Tag Archives: kindness

Deuteronomy 23:15-27:10

In “miscellaneous laws,” I catch a glimpse of His heart.

For mercy and protection of others.  “If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master. 16 Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.” (Deuteronomy 23:15-16, NIV)

Honor and glory. To honor your body and your life as a way of honoring God. “No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. 18 You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the Lord your God to pay any vow, because the Lord your God detests them both.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18, NIV)

Kindness. Kindness within the family of believers. “Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.” (Deuteronomy 23:19-20, NIV)

Integrity, following through, trustworthiness. “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23, NIV)

I’m learning that when I listen to others, I learn so much about them. What fires them up. What they value. Where their heart is.

When I read through the Bible, do I rush to get through a passage? Do I skim for a key word? Am I looking for something for me? Something happens when I slow down; when I start a passage over because I know I was rushing; when I sit with the language and listen. Am I looking for a tidy checklist, or am I looking for His heart?

The Old Testament becomes so fresh when I sit and listen. I learn so much about God. What fires Him up. What He values. Where His heart is.

Father God, I don’t want to walk away from my time with you not learning more about you. I’m trying to be a better listener. I’m learning to shush my voice so I can hear you. What if I were to give you the silence and the space to tell me what you want me to know, instead of filling it with noise (people’s opinions, debates, commercials, music, or my own assumptions)? You are so patient with me. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 23:15-27:10

Today’s verses speak of respect, kindness, mercy, generosity, justice, integrity. They may seem like a long list of rules, but I want to remember, they served a purpose in shaping the character of God’s people. Instead of just listing do’s and don’ts, there’s a why and a how to drive home the point, so they know what it (respect, kindness, mercy, generosity, etc.) looks like in action.

10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into their house to get what is offered to you as a pledge. 11 Stay outside and let the neighbor to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession. 13 Return their cloak by sunset so that your neighbor may sleep in it. Then they will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 24:10-13, NIV)

The rules were sometimes followed by this reminder, to remember who they were and where they came from before the Lord redeemed them.

18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. (Deuteronomy 24:18, NIV)

It would be so easy to skim the reading as a bunch of rules, but there is a deeper meaning here, about humility, dignity, and character. About remembering what God has done and celebrating his goodness. About extending his kindness and mercy to others. It is about living set apart.

16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised. (Deuteronomy 26:16-19, NIV)

Father God, this reminds me: I need you every day. I need the transforming power of Your Spirit and Your Word. I don’t want to live unchanged by your grace and mercy.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; 1 Timothy 5

It starts with me. It’s easy to want to credit someone else’s behavior for the stoking of my poor response, but truly, I am responsible for the things I say and do. As I read through 1 Timothy 5, I make sure to think long on this guidance.

Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. (1 Timothy 5:1-2, NLT, emphasis mine)

This link to family: as you would to your father; as you would to your brothers; as you would to your mother; as you would to your own sisters. Kindness begins at home. When this tenderness is modeled at home, it has the potential to affect a community, a world. The opposite is also possible–strife, banter, unkindness, coarseness, sarcasm … these things can also grow in momentum and branch out to the world.

Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God. (1 Timothy 5:3-4, NLT, emphasis mine)

Many of the verses I read reference home and family, placing importance on interaction, relationship and personal responsibility.

22 Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1 Timothy 5:22, NLT)

These sentences in verse 22 are blocked together, but I read them as two separate thoughts: one about appointment and the other about not sharing in another’s sin and a reminder onstaying pure. I would have to look further into them to see a connection, but I do think on the importance of sound leadership and the effect leadership has on a group. I do see a focus on individual accountability and warning to not participate in sins others commit–to keep oneself pure.

It starts with me.

24 Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. 25 In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. (1 Timothy 5:24-25, NLT)

Some things are obvious. Some things won’t come to light until later. I think long on my own choices, my relationships and influences, and where my focus ultimately rests.

Lord, you give me your word as guidance and wisdom to withstand the ages. May I always turn to you first.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 8,9; 2 Corinthians 2; Ezekiel 16; Psalms 58,59

My wife and I were watching a sermon on grace a few days ago and halfway through she said, “Isn’t this to simple?”  We dialogued afterwards and realized how glad we were that it was.

Can you imagine Mephibosheth’s reaction to grace?

David said to him, “Do not be afraid, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan; I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you yourself shall eat at my table always.” 2 Samuel 9:7 NRSV

Do I want that kind of grace, that kind of kindness – for sure I do – for I clearly am a fallen sinner in need of this kind of God’s grace – one who does not deserve it, could never earn it and would never be able to repay it.

My wife and I were also challenged in how we communicate grace to others – and we named a few people in our lives where that needed to be our focus.

For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. 2 Corinthians 2:4 NRSV

We affirmed that there definitely is a grace that needs to be exhibited in our communication styles for at some point we too have come from a place of joy received from the recovery of grace.

I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God. Ezekiel 16:62-63 NRSV

Yes, my wife and I had the same trouble most of us have – cannot talk about grace without talking about judgement. We both concluded that the all-important work of atonement was not overlooking sin, but our sin being covered by God’s marvellous grace.

O my strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.  Psalm 59:17 NRSV

With a bit of study, I found the Aramaic Bible translates that last part of this verse as, “and the God of my grace!” Yes, there my wife and I have found our joy as followers of Christ.

When I think of grace, I think of Your presence.  Wherever we may be found today and in whatever activity we may be engaged in, may we gather there with Your favour.  Lord, by Your favour, we mean favour us with Your grace, and with the love of God the Father, and with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

evanlaar

 

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Leviticus 11, 12; Psalm 13, 14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thess. 5

Paul’s Final Advice

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thess. 5:12-22 NLT)

If someone were to ask me if I was patient, my quick response would most likely be “Yes”. But that’s not really true…although I can be patient, I’m usually not.

As I thought about it, I realized that patience is used in some character qualities. Kindness requires patience, because sometimes being kind takes someone away from what they’re doing. Patience is also used in love, because it’s not always easy to show love towards others. And lastly, trust requires patience, because sometimes God takes a while in answering prayers.

Recently, my aunt was moved to a nursing home facility. Before we could go into her room to see her, my dad, sister and I had to wait outside it for a few minutes (my mom was already in there). As I waited, I occupied myself by watching some of the workers as they passed by. I noticed that they showed lots of patience toward the nursing home patients. The workers treated the patients just like they were really special and important: which they are. I want to be able to show patience (and kindness) towards others like that: easily and freely.

Dear God,

Please help me to be patient, with others and with you. It’s not easy, but I know that with you all things are possible. Amen

—Lanie (llilly2017)

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