Friday, January 14, 2011

To Save a Life


Mountain View
A mountain view can literally take your breath away. Getting a clearer view of God can do the same. Here at the Warming House, you’ll find truth that will help you know and understand who God is and how He feels about you. What you find here may cause you to live your life a little differently.

The “outcasts” of this world are pretty special to me. One of them is a man named Floyd. Floyd is in prison for armed robbery. I would like to say that I write to him faithfully. I have not. I write to him occasionally. Each time I do, he writes back immediately. I mailed him a letter late last week. On Wednesday, I got a 5-page letter back. In it he told me about some serious health issues he's had since being “locked up”. He then shared, “I was scared to death, but Lisa you wanna know what really hurt more than those two health issues? Not having nobody who cared about me. I can’t just say, ‘Hey Lisa and Mike! Can you guys accept me into your family and care about me so I don’t have to go through this alone?’ It doesn’t work like that.” If my memory is correct, Floyd was in foster care growing up. After his arrest, his fiancĂ© died when she was hit by a drunk driver. He has no friends or family to visit him in prison. In the past year, I have learned that one of the great fears of those in prison is that they will be forgotten by those on the outside as the world goes on without them. They often feel that they matter to no one.

God loves the outcast. How do I know? Because without Christ, we are all outcasts. Remember the Garden of Eden and the fact that Adam and Eve (and everyone in the generations to follow) were “cast out” of the garden because of their rebellion against God? (Gen. 3:23-24; Rom 5:18; Rom 3:10-12) God could have left us out in the cold, but He didn’t. Instead He has shown us incredible mercy. He wanted to bring us into His family, so He said to His Son, “Go to them.” Go find the sinner, the lost, and those wandering around in the world like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:12-13 & 36) Do whatever it takes to bring them in. So Jesus came to earth, suffered and died a brutal death so you could have a place in God’s family. (Eph. 1:4-5) Why? Because YOU MATTER to God! Yes, you. He cares about you no matter how many mistakes you’ve made. (Rom. 5:8) You are significant in His eyes. Why else would He send His Son to die for you?

God wants you to understand your significance to Him. It grieves Him deeply when you don’t. It grieves me too. No one should ever feel that they matter to no one. If you doubt what I'm saying, listen to this scripture.
'How precious it is Lord to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can't even count how many times a day your thoughts turn towards me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!' Psalm 139:17-18 (TLB) Bottom line - God can't get you out of His mind.

If you are already in a relationship with God, you can make a difference by doing what Christ instructed His followers to do. “Go to them.” (Matt 25:31-40) Notice the student sitting alone at the lunch table, reach out to the single mom sitting on the back pew with her kids, feed the homeless, go to the prisons, visit nursing home residents, remember the orphans of the world. Go to those on the fringes who think they’ve done such wrong that God would want nothing to do with them. Tell them what God has done for you. Show them His love. Help them understand His heart. Let them know that God sees their potential and will never give up on them. (Phil. 1:6) Remind them that they can NEVER do anything that will make Him stop loving them. (Jer. 31:3; Psalm 86:5)
Include them in your world as God has included you in His.

With Christ in you, you can do it. Go to them.


Fireside
Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and create a warm and inviting home for family and friends.

With “snow days” and championship football games this past week, a slew of young people have camped out in our home.



We also hosted a visitor from Africa. During his stay with us, Antonio shared that he believes God brings people into his life for a purpose. Antonio honors that purpose by bringing those people into his “family”. As we welcomed him into our home and our family, he welcomed us into his.

Relationships make life rich. Hosting friends in our home is something our family enjoys very much. Each person who enters our home blesses us immeasurably. All of these people become “family” to us. We are thankful for the opportunities God has given us to spend time with them.

Last week I told you I would post “10 things you can do to make guests feel comfortable in your home”. Well . . . I came up with a couple of extra ideas so it’s actually “12 things you can do”. Here they are:

1) Leave the light on. Do you remember those old Motel 6 commercials that promised, “We’ll leave the light on for you”? When a light burns outside a front door it says, “Come on in. We’ve been expecting you. You’re welcome here.”



2) Decorate the entrance to your home. There are so many options here, but hanging a wreath on your front door is a quick and easy thing you can do. Another idea is to burn a large candle on a stand outside your front door. A friend of mine did this when I arrived at her home one evening. So simple, yet nothing I’ve seen has ever made me feel so warm and welcome. If you do this, be sure to keep an eye on that flame to prevent a fire.

3) When guests arrive, stop what you’re doing and greet them at the door – even if someone else let them in. Offer them something to drink.

4) Keep a treat dish on an entry hall table so they have something for the road when they leave your home. I typically stock mine with store-bought candies, but there are some who go all out by wrapping home-baked goodies in decorative bags tied with ribbon during the holiday season.



5) Scents. My favorite scents are sugar cookie, p0und cake, winter woods, and gingerbread. These scents are all about comfort. What else would you expect at The Warming House?!

6) Cleanliness. A friend of mine once said, “Nothing makes me more comfortable than clean”. I agree. There was a time when I actually stayed as a guest at someone’s home where it was apparent that the sheets had not been changed. Ugh! Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well and was all too happy to leave that place. Your home doesn’t have to be tip-top perfect, but pick up clutter, put clean sheets on the bed, and clean the bathrooms your guest will be using. Your preparations will communicate the message that your guest is important to you.

7) Meals. People have to eat. When my guests arrive, I show them where drinks, food, plates and glasses are. Then I tell them that “our home is their home” and give them permission to help themselves to whatever they want. At mealtime, we always have a plan to make sure they’re fed. Sometimes it’s a home-cooked meal. Other times, it’s a meal at a restaurant, but we always make sure their needs are met. This sounds like a no-brainer, but once again, I stayed in a home where the host didn’t offer us breakfast or have any breakfast items stocked in the kitchen. We ended up getting dressed and taking our kids out to eat.

8) Provide visual reminders that you’re happy to have them in your home. You can find welcome mats that say “welcome”, write a “welcome” message on a small dry erase board and place it on a decorative easel in your kitchen, or stencil a message on your wall as we did in our guest room.


9) Keep snacks and water by their bed. If you don’t like using bottled water, buy an inexpensive carafe and fill it before your guest retires for the night. An extra touch would be to find out their favorite snacks beforehand and specifically stock those in the snack basket.
10) Make sure there are plenty of towels available and provide extra toiletries in case they forgot something. When we stay at a hotel, I bring home the unused shower caps and bottles of shampoo and lotion. I stock these items in a container in my linen closet. This makes it easy and inexpensive to restock the toiletry basket for my guests.



11) Consider placing a small welcome gift on the bed for a special guest who has traveled a long distance.

12) When your guest leaves, walk them to the door, thank them for coming and
invite them to come again.


Pinecones and Twigs
Just like gathering nature’s treasures on a hike through the woods, you never know what you’ll find here – a great read, an inspiring photo of nature, or maybe the latest bargain. Check out this spot at The Warming House for something fun.

This past week, I watched a movie with an unforgettable message. To Save a Life is a reminder of the people in the world who feel they have no value to anyone, and the difference one person can make in the life of another. It will inspire you. Parents please note: This movie presents the reality of issues facing teens today - drinking, suicide, cutting, and premarital sex. The overall message makes this one well worth the watch.



A Steaming Hot Mug
Stories of Compassion to Warm your Soul from the Inside Out

Submit your stories (150 word maximum) to warminghouse@gmail.com and I will select some each week for publication on this blog. Your stories must fall into one of the following three categories: 1) Stories of a time when you experienced God’s compassion directly or through the actions of another person; 2) Specific things you’ve done to teach your children compassion; or 3) How your church or someone you know has demonstrated the compassion of Christ in your church or outside its walls. Can’t wait to hear (and share) your stories here at the Warming House!

Down the Path

Watch next week's blog for information about my mission trip scholarship. $2,000 will be awarded to a recipient selected by bloggers.

Enjoy the View,

Lisa






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