Tag Archives: Kindness

Reflecting God’s Love

 

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REFLECTING GOD’S LOVE

From: American Bible Society

Matthew 1:1-17 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

Introduction

Matthew 1:1-17: Today we begin reading excerpts from the Gospel according to Matthew. Mathew’s Gospel begins with a presentation of the ancestors of Jesus in order to make clear that Jesus is from the family of King David and Abraham.

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 1:17

There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, and fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from then to the birth of the Messiah.

Today’s Reading

1 This is the list of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham. 2-6 From Abraham to King David, the following ancestors are listed: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers; then Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David. 6-11 From David to the time when the people of Israel were taken into exile in Babylon, the following ancestors are listed: David, Solomon (his mother was the woman who had been Uriah’s wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers. 12-16 From the time after the exile in Babylon to the birth of Jesus, the following ancestors are listed: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was called the Messiah. 17 So then, there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, and fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from then to the birth of the Messiah.

Reflect

You may wish to compare Matthew’s account of Jesus’ ancestry with that of the one recorded by Luke (3:23-38) and note the similarities and differences. Matthew’s account names five women – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (Solomon’s mother), and Mary. Learn more about these women by reading about them in the Bible (information about the first four women mentioned can be found in the Old Testament; information about Mary is found in Luke 1–2). What does their inclusion in Jesus’ ancestry teach you about God?

Pray

Lord God, in sending Jesus, the Messiah, you demonstrate your love for all people and your regard for people from all walks of life. Teach me to reflect your love to those I encounter today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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

Great Mercy With God

 

 

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From: Our Daily Journey

extravagant mercy

Luke 15:11-32
Filled with love and compassion, [the father] ran to his son (Luke 15:20).

Read the story again. Pay attention to the second son. Watch for the way the father pursued this son as well (“His father came out and begged him” Luke 15:28). What does this say about God’s kindness?

How have you been a prodigal to our merciful God? Do you realize that the Father eagerly watches for your return?

When we wrong someone, it’s normal for us to feel distance and shame. We might imagine that the offended person is stewing over our poor behavior, replaying our thoughtless conduct, or writing us off. We may even think there will be a complete disinterest in us until we return and effusively atone for our actions.

If we imagine God to be like this, however, we’re severely mistaken.

Luke recounts the story of a prodigal son who shockingly asked his father for his portion of the inheritance. He made this brazen request while his father was still alive and presumably in good health. For me, the more shocking moment, however, is the father’s response. The father “agreed to divide his wealth between his sons” (Luke 15:12).

Whatever reason the father had for relenting to this unwise request, he allowed the son to follow this difficult path. In his heart, the son had already abandoned home; and so, sometimes one has to fully leave to truly return. The father loved his son, and he let his son leave.

The son ran to the far country and wasted all that his father had given him (Luke 15:13). A famine came, and the son was destitute. He determined to make his way back to his father with a contrite, groveling speech prepared (Luke 15:18). But the father was waiting for the son! (Luke 15:20). At first glimpse of his boy coming home, the father sprinted toward him, gathered him in his arms, and lavished him with forgiveness.

In Jesus’ culture, the father’s actions would be seen as foolish or soft. But this good father (like our heavenly Father) had no ego to protect. The Father’s mercy is extravagant and free.

 

wrestling with God

Genesis 32:13-32

A man came and wrestled with [Jacob] until the dawn began to break (Genesis 32:24).

Read Lamentations 3:1-23for a look at one prophet’s struggle with God. Look upActs 22:6-11 and compare that story with Jacob’s experience.

What happens when we try to out-maneuver God in our lives? What things are typically at the center of our struggles with God?

Often, on Saturdays in the 1980s, my brother and I watched professional wrestling on TV. We were mesmerized by the acrobatics and the seemingly super-human body slams that shook the wrestling ring. We rooted for the good guys and pointed at the screen exclaiming things like “Did you see that?” and “Ooooh, that had to hurt!” Fortunately, we did not try (many of) those moves at home.

The Bible records one incredible wrestling match between Jacob and an opponent—God in the form of a man. Obscured by the veil of night, He approached and “wrestled with [Jacob] until the dawn began to break” (Genesis 32:24). Apparently Jacob was one scrappy guy, because he hung in there until his Opponent dislocated Jacob’s hip with just a touch (Genesis 32:25). Despite Jacob’s efforts to out-maneuver God, God was still in control.

Even with a disabled hip, Jacob refused to loosen his grip unless he received a blessing. God renamed Him “Israel” (which means “God fights”), blessed him, and then went on His way. Left alone, Jacob realized, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared” (Genesis 32:30). Jacob met the day injured, sleep-deprived, but astonished by his encounter with his Maker.

Are you struggling with God today? Maybe His Word has revealed His will for your life in a certain area, but you’re not ready to surrender. You know He wants you to give up an addiction, regain your integrity at work, or abandon a relationship that’s not honoring to Him.

Don’t wrestle through the night as Jacob did. Acknowledge God’s perfect, loving ways and surrender to Him. Let His comfort renew your hope (Psalm 94:19). Cling to Him and stand amazed as you encounter the living God.

From: Our Daily Journey

Contagious Kindness

 

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Kindness is Contagious Story Editor:
by Phyllis Yearick 

My 9-year-old daughter and I were flying from our home in Charlotte,
North Carolina, to spend a week with my husband in Miami, Florida. Mike
had been in Florida for five months working for an Internet start-up
company. We were excited about the trip because we had seen him only five
times in five months, and Kallie missed her dad terribly.

As usual on the Charlotte-to-Miami flight, the plane was totally full.
I had noticed a troop of Boy Scouts at the gate and commented to my
daughter that if anything happened, we would be OK with all those Scouts
on our flight! Little did I know….

Because we did not get our boarding passes until we arrived at the
gate, Kallie and I could not get seats together and were separated by the
aisle. That wasn’t such a big deal, except that Kallie was nervous about
the trip and had counted on my reading to her the whole way. Trying to
read across the aisle would be a challenge.

When the two passengers who shared my row boarded the plane, I asked
if they would switch places with Kallie and me, so that we could be
together and so that she could sit next to the window. They refused,
saying they thought they should stay in their assigned seats. Meanwhile,
a mother and her three children were in a panic several rows ahead of us.
There had been a mistake in their boarding passes, the whole family had
been split up.

The passengers in her row also refused to move elsewhere. The mother
could hold her baby, but her 6-year-old son and his older brother had
been scattered around the plane. She was very concerned about the younger
boy sitting with strangers. She was in tears, yet nobody offered to help
her.

Suddenly the Scout leader stood up and said, “Ma’am, I think we can
help you.” He then spent five minutes rearranging his group so that
adequate space was available for the family. The boys followed his
directions cheerfully and without complaint, and the mother’s relief was
obvious.

Kallie, however, was beginning to panic at the thought of not being
next to a window or her mother. I told her that there wasn’t anything I
could do; we would have to sit where we were. Amazingly, the man sitting
next to the Scoutmaster (not a Scout himself), turned around to me and
asked, “Would you and your daughter like our seats?” referring to himself
and the Scoutmaster. He said he was cramped in the window seat and would
really prefer the aisle. We traded seats and continued our trip, very
much relieved to be together and watch the scenery from Kallie’s window
seat.

Would that man have offered us his seat if the Scouts hadn’t done so
for the mom and her children? I don’t know. But I do know that kindness
is contagious, and good deeds beget good deeds!

From: www.Rogerknapp.com

A Story Of Compassion

 

The Compassionate Young Boy

By:  Emmanuel Aghado

“Once upon a time, in a small village in Kenya, there lived a young boy with his step family. Due to the scarcity of water in the village, the young boy awoke early every morning, carried his pot and headed for the stream with the aim of fetching water for himself and his step family. Sadly for him, he alone had this task as a routine every morning and evening to fetch water froma distant stream while his step siblings were given other lenient tasks or even none. Yet, the young boy bore no grudge against his step family, loved them and carried out his task, diligently.
On his way back from the stream, he met an old man resting under a tree who beggedfor water to quench his thirst and he gave the old man. He met an elderly woman who begged for water and he gave the woman. This happens almost every time as he comes back from the stream; meeting peoplewho beg for thirst, yet he gave them despite his step mother’s torture on him for fetching half-filled pots that wouldn’t even be enough for the family.
One day, he couldn’t bear the torture from his step mum, so heswore never to give anyone water, but on his way back, he met a strange looking man who begged him for water. The strange man lay by the road sidewith an injury. The young boy remembered his vow – never to give anyone water – but contemplated for a moment and then gave the strange man some water.
When he got home, his step mum noticed the half-filled pots, and again pounced on him – this time with more cruelty. As she was beating this young boy, there was a knock on the door. It was the wounded strange man – a mail deliverer. Apparently, he came from the town with a letterfor the young boy. A letter containing a scholarship with additional cash gift for the young boy and would have died on the way if not for the boy’s help.
They say there is love in sharing…they say where there is love there is life. Your everyday good deeds are never in vain for they shall return to you even when you’re not expecting it.”

Values.Com.,The Compassionate Boy, By:  Emmanuel Aghado

Mountain Moving Faith

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Encouraging Stories – #2

A Lesson From An Ant

by: Josh and Karen Zarandona

Brenda was a young woman that wanted to learn to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death she went with a group and they faced this tremendous cliff of rock. Practically perpendicular. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear and she took a hold of the rope and she started up the face of that rock.

Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, whoever was holding the rope up at the top of the cliff made a mistake and snapped the rope against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens.

You know how tiny contact lenses are and how almost impossible to find. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with who know how many hundreds of feet behind and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping that she would be able to find that contact lens. Here she was, very far from home. Her sight was now blurry. She was very upset by the fact that she wouldn’t be anywhere near a place where she could get a new contact lens. And she prayed that the Lord would help her to find it.

Well, her last hope was that perhaps when she got to the top of the cliff, one of the girls that was up there on the top might be able to find her contact lens in the corner of her eye. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye. There was no contact lens to be found. She sat down with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to come up the face of the cliff.

She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every single stone and leaf that’s on those mountains and You know exactly where my contact lens is.”

Finally, the time came when it was time to go down. They walked down the trail to the bottom. Just as they got there, there was a new party of rock climbers coming along. As one of them started up the face of the cliff, she shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?”

Well, that would be startling enough, wouldn’t it? She had found the contact lens! But you know why she saw it? An ant was carrying that contact lens so that it was moving slowly across the face of the rock.

What does that tell you about the God of the universe? Is He in charge of the tiniest things? Do ants matter to Him? Of course they do. He made them. He designed them.

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him this incredible story, he drew a picture of that ant lugging that contact lens (as you see in the comics with a balloon with words in it over his head) with the words: “Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it for You.”

If God is in charge of the ants, don’t you think He cares about you and me? I guess Solomon was right. One could learn a valuable lesson from that ant — trust in God. We could probably all say a little more often, “God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. Still, if you want me to, I’ll carry it for You.” Josh and Karen Zarandona, A lesson from an ant.


Encouraging Stories – #3

Mountain Moving Faith

Author Unknown

A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary.

Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built. In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard.

Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had “mountain-moving faith”. They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation’s 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o’clock the pastor said the final “Amen”. “We’ll open next Sunday as scheduled,” he assured everyone. “God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too.”

The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called “come in”, a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.

“Excuse me, Reverend. I’m from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We’re building a huge new shopping mall over there and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can’t do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly.”

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with “mountain-moving faith” on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week! Mountain Moving Faith, Unknown Author.

A Trooper’s Kindness

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Here is a story of a public official doing a courteous duty. A young State Trooper just out of the the patrol academy was on his own after spending thirty days with a senior trooper. The senior trooper was there to show the rookie some of the things he was not taught at the academy. The senior officer would  tell him what to do and not do to help the public. He told him never push a vehicle out of the road, never change a flat tire, and never take anything from the public especially while on duty. After thirty days when the senior man said he felt the officer was ready to be on his own, he would get his first patrol vehicle. Usually, it would be an older vehicle and the other equipment would be older but in good condition.

The young trooper the day after receiving his patrol car began policing his assigned area. He drove up behind a vehicle on a country road that had a flat tire. He had been taught that he was supposed to help the public and this was an older woman who seemed not to know what to do. He approached the car and the woman began telling him that she was late to an appointment and her tire went flat. So, the young trooper said, ” I’ll take care of that for you.” He began to change the tire when it started to rain heavily. He got soaked and the ground became muddy. The rain was very heavy, but he prevailed and got her on her way without any problems.

About two hours after changing the lady’s tire, he received a message over the police radio to return to the station to meet with his supervisor. So, he returned without knowing what the call was all about. He began to think, “What have I done to be called into the station?” He was very nervous as he drove into the station parking lot. When he came into the station, he was met by his supervisor who looked upset. “Come in and have a seat” the supervisor said. “Did you change a flat tire this morning?” Yes, he said. The lady has called in a complaint on you. The young trooper began to think, “Did I say something or do something that was out of line?” As he sat there his thoughts could not provide any clue that he could think of. The young guy said “Yes, I changed a tire but I can’t think of anything I did wrong concerning that  repair. The supervisor said,”She reports that you left a muddy hand print on the side of her car and she wants the state to pay for her car to be washed.”  “What do you think about that?” the supervisor said. The trooper said, “I don’t remember any hand print but the conditions were very wet and muddy.” The supervisor called the lady and said the trooper was doing his duty and was on duty at the time. If you insist on your car being washed, the state will have to charge you for the hour the trooper spent changing your tire. His clothes are soiled and have to be dry cleaned. So, we will wash your car, but you will have to pay for one hour of his salary and the cleaning bill. She said forget it and closed the communication by slamming down the receiver of the telephone.

Sometimes doing your duty can result in issues like that. However, we are all thankful for the acts of kindness that come our way by strangers and friends. To the young trooper we say keep up the good work and serve the public as you were taught at the academy. ( A true story from Simposious. We are very grateful for all the men and women who serve in law enforcement).

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