Tag Archive | love

The Word is “Kind” Part 2

2015 has been quite the year! Throughout these past 12 months I have been on a personal study of the word “KIND”. You can read about that decision HERE. My eyes have been open to the kindness around and in me. However, at first it seemed I was mainly aware of UNkindness.

Have you noticed how negative our society can be?  The daily news bombards us with doom and gloom reporting. TV and social media is full of backstabbing, criticism, lying, and cheating. Workplaces become a battle ground of gossip, jealousy, and sometimes a celebration of someone’s failure. It was disheartening to recognize the magnitude of this ugliness.  In the midst of these observations I was reminded that my word is “Kind” not “unkind”, and Ephesians 4:32 became my verse for the year.

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I soon changed my focus to:

  • Intentionally looking for kindness in others
  • Expressing my appreciation when I witness kindness
  • Working on my attitude and behavior to be kind

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.

One day as I was subbing, I had a student that was being a pest to anyone that came near him. In fact, he had a girl in tears from his unkind words before the morning bell rang! Our day was not off to a great start, and I dreaded what might take place at morning recess. I breathed a quick, “Thank you, Jesus.” prayer when the boy left the basketball game to play with another student. As the class was lining up to return to class, I quietly told the boy I noticed and appreciated how kind he was on recess. The rest of the day was near perfect, and I have not seen the negative behavior on days I’ve been back in his classroom.

Opportunities to be kind present themselves every hour of the day. Growing up, my mom often said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I oftentimes know very little of the trials others are dealing with. They may be having the very worst day of their life, and I have a choice. I can encourage or discourage.

Love is patient and kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4a.

This word study has been a great and challenging exercise, but more than that it is an ongoing life changer. It takes time and practice to overcome and rise above negativity. My goal was not to merely recognize kindness, but for my life and love to be overflowing with kindness. I have not yet accomplished that goal; I am a work in progress.

Did you choose a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Will you be choosing a word for 2016? What will it be?

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Maundy Thursday Ponderings

On this Maundy Thursday, I have pondered throughout the day. I wonder; if I had lived when Jesus did, would I have been in the crowd singing praises to Him. Would I have been the one to prepare the “Last Supper”. or clean the “Upper Room” and make sure it was ready for Jesus and his guests?

As the sun begins to set beyond the trees…

sunset                                                                                                              I wonder…

If I had been one of Jesus’ disciples, how would I have felt when he washed my stinky, filthy feet? Would I have been like Peter, protesting, and then requesting Jesus  wash my hands and head as well? What would I have thought when Jesus said “And you disciples are clean but not all of you”? (John 13:10b)

Would I have suspected Judas to be the one Jesus said would betray him?

Maundy means command.  Jesus said to the disciples,

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34,35 NLT

Would I have understood that Jesus wanted me to serve others in love? As Jesus, continued to teach, how much would I have understood. The figures of speech, would I have grasped their meanings? Would I have been able to say with the other disciples,  “Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” (John 16:30 NLT)

How special I would have felt to hear Jesus pray for me and the other disciples. In fact, reading Jesus’ prayer (John 17), I do feel special, loved, cared for, and encouraged. I want to encourage you,dear reader, to read the account of the “Last Supper”. Much can be gleaned from the interaction between Jesus and his disciples immediately before the betrayal and Jesus’ arrest. Don’t miss out on this important part of the Easter story. Read John 13 – 17.

Christmas Shopping Spree

Last evening was one of my favorite events with my 6th grade Bible club girls. Christmas Shopping Spree!  Who wouldn’t enjoy taking a carload of girls shopping?  This annual event is one I look forward to each December.  No matter how diverse their interests, or how cliquish they may be, this is one activity that really helps them gel.

Are you thinking, “Really?! How can that be?”

I do not lie; I am not imagining things. They really do come together as a group!  You see, not one item is purchased for themselves. We are Christmas shopping for a girl about their age, who otherwise may not have any presents to unwrap.

The girls were encouraged to bring a few dollars, then on the way to the store they added up the total amount.  From there, they brainstormed and shopped.  These girls decided to get several small items rather than just one gift. My job was made easy.  I had no squabbling; everyone was included, and they made those dollars stretch.

After making their purchases, we returned to the church for gift wrapping. A couple girls brought homemade items to add so we had a couple boxes filled with goodies.  As they wrapped and signed a Christmas letter, their conversations continued with hopes this girl would have a good Christmas. Shopping for another girl about their age was easy for them. The girls bought items they themselves would enjoy.  What especially warmed my heart was hearing the most precious prayer prayed by one of my 6th grade girls. A prayer for another girl that we only know as a number to keep it confidential. We don’t know the family situation, but a beautiful blessing was prayed for her and her family.

Each year I watch how this Christmas gift shopping and giving pulls these young ladies together.  It is an experience that takes their eyes off themselves, and they embrace the joy in giving to someone in need. It is a small way to show Christ’s love, and follow the command that we should love one another.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:16-18

Rewind or Pause?

If given a choice, would you choose a rewind button or a pause button for your life? Wouldn’t that be a luxury to be able to rewind and have a do-over, or pause and enjoy the moment a while longer?

Pondering rewind or pause, I initially thought I would choose a pause button because life seems pretty good right now.

  • I have some great relationships with friends and family.
  • Although my body is aging, I am healthy.
  • I have a husband that loves me.
  • I have a job that I enjoy.
  • I am being challenged in my relationship with God.

On the other hand, a rewind button might be best because there have been times I wished I could back up and try again.

  • when hurtful words came out of my mouth
  • when I didn’t take the time to be the friend someone needed
  • when I was so self-absorbed in my own hurt and disappointment that I didn’t notice how it was affecting those around me
  • when I was too busy to read one more book to my pleading child, or pick up the phone just to say “I’m thinking of you and praying for you today.”
  • when I tried to do things my way instead of listening to God’s leading
  • when I didn’t share the saving grace of Jesus with one who was drowning in sin and darkness

In reality, I know I can neither pause nor rewind my life. However, I CAN learn from my mistakes and be grateful for abundant blessings.

 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14 NLT

Leave me your comment: Would you choose a rewind or pause button?

 

For the Love of God

Due to some reading, listening to a couple speakers and a class I’m currently taking, I have been prompted to take a good hard look at my life. Too many times my life revolves around Me, Myself and I.  Me and my husband, Me and my family, Me and…  Do you see the common denominator? Me, Me, My, Me…

Satan loves it when people focus primarily on self, because then our number one focus is not on God.  Satan is the deceiver causing us to think we are better and more important than others.  We fill our schedules to revolve around ourselves.  Too many days are not begun asking, “God, what is it you want me to do today?”, listening to His direction, and then being obedient to go and do.

What would our community be like if all who call themselves “Christian” would follow those steps each morning?  Can you imagine the change if denominational barriers were torn down, or if the status of wealth and popularity no longer caused social discrimination?  What if we truly loved as Jesus loved?

Missionary Amy Carmichael said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”  What woud happen if we seriously followed Jesus command to “love your neighbor as yourself?” Matthew 22:39   Daily schedules would no longer revolve around “Me”.   C.T. Studd was a missionary to China, India and Africa.  He said, “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”  God wants us to be obedient now in spite of our imperfections. What better place is there to get started  than in our own neighborhood and community?

I would like to issue a challenge for the week: Each morning begin the day asking God, “What is it you want me to do today?” Listen for His direction, and then be obedient.  Be intentional in showing the love of Jesus to others in your community.

 ” If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;  but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”    I Corinthians 13:3

Powerful Words

He could have brought me a beautiful bouquet, baked my favorite cheesecake, or any number of gifts, yet none would be as special as the e-card he sent. His message was not one of empty words. It was powerful, filled with love, straight from his heart.

I didn’t even know my husband knew where to find, nor how to send an e-card. I send e-cards frequently and show him what I’m sending, but I cannot recall a time when he sent one himself. For a first time visitor to bluemountain.com or other such e-card sites, the task of selecting, personalizing and sending a card can become quite time consuming.

Before reading the personal message or opening the card, I was touched by the gesture of love and surprise I found in my “In Box”. However, a big lump closed my throat as I read his sweet, personal sentiment. Then tears welled up in my eyes as I read and watched  the slideshow card play.

My husband of 30 years is not a man of frivolous words. Rather, he says what he means and means what he says. He is not usually the first in a group to speak, but listens intently, ponders awhile, and then speaks. That’s why I treasure notes from him. I know he doesn’t scribble something hastily, and he probably read and viewed a dozen e-cards before making his selection.

Can you tell this made me feel loved and cherished? In our society, cutting and sarcastic words seem to be the norm. However, such words, even if intended as jest, often emotionally hurt and tear down. Words are very powerful, and once they leave our mouth they cannot be taken back.

 “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” Proverbs 12:28 NLT

 “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 NLT

 The Bible is full of instruction of how we should and should not talk to one another. Quickly scan through the book of Proverbs for the key words: tongue, words or speak. There is verse after verse pertaining to what we say whether good or bad, uplifting or deflating, encouraging or insulting. A wise woman often said:

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

Words are powerful! Choose words that encourage rather than tear down.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalms 19:14 NLT

Armed with Hearts

It’s that time of year again, and I am armed and on a mission! In case you missed it, last February I wrote about “I Love You” Hearts. Now that Hubby is home from Haiti and Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, it is time for the fun to begin.

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To get started, I made “I Love You” hearts. The first one is staying cold with Hubby’s favorite beverage, which I restocked in the pop frig without him knowing.

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Next, I started an “I Love You Because…” message board on the mud room mirror. I’ll write a new reason why I love him every day.  Dry erase makers work wonderful with little-to-no mess. Just simply wipe off; you don’t even need window cleaner. However, by the end of the week it will be time to use cleaner on the mirror again any way.

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Our mornings begin with coffee, and Hubby is the one who usually gets it brewing. I just finished grinding some coffee beans, loaded them into the coffee maker and left a heart. He’ll be surprised when he lifts the lid.

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Hubby’s old childhood chalkboard has been a fun addition to our office/family room. I often write Bible verses we want to memorize. Today, I wrote a little poem on it expressing my love. He has been in that room most of the afternoon, and has not noticed. Hahaha! 🙂

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Homemade cookies are usually what you’ll find in my kitchen, but once in awhile we get a craving for Oreos. When grocery shopping, I picked up a package of Double Stuffed, and then hand delivered my last “I Love You” heart with this sweet treat.

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This really got me into the Valentine mood to show love. I got creative and put together some packages to send my kids.  I’ll share pictures of the surprises after I know the they have been delivered.

Though February is the shortest month, it can feel really long in the midst of cold and flu season and the unpredictable weather. What better way to bring some excitement into the days than with random acts of kindness and love.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10 NLT