God Provides Strength

1 Peter 4:9-11 

9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.


There are many things that cause frustration. Frustration may happen anytime anywhere. Holiday seasons or not, can we avoid frustration?

Last week, snowfall was extended. And that was added extra exercise for those who shoveled snow. Have you ever been frustrated when the city government is not very quick to plow snow in your area? If you have high expectations of the government or other people, most probably, you have already been frustrated. What do you normally do to express your frustration?

God allows even Christians to be frustrated, why? Frustration practically proves our limits as humans. As oppose to frustration, the Holy Spirit bears fruit of joyful peace.

In the Old Testament, the Lord reminded the Israelites multiple times that he is the Lord who brought them out of the Egyptian slavery, but they still failed to remember the Lord and his covenant with them. Personally, when you give instructions but people keep forgetting or intentionally forget your instruction, would it frustrate you?

It narrated in Matthew 18:21-22, 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

If a person offended you and asked for forgiveness and then he offended you seven more times and asked for your forgiveness again and again, something is wrong with such offender. Do you assume that forgiving offenders 7 times could be too much?

Interestingly in Hebrew culture, there are several meanings of the number seven. “Seven” can mean “rest” just as God rested on the 7th day of creation. Seven also means “will of God, good fortune or blessing.” Christ knows that it’s not easy for us to forgive, and requires us to forgive others 77 times, why? To forgive 77 times is godly. Therefore, we seek his help to forgive others, and that we may have rest, good fortune or blessing.    Really? It’s true! When we forgive others, we obey the will of God. When we obey God, he is pleased with us and blesses us. Remember that in all godly instructions, the Lord had included blessings or good fortunes for the obedient to cherish.

Forgiveness is the message of Christmas. Christ came on earth for the forgiveness of our sin. As practical expression of faith in Christ, we show hospitality to one another.

1.  Show

9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 

Respectable Bible versions used the term “show” instead of using “offer.” What is the difference between show and offer? Offer is to let recipients decide to accept or not to accept the offer; hospitality is completed only when recipients accept the offer.

In comparison, the term show does not require permission from recipients. One may show hospitality whether recipients accept it or not. Show hospitality does not wait for approval from recipients. Just act upon it, perform and show hospitality to recipients.

To show is to actively perform hospitality to others. In comparison, to offer is to wait for response; it’s passive hospitality or just being careful not to offend others.

When it says, “hospitality to one another without grumbling,” it should be done wholeheartedly with gladness, whether we show or offer hospitality to one another. Hospitality with grumbling is wasted effort. The Lord rejects hospitality from grumblers.

It commanded in Hebrews 13:2, 2Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Take note. We’re instructed to show hospitality to strangers instead of just offer hospitality. To show hospitality to strangers should be intentionally done with gladness.

Have you ever seen an angel from God? Can we recognize them, if angels appear before us? How can we identify an angel of God from impostors or pretenders? Angels from God are supposed to be ministering spirits. They can appear like ordinary human beings. Pray for inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He helps us decide wisely.


We can learn from the experience of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. It narrated in Genesis 19:1-3, 1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.” 3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 

The story narrated that the two angels were sent by the Lord and destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. So, had Lot recognized the strangers as angels? It was not mentioned. Nevertheless, Lot strongly insisted and accommodated them. He gave them food. What was his reward after he intentionally showed hospitality to the angels? Lot and his family were saved from the destruction of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Have you showed kindness to strangers? Surely, not all strangers are nice. Some are impostors; they pretend to be nice. The Lord knows such possibility, but still, he had instructed us to offer hospitality. We obey him; we show hospitality and serve others.

2.  Serve

10Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

To serve others is godly instruction; we obey the Lord when we serve others. To serve others, we use our spiritual gift. Spiritual gift is free gift from God. We have to be very dependent upon the Holy Spirit to inspire us and serve others gladly. And serving others is more than giving food or accommodation; we may give advice or help to others.

We pray to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and be faithful steward of our spiritual gift. Hospitality to others is just one of the many practical ways to serve others. In the original manuscript, the term that was translated hospitality is properly interpreted as friendly love. To show or offer hospitality is an expression of love and service to others.

Java Night

During our Java Night of Christmas celebration as church family, most of us who attended had fun. Everyone enjoyed the food and presentation from talented groups and individuals. If you missed the Java Night, pray that you may attend next year.

On Java Night of Christmas celebration as church family, ministry leaders served gladly. To our ministry leaders who gladly prepared for the Java Night of church family Christmas celebration, may the Lord fill you with great joy serving him by serving others!

Surely, the Lord has already prepared rewards for cheerful service to him and others. Serving others with cheerful heart using our spiritual gift is faithful stewardship of the grace of God. Did you know that such kind joyful service with gladness had been exemplified in the first Christian church in Jerusalem when they selected the 7 deacons?

Wait on Tables

In narrated in Acts 6:2-7, 2The Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

In many Christian churches, deacons are elected as church leaders. The English term “Deacon” is also properly translated as “Wait on tables” and “Serve” in the Greek manuscript originally. The biblical duty of deacons is to serve and wait on tables.

Amazingly, the number of disciples in Jerusalem had increased rapidly after they selected deacons who were filled with the Holy Spirit. Continue to pray for our church leaders and pray also for ourselves to be filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit always.

Hospitality and service to others practically exemplify faithful stewardship of our spiritual gifts and the grace of God through Christ. Have you discovered your spiritual gifts already? If your gift is service, serve gladly; if your gift is speaking, speak boldly.

3.  Speak

11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Apostle Peter implied that speaking and serving are two different spiritual gifts. It is possible that a Christian can have both spiritual gifts of serving and speaking, but not all Christians are given the same spiritual gifts. The gift of speaking is given to preachers and teachers of the word of God. If you received the spiritual gift of service, you serve gladly with the strength that God provides. How do you know if you have gift to serve?

You know that you received the spiritual gift to serve if you spontaneously serve others without forcing yourself to serve. God does not force us to serve. When the Holy Spirit inspires us, we serve gladly. We sense no reluctance, and not under compulsion.

In all things we do as congregation, individual or private matters, it is very helpful to practice our spiritual gifts. When inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are more productive. God be praised through Jesus Christ in all things that we do publicly or privately.

Should we expect that everything will be just fine if we obey God? Sometimes, there’s frustration when expectation won’t happen. Can you trust that God will keep us safe and secure until the mission purposes that he designed for us are accomplished?

Certainly, God provides necessary strength to accomplish our mission purposes.


Together, let’s learn from the adventure of Joseph and Mary during the first advent of Christ when he was born as human Jesus. It narrated in Matthew 2:13-15, 13An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Mary may have recovered already from giving birth, but travelling to Egypt at night was not very convenient. There were also unexpected circumstances or dangers along the way. Perhaps, they have no idea where to stay in Egypt. They just obeyed.

Joseph obeyed the Lord, and it was best for their safety. The Lord kept them safe until they accomplished their mission purposes as human parents of Jesus Christ.

The Lord had called us to become his children. All of us had been mandated to witness for Christ. Serving God is wonderful, but undesirable situations are not absent. If your situation is uncomfortable and not very desirable, pray fervently and ask God which practical step you should take to know the path that leads to his purposes for you. Trust that God will keep you safe and secure and provide you strength to keep on. Uncomfortable struggles are instrumental also to strengthen our faith in God.

John 3:16-18 says, 16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever  believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

The message of Advent Season is love. And, God himself showed how his children should love others. Jesus Christ is most precious to God, but God the Father let Christ suffered so that believers would be saved from eternal condemnation.

Christ Jesus exemplified how children of God should obey our heavenly Father. Christ willingly obeyed God the Father even unto his death.

How can we show love for God this Christmas season?

We serve others with hospitality. We speak and tell others that God loved them.

Be filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit of Christ always.

><((‘> .. ><((‘> … ><(((“> tmec\2022 <“)))>< … <‘))>< .. <‘))><

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