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Tag: devotional thoughts

Do Not Forget To Entertain Strangers

I used to volunteer for the soup kitchen in Winchester, Kentucky. I had a babysitter for the (toddler aged) boys and cooked 2-3 days a week until I was called away from that ministry to focus entirely on my writing.  One day, hardly any help showed up.  It was just me and one other girl for a while, then one more girl came.

On a normal day, we cooked the meals on wheels lunches starting at 7:00. Around 9:00, someone would come and deliver bread and desserts that a local store donated, and then the driver would come to pick up the meals on wheels food that we’d prepared that morning.  Once that was done, I was supposed to lock the doors and unlock them at 11:45 when it was time to serve lunch.  The day that the staff was really small, I forgot to lock the doors.

I was outside of the kitchen in the dining room sorting the bread and the desserts.  The items we couldn’t use for the meal that day were put on a table and given free to the people who came to eat.  A lot of people came early to get the good stuff every day.  Any boxes of doughnuts and such, we would put on the tables, open, for people to just enjoy.

I was alone in the dining room.  This is a long room – the length of the church building – and I was at the end, near the kitchen, well away from the only entrance to the room.  As I was sorting bread, I turned around and a man was standing right next to me, his arms outstretched as if he was coming in for a hug.  He was tall, unkempt, unshaven, sweaty, filthy, and he smelled really bad.  I’d never seen him before.  But I hugged him anyway.  It felt wrong not to.  He slapped me on the back and said, “I’ve just been telling people about Jesus!”

I smiled and said, “Amen, brother.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”  I gestured to the table.  “Do you want a doughnut?”

“Boy, do I!”  He quickly sat down and opened a box of 3 cinnamon rolls.

I asked, “Do you want a cup of coffee, too?”

Around a mouthful of pastry, he said, “Oh yes.  Coffee.”

I went into the kitchen, poured him a cup of coffee, and took it to him.  He said, “Man, they don’t treat us like this in Indiana.”

I turned around to do the bread, then just a second or two later turned back around intending to ask him where in Indiana he was coming from.

He was gone.

The box of pastries was gone.  The cup of coffee was gone.  The chair was pushed in.  There were no crumbs anywhere.  It was probably 20 yards to the doorway (If you look at the pitcture, I was way up by the column by the kitchen window, and he would have had to come past where I stood to take this picture) and there was no trace of him.

I asked the girl who was working with me if she saw the guy leave, and she said, “What guy?”

I don’t know who that man was.  He was probably a homeless guy from Indiana.  But, Hebrews 13:2 immediately came to my mind and stayed with me all day:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

halleeLOGOspinefinal

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You Aren’t An Impostor

Impostor syndrome is the name given to the feelings when a person doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. No matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, people with imposter syndrome still can be filled with incredible self-doubt.

I suffer from this on an extreme. It just is how my brain works. I’m not sure what triggers it — maybe it’s a subconscious reminder of a series of bad decisions through my teen and young adult years or maybe it’s just how I’m wired — but the entire time I’m writing, teaching, speaking, or just interacting with people in my day-to-day life, in the back of my mind I’m waiting for someone to expose me as a fraud. To claim and make sure everyone knows and understands that I don’t have the right to my authority, to my words, to my talents.

I could let it cripple me. It would be very easy for me to give in to the fear and just stop succeeding.

Here is an interesting fact: Successful women are more highly susceptible to it. I think that’s fascinating.

The thing is, it’s normal. Isn’t that crazy? It’s normal and it’s common and it’s okay to think those thoughts as long as you don’t let those thoughts drive you or impede you.

If you happen to suffer from imposter syndrome, too, let me tell you how I mentally fight it back so that I CAN teach, and I CAN write, and I CAN speak and know that I CAN do those things well, with grace and strength to inspire and to educate.
I remind myself of some truths:

You are God’s creation. He gifted you with talents and skills for this very moment. Every step you’ve made to reach this point, He’s affirmed over and over again.
You are a loving wife of an adored husband who would give you the moon if you requested it.
You are a good mother with great kids who thrive.
You are a good friend to AMAZING friends who step up when you need them because they know you’ll have their backs, too. And even when it’s hard, it’s okay to ask for their help.
You have words to offer the world that encourage and inspire and energize. Words God gave you and to hold them back would be a detriment to His kingdom plan.

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, let me encourage you to fight it off – even if you have to do it daily (like me). Write down encouraging truths about yourself and repeat them out loud if you need to. Sometimes, I need to.

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Devotion: Loving and Serving God

I don’t know how many times I’ve read the Bible cover to cover. I listen to it in the morning when I walk/run. I read and study it. I’m the type of person that starts digging through my Bible during sermons or Bible studies because something said sparked a thought that required looking something up, that leads me to look up something else, etc. Even though I’ve done so much study for years and years, but I had a new revelation last week.

Don’t you just love it when God does that?

Here it is:

Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us what God’s greatest commandment is (Jesus affirmed this in Matthew):

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

LOVE God with ALL your heart and ALL your soul.

Got it?

Now, Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

This says we’re supposed to SERVE God with ALL our heart and with ALL our soul!
We’re to LOVE God and SERVE God with the SAME PASSION!!

I love this so much.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

God’s grace is what allows me to claim victory over sin and be a true follower of Christ. HOWEVER, more is expected. I can’t just sit back and take the grace and never act.

Acts 16:31 tells us that if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be saved. But, the word believe is the same word as the word OBEY. The Greek word is pisteuō – and it means both believe AND obey. Christ told us to obey His commandments, and claimed the greatest commandment was to love the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

And we learn that LOVING God is to be the same as SERVING God.

James 2:14-26 makes it clear that FAITH without WORKS means NOTHING.

I think what I realized reading Deuteronomy last night is that LOVE for God without SERVING God goes totally hand in had with FAITH and WORKS.

Exciting stuff!!

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