Christmas Kindness

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Romans 12:7-9
If you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly (Romans 12:8).

Proverbs 11:17 to be true?

How has God shown kindness to you? What happens when we live out this character quality before others?

My son spent his first decade of life in a warm East Africa climate. For his 10th birthday, I used frequent flier miles and took him to the western part of the US to experience snow.

Friends graciously opened their home to us while they were away for the Christmas holidays. When my son and I arrived, we had just a garage door opener code to get in but a fluke power outage prevented the door from opening. It was 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve . . . and we were stranded. Sheepishly, I knocked on the neighbors’ door and explained our situation. To my surprise, the family invited us to spend the night with them.

Like Job, the family opened their doors to complete strangers (Job 31:31-32), blessing us big-time! When we walked in, they immediately whisked us to their backyard to roast marshmallows over a crackling fire. Yum! Later, my son and I stayed in their lovely guestroom, and we woke up on Christmas morning to a huge breakfast and stockings filled with gifts from our thoughtful hosts (see Romans 12:7-9).

I love the Wikipedia definition of kindness: “Good and charitable behavior . . . concern for others. It is known as a virtue . . . Research has shown that acts of kindness not only benefit the receivers of the kind act, but also the giver.” Kindness is also included in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When we extend kindness to others, we glorify the Lord who “is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness” (Psalm 145:17).

This Christmas, like my new friends in Utah, choose to display the wisdom of Proverbs 3:3 and “never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”

no other gods

Exodus 20:1-6
You must not have any other god but me (Exodus 20:3).

Read Isaiah 44:6-24 for God’s view of other gods and why it’s foolish to have them.

What person, hobby, or thing has been elevated to godlike status in your life? What will you do about it today?

Jason is dead serious about his studies. He’s striving to gain an overseas scholarship that will allow him to pursue a doctorate degree in mathematics. So he makes sure that he does well in all his required classes. He’s also gone beyond the basics to take higher-level classes. He eats, drinks, and sleeps math!

Has education become his god? It’s hard to tell. Any responsible student should put in the due diligence. Yet, on the other hand, it’s easy for career, family, hobbies, and other everyday concerns to be elevated to godlike status. We can begin to give them our total devotion.

God said to His people: “You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:3). For to have another god before the only God is to provoke Him to holy jealousy. John Calvin explained, “This is like a shameless woman who brings in an adulterer before her husband’s very eyes only to vex his mind the more.”

But can we obey this commandment? The answer is both “no” and “yes.” No, because the Law reveals our sinful inclination toward other gods. Yes, because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross for us. Now, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can keep this command—as Philip Ryken puts it, “not as a way of getting right with God, but as a way of pleasing the God who has made us right with Him.”

May our heart’s prayer reflect these words from hymn writer Robert Robinson: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

From: Our Daily Journey

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