Sunday, March 05, 2017

March 5, 2017 ... Open Arms

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 64 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … How Deep the Father’s Love … poignantly singing of the open arms of Christ on the cross, offering His love and WELCOME to any/all who would accept the grace of His saving love.

 {How many of my readers are old enough to remember 
the "Welcome Wagon?"

Highlight Verse[s]: Hebrews 13:2 [NLT] … 
2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 
… A straight-forward principle which is being lost to our current culture.
Highlight Passage [context]: Hebrews 13:1-3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God thru the author of Hebrews exhorts all Christians to extend hospitality to others. 

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 25:40, 45 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
... When we reach out to extend God’s love in welcoming others, we are showing the welcome Christ gives to all who come to Him.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 13:34-35 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… When we extend the open arms of “WELCOME” to others we showing the love Christ has extend to all … and we exhibit openly our being disciples of Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal story to illustrate how we Christians should extend hospitality to others in Christ’s Name. The ODB author wrote: The dinner where we hosted families from five nations remains a wonderful memory. Somehow the conversation didn’t splinter into twos, but we all contributed to a discussion of life in London from the viewpoints of different parts of the world. At the end of the evening, my husband and I reflected that we had received more than we gave, including the warm feelings we experienced in fostering new friendships and learning about different cultures. 

When I was a young man, growing up in the midwest of the USA, when someone moved into our community, an organization called “WELCOME WAGON” visited the new person[s] to the community or neighborhood, giving them a basket full of “goodies," and extending a warm welcome on behalf of the community [see photo above]. I’m afraid that cultural tradition of extending hospitality to any/all, as taught by the Author of Hebrews (see highlight scripture), is sorely lacking in our world/culture these days.

 Recently, my wife and I had a new person moved in next door to us; and we decided to get out of our comfort zone (well, at least mine) and do all we could to make our new neighbor welcome. We had never really done much of that before, being loners by nature. But our hospitality was more than welcomed by our new next-door neighbor; and I think we’ve made a friend, … one whom we’ll be close to as long as she lives next to us - and even beyond that should she move.

 Jesus said that when we extend His love to others, we are really showing the love/hospitality He offers to any/all who would come to Him [hear the song above]; and we also show that we are Christ’s disciples when we reach out to welcome others. [See reference scriptures above] So, to whom can we extend the open arms of fellowship or hospitality today?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, help me to be You with open arms to others, … just has You have been to me … ALWAYS. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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