The Frost Busters

by Sheri Schofield

Yesterday was one of those Rocky Mountain High days: high altitude, high humidity, and high temperatures – for Montana, at least. Even the buzzards were hot! I saw one perched on a fence post, facing into the wind. Its wings were stretched out with every feather separated as far as it could go, and its tongue was hanging out of its beak.

You wouldn’t think 74 degrees would be considered that hot! But back in March, we hit a record low of -42 degrees during calving season. We lost thousands of calves across the state and many adult cattle as well. That buzzard weathered the cold. Now it was 116 degrees hotter. You bet it was overwhelmed!

Jesus spoke of a spiritual climate change that would happen in the last days. He said, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 12:10 NLT).

Sin has always been with us. But in recent years, it seems to be increasing at a gallop. What was once hidden from others is brazenly broadcast to all. There is a boldness and pride about sin these days. What was once considered sin is now being celebrated as personal rights. Evil is considered good. People’s natural love for their own families is freezing over under this increased assault. Our natural response as Christians is to back away from those who boldly proclaim their sin.

But is that the answer? Should we let fear hold us back from giving our world the antifreeze it needs so desperately? What can we do to bring warmth to a frozen-hearted world?

Peter wrote, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sin. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (I Peter 4:8-10 NLT).

Love begins at home. Then it spreads outward to other believers. Love from God that cannot be contained then reaches out to the lost around us. It grows, spreading warmth to those who are secretly enduring lives of frozen desperation, captured by the powers of darkness that dominate our land.

Before He left this earth, Jesus told His disciples what would happen after He was gone. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem [home], throughout Judea [neighborhood], in Samaria [surrounding countries], and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8  NLT).

We are to love in the power of the Holy Spirit. Loving those who are difficult cannot be done on our own steam. We have to be plugged into God’s supernatural strength and power, like electrical appliances must be plugged into electric outlets. Then, with the Holy Spirit flowing through us like an electrical current, we can reach our world with the Son of love and defrost frozen hearts one at a time.

Have you mastered loving your own? How about those at church? Your neighbors? Take these challenges one step at a time, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and see just how many hearts God can melt through your love!

God wants to defrost hearts with his love, and he is gathering a defrosting team. Maybe we could even have team shirts made: “The Frost Busters!” Will you join us? Go, Team, Go!

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:7-10, NLT

TWEETABLES
The Frost Busters – thoughts in #FollowingGod from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: When has your heart been warmed by the love of others?

Practicing Hospitality

by Penelope Carlevato @teatimepen

As a young mom, my Mondays were always busy.  It was my laundry day, and I had several mountains of clothes to wash. Monday was also the day I volunteered at the school store and drove the after-school sports carpool. All three of our children were involved in football or gymnastics. Usually I cooked dinner in the crockpot that night, as it was impossible to start a decent family meal after arriving home so late.

My husband called me from work early one Monday morning to tell me he had invited a college buddy  for dinner. Ed was just in town for one day on business, and this was our one opportunity to have him. I had a large roast in the crockpot, so dinner wouldn’t be a problem. My main concern was getting the house in shape, setting the table, and whipping up a quick dessert.

After all the chauffeuring and getting children home after practice, I raced into the house to complete the final touches on dinner. As I did, I asked the kids to please put away their cleats, back packs, gym bags, and get into the shower. I turned to my work in the kitchen.

When I heard the front door open, I took off my apron and greeted my husband and Ed. When I stepped into the foyer, I almost fell flat on my face as I tripped over stinky cleats, socks, backpacks, gym bags, and shoulder pads. I was so embarrassed our guest was greeted by this mess!

But, to my amazement, Ed assured me, “I feel right at home. This is what I come home to every night!” His gracious comment put everyone at ease, and we had a great evening.

It was an enormous lesson for me. I didn’t need a spotless house to have guests. I think I knew that, but this was the first time I actually put that belief to the test.

“For am I now seeking the approval of human beings or of God?  Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV

Many years later, I continue to practice my gift of hospitality. Sometimes I serve meals in a spotless home, but sometimes in a messy home. No one has refused to come for dinner because the house was in chaos! If I have time, I will make the meal very special, but if not, it’s paper plates and plastic cups. My mother shared some wise words with me when I was growing up:  “It takes so little to go the extra mile and make your guests feel special.” My preference is to add a little “class” to each meal.

Hospitality is a part of a Christian’s lifestyle, extending Christ’s love to all who enter our homes. When we release the need to have the “perfect” home, we are open to welcome friends and strangers with genuine gladness and love. Nothing is more fun than breaking bread around the table….and it’s not what’s on the table that guests remember. It’s who is around the table.

Practicing hospitality was also an opportunity for my children through example, as I gladly offered my home to others even when every detail was not in place. Insisting that everything be just-so was in reality an effort to impress people. The only one that I needed to please was God.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  1 Peter 4:8-10 NASB

TWEETABLE
Practicing Hospitality – insight from Penelope Carlevato @TeaTimePen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Penelope Carlevato -5About the author: Penelope Carlevato is a Christian author and speaker, member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Bureau and Titanic Speakers Bureau, and a contributing author for numerous compilation books. She serves as a regular columnist for Leading Hearts, the award-winning magazine for Christian women, and also writes for Innovative Health and other medical and wellness magazines.

Penelope’s book Tea on the Titanic, First Class Etiquette is a collection of recipes, special menus, and interesting facts and stories of life in the Downton Abbey and Titanic era. Whether planning a Birthday Tea, a Christmas Tea, a Christening Tea or even a themed Downton Abbey Tea, the pleasures of sharing tea time come alive as Penelope shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and inspiration.