Be kind to each other!

Be kind to each other!

 

Thought- Be Kind! For everyone we meet is going through a tough battle we may know nothing about.

Scripture- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Insight: I heard the thought above while driving in my car and it caused me to stop and ponder how many times am I too busy to notice that someone I have just interacted with may be going through a tougher battle than I could have ever have known. Would that effect the way I would have interacted with that person if I came into the moment with that mindset? In other words, if I entered every encounter, I have throughout the day, with the mindset that each person is going through a tough battle which I will most likely never know about. It should lead me to being more graceful, more patient, more kind! Sometimes we hear things that we need to hear when we need to hear them for, they change our perspective or cause us a moment of reflection.

That was the response I had to what I heard on the radio. I want to be more available to others, and not be too busy to notice or care what others are going through. I want to make extra efforts to just be kind! That is impossible when I rush through each day, pre-occupied with only what I am trying to accomplish or focused only on my own struggles. It takes a concerted effort to widen the lens through which I notice things around me, including the struggles that others may be having. This whole world could use more kindness right now. More compassion, more grace, more tolerance and less judgement. I am going to try my hardest to keep my mind open to the idea that each person I encounter is going through a tough battle right now, that I may never know about. It could be a battle with addiction. It could be a broken heart or a broken home. It could financial stress. It could a health issue for them or a loved one. It could be a myriad of things. I hope it changes how I view each day and each moment of every day. How about you? Are you too busy to notice what others may be going through? Stop and reflect and be kind!

Prayer: Father God, help us to live out one of Jesus’s great commands to us to “be kind to one another.” When we are too pre-occupied with ourselves, we many times fail to notice the struggles that others may be facing. Help us to slow down and be aware that everyone we meet is facing a tough battle right now. Help us to be aware of others by being less aware of ourselves. We pray for this selfless attitude to permeate all of our interactions. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Be kind!

Be kind!

Thought- Be Kind! For everyone we meet is going through a tough battle.

Scripture- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Insight: I heard the Thought above while driving in my car last week and it caused me to stop and ponder how many times am I too busy too notice that someone I have just interacted with may be going through a tougher battle than I could have ever have known. Would that effect the way I would have interacted with that person if I came into the moment with that mindset? In other words, if I entered every encounter I have throughout the Day with the mindset that each person is going through a tough battle which I will most likely never know about. It should lead me to being more graceful, more patient, more kind! Sometimes we hear things that we need to hear when we need to hear them for they change our perspective or cause us a moment of reflection. That was the response I had to what I heard on the radio. I want to be more available to others, and not be too busy too notice or care what others are going through. I want to make extra efforts to just be kind! That is impossible when I rush through each day, pre-occupied with only what I am trying to accomplish, or focused only on my own struggles. It takes a concerted effort to widen the lens through which I notice things around me, including the struggles that others may be having. This whole world could use more kindness right now. More compassion, more grace, more tolerance and less judgement. I am going to try my hardest to keep my mind open to the idea that each person I encounter is going through a tough battle right now, that I may never know about. It could be a battle with addiction. It could be a broken heart or a broken home. It could financial stress. It could a health issue for them or a loved one. It could be a myriad of things. I hope it changes how I view each day and each moment of every day. How about you? Are you too busy to notice what others may be going through? Stop and reflect and be kind!

Prayer: Father God, help us to live out one of Jesus’s great commands to us to “be kind to one another.” When we are too pre-occupied with ourselves, we many times fail to notice the struggles that others may be facing. Help us to slow down, and be aware that everyone we meet is facing a tough battle right now. Help us to be aware of others by being less aware of ourselves. We pray for this selfless attitude to permeate all of our interactions. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

January 25, 2017 l Throwing pebbles of kindness.

January 25, 2017 l Throwing pebbles of kindness.

We throw the pebble, God takes care of the ripples.

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Insight: Have you ever stopped trying to do something because you felt you weren’t equipped to handle the task? I certainly have. I often think of big ideas of how to introduce Jesus to a waiting and hurting World to take away people’s pain, end suffering, eradicate homelessness, stop discord and then I realize these problems are just too big to solve and I stop short of doing something to just get started. I make the big mistake of thinking I have to do it in my strength and power instead of relying on Jesus. So in that sense I am right to feel helpless!

But I am learning as I grow older that I don’t need to try to do everything, or big things, but I just need to do something. Some small step of faith that can spread out as Jesus touches it. A random act of kindness that can so touch a person’s life that it may just change the trajectory of not only their life, but of many others around them. A simple kind word that lifts someone’s spirits. A small sacrifice that takes from an area of abundance in my life to assist an area of lack in someone else’s. A word of hope today for someone so they can fight for their tomorrow. These small acts are like us throwing a pebble into a still pond. God handles the ripple effects that can spread out and reach the distant shores. God is a multiplier of kindness. When we offer a small token of faith or sacrifice, He often multiplies and spreads its effects many times over.

I have noticed recently just how infectious a positive word or attitude can be when interacting with others I may not even know. I sense a deep fear and desperation permeating many of the people I come into contact with lately. They appear to be in a media induced fog, overloaded with fear and are desperate for a different view point and a positive outlook. We can at least offer that in Christ Jesus! We take the first step of  faith and kindness, however small, and He can do the rest.

Forgive because we are forgiven

Forgive because we are forgiven

Thought- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget what happened to you, it means you don’t let what happened to you control you anymore.

Scripture- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Insight:  One of the hardest lessons for us to learn in our Christian Faith is the act of forgiveness. Speaking for myself, I can say unequivocally that many times my flesh burns with cries for a tit for tat response when I have been hurt. I so want to see the other person suffer for the wounds that have been inflicted upon me. However, I know this is the exact wrong response and it is a serious issue that needs intensive prayer and repentance to conquer. An “eye for an eye leaves everybody blind” and it disrespects and diminishes the forgiveness we have been shown by Christ Jesus for our sin.

The only way I have come to learn to respond in a Spirit led way vs. a fleshly response when it comes to being wounded, is to remember the exorbitant and incalculable cost that Jesus paid for my sin on the Cross. I never knew he depth of my sin until He showed me the depth of His love. Given that, how can I respond in any other way but to learn to forgive even those that have hurt me most? None of us goes through this life without feeling some type of betrayal and deep pain, even at the hands of those who should protect us most. When this happens how are we supposed to respond? Peter asked Jesus this very question in Matthew 18:21-22.  “Then 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?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Jesus’s response must be our guiding light when situations of betrayal and hurt happen to us. Basically, we must infinitely forgive our betrayers because Jesus’s love infinitely forgave us of all our sin past, present and future. Is this hard to do? Yes, almost impossible on our own but with surrender to God’s will we can learn to forgive, if not forget, those who have done us incredible harm.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for the profound lessons Jesus taught us about our need to forgive those who sin against us. It is only because He paid the ultimate price to forgive us of our sin that we can even begin to navigate this hard road. We pray for your strength to forgive those who have deeply wounded us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Practical Christianity Part 19- Compassion

Practical Christianity Part 19- Compassion

Thought- Share Jesus’s compassion if you want to change the world.

Scripture- “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 

Insight: In Part 19 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to have compassion on others and how that can impact the World around us for good. I was driving in my car the other day, and I heard the announcer say, “Be kind, because everyone we meet is going through a tough battle.” That is so true, and it slapped me out of my mood of apathy that had been prevailing for the last little while. I needed to have more compassion for everyone I met because they all needed that, just like I need that. In other words, if I entered every encounter I have throughout the day with the mindset that each person is going through a tough battle which I will most likely never know about, it should lead me to being more graceful, more patient, more kind! Sometimes we hear things that we need to hear when we need to hear them for they change our perspective or cause us a moment of reflection. That was the response I had to what I heard on the radio. I want to be more available to others, and not be too busy to notice or care what others are going through. I want to make extra efforts to just be kind!

That is impossible when I rush through each day, preoccupied with only my agenda or focused only on my own struggles. It takes a concerted effort to widen the lens through which we notice things around us, including the struggles that others may be having. This whole world could use more kindness right now. More compassion, more grace, more tolerance and less judgement. I am going to try my hardest to keep my mind open to the idea that each person I encounter is going through a tough battle right now, more than I may never know about. It could be a battle with addiction. It could be a broken heart or a broken home. It could be financial stress. It could be a health issue for them or a loved one. It could be a myriad of things. I hope it changes how I view each day and each moment of every day. How about you? Are you too busy to notice what others may be going through? Maybe we all need to pause, and reflect and be kind!  Jesus always did this, and it changed the World! He expects His followers to do the same. Let’s start today!

Prayer: Father God, help us to look outside of ourselves and our worries and problems and to be more compassionate to those we meet. The World desperately needs more compassion, and we as Christ followers are the ones who need to model this to a weary and desperate world. We pray for strength to notice and care in Jesus mighty name. Amen!

Practical Christianity Part 3-Power of forgiveness

Practical Christianity Part 3-Power of forgiveness

Thought- To error is human, to forgive divine.

Scripture- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Insight: In Part 4 of learning to apply biblical principles to your daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider how we apply forgiveness to our lives in a way that results in great freedom. You see, many times the person who is unforgiving is the one who is really in bondage, not the one who is the subject of the unforgiveness. It took me a long time to figure this out until one day a mentor of mine told me that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. It is acidic to your own soul and it is contradictory to what Jesus taught. In fact the Bible mentions on numerous occasions including above that it is an imperative that “we forgive others as Christ forgave us.” Matthew 6:15 even warns us “but if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” So this is a really big deal and we need to get this right. But here’s the thing: This is sometimes so hard to actually do! I mean, we are all human and we all struggle with our feelings and emotions and when someone does us wrong, it can be painful and harmful and the last thing on our minds as a reflexive response is forgiveness. Our natural fleshly response is revenge, an eye for an eye, payback is a dish best served cold!  But this is the completely wrong response and we can only get to the right response of forgiveness if we are being led by the Holy Spirit and spending time in God’s word. I had a very profound experience with forgiveness soon after I became a Christian. I remember it vividly and it influenced my walk with Christ as much as any single event in my life. I had grown up with my father choosing not to be a part of my life since age 12. It had caused me many pains and regrets. So naturally I was quite stunned to hear Jesus tell me as clear as the fresh morning air that I needed to forgive my father. What? He needs to apologize to me was my quick fleshly reaction. But after a bit of prayer and scripture reading, I began the process of writing my father an 8-page letter where I forgave him in great detail for all of his choices that had left me reeling. And guess what? Almost as soon as I finished writing that letter and put it in the mail, I felt a lifetime of pain and sorrow begin to melt away, just like a giant Piano had been removed from my back, and I found a freedom I can’t even explain to this day. I had been the victim for almost 25 years of my unforgiveness and once removed, it was cathartic. Learning to forgive is never easy, but it is necessary if we wish to move forward in our faith. If God has forgiven our sins through Christ, surely, we must do the same for others who have harmed us.

Prayer: Father God, teach us to forgive easily as you have forgiven us. Life is too short to hold grudges, and most of the time we are the prisoners of our own lack of forgiveness. Open our eyes to see this truth and put it into practice, no matter the cost. We pray in Jesus name. Amen!

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