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The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Kindness. I’ve chosen an apple to represent kindness because students often give teachers an apple as a way of saying thank you, or at least they use to. When a student gives a teacher an apple, it’s an act of kindness.
Kindness is a state of being. It’s when you choose to be friendly, generous or considerate of others. I think kindness is contagious. When we act this way toward others, it inspires them to respond kindly to those they encounter, which causes a ripple affect.
You are acting with kindness when you behave in a gentle, caring and helpful way toward others. When you make an effort to help clean up a mess, even when you didn’t take part in making it. Kindness is shown when we check in on someone that we know is going through a difficult time. Who in your life is God calling you to check in on?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Kindness is not causing disruption or preventing something from happening, as it should. I have a hard time with this one. I tend to argue with God and His plan and timing of things. I get excited, then impatient, and try to make things happen in my way when I think it should happen.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
We are not being an example of kindness when we behave in a mean, harsh or cruel manner, showing ill will or hostility toward someone or something. This means that when you don’t get what you wanted (when eating out or going to a movie) having a bad attitude is not an acceptable behavior. It’s seen as being rude and unappreciative. I know I’m guilty of being one of the first to point out when someone else has a bad attitude but am usually blind to my own bad behavior.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
As it says in 1 Peter, we are to be a blessing, show kindness, even when kindness is not being shown to you. Who in your life can use a dose of kindness?
My prayer to us today ~ Father God, You lavish us with your kindness daily, even when we do not deserve it. I pray the Holy Spirit would open our eyes and heart to see how we may lavish others with kindness, Amen.
Happy New Year everyone! It feels like I haven’t written in forever! It’s good to be back. I hope you each had a wonderful time with family and friends celebrating the beginning of a new year. Even though I’m exhausted in January from a month of celebrating, I am filled with the excitement that comes with the beginning of a new year.
I’m excited as I look back at the year and think of all the amazing things that have happened. The fun, the annoying and the ooops. I’m filled with anticipation as I wonder what this year has in store for me. Many people make New Years resolutions because it’s a good time to make changes and tackle new projects or goals. I have a hard time making resolutions because I’m so overwhelmed at all the possibilities this new year could bring, I can’t figure out where to start.
‘Don’t make plans and then ask God to bless them. Wait for God to direct you so you know it’s already blessed by God’.
This is a continuing theme I’ve heard since the end of last year. The first few times I heard it, I thought, “well dah!” That’s probably why it became a continuing theme for me. I was hearing it, but not getting it.
I’m often so anxious to get started on new things that I don’t take time to wait and hear from God about it first. I usually lay it all out in front of God and then ask Him to bless it or make it obvious I shouldn’t be doing it. In reality, I’m expecting God to do all the work. Make it all run smoothly or take it away and give me something else to do.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember God already has a plan for me. He’s not sitting around waiting for me to give Him a list of my interests or opportunities so He can bless them. No, when He wants me to change direction, He will let me know.
How might God let you know when He wants you to change direction? There are many different ways. He could tell you, or show you, through people, circumstances, a book, sermon or song. He could even fill you with the desire to do something that you’ve never had before. (That’s how I came to write In His Way)
Over the summer, I found myself getting excited that my three-year term as an Elder at the church I attended was coming to an end. I was pondering all the many things I could do when my term ended. How would I choose which one to do?
As I continued to ponder the many choices I had over the next few months, I began to feel uneasy and sad about ending my term. I didn’t understand why, because I was excited to finish and move on to something else. I was tired of using this gift and wanted to use a different gift. (I get bored easily) Finally, I decided to pray about it. Why hadn’t I prayed about it already? To be honest, deep down I didn’t want to hear what God had to say about it. I was ready to move on and that was that.
Almost immediately after I started talking to God about what I should do when my term as Elder ended, I felt God telling me He wasn’t ready for me to move on and I was to stay. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. My reply to God was “so what am I suppose to do, notify the church that I was staying on, even though my term was over?” How boastful would that be! I told God I couldn’t do that, it didn’t feel right. I needed Him to work it out, and then I would know for sure it was what He wanted me to do. (This is when God was saying “well dah!”) A few months later, God did work out all the details and I am continuing on as an Elder.
I was attempting to get ahead of God. I was trying to figure out, all by myself, what I was supposed to be doing. I was wasting time and energy worrying about what I was going to do, when all I needed to do was wait for God. I look back now and know He would have revealed it to me when it was time, but I get so impatient and overthink things. I need to stop trying to control and plan and know everything and TRUST God has it ALL under control.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the patience, love and grace we receive from You daily. Lord, I pray we stay focused on how we are serving You now, trusting You will direct us if, and when, we are to change direction, Amen.
Lately, I continue to find myself getting caught up in the decisions of others. Decisions, I feel, they are making poorly. It’s difficult to see someone, especially someone you love, make bad choices. Choices you know will have bad results. How do I know they will turn out bad? Because they’ve made the same choices in the past and I have seen the outcome. I know the results will not change, because the circumstances have not changed. Results that are painful. Painful to not only themselves, but to those around them as well.
Naturally, when I see someone falling, making a bad decision, I want to step in and offer help or advice. I want to tell them what they should or should not be doing. Even though I know they will not take my advice. Even though doing so might upset them and sometimes cause them to react in an unkind way.
Why would someone react unkindly? Wouldn’t you? How do you feel when someone tells you how you should be doing something when you didn’t ask for help or advice? I’m guessing irritated or upset. I know I usually am. Especially when you don’t see anything wrong with what you’re doing.
A few years ago I was told you shouldn’t give help or advice unless it’s asked for. But what if you know the person is doing something in error or about to make a bad decision, what do you do then? It’s ok to offer the help or advice, but it’s their choice to take you up on the offer. If they choose not to take your help then you must drop it.
It hurts when the person you’re trying to help can’t see how much you care for them. How much it hurts you to see them in pain. They fail to see your desire to help them avoid the pain you see staring them in the face.
Your help has been rejected and now you’re filled with pain and worry. What do you do with that? I was in such a predicament recently and a dear sweet friend said “Let it go”. Those three simple words caused the light bulb to go off. How was I supposed to let it go? Simple. Give it to God.
Why should I give it to God? I don’t believe God wishes for me to be in anguish over another, to worry unnecessarily about something I have no control over or to force my opinion upon others.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
Many people throughout our lives will do things we cannot, and will not, understand. Instead of trying to understand why someone is doing something we don’t agree with, we can leave it in God’s hands. We can pray they see what God desires for them to do. We can pray they seek God’s will for their life. We can pray God opens their heart to accept help and advice from those He puts in their path. Then we trust that God is working in their life. We believe that if there is anything God desires us to do for them, He will equip us to do so. He will make our paths straight. Hallelujah! That’s amazing right?!
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for always being there with your arms stretched out waiting for us to reach out to you. I pray, Lord, we seek your guidance first when the desire to help consumes us, so we may then rest in knowing you were in it and your ways are best.