Christian Hospitality

Genesis 18:1-8

The Greek word is philoxenia is a compound of two Greek words –philos – “kind affection” or “love” and xenos – “stranger. ” Literally, philoxenia means “one who loves strangers.” In the first century they didn’t have Holiday Inns, Red Roof Inns, or even Motel 6.  A night in an inn would be unpleasant for they were ill kept.  It would have also been dangerous.  The solution to the problem of lodging for traveling Christians at that time was for other Christians to open their homes to traveling brothers.

Lydia was a prominent, respected and successful businesswoman in Philippi.  Paul and Silas met with her, and God “opened her heart” to the gospel.  She and her entire household gave their hearts and lives to Jesus.  What is so difficult to some Christians seemed to be an immediate response in her new life in Christ.   She urged Paul and Silas to be her house guests. She suddenly viewed her home and possessions as resources that could be used by God to help build his church. She saw a need as she looked at Paul and his travel-worn missionary team.  Instinctively she sought to meet the need. Scholars believe that her house served as a home base for the church at Philippi for quite some time. It would be well if all Christians would ask themselves, “How can I develop a better willingness to be hospitable and to value people?”

By Dr. Gayle Woods


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A Mother of Nations

Genesis 17:15-19

Following Phoebe’s marriage to Walter Palmer in 1827, the couple became interested in the John Wesley’s writings.  Of special interest was his teaching on the doctrine of Christian perfection.  In 1837 Phoebe came to know the truth of the experience of entire sanctification personally.  Her family soon followed, experiencing this second definite work of God’s grace.  They were excited about what God had done for them and felt they should spread the good news.

Two years prior, Phoebe’s sister Sarah Lankford began to have weekly prayer meetings with other Methodist women. Eventually Phoebe became the leader of the meetings which were called the “Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness.”

In 1839 men were finally allowed to attend the meetings.  Among them were Methodist bishops, theologians and ministers such as Edmund S. James, Leonidas Lent Hamline, Jesse T. Peck and Matthew Simpson.   Others that were influenced during this time by her speaking and writing were the temperance leader, Frances Willard; the co-founder of the Salvation Army, Catherine Booth; and the first president of the National Camp Meeting Association for the Promotion of Holiness (later the Christian Holiness Partnership), John Inskip.  The holiness message which had died down to a flickering ember burst into a flame that spread throughout the world.  Phoebe Palmer was blessed by God to become a “mother of nations.”

By Dr. Gayle Woods



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The Adorning

1 Peter 3:1-6

Many miss the point Peter is trying to make in 1 Peter 3:1-6.  He is saying, “vs. 3 “Whose adorning” . . . (vs. 4)   “let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”  The example for this admonition is found in vs. 5 when he says that this is what set aside “holy women” of the past.  They “trust[ing] in God, adorned themselves. . .”

The fact that Sarah laughed (Gen 18:10-12) when she heard that God was going to give her son in her old age is not of importance.  Didn’t Abraham also laugh earlier upon receiving this message?  (Gen 17:17)  What is of importance is that she adorning herself in trust for God “obeyed Abraham” and followed her husband’s journey of faith.

Catherine was a tender, compassionate woman.   She also was a woman of deep faith and great conviction.  She was a quiet, reserved woman.  This she overcame, however, in her desire to serve Christ. She accompanied her husband William to tent revivals as he preached throughout England.  Later she became his strong supporter as together they founded the Salvation Army in their desire to reach the poor in England with the gospel.  William Booth was blessed to have a godly wife who was adorned by the hidden man of the heart, an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and an astounding depth of trust in God.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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