Tag Archives: kindness

1Chronicles 15; James 2; Amos 9; Luke 4

I was on the phone with a friend yesterday when the question I’ve been struggling with arose:

How can I have a higher expectation of my children over similar issues I fail to overcome in my own life?

My friend and I had a similar issue of a strained relationship. It’s too soon to say how things are going for her with how she’s decided to handle it, but my results are more like banging my head against a wall: frustration, pain, getting nowhere, questioning why I’m still (doing this).

13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 1 Chronicles 15:13 NLT.

I have asked God for signs to continue with the relationship, and each time he has told me to do so. Soon after, another issue arises and I find myself wondering if I heard him right. These doors are closed tight. Why do I set myself up for failure again? Perhaps I have failed to ask God how to.

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness … Luke 4:1 NLT

Spirit, lead me.

When Jesus was hungry and tempted in the wilderness, he quoted scripture.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” Luke 4:4 NLT

Next week, we’ll be breaking bread–a room of generations. Perhaps the lesson isn’t about the success in overcoming relational difficulties. The lesson could be about a lot of things–perseverance, surrender, seeking the Lord, obedience, faith in action, loving God, blessing an enemy. Maybe the result isn’t so much about getting what I want, but in teaching my kids (and learning for myself) how to live life with a heart for God in a broken world with broken relationships.

And maybe through the learning and doing of the other things, I might also get what I want too–healing.

But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43 NLT

Lord, you are my how-to and my hope. Please, lead me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Ex. 18; Luke 21; Job 36; 2 Cor. 6

Job’s friend wants to paint a rosy picture for God followers–if you aren’t prosperous and your life isn’t pleasant, you must be doing it wrong. But today’s readings all point out that following God is no cake walk. Moses had a long, hard journey leading people out of slavery. Job, who was titled as God fearing and blameless, experienced heartache and loss magnified. Paul lists his hardships one after the other. And Jesus tells this,

“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.” Luke 21:12-17 NLT, emphasis mine.

Job’s friend credits himself as knowledgeable. His observations reach for truth, but fall short. And this is something everyone is capable of. Well-meaning friends, however smart and sincere, can mix the truth into false concoctions. Who hasn’t thought their own advice sounded good and true?

I turn to the Bible.

I sit around the table with Moses’ father-in-law, Paul and Jesus. I write down what they say.

  • Lead by example: teach God’s decrees, give His instructions, show (them) how to conduct (their) lives.
  • We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us,and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NLT, emphasis mine.
  • 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” … 34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:28, 34-36 NLT, emphasis mine.

Thank you, God, for words I can trust. I pray for grace and strength “to live in such a way”, “in everything (I) do”, to serve you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

Genesis 29, 30; Matthew 19

In Matthew 19  the Pharisees ask Jesus under what circumstances a man might divorce his wife and he tells them for reasons of marital unfaithfulness only.  The disciples unloving attitudes towards women is exposed when they respond to Jesus saying, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”  I wonder what their wives thought.  The disciples get it wrong again when they try to keep little children from Jesus.  They appear hardhearted towards women and children.  My husband pointed out to me that in that culture, as in many Third World countries, barren and ill women and young children may place a strain and jeopardize on a household economy.   If I am honest with myself, often I am no different than the disciples at that point in time.  I am guilty at viewing people in terms of their value to me,  what they do for me,  if they help me feel good about myself or if they deplete my energy and create more work for me to do.  Too often, I am angered and irritated by those who might slow me down, complicate and interrupt my life.

It’s amazing to see the transformation in the disciples as they continued to live with Jesus;  their attitudes and lives changed so dramatically.  They became the people known for embracing society’s cast offs. They tended to the needs of the sick, widowed and orphaned at great personal cost. My own personal bias is that they hopefully became more loving towards their wives.  My prayer is that Jesus transforms the areas of my life where I am callous and impatient, judgmental and unkind to those whom it might be costly  to love,  be they strangers or friends and family.

Thank you, gentle Savior that you never passed me by.  Just as with the disciples,  you have come and stayed and continue to change this hungry heart.

Kathy

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Filed under Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Matthew, Uncategorized

Joshua 9; Psalm140,141; Jerimiah 3; Matthew 17

O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me.

Hear my voice when I call to you.

May my prayer be set before you like incense;

may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice,

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;

Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil,

to take part in wicked deeds

with men who are evildoers;

let me not eat of their delicacies.

Psalm 141:1-4

I’ve not ever thought about how many words I speak in a day, I do however know that I type several words per day.  Whether coming from the lips or from the hands, words are powerful tools, and if the heart is not in a right place,  words become weapons of mass destruction.  Last time I checked their were no government agencies or the military coming into our homes to check for WMD’s, however if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a verbal attack or the center of someones gossip session, then you might not think this as farfetched as it sounds.  Can’t you just imagine how that would play out.  One day there’s a knock at your door and you are told that someone has turn you in, your crime; using words as weapons and you were now considered a threat to others.  Sounds like a bad movie doesn’t it?

As bad as it is to be talked about or viciously spewed upon by an inconsiderate verbal tyrant, I dare say it would be worse to be the one who is guilty of spreading malicious gossip or humiliating  someone in public.  I confess I am one to say snippy remarks while driving down the road, someone cuts me off or does something stupid while operating a vehicle, these things are often overheard by my teens who are riding in the car with me.  Of course I was not aware of how bad I sounded until I rode in the car with my teenage son and he was driving.  Of course I gently reminded him to be kind behind the wheel and he gently reminded me that he’s heard worse from me.  Hummm…oh the joys of be convicted by your children.

So praying to God to set a guard over my mouth seems quite logical to me.  To watch over the door of my lips…I know it’s wrong to add words to the Bible but I really think David should have added; “and grasp thy tongue with your finger tips”.  Oh well…that does get covered in the book of James.  In fact not only should I recite this Psalm every morning, I should have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

Daily I witness hundreds of people writing words on social media sites and leaving comments on blogs; sometimes those words are not kind, sometimes those words are just plain ugly and I wonder, do those people know that other people can see what they write, not only that but what they write on the internet stays there forever?  Kind of like those cave man drawings…yeah, imagine that.  Your words might still be there for all to read centuries from now.

Let my heart not be drawn into what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evil doers.   So you think  that would mean the next time your circle of friends start to gossip you;  a) join in;  b) keep quite; or  c) gently rebuke and change the subject.  Let me not eat of their delicacies. If this is hard to follow through with, let me share the wisdom I always gave my children…If your talking about someone who is not there and the things being said would not be said face to face; then it’s gossip.  And, if you participate or allow it most likely you will end up with mud on your face, because the person being talked about will always find out,  usually they are told by one of the very same people who was knee deep in the gossip themselves.  Funny how that works.  Secondly, those people you are with will talk about you as soon as you’re not around, so you best find new friends.

Of course Thumper’s mama in the movie Bambie had the best advice of all; “If you don’t have anything nice to say; don’t say nothin at all!”

For me; I also have to remember that thoughts are words from my heart and thinking it is no different that saying it…would you not agree?   So, my prayer every morning in addition to the Psalm;

Father prepare my heart for this day, soften my heart so that it’s tender and kind.  Protect my thoughts and let my words be kind and encouraging to all.  Give me wisdom and courage to stand firm.  Let my words and actions glorify you. Amen

Cindi

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Filed under Psalms

Joshua 5-6:5, Psalms 132-134, Isaiah 65, Matthew 13

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.”

Psalm 133 NIV

__________

Whenever I read this verse, my first thought is towards my children. When they are getting along…playing nicely, speaking kindly to each other, etc., it is so wonderful to be around them. Mommy is happy. Times are good. But when the bickering starts, Mommy is not so happy. Our home is not such a blissful place to be around. Are they totally to blame? Doubtful. Have I done my best to be joyful, or speak with kind and encouraging words in the midst of it? Doubtful.

Tuesday, while I was driving down the same route to a friend’s home as I had on Monday, I came upon a road construction crew that has been working on this same road for the past couple weeks. This same verse popped into my head as I saw probably one of the happiest men alive. Both days, I passed this “STOP/SLOW sign holding” man a total of 6 times and every time I did, he greeted me with a nod, wave and a smile.

Now this wasn’t some dinky back road with a total of 5 cars driving down it daily, but instead a well-traveled road. I also was not the only recipient of his friendly gestures. He did the same thing to each and every car that passed. Not only that, but the temps around here have been in the 90’s for over a week and he certainly was not in the shade with a tank top and shorts on, sipping some ice-cold lemonade!

What joy he exuded! What a strive towards living in unity with his fellow man! What an inspiration.

I’m currently reading a book along with 3  great friends entitled: One Simple Act – Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber. In it is a quote from an English writer, Aldous Huxley, that has continued to burn in my brain. “People often ask me, what is the most effective technique for transforming their life. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say the best answer is —just be a little kinder.” (pg.68)

Just be a little kinder. How simple. How profound.

Of course, I am not negating the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives in the least. That being said, this summer my goal is to just be a little kinder. Kinder to my family. Kinder to my friends. Kinder to complete strangers.  And if asked the reason for my kindness, to give all the glory to the Lord. I pray that this goal will continue and become a natural part of my being long past the Summer of 2010.

__________

Lord,

Thank you for never-ending kindness towards me. Your mercies are new every morning! I pray that You will shine through me towards those I come in contact with, that I may share Your love and kindness with them as well.

Amen.

– Beckie (look2thehills)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms