Sunday, January 20, 2013

Love is Kind

We are studying different characteristics of love from I Corinthians 13.  We last broke down the idea that love is patient.  Today we are going to look at the truth that love is kind.

I looked up the definition of kindness.  Google says Kindness is an adjective that means "having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature."

Most of us can think of people in our lives we consider kind.  These are the people that always take the time to make us feel warmly welcomed when we see them.  These are the friends who have us over to their home and give generously of their time, home, money and talents to help others. 

My favorite explanation is that they are considerate.  These are the people who just naturally say, "Excuse me" and open doors and let you go first in line.  In other words, these are the people who put others first, and that certainly is applauded in scripture.

Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

That explains why considerate and kind people love so well.  They are not prideful.  They think about others' needs more than their own.  They consider others as MORE significant than themselves.

That sounds like a love that is like Christ's love for us.  Philippians 2:5-8 goes on to say that Christ exemplifies humble kindness.  "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

How can you exemplify kindness like Christ today?
--How about letting your spouse pick his movie or restaurant for your next outing?
--How about letting that person with a few items move ahead of you in line?
--Maybe you can go strike up a conversation with that girl/co-worker/mom who seems to be isolated or alone at school/work/etc.
--Park far away from the church so someone else can have the better parking spots.
--Volunteer to serve at church so you can minister to the needs of others in your body of believers.
--Write a note of encouragement to someone who ministers to you.

Love is kind. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Love is Patient

Hi, everyone!  I have been so busy, but life has been awesome!  I really see God teaching me some good things in 2013 so far.  I pray all your New Years have been off to a great start too.

For the next month or so, I am going to dissect I Corinthians 13's love verses and share some thoughts on the characteristics of love.

Here is the entire section: 
I Corinthians 13: 4-8   Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.

Today's focus is love is patient

This is a tough one for me.  I am a multitasking, quick acting, low attention span kind of gal.  To practice patience takes self discipline.

According to Google, the definition of patience is:  The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.  Synonyms of patience are:  endurance, forbearance, and sufferance.

This is why patience is so difficult for us.  It is sacrificial.  It doesn't come naturally.  We put off our feelings and fleshly instincts and, instead, put on and CHOOSE to have empathy, understanding, possible painful waiting, and love toward someone.

This defines God's love for us, does it not?  While we were still putting ourself as god of our lives, while we were enemies of Him, He loved us and sent Christ to die and suffer for our sin and reconcile us to Him.  Then, he patiently waits for those He chooses to respond to this gift of grace and mercy.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God is also patient to deal with our sin.  He wants us to repent and choose obedience.  We know He will be just someday, but He often patiently waits for us in our slow, stupid ability to recognize and stop sinful actions.
Romans 2:3-4   Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance
Yesterday, at Women's Bible Study at church, our teacher told us that we need to be patient and wait after we lovingly and gently admonish or warn a sister in Christ who is in sin.  We have to pray for her after we talk to her and be there when she needs encouragement and help in stopping her sin.  We might even have to be patient with her if she responds defensively and badly at first.  Love her.  Be patient.  God is patient with us.
How can we be patient in love today?
--CHOOSE to extend grace to someone who offends you driving, in line at a store, in a meeting at work, or a friend who puts her foot in her mouth.  Smile and pray for them with love instead of brooding and simmering inside.
--Don't assume the intentions of your husband, friend or children.  Patiently draw them aside and ask them about an issue before you respond in anger or hurt.
--Think of someone who is sinning against you and choose to pray for that person in love and compassion.
--Share the gospel with a non-Christian in your life who you would think, humanly, there is no way God can reach this person.
Pray about it.  How can you be loving with patience today? 
Remember, love is patient, and God is our ultimate example of loving us patiently and perfectly.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Very Non-Pinterest Thanks Journal

I Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

I have seen gratitude jar projects floating all over Pinterest this month.  I think they are darling, but I, personally, would not be successful at keeping up with it.  Sad to say, but the time it takes to cut up little pieces of paper, decorate a jar, open the jar, drop in some notes of gratitude, reseal it and always have little papers available would deter me.

So, I am sharing our no nonsense approach to gratitude that we have had for several years now.  It is as easy as it gets.

1.  Buy a spiral notebook with at least 52 sheets of paper.

2.  Find a place in your home where you can put it and see it often.  (Our spot is our bathroom countertop.  Classy, I know.  It works, though.  We are there a lot and it is a great activity to do while brushing your teeth!).

3. Open the journal to a page each week and have a pen ON the journal, ready to go.

4.  Throughout the day, week, and year, jot down big and small things for which you are thankful to God.  This can be as small as "Homemade waffles" or "rain today" to as big as "our new baby" or "healing from __disease" or "the salvation of _____".  You will find a MILLION little things for which to give gratitude each day.

5.  Flip the page each week so there is a page for each week of the year.  (We review the page each week in our longer Bible study and prayer time that we do as a couple on Mondays--we do short devotionals and prayer together each night).

6.  Next year, in December, flip through the journal and highlight the BIG thanks that you had as a family--pull out the nuggets, summarize and make a summary thanks list page for 2013.  It is AMAZING when you go through the journal and truly realize HOW MUCH God gives grace and blessings over the course of a year--even in a year of trials.


If you like to make it pretty, here is a printable cover you can use for your journal.  Have a grateful 2013!
Our Gratitude Journal
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