10 Triggers To Remind You To Pray Without Ceasing

One of the most troublesome charges that Paul gave the Early Church was to pray without ceasing.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV What does that even look like? If you are like me, you spend some time praying (on a good day) but most of your brain energy is consumed throughout the way with the mundane, but oh so stressful, aspects of life.  We need to cultivate habits of prayer by bringing the sacred into every moment of our lives.  In my life, I have found that setting up small triggers, triggers that stop and point me back to a deeper spiritual reality, helps me to pray without ceasing. Viewing life, not setting the spiritual and the mundane at odds with each other, but seeing the sacred nature of ordinary moments, helps me too recognize God’s work and to use every moment as an opportunity to praise Him. Look at your life. Write down some of the most repetitive tasks in your day and think about the reminders you can set-up for yourself.  Here are 10 triggers to encourage you to pray throughout your day: 1. Doing Laundry A reminder to pray that the Spirit will equip you to be daily clothed in the Spirit. 2. Washing Dishes A reminder to pray that you will be clean on the inside and work from a pure heart and motive. 3. Showering  A reminder to examine your heart and repent of any sin that you need help overcoming. 4. Seeing a Bird A reminder (because the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove) to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to make you more like Christ. 5. Grabbing a Glass of Water A reminder to pray that you might thirst, as the Psalmist did, for the Living Water. 6. Watering Flowers  A reminder to pray that you would be planting and tending to seeds of the Gospel each day. Also, this is a great time to pray that seeds of truth would meet the hearts of the sinners and that they would seek after Jesus as a result. 7. Changing a Diaper or Seeing a Baby A reminder to pray for children in need and unborn children at risk of being aborted.  8. Eating A reminder to pray that you will…

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