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Holy Leftovers and Apple-Cinnamon Tea - Encouragement for Today - September 21, 2020

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Karen EhmanSeptember 21, 2020

Holy Leftovers and Apple-Cinnamon Tea

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“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-8 (NIV)

I met Jesus over a cup of apple-cinnamon herbal tea.

Oh, I don’t mean He and I sat down at the local coffee house and sipped on hot beverages purchased with a buy-one-get-one coupon that was about to expire.

I mean that a cup of spiced tea — served to me by a believer with a heart for hospitality in her oh-so-ordinary home — was the means God used to draw me to Himself, setting in motion my spiritual walk of faith.

When I was a junior in high school, a new family moved in across the street. Their white ranch-style house sat next to the country church that stood guard over the four-corner Midwestern intersection I called home. The mom and preacher’s wife, Ms. Pat, made it her mission to get to know me.

She invited me to hang out at her home when I finished my after-school activities. There wasn’t a fuss made. She didn’t pull out all the stops to impress my teenaged self. She would pour me a steaming cup of apple-cinnamon tea and offer me a snack, often fashioned from leftovers.

At this house, I felt welcomed and safe. Which led to something even more crucial: I felt loved and known.

As our friendship grew, Ms. Pat told me the gospel story. How Christ took my place on the cross, paying the penalty for my sin and purchasing my way to heaven. My mother had told me the story many times before. But up until that time, I kept Jesus conveniently closed up in the pages of the Bible on my shelf.

Ms. Pat started inviting me to church. Soon I responded to the Spirit’s whispers and placed my trust in Jesus at a youth group campfire one September night. My life has never been the same.

The New Testament is full of accounts of people coming to faith in Jesus. In the book of 1 Thessalonians, we find a very important fact about this phenomenon. The transformation of lives didn’t happen merely because facts about Jesus were shared. A catalyst for conversion is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-8 where the Apostle Paul writes about the spiritual growth of church members:

“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

Did you catch it? Paul, and others who’d explained the gospel, didn’t just share their words. They shared their lives as well.

In the original Greek language of the New Testament, the word lives doesn’t just indicate day-to-day happenings. It goes further. The word used, psuché, is derived from the root word psyxõ, which means “to breathe, blow.”

Does it make you think of any English words? If you guessed psyche or psychology, you are correct. This word encapsulates what we know as the human soul (or psyche). It refers to one’s distinctive personality or unique personhood. It is who someone is at their very core.

As we, like the Apostle Paul, open our hearts, connecting our souls with another’s through the sharing of life, we create a safe space where the gospel can be displayed and God’s table expanded. Others can come to know Christ through this simple soul sharing.

Even if you can’t host anyone in your home during this season of social distancing, God can still perform miracles in a soul through a text conversation, a phone call or a video chat.

Are you ready to watch God work, fetching souls and knitting them to Himself? If so, watch with eager anticipation for whomever God sends your way and however He sends them.

Father, may I seek to use my ordinary life to share the gospel with others, introducing them to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Peter 4:9, “Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (CSB)

Karen’s latest book releases soon! Preorder Reach Out, Gather In: 40 Days to Opening Your Heart and Home by October 19 and receive a bonus package of resources, including menu-planning and shopping sheets, make-ahead recipes, a monthly clutter-busting and cleaning plan, and simple decorating ideas using items found in nature.

Head to Karen’s Instagram account where today, she is giving away 5 copies of her new devotional challenge titled, Reach Out, Gather In: 40 Days to Opening Your Heart and Home.

In what way could you use what God has given you to reach out to someone who doesn’t know Jesus? Write the name of one such person on your calendar and make plans to reach out to them soon.

We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2020 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106

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