In my morning reading this verse jumped out at me. Today, I am making intentional effort to think about what and how I am saying things. Do you remember my theme word for the year, “Kind”? A lot of times it is not so much what we say rather how we say something that comes across hurtful and unkind. Today and every day, I want my words to be kind to others and pleasing to God.
Clutter can, does, and has robbed me. When things in my house, space or life are too much of a jumbled hodgepodge, I find it hard to focus for productivity or simply relax. It causes stress that may not be immediately recognized and identified. It is a thief that can even affect my relationship with God. How? It keeps me busy, bogged down, and restless. It can be a distraction when I need and want to spend time with God seeking His guidance and wisdom, and worship Him. God wants me to be still and know that He is God!
Monday, I woke with the de-clutter bug, and I knew where I should begin. It was an area that was not seen by others, but it bothered me every time I opened the door. It is the closet I store my canned produce, and somehow also became the catch-all spot. I dug in, and this happened.
How does one clean out without making a bigger mess?! Unfortunately, some of these things are still on that bed. I am still weeding through it. However, a bag of trash went in the dumpster, and I found the closet floor! Now only the items that belong in that closet are there.
What is the clutter thief stealing from you? Do you have an area you need to clear? Maybe it is “stuff” that is no longer needed or used, taking up space in a closet or drawer or piled high on the coffee table. Maybe it is in your calendar, social media, or negative relationships. Take time to look around or within, identify something that needs sorted through, and begin to resolve that clutter problem. Don’t let the clutter thief continue to rob you!
As a friend and I conversed a couple weeks ago, she challenged me to choose a word to study for the year. By study, she did not merely mean the definition(s) of a word, but explore how it does/can/should impact my life. To be honest, at first I didn’t really consider this task, however, as a particular word kept showing up in my reading I began to reconsider.
One morning my devotional reading centered on Ephesians 4:32.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Then, I overheard a mother telling her child to be kind. I was also reading a biography where the author was emphasizing 1 Corinthians 13:4a.
“Love is patient and kind”
She shared the hard truth that often we are not patient and do not show kindness to our children and spouse. The question, “If I truly love my family, is it evident through my kindness towards them?” began to haunt me. It hit me like a slap in the face, when I responded in a not-so-kind way to Hubby. That’s what it took for me to submit to the word challenge, and the word is “KIND”.
To begin my study, I looked up the definition and made a quick Bible search. Kind is a willingness to do good or give pleasure, a sympathetic attitude towards others, having a good or benevolent nature or disposition,considerate, helpful. Kind is a popular word in the Bible. Some of the many verses I looked up are Psalm 41:1, 145:17, Proverbs 3:3, 11:17, 16:24, 31:26, Romans 2:4, 12:8, 12:10, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 1:7, 1:8, Colossians 3:12, 1 Timothy 5:10, 2 Timothy 2:24, 2 Peter 1:7
As I’ve continued to think about the study of “KIND”, I’m realizing what a challenge it will be. You see, I don’t want to merely recognize kindness, but I want my life and love to be overflowing with kindness. For this to happen, I need to study, memorize, and remember God’s words on kindness. I also, need to boldly ask God to reveal the unkindness I harbor, and then repent and ask God to transform the unkindness to kindness.
Have you ever selected a word for the year? If not, would you like to take this challenge? Your word doesn’t have to be the same as mine; maybe God has a different word for you to discover. However, if you’d like to join me with my selected word, the word is “KIND”.
Southwest Kansas skies are breathtaking. Day or night, beauty can easily be discovered by gazing up or out across the plains to the horizon. Morning sunrise to evening sunset display color hues that will never be found in a crayon box or mixed on painter’s canvas. However, let’s not overlook the night sky.
The vast night sky above the prairies twinkle brightly with stars galore. This may be hard to envision for the person who has always lived in the city where high rise buildings block the view, and street lights out shine all those heavenly beams. Oh! We must not forget the moon. The changing moon stages from just a skinny sliver to full moon circle, and pasty white to every shade and brightness of orange is a sight to behold.
This first full week of 2015, the moon was big, round, full, and bright. In fact, it was bright enough to wake me two nights in a row when it shone in my bedroom window. One early morning I was a bit confused. Out the west window an oversize ball of orange was peeking through the trees. In my half asleep fog, I first thought it was the sun, but the sky was black all around. I realized this beauty was Moon, and Sun was barely beginning to streak the eastern horizon.
Some worship the beauty and awe in the sky. However, as mesmerizing as it is, this ever changing sky causes me to worship the creator.
Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:14-18 NLT
You may not be in southwest Kansas, but I hope you have opportunity today to look up and marvel at God’s beautiful handiwork in the sky.
Happy New Year ~ 2015!!
Today marks day one of a new chapter of life. The calendar is marked with 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months for 2015. Do you have hopes and dreams for this year? Are you living with purpose, or just living to get through the day? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?
I often don’t make resolutions for the new year, but I am goal oriented and always have goals I’m working towards. Several weeks ago as I was reading “Believing God Day By Day” by Beth Moore I was given a challenge I decided should be my 2015 New Year Resolution. The reader was reminded that God is still at work in and around us each and every day. However, how aware am I; do I really take notice; do I heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
To meet this challenge I need “keener spiritual vision”; strength and sensitivity, the ability to think clearly and understand what is not obvious or simple. This is by far the most stringent resolution, I have ever made. I do not take this commitment lightly. I continually desire to live intentionally and obediently to God’s leading. What is this resolution you ask?
- If God said it, I want to believe it.
- If God gives it, I want to receive it.
- If God shows it, I want to perceive it.
- If Satan stole it, I want to retrieve it.
Father God, in this new year, 2015, I want to know you better.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all y our mind, and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
Are you full of joy this Christmas, or are you struggling to be joyful about anything? For some this coming week will bring family and friends together in great celebration. For others, it may seem terribly long and lonely. Let’s be honest; some days are extremely difficult to be joyful. Those are the days I must intentionally find my joy in Jesus. He gives strength to get through the darkest times, and for that, as the psalmist writes, my heart is filled with joy,
The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7 NLT
Christmas is less than a week away, no matter what your circumstances, look for the joy of Jesus. In Luke 2, the angel brought the good news of great joy.
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 NLT
Earlier in the day, I watched as two gaggles of geese flew over the yard. Honking as they went, one gaggle continued northward and the other southbound. This stumped me on this lovely fall day. It appeared that those geese weren’t sure if they should be coming or going.
Do you ever feel that way? In the hustle and bustle of the quickly approaching holiday season, it is easy to wonder if we are coming or going. Be careful not to allow yourself to fall in that harried trap. There may be a lot of cooking, cleaning, shopping, gift wrapping, traveling, parties, and obligations that can become burdensome and exhausting. Remember why you have all these tasks, and maybe ask yourself a few questions along the way.
- Do I have to do everything, or can my husband and children help?
- Are there any family, work, or social gatherings that can be attended every other year instead of every year?
- How can I make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful for myself and my family?
Oftentimes, my biggest stresser is holding unrealistically high expectations.. When I can relax those expectations, the holidays are more enjoyable for me as well as for my family. Maybe you share the same problem.
Most important is staying focused on the purpose of these holidays, and that is evident in their names:
THANKSgiving, CHRISTmas, NEW Year.
When you find yourself wondering if you are coming or going, Stop! Give thanks, reflect on Christ, and anticipate memory making in the New Year.