Monday, December 14, 2009

Showing Kindness

Chuckle: "What do reindeer have that no other animals on earth have? Baby reindeer."

Good Quote: "Twas a thief who said the last word to Christ: Christ took the kindness and forgave the theft." --Robert Browning

SHOWING KINDNESS

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else" (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV).

A few days ago, Dotse and I were riding in the car and I mentioned to her how kind everyone seems to be lately. We discussed it at length and wondered about it. My heart has been warmed in recent days by extraordinary kindness from people around me. I have always heard that Christmas tends to bring out the best in people, but this year something unusual is going on -- at least from my perspective.

I have recently had encounters with servers in restaurants, medical personnel, insurance advisors, financial specialists, and sales personnel, and everyone has been extraordinarily kind, courteous, and helpful. It's as if people have suddenly been inoculated against unkindness. Maybe the kindness serum has been mixed in with the new H1N1 flu vaccine!!. Not likely, you say. I agree. But maybe it's not from a vaccine but something even more powerful and effective.

Could it be that God is getting the attention of people who are becoming fed up with hateful, discourteous, dishonest, and hurtful attitudes that have been prevalent in our society in recent years. Selfishness, greed, and lust have made many of us disgusting people to be around. What's in it for me has replaced concern for the welfare of others. I wonder, also, if the severe economic downturn has prompted people to reexamine their values with the intent to discover the really important things in life -- relationships.

Notice in our passage that we, as believers, are first to be kind to one another. Then we are to show kindness to everyone else as well. "The Lord's servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape the Devil's trap. . ." (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NLT). If you and I are living under the control of the Holy Spirit who resides in us, we will practice kindness because kindness is a supernatural fruit of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22).

The unusual kindnesses that have been shown to me in recent days, have made me examine my own heart and prompted me to show more kindness in return. Treating people with kindness is such a simple solution to so many relationship problems. It's amazing that we aren't more faithful in its application. "A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble to himself" (Proverbs 11:17 NIV).

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God Cares For You

Chuckle: A little boys prayer: "Dear God, please take care of my daddy and mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. Oh, please take care of yourself, God. If anything happens to you, we're gonna be in a big mess!"

Good Quote: "The love of God is like the Amazon River flowing down to water a single daisy."

GOD CARES FOR YOU

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you" (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

The Christmas season is a time of happiness, rejoicing, and excitement for many; but for others it is a time of loneliness, worry, anxiety, stress, and even fear. You may have lost a loved one this year and this will be your first Christmas without him or her. You may have lost your job and are suffering through difficult times financially. You may be worried about not having money to buy gifts for those you love. You may be suffering with health issues and are fearful of what the future holds. Any of these unpleasant conditions can cause you to withdraw from those who love you and feel sorry for yourself. You can become tempted to wallow in self-pity.

Before you let yourself slip into the pits emotionally, stop for a moment and reflect on the goodness of the God we serve. "Give your worries to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will never let good people down" (Psalm 55:22 NCV). Claim God's promises and let go of those debilitating fears and anxieties. If you insist in holding on to your worries, they will prevent you from enjoying the life and blessings God has given you. I'm reminded of the old hymn: "Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there."

Rejoice in the fact that God loves you and is genuinely concerned about what's going on in your life. Others may fail you, but God will not. Don't submit yourself to circumstances but to the Lord who controls circumstances. He specializes in helping you deal with even the most severe difficulties and can give you His joy as He carries those burdens for you. Claim and believe God's promise that He loves you and will take care of you.

Two young girls were talking, and one said she had ten pennies. The other girl looked into her hand and only saw five. She said, "you only have five pennies." The first girl replied, "I have five and my father told me he would give me five more tonight. So I have ten." She understood that her father's promise was as good as done."

Regardless of your circumstances this Christmas, just remember that God loves you greatly and wants to carry your burdens for you. Your Father's promises are as good as done.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Should We Love God?

Chuckle: Kid's answer to test question: "What is terminal illness? When you get sick at the airport."

Quote: "Love without returned love is like a question without an answer." --Unknown

WHY SHOULD WE LOVE GOD?

Jesus said, "...love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy" (Mark 12:30 The Message). "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (NIV).

As Christmas approaches and as we consider God's great gift who came into the world as the Babe of Bethlehem, we are once again reminded of God's indescribable love for us. That is as it should be; however, Scripture tells us that God's greatest desire is for us to love Him in return. We are reminded that what God wants from you more than anything else today is your love. But loving God is much more than just an emotion -- it is always demonstrated by our actions. God knew that merely telling us of His love would not be sufficient -- He had to show it by His actions. God's love for us was demonstrated by His sending Jesus to Earth. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son" (John 3:16).

During this Christmas season, how will your actions show your love for our Lord? Will your actions include heartfelt worship, open conversation in prayer, and a mind attentive to His Word? Will you worship him by using your strength and abilities in His service? Please rejoice and draw great comfort from knowing that God loves you. But be obedient to God by obeying the Great Commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

This precious little story touched my heart. A four-year-old girl, hugging a doll in each of her pudgy little arms, looked wistfully up at her mother and said, "Mama, I love them and love them and love them, but they never love me back." How true of some Christians who are loved and loved and loved by God, but never love Him back." If we do not actively love God back, we have disobeyed the greatest commandment.

No matter what else we do during this festive season. let's pledge to show our love and gratitude for our God by our actions as we represent Him to others. Let's let our love for our Lord be plainly visible by the way we love others -- by the way we talk, act, and think. "There is no other commandment that ranks with these" (Mark. 12:31 NIV).

Love, Jerry & Dotse