Have I Learned How to Be a “Great” Human Yet?

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When we were little kids, our parents, grandparents and teachers spent most of their time telling us to have good manners, treat people well, and play nice. Kids have to be reminded a lot! I’m sure my mom wondered if I was ever going to “get it”. Of course, now, all her hard work paid off and I’m an independent prospering member of my community. But am I really a “great” human? Or am I, like the rest of us, still evolving and need a little guidance?

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Here are a 3 questions to ask ourselves.

1)  “Great” Humans start…

…as good humans who have hearts that open and minds that ask.

Ask, “Do I allow God to teach me and I mean really teach me?”

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

 They say, it’s after you think you know it all that you begin to learn. Do you like to learn only things that pertain to you? Or is learning itself a source of joy?

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” 2 Peter 1:3-4

If the Word of God contains all things that pertain to life and godliness, why then do we think WE know it all? One must be as willing to unlearn as they are to learn. Sometimes our learning has included learning some errors. Christopher Columbus set out to prove there were errors in the way he was taught. I must ask myself, am I willing to go that far and truly learn? Life is just another name for “God’s Classroom” but we have to choose to be great students. And He has a customized curriculum just for you

2) All the greatest men and women in history…

…had a heart of service. And the one man who split time in half and brought hope to the world served God with all his life. In fact, as soon as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead he began witnessing. How does that serving compute? Even after being murdered, Jesus served people.

Ask this question, “God first, others second, am I willing to be third?”

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.” John 12:26

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (self).”  Matthew 6:24

You are totally responsible for what you do with what God gave you. The great thing about God is, when you give, He gives back. You give again, and He gives back. You can never out-give God. It becomes a joy-fest of giving and serving. The excitement grows as the learning grows.

3) All the great humans…

…allowed LOVE to direct their actions, not fear. God doesn’t love on account of; He loves in spite of. Can we do that? Can we love that big?

Ask this questions…”Do I have the courage to take the barbed wire down from around my heart and simply love?”

Without love there is no joy in living.

“And above all these things put on charity (love/agape), which is the bond of perfectness.And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:14-15

We can never afford not to love each other.

 Great humans learn, serve, and love as much as they know how. So today, make someone’s day. Learn something new about them, love them with the love of God by tenderly reaching out and serving them.

God bless you today!

How To: Measure a Champion

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A champion implies a victory

and a victory implies a fight.

If there is a fight then you must have an enemy.

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When you look back over this year, do you see little or no change? Is your personality, the dedication of talents, and your giving of yourself stale? Do you find little or no joy in serving? Time is a wonderful measurement of change, but if you look back over this year and find these statements to be true, then there is one problem. You have ignored your enemy. Ignoring the enemy doesn’t make you a champion. If I do not answer the question, it doesn’t mean I agree with the question or disagree with the question, it means I acquiesce. I submit. I lost the fight. The temptation is to ignore the enemy. But that is like the old frog sitting in a pan. If you slowly raise the temperture, he will be cooked alive.

What does God’s Word say about the fight? 

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore,” Ephesians 6:10-14a

How do we stand? In this day and age, how do we fight? The same way that NFL Teams win football. They play. They move the ball forward, and stop it from moving back. They focus on their offensive but keep their defensive strong. A moving target is very hard to hit! So get moving.

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

If you are looking for a place to serve, get quiet and ask God where that should be. Treat your time and life as His blank slate. What is the highest and best use of you? God knows. He loves you too. He knows your likes and your dislikes. He knows what will push you and what will hold you back. Trust that and then obey.

What is the measure of a champion? How well she focuses her mind.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

God bless you today!

It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built the Ark…

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So Plan Ahead!

The Noah’s Ark scenario tells us God has long-range plans for our life. He knows what’s coming and He knows how to prepare you for them. What are some ways Christians can plan ahead?

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Here are 3 Ways.

Plan for Material Abundance

Go to God and get the number or percentage that should be put into a “rainy” day fund. Savings is done one of two ways. You can hide it with in your checking account by adding to the purchasing amounts by one, five, or ten dollars or just rounding up to the nearest dollar when you balance the check book and subtracting or rounding down from deposits in the same fashion. Or you can put a lump sum in a savings account and forget about it. What ever you do, remember, Noah had to build the ark for one hundred years in preparation for a rainy day/month.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Plan for Physical Abundance

I had to sprint from airport gate to airport gate a few weeks ago. I thought I was going to throw up by the end of it. Ha! Since then, I have decided to start building up some muscle and endurance. When I need to sprint somewhere, from now on, I am won’t be worried about keeping up, or keeling over. What you eat, what you drink, the vitamins you take and of course the regular exercise you get becomes like a hidden check book balance or a savings account. There are two similar ways to begin. You can start with doing little things, like eating veggies/fruit/healthy snacks instead of candy bars and taking the stairs or walking from the end of the parking lot everyday.  This is like your hidden health savings. Or you can plan for 3 to 4 times a week of regular bouts of exercise. Either way, add more into your day.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Plan for Spiritual Abundance

Don’t forget about your inner man. We were given a body, a soul and a spirit., Don’t forget that we; every one born-again of God’s spirit, can “save” for rainy/stormy days spiritually as well. How so? We build up our inner man by speaking with tongues. So speak in tongues much! It’s like a combination of saving and strengthening.

“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself;…”1 Corinthians 14:4

Edify means to build up. So do it as much as you can. A habit takes three weeks to build so start with building a habit. Put signs every where and help yourself think about it first thing in the morning. You’ll be worshipping God in the spirit, praying in the spirit, and you’ll be giving thanks well.

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” John 4:24

Spiritual bank accounts pay out HUGE dividends. What do I mean?

“But the fruit (RESULTS) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law…f we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 22-23, 25

 There are also 8 other manifestations and when you learn how to use them you then begin to walk in the Spirit. There’s no stopping the person with this much abundance brimming over and spilling out of their life. God is blessing and protecting them, guiding them and prospering them in a way this world will never understand. So join me and be the one who stands out in a crowd.

There are two kinds of rich men, the man with plenty of money, and the man who has no need.

God bless you today!

Hold Fast and Never Waver on…

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…what you are in Christ Jesus.

Freedom is not determined by where you are, but by Who and What you are in Christ Jesus.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

While we were traveling this last week, Bill and I met and experienced all kinds of people. Mostly from the hospitality industry because we stayed at a hotel, but occasionally we snuck out for a taste of life in Canada from the people living there. I think I was the most surprised to see that it was very similar to our life in the US. I had never been to Canada before. I wondered if I’d feel a culture shock, but as we stood in line at the airport the latest Maroon 5 songs could be heard over the airways and hundreds of people wearing similar clothes as I had on brushed past me, I saw a similarity. When we rode through town we saw all the same stores, Wal-Mart, Target, and McDonald’s, that you would see here. We spoke with a bilingual taxi driver from Pakistan and asked the first questions we could on Canadian soil. What brought you to this country? All of these fascinating people answered with similar things, work, or family.

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CN Tower, Toronto Canada

So What makes Me Different from all of Them to God?

It was 5:35 pm Toronto time as I stood looking out the hotel window at a city that would be my new home for the next week. Traffic sped off the interstate into our industrial section of town at break neck speeds. The sky is a ruddy mixture of grey/blue and the trees are in their last flush of vivid green. Toronto’s CN Tower, a 1,815.4 ft high cement spindle, stands above the city surveying all the 2.5 million people in what many travel magazines called the most “livable city” in America. I waver in awe. How could God know every heart? And how could each heart be different from the billions of other similar people out there? There is the moment when I, a small town girl, stagger in the mouth of the vacuum of the world’s gargantuan immensity. How could God keep track of little ol’ me in the sea of sameness?

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

I am humbled. He didn’t just keep track of me and you. He knows us. He raised us up together to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We are His.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His… ” 2 Timothy 2:19a

What makes me different from all the others? What makes me unique among the waves of similarities from around the world?

I am different because of my spiritual stand with God. I am different because I never waver. I hold on tight to the unique access I have to my Father in this day and time.

God broke down the middle wall of partition because He wanted us reconciled, He called us out from among the tides of humanity.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

Why??

Why would God do that? Because God designed a special purpose for each and everyone of His children. He gave us access to Him so He could tell us what that purpose is.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

What you are in Christ is unique because it’s a mix of your personality, your experiences, your skills and unique insights mixed with the power and force greater than nature itself, called the Will of God. What could your potential for greatness be with God as you walk on this earth?

As High, as Great and as unique as your Walk with Him Could be!

Be the difference you want to see in the world around you today! Let your eyes focus on the Hope of His Calling in Christ, because in it lies all the differences that the world has never seen.

 

God Bless you today!

Bring Ye All The Tithes Into My Storehouse

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The heading on this blog today is out of a verse in Malachi.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10

Giving

Giving seems like such a small thing and in this world, most people don’t “give” without knowing they will receive something gratifying in return. Heck, I’m one of them. It’s the way the world works. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. It’s just how things work. This verse is really no different. Let’s divide it into it’s two parts.

Part 1

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts…”

This is obviously our end of the bargain. We need to take our tenth, our tithe and give it to God. All of us earn money, we make an income of some kind, Off the gross, amount we subtract out a tenth. Now where do we give it? What if we don’t go to church? This is where your walk with God comes in. Ask Him who He says should get it, even if you do go to a church. Once you know, let it rip. It’s always a good idea to ask how to give it as well. Should it be anonymous? Should it be obvious? God can let you know. Then the second part of the verse is for you to do after you give it.  What’s it say? “PROVE ME NOW…”

This is really the start of part two of the verse, but it is still something you have to do. Proving God isn’t something I was ever taught about in church. I would have never had the courage to ask Him to prove Himself. But that is what He is saying right there in black and white. To prove: is to demonstrate, with action, one’s abilities in a certain area. Is God able to prove Himself? Well, let’s look at the rest of the verse so we know what He’ll prove His abilities with.

 

Part 2:

“…prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”

It goes on!!

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

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“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delight some land, saith the LORD of hosts.” verses 11-12

God is going to prove Himself by opening the windows of heaven (a figure of speech) and pour you out a blessing that big!! I can receive a lot of blessing in my life! It is so gratifying to know that God is going to do this for me. Look at the other stuff He’s going to throw in there, just because you took one little step and gave. “Devour” is another nickname of the devil’s. God will stop the Devil wreaking havoc in your life and in the work of you hands. WOW! How big is that???

So the parts are, Part 1, you step out on faith and give. Part 2 is based on the condition of your actions and is a promise, a conditional promise. You do part 1 and God does part 2. This sounds like it’s too good to be true! Where have you ever heard that taught? This means that your abundance and blessing are in your own HANDS! You have some control, you have some opportunity to bring God’s Word to life in your everyday experiences. What will He bless you with? It doesn’t say exactly. That would be a hard topic to cover because every need is different. But it says you won’t have room enough to receive it all, because there will be so much.

I dunno. Maybe it’s worth a try?

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Here’s another great verse.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

ALL your need? Wow! Who determines the need? My need is different from everyone elses, I may need $3500 dollars for rent on my business, but someone else may only need $1,850.00. So we must determine our need. But even then God says He shall supply it. That is a promise. WOW!

Giving is such a little thing, but because we take that step, God will meet our needs and then do exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think because He’s just that big, and He is made of and is the essence of LOVE. God loves us. We are His kids. Wouldn’t you do anything for your kids if you know it would help them? How much bigger is God? HE’S HUGE.

Do you have a need or two?

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

God bless you today!

Buried In The Past are Triggers for Our Future

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1.)  Stephanie was a cheerleader in highschool, the pep squad captain and prom queen winner. She was beautiful, outgoing and strategically social. All the qualities of a future congress woman. That was twenty years ago. Today, she lives just off main street behind a bar her boyfriend bought. Sometimes he hits her. Most of the time she’s hesitant and regretful. Her drug habit didn’t seem like a big deal until she spent two years in Woman’s Prison. Then reality came crashing down on her. She is bitter and resigned. Life may get better if only she can survive it.

2.) Melody went to the same highschool. She shrank into the shadows when Stephanie walked by. She was twenty-five pounds overweight and timid, played in the marching band and loved the clarinet. Her acne made her a target of ridicule, so did her good grades and snorting laugh. Today, things aren’t any different. She shrinks back from the demanding presence of her boss, her dad, her husband and her kids. Most of the time she reads fantasy romance and secretly enjoys “Mommy Porn”. She tries to change, but stops just short of doing anything more. Life may get better, if only she would try it.

3.) Becca also attended the same school. She was smart, but hid the fact. She was beautiful too, but few noticed because she usually had her hair tied back for volley ball or track. She rarely spoke but she was a fierce competitor. Her athletics made her a local team hero. Today, she is a mom of three boys and she lets them win sometimes. She leads a Bible study and visits Stephanie for coffee when she can. She had her books featured on radio and television shows. She has a small but loyal following b’cuz she just won’t give up on people. She’s happy, flexible and driven. When she used to shrink back from public speaking, now she smiles and looks for the microphone. Life is constantly getting better, because Becca relies on that.

Three women’s past and present. Millions of neurons, millions of freewill decisions in twenty years made these women far different from the others. They started in the same town, school and grade. What made them different? And how are they the same?

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Triggers

Triggers are balls of nerves and neurons. I see them in my mind like tiny mental trampolines. When we thinking along, considering and debating a situation and we hit a trigger it shoots us one direction. For instance, someone calls us fat. It hurts our feelings and then when anything comes up about our weight we become defensive. Soon anytime any conversation about exercise makes us defensive. Eventually when someone walks by who is skinny it  puts us in a bad mood and we snap at our husbands that night over dinner. You see how that sensitive spot becomes like a trampoline and effects your whole attitude?

Triggers can happen in all kinds of ways. Spiritually, I’ve noticed they happen over a sensitive subject and can be set off after a fiery dart hits dead center in the heart. Soon the area around the dart gets inflamed, infected and starts to broil causing a new habit patterns of thinking. After time, a whole life has changed simply because of those triggers. Or it never changes because old triggers have never been taken care of.

What are their triggers?

Someone told Stephanie she wasn’t cool unless she did what the cool people did.

Melody was told young that she wasn’t good enough the way she was.

Becca was told she wasn’t good enough unless she was first in every sport.

Which one overcame their triggers? 

Becca.

Why?

95% of the problem is solved when you discover there is a problem. One day, Becca discovered the problem was a trigger. Triggers take courage and maturity to discuss. They can be healed completely and the habit patterns; with stayed mind focus, can be overcome. But the person has to want to change.

Here’s an exercise to help you overcome these triggers.

First, find out what they are.

What makes you nervous? Defensive? Over-reactive? Or on edge? You probably already know those things. What you don’t know is what causes them, the triggers. They can be subtle but very powerful. This is when you go to God. I’ve had triggers because of certain topics conversations, names, places and even words. Smells can even trigger memories. Once you know what they are, you are 95% of the way there. After that, God can help you work them out of your life. Each trigger is as different as the person.

I heard about a gal who was so depressed about a past break up. She just couldn’t get over it. She talked to a minister and he finally realized that every day she pulled out an old box of love letters from her ex. She would cry and tenderly read them… Her next direction was to get rid of the letters. She didn’t think she could at first, but then she did and quickly moved on to a better relationship and a better life. It might be a little more complicated than that, but that’s one example in hundreds.

That’s why I say, you have to want the change.

Discovering the trigger is big, but the total deliverance comes from being brave and doing what it takes to get it out. 

“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” Galatians 6:4

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay (no way), in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” Romans 8:36-37

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”. Ephesians 6:16

I could go on and on with tons of verses but there’s a start for you.

God bless you today

Do We Really Know What Kindness Is?

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I think of the kindnesses people paid me over the years and I feel a twinge of guilt. Why? Maybe I think it comes with expectations or a price. Maybe I feel like I still owe them something. I was thinking of a friend who helped us out of a bind recently. He had a construction skill set that “came in very handy”. About two months later, he went to the hospital with a life threatening situation. I felt the same twinge and wished I’d done more for him. Then I realized something. When he had helped us, we paid him well. He did a service, but he was also paid in full. Later, when the illness came up, I prayed and my husband prayed. His mom called us a little later and said that within minutes of us learning about his condition, his numbers went up and he began to heal. WOW! What a miracle! He is now out of the hospital and doing really well. I’m not going to take credit for ministering to him, because God is the one who showed HIS kindness and His mercy in the situation. So do I really understand kindness? Do I understand God’s kindness?

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1 Corinthians 13 says,

“Charity (agape=the love of God in the renewed mind) suffereth long, and is kind;”

God is Love, and one of the characteristics of God’s love is kindness. Understanding kindness might help me to do it with out feeling obligated or like I’m imposing on someone. So let’s look at the amazing Greek word there for kindness.

Kind= Greek word chrēsteuomai which is a verb and is only used once in the Bible in this middle voice form. It means, “to show one’s self mild, to be kind, use kindness”. Now it comes from a root word, chrēstos which is an adjective. Adjective’s describe a person place or thing. Chrēstos is used  6 other times and is translated into the words, good, goodness, kind, easy, gracious and so on. If this is the word from which we get kindness; God’s kindness through walking in love, then shouldn’t we find out what how God defines it? Let Him define His own term? How do we do that? We look at all the references in the Bible where it is used and learn how it’s defined by its context and usage.

Here’s one:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy (chrestos), and my burden is light.” Mark 11:28-30

Wow, Jesus Christ wants you to lay your burdens on God and in turn you’ll receive rest for your soul. Take on the “yoke” or work of Jesus Christ. What was the work of Jesus Christ? I ask you this, who better could teach us how to walk in the kindness and love of God in the renewed mind?

Let’s see another reference.

“But love (agapaō- love with the love of God in the renewed mind) ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind (chrestos) unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:35

Wow, isn’t that a strange statement, when usually you hear the sentiment, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” God isn’t like that. God walks in love in the renewed mind and pays kindness to people who don’t deserve it. People who are unthankful and even evil. I know I’m unthankful for Him sometimes, sheesh, more than sometimes! No wonder He says in 1st Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God.” It’s God’s will that we be thankful but even when we forget or are not thankful, He still loves us and shows kindness to us.

Let’s look at another one.

“Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4

 Do you despiseth, means belittle, or think too little of God’s goodness; goodness is our Greek word “chrestos”, and forbearance/tolerance, and patience when you don’t realize that the goodness (chrestos) of God leads you to a change of heart/repentance.

We are all changing and growing with God. But this is the epitome of what God goes through to help us change. He bestows kindness after kindness after kindness until finally it melts the hardest heart. What does it melt into? A gooey pile of thankfulness. Gratitude is probably the most oversimplified and underrated gift I know of. God doesn’t need our money. He doesn’t need our service. What does God want from us? Gratitude leads to fellowship. Fellowship leads to more of His kindness which leads to more gratitude. When you’re thankful, its way easier to serve God anyway…don’t you think? It’s watching the slow thaw of an unthankful heart that is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. And it’s God’s kindness that gets people there. I can hear you saying, “Why don’t I just be kind to people all the time in everything? Then I’ll be showing people the love of God.”

It wouldn’t work. It has to matched with the renewed mind walk in love/agape. We have to be kind when, where and how God says to be kind. Otherwise it turns into pride. It turns into our glory, not God’s. And who saved us? You? Nope. God did and Jesus Christ. That’s how some Christians come off “fake” and “holier than thou” and “Miss Goody Two Shoes”. They forget that kindness alone won’t get you there. It has to be kindness directed by God. Sometimes that means being tough. Sometimes that means looking downright mean. No matter what, if you follow God’s directions, you are walking in love and kindness. Sometimes that means we forebear, or put up with stuff, until someone gets to the point of understanding God. We love people, and put up with them, because God’s been putting up with us all this time. God didn’t give up. And that was an act of kindness in itself.

Let’s look at one more. Keep in mind this is a characteristic of God’s love. So this is how He handles us first.

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

How many times has God for Christ sake forgiven you? If you’re having a hard time forgiving someone, think about something you’re thankful for in them. And yes, God does that with you. If it’s His will that WE are thankful, then wouldn’t He be thankful as well? Of course. Doesn’t this change how you think about God? God is kind and God forgives even when we don’t deserve it. Guilt is not of God, but thankfulness sure is.

God bless you today!